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Chocolate leads to a healthier heart – study
(6 Minutes Newsletter)
Older women who eat chocolate regularly are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, an Australian studyshows.
Researchers in Perth found that women who ate chocolate were less likely to be hospitalised or die of atherosclerotic vascular disease than those who steered clear of it.
And they did not even need to over-indulge to obtain the cardiovascular benefit, with similar benefits applying to those who ate chocolate only once a week and those who ate it daily, according to the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine (170:1857).
More than 1,200 women over 70 took part in the study and were tracked for a decade. Nearly half had less than one serving of chocolate a week, which was the equivalent amount of cocoa in one cup of hot chocolate, a third were having one to six servings a week and the rest had a serving daily.
Around 88 of those who ate chocolate rarely were hospitalised or died from heart disease during the study period, compared to 65 women who ate chocolate more frequently.
New breed of synthetic toxins.
Bisphenol-a and phthalates are two classes of chemicals increasingly entering our food chain, leaching from plastic bottles, plastic food and beverage containers, carpets and fabrics.
Long considered safe, long-term exposure to these chemicals has now been shown to be associated with an increased prevalence of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Metabolic Syndrome is diagnosed when a patient has three or more of the following five American Heart Association criteria:
- Abdominal obesity (waist circumference ≥ 102 cm in men, and ≥ 88 cm in women)
- Hypertriglyceridaemia (≥ 1.70 mmol/litre)
- Low HDL (≤ 1.03 mmol/litre in men and ≤1.29 mmol/litre in women)
- Hypertension (≥ 130/85 mmHg)
- Elevated fasting glucose (≥ 5.6 mmol/litre)
Metabolic Syndrome seriously increases cardiovascular risk.
The components of Metabolic Syndrome are some of the most dangerous cardiovascular risk factors. In combination, they increase a patient’s risk of heart disease by around 500%.
The prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome is soaring.
There are currently over five million people in Australia, and in excess of one million people in New Zealand, who satisfy the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome.
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease.
Every single day, 275 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes, contributing to an estimated 3.2 million Australians who live with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Alarmingly, it is thought that for each person diagnosed, there is another that remains undiagnosed. Diabetes is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in Australia.
Killing ourselves with excess.
Due to our modern diets and lifestyles, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are epidemic in the Western world, typically afflicting 50-65% of adult populations. These diseases are rare or nonexistent in hunter-gatherers and other less Westernised populations, highlighting the negative impact modern diets and lifestyles are having on our health.
Cordain L et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. - Hindu Spiritual
Pain changes our lives
Pain, even for a brief period, can be a debilitating experience. Chronic pain compromises health, relationships, mood and enjoyment of life. Unrelenting pain colours life’s experiences and leaves sufferers without the peace that many people take for granted. While legitimate pain is an essential and important signal of physical injury or trauma, chronic pain serves no purpose and creates physical and mental distress.
Solutions for pain are elusive
One of the greatest clinical challenges is the patient with chronic, non-specific pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. Many practitioners struggle to treat pain effectively and many patients try a succession of treatments, looking for answers. Some desperate patients resort to injections into damaged tissue, or even surgical sectioning of nerves in an attempt to relieve their suffering, often with limited benefit.
Chronic pain rewires the brain
Most pain syndromes are triggered by an injury, trauma or inflammation of peripheral tissues such as the joints, nerves, gut or reproductive system. Recurrent painful stimuli can trigger a cascade of physiological changes leading to sensory hyperalgesia and amplification of pain signalling pathways. This ongoing stimulation of the central pain regulation centres can lead to a neuroplastic rewiring process taking place, strengthening the signals and amplifying the pain response. This typically results in the spreading of pain to larger areas and the onset of symptoms of neuropathic pain.
Natural solutions for chronic pain
Pharmaceutical management of pain and inflammation focuses on the downstream effector molecules – prostaglandins, leukotrienes and recently other inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha. Whilst helpful, these strategies are, for many people, insufficient to control their discomfort. They are also associated with substantial risk of side effects and death. Patients with back pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis and autoimmune conditions need safe and effective alternatives. Natural solutions to chronic pain focus on turning off the painful stimuli as far upstream as possible, via the modification of kinases and nuclear transcription of inflammatory proteins. Even more importantly, natural strategies to treat the central amplification of pain are available, as well as tools to target the peripheral drivers of the pain signalling.
There is a range of natural pain strategies to achieve the best possible safety and efficacy of treatment.
