Green Tea

by Nick Soloway

Green Tea

Green tea contains volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, and caffeine, but the primary constituents of interest are the polyphenols, particularly the catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The polyphenols are believed to be responsible for most of green tea’s roles in promoting good health.51

Green tea has been shown to mildly lower total cholesterol levels and improve the cholesterol profile (decreasing LDL “bad” cholesterol and increasing HDL “good” cholesterol) in most,52, 53, 54, 55 but not all,56 studies. Green tea may also promote cardiovascular health by making platelets in the blood less sticky.

Green tea has been shown to protect against the oxidation of cholesterol to a more toxic molecule (oxidized cholesterol).57 Consumption of green tea increases antioxidant activity in the blood.58Oxidative damage to LDL can promoteatherosclerosis. While population studies have suggested that consumption of green tea is associated with protection against atherosclerosis,59 the evidence is still preliminary.

Several animal and test tube studies have demonstrated an anticancer effect of polyphenols from green tea.60, 61, 62 In one of these studies, a polyphenol called catechin from green tea effectively inhibited metastasis (uncontrolled spread) of melanoma (skin cancer) cells.63 The polyphenols in green tea have also been associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer in humans.64, 65, 66However, some human studies have found no association between green tea consumption and decreased cancer risk.67, 68

In a double-blind trial, people with leukoplakia (a pre-cancerous oral condition) took 3 grams orally per day of a mixture of whole green tea, green tea polyphenols, and green tea pigments orally, and also painted a mixture of the tea on their lesions TID for six months.69 As compared to the placebo group, those in the green tea group had significant decreases in the pre-cancerous condition.

Compounds in green tea, as well as black tea, may reduce the risk of dental caries.70 Human volunteers rinsing with an alcohol extract of oolong tea leaves HS each night for four days had significantly less plaque formation, but similar amounts of plaque-causing bacteria, compared to those with no treatment.71

Green tea polyphenols have been shown to stimulate the production of several immune system cells, and have topical antibacterial properties—even against the bacteria that cause dental plaque.72, 73, 74

One study found that intake of 10 cups or more of green tea per day improved blood test results, indicating protection against liver damage.75 Further studies are needed to determine if taking green tea helps those with liver diseases.

Tea flavonoids given by capsule reduced fecal odor and favorably altered the gut bacteria in elderly Japanese with feeding tubes living in nursing homes.76 The study was repeated in bedridden elderly not on feeding tubes, and green tea was again shown to improve their gut bacteria.77 These studies raise the possibility of using green tea in other settings where gut bacteria are disturbed, such as after taking antibiotics. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of green tea in this respect, however.

High-tannin tea has been shown to reduce the need for blood removal from people with iron overload, or hemochromatosis, in an open study.78 The tea had to be taken with meals and without lemon or milk to be effective. Tea is believed to help in hemochromatosis by preventing iron absorption.

In a double-blind trial, men with precancerous changes in the prostate received a green tea extract providing 600 mg of catechins per day or a placebo for one year. After one year, prostate cancer had developed in 3.3% of the men receiving the green tea extract and in 30% of those given the placebo, a statistically significant difference.79 These results suggest that drinking green tea or taking green tea catechins may help prevent prostate cancer in men at high risk of developing the disease.

There are four case reports in which certain types of leukemia or lymphoma (low grade B-cell malignancies) improved after the patients began taking green tea extracts.80

Recommended Dosage

Much of the research documenting the health benefits of green tea is based on the amount of green tea typically consumed in Asian countries—about 3 cups (750 ml) per day (providing 240–320 mg of polyphenols).81 However, other research suggests as much as 10 cups (2,500 ml) per day is necessary to obtain noticeable benefits from green tea ingestion.82, 83


To brew green tea, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of green tea leaves are combined with 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water and steeped for three minutes.


Decaffeinated tea is recommended to reduce the side effects associated with caffeine, including anxiety and insomnia. Tablets and capsules containing standardized extracts of polyphenols, particularly EGCG, are available. Some provide up to 97% polyphenol content—which is equivalent to drinking 4 cups (1,000 ml) of tea. Many of these standardized products are decaffeinated.


From Health Info Newsletter February 24, 2012: GMOs, Red Clover for Menopause, Green Tea


by Nick Soloway


Things are heating up in the GMO wars. In California, an initiative is underway to force GMO labeling on all food products. Joe Mercola, MD is helping us fight this battle here in California, as this state is the bellwether state for political action. What happens here usually happens around the country. And it’s already starting to happen.

Further east, two U.S. Senators have written a “Dear Colleague” letter and released it to the public on February 8. They urged their colleagues to support the labeling of GMO foods. This is the first of its kind in Congress. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get your Congressional representatives to listen to you for once, instead of predatory industry giants like Monsanto.

The Center for Food Safety has this to say: “Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in nearly 50 countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, China, New Zealand, and many others. A recent poll released by ABC News found that 93% of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, `Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.’ Yet the United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of GE food!”

It’s time for that to change! Please call or email your legislators repeatedly this month (the close date is Wednesday, February 29th).. And we need to encourage them to support the labeling of GE salmon and other foods. For other legislators, please use the following links to find their email and phone number, or use the zip code access available at the listed link.

(1) To locate your House Representative:
To enter your zip code:
If you know your Representative’s name:
(2) To locate your Senators:


Thank you for taking action! This is a health and medical freedom issue. Please make your voice heard to the above officials as well as any Congressional leaders not specifically named above.

