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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Foods for Detoxing

When it comes to detoxing your body, there are many techniques you can follow and supplements you can take. But, the best way, is to eat lots of foods that detox the body.
Below is a list of detox foods that I thought would be an great addition to everybody’s diet.

1. Fruits

Detox Foods Apple
Fruits are extremely high in liquid-content, helping the body wash out toxins. They are also very easy to digest and are high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber and many important vitamins like vitamin C.

2. Green Foods

Detox Foods Spinach
When you are ready to detox your body, fill your refrigerator with blue green algae, barley, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, arugula or other organic leafy greens. These plants will help give a chlorophyll-boost to your digestive tract.
Chlorophyll rids the body of harmful environmental toxins from smog, Heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning products and pesticides. They also aid the liver in detoxification.

3. Lemons, Oranges & Limes

Detox Foods Lemon
These citrus-wonders aid the body in flushing out toxins, as well as jump-start the digestive tract with enzymatic processes. They also aid the liver in its cleansing processes. To increase detoxification, start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water.
Remember, vitamin C is one of the best detox vitamins around, as it transforms toxins into digestible material. Eat vitamin c foods often to help get more of these benefits.
Detox Foods Garlic

4. Garlic

This pungent little bulb is one of the best detox foods out there. It helps stimulate the liver into producing important detoxification enzymes that will help filter out toxic residues in the digestive system. We recommend adding sliced or cooked garlic to any dish, as this will help aid any detox diet.
Broccoli

5. Broccoli Sprouts

Extremely high in antioxidants, broccoli sprouts can help stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract like none-other. The sprouts are actually more effective than the fully-grown vegetable, despite the picture on the right.
Green Tea Detox

6. Green Tea

Packed full of antioxidants, green tea not only washes toxins out of the system through its liquid content, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.

7. Mung Beans

Mung Beans
The mighty mung bean has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for thousands of years. It is incredibly easy to digest, and absorbs toxic residue on the sides of the intestinal walls.

8. Raw Vegetables

Detox Foods
Best for juicing detox regimens or eaten raw: Onions, carrots, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beet, turmeric, and oregano. The combination of these foods will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process. These are high in naturally occurring sulphur and glutathione. Sulphur helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals.

9. Seeds & Nuts

Walnuts
Incorporate more of the easily digestible seeds and nuts into your diet. This include flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, Siberian cedar nuts and sunflower seeds. While detoxing, avoid nut butters.
Avocados

10. Omega-3 Oils

Use hemp, avocado, olive oils or flax seed oil while detoxing. This will help lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil, and eliminated by the body.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Getting Lean to Maintain Better Health. Are You Sending Your Body Mixed Signals?

A healthy body composition (favorable ratio of lean tissues to fat) is associated with overall health. You truly are what you eat... and that starts with how food and other natural substances that complement the diet affect your cells and influence your health.
In the past the main focus was on the nutrients we might be missing. That’s still important. However, now scientists realize that there’s a lot more to consider when planning our daily diets than just avoiding a deficiency. Healthy eating, nutrition, and other modifiable lifestyle factors can help you reverse the disease process and improve health.
Armed with the basic nutritional knowledge we’ve provided here, you and your health care provider can work together to develop the dietary and lifestyle prescription that’s exactly right for you.

How Lifestyles Affect Your Body’s Nutritional Intake

Despite a wide variety of foods, people today generally eat more but actually get fewer nutrients. Many common aspects of daily life can deplete the body of the nutrients it needs to function properly:
  • Drinking—alcohol, coffee/sodas (caffeine)
  • Smoking—nicotine
  • Medications—statin drugs, corticosteroids, diuretics
  • Eating—junk food, refined carbohydrates
  • Stress—work, family
  • State of Health—illness, injury, intestinal issues, pregnancy
These things can rob you of nutrients by:
  • Increasing your need for certain nutrients
  • Causing accelerated nutrient loss
  • Impairing the absorption of nutrients from food

What You Eat Affects How You Feel

Processed foods and other unhealthy dietary habits can interfere with the dietary signals sent to cells throughout the body, which can lead to premature aging and disease. Addressing unhealthy eating patterns allows you to manage symptoms and even halt or reverse the progression of illness. Eating plans can also be tailored to specific conditions to maximize healthy signals—to help regulate blood sugar or reduce inflammation, for example.

Eating to Send a Healthy Message

Are 3 balanced meals a day enough to keep you healthy? Food is the preferred source of nutrients to supply you foundational nutrition needs for basic health maintenance. Knowing how to eat to maximize these nutrients will help you stay on a path of reduced disease risk.
As you probably know, the foods you eat can be broken down into 3 categories: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. They’re all essential to health—but not every food supplies them in a “good” way. And too much of anything—even a good thing—is still too much. Work with your health care provider for suggestions on daily calorie intake and serving size suggestions to match your individual needs and activity level.

Some Fat is Good for You

Fat is a vital nutrient that your body needs for a wide range of biological processes, including growth, healthy skin, and absorption of nutrients. It’s also an important fuel source. Eating the right fats, in moderation, will help you feel full faster, and in turn, decrease your appetite. They can even help lower your risk of heart disease by reducing your levels of total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
  • Good. Mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids (from coldwater fish, nuts, flaxseed oil) are healthy.
  • Bad. Saturated fat and trans fat (from animal products and processed foods) can be harmful.
  • Disease alert. Saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total and LDL cholesterol.

