Tag

best antioxidants

Browsing

After decades of being grossly underrated, vitamin C is beginning to move back into the spotlight. Research demonstrates that this humble nutrient offers benefits far beyond the prevention of scurvy, thus vindicating the writings of early pioneers like Linus Pauling.

In past articles, we’ve detailed how vitamin C fights cancer and improves survival rates, fights heartburn and stomach ulcers, keeps skin radiant and wrinkle-free, provides immediate stress relief, allows for recovery from advanced sepsis, and improves cardiovascular health.

In the 1940s, Dr. Fredrick Klenner followed in Linus Pauling’s footsteps by using vitamin C as a therapeutic agent in his medical clinics—with mega-doses of vitamin C, he claims to have cured his patients of pneumonia, encephalitis, Herpes zoster (shingles), Herpes simplex, mononucleosis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, bladder infections, alcoholism, arthritis, cancer, leukemia, atherosclerosis, ruptured intervertebral discs, high cholesterol, corneal ulcers, diabetes, glaucoma, schizoprenia, burns, infections, heat stroke, radiation burns, heavy metal poisoning, venomous bites, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, and more.

The work of both Linus Pauling and Dr. Klenner is quite controversial. They have routinely been referred to as quacks, and are only just beginning to regain favor. As you can see from the article links above, though, there’s more than enough conclusive research to support vitamin C’s healing and health-supporting potential, regardless of your stance on these original vitamin C enthusiasts.

One important area that has vitamin C researchers especially interested is endocrine support.

Vitamin C can regenerate hormones, study finds

As we’ve discussed in past articles, hormone and endocrine dysfunction is a serious and prevalent health issue. Hormones are fundamentally involved in the regulation of the body’s cells, neurotransmitters, and organs. Thus, endocrine imbalance can lead to a staggering array of health problems, including fertility issues, chronic fatigue, cardiovascular issues, depression, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric disorders, diabetes, cancer, and many others.

Luckily, research suggests that vitamin C can offer powerful endocrine support. In one prominent study, researchers set out to explore the mechanisms through which vitamin C may prevent the breakdown of hormones into toxic metabolites. The results were even more impressive than they expected: vitamin C was shown not only to prevent hormone degradation, but also to regenerate estrone, progesterone, and testosterone.[1]

These findings have remarkable implications. They expand our understanding of vitamin C as an antioxidant, insofar as they demonstrate that ascorbic acid not only neutralizes free radicals, but also prevents the analogous production of “hormone transients.”

This mechanism is especially important because it highlights vitamin C’s potential use as a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy (which is inconsistently effective, and tends to make the problem worse by making the body dependent upon an external source of hormones).

Lastly, this study strengthens the case for vitamin C as a potent protector against the toxins of modern living. The endocrine system is centrally involved in the body’s detoxification functions; thus, by supplying the body with vitamin C, you’re exerting a direct antioxidant influence and optimizing the body’s inherent detox system.

How to supercharge hormone healing

There’s just one catch when it comes to reaping the benefits of vitamin C: high blood serum levels are required, so it can be difficult to get enough vitamin C from food sources alone, or even through conventional supplementation.

Until fairly recently, the only way to achieve therapeutic blood serum levels of vitamin C was by receiving it via intravenous injection. This is still a worthwhile route of administration, but it’s expensive and time-consuming—not to mention ill-advised for those who don’t have the stomach for needles.

The development of a nanoencapsulation method called liposomal delivery, however, has made it safe, easy, and affordable to supplement with vitamin C optimally, without needles or doctor appointments.

Liposomalization sounds complicated, but it’s simple in concept: this formulation process uses phospholipids (fats) to form a sort of protective bubble around vitamin C molecules. The lipid layer protects vitamin C against breakdown and allows it to be utilized directly by the cells in your body.

There are a handful of companies offering liposomal vitamin C products, but we exclusively recommend this one by PuraTHRIVE.

They’ve raised the bar even higher by using a patented “double-encapsulation” method called micelle liposomal formulation. Micelles further increase absorption, ensure that your cells can utilize vitamin C optimally, and even improve the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C.

It should go without saying that you should still eat lots of healthy foods rich in vitamin C, even in the midst of your supplementation regimen. Optimal nutrition should always be the foundation of a healing lifestyle or specific therapeutic protocol—after all, “supplements” are referred to as such because they’re meant to supplement, not replace, food sources of nutrients.

Combined with a healthy diet, though, micelle-liposomal vitamin C is the fastest and easiest way to enhance the incredible hormone-healing benefits offered by vitamin C.

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21814301

Image source

Melatonin is critical for optimal regulation of sleep and circadian rhythm, but researchers are finding that it’s much more than just a sleep aid. It plays a complex role in the maintenance and regulation of the endocrine system, and thus offers a number of underappreciated benefits, including antioxidant activity, inflammation control, immune system support, and disease resistance.

For example, studies show that melatonin exhibits an extraordinary brain antioxidant capacity—one study even acknowledged how undervalued it is by stating that melatonin “under promises but over delivers” with regard to oxidative stress protection.[1]

Another study found that melatonin outperforms amitriptyline, the leading pharmaceutical drug for preventing the onset of migraine headaches—and that it does so without any side effects.[2]

Due to the wide-ranging therapeutic potential of melatonin, scientists are examining what aid it may offer for one of the leading health issues of our time: the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Melatonin, hormone health, and the development of cancer

Melatonin is an endogenous hormone predominantly produced by the pineal gland, which acts as a sort of “master control system” for the body’s endocrine processes. It influences nearly every cell in the human body, and has even been shown to safeguard mitochondrial function (mitonchrondria are the “powerhouses” of your cells that regulate energy metabolism and healthy cell growth).[3]

We’ve written before about the myriad health consequences of endocrine dysfunction, most notably in the context of chemical-induced endocrine disruption. Imbalances in melatonin levels can lead to similarly disastrous consequences (we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of melatonin deficiency later in this article).

