Symmetry has built a new blog site for me. You should soon be able to read the new site from our company home page (the way you may have come here) but until that gets connected; you can read the blog here: www.DrMarkNow.com
Symmetry has built a new blog site for me. You should soon be able to read the new site from our company home page (the way you may have come here) but until that gets connected; you can read the blog here: www.DrMarkNow.com
Resveratrol, a compound in grapes, stimulates the expression of adiponectin, a hormone that modulates metabolic processes such as glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism, according to a new study published this week.
Both adiponectin and resveratrol display anti-obesity, anti-insulin resistance and anti-aging properties.
The new study by researchers at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio is published in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
"Results from these studies should be of interest to those who are obese, diabetic and growing older," said senior author Feng Liu, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and member of the Barshop Institute of Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center.
"The findings should also provide important information on the development of novel therapeutic drugs for the treatment of these diseases."
The researchers confirmed the finding in cells and animal models.
Resveratrol displays antioxidant and other positive properties. It can activate the protein sirtuin in the human body, mimicking calorie reduction. Normally sirtuin is activated when energy level in a cell is low because of diet reduction. If sirtuins are activated longevity improves in mice, yeast and flies.
Adiponectin is a protein encoded by the ADIPOQ gene in humans. It is a hormone that modulates metabolic processes such as glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism.
Adiponectin levels in the body are inversely correlated with body fat percentage in adults. When adiponectin levels are high, the body stores excess fat in adipocytes, or fat cells, to protect against possible starvation during lean times. These fat deposits lie primarily in the subcutaneous tissue.
As a person accumulates more fat, however, adiponectin levels decline. Once adiponectin levels start dropping, the body begins storing fat in dangerous places such as the heart, liver and muscle tissues – where it can cause inflammation and pave the way for heart disease.
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AN apple turns brown or a nail gets rusty due to oxidation. The same process occurs within us. We do not change colour or become rusty, but the tell tale signs come later as “wear and tear” in ageing, poor health, or chronic diseases.
We often blame our genes for our maladies, but environmental factors and lifestyle choices account for as much as 70% for the apple inside us turning brown too fast, too soon.
If we smear some lemon juice on a cut half of an apple, the browning process is retarded as the lemon slows down the oxidation process, hence conferring an antioxidant effect to the apple.
As we are more complex than an apple, smearing ourselves with lemon just would not work!
Antioxidants were first applied in industrial use two centuries ago to protect materials such as rubber from degradation, and was later introduced to preserve certain foods and oils to extend shelf life.
It was only 60 years ago that its significance in human physiology was recognised.
But doctors were so busy battling diseases that, until recently, the protective role of antioxidants has not been fully appreciated.
To be honest, yours truly had no idea what they really were. My only knowledge of antioxidants was restricted to oranges and wine. I thought “free radicals” was a new political party!
We now know that they are the culprits in causing oxidation within us, and antioxidants neutralise them.
The word antioxidants conjures much excitement and sometimes emotions as there are many claims and counter claims. Earlier studies showed great promise on health, later ones disputed that, and on it goes like a yo-yo. The subject is extremely confusing and this discussion tries to put them into separate baskets for ease of mental digestion.
There is a plethora of antioxidants in our foods, chiefly found in fruits and vegetables: the more coloured and pigmented, the richer it is in antioxidant content.
Variety is the key to good health and the more the merrier. The American Cancer Society recommends at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day to prevent cancer. Trying to keep the doctor away by having an apple a day is a myth ... it is not enough! One can try five, and that still would not be enough.
To illustrate: the level of vitamin E known to effectively combat oxidative stress is 400IU. If one eats spinach only or has a girlfriend called Olive, the poor fellow has to consume 12.7kg of the vegetable to get the optimal level of vitamin E.
Apart from indigestion, Popeye probably has staghorn kidney stones, considering the amount of oxalates found in spinach.
Unlike Homo sapiens, antioxidants work in a synergistic fashion. Each is like an instrument in a philharmonic orchestra, playing the right note, at the right pitch and tempo, and supporting the other performers elegantly. The flawless symphony within is the key to anti-ageing and prevention of chronic diseases.
Some are water-soluble and work only in fluid compartments; some are fat-soluble, protecting the lipids in cell membranes. Some work outside the cells, and some only within.
