Category Archives: Suppliments our body needs

Vitamin C

Alternative  Names: Ascorbic acid

Definition:-Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy.

The build up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

Even many of those who generally do not take nutritional supplements on a regular basis will still take the odd Vitamin C tablet when feeling a cold coming on, compliments of Linus Pauling‘s best-seller “Vitamin C and  the Common Cold,” which rocketed the immune-enhancing effects of ascorbic acid to fame, and thanks to the many articles and books which since followed.  While the recommended daily or dietary allowance (RDA) stands now at 75 – 90 mg per day for adults (see bottom of page), a higher dietary reference intake (DRI) is  again in review.  However, many of those who regularly supplement Vitamin C, take in the vicinity of 250 mg to 1,000+mg per day, and there are those who take up to, and beyond 10,000 mg daily.

Headlines about oxidative damage (DNA mutations) attributed to taking Vitamin C in excess of 500 mg per day had many people step back and reconsider their supplemental routines.  In addition, similar studies had come to light just prior to the Vitamin C revelation about the potential problems of regularly supplementing
Beta Carotene.  This however, as it turned out later, only applied to smokers who had used higher doses of synthetic, but not natural sources of beta carotene, which made the use of natural-source, mixed carotenoids  the preferred choice and more popular.

Once the headlines on the possible DNA-damaging potential from taking higher doses of Vitamin C faded, most people continued where they left off and resumed their previous regimen again, especially following  publications to the contrary which indicated that the original studies on Vitamin C were flawed, and that epi-demiological data showed no evidence at all that higher amounts of ascorbic acid caused cancer. (see also Acu-Cell Disorders “Cancer”).

Food Sources;-
All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.

Side Effects:-
Vitamin C toxicity is very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.Sometimes   increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

For adults, the recommended upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements can cause:

*Abdominal cramps
*Kidney stones

But always remember, for most people, a healthy diet provides an adequate amount of vitamin C.

Headlines about oxidative damage (DNA mutations) attributed to taking Vitamin C in excess of 500 mg per day had many people step back and reconsider their supplemental routines.  In addition, similar studies had come to light just prior to the Vitamin C revelation about the potential problems of regularly supplementing
Beta Carotene.  This however, as it turned out later, only applied to smokers who had used higher doses of synthetic, but not natural sources of beta carotene, which made the use of natural-source, mixed carotenoids  the preferred choice and more popular.

Once the headlines on the possible DNA-damaging potential from taking higher doses of Vitamin C faded, most people continued where they left off and resumed their previous regimen again, especially following  publications to the contrary which indicated that the original studies on Vitamin C were flawed, and that epi-demiological data showed no evidence at all that higher amounts of ascorbic acid caused cancer. (see also Acu-Cell Disorders “Cancer”).

However, questions on what daily amounts of Vitamin C could be considered to be an “overdose” still come up on a regular basis, to which unfortunately, there is no universal answer applicable to everyone, because overdosing on Vitamin C – just like overdosing on any other nutrient  –  is RELATIVE to the level of those elements that interact with Vitamin C.  In other words, it all depends on the combined intake of all  synergistic and antagonistic nutrients, and their ratio to Vitamin C.

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

*Dry and splitting hair
*Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
*Bleeding gums
*Rough, dry, scaly skin
*Decreased wound-healing rate
*Easy bruising
*Weakened tooth enamel
*Swollen and painful joints
*Decreased ability to fight infection
*Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.


The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Vitamin C should be consumed every day because it is not fat-soluble and, therefore, cannot be stored for later use.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following amounts of vitamin C:

Infants and Children
*0 – 6 months: 40 milligrams/day (mg/day)
*7 – 12 months: 50 mg/day
*1 – 3 years: 15 mg/day
*4 – 8 years: 25 mg/day
*9 – 13 years: 45 mg/day

*Girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg/day
*Boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg/day

*Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
*Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day
*Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts. Ask your doctor what is best for you.


