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Glutathione - the Master Antioxidant

by Cindy Gray

Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body. Chemically, it is a very small molecule that is made within the body itself. It is considered to be an important antioxidant because it is located inside every cell in the body. In general, antioxidants, the most well-known of which are vitamins C and E, are important for health because they neutralize harmful free radicals which can build up in cells and cause damage. Along with its own antioxidant actions, glutathione recycles vitamin C and other antioxidants. It also helps the liver remove foreign chemicals such as drugs and toxins. It has widespread health benefits because it is present in immune cells and drives the functions of the immune system, whose job is to fight off disease and infections.Optimize Overall Health with Master Antioxidant Glutathione

Food sources that either contain glutathione or its precursors to help the body produce more include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, peaches, watermelon, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, tomatoes, peas, garlic, onions, red peppers as well as meat, fish and green leafy vegetables. Clearly, people who consume a varied, healthy diet get enough glutathione from their diet. On the other hand, those with poor diets may not get enough glutathione. Sufficient levels of selenium, a micronutrient found in meat, seafood, egg yolks and certain plants, and alpha-lipoic acid, another antioxidant, are both necessary to maintain glutathione levels. Glutathione production increases during exercise. However, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and drugs such as acetaminophen, deplete glutathione from the liver.

Glutathione performs many important roles in the body, including:

  • Managing cell growth and division

  • DNA synthesis and repair - protecting DNA when it’s being made and repairing damaged DNA

  • Protein function - helping to maintain proteins in their active, functional forms

  • Amino acid transport - moving many substances, including amino acids, in and out of cells as needed

  • Enzyme activation and catalysis - helping enzymes transform into their active state and increasing the efficiency with which they function

  • Detoxification - breaking down toxins in the liver. The enzyme glutathione S-transferase binds to toxins such as carcinogens, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides and makes them water-soluble, so that they can be removed from the body as bile, sweat and urine. Glutathione-related enzymes also detoxify cancer-causing chemicals so that they can be eliminated without damaging the cell or DNA.

Our body is constantly under attack from harmful chemicals called ‘free radicals’ created by a process known as ‘oxidative stress’. Some free radicals are generated externally, while others are made in the body itself. When they come in contact with DNA or other cellular components, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and ‘steal’ its electron. A molecule that loses an electron then becomes a free radical itself and attacks the next nearest stable molecule, thus setting off a chain reaction that can potentially cascade through hundreds of molecules. Glutathione performs a vital role in repairing damaged DNA by replacing missing electrons.

Glutathione can exist either in so-called ‘reduced’ or ‘oxidized’ states. In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of total glutathione is in the reduced form. An increased ratio of the oxidized-to-reduced-forms is considered to be a significant marker of oxidative stress and is used to assess cellular toxicity. Oxidative stress in blood vessels is associated with many diseases. Glutathione manages the cell’s oxidative stress response.

People who have cancer, AIDS, cancer and other very serious diseases are almost invariably found to be depleted in glutathione. Although the reasons for this are not completely understood, it is clear that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health. Laboratory studies have shown that glutathione has the potential to help fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is believed to be one of the major underlying causes of many of the diseases associated with old age. The body’s immune and detoxification systems cannot function without glutathione, which is an essential part of staying young, active and healthy. Within the immune system itself, glutathione enhances the activity of immune cells and also functions as an antioxidant within them. Some health experts believe that raising and maintaining glutathione levels can help minimize the risk of diseases.

There is extensive evidence that antioxidants play a protective role in cardiovascular disease, a chronic disease that is worsened by oxidative stress and inflammation. Long-term, large-scale, population-based studies have found that higher levels of glutathione, as well as vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, results from large clinical trials do not support long-term use of single antioxidant supplements for prevention of cardiovascular disease, due to their null or even adverse effects. Overall diet quality rather than single nutrients have been shown to have protective effects.

Glutathione has been shown to increase energy levels, strength and endurance. Our energy levels are a result of many factors, including the biochemical reactions taking place within cellular mitochondria. Glutathione ensures that mitochondria remain fully charged. Clinical trials have shown that lowered or depleted glutathione in the mitochondria leads to cell death, suggesting that proper glutathione levels are vital for cellular and overall health.

