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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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Four Common Myths About Calcium

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’ve probably heard of the old saying - ‘Milk does a body good’.

Most people have been raised to accept this as gospel. However, more and more health experts are now saying that not only are we not getting much benefit from Four Common Myths About Calciumcalcium consumption, but it may in fact be actively sabotaging our health.

Calcium is essential for bodily function, but it seems we may be pumping too much of it into our bodies. The fact is, most healthy adults don’t need to consume a lot of calcium - and that need rapidly decreases with age.

Here's the scary thing - excess calcium consumption has been shown to raise risk of heart disease, high blood pressure (BP), strokes, cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, it increases the overall likelihood of death - known as all-cause mortality - by a staggering 250 percent!

Here are four common myths about calcium you may need to rethink:

  1. Osteoporosis means calcium deficiency - yes it does, but only in bones. It’s not necessarily true that calcium deficiency exists throughout the rest of the body, so consuming more calcium will not always solve the problem. The real problem with osteoporosis is that the body is unable to make new bone and integrate calcium into it - a problem that pumping in more calcium will not solve. The real problem is that most of the calcium leached from bones moves to other parts of the body, where it can be toxic to health.
  2. Dairy products are the best source of calcium - the fact is, you don’t need dairy to get enough calcium. Cultures that drink little to no milk have a much lower incidence of osteoporosis than Americans do. The average person's need for calcium can be easily met by consuming moderate amounts of meat, eggs and vegetables.
  3. More bone density means stronger bones - bone density may indeed improve a little with calcium supplementation, but this does not automatically lead to stronger bones or lower risk of fracture. In fact, bone quality doesn't improve unless other important factors are also addressed.
  4. Bone fracture is the biggest danger in osteoporosis - bone fractures are a serious business, no doubt. However, having a fracture is much less serious than suffering or dying from a heart attack, stroke or cancer. A groundbreaking study showed a 60 percent increase in the risk of death for individuals with lower bone densities - in whom calcium had likely leached to other parts of the body - compared to those with the highest bone densities.

These myths about calcium are currently accepted as fact by most people, and even some healthcare givers. More and more health experts are saying - and with good reason - that raising calcium concentrations is not beneficial, and it can even be toxic for health.

Source: Four Common Myths About Calcium.   

Copyright: rob3000 / 123RF Stock Photo

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Best Diet for Lowering High Blood Pressureand nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

These findings may help to explain why the so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’ has previously been shown to lower BP, along with reducing other risk factors for heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil for cooking and is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain bread and unrefined cereals. Dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry are consumed only in low to moderate amounts, with little or no red meat and moderate consumption of wine.

Combined with a healthy lifestyle such as increased physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking, this diet has previously been shown to lower death rates caused by heart disease.

Key to this protective effect appears to be that when unsaturated fats are combined with nitrite and nitrate-rich foods, compounds called nitro fatty acids are formed.

Researchers in this study investigated whether nitro fatty acids lower BP in mice. Specifically, they examined whether nitro fatty acids can inhibit an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, which is known to regulate BP.

As the study results show, consumption of nitro fatty acids lowered BP in normal mice. On the other hand, mice that were genetically engineered to be resistant to inhibition of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase still had high BP despite being fed the same diet.

This study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet has to do at least in part from the generation of nitro fatty acids, which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower BP.

These findings may help to explain why the Mediterranean diet - supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts - has been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

Given the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, why not adopt it today?

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
Copyright: lculig / 123RF Stock Photo   

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Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, superfoods are any nutrient-dense foods that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and more.

For instance, a certain nutrient-packed ‘ green food has been shown to kill several different types of cancer cells in the laboratory setting - more on this a little later.

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, wheat and barley are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as the plant grows, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin content falls sharply while the level of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood | Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an ounce of these green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables?

Many experimental studies show that green foods have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), immune response and cancer prevention. These effects are attributed in part to their high concentrations of chlorophyll.

Barley grass is the seedling of the barley plant. It is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, when the shoots are less than a foot tall.

A concentrated source of nearly three dozen vitamins and minerals, barley grass is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2, folic acid and B12 as well as calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass also provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

While there have been no clinical trials of barley grass, in a laboratory experiment at George Washington University, leukemia (blood cancer) cells were exposed to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them.