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Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
Family:Pepper/ Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. methysticum
Other names: kava kava, kawa, kew, yagona, sakau .awa (Hawaii), ‘ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei).
Parts Used:The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Habitat:South Pacific Isands.

Kava is a tall shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Pacific islands.Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper. It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant. It has been used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.

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The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Botany and agronomy
There are several cultivars of kava, with varying concentrations of primary and secondary psychoactive substances. The largest number are grown in the Republic of Vanuatu, and so it is recognised as the “home” of kava. Kava was historically grown only in the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Samoas and Tonga. Some is grown in the Solomon Islands since World War II, but most is imported. Kava is a cash crop in Vanuatu and Fiji.

The kava shrub thrives in loose, well-drained soils where plenty of air reaches the roots. It grows naturally where rainfall is plentiful (over 2,000 mm/yr). Ideal growing conditions are 20 to 35 degrees Celsius (70 to 95 °F), and 70–100% relative humidity. Too much sunlight is harmful, especially in early growth, so kava is an understory crop.

Kava cannot reproduce sexually. Female flowers are especially rare and do not produce fruit even when hand-pollinated. Its propagation is entirely due to human efforts by the method of striking.

Traditionally, plants are harvested around 4 years of age, as older plants have higher concentrations of kavalactones. But in the past two decades farmers have been harvesting younger and younger plants, as young as 18 months. After reaching about 2 m height, plants grow a wider stalk and additional stalks, but not much taller. The roots can reach 60 cm depth.

Fresh kava root contains on average 80% water. Dried root contains approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 15% kavalactones, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, and 3.2% minerals. Kavalactone content is greatest in the roots and decreases higher up the plant. Relative concentrations of 15%, 10% and 5% have been observed in the root, stump, and basal stems, respectively.

The mature roots of the kava plant are harvested after a minimum of 4 years (at least five years ideally) for peak kavalactone content. Most kava plants produce around 50 kgs (110 lbs) of root when they are harvested. Kava root is classified into two categories: crown root (or chips) and lateral root. Crown roots are the large diameter pieces that look like big (1.5 inch to 5 inches diameter) wooden poker chips. Most kava plants consist of approximately 80% crown root upon harvesting. Lateral roots are smaller diameter roots that look more like a typical root. A mature kava plant is approximately 20% lateral roots. Kava lateral roots have the highest content of kavalactones in the kava plant. “Waka” grade kava is kava that is made of lateral roots only.
General use
Kava kava has been prescribed by healthcare providers to treat a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, nervousness, and stress-related anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is also reported to relieve urinary infections, vaginitis, fatigue, asthma, rheumatism, and pain.

The active ingredients in kava kava are called kavalactones and are found in the root of the plant. Kavalactones cause reactions in the brain similar to pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and anxiety. Research has shown that kavalactones have a calming, sedative effect that relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevents convulsions. Kavalactones also have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that may bring relief to sore throats, sore gums, canker sores, and toothaches.

Kava kava is a strong diuretic that is reportedly beneficial in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. The diuretic effect of the herb relieves pain and helps remove waste products from the afflicted joints. Antispasmodic properties have shown to help ease menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. Kava kava’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agents may help relieve an irritable bladder, urinary tract infections, and inflammation of the prostate gland.

Kava root...……………….....Kava root power…………….Cava in bottle as medicine

Medicinal Uses:
Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections,leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia. It was also used as a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, to promote energy, and to bring about sweating during colds and fevers. Pacific Islanders consume a kava kava drink at social, ritual, and ceremonial functions. It is drunk at ceremonies to commemorate marriages, births, and deaths; in meetings of village elders; as an offering to the gods; to cure illness; and to welcome honored guests. Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, and Hillary Rodham Clinton have all drunk kava kava during their island visits.

The drink is prepared by grinding, grating, or pounding the roots of the plant, then soaking the pulp in cold water or coconut milk. Traditionally the root was chewed, spit into a bowl, and mixed with coconut milk or water. That practice is no longer the standard.

