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Articles from 2000 In May

Study Finds that Tocotrienols Especially Alpha-Tocotrienol Protects Death of Neuronal Cells (Neuroprotective Property)

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June 1st , 2000

In the latest publication of the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry (April 2000), researchers at the University of California, Berkeley US, found that tocotrienols especially the alpha-tocotrienol protects glutamate-induced death of neuronal cells – Neuroprotective Property. This study also provided the first evidence describing the molecular basis of tocotrienol action.

Oxidative damage due to free radicals or reactive oxygen species has been implicated in age-related neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. In the pathogenesis of these diseases, oxidative damage may accumulate over a period of years, leading to massive neuronal loss. A major contributor to pathological cell death within the nervous system is glutamate toxicity and appears to be mediated by reactive oxygen species. The induction of oxidative stress by excitatory amino acid such as glutamate has been demonstrated to be primary cause of death of certain types of neuronal cells.

In the study carried out at the University of California, Berkeley with HT4 neuronal cells, it was found that low concentration of tocotrienols were more effective than alpha-tocopherol (the normal vitamin E) in preventing glutamate-induced death. At higher concentration, the glutamate-induced neuronal cells not only recovered after 6hr of glutamate treatment, the tocotrienols especially alpha-tocotrienol provided complete protection against further loss of cell viability.

It was also interesting to note that among the tocotrienols (alpha and gamma fractions), the alpha-tocotrienol was more effective than gamma-tocotrienol in protecting the neuronal cells.

The researchers went on to study the protective effect of the free-form and esterified-form of alpha-tocotrienol in glutamate-induced death of neuronal cells. It was found that the free-form was preferentially absorb by the cells and due to this preferential uptake of the free-form tocotrienol, it confers higher protection against glutamate-induced death of neuronal cells.

In order to explain the neuroprotective property of tocotrienols, the researchers looked at the involvement of signal transduction pathways in the glutamate-induced cell death. Studies have shown that inhibitors of protein-tyrosine kinase activity completely prevented glutamate-induced cell death. It was evident from the study that tocotrienols inhibited the activation of c-Src tyrosine kinase activity. Inhibition of c-Src kinase activity has significant implications and may explain other protective properties of tocotrienols. For example, studies have shown that many intracellular pathways can be stimulated upon Scr activation and a variety of cellular consequences can result, including morphological and cell proliferation. One of them is human breast cancer. Increased in Scr tyrosine kinase activity has been implicated in the progression of breast cancer. Mammary tumours and human skin tumour possess elevated c-Src tyrosine kinase activity. Because of the key involvement of Scr kinases activity in various oncogenesis, inhibitors of these kinases are being studied as potential candidates for anti-cancer drugs. Tocotrienol with its ability to inhibit the activation of Src kinase activity holds potential as a natural complimentary phytonutrient in preventing these cancers. However, more studies need to be carried out to confirm this effect.

In summary, this new enlightening study demonstrated that naturally occurring tocotrienols especially alpha-tocotrienol may be an effective natural phytonutrient in preventing age-related neuro-degenerative diseases and certain type of c-Src kinase-mediated cancers. Palm tocotrienols has the highest level of alpha-tocotrienol. Even though the study was carried out in cultured neuronal cells, it nevertheless showed promising results in the protection of these cells.

There are several possible interpretations of this study. Some scientists think that we need actual human trial to confirm the effect of tocotrienols in preventing age-related neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Previous studies have shown that the normal tocopherol Vitamin E confers protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Tocotrienol, being a member of the vitamin E and from this study, was showed to be the better form of vitamin E in protecting neuronal cells, should be given its due consideration. While we must rely on human epidemiological studies, reasonable interpretation of the results of this study is required.

Delicious Living

June 1, 2000

Biovin (TM) Full Grape Extract - Health Benefits May Be Skin Deep

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- The French are known for their classic style, rich food, great wines, and the French Paradox. The paradox is that despite their consumption of rich foods, the French have a low rate of heart disease. Many researchers give the credit to wine and its antioxidant value and ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Grapes have been found to be among the richest sources of antioxidants and deep ¬colored grapes have been found to prevent the formation of blood clots that can block arteries. Also, recent research shows that it could help in the prevention of cancer.