While there are many strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione, the actual amount of research on glutathione as a supplement is very limited. Health experts disagree on who should take glutathione or its precursors. Some say everyone should take it in order to optimize overall health. Others say it should be reserved for people with cancer, or those who eat poorly and are thus unlikely to be getting much glutathione or its precursors in their diet. However, everyone agrees that people with severe diseases known to be associated with low glutathione levels, such as AIDS, heart disease and cancer are likely to benefit from glutathione supplements.

Reference

http://www.immunehealthscience.com/glutathione.html

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Curcumin - Heart Supplement Benefits

by Not in Use Not In Use

Looking for beneficial ingredients to add to your high blood pressure recipes? Look no further than turmeric.

high blood pressure recipes

Since ancient times, traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners in India have known about the health benefits of tumeric - a plant with trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers, related to ginger, that flourishes in Southeast Asia. Its roots are bulbs that produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. A common staple spice in Asia, tumeric was always praised for its healing properties as an anti-inflammatory, as well as for digestive and cardiovascular ailments.

In the 21st century, we now know that there are scientific explanations for the benefits from tumeric. Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid found in tumeric (and that which makes tumeric the color yellow), is a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol, that combats the effects of free radicals in the body. And while curcumin has been linked with cancer prevention, detoxification, and countering inflammation, some of the most intriguing evidence revolves around its potential for heart health supplement.

Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant activity could be the cause for its ability to improve the circulatory system and thus cardiovascular health. It also can be effective in reducing cholesterol, a leading cause of heart attacks, and has been shown in studies to protect rats from adverse effects following a stroke. Other research shows curcumin’s effectiveness in countering heart enlargement and subsequent heart failure.

Turmeric, the main source of curcumin, can be taken as a delicious additive to your next meal. In fact, it is a principle ingredient in curry, those tasty dishes found in Indian restaurants. But if Indian food is not to your liking, they can be found in health supplements. Curcumin is further proof of the abundance of natural remedies found in common foods, known about for centuries.

Add turmeric to your high blood pressure recipes today to improve your overall heart health!

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Natural Heart Health: Making Sense of Blood Pressure Readings

by Health News

Take regular blood pressure readings to figure out if you have a normal blood pressure.Many people want to ensure they have a normal blood pressure. Learn how to make sense of blood pressure readings in this article.

Blood pressure is one of the primary vital signs for health. It refers to the pressure applied to vessel walls by circulating blood in the body. Blood pressure measurements generally gauge total pressure at the brachial artery in an individual’s upper arm which is the major vessel that transports blood away from the heart. The actual blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure, for example, 120/80. The systolic number measures arterial pressure when the heart beats, and the diastolic number measures arterial pressure between heartbeats, when the heart muscle is at rest and filling with blood.

There are five basic categories of blood pressure readings that span from normal blood pressure to hypertensive crisis. The blood pressure measurement determines what type of treatment an individual may need to normalize blood pressure. For accuracy, it is important for a health care provider to take two measurements at two different times.

The American Heart Association suggests that an individual get screened once every two years starting at age 20 if blood pressure is in the normal range.

The following lifestyle changes are recommended for keeping blood pressure in check.

Lose extra weight and watch your waist measurement: According to studies, men should have a waist measurement below 40 inches, and women should take care to keep waist size below 35 inches.

Get regular exercise: 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day can help to lower blood pressure.

Eat a healthy diet:  Consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products, and skip foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Consider all-natural supplements to ensure adequate daily nutrients.

Reduce sodium consumption: Those who are 51 years of age or older should reduce sodium to 1500 mg per day or less.

Increase potassium:  Added potassium in the diet or through supplements can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure.

Experts estimate that one in four American adults will get high blood pressure. This is a health problem that can raise risks for heart and kidney disease and stroke. Because high blood pressure typically exhibits no symptoms, it is important for adults to get checked regularly. Once it develops, high blood pressure generally lasts a lifetime but it can be prevented and controlled with a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? There’s no question that, when it comes to healthy aging, specifically 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.High Blood Pressure Remedies: 3 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, many older adults are frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class which 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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Should You Be Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home?

by Not in Use Not In Use

One of the quickest and easiest ways to gauge one’s general health is by monitoring one’s own blood pressure. The simple rhythm of your pulse can say a lot about you: what your lifestyle is, what might be wrong with your diet, what your normal blood pressure is, what your health problems are, and what you can do about them.

One of the quickest ways to see if you have normal blood pressure is to check it at home.