Protein is More Than Just Meat

Protein is a key component of practically every tissue in your body, including muscle, skin, hair, and other tissues. Proteins manufacture the enzymes and hormones that power digestion, metabolism, and tissue growth and repair.
Protein can be found in all meats and vegetables. Some are “complete” proteins (typically from animals) because they contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to build more protein. Others are “incomplete” proteins (vegetables, nuts) because they lack one or more essential amino acids.
  • Good. Lean cuts of meat, white poultry meat, whey protein, soy protein, nuts (in moderation), beans, reduced fat dairy products (or dairy substitutes).
  • Bad. Fatty cuts of meat, dark poultry meat, excess cheese or “whole” dairy product consumption, poultry skins.
  • Caution. Even lean protein sources can be prepared in unhealthy ways—battered, deep fried, or covered in fatty sauces or cheeses.

Carbohydrates: the Key to Healthy Eating

Carbohydrates are important sources of energy and can be found in most foods. Not all carbohydrates are beneficial, so choosing the right carbohydrates is essential.
  • Good. Better sources of carbohydrates are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. These foods are a good source of energy and provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals—as well as phytonutrients that are essential for good health.
  • Bad. Refined carbohydrates or sugars (white bread, white rice, pastries, sugary sodas) provide little or no nutritional value.
  • Caution. Even the best carbs can be prepared in bad ways. Overcooking can deplete nutrients, or they can be covered in cheese, butter, and fatty/sugary sauces that counteract their benefits.
  • Disease Alert. Over time, a steady intake of refined carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, a harmful condition in which the body can’t properly convert blood sugar into energy. Insulin resistance, in turn, can result in weight gain, low energy levels, diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions.

Fiber and Water: Filling You Up and Cleaning You Out

Good sources of fiber include bran, beans, brown rice and nuts, and green vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach). Your health care provider may also recommend a fiber supplement. Dietary fiber helps:
  • Promote healthy insulin and blood sugar response by slowing digestion, which helps to prevent a surge of blood sugar.
  • Create a feeling of fullness, helping you control the amount of food you eat.
  • Increase bowel motility, helping you empty what your body doesn’t need more regularly.
  • Disease alert. Low fiber diets can increase the risk to insulin resistance, digestive discomfort, and more serious intestinal concerns.
Water helps to transport vital nutrients to, and export waste from, our cells. It’s also necessary to moisten the lungs and respiratory tract, lubricate joint surfaces and internal organs, and ensure proper digestion. Like fiber, it can increase the feeling of fullness and aid in toxin removal. So it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough water every day.

Targeted Nutrients—Extra Help for Improving Health

The growing field of research in nutritional genomics—or nutrigenomics—has demonstrated the effects that nutrients and plant substances can have on modifying the expression of genes in favor of good health. This has led to the development of research-based nutraceuticals and medical foods that complement dietary approaches to address today’s top health concerns.

“Boosting” Your Healthy Message with Nutritional Supplements

Even if you eat a nutritious diet, you might benefit from nutritional supplementation. Nutritional supplementation not only helps you maintain adequate nutrient levels. It can also help improve your health or manage chronic health conditions.
The following are key areas for targeted support along with some recommended nutrients:
  • Health maintenance—multivitamin/mineral, essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA), calcium, vitamins B, C, D & E, other antioxidants, phytonutrient complex, fiber, probiotics
  • Body composition—protein, conjugated linoleic acid, chromium, L-carnitine
  • Bone health—MCHC, calcium, vitamin D, boron, magnesium, ipriflavone, berberine, hops, phosphorus
  • Brain function (cognition, memory)—ginkgo biloba, prolie-rich polypeptides, huperzine A, folate, N-acetylcysteine, EPA/DHA
  • Detoxification & liver/kidney function—silymarin, epigallocatechin gallate, watercress, cordyceps, folate, chlorophyllin, andrographis, hops, methionine, artichoke
  • Digestion—lipase, proteases, amla fruit, betaine, pepsin, zinc carnosine, chamomile, peppermint, certain raw organ concentrates, probiotics
  • Immune, sinus & lung health—vitamins A, C, D & E, andrographis, hops, zinc, amla fruit, selenium, Chinese botanicals, Ayurvedic botanicals, homeopathic remedies, perilla, garlic, select mushrooms, probiotics, whey protein, echinacea, ginger, licorice,
  • Intestinal health—probiotics, glutamine, plantain fruit, coptis root, oregano, red thyme, sage, ginger, fiber
  • Joints, tendons & muscles—hops, magnesium, glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, antioxidants, EPA/DHA, calcium
  • Men’s health—arginine, tribulus, zinc, saw palmetto, soy, plant sterols, epigallocatechin gallate, ashwaghanda, DHEA
  • Minor pain relief—ginger, turmeric, reduced iso-alpha acids from hops, boswellia
  • Mood—St. John’s wort, DHEA, folate, inositol, EPA/DHA
  • Relaxation & sleep—lemon balm, passionflower, valerian, L-theanine, casein tryptic hydrolysate, epigallocatechin gallate, N-acetylcysteine, Chinese botanicals, L-5-hydroxytryptophan, L-theanine
  • Sports nutrition—whey protein, electrolytes, magnesium, long-chain glucose-polymers
  • Stress management—licorice, ashwagandha, rehmannia, ginseng, cordyceps, Chinese botanicals, homeopathic remedies
  • Women’s health—indole-3-carbinole, isoflavones (soy, kudzu, red clover), Chinese botanical blends, chasteberry, choline, calcium, ashwaghanda, black cohosh, folate
Be sure to discuss nutritional supplementation with your health care provider, especially if you have a health condition or are currently taking medication.