Below is an email from Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation”, and Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm. Eric and Gary created a petition on that is getting a lot of attention.

The FDA is on the brink of approving genetically engineered salmon for human consumption. This would be the first genetically engineered animal on supermarket shelves in the United States.


The salmon is engineered to produce growth hormones year-round that cause the fish to grow at twice the normal rate. The government already requires labels to tell us if fish is wild-caught or farm-raised—don’t we also have a right to know if our salmon is genetically engineered? Without labels, we’ll never know.


More than forty countries, including Russia and China, already require labels on genetically engineered foods. As Americans, we firmly believe that we deserve the same right to know what we are eating.


That’s why I created a petition to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on, which says:


Commissioner Hamburg, we urge the FDA to require the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. We have a right to know about the food we eat and what we feed our families, but under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that ability when it comes to genetically engineered foods.


Polls show that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling. Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare. Please listen to the American public and mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods.


Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:




–Eric Schlosser and Gary Hirshberg



by Nick Soloway

Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer

About three to four weeks ago a study was reported the said that taking Vitamin E increased prostate cancer risk. About a year ago there was a study that seemed to show that Vitamin E did not have any value in preventing heart disease. Below is an explanation of the reason why these results may have happened.

Vitamin E and prostate cancer: does the type of vitamin E matter?
by Alan Gaby, MD

In the other study, 35,533 men were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU per day of vitamin E (in the form of alpha-tocopherol) or placebo for an average of 5.5 years, and the men were then followed for a total of approximately 7 years. During that time, the incidence of prostate cancer was significantly higher by 17% in the vitamin E group than in the placebo group.

Although the study was well designed from a technical standpoint, it suffers from an important weakness, in that the type of vitamin E used was not the same as the vitamin E that occurs in food. Vitamin E is found in food in 4 different forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol. However, as is the case with most vitamin E research, the men in this study were given only alpha-tocopherol. Early research suggested that most, if not all, of the biological activity of vitamin E is due to alpha-tocopherol, but it is now known that at least one of the other components-gamma-tocopherol-has important functions. Furthermore, treatment with large doses of alpha-tocopherol has been shown to deplete gamma-tocopherol, potentially upsetting the natural balance of the different forms of vitamin E in the body. “Mixed tocopherols,” on the other hand, a supplement that contains all four types of vitamin E, would not be expected to cause such an imbalance.

In a previous study, both alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in vitro, but gamma-tocopherol was the more potent of the two.3 In another study, higher blood levels of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol were each associated a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, but the protective effect of gamma-tocopherol was greater than that of alpha-tocopherol.4

Clinical trials that used alpha-tocopherol in doses lower than 400 IU per day did not find an adverse effect on prostate cancer incidence. In a double-blind study of male smokers, compared with placebo, supplementation with 50 IU per day for 5-8 years significantly decreased the incidence of prostate cancer by 32%.5 In a double-blind study of male physicians, supplementation with 200 IU per day (400 IU every other day) for 8 years resulted in a nonsignificant 3% decrease in prostate cancer incidence, compared with placebo.6 Thus, the effect of alpha-tocopherol on prostate cancer appears to be dose-related: protective at low doses (50 IU per day), neutral or modestly protective at intermediate doses (200 IU per day), and harmful at high doses (400 IU per day).

The totality of the evidence suggests that alpha-tocopherol has a protective effect against prostate cancer. However, when alpha-tocopherol is given by itself in large doses (such as 400 IU per day or more), it depletes gamma-tocopherol, which could more than negate any beneficial effect that alpha-tocopherol might have. If that is the case, then taking vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols would not be expected to increase prostate cancer risk, and might even help prevent prostate cancer. Further research is needed to examine that possibility.


How to supercharge your prostate formula

from Robert J. Rowen, MD


If you’re taking a prostate formula to prevent prostate enlargement or cancer, good for you! But what if I told you there’s a simple way to supercharge your prostate formula and make it work substantially better? Interested?

Well, I’ve just discovered another possible wonder supplement for prostate protection. It’s grapeseed extract.

Yes, the stuff you might spit out when eating those delicious small globes really offer tremendous protection for your prostate. A report in a respected cancer journal found that any intake of grapeseed extract in a large group of 35,239 men (aged 50-76) reduced their risk of prostate cancer.


Interestingly, they didn’t find any protection from other supplements they followed in the study. These included chondroitin, CoQ10, fish oil, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, glucosamine, or saw palmetto. The participants were questioned specifically about their use of supplements.

While questionnaire studies are not the most accurate, they can point of value when the results are significant. And the results of this study in favor of grapeseed extract were very significant.

The researchers found any use of grapeseed supplements reduced the total risk of prostate cancer by a whopping 41%. That’s a huge finding. Imagine if Big Pharma found a patentable drug that produced these results. You would hear the news all over the media. But in this case, even the researchers weren’t impressed. The authors weren’t ready to endorse the use of grapeseeds at this time.

When I read this report I dug a little deeper. Another research team became aware of the use of the extract by men with prostate cancer. This team studied possible mechanisms of why it might be effective in this common disease. Here’s what they found.

Their work showed that grapeseed extract inhibits the cancer growth and also induces apoptotic death of human prostate cancer cells. This was true both in a lab culture and in living mice with implanted human prostate cancers. They found the toxic effects on the cancer cells to be “rather strong.” They found that grapeseed induced specific damage to cancer cell mitochondria and their membranes. The result was cell suicide (apoptosis), which is what we want wayward cells to do.

