Memory Enhancement & Brain Health Supplement with Phosphatidyl Serine
Supplement ingredient & Information Release:
A synergistic combination of advanced nutrients and vitamins for memory & proper brain function. Neuro Clear should be the foundation of your supplement plan for healthy brain function.
NEURO CLEAR™ includes a synergistic combination of ingredients that have been clinically demonstrated to improve memory and learning, improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase ability to cope with stress.
NEURO CLEAR™ helps replenish and provide the nutrients needed for proper brain health & function. All experiences in life are enhanced when the human brain is healthy and functioning at its optimum level. No other BioSynergy product illustrates synergy more than Neuro Clear™. Synergy: The combined action of the ingredients create a more powerful effect than the sum of the individual ingredients.
NEURO CLEAR™ Ingredients List:
Vitamin B1, which is also called thiamine, is a nutrient with a critical role in maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Adequate thiamine levels can dramatically affect mental functions by helping us maintain a positive mental attitude and by enhancing our learning abilities. Conversely, inadequate levels of B1 can lead to eye weakness, mental confusion, and loss of physical coordination.
Vitamin B1 is required for the production of hydrochloric acid, for forming blood cells, and for maintaining healthy circulation. It also plays a key role in converting carbohydrates into energy, and in maintaining good muscle tone of the digestive system and the heart.
Like all the B vitamins, B1 is a water soluble nutrient that cannot be stored in the body, but must be replenished on a daily basis. B1 is also synergistic, meaning that it is most effective when taken in a balanced complex of the other B vitamins.
A chronic deficiency of thiamin will lead to a beriberi, a devastating and potentially deadly disease of the central nervous system. Due to improved diets and widespread use of inexpensive supplements, beriberi is extremely rare in the developed nations, with one important exception. Beriberi symptoms are frequently found in chronic alcoholics due to the destructive effect alcohol has on B1. Thiamine levels can also be affected by ingestion of antibiotics, sulfa drugs, caffeine, antacids, and oral contraceptives. A diet high in carbohydrates can also increase ones need for B1.
Food sources high in thiamin include dried beans, eggs, brewers yeast, whole grains, brown rice, and seafood. In supplemental form, B1 is generally found in a combination with vitamins B2, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. There are no known toxic effects from vitamin B1, and any excess is simply excreted from the body. The Recommended Daily Amount for B1 is 1.5 milligrams, though more typical daily intake ranges from 50 to 500 milligrams per day.
Vitamin B12 is a micro nutrient that is also referred to as Cobalamin and Cyanocobalamin. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble compound of the B vitamin family with an unique difference. Unlike the other B vitamins which cannot be stored, but which must be replaced daily, vitamin B12 can be stored for long periods in the liver and kidneys.
Vitamin B12 is a particularly important coenzyme that is required for the proper synthesis of DNA which controls the healthy formation of new cells throughout the body. B12 also supports the action of vitamin C, and is necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of foods, for protein synthesis, and for the normal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage by contributing to the formation of the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells. B12 also maintains fertility, and helps promotes normal growth and development in children.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in a potentially fatal form of anemia called pernicious anemia. Since vitamin B12 can be easily stored in the body, and is only required in tiny amounts, symptoms of severe deficiency usually take five years or more to appear. When symptoms do surface, usually in mid-life, it is likely that deficiency was due to digestive disorders or malabsorption rather than to poor diet. The exception to this would be strict vegetarians who do not consume any foods of animal origin, since B12 only comes from animal sources.
Due to its role in healthy cell formation, a deficiency of B12 disrupts the formation of red blood cells, leading to reduced numbers of poorly formed red cells, leading to a anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea and moodiness. B12 deficiency can lead to improper formation of nerve cells, resulting in irreversible neurological damage, with symptoms ranging from disorientation, delusions, eye disorders, dizziness, confusion and memory loss.
The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2 micrograms for adults, 2.2 micrograms for pregnant women, and 2.6 micrograms for nursing mothers. Vitamin B12 B12 is not found in vegetables, but can be found in pork, blue cheese, clams, eggs, herring, kidney, liver, seafood, and milk.
Vitamin B12 is available in supplement. Due to poor absorption in the stomach, B12 is usually taken as a sublingual or in injection form. Supplements range in strength from 50 micrograms to 2 milligrams. There are virtually no known toxic symptoms for megadoses of vitamin B12, and any excess is simply excreted from the body.
Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is an easily absorbed, water-soluble micro nutrient with a key role in maintaining human health. Like the other B vitamins, riboflavin supports energy production by aiding in the metabolization of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamin B2 is also required for red blood cell formation and respiration, antibody production, and for regulating human growth and reproduction. Riboflavin is known to alleviate eye fatigue, prevent and treat cataracts, increase energy levels, and aid in boosting immune system functions. It also plays a key role in maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails, and in combination with vitamin B6, forms part of an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
A deficiency of vitamin B2 may be indicated by the appearance of cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, a swollen and sore tongue, reddening of the lips, and the appearance of scaly, oily, inflamed skin. Use of oral contraceptives can dramatically increase the need for riboflavin, as does strenuous exercise. Pregnant women need to pay particular attention to assure they have adequate levels of B2 which are critical for the proper growth and development of the baby.
Foods high in vitamin B2 include beans, cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, poultry, spinach, and yogurt. In supplement form, B2 is usually found in a complex combined with vitamins B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folic acid.
The Recommended Daily Intake for B2 is 1.2 mg. to 1.7 mg. per day. For pregnant women, the RDA is 1.6 mg per day, and 1.8 mg. per day for the first 6 months of nursing. RDA’s aside, the common doses available on the market range from 100 to 300 mg per day. There are no known toxic effects for B2, but large doses can lead to tingling in the extremities and an increased sensitivity to sunlight.
Vitamin B3, also called Niacin, Niacinamide, or Nicotinic Acid, is an essential nutrient required by all humans for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as for the production of hydrochloric acid for digestion. B3 also supports proper blood circulation, healthy skin, and aids in the functioning of the central nervous system. Because of its role in supporting the higher functions of the brain and cognition, vitamin B3 also plays an important role in the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Lastly, adequate levels of B3 are vital for the proper synthesis of insulin, and the sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
A deficiency in vitamin B3 can result in pellagra, a disorder characterized by malfunctioning of the nervous system, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dementia, depression, and severe dermatitis and skin leasions. Recently Niacin has been embraced by the medical community for its ability to safely lower elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride serum levels without harmful side-effects. Due to the large amounts of niacin used, it is best to undertake such a program only in close partnership with your physician.
High doses of niacin may result in a niacin flush, a natural allergic reaction that is harmless, but can be uncomfortable if unexpected. A niacin flush will generally result in a burning, tingling, and itching sensation, accompanied by a reddening flush, that spreads across the skin of the face, arms and chest. This effect is harmless and will pass within 20 minutes to an hour. Drinking a glass of water will also speed relief if too much niacin has been consumed.
High amounts should be used with caution by those who are pregnant and megadoses of pure niacin may aggravate health problems, such as stomach ulcers, gout, glaucoma, diabetes mellitus, and liver disease. Again, check with your physician before taking doses of niacin greater than 1,000 mg. per day. Natural food sources for Vitamin B3 include beef, broccoli, carrots, cheese, corn flour, eggs, fish, milk, potatoes and tomatoes.
Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is a B vitamin named after the Greek word pantos, meaning “everywhere” because it is found in both plant and animal food sources. Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that cannot be stored in the body but must be replaced daily, either from diet or from supplements.
Pantothenic acids’ most important function is as an essential component in the production of coenzyme A, a vital catalyst that is required for the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy. Pantothenic acid is also referred to as an anti stress vitamin due to its vital role in the formation of various adrenal hormones, steroids, and cortisone, as well as contributing to the production of important brain neuro-transmitters such as acetyl choline. In addition to helping to fight depression Pantothenic acid also supports the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and is required for the production of cholesterol, bile, vitamin D, red blood cells, and antibodies.
There is no specific deficiency disease associated with inadequate intake of pantothenic acid, though under severe dietary conditions a lack of vitamin B5 can lead to a variety of symptoms including hypoglycemia, skin disorders, fatigue, depression, digestive problems, lack of coordination and muscle cramps. The current RDA for pantothenic acid is 10 mg.
Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of foods including beans, beef, liver, salt-water fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, avocados, cauliflower, green peas, beans , nuts, dates, and potatoes. Most common B-complex formulas contain from 10 to 100 mg. of B5, though daily doses up to 1000 mg are not uncommon, especially for treatment of arthritis and allergies.
Vitamin B6, also called Pyridoxine, refers to a family of water soluble substances – including pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, that are closely related in form and function. Vitamin B6 is a water soluble nutrient that cannot be stored in the body, but must be obtained daily from either dietary sources or supplements.
Vitamin B6 is an important nutrient that supports more vital bodily functions than any other vitamin. This is due to its role as a coenzyme involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B6 is also responsible for the manufacture of hormones, red blood cells, neurotransmitters, enzymes and prostaglandins. Vitamin B6 is required for the production of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that controls our moods, appetite, sleep patterns, and sensitivity to pain. A deficiency of vitamin B6 can quickly lead to insomnia and a profound malfunctioning of the central nervous system.
Among its many benefits, vitamin B6 is recognized for helping to maintain healthy immune system functions, for protecting the heart from cholesterol deposits, and for preventing kidney stone formation. B6 is also effective in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, night leg cramps, allergies, asthma and arthritis.
Common symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency can include depression, vomiting, anemia, kidney stones, dermatitis, lethargy and increased susceptibility to diseases due to a weakened immune system. Infants suffering from vitamin B6 deficiency can be anxious and irritable, and in extreme cases may develop convulsions.
Supplemental B6 is a commonly used as a treatment for nausea, morning sickness and depression. Pregnant women have an increased need for supplemental vitamin B6, as do patients suffering from heart disease or those undergoing radiation treatment. Persons on high protein diets require extra vitamin B6, as do those taking antidepressants, amphetamines, oral contraceptives, and estrogen.
Natural foods highest in vitamin B6 include brewers yeast, carrots, chicken, eggs, fish, avocados, bananas, brown rice, and whole grains. The RDA for vitamin B6 is 2 mg per day. Most B-complex formulas contain between 10 to 75 mg. of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is one of the few vitamins that can be toxic. Doses up to 500 mg per day are uncommon but safe, but doses above 2 grams per day can lead to irreversible neurological damage unless under the treatment of a physician. Vitamin B6 supplements should not be taken by Parkinson’s disease patients being treated with L-dopa as vitamin B6 can diminish the effects of L-dopa in the brain.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and member of the B-complex family. Originally isolated in 1901, over the years numerous researchers attached different names to this nutrient, referring to it alternately as bios, vitamin H, protective factor X, and coenzyme R. Today the scientific name for this sulfur-bound vitamin is biotin, though occasionally it may be referred to as vitamin B6.
Biotin is an essential nutrient that is required for cell growth and for the production of fatty acids. Biotin also plays a central role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism and is essential for the proper utilization of the other B-complex vitamins. Biotin contributes to healthy skin and hair, and may play a role in preventing hair loss.
A biotin deficiency of is rare, as biotin is easily synthesized in the intestines by bacteria, usually in amounts far greater than are normally require for good health. Those at highest risk for biotin deficiency are people with digestive problems that can interfere with normal intestinal absorption, and those taking antibiotics or sulfa drugs, which can inhibit the growth of the intestinal bacteria that produce biotin. Consuming raw eggs in large amounts over a prolonged period can contribute to biotin deficiency, as eggs whites contain a protein called avidin, that binds to biotin and interfere with its absorption. This is not a problem when consuming cooked eggs, which are a good dietary source of biotin.
Some symptoms of biotin deficiency are depression, lethargy, eczema, dermatitis, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, inflammation of the tongue, and muscle pain. Infants with seborrheic dermatitis, evidenced by dry and scaly face and scalp, may also be suffering from a biotin deficiency.
The adult Recommended Daily Allowance for biotin is 300 micrograms. Natural sources highest in biotin include liver, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, salt-water fish, milk, soybeans, and rice. Biotin is also found in virtually all B-complex supplements in doses ranging from 25 micrograms to 300 micrograms. There are no known toxic levels or symptoms for biotin.
Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and accounts for between 2 to 3 pounds of our total body mass. Adequate dietary sources of calcium are necessary throughout our lives for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as regulating muscle growth. In conjunction with magnesium, calcium also plays a vital role in the regulation of electrical impulses in the central nervous system and in the activation of various hormones and enzymes required for proper digestion and metabolism. This vital mineral is also necessary to support bodily functions such as blood clotting and maintaining blood pressure. Inadequate intake of calcium can aggravate hypertension, and calcium supplements are known to lower blood pressure in some cases. There is also strong evidence that calcium plays a role in colon cancer, and those with low intake of calcium and vitamin D are more prone to this disease. Inadequate calcium levels can also result in tetany, a condition that commonly results in leg cramps and muscular spasms.
Inadequate intake of this mineral can also result in osteoporosis, a bone disorder caused by loss of calcium in the bones. Osteoporosis results in brittle, porous bones which can be easily fractured or broken. Contrary to popular belief, bones are very much alive, and are constantly losing and replacing calcium. Inadequate intake can result in a slow and dangerous loss of this mineral, leading to osteoporosis.
Half of America’s adults are not getting enough calcium according to a panel of experts assembled by the National Institutes Of Health (NIH). The federal committee estimates that calcium deficiencies, resulting in brittle bones and fractures, are costing the health care system $10 billion a year. The report said the recommended daily allowance for calcium was too low, leading to weakened bones for children, adults and, especially, elderly women. “Calcium is an essential nutrient for developing and maintaining strong bones,” the committee said. Without proper levels of calcium, children enter adulthood with a weakened skeleton, increasing their risk later for osteoporosis. Inadequate calcium intake in later years further aggravates the problem.
New studies show that recommended levels of calcium now carried on most food labels are far below what nature requires for strong bones. “Recent nutrition surveys have shown that the average diet of Americans has a calcium intake considerably below the recommended daily allowance.” according to Dr. John Bilezikian, professor of medicine at Columbia University and chairman of the committee.
