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Drug-Free Therapy For ADD & ADHD

By January 1998, about 4 million children-an astounding 10% of the entire school-age population-were diagnosed with either ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). More alarming, 13 million adults suffer from ADD or ADHD, bringing the total to 17 million Americans struggling with these conditions.

According to Gene Haislip, a former deputy assistant administrator at DEA, "With the exception of AIDS, there are few examples of such a rapid spread of a serious condition in recent years."

N.L. Girardi, M.D., and colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine, studied differences in the response to sugar in ADHD and normal children.

The normal response to a sugar onslaught is an outpouring of insulin, which quickly balances rising blood sugar levels. The adrenal glands release norepinephrine and epinephrine-catecholamine hormones-to counterbalance a rapid drop in glucose caused by high insulin levels.

Two groups of children were given a battery of tests three hours after their sugary meal to measure cognitive performance. Results showed ADHD children had released only half the amount of the hormones as the normal children. Not surprisingly, their test scores were much worse than the children who did not have ADHD.

Protein, on the other hand, raises catecholamine levels. Parents can test their child's reaction to sugary foods first thing in the morning and after a protein-containing meal to determine the child's response. In most cases, it will be best to feed the child complex carbohydrates and eliminate simple sugars. Emphasis should also be placed on protein foods for breakfast and lunch and complex carbohydrates for dinner.

By customizing the diet and supplementing with missing nutrients, the faulty communication in a child's or an adult's brain can be repaired and behavior modified.

A complete program for an ADD patient includes supplements in addition to careful meal planning. Noticeable improvement in behavior is often seen when patients supplement with the following:

B-complex supplements are required to assist the brain enzymes that process carbohydrates for energy and to regulate neurotransmitters.

Optimizing levels of the fatty acid DHA has been clinically shown to improve behavior in ADHD children.

Vitamin C and proanthocyanidins (found in grape seed extract) are essential for several brain functions. Vitamin C is needed to manufacture neurotransmitters, and the proanthocyanidins modify enzymatic activities including catecholamine transfer enzyme.

Zinc and magnesium supplementation-in addition to a multimineral-is a good idea because deficiencies in both zinc and magnesium have been associated with ADHD. Magnesium levels appear to be low in patients with ADHD, and supplementation has reduced hyperactivity.

Reference: Zimmerman, Marcia, C.N.. The ADD Nutrition Solution: A Drug-Free 30-Day Plan, 1999.

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An Alternative Approach For Prostate Cancer

Such a small gland can cause a lot of trouble. The prostate gland, found only in men, is located just below the bladder and helps produce semen. Testosterone controls prostate function.

Like many other organs of the body, the prostate is vulnerable to cancer. Fortunately, prostate cancer is often a slow-growing disease.

In one study, researchers examined prostate glands during autopsies of men who were killed in accidents. Microscopic prostate cancer was found in 80% of men ages 70 to 80 years old. Researchers also found some prostate cancer in 40% of men ages 50 to 60, 34% of men ages 40 to 50 and 27% of men ages 30 to 40.

Prostate cancer rarely occurs in areas such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America and is relatively rare in countries where rice, soy, and vegetables are the dietary staples. In contrast, prostate cancer is much more widespread in areas where men eat large amounts of saturated fat, particularly from red meat and other animal sources.

Deficiencies of certain nutrients have also been implicated in prostate cancer. Studies indicate that men who are chronically deficient in vitamin A and selenium are more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer.

Aged garlic has shown great promise as a cancer-fighter. The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Clinic at Cornell University Medical Center published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition providing further evidence that S-allyl mercapto cysteine, a compound in aged garlic extract, reduces prostate cancer by over 50%.

Saw palmetto berry extract helps control the swelling associated with some cases of prostate cancer, according to physician and health writer Mitchell Ghen, D.O., Ph.D.

Pygeum africanum helps decrease swelling and painful, urgent urination.

Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which has been shown to block the growth of, and shrink human prostate cancers.

Zinc helps block the uptake of testosterone into the prostate. As an antioxidant, zinc also protects against damaging free radicals that may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Beta-carotene supplements were found, in a 12-year Physicians' Health study, to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 36% in men with initially low blood levels of beta-carotene.

Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, appears to cut the risk of prostate cancer in half, according to a study by Harvard University researchers.

Reference: J Am Coll Nutri 16(2):109-26, 1997.

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Pycnogenol And Cardiovascular Disease

According to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the natural supplement, Pycnogenol, may help prevent heart attacks or strokes, especially from smokers or those with a family history of heart disease.

Ronald Watson, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona Medical School at Tucson, reports that Pycnogenol has been found to significantly reduce platelet aggregation. Cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in America, is most often triggered by platelet aggregation causing clogged arteries.

For years, doctors have prescribed aspirin to fight platelet aggregation. Watson and German researchers at the University of Munster compared the effects of aspirin and Pycnogenol on platelet aggregation.

Both aspirin and Pycnogenol were found to reduce the level of platelet aggregation within two hours of ingestion. But about five times the amount of aspirin was required to cause the same effects as Pycnogenol.

Watson said the natural supplement is part of the fist line of defense against stress-induced cardiovascular disease. Along with a daily dose of 50 mg to 100 mg of Pycnogenol, he encourages people not to smoke, to reduce alcohol consumption, and to practice some sort of meditation or relaxation technique.