Next, researchers exposed brain cancer cells to the extract - and it eradicated 30-50% of these cells. And in a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90-100%!

If you don’t feel like growing it yourself, barley grass is available commercially as a supplement both in powder and tablet form. Dried barley grass is easier to handle than fresh grasses, which must be juiced. 

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Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For those of you struggling with your weight - do you remember weight-loss experts claiming that the solution was very straightforward - that all you had to do was burn more calories than you consumed?

Easier said than done.

It turns out weight gain and loss are both strongly influenced by many factors, including genetics, gender, age, hormones, stress levels, exposure to toxins and health status. Even social and environmental factors count.

Vitamin D Deficiency |Institute for Vibrant Living

Recently, some studies have linked weight gain to vitamin D deficiency. For instance, women whose vitamin D levels were normalized through supplementation during a diet and exercise program lost more weight.

In another study, the benefits of weight loss - lower blood pressure (BP), lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and lower blood lipid levels - were greater in participants who took calcium and vitamin D during their weight-loss program.

A third study showed that people of Asian Indian decent were much more susceptible to obesity and insulin resistance when they were deficient in vitamin D.

The link between vitamin D and weight loss is not clearly understood. Some health experts have speculated that vitamin D receptors (cellular proteins that specifically bind to vitamin D and help it to carry out its functions inside cells) on fat cells tell them whether they should be burned as energy or stored as excess body weight.

Additionally, brain vitamin D receptors that control metabolism and hunger levels may need enough vitamin D to function properly as well.

Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce systemic inflammation seen in overweight people. In other words, having adequate vitamin D levels lessens the stress of carrying extra body weight.

Besides weight gain, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. The listlessness of depression can lead to inactivity, contributing to weight gain. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to poor blood sugar control, contributing to weight gain and diabetes risk.

The best dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as cod, tuna, mackerel and salmon. Cow's milk and eggs also have vitamin D.

While your skin can manufacture vitamin D from sunlight, this process can be affected by the season, the weather, how far north you live, pollution levels and even sunscreen. This is why most people are encouraged to take dietary supplements to reach the recommended blood levels of vitamin D.

And while adding vitamin D supplements to your diet is a great first step toward shedding unwanted pounds, these lifestyle changes can also help:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five or six times a week
  • Cutting out processed foods and added sugars
  • Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and
  • Replacing animal fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils present in olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados.

Source: Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?   

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Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp)

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that watermelon can lower your blood pressure (BP)?

Food scientists at Florida State University conducted a pilot study on four men and five postmenopausal women - all of whom suffered from prehypertension - between the ages of 51 to 57 years.  Each of these subjects was daily given six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine - derived from watermelon extract - for a period of six weeks. 

Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp) | Institute for Vibrant Living

L-citrulline is converted in the body to L-arginine, which is needed for the formation of nitric oxide (NO). NO is necessary for blood vessels to keep a proper tone and to maintain a healthy BP.

At the end of the pilot study, all nine participants showed improved arterial function and lower aortic BP - indicating that watermelon is effective against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

L-arginine is available as a dietary supplement. However, it can cause nausea, gastrointestinal tract discomfort and diarrhea when taken regularly. On the other hand, eating watermelon causes none of those effects.

Study researchers say that watermelon dilates blood vessels, which may the underlying reason that it can prevent prehypertension from developing into hypertension - a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline. It is also a good source of vitamins A, B6 and C as well as fiber, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene. 

A previous study had shown that L-citrulline supplementation slows the increase in aortic BP in response to cold exposure which, combined with hypertension, is associated with higher rates of myocardial infarction (MI).

Along with L-citrulline, high levels of potassium along with watermelon’s refreshing hydrating quality contribute to its beneficial effects on heart health.

Source: Watermelon lowers Blood Pressure (BP).

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How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure Naturally?

by Health News

February is Heart Health Awareness month. This month we are dedicated to raising your awareness and increasing your knowledge about how to keep your heart healthy. Lower Blood Pressure Naturally | Institute for Vibrant Living

Get educated on the dangers of heart disease, teach you natural tips to preventing high blood pressure and get on track to better heart health. To celebrate, we are offering you a FREE heart health report. Download  Healthy Blood Pressure for Life, today.

