~ April 2006 - Saying No to Synthetics
Contents . . .
- A Natural Approach to Menopause
By Dale Kiefer
For the last few decades, doctors have had a simple solution for menopause: writing prescriptions for estrogen drugs. With millions of women taking estrogen, all seemed to be going well, until data revealed that estrogen drug use resulted in significant increases in lethal diseases ranging from breast cancer to stroke.1 This development left both the medical profession and menopausal women paralyzed, with no direction and no answers as to how best to relieve the debilitating symptoms of menopause.
Clearly overlooked is the fact that menopause is a complex, multifactorial health condition. Addressing menopause requires a diverse approach that both restores normal hormone balance and protects against the multitude of diseases that can arise during this period in a woman’s life. The onset of menopause triggers profound changes in cardiac health, mental states, bone strength, and cell proliferation, all of which combine to greatly elevate a woman’s risk for contracting heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
These health issues are not easy to correct, especially when they occur simultaneously. The ideal approach to addressing menopause would be comprehensive and holistic, providing fast-acting, short-term symptomatic relief as well as longer-term benefits that support women’s health as their body chemistry changes. While declining levels of estrogen are what gives rise to the difficulties of menopause, both nutritional and hormonal support are required to address and ameliorate the physiological symptoms and other changes that accompany menopause.
Fortunately, researchers have identified natural approaches that may safely relieve hot flashes, breast pain, insomnia, irritability, and other menopausal symptoms. Unlike estrogen-progestin drugs, the use of these natural agents is correlated with reduced risks of certain cancers, along with improved bone and cardiovascular health.
Scientists have known for years that women who consume certain plant-based nutrients are less likely to develop hot flashes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.2-5 In response to the health debacle arising from the use of estrogen drugs, researchers have begun digging deeper into the botanical medicine chest, critically evaluating the efficacy of various traditional herbal products that safely stimulate estrogen receptors and create estrogen-like responses.
Mounting scientific evidence indicates that menopausal women may safely benefit from inexpensive, readily available botanical extracts that do not require a prescription.6-18 This article reviews the latest research findings concerning menopause-related health conditions—ranging from depression and hot flashes to osteoporosis and heart disease—and how women may benefit from highly researched botanicals. Taken together, these findings suggest a new approach to safely and effectively managing menopause.
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- The Estrogen Dilemma
By William Faloon
Over the past five years, it has been hard to find anything positive about estrogen drugs. In one scientific study after another, estrogen drugs have been shown to increase the risks of heart attack, stroke, dementia, and several prevalent forms of cancer.
The media has turned these horrific estrogen studies into headline news stories. Understandably, most women now refuse to take estrogen drugs. To add fuel to the fire, the maker of Premarin® ran television commercials promoting the benefit of its estrogen drug in alleviating menopausal symptoms. These Premarin® commercials, however, itemized all of the lethal diseases caused by estrogen drugs, leaving one to wonder what purpose the manufacturer had in running such ads.
While estrogen drugs have been justifiably vilified, the media has ignored a plethora of new studies showing that phytoestrogens (estrogen-like plant compounds) may protect against the most common disorders faced by aging women, including breast cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
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- Progesterone Misconceptions
By Dr. Sergey Dzugan and Armond Scipione
Two recent studies of progesterone supplementation validate that restoring the body’s supply of natural progesterone confers multiple health benefits, including balancing blood sugar levels, promoting normal sleep, reducing anxiety, and stimulating new bone growth.
Controlled studies and most observational studies published in the last five years suggest that the addition of progestins (synthetic progesterone) to hormone replacement therapy, particularly in a continuous combined regimen, increases the risk of breast cancer compared to estrogen alone.1 While the results of clinical trials may accurately assess the risks associated with synthetic progestin compounds and estrogen/ progestin combinations, the data do not reflect what might have been the result had natural progesterone been used instead of synthetic progesterone.
Recent studies suggest that the addition of natural progesterone in a cyclic manner does not increase breast cancer risk. These findings are consistent with in-vivo data suggesting that progesterone does not have a detrimental effect on breast tissue.
Nature has given progesterone to men and women alike to balance and offset the powerful effects of estrogen. Some of the most common concerns of aging women are weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and migraine. For other women, even more debilitating conditions such as cancer, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and osteoporosis now play a predominant role in their lives. As men age, complaints of weight gain, loss of libido, and prostate enlargement top their list of health concerns. Many physicians and scientists are becoming more aware of a common link between these symptoms and conditions. That common link is often an imbalance between two sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen.
