Botanical Nutrition

by Rob Seeman official blogger of the health food movement


Leave a comment

Study shows Moringa, Soy & Mushroom soup powder higher in nutrients than other soup powders

The journal Food Science & Nutrition recently published interesting study from India, as it shows the practical applications of three ‘super foods’ as a whole food soup mix.  Cooked Moringa & Soy were combined with a few other ingredients (corn starch, salt and preservative).  The study, entitled Formulation and nutritional evaluation of a healthy vegetable soup powder supplemented with soy flour, mushroom, and moringa leaf, is linked here.

Moringa The Food Movement

Compared to other soup powders, this combination of super foods (they used the highly beneficial Oyster mushrooms) was found to have thee “Highest content of vitamin D, minerals, protein, and fiber” as well as Vitamin C.

study.jpg

 


Leave a comment

Bioavailable Curcumin and the Brain

Eating yellow Curry every day, say researchers, may make you smarter.  This is in part because of a root called Turmeric which contains a group of compounds referred to as Curcumin.

In the natural business we often hear it said; while Curcumin (technically not one compound but a series of curcuminoid polyphenols) is the most active component of noted herbal healer Turmeric root (scientific name Curcuma longa) it is very poorly absorbed.

a-pile-of-fresh-turmeric-roots

Researchers can measure blood levels of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and total curcuminoids following oral supplementation in order to test the bioavailability of various forms of Curcumin supplementation.

In fact, there are many forms of “absorption enhanced” Curcumin on the market – some of which show little benefit when actually tested in humans.  Because whole Turmeric root has a diverse range of natural compounds, not just Curcumin, whole root may not give much absorption of curcuminoid polyphenols.  Researchers attribute this to poor solubility in water, leading to poor absorption.

A solid lipid Curcumin formulation called Longvida is generating lots of interest after several successful clinical trials.  Longvida, a patented form of Curcumin, was developed in concert with UCLA neuroscientists. Not only is this form of Curcumin better absorbed than other extracts, it has shown some specific neurological benefits.  Lead researcher Katherine Cox has written a very interesting article about the study in The Conversation in which she writes

“Our placebo-controlled, double-blind study examined the effects of 80mg of the lipid-conjugated curcumin in a cohort of healthy older people. For full transparency, note the study was funded by a grant from the company that makes the extract – though it had no input into the design, interpretation or publication of the study.

“We randomly allocated 60 participants (with mean age 69 years) to receive curcumin capsules (the intervention) or a matching placebo (a dummy). Neither group knew whether they were receiving curcumin or a placebo.

“The volunteers underwent a training day to familiarise themselves with the computerised cognitive and mood tests. Then they undertook the tests before taking the capsule, then one and three hours after a single dose. They underwent testing at the same three time points following 28 days on curcumin or placebo.”

The study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology in 2015.  In that paper, the researchers also concluded “A significant acute-on-chronic treatment effect on alertness and contentedness was also observed. Curcumin was associated with significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol and had no effect on hematological safety measures.” That’s right – not only can it improve alertness and happiness; it may just improve your serum cholesterol levels.

NOR-01878-1

Nordic Naturals, long a natural products industry leader in well-researched and effective nutrients, has recently released their Omega Memory product which combines the special Longvida Curcumin used in the above clinical study along with other ingredients shown to support memory – Phosphatidylcholine and Huperzine A, an extract from Chinese Club moss (Huperza serrata) which has been shown to to inhibit acetyl-choline esterase, a process which can improve memory and recall.  Last but not least the formula also contains 1000 mg of Omega-3 EPA & DHA rich fish oil which has been shown to be of great in benefits in literally thousands of published studies.

Want to find out if Longvida clinically-researched Curcumin will have the same effect on your brain as it did in the scientific study?  Trying Omega Memory with Curcumin from Nordic Naturals; not only are you receiving the same bioavailable Curcumin used in the actual clinical trial – you’re also getting efficacious doses of Huperzine A, Phosphatidyl Choline and the #1 selling (and most bioavailable) fish oil in the world – Nordic Naturals Omega 3.


Leave a comment

Nothing says independence like Cod Liver Oil!

Cod Liver oil, the result of the process of extracting the omega-3 fatty acids from wild-harvested Cod fish livers, has a long history of traditional use in the Kingdom of Norway, considered one of the most progressive countries in the world. Though the Nordic people endure harsh winters and long periods of darkness, their culture became pioneers in nutritional supplementation long before the industrialized world evolved.

Today, we are free to buy Cod Liver Oil even though it does not fit into the mainstream model of using only pharmaceutical drugs as medicine.  So, the next time you pick up a bottle of Cod Liver Oil to enjoy the natural benefits of Omega-3 EPA & DHA and natural Vitamins A & D – take a minute to be thankful that you live in a country where you have the freedom to choose natural; even when it goes against the grain of the established system.  Research shows Cod Liver Oil may have benefits for the heart and many other parts of the body.

In fact, it really shouldn’t go against the grain of medicine – it is historically important to note the widely recognized benefits of Cod Liver Oil.  Modern advances in technology of processing (and vertically-integrated sustainability) have brought us the finest Cod Liver Oil in the free world.  Be thankful for the freedom to choose natural!