Check out these lifestyle strategies to ensure good heart health.

Don’t Smoke – Pack-a-day smokers experience more than twice the risk of having a heart attack than do nonsmokers, and smoking affects others.  It is estimated that roughly 35,000 nonsmokers annually die from heart disease as a result of second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke.
 
Be Active – There are numerous studies that have found regular exercise can help reverse problems that lead to atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.  Work gradually to achieve 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, three to four times per week.
 
Limit Alcohol Consumption – While moderate amounts of alcohol can protect the heart by raising HDL (good) cholesterol and reducing arterial plaque, more than three drinks a day can lead to an enlarged and weakened heart, congestive heart failure, a higher triglyceride level, high blood pressure and stroke.
 
Eat Well and Control Weight – Maintain a healthy weight with a Mediterranean-style diet which is known for its low incidence of heart disease.  This diet features whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood and healthy fats.  Also to ensure good cardiovascular health, take a daily natural supplement that specifically benefits heart health – these can be found through natural supplement websites.

 

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Heart Health Tips: Do Walnuts Benefit Your Heart?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A new study from the University of Munich Medical Center in Germany indicates that a diet enriched with walnuts may reduce heart disease risk naturally, by lowering levels of two major risk predictors.

Heart Health Tips | Walnut Benefits

Walnuts are made up mainly of polyunsaturated fats. They are an excellent natural source of the heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA.

In this study, researchers investigated the effects of daily walnut consumption on blood lipid levels. They found that levels of non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) levels - both major predictors of heart disease risk - were significantly reduced in study participants.

Healthy men and women consumed walnuts as part of their normal diet for eight weeks. They simultaneously reduced intake of saturated fats and increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats, resulting in beneficial changes to their lipid profile.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for roughly 1 in every 4 deaths. Everyone knows that a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet play an important role in heart disease prevention.

This study shows that people can benefit their heart health naturally by supplementing their diet with walnuts, which reduce the levels of non-HDL cholesterol and ApoB, two of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

Previous research has already indicated that walnut consumption can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP), two other major risk factors for heart disease - along with managing other known risk factors such as endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammation.

In fact, the evidence for walnuts being a great source of natural heart health is so extensive that in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved one of the first health claims for a whole food. Similarly, the European Union (EU) has also officially acknowledged the health benefits of walnuts - the only nut to ever be credited with such claims.

This study adds to previous research and confirms that walnuts are a natural source of multiple, powerful heart health benefits including managing levels of cholesterol and blood lipids.

Read related blog posts:
Is there a Connection Between Diet Soda and Stroke Risks?
Can Cherries help lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?
What is Cholesterol?
5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart
Can Dietary Fiber Banish Inflammation?

 

Source:

Natural Heart Health with Walnuts.

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What are the Best Recipes to Keep Your Heart Healthy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your diet can make or break your best health intentions. And this is especially true when it comes to your blood pressure

If you are eating an inflammatory, acidic, highly processed, sugar-laden, salt-filled diet, then medications and even supplements will only hold you over for so long. Soon, you’ll need to either up your dosage, take it more frequently, or start adding in prescription after prescription just to offset your damaging diet.

Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you clean up your diet and choose foods that are alkaline rather than acid, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and low in sodium, then you can not only work to get off medications, you may be able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels for life. And, best of all, the solutions can be downright delicious!

To help you lower your blood pressure naturally and delectably, download and try these heart-healthy recipes.They all boast high antioxidant levels, amazing amounts of fiber, powerful anti-inflammatory oils and spices, and low to no sodium. 

Heart Healthy Recipes 

 

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Resveratrol? How does it Aid in Weight Loss?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Resveratrol is a well-known antioxidant and anti-aging compound found in wine, fruits like pomegranate, some nuts, green teas, cocoa and dark chocolate.

Does Resveratrol Aid Weight Loss?

Typically associated with grapes and red wine, health experts believe resveratrol may be the reason why the French enjoy excellent heart health even though they eat rich, fattening food, smoke a lot and love to drink red wine.

Indeed, resveratrol has been shown to protect the body from damaging molecules that trigger harmful inflammation.

Hailed as an anti-aging miracle ever since studies showed that it could successfully extend the lifespan of mice, resveratrol has shown mixed results in humans. While it has been somewhat effective in reducing risk for heart disease, it has worked less well in other conditions.

