Protect Your Brain and Reverse Aging with These 2 Supplements!

Two natural compounds produced by our tissues, L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), are similar in that both have identical chemical core structures. However, one (ALC) contains an extra component, an acetic acid bound to the core molecule (in what is known as an ester linkage). It turns out that this extra chemical piece makes a significant difference in how this molecule behaves in our body relative to its non-acetylated cousin, L-carnitine. L-carnitine functions as a vehicle to ferry fat constituents (fatty acids) across a membrane barrier into the cell’s energy-producing machine, the mitochondria, where the fat is converted to energy. Equally important, L-carnitine works in the reverse direction, too. It ferries toxic products produced during fat metabolism out of the mitochondria. This latter step helps maintain the mitochondria as clean-burning, energy-efficient machines.

We are all aware of the fact that as we age, our energy level diminishes. This decrease in energy parallels a decrease in the plasma level of L-carnitine. L-carnitine also decreases under conditions of stress, both psychological and physical.

Acetyl-L-carnitine is just as active as L-carnitine in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria. However, as described below, that extra acetyl group confers additional properties to this form of L-carnitine, which make it superior to its non-acetylated cousin. Both compounds increase energy Acetyl L-Carnitine or ALC Physical Energy Fat Metabolism Brain Protection Neurotransmissio.

One of the two cousins, ALC, stands out with respect to its effects on the brain and nervous system. First, ALC is more effectively transported into the central nervous system. It more readily traverses the blood-brain barrier.

Breakthrough research

Dr. Bruce Ames, professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley, put this idea to the test by giving rats a supplement designed to stimulate and protect mitochondria. The results so far have been very impressive.

Dr. Ames and his team fed older rats two chemicals normally found in the body's cells and available as dietary supplements: Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Lipoic Acid. The research was reported in three articles that appeared in the February 19, 2002 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Not only did the older rats do better on memory tests, they had more pep, and the energy-producing organelles in their cells worked better.

"With the two supplements together, these old rats got up and did the Macarena," said Ames. "The brain looks better, they are full of energy—everything we looked at looks more like a young animal."

Based on Ames' research, we now know that the combination of these two antioxidant dietary supplements supercharges the cells' energy production in order to maximize memory, health and longevity. This breakthrough research has even shown that the combination of these nutrients has the potential of not only slowing down aging, but of even reversing some signs of aging.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine supercharges cellular energy production

Based on dozens of studies, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been shown to supercharge cellular energy production in order to maximize memory, health and longevity.

What does it do?

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the brain, liver and kidney. It transports fats to the mitochondria and is also available as a dietary supplement.

Over the course of 30 years of biochemical and clinical research, we've learned that ALC is a natural metabolite in our physiology and an effective treatment for age-related mental impairment.

The benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine supplementationbrain

ALC has been shown to:

  • Protect the brain from the effects of aging
  • Improve performance in normal healthy humans (Lino, et al., 1992)
  • Improve cognition by enhancing the production of acetylcholine
  • Delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease and enhance overall performance in some individuals with Alzheimer's disease (Sano, et al., 1992; Bowman, 1992)
  • Improve memory, attention span and alertness in people with Alzheimer's disease (Cabrero, et al., 1992; Cassat, et al., 1990)
  • Improve cerebral blood flow to the brain (Postiglione, et al., 1990; Rosadini, et al., 1988)
  • Counteract depression in the elderly (Bella, et al., 1990)

We've examined how it's possible to increase mitochondria function with supplementation of Acetyl-L-Carnitine. But since we know that mitochondria are also the source of free radical production, the question remaining is this:

How is it possible to re-energize the mitochondria without increasing free radical production?

Many of the damaging free radicals generated within cells are formed in the mitochondria during energy production. If you restored their energy producing capacity with ALC alone, it would cause a dramatic increase in free radical activity.

This would increase the amount of damage occurring within the cells, and would reduce any long-term benefit. Thus, while the amazing properties of ALC are truly a revolution in dietary supplements, the most desired anti-aging strategy would be to restore mitochondria function AND lower the level of free radical production coming from the mitochondria. Because the benefits of ALC slowly dissipate as increases in free radical production age the cells.

Reaping the full benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Recently, it was discovered that there are some antioxidants that could partially restore mitochondrial function in old animals and decrease free radical production at the same time. Unfortunately, most of them are synthetic chemicals that aren't safe for human consumption. All of them except one! Luckily this natural antioxidant is very well researched and safe and approved for human consumption...