Get Tested! The Hidden Truth About Weight Gain

Not everyone knows that hormones are key players in regulating weight, metabolism, blood sugar, insulin, and when and where the body stores fat. A simple, at home test can now identify whether weight management efforts are silently being sabotaged.
Many know that maintaining an ideal weight is difficult despite the best efforts with diet and exercise. What most don’t know is that an undetected hormone imbalance can be the missing link – sabotaging your hard work to stay slim.

What’s the connection?

Hormones are key players in regulating weight, metabolism, blood sugar, insulin, and when and where the body stores fat. As we age, shifting hormones trigger numerous symptoms of imbalance – including unexplained weight gain.
The good news is that there is a simple, at-home test that can identify whether you’re one of the thousands affected.

Can’t lose weight? It could be your hormones.

Do the following symptoms sound familiar?
Women:
  • weight gain in hips, thighs
  • belly fat
  • water retention
  • increased appetite
  • sugar cravings
  • low thyroid symptoms – slow weight loss, regularly feeling cold
  • mood swings / PMS
  • heavy / painful or irregular cycles
  • hot flashes / night sweats
  • foggy thinking / fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • unexplained stress
  • irritability
  • low libido
  • anxiety / depression

Men:
  • weight gain in hips, thighs, breast tissue
  • belly fat
  • low lean muscle mass
  • decreased strength and stamina
  • prostate problems
  • foggy thinking / fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • burnout
  • irritability
  • low libido
  • anxiety / depression

Are you one of the thousands affected?

If you have:
  • Weight gain with belly fat
  • Weight gain in the hips and thighs
  • High Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Loss of lean muscle
  • Increased appetite
Simple testing can reveal whether hormones are secretly sabotaging your weight management efforts.

Hormones 101

Most hormones are produced by a group of glands known collectively as the endocrine system. Even though these glands are located in various parts of the body, they are considered one system because of their similar functions and relationship to each other.
Hormones are extremely potent substances. It takes only a minute amount to initiate an action. Hormones are secreted into the bloodstream by the glands. From there, they travel to all parts of the body. But only the cells sensitive to that hormone—called the target tissue--will respond to the chemical signal the hormone carries. Traveling through the blood, hormones enter cells through “receptor” sites, much as a key unlocks a door. Once inside, they get to work, flipping the switches that govern growth, development, and mental and physical functions throughout life. All that changes when your hormones become unbalanced due to physical and emotional stress or the effects of aging. Signals do not reach the right place at the right time. Sometimes cell functions shut down completely. In other cases, cells are over stimulated. All this chaos causes unpleasant symptoms, at the very least. In severe situations, these imbalances can lead to chronic disorders or disease.
Most hormones cannot be stored in the cells of the body. Therefore, they must be made and released into the blood at the precise time they are needed. To maintain the intricate systems in which hormones operate, the body must constantly fine-tune hormone release to keep levels within proper limits. This balance is accomplished through an intricate series of positive and negative feedback mechanisms. For example, an overproduction of one hormone usually prompts the release of one or more complementary hormones in an effort to restore balance. Because of the complexity of these interactions, a hormonal issue rarely stems from only one type of hormone. More often, the problem involves a series of hormones. In addition, a disruption in the balance of hormones produced by one gland or set of glands can cause other gland systems to malfunction.

Hormone Balance: The Key to Health

You've probably heard more about hormones and hormonal imbalances recently - as researchers have become more aware of evidence showing this may be the root cause of many chronic health issues you could be experiencing.
Your hormones should exist in harmony with each other. When levels of each hormone are in the right proportions, body systems are stable. When balance is lost, hormone deficiencies and excesses can cause chronic symptoms and disorders, and raise risks for disease.
A whole host of symptoms may signify an imbalance:
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Weight Gain
  • Irritability
  • Infertiliy
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of libido (sex drive)
  • Depression
The symptoms of hormonal shifts occuring in our bodies can be very strong and can even make you feel out of control at times.
If you have tried to figure out what is happening or perhaps treated your symptoms in ways that don't seem to work, testing your hormones may be the first step to feeling better.
Saliva and blood spot testing reliably identify hormone imbalances. Hormones exist in harmony with each other – partners in a delicate balancing act. When levels of each hormone are in the right proportions, body systems are stable. When balance is lost, hormone deficiencies and excesses can become toxic to the body causing unwanted symptoms, disorders and disease.

