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JA N U A RY 2020

stay

sharp! page

12 Boost your workout Quit smoking Reduce stress

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lemon balm helps you focus

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youtheory.com

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January 2020 vol. 16 no. 1

20 7 departments

12 feature

4 From the Editor’s Desk 7 Health Pulse

Yoga offers relief from back pain • Choline may prevent Alzheimer’s disease • US kids aren’t getting enough sleep • More

10 Supplement Spotlight

Curcumin is packed with health benefits.

15 New Frontiers

Stressed? CBD can help.

18 Everyday Remedies

Natural ways to treat headaches.

20 Sports Nutrition

Glutathione can boost energy and aid recovery.

natural nootropics Herbs and supplements to enhance cognition

23 Healthy Glow

Bakuchiol is a plant-based alternative to retinol.

25 Herbal Healing

Aloe vera improves skin, digestion, and more.

27 Healthspan

There’s no better time than now to quit smoking. Cover: Lemon balm tea

A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. remedies-and-recipes.com

/RemediesRecipes

@RemediesRecipes January 2020  

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from the editor ’s desk

Rejuvenation Happy new year. I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote out a list of resolutions, but turning the page to a fresh slate of days always brings on a sense of renewal. Does it really matter much if we shed those 10 pounds? Extend our exercise time? Eat less sugar? Sure, it does, but the immediate effects are small, so our tendency is to revert to the norm before month’s end. Sticking to other resolutions can be far more consequential, so they require additional willpower and help. I’ve seen friends and family members struggle to quit smoking for decades, for example. Some stop outright. Some find short-term success. But many just give up the battle and continue to smoke even though they truly wish they could stop. “Quit Smoking” in this issue of remedies (page 27) offers some less-mainstream approaches that can lead to success. Herbal formulas, yoga, meditation, and other lifestyle changes may hold the key if other options haven’t worked. Smoking rates have dropped dramatically in the past half century, so quitting is clearly possible. If this month’s article helps a few readers make the break, then we’ll have done our job. (Yoga and meditation are darn good practices anyway.) Here’s to a healthy 2020.

Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editor Rich Wallace Assistant Editor Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Graphic Designer Ronna Rajaniemi Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service customerservice@tasteforlife.com Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 603-831-1868 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2020 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.

Creative and Sales Offices: 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene NH 03431 603-283-0034 Printed in the US on partially recycled paper.

Rich Wallace, editor

The inks used to print the body of this publication contain a minimum of 20%, by weight, renewable resources.

Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations. 4  remedies 

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yoga eases back, sleep troubles Yoga and physical therapy were shown to be effective treatments for co-occurring sleep problems and back pain. The new study found that the program also reduced the need for medication. Participants showed significant relief lasting a full year following 12 weeks of yoga classes or physical therapy. Sleep disturbance and insomnia are common in people who have chronic lower back pain. Medications for sleep and back pain can have serious side effects. “Identifying holistic ways to treat these conditions could help decrease the reliance on these medications as well as keep patients safer and more comfortable,” said researcher Eric Roseen, DC. “Yoga and physical therapy as treatment for chronic lower back pain also improves sleep,” Boston Medical Center, 11/19/19

nutrient may help thwart Alzheimer’s Choline—an essential nutrient that’s similar to B vitamins—may have the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to new research. It appears to block the production of amyloid-beta plaques, which are the primary pathology of the disease. Researchers determined that having adequate levels of choline throughout life can stave off AD. The nutrient also reduces the activation of cells that can increase brain inflammation. Choline is readily available in supplement form. It can be lacking in plant-based diets. “Common nutrient supplementation may hold the answers to combating Alzheimer’s disease,” Arizona State University, 9/27/19

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omega-3 safety confirmed New research from the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah found no link between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and prostate cancer. The researchers were concerned about an earlier study that suggested such a link. “If I’m recommending omega 3 for my patients to save their hearts, I want to make sure I’m not putting them at risk for prostate cancer,” said physician assistant Viet T. Le. “Our study found no evidence of a link between the two.” The research team compared blood tests for the omega 3s EPA and DHA in 87 men with prostate cancer and 149 without the disease. A second new study from the same team found that omega-3 supplementation led to fewer heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure in certain patients. “Omega-3 shows protection against heart disease related death, without prostate cancer risk,” Intermountain Medical Center” 11/17/19