What is Lipoic Acid?

Lipoic Acid is produced by the body in trace amounts. It's a vitamin-like compound, which is often called the "universal antioxidant". This is because unlike most other antioxidants that offer protection only for specific water-soluble or fat-soluble environments, Lipoic Acid offers protection in both cellular environments, providing antioxidant protection in all parts of our cells and body.

What's special about Lipoic Acid?

Lipoic Acid is invaluable in recycling or restoring other oxidized forms of antioxidants—including vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione and CoQ10— back to their active states. Lipoic Acid also crosses cell membranes and works as an antioxidant in both water and lipid parts of the body, including the brain.

Lipoic Acid's antioxidant benefits

Because of Lipoic Acid's unique abilities as a natural, broad-spectrum antioxidant, research into its effects quickly branched out. Since its development in Germany in the 1970s as a treatment for diabetic complications, it is routinely given to diabetics in Europe.

Some of the findings from this extensive research concluded that Lipoic Acid has the potential to:

  • Lower body levels of toxic metals, especially mercury.
  • Help prevent heart disease by protecting LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidation.
  • Promote brain and nerve cell health by stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).

But the most intriguing discovery was Lipoic Acid's anti-aging effects on old animals.

Lipoic Acid was also found to:

  • Improve memory in aged animals by restoring age-related brain cell receptor defects.
  • Protect brain cells from damage caused by toxins and chemicals.
  • Recycle CoQ10 back to its antioxidant form in the body, enhancing the antioxidant protection of this important antioxidant.
  • Normalize elevated lipid peroxide levels in aged animals, reducing the risk of oxidation damage, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • Restore antioxidant protection in old animals to normal, young animal levels.

Supporting Study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

(R)-alpha-lipoic acid-supplemented old rats have improved mitochondrial function, decreased oxidative damage, and increased metabolic rate.

Source

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

A diet supplemented with (R)-lipoic acid, a mitochondrial coenzyme, was fed to old rats to determine its efficacy in reversing the decline in metabolism seen with age. Young (3 to 5 months) and old (24 to 26 months) rats were fed an AIN-93M diet with or without (R)-lipoic acid for 2 wk, killed, and their liver parenchymal cells were isolated. Hepatocytes from untreated old rats vs. young controls had significantly lower oxygen consumption and mitochondrial membrane potential. (R)-Lipoic acid supplementation reversed the age-related decline in O2 consumption and increased mitochondrial membrane potential. Ambulatory activity, a measure of general metabolic activity, was almost threefold lower in untreated old rats vs. controls, but this decline was reversed (P<0.005) in old rats fed (R)-lipoic acid.

The increase of oxidants with age, was significantly lowered in (R)-lipoic acid supplemented old rats . Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, an indicator of lipid peroxidation, were increased fivefold with age in cells from unsupplemented rats. Feeding rats the (R)-lipoic acid diet reduced MDA levels markedly.

Both glutathione and ascorbic acid levels declined with age, but their loss was completely reversed with (R)-lipoic acid supplementation. Thus, (R)-lipoic acid supplementation improves indices of metabolic activity as well as lowers oxidative stress and damage evident in aging.

Click Here for Study.

NOTE: Consult with your Doctor or Nutritionist before starting any new supplement regimen.

~ Be Well!

Some Good News about Depression and Anti-oxidants!

We've all heard how much money Americans spend on anti-depressants every year, and how much of them wind up in our water supply.

What a boon to the Earth and to humanity for a natural, non-toxic substance to be found just as effective in the treatment of this condition.  The fantastic news is that we may have stumbled on just such a discovery.

It thrills me that the very foods and anti-oxidants we've been talking about here for months are the very same ones that can help re-balance brain chemistry and address the very real symptoms of depression.

After my mother's onset of dementia, I became clinically depressed.  She lived with us, and my children were 10 and 1 at the time.  I worked full-time, so the lovely nanny we hired to care for my 1-year-old watched mom for a few hours, and my sister would come take her for a couple of hours.

Her situation worsened, so that it became a full-time job keeping track of what she was doing.  More than once she would unlock the baby-proofed cabinets and give my 1-year-old spray bottles to play with... glass cleaner, bleach, 409, you name it.  A couple of times he'd run around the house clutching something he found on the floor, and it would be one of her blood thinners that she dropped.  It was also a time when my marriage was a little strained. The stress caused my depression.

