28 October, 2008

Green-Lipped Mussels Omega-3 Oils Join Moxxor, NaturalNews

by Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) The world of omega-3 superfoods just experienced a breakthrough. A new company called "Moxxor" has introduced a marine omega-3 oil supplement derived from green-lipped mussels grown and harvested in the aquaculture farms of New Zealand. This story explains why I'm endorsing this company, its products and its direct-sales compensation plan, how your support of Moxxor benefits NaturalNews, and how I came to be a product formulation advisor to the Moxxor organization.

As you read this, remember: I'm a skeptic when it comes to direct sales companies. I've been approached by dozens over the years, and I've turned them all down. And why? Because most of the products I've seen in direct sales companies aren't very impressive. Few companies operate with the kind of integrity I demand of companies I choose to publicize. But as you'll learn here, Moxxor is truly a unique company, and one that's positioned to take off in 2009.

But to explain why, I first have to tell you about Noel.

Noel Turner, fisherman turned Moxxor CEO

Noel is the most high-energy New Zealander I've ever met. He waltzed right over to me after I finished an on-stage presentation to 500 people about South American rain forest herbs and gleefully introduced himself. Pumping my hand and grinning from ear to ear, he said his name was Noel Turner, and he was starting a health supplement network marketing company that would become a billion-dollar enterprise.

Sure. Right. Whatever. I hear it all the time. "I'm the ultimate skeptic on health products," I told him. "And I've only recommended one network marketing company, and that's the Amazon Herb Co." I'm not even a distributor for that company, by the way. All my recommendations for AHC have been on a 100% volunteer basis.

That didn't break his grin, not even for a second. He said he was a self-made millionaire, and he and his twin brother (Johnny) had made their fortune in aquaculture. Specifically, they farmed green-lipped mussels in the fjords of New Zealand.

Green-lipped mussels? Visions of clammy Vulcans came to mind. I didn't really know what green-lipped mussels were, and I frankly wasn't that interested at the time. Noel didn't push the issue; he just flicked a business card into my hand, enthusiastically shook it twice for good measure, and said I'd be hearing from him.

Fast forward twelve months.

One day I get an interesting package in the mail. Upon opening it, I discover it contains six bottles of nutritional supplements made from -- guess what? -- green-lipped mussel oil.

Suddenly I remembered the conversation... New Zealand, Noel Turner, ah yes, it's all making sense now. A note in the package said, "Try Moxxor, Mike. We're launching in four months. This is the nutritional supplement you've been waiting for. - Noel Turner."

Trying Moxxor for myself

Since Noel had gone through the trouble of sending me the product, I decided to at least do some research and see what he could possibly be so excited about. So I turned to Google and our own NaturalNews Naturalpedia, where I found numerous references to green-lipped mussel oil.

It turns out green-lipped mussel oil has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. While I've been recommending astaxanthin and other omega-3 oils for their anti-inflammatory properties, this looked to me like something else I could recommend to readers who wanted to take a nutritional approach to supporting the body's healthy response to inflammation in a way that's safer and far less expensive than pharmaceuticals. I also knew omega-3s were great for supporting healthy moods and healthy neurological development in children. The Moxxor product also contains a healthy dose of DHA, the fatty acid linked to healthy neurological function in children (it's found naturally in breast milk).

Further research also revealed this oil to be extraordinarily good at supporting skin health, heart health and healthy circulation -- not surprising, given all the incredible news about omega-3 oils we've been reporting on NaturalNews for nearly five years. You can see our online presentation about Moxxor, by the way.

So I decided to try it. I popped a couple of the small Moxxor pills into my mouth and headed to the gym for a challenging workout.

Putting Moxxor to the test

That's where I gave my body a real workout: Pilates, Capoeira, jumping rope, poi spinning, pushups and handstands... I did Spiderman crawls across the floor, dynamic contraction strength training and weird floor exercises I can't even begin to describe. I went home knowing I'd be sore and inflamed the next day. (My lower back usually takes the worst hit from a day of exercise like that. It's typically sore for days...)

To my great astonishment, I woke up the next morning an hour early. I felt wide awake, full of energy and ready to take on the day. What was up with that? I actually wanted to sleep another hour, but since I was up, I decided to start juicing and get an early start on the morning.

That's when I realized my back didn't hurt. It wasn't sore at all. It wasn't all crunched up like it usually is after a hard workout. And I didn't even take any astaxanthin, either! Could this Moxxor green-lipped mussel oil actually work so quickly to ease my pain? To this day, I can't make that claim with absolute certainty, but in my mind, Moxxor has without question supported my body's ability to respond to the stress of exercise in a healthy, balanced way!