did you know? Fish-oil supplementation and 12 weeks of resistance training led to increased strength and improved blood pressure in a group of older adults. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. “Chronic fish oil consumption with resistance training improves grip strength physical function, and blood pressure in community-dwelling older adults” by S.R. Lee et al., Sports (Basel), 7/19

kids need more sleep Fewer than half of school-age kids in the US get sufficient sleep most weeknights, according to a new study. Those who do get adequate sleep are much more likely to have a positive view of school and to show signs of “childhood flourishing”—a measure of well-being. “Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children,” said researcher Hoi See Tsao, MD. “Insufficient sleep among adolescents, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention, and academic performance.” The study authors set sufficient sleep at nine hours per night. Of the survey’s nearly 50,000 children ages 6 to 17, only 48 percent met that goal. “Only half of US children get enough sleep during the week,” American Academy of Pediatrics, 10/25/19

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E M P L O Y E E O W N E D

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supplement spotlight

solid gold curcumin’s many health benefits Turmeric is named the “golden spice” for the color it bestows to curries, mustards, and trendy lattes. But its benefits go well beyond taste and tone. A compound in turmeric called curcumin serves the body as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. From joints to the brain, curcumin offers numerous health enhancements.

Joint benefits The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin helps calm painful joints of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Research shows that knee pain—as well as overall quality of life—improves for those with osteoarthritis when they regularly use curcumin supplements. These perks come without the side effects associated with conventional pain relievers. Many people with joint pain use NSAID medications (such as ibuprofen and aspirin) that can irritate the stomach and harm the liver. Here’s where curcumin shines. This herb causes no such side effects—it’s easy on the gut and protective of the liver. Curcumin taken with another herbal extract called boswellia can be even more effective for joint pain relief. Both of these herbs, when taken alone, ease joint pain. However, taking them together brings better pain control. This was 10  remedies 

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found in a three-month study of people with osteoarthritis. The combination product in this study was based on 500 milligram (mg) capsules containing 350 mg curcuminoids and 150 mg boswellic acid, taken three times daily.

Mind and mood Ongoing low-grade inflammation harms brain function over time, serving as one of the instigators of cognitive decline. When older adults supplement with curcumin, it can make a real difference in terms of better working memory. Curcumin may also lift mood. When healthy older adults (ages 60–85) supplemented with curcumin daily for at least a month, their mood improved

compared to those taking placebos. Participants felt more calm and content, and they experienced lower stress levels. But what about those who are depressed? Studies in these populations also show mood-lifting and antidepressant effects. —Victoria Dolby Toews “Can curcumin counteract cognitive decline? Clinical trial evidence and rationale for combining omega-3 fatty acids with curcumin” by J.C. Kuszewski et al., Adv Nutr, 2018 l “Effectiveness of curcuminoids in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis . . .” by I.J. Onakpoya et al., Int J Rheum Dis, 2017 l “Efficacy and safety of curcumin and its combination with boswellic acid in osteoarthritis . . .” by A. Haroyan et al., BMC Complement Altern Med, 2018 l “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood . . .” by K.H. Cox et al., J Psychopharmacol, 2015 l “The role of curcumin administration in patients with major depressive disorder . . .” by D. Al-Karawi et al., Phytother Res, 2016

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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)

natural nootropics these herbs can keep you sharp A little extra brain boost to get you through the day? Yes, please! Nootropics are “smart drugs,” herbs, and supplements that enhance neural and cognitive function.

GOTU KOLA

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Many show promise for managing the onset or prevention of dementia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. They may also help with day-to-day things like remembering someone’s name at a party, helping students study, keeping night shift workers alert, and reducing clerical errors. It helps to match up with the remedies that fit your individual needs. Stimulate or calm? Fast-acting or slow-building (or a blend)? For a child or an adult? Some are more or less appropriate for children or alongside medications. How do you want to take it? Aromatics work well when inhaled or ingested. These are not miracle cures for disease but offer fantastic support. Here are some of my favorites.