Butter…a health food
The information about nutrition that most people have comes from advertisement. Advertisement’s main purpose is to make us believe that a certain product is desirable, that is better than other product and that we need it. Most of the time, the purpose of the adds is to sell more, to increase sales and profits. For example, if you were a company manufacturing margarine, you would try to demonstrate that old fashion butter is bad food, so people would buy your product. For decades most people believed that margarine is a healthier alternative to butter. Further more, the general public has been educated mainly by margarine manufacturers that butter is a bad food choice…a killer of people, that only uneducated unsophisticated people would use butter.Advertisement campaigns showed housewives using and giving margarine to their families, and being praised for such finesse. Margarine is made from a bunch of chemicals that are very similar in its composition to plastic. Natural food will decompose, but it is said that if we leave some margarine on the kitchen bench for a very long time, it will not go off.Some scientists have decided to go back and revisit the current information that we have about butter.
The results have been amazing:
Butter is rich in the antioxidant vitamin A, which is needed for the health of the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands and which may help in the proper function of the whole cardiovascular system. Also is well known the benefits of adequate vitamin A for the health of our eyes. Butter is the best and most readily absorbed source of vitamin A.
Butter also contains lecithin, a substance needed for the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents. Butter gets blamed for cholesterol, and yet butter contains a substance essential for the proper assimilation of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
VITAMIN E and SELENIUM
Also contains vitamin E and Selenium which are protective of the whole cardiovascular system.Long chain fatty acids found in polyunsaturated oils, butter substitutes and hydrogenated fats (margarine) are immunosuppressive. It attacks or suppresses the immune system. The supposedly better product than butter (margarine) is depressing the immune system, causing our body to be unable to resist disease.
Short and medium chain fatty acids found in butter have immune system strengthening properties, butter builds up immunity, margarine tears down the immune, system.What is the difference between butter and margarine? Butter is natural. Margarine is a chemical.
EASILY CONVERTED TO ENERGY
Short and medium chain fatty acids are also more easily absorbed digested and utilised as energy than the long chain fatty acids.
Short and medium fatty acids chains have strong anti tumour effects, particularly 12 carbon chain fatty acid called Lauric acid (dodecanoic acid).Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid not found in other animal fat, that is highly protective is conditional essential fatty acid because is made only by the mammary gland and not in the liver like other saturated fats. Although it is obtainable by large amounts of coconut oil, it may be more easily obtained by small amounts of butter fat.
The antifungal and anti-tumour of butyric acid are unique to butter. It is an energy source for the cells lining the colon where it plays a part in the development and maintenance, reduces chronic inflammation in the colon and faecal levels correlates with decreased colon cancer risks. In people with compromised immune systems undifferentiated cell growth can be inhibited by butyric acid which is found in butter.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA present in butter in large amounts, has been shown to be anti carcinogenic in several animal studies. The fat soluble antioxidant vitamin in butter as well as selenium and cholesterol are also protective against cancer.
HELPS BURN BODY FAT
CLA has been shown to inhibit the body’s mechanism for storing fat and results in the body’s utilisation of fatty reserves for energy. Note: butter has been blamed for causing obesity, but in reality because is a tremendous source of CLA which is not only to be found to be anticarcinogen, but it inhibits the ability of the body’s to store fat and also helps the body to utilise the stores of fatty tissues. We store less fat and use our fat stores more efficiently if we eat butter.
STRONG BONES AND TEETH
In addition to vitamin A and E butter also contains vitamin D. Currently the deficiency of vitamin D has been described as epidemic because we are keeping away from the sun. When we expose our skin to the sun, we are able to manufacture vitamin D. Vitamin D is paramount in the absorption of calcium and therefore necessary for proper bone growth and development of healthy teeth. The rising rates of osteoporosis in milk drinking western nations may be due to people choosing skim milk over whole milk thinking it is better for them. Butter is also protective against tooth decay.
Butter is one of the few foods that supplies adequate amounts of iodine in highly absorbable form. Iodine is critical for proper thyroid function as is vitamin A. Iodine became so critical some years ago, that governments mandated that table salt be ionised where they injected iodine in table salt, to increase the amount of iodine in the diet, because there was a deficiency of iodine. That kind of iodine as it turns out is not as beneficial because is not absorbed by the body as easily being injected into the salt artificially. What is a better source for iodine? Simple natural butter.
OMEGA 3 and 6
Butter contains small but equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids This excellent balance between linolenic and linoleic essential fatty acids helps prevent the problems associated with the excessive consumption of omega 6 fatty acids.
