Monthly Archives: August 2013

Health Benefits Of Milk Thistle

Many older guys think that prostate problems just come with the territory as they age. It’s looked at one of those things that “just happens” and as common as prostate problems among aging men are, it’s no wonder many have just accepted it as their fate. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. There are a few herbs, including saw palmetto and stinging nettle, that are known to support prostate health. Additionally, research has shown that milk thistle possesses potent flavonoids that promote prostate health and hormone balance in men. Even better, recent research has found milk thistle’s effect goes beyond prostate support and it also can be beneficial to liver and gall bladder function, especially for men.

What are the active compounds in milk thistle? Its flavonoids. The flavonoids in milk thistle are generally referred to as silymarin. In fact ‘silymarin’ and ‘milk thistle’ are often used interchangeably. The primary compound in silymarin which has attracted much attention recently is known as silibinin and the studies conducted on isolated silibinin have found it provides protective effects for the prostate. [1]

Milk Thistle: Prostate Protector

Research has indicated silibinin controls protein development to ensure prostate cells function properly as a man ages[2] Additional compounds, known as flavolignons, have also been identified as a powerful protective agent for the prostate. [3] These flavolignons combined with the potency of silibinin have prompted researchers to take note of the potent one-two punch of milk thistle and its effect on prostate health.

Milk Thistle for Hormone Support

Research into the effectiveness of milk thistle in protecting prostate health has yielded additional application for men’s health and researchers have also observed rejuvenated sexual hormone levels, including testosterone. [4] While further research is needed to determine with certainty the specific impact of milk thistle on a man’s hormone levels, the research currently indicates the active compounds in milk thistle may directly impact male sexual hormone levels. This is fantastic news for men who are currently experiencing thesymptoms of andropause.

 Good Liver Function for Good Health

Proper liver function is integral to good health. In my estimation, the liver ranks near the top of the list of the most important organs in your body… and milk thistle has been observed as an effective liver protecting agent. It does this by promoting constant regeneration of liver cells. This deters a build-up of toxins by facilitating a constant stream of toxin removal. [5]

The human body produces a powerful antioxidant known as glutathione; some consider it the super-antioxidant and one of its main responsibilities is toxin removal. No surprise, the majority of glutathione is produced in the liver. When the liver produces glutathione normally, good health and longevity are supported. Without glutathione production, however, a man may age faster or be much more likely to suffer from age related health challenges and degenerative illnesses. [6]

Supplementing with Milk Thistle

As supportive as milk thistle is for liver function and prostate health, it has another added bonus — no side effects. This makes it a practical and necessary supplement, especially in today’s highly polluted and toxic environment. The benefits it offers make it a good daily supplement for men.

Do you take milk thistle? If so, please leave a comment below and share your experience with us, we’d love to hear about the effect its having!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Cheung CW, Gibbons N, Johnson DW, Nicol DL. Silibinin–a promising new treatment for cancer. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2010 Mar;10(3):186-95.
  2. Ting H, Deep G, Agarwal R. Molecular mechanisms of silibinin-mediated cancer chemoprevention with major emphasis on prostate cancer. AAPS J. 2013 Jul;15(3):707-16. doi: 10.1208/s12248-013-9486-2. Epub 2013 Apr 16.
  3. Deep G, Gangar SC, Rajamanickam S, Raina K, Gu M, Agarwal C, Oberlies NH, Agarwal R. Angiopreventive efficacy of pure flavonolignans from milk thistle extract against prostate cancer: targeting VEGF-VEGFR signaling. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034630. Epub 2012 Apr 13.
  4. Malekinejad H, Janbaz-Acyabar H, Razi M, Varasteh S. Preventive and protective effects of silymarin on doxorubicin-induced testicular damages correlate with changes in c-myc gene expression. Phytomedicine. 2012 Sep 15;19(12):1077-84. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Jul 20.
  5. Kostek H, Szponar J, Tchórz M, Majewska M, Lewandowska-Stanek H. [Silibinin and its hepatoprotective action from the perspective of a toxicologist]. [Article in Polish] Przegl Lek. 2012;69(8):541-3.
  6. Wu G, Fang YZ, Yang S, Lupton JR, Turner ND. Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health. J Nutr. 2004 Mar;134(3):489-92.