I have always been a fan of grapeseed extract supplements. They are packed with oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, much like the bilberry supplements we use for eye health. These are potent bioflavonoids (plant chemicals) with enormous preventive and healing powers. After reading all of this information, I’m not recommending my prostate cancer patients take grapeseed extract. In fact, I’ll likely add the extract to all of my cancer programs.

I strongly believe that anything that can treat a cancer will likely be effective at preventing it. So I’m also recommending every man over the age of 40 take a grapeseed extract every day.

From December 5, 2011 Health Info Newsletter: Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer, Prostate Health, Warts


by Nick Soloway

You really can use it for everything

by Jonathan Wright, MD


Q: Okay, how do I get rid of this unsightly wart on my finger?


Dr. Wright: One of the best treatments I have found for removing warts is one that doesn’t actually involve any vitamins, herbs, or other nutrients. In fact, all it involves is duct tape.


Several years ago, Dr. Dean Focht, a medical resident at Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, had 51 individuals, ages 3 to 22, use either standard liquid nitrogen freezing therapy or “duct tape therapy” for wart removal.


Of the 25 individuals using duct tape, 85 percent had their warts disappear, usually within a month. In the 26-member liquid nitrogen group, only 60 percent of the warts went away.


The therapy itself is fairly easy: Just cut the duct tape to the size of the wart and stick it on for six days. Then remove the tape, soak the wart in water, and buff it with pumice or an emery board. Twelve hours later, apply new tape. Repeat this cycle until the wart disappears.


If you find that the duct tape keeps falling off, or if you just want to disguise it, the easiest solution is to put a band-aid over the tape.


From December 5, 2011 Health Info Newsletter: Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer, Prostate Health, Warts

Brain Boosters

Brain Boosters

Some nutritional supplements provide real food for thought
By Janet Raloff
Science News February 26th, 2011; Vol.179 #5 (p. 26)

On his third consecutive evening of air combat, a military pilot closes in on the night’s quarry, a suspected Taliban fuel depot in Afghanistan. Fatigued, his alertness flagging, the pilot throws some chewing gum into his mouth. Laced with caffeine, it’s the cockpit alternative to a cup of coffee.


This pilot would probably suspect that the gum is just a perk-me-up. But several caffeinated military rations — including this relatively new one — do more than stave off sleepiness. Emerging data indicate that these rations boost not only attention but also cognitive performance, features that do not necessarily climb in lockstep.


The U.S. Department of Defense has been investigating such supplements to improve the ability of U.S. armed forces to maintain sustained periods of intense vigilance and focus, explains Harris Lieberman, a psychologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. Another hope, he notes: These dietary aids might minimize the risk of “friendly fire.”

Army researchers at the institute, including Lieberman, are at the forefront of a small but growing cadre of investigators exploring how to boost what they call mental energy. This rather fuzzy phrase embraces wakefulness, but also includes mood, motivation and the capacity to perform key mental tasks.


Increasing mental energy is important for those enervated because of a lack of sleep or for those whose jobs, like those of fighter pilots, require vigilance even in the face of sleep deprivation. Compounds that keep you awake, it turns out, can also boost other aspects of mental performance. Improved cognition is emerging as a quantifiable side benefit of many of these substances — in some cases, even for those folks who aren’t sleepy to begin with.


But the data can be hard to interpret, primarily because no test exists to directly measure mental energy, explains Patrick O’Connor of the University of Georgia in Athens. It must be inferred from other indicators. Still, it is fair to view fatigue and mental energy as anchoring opposite poles of a common spectrum, he says.


Similarly, caffeine anchors the stimulatory end of a spectrum of natural products exhibiting promise in hiking or sustaining cognitive aspects of mental energy. Others include L-theanine in tea, guarana, cocoa constituents and ginseng.


Learning how these compounds work, at what doses and under what circumstances, is important, argues O’Connor, because “mental energy underlies everything in our lives.” It’s key, he says, to achieving goals at home and work — and even to the success of the economy.


Perky brews


More data has emerged on caffeine’s role in promoting mental energy than on any other dietary constituent. The stimulant blocks the activity of adenosine, a molecule that slows heart rate and induces drowsiness. Caffeine perks people up, Lieberman says, “by blocking something that normally slows you down.”


At the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in April in Anaheim, Calif., he described how, some 25 years ago, his team found that as little as 32 milligrams of caffeine — equivalent to what’s in a 12-ounce can of cola or less than a cup of regular coffee — improved attentiveness for auditory and visual cues.


People had thought that any improved performance from caffeine might be limited to people who were tired. Here, though, the young men in the study were well rested, suggesting broader benefits.


Lieberman’s more recent work has tested caffeine’s effects on tasks especially relevant to the military. For instance, a study conducted during the training of 68 Navy SEALs assayed the effects of caffeine after 72 hours of sleep deprivation and round-the-clock exposure to cold and other stressors. The men were taking part in a weeklong test of endurance known as Hell Week.


Not surprisingly, the exhausted trainees didn’t do nearly as well on tests of vigilance and other measures of cognitive performance three days into Hell Week as they had before the training marathon began. But those who got between 100 and 300 milligrams of caffeine an hour before a battery of mental tests made fewer mistakes and responded more quickly.