The brain is a private club allowing entry only to members of valued standing. Among the select antioxidants that has an entry ticket is vitamin C and a family of powerful protectors known as OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidins, found in grapeseed extract). Together they form a duet in quelling free radicals in the headquarters of our very existence.
As much has been unraveled about the role of antitoxidants, it is now no longer relegated to the cloakroom of science or the twilight zone of alternative medicine. It is only the naive or the incalcitrant mind that rejects its significance. We were already endowed with it when man first walked the earth, and he had the foresight to eat apples as an additional booster, as ancient script goes.
The dreaded free radical that brings forth harm is known as “superoxide”, an unstable oxygen molecule, resulting from churning up energy in the body. To render this harmless, our cells possess an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Together with catalase and glutathione peroxidase, they complete the job of snuffing out the smoke, thereby preventing the free radicals from wantonly zapping our cells.
On top of this, our body also produces co-enzyme Q10, which is an in-house antioxidant in the power plant (mitochondria) within our cells. It recruits a helper in the form of alpha-lipoic acid to clean up the mess.
Did you know that uric acid is also an antioxidant? This is not a reason to gobble down pots of meat – bone tea (literal hokkien translation) in excess will cause a pretty painful joint, or worse, excruciating back pain with blood in the urine due to kidney stones.
The moral of the story: do not raise the level of the wrong antioxidant. Not all things natural are always good.
Early research centred around vitamins A, C and E, which are collectively known as primary antioxidants. They are called essential nutrients because the human body cannot do without them. Since we cannot manufacture vitamins, they must be derived from the diet.
The plant form of vitamin A is called beta-carotene (a pro vitamin), found in carrots, papaya, berries, pumpkins, etc. The body converts this precursor to vitamin A as and when it is needed. However, too much intake will cause harmless discolouration of the palms. Both vitamins A and E are fat-soluble, thus preventing the oxidation of lipids within the cell membrane.
On the other hand, vitamin C is water-soluble and mops up the free radical burden from the blood.
Under this category are the “others”. They are not absolutely a must, but do a whole lot of good if they are available. The bioflavanoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols are essentially derived from plants and are collectively called phytonutrients. The number of compounds within these groups is mind boggling and only a few are highlighted for enlightenment.
> OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), found in seeds of the red grape (commercially as grape seed extract), is a potent antioxidant, aiding in the ridding of free radicals both in the water and fat compartments of the body.
> Isoflavones derived from soy offers itself as a weak oestrogen, and relieves menopausal symptoms.
> Lycopene is found in tomatoes but enriched when pureed. It has been found to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
> Lutein, found in dark green leafy vegetables, protect the eyes and slow down the onset and progression of a chronic eye disease (macular degeneration).
> Quercetin is derived from fruits, grains, and vegetables.
> Catechins found in tea is an excellent antioxidant.
The list is exhaustive and includes gingko biloba, zexanthine, hesperidin, etc.
> The quintet: Five good friends form an antioxidant network, namely vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, and finally CoQ10. They support each other by interactive regeneration. When vitamin C has done its job, instead of being discarded, it is reactivated by vitamin E. Gluthathione regenerates vitamin E. Alpha-lipoic acid recycles coenzyme Q10. Together, this five-piece quintet harmoniously delivers a masterpiece.
> The antioxidant minerals: These are not themselves antioxidants but help to replenish the endogenous antioxidant status. Selenium (found in shell-fish, eggs, chicken, garlic, etc) is needed to build up the level of glutatione. Manganese, copper, and zinc are trace minerals which help to boost up the level of superoxide dismutase.
Science is only beginning to unravel the many intricate mysteries within us, so there will necessarily be debates as illustrated by the many conflicting views that is beyond the scope of this discussion.
Suffice to point out that applying drug study models and expecting each antioxidant to work independently like a pharmacological agent in sick patients is illogical and often produces the contradictory results that we rant about. Antioxidants are not drugs and are part of the body’s defence and healing system. Until there is a full appraisal of this wondrous orchestra without leaving out a single instrument, we may never hear the true music.
We can view antioxidants in three concentric rings. Replenishing the inner circle of natural antioxidants takes centre stage, followed by the middle circle of primary antioxidants, and finally giving the outer circle (“the others” supporting antioxidants) its deserved attention.