The mechanisms behind endocrine function, cellular health, and cancer development are enormously complex, but we do know that insufficient levels of melatonin are linked with a higher incidence of cancer.[4]

And the anti-cancer benefits of melatonin aren’t just indirect; this miracle molecule is also classified as a directly cytotoxic hormone and anti-cancer agent. Studies have referred to melatonin as a “full-service anti-cancer agent” due to its ability to inhibit the initiation of cell mutation and cancer growth, and to halt the progression and metastasis of cancer cell colonies.[5]

Researchers attribute these incredible benefits to the fundamental mechanisms mentioned above: protection against oxidative stress, optimization of cell detoxification, regulation of mitochondrial function, and endocrine system maintenance.

How to optimize melatonin levels

Melatonin may have benefits that extend far beyond sleep, but its regulation of circadian rhythm is still central to its therapeutic potential.

It’s important to note that “disruption of normal circadian rhythm” and melatonin deficiency are inextricably tied to one another.[6] Researchers believe that sleep issues undermine health because they lead to melatonin deficiencies—and yet melatonin deficiencies can make it even more difficult to correct sleep patterns (thus maintaining a vicious cycle that increases the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases).

The obvious first step to optimizing melatonin levels, then, is to ensure that you’re getting proper sleep. You can check out our past article for more details on optimal sleep hygiene, but here’s the basics.

  • Any less than seven hours per night is technically considered sleep deprivation by leading sleep researchers.
  • While everyone’s circadian rhythm will vary slightly, it’s generally best to be in bed by 11:00pm. If you’re still awake much later, the endocrine system initiates a cascade of “alert” hormones, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Consistency is key; the less radical variation in your day-to-day sleep schedule, the easier time your body will have falling into an optimized melatonin production schedule.

Another critically important (and often overlooked) element of sleep hygiene is proper interfacing with devices that produce blue light and electromagnetic fields (EMFs), both of which can disrupt the production and release of melatonin.

If at all possible, avoid contact with any such devices a minimum of an hour before bed. Try to ditch the electronics a maximum of two hours after the sun sets, and you’ll find yourself getting sleepy much earlier. Last but not least, remove all sources of blue light and EMFs from your bedroom, and sleep with an eye mask.

If you already struggle with insomnia (despite all attempts to integrate the above sleep hygiene practices into your everyday life), it’s often possible to break the cycle by supplementing with melatonin.

If you choose to take this route, though, remember that it’s very important not to take melatonin everyday for an extended period of time (doing so can cause a dependency on exogenous melatonin, which further decreases natural, endogenous melatonin production). Always take a break after a maximum five nights of taking melatonin supplements (taking a two-day break at least every three nights is ideal).

Use plant-derived (rather than synthetic) melatonin, which is more easily implemented by the body, less likely to cause dependency, and highly effective.

Remember that the goal should be to boost internal melatonin production, so that you can maintain an ideal sleep schedule without supplemental melatonin. Optimizing your body’s own melatonin production not only promotes deep, restorative sleep, but also protects the body against cancer and other serious chronic diseases.

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27500468

[2] https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2016/05/10/jnnp-2016-313458.long

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3100547/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4233441/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5412427/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4233441/

Image source

The mitochondria in the cells throughout our bodies are responsible for creating 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support organ function. When mitochondria malfunction, organs start to fail – people get chronically sick, and even die.

Chronic fatigue and disease are an all-too-common feature of aging in the modern world. Almost half of all adults in the United States suffer from a chronic disease, and a quarter or all adults live with two or more simultaneously.[1]

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of both death and disability, and even non-fatal conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) can seriously compromise quality of life.

These diseases take many forms, but there are common threads that run through all of them. Western medicine is notorious for treating incidental symptoms rather than underlying causes, but the tide is beginning to turn. Conventional, integrative, and alternative practitioners alike are now in agreement that addressing fundamental risk factors is the key to preventing and treating chronic disease.

We’ve written about a few of these fundamental risk factors in the past: chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and endocrine dysfunction, to name a few. Another factor that’s often overlooked is mitochondrial dysfunction.  

Mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of your body’s cells—they’re responsible for breaking down nutrients, bringing them into the cell, and creating usable energy

If you think back to junior high science class, you may remember that mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of your body’s cells—they’re responsible for breaking down nutrients, bringing them into the cell, and creating usable energy. Needless to say, imbalance manifests rather quickly when these tiny structures aren’t able to do their job properly.

Scientists now believe that the number of cell mitochondria dwindles naturally as a byproduct of aging. In fact, research has shown that adults over the age of 70 have 50% more mitochondrial damage in their brain cells than middle-aged adults.[2] This damage, combined with the resulting oxidative stress, is a primary risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurodegeneration.

And dwindling mitochondria effects far more than just the brain. According to researchers, mitochondrial dysfunction is “characterized by a loss of efficiency in the electron transport chain and reductions in the synthesis of high-energy molecules.”[3] This means that the body simply can’t process and transport the energy it needs for optimal health and performance.

This is why fatigue is such a central aspect of chronic disease and general ill health—the body’s ability to produce sufficient usable energy has been compromised, and the little energy that is available is diverted to fighting whatever chronic disease is ailing the body.

Fatigue, then, is a primary symptomatic marker for the risk factors of chronic disease. In testing this hypothesis, researchers confirmed that mitochondrial dysfunction is a primary characteristic of many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (as mentioned above), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, atherosclerosis and other heart and vascular conditions, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar and other mood disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, fibromyalgia, skeletal/muscular hypertrophy and atrophy, chronic infections, and of course chronic fatigue syndrome.[4]

As scary as this lists sounds, it’s good news that a single factor underlies all of these debilitating conditions—because it means we can work to prevent all of them in one fell swoop just by optimizing mitochondrial function.

Research has demonstrated that mitochondria can be repaired and protected against future damage. Here’s how you can get started.

The mitochondria-healing lifestyle

Researchers admit that unraveling chronic disease and aging is a bewilderingly complex project. There are still many unresolved questions, but we do know that “the mitochondrion retains a critical role at the center of a complex web of processes leading to cellular and organismal aging.”[5]

We also know that the following lifestyle practices can have positive effects on mitochondrial health.