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PEPPERMINT

ROSEMARY

HOLY BASIL

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) and bacopa (Bacopa monnieri): These two top the list of nootropics from the Indian healing system of Ayurveda. Both go by the name “brahmi,” which is a tad confusing. Here’s what they have in common: The leaves are slow acting (months!) and gentle yet profound neural and brain tonics that decrease inflammation and may restore neural function. They calm anxiety, agitation, and stress with better focus and without sedation. They’re kidto elder-friendly and useful in almost any cognitive concern from ADHD to dementia as well as traumatic brain injury. Additionally, gotu kola is an adaptogen, vulnerary (healing wounds and supporting collagen and connective tissue integrity), circulatory tonic, and blood vessel toner. Larger doses (or in formula) work best, including food forms as a cooked green, juice, or pesto. Ensure that you’re buying organic cultivated material from reputable companies. Mint-family memory tonics: Various aromatic mintfamily plants act as nootropics—whether you ingest the leaves (in food, tea, tinctures, or possibly pills), inhale essential-oil scents, or apply diluted essential oils to the skin. They help improve focus, affect mood, reduce inflammation, mildly reduce blood sugar, and boost levels of the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine, but each has its own specialties. All work within minutes, with deeper benefits from regular use. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has a long history of use for memory, with particular benefits for older adults. A potent anti-inflammatory, it improves circulation and antioxidant capacity, and promotes a perky-alert, clearminded state. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)—in aromatherapy, in chewing gum, as tea, or just a few drops of tincture—also promotes a perky-alert-energized mental state. It clears the mind, boosts the mood, and improves speed and accuracy for day-to-day tasks like data entry and clerical tasks. The more calming lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)— one of my absolute favorites—is well-studied for its ability to boost focus and attention while quelling anxiety, hyperactivity, and agitation in children and adults. Fresh plant tincture, liquid in capsules, and aromatherapy cream may

GINKGO

SCHISANDRA

work best, but all forms can be used. It makes a fabulous base to a formula with other herbs, and it works within one hour. Some studies find high doses work best, but others find they make people sleepy. You can easily play with the dose to find your sweet spot. Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum, syn. O. sanctum) has somewhat similar properties and blends well with lemon balm. Many other herbs can be of use. Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium spp.) shows strong benefits for healing nerve damage due to aging and dementia, injury, or illness. The raw mushroom should be cooked, or opt for specially prepared supplements. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) improves microcirculation to the brain, decreases inflammation, and improves antioxidant capacity. It’s likely most useful in the early stages of dementia or as prevention support. Gently energizing adaptogens also act as nootropics, including rhodiola root (Rhodiola rosea), schisandra berries (Schisandra chinensis), and ashwagandha root and leaf extract (Withania somnifera). Consider fresh milky oat seed (Avena sativa, sometimes called wild oat seed) in formulas for its calming, nourishing nervous system support, especially for “adrenal burnout,” hyperactivity, and anyone who feels “so fried they’re crispy.” Regular turmeric root (Curcuma longa) consumption in food may help allay cognitive decline due to a variety of actions including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and circulation support. Also look more deeply at underlying triggers of cognitive problems including blood sugar dysregulation (a biggie!), inflammation, stress, sleep deprivation, and oxidative stress. Always rule out or address any underlying disease with a healthcare professional.

Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is the best-selling, awardwinning author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Maria’s a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and Rosemary Gladstar’s Sage Mountain. Learn more about Maria and herbs at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.

Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, 2nd Edition, by David Winston and Steven Maimes ($19.99, Healing Arts Press, 2019) l “Adaptogens: A review of their history, biological activity, and clinical benefits,” by A. Panossian, and H. Wagner, http://cms.herbalgram.org, 2011 l Body into Balance by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey Publishing, 2016) l “Centella asiatica attenuates beta-amyloid-induced oxidative stress and mitochrondrial dysfunction” by N.E. Gray et al., J Alzheimers Dis, 4/28/15 l “Centella asiatica improves physical performance and health-related quality of life in healthy elderly . . .” by L. Mato et al., 2011; “The clinical efficacy and safety of tulsi in humans . . .” by N. Jamshidi and M. Cohen, 5/16/17, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine l “The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri . . .,” by M.P. Pase et al., J Altern Complement Med, 7/12 l “Exploring the role of ‘brahmi’ (Bacopa monnieri and Centella asiatica) in brain function and therapy” by G.K. Shinomol et al., Recent Pat Endocr Metab Immune Drug Discov, 1/11 l Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey Publishing, 2019) l Herbs and Nutrients for Neurologic Disorders: Treatment Strategies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraine, and Seizures by Sidney Kurn and Sheryl Shook ($29.95, Healing Arts Press, 2016) l “An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children,” by U.P. Dave et al., Adv Mind Body Med, 2014 l “Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population” by A. Pengelly et al., J Med Food, 1/12

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new frontiers Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are obtainable in much of the US. A nonpsychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is being studied for its effects on many health conditions. Each state has laws regarding CBD with varying degrees of restriction. Learn about CBD’s status in your state at www.CBDCentral.com.