The Dr. Bilezikian also emphasized the importance of getting the recommended levels of vitamin D, which is important for proper calcium absorption. Half of the recommended vitamin D dose of 400 international units (iu) are contained in two cups of milk, and the rest can be manufactured by the body with just a few minutes exposure to sunlight.
Calcium absorption takes place in the small intestines, and requires adequate amounts of vitamin D. The current Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium is 800 mg. for adults, 1,200 mg. for pre menopausal women, and 1,500 mg for post menopausal women unless taking estrogen. Those with kidney disorders should not take calcium supplements unless directed to do so by a health care professional.
Good dietary sources of calcium include all dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, and seafood . Absorption of dietary calcium can be drastically reduced by consuming large amounts of foods such as cocoa, spinach, kale, rhubarb, almonds, and whole wheat products which are high in oxalic acid, and are known to interfere with calcium absorption. Taking antibiotics such as tetracycline, or aluminum containing antacids can also result in lower absorption of calcium. Alcohol, sugar, and coffee can also effect the body’s levels of this mineral.
While closely related to the B complex family of vitamins, choline is not truely considered a vitamin since researchers cannot agree on any common definitions of deficiency symptoms. Choline is found in all living cells, and is known to play a vital role in maintaining the central nervous system and in numerous metabolic functions.
Choline is a component of lecithin and is used in the manufacture of cell membranes. It is also required for the production and metabolization of fats and cholesterol, and helps to protect the liver from the accumulation of excess fatty deposits. Choline’s most vital role may lie in its activity in the brain and central nervous system. Choline is a precursor of the important neurotransmitter acetyl choline, a chemical used in the transmission of brain impulses between nerves, muscles and organs. In this role it is involved directly with cognition, long and short term memory, stimulus response, and mental energy. Since acetyl choline levels increase rapidly after consuming choline, researchers have employed choline supplements in the treatment of various disorders marked by lowered levels of acetyl choline in the brain, including Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and tardive dyskinesia.
There is no recommended daily intake for choline. A deficiency of choline can result in increased fatty deposits in the liver, memory loss, and poor muscle coordination. While not toxic, excess consumption of choline can lead to over-stimulation of muscles, leading to tightening of the shoulders and neck, resulting in a tension headache.
Foods highest in choline include egg yolks, liver, meats, brewers yeast, milk, legumes and whole grain cereals. Choline can be manufactured in the human body with the help of vitamin Bl2, folic acid, and the amino acid called methionine, although not necessarily in optimal amounts. Choline is also available as a dietary supplement, in such forms as phosphatydil choline, choline chloride, or choline bitartrate. Choline supplements should be avoided by persons who suffer from manic depression, as they may deepen the depressive phase of this disorder.
DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid) is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid, vital to the development and maintenance of healthy brain and eye structure. DHA makes up about a quarter of fatty acids in grey matter cell membranes and ensures that the synapses in the brain are functioning properly so that messages between the brain cells are sent quickly and clearly.
Dimethyl Amino Ethanol (DMAE) is a nutritional supplement that supports the old wives’ tale that fish is a great brain food. DMAE is normally present in small amounts in our brains, and is known for its mental stimulation and enhancement.
Because fish is naturally abundant in DMAE, a diet high in sardines and anchovies will provide higher than average levels of DMAE and choline to the brain, which serve as raw materials for the production of the neurotransmitter acetyl choline. Acetyl choline is responsible for conducting nerve impulses within the brain, and by accelerating the brain’s synthesis of this important neurotransmitter, DMAE may aid in improving memory and learning, as well as preventing loss of memory in adults.
DMAE helps elevate mood, improve memory and learning, increase intelligence and physical energy, and extends the life span of laboratory animals1. It is used by many people for its mild, safe stimulant effect, yet DMAE also makes it easier for most people to get to sleep. Many people report less fatigue in the day and sounder sleep at night, as well as needing less sleep when taking DMAE.
The stimulant effect of DMAE is significantly different from the stimulation produced by coffee, amphetamines, or other stimulant drugs. DMAE does not have a drug-like quick up and down. People who take DMAE have reported that they feel a mild stimulation continually, without side effects. Many athletes using DMAE report an improved energy output in addition to better concentration on form and technique. Also, when DMAE use is discontinued, no depression or let-down occurs.
Folic acid is a water soluble nutrient belonging to the B-complex family. The name folic acid is derived from the latin word “folium”, so chosen since this essential nutrient was first extracted from green leafy vegetables, or foliage. Sometimes referred to as vitamin M, folic acid was originally extracted from spinach in 1941 and was found to be an effective treatment for macrocytic anemia.
Among its various important roles, folic acid is a vital coenzyme required for the proper synthesis of RNA and DNA, the nucleic acids that maintain our genetic codes and insure healthy cell division. Adequate levels of folic acid are essential for energy production and protein metabolism, for the formulation of red blood cells, and for the proper functioning of the intestinal tract.
Of great import are recent studies connecting folic acid intake with the incidence of spinal closure problems in newborn babies. Health workers have long known that folic acid is required for the proper regulation and development of embryonic fetal nerve cells during the early stages of pregnancy. Now researchers have found an almost complete reduction in the incidence of spinal closure problems such as spina bifida in babies born to women with a daily folic acid intake of at least 400 micrograms.
Folic acid may also prove to be effective in the prevention and treatment of uterine cancer. A deficiency of folic acid causes cellular damage resembling the initial stages of uterine cervical dysplasia. Researchers discovered that women taking folic acid supplements have fewer precancerous cervical cells compared to women with low intake of folic acid. Evidence suggests that folic acid works by inhibiting the progression of abnormal cells into cancer cells and may even help return the damaged tissues to healthy condition.
Folic acid deficiency affects all cellular functions, but most importantly it reduces the body’s ability to repair damaged tissues and grow new cells. Tissues with the highest rate of cell replacement, such as red blood cells, are affected first, leading to anemia. Folic acid deficiency symptoms include a sore tongue, cracking at the corners of the mouth, gastro-intestinal distress, diarrhea, and poor nutrient absorption and malnutrition leading to stunted growth, weakness and apathy.
The current Recommended Daily Allowance for folic acid is 180 to 200 micrograms per day. This allowance is controversial as it is based more on politics than science. Studies have consistently shown that the average American gets less then half the previously recommended RDA of 400 micrograms per day for adults and 800 micrograms per day for pregnant women. Unable to make the great leap to suggest that people should take supplements to confer the protection offered by folic acid, government officials instead simply decided to lower the RDA.
Folic acid deficiency is a common vitamin deficiency that can develop within a few weeks to months of lowered dietary intake. Those with the greatest need for increased folic acid intake include people under mental and physical stress, including disease, alcoholics, and people taking oral contraceptives, aspirin, and anticonvulsants. Foods highest in folic acid include barley, beans, beef, bran, brewers yeast, brown rice, cheese, chicken, tuna, milk, salmon, wheat germ, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.
Though not generally regarded as toxic, large doses of folic acid can cause allergic skin reactions, and should be avoided by people being treated for hormone related cancers. High doses of folic acid can also cause problems convulsions in people taking the drug phytoin for a convulsive disorder.