This experience reinforced my respect for the potential nutritional power of green-lipped mussel oil. In all my years of covering nutritional products, I've only found two products that contributed so much to my physical performance (including exercise recovery): Astaxanthin and Moxxor green-lipped mussel oil. It's interesting that they both come from the ocean, isn't it?

Connecting with the Turners

It wasn't long before I picked up the phone and called back Noel Turner. I admitted I was really impressed with the effects of the product, but for me to recommend something like this (especially given that it's a direct sales company), I would have to check him out in a lot more detail. (Due diligence is a very important part of my work as a natural health journalist.)

I needed to know the founders, how they lived day to day, what's their philosophy, do they have business experience, is the product really pristine, what's their dedication to environmental protection, and so on.

"Well fly out to California and visit our headquarters," Noel said. "You can see the whole operation and meet the family." He offered to pick me up at the airport in his "Moxxor mobile" (which was a luxury Mercedes that goes really, really fast, I later discovered...)

At this point, I was intrigued enough to get on a plane and just go. I figured, well maybe there's a chance this is not the real deal, but there's also a possibility this is something truly amazing, and it's my job to check these things out for my readers, so I'm going.

And I did.

Speeding along in the Moxxor mobile

At the airport in Orange County, Noel and his brother Johnny met me at the curbside pickup area, driving their luxury Mercedes sedan. I hopped in the back seat and soon discovered Noel's superb high-speed driving skills. (The Mercedes has amazing handling characteristics.)

Seventeen minutes later, we arrived at the $10 million Moxxor building. I was invited upstairs, to the corporate offices, where I met the top management team. From there, we sat down for several hours of questions and answers, all powered by superfoods and organic produce. (Noel drinks LivingFuel superfood, by the way. He learned about it on NaturalNews! He also likes DragonHerbs.com products, which are high-end Chinese Medicine formulas.)

Between you and me, I grilled these guys. Taking the skeptic's point of view, I asked them all the tough questions: What's the CO2 footprint of your product? (Try that on some business people sometime... it'll leave them scratching their heads.) How are the green-lipped mussels fed? How are they harvested? What's the highest temperature reached during processing? Are there any chemical solvents used in the extraction process? What scientific research do you have backing the health benefits of green-lipped mussel oil? What are the exact milligrams of each of the three ingredients in the formula?

Without going into all the detailed answers here (there's another place for that), I can share that Moxxor passed with flying colors. I was genuinely impressed by all the answers they provided. They're on-board with the philosophy of doing well by doing good, and they have a clear, inspired vision of bringing healthy living to millions of adults, children and senior citizens, many of whom are dangerously deficient in fish oils, omega-3 oils and vitamin D. (And green-lipped mussel oil, in my view, is a phenomenal combination of all three!)

I said, "Okay, well what's next? You want me to write about your company, right?" Because that's what companies usually want me to do. And it's my job to sort out the junk companies from the quality companies. I could already tell this was a rare find -- a quality company that had a bright future.

But they had other plans.

The Moxxor / NaturalNews partnership

Instead of asking me to write about the company, they invited me to be part of the product formulation advisory board! I was asked to offer guidance on future product formulations, just to make sure they stayed at the forefront of the industry and used only the very best ingredients in their products. Zero junk, zero fillers, zero chemicals, that sort of thing.

No problem, I said. I'd love to bring my nutritional knowledge to the table so I can help your company stay at the lead of this industry. The network marketing industry needs more high-integrity companies, especially given all the junk that exists in the marketplace.

That's when they asked that I delay mentioning Moxxor on NaturalNews for a while and that I hold off on publishing any sign-up links on the website until they were good and ready with a sufficient inventory of product.

Sign-up links? I asked them, "What are you talking about? I'm writing about your company as a journalist. Why are you talking about recruitment?"

"Simple," Noel answered, "Because we want to offer NaturalNews a founding, top-level distribution position in the company when it launches."

Starting at the very top

Stop the music for a second. I've made a career out of saying no to nutritional supplement companies, and in doing so, I've established a hard-won reputation for telling the truth about supplements, anti-cancer nutrients and the dangers of pharmaceuticals.

In that process, I've helped many supplement companies become extremely successful. I don't know how many hundreds or thousands of distributors I've helped get involved with the Amazon Herb Co., but I know they come up to me all the time in public and thank me for introducing them. And yet during all that time, I never made a dime from them.