CBD may offer stress relief studies show promise

The hottest supplement on the planet? From this vantage point it seems to be cannabidiol (CBD), which has been touted for its effects on a wide variety of conditions— particularly stress and anxiety. Conduct an online search for CBD anxiety (which I just did) and you’ll find countless remedies for sale. But what’s the science behind this non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis plant? Research is pouring in and the evidence is limited, but encouraging. A 2019 study stated that CBD “is considered one of the most promising candidates for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.” The authors of that study concluded that clinical evidence is “still poor” but that anxiety is among the conditions where CBD has demonstrated potential.

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continued from page 15

More herbs for stress Ashwagandha root extract helped reduce stress and anxiety in a recent study. Participants also reported significantly fewer food cravings and saw reductions in body weight. Fifty-two people under chronic stress received either ashwagandha (300 milligrams) or a placebo twice daily for eight weeks. The extract was found to be safe and tolerable. Other common herbs with stress-relieving properties include bacopa, chamomile, gotu kola, holy basil, lemon balm, rhodiola, and valerian. “Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with ashwagandha root extract,” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 4/6/16 l Herbal Therapy & Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston ($46.95, Wolters Kluwer, 2008)

The evidence Anecdotally, CBD appears to produce relief from stress in humans. In the lab, one recent study determined that low doses of CBD can reduce pain and anxiety in animals. Lead author Gabriella Gobbi, MD, PhD, said the findings enhance the potential use of cannabis in human medicine, with CBD seen as a safe alternative to THC and opioids for back pain, sciatica, and chronic pain associated with cancer, diabetes, and trauma. A review of ten studies regarding CBD’s effectiveness for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) determined that CBD may offer some relief for symptoms such as sleep disturbances and nightmares. The researchers found the previous studies to be small and of low quality, and called for well-controlled, randomized, doubleblind clinical trials.

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The future Scientists are being very cautious regarding CBD for stress, anxiety, and related conditions. A new report in the journal Lancet Psychiatry concluded that “further high-quality studies directly examining the effect of cannabinoids on treating mental disorders are needed.” Authors of that report examined the results of 83 studies that tested CBD and other cannabinoids in the treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and related conditions. —Cameron Hendrix

“Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for psychosis” by C. Davies and S. Bhattacharyya, Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 11/8/19 l “Cannabidiol (CBD) use in psychiatric disorders . . .” by S. Bonaccorso et al., Neurotoxicology, 9/19 l “Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior . . .” by D. De Gregorio et al., Pain, 1/19 l “Cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in anxiety, depression, and dysregulation of emotion in humans” by V.L. Chadwick et al., Curr Opin Psychiatry, 11/9/19 l “Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders” by N. Black et al., Lancet Psychiatry, 12/19 l “Cannabis pain relief without the ‘high,’” McGill University Health Centre, 10/24/18 l “The effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A systematic review” by C. Hindocha et al., J Dual Diagn, 9/19 l “How effective and safe is medical cannabis as a treatment of mental disorders?” by E. Hoch et al., Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci, 2/19 l “Preclinical and clinical evidence supporting use of cannabidiol in psychiatry” by G. Calapai et al., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 8/19

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January 2020  

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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s

headache What is it? Pain/discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck; tension headaches are the most common type. What causes it? Stress, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, skipped meals, caffeine withdrawal, alcohol.

Supplements:

Magnesium, B vitamins, fish oil.

Herbal Therapy:

Blue vervain, butterbur, feverfew, ginger, pedicularis, wood betony.

Lifestyle: Exercise, eat regularly, stay hydrated, get adequate sleep, and manage stress.

Food: Avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and red wine, aged cheese, and products containing nitrates or sulfites.

Homeopathy: Antimonium crudum, Apis, Belladonna, Bryonia, Lycopodium, Magnesia phos, Pulsatilla.

Body Into Balance by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey Publishing, 2016) l The Complete Homeopathic Resource by Dennis Chernin, MD, MPH ($29.95, North Atlantic Books, 2006) l “Food Triggers for Migraines,” www.WebMD.com, 1/9/19 l “Headache,” www.MedlinePlus.gov, 4/3/19

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sports nutrition and performance

glutathione a powerhouse antioxidant

Found in nearly all of our cells, it contains not one, not two, but three amino acids— cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. So it’s no wonder glutathione is also known as the “mother of all antioxidants.”

