Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Nutrients lower lipid levels in obesity

Green tea extract

Earlier studies found green tea can reduce weight by helping the body manage lipids, doctors said. In this study, 46 otherwise-healthy obese men and women, aged 30 to 60, took a daily dose of 379 mg of green tea extract plus 208 mg of ECGC–the most common antioxidant found in green tea– or a placebo. Participants did not change their diets or physical activities during the study, which were similar for both groups.

After three months, compared to placebo, the green tea group saw significant decreases in total and LDL cholesterol, an increase in HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, body mass index, and smaller waist size. Total antioxidant activity also increased, and magnesium and zinc levels improved, with increasing magnesium levels helping lower or stabilize blood sugar. Iron levels declined. Explaining their findings, doctors said green tea may help keep cholesterol and glucose from being absorbed through the walls of the small intestine.

Berberine

Obesity drugs often have serious side effects, and doctors are searching for natural products, such as the herb berberine, for safer answers. In this pilot safety study, obese people took 500 mg of berberine three times per day. After 12 weeks, berberine proved safe in preserving overall blood characteristics, and in maintaining heart, kidney, and liver function.

Beyond safety, berberine appeared to have additional benefits. Participants had lost an average of five pounds, a result doctors had expected. More surprising were a 12 percent decline in total cholesterol and a 23 percent decline in triglycerides. To reconfirm the lipids lowering effects of berberine, doctors conducted a lab animal study, which yielded similar results.

Reference: Biological Trace Element Research; May, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 23 - 2013

In type 2 diabetes compounds from two culinary spices improved glucose measures and control

Cinnamon extract

In this study, 66 type 2 diabetics who were taking an oral insulin-stimulating drug also took an extract of cinnamon or a placebo. There were two doses of cinnamon: 120mg or 360 mg per day. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, measures of long-term-average blood sugar levels declined 7 percent in the low-dose cinnamon group, and 10 percent in the high-dose cinnamon group, while fasting blood sugar levels declined 11 and 14 percent respectively.

Although participants’ fasting and long-term blood sugar levels remained higher than normal, doctors said it was the polyphenols in the cinnamon extract that significantly increased insulin-dependent glucose metabolism. Cinnamon also appeared to raise beneficial antioxidant activity in type 2 diabetics.

 

Curcumin from turmeric spice

Lab studies have shown curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric, lowered blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity by helping to metabolize fatty acids. Elevated fatty acid levels are common in type 2 diabetes and play a role in developing insulin resistance, so lowering free fatty acid levels might reduce chances of and help manage diabetes, doctors said.

In this study, 100 people with type 2 diabetes took 300 mg of curcuminoids per day, or a placebo. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, the curcuminoids group saw much lower long-term-average blood sugar levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and greater sensitivity to insulin, meaning the body was better able to metabolize glucose.

In discussing their findings, doctors said part of the reason curcuminoids lower glucose levels is by helping the body use up excess free fatty acids, removing them from the bloodstream, and lowering total fatty acid levels to safer levels.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 6, 408-12

From the December 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on January - 17 - 2013
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Green tea lowered blood pressure

In this study, 56 people with obesity-related high blood pressure took 379 mg of green tea extract per day, or a placebo. Before the study and after three months of taking green tea extract, doctors measured blood pressure, sugar, and fats (lipids), protein in the urine, signs of inflammation, and antioxidant levels.

While the placebo group improved slightly, those in the green tea group saw systolic and diastolic blood pressure decline 4.9 and 4.6 mmHg, respectively. And while there were no improvements for placebo, the green tea group had healthier insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL–the “bad” and “good” cholesterols, respectively. Doctors said the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of green tea compounds may explain its health benefits.

Coleus forskohlii improved blood pressure

Doctors said that coleus forskohlii, a tropical perennial plant, may have blood pressure lowering effects. In this study, 41 people with high blood pressure but no major illnesses, aged 50 to 80, took coleus forskohlii three times per day with meals, either in root form, 1,000 mg per meal; or in root tuber form, 1,400 mg per meal.

Doctors also asked participants to reduce salt in the diet and to exercise mildly, both of which can lower blood pressure. After two months, 75 percent of those in each group showed mild improvements in blood pressure.