I was put on Wellbutrin, which messed with my brain in very unhealthy ways. I couldn't think clearly, I could no longer multitask or plan meals or appointments for the next few days. I got off the meds and tried St. John's Wort. My MD said it was not safe for my son to have Mom live with us, and was causing me too much stress, so my older sister who worked part time and whose children were much older, converted her garage to an apartment for Mom.

Based on my experience I would not recommend prescription drugs to anyone, unless they had exhausted other methods of treatment.

Below is some very good news!

Antioxidants as antidepressants: fact or fiction?

Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Drago F, De Lorenzo A, Oriani G. 2012, Jun 1st

Source : Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.

Depression is a medical condition with a complex biological pattern of aetiology, involving genetic and epigenetic factors, along with different environmental stressors. Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress processes might play a relevant role in the pathogenic mechanism(s) underlying many major psychiatric disorders, including depression.

medicines-1756239_1280.jpg

Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been shown to modulate levels and activity of noradrenaline (norepinephrine), serotonin, dopamine and glutamate, the principal neurotransmitters involved in the neurobiology of depression. Major depression has been associated with lowered concentrations of several endogenous antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin E, zinc and coenzyme Q10, or enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, and with an impairment of the total antioxidant status.

Additionally, curcumin, the yellow pigment of curry, has been shown to strongly interfere with neuronal redox homeostasis in the CNS and to possess antidepressant activity in various animal models of depression, also thanks to its ability to inhibit monoamine oxidases.

There is an urgent need to develop better tolerated and more effective treatments for depressive disorders and several antioxidant treatments appear promising and deserve further study.

~ Hooray! 

In the News: Integrative Medicine: Antioxidants and Chemotherapy

Share widely!

Antioxidants and Chemotherapy

By Drs. Kay judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden

Published: Thursday, May. 31, 2012

Inflammation, and the use of antioxidants to put out inflammatory fires, is a hot topic these days. What do we mean by inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural and necessary response in the body whenever we are accosted by harmful germs or when we injure ourselves. When this occurs, our immune system steps in to fight foreign invaders and to bring our body back into balance so that we can heal.

Inflammatory chemicals are produced during this process, which can be harmful to our tissues, but antioxidants in our foods, such as vitamins C and E, help to quell this response and restore order to our tissues.

Inflammation can run amok, however, and cause persistent damage to healthy tissue, especially if we smoke or if we are overweight or obese. Chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat cancer also produce severe inflammation in the body, and this particular inflammatory response helps to kill off cancer cells. But it also harms healthy tissue in the process.

Many oncologists have been fearful of having their patients take any antioxidants during chemotherapy for fear that antioxidants might reduce the effectiveness of the chemo.

In a recent article in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Dr. Keith Block, a renowned integrative cancer specialist affiliated with the University of Illinois, discussed his review of more than 2,300 studies on the use of antioxidants during chemotherapy, and his report is very reassuring.

In summary, antioxidants often help to reduce side effects from chemotherapy, and this may allow patients to complete their full course of medication without interruption, which itself leads to better outcomes. Certain antioxidants also enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, reduce long-term toxicity and improve survival.

Not a single study reviewed by Block showed any evidence of antioxidants interfering with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In fact, a recent article looking at the impact of antioxidants in Chinese women undergoing treatment for invasive breast cancer found that use of antioxidant vitamin supplements in the first six months after diagnosis resulted in a reduced risk of both mortality and cancer recurrence.

Other studies have suggested survival benefit in certain cancers when patients take melatonin, as well as reduced toxicity from chemo with the use of glutathione and coenzyme Q10 among others.

So, if you are affected by cancer, what should you be thinking about to protect yourself during and after chemotherapy? First and foremost, begin by eating a super-healthful, plant-based diet that is loaded with dark-colored fruits and veggies so that you maximize your intake of antioxidants from your food, which is the most powerful way to get them.

You can also consider supplementing your diet with some of the more powerful antioxidants, such as fish oil, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, though we recommend that you meet with an integrative cancer specialist first so that you can determine which supplements are ideal for you, given your particular tumor as well as your treatment regimen.

And for those of you who have been affected by cancer, either because you or a loved one have faced this disease, there is a conference coming to Sacramento in September that you should know about. It's titled "Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving," and it is a gathering of some of the best and most inspiring experts in this business.

