Showing posts with label Dietary Supplements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dietary Supplements. Show all posts

May 10, 2012

6 Striking Health Effects of Vitamin D

According to Boston University researchers, between 30 to 50% of children and adults in the United States are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency. While this deficiency can lead to rickets in children, in adults, it is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and immune dysfunction.

Experts believe that sensible exposure to sun, an consumption of vitamin dietary supplements may be the best way to deal with this preventable medical condition.

The following are some newly discovered benefits of vitamin D

1. Reduced risk of Fracture - A study found that oral vitamin D supplements taken at a dose of at least 400 international units daily, were linked to a decreased risk of bone fractures in older adults. (Archives of Internal Medicine, Mar 2009)

2. Protection from Diabetes - If you consume the right quantities of vitamin D, it may protect you from diabetes or even delay its onset. Further, it may reduce complications in those who've already acquired the disease. (The Diabetes Educator, 2009)

3. Prevent Heart Attacks - If you are a man and you have low levels of vitamin D in your system, then you may be at a greater risk of a heart attack or myocardial infarction, suggests a study published in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2008 issue. Consequently, ensuring adequate amounts of the sunshine vitamin in your system via supplements may offer protection against against heart attacks.

4. Increased Girl Power! - UK researchers recently found that teenage girls with higher vitamin D levels were able to jump higher and faster than those who didn't, indicating an improved muscle performance. Boys, Watch Out! (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, JCEM Feb 2009)

5. Prevent Skin Infection - A study by San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that intake of oral Vitamin D supplements helps the body produce cathelicidin - a protective chemical present in the skin. As a result, offering protection from skin infections that result from atopic dermatitis – the commonest type of eczema. (Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Oct 2008)

6. Protection from Death! - Well, vitamin D won't quite infuse immortality into you, but could make you live longer. Here's why. Following a review of several studies, French researchers concluded that the sunshine vitamin does lower your risk of death from any cause. (Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept 2007)

May 8, 2012

Green Tea: A Dietary Supplement Against Aging

Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which prevent our bodies’ cells from damage due to oxidation. The process is not very different from preventing your car from being rusted.

Fast realizing the increasing knowledge of public about the many health benefits of antioxidants as they are being published, the marketers of cold drinks have begun promoting green tea drinks flavored with fruit juices. Apple, lemon, strawberry, peach, and pomegranate, you name it and it’s out there for sale.
Green Tea is often consumed as a dietary supplement. A dietary supplement refers to vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements and other substances (e.g weight loss supplement) meant to improve your diet. Green tea comprises EGCG or the epigallocatechin gallate that makes the tea power packed with the advantages of antioxidants.

As far as aging is concerned, many studies blame free radicals within our bodies as the ones responsible of it. Consequently, the higher the quantity of free radicals in your body, the faster you would age. Since the main job of antioxidants is to neutralize the free radicals their presence is supposed to slow down the rate of aging. Apart from green tea some common sources of antioxidants are apricots, broccoli, pumpkin, cantaloupes, spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. So it makes good sense to supplement your diet with these as well.

However there’s a problem, and that is, once you drink the tea, 80 percent of its antioxidant catechins are lost during digestion, making the mechanism highly inefficient. At the same time a tasty solution to this problem exists. Studies have found that when the tea is coupled with some specific foods, antioxidant absorption becomes a lot more efficient. Out of the edibles that make it so, lemon ranks first, followed by orange, lime and grapefruit juices. In fact lemon has been found to retain 80 percent of the catechins.

No magic potion is needed, even a simple herb such as green tea can go a long way to protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals, and tastefully too!

Mar 21, 2012

7 Foods That Affect Weight Loss

According to NIH statistics about 133.6 million or two-third of Americans were overweight or obese in 2006. Being overweight is linked to several health maladies such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and high blood pressure to name a few.

Foods, while not the only reason contributing to excess weight gain do have a significant role to play. Other means used achieve weight change include whole food supplements, weight loss pills, physical exercise, dieting etc.

The following is a run-through of how some edibles affect weight loss or weight gain.

1. Calcium – Increasing the intake of calcium can set-off weight loss. This is the conclusion of a study that included a 15-week weight loss program, at the end of which the obese participants who consumed calcium tablets lost about 6 kg, while those who didn't lost just 1 kg. However, this worked only in people whose diets were deficient in calcium (British Journal of Nutrition, April 2009).

2. Chewing Gums – Sorbitol is the main ingredient in many sugar-free chewing gums, and it is also associated with dangerous weight loss. This was discovered after studying two patients who suffered chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and too much weight loss, which was pinned down to eating too many chewing gums with sorbitol (British Medical Journal 'BMJ', January 2008).