That's when I remembered my 7 Principles of Mindful Wealth. As I've publicly shared in that report, there's no karma in staying poor. What really matters in this modern world when it comes to money is whether you can mindfully earn and redistribute wealth.

If you can do that with ethics, and with the respect for sustainable life on our planet, then you deserve to attract more wealth. The universe wants you to attract more financial resources when you're the right person to decide how to use it. And here I was, in the headquarters of the Moxxor company, being invited by the founders to participate in a potentially huge health-related financial opportunity being put right in my lap. It was also, I realized, something that could eventually replace our existing revenue source on NaturalNews, which is primarily Google.

I also realized that if I could encourage NaturalNews readers to be part of this launch, then I could replace the Google ads (which pay profits to Google) with Moxxor ads that ultimately distribute profits to NaturalNews team members who enroll with Moxxor.

Kind of a no brainer, huh? Let's see: By launching Moxxor on NaturalNews, we could stop sending profits to Google and redirect those profits to NaturalNews readers and NaturalNews health freedom operations... while at the same time eliminating those annoying Google ads that always appear for products we don't even support...

(Keep reading to see how YOU can benefit from the NaturalNews efforts on Moxxor. We have literally put a system in place where NaturalNews readers can receive significant financial benefits from being on the NaturalNews team. It's all explained below...)

When I thought about all the positive implications for NaturalNews, its readers, and the opportunity that had been placed right in front of my nose, for the first time in my life as a natural health journalist, I said YES. I would embrace this company, its products, and this opportunity, but only under certain conditions. They listened as I explained...

I would quit if they ever cheapened the product and filled it with junk. I would not stand for pollution of the environment during product processing, and I emphasized my desire that the gelatin capsules be switched over to plant-based capsules as soon as possible. (I know the cows in New Zealand are pure and all that, but I still wanted to see a commitment to shift towards plant-based capsules in the long term.)

Furthermore, I specifically asked that before the harvest of the green-lipped mussels, the aquaculture fields be blessed with positive intention, and thanks be given to the oceans and Mother Nature for providing such abundance. They not only agreed; Noel invited me to New Zealand to bless the aquaculture fields myself!

I'm flying there in November...

The NaturalNews Moxxor team

Over the last few weeks, I've been working behind the scenes to build the most successful health product direct sales team in the world. Hundreds of health-conscious, eco-conscious people have already joined the NaturalNews Moxxor team (including many N.D.s, M.D.s, chiropractors, herbalists, bodywork practitioners, and more), and we've accomplished a tremendous amount in a short time:

• A phenomenal team of hundreds of distributors in more than 28 states, 4 countries and covering 5 spoken languages. See our directory of our top distributors.

• Weekly LIVE audio events every Tuesday evening (led by myself), plus an archive of each week's audio file that you can download as MP3.

• A high-end, impactful online presentation that can be personalized to each distributor so that the enrollment clicks go directly to them. See this presentation (when you enroll with us, you'll receive a personalized page just for you).

• A series of audio marketing tools and interviews that each distributor can freely burn to audio CDs and hand out to others.

• A support team that can help answer questions and provide information to help NaturalNews team members reach success as quickly as possible.

... and there's more on the way. I'm not going to spill the beans on what else we're about to release for NaturalNews Moxxor team members, but I can confidently tell you this: In the history of network marketing, nobody has ever created the level of authenticity, positive purpose and replication technologies that we now have available for those who decide to join our team. We're combining purpose, products and technology in a way that's simply never been done before.

That's why the NaturalNews Moxxor team delivers a high-integrity product, a generous compensation plan and a pledge to create lasting good with the funds we generate. Everything we do is 100% aligned with our 7 Principles of Mindful Wealth, which describes a set of powerful principles for attracting and redistributing wealth in a mindful way that helps create a better world.

If you'd like to join us in this mission, you can enroll with us.

Once you enroll, you'll be part of the rapidly-growing NaturalNews team, which has already become something of a phenom in professional network marketing circles due to the degree of integrity, technology tools and support we bring to our team members.

Watch our video before enrolling to learn what Moxxor is all about and how you can earn a healthy income stream as a member of our team.