Exercise more often. In case you need another reason to take more time for exercise, here it is: staying active can significantly improve the health of your cell mitochondria, prevent chronic disease, and slow the aging process. We already knew that frequent exercise boosts the immune system, sharpens cognition, balances sleep cycles, and extends lifestyle—now researchers believe that mitochondrial function might be at the heart of these benefits.

One study demonstrated that high-intensity interval training (with biking, walking, or running) is particularly beneficial for repairing and optimizing mitochondria.[6]

Try these mitochondria-supporting supplements. The conventional research world has become uncharacteristically open to supplementation as a means to heal mitochondrial dysfunction (perhaps because there are no competing pharmaceuticals that target this underlying cause of disease). Here’s what they’ve discovered.

  • Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as a co-factor for the processes that take place inside mitochondria.
  • Glutathione is the body’s best tool for balancing oxidative stress levels (which unburdens mitochondria and allows them to heal). For best results, use a highly bioavailable form of glutathione like this one from KORfactor.
  • CoQ10 is “a key cofactor and component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain,” and thus supplementing with it is one of the most direct ways in which you can provide mitochondria with the fuel they need for optimal function.[7]

These lifestyle practices, coupled with proper diet and sleep habits, will help minimize stress and inflammation in the body, boost detoxification, and keep your mitochondria strong and vital well into old age.

 


References

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673689921454

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566449/

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580208/

[6] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307155214.htm

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566449/

Image source

It’s no exaggeration to say that antioxidants are some of the most important guardians of optimal health.

Antioxidants help protect against everything from aging to cancer. We’ve revealed how antioxidants are one of the most common components that give healing foods their therapeutic properties—foods like honey, bee pollen, broccoli, tart cherries, goji berries, horseradish, lemons, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, cordyceps mushroom, reishi mushrooms, beets, turmeric, ginger, and dark leafy greens (just to name a few) are all overflowing with beneficial antioxidants.

The wildly diverse healing properties of antioxidants boil down to a simple mechanism: oxidative stress is one of the key underlying factors behind nearly all health problems and ageing, and by keeping it at bay, antioxidants prevent disease at its root.

Consuming lots of antioxidant-rich foods and optimizing your endogenous antioxidant levels with proper supplementation and lifestyle practices are some of the wisest choices you can make for your health.

The benefits of reducing oxidative stress in the body are endless, but here’s one fascinating, study-backed example:
the prevention of skin cancer.

The link between oxidative stress and skin cancer

A multitude of studies have correlated the proliferation of cancer cells (which are the body’s own cells that have differentiated incorrectly) with high levels of oxidative stress. Researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway, the Brussels Central Hospital, and the Hospital Vesale Experimental Medicine Laboratory at Free University of Brussels have demonstrated that skin cancer is no exception.

In these studies, researchers measured various markers of oxidative stress and antioxidant levels in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (one of the most deadly varieties of skin cancer). Here’s what they found.

Glutathione levels. Glutathione is the body’s “master” antioxidant, and thus is the body’s most important tool for scavenging free radicals (the byproducts of oxidative stress). Researchers can therefore accurately measure oxidative stress levels by examining the ratio between reduced glutathione and oxidized glutathione. A healthy system should be comprised of at least 98% reduced glutathione.[1] In the studies mentioned above, the patients’ tumor tissues had significantly lower levels of reduced glutathione (meaning that there is a connection between a cell’s free radical scavenging ability and the likelihood that it will turn cancerous).[2]

Total antioxidant levels. Similarly, researchers also measured total antioxidant levels in skin cancer patients through various markers, including total antioxidant capacity, glutathione redux potential, total glutathione levels (throughout the body, as opposed to within the tumor cells), total cysteine levels, and dietary antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocopherols, and ascorbic acid. All of these markers were lower in skin cancer patients than in healthy individuals.[3]

Signs of oxidative stress. The correlation between antioxidant levels and skin cancer risk was also demonstrated conversely by measuring the acute markers of oxidative stress in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Both blood and tissue biomarkers were significantly higher across the board, especially levels of total hyperoxides. Oxidative stress biomarkers were further worsened when patients received radiation therapy.[4] This is just one reason why radiation and chemotherapy are barbaric and inefficient cancer treatments—while they will kill cancer cells, they simultaneously worsen the very underlying factors that lead to the proliferation of cancer in the first place. Cancer prevention (and treatment) should be about supporting the body, not attacking it.

How to give your life an antioxidant boost

As we eluded to above, optimizing your antioxidant levels boils down to the three lifestyle principles.

Eat an antioxidant-rich diet. A nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich diet is an absolute cornerstone of optimal health. Start with lots of fruits and vegetables (especially dark berries and dark leafy greens), avoid processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats, and add in antioxidant superfoods like coconut oil, turmeric, raw cacao (not candy bars), and the other foods linked to at the beginning of this article. Try not to worry so much about macronutrient ratios (carbs, fats, and proteins); listen to what your body needs, and stick with foods that are universally healthy (despite what macronutrient category they happen to fall in).

Optimize your body’s detox functions. Exercise regularly, get plenty of high-quality sleep, and add in some glutathione-boosting practices like sauna sessions and cold plunges.

Supplement with glutathione. As we discussed above, glutathione is the body’s most important antioxidant. It was previously believed that glutathione levels cannot be raised through oral supplementation, but new advances in formulation methodology have now made it possible—this means that it’s never been easier to optimize your glutathione levels. While supplementation is not a substitute for the lifestyle practices recommended in this article, it can help take disease prevention to a whole new level.

Most Glutathione supplements are not actually effectively absorbed by the body.

Korfactor has licensed the patented technology to create the WORLD’S ONLY oral glutathione that is PROVEN… and we mean PROVEN to absorb and work! With unparalelled bioavailability delivering Glutathione directly to
your cells where it is needed most.  Click Here to Learn more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20700719

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23492956

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2407-9-458

Image source

Those Bees really know how to do it right!  Bee pollen is the pollen ball that has been packed by worker honeybees into pellets.  Bees work hard to created this incredible superfood.

