Posts Tagged ‘Immune’

Prescription 2016: Yakult for Seniors

September 28, 2016 Written by JP

Earlier this year there was a major review in the journal Digestive Diseases focusing on the role of gut bacteria in relation to healthy aging. The authors of the paper describe various “pathophysiological” mechanisms such as impaired immune function and systemic inflammation, which appear to be linked to undesirable changes in the microbiota of seniors. However, this observation has not yet been matched with a widely accepted medical solution. In part, the reason has to do with uncertainty about exactly how to re-establish a healthier bacterial environment.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink | 10 Comments & Updates

EpiCor Supplement Review

June 12, 2014 Written by JP

One of the ongoing controversies in the field of integrative medicine is the role of patented nutraceuticals. Conventional minerals and vitamins are sold by many different companies. Often times, there are distinctions in the dosages and forms of the nutrients, but apart from that, they are consistent from brand to brand. However, certain manufacturers develop products that are conceived and tested independently. They’re subsequently patented in order to protect the proprietary end result. The beneficial aspect of this process is that many of these nutraceuticals have been subjected to controlled studies that assess their efficacy and safety. The downside of patented supplements is the price tag, which is almost always significantly costlier than generic counterparts.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments & Updates

Natural Products Expo West 2013 Part Two

March 28, 2013 Written by JP

A highlight of Natural Products Expo West 2013 was a spellbinding presentation given by Paul Stamets, the famed mycologist. The talk was originally intended as a discussion about the effects of medicinal mushrooms on immunity. However, by the time Paul stepped off the stage, he had covered a broad range of applications for mushrooms which included their utility as non-toxic insecticides, in the promotion of greater biodiversity and as natural decontaminating agents for use during nuclear fallout and oil spills. But, as the lecture came to an end, Mr. Stamets also touched upon the potential of select mushrooms in bolstering the immune system. What’s more, he went on to describe how his mom used a specific mushroom alongside conventional care to heal herself of stage 4 breast cancer.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates

Natural Chemotherapy Support Part Two

November 28, 2012 Written by JP

When considering an integrative approach to cancer treatment, oncologists and patients must take into account potential interactions between chemotherapy and dietary supplements. Unlike “mind-body” practices, supplements can directly affect how medications are processed by the body. In some instances, they potentiate the activity of a drug. Other times, they speed the clearance of a given medication, thereby making it less effective. And, finally, there are certain circumstances in which supplements may actually work alongside chemotherapy in such a way as to diminish side effects and improve treatment outcomes.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements | 13 Comments & Updates

Garlic Supplements

October 19, 2012 Written by JP

The issue of garlic supplementation is clouded by seemingly contradictory research. For instance, a current summary article in the esteemed Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that “evidence currently available is insufficient to determine whether garlic provides a therapeutic advantage versus placebo in terms of reducing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality”. A separate meta-analysis in the journal Science of Food and Agriculture notes that, in general, garlic consumption reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides. However, differences may be apparent based on the form of garlic used: aged garlic, garlic oil or powdered garlic. Nevertheless, the concluding remark of the latter review states that these effects “should benefit patients with risk of cardiovascular diseases”.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 11 Comments & Updates

Echinacea Revelations

January 20, 2012 Written by JP

Echinacea is widely known as an immune boosting herb that is used at the onset of cold and influenza infections. But, if you’re only using it when your nose starts to “run” and throat gets scratchy, you’re missing out. According to a new publication in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, in addition to Echinacea’s immune-modulating activity, this traditional Native American treasure also possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which may address conditions ranging from fungal and parasitic infections to poor wound healing.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments & Updates

Astaxanthin Update

December 21, 2011 Written by JP

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably consumed astaxanthin at one point or another in your life. Arctic shrimp and wild salmon are among the most common dietary sources of this crimson colored carotenoid. But, these days you’re also likely to find astaxanthin in everything from multivitamins to sports drinks. In many instances, it’s included as a way of increasing the antioxidant content of functional foods and nutritional supplements. Other times, its primary purpose is to act as natural preservative for delicate fatty acids such as those contained in fish or krill oil.

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Posted in General Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments & Updates

Holy Basil Research

October 21, 2011 Written by JP

A review in the December 2009 edition of the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology describes Tulsi or holy basil as a traditional herbal remedy with a promising track record in animal and in-vitro studies. The authors of the analysis report numerous medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and neuro-protective effects as exhibited in preliminary experiments. The one criticism laid out in the paper is the paucity of data stemming from trials involving human subjects. In the months and years since the review, several human studies have quietly been published in the medical literature.

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Posted in Diabetes, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates

Ecklonia Cava Research

July 11, 2011 Written by JP

What do natural health aficionados and oceanographers have in common? Well, for one thing, they’re part of a small minority of people who are familiar with an edible brown algae known as Ecklonia cava. In alternative and integrative medical circles, a “unique polyphenol complex” derived from E. cava is marketed under the name of Fibroboost or Seanol. The manufacturer and resellers of the product claim that it possesses both fat and water soluble antioxidants which are capable of addressing and improving a wide array of conditions and diseases. But are the implied claims made in the product literature and on various websites accurate and responsible? Read more »


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Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments & Updates

Bee Propolis

December 14, 2010 Written by JP

Propolis isn’t nearly as well known as honey. In fact, it serves no culinary purpose in the human food chain. However, for bees, it plays an essential role in building and maintaining beehives by acting as a glue of sorts. It is also commonly employed as an ingredient in many natural cold and flu remedies. I was recently reminded of this while visiting a number of integrative pharmacies throughout France. But popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to efficacy or safety. One of the questions I sought to answer upon returning to the US was scientific evidence to support the modern and traditional use of bee propolis.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates

Echinacea Flu Question

October 13, 2010 Written by JP

When cold and flu season arrives each year, so do questions pertaining to natural means of defending against it. Just the other day I was asked about using echinacea to fend off influenza and/or help speed its departure. Thankfully, each year there’s additional research to factor in when coming up with an answer.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments & Updates

H1N1 Success Story

November 13, 2009 Written by JP

There are two primary forms of evidence that are generally accepted in modern medical research. One variety is known as anecdotal or empirical evidence which is basically first-hand accounts of medical failures and successes as interpreted by individuals and those treating them. These types of observations were the primary basis for selecting healing techniques in the “old world”. Simply put, healers experimented on their patients using their best educated guesses. They continued using what seemed to work and stopped using what didn’t. Therefore, most of the data collected was subjective in nature. The current state of medicine tends to strongly favor scientific evidence that can be applied to many people at once in a controlled manner. The results of scientific studies are considered more objective and reliable because the risk of influence by individual variables is largely excluded from the mix. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Women's Health | 13 Comments & Updates

Umcka for Respiratory Infections

October 23, 2009 Written by JP

South African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) is a medicinal plant that is attracting a lot attention in the scientific community. This cold and flu season may be a good opportunity for this traditional herbal remedy to broaden its reach. There’s a great deal of attention and concern about the H1N1 novel flu virus these days. No one knows how much of an impact this current viral strain will ultimately have. But we do know that upper respiratory infections will certainly affect millions upon millions of people in the coming year alone. Therefore, I think it’s advantageous to know about as many safe and natural resources as possible. These immune boosting supplements may help protect us from the risks that we know about and those that may or may not come to pass. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates

Elderberry Flu Protection

October 7, 2009 Written by JP

News reports about the H1N1 and seasonal flu rarely mention alternative remedies that may shield one from influenza or possibly hasten recovery from it. The official reason for this is because such natural options rarely have sufficient proof of efficacy and safety data. The trouble with that explanation is that when new studies on alternative remedies are published, they frequently go unnoticed by conventional physicians and media outlets. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 21 Comments & Updates

Spirulina and Allergies

September 3, 2009 Written by JP

It happens at different times of the year. I’m talking about that itchiness in your throat, the stuffy nose and sneezing that are brought about by seasonal allergies. Another term for this is nuisance is allergic rhinitis. But whatever you choose to call it, it’s a real hassle to deal with. There are medications that help with all of these symptoms, but they sometimes bring about unwanted effects of their own. You may be surprised to learn that there’s an underutilized, natural food/nutritional supplement that could be a viable alternative to over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications. The substance I’m referring to is spirulina, a type of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Read more »


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Posted in Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments & Updates

Andrographis Paniculata and Immune Support

September 1, 2009 Written by JP

Maybe you’ve had the following experience. You’re looking over the shelves of cold and flu remedies at your local health food store. Most of the supplements have familiar names such echinacea, elderberry, vitamin C and zinc. But every once in a while, an unfamiliar bottle catches your eye. Andrographis paniculata doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but you may have seen it around. Sometimes it’s just one of several ingredients in immune boosting nutritional blends. Other times, it’s the featured herb in supplements used to address seasonal allergies, the common cold, influenza and sinusitis. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments & Updates