By Natural Advocate | October 30, 2009 - 3:12 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

I wasn’t really shocked to read that a lot of the common herbal supplement labels you see, like Puritan’s Pride, Sundown and a few other very common names in herbal and natural supplements, are made under one roof by a parent company.  In the tradition of large pharmaceutical companies and other big parent companies like Procter and Gamble, that churn out multiple single labels, many herbal companies have become huge business. Heck, even some of the vitamins and supplements that are still popular today are made by actual pharmaceutical companies like Wyeth.

I think this is fine actually. As long as a supplement is a good, pure one and is made with strict standards, I don’t really care where it came from, although I do like to support the smaller mom and pop operations when I can because I believe that’s just good karma and also helps our overall economy and spirit of the small business person (being one myself, this is close to my heart).  However, I wouldn’t strictly not use something because of where it came from.

The continuing popularity of herbal supplements has been something that is debated by the medical community, and honestly it makes me a feel a little better than some of these big pharma companies have a stake in keeping them in the market and keeping them largely unregulated, so that it’s easier for people to get the herbal supplements that work so well for them, without being hindered or limited in what they can buy, and what companies can make.

Big pharma is no doubt a huge force in political lobbying, and no one can tell me they don’t have huge influence over politicians and our government in general, so knowing that they also have some natural remedies out there makes me feel a little more comfortable that they won’t attack them full force.

By Natural Advocate | October 28, 2009 - 7:44 am - Posted in Herbal Supplements

There are three Chinese herbs that are specifically being studied against strictly lifestyle changes, and lifestyle changes, paired with the use of mixtures of these three herbs, which have been known to help stabilize the blood sugar, or at least thought to, in Chinese medicine practice.  The herbs are called Jiangtang Bushen, Xiaoke huaya and Tang Kang yin.  Yeah, I’ve never heard of them before either, so you’re not the only one!  The studies, of course, are cautioned though, since they are thought to be flawed or biased.  I’m not sure if this is because of the placebo effect, or whether they think that the people in the studies were biased toward herbal remedies though.

The studies did show promise that when the herbs were paired with certain lifestyle changes, they showed better blood sugar stabilization results that if the people in the trial simply changed their lifestyle without adding the herbs to their daily regimen.

It should be noted that eating a low glycemic diet alone can help to dramatically improve the stability of your blood sugar and prevent diabetes and pre-diabetes though as well, it’s just that people are always looking for a easier way out to eat badly and still have blood sugar control.  It is true that some people just naturally can do that and not have problems, but most of us need to choose our foods wisely and not over do it on the processed sugar and carbs in order to maintain ideal blood sugar levels.

Your blood sugar levels have so many implications in your overall health.  They’ve been linked to everything from different types of cancers to heart disease and kidney failure, so it’s no wonder that so many studies have been dedicated to this tricky and often hotly debated health topic.

Here are some of the supplements that I have found help me to stabilize my blood sugar levels :

Omega 3 fatty acid supplements – one or two a day, in the morning and at night.

Chromium picolinate – one a day

Hoodia – dosage depends on the manufacturer and the dosage per pill.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (but unfortunately you have to take a lot of it for it to help with your blood sugar levels, something like 5 caplets a day, depending on the dosage of each pill.  However, I do notice it’s effect when I’m taking them all day.  I wonder how good this can be for you though, even though it is an antioxidant, to pop this many of them in one day.

By Natural Advocate | October 26, 2009 - 10:34 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

This post is going to be a about a few things actually.  First, I want to talk a little about the curious relationship between your dental health and your heart health.  If you haven’t happened to hear or read about this curious correlation, then you should know that keeping your mouth healthy and free of dental plaque and bacteria is absolutely important if you are to help prevent heart disease.

In fact, studies have shown that heart disease is often correlated to poor oral hygiene and health.  Why?  Because the dental plaques that gather when the mouth is not properly cared for spawn a type of bacteria that actually causes heart disease.  It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around the fact that what you do with your mouth can have something to do with an organ that is the life-giver essentially, and that isn’t really in the same immediate area of the mouth, but it is true, and the relationship has been proven and studied.

It’s especially important to floss and keep you teeth brushed twice a day.  Flossing can be done once, at night, as long as you get any of the leftover flecks of food out from between the teeth so that they don’t rot and cause the bacteria we’re speaking of.  You can use a natural toothpaste, but if it’s natural I would highly suggest that it have baking soda in it, so that it can effectively get the bacteria out of the mouth, and this is about one of the only natural ingredients that is effective against bacteria and also happens to kill bacteria.  It’s a great whitener as well, naturally.

