Copyright © 2004 Priya Shah
Glutathione, the body's master antioxidant and detoxifier, is one of the 14 "Superfoods" listed in SuperFoods Rx : Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, co-authored by Dr Steven Pratt.
Glutathione levels cannot be increased to a clinically beneficial extent by orally ingesting a single dose of glutathione. (1) This is because glutathione is manufactured inside the cell, from its precursor amino acids, glycine, glutamate and cystine.
Hence food sources or supplements that increase glutathione must either provide the precursors of glutathione, or enhance its production by some other means.
The manufacture of glutathione in cells is limited by the levels of its sulphur-containing precursor amino acid, cysteine.
Cysteine - as a free amino acid - is potentially toxic and is spontaneously catabolized or destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract and blood plasma. However, when it is present as a cysteine-cysteine dipeptide, called cystine, it is more stable than cysteine.
Consuming foods rich in sulphur-containing amino acids can help boost glutathione levels. Here are some food sources and dietary supplements that help boost glutathione levels naturally.
1. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
It is derived from the amino acid L-Cysteine, and acts as a precursor of glutathione. NAC is quickly metabolized into glutathione once it enters the body. It has been proven in numerous scientific studies and clinical trials, to boost intracellular production of glutathione, and is approved by the FDA for treatment of accetaminophen overdose. Because of glutathione's mucolytic action, NAC (brand name Mucomyst) is commonly used in the treatment of lung diseases like cystic fibrosis, bronchitis and asthma.
2. Milk Thistle, Silymarin
Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant and supports the liver by preventing the depletion of glutathione. Silymarin is the active compound of milk thistle. It is a natural liver detoxifier and protects the liver from many industrial toxins such as carbon tetrachloride, and more common agents like alcohol.
3. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Made naturally in body cells as a by-product of energy release, ALA increases the levels of intra-cellular glutathione, and is a natural antioxidant with free radical scavenging abilities. It has the ability to regenerate oxidized antioxidants like Vitamin C and E and helps to make them more potent. ALA is also known for its ability to enhance glucose uptake and may help prevent the cellular damage accompanying the complications of diabetes. It also has a protective effect in the brain.
4. Natural Foods That Boost Glutathione Levels
Asparagus is a leading source of glutathione. Foods like broccoli (2), avocado and spinach are also known to boost glutathione levels. Raw eggs, garlic and fresh unprocessed meats contain high levels of sulphur-containing amino acids and help to maintain optimal glutathione levels.
5. Undenatured Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein contains proteins like alpha-lactalbumin which is is rich in sulphur-containing amino acids. Heating or pasteurization destroys the delicate disulphide bonds that give these proteins their bioactivity. Undenatured whey protein is a non-heated product that preserves bioactive amino acids like cystine. It has been shown in numerous scientific studies and clinical trials to optimize glutathione levels.
6. Curcumin (Turmeric)
Treatment of brain cells called astrocytes, with the Indian curry spice, curcumin (turmeric) has been found to increase expression of the glutathione S-transferase and protect neurons exposed to oxidant stress. (3)
7. Balloon Flower Root
Changkil saponins (CKS) isolated from the roots of the Chinese herbal medicine, Platycodon grandiflorum A. DC (Campanulaceae), commonly called Balloon Flower Root or Jie Geng, have been found to increase intracellular glutathione (GSH) content and significantly reduce oxidative injury to liver cells, minimise cell death and lipid peroxidation. (4)
Selenium is a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Selenium supplements have become popular because some studies suggest they may play a role in decreasing the risk of certain cancers, and in how the immune system and the thyroid gland function. However, too much selenium can cause some toxic effects including gastrointestinal upset, brittle nails, hair loss and mild nerve damage.
Disclaimer: The information here is not provided by medical professionals and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Nutritional supplements, while usually benign, can produce adverse reactions in some people. As with prescribed drugs, long-term effects from supplements are often unknown. Pregnant women and children should not take supplements except after consultation with their healthcare provider. Never exceed the recommended dosage on the container. If you observe adverse effects stop taking the supplement immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
1. The systemic availability of oral glutathione
Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. [Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667-9.]