Source: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/milk-thistle-healthy-prostate/

10 Health Benefits of Ginger

Earlier this year, I had a day where I experienced a sore throat and sinus irritation. I didn’t reach for a box of any over-the-counter remedy, instead I juiced a fair amount of ginger and lemon and added it to a tea. I was very satisfied with the relief I felt. My experience was nothing new; ginger, or ginger root, has been cultivated and used therapeutically for thousands of years. Traditional medicine systems all over the world have applied it to a wide range of ailments, including calming an upset stomach. Recent studies of ginger have confirmed this effect and much more…

1. Helps Calm Nausea and Vomiting

Clinical studies have proven ginger’s effectiveness at calming nausea and vomiting. [1]Research has also confirmed its potential against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The majority of studies found a positive effect against this side effect of aggressive therapies. [2] Ginger may be a powerful option for those suffering from toxic medical procedures like these.

2. Digestive Tract Protection

Ginger has also been historically used for flatulence, constipation, bloating, and other digestive complaints. In addition to these gastro-protective effects, researchers have found ginger to be effective for stress related ulcers. [3]

3. Brain Health

Ginger contains compounds that have demonstrated protective effects for the brain. One of them, known as 6-Shogaol, inhibited the release and expression of redness-causing chemicals known to cause damage to neurons in both in vitro and in vivo models. [4] The other, 10-gingerol, when sourced from fresh ginger, similarly impacted production of nitric oxide and other chemicals that lead to redness and swelling in the brain. [5]

4. Migraine Relief

In a clinical trial, 100 patients received ginger powder or a drug given to migraine sufferers. The results showed the ginger powder helped reduce migraine related discomfort… without side effects. [6]

5. Protection from UV Rays

Research data has shown ginger possesses UV absorbing capabilities that protect against DNA damage related to UVB (ultraviolet-B) light. Extracts from ginger stimulatedantioxidant production, suggesting protective effects against potentially damaging UV light[7]

6. Supports Stable Blood Sugar

Ginger has repeatedly demonstrated powerful blood sugar balancing effects. It acts on insulin release and sensitivity, and supports the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids.[8] In one study, insulin levels noticeably lowered with ginger supplementation. [9] In addition to its effectiveness as a blood sugar stabilizer, ginger has also demonstrated powerful protective effects against diabetic kidney, eye and liver complications.

7. Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure

Thai medical practitioners have traditionally used herbs such as ginger to support healthy blood pressure. Extracts from ginger and other herbs used in Thai medicinal recipes were evaluated for their effectiveness against hypertension. The ginger extract was the most effective. [10]

8. May Benefit Osteoarthritis

A recent in vitro study tested ginger against drugs used for osteoarthritis — the ginger extract was demonstrated to be as effective. [11] Another study involving 43 osteoarthritis patients found ginger to be as effective and more safe than the NSAIDs. [12]

9. Helps with Muscle Aches and Discomfort

A recent 2013 study has evaluated ginger for use in relieving muscle discomfort in female athletes. Over the course of this 6-week trial, participants taking ginger reported a significant decrease in muscle soreness as compared to the placebo. [13]

10. May Benefit Cardiovascular Function

One of the active compounds in ginger, 6-gingerol, has been isolated, tested and determined an active factor in regulating blood pressure and supporting cardiovascular health. Based on the results, researchers are exploring the potentials of ginger as a remedy for cardiovascular problems. [14]