You can of course also use non-natural toothpaste, but if you’re really stuck on not using one with the sodium lauryl sulfate, which most have, then make sure you at least use one with baking soda.  Sodium lauryl sulfate is a good sudsing agent, which helps the mouth feel cleaner, but I’m not sure that it actually makes the mouth cleaner, plus it may add to the causes of dry mouth for all we know, since it is a chemical.

I believe that Tom’s of Maine has a natural toothpaste with baking soda, and there are probably also some other good natural brands that would work well.  You may also want to make sure there is flouride in it too, especially if you have children that are using it too.  Bushing gently is very important, so you don’t erode the protective enamel that coats your teeth, and it’s especially important on the gums, as you can cause harm to the gums if you scrub too zealously as well.

By Natural Advocate | October 24, 2009 - 8:59 pm - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

I bought several bottles of a product called Chlorofresh a few months ago, and I liked it so much that I just purchased another few.  I didn’t really buy it for the reason it is marketed and made for, which is to help reduce body odors and freshen breath, but instead I more so bought it as a chlorophyll supplement, which I believe is one of the most beneficial substances on this planet that you can put into your body.

Think about it, chlorophyll is basically the lifeblood of plants, and it is what gives plants their green pigment. The more color and darkness a leafy green has, the more chlorophyll it had, and subsequently the more nutrition it offers.  There are several health benefits of taking chlorophyll and also of getting a lot of it naturally in your diet.  Of course, naturally is always the preferred method, but on those days you feel there isn’t enough green in your diet, it’s always helpful to have a good supplement around that offer chlorophyll in pure and concentrated form.

I’ve noticed that the Chlorofresh softgels are a very deep green, almost blue color.  They are supposed to be made from a purified form of concentrated chlorophyll. I’ve noticed a side benefit of taking them does seem to be fresher breath, but that’s not really why I’m taking them.  I’ve also noticed a side benefit of a more regular digestive system.  By the way, this product will turn your stool totally green if taken as directed, so don’t get freaked out by that.

Chlorophyll is thought to help with the oxygen levels in the body by supporting the healthy transport of oxygen to cells by the red blood cells.  It may be an excellent supplement for those that have any disease which may make them short of breath or impair their oxygen levels.  Chlorophyll also contains several vitamins which are known to neutralize free radicals and help defend cells from unhealthy reproduction or destruction. It is also thought to be highly anti carcinogenic (anti cancer), since it has many properties that help to neutralize potentially cancerous cell growth and free radical disbursement.

I think chlorophyll should definitely be in your arsenal of supplements, but I don’t think you need to take it every day unless you want to, on those days when you’re shorting yourself on the leafy greens and other chlorophyll loaded veggies.

By Natural Advocate | October 22, 2009 - 6:28 pm - Posted in Medical News

While it is true that the likelihood of getting skin cancer, and we’re talking the most deadly kind, melanoma here, was mostly quantified by correlating it with people who were fair skinned and were exposed to too many UV rays in their lifetimes, there are also now strong indicators that melanoma is definitely much more likely the more you find it in one’s lineage, or their genetic family tree.  For example, if you have relatives, especially the closer to your bloodline, you may be several times more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer than someone who does not have skin cancer in their family at all.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as the further that cancer is being researched, the more genetic links are being found to indicate it’s likelihood of occurring in people who were further down the family tree.  Breast cancer, lung cancer, even prostate cancer, are now thought to have serious links to inheritance, or genetic predisposition toward the particular cell mutations that occur when these cancers are spawned in the body.

The studies that were done on this looked at a few things.  They found that if you have a sibling with non melanoma skin cancers your risk is likely increased, and it also found something curious, that identical twins, where one twin had melanoma skin cancer, the other twin was way more likely to get some form of skin cancer, however, in fraternal twins this likelihood did not hold true.

The findings suggested that the likelihood of skin cancer could be somewhat foretold by looking at genes in a person, but not totally, because it also depended on the interaction of those genes.  The fraternal twins were at higher risk, but not nearly the ridiculously high risk that identical twins were where one had it already, so this shows that the way the genes actually behave in the body has something to do with it as well.


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