Ginger is derived from the tuberous rhizome (underground root) of the perennial plant Zingiber officinale of the family Zingiberaceae. Also referred to as Jamaica ginger, African ginger, or Cochin ginger, ginger has been used as a spice, condiment and flavoring agent. For nearly 2,500 years ginger has also played an important role in Asian medicine as a folk remedy to promote cleansing of the body through perspiration, to calm nausea, and to stimulate the appetite. Ginger tea was also used as a carminative (agent which expels gas from the intestines) and in the symptomatic treatment of colds when given at their onset. It has been used in China and other countries for many years as a tonic.
Ginger contains gingerol, a ginger oleoresin (combination of volatiles oils and resin) that accounts for the characteristic aroma of ginger, and explain its theraputic properties. Components of gingerol (zingiberone, bisabolene, camphene, geranial, linalool and borneol) have recently been studied and found to possess beneficial properties for the treatment of poor digestion, heartburn, vomiting and preventing motion sickness.
A report appearing in the English medical journal Lancet in 1982 concluded that powdered ginger helped with motion sickness. Researchers conducted a double-blind study on 36 college students with a high susceptibility to motion sickness. Reporting on ginger’s ability to control motion sickness and aleviate nausea, they concluded that 940 mg. of powdered ginger was superior to 100 mg. of dimenhydrinate in reducing symptoms when consumed 25 minutes prior to tests in a tilted rotating chair.
On the basis of this and other studies German health authorities have concluded that ginger, at an average daily dose level of 2 to 4 grams, is effective for preventing motion sickness and is also useful as a digestive aid. Any antiemetic effects of ginger are due to its local action in the stomach, and not to any central nervous system activity.
Ginger is ordinarily taken in the form of capsules, each containing 250 to 500 mg. of powdered herb. It may also be consumed as a tea or in the form of candied ginger that is readily available in Oriental food markets. There are no reports of severe toxicity in humans from eating ginger, but recent pharmacological studies indicate that very large overdoses might carry the potential for causing depression of the central nervous system and cardiac atrhythmias.
Additionally, the whole ginger plant has been found to cause liver damage in animals. It is interesting to note that an alcoholic beverage prepared from Jamaican ginger, popular in some parts of the U.S. in the 1930s, caused a serious neurologic problem called “the Jake Walk.”
CAUTION: If suffering from gallstones, or if pregnant or nursing, consult a health care professional before taking large amounts of ginger. The German Commission E monograph opposes use for morning sickness during pregnancy. Daily consumption of ginger root may interfere with the absorption of dietary iron and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as tetracycline derivatives, oral anticholinergics, phenothiazines, digoxin, isoniazid, pheytoin, warfarin, lincomycin, digitalis, nalidixic acid, sulfonamides, and phenothiozines or other psychoactive agents which are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger may mask the ototoxicity caused by aminoglycoside antibiotics such as neomycin. It may inhibit urinary excretion of alkaline drugs, such as amphetamines or quinidine.
BACOPA MONNIERA EXTRACT
Traditional healing manuals from the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine in India reveal that Bacopa has long been used as a memory enhancer and anti-inflammatory agent. It has also been used to treat blood and kidney disorders, as well as to reduce fever. Current research has focused on the role that Bacopa plays in reducing stress, and a group of Indian researchers has recently demonstrated that it activates an antistress response in animals through the regulation of gene expression, the process that governs protein synthesis.
Bacopa protects brain function. The benefits of Bacopa monniera in protecting and promoting healthy brain function—dating back thousands of years and increasingly confirmed by modern scientific research. Bacopa improves cognitive processes that depend on environmental input and is especially important in learning and memory.
Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living tree species, dating back over 300 million years, and individual trees can live for over 1,000 years. In China extracts of the fruit and leaves of the ginkgo tree have been used for over 5,000 years to treat lung ailments such as asthma and bronchitis, and as a remedy for cardiovascular diseases.
Recently western researchers have been studying ginkgo biloba as a treatment for senility, hardening of the arteries, and as a treatment for oxygen deprivation. More than 34 human studies on ginkgo have been published since 1975, showing, among other things, that ginkgo can increases the body’s production of the universal energy molecule adenosine triphosphate, commonly called ATP. This activity has been shown to boost the brains energy metabolism of glucose and increase electrical activity.
Scientists also discovered that gingko contains an abundance of useful compounds including the antioxidants Vitamin C and carotenoids, but it is the flavonoid compounds collectively known as “ginkgolides” that are the most remarkable. The ginkgo flavonoids act specifically to dilate the smallest segment of the circulatory system, the micro-capillaries, which has a widespread affect on the organs, especially the brain. Researchers have also reported that Ginkgo extracts effectively increase blood circulation and increase oxygen levels in brain tissues. Ginkgo is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents platelet aggregation inside arterial walls, keeping them flexible and decreasing the formation of arteriosclerositic plaque.
Ginkgo’s ability to improve blood flow has been shown in numerous studies with the elderly, leading German researchers to study ginkgo as a treatment for atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease. This condition can cause a condition marked by decreased blood flow to the limbs caused by hardening of the arteries. One indicator of this condition is severe pain felt in the legs when attempting to walk even short distances, referred to as intermittent claudication. German researchers found that treatment with ginkgo extracts improved circulation to the extremities and made it possible for patients with atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease to walk further with much less pain.
Ginkgo biloba extracts are relatively considered safe and free of side effects, though taking very large doses may lead to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, which can be controlled by reducing the amount consumed.
ELEUTHEROCOCCUS (SIBERIAN GINSENG)
Siberian Ginseng comes from the woody roots and not the typical fleshy rootstocks of the other ginsengs. The active ingredients, eleuthrerosides (B & E), are glycosides which provide the adaptogenic properties. Siberian Ginseng helps the body handle stressful conditions while enhancing mental and athletic abilities. The glycosides appear to act on the adrenal glands, helping to prevent adrenal hypertrophy and excess corticosteroid production in response to stress. Siberian Ginseng has been shown to increase energy, stamina, help the body resist viral infections, environmental toxins, radiation and chemotherapy. Siberian Ginseng is used to restore memory, concentration and cognitive abilities which may be impaired by improper blood supply to the brain.
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica (L.) Urban), of the Apiaceae family, is also known as centella and pennywort. Native to areas such as Sri Lanka and South Africa, the leaves of this swamp plant have been used around the world for centuries to treat leprosy, cancer, skin disorders, arthritis, hemorrhoids, and tuberculosis.
Gotu kola has also been employed as an energy tonic, an aphrodisiac, and as a treatment for high blood pressure and mental disorders. Gotu kola is a vital herb in Ayurveda, the traditional science of health in India, where it is used to “strengthen both the white and grey matter of the brain”, stimulate learning, memory and alertness, and calm or sedate anxiety when necessary. Traditional Chinese medicinal believed Gotu kola provided longevity, and thus called it the “fountain of youth” herb in China. In the United States gotu kola is found in countless energy formulas and tonics.
A common misconception is that gotu kola contains caffeine, which is simply not true. Researchers have found that gotu kola contains several glycosides that exhibit wound healing and anti-inflammatory activities, and in large doses it can act as a sedative. Other researchers have shown that fresh leaves of the gotu kola plant are effective in healing chronic skin ulcers and other wounds.