But in another study, chewing gums reduced weight in a seemingly harmless way. Eating a chewing gum before an afternoon snack led to reduced food cravings via promoting fullness, and an overall reduced calorie intake, up to 25 calories. (A research presentation, 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society)

3. Grapefruit Diet – Simply supplementing your diet with grapefruit and grapefruit juice can lead to weight loss. The participants in the study who ate just half a grapefruit with a meal lost 3.6 pounds. Further, drinking grapefruit juice had a similar effect, with the participants losing 3.3 pounds ('Grapefruit Diet' study, Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, 2004).

4. Fructose – A reduced intake of fructose can aid weight loss. Fructose is a kind of sugar that can be quickly turned into body fat. Fruits are a good source of fructose, but so are many processed foods and the sweetener high-fructose corn syrup or HFCS, which is used in many processed foods. (Journal of Nutrition, July 2008).

5. Beverages – There's a stronger link between liquid calorie intake (e.g. beverages) and weight change than is between solid calorie intake (e.g. bread) and weight change. And that a reduction in liquid calorie intake is positively associated with weight loss (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 'AJCN', April, 2009).

6. Dairy Products - Dairy products don't help people lose weight. This was the conclusion of evidence collected from 49 clinical trials from 1966 to 2007 that tested whether milk, and dairy products had an effect on body weight and BMI (Nutrition Reviews, May 2008).

7. Eggs - When two eggs were consumed for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, the weight loss in overweight adults more, compared to those who ate a bagel breakfast containing an equal number of calories (International Journal of Obesity, August 2008).

Since, it's well-known that excess body weight is associated with many diseases, it appears profitable to invest time and money in weight loss, at least it's better than spending money on medical drugs used to treat excess weight related disorders.

5 Cases Where Diet Supplements May Harm

Dietary supplements were being used by 17.7 percent of American adults in 2007. While scientists have found many benefits of dietary supplements e.g. folic acid prevents some birth defects, calcium and vitamin D can prevent and treat bone loss, etc, they have also found some harmful effects of different dietary and herbal supplements.

The following are their 5 harmful effects

1. Increased Risk Of Heart Attack - Calcium supplements could up the chances of a heart attack in healthy postmenopausal women, found a study. Calcium is often prescribed to women after menopause to keep bones healthy, and some doctors even believe that it prevents arteries from blockage, but new research highlights a risk. (British Medical Journal (BMJ), Jan 2008.)

2. Increased Risk of Prostrate Cancer - The risk of prostate cancer for men who consume a daily folic acid supplement of 1 mg may be double, when compared to men who don't. Folic acid or vitamin B9 is naturally found in many vegetables, beans, fruits and whole grains. The study was conducted by the University of Southern California scientists. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Mar 2009.)

3. Increased Risk of Lung Cancer – When beta carotene and other carotenoid-containing dietary supplements are consumed over a long period of time they may increase the risk of getting lung cancer. And the links are stronger when the consumers happen to be smokers. (American Journal of Epidemiology AJE, Feb 2009.)

4. Reduced Effect of Anti-Cancer Drugs - If you are on supplements and if it results in high amounts of vitamin C in your cells. Then it may reduce the effect of anti-cancer drugs you consume because the vitamin levels will cause the cancer cells to live longer (Cancer Research, Oct 2008).

5. Increased Risk For Diabetes - A large scale study concluded that people who consumed 200 microgram selenium supplement daily, for about eight years, their chances of developing type 2 diabetes were higher than those who took a placebo. (Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug 2007)

While useful in many cases, intake of supplements can sometimes be damaging.

Herbal Supplements: 5 Promising Benefits

Results from a national survey in 2007 showed that, 17.7 percent of American adults had used "natural products" in the past 12 months. These natural or herbal supplements didn't include vitamins and minerals.


Of late there have been a slew of discussions, debates, and studies that have questioned the efficacy and safety of herbal supplements, e.g. herbal supplements viz. Echinacea, Glucosamine, Kava, etc. could lead to dangerous side effects during plastic surgery. And an NIH supported study found that the herbal supplement black cohosh used alone or with other herbal dietary supplements, wasn't effective in relieving hot flashes in postmenopausal women.


Nevertheless, the following are 5 promising health benefits of several herbal supplements.


1. Prostate Cancer Prevention - An increased consumption of dietary isoflavones is linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer. One source of the compound is Red clover (Trifolium pretense). However, there's little information about these supplements' safety. These results were reported in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).