Although I don't have a crystal ball, I think Moxxor could be the next $1 billion health product network marketing company. I can't guarantee it, of course, but all my sense in the health products industry tells me this is going to be wildly successful. I've watched other companies succeed, and I can see that Moxxor has the key ingredients for real long-term success: Honest products, personal integrity and a generous compensation plan that encourages team building. In just the last 30 days, we've see explosive growth just from the early adopters who got on board through my Mindful Wealth email list. Some are already earning respectable incomes with Moxxor, and one woman I know just gave her two-week notice to her employer so she could focus full time on the NaturalNews Moxxor team!

Building a conscious team that stands for truth, health and protecting life
I'm very conscious about the type of team we are building here. The NaturalNews team is right now attracting dedicated, health-conscious people who already live a holistic lifestyle. We want people who eat superfoods, who exercise and who are into protecting life on Earth and supporting good causes. We want people who will commit to a code of ethical principles surrounding money, and who will put their new found wealth to an important application that helps solve the pressing problems in our world.

If this resonates with you, you'll enjoy being part of the NaturalNews Moxxor team. It's not only a phenomenal team filled with intelligent, high-vibration individuals; it's also a team populated with many successful business entrepreneurs who can help show you how to create a healthy income that pays you month after month, year after year. NaturalNews will even help support your success in a multitude of ways!

If you've been looking for good news about health and wealth, I think the universe just brought it to you. Learn about the NaturalNews Moxxor opportunity, and if you'd like to be part of our rapidly-expanding team, get enrolled right now.

In future articles here on NaturalNews.com, I'll be reviewing Moxxor's green-lipped mussel oil and comparing it to other omega-3 oil sources (krill oil, fish oil, flax oil, salmon oil, etc.) In fact, we've planned a whole series of articles on green-lipped mussel oil. And guess what? When you're on the NaturalNews Moxxor team, you can freely post these articles on your own website or blog site, and replace our own enrollment link with YOURS. You have my full permission to do that right now.

I look forward to seeing you on the NaturalNews Moxxor team, and when you try this product yourself, you immediately come to recognize why I'm so excited about this product, this opportunity and this new revenue stream for YOU and US. This is teamwork at its best, and the way in which we have approached this -- sharing leads with team members, distributing free tools, etc. -- demonstrated our integrity and our commitment to helping YOU achieve lasting success as part of the NaturalNews Moxxor team.

24 October, 2008

Excuse Me, That Gas Lowers My Blood Pressure

Dr. Solomon Snyder from Johns Hopkins determined that the embarrassing aroma of flatulence is caused by a gas which lowers blood pressure. The team at Johns Hopkins reported its conclusions in the October 24 edition of the journal ‘Science.’

Over the past twenty years, biologists have been intrigued by the properties of various gases (called gasotransmitters) in signaling a number of functions in the bodies of mammals. You may be familiar with some earlier work. Nitrous oxide is used by many cardiac patients. Gasotransmitters are common in mammals. Findings on the importance of hydrogen sulfide in mice, as this study reports, may have applications in human diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Cells lining the blood vessels produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This gas produces the all-too-familiar rotten egg odor when a person breaks wind. This same gas seems to relax the walls of blood vessels, easing hypertension.

Dr. Snyder’s team genetically altered mice so that their cells did not produce an enzyme called cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE). CSE deficient mice showed reduced H2S levels in their serum, heart, aorta, and other tissues. The non-chimera littermates had higher levels of H2S. The results confirmed the hypothesis that the enzyme was key in tissues’ production of H2S.

Modified mice showed significantly higher blood pressure comparable to serious hypertension in humans. They also had increased plasma homocysteine levels, suspected as a marker for inflammation and higher risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, L-cysteine levels were lower in the chimera. L-cysteine plays a key role in the immune system and in protecting the liver. Both functions seem to be related to L-cysteine’s role in the production of glutathione. Glutathione levels were also lower in the genetically altered mice.

Scientists dosed the mice with a chemical called methacholine that relaxes normal blood vessels. The CSE-lacking mice’s blood vessels showed little change. Researchers concluded that hydrogen sulfide is a significant for regulating blood pressure.

The researchers note that all animal experiments were conducted in accordance with approved protocols by the Animal Health Care Committee of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

The study did not say that passing gas lowers blood pressure. Intestinal gas often indicates that foods have fermented in the colon instead of being completely digested.

Air, food, and liquids are moved through your digestive system by the contraction of muscles in the walls of your intestines.

There are two other ways in which gas can escape your intestine than release through the anus.

First, it can be absorbed across the lining of the intestine into your blood (perhaps aiding the effect the researchers above observed). The gas then travels in the blood and ultimately, if in excess, is excreted on your breath.