In the past few years, resveratrol has also been studied for its effects on metabolism and glucose tolerance - as well as its exciting potential to trigger weight loss.

In a small randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study published in 2011, Dutch researchers found that obese men who took 150 mg of resveratrol daily had lower blood sugar, decreased liver fat and lower blood pressure (BP) after just 30 days. While these men did not lose body mass during the period of the study, these kinds of metabolic changes are typically associated with weight loss over time.

Similarly, a French study published in 2010 had shown that resveratrol had a significant effect on the body mass of primates known as mouse lemurs. These lemurs typically gain a lot of weight as winter approaches.

However, they ate significantly less and gained less weight during a four-week period when their food was supplemented with resveratrol. Interestingly, the lemurs’ body temperature and resting metabolic rate was affected by the resveratrol, suggesting that it was boosting their metabolism.

The problem is that while animal data are usually very convincing, what actually happens when resveratrol is given to humans turns out to be very different.

For example, when another group of researchers conducted a study similar to the Dutch study in normal weight people, resveratrol showed no effects on metabolism at all.

However, a new study seems to confirm that resveratrol enhances energy production and prolongs lifespan by direct activation of a protein that promotes health and longevity in animal models. This means that synthetic drugs similar to resveratrol may potentially treat and prevent diseases related to aging in the future.

Whatever happens, resveratrol is already being used in a number of weight loss supplements - and health experts are actively investigating its potential to treat diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.

Source: Does Resveratrol Aid Weight Loss?

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
There’s no question that, when it comes to lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, the frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
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Regulate Digestive System: How Common Medications May Cause Digestive Problems

by Nancy Maneely

Regulate Digestive SystemIf you suffer from occasional digestive upsets – and who doesn’t? – do you reach for the contents of your medicine cabinet? If so, you may be doing more harm than good.

The best way to eliminate digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, excessive gas, or bloating, is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This we can do by drinking lots of water; eating smaller, more frequent meals; avoiding sugary sweets and drinks (the body has trouble processing sugar overloads); and making sure to replenish the “good” bacteria of the gut with probiotics (either in foods or a daily supplement).

In fact, many medications – both over-the-counter and prescription – can ramp up digestive problems. And ironically, some of the drugs we look to for digestive relief can be the worst offenders. Here are some medications to avoid when you are experiencing digestive upset:

  1. Antacids – The powerful acid blockers on the market today are effective at reducing stomach acid. The problem is, you need that acid to help digest and absorb the nutrients in food. And you also need it to destroy bad bacteria that invade your system. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, Oct. 4, 2007) found that people who took antacids had four times more pneumonia, because they didn’t have enough stomach acid to protect them against bacteria and viruses.
  2. Laxatives – These may seem to work at first, but there are two downsides: Many people experience irritation of the bowel as a result of the harsh ingredients in most products, and the relief is temporary which can lead to dependence.
  3. NSAIDS and aspirin – These can upset and even damage your intestinal lining.
  4. Antibiotics – There’s no question that antibiotics can be necessary and effective at destroying harmful bacteria, but they also kill off the friendly flora that live in your digestive tract. Antibiotics encourage the overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans, which can damage the lining of the small intestine and lead to digestive problems.
  5. Other drugs – Some medications tend to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to back up into the esophagus. These include antihistamines, beta-2 agonists for asthma, calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure, nitrates for angina, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Most of us know our bodies well enough to predict which foods cause the most trouble internally. In general, it is best to avoid the worst offenders like trans fats, processed meats, sodas, and low-fiber foods such as white bread and pasta). Many people are lactose intolerant and need to avoid dairy products, which can bring on painful bloating and gas. Other common food allergies include soy, peanuts, eggs and wheat. The best way to test for food sensitivities is to eliminate the suspected foods completely from your diet for several weeks and then add them back in. Keep a daily food journal while you are doing this.

Try incorporating foods that are good for digestion into your daily diet. These include: yogurt or kefir, sweet potato, winter squash, banana, apples, berries, whole grains, sauerkraut, peas, beets, and celery.

What’s your favorite natural remedy for problems related to digestive upset?

Read More:
EverydayHealth.com: Digestive Health

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Herbs that Help To Increase Energy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you struggle daily with lack of energy or chronic fatigue?