One task asked SEALs to scan for faint images that appeared for a couple of seconds on a computer monitor. Trainees who got no caffeine scored an average of 7.9 correct hits out of 20, while those given caffeine averaged between 10.6 and 12.2 correct responses. Caffeine recipients also had nearly 30 percent shorter response times. Scores on several other tasks, including a test of marksmanship, were unaffected.


Other scientists have been exploring caffeine’s impacts on the brain. Andrew Smith of Cardiff University in Wales, for instance, asked 118 students to watch a computer screen where three-digit numbers appeared at a rate of 100 per minute. When two consecutive numbers matched, participants were to note it with a keystroke. Before the tests, 84 students were given chewing gum; roughly half (41) got gum laced with 40 milligrams of caffeine.


Students reported feeling substantially more alert after chewing the caffeinated gum. They also performed better on some tests, including the one in which they had to identify repeated numbers. Those given caffeine were 4.4 percent faster than those who worked gum-free and 4 percent faster than noncaffeinated-gum chewers. The stimulant also appeared to speed up people’s ability to learn new information, Smith reported in the April 2009 Human Psychopharmacology.


Tea’s bonus


Tea, which people worldwide drink more of than any other beverage except water, is a major dietary source of caffeine. Unlike coffee, it contains another potentially powerful ingredient for brain activity: L-theanine, an amino acid that can alter alpha brain wave rhythms, inducing wakeful relaxation.


In 2008 in Nutrition Reviews, Janet Bryan of the University of South Australia in Adelaide observed that alpha wave activity has been linked to “increased performance under stress and improved learning and concentration” and reduced anxiety. L-theanine seems to enhance caffeine’s mental benefits, she noted.


Unilever, which owns Lipton, is actively investigating L-theanine’s effects. Neither caffeine nor tea’s caffeine-theanine combo augment performance on all types of mental tests, says Eveline De Bruin, a cognitive neuro scientist with Unilever’s R&D facility in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. The biggest impacts, she says, are in enhancing what’s known as executive function — the ability to perform complex tasks that rely on planning or decision making.

For instance, in an upcoming issue of Appetite, De Bruin’s team reports that tea brings boosts in executive function that increase with dose. On each day of a two-day study, 26 volunteers drank either strong tea or a tealike placebo before testing. One test asked participants to listen to rules on how to respond to sounds or images on a computer screen — and the rules changed every few seconds during each five-minute session. The men and women responded correctly in the auditory test almost twice as often (around 15 to 20 percent of the time versus 8 or 9 percent) after drinking tea rather than the placebo. Participants were also marginally — but reliably — more accurate after tea on a test that looked at the ability to plan and execute decisions (see “Switch test”).


Switch test


Used to assess some cognitive impacts of food supplements, this test asks participants to hit a computer key when either of two combinations appears on-screen. Screens refresh once a second for five minutes, and target combinations may switch during the task. The example here prompts participants to respond when they see a letter and an even number (but only if green) or a number and vowel (but only if orange). L-theanine-rich tea boosted scores on this task, which measures one aspect of attention: the ability to plan and execute decisions.


While Unilever has demonstrated that tea enriched with triple the normal amount of L-theanine improves attention, De Bruin says Lipton has no plans to market such a product. “It is an interesting idea,” she concedes, “but at present Lipton is proud of producing an all-natural leaf-tea product that is unmodified yet capable of noticeably improving attention and alertness.”


Sweet paradox


Thinking, calculating, planning, learning, remembering — such mental tasks consume plenty of energy. Because glucose, better known as blood sugar, fuels body and brain, it might seem that a good dose of something sweet would be just what Mother Nature ordered to kick-start your neural hardware. Yet people with diabetes and high blood sugar levels can suffer from cognitive impairments.


Studies have begun probing this seeming contradiction. Two papers in August in Psychopharmacology, for instance,report a boost in mental performance when healthy people down a drink fortified with at least 50 grams of glucose (about 10 teaspoons worth) following a 12-hour overnight fast.


Christine Gagnon of the University of Quebec at Montreal and colleagues showed that in 44 people age 60 and up, drinking the glucose 15 minutes before the start of testing led to better scores on some tests than did the sugar-free alternative. Those on a sugar rush performed faster and accrued fewer errors when asked to quickly read a color name or name the color of words (even if a color word, such as green, appeared in a different color, say red). Glucose appeared especially beneficial in tasks that required switching and dividing attention, the researchers observed.


Among 90 undergrads, a sugary drink improved immediate recall of words, not faces, compared with a sugar-free one, reported a team led by Lauren Owen of the Brain Sciences Institute at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Recall of large numbers that had appeared in earlier math calculations also improved.


Doses given in each study were high and would be ill-advised for people with trouble controlling their blood sugar, such as those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. But David Benton of Swansea University in Wales has shown there may be a way to get the benefits of a glucose burst without overdoing sugary drinks. At the experimental biology meeting, he presented data indicating that for mental performance, it’s actually better to deliver glucose parsimoniously. He does it by giving subjects foods containing carbohydrates that digest slowly.


In an early study, Benton’s team gave cereals, breakfast bars or biscuits with roughly equal calories to 106 undergraduate women. The main difference between the meals was their glycemic index — how quickly the carbs break down into glucose.


Thirty minutes later and at regular intervals thereafter, the women took memory tests. Those who got the low-glycemic breakfast performed progressively better than those eating the rapidly digested meals. The difference was most dramatic for a later testing, 3.5 hours after breakfast, Benton says.