Most people rave about a new discovery in “the others” category as the next magic bullet, and we have all seen quite a few of these. Incidentally, selenium created a wave of interest in 2002, following a study that revealed that men taking 200ug of the mineral a day seem to have lower incidence of prostate and colon cancer.
A sales representative tried to promote the supplement two years later and asked if I had heard about this study. I can remember the incredulous look on his face when I said “No”. I almost chased him out of my room. Thinking aloud then, I wondered how this guy had the guts to sell a nutritional supplement to a doctor.
Today, if I ever have the opportunity to meet him again, I would apologise and thank him. To many of my friends, I have this advice – do not let naivety and scepticism cheat you of good health.
Being both naive and sceptical, I paid the full fare for my folly. Fortunately, not too long ago, I heard the beautiful symphony of the antioxidants and I now share the notes with you. If our car needs anti-rust, so do we!
Glutathione is an anti-aging, anti-toxin, anti-disease amino acid which is critical to health which most people know little to nothing about.
Pharmaceutical companies have done extensive study on this very natural supplement. A synthetic prescribed drug is the goal.I checked PubMed and the National Library of Medicine, searching for N-acetyl cysteine which produces glutathione in our system. I found hundreds of scientific studies showing benefit. I found none demonstrating toxicity especially at 1200-1800 mg per day.
Glutathione is composed of three amino acids, namely glycine, glutamic acid and cysteine.
It is extremely important and naturally occurs in our bodies. Glutathione levels decrease as we age. There is a corresponding decline in our health and longevity as levels drop.
Low glutathione levels have been linked to cardiovascular disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as aging in general.
In our animal friends, researchers at Louisiana State University showed a clear and definite linkage to the levels of glutathione and the drop in inflammation which goes hand in hand with the healing of inflammatory bowel disease.This supplement is partly beneficial due to its ability to detox your body from harmful chemicals. Even though we try very hard not to, we all breathe and ingest small amounts of harmful toxins every day. While our bodies do a miraculous job of getting these nasties out of our systems, a toll is paid. This gets more critical as we age and or when we are in poor health.
Many cancers are caused by environmental toxins which get into our drinking water or food supply, obviously often without our knowing. Glutathione increases your ability to rid yourself of these. Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, and especially brussels sprouts, are good sources though you have to eat them regularly and have large servings. Garlic, scallions, onions and shallots all make the glutathione in the broccoli (and family) work better in your system.
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Organic food is produced under strict standards set by national government to promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity without using any new synthetic chemicals, and hence is know to be healthier than ordinary food. However, the new study revealed that there is little difference between the nutritional values and no evidence of extra health benefits.
An analysis is done by Danish researchers of the nutrient content of organic and conventionally grown food highlights that despite of the premium cost involved in the overall
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Nowadays, it seems everyone is now concerned about their cholesterol level. This important and natural substance has now been made to seem like a villain. The drug companies have mounted extraordinary campaigns to coerce the public to let doctors to put them on their toxic and expensive cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives. It is important you arm yourself with some important facts about cholesterol.
It is lipid substance found in every one of your 70 trillion cells and is essential to the body's structure and function. We could not exist without it and it is not your enemy.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially a type called LDL cholesterol, have been considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in general and heart attacks in particular. However, recent research suggests a high cholesterol level in the blood is only a secondary risk factor. The elevation of other unhealthy substances in the blood like homocysteine and C-reactive protein are far better indicators of your risk of heart disease. Strangely, the ads never mention low levels of cholesterol are strong indicators of poor health and premature death. As always, it is maintaining the proper balance that is important.
THE BODY MAKES its CHOLESTEROL
Over 70 per cent of the cholesterol in your blood is manufactured in the body itself by the liver. Cutting back on high cholesterol foods is a good idea, but this by itself is not an effective way to reduce cholesterol. Cholesterol is so important, the body can easily make it from sugar and other high carbohydrate foods. Thus, someone on a totally cholesterol-free diet can still have an elevation of cholesterol in the blood. You do not have to eat fatty foods to have high cholesterol. A diet high in starch and sugar can elevate your cholesterol level.
