Natural Sweeteners That Are Healthy to Use!

I love Stevia! It is one of many healthy, yet zero calorie, sweeteners. Don’t use harmful artificial sweeteners! Use natural alternatives to pure sugar!

Four Natural Sweeteners That Are Actually Healthy

Care2 – Authority Nutrition Column “There are quite a few sweeteners that are perfectly safe to eat. They are low in calories, low in fructose and taste very sweet. Here are 4 natural sweeteners that are actually healthy.

1. Stevia

Stevia is a very popular low-calorie (Dr. Bill: “Actually ZERO calorie!”) sweetener. It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. This plant has been grown for sweetness and medicinal purposes for centuries in South America.
There are several sweet compounds found in Stevia leaves, the main ones are Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. Both are many hundred times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram. Stevia is very sweet, but has virtually no calories. There are some studies in humans showing Stevia to have health benefits:

  • When blood pressure is high, Stevia can lower it by 6-14%. However, it has no effect on blood pressure that is normal or only mildly elevated.
  • Stevia has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  • There are also studies in rats showing that Stevia can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque build up in the arteries.

If you need to sweeten something, Stevia may be the healthiest choice. However… many people really hate the taste of Stevia. It does depend on the brand though, you may need to experiment to find one that you like. (Dr. Bill: “I recommend Now ‘Better Stevia’ Brand”)

2. Erythritol

Erythritol is another low-calorie sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in certain fruits, but if you’re buying powdered erythritol then it will most likely be made via an industrial process. It contains 0.24 calories per gram, or about 6% of the calories as sugar, with 70% of the sweetness.

Erythritol doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin levels and has no effect on biomarkers like cholesterol or triglycerides (7, 8). It is absorbed into the body from the intestine, but eventually excreted from the kidneys unchanged (9). Studies show that erythritol is very safe. However, same as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive issues if you consume too much at a time (10, 11).

Erythritol tastes very much like sugar, although it can have a mild aftertaste. I wouldn’t say that erythritol is “healthy” – but it certainly doesn’t appear to be harmful in any way and seems to be better tolerated than most other sugar alcohols.

3. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar. It contains 2.4 calories per gram, or about 2/3rds of the caloric value of sugar.

Xylitol appears to have some benefits for dental health, reducing the risk of cavities and dental decay (12, 13). It may also improve bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis (14). Xylitol doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels (15).

However, as with other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive side effects at high doses. If you have a dog in your home, then you might want to keep xylitol out of the house because it is highly toxic to dogs (16).

4. Yacon Syrup

Recently I reviewed a rather unique sweetener called Yacon syrup. It is harvested from the Yacon plant, which grows natively in the Andes in South America. This sweetener has recently become popular as a weight loss supplement, because one study found that it caused significant weight loss in overweight women (17).

It is very high in fructooligosaccharides, which function as soluble fibers that feed the good bacteria in the intestine (18, 19). Yacon syrup can help against constipation and it has various benefits due to the high amount of soluble fiber (20). Don’t eat too much at a time though, as it can cause digestive problems.

What About ‘Less Bad’ Sugars Like Honey?

There are several popular sweeteners that health conscious people often eat instead of sugar. This includes coconut sugar, molasses, honey and maple syrup.

I recently wrote an article making the case that they really aren’t much different from sugar. They may contain slightly smaller amounts of fructose and some tiny amount of nutrients, but your liver really won’t be able to tell the difference.

However… I should definitely clarify something here. The harmful effects of sugar depend completely on the context. Most of the studies are done on people who are already eating a high-carb, Western junk food diet. For those people, especially those who are overweight and/or insulin resistant, large amounts of sugar are downright toxic. There are a few people who might want to avoid sugar-based sweeteners completely. This includes food addicts, binge eaters and people who are on a very low-carb, ketogenic diet.

Other people can eat sugar in small amounts without any harm. It is still empty calories and will still be bad for your teeth, but it won’t harm your metabolism, give you fatty liver or end up destroying your health. If you’re one of those people who eat healthy but like to to bake stuff with healthy ingredients, then I don’t see a problem with using natural sweeteners like honey as long as the majority of your diet is based on real food.

In the context of a healthy, real food based diet, small amounts of these natural sugar-based sweeteners won’t cause harm.”

High-Dose Vitamin C Effective But Suppressed By Big Pharma

Big Pharma can’t patent vitamins, so this treatment is likely to be suppressed as a possible solution to cancer treatment!

High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer

(NaturalNews) “Groundbreaking new research on the cancer-fighting potential of vitamin C has made the pages of the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine. A team of researchers from the University of Kansas reportedly tested the effects of vitamin C given in high doses intravenously on a group of human subjects and found that it effectively eradicates cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact.

Building upon earlier research pioneered in the 1970s by the late Linus Pauling, a chemist from Oregon State University who today is recognized as the world’s foremost proponent of therapeutic vitamin C, the new research involved injecting high doses of vitamin C into human ovarian cells. The tests were conducted in vitro in a lab, as well as directly in both mice and a group of 22 human subjects.