Captain James Cook has been credited with the Western discovery of kava kava during his journey to the South Pacific in the late 1700s. The first herbal products made from kava kava appeared in Europe in the 1860s. Pharmaceutical preparations became available in Germany in the 1920s. Currently, kava kava has received widespread attention because of its reputation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Preparation & Consumption:
Traditional preparation
Kava is consumed in various ways throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. Traditionally it is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. Grinding is done by hand against a cone-shaped block of dead coral; the hand forms a mortar and the coral a pestle. The ground root/bark is combined with only a little water, as the fresh root releases moisture during grinding. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible.

Kava root drying in Lovoni village, Ovalau

The extract is an emulsion of kavalactone droplets in starch. The taste is slightly pungent, while the distinctive aroma depends on whether it was prepared from dry or fresh plant, and on the variety. The colour is grey to tan to opaque greenish.

Kava prepared as described above is much more potent than processed kava. Chewing produces the strongest effect because it produces the finest particles. Fresh, undried kava produces a stronger beverage than dry kava. The strength also depends on the species and techniques of cultivation. Many find mixing powdered kava with hot water makes the drink stronger. However the active ingredients of kava, such as Kavalactone, are ruined at 140 degrees. Most tea steeps at 180 degrees for at least a couple minutes which will reduce the potency of the kava.

In Vanuatu, a strong kava drink is normally followed by a hot meal or tea. The meal traditionally follows some time after the drink so that the psychoactives are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Traditionally no flavoring is added.

Fijians commonly share a drink called “grog”, made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, grog is drunk from the shorn half-shell of a coconut, called a “bilo.” Despite tasting very much like dirty water, grog is very popular in Fiji, especially among young men, and often brings people together for storytelling and socializing.

Modern preparation
In modernized countries Kava beverage is usually made from Kava root powder. The root is dried and then finely ground into powder before being exported. Generally one tablespoon of powder is added per cup of water, but sometimes as much as a half a cup of powder (eight tablespoons) is added per cup of water to increase potency. The powder is then soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes to allow the water to completely soak through the powdered fibers. Lecithin is often added to aid in the process of emulsifying the kavalactones with water. The Kava powder, water, and lecithin are blended in a blender for several minutes then strained into a straining cloth. Nylon, cheesecloth, and silk screen are common materials for straining. The remaining liquid is squeezed from the pulp and the pulp is discarded. As an alternative to the blender method, with the powdered pulp enclosed within the straining material, the pulp is massaged for five to ten minutes in water, then the liquid is wrung out. The more pressure that is applied to the wet powdered pulp while wringing it out, the more kavalactones will be released from it. Finally the pulp resin is discarded and the beverage is enjoyed. Often coconut water, coconut milk, lemongrass, cocoa, sugar, or soy milk is added to improve flavor.

Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Only six of them produce noticeable effects, and their concentrations in kava plants vary. Different ratios can produce different effects. Kava has some abuse potential and some experts recommend cycling use over 1 to 3 months.

Pharmaceutical companies and herbal supplement companies extract kavalactones from the kava plant using solvents such as acetone and ethanol and produce pills standardized with between 30% and 90% kavalactones. Some kava herbal supplements have been accused of contributing to very rare but severe hepatotoxic reactions (see section on safety) such may have been due to the use of plant parts other than the root, such as stems or peelings that are known to have been exported to European manufacturers. A kava pill usually has anywhere from 60 mg to 150 mg of kavalactones. By comparison the typical bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage has around 250 mg of kavalactones.

Uses: In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded that it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, although research indicates that this may be largely due to the use of stems and leaves in supplements, which were not used indigeneously

The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from its roots. Kava is a tranquilizer primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.

Because kava can cause sedation, and in high amounts, intoxication, kava drinks are consumed in some parts of the world in much the same way as alcohol.

Although it’s not clear exactly how kava works, kavalactones may affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) in the blood. Kava has been found to affect the levels of specific neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine

A number of well-designed studies have examined kava’s ability to relieve anxiety compared to anxiety medication or a placebo. The results have been promising.