So what’s all the buzz about?

As you probably know, the term superfood should usually be taken with a grain of salt (then again, even salt is considered a superfood in some circles these days). Sometimes superfoods are simply hyped-up, exotic offerings that aren’t actually superior to cheaper, more common foods. But some superfoods are the real deal…and bee pollen is one of them.

It turns out that this unique superfood does live up to the hype. In fact, it may just be one of nature’s most complete and nutrient-dense foods, and a growing body of research demonstrates that it offers a bevy of health benefits. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why bee pollen is worth your attention, as well as some points you should consider when taking it.

Exceptional nutrient density. We’ve harped on the primary importance of nutrient-dense food in other articles. This is perhaps the first cardinal rule of optimal nutrition: eat lots of foods with high levels of varied nutrients. By orienting your diet around this principle, you’ll automatically shy away from all the foods that aren’t doing any good for your health (which are usually just empty calories).

In this regard, bee pollen definitely makes the cut as a food to be included in a nutrient-dense diet. Bee Pollen contains nearly every nutrient that humans need: every type of free amino acid (which means it’s an unparalleled source of directly usable protein), lots of B vitamins, healthy carbohydrates and fats, and powerful antioxidant phytonutrients like carotenoids and polyphenols.

Powerful antioxidant capacity. The phytonutrients mentioned above are one secret behind the health benefits of bee pollen. After nutrient density, antioxidant capacity is perhaps the next most important quality you should look for in food. Because the vast majority of prevalent diseases and conditions are associated with excess oxidative stress in the body, antioxidants are a critical tool for preventing (and even overcoming) illness. Many health experts believe that quelling oxidative stress could even be the key to slowing down the aging process.

Studies have demonstrated that bee pollen protects the body against the free radicals created through oxidative stress, even when acute toxins like pesticides[1] and chemotherapy drugs[2] are introduced into the system.

Here’s where it gets interesting: while scientists have identified many antioxidant compounds in bee pollen, such as quercetin, phenolic acids, and flavonoids, its protective mechanism can’t quite be boiled down to isolated chemicals. Researchers discovered that the levels of individual antioxidants vary widely across different bee pollen samples, and yet, nearly all species of bee pollen had the same overall capacity to ward off oxidative stress.[3] They hypothesize that there’s a synergy between the various enzymes, polyphenols, and other constituents—namely, that bee pollen is greater than the sum of its parts!

Powerful protection against disease. Given the abundance of nutrients and antioxidants found in bee pollen, it’s no wonder that it helps ward off disease. Research has revealed that antioxidant activity is only the beginning of the story, though. Studies have demonstrated that bee pollen is also powerfully anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial, and even anti-viral.[4] It is effective against a variety of bacteria, and even fights off influenza.[5]

Bee pollen has also been shown to combat cancer,[6] normalize cholesterol, correct female infertility by stimulating ovarian function, combat fatigue, improve athletic performance, and aid weight loss. These are some of the many reasons that bee pollen is often called one of nature’s most perfect foods.

Natural relief from allergies. We’ve saved this one for last, because this is the benefit about which you’ve probably heard. This shouldn’t make the allergy-relieving properties of bee pollen any less amazing, though.

Both research and anecdotal evidence has shown time and time again that daily supplementation with bee pollen works wonders for allergies, especially if you begin your regimen well in advance of allergy season. Best of all, bee pollen doesn’t carry any side effects, and doesn’t inhibit immune function like antihistamines—instead, it works on other aspects of your biochemistry associated with allergic response, such as mast cells[7] and basophils.[8]

Seek out local bee pollen if at all possible, as it’s more likely to contain the plant particulates against which you’re trying to gain immunity.

Getting started with bee pollen

If you’re ready to experience the benefits discussed above, pick up some bee pollen from a trusted health food or grocery store. Just remember that it’s usually best if you can find pollen made from a local bee species, especially if you’re taking it to calm your allergies.

A word to the wise, though: bee pollen is a seriously therapeutic superfood, and thus it’s possible for it to interact with certain pharmaceuticals and other medications. Always check with your doctor before starting a bee pollen regimen.

Even if you’re not taking any medications, many superfood enthusiasts recommend starting with a very low dose (only one or two granules, dissolved under the tongue) to gauge how your body reacts to it. Once you’ve established that it feels like a good fit, you can slowly work your way up to a standard daily dose (1-2 heaping teaspoons of raw granules).

 


References 

[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651308001796

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23677589

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605008617

[4] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691513007552

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26848705

[6] https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/mmr.2013.1382

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18361733

[8] http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/7/10635

Image source

vitamin-E

The road to mainstream acceptance has proven to be a long and hard one for vitamins and supplements. Even in recent years, they were maligned as useless and unnecessary. In some ways, this accusation is half true.

Unfortunately, many store-bought vitamins are ineffectual products—they’re made with inferior, synthetic vitamin precursors, contain all sorts of fillers (some of which are even toxic), and are often very difficult for the body to absorb (which can mean you’re just peeing out all the money you spend on vitamins). These products deserve to be called useless.

This doesn’t mean that vitamins are unnecessary, though, but only that consumers need to be careful about selecting worthwhile products. Sadly, the “useless vitamin paradigm” has led most people to swear them off entirely, using “scientific evidence” to support their lifestyle choice.

The result is what researchers refer to as the silent epidemic of vitamin deficiency. A huge majority of Americans are vitamin-deficient—and now that scientists are learning the true magnitude of this issue, vitamin deficiency is finally starting to get the attention it deserves.

Progress happens in small steps, though. By now, you’ve probably heard all about vitamin D deficiency. You may even be aware of some of the lesser known (but still very dangerous) deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, magnesium, iodine, and sulfur. If not, be sure to check out those articles!

Some deficiencies, though, despite the widespread and deleterious health effects they cause, are barely even on the radar. One example is vitamin E deficiency.