Herbs that Help To Increase Energy

If you do, instead of turning to coffee, so-called energy drinks or other stimulants, you might want to try supplementing with adaptogenic herbs to increase your energy levels.  

While stimulants like caffeine may give your body a ‘kick’ in the short-term, they also place a heavy strain on your adrenal cortex (an organ which regulates stress) by causing it to work harder than normal to produce more energy.

On the other hand, adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha - also known as Indian ginseng - actually give your adrenal cortex the nutrients it needs to generate steady, long-lasting, stress-resistant energy.

In fact, adaptogenic herbs increase your body's natural resistance to almost every type of stress - which takes a large burden off your adrenal system.

For example, athletic competition involves both physical and mental stress. In such cases, long-term consumption of adaptogenic herbs will help to improve both your training effectiveness and overall performance. Also, they are typically harmless when used over long periods of time with few if any dangerous or unpleasant side effects.

In Ayurvedic medicine ashwagandha is believed to not only increase energy levels, but also boost learning and memory.

For example, in a 1993 clinical study, fifty people complaining of lethargy and fatigue for 2-6 months were given an adaptogenic tonic made up of eleven herbs, including 760 mg of ashwagandha once a day.

After just one month of taking the ashwagandha mixture, the patients reported an average 45% improvement in their moods. Their blood plasma protein levels and hemoglobin - two factors used to measure overall health - also increased significantly.

Yet another study compared the adaptogenic and anabolic (ability to promote growth of lean body mass) effects of Korean ginseng and ashwagandha in mice. Groups of six mice were fed 100 mg/kg water extract of either ginseng, ashwagandha or saline for seven days.

On the eighth day, their endurance levels were tested with a swim test. Their average swim times were measured as 62 minutes for Korean ginseng, 82 minutes for ashwagandha; and 35 minutes for saline.

Clearly, ashwagandha is a superior adaptogenic herb when it comes to increasing energy and performance levels.

If you’re experiencing low energy and chronic fatigue, it can be a result of overexposure to stress. Stress not only takes the joy out of life but can also lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease and other adverse health effects.

Why be stressed-out when you can be stress-free?

 

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Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure with Natto

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you know that there is a healthy, natural way to lower your blood pressure (BP) - and keep it low?

High BP is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other serious health problems if left untreated. ‘Blood pressure’ means the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood.

NATTO BP: HOW TO LOWER YOUR BP, NATURALLY

If your BP rises and stays high over time, it can damage your body in many ways.

About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high BP, a condition with no obvious signs or symptoms. In fact, you can have it for years without knowing it. But during this time, high BP silently damages your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of your body.

In 1995, researchers at Miyazaki Medical College and Kurashiki University of Science and Arts in Japan discovered that a food item called Natto, made from fermented soybeans, could relax blood vessel walls and keep BP low, naturally.  

On average, systolic BP (the top number) decreased from 174 to 155, while diastolic BP (the bottom number) dropped from 101 to 91 - an overall drop of roughly 10% in 4 out of 5 study volunteers given Natto.

How does Natto do this?

Renin is an enzyme made in your kidney. It circulates in your bloodstream and breaks down the protein angiotensinogen (made in your liver) into the peptide angiotensin I. Angiotensin I has no action on blood vessels, but is converted by another enzyme known as ACE into angiotensin II - which is a potent constrictor of all blood vessels.

Angiotensin II acts on smooth muscles in arteries to raise the resistance they pose to the heart. The heart tries to overcome this increase in its 'load' and works harder, causing BP to rise.

What has all this got to do with Natto?

The Japanese have been eating Natto for nearly a thousand years - for its taste, and for what it does for their energy, memory, skin and digestion.

But it wasn’t until 1987 that researchers at Miyazaki Medical College discovered exactly what makes Natto so good for your health. They discovered a strong enzyme activity in Natto that breaks down fibrin - the protein that makes your blood clot when you bleed from a wound - and named this enzyme nattokinase.

Too much fibrin can make your blood too thick and too sticky, slow down your circulation, raise BP and cause unhealthy clotting activity. In one study of 12 healthy Japanese volunteers, consuming Natto reduced the time it took to dissolve a clot by nearly half.