According to BBC News, the tests showed favorable results in all three models, as the vitamin C effectively targeted the ovarian cancer cells while avoiding healthy cells. The benefits of high-dose vitamin C were also observed in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy treatments, which destroy all cells, both healthy and malignant, eventually leading to patient death.

‘Patients are looking for safe and low-cost choices in their management of cancer,’ stated Dr. Jeanne Drisko, a co-author of the study, to BBC News concerning the findings. ‘Intravenous vitamin C has that potential based on our basic science research and early clinical data.’

Researchers admit more human trials on intravenous vitamin C unlikely because drug companies cannot patent vitamins

The next step for this type of research would typically involve applying these same parameters in a large-scale clinical human trial to see if they can be replicated and confirmed. While this new study is admittedly convincing on its own, the hurdles to gaining widespread acceptance of its findings include replicating them across a much larger human sample size.

But this may never actually take place. And the reason, says the research team, is that such trials require major funding that typically comes from pharmaceutical companies interested in developing a patented drug. Drug companies, in other words, are hardly interesting in promoting the medicinal benefits of natural substances like vitamin C, which stands to decimate the multibillion-dollar conventional cancer industry if word gets out about its benefits.

‘Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies,’ says Qi Chen, lead author of the new study. ‘We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C.’

The conventional medical industry’s response to these and similar findings over the years has been nothing short of derisive, which is to be expected. Having to rationalize decades of ushering cancer patients through the gauntlet of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — with dismal results — while ignoring natural cancer-fighting alternatives like vitamin C is a hard pill to swallow for this powerful, high-profit industry, which would rather everyone ignore such findings than think critically about them.

‘[A]scorbate is processed by the body in different ways when administered orally versus intravenously,’ writes Heidi Ledford for Nature about this commonly misunderstood variance. The medical-industrial complex, it turns out, intentionally corrupts the conversation on vitamin C by convoluting the distinct effects of these very different delivery routes.

‘Oral doses [of vitamin C] act as antioxidants, protecting cells from damage caused by reactive compounds that contain oxygen. But vitamin C given intravenously can have the opposite effect by promoting the formation of one of those compounds: hydrogen peroxide. Cancer cells are particularly susceptible to damage by such reactive oxygen-containing compounds.'”

Ginseng – Yes, It Really IS That Good!

There has been a lot of controversy about whether Ginseng is beneficial. Now, a very large study, says, “Yes!”

Remarkable Ginseng Research Backs Herb’s Reputation (For study references, please follow the link to the source article)

Mother Earth News – “Ginseng is one of the best known and most frequently studied medicinal plants worldwide. This is for good reason ginseng benefits just about every system in the body in one way or another.There are a number of different types of ginseng. The species of ginseng that is most commonly used around the world is Panax ginseng, also known as Korean or Asian ginseng. Its official botanical name is Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is another commonly used and well-studied species. The word ‘Panax’ is derived from the Latin ‘Pan,’ meaning ‘all,’ and ‘Akos,’ meaning ‘cure.’ If any herbal medicine is truly a cure-all, ginseng is it. Its broad range of therapeutic effects includes everything from fighting fatigue to preventing cancer.

Ginseng’s Two Most Beneficial Constituents

Most ginseng benefits are thought to be the result of two important groups of compounds: ginsenosides and polysaccharides. The ginsenosides are the most-studied ginseng constituents and have been found to have regulatory effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, reproductive system, and more. While both Asian and American ginseng contain ginsenosides, there are some key differences in types and amounts of these compounds which create some of the variation in terms of their therapeutic effects. The older the plant, the more ginsenosides generally contained in the root. Roots must typically be at least 4 years old before harvest in order to have adequate ginsenosides for medicinal effects. Ginseng’s polysaccharides, meanwhile, are antioxidants with immune-regulating effects and are thought to be partly responsible for its anti-cancer benefits.

Research-backed ginseng benefits include the following:

Ginseng Combats Stress and Reduces Fatigue

Ginseng is best known for its ability to boost energy and relieve stress. Both American and Asian ginseng can be perfectly classified as ‘tonic’ and ‘adaptogen’ herbs. Both ginsengs have nutritive, restorative, and normalizing effects which enhance homeostasis and counteract negative effects brought about by stressors. They do this mainly by helping to restore normal functioning of the body’s main stress response system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).

The results of one of the largest studies to-date demonstrating ginseng’s anti-fatigue effects were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial by Mayo researchers evaluated a daily dose of 2000 mg American ginseng extractor placebo for 8 weeks in 364 fatigued cancer patients or survivors from 40 different clinics. After 8 weeks, those taking the ginseng showed a statistically and clinically significant difference in their levels of fatigue compared to those taking the placebo. The results for the patients who received ginseng and were undergoing chemotherapy or radiation during the study were especially surprising to the researchers. Those patients had significant improvements starting at 4 weeks rather than 8 weeks.