How this deficiency could be destroying your health

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps your body fight free radicals (the byproduct of oxidative stress). Because of the constant onslaught of free radicals that our bodies are made to endure (due to environmental toxins, inflammatory and contaminated foods, and daily stress), keeping antioxidant levels optimized is critical to preventing disease and chronic illness.

For this reason, vitamin E deficiency dramatically increases your risk of many diseases, including immune dysfunction, neurological degeneration (including Alzheimer’s disease), infertility and other reproductive issues, and heart disease.[1]

While researchers still debate whether or not vitamin E can help ward off disease for those already at risk, most agree that there’s a strong connection between long-term free radical accumulation and degenerative illnesses.

Another frightening fact about which most scientists agree is that at least 75% of all Americans are deficient in vitamin E;[2] some researchers even believe that 90% or higher is a more accurate number.[3]

This near-universal deficiency isn’t just a product of the public’s refusal to take supplements—poor diet and processed food are primarily to blame. The staples of the American diet are woefully low in vitamin E (as well as every other nutrient, for that matter).

Vitamin E is also difficult for the body to absorb in the absence of fat (because it’s a fat-soluble vitamin), so the lingering dominance of low-fat diets in America only adds to the problem (despite the rise of high-fat diets like paleo, adopters of which still comprise a small percentage of the population).

A grave problem with a simple solution

Luckily, for all the trouble that vitamin deficiency can cause, the solution is simple: eat plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods, and if necessary, take a naturally-derived vitamin E supplement.

The RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day—a level that isn’t hard to maintain with a healthy diet. Leafy greens are packed with vitamin E, as are sunflower seeds (a serving of which contains 7.4 mg) and almonds (a serving of which contains 6.8 mg). These nuts and seeds, as well as olives and avocados, provide both ample vitamin E and the healthy fat that your body needs to absorb it.

If you’ve been eating healthily for an extended period of time and still think you may be deficient in vitamin E, get your blood serum levels tested. If you’re suffering from metabolic syndrome or diabetes, heart arrhythmias, signs of dementia, muscle loss, muscle weakness, an unsteady gait, vision problems, liver problems, or kidney problems, you should get your vitamin E levels tested as soon as possible.

If it turns out that you need to supplement (or if you’d like to do so just to be safe), make sure to choose a natural (rather than a synthetic) supplement. Natural vitamin E (as it occurs in food) contains eight compounds—four tocopherols and four tocotrienols—and synthetic supplements will not contain all of them.

Some companies try to hide the synthetic nature of their product—but you’ll know it’s synthetic if the tocopherol ingredients begin with a “dl” instead of a “d” (i.e. look for “d-alpha-tocopherol,” not dl-alpha-tocopherol”). Once you’ve found the right product, remember to take it with a healthy fat like coconut oil.   

Vitamin deficiency doesn’t need to be the looming health crisis it’s often made out to be, as long as we take the time to deal with it. Eat plenty of the nutrient-dense foods listed above, ditch the processed and packaged foods, and take a natural, balanced vitamin E supplement, and you won’t have to worry about being a statistic in this silent epidemic.

 


References

[1] http://preventdisease.com/news/16/072616_6-Billion-Do-Not-Meet-Vitamin-E-Levels.shtml

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22691229

[3] http://preventdisease.com/news/16/072616_6-Billion-Do-Not-Meet-Vitamin-E-Levels.shtml

Image source

beets-benefits

We have all heard the adage… you are what you eat. This age-old saying often gets lost beneath all the noise of wonder drugs, medical technologies, and revolutionary biohacks. It’s tempting to think that this kind of folk wisdom has been superseded by modern medical innovation, or even worse, that new innovation is required because this kind of old-school approach doesn’t work.

Take beets, for example. These prehistoric root vegetables have had ages to evolve into a hearty, nutrient-dense, performance-boosting food. Today, they’re mostly exploited (and genetically modified) by Big Food as a sugar source—a use that entirely bypasses the huge array of benefits that this plant has to offer.

Natural energy and stamina

Beets are so packed with beneficial nutrients and compounds that they’ve now earned the honor of being called a superfood.

Their rise to health food stardom was brought about by athletes, who (re)discovered that beets are an incredible performance-enhancing food. They’re high in nitrates, which are converted to nitric acid in the body. Nitric acid helps dilate blood vessels, thus allowing for a more efficient use of oxygen. Some studies have even shown that nitric acid increases the efficiency of your mitochondria (the energy generators of your body’s cells).[1]

All of these mechanisms lead to a dramatic boost in energy, stamina, and overall physical performance. When researchers put beetroot juice to the test, they found that a single serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%, and increased the length of time athletes’ were able to exercise by nearly 20%.[2]

When researchers put beetroot juice to the test, they found that a single serving increased the length of time professional divers could hold their breath by 11%

The same vasodilatory effect helps sharpen cognitive function and improve mood by increasing blood flow to the brain, and has even been shown to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points per serving.[3]

How Beet Juice Lowers Your Blood Pressure

As we mentioned earlier, the nitrates found in beets go through a conversion process that allows your blood vessels to EXPAND, which improves blood flow throughout your entire body, thus lowering your blood pressure.

And the benefits extend even further when consumed in juice form, allowing you to get the full amount of phytonutrients available. The concentrated amount of nutrients in juice are directly absorbed into your bloodstream, and do not require digestion. This means that they get to work quickly, offering the MAXIMUM benefits for reducing blood pressure.

In fact, according to a recent study published by the American Heart Association, participants who drank just 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a reduction in BOTH systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 3 to 6 hours of consumption, and with lasting effects remaining even after 24 hours.

American Heart Association, participants who drank just 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a reduction in BOTH systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 3 to 6 hours of consumption

Disease prevention and longevity support

The sustainable energy, physical and mental performance enhancement, and natural blood pressure support should already be reason enough for you to incorporate this powerhouse food into your diet—but that still only scratches the surface of their benefits.

