Kelp Benefits for Humans

Kelp is a type of seaweed, or algae, usually eaten in Asian countries, such as Japan and China. Sea kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including iodine, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. In fact it contains the highest concentration of calcium of any food.

Kelp Benefits

Kelp has been shown to contain 46 minerals, 16 amino acids and 11 different vitamins. Kelp is a rich source of iodine, which is a crucial nutrient for the thyroid. Consuming healthy levels of iodine is important to maintaining a healthy thyroid, a gland in your neck which helps produce and regulate hormones.  Iodine is necessary for the formation of thyroid hormones, which regulate the body’s energy production,promote growth and development, and help burn excess fat. A malfunctioning thyroid can result in a wide range of symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness. In severe or untreated cases, it can lead to serious conditions like goiters heart palpitations and impaired memory. Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of mental retardation according to World Health Organization (WHO) and symptoms may include dry, scaly skin and scalp, fatigue constipation, dysfunctional thyroid operation, infertility, increased rate of stillbirths and growth abnormalities. Deficiencies can be treated with 150micrograms of iodine daily.  Prolonged use of large amount of iodine (6mg or more daily) may suppress activity of the thyroid gland

What is Grapefruit Seed Extract Good For?

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a liquid substance extracted from the fruit and seeds of grapefruit.  Chemical analysis of GSE shows additional antioxidant constituents including Vitamin C, tocopherols, sterols, citric acid, liminoids, and other trace minerals.

GSE Benefits

Grapefruit Seed Extract has very high levels of disease-fighting, free-radical eliminating antioxidants and phytonutrients called bioflavonoids. One of these strong bioflavanoids include the chemical component hesperidin, a well-known natural immune-system stimulator and booster. Grapefruit Seed Extract is a broad spectrum bactericide, fungicide, antiviral, and antiparasitic compound. An in vitro study using human skin fibroblast cells indicates that GSE promotes healthy gram-positive and gram-negative balance.A study from “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” found that GSE was efficacious in killing over 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, and a large number of single and multi-celled parasites.

In a study reported in the “Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology” in 2004, GSE was found to protect against pancreatitis. In experiments on rats, researchers observed that GSE helped protect pancreatic tissue by offering antioxidant properties and improving pancreatic blood flow. Grapefruit-seed extract  may benefit gastric lesions caused by stress or ethanol. In animal-based study, rats were treated with grapefruit-seed extract  thirty minutes prior to being subjected to ethanol or another stressor.  The number and area of gastric lesions that formed were measured and compared to those in rats that did not receive grapefruit-seed extract. Lesion number and size were reduced by as much as 50 percent in the group receiving grapefruit-seed extract. depending upon the dosage. A preliminary study examined the effectiveness of GSE in participants with eczema and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS).  Patients received either 2 drops of a 0.5% oral solution of GSE twice daily or 150 mg of encapsulated GSE three times daily. After a month, IBS symptoms had improved in 20% of those taking the liquid, while all of the participants taking capsules noted definite improvement of constipation, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and night rest. These findings need confirmation in double-blind studies.

Acidophilus Benefits and Food Sources

Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) is part of a group of bacteria that live in the small intestine and vagina. Acidophilus is considered a probiotic. As a natural probiotic, acidophilus helps to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive and intestinal tracts, encourages proper nutrient absorption and promotes immune health. There are as many as 100 trillion bacteria belonging to more than 400 species in the intestinal flora.

Natural Food Sources

The main dietary sources of Lactobacillus acidophilus include milk enriched with acidophilus, yogurt containing live L. acidophilus cultures, kefir, fermented soy products, tempeh and miso. L. acidophilus can also be taken in powder, liquid or capsule form as dietary supplements. A cidophilus is usually combined with bifidobacteria, and the resultant combination is commonly referred to as Acidophilus bifidus.

Acidophilus Benefits

With more than 400 different bacteria living in the human gastrointestinal tract, the most common forms of intestinal probiotics are Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. These bacteria act as balancing agents for non-friendly, pathogenic, gut-bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Candida. When the “friendly bacteria” are not present enough, a number of bacteria-related health problems such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, cadidiasis can ensue. Yogurt, which contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, is usually recommended by practitioners to help reduce the adverse effects of oral antibiotic treatment.

AcidophilusL. acidophilus supports a favorable environment for the absorption of nutrients, encourages intestinal microflora balance, and promotes the healthy functioning of the intestinal system. Acidophilus has been used to treat or prevent vaginal yeast infections, yeast infections of the mouth, urinary tract infections and diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics. Some research has showed that acidophilus may provide additional health benefits, including improved gastrointestinal function, a boosted immune system, and a decrease in the frequency of vaginal yeast infections. Acidophilus is generally considered to be beneficial, as it produces vitamin K, lactase, and anti-microbial substances such as acidolin, acidolphilin, lactocidin, and bacteriocin.

A high acidophilus level creates an environment that is fatal to other dangerous bacteria such as streptococcus, salmonella and Escherichia coli. In one of the many research reports on acidophilus and gastrointestinal tract health, acidophilus was showed to have antimicrobial activities against pathogens and fungal microorganisms. Also  since  acidophilus is able to survive in environments of pH 4-5 or below, it is able to survive the harsh conditions of the stomach and pass through to the small intestine. A University of Nebraska study found that feed supplemented with acidophilus and fed to cattle resulted in a 61% diminution of Escherichia coli 0157:H7. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria which infects just stomach tissues. This bacterium are responsible for more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. The presence of acidophilus appears to decrease H. pylori density in the human stomach and could enhance antibiotic treatment for Helicobacter pylori  eradication. According to a study reported in the June 2002 edition of the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, the use of acidophilus preparation reduced the density of the Helicobacter pylori colonies in the stomachs of patients with stomach ulcers.

