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SAM-e: The Powerful Anti-Aging Supplement

SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine) is showing promise as one of the most powerful anti-aging and disease-preventive supplements ever. A natural metabolite of the amino acid methionine, SAM-e has been used to treat depression, arthritis, and a multitude of other disorders.

Found in almost every tissue of the body, it acts as a cofactor in a number of biochemical reactions and is critical for the maintenance of cartilage and in the production of important brain compounds such as neurotransmitters.

In clinical trials, SAM-e has been used successfully to treat a number of disorders with no reported side effects, and it has been used for more than 20 years in Europe to treat arthritis and depression.

The body requires SAM-e for normal function, and can generally produce enough on its own. However, people with certain conditions, including arthritis and depression, appear to have lower levels of SAM-e. Additionally, as part of the aging process, the body loses SAM-e.

SAM-e is most commonly used as a treatment for depression and arthritis, and appears to be a potent anti-aging therapy. It has been studied for its use in treating heart disease, liver disease, common joint pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

A number of studies have examined the role of SAM-e in combating diseases. A study at the University of California, Irvine, on patients hospitalized for depression, found that 67% of those who received SAM-e had a 50% or greater improvement rate after two weeks, compared to 22% of patients given the antidepressant imipramine.

In another placebo-controlled, double-blind study using SAM-e, patients with major depression received either 1,600 mg of SAM-e per day or a placebo. Using four different depression scales to measure response, the researchers found that SAM-e had decreased depression 27% by the 10th day of the study, compared to 18% for those patients who received placebo.

The American Journal of Medicine published a series of articles on the use of SAM-e for treating osteoarthritis. It concluded that SAM-e works as well as the most popular arthritis treatments on the market. For arthritis treatment, SAM-e is generally recommended at levels of 200 to 1200 mg per day for approximately 21 days, until relief of symptoms occurs. After that, the dosage can be reduced to maintenance levels of 200 to 400 mg per day.

In both short-term and long-term clinical studies, SAM-e has been shown to be safe and non-toxic in levels of 1600 mg per day. No serious side effects have been reported; however, anyone taking antidepressant drugs should be under medical supervision while taking SAM-e.

References: Morrison, L.D., Smith, D.D., and Kish, S.J. "Brain S-adenosylmethionine levels are severely decreased in Alzheimer's disease." J Neurochem, 1996; 67:1328-31. Marcolongo, R., et al. "Double-blind multicentre study of activity of S-adenosylmethionine in hip and knee osteoarthritis." Curr Ther Res 37:82-94.

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Energize Your Heart & Workout With Ribose

Ribose is the sugar foundation of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Found in all living cells, ribose is the starting point for adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy "currency."

Although recognized as an important nutrient since the 1970s, it is only recently that improved and more economical manufacturing procedures have made ribose supplements available. Recent research shows that giving ribose to people suffering from myocardial ischemia, or inadequate blood flow to the heart, greatly increases energy in the heart muscle.

In one placebo-controlled study of 20 men with documented severe coronary artery disease, the heart's tolerance to heavy exercise improved after three days' treatment with 60 grams of ribose daily.

Since the body produces ribose from glucose slowly, supplementing can benefit not only heart patients, but athletes who exercise intensely. Under normal conditions, it takes several days to replace energy lost from heavy exercise. In heart patients, low blood flow and ATP deficiency can cause chest pain after light activity such as walking.

It is estimated that ribose supplementation could quickly restore energy to muscle cells. A study found that administration of ribose fully restored ATP levels in 12 hours vs. 72 hours without supplementation. In athletes, a day off between exercising to exhaustion three or four times per week may not provide enough time for recovery. To keep cellular ATP levels at their highest, 3-5 grams of ribose is being suggested daily before and or after exercise.

It is conceivable that ribose will become as popular as creatine since the supplements appear to be complementary. Ribose is part of the metabolic pathway leading to ATP production in the presence of oxygen. It is part of adenosine, the "A" in ATP. During exercise, cells generally use creatine phosphate as a source of a phosphate ("P") molecule for reforming ATP.

It is theorized that ribose and creatine together may produce a benefit that exceeds that of creatine alone.

References: Pliml, W., et al. "Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischemia in stable coronary artery disease." Lancet 1992; 340:507-10.

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Beta-Carotene Reduces Asthma

Exercise induces an asthma attack in some asthmatics. A recent study assessed the effects of natural beta-carotene supplements on airway hyperactivity in a group of 38 asthmatics with exercise-induced asthma.

Lung function was measured before, during, and after an exercise session in all the study participants. The group was randomly assigned to a one-week course of placebo supplements or beta-carotene. Lung function before, during, and after exercise was measured again. Those taking the placebo for one week, as would be expected, showed impaired lung function after the exercise session. In the beta-carotene group, however, 53% of the individuals were protected against exercise-induced asthma.