Along with a bevy of vitamins and minerals, beets also contain high levels of powerful antioxidants like betaine and betalains. These incredible compounds aid your body’s natural detoxification systems by scavenging damaging free radicals—and they even help catalyze a deep detox process called phase 2 cleansing, wherein toxins are neutralized and prepared for excretion from the body.

An increasing body of research proves that protecting the body from oxidative stress and excess toxin accumulation is one of the keys to longevity. Working in these ways, beets slow aging, control chronic inflammation (which is often called “the root of all disease”), and reduce the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, immune dysfunction, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and more.

Studies have even demonstrated that, because beet juice prevents the formation of cancer-causing byproducts called nitrosamines, it can useful for preventing and treating pancreatic, breast, prostate,[4] skin, and lung cancers.[5]

Tips for adding more beets to your life

It’s easy to integrate beets into your diet—they’re deliciously sweet and earthy, inexpensive, and even easy to grow in a backyard garden.

Roast them in coconut oil and Himalayan salt for an irresistible superfood side dish, or find your favorite Borscht recipe. They’re also great added to salads, roasted or raw.

If you want to preserve their full spectrum of nutrients (some are destroyed by cooking or roasting), eat them raw or juice them. Raw beets even make a wonderful addition to smoothies (especially before physical activity).

And don’t throw away beet greens! They’re also packed with healing nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, calcium, iron, and even protein. Saute them, add them to salads, or throw them in your smoothie with the rest of the beet.

GINGERED PEAR BEETROOT JUICE
Ingredients:a

1 medium beetroot
1 medium pear
2-3 large carrots
4 stalks celery
fresh ginger root or ground ginger (to taste)

POWER PUNCH
Ingredients:

1 medium beetroot
2 medium apples (Granny Smith)
1/4 of a lemon (including rind)
1/4 of a lime (including rind)
2 oranges (peeled)

Directions:

Process ingredients in a juicer. Stir, and enjoy!

If you do not have a juicer, or prefer the convenience of a ready-made product, check your local health food stores. You can also find beetroot juice available for purchase online, as well.

 


References

[1] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-beet-benefits-aphrodisiac-brain-booster-more.html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661447

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23231777

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23828331

[5] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-beet-benefits-aphrodisiac-brain-booster-more.html

Image source

woman relaxing in recliner under the umbrella at a beach in Miami, Florida

One look at the data on skin cancer is enough to worry anyone: the National Cancer Institute reports that the incidence of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970’s, and that number is continuing to climb.[1]

While these figures aren’t debatable, the real causes of skin cancer are. Sun exposure nearly always gets blamed, but the reality is much more complicated. As we’ve written about before, our society’s sun-phobia is based on many misunderstandings, and is often reinforced by the propaganda of sunscreen companies, who would love for you to continue “protecting” yourself with their products.

But sunscreen is not the way to prevent skin cancer. While it can be a helpful last resort if you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time in the sun, its use comes with all sorts of risks.

Most sunscreens are filled with all kinds of toxins, and even the healthy ones block your skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D (for which reason an increasing number of health experts are claiming the sun avoidance is much more dangerous than the sun itself).

If you’re skeptical, consider this fact: four independent studies conducted in the 1990’s found that individuals who use the most sunscreen are at highest risk for skin cancer[2]  It’s no coincidence that the rate of skin cancer incidence began to increase precipitously right around the time that sunscreen usage became widespread.

The real ways to protect your skin

Make no mistake: taking measures to prevent skin cancer is extremely important. Let’s take a look at some safe, holistic practices that are much more effective than hiding from the sun or slathering toxic sunscreens all over yourself.

Don’t be afraid of the sun. It’s long been said that “the dose makes the poison,” and this adage applies equally to the sun. While UVB ray exposure is associated with skin cancer, it’s also essential for endogenous vitamin D production.

We’d therefore do well to stop fearing the sun, and instead think of it like other medicines that require specific dosages in order to remain beneficial. Given that your skin can produce 2,000-4,000 IU of vitamin D with fifteen minutes of sun exposure on a clear day, researchers recommend receiving 8-24 minutes of natural sunlight on your arms and legs without sunscreen every day.

If you know you’ll be outside for a longer period of time, try covering up with sun-protective clothing and a hat, and only use sunscreen when absolutely necessary. When you must use sunscreen, choose natural mineral products instead of the more popular, chemical-laced varieties (even mineral sunscreens aren’t perfect, but using them sparingly is acceptable if you have no other way to prevent getting sunburned). Ideally, learn how to make your own sunscreen.

If you have a fair complexion and are worried about spending even a small amount of time in the sun, be aware that you may be at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency—which is a more serious risk factor for skin cancer than sun exposure itself. Regardless of your sun habits, have your vitamin D levels tested; if your levels are below 40 ng/ml, spend more time in the sun or take a vitamin D supplement.

Optimize your diet. You can also prevent skin cancer by ensuring that your skin has all the nutrients it requires to stay strong and healthy. And there’s no better way to do so than to fill your diet with nutrient-dense, healing foods. Antioxidant-rich plant compounds are best, like the caffeic acid in spinach, coffee, olive and wine, the resveratrol in dark berries, the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in green tea, the ursolic acid in Holy Basil, and the curcuminoids in turmeric.

Cutting-edge research has even demonstrated that eating chlorophyll-rich plants not only protects your skin from damage, but also allows your body to manufacture energy directly from sunlightjust like plants do through photosynthesis! This emerging field of study offers even more evidence that we’re not meant to hide from the sun—some researchers even believe that human beings evolved to be relatively hairless in order to be able to absorb more sunlight.

Avoid tanning beds. A study published in JAMA Dermatology reports that a whopping 35% of Americans use tanning beds—a figure that has increased dramatically in recent decades. Some experts believe that this could have something to do with skyrocketing melanoma rates. The same study even estimates that tanning beds cause up to 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. every year.[3]

Besides the fact that people simply spend way too much time in tanning beds, artificial sources of UV rays also don’t promote vitamin D synthesis (which helps protect against skin damage in the case of natural sun exposure). There’s limited evidence to support the notion that UVB-producing beds without magnetic ballasts can stimulate vitamin D production safely,[4] but spending a bit of time outdoors is still your safest and most affordable option.

