Blog Archive 2010

Happy Holidays!
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010
 
Support NPF While You Shop This Holiday Season!
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This holiday season there are two great ways for you to help support the Foundation while giving great gifts! By shopping Amazon.com or Tastebook.com, you have access to unlimited stores of books, electronics, clothes, and other fabulous presents.

Tastebook: Cooking Naturally

NPF and Tastebook have partnered to give you an incredible new cookbook: Cooking Naturally. NPF is pleased to present this well balanced set of recipes, specifically tailored for all the natural cooks out there.  

Cooking Naturally is a collection of savory recipes and gorgeous photography that's truly one-of-a-kind, a wonderful, personalized gift! These dishes are healthy, diverse, and sure to give you some amazing ideas for a cuisine as natural as it is delicious. We think you and yours will find it to be not only a great complement to any natural lifestyle, but also a wonderful way to shake up your cooking routine.

To begin Cooking Naturally, please click here: The Natural Products Foundation Tastebook and be sure to enter  NATURALPRO in the coupon box at checkout. Proceeds benefit the Natural Products Foundation.

NPF on Amazon.com


Access Amazon.com through the Natural Products Foundation and a portion of your total purchase price comes back to support Foundation activities. That’s right, just by accessing Amazon.com through NPF and making a purchase, you’re helping to support your industry.

It couldn't be easier. Simply click on any item listed for sale on the NPF websites naturalproductsfoundation.org and naturalproductsinfo.org and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com. The Natural Products Foundation will get a portion of the purchase price of everything you buy on the site!

So the next time you want to make any purchase through Amazon.com, access the site through the Foundation websites. Whether you're purchasing books, electronics, movies, music, clothing, or anything at all that Amazon.com offers, you will be helping to maintain our industry's vitality as well.

 
World AIDS Day 2010
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is the 22nd anniversary of World AIDS Day.  An estimated 33 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and while there has been tremendous progress in the past two decades for treatment and outlook, there is much still to be done. Education and prevention are the primary resources we may use to combat AIDS, forming the foundation for the efforts to neutralize the cause and spread of the disease. 

Many breakthroughs have occured over the years (HAART for example), and recent improvements in treatment allow HIV+ individuals to live long, full lives. One of the simple parts of the equation is nutrition. Below are some of the principal nutritional suggestions for those who are HIV+, as well as several other links to informational websites.

  • Daily multivitamin supplements to prevent common deficiencies associated with the disease
  • 400 mcg a day of selenium under a doctor’s supervision can result in fewer infections, a healthier appetite, and other benefits
  • 800 mg a day of the supplement N-acetyl cysteine to slow the decline in immune function
  • 990 mg of Boxwood a day to support CD4 cell counts
  • Forego foods made with wheat, rye, barley, or oats to reduce symptoms of diarrhea
  • A high protein diet, preferably from whole, nonrefined foods, may help maintain body weight
  • Slow HIV progression by exercising three to four times each week
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full HIV and AIDS article for more information on vitamins, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.

CDC: Global HIV/AIDS
Mayo Clinic: HIV/AIDS
World Health Organization: WHO and HIV/AIDS
Avert.org: World Stats
One.org: World Aids Day
The Global Fight: Global Fund

 
DHA and Stroke
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010

An interesting research development points to Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as a means of combating physical damage resulting from stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders. A recent study from Louisiana State University found DHA to be a protective therapeutic agent which appears to protect brain tissue and promote recovery in an experimental model of acute ischemic stroke.

Funded by NIH, this research could have far reaching impact on the immediate treatment and the future prospects of stroke victims. DHA was found to have therapeutic effects even when the treatment is delayed by up to five hours from onset of stroke, which could signal a very viable new treatment approach, considering the relatively long window for application of the therapy.

According to a written statement by lead researcher Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Director of the Neuroscience Center at LSU, this new research is a stepping stone forward:

"We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke. There is no simple solution just yet, but each new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases."
Stroke is the second leading cause of individuals over 60 years old, and the leading cause of long-term disability, costing the US alone nearly $74 billion in direct and indirect costs. "Stroke is an outright attack on the nervous system, and each year stroke kills over 150,000 Americans,” writes Dr. Bazan. “Truly for the first time, translational research and the clinics are poised to converge in their public health efforts to combat stroke. From a therapeutic point of view, we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. What we need now is for the political and societal views on stroke to converge in the same way that the research laboratories and hospitals are now doing. This would be a major step forward in fighting this disease."

