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Pycnogenol-The Super Nutrient

Pycnogenol is a complex of powerful antioxidant nutrients that are patented for use to scavenge free radicals. It is now well established that antioxidant nutrients protect the body's cells from attack by very reactive chemicals called free radicals.

As scientists study the ways in which antioxidant nutrients protect the body from these harmful reactions that speed the aging process, cause cancer, heart disease and many other diseases, we strive to find better and better antioxidants.

In 1993, the Pracon Study found that antioxidant nutrients could save the U.S. public nine billion dollars every year by reducing illness from the five leading causes of death, including cancer and heart disease.

Besides being a powerful antioxidant in its own right, Pycnogenol also protects the antioxidant vitamin C.

Pycnogenol is unique because it has been shown to alleviate hay fever and other allergies, and strengthen capillaries to reduce edema, bruising, and varicose veins. Together, these actions of Pycnogenol make it one of the most important nutrients.

Several reports note that arth-ritics feel improvement overnight with a bedtime dose of 120-150 mgs of Pycnogenol. Since both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are inflammatory diseases, Pycnogenol may help by quenching some of the free radicals that are involved in the inflammatory process.

Pycnogenol also inhibits histamine release, which further reduces inflammation.

A recent study published in Phytotherapy Research concluded that "Pycnogenol stimulates lipo-lysis and inhibits the accum-ulation of fat droplets in the fatty tissue, which may contribute to preventing obesity and maintaining optimal health."

In a study published in a recent issue of Fertility & Sterility, re-searchers concluded that "Pycno-genol improves the morphology of spermatozoa with the percentage of non-deformed sperms in sub-fertile men being increased by 99% after supplementation with Pycnogenol for three months."

Many clinical studies have been made and no adverse effects have been reported. Pycnogenol has received extensive toxicity testing in comparison to food supplements such as vitamins, due to its wide-spread use by physicians in Europe.

Reference: Passwater & Kandaswami, Pycnogenol The Super "Protector" Nutrient, 1994.

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Studies Show 82% Risk Reduction For AMD

New research showing an association between the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) suggests that supplementation may be beneficial for the elderly.

In a paper recently published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Richard Bone, Ph.D., a biophysicist, demonstrated for the first time that low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina of the eye are associated with an increased risk of AMD.

Dr. Bone's research group analyzed the retinas from 56 donors with AMD and 56 "healthy" retinas. They found that eyes containing the greatest amount of lutein and zeaxanthin were 82% less likely to have AMD.

Said Dr. Bone, "While there is no cure for this progressive condition, supplemental lutein might offer some protection for our aging population."

Quite possibly the single largest cause of vision loss, at least 13 million older Americans have signs of AMD.

Appearing in Experimental Eye Research is another study by the two researchers suggesting that low lutein levels are linked to eye disease.

Another study recently published by researchers in The Netherlands found that volunteers who took lutein supplements showed a substantial increase in plasma lutein concentration and macular pigment optical density. The participants took a daily dose equivalent to 10 mg of lutein for a period of 12 weeks.

Reference: Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2001; 42:235-40.

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Always Tired? Natural CFS And Fibromyalgia Support

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia are now well-defined as far as the criteria for symptoms, which include muscle pain, sore throat, short-term memory or concentration impairment, tender neck or lymph nodes, headache, and multi-joint pain.

Fibromyalgia is a multi-symptom syndrome marked by widespread muscle pain, or myalgia, that can be debilitating in its severity.

Like CFS, fibromyalgia is often accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, allergies, and headaches.

A holistic strategy would include an organic, whole foods diet high in vegetables and grains.

One of the most promising supplements for these illnesses is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NADH. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study gave CFS patients NADH in the amount of 10 mg per day for four weeks. Thirty-one percent of the patients taking NADH responded favorably, reporting reduced symptoms.

CoQ10 supplements can help reduce cognitive fuzziness experienced during flare-ups in fibromayalgic patients. Supplemental CoQ10 might boost energy levels in CFS patients.

Chronic muscle tension is typically associated with the muscle pain of fibromyalgia. Magnesium can help to relax chronically tensed muscles and can increase overall energy.

Curcumin, the ingredient that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color, is a strong anti-inflammatory that may also have antioxidant properties.

Natural antidepressants, including SAM-e, are often effective in alleviating depression experienced by these patients.

Reference: Health Care for Women Int'l, 2000; 21(3):187-201.

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Lowering Cholesterol For Vascular Health

Cholesterol is a normal product of the liver and is essential in the production of hormones. The process of clogging the arteries is the cumulative over-reaction of a normal and necessary biological repair.

Other factors, such as blood pressure, inflammation, stress levels, diet, antioxidant status, digestion, and nutrition, also contribute to cholesterol said Decker Weiss, N.D., staff cardiologist at the Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. "If you just treat cholesterol you are still susceptible to heart disease. We have this goal of getting our LDL under 120 mg/dl when about half of the heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels." A high cholesterol level is not the sure indicator of forthcoming heart trouble as was once believed.

A potential indicator of heart trouble that has gained recognition in the past few years is homo-cys-teine. Researchers found in studies that many people who had heart disease also had elevated levels of homocysteine. There is a chemical pathway in the body that converts cysteine to methionine. A lack of B vitamins interrupts the process, resulting in the formation of homocysteine, which causes damage to the inside of veins and arteries. B6, B12, and folic acid taken in combination has been shown to reduce homocysteine levels successfully.

The strength of the heart is highly dependent on its ability to efficiently burn fuel and produce energy. There are scores of studies supporting the effectiveness of CoQ10 at treating heart disease, especially congestive heart failure.

L-Carnitine is an amino acid-like nutrient that the body uses to break down fatty acids for energy. About 70% of the heart's energy comes from breaking down fats for which L-Carnitine is required.

Tocotrienols are vitamin E derivatives of palm oil that have been found in human studies to lower overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reverse arterial blockage in humans.

Reference: Experimental Biology, 2000: A727.

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Zinc-The Immunity Booster

Among the minerals, calcium, magnesium, and iron usually receive more attention than the other elements. Mineral nutrients present in the body in large amounts are called the major minerals and include calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Those that occur in smaller quantities are called trace minerals and include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, silicon, and zinc.

Much of this zinc is found in muscle and bone, as well as skin, hair, nails, retina of the eye, and in the prostate gland.

Zinc has been linked to the body's ability to resist viruses, especially respiratory infections.

Two doctors concluded that zinc deficiencies in elderly people might lead to the depression of immunity.

Most recently, researchers demonstrated a significant reduction in cold symptoms in a group of 50 patients given zinc lozenges compared to a placebo group of 50 controls. The colds were significantly shorter in the zinc group than in the placebo group.

Zinc supplementation today is considered part of a comprehensive immune-enhancing program.

Reference: Med Hypotheses 46(3):295-302, March 1996.

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Artichoke: More Than A Gourmet Food

Studies are showing that artichoke leaves can aid digestion, protect the liver, and boost heart health. Unlike some other healing plants, the active components and mechanisms of action in the atrichoke have been identified in clinical trials.

Related to milk thistle, another traditional liver tonic, the artichoke was used as a digestive aid in the Roman Empire, and as a liver tonic to treat jaundice in the 1700s. Modern research has validated these uses, along with cholesterol-lowering and cardio-protective effects.

In the gastrointestinal tract, artichoke leaf extract works as a digestive aid by increasing the production and flow of bile.

Artichoke leaf is thought to lower cholesterol by two specific mechanisms. First, by increasing bile flow and production it stimulates the breakdown and elimination of cholesterol. Second, it inhibits the production of cholesterol in the liver.

In one six-week study of more than 500 patients with dyspeptic syndrome, 98% of those who were treated with artichoke leaf extract reported improvements.

In one 12-week, double-blind study, artichoke leaf extract was found to decrease cholesterol levels significantly in those who had high cholesterol levels. The study also found that those subjects with the highest beginning cholesterol levels showed the most significant change.

Chlorogenic acid in artichoke leaf has been identified as a potent antioxidant, and researchers are examining its possible application in treating cancer, diabetes, and HIV. In one study, chlorogenic acid was shown to both prevent and reduce existing precancerous lesions in the colon.

Artichoke leaf extract comes in capsules, tablets, and extract form and is generally standardized for chlorogenic acid or cynarin.

Reference: Perfusion, 1998; 11:338-40.

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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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