Gotu kola contains a group of triterpenes called asiaticosides that possess strong antioxidant properties. In modern health care Gotu Kola is used primarily for venous insufficiency, localized inflammation and infection, and post-surgery recovery. Gotu kola is also used for the following:
SKIN: Open wounds, sores, ulcers, other infections and radiation ulcers.
CONFINEMENT: Bed sores, phlebitis, tingling, night cramps.
VEIN PROBLEMS: Phlebitis, varicose veins, cellulite and edema.
GYNECOLOGY: Lesions during pregnancy, delivery and obstetric manipulations, and episiotomy tears.
Gotu kola affects various stages of tissue development, including keratinization (the process of replacing skin after sores or ulcers). Asiaticosides stimulate the formation of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin. Gotu Kola has been found to have significant results in healing of skin, other connective tissues, lymph tissue, blood vessels (decreasing capillary fragility), and mucous membranes.
Supporting agents for Gotu kola include: Bilberry, Butcher’s Broom, Silica, Zinc, Vitamins C, E and D.
Contains a group of triterpens call asiaticosides that stimulate the formation of lipids and proteins necessary for healthy skin.
Used for venous insufficiency, localized inflammation and infection, and post-surgery recovery.
Effective in healing of skin, connective tissue, lymph tissue, blood vessels and mucous membranes.
Used in Ayurveda to “strengthen both the white and grey matter of the brain”, stimulate learning, memory and alertness
Inositol is a water soluble nutrient that is often associated with B vitamins. While its role in human nutrition is a source of ongoing debate, it was finally recognized as a vitamin in 1940. Chemically inositol is a sugar which is metabolized slowly and without the involvement of insulin. Inositol is found in cell membranes throughout the brain and central nervous system, the muscles, heart tissues, reproductive organs, and bones. It is also involved in the transportation and metabolism of fatty acids and cholesterol, and is a component of lecithin and several enzymes. This nutrient is also a hydroxyl free-radical scavenger that may aid in treating arthritis.
Animals fed a diet deficient in inositol evidence symptoms such as fatty liver deposits, intestinal disorders, and nerve damage similar to diabetes. Though such symptoms have never been observed in humans, researchers are studying this nutrient as a possible treatment for diabetes related nerve disorders.
There is no recommended daily intake, nor are there any recognized toxicity symptoms for inositol. Found in a wide range of foods, those highest in inositol include fruits, whole grains, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.
L-Glutamine improves mental alertness, clarity of thinking and mood. Research has shown that glutamine reduces the craving for alcohol, sugar and carbohydrates.
PHENYLALANINE is one of the amino acids which the body cannot manufacture itself, but must acquire from food. It is abundant in meats and cheese. Phenylalanine is a precursor of tyrosine, and together they lead to the formation of thyroxine or thyroid hormone, and of epinephrine and norepinephrine which is converted into a neurotransmitter, a brain chemical which transmits nerve impulses. This neurotransmitter is used by the brain to manufacture norepinephrine which promotes mental alertness, memory, elevates mood, and suppresses the appetite very effectively.
In one study, 100-500 milligrams of phenylalanine taken every day for two weeks completely eliminated patients depression. These people where depressed from a variety of causes, including drug abuse and schizophrenia and some from no apparent cause, and the amino acid seemed to work especially well for them all.
Along with another amino acid, tryptophan, phenylalanine governs the release of an intestinal hormone called cholecystokinin, known as CCK. This hormone signals the brain to feel satisfied after eating. People given CCK stop eating and feel full sooner. Various studies have shown Phenylalanine’s ability to decrease chronic back and dental pain and the pain associated with migraines and menstruation in a non-toxic and non-addictive manner.
Phenylalanine comes in two forms which are mirror images of each other: L-phenylalanine which has a nutritional value, and D-phenylalanine which has painkilling and depression alleviating properties which are attributed to its ability to block the breakdown of enkephalins, the brains natural pain killers. A third form, DL-phenylalanine, is a 50/50 mixture of these two forms. Phenylalanine activity is enhanced by additional Vitamin B 6, especially in studies on depression.
Phenylalanine deficiency can cause bloodshot eyes, cataracts and behavioral changes. Nutritional researchers recommend keeping intake of supplemental forms of phenylalanine to no more than 2.4 grams per day. Overuse of phenylalanine supplements can cause anxiety, headaches and hypertension, and are contraindicated for pregnant woman, those who suffer from anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, PKU, pigmented melanoma, or anyone taking an anti-depressant containing MAO inhibitors.
PYROGLUTAMATE is an amino acid naturally found in vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat. It is also normally present in large amounts in the human brain, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood. After oral administration, pyroglutamate passes into the brain through the blood-brain barriers and helps stimulate cognitive functions. Pyroglutamate improves memory and learning in rats, and has anti-anxiety effects in rats1.
Pyroglutamate has also been shown to be effective in alcohol-induced memory deficits in humans2, and more recently, in people affected with multi-infarct dementia3. In these patients, the administration of pyroglutamate brought about a significant increase of attention and an improvement on psychological tests investigating short-term retrieval, long-term retrieval, and long-term storage of memory. A statistically significant improvement was observed also in the consolidation of memory.
In human subjects, pyroglutamate was compared with a placebo in a randomized double-blind trial for assessing its efficacy in treating memory deficits in 40 aged subjects. Twenty subjects were treated with pyroglutamate and 20 with a placebo over a period of 60 days. Memory functions were evaluated at baseline and after 60 days of treatment by means of a battery made up of six memory tasks. The results show that pyroglutamate is effective in improving verbal memory functions in subjects affected by age-related memory decline4.
In Italy, arginine pyroglutamate is used to treat senility, mental retardation, and alcoholism. Arginine pyroglutamate is simply an arginine molecule combined with a pyroglutamate molecule. Arginine alone does not produce cognitive enhancing effects. It is likely that pyroglutamate is the active ingredient of arginine pyroglutamate.
No serious adverse effects from the use of pyroglutamate, or from the use of arginine pyroglutamate, have been reported. Arginine and pyroglutamate are amino acids found commonly in natural foods and consumed by most people on a daily basis.
TYROSINE is an amino acid which is synthesized from phenylalanine in the body. It is a precursor of the important brain neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, which transmit nerve impulses and are essential to prevent depression. Dopamine is vital to mental function and seems to play a role in sex drive.
Tyrosine is also used by the thyroid gland to produce one of the major hormones, Thyroxin. This hormone regulates growth rate, metabolic rate, skin health and mental health. It is used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, allergies and headaches. Animals subjected to stress in the laboratory have been found to have reduced levels of the brain neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Doses of tyrosine prior to stressing the animals prevents reduction of norepinephrine.
There have been human experiments on soldiers undergoing various forms of stress, given tyrosine to see what effect it might have on their performance. The soldiers who got Tyrosine performed much better on a variety of tests than those who did not. They were more efficient, alert and had fewer complaints. Clinical studies have shown that tyrosine can be helpful in reducing the irritation, tiredness and depression of PMS sufferers, as well as being an effective antidepressant in some more major forms of depression.