In 2003, a review by the Cochrane Collaboration examined the existing research to see how kava fared compared to a placebo in treating anxiety. After analyzing the 11 studies (involving a total of 645 people) that met the criteria, the researchers concluded that kava “appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety.” However, they added that it seemed to be a small effect.

A moderately potent kava drink causes effects within 20–30 minutes that last for about two and a half hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours. Because of this, it is recommended to space out servings about fifteen minutes apart. Some report longer term effects up to two days after ingestion, including mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance. The effects of kava are most often compared to alcohol, or a large dose of Valium.

The sensations, in order of appearance, are slight tongue and lip numbing (the lips and skin surrounding may appear unusually pale); mildly talkative and sociable behavior; clear thinking; anxiolytic (calming) effects; relaxed muscles; and a very euphoric sense of well-being. The numbing of the mouth is caused by the two kavalactones kavain and dihydrokavain which cause the contraction of the blood vessels in these areas acting as a local topical anesthetic. These anesthetics can also make one’s stomach feel numb. Sometimes this feeling has been mistaken for nausea. Some report that caffeine, consumed in moderation in conjunction with kava can significantly increase mental alertness.

A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation, the user’s eyes become sensitive to light, they soon become somnolent and then have deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava consumed. Unlike alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects. However, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more stimulated than he or she normally would. Although excessive consumption of exceptionally potent brew has been known to cause pronounced sleepiness into the next day. Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking moderate amounts of kava.

After thousands of years of use by the Polynesians and decades of research in Europe and the U.S., the traditional use of kava root has never been found to have any addictive or permanent adverse effects. Users do not develop a tolerance. While small doses of kava have been shown to slightly improve memory and cognition, large amounts at one time have been shown to cause intoxication. In Utah, California, and Hawaii there have been cases where people were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after drinking a significant amount of kava (eight cups or more) although some of them were acquitted due to the laws not being broad enough to cover kava consumption.

Kava Culture:
Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. These cultures have a great respect for the plant and place a high importance on it. Correspondingly, the paraphernalia surrounding the traditional kava ceremony are expertly crafted. Traditionally designed kava bowls are bowls made from a single piece of wood, with multiple legs. More modern examples are also highly decorated, often carved and inlayed with mother of pearl and shell.CLICK & SEE

Kava root being prepared in Asanvari, a village on Maewo Island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Photo taken in September, 2002 by Jordan Bigel.

Kava is used primarily at social gatherings to increase amiability and to relax after work. It has great religious significance, being used to obtain inspiration. Among some fundamentalist Christian sects in the Western Pacific, the drink has been demonized and seen as a vice, and young members of these religions often reject its traditional use. However, among most mainline Christian denominations, i.e. the Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican churches, kava drinking is encouraged where it replaces the greater danger of alcohol.

Basic research on anti-cancer potential
On 15 February 2006, the Fiji Times and Fiji Live reported that researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire du Cancer in Luxembourg had discovered that kava may treat ovarian cancer and leukemia. Kava compounds inhibited the activation of a nuclear factor that led to the growth of cancer cells. The Aberdeen University researchers published in the journal The South Pacific Journal of Natural Science that kava methanol extracts had been shown to kill leukemia and ovarian cancer cells in test tubes.The kava compounds were shown to target only cancerous cells; no healthy cells were harmed. This may help explain why kava consumption is correlated with decreased incidence of cancer.

Fiji Kava Council Chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo welcomed the findings, saying that they would boost the kava industry. For his part, Agriculture Minister Ilaitia Tuisese called on the researchers to help persuade members of European Union to lift their ban on kava imports.

Liver damage incidents and regulation
In 2001 concerns were raised about the safety of commercial kava products. There have been allegations of severe liver toxicity, including liver failure in some people who had used dietary supplements containing kava extract (but not in anyone who had drunk kava the traditional way). Out of the 50 people worldwide taking kava pills and extracts that have had some type of problem, almost all of them had been mixing them with alcohol and pills that could have effects on the liver.[16] The fact that different kava strains have slightly different chemical composition made testing for toxicity difficult as well.