Cancer as a Turning Point is sponsored by the non-profit organization Healing Journeys, whose vision is that everyone touched by cancer or any life-altering condition be empowered to move from surviving to thriving. This conference is usually offered in two cities across the country every year.  The conference is free to all attendees, though donations are greatly appreciated to offset the cost, and donations are also tax-deductible. For more information, and to register, go to www.healingjourneys.org.

And for more information on an integrative approach to cancer treatment, look at Block's 2009 book "Life Over Cancer" (Bantam, $28, 608 pages) or Alschuler's gem that she co-wrote with Karolyn Gazella, "The Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing" (Celestial Arts, $25, 496 pages), now in its third edition.

~ Be Well! ♥

The Whey Protein Way .. to Better Health

Whey Protein: We’ve known since 2003 that eating curds and whey may be good for more than just nursery rhyme characters. A study showed whey protein may play a role in prostate cancer prevention. Whey is a liquid byproduct of the cheese production process and is rich in protein. Researchers found that when they treated human prostate cells in the lab with whey protein, the levels of an antioxidant called glutathione rose dramatically. Antioxidants like glutathione are thought to fight cancer-causing free radicals.

According to NIH: Whey protein concentrate has been shown to represent an effective and safe cysteine donor for glutathione (GSH) replenishment during GSH depletion in immune deficiency states. Cysteine is the crucial limiting amino acid for intracellular GSH synthesis.

Animal experiments showed that the concentrates of whey proteins also exhibit anti-carcinogenesis and anti-cancer activity. They do this via their effect on increasing GSH concentration in relevant tissues, and may have anti-tumor effect on low volume of tumor via stimulation of immunity through the GSH pathway. It is considered that oxygen radical generation is frequently a critical step in carcinogenesis, hence the effect of GSH on free radicals as well as carcinogen detoxification, could be important in inhibiting carcinogenesis. Case reports are presented which strongly suggest an anti-tumor effect of a whey protein dietary supplement in some urogenital cancers.

Have one to two scoops of  a high quality, low sugar and additives, Whey protein in a Shake or mixed with filtered cool water 4 - 5 times a week.

Gluta-what??

"It's the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease --

yet you've probably never heard of it. It's the secret to prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer's disease. There are more than 89,000 medical articles about it -- but your doctor doesn't know how address the epidemic deficiency of this critical life-giving molecule ...

What is it? I'm talking about the mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier and maestro of the immune system: GLUTATHIONE (pronounced "gloota-thigh-own").

The highest concentration of glutathione is found in the liver, making it critically important in the detoxification and elimination of free radicals. Accumulation of these dangerous compounds can result in oxidative stress, which occurs when the generation of free radicals in the body exceeds the body’s ability to neutralize and eliminate them. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds created in the body during normal metabolic functions; they can also enter the body through the environment.

 

How Should Glutathione Be Taken?

 Unfortunately the BEST way to get supplemental glutathione into our system is through intravenous therapy.

Glutathione is probably not well absorbed into the body when taken by mouth.  A more practical solution is to take the precursors -- that is, the molecules the body needs to make glutathione -- rather than glutathione itself. While there is no solid proof this works, the consensus among experts is that doing so will increase the amount of glutathione in the cells.

Note: Glutathione was the main ingredient in the immune system boosting 'cocktail' I was given daily at the Immune Clinic I've mentioned in earlier blogs, in Orange County.

   "The good news is that your body produces its own glutathione. The bad news is that poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all deplete your glutathione.

    This leaves you susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and cancer. And your liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job of detoxification.

   At first I thought that this was just a coincidental finding, but over the years I have come to realize that our ability to produce and maintain a high level of glutathione is critical to recovery from nearly all chronic illness -- and to preventing disease and maintaining optimal health and performance. "  from Dr. Mark Hyman's blog .. read more here.

Another Source:

 Glutathione: New Supplement on the Block

July 30, 2001 -- Who wouldn't like to get their hands on a naturally occurring substance that acts as an antioxidant, an immune system booster, and a detoxifier? Something that can help your body repair damage caused by stress, pollution, radiation, infection, drugs, poor diet, aging, injury, trauma, and burns?

 A handful of researchers are saying the antioxidant glutathione can do all that and maybe more. But can you believe such sweeping claims? What's the evidence to back them up? Here are what three experts have to say:

 Gustavo Bounous, MD, is director of research and development at Immunotec and a retired professor of surgery at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. "It's the [body's] most important antioxidant because it's within the cell."

 Antioxidants -- the most well-known of which are vitamins C and E -- are important for good health because they neutralize free radicals, which can build up in cells and cause damage.