Second, gas can be removed and used by certain types of bacteria within the intestine. In fact, most of the gas that is formed by bacteria in the intestines is removed by other bacteria in the intestines.

Often, gas is eliminated at night as you sleep.

Three factors are often cited as causes for flatulence: swallowing air; improperly digested sugars and starches; and an imbalance of bacteria and fungus in the small intestine.

Small amounts of air are frequently swallowed. Eating too quickly and scanty chewing allow greater quantities of air to enter your digestive tract. Swallowed air is sometimes cited as a source of flatulence, however, it is rarely the cause. Yet, thorough chewing of food can go a long way toward relieving numerous digestive maladies.

Bacteria produce H2S and/or methane (both containing sulphur) when they encounter sugars, starch, and cellulose that have not been digested during passage through your small intestine.

Sorbitol, fructose, and lactose are common sugars that are poorly digested and poorly absorbed.

Sorbitol is a sweetener commonly used in low calorie foods. Fructose is used to sweeten all types of sauces, candies, and drinks – it is found almost everywhere. These sugars have been implicated in a variety of other maladies, so they should be consumed only occasionally, if at all.

Lactose is the sugar in milk. Absence (often a genetic trait) of an enzyme called lactase in the intestinal lining causes digestive trouble. Lactase breaks down lactose so that it can be absorbed through the intestine walls into the blood stream. Enzymes similar to intestinal lactase are added to milk products to break down lactose prior to consumption so it can be absorbed normally. The protein, casein, is a more common factor in milk allergy, causing similar symptoms.

Some people find that switching to yogurt, in which lactose has been broken down partially by bacteria, produces less gas than milk. Goat’s milk is more digestible than cow’s milk and is often tolerated better by people allergic to cow’s milk.

Starches are polysaccharides produced by plants. They are composed of long chains of sugars. Common sources of significant amounts of starch include wheat, oats, potatoes, corn, and rice. Rice is the most easily digested starch. Little undigested rice starch reaches your colon and the colonic bacteria. Therefore, eating rice produces little gas. Starches in wheat, oats, potatoes, and, to a lesser extent, corn, may reach the colon and the bacteria in substantial amounts. These starches can result in the production of appreciable amounts of gas.

The first line of defense against this accumulation of gas is chewing. Forty percent of starch digestion happens when your food is thoroughly mixed with saliva. Receptors in your mouth cue key enzymes to be ready to complete the digestion of these starches in your small intestine. Pancreatic enzymes, when not overwhelmed by poorly masticated foodstuff, break down sugars and starches so that they can be used as energy by your body.

Certain fruits and vegetables contain harder to digest starches that reach the colon and result in the formation of gas. These include beans, dried beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots, bananas, and dried fruits. Reducing the intake of these vegetables and fruits, as well as foods made from whole grains, may reduce gas and flatulence. However, the list of gas-producing foods is rather long, and it may be difficult to eliminate them all without severely restricting your diet. Additionally, many of these foods offer significant health benefits.

As above, chewing each bite a couple of dozen times can make a big difference.

Pre-soaking beans and slow cooking with digestion enhancing herbs (e.g., cumin, ginger, coriander) can make a difference.

Supplemental enzymes may be helpful in the short run as well. One such treatment for excessive gas is alpha-D-galactosidase, an enzyme produced by a mold. This enzyme is able to break down some of the difficult-to-digest starches in vegetables so that they may be absorbed. This prevents them from reaching the colonic bacteria and causing unnecessary production of gas. Available as Beano, it is consumed as either a liquid or tablet with meals. Beano has been shown to be effective in decreasing the incidence of intestinal gas.

Often, continuing to eat ‘offending’ foods frequently (in smaller quantities) will acclimate the body to them, allowing it to produce the proper enzymes for their digestion. It is particularly important to eat raw, fresh fruits and vegetables to replenish these enzymes.

Most vegetables and fruits contain cellulose, another type of polysaccharide that is not digested at all as it passes through the small intestine. However, unlike sugars and other starches, cellulose is used only very slowly by colonic bacteria. Therefore, the production of gas after the consumption of fruits and vegetables usually is not great unless the fruits and vegetables also contain sugars or polysaccharides other than cellulose.

We know cellulose better as fiber. Fiber slows the digestion of sugars and starches, allowing more even blood sugar. Further, fiber absorbs certain toxins in your intestines. It pushes out debris from your intestines, leading to more regular cleaning of potential trouble makers from your system. The whole mess is then evacuated with the feces. Clearing your digestive system daily like this also leads to relief from the embarrassment of flatulence.