Detox regularly. As we’ve discussed many times before, regular detoxification practices are an essential part of maintaining optimal health. Helping your body rid itself of toxins frees up its energy to protect against illness and disease. Eating the detoxifying foods mentioned above, practicing intermittent fasting and juice cleansing, cold showers and sauna sessions, and oil pulling are all excellent detox strategies.

Keeping the liver and kidneys detoxed has been shown to lower the risk of cancer—and because these organs aid in the conversion of vitamin D from sunlight and food into a usable form, keeping them clean and optimally functioning helps ward off skin cancer specifically.

By adopting these practices, you’ll not only be providing your body with superior skin cancer protection, but also freeing yourself from the reliance upon commercially bought sunscreens, whose manufacturers don’t consider your health a priority anyway.

 


References

[1] https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/skin-cancer-on-the-rise/

[2] http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/

[3] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/29/indoor-tanning-increase/5028431/

[4] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/11/11/can-a-tanning-bed-be-healthy.aspx

Image source

olive-oil-fake

The wide-ranging health benefits of olive oil hardly even need to be mentioned. It still remains one of the healthiest oils in the world, even as coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and other “superfood oils” continue to increase in popularity.

Olive oil is packed with beneficial nutrients, including monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which serve as the perfect fuel for regulating appetite and metabolism, provide you with longer-burning, more sustainable energy, and help with weight loss.

Remember: fats are incredibly healthy for you, as long as you choose the right ones.

Here’s a list of olive oil’s other incredible benefits…

Natural anti-inflammatory. Olive oil battles inflammation on every level. Its bevy of nutrients soothe chronic inflammation, and oleocanthal modulates and balances the immune system (and thus controls the inflammation associated with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis).

Frequent consumption of olive oil therefore reduces your risk of a vast array of inflammatory diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and even cancer (more on that below).

Antioxidant. Olive oil contains more than thirty free-radical scavenging powerhouses called phenols (these beneficial compounds also contribute to its anti-inflammatory effect). Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, actually cause oxidative stress because of how easily they rancidify and break down into free radicals. What you eat should support your body, not force it to work harder just to maintain its equilibrium.

Immune boosting. Quelling systemic inflammation of minimizing oxidative stress is the perfect one-two punch that’s needed in order to optimize immune function. Thus, by bringing these two aspects of bodily function into balance, olive oil empowers the body to resist disease and aging.

Anti-cancer. Olive oil not only wards off cancer by balancing overall health in the ways mentioned above, but also fights cancer cells directly—and with astonishing efficacy. Researchers at three different prestigious institutions observed that oleocanthal, when applied to various types of cancer cells, begin to break them down within a half hour, and render them completely non-viable within twenty-four hours.[1] 

Cardio-protective. Due to their ability to lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), oxidative stress, and all sorts of other markers of heart disease, the polyphenols in olive oil have been conclusively shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Even the FDA admits that “eating about 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”[2] 

Best of all, olive oil is available almost everywhere, often at far lower prices than coconut oil or other healthy alternatives to “vegetable” oil, canola oil, and other polyunsaturated fats (which should be avoided at all costs).

So what’s not to love about olive oil? Just one thing…

Most olive oil is fake

That’s right: the majority of imported olive oil is either cut with cheaper, lower-quality oils, or doesn’t even contain olive oil at all.

When researchers at the University of California, Davis tested 124 samples from eight major olive oil brands, a whopping 70% of them failed.[3]

They reported what the samples really contained: pure olive oil cut with extremely low-quality olive oil (this was the best case scenario in the samples that failed), olive oil adulterated with canola or colza oils, and even sunflower and soybean oils with added chlorophyll (to give it the slightly green tint of premium olive oil).[4]

So why would olive oil producers stoop so low?

The answer is simple: doing so is highly lucrative. Making truly pure olive oil is difficult, expensive, and labor-intensive; it’s much better for business to master the art of cooking up its fake counterpart. And these manufacturers certainly are masters of their nefarious craft—most experts and connoisseurs can’t even taste the difference between real and fake olive oil (so don’t feel bad for being fooled all this time).

It’s a well-known fact that the Mafia is behind many of these operations, and that they’ve been taking their unfair share of the $1.5 billion olive oil market for quite some time.

The sinister force behind the counterfeit olive oil flooding US stores turns out to be the Mafia. Wielding an international reach, the Mob has infiltrated the olive oil industry from top to bottom.

Their scam is so massive and widespread—and thus so hard to stop—because the counterfeiting of olive oil yields the mobsters even higher profit margins than cocaine smuggling, with few of the risks.

Thanks to the health benefits and soaring popularity of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil sales are booming, and the Mob has moved in.

They package their fake olive oils in fancy bottles and cans that look perfectly authentic. And getting these fakes onto supermarket shelves across America is surprisingly easy.

It’s still very important to take precautions when it comes to buying olive oil, for the sake of your health (and for the sake of not supporting mobsters).   

How to ensure you’re getting the benefits of real olive oil

If you’re curious about whether your current favorite brand of olive oil is fake, be sure to check out the UC Davis study cited in the references section. If your brand wasn’t one that they analyzed, there’s a couple ways in which you can check its purity. Just know that these methods are not fail-proof, and that it’s far preferable simply to source guaranteed-pure olive to begin with (more on that in a bit).

Put your olive oil in the fridge. If it’s pure, it should become very thick and cloudy after while (some high-wax oils will even begin to solidify). If your olive oil has been cut with polyunsaturated fats or other substances, this thickening won’t occur. This test will only reveal if there’s no olive oil in the product, though—adulterated products may still become cloudy even if they only contain a small amount of low-quality olive oil.

Light a lamp with it. Pure olive oil is actually flammable, and should be able to keep the wick of an oil lamp burning. Give it a try, but again, remember that even an adulterated product could pass this test if it contains enough olive oil.

