Sleep Better Naturally!

Insomnia plagues many of us. With some, it is chronic, with others it is a short term. There are many causes. Among these are stress, indigestion, mineral deficiency, vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, too much caffeine, prescription drugs, etc.
Restless leg syndrome is a common form of insomnia. In many cases, it is caused by a pH imbalance in the body and can be helped by supplementing a balanced calcium/magnesium formula. Other cases may be deficiency related and usually respond well to potassium, magnesium, iron or folic acid.
Some of my favorite remedies for insomnia are homeopathic. Homeopathics are extremely dilute natural substances such as herbs or minerals that don’t have negative side effects and do not interfere with prescription medication. These tend to work well for short-term sleeplessness such as travel, worrying about gas prices, or concern over your mother’s surgery, etc. Another form of homeopathic is known as flower remedies which are effective particularly in small children that are afraid of the dark or have nightmares.
Many women complain of insomnia around mid-life. A common problem is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. Natural progesterone is a very calming hormone and many women find that insomnia along with other hormonal related problems will disappear with the use of natural progesterone cream. There are other supplements that help balance hormones while also helping balance insomnia.
Another favorite for sleep is PheniTropic. This product is relatively new – it works like GABA, but crosses the blood brain barrier. It helps with relaxation and sleep.
St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP and SAM-e also work for better sleep. They regulate serotonin levels and help you feel less stressed during the day and sleep more soundly at night. All of these can be used for both mild depression and insomnia.
My personal favorite is phosphorylated B vitamins. These are the “B’s” that are natural to the body that help reduce stress while at the same time giving an energy boost during the day. A symptom of this B vitamin deficiency is waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.
Aromatherapy using lavender essential oil is another good sleep remedy. The smell is very soothing. You can use a few drops of the oil in a warm bath before bedtime or use the drops in a diffuser or on a cotton cloth placed under your pillow.
There are also herbal remedies for better sleep. Teas with chamomile and passion flower are nice; however, if you are allergic to ragweed, stay away from chamomile since it belongs to the same family. Also, there are herbal capsules that you can take. Good herbs for sleep include valerian, hops and passionflower. If stress is the reason you aren’t sleeping well, there are also herbal stress remedies that help strengthen and soothe the nerves.
Last, but not least, melatonin is the hormone that sets the body clock. As we age, we produce less of it – so, it can be a great supplement for some people.
Good health begins with a good night’s sleep, so take something natural and get to sleep.

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COX-2 Inhibitors – Get Zyflamend

Zyflamend is a trademarked product made by New Chapter. While I normally do not write about a specific product by a specific maker, Zyflamend is a notable product because of the clinical studies using the product on certain cancers.
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center has tested Zyflamend on early stages of prostate cancer. The results of the first study were published in 2002. They found that Zyflamend doubled the rate at which cancer cells died and led to a 78% reduction in cancer cell numbers after 72 hours. This study was performed only in the laboratory. Clinical studies on humans are currently underway.
Zyflamend is an anti-inflammatory herbal blend created for arthritis pain. Dr. Andrew Weil promotes Zyflamend specifically because it helps to relieve arthritis pain due to its COX-2 inhibiting properties. It contains herbal extracts of turmeric, ginger, rosemary, oregano, green tea, barberry, holy basil, hy zhang, Chinese goldthread, and scutellaria.
COX-2 enzymes normally manage inflammation in the body, creating not only the messenger hormones that cause inflammation, but the messenger hormones that are anti-inflammatory as well. The COX-2 enzyme can only perform correctly if it encounters the right kind of fatty acids in the cell walls.
Because our diet is extremely skewed towards the wrong kind of fats, it is difficult for the COX-2 enzyme to manage inflammation in the body. Instead, the COX-2 enzyme is known as the enzyme that causes inflammation because the raw material to make anti-inflammatory hormones is not present in the average American diet.
Chronic inflammation can result in a number of diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, migraines, periodontal gum disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and juvenile onset diabetes are just some of the conditions that have to do with chronic inflammation. They also correspond to elevated COX-2 enzyme levels.
COX-2 enzymes have been found to be present in elevated numbers in a variety of cancers including those of the head, neck, lung, esophagus, skin, colon, pancreas and prostate. It has been noted in several studies on cancer that those patients taking prescription COX-2 inhibitors had a lesser tendency towards certain cancers even in those patients with greater tendencies towards cancer.
Normal cells do not just suddenly degrade to cancer cells. There is a continuum: normal cell, inflamed cell, precancerous cell, dysplastic cell, and cancer cell. COX-2 inhibiting formulations seem to be one of the important links in prevention of chronic disease and cancer since preventing inflammation is early in this continuum. There are currently medical studies underway using both herbal and prescription COX-2 inhibitors on certain types of cancer.
Zyflamend is the herbal product that is currently being tested in human cancer trials because of its COX-2 inhibiting properties.