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Glutathione plays major roles in the body. It makes DNA, a vital component of proteins and cells. It supports immune function. It’s used in forming sperm cells. It regenerates vitamins C and E. It breaks down harmful free radicals. For athletes, glutathione is a go-to nutrient. Among its benefits: •B  oosting energy, focus, mental clarity, and sleep •R  educing symptoms of stress, discomfort in muscles and joints, and the effects of aging •R  emoving toxins from liver and cells •A  iding in athletic performance and recovery.

Build muscle For athletes and nonathletes alike, maintaining strength and muscle mass is essential over the aging process. As people hit their 30s, muscle mass begins to decrease slightly; the decline speeds up after age 50. By 75, some people have lost over half of their fast-twitch muscle fibers. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition points to glutathione supplementation as a potential key to building muscle mass and strength. The researchers assigned 75 men to either a placebo, a combo of glutathione and L-citrulline, or just L-citrulline-malate and tested them before and after resistance training. After four weeks, the men given glutathione had significant increases in muscle mass and strength, but men in the other groups did not.

Reduce fatigue Research has also linked glutathione to a decrease in muscle fatigue during exercise. The effects of glutathione and exercise were studied in both mice and men. The researchers concluded that glutathione induces aerobic metabolism and helps prevent exercise-induced fatigue.

Up the ante Our livers produce glutathione, though levels decrease as we grow older. But there are ways to ensure we have enough. Amino acids methionine and cysteine, which contain sulfur, are precursors for glutathione, so a good place to start is by eating plenty of foods that

are rich in sulfur. Mushrooms are among the best sources, but sulfur is also plentiful in meat, fish, eggs, grains—including rice, bread, and pasta— and vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Researchers found links between dairy consumption and glutathione concentrations in older people’s brains, likely because of the beta-casein in dairy products, which can increase glutathione in the body. So drinking milk and eating cheese, yogurt, and other products made from milk can keep glutathione levels up. Whey protein, a favorite of many athletes, contains an abundance of cysteine and increases glutathione levels. People who use protein powder and protein drinks can check the labels for whey when they make purchases. Exercise itself increases glutathione levels over the long and short term. One study indicated that older adults who were regularly active throughout their lives had higher glutathione levels. Younger adults who weren’t active registered increases in glutathione after exercising. Finally, you can take supplements that promote production of glutathione in the body. Three to try are milk thistle, N-acetyl cysteine, and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Supplementing with glutathione Glutathione can be bought as an oral supplement, but it may not be effective in that form. It can also be administered through creams, suppositories, and intravenously. If you’re thinking about trying a glutathione supplement, talk with your healthcare or sports medicine provider—side effects may include lower zinc levels and breathing problems in people with asthma. —Jane Eklund

“7 health benefits of glutathione”; “How to increase glutathione levels: 4 natural ways,” www.MedicalNewsToday.com l “Do you have a glutathione insufficiency?” by Amy Myers, www.AmyMyersMD.com l “Does glutathione enhance sports performance?” by Chris Latham, www.HealWellNutrition.com, 9/4/18 l “Glutathione for building muscle mass and strength,” https://blog.DesignsForHealth.com, 12/21/18 l “Glutathione supplementation suppresses muscle fatigue induced by prolonged exercise via improved aerobic metabolism” by Wataru Aoi et al., J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2/5/15 l “Glutathione: Uses and risks”; “Glutathione: Uses, side effects, interactions, dosage, and warning,” WebMD.com

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healthy glow

bakuchiol a natural alternative to retinol Who doesn’t want smooth and glowing skin? But at what cost? Many skin care ingredients work, but the price is often harsh side effects and possible toxicity.

Retinoids (a catch-all term for vitamin A derivatives like retinol) have certainly been proven effective. They encourage the skin’s collagen production, and they target fine lines and wrinkles by speeding up the turnover of skin cells. In addition, they lighten dark spots, improve elasticity, and ease acne. The problem is that those with sensitive skin tend to experience dryness, redness, stinging, peeling, and burning when using traditional retinols. The Environmental Working Group lists retinol as a high hazard and a “known human reproductive toxicant” associated with cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Gentle and effective A natural alternative that’s easier to tolerate, bakuchiol is proven to function the same way retinol does. Completely different chemically and structurally, bakuchiol is not considered a retinoid. It’s a popular plant-based and vegan alternative to retinol. Derived from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant that grows in India, bakuchiol is gentle on the skin. It reduces the appearance of pores, brightens the complexion, increases collagen, and boosts cell turnover. It’s a gentler alternative to retinol—particularly for those with rosacea.