Simply put, your blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. Readings are given as one number over another; the top number is the systolic, the bottom the diastolic. Systolic refers to the blood pressure when the heart is contracting, while diastolic is when the heart is in a state of relaxation.  Generally, a normal blood pressure reading is around 120 over 80. Any systolic reading over 140 is considered high, as is any diastolic reading over 90.

It’s a good idea to check your blood pressure regularly to avoid hypertension, especially if you have a history of heart problems or suffer from obesity. Seniors, whose blood pressure can vary should monitor their own blood pressure, as should diabetics, who must maintain tight blood pressure control.

Lastly, even relatively healthy people can benefit from knowing what their normal blood pressure is on a regular basis. Being conscious of one’s own health is a first step to greater body knowledge and freedom from ailment. It may also add as an incentive to quit habits that exacerbate hypertension, such as smoking or caffeine use. Conversely, it may encourage healthy habits that lower your pulse:

  • conscious deep breathing
  • eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • taking natural blood pressure supplements, such as fish oil or folic acid

Sometimes the simplest of information can lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle. 

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Heart Health Tips: Do Walnuts Benefit Your Heart?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Looking for high blood pressure diet foods? 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.

Walnuts: High Blood Pressure Diet Foods

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, which is one of the reasons they top the list of high blood pressure diet foods.

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?

 

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Natural Heart Health with Walnuts.

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Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

According to extensive research, vitamin D deficiencies play a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer as well as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.  While people are now beginning to realize the full extent of health benefits that vitamin D has to offer, they may not be getting the benefits of this vitamin without supplementing their diets with magnesium.

In order to receive the health benefits of vitamin D, its cofactors must be present, including magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron.

Does Vitamin D Work With Magnesium?Magnesium is a vital nutrient because it converts vitamin D into its active form. In fact, the effectiveness and benefits of vitamin D are greatly undermined in the absence of adequate magnesium in the body, yet most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

The importance of magnesium as a nutrient required for proper vitamin D metabolism has been recognized by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D metabolism

  • Magnesium influences utilization of vitamin D by activating cellular enzyme activity. All the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium

  • Magnesium has a possible role in vitamin D's effect on the immune system. Low magnesium has been shown to lower production of vitamin D's active form

  • Several studies show that magnesium is also necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone

  • Vitamin D inhibits calcium deposition in arteries, and magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can prevent calcium buildup into plaque in arteries. The combination of magnesium and vitamin D helps to prevent clogged arteries by drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build healthy bone structure and prevent osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

 

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Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

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Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

You may already know about the many powerful health benefits of having sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body. However, you may not be getting many of these benefits if you suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Vitamin D is made by skin cells in response to sunlight. It is also found naturally in fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yCan Vitamin D Benefit without Magnesium?olks; as well as in fortified grains and dairy products.

Along with helping to build strong bones by maintaining proper calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, vitamin D also appears to protect against many other health problems.

For instance, having adequate levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D (the biologically active form of vitamin D) can lower the risk of a first heart attack and peripheral vascular disease, along with reducing risk for many cancers.

Low levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D are associated with increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (BP). Many studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also plays a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.

Increasing vitamin D intake to about 800 international units (IU) per day has been reported to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%.

While more and more people are learning about the powerful health benefits offered by vitamin D, they may not be getting many of these benefits if they suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form. It acts with and is essential to the activity of vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D’s effectiveness is significantly reduced without adequate levels of magnesium in the body. However, most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

Nutrients act to enhance each other. To get the health benefits of vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron must also be present in suitable amounts.

The importance of magnesium for proper vitamin D metabolism has been confirmed by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is essential for the metabolism of vitamin D

  • Magnesium influences how the body uses vitamin D

  • All enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium (enzymes are special proteins that carry out chemical reactions in the body)

  • Magnesium may play a role in vitamin D's effects on the immune system

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone structure

Last but not least, in its active form in the presence of magnesium, vitamin D stops calcium from being deposited in arteries, interfering with plaque formation or atherosclerosis, the first critical step towards developing heart disease.

Magnesium and vitamin D work together to draw calcium out of blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build a healthy, strong bone structure; thereby preventing osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

If you feel you’re not getting enough vitamin D or magnesium, it may be a good idea to look for a supplement that gives you both of these vital nutrients and add it to your daily supplement regime right away.