A Natural Approach to Erectile Dysfunction that Improves Vascular Health

By Robert Haas, MS
Aging individuals become very enthusiastic when they discover something that produces an immediate result.
Life Extension® members often send us samples of dietary supplements they claim have enhanced their sexual performance. These members are elated that a purported “natural” product produces such striking erection-inducing benefits and want us to inform other members.
When we try these products, we find most of them do indeed work! After we assay these products, we disappointingly find out why they are so effective.
It turns out that unscrupulous supplement makers are spiking herbal preparations with prescription drug ingredients found in Viagra®, Levitra®, or Cialis®.
So when we started getting calls about another “natural” male sex product, we were skeptical. We were impressed that five different clinical studies documented the efficacy of the nutrient combination, but we wondered, is this just another drug-spiked product pretending to be a dietary supplement?
As expected, we observed the same remarkable benefits reported in the clinical studies. What amazed us, however, was that our assays did not detect any prescription drug residue in this supplement.
Based on its underlying mechanisms of action—backed by solid scientific data—it would appear that this nutrient combination not only produces a rapid improvement in male sexual function, but may also confer significant benefit to the vascular system as well.
Erectile dysfunction is often associated with coronary artery disease.1
A nutrient formula that improves male erectile capability may very well protect against heart attack and stroke as well. This article describes the science behind this drug-free male sex enhancer.

Erectile Dysfunction Associated with Vascular Disease

Mainstream doctors generally resort to one of three FDA-approved prescription drugs (Viagra®, Cialis®, or Levitra®) to treat patients suffering from mild erectile dysfunction (ED)—with mixed results. As Mayo Clinic professor of urology Dr. Ajay Nehra recently told the New York Times, “the medications do not work for about half of the men with ED.”2
Although these drugs may help some men with ED to achieve temporary erections sufficient for sexual activity, they do nothing to treat chronic endothelial dysfunction, one of ED’s stealth causes.
The unfortunate reality is that many aging men remain unaware of the link between ED and vascular disease. They go to their doctors seeking help for sexual dysfunction, get a prescription­, and leave with no idea of the creeping health dangers that may lie in store for them.
These dangers are real. “Erectile problems may show up about three years before a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke,” Dr. Ira Sharlip reported in the same New York Times article.2
Prescription drugs for ED can cost as much as $15 per pill.2 They are often accompanied by an array of side effects ranging from indigestion,3 flushing,4 blurred vision,5-7 hearing loss,8,9 congestion,10 and headache11 to more serious health problems, from neurologic disorders12 to heart attacks.3,13
These drugs provide short-term relief to ED sufferers by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the arteries, thus increasing blood flow into arteries that supply the penis. In those instances when ED is the result of plaque buildup in penile arteries, these drugs offer no long-term benefit.
For men interested in achieving optimal health—including dynamic sexual health—a better option is now available.

A Unique Strategy to Support Endothelial Health—and Restore Potency

Researchers have developed a unique natural strategy for management of erectile dysfunction that includes a blend of Pycnogenol® (French maritime pine bark extract) and L-arginine aspartate, an amino acid chelate; combined with icariin, a flavonoid compound used in Chinese herbal medicine.
A Unique Strategy to Support Endothelial Health—and Restore Potency
The interaction of these three ingredients creates a unique strategy that promises to tackle erectile dysfunction from multiple angles.
The nutrients’ underlying mechanisms of action are innovative yet elegantly simple. Here’s how it works: to get an erection, you need adequate blood flow. This requires the relaxation of the smooth muscle in the arteries of the penis. The chemical compound nitric oxide triggers this process of relaxation, increasing the blood flow to the penis required for an erection.
Endothelial cells are responsible for nitric oxide production. They release nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that catalyzes the production of nitric oxide from L-arginine. This process is essential to maintaining an erection. Dysfunctional endothelial cells, disabled by plaque buildup, can no longer produce enough of this enzyme.30
Pycnogenol® stimulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase to produce nitric oxide in the artery linings from the amino acid L-arginine, yielding sufficient bioactive nitric oxide to maintain an erection.31 At the same time, icariin acts to block the enzyme responsible for causing erections to subside, known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5).32
Interestingly, these nutrients not only promote erections, but also enhance male fertility and endo-thelial health. In other words, numerous distinct modes of action work together to produce a broad array of clinically proven health benefits. Meanwhile, prescription erectile dysfunction drugs such as
Viagra® support penile erection primarily by blocking the action of PDE5, without delivering any other benefit.

Pycnogenol® and L-arginine Aspartate: A Clinically Proven, Long-Term Alternative to ED Drugs