For further info, please consult the resources below:

DSIB: DHA
DSIB: Stroke
Translational Stroke Research: Docosahexaenoic Acid Therapy of Experimental Ischemic Stroke
Science Daily: Fish Oil Component Given Up to 5 Hours After Stroke Limits Brain Damage, Study Finds

 
Counting Sheep?
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010

Try These Natural Remedies Instead

By Jasmine Stephenson

Getting sufficient, deep sleep every night is an important part of good health. In fact, studies have shown that long-term sleep deprivation can result in loss of creative thinking, reduced ability to focus, speech impairments, slower reaction times, and even hallucinations. When we do get our resting time in, we are more alert, less irritable, and our brain is functioning optimally. Physically speaking, sleep helps the immune system perform, maintain dexterity, and improve muscle tone, an important part of maintaining a healthy weight.

Are you having trouble getting to sleep at night? Try one of these natural remedies the next time you're tossing and turning in bed.

Guided Meditation

A lot of us suffer from lack of sleep due to our hyperactive minds. When you can't shut your thoughts down, a guided meditation soundtrack will help you relax. Many are customized for sleeping, and act as a mild hypnotic with soft music and a soothing voice instructing your mind and body to turn off for the night.

Exercise

Working out regularly is a great way to maintain a healthy sleep routine. Why do you think kids fall asleep so easily after a long day running around? Jog around the block, take your dog for a long walk, or play soccer with your kids. To utilize this method most effectively, however, ensure that you exercise at least four hours before your intended bedtime.

Choose Your Tea

A number of health benefits have been attributed to chamomile, one of which is that it acts as a natural sleep aid. As your winding down the evening, shut off all electronic stimulants, sit in a quiet area of your home, and sip the soothing chamomile tea. Be sure to avoid excess sugar; honey is a more suitable option if you like your tea sweet.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice of placing tiny needles in the top layers of the skin to cure specific maladies. When visiting an acupuncturist, ensure that you talk about the possible cause of your sleeplessness in order to receive the most tailored treatment possible. Many patients report increased sleep after a few sessions.

Journaling

Journaling or free-association writing is a great way to clear out those bothersome thoughts before bedtime. Are you anxious about a deadline? Feel stressed out about a work situation? Maybe you and your spouse got in an argument. A journal provides you with an avenue to express your most personal thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Putting it on paper will help you feel better and more relaxed, thus able to enjoy a good night's sleep.

Unwind in a Warm Bath

Taking a warm bath is an excellent way to encourage sleepiness. Light candles, play soft music, and add a few relaxing herbs such as lavender to the water. When your mind starts to get worked up in the never-ending stream of thoughts, focus on how soothing the warm water is, how lovely the herbs smell, or just close your eyes and feel the music.

Jasmine Stephenson is a freelance writer and long-term traveler currently based in Colombia. She is also a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on ultrasound technician schools  for the Guide to Health Education.

 
Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and Multivitamins
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010

A variety of new research shows promising developments for natural products on several fronts, notably cardiovascular and neurological health.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a daily intake of greater than 100 millilitres of tea or coffee may significantly reduce risk of glioblastoma tumors. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study was a large-scale cohort study, and its findings showed a significant inverse association for glioma in those consuming more than 100 ml of coffee or tea. No such association was found for other types of brain tumor in relation to consumption. This study goes to further similar evidence found earlier this year in a US study regarding coffee and tea consumption and brain tumor incidence. Researchers stated:

"Given that we did not observe an association between coffee and tea consumption and meningioma risk, it is possible that the effect of coffee, if causal, is acting late in the process of carcinogenesis by preventing tumor growth."

In another study published in the latest issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Swedish researchers have found that daily multivitamin use is associated with lower heart attack rates for women. Within the study, this association grew stronger with long-term use.

In participants with no history of cardiovascular disease, multivitamin use alone was associated with a 27% lower risk of myocardial infraction. One of the largest observations of its sort, claiming a participant population of over 30,000 Swedish women between 49 and 83 years old, this study found an increasingly stronger association between multivitamin use and decreased risk among women who had been taking the supplements for more than five years.