 

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Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

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How to Improve Blood Circulation with Alternative Medicine

by Health News

Low Blood Pressure Natural Treatment - Improve Blood CirculationPoor blood circulation can have a serious impact on one’s overall health.  For example, poor blood circulation means less blood flowing to your brain and typically means you have low blood pressure. This alone comes with a variety of significant symptoms, such as dizziness, problems thinking or even headaches.  In fact, poor blood circulation can impact every organ in your body and may even explain tingling and a lack of sensation in your arms and legs.  In short, poor blood flow can be quite serious.  Luckily, there are many natural health solutions that one can take in treating poor circulation.  In this article, we will examine a few of these low blood pressure natural treatments and natural health products.

Bonito Peptide

The bonito peptide is one natural dietary supplements that is currently being used for improving blood circulation.  This supplement is believed to contribute to general heart health and may have the ability to help regulate one’s blood pressure.  This compound is derived from the bonito fish.

L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is a compound derived from the amino acids methionine and lysine.  It plays a vital role in the metabolism and has enjoyed great success as a nutritional health supplement.  Generally considered to be safe, L-carnitine is often used to treat heart conditions.  It is believed that L-carnitine can be used to increase blood flow as well, which could make it a potentially useful supplement for those with blood circulation issues.

Nattokinase

Enzymes are vital for life and can provide a wide variety of health and medical benefits.  For example, the bromelain enzyme derived from pineapples can be a very effective anti-inflammatory.  Likewise, nattokinase is another enzyme with a variety of interesting properties.  This enzyme is extracted from a food called natto

Natto is a Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.  Nattokinase is often used as a blood thinner, and its role in overall heart health is being explored.  However, nattokinase is not for everyone and has been known to have negative interactions with aspirin.  Anyone considering taking nattokinase should consult with his or her doctor.

Garlic

You might be tempted to believe that there is little that garlic can’t do!  Garlic has been sought after for generations as a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent.  Garlic is, in fact, so complex and beneficial that it literally has different properties depending on whether or not its been cut or crushed.

Additionally, garlic is believed to even have anti-cancer properties and is high in an assortment of vitamins and minerals.  It should come as no surprise that garlic may even be a heart healthy food as well.  A great deal of attention has been given to garlic’s potential as a heart healthy food, as it may protect the heart from oxidative damage and might lower bad cholesterol levels.  Further, garlic has the ability to positively impact artery walls.  All in all, garlic is a great pick for those looking for a natural way to increase blood flow.

Of course, following a healthy diet comprised largely of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein choices will do wonders for your health, regardless of whether or not you have any heart or circulation issues.  Following a diet rich in these foods will not only keep your heart healthy and your blood flowing, but will also give your body the nutrition and anti-oxidants it needs to fight off aging and disease as well.

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Can Turmeric Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

by Cindy Gray

According to a 2013 study, curcumin—the main active ingredient in the South Asian spice turmeric—can significantly increase secretion of an anti-diabetic hormone known as Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in a laboratory setting.  GLP-1 is a potent hormone that stimulates insulin secretion. Its own secretion in the gut is normally triggered by dietary carbs, proteins and lipids.Can Turmeric Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

Boosting GLP-1 secretion is an important therapeutic target for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes; in fact, several drugs have been designed to do exactly that.

Turmeric is the yellow spice that flavors and colors South Asian curries. Used for many centuries in traditional Indian medicine, turmeric has recently been shown to act powerfully in the human body and brain.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as hyperglycemia, is a common disease condition in which blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) is higher than normal. People with this condition either do not produce enough insulin, or their body’s cells become unable to use insulin properly.

When you eat food, your body breaks down carbs into glucose, which is the basic fuel for your body’s cells. Insulin helps sugar from your blood enter the cells in your body that need them, including your brain, muscle and liver cells.

When glucose builds up in blood instead of entering your cells, it can cause two problems:

  • Your cells become starved of energy

  • Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart

As of 2010, nearly 300 million people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, diabetic retinopathy, kidney failure and poor blood flow in the limbs, leading to amputations.

Some health experts believe that it may be possible to boost GLP-1 secretion in the body as a way of lowering type 2 diabetes risk. Indeed, in the present study, curcumin was shown to significantly increase GLP-1 secretion in a laboratory setting.

Also, the researchers were able to identify the exact mechanism of GLP-1 secretion, revealing a novel biological function of curcumin and suggesting that it may become an important tool in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

In a more recent study from India, 89 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were treated with a polyherbal combination drug that included curcumin for 8 weeks. Promisingly, both fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels were seen to be significantly lower in these patients after eight weeks of treatment.

