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Maitake And Weight Loss

Long before the advent of cultivation techniques, maitake was hunted in the forests of Japan. Maitake hunters jealously guarded their picking areas. Professor Takashi Mizuno, a fore-most authority on medicinal mush-rooms in Japan, recorded the uses of maitake in one of the very earliest Chinese medical journals, the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing from the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Here, he notes, the mushroom was cited as being used often to improve the spleen, assuage stomach ailments, treat hemorr-hoids, and calm the mind and nerves.

Studies in Japan have shown that dried and powdered maitake or shiitake significantly lowered blood pressure, body weight, and levels of very low density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Masanori Yokota, M.D., conducted a pilot observatory study on the weight gain-inhibiting effect of maitake in Tokyo at the Loseikai Clinic with 30 of his overweight patients. The patients received tablets of the dried and powdered mushroom (equivalent to 200 grams of fresh maitake) daily for two months without making changes to their regular diets. Dr. Yokota believes that he got better results with this regimen than with any other he had ever tried. His patients all lost weight and got nearly halfway to their optimal weights.

Dr. Yokota anticipated further weight losses in patients after a longer period of the mushroom and commented that no side effects were found except for slightly looser stools in some patients, a minor problem that is readily corrected by simply reducing intake of the mushroom. When the problem had resolved, the amount of maitake was gradually resumed until reaching the prescribed level.

From other initial tests, the group concluded that it was not necessary to take any more than 6-8 tablets of the powdered mushroom 3 times per day.

Reference: Ohtsuru, M. Anti-obesity activity exhibited by orally administered powder of maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). Anshin (Tokyo), 198-200, July 1992.

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Maitake And Cancer

In a related study, the leading authority on Maitake, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, from 1995 to 1996 reported that similar open-label exploratory studies with maitake were going on at university hospitals and partici-pating cancer clinics across Japan. He collected data from 165 volunteer patients with advanced-state cancers who were administered maitake. He concluded that maitake extract with the addition of maitake D-fraction shows definite promise as an adjunct treatment for cancer.

The patients took maitake D-fraction in capsules and maitake-extract tablets. Dosages appear to have varied from patient to patient with maitake D-fraction doses ranging from 35 to 100 mg per day, and the mushroom extract tablets ranging from 4 to 6 grams per day.

Dr. Nanba noted especially promising results for breast cancer and for lung cancer. He related that significant symptomatic improvements or regressions of tumors were seen in approx-imately 73.3% of patients with breast cancer, 46.6% of cases with liver cancer, and 66.6% of lung cancer cases.

When maitake D-fraction was administered in conjunction with chemotherapy, the responses improved by 12% to as much as 28%. In 90% of the patients, the addition of maitake D-fraction to their regimen appeared to reduce the side effects com-mon-ly associated with chemotherapy, such as hair loss, nausea, and loss of appetite. In reducing pain, maitake D-fraction appeared to be effective in 83% of patients.

Reference: Nanba, H. Activity of maitake D-fraction to inhibit carcinogenesis and metastasis. Ann NY Acad Sci 768:243-5, 1995.

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Homeopathic Remedy Helps Snoring

Derek Lipman, M.D., and his Portland, OR, colleagues recruited 90 patients to participate in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Their goals were to determine whether using a particular homeopathic remedy could influence the incidence or intensity of snoring and whether the product could affect the quality of sleep for the snorer or the sleepmate. Their results were published and showed that treatment during the 10-day assessment period was significantly more effective than placebo, and without side effects.

The subjects were adult snorers of both genders between the ages of 18 and 55. During the 10-day study period, subjects took two tablets, dissolved in the mouth at bedtime. The 44 people in the treatment group received a homeopathic remedy containing Nux vomica 4X and 6X, Belladonna 6X, Ephedra vulgaris 6X, Hydrastis canadensis 6X, Kah bichromicum 6X, Teucrium marum 6X, and Histaminum hydrochloricum 12X. The 46 people in the placebo group took identical-looking and -tasting tablets.

Patients and sleepmates were asked to keep a diary of the outcomes. During the course of the study there was no significant change in the placebo group, but those taking the homeopathic remedy did show a statistically significant improvement. Of those receiving the remedy, 61.4% reported moderate to excellent improvement compared with 21.7% in the placebo group. According to the researchers, controlled trials have confirmed the efficacy of homeopathic medicines in the management of acute diarrhea and influenza. Similarly, this study suggests that a safe, inexpensive homeopathic treatment may be of benefit to socially disruptive snorers."