Non–Alcoholic Fatty Liver:
An Often Asymptomatic Threat
by Gene Bruno, MS, MHS
Data suggest that easily one–third of all American adults have non–alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), yet it is virtually never discussed in the media for the epidemic that it is––although scientific literature is rife with research examining this condition. For example, in 2,287 subjects from a multiethnic, large urban population sample, nearly one–third of all Americans had NAFL, with prevalence differing among ethnic groups: 45 percent in Hispanics, 33 percent in whites, and 24 percent in blacks.1
The higher prevalence in Hispanics was due to the higher incidence of obesity and insulin resistance. The prevalence of NAFL was also greater in men than women among whites (42 percent in men; 24 percent in women), but not in blacks or Hispanics. Likewise, in another study of 328 outpatients (18 to 70 years old) from an army medical center, NAFL was prevalent in 46 percent of subjects.2
In addition, there is a greater prevalence of NAFL among diabetics. This was in a study of 2,839 type 2 diabetic outpatients, where the unadjusted prevalence of NAFL was 69.5 percent, and increased with age: 74.6 percent among those aged 60 years or older.3 The age–adjusted prevalence for non–alcoholic fatty liver was 71.1 percent in men and 68 percent in women.3
Although nonalcoholic fatty liver is more prevalent in adults, it is still relatively common for children to have NAFL as well. A study conducted in San Diego county, California found that NAFL was present in 8.1 percent of an estimated 62,827 children age 2–19, adjusted for age and gender.4
Clearly, this under–recognized condition is of concern to a substantial percentage of the population. This article will introduce non–alcoholic fatty liver, its symptoms, prevalence, diagnosis and dietary supplements that may be used to promote healthy liver function.
The Liver: Its Crucial Role in Health
The liver is vital to human health, arguably performing the most diverse roles of any single organ. Among its myriad of functions, the liver plays a primary role in the detoxification of exogenous and endogenous biochemicals, including xenobiotic toxins and steroid hormones.5–7 The liver synthesizes proteins, glucose (from amino acids), glycogen, triglycerides, cholesterol and coagulation factors, as well as stores certain vitamins (A, D and B12), minerals (iron and copper) and glycogen.8 This 3.1–3.5 pound organ produces bile, which is necessary to emulsify fats as part of the digestive process. Bile also serves as a vehicle for disposing of toxic molecules that are too large for disposal via urine.9–10 In addition, the liver’s elegantly specialized tissues are involved in the regulation of a broad variety of high–volume biochemical reactions.11
Given the liver’s multiple and irreplaceable functions, it is clear that interference with liver anatomy and physiology could have devastating effects upon systemic health and wellness. Such is the case with nonalcoholic fatty liver.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver
Nonalcoholic fatty liver describes the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. Unfortunately, NAFL is common, often causes no signs and symptoms, and sometimes no complications. In more serious cases, however, the fat that accumulates in NAFL can cause liver inflammation and scarring. Ultimately, at its most severe, NAFL can progress to liver failure.12
NAFL is often discovered via incidentally elevated liver enzyme levels. There is a strong association with NAFL, obesity and insulin resistance. Currently, NAFL is considered by many as the hepatic component of the metabolic syndrome.13
TABLE 1. Non–Alcoholic Fatty Liver Potential Symptoms
Although most NAFL patients are asymptomatic, some people may experience the following symptoms:
• Discomfort in the right upper quadrant
• Diffuse abdominal discomfort
• An enlarged liver on clinical examination
• Coexisting metabolic syndrome symptoms
Symptoms and Causes
Although most NAFL patients are asymptomatic, there are symptoms that may be common. These include malaise, fatigue and discomfort in the right upper quadrant or diffuse abdominal discomfort. An enlarged liver may also be found on clinical examination. Also, most (80 percent) of NAFL patients have associated features of metabolic syndrome,14 which may include the presence of two or more of the following:
• Impaired glucose tolerance – Fasting blood glucose level ≥110 mg/dL
• High blood pressure – ≥130/85 mm Hg
• Elevated triglyceride levels – >250 mg/dL
• HDL cholesterol level – <40 mg/dL for men; <50 mg/dL for women
• Abdominal obesity – Waist: >102 cm (40 inches) for men; >88 cm (35 inches) for women15
In addition, nonalcoholic fatty liver is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure.16–17 Certain medications can also contribute toward the development of NAFL. This includes amiodarone, antiviral drugs (nucleoside analogues), aspirin (rarely as part of Reye’s syndrome in children), corticosteroids, methotrexate, tamoxifen and tetracycline.18
Due to the fact that nonalcoholic fatty liver is often asymptomatic, it tends to be found incidentally while testing for an unrelated problem, such as may be the case when testing for elevated aminotransferase levels (liver enzyme) as part of a routine checkup or when monitoring is performed for possible side effects of drugs. In any case, the following tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis:19
• Blood Tests – Measurements of global liver function and inflammatory activity should be performed, along with additional blood tests to exclude viral hepatitis (liver enzyme levels are normal in a large percentage of NAFL):
• Serum aminotransferase – Mild to moderate elevation is common (mean range, 100–200 IU/L).