If you’re worried about your blood sugar levels, you may want to consider adding turmeric to your diet—both in cooking and in supplement form.  Just sprinkle powdered turmeric in just about any dish, particularly in entrees and savory dishes—a little bit goes a long way!  To get even more turmeric into your system, seek out a quality nutritional supplement designed to improve your insulin response and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Many supplement formulas contain botanical extracts, including bitter melon, Shilajit, fenugreek, banaba, and of course curcumin. All of these natural therapies are used in Ayurvedic medicine and have been proven to stabilize blood sugar naturally, with no known side effects.

So if you’d like to safely and effectively manage your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, remember to include turmeric in your daily cooking, and in easy supplement form.

 

Source:

Can Turmeric Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk?   

 

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Chance of Stroke Rises with Less Magnesium in the Blood

by Health News

What is good for high blood pressure? Magnesium.Many people come to our health blog with the question: “What is good for high blood pressure?” Since high blood pressure is a common cause of stroke and heart attack, it’s no wonder people want to be proactive about their cardiovascular health. In this article we will take a look at how magnesium levels in the blood serve to decrease the chances of stroke and why exactly this is the case.

In order to understand why magnesium can impact the risk of stroke, it is first necessary to understand how magnesium impacts the body. Studies indicate that most Americans are actually at least somewhat deficient in this key mineral, which can lead to an assortment of illnesses including osteoporosis. In general, magnesium is believed to play a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure

Some studies indicate that an increase in magnesium intake could decrease the risk of a stroke and even lower the incidences of heart disease. In particular, it is believed that magnesium may be able to protect brain cells from dying when under stress.

It appears that a lack of magnesium can do more than weaken our teeth and bones. In fact, according to some medical professionals, a lack of magnesium might actually serve to increase our overall risk of stroke as well. Considering the impact that a stroke can have on one’s health and even on one’s longevity, eating magnesium rich foods and using magnesium supplements looks to be nothing short of a must.

Magnesium can be found both in vegetable and animal sources. Halibut is one of the highest known forms of magnesium, and yogurt and milk score well also. Luckily for vegans, magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods, ranging from nuts, such as almonds and cashews, to leafy greens, such as spinach and even potatoes. The wide variety of food that contains magnesium makes it possible for most people to easily work more magnesium into their diets.

In light of the extraordinary importance of this somewhat overlooked mineral, it is important to take note of foods that are high in magnesium and regularly incorporate them into your diet. While calcium is undoubtedly also critical for good health, the simple fact is that the same can be stated for magnesium. As it turns out, magnesium can play a vital role in helping to avoid stroke. Of course, the best medicine is always prevention. Eating foods that are rich in magnesium and taking magnesium supplements is an absolute must.

Concerned about your heart health?

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Is Moderate Alcohol Consumption Healthy?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’re probably already aware that a glass or two of red wine is good for your heart and reduces your risk of strokes and gallstones. Now, a new study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can play a key role in healthy aging by bolstering your immune system, A new study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can play a key role in healthy aging by bolstering your immune system, improving its responsiveness.improving its responsiveness.

In this study, 12 macaque monkeys were trained to drink alcohol freely and given free access to a 4 percent alcohol mixture as well as food and water. Their alcohol consumption - which mimicked human alcohol consumption - caused the research team to divide them into two groups.

The first group of macaques was made up of so-called ‘heavy drinkers’ who ended up with a blood ethanol concentration (BEC) of 0.08 percent or more. Interestingly, 0.08 percent is the maximum legal BEC for anyone driving a vehicle in the US. The second group of drinkers had lower BECs ranging from 0.02 to 0.04 percent.

Before giving the macaques access to alcohol, study researchers first observed their response to vaccinations. At first, all the macaques had comparable response times. However, after they were granted access to alcohol, their immune system response times to the vaccinations changed dramatically.

For instance, heavy drinking macaques showed diminished vaccine response times when compared to a group of macaques that consumed sugar water in place of alcohol.

Surprisingly though, macaques that consumed moderate amounts of alcohol actually showed enhanced immune system responses to vaccinations - in fact, these study researchers suggest that the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may be linked directly to its positive impact on the immune system.

It’s important to remember that while moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial, downing too many glasses can prove detrimental to health and wellbeing.