Under normal conditions, bacteria that produce gas are limited to the colon. In some medical conditions, however, these bacteria spread backward into the small intestine. When this bacterial spread occurs, food reaches the bacteria before it can be fully digested and absorbed by the small intestine. The foreign bacteria in the small intestine have a lot of undigested food from which to form gas.

Fermented foods (e.g., miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi) are enzyme rich foods, alive with micro-organisms. Fermentation allows bacteria, yeasts and molds to "predigest" or break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create "Probiotics." These friendly bacteria keep your immune system strong and support overall digestive health. They:

● aid in digestion.
● promote healthy flora in your digestive tract.
● produce beneficial enzymes.
● offer you better nutrition.
● allow your body to absorb vitamins (in particular C, and B12), minerals, nutritional value and omega 3s more effectively from foods.
● regulate the level of acidity in the digestive tract
● act as anti-oxidants.
● contain the same isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables and therefore fight and prevent cancer.

Flatulence causes an annoying and embarrassing situation. The gas itself is useful in the circulatory system, as long as it gets there and can be used properly. Taking steps to prevent flatulence can also improve your overall health, including your blood pressure.


17 October, 2008

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Shrinks Brain

We have been told that moderate use of alcohol is good for the heart. However, reports from the Framingham Study show that moderate to heavy alcohol use is associated with damage to brain tissue. Such damage to the brain may lead to higher risk of stroke or dementia.

The Framingham Study began in 1948 to follow the residents of Framingham, Massachusetts and their offspring. The study is now following a third generation of participants. The goal of the study is to follow people over a long period of time, documenting their state of cardiovascular disease.

At the beginning of the study, subjects have no evidence of heart disease. The subjects are put through a series of tests every two years. Over time, medical records are analyzed to determine risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Much of the information published about risk factors for heart disease and stroke comes from this study.

The American Academy of Neurology presented evidence in 2007 from Wellesley College, Massachusetts. Carol Ann Paul M.S. and her associates reported that even moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with brain atrophy and possibly an increased risk of dementia or stroke.

Researchers performed MRI scans on 1,839 people aged 34 to 88 to compare the volume of brain tissue to their cranial size. Subjects were classified as non-drinkers, former drinkers, low drinkers (1 to 7 drinks per week), moderate drinkers (8 to 14 drinks per week), or high drinkers (more than 14 drinks per week). Brain shrinkage numbers increased by .25 percent as amount and frequency of drinking increased. People who consumed more than 14 drinks per week had brains which averaged 1.6 percent smaller than those who did not drink alcohol. For women, especially those in their 70's, the change was more dramatic than for men. Researchers speculated that the differences may be associated with the smaller body mass of women. In addition, those who had a longer history of heavy alcohol consumption also had more brain atrophy. The team noted that men were more likely to become heavy drinkers than women.

The same group reported again in 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "The public health effect of this study gives a clear message about the possible dangers of drinking alcohol," the authors write. "... This study suggests that, unlike the associations with cardiovascular disease, alcohol consumption does not have any protective effect on brain volume.” They suggest further, longer term studies to determine the full impact of these findings.

In general, brain volume decreases with age at an estimated rate of 1.9 percent every ten years. At the same time white matter lesions replace grey matter. Lower brain mass and white lesions are associated with problems in movement, thinking, learning, and memory.

A 2006 study from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam observed that people who developed dementia decreased in brain volume between 5 and 17 percent during the eight year study. Those who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s had a decrease up to 40 percent. People with atrophy in parts of the brain known as the amygdala and hippocampus had the highest risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

The accelerated loss of grey matter under the influence of alcohol is worth considering before you down that second (or third) serving of spirits.


JAMA and Archives Journals (2008, October 14). Drinking Alcohol Associated With Smaller Brain Volume. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013171421.htm

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health (2003, December 5). Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031205052952.htm

American Academy of Neurology (2007, May 3). Drinking Heavy Amounts Of Alcohol Shrinks Your Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070502172317.htm



08 October, 2008

Bad Eating Habits Produce Inflammation and Changes in Behavior

Overeating is a self perpetuating habit which has devastating health effects. The habit sets off a series of events which short circuit the normal signals the body gives to regulate eating habits. All this leads to wide spread inflammation, contributing to chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Apparently food choices make changes, not only in your health, but in your behavior as well. Overweight people approach food differently.

A new study published in the October 3rd issue of the journal Cell found that overeating causes changes in the brain.