The efficacy of Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate has been tested in five independent clinical studies. All of these studies showed that male sexual function was restored during supplementation with these ingredients.33-37 Patients also reported an increase in sexual dreams and fantasies and more frequent morning erections. Their partners noted higher sexual interest and enhanced sexual performance.38
The first clinical trial to report successful treatment of erectile dysfunction with Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate involved 40 men between 25 and 45 years of age suffering from mild ED. After treatment with arginyl aspartate (which provided the equivalent of 1.7 g L-arginine per day) for one month, only 2 patients (5% of all patients) experienced normal erections. During a second month of treatment, 80 mg Pycnogenol® per day was added to the arginine regimen and yielded a significant improvement, with 32 patients (80%) enjoying normal erections. A third month’s treatment with L-arginine, together with an increased amount of Pycnogenol® (120 mg per day), further increased the number of patients with restored normal erectile function. At the end of the trial, 37 patients, equivalent to 92.5% of all participants, achieved normal erectile function.35
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: A NATURAL APPROACH TO ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
  • A Natural Approach to Erectile Dysfunction
    A blend of Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate, combined with icariin, work together to restore healthy endothelial function and promote optimal sexual performance.
  • This nutrient combination promotes healthy erections without the adverse side effects associated with drugs prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction.
  • Prescription drugs can temporarily restore erectile function for some individuals, but they do not treat chronic endothelial dysfunction, an underlying cause of heart disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Five clinical studies have found that Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate work together to restore sexual function, enable erections, boost libido, performance, and sperm motility, viability, and quantity.
  • Pycnogenol®, L-arginine aspartate, and icariin promote the synthesis of nitric oxide, which is essential for healthy vascular function, providing body-wide benefits.
  • Icariin herbal extract act as a PDE5-inhibitor, the same mode of action as Viagra®, Cialis®, and Levitra®. Icariin has been shown to enhance the production of nitric oxide in human endothelial cell culture and in animal models, and exhibits testosterone-like activity.
A second clinical study examined 50 middle-aged men with low testosterone levels who suffered from ED as well as from poor fertility due to impaired sperm motility and morphology.36 Men were given 3 g L-arginine aspartate and 120 mg Pycnogenol® plus 120 mg testosterone undecanoate over a period of 11 months. A statistically significant 76% of men achieved normal sexual function and this effect was sustained during the entire treatment period. The researchers found that this treatment improved sperm quality and quantity at the end of the 1-year treatment and an astounding 40% (20 of 50 patients) achieved fertilization.
A third study—this one a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study—evaluated the effects of Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate on spermatozoa parameters in 50 middle-aged men diagnosed with infertility.37 Investigators found improvement of sperm quality in all participants, with better results in younger men. Study results confirmed that this treatment improved sperm parameters in men with infertility.
A fourth clinical study, which used a randomly allocated, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, examined 50 middle-aged men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction who were treated for one month with placebo or with Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate.33 Study participants recorded their sexual function/dysfunction in diaries. Investigators monitored testosterone levels and endothelial nitric oxide synthase levels along with routine clinical chemistry. Treatment with Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate for one month restored erectile function to normal, and intercourse frequency doubled. Investigators found that endothelial nitric oxide synthase in spermatozoa and testosterone levels in blood increased significantly, while blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure were lowered.
The fifth clinical study used a randomly allocated, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design.34 It examined 50 infertile men who were treated for one month with placebo or Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate. Investigators tested semen samples at four-week intervals and found that treatment with this formula significantly increased semen volume, concentration of spermatozoa, percentage of motile spermatozoa, and percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology compared with placebo treatment. Intake of Pycnogenol® and L-arginine aspartate for one month restored the fertility index to normal values. After treatment, the fertility index decreased again to infertile status. No adverse events were reported.
Researchers believe that improving the quality of spermatozoa from infertile status to a normal fertility index could be caused by two mechanisms: the first is that Pycnogenol® in combination with L-arginine aspartate inhibits the peroxidation of the lipid membrane of spermatozoa, thereby improving the morphology and motility of spermatozoa. The second action could be that these ingredients enhance sperm motility and function by stimulating the activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase. Both mechanisms, perhaps acting simultaneously, have been shown to improve the quality of spermatozoa.
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION LINKED TO ENDOTHELIAL DYSFUNCTION AND AGE
Erectile Dysfunction Linked to Endothelial Dysfunction and Age
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The vascular endothelium is the thin layer of cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels throughout the entire circulatory system. Endothelial cells are involved in many aspects of vascular function.
Endothelial dysfunction leads to constriction of blood vessels, inflammation, and increased tendency toward blood clotting. It is associated with the major forms of cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, chronic renal failure, and erectile dysfunction.14,15
The aging process leads to physiological changes in male sexual activity, including erectile dysfunction (ED), reduced libido, and loss of fertility.16 A remarkable 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 suffer some degree of erectile dysfunction. The likelihood of erectile dysfunction increases with age, and older men are more likely to suffer from more serious erectile dysfunction.17-19
Changes in blood flow to and from the penis are thought to be the most frequent cause of male erectile dysfunction.20 Alterations of penile arterial endothelial cell function relate to arterial risk factors such as atherosclerosis and hypertension—health problems that occur more frequently as men age.
Normal endothelial function depends on nitric oxide (NO) release by endothelial cells.21 With age, arterial production and availability of NO declines.22 One reason may be that an altered form of the amino acid arginine, called ADMA (asymmetric dimethylarginine) competes with L-arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, thus inhibiting NO production and leading to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerotic disease.23,24 This makes adequate ingestion of arginine all the more important as we age.
Numerous conditions aside from endothelial dysfunction can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Such conditions include: diabetes,25 prostate disease,26 prescription drug use,27 smoking,28 and psychological and physical stress.

18 Tips for Mindful Eating

Research suggests that mindful eating can help you lose weight and keep it off. Defined as being fully aware and present during a meal, mindful eating contributes to healthier food choices, slower eating, improved hunger signals, and enjoyment. There are many ways to incorporate more mindful eating into your day.
Change your menu.
It is easy to fall into a rut, eating the same breakfast and lunch day after day. Trying new foods, cooking styles, and types of cuisine will make you more mindful of what you put in your mouth.
Take small bites.