His group ran a similar test in rats, feeding them either quickly or slowly digested carbs. The rodents exhibited a similar improvement in learning when they got the slowly digested chow.


In a follow-up test, Benton’s group administered breakfast to kids in an elementary school class for four weeks. Kids got a meal with high-glycemic carbs on one-third of the days, low-glycemic foods on another third, and carbs that broke down at an intermediate rate on the remaining days.


On various days throughout the trial, hidden cameras recorded the 19 children while they were supposed to be working independently on a reading or math assignment. The behavior of each child was recorded over a 30-minute period and scientists later logged what the youngster had been doing: working, looking around the room, talking to others, fidgeting, acting out or moving around the room. On days when the kids had eaten the low-glycemic breakfast, they were much more likely to remain on task — 26 percent of the time versus 18 percent or less on the other days.


The kids also took simple memory tests and played with a video game that was rigged to be frustratingly difficult to master. On days they had eaten the slow-to-digest breakfast, kids exhibited more initial patience with the game. Their recall was also better — “about 10 percent better,” Benton says. It’s a small difference, he acknowledges. “But if your child came home with 10 percent better scores on a test, would it matter to you? Most parents would say yes.”


Herbal therapies


Tea and coffee aren’t the only natural stimulant-laced plant extracts to show energizing as well as brain-boosting attributes. There’s also guarana. Seeds of this Amazonian plant are an especially potent source of caffeine, which can constitute 5 percent of dried extracts. But guarana may have more than caffeine going for it.


At the experimental biology meeting, David Kennedy of Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, described cognitive benefits in young adults given small amounts of guarana — more benefits than when those volunteers received high doses. Indeed, Kennedy noted, guarana amounts needed to boost test scores and mood contained just 4 to 9 milligrams of caffeine. “That’s only about a tenth as much as you’d find in a cup of coffee,” Kennedy points out. “So guarana was doing something that wasn’t attributable to its caffeine” — although his team doesn’t yet know what.


He and colleagues have also been investigating other natural products that might elevate energy, attention and mental performance. Among these: Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng). Young adults scored better on a battery of mental tests — including serial subtraction of numbers in their heads — and exhibited less mental fatigue after getting this herbal supplement rather than a placebo.


How Chinese ginseng may improve performance is unknown, but Kennedy suspects the effect might have to do with ginseng’s ability to moderate blood sugar levels. At least at the 200-milligram dose used by his group, this supplement caused a drop in blood-glucose levels one hour after consumption.


Researchers report that American ginseng (P. quinquefolius) also shows promise. Compared with a placebo, all doses improved some aspect of cognition, Swinburne’s Andrew Scholey and colleagues report in October in Psychopharmacology. One difference: This herbal supplement had no effect on blood glucose.


The Northumbria researchers are also exploring the idea that some natural products bolster brain function by affecting blood flow. For instance, if they dilate vessels, the products might allow more fuel — glucose — in to power brain activities. Kennedy and colleagues tested the idea by giving 30 students a cup of cocoa on three mornings. Each day’s formulation contained a different amount — 46, 520 or 994 milligrams per serving — of cocoa flavanols, natural agents that have antioxidant and sometimes heart-healthy properties.


The cocoa packages used in the study were prepared by Mars, a candy company that has been exploring health attributes of some chocolate products.


Both higher-dose formulations, especially the middle one, improved performance during mentally challenging tests involving math and the visual processing of information, the scientists report. At the same time, the college students receiving the middle dose reported a reduction in mental fatigue. Maximum benefits showed up two hours into testing, which roughly corresponds to the expected peaks in concentrations of flavanols in the blood and in blood flow to the brain, Kennedy’s team reported in the October Journal of Psychopharmacology.


Buyer beware


The concept of mental energy is hardly new; recognition of it, on some level, dates back to Aristotle. But only during the last two decades has a steady trickle of studies begun quantifying how various dietary constituents battle fatigue and the fuzzy thinking that may accompany it.


The food industry has paid rapt attention to study findings (and, as is the case with Unilever and Mars, has even helped pay for some of the research). Indeed, O’Connor observes, hundreds of new products claim to boost mental energy. And their appeal is understandable since mental energy helps motivate people not only to work but also to stick with it when the going gets hard.


“Unfortunately,” he adds, product claims “rarely are supported by compelling, unbiased scientific evidence.”


Michael Falk and colleagues at the Life Sciences Research Organization in Bethesda, Md., recently conducted a major review of supplements and ingredients (other than caffeine) that purport to boost attentiveness and mental performance in people. The researchers identified 265 research reports in the scientific literature that met certain criteria.


Falk’s team focused on 35 dietary constituents or factors, such as meal timing and the number of calories consumed. Promising data exist for ginkgo, ginseng, glucose and a few others, Falk says. But overall, his team concluded, for most “insufficient evidence is available to evaluate mental energy claims.”


Much of the problem may reflect how the testing was conducted, he points out. For about three-fourths of the substances, there were no more than 10 qualifying studies; for more than half, there were five or fewer, the team reported in the December 2010 Nutrition Reviews. And for any given nutrient, Falk notes, different trials often applied different tests to assess mood, motivation and mental prowess — which made comparisons difficult.

Many of the reports also tested very different populations (young adults in some, the elderly in others), had different criteria for whether subjects were healthy, and failed to establish baseline measures of mood and mental proficiency before administering a potential brain booster. Further complicating the picture: “You’re looking at what are relatively small effects and hard to measure,” he says. “And these are against a background of high methodological and statistical noise.” Such variations “undermine our ability to make strong conclusions.”


