The Time Magazine article that ran last week was food for thought for people who exercise regularly. Let’s face it, many of us who work out aren’t doing so to boost mood, enhance mental skills, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, or reduce heart attack risk–all of which exercise does–but rather to lose weight.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), a common shrub-like perennial, bears bright yellow flowers that contain numerous therapeutic substances when dried. Europeans have used the herb for centuries to calm jangled nerves and heal wounds, among other ills. And so it’s not surprising that North Americans have recently embraced its use as a treatment for depression and conditions associated with it.
Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid. “Nonessential” means that the body can create its own supply if the diet is lacking in glutamine-rich sources, such as poultry, fish, and legumes. Few people who are basically healthy and follow a balanced diet are deficient in this amino acid, one of the most abundant in the bloodstream. But there are some important exceptions.
The herb Garcinia cambogia, a diminutive purple fruit native to India and southeast Asia, has garnered a lot of attention as a popular natural weight loss aid. The reason is that the rind of the pumpkinlike fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, closely related to the citric acid found in grapefruits and oranges.
Most foods contain a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber, which together make up the dietary fiber family. Compounds that dissolve or swell when put into water are called soluble fibers and include pectins, gums, mucilages, and some hemicelluloses. These compounds are found inside and around plant cells and exist as gum arabic, guar gum, locust bean gum, and pectins. Soluble fiber is found in cereals and a variety of foods such as salad dressings, jams, and jellies.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a slightly altered form of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health. Omega-6 fatty acids are derived from the foods we eat (primarily from meats and dairy products). The average American ingests probably less than 1 gram of CLA a day.
One of the world’s most popular supplements, the chemical coenzyme Q10 has generated great excitement as a heart disease remedy and a cure for countless other conditions. The body naturally produces this compound, which has been dubbed “vitamin Q” because of its essential role in keeping all systems running smoothly. In fact, the scientists who identified coenzyme Q10 in 1957 initially honored its ubiquitous presence–it’s found in every human cell and in all living organisms–by naming it “ubiquinone.” Small amounts are also present in most foods.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that the body needs to grow properly and remain healthy. It is necessary, among other things, for the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
The shells of crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans contain a nondigestible fiber called chitosan. Extracted and taken in supplement form with meals, chitosan reportedly encourages weight loss by binding to fat molecules in the digestive tract, preventing the body from absorbing the fat.
Click here for the original post. Even though I’m a doctor who specializes in nutritional medicine, the article in The Journal of Nutrition was a technically difficult read. It discussed how combining the antioxidant resveratrol (the compound found in grapes, purple grape juice, red wine, peanuts, and certain berries) with genistein (a soy isoflavone) reduced […]
Hoffmann-La Roche, a pharmaceutical industry giant, enjoyed a tasty chunk of good news this month. Their friends at the ever-cooperative FDA have allowed them to bring a milder version of their prescription fat-blocking drug, Xenical, to the over-the-counter market this summer. The new OTC drug is called alli.