Big bites contribute to eating too quickly. This prevents you from truly enjoying your food. Reduce the size of your bites by at least 1/3 and chew slowly to improve your focus at meal time.
Put down the fork.

Set down your fork at least every two to three bites. This pause will slow your eating and create a more mindful experience.
Use chopsticks.

Forks allow you to scoop up large portions of food, but chopsticks restrict how much you can hold in each bite. It takes practice, but as you learn, you will become more focused on the details (texture, taste, weight) of the food you are eating.
Stay focused.

Avoid being distracted by thoughts of dessert, your next meal, or the snack you plan to have later. If you find this difficult, start making your meals more interesting and flavorful. Incorporate new foods with fresh ingredients that you look forward to eating.
Stop negative thinking.

Classifying a food as good or bad and berating yourself for eating something unhealthy brings negative thinking to the table. Eating should be a pleasurable experience, not one that leaves you feeling guilty. Appreciate the positive aspects of your meal.
Use your table.

The car, couch, and desk create an environment for multi-tasking, removing the focus from your meal. Use your kitchen table when eating at home. Dress it up with a vase of flowers and placemats for an inviting place to relax while you enjoy healthy food.
Reflect on your food.

Take time to think about the food you are eating. Consider where the food came from, what it looks like on the plant or in the ground, and who grew it. This creates a sense of gratitude. Appreciation for your food is a key factor in mindful eating.
Take note.

As you chew, pay attention to the textures, temperature, flavor and crunch of the food. You may discover new elements you haven’t noticed before, which can make your eating experience more enjoyable.
No need for speed.

The faster we complete a task, the more we accomplish. Unfortunately, allowing mealtime to follow this pattern leads to overeating. It also reduces satisfaction and your ability to listen to hunger cues. Slow down, focus, and stop when you are full.
Make it a meal.

Eating from a bag or box makes it difficult to track serving sizes. Regardless of what you eat, grab a plate or bowl and sit down. Measure out portions of crackers, dips, cheeses, nuts, and seeds. Not only does this give you time to consider your food choices, it will keep you from going overboard on servings.
Take one bite.

Make an effort to take one bite of food at a time. Chew it slowly and swallow before picking up the fork and knife for the next. The taste, textures, and flavors will come to life -- increasing how much you enjoy the meal.
Work for your food.

Serve peanuts and pistachios in the shell. Eat oranges and bananas that require peeling. Enjoy cherries and olives with the pits still intact. Removing the inedible portions during the meal will help you eat at a slower pace.
Sip your drink.

The liquids you drink during a meal help to increase fullness. When this liquid is water or unsweetened tea, you can feel fuller without added calories. Additionally, stopping to sip a drink between bites slows your eating.
Stay in the present.

The television, laptop, and Smartphone take attention away from the food causing mindless eating. Give yourself a 20 to 30 minute break from the screen to focus only on your meal.
Serve a pretty plate.

Take the time and effort to set out your meal in a way that makes you appreciate it’s appearance. Use a pretty plate or bowl, add garnishes like fresh herbs or lime slices. Enjoy both the look and taste of your healthy meals.
Assess your hunger level.

When eating out you have less control over serving sizes so it is important to take note of your hunger level. Before your meal, decide how much food will satisfy your hunger and take the rest home for a later meal.
Eat a meal alone.

You may have a family to feed or coworkers that insist you eat lunch together, but dining solo from time to time can help you return to mindful eating. Whether it is a 15-minute breakfast or a dinner alone, dine quietly by yourself and incorporate mindful eating practices.

6 Things to Know About High Protein - Low Carb Diets

There are many forms of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Some are prescribed by doctors to control conditions such as diabetes. Others put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to define what the eating plan entails to determine if it will benefit your long term health -- beyond a quick-fix for weight loss. Here are a few things to think about before cutting out carbs.
    Carbohydrates do not “make you fat.” Carbohydrates are macronutrients and the primary energy source for the body. Eating carbohydrates does not directly result in weight gain -- although a diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, processed grains) is likely to be high in calories. Large portions and excess calories are the culprit when it comes to weight gain, not carbohydrates.

    High protein diets may stress the kidneys. The byproducts produced when kidneys break down protein can be harmful when concentrations becomes too high in the bloodstream. That being said, in a study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, researchers found that after two years of eating a high protein, low carb diet no harm to kidney function was detected in healthy obese patients when compared to those eating a standard low-fat diet. But even researchers caution that those involved had no evidence of chronic kidney disease or other illness before adopting this eating style. High protein diets are strongly discouraged for anyone with reduced kidney function.

    High protein diets can be high in saturated fat. High protein diets that rely on animal products for increased protein can increase saturated fat intake. The American Heart Association advises limiting saturated fat intake to less than seven percent of total calories per day to reduce risk for heart disease. When increasing protein, it’s important to include plant-based sources. Beans, nuts, and seeds provide protein along with healthy fat, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals.

    High protein diets may affect bone health. Research shows that high protein diets, especially those high in meat products, can increase acid levels in the body. In high acid conditions, calcium from the bone breaks down to help neutralize the acid which weakens the bones over time. This is especially concerning for postmenopausal women who may already be experiencing accelerated bone loss due to drops in estrogen levels.