Health industry researchers are finding that high concentrations of the substance trans-resveratrol, which is found predominantly in the skin of grapes, may be the key.

According to researchers at Northwestern University, trans-resveratrol acts like estrogen, a hormone that is known to protect against heart disease. The Northwestern University scientists concluded that," trans-resveratrol is a phytoestrogen that exhibits variable degrees of estrogen receptor agonism in different test systems. The estrogenic actions of trans-resveratrol broaden the spectrum of its biological actions and may be relevant to the reported cardiovascular benefits of drinking wine." Recent research shows that trans¬resveratrol may also interfere with the development of cancer by blocking the actions of carcinogens, inhibiting the initiation and promotion of tumors and causing precancerous cells to revert to normal.

To offer its customers a product that provides all the potential health benefits found in the entire grape, and not just the grape seed, Cyvex Nutrition, a leading supplier of nutritional ingredients, developed BioVin, a full spectrum French grape extract.

BioVin is a powdered extract made from grape seeds, skin and stems. The grape's skin is where, according to the Northwestern University study, the trans¬resveratrol is found. The extract is produced only from French grapes using alcohol and water, resulting in a supplement that is rich in trans-resveratrol, elligic acid, polyphenols and cyanidins. BioVin is also the only full spectrum grape extract on the market that contains trans-resveratrol.

From its corporate offices and laboratory headquartered in Irvine, California, thirteen-year-old Cyvex Nutrition is a trusted supplier in the health food industry offering a full line of high quality, specialty nutritional ingredients, processed or sourced worldwide. Cyvex's line of nutraceutical ingredients also includes: Broccoli Sprouts Extract, Green Tea Extract, 90% Polyphenols, Marine Protein Complex, Chondroitin Sulphate from shark, and many others. Cyvex Nutrition provides its customers with a wide range of support including expertise from on-staff food scientists and contract manufacturing services.

To request additional information on BioVin Full Grape Extract or information on other high quality, innovative Cyvex Nutrition products, call Cyvex direct at 888¬99CYVEX, visit booth #2941 at the Natural Products Expo - East Show, or their web site at

'French Paradox' in a Capsule? Biovin(R) Grape Extract Shown to Protect Healthy Individuals From Protein and LDL Damage

IRVINE, Calif., May 15, 2000 -- BioVin®, a dietary supplement derived from French red wine grapes, protects healthy men and women from damage to their protein and LDL, according to a published report. The report, published in the peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Medicinal Food, details a study in which healthy subjects aged 25 to 40 had the damage to their body's protein and LDL clinically monitored over a 6-week period. BioVin, when consumed orally in a capsule, significantly reduced the damage to their protein and LDL over the course of treatment.

The clinical study, conducted at St. Michael's hospital at the University of Toronto medical center, was conducted by the research group of A. Venket Rao, Ph.D., a professor of human nutrition at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Rao has published extensively on the relationship between diet and disease.

Proteins are found in all cells of the body, and as enzymes, play a key role in virtually every known biochemical process in the body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called "bad" cholesterol, is one of the two protein-cholesterol complexes responsible for cholesterol transport. Both proteins and LDL are under constant attack from reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Free radical attack damages proteins and LDL and leads to their eventual damage and destruction.

BioVin, when taken in a capsule form, significantly reduced the rate at which protein and LDL were damaged. This was measured by taking blood samples from the subjects and separating the protein and LDL from the serum. The protein was measured for damage by assaying the loss of thiol groups, indicative of protein oxidation. The LDL damage was assessed by measuring conjugated dienes, a marker of LDL oxidation.

In discussing the findings, Dr. Rao explained: "This study demonstrates that BioVin is readily absorbed when consumed orally and acts as an in vivo antioxidant". Dr. Rao continued: "Results from this study strongly suggest an important beneficial role for Biovin in protecting proteins and LDL cholesterol against oxidative damage. These outcomes can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease".