Note to readers:  Some people object to buying products from the owners of New Chapter – that is Procter and Gamble.  I still recommend Zyflamend as it is an outstanding product.  However, if you are one of those who does not want to support P&G, consider KappArrest from Biotics Research.

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Green Super Foods – Good For You!

Green Super Foods such as Spirulina, Chlorella, and Blue-Green Algae all contain chlorophyll, protein, vitamin B-12, essential fatty acid GLA, trace minerals and other nutrients in a form that is easily assimilated by the human body. These green foods are one of the four basic supplements that I recommend for health.
Green cleans. It helps to purify the liver and eliminate toxins from food additives, pesticides, fertilizers, and drugs. It is also helpful in removing heavy metals from the body.
In terms of colon health, chlorophyll is a natural antiseptic to the intestinal tract. It helps stop the growth and development of toxic bacteria in the colon and throughout the body. Chlorophyll relieves constipation by promoting action in the muscles of the colon walls. It also helps rebuild damaged colon tissue and eliminate mucus buildup from improper diet. Liquid chlorophyll works great for this aspect of “greens”, plus it tastes good and makes you feel good.
In diabetics, green super foods, such as spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae have helped regulate blood sugar and delay accelerated development of cardiovascular disease by reducing the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation. This is significant since it is the oxidized cholesterol that clogs our arteries.
Spirulina and Blue-Green Algae have long been used to increase energy, help with cancer treatment and chronic fatigue, and generally stimulate the immune system. There’s enough interest in micro-algae that anti-tumor, antiviral, and immune stimulating extracts from the super green foods have been isolated and patented.
In several research studies, Spirulina has been shown to decrease triglycerides and cholesterol. A particular Spirulina polysaccharide has been shown to help keep arteries clean by preventing the growth of scar tissue and thinning the blood.
In a study from the Medical College of Virginia, Chlorella was administered to a group of high blood pressures patients with no other medicine. Results showed that Chlorella lowered blood pressure to normal levels for 25% of the group. Others experienced some decrease and none of the patients had an increase in blood pressure as would be expected if Chlorella provided no benefit.
These green super foods provide nutrients that are otherwise absent from our diet. These nutrients help oxygenate the blood while reducing harmful free radicals. They tend to energize the body. I like them because they make my skin look better.
Spirulina, Chlorella, Blue Green Algae and other green superfoods are available in supplement form. My favorite is a blend called Super Algae, but there are many others. They come in both powders to be mixed in juice, liquids, and in capsules that are easy to take. They are also components of some of the best multivitamins.
Try a super green supplement and see if it makes you feel and look better. It might make you healthier too.

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Bone Density – A Quality Issue

D is for density as in bone density – a statistic that many women are concerned with. Bone density is a measure of the quantity of bone, not the quality. I like to make a distinction here, because bone quality is an important concern that is being overlooked by many.
Bone quality concerns reduced risk of fracture which should be distinguished from bone quantity as expressed as bone density. The conventional way to deal with osteoporosis is to keep old bone from being torn down by using estrogen and prescription drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel along with calcium and vitamin D supplements.
The problem with this approach is that bone is living tissue. It is constantly being built up and torn down. The modern approach just works at keeping old bone from being torn down and using just calcium which does not greatly strengthen bone such that it resists mechanical stresses. The result may be increased bone density, but the quality of the bone is poor and tends to be brittle.
Calcium alone does not build strong bone. Healthy bone is a matrix of minerals which includes manganese, boron, silica along with calcium and magnesium. It is the minor minerals that help make up the bone matrix that gives a degree of flexibility to bone, increasing bone quality such that fracture risk is reduced.
One of the best forms of calcium for increasing bone quality is the hydroxyapatite form. Hydroxyapatite calcium is the actual form of calcium found in bone tissue. It produces a more prolonged calcium balance than do soluble calcium salts. It helps the bone forming cells to become receptive to its components and to build bone tissue.
Other important factors in bone health include vitamin K, vitamin B6 and zinc. These cofactors are significant in that if they are absent, the calcium will go into bone spurs, arthritis and other calcifications of the tissues and joints. If these cofactors are present, the calcium will go into rebuilding bone. Good supplements for osteoporosis will have the proper forms of calcium along with the cofactors.
I cannot write an article on bone health without mentioning the importance of pH. pH is the measure between acid and alkaline. Many things in our diet make our bodies too acid. When the body is too acid, bone must be torn down so that the alkalizing minerals contained in the bone will buffer the acid. The conventional approach is to use pharmaceuticals to keep the bone from being torn down in this acid environment.
While it is important to keep bone from being torn down unnecessarily, I find that balancing pH is more valuable in the long run because of the other systemic benefits. When the pH is balanced, our bones tend to be healthy, we become more energetic, our mineral absorption is normalized, our digestive system works better, we have significantly more tissue oxygen, and we feel better.
Remember that while bone quantity is important, bone quality is what actually reduces risk of fracture. Bone quality is supported by having the right nutrients and a balanced ph.

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