2. Dietary approach to attenuate oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation in the cardiovascular system
Wu L, Ashraf MH, Facci M, Wang R, Paterson PG, Ferrie A, Juurlink BH. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 4;101(18):7094-9. Epub 2004 Apr 21.]
3. Can Curry Protect Against Alzheimer's?
American Physiological Society (APS) Press release; 16-Apr-2004
4. Protective effect of saponins derived from roots of Platycodon grandiflorum on tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative hepatotoxicity
Lee KJ, Choi CY, Chung YC, Kim YS, Ryu SY, Roh SH, Jeong HG. [Toxicol Lett. 2004 Mar 7;147(3):271-82.]
Senin, 14 Juli 2008
Copyright © 2004 Priya Shah
You know about Vitamins A,C, D, E ,and the B's - about how they boost the immune system and help the body repair itself. Well, that old hat. There are supplements now that are so far ahead of those that it's like comparing a model-T car to the space shuttle. This stuff is the real cutting edge in nutrition and we've got them for you right now. Are you ready to slow down the aging clock? Here we go.
1 - Alpha-GPC. This nutrient, derived from soy, provides high levels of choline, which protects brain cells. It also increases levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which triggers an increased release of HGH (human growth hormone). This hormone is naturally present in the human body when we're young but decreases steadily as we age. Studies have shown that increased HGH can reduce body fat, boost energy levels, and restore youthful immune function.
In animal studies, alpha-GPC corrected age-related brain decline. In human studies it helped stroke victims retain cognitive functioning and improve mental functioning and mood of people with dementia. Dose: 600 - 1200 milligram.
2 - Ashwagandha Root. This herb is used extensively in Ayurveda - the traditional medicine of India. It stimulates immunity and, as an antioxidant, rescues cell-damaging free radical. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to be helpful with such inflammatory conditions as arthritis. increased oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, which rejuvenates cells. In addition, 70% of the men in the study said that their sexual performance improved - some men even reported fewer gray hairs.
3 - Beta-Glucan. This nutrient is derived from baker's yeast, young rye plants, and medicinal mushrooms. It activates macrophages - key immune cells that fight bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Beta-glucan enhances the effectiveness of conventional antibiotic therapy. It acts as a free-radical scavenger, removing cells damaged by exposure to radiation, chemotherapy, and environmental pollution. It also lowers total and LDL (bad) cholesterol which increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. It also reduces risk of infection by stimulating white blood cell activity. Dose: 300 mg to 1,000 mg. per day.
4 - Lemon Balm. Lemon balm is an important anti-oxidant. It contains a high concentration of phenols - chemicals that fight cell-damaging toxins. This herb can improve sleep, decrease the pain of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, boost mental functioning, and combat viruses and bacteria. Avoid if you have glaucoma. Dose: 1,000 mg. to 1,500 mg. per day.
5 - Omega-3 fatty acids. Also called essential fatty acids (EFAs), omega-3 fatty acids aren't manufactured by the human body and must be supplied by diet or supplement. They are found primarily in fish but are present in smaller amounts in green, leafy vegetables, soybeans, nuts, and flaxseed and canola oils. Omega-3s decrease blood level of triglycerides (bad fats) and homocysteine (an artery-damaging amino acid) and lower blood pressure. They help thin the blood, preventing blood clots - lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3s also act as anti-inflammatories, helpful in the treatment of such autoimmune diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. They are the building block of the outer layer of brain cells and may help treat depression. Dose: 3 g. to 10 g of fish oil capsules a day. It is extremely difficult to get sufficient omega-3 through dietary sources. The best sources are mackerel, salmon, sea bass, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. 6 - Evening Primrose oil. Evening primrose oil is derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant. The active ingredient is gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and omega-6 fatty acid.
As the body ages, it loses its ability to convert dietary fats into GLA. Supplementing with evening primrose oil is important in combating the general effects of aging. It also may help in treating rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's-related memory problems. Dose: 3,000 mg. to 6,000 mg. daily.
7 - Resveratrol. This naturally occurring anti-oxidant is found in many plants - including the skin of grapes. Red wine is the main dietary source. Resveratrol decreases the stickiness of blood platelets, reducing the risk of blood clots. It may help prevent the development and progression of various cancers. Red wine provides little, if any resveratrol (less than a milligram per glass. Supplements provide 15-20 milligrams per serving.