But Falk suspects that may change fairly soon. Researchers have been investigating what to measure and how to do it. And they’ve determined that agents with promise don’t always point to common benefits. Some may aid memory. Others may sharpen mental focus or speed up reaction times. Still others might make decision making easier.


When scientists begin standardizing tests, “I’m betting they’ll come out with stronger, more narrowly focused and more [scientifically] supportable conclusions,” Falk says. Findings that he says should point to whom these dietary supplements will benefit — and under which real-world conditions.




On the mental menu


Recent work suggests dietary substances such as caffeine and glucose may boost mental skills. Evidence for others (“Emerging substances”) is preliminary.




Increases visual and auditory vigilance; speeds reaction times, improves accuracy and limits false positives on vigilance tasks; and increases learning and short-term memory on computer tests that require keystroke responses.




Increases speed and accuracy of pattern recognition that switches arbitrarily over time, increases relaxation, boosts accuracy of processing of rapidly delivered visual information and reduces susceptibility to distracting information during memory tests. May improve aspects of cognitive performance when delivered with caffeine, as in tea.




Enhances memory of recent words or images, increases verbal fluency, improves pace of some types of serial subtraction, speeds decision times, enhances facial recognition and, among children, limits vulnerability to distraction when working alone.




Increases alertness and the ability to recall words and images at a later point in time.


Emerging substances

Ginkgo biloba


Improves pattern recognition and sustained attention, enhances delayed recall and memory of faces, and improves pace of serial subtraction and executive decision making.


Chinese ginseng

Enhances speed of recall, improves performance on simple arithmetic tasks and decreases false alarms on tests that require rapid processing of visual information.


Cocoa flavanols

Increase processing of rapid visual information and improve the ability to count backward (though have led to more errors in some serial subtractions).


From March 7, 2011 Health Info Newsletter: Brain Boosters

Cancer Fighting Berries

by Nick Soloway

Different berries, similar cancer-fighting effects

Animal tests suggest esophageal and breast cancer might be targets of several types of berries • July 17th, 2010; Vol.178 #2


Garden-variety berries provide about the same cancer-fighting punch as more exotic ones, a study of rats with esophageal cancer shows. A separate study finds a potentially protective effect against breast cancer as well.

Cancer biologist Gary Stoner of Ohio State University in Columbus and his colleagues tested seven berry types against cancer of the esophagus in rats —black raspberries, red raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, noni berries, açai berries and wolfberries (also called goji berries).


The scientists injected the animals with a carcinogenic chemical and gave some of the rats normal food, while others got similar chow containing 5 percent of one of the berries in dehydrated form.


While nearly all of the rats fed normal chow developed tumors rapidly, only about two-thirds of the berry-supplemented rats did. Overall, these rats had about half as many tumors as the others, the researchers report in the June Pharmaceutical Research. The berry-fed rats also had lower concentrations of interleukin-5 and a rat version of interleukin-8, inflammatory proteins implicated in esophageal cancer.


Earlier work by Stoner’s group found that black raspberries contain ample amounts of the two cancer-fighting compounds ellagitannin and anthocyanin. Ellagitannins also show up in nuts, pomegranates and other berries, while anthocyanins give many berries a red, purple or blue color.


But the new work shows that a berry need not have large concentrations of either compound to be a cancer fighter. For example, blueberries and açai berries are high in anthocyanins but low in ellagitannins. And wolfberries are low in both, Stoner says.


“There may be different things in different berries that are providing these [anticancer] effects,” says Ramesh C. Gupta, a cancer biologist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. “It’s a good thing,” he says, since availability varies by region.


In the other study, Gupta and his colleagues induced breast cancer in female rats by implanting estrogen in the animals. Some animals received a diet comprising 2.5 percent dehydrated blueberries or black raspberries and others got food without berries. Those getting berries showed less tumor growth, the researchers report in the June Cancer Prevention Research. The berries also decreased activation of two genes implicated in breast cancer, CYP1A1 andCYP1B1.


Although the various berries tested in these studies differ from one another in chemical composition, they have things in common, such as an anti-inflammatory effect, Stoner says. They also contain cellulose, lignin and pectin. These fibrous compounds “may be the common denominator,” he says, because in digesting these fibers, the body makes butyrate, which previous research has shown may have anticancer properties.


“It could be the presence of more conventional antioxidants such as the carotenoids, or more likely vitamin C, which was not measured in this study,” says Susan Duthie, a nutritional biochemist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.


In any case, the potent anticancer effect of berries shown in lab-dish and animal studies has yet to be replicated in people, she cautions. A huge European study reported earlier this year found only very modest protection against cancer from a diet high in fruits and vegetables. “There is stronger protective evidence for berries and the compounds in them against heart disease and cognitive decline in humans,” Duthie says.

From February 7, 2011 Newsletter


by Nick Soloway


– Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Physical Therapies


“[Clinical study on the treatment of knee osteoarthritis by acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle],” Sun K, Bao XM, et al, Zhongguo Gu Shang, 2010 Dec; 23(12): 895-8. (Address: Acupuncture-Moxibustion Hospital Affiliated to Anhui College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230061, Anhui, China. E-mail: ).

In a randomized study involving 121 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, treatment with acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle balance was found to significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, as compared to a control group who received treatment with diclofenac sodium sustained release tablets.