The possibility of liver damage consequently prompted action of many regulatory agencies in European countries where the legal precautionary principle so mandated. In the UK, the Medicines for Human Use (Kava-kava) (Prohibition) Order 2002 prohibits the sale, supply or import of most derivative medicinal products. Kava is banned in Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands[17]. The health agency of Canada issued a stop-sale order for kava in 2002. But legislation in 2004 made the legal status of kava uncertain. The United States CDC has released a report[18] expressing reservations about the use of kava and its possibly adverse side effects (specifically severe liver toxicity), as has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has recommended that no more than 250 mg of kavalactones be taken in a 24 hour period.[20] According to the Medicines Control Agency in the U.K., there is no safe dose of kava, as there is no way to predict which individuals would have adverse reactions.

Potential Side Effects of Kava:
Side effects include indigestion, mouth numbness, skin rash, headache, drowsiness and visual disturbances. Chronic or heavy use of kava has linked to pulmonary hypertension, skin scaling, loss of muscle control, kidney damage, and blood abnormalities.

Kava may lower blood pressure and it also may interfere with blood clotting, so it shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t use kava because it may worsen symptoms.

Kava should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease shouldn’t use kava.

Possible Drug Interactions:
Kava shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, or any medication that influences dopamine levels.

Kava shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or medications for anxiety or insomnia, including benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam). It may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that cause drowsiness.

Kava may have an additive effect if combined with antidepressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).

Kava shouldn’t be taken with any drug or herb that impairs liver function. Kava also may interfere with blood clotting, so people taking Coumadin (warfarin) or any drug that influences blood clotting should avoid it unless under a doctor’s supervision.

Kava is a diuretic, so it may have an additive effect if combined with drugs or herbs that have diuretic properties.

Literature suggests that <0.5% of people that take kava have an allergic reaction to it. Allergic reactions are usually mild and include itchy skin or itchy throat, and hives on the skin usually prevalent on the user’s belly region. If someone has an allergy to any relative of the pepper family, such as black pepper, they have a higher chance of having a kava allergy.

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Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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Why Sunlight is Your Best Source of Vitamin D


In fact, vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the immune system. The explanation likely comes from the fact that vitamin D in cod liver oil does not exist in isolation — it comes with a high dose of vitamin A.

Vitamin A and vitamin D compete for each other’s function. For example, even the vitamin A in a single serving of liver can impair vitamin D’s rapid intestinal calcium response.

Unfortunately, Americans tend to consume multivitamins or cod liver oil that contain disproportionately small amounts of vitamin D, but detrimental quantities of vitamin A. One manufacturer sells cod liver oil containing only 3 to 60 IU of vitamin D, but between 3,000 and 6,000 IU of vitamin A.

A separate study by Daniel Hayes, Ph.D., of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also suggests that a form of vitamin D could be one of your body’s main protections against damage from low levels of radiation. Hayes explains that calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, may protect us from background radiation and could be used as a safe protective agent before or after a low-level nuclear incident.

He points out that calcitriol is involved in cell cycle regulation and control of proliferation, cellular differentiation and communication between cells, as well as programmed cell death (apoptosis and autophagy) and antiangiogenesis.

Calcitriol is the form of vitamin D that activates your body’s Vitamin D Receptor (VDR), which allows gene transcription to take place and the activation of the innate immune response.

It is possible that several of the transcriptions by the VDR will help transcribe proteins that protect the body against radiation.

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Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts. It’s found in small quantities in foods such as brewer’s yeast, calf liver, whole grains, processed meats and cheese.
In 1959, chromium was first identified as an element that enables the hormone insulin to function properly.


Since then, chromium has been studied for diabetes and has become a popular dietary supplement. It is widely available in health food stores, drug stores and online.

Definition :
Chromium, a “transition” metal, is of intermediate atomic weight – that is, it is not considered either a heavy metal or a light metal. It is found primarily in three chemical states depending on its electrical charge. Common forms are chromium-0, which has no charge, chromium+3, which has an ionic charge of plus 3, and chromium+6, which has a charge of plus 6.