By Dr. Jeffry Weiss, Ph.D.
Bright white teeth and fresh breath does not necessarily mean you have a healthy mouth! General health is directly related to gum health. Gum disease has been linked to several medical conditions such as stroke, diabetes, heart attack and worsening lung disease. Healthy gums can reduce a person's biological age by up to 6.4 years. Why? Because studies show that the presence of periodontal diseases, most common in people with tooth loss, actually affects longevity. The best of these studies, done at Emory University in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, indicates that people with gingivitis and periodontal disease have a mortality rate that is 23% to 46% higher than those who don't. Keeping your gums clean and healthy may help reduce the risk of many illnesses, including heart disease.
Gum disease or periodontal disease, a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue, is the major cause of about 70 percent of adult tooth loss, affecting three out of four persons at some point in their life. Red swollen and bleeding gums characterize gum disease in the initial stages and progresses to infections, chronic inflammation and bone loss in later stages. Eventually bacteria are allowed to flow freely through your gums and into your blood stream that activates and stresses the immune system.
Research shows that people with gum disease are 25% more likely to have a heart attack. Bacteria originating from the gums to the veins and arteries cause plaque build up and arterial inflammation that can provoke jeopardous clotting. A 12-year study conducted by Harvard University researchers and 41,000 healthy men free of cardiovascular disease showed that those with periodontal disease had more clot related strokes.
Periodontal disease severely affects the control of blood sugars. The spread of bacteria through out the body through the blood stream stresses and confuses the body when trying to adjust sugars to the invasion. Antibiotic treatment has help diabetics control blood sugars while treating the infections caused by gum disease.
Breathing in oral bacteria caused by gum disease can cause lung infections. Bacteria that grow in the oral cavities can be breathed into the lungs to cause respiratory disease such as pneumonia.
By Yvonne Takhtalian, C.N.H.P, H.I
How Can Fat Be Essential?
By Garry Gamber
Did you know that some fats are essential to the body? Yes, there are some fats that our body cannot produce which means that we must get them from our food. Perhaps you've heard of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These are both considered essential and must be supplied by the foods we eat.
What do they do? Well, the omega-3 fatty acid, for example is used for the production of healthy cell membranes and for the production of a class of hormones called prostaglandins. You know how aspirin and acetominophen are anti-inflammatories? So are the prostaglandins that our bodies produce from omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, we need the omega-3's and the omega-6's to be in the proper combination to be most effective to us. Empirical evidence shows that the proper ratio is about 4:1 between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. What do you suppose our average diet gives us? About a 20:1 and up to a 40:1 ratio; not even close to the optimal ratio.
Why is the balance so out of whack? Well, our normal diets are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. We get them from meats, dairy products, and processed foods. We eat a lot of those foods on average. We get omega-3 fatty acids from certain vegetable oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean. And we get omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, and tuna.
Eat more fish! You've heard that said before, and now you know why.
Especially the salmon. It is especially rich in the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon , or any of the other omega-3 rich fish (but what tastes better than good salmon?) should be consumed at least once a week.
In order to get the omega-6 vs. omega-3 ratio in order, decrease your consumption of the saturated fat from meats and dairy products and increase your consumption of fish such as salmon.
Do you know how else you will benefit from increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids? Your cholesterol level will improve. You see, the essential omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to help decrease your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol level. The LDL cholesterol is the so-called bad cholesterol. So you will improve your cholesterol levels by adding a better balance of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.
Not surprisingly, the omega-3 fatty acids can be heart healthy. Several diseases show improvement when patients increase their intake of these essential fats. Check out Dr. Ray Strand's important book for citings of clinical studies of omega-3. The book is titled, "What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You." It's a wonderful book and should be a standard reference volume in your nutrition library.
Eat well, take appropriate supplements, and stay healthy.
