Thursday, April 25, 2019

Delicious medicine: Compounds in chocolate are good for your heart

(Natural News) Chocolates are some of the world’s best-loved sweets. They’re a comfort food for some and a guilty pleasure for others. But no matter how or why you choose to eat chocolates, you should know that they’re doing you more good than just making you feel happy or satisfying your cravings. According to a 2018 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritioneating chocolates every day keeps your heart healthy.

Chocolates are good for your arteries
The study involved 45 male volunteers who were divided into three different groups. Each group was assigned a capsule to take with their breakfast every day for one month. Two of the three capsules contained different amounts of the two most studied compounds found in chocolate: (-)-epicatechin and procyanidins. Both compounds are flavonols or flavan-3-ols, a class of flavonoids found in many fruits and vegetables, including cocoa. (-)-Epicatechin and procyanidins are known antioxidants.

(-)-Epicatechin lowers blood pressure and reduces stiffness in arteries

When researchers from the University of Dusseldorf in Germany examined the effects of the compounds, they found that (-)-epicatechin improved endothelial function in the volunteers. It also lowered their blood pressure and reduced arterial stiffness. These results aligned with those of previous studies, particularly one made in the Netherlands which reported that men who consumed large amounts of (-)-epicatechin had a 38 percent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than men who consumed less (-)-epicatechin.

In contrast, the volunteers who took capsules with less (-)-epicatechin and more procyanidins did not receive the same benefits. “This demonstrates that the impact of CF (cocoa flavonols) on vascular health is linked to (?)-epicatechin and not to CF procyanidins,” wrote the researchers. (Related: Chocolate lowers blood pressure and slashes risk of heart disease.)

Procyanidins lower blood cholesterol levels

Procyanidins are not without their health benefits. Although volunteers who took large amounts of procyanidins did not experience a decrease in blood pressure or arterial stiffness, they did enjoy a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. This demonstrated that procyanidins still support heart health, albeit in an indirect way. The impact of procyanidins may not be immediately felt, but it’s still massive in the long run.
The researchers also explained that the role of procyanidins may have to do with the effect size of flavonols – that is, they protect and preserve (-)-epicatechin and other flavonols from degradation during food processing and storage, and in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion. The researchers noted that this might explain the results of other studies, which used only pure (-)-epicatechin and reported no significant effects on cardiovascular function.

Other reasons to eat chocolate

Research shows that (-)-epicatechin can also decrease blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. (-)-Epicatechin increases insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance, suggesting that eating (-)-epicatechin-rich foods like chocolate can help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
(-)-Epicatechin also has anticancer effects. Several studies reported that it can stop angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels, which is one of the ways cancer cells grow and spread to other parts of the body. High concentrations of (-)-epicatechin also prevent cancer cell proliferation in vitro.
Procyanidins, together with (-)-epicatechin and other flavonols, may have anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that these compounds can inhibit enzymesinvolved in inflammation and the formation of tumors. Procyanidins are also used in connection with health conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency, capillary fragility, diabetic retinopathy, sunburn, pancreatic insufficiency, and varicose veins. In terms of anticancer activity, procyanidins target components of intracellular signaling pathwaysimportant for regulating cell survival and death and mediating metastasis.

Friday, February 22, 2019

High-dose vitamin C can treat dengue fever and Zika virus

(Natural News) Nutritional therapies are simple low-cost methods of interrupting the transmission of various viral infections, as well as reducing one’s susceptibility to these diseases. Of particular note is the incredible healing power of vitamin C in reducing symptoms related to dengue fever, Zika virus, and similar infections.

Dengue fever can be effectively reduced with vitamin C therapy. A case study by Thomas E. Levy, M.D. showed that 10 packets of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C (1,000 mg per packet) completely cured a 15-year-old Colombian girl suffering from hemorrhagic dengue fever. Levy wrote of his experience on NaturalHealth365 and said that his patient was well after only 48 hours.

Recent studies are proving the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C therapy in effectively resolving symptomatic and documented cases of Ebola virus infection in Sierra Leone as well. Case studies published in various medical journals documented the health and status of several Ebola patients in Central Africa. Across the board, a protocol of ozone, four to eight grams of vitamin C, and a supplement containing multiple antioxidants (such as thiamine, riboflavin, selenium, N-acetyl cysteine, glutathione, and lipoic acid) dramatically reduced symptoms.

Similarly, vitamin C therapy appears to be effective in treating the Zika virus. A 2016 case report written by researchers from the University of Puerto Rico, Berdiel Clinic, and the Ponce Health Sciences University concluded that high doses of intravenous vitamin C therapy administered over three days significantly improved the condition of a patient. Symptoms associated with Zika were completely resolved without any side effects after the fourth day.

A natural antioxidant that cures and prevents

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. While it can be used quite effectively as a therapeutic agent in many diseases and disorders, its power remains in its ability to protect the immune system by fighting off infections. Indeed, vitamin C is a clear example of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, green peppers, red peppers, and green, leafy vegetables. In a 2013 study titled “Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview,” researchers concluded that the antioxidant had profound effects on how the body responds to infections. Supplementing with vitamin C leads to a significantly reduced risk of becoming ill from various diseases and infections. Vitamin C is especially recommended for treating various inflammatory conditions.

Other documented uses for vitamin C

A number of experimental studies have observed that vitamin C therapy can be beneficial for the following conditions:
  • Heavy metal toxicity — Vitamin C therapy may help remove heavy metals from the body. Recent clinical trials based on histopathological examinations of animal models concluded that the antioxidant lessened the severity of effects of chronic lead exposure in the liver, kidneys, brain, and testes.
  • Diabetes — There is convincing clinical evidence that vitamin C can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The metabolic disorder is associated with intense oxidative stress — a condition that can be treated with vitamin C.
  • Neurodegenerative disorders — A study conducted on 12 schizophrenics found that large doses of vitamin C improved the mental condition in 75 percent of the patients.
  • Cancer — High doses of vitamin C can improve the survival of patients diagnosed with terminal cancer. Studies suggest cancer patients to take around 10 g of vitamin C to reap its full benefits.
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