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Natural Weight Loss

There is no magic formula for losing weight. Permanent weight loss takes time and usually requires a change in eating and exercise habits. Nutrients that can assist in the weight loss process include 7-Keto DHEA, forskolin, garcinia cambogia, and pyruvate.

An eight-week double-blind clinical trial reported in the Journal of Exercise Physiology evaluated 7-Keto DHEA. Participants in the study were healthy adults with a mean age of 44.5 years. Two groups consumed a daily 1,800-calorie diet. The treatment group received 100 mg of 7-Keto DHEA twice per day, the other a placebo. Both groups had one hour of cross training three times per week. At the conclusion of the trial, those in the 7-Keto group had lost an average of 1.8% of their body fat while those in the placebo group had lost 0.57% of theirs. The 7-Keto group also lost an average of 6.35 pounds of body weight by the end of the trial, compared to 2.13 pounds for the placebo group.

Forskolin (Coleus forskohlii), a member of the mint family, is a plant native to India. Forskolin may help regulate and stimulate the thyroid, helping overweight subjects increase metabolism and thermogenic activity. Another agent that produces a similar effect is ephedrine. Forskolin, unlike ephedrine, does not stimulate the nervous system or have dangerous side effects.

Dr. Richard Kreider, PhD, FASEP, of Baylor University in Waco, TX conducted a 12-week double-blind study with 23 moderately overweight females. The treatment group received 25 mg of forskolin twice per day. Dietary habits were monitored during the first and twelfth weeks while side effects were documented weekly. At the conclusion of the study, those using forskolin lost more weight than the placebo group, and reported feeling less fatigue and hunger. The results occurred without side effects such as increased blood pressure or accelerated heart rate.

The active ingredient in garcinia cambogia is hydroxy-citric acid (HCA). In an eight-week double-blind study, 48 participants took 2,800 mg of HCA or a placebo 30 minutes before each meal. Both groups were placed on a daily 2,000-calorie diet and participated in a walking program. By the end of the study, the HCA group had lost an average of 4.8% of body weight compared to a 1.8% loss in the placebo group. The HCA group also lost an average of 6.8% of body mass while the placebo group lost just 2%.

Pyruvate is a naturally occurring substance produced in the liver that controls metabolic rate. The more pyruvate the liver produces, the more fat the body can burn. In a 21-day clinical trial reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese women on a daily 1,000-calorie diet who took pyruvate experienced a 37% greater weight loss and a 48% greater fat loss than those in the placebo group. The pyruvate group also gained 55% less fat after resuming their normal diet compared with the placebo group.

Reference: Experimental Biology; 2002.

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Infection Treatment wWth Oregano Oil

Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) is a woody shrub native to the Mediterranean. Carvacrol is the active component in oregano oil. The October 2000 issue of Archives Microbiology reports that carvacrol kills spores, such as Bacillus cereus, which causes food poisoning, and Bacillus anthracis-also known as anthrax-which can cause infection through the skin, via inhalation, or by eating contaminated meat.

Georgetown University researcher Dr. Harry G. Preuss, MD has found carvacrol to be effective against Staphylococcus bacteria-a common food-borne contaminant-and to have germ-killing properties comparable to antibiotic drugs such as streptomycin, pencillin, and vancomycin.

A clinical trial examined the effects of oregano oil on 11 adults with the intestinal parasite Blastocystis hominis, which can cause diarrhea, anal itching, and weight loss. Participants took 600 mg of oregano oil per day for six weeks. At the end of the study, eight subjects were completely free of the parasite, and the remaining three participants had reduced symptoms.

Dr. Jennifer Brett, ND, of the botanical medicine department at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, College of Naturopathic Medicine recommends an enteric-coated capsule containing 0.3 ml of oregano oil three times per day before meals for bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection in the gastrointestinal tract. The enteric coating prevents the capsule from breaking down before it reaches the intestine.

Dr. Brett suggests one drop of oregano oil under the tongue twice per day to treat bacterial and fungal infections that occur in other parts of the body. For fungal infections of the skin and nails, dilute one teaspoon of oregano oil in two teaspoons of olive oil and apply with cotton to the affected area up to three times per day. Oregano oil is safe for low-dose, short-term use. High doses can cause headaches and nausea and may be toxic to the liver. Pregnant women should avoid oregano oil. Oregano oil is not the same as the oregano found in the spice cupboard, which is usually marjoram (Origanum majorana), rather than true oregano.

Reference: Phytotherapy Research; May 2000, Vol. 14.

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Smart kids take cod liver oil

Pregnant and breast-feeding women may improve their children's intelligence by adding cod liver oil to their diet, according to ongoing research at the Rikshospitalet University in Oslo, Norway. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in cod liver oil, plays an important role in the development of the central nervous system. DHA may aid development during the third trimester of pregnancy and in the first three months of life when the brain undergoes rapid growth.

The study, led by Dr. Ingrid Helland, MD, involved 300 women who were given either cod liver oil supplements, or corn oil as a placebo. The active group took a 10 ml dose of cod liver oil once per day from the 18th week of pregnancy until their children were three months old. Supplementation was the only nutritional difference in the mothers' diets.When the children were four years old, intelligence tests were given to measure problem solving and information-processing ability. Children of mothers who took cod liver oil scored 4% higher than the children of mothers who did not. Researchers will test the children again at seven years of age to confirm these findings.