This new study did not identify the specific alcohol component that acts to enhance the immune system. Once health experts know what it is, less controversial health supplements are likely to be developed in future.

Source: Moderate Alcohol Consumption may Boost the Immune System.

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15 Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats in Vascular Disease

by Cindy Gray

While fish and fish oil have long been accepted sources of omega-3 fats, these essential fats are also present in a wide variety of plant-based foods and supplements. They are a necessary component of the membrane of each cell in our body and help to correct or prevent many adverse health conditions.

The term ‘omega-3 fat’ refers to a group of three polyunsaturated fatty acids (or PUFAs) that share certain characteristics. These fats are mainly referred to by their acronyms ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).15 BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3 FATS

According to scientific research, these are some of the many benefits of omega 3-fats it they apply to vascular disease:

  1. Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure (BP) in people with elevated blood lipids, known as dyslipidemia.

  2. Omega 3 fats improve the cardiovascular risk profile of subjects with metabolic syndrome, including markers of inflammation and autoimmunity.

  3. In modest doses, omega-3 fats reduce incidence of cardiac deaths; while in high doses they reduce non-fatal cardiovascular events.

  4. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fats reduces incidence of sudden cardiac death in patients with myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack.

  5. Omega-3 fat supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had one heart attack.

  6. Consuming fish is associated with a reduction in coronary heart disease incidence.

  7. Omega-3 fat and vitamin D supplementation leads to a substantial reduction in coronary calcium scores and slows plaque growth.

  8. Omega-3 fats improve macro- and micro-vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes.

  9. Omega-3 fats improve endothelial function in peripheral arterial disease.

  10. Fish oil has a beneficial effect on blood viscosity in peripheral vascular disease.

  11. The omega-3 fat docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) reduces the risk of peripheral arterial disease associated with smoking.

  12. Fish and long-chain omega-3 fat intake reduce coronary heart disease risk and total mortality in diabetic women.

  13. Higher plasma concentrations of EPA and DPA are associated with a lower risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction or heart attack in women.

  14. Omega-3 fat consumption is inversely associated with incidence of high blood pressure, known as hypertension.

  15. Fish consumption reduces ischemic stroke risk in elderly individuals.

If you’re not sure how you can add omega-3 fats to your daily diet, we have just the solution for you!

Omega-3 supplements and comprehensive heart health formulas should contain enhanced ingredients to help protect your entire cardiovascular system. Often formulated with optimized levels of both EPA and DHA omega-3 fats, these supplements should be sourced from a certified sustainable and responsibly managed Alaskan fishery.

Given the many proven benefits of omega-3 fats in vascular disease, why not begin an omege-3 supplementation routine today?

 

Source:

15 Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats In Vascular Disease.

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9 Warning Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

As far back as the 1930s, doctors first recognized the link between vitamin D deficiency and the skeletal disease called rickets, which causes a softening of the bones and teeth.

Today, new research has shed light on many other illnesses which appear to be caused by more subtle forms of vitamin D deficiency.

The term vitamin D refers to both vitamin D2, which we typically get from our diet, and vitamin D3, which is manufactured by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D's main function in the body is to regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorous.

This vital nutrient is found at the highest concentrations in fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon. Some mushrooms are also high in vitamin D.

While our skin cells do make some of the vitamin D that we need, sun exposure alone may not be enough, so supplementation may be required. Factors such as skin color, the time of year, the angle of the sun, cloud cover, pollution levels and the use of sunscreen can greatly limit the amount of vitamin D made by our skin.

Some people who have vitamin D deficiency may not have any symptoms. Others may experience restless sleep, muscle cramps, general fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, inability to concentrate, headaches, constipation or diarrhea and bladder problems.

Here are nine serious medical conditions that have been linked to vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Asthma - daily vitamin D supplementation has been shown to lessen asthma attacks and reduce their severity

  2. Depression - vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Getting enough D during pregnancy has been shown to lessen the chances that the unborn child will develop mental illness later in life

  3. Heart disease - is much more common in people deficient in vitamin D

  4. High blood pressure (BP) - has been associated with deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D

  5. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) - vitamin D can ease the pain and stiffness associated with RA, a devastating disease that causes systemic inflammation, severe pain and joint damage

  6. Multiple sclerosis (MS) - the farther from the equator you live and the less sun exposure you get, the more likely you are to develop MS, suggesting a strong link between MS and vitamin D

  7. Cancer risk - has been strongly linked to D deficiencies, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer

  8. Periodontal disease - inflammation of the gums can cause pain, bleeding and tooth loss. Vitamin D helps to lower the number of harmful mouth bacteria

  9. Diabetes - poor blood sugar control may be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, leading to an increased risk of developing diabetes

Given the many health risks of not having enough vitamin D in your body, perhaps it’s time to supplement your diet with this vital nutrient right away?