CLO


Leave a comment

Medical experts : Don’t eat raw mushrooms!

Weillwithmushroom

Well-respected medical expert Andrew Weil, MD tells his readers you should NEVER eat raw mushrooms.  Not only are the fruiting body (what most people know as a ‘mushroom’) walls made up of a tough to digest fiber called chitin, they also contains small amounts of toxins that are destroyed when mushrooms are cooked.

“Because of these concerns and because they offer little in the way of improving health, common button mushrooms are best avoided. But the types eaten in Asia—shiitake, maitake, oyster mushrooms, and enoki—provide a range of health benefits,” says Weill.

Weill also mentions in the above article that he takes a couple of blends from Paul Stamets’ Host Defense product line, which also include the above mentioned species of mycelia as well as others.  Many of these mushrooms are of immense physical benefits to humans, often when consumed in the mycelial form.

Just this week, the world’s foremost mycologist Paul Stamets also released a statement on easting raw mushroom fruiting bodies and, frankly, why you shouldn’t. Not surprisingly his sentiments echo many of Weill’s statements.

In answer to the question “Should you eat raw mushrooms?” Paul had this to say :

“No, absolutely not! Raw mushrooms are largely indigestible because of their tough cell walls, mainly composed
of chitin.”

Dr Stamets continues, “Raw mushrooms and raw mycelium may pose potential health hazards from harmful pathogens and heat sensitive toxins—causing gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions, such as skin rashes.”

Dr Stamets own medicinal product lines, Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense, are made with mushroom mycelia (and fruiting bodies) which are heat treated “to activate and unlock the nutritional compounds and ensure their bioavailability.”


Leave a comment

How does diet affect Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis? Up the Omega-3

The title of this blog entry is an obvious question for anyone seeking natural solutions to health challenges.  In natural medicine, we often take it is a base assumption that changing diet will have impact on health outcomes.  The way in which specific dietary changes will affect body systems, however, is not always clear particularly when there is pathology such as in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions.hand_pain

 

One study done in Germany about 10 years looked at Mediterranean diet or extended fasting in patients with FM or RA and found no changes in intestinal microflora or secretory immunoglobulin A (a endogenous inflammatory compound).  This may not tell us all that we need to know about these pathologies and their relation to diet, but it gives us some food for thought.  Would anyone else like to see a followup study with natural anti-inflammatories or even probiotic supplementation?

One interesting Korean study found that EPA & DHA Omega-3s (fish oil) supplementation in Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers helped them to lower their dosage of NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inlammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, etc.).  While this is far from a dietary ‘cure’ for RA, it could be of immense benefit because of the myriad health benefits of Omega-3, as well as the decreased load on the liver when NSAID dosage required is lowered.

Another study in the International journal Rheumatology found that a vegetarian diet along with fish oil supplementation could greatly reduce symptoms for RA sufferers. “A diet low in arachidonic acid ameliorates clinical signs of inflammation in patients with RA and augments the beneficial effect of fish oil supplementation” found the researchers.


Leave a comment

CBD : key to a natural victory over pain?

There is a new dietary supplement you may want to try if you have pain, and it is called CBD.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is often referred to as a “component of marijuana” which helps with pain, as well as things like brain disorders.  However, it is not just a component of marijuana, as it is now being legally super-critically extracted from Hemp, a form of Cannabis sativa without the banned ingredient THC.

Researchers have found that not only does CBD relieve pain (nociception) when taken in combination with morphine it has a synergistic effect (sum is greater than the whole of the parts).  This could also mean that potentially CBD could help those using prescription pain drugs by lowering the dosage for their pain meds and therefore positively impacting overall health.

As a supplement for pain we can expect to see new dietary supplements offering Hemp CBD as an ingredient, and as a stand-alone nutrient. One thing to make note of though, as it is very new to market it is usually quite expensive!


1 Comment

AHPA responds to NY Attorney General’s big box supplements slam

Walmart

On Monday, the NY Times reported that the New York Attorney General’s office had accused four major retailers (Walgreen’s Wal-Mart, Target and GNC) of having adulterated and useless (or potentially harmful) products on their shelves.  The paper of record reported that “The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies.”

This could be attributed to what many in the natural products industry had already believed – that the products carried under the brand of big box retailers like Wal-Mart might be less than stellar quality.  The unfortunate reality might also be that this could have negative ramifications for other companies as well.

Today the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) responded publicly to the charges from the NY State Attorney’s office by saying “the New York State Attorney General used an inadequate and unproven analytical method to test herbal supplement products at the core of the State’s allegations that several retailers are selling adulterated and/or mislabeled herbal dietary supplements. The results of this analysis, therefore, cannot be considered valid. According to AHPA Chief Science Officer Maged Sharaf, Ph.D., the New York State Attorney General and the laboratory that conducted the analysis relied on an analytical technology that does not have the capacity to reach the degree of certainty represented by the State in its accusations.”

While this is clearly an evolving case, it underscores the need for consumers to support high quality natural products supplements that use the kind of rigors in keeping with GMP.  Read more about AHPA’s response here.