As BioVin is manufactured from red grapes used in winemaking, these findings may be further evidence for the oft-debated "French Paradox", the epidemiological finding that higher consumption of wine among people (particularly in France) leads to lower rates of heart disease.

BioVin is a full-spectrum grape extract manufactured in France by Cyvex Nutrition, Inc. headquartered in California. BioVin may be found in a number of dietary supplements, including Ricola©'s Herbal HealthTM Antioxidant Formula.

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Licorice Takes Root

Licorice Takes Root

Used for the last 20 years in Japan, licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has proven beneficial for chronic hepatitis. People taking licorice in the form of the injectable active compound, glycyrrhizin, had healthier liver cells than those taking placebo.
Alimentary Pharmacology Therapies, March 1998
Biopharmaceutics and Drug Disposition, January 1995

Delicious Living

ARCHIVE: Smoked Trout Hash

Smoked Trout Hash
May, 2000

Serves 4 / The sweet, smoky flavor of this dish is what makes it unique. As an alternative to trout, try smoked salmon or crab. For something really different, try seasonal wild mushrooms such as portabellos or creminis. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon clarified butter
4 russet potatoes, cut into
1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup diced red onion
Kernels from 6 ears of corn
2 smoked trout fillets, flaked
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
4 eggs, prepared any style
Salt and pepper
Parsley, chopped

1. Heat butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and, stirring occasionally, brown on all sides until tender.
2. Add the red onions and sauté for two minutes. Add the corn and sauté for two more minutes.
3. Gently mix in the trout and the scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then place on a serving plate.
4. Place eggs (fully cooked, any style) on top of the hash, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Photography by Rita Maas

Calories 444,Fat 11,Perfat 22,Cholesterol 250,Carbo 65,Protein 24,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A
Delicious Living

ARCHIVE: Asparagus, Tomato & Basil Frittata

Asparagus, Tomato & Basil Fritatta
May, 2000

Serves 4 / This flavorful, one-pan dish is both healthy and simple to prepare. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 12-15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 pieces asparagus, sliced on the bias
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup basil, julienned
12 egg whites, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a 6-inch nonstick, oven-safe pan and sauté onions and garlic for 1 minute on medium-low heat. Add asparagus, sauté for 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Add egg whites to pan and mix briefly. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until done. Garnish with basil.
Photography by Rita Maas

Calories 117,Fat 4,Perfat 28,Cholesterol 0,Carbo 8,Protein 13,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A


Delicious Living

Spring Vegetable Salad

Spring Vegetable Salad
May, 2000

Serves 6 / This seasonal salad may be made with any of your favorite vegetables. Piling greens on top allows them to stay crisp and keeps them from getting bruised. Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

8 asparagus tips
1/2 cup fresh peas
8 baby carrots, peeled
1/2 pound green beans, halved
1/2 cup fava beans, cleaned and shelled
1/2 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
2 cups baby lettuce, cleaned (or use bagged herb lettuce mix)
Salt and pepper

Honey Malt Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons malt vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus tips for 30 seconds in boiling water, then place in an ice bath (a large bowl of ice and water) to stop the cooking. Repeat this process with all the vegetables except the tomatoes. Some vegetables may take a little longer, depending on size and thickness.
2. Combine the honey, garlic and vinegar in a blender. With the blender running, slowly add the oil and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. To assemble, place all vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add shallots and parsley. Add Honey Malt Vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
4. To serve, place a small pile of mixed vegetables in the center of four salad plates. Top each with a small tuft of baby greens.

Calories 262,Fat 14,Perfat 47,Cholesterol 0,Carbo 27,Protein 9,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A
Delicious Living

Country Apple Pancake

Serves 6 / Add a touch of Europe to your table with this apple-laden, German-style pancake. Serve sliced into wedges and pass a pitcher of high-quality maple syrup. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes

2 teaspoons butter
2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
4 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
1 cup low-fat milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Heat a large, oven-safe nonstick pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the apple slices in a thin layer and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Remove pan from heat.
2. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with knife. Place the flour in a large bowl.
3. Combine the milk, sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour enough batter into the apple pan to cover all the apples. Bake until the pancake has risen and turned golden, about 25 minutes.
4. Turn out onto a warm serving plate. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve.