The last bit of news we'll touch on here contains a much smaller test group, but it is too tasty to pass up. Recent research from the Hull University Medical School suggests that dark chocolate could work to reduce cholesterol levels for individuals with diabetes. According to the study published in Diabetic Medicine, people with Type 2 diabetes are two times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population. It is believed one of the main reasons for this is the greater number of Type 2 diabetics with low level HDL.

This initial study found that dark chocolate appears to be effective in improving cholesterol:HDL ratio in diabetics without affecting weight, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance or glycaemic control. This is certainly encouraging, and while cautioning against radical interpretation of these results, Hull researchers are currently completing further studies, increasing the populations involved in order to have a more thorough understanding of the impact of chocolate on vascular health.

For further info on each of these studies, as well as an excellent Healthnotes guide on how to choose the right multivitamin, please have a look at the links below.

DSIB: What Makes a Good Multivitamin?
AJCN: Coffee and tea intake and risk of brain tumors in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort study
AJCN: Multivitamin use and the risk of myocardial infarction: a population-based cohort of Swedish women
DM: High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves HDL cholesterol in Type 2 diabetes patients

 
Herbal Mood Review
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Researchers conducting a systematic review that examined the results of 24 individual studies with over 2,500 participants have reported new findings about the potential role of herbal supplements for individuals who suffer from mood-related issues.

"Our review and summary of the literature on herbal remedies and dietary supplements for anxiety should aid mental health practitioners in advising their patients and provide insight for future research in this field." said Shaheen Lakhan, co-author of the study from the Global Neuroscience Initiative. "We found mixed results — while passionflower or kava and L-lysine and L-arginine appeared to be effective, St John's Wort and magnesium supplements were not."

The review conlcuded that nutritional and herbal supplementation may be an effective tool for anxiety and anxiety-related conditions. There were no serious side effects noted resulting from supplementation in these cases, but it is also noted that any positive effects seen in the studies could be a result of a placebo effect, which may have significant short-term psychological impact on participants.

21 of the studies reviewed were randomized control trials. Of these, 71% (15 trials) showed positive results. The small number of studies for each individual supplement prevents this review from being a true meta-analysis; however, based on the available data, researchers believe there is evidence suggesting that extracts of passionflower or kava and combinations of L-lysine and L-arginine may be helpful.

"For all three of the herbal supplements we reviewed, more research needs to be done to establish the most effective dosage and to determine whether this varies between different types of anxiety or anxiety-related disorders. Herbal medicines hold an important place in the history of medicine as most of our current remedies, and the majority of those likely to be discovered in the future, will contain phytochemicals derived from plants," said Lakhan.

The Global Neuroscience Initiative's findings were published in the open access Nutrition Journal.

DSIB: Passion Flower
DSIB: Kava
DSIB: L-lysine
DSIB: L-arginine
Nutrition Journal: Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders

 
Forbidden Rice and Antioxidants
Posted Friday, August 27, 2010

New research suggests that black rice may be an excellent and inexpensive source of antioxidants.  

At National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Zhimin Xu, professor at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, presented recent research, saying:

"Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants. If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health promoting antioxidants."
A black to deep purple color when cooked, this heirloom is also known by the colorful historical title of 'forbidden rice'. The origins of this name are not entirely clear, though one theory posits that the name arose from Chinese emperors, who would hoard the rice due to it's scarcity and high nutritional value.  

DSIB: Antioxidants
American Chemical Society: Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants

 
Omega-3 and Gender
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New research from Australia suggests that omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have different roles to play in the health of men and women.

In one study, it was observed that EPA presented a stronger effect in male subjects, while DHA appears to have a greater effect on females. From the study's concluding remarks:

For healthy individuals, males may benefit more from EPA supplementation while females are more responsive to DHA.

The study, available on August 12th in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, may result in new formulations of omega-3 supplements which are gender specific.

To this point, most research conducted for omega-3s have paired EPA and DHA together. With this new insight, researchers may be able to continue to isolate and refine the field of knowledge surrounding these increasingly well received supplements.

For more info about this development and omega-3:

 
Vitamin Levels Tied to Cognitive Wellness
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A number of recent studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and Archives of Neurology have found that vitamin D and vitamin E appear to play an important role as we age.

Two independent long-term studies which have recently come to completion have found that higher vitamin D levels seem to lead to a reduced risk for Parkinson's disease, while low levels of vitamin D spell trouble for our ability to think clearly, learn, and memorize.

