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March Issue Of Natural Alternatives
March 02, 2007
Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1) WEIGHT LOSS: THE NATURAL FAT-LOSS PHARMACY BY DR. HARRY PREUSS
2) DIABETES BREAKTHROUGH
3) BLUE CHAMOMILE ( Matricaria Chamomilla)
A Georgetown medical professor cuts through hype surrounding weight-loss supplements with new science-based guide.
American consumers have long been skeptical about weight-loss supplements, and rightly so. With dozens of nutrients, herbs, and food extracts being marketed as aids for weight loss, there is shockingly little reliable information available concerning the safety and efficacy of any given product.
What is more, many so-called miracle pills and quick fixes fail to deliver on the grand weight-loss promises they make, others come with unpleasant side effects, and some have even proven to be dangerous when used incorrectly.
According to Georgetown medical professor Harry Preuss, MD, MACN, CNS, however, there are a number of non-drug weight-loss aids available that do work and can help people shed pounds, build muscle, and burn fat.
Based on his own research as well as hundreds of previously recorded scientific studies conducted at major universities and published in leading medical journals, in Dr. Preuss's new book new book with Bill Gottlieb, THE NATURAL FAT-LOSS PHARMACY (Broadway Books, January 2007), he helps consumers separate the good from the bad and the helpful from the hype and lists the safe, effective, and natural weight-loss supplements on the market.
HCA (hydroxycitric acid): An extract from the rind of the tamarind fruit, HCA interferes with an enzyme that triggers the formation of fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides. It helps lower blood levels of leptin (the substance that triggers hunger), increases serotonin and fat oxidation, and increases production of glycogen, leading to a filling of "fullness." Study participants taking HCA ate up to 30% less food at every meal.
MCT (medium chain triglycerides): This class of fatty saturated acids found naturally in coconut and butter help the body burn more calories – up to 25-30% more. The supplement leads to a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduction in body fat.
Green and oolong tea extract: One of the antioxidants in green tea is EGCG, which beside possibly preventing cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes, can also cut down on the creation of body fat and help destroy it through increased oxidation. Studies show that supplements containing EGCG increase calorie-burning by up to 180 calories a day.
CLA (conjugated linolenic acid): In a study reported in the June 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 180 healthy, overweight men and women were given either CLA or a placebo for one year. On average the CLA group lost 5 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of firming muscle – without diet or exercise.
Chromium: Twenty-five years of research shows that taking supplements of this "trace mineral" can improve the insulin system, which regulates blood sugar levels. With enough chromium, muscle cells can make muscle, there's less extra sugar to be stored as fat, and excess fat can be burned as fuel. In a study, women who took chromium lost 84% of their weight as fat, while women not taking the supplements lost 92% of their weight as muscle.
Starch blockers (bean, wheat, hibiscus) and sugar blocker (L-arabinose): Many scientists now agree that cutting down on refined carbohydrates can not only help you get and stay trim, but also help you avoid diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and cancer. It may even slow the aging process. But low-carbohydrate diets are only one option. A smart alternative: carb-blockers made from a bean or wheat or hibiscus flower extract, which block the absorption of refined carbs in the digestive tract if taken before or during a high-carb meal, like pasta or pizza. L-arabinose, a simple sugar found in foods like corn, works to block the absorption of sucrose, meaning you can have your cake and lose the carbohydratess and calories.
Chitosan and other soluble fibers: In an effort to clean up oil spills, scientists discovered chitosan, a pulverized powder made from the shells of shrimp and crab. This ultra-absorbent powder soaks up oil, grease, and heavy metals, both in the oceans and in the intestinal track. In 1995 Italian researchers gave either chitosan or a placebo to 150 people, who were on a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet for 4 weeks. Those on the placebo lost 4% of their weight, while those on chitosan lost 13%. Other studies show that chitosan can lower cholesterol by 29%. Psyllium, pectin, and guar gum are other soluble fibers that work similarly.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxyl-L-tryptophan): Due to high-stress, many people in America have low levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that controls appetite and mood. The result: overeating. 5-HTP is a natural amino acid that boosts serotonin, helping decrease food cravings and also creating a calm state of mind that is less vulnerable to emotional overeating. In an Italian study, overweight women who took serotonin spontaneously began to cut their calories—by more than 1000 calories per day.