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- Poisonings from a Popular Pain Reliever Are Rising
By Deborah Franklin
Despite more than a decade’s worth of research showing that taking too much of a popular pain reliever can ruin the liver, the number of severe, unintentional poisonings from the drug is on the rise, a new study reports. The drug, acetaminophen, is best known under the brand name Tylenol.® But many consumers don’t realize that it is also found in widely varying doses in several hundred common cold remedies and combination pain relievers.
These compounds include Excedrin®, Midol® Teen Formula, Theraflu®, Alka-Seltzer Plus® Cold Medicine, and NyQuil® Cold and Flu, as well as other over-the-counter drugs and many prescription narcotics, like Vicodin® and Percocet®.
The authors of the study, which is appearing in the December issue of Hepatology, say the combination of acetaminophen’s quiet ubiquity in over-the-counter remedies and its pairing with narcotics in potentially addictive drugs like Vicodin® and Percocet® can make it too easy for some patients to swallow much more than the maximum recommended dose inadvertently.
“It’s extremely frustrating to see people come into the hospital who felt fine several days ago, but now need a new liver,” said Dr. Tim Davern, one of the authors and a gastroenterologist with the liver transplant program of the University of California at San Francisco. “Most had no idea that what they were taking could have that sort of effect.” The numbers of poisonings, however, are still tiny in comparison with the millions of people who use over-the-counter and prescription drugs with acetaminophen.
Dr. Davern and a team of colleagues from other centers led by Dr. Anne Larson at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, tracked the 662 consecutive patients who showed up with acute liver failure at 23 transplant centers across the United States from 1998 to 2003.
Acetaminophen poisoning was to blame in nearly half the patients, the scientists found. The proportion of cases linked to the drug rose to 51% in 2003 from 28% in 1998. Not all the poisonings were accidental. An estimated 44% were suicide attempts by people who swallowed fistfuls of pills. “It’s a grisly way to die,” Dr. Davern said, adding that patients who survive sometimes suffer profound brain damage.
But in at least another 48% of the cases studied, the liver failed after a smaller, unintentional assault by the drug over several days. “I see some young women who have been suffering flulike symptoms for the better part of a week, and not eating much,” Dr. Davern said. “They start with Tylenol®, and maybe add an over-the-counter flu medicine on top of that, and pretty soon they’ve been taking maybe six grams of acetaminophen a day for a number of days. In rare cases that can be enough to throw them into liver failure.”
Each Extra Strength Tylenol® tablet contains half a gram, or 500 milligrams, of acetaminophen, and arthritis-strength versions of the pain reliever contain 650 milligrams. One tablet of Midol® Teen Formula contains 500 milligrams of acetaminophen, as does one adult dose of NyQuil® Cold and Flu. One dose of Tylenol® Cold and Flu Severe contains 1,000 milligrams. The recommended maximum daily dose for adults is 4 grams, or 4,000 milligrams.
“Part of the problem is that the labeling on many of these drugs is still crummy,” said Dr. William Lee, a liver specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who for years has been lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to make manufacturers put “acetaminophen” in large letters on the front of any package that contains it, so that as they reach for the bottle, patients will be more likely to pause and keep track of exactly how much they are swallowing.
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- Featured Product: Natural Estrogen with Pomegranate Extract - To provide aging women with the multiple health effects of the bodies’ estrogen without side effects, scientists have discovered plant extracts with estrogenic activity (phytoestrogens).
Natural Estrogen with Pomegranate Extract is one answer to the concerns of maintaining healthy hormone function. A review of the published literature reveals some interesting findings about how plant-derived estrogens can provide safe and effective support for such menopausal symptoms as hot flashes.
Derived from organically-grown fruit, the pomegranate extract in this formula has the same ratio of polyphenols found in the whole fruit and all the benefits one would get from the juice without the sugar, calories, and additives.
Punicalagins, the main polyphenol responsible for pomegranate’s health properties, has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant. In fact, the health effects from the juice and the seeds work synergistically providing an array of health benefits.
