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Good Science Or Catchy Headlines?

The headline of a recent Associated Press article exclaimed "Vitamin C Pills, Artery Clogs Linked," The story began: "Vitamin C pills may speed up hardening of the arteries, researchers suggest in a new study they called a disturbing surprise."

This study report appeared to be trying to reverse the accepted science-proven in hundreds of previous studies-that vitamin C is a contributor to heart health.

James Dwyer, Ph.D., and his colleagues conducted the study. The study claimed that those taking vitamin C had accelerated thickening of the walls of the carotid arteries. Thickening of the arterial wall was linked to an increased risk of heart attack in a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 1999.

However, there is a major problem trying to link the two studies. In the NEJM study, the thickening of the arterial wall was caused by the buildup of oxidized cholesterol plaque; in the Dwyer study the thickening was apparently caused by supple-men-tation with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential element in the body's production of collagen, the main protein constituent of our skin, bones, tendons, connective tissues - and our blood vessels.

Over a decade ago researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute predicted that vitamin C supplementation would result in thickened artery walls. But there is a world of difference between walls thickened and strengthened through healthy collagen production because of sufficient nutrients and artery walls unevenly thickened by plaque deposits.

As the Vitamin C Foundation wrote in a response to the Dwyer study: "Plaque-lined arteries are less responsive to nitric oxide (NO) signals and can't dilate, leading to a cardiac event (heart attack). But arteries with sufficient vitamin C can grow 'thicker' without plaque, and this collagen-induced thickening is exactly what you want to avoid heart disease."

Low levels of vitamin C can in fact contribute to "bad" thickening of the arteries. Vitamin C keeps vessels strong. Strong blood vessels are less prone to injury from mechanical stresses and do not suffer plaque deposits. Healthy arteries are elastic; they have the ability to dilate. More than 20 peer-reviewed clinical studies since 1996 have shown that vitamin C supplementation consistently improves vasodilation, a vital component of cardiovascular health.

Dr. Dwyer and his colleagues measured the thickening of the arterial wall only. They did not measure how clogged the arteries were with cholesterol build-up, or blood velocity. These measures are critically important indicators of heart disease, and the fact that the study paid no attention to them is curious.

Critics of Dr. Dwyer's study have pointed out several other flaws, which leave us with questions remaining: Why did the American Heart Association allow this paper to be presented when it was obviously so inconsistent? And why did the mass media play up such question-able science into a major story?

Reference: Alternative Medicine, July 2000. 20002000.

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Essential Oils Help Hair Growth

Isabelle C. Hay and colleagues from the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland saw several cases of alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that causes patchy baldness, improve after patients used herbal treatments. Unlike male pattern baldness or hair brittleness, alopecia is a condition that affects men and women of all ages, and is most likely caused by an immune system inflammation that affects areas of the scalp. Stress often precedes an alopecia outbreak.

External application of various herbal essences is being found to benefit those who suffer hair loss due to alopecia. Among these are cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris), all of which have been used to treat alopecia for more than a century.

Hay and researchers recruited 84 people with diagnosed alopecia areata. During the seven-month trial, participants suspended use of topical or oral alopecia medications. Instead, half used a blend of cedarwood (2 drops, 94 mg), lavender (3 drops, 108 mg), rosemary (3 drops, 114 mg) and thyme (2 drops, 88 mg) in a carrier oil mix of jojoba (3 ml) and grapeseed (20 ml). The placebo group used just the carrier oils. Subjects were instructed to rub the oil into the bare areas of their scalp for two minutes each evening and then to wrap a warm towel around their head to enhance absorption.

Of those receiving active treatment, 44% (16 of 35 patients) significantly improved. The average area of hair regrowth with the essential oils was 104 square cm compared with nearly zero for those using placebo.

Reference: Hay I, et al. Randomized trial of aromatherapy-successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998; 134:1349-52.

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Benefits From The Complete Vitamin E Complex

The American Heart Association's (AHA) statistics are staggering. Coronary heart disease is the single largest killer of Americans, taking more than 2,600 American lives per day. One in three men can expect to develop a cardiovascular disease before age 60. For women, the odds are one in ten.

Acceptance of vitamin E as safe, effective, and affordable insurance to maintaining a healthy heart is universal today. Consum-ers, physicians, and others are becoming much more educated about the benefits of vitamin E and many can now distinguish between the natural and synthetic forms. In the benchmark CHAOS study conducted with more than 2000 patients with heart disease, vitamin E supplements were shown to reduce the risk for a heart attack by an astounding 77%."

The vitamin E family is comprised of eight compounds: four types of tocotrienols and four types of tocopherols. "We're discovering that all eight vitamin E compounds, which exist naturally in food sources, should be present in our supplements to maximize the health benefits and protective efforts of vitamin E," says Dr. Andreas Papas, Ph.D., author of The Vitamin E Factor. "While tocotrienols do not replace the suggested RDI for vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol alone can't fulfill the myriad of potential health benefits supplied by the tocotrienols family. Just as nature provides a mixture of antioxidants in plants and food sources, it seems logical to imitate that blend of antioxidants in the dietary supplements we take."

Reference: Nutritional Outlook, September 1999.