Cacti (Hoodia and Caralluma): The bushmen of the Kalahari desert rely on Hoodia, a form of cactus, to relieve hunger and thirst pangs. Caralluma is an edible Indian cactus that is used in chutneys and pickles and to control appetite, particularly in times of famine. As with Hoodia, scientists speculate that unique molecules in Caralluma affect the hypothalamus, switching off appetite. It can also normalize blood sugar, and after thousands of years of use, there are no known side effects.
HMB (Hydroxy methylbutyrate): HMB is a metabolite, or a breakdown product of leucine, a component of protein that aids muscle-building. Although found in foods like alfalfa sprouts and catfish, only a supplement can provide enough to protect and build muscle. You do have to exercise to get the benefit of this supplement, but it is especially helpful to those 70 or older as well as AIDS and cancer patients and can lower blood pressure and high cholesterol.
BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids – leucine, valine, soleucine): Branched chain amino acids comprise 35% of the amino acids in muscle tissue. Supplying muscles with extra BCAA can help prevent exercise-related muscle da mage, soreness after exercise, and can build more calorie-burning muscle.
2) DIABETES BREAKTHROUGH - Toronto scientists cure disease in mice
Tom Blackwell National Post
In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.
Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.
"I couldn't believe it," said Dr. Michael Salter, a pain expert at the Hospital for Sick Children and one of the scientists. "Mice with diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes any more."
The researchers caution they have yet to confirm their findings in people, but say they expect results from human studies within a year or so. Any treatment that may emerge to help at least some patients would likely be years away from hitting the market.
But the excitement of the team from Sick Kids, whose work is being published today in the journal Cell, is almost palpable.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Dr. Hans Michael Dosch, an immunologist at the hospital and a leader of the studies. "In my career, this is unique."
Their conclusions upset conventional wisdom that Type 1 diabetes, the most serious form of the illness that typically first appears in childhood, was solely caused by auto-immune responses -- the body's immune system turning on itself.
They also conclude that there are far more similarities than previously thought between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and that nerves likely play a role in other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and Crohn's disease.
The "paradigm-changing" study opens "a novel, exciting door to address one of the diseases with large societal impact," said Dr. Christian Stohler, a leading U.S. pain specialist and dean of dentistry at the University of Maryland, who has reviewed the work.
"The treatment and diagnosis of neuropathic diseases is poised to take a dramatic leap forward because of the impressive research."
About two million Canadians suffer from diabetes, 10% of them with Type 1, contributing to 41,000 deaths a year.
Insulin replacement therapy is the only treatment of Type 1, and cannot prevent many of the side effects, from heart attacks to kidney failure.
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to shift glucose into the cells that need it. In Type 2 diabetes, the insulin that is produced is not used effectively -- something called insulin resistance -- also resulting in poor absorption of glucose.
The problems stem partly from inflammation -- and eventual death -- of insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas.
Dr. Dosch had concluded in a 1999 paper that there were surprising similarities between diabetes and multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disease. His interest was also piqued by the presence around the insulin-producing islets of an "enormous" number of nerves, pain neurons primarily used to signal the brain that tissue has been damaged.
Suspecting a link between the nerves and diabetes, he and Dr. Salter used an old experimental trick -- injecting capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, to kill the pancreatic sensory nerves in mice that had an equivalent of Type 1 diabetes.
"Then we had the biggest shock of our lives," Dr. Dosch said. Almost immediately, the islets began producing insulin normally "It was a shock ? really out of left field, because nothing in the literature was saying anything about this."