Coleus forskohlii has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, which is native to India, to treat heart disease, convulsions, and spasmodic pain, with the earliest references in Indian medical literature dating from about 50 B.C.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 6, 421-7

From the October 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 19 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Aromatic essential oils from plants, when inhaled, enter the bloodstream through the nose and lungs, and can easily pass the blood-brain barrier. But doctor’s don’t know how essential oils influence human behavior. In this study, 20 healthy people carried out a series of math subtraction tests and visual tasks while sitting in a cubicle diffused with rosemary essential oil. As levels of rosemary oil molecules in the blood increased, test speed and accuracy both improved. Researchers also noticed a secondary link to changes in mood, suggesting that essential oils may affect mood and performance through different pathways.

Reference: Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology; June, 2012 Electronic Prepublication

From the September 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on October - 20 - 2012
categories: Herbs
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Supplement reduces cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity

Doctors said that 3 in 10 people discontinue taking statin drugs after six months due to side effects. In this study, 80 people with high cholesterol, aged at least 75, who refused to continue taking statins or other pharmaceutical treatments, took a nutritional supplement or a placebo. The supplement contained 500 mg goldenseal, 200 mg red yeast rice, 10 mg policosanol, 2 mg coenzyme Q10, 500 mcg astaxanthin, and 200 mcg folic acid per day.

After 12 months, the supplement group saw 20 percent lower total cholesterol levels, 31 percent lower LDL cholesterol, and 10 percent less insulin resistance. Doctors said the supplement was safe and there were no side effects.

Garlic reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides

Because people are more interested in finding alternative treatments for managing lipids in the blood, doctors analyzed results from 26 garlic studies. Doses in the studies included 600 to 900 mg of garlic powder, 8 to 15 mg of garlic oil, or 1.8 to 7.2 mg of aged garlic extract per day.

Those who began the study with higher total cholesterol levels, and who continued taking garlic over a longer term saw the most benefit. Garlic powder and aged garlic extract were more effective in reducing total cholesterol levels, while garlic oil best lowered triglyceride, or total lipid levels. Overall, compared to placebo, garlic in all forms reduced total cholesterol by 5.4 percent and triglycerides by 6.5 percent. Doctors concluded that garlic therapy should benefit those who have higher chances of heart disease.

Reference: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture; January, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the June 2012 newsletter

 

 

Van's Health on July - 19 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Improving hair, skin, and mood

Red clover is a perennial herb that contains phytoestrogen-rich isoflavones. In this study, 109 postmenopausal women, aged at least 40, took 80 mg of red clover extract per day, or a placebo–or the reverse–in two 90-day periods. The women rested without taking any supplement for seven days in between the two 90-day trials. At the end of the 90-day period, while there was no change for placebo, women in the red clover group believed that the quality of their  scalp hair and skin had improved. In addition, the red clover group reported increased libido, better mood, less tiredness, and more restful sleep.

 

Fewer hot flashes, night sweats

For the same group of 109 women over the same study period, doctors measured three additional symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, and overall menopausal symptoms before the study, at 90 days, after a seven-day pause at 97 days, and at 187 days. Before the study, all participants had a similar intensity of hot flashes, frequency of night sweats, and overall menopause symptoms. After taking the placebo, the three symptoms improved by an average of less than 10 percent each. After taking red clover, each of the three symptoms improved by an average of more than 25 percent.

In discussing their findings, doctors said that women and their physicians are questioning conventional hormone therapy because the benefits are uncertain, leading to more individualized treatment focusing on alternative therapies. Phytoestrogens, such as those in red clover, have estrogenic effects that are less potent than hormone therapy, but may prove to be a more beneficial alternative.

 

Reference: Gynecological Endocrinology; 2012, Vol. 28, No. 3, 203-7

From the June 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on June - 26 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Green tea may have many health benefits, and in this study, doctors tested an antioxidant flavonoid in green tea, EGCG, for a link to brain activity and mood. Participants took 300 mg of EGCG, or a placebo. Before and two hours afterwards, researchers took a resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain activity.