 Glutathione occurs naturally in many foods, and people who eat well probably have enough in their diets, says Dean Jones, PhD, professor of biochemistry and director of nutritional health sciences at Emory University in Atlanta. Those with diets high in fresh fruits and vegetables and freshly prepared meats are most likely just fine. On the other hand, those with poor diets may get too little.

 What Does Glutathione Do?

 The strong antioxidant effect of glutathione helps keep cells running smoothly. Bounous and another glutathione expert, Jeremy Appleton, ND, say it also helps the liver remove chemicals that are foreign to the body, such as drugs and pollutants.

 Appleton is Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore., and senior science editor for Healthnotes, a database on complementary and alternative medicine available at newspaper stands and health food stores.

 "If you look in a hospital situation at people who have cancer, AIDS, or other very serious disease, almost invariably they are depleted in glutathione," says Appleton. "The reasons for this are not completely understood, but we do know that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health."

 Since Glutathione is not well absorbed when taken by mouth, a solution is to take the precursors -- that is, the molecules the body needs to make glutathione -- rather than glutathione itself.  While there is no solid proof this works, the consensus among experts is that that doing so will increase the amount of glutathione in the cells.

 Bounous has developed a glutathione-enhancing product called Immunocal, which is made up of glutathione precursors, mainly the amino acid cysteine.

 Who Does Glutathione Help?

 Animal and laboratory studies have demonstrated that glutathione has the potential to fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is the cause of many of the diseases of old age.

 "Theoretically, there are many very strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione," says Appleton. "But when people have actually tried to use glutathione as an oral supplement, nasal spray, or intravenously, the results have been more of a preliminary nature. The amount of research on glutathione as a supplement ... is very limited."

 The best studies have been conducted in cancer. One study involved women with ovarian cancer who were being treated with chemotherapy. Some of the women were also treated with intravenous glutathione. Those given the glutathione not only had fewer side effects from the chemotherapy but also had better overall survival rates.

 Case Study

Myriam Abalain of Montreal, Canada, is one of the many people who have taken Bounous's Immunocal to combat cancer. In 1996, at age 33, a routine PAP smear revealed she had precancerous cells on her cervix, which is one step away from having cervical cancer. The three specialists she visited all told her that a hysterectomy was her only option, but she hesitated to have such major, life-altering surgery.

 Instead, she waited. For more than two years, her condition remained stable. Then a friend suggested she try Immunocal. After eight months of taking the supplement, her physician could no longer detect any precancerous cells. Does this mean Immunocal cured her? It's hard to say based on just one case like hers. It is possible her body went into remission naturally.

 Even Bounous acknowledges there's no real proof his product cured her cancer, but he's working on conducting good clinical research, comparing individuals with cancer taking glutathione to those who are not.

 

What Are the Risks?

 Overall, taking glutathione or its precursors in reasonable amounts appears to be quite safe, although it should be avoided in people with milk protein allergies and in those who have received an organ transplant. There is also some concern, however, about the safety of taking glutathione for the one condition for which there is the greatest evidence of its usefulness: cancer.

 "People don't get concerned about these health-promoting [supplements] until they're in their 50s and 60s," says Emory's Dean Jones. At that point, they may already have the initial precancerous [cells]. Therefore, the supplements, just like they promote health in normal tissues, might promote health in the precancerous tissue."

 Appleton recognizes this possibility but says "there's no evidence that supplementing with glutathione, even intravenously, is in any way going to make any cancer worse. In fact, the evidence we have suggests the opposite."

 Bounous says his research has demonstrated that taking Immunocal actually lowers glutathione in cancer cells while increasing it in normal cells. As a result, the cancer cells are more vulnerable to chemotherapy, and the normal cells are protected.

 The upshot? The experts disagree on who should take glutathione or its precursors. Bounous says everyone should take it in order to optimize overall health. Appleton would reserve it for people with cancer. Jones says it might only prove beneficial for those who eat poorly and are thus unlikely to be getting much glutathione or its precursors in their diet.

 They all acknowledge that people with severe diseases known to be associated with low glutathione levels, such as AIDS, may well benefit from the supplement, although there is no proof to this effect.

 For her part, Myriam Abalain is still taking Immunocal and feeling fine. "I'm doing pretty good now," she says. "I'm in better shape than ever!"

*~*~*~*~*~

 If you have any of the listed illnesses, talk to your doctor about Glutathione treatment, especially if you are in Chemotherapy.

  ~ Be Well.