Supplements In The News

Acetyl-L-carnitine for learning enhancement, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a biochemical substance made and used by all organisms except bacteria to assist in the extraction of energy from fats. In recent years ALC has been getting lots of attention as an anti-aging supplement, and even more recently as a cognitive enhancer and Alzheimer’s treatment. ALC is usually taken with a second supplement, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), in order to suppress free radical damage.

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Tyranny is taking hold in Australia, too.

Probably the majority of people in the U.S. feel that individual freedom is being eroded by the actions of government. They may disagree about which kinds of freedom are involved, or about whose freedom deserves to be eroded, but it is widely agreed that politicians are giving government agencies increasing power to intrude into people’s lives and punish them for not obeying these agencies’ commands.

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Efforts being made to establish safety levels for popular supplements

Critics of the supplement industry often claim that because supplements are relatively unregulated by government agencies, there are no safety levels defined for them. Such claims are somewhat misleading, however — the truth is that a great deal of data has been collected about the safety or toxicity of many substances used as supplements. Some of this information is available in the ChemIDplus Lite database maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. To use their website, type the name of a substance (such as “quercetin”) into the search-box, click on “Search”, and when the results page comes up, click on the “Full Record” link. Scroll down until you reach the Toxicity chart (if there is one).

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Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil show major effects on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

It has been 19 years since researchers first noticed that people with ADHD have unusually low levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docasahexaenoic acid). Two clinical trials since then did not show any benefit from the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids by ADHD patients. But now, another clinical trial has shown that fish oil has significant benefits after all — an improvement in ADHD symptoms was shown in almost 50% of ADHD patients who used a fish oil supplement for up to seven months.

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Treatments and other news about ‘bird flu’ (H5N1 Avian Influenza)

The anticipated bird flu pandemic has receded from the news lately because no dramatic new developments have occurred in the past several months. Nevertheless, the disease continues to infect poultry and wild birds, and it continues to infect small numbers of humans in Asia. The reasons for thinking that a disastrous pandemic will occur are just as valid as ever, but the timing is unpredictable.

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Enzyme supplement prevents adhesions, alleviates bronchitis

A popular German supplement, consisting of various enzymes in a dosage form that allows them to survive passage through the stomach and to be absorbed in the blood, is used in Europe to treat a variety of conditions, many of them inflammatory in nature. (The best-known such product in Europe is Wobenzym®.) Most of these enzyme supplements contain the protease bromelain as a primary ingredient. In the U.S., LifeLink’s Poly-Zyme is such a bromelain-based enzyme supplement.


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Coenzyme Q10 for preventing migraines

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance found in various biological membranes, including the inner membrane of mitochondria (the energy extractor in cells). CoQ10 plays an important role in handling electrons that are derived from fats and sugars during their conversion into biologically useful energy.

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Reducing body fat with Coenzyme Q10 plus Carnitine

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and L-carnitine are two substances that play essential roles in the biochemical dismantling of fat molecules to draw off their energy. Both are found in mitochondria — the energy-extracting apparatus of cells.


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How does curcumin prevent diabetes-related cataracts?

Curcumin — the yellow substance in the turmeric spice — has in recent years attracted attention as a treatment for medical conditions caused by free radicals, inflammation, viral infection, and protein handling. For example, in 2004 researchers reported that curcumin can compensate for the genetic defect that causes the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, a disease resulting from faulty protein handling in secretory cells.

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Beta-glucan reveals unexpectedly powerful cholesterol-lowering effects.

Beta-glucan is a complex carbohydrate derived from the cell walls of plants, yeast, and mushrooms. Its effects on immunity and on cancer have been studied for forty years, and its ability to modify cholesterol concentrations in the blood have been known since the 1980s. In 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially recognized beta-glucan as a cholesterol-lowering substance when consumed at 3 grams/day or more, in divided doses.

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