Many of the processed 'low cholesterol foods' being advertised are so full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other carbohydrates that, as far as lowering your blood cholesterol is concerned, you are "swapping black dog for monkey" when you eat them. By the way, cholesterol is only found in foods from animal sources, as plants cannot make cholesterol. There is zero cholesterol in ackees, coconut oil and avocados.
BEWARE OF CHOLESTEROL- LOWERING DRUGS
Most cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, act primarily by interfering with the function of the liver (I call them liver toxins), and people on these medications are often required to do regular liver-function tests to detect signs of liver damage. Drinking alcohol also lowers cholesterol by damaging the liver, but no one would consider using it for that purpose.
Earlier this year, medical research published in the prestigious British Medical Journal documented how dangerous these statin drugs are. The researchers confirmed that statins increase patients' risk of cataracts, liver disease, kidney failure and a kind of muscle pain and weakness called myopathy. For every 10,000 women treated with the drugs, 23 would develop acute kidney failure, 39 would develop myopathy, 74 would develop liver damage and 309 would develop cataracts. Men suffered an even larger risk of myopathy, but similar risks for the other three conditions.
Drugs to lower cholesterol should, in my opinion, be considered as a last resort, and not prescribed as readily as they are now.
HEALThY WAYS TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Lifestyle modification plays a major role in normalising cholesterol levels, and should be the first and most important part of any programme for cholesterol control.
Diet: Diet is very important, but do not just focus on low-cholesterol foods, as is the fashion. A diet high in fibre and healthy plant protein, low in animal fats and simple carbohydrates (especially sugar and flour) is ideal.
Weight control: Correcting obesity, particularly losing fat from around the waist, is vital to lowering cholesterol.
Exercise: As little as 30 minutes of brisk walking, four times per week, assists in lowering cholesterol. It also benefits overall health in many other ways.
Stress management: Stress itself can elevate cholesterol levels as the body manufactures more cholesterol when stressed. Stress management techniques like relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga and tai chi are an important part of a holistic, health-care approach.
There is a natural substance called polycosanol made from the sugar cane plant and developed in Cuba. Research shows it does as good a job as the statins without their toxicity. It is marketed in Jamaica as Arteriomixol, a prescription item. The Cubans claim it may even improve your sex life.
Several other nutritional supplements and herbs are useful for lowering cholesterol. Not only are they safe but have many other health benefits as well.
The antioxidants - The vitamins A,C, E and selenium (the ACES) are key antioxidants. Cholesterol is really dangerous and unhealthy only when it is oxidised by molecules called free radicals. Antioxidants like vitamin E protect cholesterol from oxidisation. Herbal antioxidants like garlic, schizandra, rosemary, pycnogenol and ginger are also extremely useful.
Fish oils - These are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which lower cholesterol. A dosage of upwards of 3 gm per day is recommended.
Soy and oats - These are foods high in soluble fibre which also lower cholesterol. The American Medical Association recommends 25gm of soy protein daily for heart health and cholesterol balance.
Green Tea: In addition to its many other health benefits daily consumption of several cups of green tea will lower cholesterol levels.
Niacin (vitamin B3) - In adequate dosages, niacin effectively lowers cholesterol. Use a form of niacin called niacinate to prevent flushing of the skin and have a holistic practitioner supervise the dosage.
CoenzymeQ10. As the statin drugs deplete the body of this essential nutrient, I recommend supplementing with CoQ10 especially if you have taken the statin drugs.
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Sodium benzoate is generally used as a preservative. It is not bactericidal, only bacteriostatic. This means that while it doesn't actually kill bacteria, it doesn't allow them to replicate to grow. It also has fungistatic activity.
Symmetry's products are tested for the presence of fugi and bacteria and are free of these and other contaminants. However, most people introduce bacteria into the product when their hands touch the opening or they take a drink from the bottle. (In truth there are more bacteria on your hands than your lips.)
Sodium benzoate is effective only in acidic conditions (pH< 3.6) making its use most prevalent in foods such as preserves, salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), jams (citric acid), fruit juices (citric acid), pickles (vinegar), and Chinese food sauces (soy, mustard, and duck). It is also found in alcohol-based mouthwash.
The taste of sodium benzoate cannot be detected by around 25 percent of the population, but for those who can taste it; it tends to be perceived as sweet, salty, or sometimes bitter.