Like American ginseng, Panax ginseng has also been shown to improve fatigue associated with various conditions in double blind studies. One recent study in adults with chronic fatigue syndrome found that 2000 mg per day of Panax ginseng extract significantly decreased fatigue compared to placebo.

Ginseng Improves Cognitive Function

Both Asian and American ginseng have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy young adults found significant improvements in working memory 1-6 hours after administration of an American ginseng extract standardized to 10.65% ginsenosides. Other studies also found that standardized extracts of American ginseng significantly improve aspects ofmemory.

Like American ginseng, Panax ginseng also improves cognitive function. In one study, a 200 mg capsule of Panax ginseng enhanced performance of a mental arithmetic task and ameliorated feelings of mental fatigue during the later stages of a sustained, cognitively demanding test. A series of studies by researchers in South Korea found that high doses of Panax ginseng (4.5 to 9 grams a day of Korean Red ginseng) lead to significant and long-term improvements in cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ginseng Improves Blood Sugar Regulation

Ginseng has traditionally been used to treat high blood sugar and diabetes, and some recent studies support its ability to help regulate blood sugar while other studies do not. At this point in time, researchers believe that certain compounds in both Asian and American ginseng may be beneficial for blood sugar regulation. Among the two, American ginseng seems to work better. Studies indicate American ginseng may help improve blood sugar control in both healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes. Most of the studies with American ginseng have used a dose of 1-3 grams of dried powdered root.

Ginseng Prevents Colds and Flu

In addition to ginsenosides, ginseng contains certain polysaccharides that have been shown to have immune stimulating effects. In one study, 200 mg capsules twice a day of a proprietary American ginseng extract called Cold-fX for 4 months during the cold and flu season reduced the risk of respiratory symptoms by 48% and the duration of symptoms by 55%. Another study using 400 or 800 mg per day of the same extract for six months found that both doses significantly reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections compared to placebo, with the higher dose working best.

Additional ginseng benefits

In addition to the benefits listed above, ginseng has been shown to improve erectile function, decrease blood pressure and arterial stiffness, improve antioxidant functioning and glutathione levels, help prevent cancer recurrence, and decrease menopausal symptoms. With more studies currently underway, the possibilities for ginseng seem endless. For overall health and vitality, this herb is it!”

Cocoa Powder and Spirulina May Be Effective to Combat Dementia

Once again, we see that natural products, and substances can make a tremendous difference in very serious conditions!

High-flavanol cocoa powder and spirulina could prevent senile dementia

(NaturalNews) – “If you’re consuming both cocoa powder and spirulina, you may consider how it could protect you from diminishing memory, cognitive decline and other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, as you age. And that’s not all. The positive cardiovascular effects of these two superfoods are also substantial.

The Oasis of Hope Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, has offered a medical hypothesis based on the medical literature of both superfoods. No actual studies were performed, but many existing studies were analyzed for the scientific foundation of their hypothesis.

This research group also suggested that adding cocoa to spirulina is a good way to disguise the taste and smell of spirulina in addition to compounding its health benefits.

FYI addition: If taste is an issue with spirulina, here’s one person’s solution that doesn’t included cocoa powder (http://www.cureendometriosis). Cocoa powder can be consumed separately but within the same time frame as spirulina. Some prefer adding cocoa powder to their coffee.

The basis of Oasis of Hope’s medical hypothesis

Their first observation concerned the Kuna Indians of Panama who consume large amounts of cocoa. They have an almost nonexistent level of hypertension (high blood pressure) and suffer hardly any strokes despite salting their foods profusely.

Could it be that the salt and high blood pressure connection is flawed?

A year or so ago, the European Food Safety Authority, the EU’s equivalent to the American FDA but perhaps not quite as corrupt, officially confirmed that dark chocolate and cocoa products could be promoted as supporting cardiovascular health with increased blood flow.

In addition to proven cardiovascular health and lowered blood pressure, studies have demonstrated cocoa’s ability to improve cognitive function. An Italian university recently used 90 subjects to determine improved cognitive and memory function among those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

MCI could be considered a precursor or early warning stage of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It involves thinking difficulties with daily activities and memory problems but isn’t yet considered dementia according to the Alzheimer’s Society UK site. It’s been observed that MCI sufferers often go on to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s.

So this level of impaired memory and mental acumen shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is the time to start adding cocoa powder beverages, high-cocoa content dark chocolates with minimal sugar and milk combined with the hypothetically suggested spirulina.

Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that has been demonstrated in several Asian rodent studies to reduce inflammatory markers with its high level of phycocyanobilin, a proven inhibitor of vascular and cellular oxidative stress.

The authors of this medical hypothesis claim that adding cocoa’s high flavanol antioxidant content encourages nitric oxide production, which enhances vascular flexibility and strength throughout the body, including the arteries and blood vessels of the brain.

Declining cardiovascular and brain health are two major aging crisis scenarios. This medical hypothesis offers what many like to call an anti-aging solution.