Patients were divided into a treatment group (n=63 cases involving 83 knees, 47 females, 16 males, average age: 60 years), and a control group (n=58 cases involving 73 knees, 45 females, 13 males, average age: 58 years). Appraisal scores of symptoms and physical signs index in the treatment group reduced from 39.81 to 9.69 (compared to 39.89 to 13.62 among controls), the numerical scale of pain reduced from 7.61 to 2.17 (compared to 7.55 to 3.34), joint function reduced from 1.47 to 0.61 (compared to 1.33 to 0.93), and joint swelling reduced from 1.23 to 0.42 (compared to 0.97 to 0.58 in the control group).


While both groups experienced reductions in symptoms, those in the acupuncture plus manipulative therapy group were found to have a better therapeutic effect in terms of scores of symptoms and physical signs index, numerical rating scale of pain, and joint function.


After the treatment period, 12 patients in the treatment group were considered “clinically cured,” as compared to 5 in the control group. 48 patients in the treatment group were found to have “remarkable effects” as compared to 31 in the control group, 19 were found to have “good” effects, as compared to 34 in the control group, and 4 were found “ineffective” as compared to 3 in the control group.


When the patients were followed up with three months post-treatment, these numbers were 8, 42, 27, and 6 in the treatment group, as compared to 5, 21, 37, and 10, in the control group.


The authors conclude, “Acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle balance can effectively improve the clinical symptoms and knee joint’s motor function of patients with knee osteoarthritis, and can avoid the further development of disease. It is a proved effective method for knee osteoarthritis.”

From February 7, 2011 Newsletter

Improve Vision

by Nick Soloway

Improve your vision by up to 30% in just two months 

From Robert J. Rowen, MD in

You probably already know that certain plant flavonoids can protect your eyes. I’ve told you in the past about bilberry, grape seed extract, and other flavonoids. Now there’s a way to increase the protection – and improve your vision.

In 46 diabetic patients with mild to moderate eye disease, Pycnogenol dramatically helped. Pycnogenol is a water extract from the bark of the French maritime pine. The participants took it for three months. Compared to a placebo group, the Pycnogenol reduced retinal edema and improved retinal thickness.


Better still, Pycnogenol increased retinal blood flow in the central retinal artery (measured by Laser Doppler) significantly. The increase went from 34 to 44 cm/s. That’s a big jump. On the Snellen visual acuity chart, 18 of the 24 patients had significant improvement. And they saw the benefits after only two months. Because of how it works, this extract ought to help protect your eyes from glaucoma as well.


From February 7, 2011 Newsletter

Colds and flu

by Nick Soloway

Colds and flu

Here is an interesting article from Dr. Mercola all about avoiding and trating colds and flu

Also go back to my emails and reread my two emails about prevention of colds and flus and colloidal silver:


I just discovered a new article/interview by Kirk Hamilton about Juice Plus+. I have been taking it for over fifteen years…(and I never get a cold)


Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial,”Br J Nutr , 2010 Aug 23;1-5; [Epub ahead of print]. 48189 (11/2010) “Reduction Of Common Cold Symptoms By Encapsulated Juice Powder Concentrate Of Fruits And Vegetables


Kirk Hamilton: Can you please share with us your educational background and currentposition?


Stephanie Roll: I am a statistician working at the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology andHealth Economics at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany. I received my Ph.D. atCharité University doing research about Health Services, Epidemiology and Health Related Quality of Life in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease.


KH: What got you interested in studying the role of an encapsulated juice powder concentrates(Juice Plus®) on the common cold?


SR: There was evidence from previous studies indicating the effects of Juice Plus® on the common cold, but these were explorative results. Thus, we wanted to conduct a study on the symptoms of the common cold as our primary research question.


KH: Where did you come up with a daily dose of four capsules per day? How was it taken? Withmeals or away from meals? In a single dose or divided dose? Why did you choose this particular juice powder concentrate?


SR: A daily dose of four capsules is the recommended dosage for this retail product. In our study,participants were required to take two capsules in the morning with breakfast, and two capsules in the evening with dinner. This intervention was chosen to further investigate published findings from groups in Graz, Austria and Florida, USA.


KH: Were blood levels of any components of the juice powder concentrate or other biochemical markers taken before, during or after the intervention? If so did they correlate with symptoms of the common cold?


SR: In out trial we considered patient relevant outcomes (like symptoms or days with common cold), and did not take blood samples.


KH: Can you tell us about your study and the basic results?


SR: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that included healthcare professionals (mainly nursing staff) from a large university hospital in Berlin. Over the winter period, 529 healthy participants took four capsules of Juice Plus® or matching placebo daily for 8 months. Regarding the number of days with moderate or severe common cold symptoms over 6 months, after a two month run-in, which was our primary outcome, we found a mean of 7.6 days in the Juice Plus® group and 9.5 in the placebo group, indicating a 20% reduction in duration of symptom days with Juice Plus® use.


KH: Were there any side effects with the juice powder concentrate therapy? How was the patient compliance?


SR: We did not find side effects or adverse events. The compliance in the study was high in bothgroups (96.0% in the Juice Plus® group and 96.5% in the placebo group). No side effects were reported.


KH: Who is a candidate for this therapy? Everyone since everyone gets a common cold? Who?


SR: In this study, we did not use Juice Plus® for therapy. We included healthy participants to assess any preventive effects of the product. Anyone who can eat fruits and vegetables might want to consider adding Juice Plus® to their diet. We did not expect an immediate effect, which is why we had all subjects on a two month run in with their study capsules before the six month period of interest.