But does it work as well as retinol? The British Journal of Dermatology published results of a 12-week study that compared women using a once-daily 0.5 percent retinol product to women applying a twice-daily 0.5 percent bakuchiol product. The women using the retinol product reported no statistically significant difference in improvements for hyperpigmentation and wrinkle reduction. When it came to facial skin stinging and skin scaling, it was the retinol users that reported more side effects. Another study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, discovered that participants who applied bakuchiol twice a day for three months found their skin dramatically improved with reductions in photo damage, wrinkles, dark spots, and fine lines. Researchers stated that bakuchiol “can function as an anti-aging compound through retinol-like regulation of gene expression.” Start by adding bakuchiol products to your nightly beauty regimen one or two times a week. Slowly increase to daily use. Apply bakuchiol after gently cleansing the skin, but before moisturizing. Bakuchiol formulations may include vitamin C, melatonin, alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, or tremella mushrooms for greater skin benefits. —Lisa Fabian

“3 natural retinol alternatives for real results with zero irritation” by Sarah Ban, www.OrganicAuthority.com, 4/18/19 l “Bakuchiol: The anti-ageing skin alternative that might usurp retinol” by Claudia Canavan, www.WomensHealthMag.com/uk, 10/22/19 l “Is bakuchiol really effective enough to be a ‘natural retinol alternative’?” by A.A. Newton, www.Self.com, 9/23/19 l “What is bakuchiol? The natural retinol alternative for sensitive skin, explained” by Jessica Migala, www.Prevention.com, 9/26/19

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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herbal healing

get to know

aloe this ancient herb is a powerful healer

The medicinal use of Aloe vera stretches back centuries. Commonly known as lily of the desert, the plant has benefited numerous civilizations. And it can benefit you too. There are two primary aloe substances used in products today: the clear gel from the inside of the leaf and the yellow latex, which is harvested from the plant’s skin. The gel is applied topically while the latex is often ingested.

Skin care Aloe gel is an excellent remedy for skin abrasions and, due to its ability to stimulate collagen production, it’s a potent anti-aging weapon. You can apply the raw gel directly from the leaf, and you can drink the juice to benefit your skin from the inside. The topical application of aloe helps to treat stings, rashes, psoriasis, and sunburn. When combined with tretinoin, it’s very effective against mild and moderate acne due to compounds that suppress inflammation, relieve pain, fight bacteria, and speed healing. The enzymes in aloe gel serve to exfoliate, making skin smoother. Just don’t overdo it. Although aloe vera can moisturize, when used in excess, it can over dry or trigger extreme oil production depending on your skin type.

Digestion Aloe vera increases the bioavailability of nutrients from food, particularly vitamins C and B12, and helps soften stools. Aloe latex has laxative effects and may be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and hemorrhoids. The juice can help relieve nausea and soothe acid reflux.

Pain relief Aloe vera has long been used to treat wounds. It makes an excellent wound dressing because it can draw blood to the wound to seal it. Aloe isn’t limited to external healing, though. The juice, when consumed, can relieve joint and muscle pain. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties counteract pain and swelling in arthritic joints and can also ease aching muscles. Aloe extract has been shown to have a stimulating effect on the uterus, making it a beneficial drink during painful menstruation. Aloe vera should not be taken internally during pregnancy or lactation. —Emily Messer

Hair care When aloe vera gel is applied to the scalp and hair, it can help treat and prevent hair loss. Aloe contains a hair growthstimulating enzyme and, used regularly in a shampoo, will strengthen hair. Aloe vera shampoo also has anti-inflammatory properties that can combat androgenetic alopecia and malepattern baldness while improving blood circulation.