The Easiest Way We Know to Avoid Mafia-Tainted Olive Oils

As the experts in the 60 Minutes exposé recommend, you can avoid Mafia-tainted olive oils by doing your homework online. Located around the world are quite a few good and honorable farmers who bypass the Mafia’s counterfeiting factories and instead sell their olive oils directly to consumers.  Know that real olive oil will be more expensive…but it’s worth it.

But if you’d just as soon save yourself the time and hassle of researching hundreds of online olive oil producers, most of whom claim to be “the best,” allow us to make a suggestion.

Check out this link. It’s a small company called the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club. They specialize in bringing direct to your door the best artisanal olive oils from award-winning family farms all around the world. And they do it right at harvest time, when the olive oils are at their peak of flavor and nutritional value.

Most important, every olive oil they import is independently lab certified to be 100% pure extra virgin. These are nothing less than the purest, freshest, highest-rated award-winning olive oils available in America and are out-of-this-world delicious.

Once we tried these olive oils, we fell madly in love with them, as did our entire team. They are now the only extra virgin olive oils that we trust to put in our bodies and serve our friends, relatives, and guests. We recommend them to everyone.

If you’ve been duped into consuming fake olive oil for any length of time, you’ll feel the difference almost immediately when you switch to the real stuff. When you feel the immune boost, sustainable energy, and all-around support that it provides, you’ll understand what all the hype is about.

 


References

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/olive-oil-compound-kills-cancer-cells-30-minutes

[2] http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/9/sf_olives/Page-01

[3] http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/report041211finalreduced.pdf

[4] http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-extravirgin-olive-oil-fake/

Image source

Holy-Basil-Leaf

Modern medical science has a habit of rejecting the time-tested remedies of ancient cultures. These folk medicines are derided as superstitious practices unsubstantiated by hard science. This claim is usually just an excuse for Western medicine to declare itself superior, though—because when these ancient medicines are put to the test in the laboratory, they often pass with flying colors.

One such treasure is Tulsi, the sacred Indian herb also known as Holy Basil. This highly medicinal plant is considered so central to Ayurvedic medicine that it is often called “the Mother medicine of nature.” It’s been prized as a longevity herb for centuries, and is even used integrally in spiritual rituals.

Even these high compliments weren’t enough to convince mainstream medicine of its merits, though—that is, until they were proven by hard scientific evidence.

The science behind Holy Basil

What first drew the attention of modern researchers to Holy Basil was its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It turns out that it functions as a COX-2 inhibitor, meaning that it inhibits one of the primary enzymes responsible for inflammation in the body.[1]  Many OTC and prescription anti-inflammatories share this quality, but Holy Basil lacks the side effects of its pharmaceutical counterparts, which include stomach issues, headaches, increased risk of heart attack, vision problems, anxiety, hypertension, drowsiness, insomnia, and more.

Holy Basil avoids these nasty effects because it works in a much more holistic fashion, rather than simply “turning off” one of the body’s essential enzymatic processes without balancing this effect in other ways. It also functions as a powerful protector against oxidative stress, which can underlie all of the symptoms and conditions listed above.

It accomplishes these feats with its rich and varied profile of healing phytonutrients, one of which has even been shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties. Researchers have demonstrated that eugenol, apigenin, luteolin, rosmarinic acid, myretenal, beta-sitosterol, and carnosinic acid all work together to heal cancer on nearly every level—a 2013 study showed that these compounds prevent cancer, boost the body’s own ability to fight cancer, inhibit the growth and spread of cancer, and even induce apoptosis (or “programmed cell death,” in which cancer cells essentially kill themselves).[2] Extracts of Holy Basil even protected mice exposed to direct radiation against tumor formation.

But Holy Basil isn’t just for cancer patients

While its anti-cancer properties alone make Holy Basil a worthy natural medicine, it’s got plenty of other tricks up its sleeve too. Research (not to mention thousands of years of use in Ayurvedic medicine) suggests that it’s well-worth trying out even if you aren’t battling cancer.

It’s profoundly balancing for brain chemistry—it lowers cortisol levels, balances catecholamine and monoamine oxidase, and increases levels of dopamine and serotonin. For this reason, it’s incredibly effective for managing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and mood imbalances.[3]

These benefits are amplified when Holy Basil is taken on a daily (or at least frequent) basis, because it functions as an adaptogen. This means that over time, it modulates the overall function of the body’s stress management system, in turn boosting the immune system, amplifying natural detoxification processes, and strengthening the body’s resistance to stress of all kinds.

Its adaptogenic effect is precisely what has given Tulsi its reputation as the paragon of longevity herbs in Ayurveda. Ongoing use protects the body against disease and degeneration, and facilitates emotional balance. It even improves energy levels without acting as a stimulant (it simultaneously calms the body, and can improve sleep quality, thanks to its neurotransmitter-balancing abilities).

How to make Holy Basil part of your life

There’s plenty of great ways to try out Holy Basil (and as continuing research reveals just how amazing this herb really is, there’s bound to be more and more products that incorporate it).

The fresh leaves are definitely worth a try—they have a very interesting, spicy flavor, and make a great addition to soups, curries, and stir-fry dishes. You can source them from well-stocked health food stores, and from online herb suppliers (just make sure you can verify that they’re as fresh as possible).

Powders and pre-made teas are easier to find, and are the route taken by most people (again, just be sure to purchase from a trustworthy brand). Tulsi tea still gives you the taste experience of fresh leaves, and can be a much more convenient way to use the herb therapeutically.

While all of these choices are great for starting out, you’ll achieve the best results by seeking out a high-quality Holy Basil extract. Try to find one that’s at least 10:1, meaning that 1 gram of extract powder contains the amount of eugenol and other constituents usually found in 10 grams worth of fresh leaves.

However you choose to take Holy Basil, you’ll be tapping into an ancient, sophisticated lineage of holistic healing to which mainstream medicine is only just beginning to catch up.

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23682780

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23629478

[3] http://www.naturalhealth365.com/0897_holy_basil_cancer.html/

Image source