Scientists have identified specific extracts from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.) that modulate hormones in a way to help maintain healthy cell division. For instance, animal studies have shown that the cruciferous vegetable extract indole-3-carbinol (I3C) modulates estrogen hormones by favorably changing the ratio of protective 2-hydroxyestrone versus the damaging 16-hydroxyestrone.
Found abundantly in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol also induces phase I and II detoxifying enzymes that can help neutralize estrogen metabolites and xenobiotic estrogen-like environmental chemicals. Human studies support the beneficial role of I3C in positively altering estrogen metabolism.
Di-indoyl-methane (DIM), a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, has been shown in animal studies to help maintain normal levels of a potentially damaging estrogen called 4-hydroxyestrone. The glucosinolates are major constituents of cruciferous vegetables that have been shown to promote normal apoptosis and induce the expression of the beneficial p53 gene via an estrogen-independent action.
HMRlignan™ is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger. A naturally occurring plant lignan, HMRlignan’s major component, 7-hydroxymatairesinol, is a precursor to enterolactone, a human lignan found throughout the body that acts as to protect the body from excess estrogen and its unwanted effects. Enterolactone may also limit excess cell growth in specific tissues and has also been linked to beneficial effects in menopausal women. Thus, the addition of the phyto-nutrient HMRlignan may prove beneficial to human health.
Also included in the formula is a soy extract—Soyselect® —that significantly enhances the bioavailability of isoflavones because of its double standardized of isoflavone glycosides genistin and daidzin.
This formulation of Natural Estrogen with Pomegranate Extract contains broccoli extract and HMRlignan™ in addition to phytoestrogens and other plant extracts, all of which have proven to provide optimal female hormonal support.
Serving Size: 2 caplets
Servings Per Container: 30
Amount Per Serving
Other ingredients: dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, pharmaceutical glaze.
- SoySelect® soybean (Glycine max) 70:1 Extract [standardized to 13% isoflavones (52 mg), 18% Group-B Saponins (72 mg)] - 400 mg
- Broccoli (Brassica oleracea l.) Super Concentrate Extract (plant) [standardized to 4% glucosinolates (12 mg)] - 300 mg
- PomElla® Pomegranate (Punica granatum) Extract (fruit) [standardized to 30% Punicalagins (60 mg)] - 200 mg
- Black cohosh extract (Cimicifuga racemosa) (root and rhizome) [standardized to 2.5% triterpene glycosides (1 mg)] - 40 mg
- HMRlignan™ Norway spruce (Picea abies) lignan extract (knot wood) [standardized to 90% Hydroxymatairesinol potassium acetate complex (27 mg)] - 30 mg
- Dong quai extract (Angelica sinensis) (root) [std. to 1% ligustilide (.25 mg)] - 25 mg
- Licorice extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra) (root) - 25 mg
- Vitex extract (Vitex agnus-castus) (fruit) [std. to 5% vitexicarpin (1 mg)] - 20 mg
Contains soybeans. Contains corn. This product contains NO milk, egg, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, yeast, gluten, or rice.
Contains NO sugar, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.
SoySelect® is a registered trademark of Indena S.p.A.
HMRlignan™ is a trademark used under sublicense from Linnea S.A.
PomElla® is a registered trademark of Geni Herbs.
Dosage and Use: Take two caplets in the morning with or without food, or as recommended by your healthcare practitioner.
NATURAL ESTROGEN should be taken cyclically: three weeks on and one week off, beginning on the 5th day of the menstrual cycle for premenopausal women, and every day for postmenopausal women.
Those taking any estrogenic product should include as part of their diet cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and/or cauliflower.
Women should also use a natural progesterone cream when taking this product.
Caution: Do not take in case of pregnancy, lactation, or estrogen dependent tumors.
For Everyone: Pomeratrol - Pomegranate Extract - by Now Foods. Pomegranate has been shown to contain a number of powerful antioxidant compounds including polyphenolics and anthocyanidins. Pomegranate is especially high in Ellagic Acid, which has been shown to support healthy cellular function. NOW® Pomeratrol contains Pomegranate Extract, standardized to 80% Polyphenols and 40% Ellagic Acid.
In addition, Pomeratrol contains Trans-Resveratrol, another potent antioxidant that protects cells against DNA damage and helps to sustain healthy cell cycles. NOW® Pomeratrol's combination of antioxidant power and cellular protection thus provides strong support against abnormal cell growth, as well as against the effects of aging.
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