It is found naturally in cranberries, prunes, greengage plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. This means that you can use a completely organic form of sodium benzoate if derived from one of these fruits or herbs. It is a natural, not man-made, chemical.
Concentration as a preservative is limited by the FDA in the U.S. to 0.1% by weight though organically-grown cranberries and prunes may contain levels exceeding this limit. The International Programme on Chemical Safety found no adverse effects in humans at doses of 647-825 mg/kg of body weight per day.
The guideline level set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for water is 10 parts per billion (ppb). 1 ppb is 1 part per billion, i.e. 1/1,000,000,000, which is equivalent to 1 microgram per kilogram (1ug/kg).
So, if you're adding sodium benzoate to fruit juice you can only use 0.01% but in bottled water it can be 10 parts per billion.
Professor Sir Colin Berry, Emeritus Professor of Pathology says:
Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment and is found in "mid-Pacific-ocean air" at around 10ppt, in "background air" at around 2-10 ppb (USA data) and in the interior of a car will reach around 10-20ppb. When you fill the car with petrol the air will contain around 0.1-1ppm. Around 500ug of benzene is produced from an "average" cigarette and smokers have benzene in their breath. The problems recently (within the past two years) reported regarding the safety of sodium benzoate were found in products containing 10-20 times the upper limit. Some people quickly jump to the conclusion that if any amount might be bad, it should be banned completely. I'm sure you're aware that much is written about the negative effects of salt in the diet; too much is blamed for high blood pressure and linked to heart disease. Did you know that salt is also essential for health? You must have some and in times of heavy exercise or high summer temps you want even more - some people, particularly athletes, taking salt tablets.Most things… diet, nutrition, life are this way, some things can be good, even essential to health but too much might be bad.
Small amounts of sodium benzoate are extremely beneficial as a preservative and in amounts 10 times what is legally used, it is still safe. Symmetry uses much less than what is generally used, only trace amounts. This is all that is needed to protect the product while ensuring your health and safety.
Symmetry, we're all about health and balance.
Beware of Senate bill 3767, the so-called Food Safety Accountability Act.
This dangerous legislation, if passed, would criminalize nutritional supplement
manufacturers who tell the truth about their products or link to
published scientific studies describing the biological benefits of their
products. Based on language in the bill, health proponents who sell supplements
could be criminalized and convicted to ten years in prison.
Life Extension Foundation recently published an important warning piece
about this, complete with some call to action items for which we need
Here's what was written by William Faloon and published at LEF
(https://www.lef.org/featured-article...). I agree with every
word written here and urge you to read this and take this message seriously,
then do your part to oppose this new legislative tyranny that seeks to
criminalize dietary supplement
by William Faloon, LEF.org
Pharmaceutical companies are once again
interfering with your ability to access information about dietary
The Senate is debating a bill that will enable the FDA to put vitamin
supplement makers in jail for ten years if they cite findings from peer-reviewed
published scientific studies
on the label of their dietary supplements or their web site.
for these draconian proposals is a bill titled the Food Safety Accountability
Act (S. 3767). The ostensible purpose of the bill is to punish anyone who
knowingly contaminates food
for sale. Since there are already strong laws to punish anyone who commits this
crime, this bill serves little purpose other than enriching pharmaceutical
The sinister scheme behind this bill is to exploit the
public's concern about food safety. Drug
companies want to convince your Senators that an overreaching law needs to be
enacted to grant the FDA powers to define "food contamination" any way it
Even today, the FDA can proclaim a dietary supplement
as "misbranded" even if the best science in the world is used to describe its
biological effects in the body. The concern is that the FDA will use the term
"misbranded" in the same way it defines "adulterated" in order to jail dietary
supplement makers as if they were selling contaminated food.
The new bill
being debated in the Senate
increases the penalties the FDA can use to threaten supplement makers to ten
years in prison. The big issue here is that the FDA will use this as a hammer to
threaten and coerce small companies into signing crippling consent decrees that
will deny consumers access to truthful non-misleading information about natural approaches to protect
against age-related disease.
Please tell your two Senators to OPPOSE the
Food Safety Accountability Act (S. 3767). You can do this in a few minutes on
our convenient Legislative Action Center on our Web site. Click here to take action now.