• AST to ALT ratio – Generally less than 1, but increases as fibrosis advances.
• Serum alkaline phosphatase and g–glutamyl transpeptidase – May be mildly abnormal.
• Serum levels of fasting cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as fasting glucose and insulin, should be determined – More than 80 percent of patients with NAFL have some components of the metabolic syndrome.
• Liver Ultrasound – To look for irregularities in the shape and consistency of the liver and for problems of the biliary tract, such as gallstones.
• Computed Tomography (CT) – To provide a detailed view of the liver.
• Liver Biopsy – May be needed in some cases.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no proven, conventional, medical treatment for NAFL,20 although they suggest that excess fat in the liver can often be reduced through:
• Gradual and sustained weight loss
• Exercise and healthy dietary changes
• Tight control of blood glucose levels (for diabetics)
• Bariatric surgery to alter the digestive system and promote weight loss (in some obese patients)
• In addition, if the liver has been severely damaged by NAFL, a liver transplant may be a necessary option.21
As previously stated, the liver plays a primary role in the detoxification of exogenous and endogenous biochemicals. This occurs via detoxification pathways in the liver called “phase 1” and “phase 2,”22–24 which ultimately attaches or conjugates a water–soluble substance onto the toxin to facilitate its excretion via the bile or the urine.25–26 Given that some of these toxins may play a role in the etiology of NAFL27, this underscores the importance of taking an integrative approach to support and promote liver detoxification mechanisms with the use of key nutraceuticals found in Detox 365, AL–Neutralizer™, Gallbladder Support and HepatoGen™.
Panaxea product 'Methyl Reconstruct' is a methyl group donor that act as conjugating agents in phase 2.30 MSM or methylsulfonylmethane31 and Trimethylglycine or betaine32 are donors of methyl groups, and may be useful as such in biochemical reactions in the liver. In addition, animal research has demonstrated that trimethylglycine is capable of stopping the development of non–alcoholic fatty livers, as well as improving parameters of existing NAFL.33
The glutathione conjugation pathway is a major phase 2 pathway through which toxic molecules pass. N–acetyl cysteine (NAC) is the precursor to glutathione36 , is found in 'Life' and it stimulates glutathione synthesis and promotes liver detoxification; as well as acting as a powerful scavenger of free radicals.37 In addition, the metabolic antioxidant R–lipoic or alpha lipoic acid has been found to increase glutathione synthesis38 by increasing cellular uptake of cysteine which is required for glutathione synthesis.39 Equally significant is that in animal research, NAC was able to help stop many aspects of the progression of non–alcoholic fatty livers.40 Furthermore, lipoic acid was before also able to keep the livers completely healthy.41
Furthermore, research shows that silymarin from Milk Thistle protects against glutathione depletion42, and increases liver glutathione status43, thereby supporting detoxification by the liver.44 In addition, Milk Thistle stimulates the production of bile45, which is significant since bile acts as a vehicle to excrete toxins into the colon once they have completed phase 2 conjugation. Also, Milk Thistle has been said to have clinical application for fatty liver. This has been demonstrated in a pilot study when Milk Thistle, combined with vitamin E and phosholipids, improved parameters of fatty liver.46 Likewise, a number of in vitro studies have investigated Milk Thistle’s role in supporting the health of the liver. For example, in one of these studies, silymarin protected liver cells from cell death induced by saturated fatty acids.47
Artichoke has a similar effect to Milk Thistle with regard to stimulating bile flow, which has been demonstrated in several studies.48 By this mechanism, Artichoke can also help in the excretion of toxins.
Non–alcoholic fatty liver is a prevalent but under–recognized threat to wellness. Supporting the health of the liver through using key botanicals, amino acids and natural detoxifying agents can ensure this organ continues to fulfill its essential role.
Your health is your greatest asset.
What can you do today to optimise this?