Additionally, another long-course experiment has found that consuming higher levels of vitamin E is associated with lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

For further details, please take a moment to have a look at the abstracts below:

DSIB: Vitamin D
DSIB: Vitamin E
Archives of Neurology: Dietary Antioxidants and Long-term Risk of Dementia
Archives of Neurology: Serum Vitamin D and the Risk of Parkinson Disease
Archives of Internal Medicine: Vitamin D and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Elderly Persons

 
Supplements Reduce Health Care Costs
Posted Monday, July 12, 2010

Over the weekend, the Huffington Post featured an article by Dr. Mark Hyman that focused on the findings of the Health Impact Studies, which were commissioned the Dietary Supplement Information Bureau.

Dr. Hyman praises the study's strictness and rigor, and there is an interesting conversation developing in the comments section. Check out the video below, in which Hyman discusses the studies at length:

Hop on over to the Post for the full article: How Dietary Supplement Reduce Health Care Cost, and review the entirety of the series of Health Impact studies right here, on DSIB: Health Impact Studies I-IV.

 
Summer Exercise Spotlight
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jump into July with the DSIB Healthnotes Newsletter!

The newest newsletter was posted today, and the features include a Summer Exercise Spotlight, as well as great monthly features such as the Cooking Corner and Everyday Answers.

Sign up for our monthly newsletters today, or have a look at our extensive archives: DSIB Healthnotes Update.

Have a lovely 4th of July.

 
Sunny Days Ahead
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010

With the shifting of the seasons, Vitamin D supplementation sometimes gets a little lost in all the sunshine. Sunlight is key to natural vitamin D synthesis in the body, and so with the onset of summer, we tend to hear less and less about vitamin D.

With this in mind, we would like to direct your attention a recent study regarding vitamin D, lest it fly under the radar and go unnoticed in the fine weather.

Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Tromsø have just reported findings that vitamin D levels are best achieved through supplements, due to the risks associated with UV exposure. From the study's conclusions:

Although it may be tempting to recommend intentional sun exposure based on our findings, it is difficult, if not impossible to titrate one's exposure. There are well-known detrimental side effects of ultraviolet irradiation. Therefore, oral supplementation remains the safest way for increasing vitamin D status.

Be careful out there in the sun! And please take a moment to read up further on vitamin D and sun-safe health:

DSIB: Vitamin D

Journal of American Academy of Dermatology

 

 

 
The return of rickets through the Internet
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010

According to British doctors, children who are spending excessive amounts of time using the internet may be at risk for developing rickets due to vitamin D deficiency.

In a review in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, Newcastle University researchers stated that as a younger generation spends more of its leisure time indoors, vitamin D levels drop, exposing the population to greater risk for the disease, and a rise in its occurrance, which had been all but ended in modern times. Not long ago, rickets was a condition associated with extreme poverty and starvationnot the affluence of the modern industrialized societies.

The authors of the study suggested "fresh air", adding new regulations to fortify milk products in the UK, and/or other dietary supplementation.

DSIB: Vitamin D

British Medical Journal: Diagnosis and management of vitamin D deficiency

BBC: Newcastle University experts want Vitamin D put in food

Guardian UK: Rickets warning from doctors as vitamin D deficiency widens

Times Online: TV and computer games blamed for return of rickets

Press Association: Rickets rise for inactive children

 
Micronutrients and the Developing World
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In a dispatch from Honduras, Nicholas Kristof has written a very interesting op-ed about micronutrients. By turns enlightening and horrific, Kristof's account focuses to readers' attention on the simple preventative measures which can be taken to eliminate a host of birth defects which plague developing nations. This very issue has been mentioned on the DSIB blog before, but this particular article is one of the more powerful examples we have encountered in coming from a major news source. From the NYTimes article:

“In the early stages of life, the die is cast,” said David Dodson, the founder of Project Healthy Children, an aid group that fights micronutrient deficiencies in Honduras and other poor countries. “If a child is not getting the right micronutrients, the effect is permanent.”

“I had never seen anything in my life that could have so much impact for so little money and be sustainable,” Mr. Dodson said

 

Please have a look at the full article, "World's Healthiest Food, and take a moment to learn more about the micronutrients discussed below.

DSIB: Iodine
DSIB: Iron
DSIB: Vitamin A
DSIB: Vitamin B-Complex
DSIB: Zinc

 
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