Reference: Sleep and Breathing; 3(2)53-5, 1999.

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The Power Of Green Tea

Scientists are learning that green tea, consumed either as a beverage or dietary supplement, activates biochemical processes that affect our health in many positive ways.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, have released their findings that antioxidants in green tea minimize the debilitating effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis in humans. Countries that have a higher consumption of green tea such as Japan, China, and India have low rates of the disease.

"Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation," researcher Abdul Dulloo and colleagues conclude in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dulloo and fellow researchers studied ten healthy male subjects assigned one of three treatments.

Researchers found that the green tea subjects increased their thermogenesis level by 4% and increased their energy expenditure level 4.5%.

One other encouraging benefit researchers discovered is that green tea does not increase heart rate, which makes it a safe weight loss technique for those persons with high blood pressure or heart disease who have been advised by a health care professional to lose weight.

In a related study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have identified a plant substance present in green tea that holds potential benefit in the fight against prostate cancer.

Charles Y.F. Young, Ph.D, and colleagues tested four common substances called polyphenols present in green tea on three different lines of prostate cell cultures.

Researchers found that one of the polyphenols present in green tea inhibited cancer cell growth and, at higher doses, killed cancer cells.

Reference: Bushman, J. Green tea and cancer in humans: a review of the literature. Nutr and Can; 31(3): 151-9, 1998.

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Vitamin C Reduces High Blood Pressure

Researchers have discovered that a 500 mg daily dose of vitamin C can significantly reduce high blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

"We believe this is a significant finding that may be of considerable value to patients who have moderately elevated blood pressure," said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute.

Scientists at Boston University School of Medicine and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University studied patients who took 500 mg of vitamin C each day for 30 days. Another group took a placebo. One month later, researchers found that the vitamin C group had an average drop in blood pressure of about 9%, compared to a 3% drop in the control group.

Researchers are still not certain of the mechanism responsible for the drop in blood pressure. One theory that could explain the result is that vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the body. From this study, researchers feel confident there is solid evidence that vitamin C may have value in the clinical treatment of high blood pressure.

The Linus Pauling Institute has recently called for the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C to be doubled to 120 mg per day. A federal panel is currently considering this proposed RDA change in addition to proposed changes for other antioxidant vitamins.

Reference: NNFA Today; Volume 14, No. 2, February 2000.

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More Studies Link Ginkgo And Alzheimer's Disease

Many studies have been conducted on the medicinal effects of ginkgo biloba. Standardized extracts of the herb contain 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. Ginkgo flavone glycoside has antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties, protecting brain neurons from lipid peroxidation, edema, and oxygen stress.

The ginkgolides work by antagonizing platelet activity, which affects neuronal functioning, memory, inflammation, and smooth muscle contraction. It is hypothesized that the cause of Alzheimer's disease is related to oxidative injury and possibly to an inflammatory process in the brain.

Since ginkgo has been shown to be a cognitive-activating substance with anti-inflammatory action, it is plausible that ginkgo may be used therapeutically in Alzheimer's patients.

In four recent studies, ginkgo was administered to Alzheimer's patients for two to six months at dosage rates ranging from 120 to 240 mg per day. The results of the two largest studies have shown that in Alzheimer's patients receiving ginkgo, disturbed brain wave patterns tended towards normalization with no serious side effects.

Reference: Archives of Neurology; Volume 55, 1409-15, 1998.

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According to the first study on beta-glucan, the easily dissolved fiber not only lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol, it raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels as well. The combination of low LDL and high HDL levels decreases the risk of coronary artery disease.

The study by Robert Nicolosi of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Control at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and Stacey Bell of Medical Foods, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, included 15 obese men ages 20 to 60 with high cholesterol. After their baseline blood samples were taken, all the men supplemented with 7l5 grams of beta-glucan fiber dissolved in orange juice twice daily for eight weeks. Blood samples were repeated at weeks seven and eight of fiber consumption and again at week 12.

During the 12-week study, the men's HDL increased significantly, by 16%, while total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol declined. The authors note that when combined with a special diet, beta-glucan supplementation may in some cases eliminate the need for cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 70:208-12, August 1999.

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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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