    Low carbohydrate diets can be low in micronutrients. When restricting carbohydrate intake so much that it reduces or eliminates your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you are at an increased risk for nutrient deficiencies. These foods contain valuable vitamins and minerals necessary for health. They also contain unique phytonutrients that cannot be found from other sources (including supplements).

    Low carbohydrate diets can be low in fiber. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are the best sources for fiber. Fiber improves digestive health, lowers blood cholesterol, and helps to control blood sugar. Cutting out foods rich in fiber causes you to miss out on these healthy benefits. Recommended fiber intake is about 25 grams per day. It is nearly impossible to consume this amount of fiber when cutting out these naturally fiber-rich foods.

A Natural Approach to Menopause

By Dale Kiefer
For the last few decades, doctors have had a simple solution for menopause: writing prescriptions for estrogen drugs. With millions of women taking estrogen, all seemed to be going well, until data revealed that estrogen drug use resulted in significant increases in lethal diseases ranging from breast cancer to stroke.1 This development left both the medical profession and menopausal women paralyzed, with no direction and no answers as to how best to relieve the debilitating symptoms of menopause.
Clearly overlooked is the fact that menopause is a complex, multifactorial health condition. Addressing menopause requires a diverse approach that both restores normal hormone balance and protects against the multitude of diseases that can arise during this period in a woman’s life. The onset of menopause triggers profound changes in cardiac health, mental states, bone strength, and cell proliferation, all of which combine to greatly elevate a woman’s risk for contracting heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
These health issues are not easy to correct, especially when they occur simultaneously. The ideal approach to addressing menopause would be comprehensive and holistic, providing fast-acting, short-term symptomatic relief as well as longer-term benefits that support women’s health as their body chemistry changes. While declining levels of estrogen are what gives rise to the difficulties of menopause, both nutritional and hormonal support are required to address and ameliorate the physiological symptoms and other changes that accompany menopause.
Fortunately, researchers have identified natural approaches that may safely relieve hot flashes, breast pain, insomnia, irritability, and other menopausal symptoms. Unlike estrogen-progestin drugs, the use of these natural agents is correlated with reduced risks of certain cancers, along with improved bone and cardiovascular health.
Scientists have known for years that women who consume certain plant-based nutrients are less likely to develop hot flashes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.2-5 In response to the health debacle arising from the use of estrogen drugs, researchers have begun digging deeper into the botanical medicine chest, critically evaluating the efficacy of various traditional herbal products that safely stimulate estrogen receptors and create estrogen-like responses.
Mounting scientific evidence indicates that menopausal women may safely benefit from inexpensive, readily available botanical extracts that do not require a prescription.6-18 This article reviews the latest research findings concerning menopause-related health conditions—ranging from depression and hot flashes to osteoporosis and heart disease—and how women may benefit from highly researched botanicals. Taken together, these findings suggest a new approach to safely and effectively managing menopause.

Why Lignans Are So Important

For women approaching meno-pause, plant lignans offer important protection against cancer, cognitive decline, and hypertension. These fibrous compounds are present in large quantities in foods such as flaxseed, whole grains, and vegetables. In the digestive tract, they are converted to beneficial estrogenic compounds by resident bacteria. Two of these metabolic byproducts, enterolactone and enterodiol, are believed to play an important role in cancer prevention in mammals.19-22
A recent study published in the Journal of Hypertension concluded that dietary lignans, even in small amounts, are likely to normalize blood pressure and reduce hypertension, thereby lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.23
Research from Korea indicates that high enterolactone levels also are associated with greater bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, scientists have found that women with low levels of enterolactone are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.5 Scientists in the Netherlands recently reported that “higher dietary intake of lignans is associated with better cognitive function in postmenopausal women.”24
Surprisingly, the evergreen tree is an excellent source of potent lignans. Scandinavian researchers recently discovered that the knotwood of these majestic trees contains highly concentrated amounts of a lignan known as hydroxymatairesinol, or HMR. Numerous studies have shown that HMR is a potent antioxidant that may promote health and help protect against diseases such as cancer. In laboratory models of uterine, breast, colon, and other carcinomas, HMR lignan has demonstrated efficacy in reducing the volume and growth of existing tumors and preventing the formation of new tumors.22,25-29
Bioavailability—that is, the ease with which HMR lignan is converted directly to enterolactone and absorbed into the bloodstream—is what sets HMR apart from other plant lignans. Its unique chemical composition allows natural gut bacteria to convert HMR directly to the beneficial enterolactone and enterodiol lignans. This contrasts with other plant lignans, which must undergo further metabolism.29 Although flaxseed has long been recognized as one of the most concentrated sources of plant lignans, it takes far more flaxseed than HMR lignan to deliver an equivalent amount of beneficial enterolactone into the bloodstream. While one would have to eat about four tablespoons (20-30 grams) of unrefined flaxseed to get a beneficial dose of lignans, just 10-30 milligrams of HMR lignan (about 1,000 times less) provide an equivalent amount of enterolactone in the body.28