“Aloe vera,” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, www.nccih.nih.gov, 9/16 l “Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic activities of the leaf latex extract of Aloe . . . in Streptozotocin-induced diabetic model” by W.W. Hammeso et al., Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 4/23/19 l “Using aloe vera has multiple benefits” by Jeannette Sanchez, Baylor College of Medicine News, www.bcm.edu, 3/21/18

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healthspan

quit smoking natural remedies to help you quit for good

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that smoking among US adults has reached an all-time low of 13.7 percent, which represents a decline of nearly two-thirds since the health consequences of smoking were first publicized more than 50 years ago. This is good news, but as CDC Director Robert R. Redfield noted, “ . . . our work is far from over.” January 2020  

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continued from page 27

This is especially true when we consider that data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey indicates almost 50 million US adults currently use tobacco products. The same survey found that there was also an uptick in the use of e-cigarettes, especially among young adults (ages 18-24). If you’re one of the millions of Americans still struggling to quit using tobacco products, you’re not alone. In addition to treatments prescribed by a doctor, some smokers have also found success through such practices as acupuncture, homeopathy, and the use of herbal remedies.

Consider complementary therapies The New Year is a great time to commit to breaking unhealthy habits and getting a fresh start. Simple lifestyle changes, as well as targeted supplements, may be just the support you need to quit for good. Yoga. Several studies have shown that yoga and other forms of exercise help deter the urge to smoke. One recent trial found that women in an eight-week, twice-weekly yoga class combined with a smoking cessation program had better results than those who participated in the program but did not include yoga. Abstinence was higher for the yoga practitioners after six months. Meditation. A recent study compared meditation to a relaxation-training program for their effects in reducing smoking. After two weeks, those in the meditation group had lowered their cigarette consumption by 60 percent. The other group did not see any reduction. Brain scans of the meditators showed increased activity in areas related to self-control. T’ai chi. One small study suggested that practicing t’ai chi may help smokers quit. T’ai chi is an ancient Chinese system of gentle mind/body exercise and is regarded as a form of moving meditation. The study’s authors concluded that it “can be an effective method for enhancing mindfulness and awareness for breaking cycles of addiction and habit.” continued on page 30

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Acupuncture. A recent review of a dozen trials found that acupuncture provided short-term benefits for quitting. For sustained abstinence from smoking, acupuncture was no more effective than traditional methods, but it does appear to help jump-start the process. A 2013 study concluded that acupuncture “should be considered as an alternative to help smokers in quitting, especially for those whose past attempts using conventional methods were in vain.” Herbal remedies. Many herbs and plants have been used to reduce cravings for tobacco. The daily ingestion of an oat extract was effective in dropping cigarette consumption from 20 per day to fewer than nine in a Japanese study. A tea made with 11 herbs reduced withdrawal symptoms in 100 male smokers over four weeks; those participants were three times more likely to succeed in quitting than a group that did not drink the tea. St. John’s wort, lobelia, and black pepper have also been studied for their use in smoking cessation, with mixed results. Homeopathy. To reduce cravings for tobacco, homeopathic practitioners recommend Lobelia inflata. Irritability caused by withdrawal can be treated with Nux vomica, while emotional upset linked to quitting may be soothed with Ignatia amara. —remedies staff

Boost your mood A promising treatment known as positive psychotherapy has provided some smokers with the psychological tools to increase their likelihood of quitting. According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, “Participants reported very high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, especially with its positive focus.” The smokers—who were identified as having a low “positive affect” (the manner in which we experience or express positive moods)—participated in six sessions “designed to boost positive mood” as part of their more traditional cessation therapy. Their success rate was significantly higher than the general success rate for smoking cessation programs. Nearly a third of the participants were not smoking after six months.

“Brief meditation training induces smoking reduction” by Y.Y. Tang et al., PNAS, 8/20/13 l “Cigarette smoking among US adults hits all-time low,” Centers for Disease Control, www.CDC.gov, 2019 l “Effectiveness of acupuncture for smoking cessation in a Chinese population” by E. Ma et al., Asia Pac J Public Health, 10/4/13 l “Effects of medicinal herb tea on the smoking cessation and reducing smoking withdrawal symptoms” by H.J. Lee and J.H. Lee, Am J Chin Med, 2005 l “Implications of t’ai chi for smoking cessation” by P.A. Gryffin and W.C. Chen, J Altern Complement Med, 2/13 l “Mind-body practices: An alternative, drug-free treatment for smoking cessation?” by L. Carim-Todd et al., Drug Alcohol Depend, 10/13 l “Oat extract may cut cigarette cravings” by Stephen Daniells, www.nutraingredients-usa.com, 4/17/09 l “Positive psychotherapy for smoking cessation . . .” by C.W. Kahler et al., Journal of Positive Psychology, 2014 l “Yoga as a complementary treatment for smoking cessation in women” by B.C. Bock et al., J Womens Health, 2/12

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