The hypothalamus is a cone shaped gland, about the size of an almond, attached to the pituitary gland and lying near the brain stem. It is the mechanism which helps the body maintain homeostasis – the tendency toward a stable, constant state of equilibrium. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, anger, sexual desire, blood pressure, water balance, and circadian cycles. The nervous system and endocrine system communicate through the hypothalamus.

A protein called IKKbeta/NK-kappaB is normally present in the hypothalamus in large quantities. However, it is not generally released into body tissues. This substance is used by macrophages and leukocytes, triggering inflammation throughout the body. It is as if the immune system tries to attack and destroy an invader which is not there. Researchers speculate it may have been an important element in a the body's first line of defense against pathogenic invaders at some time in the distant past.

In our day, it is activated by a different mechanism. A high fat diet releases IKKbeta/NK-kappaB from the hypothalamus. When they fed mice a high-fat diet, activity in the pathway which releases this protein doubled. It increased even more in mice genetically prone to obesity. Release of this protein results in resistance to insulin and leptin. Resistance to these hormones hold a key to the development of diabetes and heart disease. These researchers feel they have discovered a ‘master switch’ for the diseases caused by overeating. Inflammation and obesity are intertwined.

Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas which stimulates the cells to take up glucose and stops use of fat as an energy source.

Leptin plays a key role in regulation of appetite, metabolism, and reproductive function. It is a hormone that normally helps regulate appetite, and insulin, and helps convert food into energy. Produced by fat cells, it signals the body to shut off the appetite and encourages physical activity to burn off energy. Leptin also regulates insulin. At night, when the body is at rest, leptin is decreased by the presence of melatonin.

Oddly, in obese people, large quantities of leptin are found circulating in the blood. It is now thought that IKKbeta/NK-kappaB produces leptin resistance. In the study, when the protein was active, the mouse’s body ignored signals from leptin. Stimulating its release made the mice eat more, while suppressing it made them eat less.

"Knocking out" the gene controlling this pathway through genetic engineering kept mice eating normally and prevented obesity, even though a high fat diet was available to them. Such genetic engineering cannot be done in people.

The ultimate goal: to identify a selective and effective suppressor of the pathway to target related neurons. The researchers believe a drug, or even gene therapy, might work.

With gene therapy, a virus or other so-called vector is used to carry corrective DNA into the body, but the approach is still highly experimental.

Other scientists are leery of these conclusions. The complexity of the controls governing human metabolism, appetite and the laying down of fat has become clear over recent years. If we have some drugs that target this pathway, they may well interfere with some other part of the immune system.

Not all fats are guilty of stimulating the pathway described above. We suspect that the mice studied were fed a diet similar to the Standard American Diet (SAD). This diet is typically high in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates.

Another study out of UC Irvine, reported in the October 8 issue of Cell Metabolism, demonstrated a different mechanism affecting hunger. An unsaturated fat, oleic acid – found in olive oil, avocados and nuts – triggers a compound, called oleoylethanolamide (OEA), in the small intestine which curbs hunger pangs. Oleic acid, transforms into OEA by the action of cells in the upper region of the small intestine. After several minutes, OEA activates nerve endings which carry a hunger-curbing message to the brain. The signals activate a brain circuit (in the hypothalamus) that increases feelings of fullness. The process can take up to twenty minutes. Previous studies found that increasing OEA levels can reduce appetite, produce weight loss and lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Your choice of foods, beyond fat content, can affect the inflammation level in your body. Regular consumption of anti inflammatory foods may lead to reduction of inflammation on your body. Following is a list of foods which have been found to have anti inflammatory action:


Bell Peppers
Bok Choy
Broccoli Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts
Fennel Bulb
Green Beans
Green Onions/Spring Onions
Sweet potatoes
Turnip Greens


Acerola (West Indian) Cherries
Black Currants
Fresh Pineapple

Herbs and Spices

Cayenne Peppers/Chilli Peppers
Cocoa (at least 70% cocoa chocolate)


Rainbow Trout
Snapper Fish
Striped Bass

Nuts and Seeds

Sunflower Seeds


Avocado Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Green Tea

Did you ever notice the way people approach buffet food bars? A study, reported in the June issue of the journal Obesity, analyzed the habits of people at all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants.

Trained observers recorded the height, weight, sex, age, and behavior of 213 patrons at 11 restaurants. Various seating, serving, and eating behaviors were then compared across BMI levels. Dramatic differences were observed depending on the person’s body mass index (BMI).