Calories 282,Fat 5,Perfat 17,Cholesterol 147,Carbo 51,Protein 8,Fiber N/A,Sodium N/A


Delicious Living

Your Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a special time. Baby showers, shopping trips to outfit the nursery, and hours spent choosing just the right name for your baby take center stage. Of course, pregnancy does arrive with a supporting cast: indigestion, heartburn and constipation, as well as morning sickness and anxiety over food choices and weight gain.

Kimberly Quach, 33, a family law attorney in Portland, Ore., suffered daylong flu-like symptoms during the first three months of her pregnancy, and she worried about adding too much weight to her stocky frame. She focused on not skipping meals, limiting her intake of unhealthy fats, and substituting a cup of soothing green or brown rice tea for her standard mug of coffee. She also switched from running five times a week to swimming, lifting weights or playing tennis. The result: a healthy baby boy and an improved tennis game.

Eating properly and maintaining your fitness during pregnancy are two of the most beneficial things you can do for your baby — and for yourself. Taking prenatal vitamin-mineral supplements, avoiding alcohol, gaining a healthy amount of weight, and not stressing over every extra brownie you eat are all part of achieving a successful pregnancy, too.

Gearing Up for Pregnancy

The best gift you can give your baby is to clean up your diet and establish a fitness routine before you get the good news that he or she is on the way. Start by taking prenatal vitamin-mineral supplements at least three months before you plan to conceive. (Get your physician's approval before taking herbal or other vitamin supplements.) Prenatal supplements contain folic acid (the manufactured form of the B vitamin folate), which helps prevent up to 70 percent of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. To reduce these birth defects, you must have adequate folic acid in your system right before and during the first month of your pregnancy, so get at least 400 mcg daily. Synthetic folic acid is well-absorbed, but you also need to get in the habit of consuming foods rich in folate, such as orange juice, lentils, beans, broccoli, spinach and fortified breakfast cereals, since your need jumps to 600 mcg during pregnancy. (Because 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned, the March of Dimes recommends that all women of childbearing age get 400 mcg of folic acid daily.)

Establishing a fitness program now means you can continue with your favorite activities (within reason, of course) once you're pregnant. Pregnant women who exercise regularly suffer less nausea and fatigue; are better able to control weight gain; and develop healthy placentas which improves their babies' growth, says James Clapp, M.D., author of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy (Human Kinetics). Check with your physician about specific guidelines for exercising while pregnant. Other healthy habits to establish before you become pregnant: Avoid artificial sweeteners, and limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to one cup a day. Consider alcohol off limits while you're trying to conceive, as well as during pregnancy.

Most mothers-to-be realize the importance of eating healthful foods during pregnancy. But it can be difficult. Your body may be craving ice cream by the gallon, but in reality, "eating for two" means you need only an additional 300 calories a day to gain the 25 to 35 pounds throughout pregnancy that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends for a normal-weight woman.

As Susan Bergoudian, a Boston nutritionist who counsels pregnant women points out, "That isn't much — drinking three cups of non- or low-fat milk will do the trick." Slim women may need to gain as much as 40 pounds, while heavier women should aim for 15 to 25 pounds. But, no matter how you feel about your weight, don't try to lose weight during pregnancy. Underweight women risk giving birth to a low-birth-weight infant with a much greater chance of developing medical, learning and behavior problems.

To get the nutrients you and your baby need, but not unnecessary calories, make the most of what you eat. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide the energy, fiber and B vitamins you need, as well as small amounts of minerals such as iron and zinc. Aim for at least nine servings per day of whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and bran cereal or oatmeal; four servings of vegetables; and three servings of fruit. Fruits and vegetables boost your intake of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Fill up on deeply colored varieties such as oranges, berries, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and leafy dark greens. As for fat, the unsaturated types from plant sources (vegetable oils, avocado, nuts and seeds) are the healthiest to consume.