A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that infants who were breast fed for the first nine months were more intelligent than infants who were breast fed for one month or less. This may be due to certain compounds found in breast milk, including omega-3 fatty acids.

No negative effects are associated with the use of cod liver oil.

Reference: Pediatrics; 2003, Vol. 111, No. 1, 39-44.

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Butterbur Beats Allergies, Migraines

Patients with seasonal allergies report that butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is as effective as pharmaceutical antihistamines in relieving symptoms. Four clinics in Switzerland and Germany studied a total of 125 participants; 61 received 32 mg of butterbur per day and 64 received 10 mg per day of the pharmaceutical antihistamine ZyrtecŪ. While both groups reported relief, the Zyrtec group had drowsiness and fatigue while the butterbur group had no sedative effects.

In a double-blind study reported in Neurology, researchers gave 202 migraine sufferers either a 100 mg or 150 mg dose of butterbur extract per day or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those taking the 150 mg dose reported 48% fewer migraines than usual. Patients taking the 100 mg dose experienced 34% fewer migraines, and those taking a placebo had a 26% drop in migraine frequency.

In a double-blind study published in Headache in 2000, 58 patients with migraines took 50 mg of butterbur extract, or a placebo, twice per day. After 12 weeks, the butterbur group had 50% fewer migraines than usual while migraines in the placebo group dropped by only 10%.In a study reported in the International Journal of Immunopharmacology, patients with nasal allergies took 16 mg of butterbur extract three times per day. After five days, levels of histamine-which triggers runny noses and other allergy symptoms-fell by 65%. Patients also reported that they felt better.

To reduce migraines, Dr. Alexander Mauskop, MD, director of the Headache Center in New York City, suggests taking 75 mg of butterbur twice per day with food. Migraine sufferers are reporting beneficial results with butterbur within two months. The doctor recommends discontinuing butterbur after one month without headaches, then taking as needed.

Reference: British Medical Journal; 2002, Vol. 324, 144-6.

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Iron Reduces Infections In Kids

Giving iron supplements to anemic children when they have a cold or other upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) improves their iron levels according to a recent study at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Lead researcher Dr. Namanjeet Ahluwalia, PhD, said: "Our study shows no increase in side effects from [iron] supplementation. Children who received the iron supplement experienced nine to 10 fewer sick days than those who did not. Those who did not receive supplementation were sick more often and for longer periods of time." Dr. Ahluwalia added that iron deficiency affects about 10% of U.S. infants and toddlers and is a leading factor in infant mortality worldwide. The study proves the efficacy of treating iron deficiency in children who have upper respiratory tract infections.

Among 363 study participants, 127 children with infection were given iron supplements while 52 with infection were given a placebo. In the control group, 134 children without infection were given iron supplements while 50 without infection were given a placebo. Of the children with infections, those who received iron had 29% fewer URTIs and 40% less severe infectious episodes than those who had received a placebo. Iron supplementation improved iron levels in both infected and uninfected groups. All children who were still anemic at the end of the eight-week study received 60 mg of iron per day, the recommended dose.

Reference: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2003, Vol. 77, No. 1, 234-41.

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Mastic Gum Soothes The Stomach

Consumers spend millions of dollars on over-the-counter treatments for ulcers and stomach irritations such as heartburn. Over 90% of patients with duodenal ulcers, 70% with gastric ulcers, and about 50% of people over the age of 50 test positive for infection from a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. pylori is a microorganism that has an outer layer resistant to stomach acid, which normally breaks down bacteria. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, mastic gum kills H. pylori.

In a two-week double-blind clinical trial reported in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, researchers compared 38 patients with duodenal ulcers taking one gram of mastic gum per day to a group taking a placebo. The mastic gum group experienced an 80% reduction in ulcer symptoms, compared to a 50% symptom reduction in the placebo group. Seventy percent of those taking mastic gum had gastric tissue healing, while only 22% of the placebo group reported healing. Mastic gum produced no side effects.Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics if they are not used properly and sometimes even when they are. While many ulcer sufferers have been cured with a complex course of strong antibiotics, an alternative is needed. Research from the University of Nottingham, UK, proved that mastic gum can kill H. pylori in seven of its drug-resistant forms.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 25,000 cases of food-borne illness per year are due to Escherichia coli-also known as E. coli-and two million cases each year are due to Salmonella enteritidis and Staphylococcus aureus infection. In a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, mastic gum was found to inhibit the growth of Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and E. coli.

Reference: Japanese Clinical Gastroenterolgy; 2002, Vol. 34, 129-34.

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A recent study examined concentrations of carnosine in the skeletal muscle of 11 healthy men during high-intensity exercise. Researchers measured performance on an exercise cycle over a series of 30-second sprints. Carnosine buffers the acid balance in the skeletal muscles, which becomes unbalanced by the build-up of lactic acid during high-intensity exercise. The level of carnosine is correlated to the average expendable muscle power during sprinting, especially in the final 10 seconds. According to the results, boosting carnosine levels contributes to the improvement of high-intensity exercise performance.

Reference: The Japanese Journal of Physiology; 2002, Vol. 52, No. 2, 199-205.

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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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