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5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You likely already know that adding fiber to your diet is a great way to improve your regularity or to treat constipation.

However, the fact is that dietary fiber - ideally from plants and nuts - has many other important health benefits, including -  

5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

  1. Blood sugar control - because it is not broken down by the body, fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels. Of course, most foods that contain fiber - such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals and pastas - also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrates such as sugar and starch that do raise blood sugar levels. According to a recent study, people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber daily - especially soluble fiber - were able to control their blood sugar much better than those who ate far less. The average person needs to consume between 20-35 grams of fiber every day.
  2. Better heart health - fiber-rich foods are clearly associated with lower risk of heart disease. Research shows that people who regularly consume a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease. A high-fiber diet also lowers levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduces blood pressure (BP). 
  3. Stroke protection - getting more fiber can reduce risk of stroke. Researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk. One serving of whole wheat pasta plus two servings of fruits or vegetables provides about 7 grams of fiber. 
  4. Effective weight loss management - a high-fiber diet tends to be low in calories and takes longer to eat. It makes you feel full sooner and for longer. Also, if you're eating more fiber, you're eating less of other foods that cause weight gain - which is also beneficial for heart health. 
  5. Radiant skin health - fiber helps to make your skin appear radiant and healthy. Along with water, fiber cleanses the body of fats and toxins. For example, adding psyllium husk to your diet helps to remove harmful yeast and fungus out of your body, instead of being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.

What are the best sources of fiber? 

Vegetables are a major dietary source including artichokes, cooked green peas and broccoli. Fruits high in fiber include raspberries and pears, eaten with the skin. Legumes - including split peas, black beans and lentils - are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. 

Another way to get adequate fiber in your diet is to take a daily serving of a psyllium supplement. One serving with 8 ounces of water will provide you with about 20% of your daily fiber needs.

Psyllium seed husks are hygroscopic, which means they expand and become mucilaginous on contact with water. Being indigestible, they are a source of soluble dietary fiber and are typically used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. They are also used as a dietary supplement to improve and maintain regularity. 

Recent research has shown that psyllium seed husks may also be effective in lowering cholesterol and controlling certain types of diabetes. Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks are used to bind moisture and make breads less crumbly.

 

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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? Many people do, but do not know how to increase energy levels without the help of caffeine and sugar.

how to increase energy levels with Herbs

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.

 

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Protect The Heart From Harm Caused By Smoking

by Health News

Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Heart and Digestion Problems

Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the physical harm caused by smoking, according to a Greek study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. This article looks at the findings from this study, and provides a list of foods that are a good source of Omega-3s. As a bonus, all of these foods are also conducive to a healthy digestive system.

This study looked at the effects of a four-week long oral therapy of 2 grams each day of omega 3 fatty acids on arterial wall properties of cigarette smokers. Arterial function is an independent marker of heart disease risk. Short-term treatment with omega-3s was seen to improve arterial stiffness and slow down smoking-induced damage to the elasticity of blood vessel walls in smokers.

These heart protective properties of omega-3s appear to be due to a combination of multiple mechanisms, including both anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects.

Further, a recent meta-analysis was conducted on over 39,000 patients with cardiovascular problems who were administered omega 3 dietary supplements for at least a year. This supplementation therapy significantly reduced risk of death in these patients due to heart disease and all other causes. In fact, omega-3s were clearly more effective than statin drugs in reducing heart disease-related deaths.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), even people without a documented history of heart disease should consume a variety of oily fish rich in omega-3s, such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna at least twice per week.  

Almonds, walnuts, flax seed, canola oil, soybean oil and green leafy vegetables are plant sources of omega-3s. They contain a short-chain form of omega-3s known as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. ALA needs to be processed by your body into the longer form of omega-3s before you can benefit from them.

While the only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in omega 3s can clearly reverse some of the physical harm caused by smoking, including lowering the risk of heart disease.

Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Sources:
Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the physical harm caused by smoking.