2. Prostate Cancer Treatment - According to a report published in the October 2005 edition of Nutrition and Cancer, Zyflamend - a unique herbal extract preparation, suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells and causes them to self-destruct.


3. Managing Cocaine Cravings - A study presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's (ACNP) annual conference 2005, showed that the compound N-acetylcysteine (NAC) could modulate the effects of cocaine addiction. NAC is an herbal supplement known for its antioxidant properties and is sold over-the-counter.


4. Fertility Boost in women - Chasteberry was the herb that showed an improved ovulation and restoration of progesterone balance in women. These results published in the April 2004 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine were an outcome of a small pilot study in by Stanford researchers. Btw, fertility is affected by a bad economy too, see: Does Bad Economy Equal Low Fertility Rate?


5. Combating Liver Cancer – The aqueous leaf extract (ALE) from the plant Acanthus ilicifolius – found across India, increased the survival of cancer ridden animals (mice) to a significant extent. Suggesting that the plant extract may be used to guard against liver cancer. The study appeared in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (volume 13, issue 48).


It's exciting to see that effective cures and treatments could very well lie outside the purview of conventional medicine. And that researches only help separate the wheat from chaff.

Jan 31, 2012

Ayurvedic Tea Recipes for Various Health Benefits

Ayurveda has always given highest importance to right food according to one's body constitution. As such, one should always eat food according to the dosha of his her body- vata, pitta or kapha. Ayurveda has also advocated certain diets that are beneficial to achieve overall health. It gives many recipes for specific problems such as Ayurvedic Detoxifying Recipes or Ayurvedic Recipes for weight loss etc. There are also many drinks that help maintaining health. One of such drinks is the tea, which when prepared with different herbs and spices give different benefits for health. Some of such ayurvedic tea recipes are described here.

Ayurvedic Tea for Digestion: Take 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Also take 3 cups of water and honey. Boil water and after removing from flame, soak the ingredients, except honey, in it for about 5 minutes. Strain and add honey to make it sweet.

Soothing Tulsi Tea: Take 50 gm Tulsi, 7.5 gm Dalchini, 5 gmBrahmi, 15 gm Banafsha, 25 gm Saunf, 15 gm Iliachi dana, 25 gm each of Lalchandan and Kali Mirch. Ground them and boil the mixture in water.

Banafsha Tea for Cough and Cold: Take 60 gm Banafsha, 15 gm Kulanjan, and 20 gm Mulathi. Ground them and boil the mixture in water. Add one drop each of peppermint and eucalyptus oil.

Jushanda Tea for Relief in Asthma: Take 30 gm Mulathi, 15 gm Somavali, 25 gm Vasaka, and 2 gm Naushadar. Ground them and boil the mixture in water.

Herbal Diuretic Tea: Take 26 gm Hauber, 24 gm Gokshru, 25 gm Varun, and 25 gm Punernava. Ground them and boil the mixture in water. It is a diuretic agent which increases the volume of urine excreted and prevents the formation of stone and also dissolves the kidney stone.

Anti-oxidant Keshar and Green Tea: Take 5 gm Jaiphal, 4 gm Javitri, 50 gm Dalchini, 1 gm Keshar, and 40 gm Ashwagandha. Ground them and boil the mixture in water. For anti-oxidant green tea recipe, add 10 gm green tea leaves, and 1 gm each of Dalchini and Iliachi with sugar (as per taste) in water. Boil to get the tea.

Herbal Laxative Tea: Take 90 gm Senna, and 10 gm Dhania. Ground them and boil the mixture in water. It helps in relieving constipation.

Vata Dosha Tea Recipe: Take 1/4 teaspoon each of freshly grated ginger, ground cardamom, cinnamon, ajwan seeds and 1 cup water. Mix all the ingredients. Boil the water and add the herb mixture to it. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and then serve. It balances the vata dosha.

Pitta Dosha Tea Recipe: Take 1/4 teaspoon each of cumin seeds, coriander, fennel, fresh cilantro, rose petals, and 1 cup water. Mix all the ingredients. Boil the water and add the herb mixture to it. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and then serve. It balances the pitta dosha.

Kapha Dosha Tea Recipe: Take 1/4 teaspoon each of dry ginger, dill seed, fenugreek seed, 1 clove , and 1 cup water. Mix all the ingredients. Boil the water and add the herb mixture to it. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and then serve. It balances the kapha dosha.

If, after reading so many types of herbal tea, you plan to grow these herbs for yourself then read and review about 22 plans for herbal tea gardens.

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