While the placebo group did not change, the EGCG group had a greater sense of calm, reduced feelings of stress, and a significant increase in alpha, beta and theta brain waves, which correspond, respectively, to relaxation, reasoning, and creative powers.

Reference: Appetite; 2012, Vol. 58, No. 2, 767-70

From the June 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on June - 10 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Natural relief for occasional anxiety

Advanced lavender oil supplement clinically proven to help you reduce feelings of tension & stress.*

Nature’s Way Calm Aid reduces occasional anxiety and stress by alleviating feelings of tension, restlessness and anxious mood.* It’s shown to be as effective as conventional treatments, helps you stay more productive during the day and improves quality of sleep. Calm Aid can be used anytime of day and is non-habit-forming, does not cause fatigue and is not a sedative. The once daily, immediate release soft gel is the optimal delivery form for protecting the sensitive lavender oil.

This product does not contain:

  • artificial flavoring
  • corn
  • dairy products
  • gluten
  • preservatives
  • salt
  • sugar
  • wheat
  • yeast

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Van's Health on April - 29 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements

Saffron reduced anxiety

In this study, 35 women with normal sense of smell breathed saffron odor for 20 minutes. Half were pre-ovulation, the other half post-ovulation. Regardless of menstrual phase, saffron significantly decreased levels of cortisol, the hormone the adrenal glands release in response to stress.

 

Vitamin D reduced depression

Researchers in the study measured vitamin D in the diets of 81,189 women, aged 50 to 79, and followed up for three years. Overall, compared to those who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day, women who got a total of at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day from all sources were 21 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. In a subgroup of women who did not have depressive symptoms at the start of the study, those who got at least 400 IU of vitamin D from food were 20 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms after three years.

 

Low levels of zinc in depression

Researchers thought that consistently low levels of zinc in the diet contribute to depressive symptoms. In this study of 3,708 men and women, while there was no link in men, women with low levels of zinc in the diet were more likely to have depressive symptoms than were women with normal zinc levels. Doctors also found an even greater tendency toward depressive symptoms in those taking anti-depressants whose zinc levels were low.

 

Reference: Phytomedicine; 2011, Vol. 18, No. 9, 726-30

From the March 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on April - 4 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements, Vitamins

Formulated For You

The nutrient needs of men and women can be vastly different – the same can be said for people under forty versus over forty. New Chapter’s formulation team takes exacting care with each nutrient in all of our targeted daily Multis to benefit the specific needs of the individual.

 

Nature’s Wisdom Delivered to You…as FOOD

All of New Chapter’s Multis are organic, probiotic, and whole. The organic herbs and cultured whole-food vitamins & minerals in each formulation work together to promote optimal health and deliver condition-specific benefits – not just address nutrient deficiencies.* We invite you to explore each of our formulas further – because each has been carefully crafted to deliver Nature’s nutritional wisdom in the infinite complexity of WHOLE FOOD.

Van’s Health Foods, Livermore encourages you to learn more about this fantastic line of vitamin and mineral products. Click here to visit the New Chapter Organics website.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

Van's Health on March - 20 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements, Vitamins

Pycnogenol Improved Kidney Function

Doctors in this study said Pycnogenol, an extract of pine bark, promotes healthy blood pressure and wanted to see if it could also improve kidney function.

Fifty-five people with high blood pressure and early signs of impaired kidney function took the anti-hypertension drug Ramipril with or without 150 mg of Pycnogenol per day. After six months, protein in the urine–a sign of impaired kidney function–had nearly returned to normal in the Pycnogenol group while remaining elevated in the Ramipril-only group.

Blood pressure and inflammation were also much lower with Pycnogenol and blood flow to the kidneys had improved.

Reference: Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics; 2010, Vol. 15, No. 1, 41-6

This article was also published in our newletter “Natural Insights for Well Being”, December 2010. Stop by Van’s Health Foods at 2148 First Street Livermore, CA or call us at 925-447-2976 to be added to our mailing list.

You may also subscribe to our blog by RSS or by providing your name and email in the box provided in the right margin.

Thank you,

The Van’s Health Foods Team

P.S. Please feel free to discuss this topic.  This is for our community to use.

Do not ask specific questions intended for store employees. Stop by the store or call us with your specific questions.