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Top 3 Vitamins and Minerals to Support a Healthy Heart

by Health News

When it comes to heart health and aging healthy, most of us understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet rich in high-fiber vegetables and whole grains, and getting regular aerobic exercise.  But do you know what is good for high blood pressure? Your heart, arguably the hardest working organ in your body, needs a steady supply of certain vital vitamins? Here is a list of some of those vitamins and minerals, and why the getting proper balance of them is essential for optimal heart health.

What is good for high blood pressure?Calcium.
More than any other muscle in your body, you rely on your heart to contract regularly—and that’s a huge understatement. Calcium is vital for muscle contractions. Calcium is critical to healthy aging because it is stored in the bones, where it is released regularly to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream. If you don’t consume enough calcium, you can get a condition called hypocalcemia, whose symptoms include muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, leafy greens and broccoli. Many foods are now fortified with calcium, such as bread, juice and cereals.

Iron.
This mineral is essential for heart health because it delivers its supply of oxygen through the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Without oxygen, your heart cannot function. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, you can get a condition called anemia. Severe anemia can actually lead to heart failure. Sources of iron include animal meat, seafood, molasses, tofu, spinach, peas, raisins and beans. Iron-fortified products include breads and cereals.

Magnesium.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining heart rhythm. But with magnesium, balance is extremely important. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms and weakness. Too much magnesium can cause the heart to stop beating! Consume green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and whole grains for a healthy supply of magnesium.

Talk to your health care practitioner about what is good for high blood pressure, and how much of these essential vitamin mineral supplements you need to keep your heart in top form and to set yourself on the path to healthy aging.

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The Key Supplement for a Healthy Heart?

by Health News

Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? The best vitamin supplement for a healthy heart is vitamin B. Taking Vitamin B supplements may just be one of the key components to healthy aging. Let’s take a closer look at this essential vitamin.Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? Learn how Vitamin B supplements may be able to help.

The vitamin B complex is a group of 11 separate, water-soluble nutrients: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B12, biotin, folic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline, and inositol.

Of these, vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid and niacin are the most beneficial for heart health.

B6 helps block blood clotting, lowers blood pressure, and reduces blood cholesterol levels. It also works to reduce homocysteine levels, which is a good thing, as this toxic substance has been shown to increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

B12 is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. Like B6, it too reduces homocysteine levels, as well as improving arterial function, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and promoting blood vessel dilation.

Folic acid is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. It also supports the adrenal glands to enhance energy and stamina, helps to maintain healthy homocysteine levels and arterial function, and supports normal cholesterol levels, blood vessel dilation, and decreased plasma viscosity. 

Niacin has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. It also helps dilate your blood vessels, which increases blood flow and helps lower blood pressure.

Aim for 10-12 mg of B6, 50-65 mcg B12, 400 mcg folic acid, and 10-25 mg of niacin daily. Just be sure to take B vitamins with breakfast or lunch rather than at night, as they can be too stimulating.


 

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Healthy Aging and Nutritional Supplement Vitamin E

by Health News

Healthy Skin and Healthy Digestion From Vitamin ENutritional health supplement Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients we need to survive. It is a powerful antioxidant supplement with numerous scientific studies that have demonstrated how necessary it is for normal growth and development and for maintaining optimal health through adulthood.

But can it also help us age healthy and contribute to looking and feeling younger than our chronological age?

First of all, Vitamin E is not a single nutrient. It is actually made up of a group of individual compounds. Naturally-occurring Vitamin E actually contains 8 different compounds. One of these compounds is called d-alpha-tocopherol. D-alpha-tocopherol is the only form of Vitamin E that has been recognized to meet the requirements of the human body and that maintained in the body.

Because Vitamin E is such a powerful antioxidant, it helps prevent the body’s cells from being damaged by free radicals. This means that our organs stay healthier longer. One example of this is how it protects the cardiovascular system. Vitamin E has been shown in scientific studies to prevent arthrosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries).  Arthrosclerosis is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, because Vitamin E is such a potent antioxidant, scientists believe it can stave off a host of other degenerative diseases as well.

Vitamin E is also added to lotions, creams, and other skin care products to assist in anti-aging. It helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And what it does for the internal organs applies to the skin as well: it protects the skin against free radical damage, in turn helping us age healthy. When applied 20 minutes before sun exposure, Vitamin E can also help protect the skin against sun damage because it increases the effectiveness of sunscreens.

Healthy Digestion and Vitamin E for Healthy Skin