Tyrosine is used with the amino acid Tryptophan, to aid in the treatment of cocaine abuse, with some success. In one study the two amino acids were used in conjunction with the anti-depressant Imipramine to treat chronic cocaine abuse with a reported 75-80% success rate. Most of the people in the study reported that this combination blocked the cocaine high and warded off the severe depression that typically accompanies withdrawal.
Intake of Tyrosine is contraindicated for people taking antidepressants containing monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, people with high blood pressure or skin cancer. It may trigger migraine headaches. The main sources of tyrosine in the diet are meats, dairy products and eggs.
Magnesium is a mineral that is required for the proper growth and formation of human bones, muscle tissues, and enzymes. It is used to convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. It is involved in the transmission of nervous system impulses, assist in the uptake of calcium and potassium. Higher intake of magnesium has also been linked to lung function, according to a study published recently in England. Researchers found that adults consuming an average of 380 milligrams of magnesium per day exhibited increased lung function, and benefits were consistent regardless of whether or not the subjects smoked.
The body’s relative balance of magnesium and calcium has a profound impact on health as these two minerals must work smoothly together to insure proper muscle control. Calcium is involved in stimulating muscle contraction, and magnesium is required to allow the muscles to relax. Both an excess intake of calcium or a magnesium deficiency can result in poor muscle coordination, irritability and nervousness. Magnesium also helps to prevent depression, muscle weakness and twitching, heart disorders, and high blood pressure.
In the U.S. the Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium is 400 mg. per day. Foods high in magnesium include fish, dairy products, lean meat, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables. Consumption of large amounts of zinc and vitamin D increase the body’s requirement for magnesium as does alcohol, fats, proteins, and diuretics. The body’s uptake of magnesium can also be inhibited by consuming foods high in oxalic acid, such as spinach, cocoa and tea.
Manganese is a mineral that is required in small amounts to manufacture enzymes necessary for the metabolism of proteins and fats. It also supports the immune system, regulates blood sugar levels, and is involved in the production of cellular energy, reproduction, and bone growth. Manganese works with vitamin K to support blood clotting, aids in digestion, and as antioxidant, is a vital component of Sodium Oxide Dismutase, a large molecule that is the body’s main front-line defense against damaging free-radicals. Working with the B-complex vitamins, manganese help control the effects of stress while contributing to ones sense of well being.
A deficiency in intake of manganese can retard growth, cause seizures, lead to poor bone formation, impair fertility, and cause birth defects. Researchers are also looking at new links between manganese deficiency and skin cancers.
While there is no RDA for manganese, the average intake of manganese is between 2 to 9 milligrams per day. Foods high in manganese include avocados, blueberries, nuts and seeds, seaweed, egg yolks, whole grains, legumes, dried peas, and green leafy vegetables.
One double-blind trial has found that acetyl-L-carnitine may be helpful for people with degenerative cerebellar ataxia, a loss of muscular coordination caused by disease in the cerebellum (the hind part of the brain that controls muscle tone and balance).
Several clinical trials suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly. In a controlled clinical trial, acetyl-L-carnitine was given to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment. After 45 days of acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation at 1,500 mg per day, significant improvements in cognitive function (especially memory) were observed. Another large trial of acetyl-L-carnitine for mild cognitive impairment in the elderly found that 1,500 mg per day for 90 days significantly improved memory, mood, and responses to stress. The favorable effects persisted at least 30 days after treatment was discontinued. Controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials on acetyl-L-carnitine corroborate these findings.
Acetyl-L-carnitine may be effective for depression experienced by the elderly. A preliminary trial found that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation was effective at relieving depression in a group of elderly people, particularly those showing more serious clinical symptoms. These results were confirmed in another similar clinical trial. In that trial, participants received either 500 mg three times a day of acetyl-L-carnitine or a matching placebo. Those receiving acetyl-L-carnitine experienced significantly reduced symptoms of depression compared to those receiving placebo. At least two other clinical studies of acetyl-L-carnitine for depression in the elderly have reported similar results.
Phosphatidyl choline is crucial in the maintenance of membrane fluidity, a key to normal and healthy working of our cells, and is a major source of the nutrient choline. Choline is involved in the synthesis of acetyl choline, a molecule fundamental to the proper functioning of the nervous system. High dose phosphatidyl choline has been found beneficial in a number of neurological conditions and in the repair of cell membranes, particularly in the liver.
Useful in the following conditions:
Tardive Dyskinesia, Short term memory loss, Manic Symptoms. Hepatitis.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that is found in all cells, but is most highly concentrated in the walls (membranes) of brain cells, making up about 70% of its nerve tissue mass. There it aids in the storage, release and activity of many vital neurotransmitters and their receptors. Phosphatidylserine also aids in cell-to-cell communication.
Phosphatidylserine is involved in the upkeep and restoration of nerve cell membranes. Among its list of functions, phosphatidylserine stimulates the release of dopamine (a mood regulator that also control physical sensations, and movement), increases the production of acetylcholine (necessary for learning and memory), enhances brain glucose metabolism (the fuel used for brain activity), reduces cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and boosts the activity of nerve growth factor (NGF), which oversees the health of cholinergic neurons.
Research has shown that dietary supplementation with phosphatidylserine can slow and even reverse the decline of learning, mood, memory, concentration, word recall related to dementia or age-related cognitive impairment in middle-aged and elderly subjects.
Potassium is an important mineral that plays a vital role in the transmission of electrical impulses through the central nervous system, and in regulating the smooth, natural rhythms of the beating heart. It mediates important cellular chemical reactions required for nutrients to pass into cells, and it helps to maintain the body’s water balance. Potassium also helps regulate stable blood pressure levels and may help in the prevention of strokes. Persons with higher intake of potassium evidence fewer cases of hypertension, and when potassium-rich foods are consumed, blood pressure rates drop.
Diurectics and laxatives can lead to a deficiency of potassium, resulting in retarded growth and development, muscle weakness, heart and kidney damage, mental confusion, and apathy. Potassium deficiency can also be the result of excess vomiting, chronic diarrhea, diabetic acidosis, and kidney disease. Extreme cases of deficiency can lead to dehydration, heart failure and even death.
The minimum daily requirement for potassium ranges from 120 milligrams for a baby, and up to 500 milligrams for an adult. In the United States, the average adult intake of potassium is approximately 1200 milligrams per day.
Persons on low-calorie diets may develop abnormal levels of blood sugar which may be helped by taking potassium supplements. Foods high in potassium include dairy products, fish, apricots, avocados, bananas, black strap molasses, brewers yeast, brown rice, raisins, potatoes, legumes, meat, poultry, vegetables and whole grains.
Schizandra (Schisandra chinensis) of the family Schisandraceae is a creeping vine with small red berries that is native to Northern China. In ancient China Schisandra was used as a staple food for hunting and gathering tribes. As a traditional medicinal herb, Schisandra, called Wu-wei-tzu in China, has been used as an astringent for a treatment for dry cough, asthma, night sweats, nocturnal seminal emissions and chronic diarrhea It is also used as a tonic for the treatment of chronic fatigue.