Obese people found ways to make the food more convenient to eat. Thus they tended to eat in excess. Rather than surveying the food bar to decide what they want, they were more than three times as likely to seize a plate and start filling it. They used larger plates. They chose seats an average of 16 feet closer to the food bar. Facing the food bar was a preferred position.

Those with lower BMI were twice as likely to sit in a booth, rather than at a table. They put a napkin in their lap and chose to eat with chopsticks rather than a fork more frequently. Each bite was chewed longer by normal weight people compared to those who had higher BMI.

Appetite is a very complex subject. However, we do know that poor food choices and attitudes and habits surrounding food both contribute to and perpetuate overeating and its resulting chronic illnesses.









Cell Press (2008, October 3). Brain Pathway Responsible For Obesity Found: Too Many Calories Send Brain Off Kilter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 6, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002171908.htm

University of California - Irvine (2008, October 7). How Fatty Foods Curb Hunger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from




01 October, 2008

Choosing the Best Apple Juice for your health

Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals -- molecules that can damage body cells and contribute to disease. With an emphasis on eating healthier, people are trying to find ways to consume the recommended five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Many are overwhelmed at the concept of putting that many items on their plates throughout the day (my kiddos, however, would cite me for child abuse if they were limited to five servings). Spurred by certain advertising, many people now consume fruit and/or vegetable juices to augment their antioxidant intake.

As always, read labels before you choose a juice. Many bottled juices contain little to no real juice -- only sweeteners (and increasingly they are sweetened with toxic artificial sweeteners), flavor enhancers, and preservatives. “Juice drinks” may contain ten to twenty-seven percent juice, plus high fructose corn sweeteners (and the aforementioned artificial sweeteners). Look for 100% juice, but don't stop there.

In a head-to-head comparison of apple juices, Polish researchers found that pulpy, non-clarified juice carried a greater antioxidant punch than clear juice. Clear juices are processed to remove any solids in the juice. This makes a ‘prettier’ juice and increases its shelf life, but it turns out that those solids are the storehouse for many nutrients. Juice with pulp contained four times as many polyphenols as clear juice. Polyphenols have been studied for their effects which may reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer.

“Cloudy apple juices contain much more antioxidant than clear,” concludes Dr. Jan Oszmianski, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Agricultural University of Wroclaw. Her study was published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. In the end, however, your best bet for getting the most nutrition is to eat the whole apple. Look for the ‘older’ varieties. The newer varieties tend to have lower nutrient content. they are bred for eye appeal and for shelf life, not for nutrition. ‘Cider’ apples ranked highest in nutrients of all the apples tested (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture).

While we are on the subject of apples:

In medieval times, a saying was coined: “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed Makes the doctor beg his bread.” The saying has come down to us as: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Modern research indicates that there may be some truth in the old saying. Apples also have significant amounts of a wide array of important phytonutrients that research has found to have extremely important health benefits.

* They are an excellent source of fiber, which keeps the digestive tract working properly. Fiber absorbs a number of toxins from the body.

* Quercetin, which is available in apples, inhibits, reduces, or prevents the growth of human prostate cancer cells by blocking activity of androgen hormones (Carcinogenesis, 2001, 22: 409-414). Increased consumption of quercetin is also associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000, 92: 154-160).

* Phytonutrients in apples inhibit the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in vitro. Beneficial phytonutrients are most strongly concentrated in the apple skin, but the apple flesh also contains significant levels of phytonutrients (Nature, 2000, 405: 903-904).

* In a long term study in Finland, lung cancer was 46 percent lower among those whose diets contained the highest amount of flavonoids, particularly from apples. Of the major dietary flavonoid sources, apples showed the greatest inverse association with lung cancer incidence. (American Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, 146: 223-230).

* British analysis of dietary habits indicates a strong positive association between positive lung function and the number of apples eaten each week (Thorax, 2000, 55:102-108).

* Apples and apple juice may help to slow the oxidation process that leads to the build-up of plaque (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) that leads to heart disease (Journal of Medicinal Food, 2000, 3: 159-165; Life Sciences, 1999, 64: 1913-1920).

* The Finnish Study also concluded that high consumption of flavonoids from apples and onions was directly associated with the lowest death risk from coronary factors (British Medical Journal, 1996, 312: 478-481) and the lowest risk of thrombotic stroke (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 54: 415-417).

If you would prefer juices, fresh whole juices deliver both abundant nutrients and a full spectrum of helpful enzymes to allow your body to digest all foods more effectively.