Other MCI reversal and dementia protective tips

Let’s not forget the role of pure cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for avoiding or reversing dementia. It’s been empirically demonstrated to reverse even late stage Alzheimer’s.

The medium-chain triglycerides of coconut oil are easily metabolized, instead of stored as fat, to create ketones that oxygen-starved, damaged brain cells can use for energy.

Ayurveda herbs such as brahmi, or bacopa, and gotu kola have centuries-old empirical evidence of improving MCI to prevent full blown dementia. They are inexpensive in powdered forms purchased online or from Ayurveda clinics.

Dementia is an expanding epidemic. Alzheimer’s can be tragically disabling and even fatal. But early natural preventions are abundantly available.”

How to Help Boost Your Immune System

From the “Natural Cowgirl Blog” – Margaret Durst, A.K.A. “Natural Cowgirl” – This natural health blogger has some great info on steps that you can take to boost your immune system so that you will be ready for “flu season.” But, remember that your immune system should be in top shape at all times, not just special times of the year, when people are more aware of chances of flu.

Natural Immune Boosters

Margaret’s Natural Health Blog – From the “Natural Cowgirl Blog” – By: Margaret Durst, A.K.A. “Natural Cowgirl” – “Now is a good time to start building your immune system for flu season. Whether you are concerned about colds or flu, there are some great natural strategies for you to use to build your immune system.

Let’s review a bit about viruses and immune function. Viruses are opportunistic and function like scavengers. If the host is healthy and there is nothing to scavenge, the virus will not be successful.

An average body is somewhat easy to bring into balance and keep well. You want to make sure you are eating well balanced meals, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. If you are concerned about decreased immunity due to stress and what I call fast living (which we all do from time to time), my typical immune recommendations will work well for you.

I love a product called Elderberry Defense. It is a combination of Elderberry, Vitamin D, Echinacea and Olive Leaf. This is what I give my son. He doesn’t get sick enough to miss school unless he doesn’t take it. This comes in a chewable gummy form for kids and in capsule form for those who can swallow. Both work well and are a repeat favorite among mothers.

I am also a big fan of Olive Leaf Extract and Grapefruit Seed Extract. One of our bestsellers is a product called Defense Plus. It is a blend of Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin C, Echinacea and several Mushrooms. Defense Plus is my ‘go to’ remedy for almost anything infectious if you can swallow big pills. Some people take one per day of either Defense Plus or high quality Olive Leaf to stay well.

I personally take Olive Leaf – I have for years. The last time I got really sick was when I ran out of my favorite brand of olive leaf and took another one that I no longer sell.

There are other products worth mentioning that work. Colostrum, Thymus Extract, Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, Astragalus, and Probiotics are all good immune builders. On the average body, any of these, or any combination will work.

It’s the ‘not’ average bodies that will have trouble. These tend to be out of balance to begin with. They tend to be overrun with problems of congestion, inflammation and excess acidity. They are hard to balance as they tend to be a disease waiting to happen.

Bringing these bodies into balance is more of a challenge. I would recommend a whole body cleanse along with some diet changes for these types of bodies. The 2 key problems I see are yeast/fungus and eating too many refined foods – mainly white flour and white sugar. Balancing the diet and getting rid of yeast /fungus will give a virus less to scavenge. With some balance restored, this kind of body will respond well to typical immune builders, but may have to double or triple the average dose to get results.

I can usually predict the first outbreak of a cold or flu virus in the school. It will be after our first bout of cold rainy weather and it is usually after Thanksgiving. It seems to be the combination of rich food, virus exchange with cousins, and cold weather that keeps us inside (Vitamin D deficiency) that yields the first wave.

Cold and flus outbreaks also come from ‘fast living’. This is when we really need to be prepared. This is when we get run down from things like following the football team to all of their games while continuing all of our ‘normal’ activities.

Watch for times of decreased immunity and boost yours naturally so you can stay well and enjoy life.”

NOTE: For the products that she mentions, check out her on-line store: http://www.vitaminranch.com/

These Onions May Be Good for Your Heart

These “tearless onions” are related to garlic, and therefore, are good for the cardio-vascular system.

‘Tearless’ Onions Could Help Fight Heart Disease

Bioscience Technology – “Onions, a key ingredient in recipes around the globe, come in a tearless version that scientists are now reporting could pack health benefits like its close relative, garlic, which is renowned for protecting against heart disease. They published their laboratory analysis, which suggests a similar heart-friendly role for the tearless onions, as well as a possible role in managing weight gain, in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Colin Eady and colleagues note that the onion has a unique chemistry that leads to its tear-inducing effects when cut. Its pungency has driven cooks to don goggles, clench wooden spoons in their mouths and try other usually futile techniques to prevent crying at the cutting board. An answer could arrive in the form of a new type of onion that makes less of the protein blamed for making eyes burn and tear up. Eady’s team has developed such a version, which instead makes a sulfur compound similar to one found in cut garlic that may be the key to its cardiovascular benefits.