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Saw Palmetto-Men's Miracle

The use of extracts of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is well-established. Clinical trials with saw palmetto have shown that it helps reduce symptoms associated with BPH, especially reducing the urge to urinate during the night.

It is estimated that fifty percent of men over 50 have BPH. In the past year several studies have been published which show results of long-term use of saw palmetto. One study involved the observations of 89 urologists and 435 patients over three years. Patients received 160 mg of the saw palmetto extract twice per day over a 36 month period.

The parameters measured included nocturia (night-time urge to urinate), daytime urination frequency, a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, as well as size and congestion of the prostate. Over 80% of the patients and physicians rated the treatment as good to very good. The authors concluded that long-term treatment with a saw palmetto extract is a good treatment choice for patients diagnosed with BPH.

Another recent study published in the journal The Prostate compared the use of a saw palmetto extract with the conventional drug finasteride (Proscar) in the treatment of 1,098 patients diagnosed with BPH. The saw palmetto extract was given to 533 patients for 26 weeks at a dose of 160 mg two times a day, morning and evening. A battery of parameters was measured. Saw palmetto produced significantly fewer complaints of decreased libido or impotence compared with finasteride. This study confirms that the saw palmetto product is as effective as finasteride in relieving symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia while producing fewer side effects.

Reference: Phytomedicine 3(2):105-11; The Prostate 29:231-40.

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Vitamin B-12 For Folks Over 50

The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all people over 50 years of age take a supplement that contains vitamin B-12. Deficiencies of vitamin B-12 can result in neurological damage that ranges in severity from tingling sensations to a lack of balance and may include memory changes and disorientation.

Older adults appear to be consuming enough food that would achieve a Recommended Daily Allowance for the nutrient, but anywhere from 10 to 30% of men and women over age 50 develop a condition in which they cannot absorb the vitamin B-12. In this condition, patients produce too little stomach acid and the digestive enzyme that typically separates vitamin B-12 from the protein in food does not function properly. Vitamin B-12 supplements need not be separated from the protein and may pass directly into the body's tissues.

Reference: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, June 1998

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Garlic Effective Against Plaque

A four-year, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 280 people showed that 900 mg of garlic daily stops the build-up of arterial plaque and in some cases leads to plaque reduction.

The study recruited patients with at least one of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking. Patients with advanced atherosclerotic plaque were also included.

Men who took 900 mg of garlic powder experienced a 1.1% increase in arterial plaque volume while the placebo group experienced a 5.5% increase. Women taking the garlic powder experienced a 4.6% decrease in arterial plaque volume compared with a 53.1% increase among the placebo group.

Reference: Atherosclerosis, May 26, 1999.

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An 11,000 patient placebo-controlled clinical study demonstrated that the risk of dying of heart disease is 15% less over time if Omega-3 supplements are consumed. The study was presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, LA, in April 1999.

Subjects each had a history of myocardial infarction. Patients were divided into four groups taking either a placebo, one gram per day of concentrated long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, or both Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Subjects were also given a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables and were told to eat fish instead of meat twice a week.

Dr. Gianni Tognoni, lead researcher of the study, said the mechanism by which Omega-3 fatty acids benefits myocardial infarction patients is not fully understood, but that evidence suggests fatty acids work on the inside lining of blood vessels which become clogged with fatty plaque.

Reference: American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, LA, April 1999.

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Have You Checked Your pH Today?

What is pH? The body is largely made up of water, a medium which is biologically useful in allowing nutrients, oxygen and biochemicals to be transported from place to place. This water-based medium can have either acid or alkaline properties which are measured by a graduated scale called pH (for "potential hydrogen"). The lower the pH number, the greater the acidity, and the higher the pH number, the greater the alkalinity.

How can I find out my body pH?

By testing your pH with a Medical pH-Test Strips, (found in the Specealty Products Section of the site) you can determine quickly and easily, in the privacy of your own home, what your pH is. The Medical Test Strips determine your urinary pH, which is generally a good indicator of how acid or alkaline your total body pH is. When urinary pH is continously between 6.5 in the A.M. and 7.5 by evening, you're functioning in a healthy range; when continuously above this range you're too alkaline, and when continuously below it, you're too acid.

How do I rebalance my ph?

Watching your diet and eating a proper balance of alkaline and acid forming foods can help. But also the Buffer pH+ caps (found in the Specialty Products Section of the site) helps the body naturally and safely balance an overly acid or overly alkaline system. The alkalizing complexes and phytomedicinals within the Buffer pH+ help buffer and remove overly acid and alkaline residues from the body, as well as help dissolve toxic laden plaque, aiding the body's ability to cleanse and repair tissues more quickly.

The top 10 reasons to have a balanced pH:

1. Proper fat metabolism, weight control and healthy insulin production. 2. Healthy oxygen flow tho tissues to flush toxins and protect against premature aging. 3. Smooth blood flow throughout arteries, veins and heart tisue. 4. Proper blood pressure regulation. 5. Critcal lipid fatty acid and hormonal metabolism. 6. Cellular regeneration and DNA-RNA synthesis. 7. Proper electrolyte activity. 8. Access to energy reserves. 9. Appropriate cholesterol levels so plaque does not form. 10. Proper calcium utilization to lessen the probability of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis.

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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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