Using Ginger

Ginger has an extremely robust flavor which makes consuming it a little bit tricky. It might be too strong to ingest on its own, but as I mentioned, it mixes incredibly well into tea or juice, it can also be a great ingredient in a recipe. What’s your favorite way to consume it? Please leave a comment below and share with us!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Palatty PL, Haniadka R, Valder B, Arora R, Baliga MS. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):659-69. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.553751.
  2. Marx WM, Teleni L, McCarthy AL, Vitetta L, McKavanagh D, Thomson D, Isenring E.Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. Nutr Rev. 2013 Apr;71(4):245-54. doi: 10.1111/nure.12016. Epub 2013 Mar 13.
  3. Haniadka R, Saldanha E, Sunita V, Palatty PL, Fayad R, Baliga MS. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Food Funct. 2013 Jun;4(6):845-55. doi: 10.1039/c3fo30337c. Epub 2013 Apr 24.
  4. Ha SK, Moon E, Ju MS, Kim DH, Ryu JH, Oh MS, Kim SY. 6-Shogaol, a ginger product, modulates neuroinflammation: a new approach to neuroprotection.Neuropharmacology. 2012 Aug;63(2):211-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.03.016. Epub 2012 Mar 23.
  5. Ho SC, Chang KS, Lin CC. Anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of fresh ginger is attributed mainly to 10-gingerol. Food Chem. 2013 Dec 1;141(3):3183-91. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Jun 11.
  6. Mehdi M, Farhad G, Alireza ME, Mehran Y. Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine.Phytother Res. 2013 May 9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4996.
  7. Thongrakard V, Ruangrungsi N, Ekkapongpisit M, Isidoro C, Tencomnao T.Protection from UVB Toxicity in Human Keratinocytes by Thailand Native Herbs Extracts. Photochem Photobiol. 2013 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/php.12153.
  8. Li Y, Tran VH, Duke CC, Roufogalis BD. Preventive and Protective Properties of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:516870. doi: 10.1155/2012/516870. Epub 2012 Nov 22.
  9. Mahluji S, Attari VE, Mobasseri M, Payahoo L, Ostadrahimi A, Golzari SE. Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on plasma glucose level, HbA1c and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Sep;64(6):682-6. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2013.775223. Epub 2013 Mar 18.
  10. Manosroi A, Lohcharoenkal W, Khonsung P, Manosroi W, Manosroi J. Potent antihypertensive activity of Thai-Lanna medicinal plants and recipes from “MANOSROI III” database. Pharm Biol. 2013 Jul 22.
  11. Ribel-Madsen S, Bartels EM, Stockmarr A, Borgwardt A, Cornett C, Danneskiold-Samsøe B, Bliddal H. A synoviocyte model for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: response to Ibuprofen, betamethasone, and ginger extract-a cross-sectional in vitro study. Arthritis. 2012;2012:505842. doi: 10.1155/2012/505842. Epub 2012 Dec 31.
  12. Drozdov VN, Kim VA, Tkachenko EV, Varvanina GG. Influence of a specific ginger combination on gastropathy conditions in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun;18(6):583-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0202.
  13. Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Feizi A, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Barani A, Taghiyar M, Shiranian A, Hajishafiee M. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S11-5.
  14. Liu Q, Liu J, Guo H, Sun S, Wang S, Zhang Y, Li S, Qiao Y. [6]-gingerol: a novel AT? antagonist for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Planta Med. 2013 Mar;79(5):322-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1328262. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Source: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-ginger/

7 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds can be a fantastic source of nutrition and pumpkin seeds are among the best. The pumpkin is a member of the squash family and it’s is native to North and Central America. Its seeds have been used by Native Americans for centuries to support urinary and digestive health. Just a single serving provides highly nutritious and necessary minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. As an added bonus, pumpkin seeds are packed with potent antioxidants. Simply put, the excellent nutritional profile of pumpkin seeds has not only made them an integral part of natural health, it’s also garnered the attention of researchers who have looked deeper into the health benefits of pumpkins seeds. What have they found? Read on…

1. Support for BPH

Pumpkin seeds have been recommended by natural and alternative health practitioners to support prostate health and BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia). The German Council E (Germany’s equivalent to the FDA) approved it for this use in 1985. And a 2009 Korean study isolated pumpkin seed oil to evaluate their effect on BPH. They reported that the pumpkin seeds produced a significant improvement in urinary flow and participants reported an improved quality of life. [1]

2. Helps Balance Blood Sugar

Antioxidants are a potent source of phenols and antioxidant, this has caused led to it inquiries into its role in promoting balanced blood sugar levels — and the results have been positive. [2] Additionally, the proteins in pumpkin seeds seem to have an anti-hyperglycemic potential. One study determined a positive impact on balancing blood sugar levels as a result of the bioactive proteins. [3]

3. Toxic to Harmful Organisms

The US Pharmacopeia listed pumpkin seeds as a remedy for intestinal, harmful organisms until 1936. [4] Does that mean it really didn’t work? Not quite, researchers in China tested pumpkin reported positive results when testing pumpkin seeds against tapeworms. [5]