Many people eat garlic cloves or take it as a nutritional supplement in pill form to reduce the clumping of platelets in the blood, which can lead to blood clots and clogged arteries. Garlic also has been shown to reduce weight gain. They wanted to know whether the new onion might also have similar positive effects on health.

The scientists found that in lab tests, extract from the tearless onion significantly reduced platelet clumping, compared to regular onions or even garlic. Other results showed that the new onion had about the same anti-inflammatory properties as the original. Also, preliminary testing in rats showed that the tearless onion could help control weight gain – more so than regular onions or garlic.”

Vitamin Use Cuts Down on Cancer Deaths

The media has been ranting of late that there is NO benefit to vitamin usage, It is practically a mantra with them. Yet, the actual studies that are being done say otherwise!

Vitamin use is associated with lower breast cancer death

“Breast cancer is a condition feared by women worldwide even though in many cases there are effective treatments. Medical News Today notes that breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females across the world. MedPage Today reported on Oct. 10, 2013, ‘Vitamin Use Tied to Lower Breast Cancer Death.’

An analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) showed postmenopausal breast cancer patients had a significantly decreased risk of dying of the disease if they consumed multivitamins with minerals. Overall, use of multivitamins with minerals has been found to be associated with a 30% lower likelihood of breast cancer mortality in women who were taking the vitamins at diagnosis.

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, has said ‘This large prospective study among U.S. older women showed a consistent association between multivitamin and mineral use and lower breast cancer mortality.’ In an earlier analysis of WHI data an association between multivitamin use and the risk of developing breast cancer was not seen.”

Aronia berries: High in Antioxidants!

Once again, a demonstration that natural, healthy foods have tremendous benefits to us!

Aronia berries: North American fruits bursting with antioxidants

“(NaturalNews) Aronia is a North American shrub that bears fruits which resemble dark purple-colored cranberries. Despite their ordinary appearance, however, these fruits – which are commonly called aronia berries or chokeberries – boast an unusually impressive nutritional profile. Indeed, a couple of years ago, many mainstream newspapers – notably the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail – ran stories claiming that aronia berries were the healthiest fruits in the world. While these claims are debatable, research has shown that the regular consumption of aronia berries in preserved, dried or juiced form provides us with numerous health benefits.

The benefits of aronia berries

Incredibly rich in antioxidants – The aronia berry is bursting with so many antioxidants that it is almost inedible when raw due to its extreme sharpness. Indeed, the USDA gave the raw aronia berry an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of 15,280 umol per 100 grams, meaning that it contains almost three times as many antioxidants as the blackberry, acai berry and blueberry and one-and-a-half times as many antioxidants as the cranberry and blackcurrant. Even when sweetened and made into jams and spreads, aronia berries still contain more antioxidants – including essential flavonoids and anthocyanins – than any other superfruit. Antioxidants inhibit the activity of cell-destroying free radicals, thereby guarding us from cancer and other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration.

Rich in dietary fiber – Aronia berries are an excellent source of fiber, making them effective natural laxatives that can help remove accumulated matter from the colon. Consequently, they can also prevent colon cancer while promoting natural weight loss in overweight individuals.

Iron and vitamin C – 100 grams of dried aronia berries provides us with 93 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, which plays a critical role in the body’s oxidation processes and can only be acquired from external sources, since our bodies cannot make it. 100 grams of dried aronia berries also provides us with 34 percent of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which plays a central role in the formation of collagen and has numerous anti-aging benefits.

Boost cardiovascular health – Aronia berries can boost blood circulation and blood vessel strength thanks to their ability to neutralize free radicals, which are a leading cause of cardiovascular issues. They also prevent the formation of blood clots, thereby minimizing the chances of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

High in quinic acid – Aronia berries contain unsurpassed levels of quinic acid, making them even more effective than cranberry juice for treating urinary tract infections. Moreover, quinic acid increases the acidity of urine, thus inhibiting the growth of kidney stones.”

A Plant Extract That Fights Fat and Helps Control Blood Sugar

This is an amazing article! Click the link for the references to the information!

Shed Pounds by Inhibiting Cellular Fat Storage

“Health authorities are warning about the devastating consequences of obesity, yet doctors remain in the dark about what causes people to accumulate so many fat pounds as they age.

Through a series of well-designed studies, scientists investigating certain plant extracts found they can block fat storage at the cellular level.

In a significant scientific advance, a potent new weapon has been identified to help safely induce weight loss.

This article describes how a novel dual plant extract favorably modulates six pathways that fat cells use to trigger weight gain.

When tested on humans in a placebo-controlled study, those taking this dual plant extract lost 4.05 inches of abdominal fat and dropped 11.4 pounds after eight weeks…with weight loss observed as early as 14 days.1

Cells that store fat are called adipocytes. They are deposited throughout our bodies.2,3

As we age, adipocytes tend to expand and congregate in areas that are cosmetically unsightly and detrimental to our health.