During the early 1980’s Chinese doctors began researching Schisandra as a treatment for hepatitis, based on its potential for liver-protective effects and the nature of its active constituents. Schisandra is now a recognized “adaptogen,” capable of increasing the body’s resistance to disease, stress, and other debilitating processes.
In Asia, this adaptogenic property is said to “stimulate immune defenses, balance body function, normalize body systems, boost recovery after surgery, protect against radiation, counteract the effects of sugar, optimize energy in times of stress, increase stamina, protect against motion sickness, normalize blood sugar and blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, shield against infection, improve the health of the adrenals, energize RNA-DNA molecules to rebuild cells and produces energy comparable to that of a young athlete.”
Studies conducted on Schisandra’s effects have noted that the drug has a stimulating effect in low doses, but this effect disappeared with larger doses. The compounds thought responsible for the liver-protective effects of Schisandra are lignans composed of two phenylpropanoid. More than 30 of these have been isolated in Schisandra and some 22 of which were tested in 1984 by the Japanese scientist H. Hikino for their ability to reduce the cytotoxic effects of carbon tetrachloride and galactosamine on cultured rat liver cells.
Most lignans were found to be effective, and some were extremely active (schisandrins A and B, gomisin A, B-bisabolne). Subsequent Japanese studies have found that two of the lignans, wuweizisu C and gomisin A, exert their liver protective effects by functioning as antioxidants to prevent the lipid peroxidation produced by harmful substances such as carbon tetrachloride. Since lipid peroxidation leads to the formation of liver damage the two compounds did indeed exert a protective influence.
Western herbalists commonly recommend Schisandra for the lungs, liver and kidneys, and to help with depression due to andrenergic exhaustion. In Russia Schisandra is used to treat eye fatigue and increase acuity.
CAUTION: Schisandra should not be used during pregnancy except under medical supervision to promote uterine contractions during labor. Schisandra should be avoided by persons with peptic ulcers, epilepsy and high blood pressure.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT
A study from the University of San Francisco found that the polyphenols in green tea can boost availability of the important brain substance dopamine in the areas where it’s needed. Dopamine is a signaling substance in brain circuits that are crucial to creating positive mood states.
It is involved in transmitting signals of reward and motivation and in helping muscles move smoothly. Dopamine production goes awry in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, leading to the muscle rigidity and tremors associated with the disorder.
TAURINE is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. It is found in the central nervous system, skeletal muscle and is very concentrated in the brain and heart. It is synthesized from the amino acids methionine and cysteine, in conjunction with vitamin B6. Animal protein is a good source of taurine, as it is not found in vegetable protein. Vegetarians with an unbalanced protein intake, and therefore deficient in methionine or cysteine may have difficulty manufacturing taurine. Dietary intake is thought to be more important in women as the female hormone estradiol depresses the formation of taurine in the liver.
Taurine seems to inhibit and modulate neurotransmitters in the brain. There have been reports on the benefits of taurine supplementation for epileptics. It has also been found to control motor tics, such as uncontrollable facial twitches. Taurines’ effectiveness in epilepsy has been limited by its poor diffusion across the blood-brain barrier.
In Japan, taurine therapy is used in the treatment of ischemic heart disease. Low taurine and magnesium levels have been found in patients after heart attacks . Like magnesium, taurine affects cell membrane electrical excitability by normalizing potassium flow in and out of heart muscle cells. Supplements decrease the tendency to develop potentially lethal abnormal heart arrythmias after heart attacks.. People with congestive heart failure have also responded to supplementation with improved cardiac and respiratory function.
Another role played by taurine is maintaining the correct composition of bile, and in maintaining the solubility of cholesterol. It has been found to have an effect on blood sugar levels similar to insulin. Taurine helps to stabilize cell membranes and seems to have some antioxidant and detoxifying activity. It helps the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium in and out of cells, which helps generate nerve impulses.
Taurine is necessary for the chemical reactions that produce normal vision, and deficiencies are associated with retinal degeneration. Besides protecting the retina, taurine may help prevent and possibly reverse age-related cataracts. Low levels of taurine and other sulphur containing amino acids are associated with high blood pressure, and taurine supplements have been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies.
Other possible uses for Taurine supplementation include eye disease, cirrhosis, depression and male infertility due to low sperm motility and hypertension. Taurine is present in meats and animal products, but not in plant products.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is powerful water-soluble antioxidant that is vital for the growth and maintenance of all body tissues. Though easily absorbed by the intestines, vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, and is excreted in the urine within two to four hours of ingestion. Humans, along with apes and guinea pigs, are the only species on the planet incapable of synthesizing vitamin C, and must therefore have access to sufficient amounts from adequate dietary sources or supplements in order to maintain optimal health.
One of vitamin C’s most vital roles is in the production of collagen, an important cellular component of connective tissues, muscles, tendons, bones, teeth and skin. Collagen is also required for the repair of blood vessels, bruises, and broken bones.
This easily destroyed nutrient also protects us from the ravages of free radicals, dangerous unpaired oxygen fragments that are produced in huge numbers as a normal byproduct of human metabolic processes. Left unchecked, free radicals can roam the body, destroying cell membranes on contact and damaging DNA strands, leading to degenerative diseases and contributing to accelerated aging. The antioxidant activity of vitamin C can also protect us from the damaging effects of air pollution and radiation, and aid in preventing cancers. Vitamin C also inhibits the conversion of nitrites, chemicals found in foods and processed meats, into nitrosamines, dangerous cancer causing compounds that can lead to cancers of the stomach, bladder, and colon.
Vitamin C helps regulate blood pressure, contributes to reduced cholesterol levels, and aids in the removal of cholesterol deposits from arteriel walls, thus preventing atherosclerosis. Vitamin C also aids in the metabolization of folic acid, regulates the uptake of iron, and is required for the conversion of the amino acids L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine into noradrenaline. The conversion of tryptophan into seratonin, the neurohormone responsible for sleep, pain control and well being, also requires adequate supplies of vitamin C.
A deficiency of ascorbic acid can impair the production of collagen and lead to joint pain, anemia, nervousness, retarded growth, reduced immune response, and increased susceptibility to infections. The most extreme form of vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy, a condition evidenced by swelling of the joints, bleeding gums, and the bursting, or hemorrhaging, of tiny blood vessels just below the surface of skin. If untreated scurvy is fatal. Before the discovery of lemons and limes as convenient sources of ascorbic acid, seafarers setting out on long ocean voyages could expect to lose up to two-thirds of a ships crew to scurvy. In acknowledgement of the the historical import of this well known and dreaded deficiency disease, in latin, the word ascorbic means “without scurvy”.
A recent important epidemiologic study showed that men who took vitamin C supplements lived, on average, 6 years longer than men who relied on normal dietary sources of vitamin C. This increase in life span seems to be due to a sharp reduction in heart disease. It has been estimated that if the epidemiology study is correct and everyone took just several hundred milligrams of vitamin C a day, it would save 100,000 lives and $100 billion a year in health care costs in the U.S.