Van's Health on December - 13 - 2010
categories: Herbs, Newsletters

Carefree Smiles

Nutrients support healthy teeth and gums

In a green tea study, researchers reviewed dental data from 25,078 men and women, aged 40 to 64. Those who drank one to five cups of green tea per day were 20 percent less likely to lose a tooth compared to those who didn’t drink green tea. Previous studies have shown green tea catechins inhibit oral bacteria.

In an oral health study, 58 people with recurrent canker sores took 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 per day, or a placebo. After five months, compared to placebo, the vitamin B12 group had fewer, and much shorter canker sore outbreaks, and much less pain. After six months, compared to 32 percent for placebo, 74 percent in the vitamin B12 group had no outbreaks.

Researchers in a lab study found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced the anti-bacterial activity of many oral pathogens by 50 percent. Doctors used eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic, and alpha-linolenic acids.

In another dental study, doctors measured the amount of omega-3s in the diets of 55 people, average age 74. During five years of follow up, those who consumed the most docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were 33 percent less likely to develop peridontal disease compared to those who consumed the least. Doctors said DHA has anti-inflammatory properties which curb bacteria that trigger inflammation which can destroy the bone structure supporting teeth.

In a study of 11,869 men and women, average age 50, those who rarely or never brushed their teeth were 70 percent more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event compared to those who brushed their teeth twice a day.

Reference: Preventive Medicine; 2010, Vol. 50, No. 4, 173-9

This article was also published in our newletter “Natural Insights for Well Being”, October 2010. Stop by Van’s Health Foods at 2148 First Street Livermore, CA or call us at 925-447-2976 to be added to our mailing list.

You may also subscribe to our blog by RSS or by providing your name and email in the box provided in the right margin.

Thank you,

The Van’s Health Foods Team

P.S. Please feel free to discuss this topic.  This is for our community to use.

Do not ask specific questions intended for store employees. Stop by the store or call us with your specific questions.



Van's Health on October - 12 - 2010
categories: Herbs

Preserving Youth

Telomeres may be a Key to younger biological age

People with higher levels of omega-3s and men who drak the most green tea had longer telomeres, a sign of younger, healthier cells, new studies reveal.

Telomeres – the protective caps at the end of chromosome DNA strands that contain our genetic code – are like the tip of a shoelace that keeps it from unraveling. When a cell divides, the new cell must take with it a complete copy of the DNA strand to function properly. Long, healthy telomeres on the ends of each chromosome allow the new cell to get a complete DNA copy. Age, stress, and poor nutrition can erode telomeres, eventually damaging chromosomes and any new cells. Doctors are beginning to gauge biological age by telomere length.

Doctors in a telomere study measured blood levels of omega-3s and the length of white-blood-cell telomeres in 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease and followed up for five years. Those who started the study with the lowest levels of docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids (DHA and EPA) had the most rapid telomere shortening, and those with the highest DHA and EPA levels had the slowest telomere shortening. Researchers found a direct link: the higher the level of DHA and EPA, the less likely telomeres were to shorten. Doctors concluded that omega-3s may protect against cellular aging in those with coronary artery disease.

In another study, researchers measured the diets and telomere length in 2006 Chinese men and women, aged at least 65. After adjusting for environmental and demographic factors, women who consumed more fats and oils had shorter telomeres compared to women who ate fewer fats and oils. Men who drank the most green tea, about 25 ounces per day, had much longer telomeres compared to the men who drank the least. Doctors said the average difference in telomere length in the men equaled about 5 years of life.

Reference: Journal of the American Medical Association; 2010, Vol. 303, No. 3, 250-7

This article was also published in our newletter “Natural Insights for Well Being”, September 2010. Stop by Van’s Health Foods at 2148 First Street Livermore, CA or call us at 925-447-2976 to be added to our mailing list.

You may also subscribe to our blog by RSS or by providing your name and email in the box provided in the right margin.

Thank you,

The Van’s Health Foods Team

P.S. Please feel free to discuss this topic.  This is for our community to use.

Do not ask specific questions intended for store employees. Stop by the store or call us with your specific questions.

Van's Health on September - 20 - 2010
categories: Herbs, Newsletters
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