Of greatest concern are the adipocytes that deposit deep in our abdomens. This ‘visceral fat’ represents more than fat stored on our waistlines. Visceral fat is chemically active tissue that churns out a torrent of pro-inflammatory cytokines.4

Those with bulging belly fat suffer constant bombardment from toxic cytokines that trigger the metabolic syndrome and its deadly consequences.5,6

This widespread problem led scientists to seek out plant extracts that specifically interfere with adipocyte fat storage in our abdominal anatomy.

Sphaeranthus indicus

How Unwanted Fat Storage Occurs

Excess calories transform to fat deposits in adipocytes7 through a multi-step process known as adipogenesis.

When fewer calories are consumed, fat is released from adipocytes to meet the body’s energy needs.8,9 This is known as lipolysis.

A dual plant extract has been studied based on its ability to simultaneously inhibit adipogenesis (fat storage) and enhance lipolysis (fat breakdown and release).

Mangosteen fruit

Like any other cell, adipocytes develop from undifferentiated stem cells. Premature, developing fat cells are called pre-adipocytes. When you ingest more calories than your body needs, ‘young’ pre-adipocytes respond by maturing into ‘adult’ adipocytes.7,10-12

‘Adult’ adipocytes take up excess fatty acids from your bloodstream and begin expanding. It is this process of fatty acid uptake and adipocyte expansion that ultimately results in obesity and its pathologic consequences. Every excess calorie contributes to the maturation and growth of fat cells in this way. Past a certain point, adipocytes distend and become bloated, much in the same way your belly does.

Not all adipocytes are the same. While fat cells distribute throughout your body, those that store in your abdomen—producing so-called visceral fat or belly fat—are more than just storage ‘containers.’

Belly fat cells are chemically active. They form fatty tissue capable of releasing detrimental pro-inflammatory cytokines.4

In obese individuals, the mass of excess visceral fat deposits generates a pro-inflammatory flood of cytokines. This cytokine release then incites a cascade of harmful effects that, if left unchecked, contributes to the onset of multiple degenerative diseases.5,6

So unwanted body fat storage happens when pre-adipocyte stem cells mature in order to store excess dietary fat (adipogenesis) while the ability to break down stored fat (lipolysis) diminishes.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: INHIBITING CELLULAR FAT STORAGE

  • An obesity epidemic continues to rage in this country, with more than two-thirds of the American population overweight or obese.
  • Conventional medicine has yet to offer any safe, long-term, practical solution.
  • Cutting-edge researchers continue to identify novel natural weight loss—inducing agents.
  • Among the most recent is a dual plant extract containing extracts of the flower S. indicus and the mangosteen fruit, both native to Asia.
  • When combined, the resulting dual extract blend was found to favorably influence six distinct biomolecular pathways by which fat cells trigger weight gain. In placebo-controlled clinical trials involving obese subjects, this dual extract safely induced total weight loss of 11.4 pounds, a decline of 2.05 in body mass index (BMI), and a reduction of 4.05 inches in harmful visceral fat after just eight weeks.
  • Combating Surplus Body Fat Storage

Searching for natural interventions that would effectively inhibit fat accumulation (adipogenesis) and enhance fat burning (lipolysis), scientists evaluated more than a thousand plants for evidence that would meet this criteria.13

Two plants whose extracts demonstrated significant biological effects were:

Sphaeranthus indicus flower (S. indicus)
Mangosteen fruit (Garcinia mangostana).

Control adipocyte cells not treated with S. indicus display lipid accumulation.

Adipocyte cells treated with S. indicus inhibited fat accumulation.
In the laboratory, S. indicus and mangosteen extracts powerfully impeded adipogenesis.

When cells were treated with S. indicus alone, fat storage was inhibited by as much as 65%, compared with control cells. Photographs (below) show a markedly visible difference between the two cell groups. The control cells show a bloated, ‘foamy’ appearance, bulging with fat droplets, compared to the smaller, more naturally contoured cells treated with the S. indicus extract.13

Each of these extracts also enhanced lipolysis (or fat burning), by as much as 56% compared to control cells.13

Having identified these unifying properties in the two extracts, the researchers set out to determine if they would exhibit enhanced effects when used in combination.

They found that the S. indicus and mangosteen extracts favorably modulate the activity of six genomic pathways involved in fat cell formation and breakdown.13

Remarkably, these extracts reduced gene expression that promotes adipogenesis while favorably influencing a gene involved in desirable lipolysis.

The box on this page shows how these plant extracts, used alone and in combination, positively modulated the markers involved in unwanted cellular fat accumulation by inhibiting adipogenesis and promoting lipolysis.

Given these observations, researchers recognized that this novel blend of plant extracts could result in significant weight loss via three distinct mechanisms:

Preventing ‘young’ fat cells (pre-adipocytes) from developing into ‘mature’ fat cells (adipocytes);
Reducing the amount of fatty acids adipocytes could absorb;
Speeding breakdown of bloated adipocytes’ existing fat stores.
The next step was to determine if these plant extracts would induce weight loss in experimental animals and—more importantly—obese humans.

Preventing Obesity in Rodents

When young adult rats are fed a high-fat diet they rapidly gain weight—just as humans often do.