Protective Effects of Pomegranate

One of the more devastating long-term effects of menopause is an increase in both cancer and heart disease risk. Doctors initially thought that estrogen drugs would reduce cardiovascular risk, but these drugs instead dramatically increased a woman’s risk of contracting these lethal diseases. Fortunately, scientists are now discovering that natural agents can help protect aging women from these diseases.
Long venerated for its health-promoting properties, the fruit of the pomegranate tree is drawing new attention as a source of beneficial compounds that provide powerful protection against heart disease and cancer. Among these compounds are unique antioxidants that may dramatically improve cardiovascular health. A recent study conducted in Israel, for example, examined the effects of consuming pomegranate juice on the cardiovascular status of patients with atherosclerosis. Although some patients were followed for three years, dramatic differences were noted after just one year. Patients receiving the juice experienced a 30% improvement in atherosclerosis as measured by blood flow capacity through the carotid artery. In control patients who did not receive the juice, the same parameter of cardiovascular health actually worsened by 9%. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 21% and total serum antioxidant status increased by 130% in the pomegranate-supplemented patients.30
These dramatic improvements were achieved within one year of treatment. Subsequent years yielded no further improvements, except in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, which continued to decrease with continued consumption of pomegranate juice.30 More recent research confirms that pomegranate juice fights cardiovascular disease by preventing LDL peroxidation and by significantly suppressing the synthesis of new cholesterol by macrophages.31 In fact, punicalagin, the major antioxidant polyphenol ingredient in pomegranate juice, is found nowhere else in nature. But pomegranate also contains ellagic acid, the compound that makes berries the health-promoting powerhouses of the produce aisle. A recent analysis of the abilities of various components of pomegranate juice to fight cancer and quench free radicals found that pomegranate’s many compounds work synergistically and in a variety of ways to stop cancer.8
New research indicates that pomegranate may be particularly indicated in the prevention of breast cancer, one of the most common cancers threatening women after menopause. The most powerful estrogen in the body, 17-beta-estradiol, plays an important role in the genesis and development of breast cancers, most of which are hormone dependent in their early stages.32 Pomegranate-derived polyphenol compounds inhibit 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I, the enzyme that converts the weak estrogen estrone into its most potent metabolite, 17-beta-estradiol.33 High expression of 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I can be an indicator of adverse prognosis in women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast tumors.32 Based on these findings, scientists hope to conduct clinical trials assessing the preventive and therapeutic applications of pomegranate in human breast cancer.

Hormonal Effects of Soy

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that closely mimic the natural estrogens women produce in abundance before menopause. In the body, phytoestrogens have been shown to modulate the effects that estrogen exerts on cells in a way that could reduce the risk of contracting various diseases. It was long ago established that natural estrogens play a role in the healthy function of bones, heart muscle, and blood vessel linings. Estrogens also contribute to learning and memory.34
Aging women need to counter the depletion of beneficial natural hormones that occurs upon meno-pause. Soy contains genistein and daidzein, which are among the most extensively studied phytoestrogens. Epidemiological evidence shows that cancer and heart disease are less prevalent in populations that consume large amounts of soy.35 Moreover, scientists have demonstrated in laboratory studies that genistein inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells.36-39
Rates of cardiovascular disease and hormone-dependent cancers are lower among Asian women who consume soy.4 Epidemiological evidence shows that North American women who consume the greatest amounts of phytoestrogens enjoy significantly better cardiovascular risk profiles than women who consume the least phytoestrogens.40 Such epidemiological evidence suggests that dietary rather than genetic differences account for Asians’ better health.
Numerous studies have shown that increased consumption of phytoestrogens, including genistein and daidzein, is associated with a reduced risk of breast and other hormone-dependent cancers, such as endometrial cancer.19,41-44 Scientists have also determined that phyto-estrogens confer protection against lung cancer.45 Recent studies have documented significant improvements in long- and short-term memory, mental flexibility, and attention with increased phytoestrogen consumption.46-49
Phytoestrogens from soy have also been shown to reduce the loss of bone density in postmenopausal women.50 The findings from a recent prospective study suggested that postmenopausal women who consume more soy products experience a decreased risk of bone fracture compared to those who consume little soy. This association was most pronounced in the years immediately following menopause.51
Asian women experience hot flashes less frequently than do Western women. Less than one fifth of menopausal Chinese women, for example, complained of hot flashes in one such study.3 By contrast, more than three fourths of menopausal North American and European women suffer from hot flashes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that isoflavone-rich soy extracts decrease both the frequency and severity of hot flashes in postmenopausal women.52 In one study, 80% of women using a soy extract experienced a significant decrease, averaging 48%, in the number of daily hot flashes. These women also reported statistically significant improvements in other menopausal symptoms, including sleep disorder, anxiety, depression, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and bone pain.53
In response to these findings, scientists conducted clinical trials using soy extracts in an attempt to relieve menopausal miseries. Because these studies produced inconclusive results, many mainstream medical doctors lost confidence in soy’s ability to relieve menopausal symptoms. This is regrettable considering the many diseases associated with normal aging and menopause that soy-derived phytoestrogens have been shown to prevent. While soy phyto-estrogens by themselves may not be equal to potent estrogen drugs in alleviating menopausal symptoms, their estrogen-modulating effects merit including soy in a comprehensive approach to both reducing disease risk and relieving the symptoms of menopause.