By Garry Gamber
What is the best protein powder to buy? I get this question all the time, and really, there is no best protein - many are very good for different reasons! In my opinion, it is futile and possibly detrimental to stick to only one brand for the following reasons:
a) I always recommend that you cycle your supplements so that your body does not get used to them thereby decreasing their effect,
b) for variety sakes alone, it breaks the monotony and allows you to try different brands,
c) to take advantage of the unique qualities offered by various brands, and
d) it is a good idea to switch the powders you use on a frequent basis to not develop any food intolerances or even worse allergies (I have an article coming out on this subject in the near future.) A blend that combines various protein sources (i.e. casein, egg, whey, and even beef if you can find it) is your best bet. I highly recommend the following: MD+ Myosin Protein Complex, Beverly International Muscle Provider, Biotest Low-Carb GROW!, and Dorian Yates Approved ProPeptide.
High-quality whey protein powders are excellent choices for post- workout nutrition since they get into your system fast to feed those depleted muscles. Casein, on the other hand, is a slow releasing protein as it recurdles into a solid in your gut prolonging digestion - this would be an ideal choice prior to your workouts or before going to bed. Anyhow, as far as whey powders are concerned, amino acid complex profile determines quality. I have in my possession a list of protein powders that were analyzed for quality by an independent laboratory, but since I don't want any of these companies breathing down my neck, I will only divulge that information to my clients. Remember one thing, you get what you pay for! Keep that in mind. Also, some people are quite sensitive to aspartame and lactose so you will have to find free versions of those. Taste will ultimately determine whether you purchase that powder again. Write in with some of your feedback on these products - I'd love to hear your comments.
One more thing, you could even mix protein powder into other foods to up the protein content and improve the flavor. Mixing protein powder in (slow-cooked) oatmeal is one option, but here's another. I call it my "bedtime concoction." Add a scoop of Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide (vanilla) to a mixture of ricotta (whey) and cottage (casein) cheese. Not only does this provide both an anabolic and anticatabolic effect during sleep, it also tastes amazing - it's like eating the cream filling of a cannoli without the pastry shell! Try it.
By John Paul Catanzaro
Are Your Cells Talking To Each Other?
Communication! It permeates our lives. We communicate for many reasons such as: 1) to get what we want, 2) to get rid of what we don't want, 3) to let people know how we feel, 4) to show people we care, 5) to work productively with co-workers, etc. As members of the human race we are fortunate to have various ways to communicate our needs and desires. We can talk, use body language, write our requests or key them into the computer.
But what would happen if we spoke one language and the intended receiver of our message spoke another language. Or perhaps we are speaking on the phone to a friend and static interfers so much that they only hear some of our words or we say one word and they hear it as a different word. Perhaps we are sending our message via computer but some of the keys are either missing or mixed up. That could cause some confusion, right? And the more static or more keys that are missing, the more confused the message is. On the other hand the better we can communicate with other people, the higher level we can function at.
Did you know that the same thing happens in our body? Our body is designed to function at an amazing level. When we think of how complicated our body is, of all the things that could go wrong, and of how much actually goes right without our even thinking about it, it is truly amazing. But why do things sometimes go wrong?
Our body is made up of various systems (circulatory, nervous, muscular, etc) that are made up of organs (heart, lungs, blood vessels) that are made up of cells. To understand the importance of communication in our body, let's take a look at what would happen if our body was a business.
If our body was a company, our systems would be the various departments in the company, our organs would be the teams of people working together within each department, and the cells would be each individual person within the teams. The individual people are the powerhouses of the company. If they are doing what they are supposed to do, when and how they are supposed to, and if they are communicating well to each other to get their individual needs met, then the team will work well. If the teams are working well and communicating so their needs are met, the department will work well. And if all departments are communicating and getting their needs met, the company is successful. But if communication brakes down at any level, it puts the success of the company in jeopardy.
Just as people power companies, our cells power our bodies. So what do our cells need and how do they communicate to each other? Let's look at their needs first. In order to work optimally our cells require nutrients which they use to produce energy and repair themselves. This process produces waste materials which they must eliminate. And they must identify themselves as to what kind of cells they are and if they are native to our body or if they are an intruder (virus, bad bacteria, etc). Each cell is covered with glycoproteins (much like a fuzzy ball). When our cells touch each other these glycoproteins pass messages from one cell to another. The glycoproteins are comprised of variations of 4 proteins and 8 essential sugars (also called carbohydrates or saccharides).
If all glycoproteins are completely formed (no missing sugars or proteins), the message gets passed along intact and the needs of the cell are satisfied. However, just like having static on the phone lines or missing keys on the computer keyboard; if something is missing from the glycoproteins, communication breaks down and the cell either doesn't get what it needs or is sabotaged by sending out a wrong message.