Chrome metal (the form chromium-0) is the element that makes steel “stainless.” Chromium in this form is hard, stable, and resistant to chemical changes such as oxidation or rust. Steel alloyed with chromium is harder and less brittle than iron and highly rust-resistant. This form of chromium is also used to coat or “chrome plate” the surface of other metals to produce a hard, shiny, chemically resistant surface.

The primary form of chromium found in the environment is chromium+3, which is also quite stable. This common form of chromium is always found in a complex with other chemical partners such as oxygen or chlorine. In these compounds it is very “inert to substitution”, that is, it is resistant to changing its form or exchanging its chemical partners.

Though small quantities of chromium+6 are found in nature, most of the chromium in this form is man-made. Chromium+6 is easily and rapidly reduced to chromium+3 by many chemicals and conditions, so it is not very stable in the environment. Like chromium+3, chromium+6 is usually found in chemical complexes with other elements, for example bound with several oxygen atoms to form chromate. It is very difficult to oxidize chromium+3 to chromium+6, though it can be done with strong oxidizing agents and very high temperatures. An industrial process called “roasting” is used to oxidize the chromium+3 derived from ores into chromium+6, a form used in a wide variety of commercial products.

Where is chromium found?
Chromium is widely dispersed in the environment. In the Earth’s crust chromium is present at an average of 140 parts per million (ppm), but is not distributed evenly. High concentrations of chromium can be found in certain ores, which are mined commercially.

There are trace amounts of chromium in rocks and soil, in fresh water and ocean water, in the food we eat and drink and in the air we breathe. Levels of chromium in the air are generally higher in urban areas and in places where chromium wastes or “slag” from production facilities were used as landfill.

Chromium wastes have been detected in many landfills and toxic waste sites across the country, usually in combination with other metals and chemicals. In the Aberjona River watershed near Boston Massachusetts, industrial wastes containing chromium contaminated the river and pond sediments. In some areas the sediments contain as much as one to two percent chromium by weight. However, recent studies suggest that people living nearby have received very little exposure to the chromium from these sediments. The principal impact is ecological in areas such as this, where concentrations of several toxic materials collectively threaten aquatic food webs and the wildlife they support.
General Uses of chromium
Chromium is used in paints, dyes, stains, wood preservatives, curing compounds, rust inhibitors and many other products. However, the predominant use of chromium is for production of stainless steel and in chrome plating. A radioactive form of chromium is used in medicine to tag, or label, red blood cells inside the human body. The labeling is permanent for the lifetime of that cell, so it is a useful way to look at long-term patterns of blood cell turnover in the body, to look for evidence of internal bleeding and for similar studies.

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Because of commercial demand, chromium-containing ores have been mined and processed intensively over the past century, and many industries manufacture or use chromium containing compounds.

Chromium for health
Humans need chromium, in the form of chromium+3, for proper health. However, most people get all the daily chromium they need from a normal, well-balanced diet.

Nutritionists have learned over the past century that certain substances, such as vitamins and minerals, are essential to normal functioning and health. These substances are not made in the body, so they must come from foods. (The British Navy discovered this connection in the 1700s, when they observed that sailors on long sea voyages often developed a condition called scurvy. Adding citrus fruits such as limes to the sailors’ diets prevented the condition. This is how English sailors first came to be known as “Limeys.”) Since chromium is present in all foods, and is especially high in certain plants, few people are deficient in dietary chromium.

Chromium act as a nutrient:
The best known nutritional effect of chromium is that it appears to assist insulin in regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels. Insulin is a small protein hormone that is released into the blood when blood glucose levels get too high. Insulin then binds to a receptor on the outside of cells, causing them to absorb more glucose from blood, returning blood glucose levels to normal. If glucose levels fall too low, other signals in the body prompt cells to release glucose to the blood. This “seesaw” glucose regulation is disrupted in people with diabetes, usually due to a lack of insulin production or a failure of cells to properly respond to insulin. Chromium appears to enhance the effects of insulin once insulin binds to its receptor.