The recommended daily intake for vitamin c is 60 milligrams, but most health care professionals recognize that this tiny amount is barely enough to prevent the onset of scurvy, let alone confer any of the many well documented benefits of this amazing nutrient. Based on countless medical studies the therapeutic intake of ascorbic acid can be said to safely range from 500 to 4000 milligrams per day. Since this water-soluble vitamin is completely excreted from the body within 2 to 4 hours, and since the idea is to maintain stable serum levels for best results, the desired total daily dose should be divided into three separate doses and be taken throughout the day.
Foods highest in vitamin C include citrus fruits, potatoes, peppers, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and berries. Vitamin C is also available as a supplement in a wide range of forms such as pills, tablets, powders, wafers, and syrups. Generally doses range from 500 milligrams to 5000 milligrams depending upon the delivery system. Vitamin C activity is enhanced when taken with natural bioflavanoids such as hesperidn and rutin. Ascorbic acid works synergistically with vitamin E, meaning that both nutrients work more effectively together to extend their antioxidant effects. Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat soluble form of vitamin C that is available only in supplement form. It is a very powerful antioxidant that works to protect fats from peroxidation, and it can be stored in the body in small amounts. Ascorbyl palmitate works best when taken in combination with ascorbic acid.
The topical application of vitamin C inhibits tumor promotion in mouse skin, according to a recent study. Moreover, ascorbyl palmitate, the fat-soluble form of vitamin C, was found to be at least 30 times more effective than water-soluble vitamin C in tumor reduction in the presence of a known tumor promoter.
While the study also demonstrated that it was possible to increase levels of ascorbic acid in the skin via dietary means, that increase did not result in tumor inhibition in this study Only topically applied vitamin C (both the watersoluble and, especially, the fat-soluble forms) resulted in enhanced protection. Mice, unlike humans, can synthesize vitamin C in their bodies. The mice did not do better at the lowest dose of vitamin C, which apparently down-regulated their natural production. At higher doses, however, supplemented mice did better than unsupplemented mice. The ability to inhibit tumor-promotion in skin via dietary supplemen-tation with ascorbyl palmitate is under investigation. (Smart RC, Crawford CL. Effect of ascorbic acid and its synthetic lipophilic derivative ascorbyl palmitate on phorbol ester-induced skin-tumor promotion in mice.Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;54:1266S-12735.)
Mice that had high dietary intakes of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and were subjected to ultraviolet (UV) light had fewer malignant skin lesions than those with lower levels of vitamin C. In a 20-week study, those mice receiving the lowest levels of dietary ascorbate developed serious malignant lesions at five times the rate of those mice fed the highest amounts of supplemental ascorbate. With a high statistical correspondence, the study showed that vitamin C was able to delay the formation of tumors induced by UV light. No toxic side effects of any sort were found with regard to the levels of vitamin C. (Pauling L. Effect of ascorbic acid on incidence of spontaneous mammal tumors and UV-light-induced skin tumors in mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;54:1252S-1255S.)
While generally nontoxic, even in very large amounts, consuming vitamin C in large doses can lead to oxalic acid and uric acid stone formation unless consumed with plenty of water and supplemented with extra magnesium and vitamin B6. Taking large doses without slowly working up to the desired level can also cause temporary side effects such as diarrhea and skin rashes.
Suppression of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) was found to take place in the presence of vitamin C. The near two-fold inhibition of HIV growth in Vitro required a continuous presence of non-cytotoxic amounts of either ascorbic acid or calcium ascorbate. When vitamin C was combined with NAC (N-acetyl L-cysteine), the result was a synergistic eight-fold inhibition of HIV replication. NAC is a mucolytic agent (mucous liquefier) that is structurally and functionally related to L-cysteine. This trial suggests the potential for the antiviral activity of vitamin C, especially in combination with thiol compounds such as L-cysteine, for improved control of HIV infections. (Harakeh S, Jariwalla R.J. Comparative study of the anti-HIV activities of ascorbate and thiol-containing reducing agents in chronically HlV-infected cells. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54:S1231-1235S.)
Zinc is an essential mineral that is involved in over 20 different enzymatic reactions in the body, ranging from the synthesis of proteins and collagen, to the production of cellular energy. This vital metal helps to support the immune system by regulating the thymus glands’ production of T cells. Adequate amounts of this nutrient metal are also vital for the body to manufacture the antioxidant enzyme Sodium Oxide Dismutase, a large molecule that serves as our main line of defense against free radical damage. Zinc also helps in protect the liver from damage, and promotes the rapid healing of wounds. Because it’s involved in the production of prostaglandins, special hormonelike substances that regulate the reproductive organs, zinc also plays an important role in maintaining healthy prostate function.
After about age 40, the thymus gland begins to shrink and blood serum levels of zinc begin to slide, falling by about 3 percent every 10 years thereafter. This decline is mirrored in the thymus glands declining output of thymulin, the hormone responsible for stimulating the production of immune-system T cells, the killer cells responsible for keeping tumors in check and protecting us from infections. By age 65 the thymus gland shrinks so much that it can only release about10 percent of the thymulin it did in our youth, greatly impairing our ability to stave of diseases. Recently researchers gave zinc supplements to animals and found that the thymus gland returned to 80 of normal size, and most importantly, thymulin output and T cell counts returned to youthful levels. Human studies soon followed, with similar results. Persons aged 65 and older, taking 15 milligrams of zinc per day soon evidenced the same restoration of youthful levels of thymulin and T cell activity. Similar studies with Downs Syndrome patients who are very prone to infections showed similar results, cutting the number of new infections by over 50 percent after treatment with zinc supplements.
A study conducted at Dartmouth college has reported that college students where able to recover from colds in half the normal time when given zinc lozenges. Those taking the zinc recovered from their symptoms in 4 days, while those students taking a placebo took over 9 days to fully recover from the illness. Carl C. Pfeiffer, MD, PhD, thought the whole human population was borderline deficient in the mineral zinc, which could account for our sensitivity to the common cold. Now, a new study shows that the common cold can be shortened significantly when ample zinc gluconate is made available.
While in vitro studies have long shown that zinc inhibits the common cold rhino-viruses, the experimental data has been mixed when the zinc studies have used throat lozenges. Scientists have now identified a flaw in the studies that used hard-candy zinc lozenges containing citric acid. It seems the low pH produced by the acidic formulation inhibited zinc delivery. 3
Building on this knowledge, the new study, conducted at Dartmouth College, found that college students given non-acidic throat lozenges one day into their cold had colds that were more than 50% shorter. For those students taking look-alike, taste-alike placebo candies, colds lasted 9.2 days on average versus 4.3 days for those taking zinc.
Zinc serum levels can be reduced by diarrhea, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes and overconsumption of fiber. The adult recommended daily intake for zInc is 15 mg. per day. Daily dosages above 150 milligrams may actually depress the immune system and increase susecptability to disease. Continued intake of 25 milligrams per day can also interfere with the body’s absorption of copper.
Foods highest in zinc include fish, legumes, meats, oysters, poultry, seafood, whole grains, egg yolks and brewers yeast.
Vinpocetine is a derivative of vincamine, a key component of the lesser periwinkle plant. Research suggests Vinpocetine may improve cognitive performance and short-term memory loss that is sometimes experienced with stress or aging. Animal studies have shown that Vinpocetine significantly increases circulatory parameters including total cerebral blood flow.