What happens if a cell doesn't get the nutrients it needs to produce energy or repair itself?
Oooh! Energy drain! Premature aging!
What happens if it's message to get rid of waste material is not understood?
Ouch! Toxin build-up! Yuck!
What if it is an invading virus but the body doesn't know it because of faulty cell communication?
Cold? Flu? Pneumonia? _____?
What if it is in fact a native cell that gives out a message that is interpreted by another cell that it is an invader?
Oh-oh! The macrophages are called in to eat it up pac-man style. If this happens frequently enough, we will eventually be diagnosed with one of the 85 known auto-immune diseases.
Wow! Did you have any idea how important each of your cells is (yes, all trillions of them). So how do we keep our cells communicating? It is in the glycoproteins. If our glycoproteins are complete and properly formed, our cells are happily sending and receiving the right messages. Highly functioning cells make highly functioning organs, which make highly functioning systems, which make a highly functioning body for us. The bottom line is getting the right nutrition so our cells can make complete and properly formed glycoproteins.
By Jan Barosh
This is such a busy time of year, isn't it? Whether it's school or after-school commitments, social or philanthropic organizations that start meeting again after the summer, end of the year plans at work, or all of the above, fall activities are demanding! If you're like me, you know you plan too much, but you still want to be efficient, accomplish everything, and do it well. There is no time in the schedule for running out of energy or getting sick, and "Collapse From Exhaustion" is not on the TO DO list. But your body will stop you if you don't stop it first. How will you know if you are running on empty? The number one warning sign is fatigue.
Abnormal fatigue can be a sign from your body that you are overworking, overthinking, underresting, or undereating. (I don't know if all those are words, but they should be.) A variety of illnesses and medical conditions can cause fatigue, including hormone disorders, depression, and pregnancy, so if you notice a dramatic or persistent change in your energy level, it's wise to consult your physician. The good news is that if it's your hectic agenda that's leaving you drained, you can give yourself the best chance of staying well by looking at a few key areas - sleep, nutrition, hydration, and relaxation.
As with many beneficial life habits, these four staples of health do not have catchy slogans or expensive promotional campaigns. Bottled water brands and sleep number beds are starting to change that, but they're based on the premise that you need a very extravagant bed or water purification system, rather than the idea that you need sleep and water to be healthy. (Common sense, you say? How long has it been since you got eight hours of sleep and drank two liters of water in the same day?) Most nutrition-related marketing promotes one food or food group over another, rather than the guiding principle that you faithful readers know by now: eating frequent, small amounts of a variety of foods.
On the other hand, I'm sure you've seen and heard multiple advertisements for energy bars, energy drinks, and energy boosting supplements, promising more energy if you eat or drink the magical concoction of chemicals. Remember what you learned in Nutrition 101: Your body can only make energy from three things: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. ONLY. Other nutrients help your body USE energy, including iron and B vitamins, but nothing you get in a pill can actually give you more energy than eating actual food. Caffeine, ginseng, guarana, ma huang, ephedra, and xenedrine are all stimulants that make your heart beat faster, so your brain gets more oxygen, so you FEEL like you have more energy?but it's a trap. When the effects wear off, you will be more tired than you were before. If you use the chemicals again, you perpetuate the cycle, or in other words, you're hooked!
Quick Tip: Real energy means calories. If a product contains 0 calories, it's a fake.
The good news (yes, there's more!) is that although no supplement can make up for poor habits, changing habits can eliminate the need for these potentially harmful chemicals in your body. Easier said than done, I agree. But start in one area, and experiment with a small change. If you see results, you will have proved to yourself that the change is worth it! In the coming weeks, we'll look at each of the key areas, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and relaxation, with the goal of maintaining exceptional energy throughout your day.
If you need an energy makeover, why not keep an energy log? On 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days write down the following: What time it is each time you eat (you don't have to write down WHAT you eat); what time it is when you go to sleep and when you wake up; what beverages you drink throughout the day; any relaxing activities you did that day; and a description of your energy (highs or lows) throughout the day. In two weeks we'll meet back and see what your results mean and where to improve! To be continued?
By Jessica Setnick