Human bodies do not appear to store or absorb chromium+3 very well, taking up only 1 or 2 percent of the total chromium available in the intestines from food. But humans do have a way to take up more chromium when it is needed – the lower the body’s level of chromium, the more efficiently it is taken up from the intestines. Chromium+3 does not easily cross cell membranes, and it appears to interact with cells only when needed, which suggests that it is stored in a form the body can rapidly mobilize, either in blood or nearby where blood can easily draw on it.

The form of chromium associated with enhancing insulin’s effect is a complex of several chromium+3 atoms bound together with amino acids. The response of cells to insulin is much greater in the presence of this LMWCr complex (also called chromodulin). The complex appears to be different from the storage form of chromium in the blood, which is not yet well defined.

Recently, Dartmouth toxicologist Joshua Hamilton and his colleagues discovered that chromium also affects the other side of the “seesaw” that controls blood glucose levels, increasing cell signals that offset the effects of insulin. This appears to be through interaction with another as yet unknown protein receptor on the surface of cells. The mechanism for this effect and the identity of this new receptor are intriguing research questions that remain to be answered. There may also be other uses of chromium by the body that remain to be discovered.

Views on Chromium
Chromium is also believed to help the body process carbohydrates and fats. It is marketed as a weight loss aid for dieters and an ergogenic (muscle-building) aid for bodybuilders and athletes. One form in particular, chromium picolinate, is popular because it is one of the more easily absorbed forms. In 1995, a study headed by Diane Stearns, PhD, at Dartmouth College generated controversy about the safety of chromium picolinate. Click to see:->Chromium for Weight Control
The researchers added high concentrations of chromium picolinate, chromium chloride or chromium nicotinate to hamster cells in culture and found that only chromium picolinate could damage the genetic material of the hamster cells.

Since then, other laboratory studies using cell cultures and animals have suggested chromium picolinate causes oxidative stress and DNA damage.

Critics say that the scientists used unrealistically high doses and that administering chromium to cells in test tubes is not the same as taking chromium supplements orally.

No adverse events have been consistently and frequently reported with short-term chromium use in human studies. For this reason, the Institute of Medicine has not set a recommended upper limit for chromium.

You may click to see :-> Benefits, Deficiency and Food Sources of Chromium

Some Informations on Safety of Chromium
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine reviewed the safety information on chromium for a prototype monograph and concluded that chromium picolinate is safe when used in a way consistent with published clinical data (up to 1.6 milligrams of chromium picolinate per day or 200 micrograms of chromium per day for three to six months).
There is very little information, however, about the safety of long-term use of chromium. There have been rare clinical case reports of adverse side effects after taking chromium picolinate supplements.

For example, a report published in the journal The Annals of Pharmacotherapy described the case of a 33-year-old woman who developed kidney failure, liver damage, and anemia after taking 1,200 to 2,400 micrograms of chromium picolinate (approximately six to 12 times the recommended daily allowance) for five months for weight loss.

The woman was being actively treated with antipsychotic medication, so it’s difficult to say whether it was the chromium, the combination of chromium with the medication, or another medical problem that predisposed her to such a reaction.

In a separate case report, a 24-year-old man who had been taking a supplement containing chromium picolinate for two weeks during his workout sessions developed acute kidney failure. Although chromium picolinate was the suspected cause, it’s important to note that there were other ingredients in the supplement which may have been responsible.

There are some concerns that chromium picolinate may affect levels of neurotransmitters (substances in the body that transmit nerve impulses). This may potentially be a concern for people with conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Chromium picolinate may have an additive effect if combined with diabetes medication and cause blood glucose levels to dip too low. That’s why it’s important to talk your doctor before taking any form of chromium if you are also taking diabetes medication.

Chromium supplements taken with medications that block the formation of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances), such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, and aspirin, may increase the absorption of chromium in the body.

The safety of chromium picolinate in pregnant or nursing women has not been established. Although there is no human data, chromium picolinate administered to pregnant mice was found to cause skeletal birth defects in the developing fetus.