The results of this study suggest that, for many asthmatics, daily supplements of beta-carotene help prevent asthma-related problems after exercise. The benefits of beta-carotene are most likely related to the antioxidant properties of this nutrient.

Reference: Neuman, I., Nahum, H., Ben-Amotz, A. "Prevention of exercise-induced asthma by a natural isomer mixture of beta-carotene." Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1999; 82:549-53.

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Patchouli For Nausea

In its homeland of India and Southeast Asia, patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is known as a traditional remedy for digestive problems and nausea. Now researchers may understand the science behind the folk cure.

Japanese researchers tested eight traditional Chinese herbs, including patchouli, to determine their ability to reduce nausea and vomiting. Active ingredients from five herbs tested positive, with an essential oil component in patchouli called patchouli alcohol testing as one of the most active. One of the patchouli leaf preparations was found to prevent vomiting 58% better than controls. The study sought to identify new active components or extracts to allay nausea, particularly that caused by chemotherapy.

The anti-emetic activity of patchouli may be due to its ability to lessen contractions of digestive organ muscles. The study provides a scientific basis for the traditional Chinese use of patchouli leaves to treat dyspepsia, vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite.

References: Yang, K., et al. "Anti-emetic principles of Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth." Phytomedicine 1999, 6(2):89-93.

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PMS Improved With Calcium

Anationwide study shows that calcium may ease the symptoms that afflict nearly 40% of American women prior to menstruation. That study reports that the mineral can reduce some of the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by nearly 50%.

About 450 women, ages 18 to 45, participated in the nationwide study that examined the effects of calcium in treating 17 PMS symptoms, including moodiness, water retention, headaches, and lower back pain. Half of the women were told to take 1,200 mg of elemental calcium daily. They did this for three menstrual cycles. The other half took a placebo.

Women taking the calcium supplements reported a 48% reduction in overall symptoms and a 54% reduction in physical pain over the placebo group.

"Studies have shown that women with PMS have lower calcium levels," says Dr. Susan Thys-Jacobs, an endocrinologist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York and the study's lead researcher.

Most women consume less than half of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of calcium. The Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recommends 1,000 mg daily. For women over 50, that recommendation jumps to 1,500 mg per day.

Although food sources are best, supplements are essential for women who have difficulty reaching their daily calcium requirement with food intake alone.

Known for its bone-building properties that may prevent osteoporosis, calcium may also help curb weight gain. A two-year study by Purdue University researchers, found that a higher intake of calcium reduced overall body fat and slowed weight gain in 54 women, ages 18 to 31.

Women who consumed less than 1,999 calories and at least 780 mg of calcium a day either lost body fat or had no increase in fat over the two-year period. Women with the same caloric intake who consumed less than 780 mg of calcium a day gained body fat over the two years.

Researchers found that women with a daily caloric intake over 1,900 calories had no weight-control benefit from calcium; the calories negated any positive benefits.

References: Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology, August 1998.

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Natural Treatment For Pre-Eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication that can result in premature birth or even death of the baby or mother.

British researchers, in a randomized controlled study, investigated the potential benefit of vitamin C and vitamin E supplements to prevent pre-eclampsia. Pregnant women who were at risk of developing pre-eclampsia-because they had a history of pre-eclampsia in a prior pregnancy or had symptoms indicative of this condition-were enrolled in this study.

Of the 283 women, about half took 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 400 IU of natural vitamin E each day and the other half took placebos during the second and third trimester of their pregnancies.

Pre-eclampsia eventually developed in 17% of the women in the placebo group, but only 8% of the women in the vitamin supplementation group developed this dangerous condition.

Reference: Chappell, L.C., Seed, P.T., Briley, A.L., et al. "Effect of antioxidants on the occurrence of pre-eclampsia in women at increased risk: a randomized trial." Lancet 1999; 354:810-16.

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Laboratory research shows that vitamin E protects LDL cholesterol from free radical damage and lessens the deposits of damaged LDL cholesterol in the walls of arteries. One randomized trial found that even just 50 IU per day of vitamin E reduced the risk of angina developing in adults.

Other research has found that vitamin E in the amount of 400-800 IU per day lessens the chances of death from heart disease in patients who already were diagnosed with coronary artery disease. On the other hand, lower levels of vitamin E are related to the development of coronary artery disease.

"If vitamin E supplementation is initiated, a dosage of at least 100 IU per day appears necessary to derive cardiovascular benefit. Additional data from a prospective trial suggests that a dosage of 400 IU per day is more appropriate in patients with documented coronary artery disease."

Reference: Spencer, A.P., Carson, D.S., Crouch, M.A. "Vitamin E and coronary artery disease." Arch Intern Med 1999; 159:1313-20.

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Written by: EcoMall

Disclaimer: These statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is for educational purposes only. For any serious illness or health related disorders please consult your physician.


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