Protein Power

Adequate protein is also a must for pregnant women. "Including protein-rich foods at meals and snacks, especially at breakfast and before bedtime, will stabilize your blood sugar so you feel better during the day and sleep better at night," advises Bergoudian. Your body relies on protein to build and maintain muscles; manufacture new cells, enzymes and hormones; fight illness and infections; and produce the extra blood cells your fetus needs to develop normally. Choose from lean meats, poultry or fish, eggs, beans and lentils, soyfoods, nuts and nut butters, and low-fat dairy products. Eat fish two or three times weekly to get omega-3 fatty acids that are favorable for your baby's vision and brain growth.

Your iron needs to double during pregnancy (up to 30 mg a day) for two reasons. First, your body makes more hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying part of red blood cells), which requires iron; and second, babies draw on their mothers' iron stores to create reserves of their own to last the first three to six months of life, until they start eating iron-rich solid foods. The iron in red meat, poultry and fish is better absorbed than that from prenatal supplements and plant foods such as tofu, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables and dried fruit, but every little bit helps.

You also need a minimum of 1,000 mg a day of calcium during pregnancy to help build your baby's bones and teeth, as well as protect your own bones from osteoporosis. Low-fat or nonfat milk, yogurt and cheese provide about 300 mg a serving, or you can load up on calcium-rich alternatives such as calcium-fortified soy milk, rice milk or orange juice, tofu (prepared with calcium chloride), leafy dark greens and canned sardines with bones. To determine the amount of calcium in foods, check the nutrition labels and add a zero to the percent daily value for calcium. For example, a food supplying 20 percent of the daily value provides 200 mg of calcium.

Feeling Well

In spite of the name, morning sickness doesn't only occur in the morning. Dramatic increases in hormonal levels during pregnancy most likely precipitate these bouts of nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, morning sickness typically resolves by the end of the first trimester. Elizabeth Burch, N.D., author of Natural Healing for the Pregnant Woman (Perigee), advises women to keep a variety of foods on hand to deal with morning sickness.

"There is nothing that works for everyone," she says, "so try sipping on carbonated beverages; drinking herbal beverages that settle the stomach, such as raspberry, chamomile or peppermint tea; chewing on crystallized ginger; or taking up to one gram a day of dried ginger in capsule form." Eating small, frequent meals, and taking prenatal vitamins with a meal also helps.

Having suffered severe morning sickness with her third child, Burch now offers simple nutrition advice to her patients: "Eat anything — whatever sounds good," she says, "and during periods or days when you feel better, focus on eating well again." Severe nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, so seek help from your health care provider if you simply can't keep anything down. Odors often trigger a relapse of morning sickness. Identifying and avoiding offensive sources, such as cooking smells or the coffee pot at work, can be helpful.

Other common problems of pregnancy, such as indigestion, heartburn and constipation, don't have to take the glow out of being pregnant, either. If constipation is a problem, be sure you're drinking at least 10 to 12 cups of fluid a day. Count all fluids, including water, milk, juice, herbal teas and soup. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, such as whole grain breads and cereals, and fresh fruits and vegetables, too. To avoid indigestion, eat slowly, cut back on fatty foods and don't consume acidic foods, such as orange juice, on an empty stomach. Heartburn is a frequent complaint during the last three months of pregnancy when the baby grows rapidly and pushes on the surrounding digestive organs. Go easy on spicy, fatty foods, and eat smaller, more frequent meals. Save beverages to sip after a meal rather than at mealtimes.

Remember, this is the time to take charge of your pregnancy and make healthy changes in your lifestyle. Even with a supporting cast of characters that can make your life more difficult, once that beautiful baby is in your arms, all will be forgotten.

Suzanne Girard Eberle is a freelance health writer living in Portland, Ore.