Bottom Line
Given that chromium picolinate supplements in high doses appear to provide very little if any health benefit while possibly carrying some risk, it is my opinion that high doses of chromium picolinate should be avoided, at least until there is more compelling evidence of benefit, or more evidence about side effects.
If you are currently taking chromium picolinate supplements and are experiencing any new symptoms, including the following, call your doctor:

*Unexplained bruising
*Skin rash or blisters
*Urinate less than normal
*Feel very tired
*Loss of appetite
*Nausea or vomiting
*Sleep disturbances

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Latin Name:Asphaltum

English Name:Mineral Pitch and Shilajit
Sanskrit/Indian Name:Shilajit

The name
Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness.” It is also spelt as Shilajeet, and is known by various other names like Shilajita Mumiyo; Mineral pitch, Mineral wax or Ozokerite in English; Black Asphaltum; and Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin.

Shilajit is used in the Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. Shilajit is a rasayana herb and is an adaptogen. Shilajit contains at least 85 minerals in Ionic form as well as humic acid and fulvic acid. Clinical researches have been in progress and the ancient claims of the drug’s several properties, including anti-aging properties.A similar exudate from the Caucasus Mountains is called Mumiyo but is not considered as strong as the Himalayan Shilajit.


Ancient Indian yogis, and practitioners of Aurvedic medicine, on understanding several potent qualities of Shilajit, had attributed divine powers to Shilajit. In essence Shilajit is a natural concentrate of plants of the regions of the Himalayas, and is found in the Himalayan ranges in India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and part of Central Asia and Scandinavia. The flora of the Himalayas is rich and varied, and for thousand of years the plants have come to life, absorbed nutrients from the soil, and then died out. This is a process which has been repeated again and again countless times, and continued for millennia. It is believed that Shilajit found in the Himalayas are the fossilized form of those plants, and the particular biosphere of the Himalayas created them and bestowed medicinal qualities to them. Shilajit, found in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, are collected during summer months when the ice melts, and Shilajeet lumps are sometimes spotted and collected from the crannies of rocks, and similar places. Shilajit so collected are processed by several drug manufactures and presented in capsule form for human consumption.

Puri (2006) in his book has devoted one chapter to Shilajit. He has given in detail about the study of Shilajit in the last two centuries and the various speculated sources of Shilajit. The Indian workers considered dendroid Euphorbia” as the source but in Ladakh faeces of mountain mouse were considered the source. In Russian literature, it is said to have formed by compaction of Junipers. Scientific studies reveal that it is a humus like compound. Dr Peter Zahler (1998 and 2002) has commented on the relationship of the occurrence of salajit and the Woolly Flying Squirrel and Dr Carman (unpublished) has reported his observations of mammal pellets (Woolly Flying Squirrel and Afghani Pika) in association with salajit deposits in northern Pakistan. These pellets are the so called “pallets’ in photomicrographs described by Faruqi (1997).

Modern discovery:Winston, David & Maimes, Steven. “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief,” Healing Arts Press, 2007. Contains a monograph on shilajit and health benefits.

Over sixty years of clinical research have shown that shilajit has positive effects on humans. It increases longevity, improves memory and cognitive ability, reduces allergies and respiratory problems, reduces stress, and relieves digestive troubles. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and eliminates free radicals. The research proves that shilajit increases immunity, strength, and endurance, and lives up to its ancient reputation as the “destroyer of weakness.”

Technically, shilajit is an exudate that is pressed out from layers of rock in the most sacred and highest mountains in Nepal and other areas. It is composed of humus and organic plant material that has been compressed by layers of rock. Humus is formed when soil microorganisms decompose animal and plant material into elements usable by plants. Plants are the source of all our food and humus is the source of plant food. Unlike other soil humus, shilajit humus consists of 60-80% organic mass.

Click to see:->Shilajit-The True Story of An Ayurvedic Formula

Shilajit is truly an amazing medicine.

Shilajit: Antiaging and Aphrodisiac herb

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