4. Nutritional Support for Cancer

Let’s be clear that pumpkin seeds are not a cure for cancer. However, it can’t be ignored that research into pumpkin seeds has described positive, nutritional effects for those with breast and prostate cancers. One 2012 study found a significant association between pumpkin seed consumption and promoting breast health. [6] Another study indicated the lignans in pumpkin seeds may offer further breast health support. [7] It doesn’t stop there, yet another study that examined a supplement containing pumpkin seeds reported positive potential for dealing with prostate cancer. [8]

5. Great for the Heart

The powerful phytochemicals and omega-3 fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds have led researchers to explore its benefits for cardiovascular health. Studies have found diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid, offer protective effects against ventricular fibrillation, a primary cause of cardiac death. [9] That’s not all…

6. Promotes Healthy Cholesterol Levels

A double-blind, placebo-controlled 2011 study of postmenopausal women found pumpkin seed oil substantially promoted healthy cholesterol levels. The effects of the pumpkin seeds went beyond this one improvement — in addition to balanced cholesterol levels, the women taking pumpkin seeds also enjoyed healthy blood pressure. That’s not all…

7. Post Menopausal Benefits

They also experienced a decreased severity of hot flashes, fewer headaches and reduced joint discomfort. [10]

Eating Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are tasty by themselves, and they go great in a trail mix or salad. Pumpkin seed butter is another option that is delicious and lets you enjoy pumpkin seeds in new ways (spread on celery?). When shopping for pumpkin seeds, look for an organic, GMO-free option. If purchasing whole pumpkins, look for organic.

Got a favorite or creative way to enjoy pumpkin seeds? Leave a comment and share it with us!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract. 2009 Winter;3(4):323-7. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2009.3.4.323. Epub 2009 Dec 31.
  2. Kwon YI, Apostolidis E, Kim YC, Shetty K. Health benefits of traditional corn, beans, and pumpkin: in vitro studies for hyperglycemia and hypertension management. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):266-75.
  3. Teugwa CM, Boudjeko T, Tchinda BT, Mejiato PC, Zofou D. Anti-hyperglycaemic globulins from selected Cucurbitaceae seeds used as antidiabetic medicinal plants in Africa. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Mar 18;13:63. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-63.
  4. NYU Langone Medical Center. Pumpkin Seed. (last accessed 2013-08-26)
  5. Li T, Ito A, Chen X, Long C, Okamoto M, Raoul F, Giraudoux P, Yanagida T, Nakao M, Sako Y, Xiao N, Craig PS. Usefulness of pumpkin seeds combined with areca nut extract in community-based treatment of human taeniasis in northwest Sichuan Province, China. Acta Trop. 2012 Nov;124(2):152-7. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 11.
  6. Zaineddin AK, Buck K, Vrieling A, Heinz J, Flesch-Janys D, Linseisen J, Chang-Claude J. The association between dietary lignans, phytoestrogen-rich foods, and fiber intake and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a German case-control study.Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(5):652-65. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.683227. Epub 2012 May 16.
  7. Richter D, Abarzua S, Chrobak M, Vrekoussis T, Weissenbacher T, Kuhn C, Schulze S, Kupka MS, Friese K, Briese V, Piechulla B, Makrigiannakis A, Jeschke U, Dian D.Effects of Phytoestrogen Extracts Isolated from Pumpkin Seeds on Estradiol Production and ER/PR Expression in Breast Cancer and Trophoblast Tumor Cells.Nutr Cancer. 2013 Jul;65(5):739-45. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.797000.
  8. Jiang J, Eliaz I, Sliva D. Suppression of growth and invasive behavior of human prostate cancer cells by ProstaCaid™: mechanism of activity. Int J Oncol. 2011 Jun;38(6):1675-82. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.996. Epub 2011 Apr 4.
  9. Risti-Medi D, Risti G, Tepsi V. [Alpha-linolenic acid and cardiovascular diseases].Med Pregl. 2003;56 Suppl 1:19-25.
  10. Gossell-Williams M, Hyde C, Hunter T, Simms-Stewart D, Fletcher H, McGrowder D, Walters CA. Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 Oct;14(5):558-64. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2011.563882. Epub 2011 May 5.

Source: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/7-health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds/