Folic Acid is a member of the B-Vitamin family. It is a water-soluble vitamin and gets flushed from your system on a regular basis, so your body cannot store very much of it and it needs to be taken in the diet regularly.
The main item to remember about folic acid is that it protects newborns from birth defects when the mother takes it. Without folic acid, severe birth defects can result, including severe neurological defects such as spina bifida, as well as musculoskeletal defects such as cleft palate. Having healthy sperm also depends upon adequate folic acid intake, so it is very important to prevent birth defects for both expectant mothers and fathers to take in adequate folic acid. For this reason, many countries require that grains and grain products be fortified with folic acid.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
The human body requires folic acid to protect many processes and organs. Folic acid, also called folacin or folate, is necessary to prevent anemia, to generate energy and to replicate DNA. Without folic acid, no cell division can take place, creating conditions for disease. When the body attempts to make red blood cells without folic acid, the blood cells cannot mature, so they become very large and unusable. This condition is called megaloblastic anemia.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
Folic acid also protects the detoxification processes in the liver. Folic acid allows S-adenosyl methionine, or SAMe, to be converted to glutathione, a major detoxification molecule in the liver. Glutathione is necessary for proper liver function, and cannot be formed without folic acid. Without folic acid, SAMe is converted to homocysteine instead of glutathione. Homocysteine is a very toxic free radical that damages cell walls, causing blood vessel walls to become hard and inflexible. Elevated homocysteine levels are a known risk factor for coronary artery disease as well as both atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. These conditions can be treated nutritionally by administering regular doses of folic acid, folate or its metabolically active cousin, tetrahydrofolate.
This vitally important nutrient is fairly easy to come by in nature. Large amounts of it are present in leafy greens, such as spinach, beet greens, turnip greens and the leafy green lettuces such as romaine. In fact, the name folate comes from the Latin word for “leaf.” Lack of leafy green vegetables in the diet is the chief cause of folic acid deficiency, and thus birth defects, megaloblastic anemia and several other diseases.
Folic acid is very powerful. The average person only needs about 400 mcg (micrograms) of folic acid per day, or 500 to 600 mcg per day for pregnant or lactating women. The FDA recommends that no more than 800 to 1000 mcg of folate per day be consumed. Excess folic acid can inhibit vitamin B12 absorption, and can also mask the symptoms of B12 deficiency.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
For most people, regularly eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, including some green salads with spinach and romaine lettuce will prevent folic acid deficiency and its associated disorders. If you are concerned your levels are low, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine your folic acid levels. Low levels can be treated with supplements or with dietary changes alone. If you are sexually active and may become pregnant or father children, taking in adequate folic acid will help keep your potential offspring healthy. http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
The group of B vitamins includes B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid, according to the website KidsHealth from Nemours. These vitamins play several important roles in your body, including energy production and nourishing the brain. Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine, and you can get your daily supply from foods such as cereal grains, carrots, spinach, milk, cheese, eggs, fish or supplements. If supplementing, please talk with your physician and remember that vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is commonly referred to as morning sickness. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) reports that 30 mg of vitamin B6 each day may help to relieve morning sickness. Although not all studies have not shown the same effects, it’s worth discussing taking vitamin B6 with your physician when you’re pregnant.
Information on the effectiveness of vitamin B6 for relieving premenstrual symptoms, or PMS, comes primarily from female patients and physicians, states the UMMC. As UMMC points out, clinical trails on B6 use for PMS have shown no benefit, but it’s possible the improvement of symptoms may vary in each individual. Also, it usually takes up to 3 months to see any difference in your symptoms, so if you conclude your supplementation before then, you could miss out on any potential benefit of vitamin B6 for PMS.
It’s not just men who can suffer hair loss. Women also lose their hair, and unlike men, it can begin at any age before age 50 and afterwards, states the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery. Hair consists of protein called keratin, and B-vitamins—along with amino acids—are building blocks of the protein, according to Seymour M. Weaver, a Houston-based dermatologist. In a 2001 Polish study published in the journal “Wiadomosci lekarskie” and on the National Institutes of Health website. vitamin B6 injections improved women’s hair condition and reduced hair loss, including hair loss from diffuse alopecia.
More women than men suffer from this autoimmune condition, which causes symptoms such as joint inflammation, swelling and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, rates also increased in women between 1995 and 2007. According to the UMMC, RA is linked to low levels of vitamin B6. Eating more foods rich in this vitamin, or supplementing your diet with it, can help to lower inflammation and may provide some relief from rheumatoid arthritis.
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Hyaluronic acid is a compound found throughout your body, including your skin, eyes and joints. It is commonly added to joint supplements and cosmetics. In sports and cosmetic medicine, physicians use hyaluronic acid injections to alleviate osteoarthritis and fill wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid is available as a powder, injection or liquid. Most medical applications and research have focused on hyaluronic acid injections. There is less clinical research or evidence to support its efficacy as an oral supplement.http://www.ebiochem.com/Search/search/cate2/name/cate/0/keywords/Hyaluronic%2520Acid%2520/
Hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring component of viscous synovial fluid, may reduce joint pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. Because synovial fluid cushions joints, physicians sometimes inject hyaluronic acid into the knee to improve fluid effectiveness. In a meta-analysis of 22 clinical trails, researchers at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center concluded patients treated with hyaluronic acid injections reported modest reductions in knee pain. They remarked, however, that most trials were poorly designed, and the placebo effect rather than the drug might be responsible for their reported pain relief.
When injected into the skin, hyaluronic acid-based fillers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They can also “plump” skin or lips and make them appear fuller. The Food and Drug Administration has approved multiple hyaluronic acid-based fillers, which it claims reduce fine lines and wrinkles. A 2010 French study found one hyaluronic acid-based preparation measurably reduced nasolabial folds, commonly known as “laugh lines.”
Your eyes and tears contain hyaluronic acid. A Japanese study published in the “British Journal of Ophthalmology” concluded a hyaluronic acid solution improved corneal epithelial disorders in dry eyes. The corneal epithelium is the outermost part of your eye. An Italian study published in the same journal in 2002 found that hyaluronic acid relieved dry eye in sufferers of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.
Acne scars form when the layers of skin under the epidermis become damaged due to a large blemish, whitehead, blackhead or other acne-related lesion. When the skin becomes damaged, excess collagen fibers can form, which can cause an irregular pattern–resulting in a scar. Many commercial creams currently utilize onion extract due to its effect on inflammation. In order to reduce the visibility of these scars, an acne treatment cream containing onion extract may be of benefit.
When applied regularly to an acne scar, onion extract can reduce inflammation in the skin, according to Go Ask Alice. This not only reduces redness that can accompany a newly forming scar, it also can reduce the scar’s size. A study conducted on the effectiveness of onion extract conducted by M. Hosnuter, et. al.,published in the June 2007 issue of the “Journal of Wound Care”, found that onion extract applied daily to a scar helped to reduce inflammation and discoloration. This is especially beneficial for treating acne scars, which tend to be on the face and are more noticeable when the scarred area is inflamed.
Prevents Collagen Production
When an acne scar is first forming, excess amounts of collagen fibers can arrange themselves haphazardly on the scar area. This can result in a scar that is raised above the skin or feels hardened. In order to reduce a scar’s appearance, it is helpful to reduce the amount of these fibers in order to experience the least damage possible to the skin. Onion extract has been linked with inhibiting collagen production, according to Go Ask Alice. This can help the scar to be smaller in terms of height, according to the American Chronicle, which will help it to appear less noticeable on the face. This benefit is of particular value to those who experience keloid scars, where the collagen over an acne scar multiples and builds, creating a large, raised area over the skin.
Improve Saucer-Shaped Scars
Not all acne scars are shaped above the skin–some can become saucer-shaped and lower than the skin, according to DERMA Doctor. In these instances, onion extract creams, such as Mederma, may be utilized to stimulate collagen formation. While the uncontrolled development of collagen is a detriment to a scar, when collagen is encouraged to grow in a more controlled manner, it can make the skin appear most elastic and resilient, which can improve acne scars that are lower than the skin itself.
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Stevia, otherwise known as Stevia rebaudiana, is known worldwide for its sweet plant leaves. In late 2008 the FDA declared that the sweetener Stevia is “generally recognized as safe,” and the product quickly was assimilated into the food industry as an alternative sweetener or sugar substitute. Crude Stevia comes from the sweet leaves of the Stevia plant and can be sold in a variety of forms including the leaves themselves, a green, less sweet herbal powder, a refined, sweet white powder extract as well as in a liquid form. According to Mintel, a leading market research company, Stevia sales could reach $2 billion in 2011.
Identification of the Sweetener from the Leaves
The term Stevia refers to the entire plant, but only part of the plant happens to be sweet. It is a member of the sunflower or Asteraceae plant family and is naturally found throughout more tropical areas in North and South America such as Paraguay and Brazil. The sweetener Stevia is made by isolating the sweet parts of the leaf, called steriol glycosides, by steeping the leaves as if making a tea. According to Agarwal, et.al., Stevioside and Rebaudioside A are the main sweet components of Stevia: the higher concentration of Rebaudioside A, the better the level of sweetness since it is the sweetest and best part of the combination.
Features of Stevia
According to Stevia.com, the crude Stevia leaves and the green herbal powder are 10 to 15 times sweeter than table sugar. The white powder sold more commercially is a more refined product and it is much sweeter. In fact, this purified and concentrated white powder has been recorded to be 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Stevia can be somewhat bitter to some people, however, and others believe that it tastes similar to licorice. Stevia has no calories and, according to the Mayo Clinic, research appears to demonstrate that Stevia does not raise blood glucose levels in sensitive people.
Types of Food That Contain Stevia
Stevia can be found in many commercial food products under a variety of names. Coca-Cola uses it in its beverages and calls it Truvia. PepsiCo calls its product PureVia. Stevia, or a form of it, can be found in some sugar-free Wrigley’s gums, Beatrice Foods yogurts, Japanese-style pickles and some candies.
Benefits of Stevia
According to Anton, et.al., sugar-sweetened foods may have a significant impact on obesity. The researchers found that people did not over compensate for the missing calories when they consumed Stevia over sugar. Since Stevia does not have an impact on blood sugar levels, and, in fact, that it may have hypoglycemic effects, it may be useful in the treatment of diabetes. According to Ulbricht, et.al., two long-term studies appear to show that stevia may lower blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure but this is necessarily supported by shorter studies. Most of the research on blood pressure have been conducted in China. As a food additive, it appears that Stevia is stable in cooking and with acidic foods, but does not “caramelize” when browned.
Concerns Regarding Stevia
There has been some concern about minor GI effects, headaches and dizziness with Stevia. In addition, some studies have commented about purity and toxicity concerns. Mixing Stevia with sugar alcohols may have a laxative effect. Pregnant women, diabetics and those with high blood pressure should avoid using Stevia due to possible side effects. While the Japanese have studied Stevia and consider it a safe product for the general population, caution regarding frequency of use for certain populations should be considered.
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Elderberry, or Sambucus nigra, has been used for centuries to help with inflammation, cough, cold, and flu, and as a diuretic, laxative, and emetic to help eliminate the body of toxins. The berries can also be prepared and eaten in syrups, wines, and pies. The flowers and berries of the plant contain flavonoids and are used for their purported antioxidant and immune system enhancing qualities. Scientific studies have been performed to attempt to verify their effectiveness with regard to flu, bacterial sinusitis, bronchitis and cholesterol lowering abilities. There is no clinical evidence to support dosage recommendations at this time so be sure to discuss the use of elderberry extract with your doctor before you try it.
Stimulate the Immune System
The antioxidant properties in elderberry extract may help to reduce symptoms of flu, improve cough, headaches, and fever, as well as reduce excessive sinus mucus secretion in sinusitis. According to Natural News.com, clinical trials done in Norway and Israel showed a more rapid recovery time from flu using elderberry extract when compared to the prescribed medicine Tamiflu. They reported that the flavonoids in elderberry extract helped stimulate the immune system. Anthocyanins in the berries had an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing aches, pains, and fever.
Drugs.com compiled studies that were performed using elderberry extract against the herpes virus and HIV. Elderberry extract was able to stop replication of the herpes virus and reduce the infectivity of HIV. The National Institutes of Health states that more research is needed to prove this beneficial relationship.
The flavonoids and anthocyanins in elderberry extract may help to reduce inflammation and decrease the damaging effects of free radicals. There have been studies on animals to attempt to verify this beneficial relationship, however the National Institutes of Health reports that more research is needed to clearly determine whether this effect is seen in humans.
A study by Murkovic, Abuja, and Bergmann found small improvements in cholesterol levels in groups treated with elderberry extract. Youdim, Martin, and Joseph also found that elderberry extract may play a role in reducing LDL cholesterol. The National Institutes of Health states that additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be reached and discourages the use of elderberry extract alone in the treatment of high cholesterol. Notify your doctor if you are interested in using elderberry extract to aid in treating high cholesterol.
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