To investigate the effects of the plant extracts that worked in cell studies, scientists fed a group of young adult rats a high-fat diet. Half the rats received the dual plant extract while the other half served as the control group.13

At the end of eight weeks, the control group rapidly gained weight. The rats fed a high-fat diet and given the dual plant extract, on the other hand, reduced body weight gain by an impressive 700%.13

This is not surprising considering these same plant extracts blocked fat accumulation by 48.5% and 65.9% in the cellular model.13

This study demonstrated that these plant extracts decrease diet-induced obesity in young adult rats. The real challenge, however, is whether these same plant extracts are effective in humans who are already obese.

HOW THESE PLANT EXTRACTS COMBAT ADIPOCYTE OVERLOAD

The novel blend of S. indicus and mangosteen extracts inhibit expansion of new fat cells while promoting breakdown of lipids in existing adipocytes. Laboratory studies demonstrate the following molecular mechanisms that enable these two plants to combat adipocyte overload:

1. Adipocyte differentiation-related protein (ADRP): Stimulates lipid accumulation and lipid droplet formation in fat cells.13,14 Reducing levels of ADRP is considered a novel strategy for preventing or reducing dangerous fat accumulation, especially in the liver.12,13,15,16

2. Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein 4: Also known as aP2, this transports fatty acids into fat cells for storage. Increased levels of aP2 are associated with lipid profile abnormalities that lead to atherosclerosis; they may also be an independent risk factor for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.8,11,17-25

3. Perilipin: A protein that coats lipid droplets in adipocytes, thereby protecting their fat contents from being broken down. Inhibiting perilipin thus promotes lipolysis, contributing to a reduction in adipocyte fat content.9,26-28

4. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1): Produced primarily by endothelial (artery-lining) cells, PAI-1 plays a key role in blood clot formation and breakdown.29 It is also secreted by adipose tissue.30 High levels of PAI-1 thus correlate directly with abdominal obesity, body weight, and body mass index or BMI.31 In the presence of this novel plant extract blend, PAI-1 levels were ultimately found to decline significantly.1

5. PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma): A primary metabolic ‘sensor’ that triggers adipogenesis in the presence of excess calories.32 Reducing PPAR-gamma activity helps prevent fat cells from becoming bloated and dysfunctional. 7,9,14,33-36

6. Beta-3-adrenergic receptor (3AR): Gene expression for this recently discovered receptor was increased by the dual plant extract. It regulates fat breakdown (lipolysis) when an energy boost is needed. Switching on the beta-3 receptor spontaneously and dramatically increases fat cells’ energy expenditure, burning up unused fat in the process.6,37-41

Researchers have demonstrated that the six genomic pathways involved in fat cell formation and breakdown (described above) are favorably modulated when exposed to S. indicus and mangosteen extracts.17 This provides a scientific basis to explain the anti-obesity effects observed in human clinical trials.

Chart 1
Adapted from: FASEB J. April 2011; 25:(Meeting Abstract Supplement) 601.9. Presented at Experimental Biology 2011, Washington, DC. April 10, 2011 – Program No. 601.9, Poster No. A278.

Chart 2
Adapted from: FASEB J. April 2011; 25:(Meeting Abstract Supplement) 601.9. Presented at Experimental Biology 2011, Washington, DC. April 10, 2011 – Program No. 601.9, Poster No. A278.
Weight Loss Findings in Humans

Human weight loss studies comprise an active arm that received the potentially effective fat-reducing agent and a similar group that received an inactive placebo.

To evaluate the effects of these two plant extracts, 60 obese adults were recruited and divided into two groups. One arm of 30 patients functioned as the placebo group while a second group of 30 patients received 800 mg per day of a combination of the two plant extracts. Both groups followed a 2,000-calorie- per-day diet and were asked to walk 30 minutes five days a week.

At the end of eight weeks, the group receiving the two plant extracts showed the following improvements:1

  • Reduction in total body weight of 11.4 pounds. This was 3.7 times greater than the placebo group.
  • Reduction of 4.05 inches in the abdomen. This was 2 times greater than the placebo group.
  • Reduction in body mass index (BMI) of 2.05. A decrease 3.9 times greater than the placebo group.
  • This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the kind the FDA mandates before it approves new drugs. The charts on this page reveal the magnitude of the weight loss and belly fat reduction that occurred in the group receiving the dual plant extract compared to placebo.1 (See Charts 1 and 2)

In addition to the favorable results seen at eight weeks, researchers were impressed with the reduction in waist and hip circumference, as well as lost body weight that occurred within the first 14 days! In fact after only two weeks, the average weight reduction was 4.6 pounds.1

At eight weeks, the dual plant extract group showed reduction in the waist-to-hip ratio that was 2.2 times greater than the placebo group. This is an important improvement as it indicates dangerous visceral belly fat is being lost.