Reference: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, May 1998.

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Ginkgo Biloba For Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's is one of the tragic diseases of aging. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study that found that Ginkgo biloba can benefit mildly to severely demented outpatients with Alzheimer's disease. That study followed a similarly conducted German study that had similar results.

In the JAMA study, 309 patients were randomly assigned to either placebo or ginkgo.

Patients on Ginkgo biloba found improvement.

Thirty-seven percent of the Ginkgo group were considered improved and only 19% were considered worse. The placebo group demonstrated the opposite trend with 40% worsening and 23% improving.

In the German study, 28% were seen as responding versus 10% in the placebo group.

About 50% of the elderly with mild forgetfulness will progress to Alzheimer's within 3 years, according to recent data, says Jerry Cott, Ph.D., chief of the adult psycopharmacology program, National Institute of Mental Health.

Besides slowing the progress of dementia, there is evidence that Ginkgo biloba may improve the memories of older people.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has been used for thousands of years in China and India to enhance brain function. In Germany, ginkgo is widely prescribed to treat age-related memory decline, as well as to protect the brain against free radical damage.

Standardized extracts of ginkgo should contain 24% ginkgosides and 6% terpenes, because these were the percentages used in the extract tested in the JAMA study.

Scientists still have a long way to go in order to fully describe Ginkgo biloba's clinical benefits, and understanding how it works. But the side effects are almost nil and the extract has been found to be quite safe.

Reference: Le Bars, P.L., et al. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. JAMA 278, 1997.

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Antioxidants And Brain Activity

The brain and central nervous system are among the most active body tissues. Nerve cells require oxygen to meet high energy-production demands.

Oxygen-rich blood is sent from the lungs to the brain via cerebral arteries, which are blood vessels on each side of the neck.

Oxygen, however, also provokes harmful free radical formation in nerve cells that causes nerve-cell membranes to scar and harden. In more severe situations, these declines may progress to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.

A 22-year study of 442 randomly selected Swiss residents indicates a significant relationship between mental performance and high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene in the blood. The antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene were measured in current blood samples, and these same antioxidants were also measured in frozen blood samples that the same people collected 22 years previously. Seniors with the highest blood levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene scored highest on a variety of memory tests.

Another brain herb new in the United States is brahmi, a traditional Ayurvedic herb widely used in India for more than 3,000 years. The herb is known for its ability to build and improve mental performance.

Brahmi has been shown to improve short- and long-term memory. Recently, brahmi was shown to neutralize free radicals in brain tissue.

Nutritional supplements that provide a mixture of vitamins and minerals as well as herbs such as ginkgo and brahmi may prove efficacious to a brainpower plan. Based on the metabolic rate of brain cells, the benefits may not be noticed for at least 90 days.

Reference: Perrig W.J., et al. The relation between antioxidants and memory performance in the old and very old. J Am Geriatr Soc 1997;45:718-24.

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Healing Herbs For Your Lungs

Herbal remedies have proven effective in helping the body control respiratory problems such as coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, and acute lung infection. Specific herbs to consider for an upset respiratory system include astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pleurisy root, and wild cherry.

Astragalus stimulates deep immune system functions and helps protect from organisms that try to enter our bodies by increasing interferon production within cells. This Chinese root should be taken prior to the onset of a cold or respiratory illness to strengthen the body's immune system.

Echinacea is appropriate to take in the acute beginning state of a cold or respiratory illness, and stimulates the surface immune system. Echinacea stimulates immediate responses from the surface immune system by increasing the speed at which white blood cells advance to areas under attack.

Goldenseal is the ideal herb for chronic inflammations of mucous membranes of the eyes, sinuses, mouth, throat, and bladder. Goldenseal reduces inflammation of mucous membranes and should be used until the inflammation goes away.

Pleurisy root is not yet a well-known herb. It is effective when inflammation has spread to the pleural membranes of the lungs. In a healthy individual, these membranes secrete a thin, watery fluid that helps lubricate the surfaces of the membranes. When the membranes covering the lungs become inflamed, the cells no longer secrete this fluid. Considerable friction results, and the sufferer experiences pain with every deep breath. Pleurisy root helps reduce inflammation of the pleural membranes, promotes secretion of healthy serous fluids, and stimulates the lymphatic system to reabsorb accumulated liquids in and around the lungs.

Wild cherry bark is a traditional American remedy for coughs. Wild cherry bark is especially useful in combating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough as well as irritating or chronic coughs with excessive expectoration.

Reference: Tyler, V.E. The Honest Herbal, 1993.

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Eight elderly women drank beverages made from either strawberry or spinach extracts, derived from 8-10 ounces of the fruit or vegetable. After consuming either of these beverages, the antioxidant activity in the blood increased by about 20%, an effect similar to that obtained from taking 1,250 mg of vitamin C. In another study, the antioxidant activity of various fruits and vegetables was measured in vitro. Of the 40 foods tested, berries and greens were the most potent antioxidants.

Reference: Mann: Strawberries, spinach as powerful as vitamins in antioxidant activity. Med Tribune, p. 31, September 18, 1997.

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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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