KH: Could you get this same kind of effect by just eating a lot of fruits and vegetables?


SR: That is an interesting question. We have not done research on this topic, so we cannot say. JuicePlus® is not intended to replace eating fruits and vegetables, but seems a reasonable addition to the diet reported by the subjects in this project.


KH: How can the public or health professionals use this information? Do you have any further comments on this very interesting subject?


SR: Since our study was the first randomized, double-blind trial regarding common cold symptoms in healthcare professionals, further long-term studies should aim to assess similar effects in different populations.


If you’d like to try Juice Plus+ and learn more about it, please go to


Health Info: November 29, 2010




Resveratrol is a plant compound produced by several plants when attacked by bacteria or fungus. Many studies show its beneficial effects in yeasts and lower animals, suppressing inflammation and oxidative damage. A new study shows that resveratrol also has these same benefits in humans. Two groups of 10 subjects were given either a placebo or 40 mg of resveratrol for six weeks and blood samples were taken at one, three, and six weeks. (Ghanim H, et al., An antiinflammatory and reactive oxygen species suppressive effects of an extract of Polygonum cuspidatum containing resveratrol. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]


In those taking the active supplement, the blood specimens revealed the reduction of numerous markers of inflammation, including TNF-alpha, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein (CRP). It also lowered all of the markers that they evaluated that reflect oxidative stress. They noted that these markers were also associated with the development of insulin resistance and diabetes, so reducing them could have widespread benefits, lowering the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, and slowing the aging process.


In lower animals, resveratrol has been shown to extend life, but this kind of study is difficult to do in humans (as it would take an inordinate amount of time). However, resveratrol increases the activity of the enzyme telomerase, which helps to preserve DNA length during cell division. This has been associated with decreased cell aging and prolongation of life in all the animals studied.


Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and (perhaps more famously) red wine. It is also found in peanuts, blueberries, cranberries, and mulberries. Per ounce, peanuts have about half as much resveratrol as red wine, but some Concord grape products can have quite a bit more than wine. Most supplements are derived from Japanese knotweed. You would have to drink unhealthy amounts of wine to get therapeutic levels of resveratrol, so other sources and supplements are better. (I take 75 mg per day of trans-resveratrol.)


Resveratrol has wider potential for health benefits. It is an activator for a group of enzymes called “sirtuins.” In laboratory and animal studies these enzymes appear to slow the aging process, and new evidence shows that they promote memory and brain agility. The molecular effects of these enzymes are similar to the benefits of caloric restriction in protecting DNA and promoting longevity (without the discipline required and the other sacrifices involved when reducing your food intake).


SIRT1, the mammalian form of this enzyme, plays a role in cardiac function and DNA repair, in addition to its effects on the brain. Activation of SIRT1 improves the plasticity of brain synapses (the connections between neurons) and the formation of memory. In addition to memory and longevity, SIRT1 has a direct role in maintaining normal brain function. (Gao J, et al., A novel pathway regulates memory and plasticity via SIRT1 and miR-134. Nature. 2010 Jul 11. [Epub ahead of print]).

Weight loss (if you haven’t seen me for the past six months I have lost approximately 30 pounds by using the product below)

A weight loss trial was conducted at the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine using SlimStyles Meal Replacement Drink Mix with PGX from December to February, possibly the most difficult time of year to lose weight. In spite of the holiday season, participants were able to continuously lose body fat and achieve their weight loss goals. Most diets fail because they cause you to lose lean muscle and body water, slowing your overall metabolic rate which increases fat retention and increases the likelihood of gaining that weight back.


The researchers found that participants using the SlimStyles Meal Replacement Drink Mix consistently lost up to two pounds per week, which was primarily made up of body fat. In addition, the SlimStyles weight loss program maintained lean muscle mass and did not affect body water levels.


PGX is a blend of naturally-occurring water-soluble polysaccharides (fibres) that can absorb many times their weight in water. It is the result of years of intensive clinical and laboratory research at Canadian universities in collaboration with Canadian Center for Functional Medicine.


It was found that a certain soluble fibre could stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce blood cholesterol levels, regulate appetite and help people lose weight without feeling deprived, a key to life long weight management. PGX has an even greater effect on appetite and weight loss as its water-binding capacity is 5 times greater than the fibre studied, and 10 to 20 times greater than other soluble fibres such as psyllium or guar gum. This means that smaller doses of PGX can have greater beneficial health effects than other fibres, as well as supporting safe, sustainable weight loss.


The SlimStyles Meal Replacement Drink Mix with PGX is initially a smooth appealing texture. Once ingested, the PGX absorbs water causing it to thicken and expand for a few hours afterward. This expansion helps to prevent overeating, food cravings and snacking, making healthy weight loss possible. It is important to drink lots of water with PGX to ensure proper absorption. PGX helps your appetite under control for hours and provides a sense of fullness.


  • Promotes healthy weight loss
  • Curbs appetite and prevents food cravings
  • Keeps you full and satisfied for hours
  • Provides high nutrition with low calories
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Supports healthy cholesterol levels
  • Stimulant free

SlimStyles can be ordered through Emerson Ecologics, see the instructions at the top of this email. Slim Styles is available as a meal replacement drink or as capsules which are to be taken before a meal to enhance the sense of fullness and satiety.


A short video about SlimStyles

August 4, 2010