These findings are supported by a second, similarly designed trial involving 60 obese subjects. They were divided into three groups that consisted of a placebo arm, an active arm receiving one plant extract, and another active arm that received a dual plant extract. All participants followed a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet and were asked to walk for 30 minutes five times a week for 8 weeks.13

After eight weeks the group receiving the dual plant extract experienced statistically significant changes in their abdominal circumference, total body weight, and hip circumference similar to those seen in the first study mentioned above.13

These confirmatory findings indicate that this novel dual plant extract may enable aging humans to safely shed unwanted body fat stores. No major adverse events or side effects were reported in either study.

Protection against Coronary Thrombosis

Most sudden death heart attacks occur when a blood clot forms in a coronary artery, choking off oxygenated blood to a portion of the heart muscle.

A protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) inhibits the normal breakdown of arterial blood clots.29 High levels of PAI-1 are observed in obese individuals and are associated with increased heart attack risk.30,31

When studying the dual plant extract, researchers measured serum levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Those receiving the dual plant extract showed a 24.3% reduction in dangerous PAI-1 levels, while the placebo group showed a 2.4% increase.1 (See Chart 3)

Those supplemented with the dual plant extract had a 60% drop in triglyceride levels compared to baseline.1

Chart 3
Adapted from: FASEB J. April 2011; 25:(Meeting Abstract Supplement) 601.9. Presented at Experimental Biology 2011, Washington, DC. April 10, 2011 – Program No. 601.9, Poster No. A278.
Subjects given the dual plant extract increased levels of the key metabolic hormone adiponectin.1 Adiponectin regulates how much sugar is in your bloodstream and how quickly your body breaks down fat. In terms of fat loss, high adiponectin levels are desirable. Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with decreased deposits of body fat and a reduced susceptibility to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.42

The dual plant extract group showed trends toward reduced glucose and cholesterol, which are expected to occur in response to loss of belly fat and body weight.1

The loss of visceral fat in the dual extract group— 4.05 inches, amounting to twice the decline observed in the placebo group—is compelling.1 This is important because visceral fat releases a storm of pro-inflammatory cell-signaling molecules. Excess visceral fat is a known risk factor for a number of serious health threats, ranging from systemic inflammation to increased risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease.43-45

Taken together, these findings indicate markedly reduced vascular disease risk in obese individuals taking 800 mg a day of this dual plant extract.

Summary

Obesity arises from the increased size of individual adipocytes (fat cells) due to enhanced lipid (fat) accumulation. It worsens as greater numbers of pre-adipocytes transform into dysfunctional, bloated adipocytes.

The novel blend of plant extracts described in this article favorably influences six distinct pathways by which fat cells trigger weight gain.

In cell culture, these plant extracts reduce the ability of progenitor fat cells (pre-adipocytes) to transform into bloated fat cells. These studies also show that components of this dual plant extract reduce the amount of fatty acids taken up by adipocytes (adipogenesis) and facilitate the breakdown (lipolysis) of fat stored in existing adipocytes.

In a placebo-controlled clinical trial involving obese humans, this blend of S. indicus and mangosteen plant extracts safely induced weight loss of 11.4 pounds, along with a decline of 2.05 in body mass index (BMI) and a reduction of 4.05 inches in harmful visceral fat.1

While our medical establishment has failed to offer any safe, long-term, practical solutions for today’s obesity epidemic, natural agents are now available that substantively augment the effects of a sensible weight loss program.

POTENT ANTI-DIABETIC PROPERTIES

Long prized in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for their weight loss-inducing properties, scientists confirmed that extracts from Sphaeranthus indicus (S. indicus) and the mangosteen fruit (Garcinia mangostana) exert an anti-diabetic effect in humans.

S. indicus has been used for centuries to combat diabetic symptoms, protect the liver, quell inflammation, boost mood, and aid in digestion.46

Diabetic lab animals treated with S. indicus extracts exhibit substantial reductions in blood glucose, along with enhanced liver and pancreatic function.47,48 In insulin-resistant mice, S. indicus extracts lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels while facilitating more efficient uptake of glucose in muscle tissue.49 Diabetic animals treated with S. indicus exhibit significantly lower levels of tissue oxidation,50 a major underlying factor in most life-threatening diabetic complications.48,49

The mangosteen is an edible fruit that grows throughout South Asia. Like S. indicus, parts of the fruit and its juice have been used for centuries to combat diabetes and obesity. One vital mechanism is its ability to block the critical metabolic enzyme alpha-amylase that breaks down starches into sugar.51 Alpha-amylase blockers limit the spike in blood glucose levels that would normally follow a carbohydrate-rich meal. Mangosteen extracts also inhibit enzymes involved in synthesizing fat molecules.33 It is this combination of blocking sugar uptake and blocking fat production that accounts in part for its weight loss—inducing properties.

Mangosteen extracts have an additional, noteworthy benefit. They have been shown to effectively limit the inflammation that typically accompanies fat cell accumulation.6,52 This inflammation contributes directly to insulin resistance. In one compelling study, levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein declined significantly53 in obese individuals consuming mangosteen juice after only 8 weeks.”

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