It turns out the nerves secrete neuropeptides that are instrumental in the proper functioning of the islets. Further study by the team, which also involved the University of Calgary and the Jackson Laboratory in Maine, found that the nerves in diabetic mice were releasing too little of the neuropeptides, resulting in a "vicious cycle" of stress on the islets.
So next they injected the neuropeptide "substance P" in the pancreases of diabetic mice, a demanding task given the tiny size of the rodent organs. The results were dramatic.
The islet inflammation cleared up and the diabetes was gone. Some have remained in that state for as long as four months, with just one injection.
They also discovered that their treatments curbed the insulin resistance that is the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, and that insulin resistance is a major factor in Type 1 diabetes, suggesting the two illnesses are quite similar.
While pain scientists have been receptive to the research, immunologists have voiced skepticism at the idea of the nervous system playing such a major role in the disease. Editors of Cell put the Toronto researchers through vigorous review to prove the validity of their conclusions, though an editorial in the publication gives a positive review of the work.
"It will no doubt cause a great deal of consternation," said Dr. Salter about his paper.
The researchers are now setting out to confirm that the connection between sensory nerves and diabetes holds true in humans. If it does, they will see if their treatments have the same effects on people as they did on mice.
Nothing is for sure, but "there is a great deal of promise," Dr. Salter said.
3) BLUE CHAMOMILE ( Matricaria Chamomilla)
The Egyptians associated Chamomile with their sun god Ra and valued it over all other herbs for its healing qualities-it provides a soothing effect, may alleviate menstruation discomfort, and can treat minor injuries as a poultice. Owning to these relaxing properties, Chamomile was even an ingredient in some love potions during the middle ages.
Facts about Blue Chamomile
Also known as German Chamomile-Blue Chamomile receives its cerulean pigmentation (blue color) from the organic compound azulene.
Along with Helichrysum, Chamomile is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory botanical agents.
Clinical studies have shown Chamomile provides mild sedative effects, especially when steeped in hot water and consumed as a tea.
Chamomile is a known anti-spasmotic substance that may help soothe muscles within the digestive tract.
Evidence from clinical studies suggests Chamomile offers some antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Used in cosmetics, perfumery, and as a flavoring agent.
The botanical name of Chamomile, "Matricaria" (Latin for "womb") has been utilized in folk medicine for generations as it emphasized Chamomile's connection with the female reproductive system.
Healing Powers of Blue Chamomile
Blue Chamomile can be used to help alleviate: Gas Motion sickness Stomach cramps Nervousness Headaches Minor skin irritations and rashes And can also be used as a: Skin Cleanser Relief for teething baby Gentle sleep aid Mouthwash to ease oral mucositis.
Experiencing menstrual cramps? One tablespoon of Chamomile steeped in a covered cup of boiling water with two slices of fresh ginger can be an effective treatment for assuaging menstrual cramps and other pains and spasms.
Congested? Chamomile can be boiled in water so the steam is inhaled to relieve a stuffy nose or congested chest.
Dry, itchy skin? Use ˝ to 1 cup fresh or dried Chamomile herb tied in a linen bag. Place the bag in bathtub with hot water let it soak for 10 min. Add cold water to reach the desired temperature. Do not add soap to the bath as it will coat your skin and not allow the Chamomile to penetrate.
Tea Time. To 1 cup of boiling water, add 2 tsp. of dried Chamomile petals. Steep covered for 10 minutes and then enjoy this soothing, aromatic blend.*
Please note: If you suspect you may be allergic to Chamomile, it's wise to perform an allergy test first by swabbing some of its oil on your inner arm. If your skin becomes reddened, swollen, or itchy, do not use it.
*If you suffer from ragweed allergies, it is best to avoid Chamomile tea altogether as it may react with the sensitive tissues of the mouth and esophagus.
Source: The Global Healing Center
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
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