Nattokinase also blocks the action of the enzyme ACE, meaning it lowers production of angiotensin II. In other words - Natto potently lowers BP and keeps it low by acting via two separate modes of action. No wonder the Japanese are so fond of it.

Talk to your healthcare provider about adding a Natto supplement to your diet.

Source

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What are the Benefits of Green Tea?

by Health News

What are the Benefits of Green Tea?A 2012 study from Poland shows that regular consumption of green tea extract improves blood pressure (BP), while simultaneously lowering blood sugar levels and markers of inflammation in obese patients with hypertension.

Depending on how it’s made, tea can be either green, black or Oolong - all of which are harvested from the leaves and buds of the same plant, Camellia sinensis, using different methods.

The beneficial actions of green tea in the prevention of cancer as well as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and other diseases are well known. For example, regular consumption of green tea extract has been shown to significantly reduce weight, body mass index (BMI), waist size and total body fat. Levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol were also reduced.

Most of these consequences of green tea consumption are attributed to a group of green tea polyphenols called flavonoids that are known to be strong antioxidants, although exactly how they do this still remain unclear. Studies also indicate that green tea catechins - powerful flavonoid antioxidants found in high levels in green tea - may lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

In the current study carried out at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, three months of consuming green tea extract significantly lowered levels of inflammation, along with reducing both systolic and diastolic BP.

Green tea extract also influenced cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors such as insulin resistance and oxidative stress in these patients, reported the study authors.

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 56 obese subjects with hypertension were randomly assigned to be supplemented daily with either green tea extract or a control treatment for up to 3 months. BP, levels of blood lipids, blood sugar, insulin and markers of inflammation as well as total antioxidant status were measured both before the start of the study and after 3 months of treatment with green tea extract.

After 3 months, both systolic and diastolic BP had significantly decreased in patients consuming green tea - not only that, fasting blood sugar, insulin and insulin resistance were all reduced in this group as well.

Inflammation markers were also significantly lower after green tea extract therapy, while total antioxidant status was higher in this group after 3 months.

Supplementation with green tea extract also contributed to significant lowering of both total and LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides, along with increased levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.

The study authors wrote in their conclusion that daily supplementation with green tea extract favorably influences BP, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress, along with improving lipid profiles in obese patients with hypertension.

The implications are clear - regular consumption of green tea extract is very beneficial for your overall cardiovascular health.

Why not start your own therapy today?

Source: The Neverending Health Benefits of Green Tea.

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Does Green Tea Health Benefits affect Type 2 Diabetes?

by Health News

Did you know - more than 24 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, while one in three Americans are at imminent risk of developing this condition?

In diabetes, muscle and liver cells are unable to absorb glucose from the blood, so that they are deprived of the energy they need to function properly - which also means blood glucose levels remain at unhealthily high levels for long periods of time.

High blood glucose seen in diabetes is a serious health issue that greatly increases risk of dying of heart disease or stroke by as much as 40%. It also makes diabetes sufferers more susceptible to obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Interestingly, research studies indicate that green tea catechins - powerful flavonoid antioxidants found in high levels in green tea - may lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Green Tea Health Benefits affect Type 2 Diabetes

For instance, a double-blind controlled study carried out in 2009 at the Health Care Food Research Laboratories in Tokyo, Japan showed that a catechin-rich beverage reduced obesity and improved blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Study researchers looked at the effects of consumption of catechin-rich green tea in diabetes patients who were not receiving insulin therapy. Participants consumed green tea containing either 582.8 mg or 96.3 mg of catechins every day for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, the decrease in waist circumference was noticeably greater in the higher catechin group. At the same time, levels of the hormone adiponectin - which lowers fat accumulation - were also higher in this group. This means green tea catechins may help to prevent obesity along with lowering risk for type 2 diabetes - one of the consequences of obesity.

Similarly, a Japanese study looked at the effects of catechins on body fat reduction and weight loss. 35 Japanese men drank oolong tea fortified with green tea extract containing either 690 milligrams or 22 milligrams of catechins.

Study subjects who drank green tea extract lost more weight and experienced a significantly greater decrease in body mass index (BMI), waist size and total body fat. Not only that, levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol were also reduced in these subjects.

Green tea also appears to benefit patients with diabetes who have high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension. In a randomized clinical trial, 100 mildly hypertensive patients with diabetes were randomly given either sour tea or green tea. Interestingly, systolic and diastolic BP of both groups of patients were reduced by the end of the study.

Taken together, these results show that catechins lower risk for lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes - while also reducing the side effects of diabetes, including high BP.

Based on previous studies, at least 4 cups of green tea a day are recommended for weight management along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Green tea extract supplements are also available for people who don’t like drinking so much green tea every day.

Source:Benefits of Green Tea Catechins in Type 2 Diabetes.

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The Best Heart Health Supplement: COENZYME Q10

by Health News

The Best Heart Health Supplement: COENZYME Q10Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a vital nutrient and antioxidant made by your body that is needed for cell energy as well as heart, brain and muscle health.

CoQ10 also protects your cells from free radical damage and is particularly important for organs that need large amounts of oxygen, like your heart and brain. For example, clinical studies show that CoQ10 increases heart strength and improves its ability to pump blood.  

As you grow older, your body makes less CoQ10 along with lowered energy metabolism in your liver, heart and muscles. Some drugs may also deplete CoQ10 levels.

The main symptom of CoQ10 deficiency is feeling a lack of energy. Other symptoms include high blood pressure (BP), angina, stroke, irregular heart rate, leg weakness, muscle aches, loss of concentration and lowered immune function.

Statins - drugs that are widely prescribed to lower risk of heart disease via cholesterol and triglyceride reduction - are known to deplete CoQ10 levels. In fact, a common side effect of statins is muscle weakness and pain, most likely because of CoQ10 depletion.

Along with statins, drugs used to treat heart conditions, reduce high BP and manage blood sugar are known to lower CoQ10 levels.

In other words, if you take statins, beta blockers or diuretics for high BP you should find out how they might be affecting your CoQ10 levels and your heart health.

CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to benefit patients with diabetes by improving their heart function and healing diabetic ulcers on their feet. CoQ10 may also help to lower BP and LDL cholesterol levels.

In athletes, CoQ10 has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue and speed up recovery times, along with improving athletic performance. Studies have reported greater improvement in both anaerobic and aerobic exercise with CoQ10 supplementation.

CoQ10 is known to interfere with your body’s response to blood thinners such as warfarin and can decrease your insulin requirement, if you’re diabetic - so it is always a good idea to confer with your doctor if you are thinking of adding CoQ10 to your daily supplement routine.

Sources:

CoQ10, Your Heart’s Best Friend.

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High Blood Pressure: How Sleep Deprivation Affects your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

High Blood Pressure: How Sleep Deprivation Affects your HealthAccording to new research, having a stressful day after a poor night of sleep may raise your blood pressure (BP).

For example in one study, researchers recruited 20 healthy young adults and measured their BP at rest and then after a stressful task - in this case, giving an impromptu speech defending themselves for a supposed transgression, either running a stop sign or taking someone’s wallet.

A week later, after staying up all night, study participants returned to take the tests again. Systolic BP, the top number on a BP reading, climbed about 10 points higher when fatigued study subjects gave their speech, compared to subjects who spoke after a good night’s sleep.

This suggests that not getting enough sleep may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can raise blood pressure, as can stress. But not many studies have examined what happens when sleep-deprived people also experience stress.

These results need to be replicated by larger studies - because not only is stress common nowadays, so is being sleep deprived - and one probably reinforces the other. For instance, if you’re experiencing a lot of stress, you are more likely to experience insomnia.

Another study looking at 331 healthy male medical students found that their BP when awake correlated negatively correlated with sleep duration.

According to the CDC, one in three Americans has high BP - a condition with few symptoms, often called the “silent killer” - because it can lead to strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, along with damaging the kidneys and other organs.

Further, nearly one in five Americans has uncontrolled hypertension - meaning that it is untreated or that that medications or other treatments have failed to bring it down.

In such a scenario, if someone is having difficulty with their BP being high, maybe getting six to seven hours of sleep daily is the way to lower their BP.

Other related articles:

Best Health Supplements for High Blood Pressure

Natural Heart Health: Making Sense of Blood Pressure Readings

High Blood Pressure Supplements Benefits

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

 

Source:

Sleep Deprivation and Blood Pressure (BP).