Bacterial vaginosis is the most important cause of vaginal discharge. Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by alteration of the normal vaginal microflora, in which a mixed anaerobic bacterial flora becomes prevalent over the population of lacobacilli. Tablets or suppositories containing live acidophilus cultures may help treat the problem of bacterial vaginosis. A study reported in the October 2012 edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology demonstrated that slow-release vaginal tablets containing acidophilus and another probiotic reduced symptoms of yeast infections in a group of women. In a study, women who consumed 8 ounces of L. acidophilus -containing yoghurt per day had a threefold decrease in the incidence of vaginal yeast infections and a reduction in the frequency of Candida colonization in the vagina. In another study, women with vaginal Trichomonas infection received vaginal L. acidophilus suppositories for one year.  Over 90% of them were reported to be cured of their clinical symptoms in that time.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest important amounts of lactose the major sugar found in milk and milk products. Acidophilus milk has been used to treat people with lactose intolerance. Active bacteria cultures, such as acidophilus, may  help treat lactose intolerance by producing an enzyme that helps digest the lactose sugars in intestines.A study in the “Journal of Family Practice” reviewed information on this and other probiotics as a potential therapy for lactose intolerance . The review suggested that acidophilus may work. The hydrogen breath test is the standard tool for diagnosing lactose intolerance. Strains of L. acidophilus demonstrated reduced amount of hydrogen. The authors concluded that, “…probiotics in general do not reduce lactose intolerance… However some evidence suggests that specific strains and concentrations are effective…”

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common functional condition. Many studies have found that probiotics may help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A review of previously published studies that appeared in the Aug 2009 edition of the “Revista Espanola de Enfermedades Digestivas” found that supplements with probiotics, (such as acidophilus), improves symptoms of IBS.

Some research suggests acidophilus may be useful when used to prevent traveler’s diarrhea. A mix of probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Saccharomyces boulardii) helped treat traveler’s diarrhea in one study. Taking acidophilus supplements may help maintain the health of gastrointestinal system, especially after taking a course of antibiotic drugs. While they can be efficacious at killing the “bad” germs, unhappily, antibiotics also destroy the “good” bacteria in our bodies as well. For years, acidophilus has been recommended by doctors to help control certain types of diarrhea, in particular diarrhea caused when oral antibiotics destroy the normal flora of the intestine. In an article in the May, 2012, edition of Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reported that sufficient evidence exists to indicate that probiotics such as acidophilus can help treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Glucosamine Benefits and Osteoarthritis Treatment

Glucosamine plays an substantial role in building cartilage. It is an critical component in the body’s ability to make GAGs (glycosaminoglycans) and proteoglycans which are compounds of cartilage. They, are the core materials used by the body to make cartilage, synovial fluid and other elements of the skeletal system. As a person ages, the amount of glycosaminoglycans decreases leaving tissues and joints susceptible to pain and injury. Taking glucosamine supplements (glucosamine in most supplements is derived from shellfish) can increase the body’s production of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans significantly and improve the natural repair process.

Glucosamine Benefits and Arthritis Treatment

Glucosamine sulphate is often used to reduce pain and swelling in people suffering from osteoarthritis, the most widespread form of arthritis. It is also used to treat symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) arthritis in the jaw. Several studies demonstrate that glucosamine may be an effective therapy for osteoarthritis. These studies suggest that glucosamine; 1-Reduces osteoarthritis pain, 2-Improves function in patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis, 3-Reduces joint swelling and stiffness, 4-Provides relaxation from osteoarthritis symptoms for up to three months after therapy is stopped. As a supplement, glucosamine sulfate provides the raw material needed by the body to manufacture a mucopolysaccharide found in cartilage. There are different forms of glucosamine including glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL), and N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). Glucosamine sulfate is the most researched form of glucosamine. Glucosamine may be administered via intramuscular, intravenous, or oral routes.

GlucosamineIn osteoarthritis, there is a progressive degeneration of cartilage GAG (glycosaminoglycans). Glucosamine is a important structural component within joint tissue and is the starting point of the synthesis of several major macromolecules including glycoproteins, glycolipids and glycosaminoglycans. Glucosamine facilitates the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and therefore replenishing the availability of these molecules would slow the degeneration of cartilage. According to a study reported in the Jan, 2001 edition of the Lancet, glucosamine helps control osteoarthritis.

In a study, which included 318 patients, glucosamine sulphate had a important benefit over a placebo and an even stronger effect than paracetamol in improving both pain and function. A 3-year study of 212 participants found indications that glucosamine may protect joints from further damage. Over the course of the study, patients given glucosamine demonstrated some improvements in pain and mobility, Also, x-rays showed that glucosamine therapy prevented progressive damage to the knee joint. At the end of the study, participants taking glucosamine had no joint-space narrowing, whereas participants taking placebo had an average joint-space loss of 0.31 mm after 3 years.

In another clinical trial, 60 patients with primary osteoarthritis in either one or both knees were randomised to receive a 1500 mg sachet of glucosamine or a placebo. After twelve weeks, there were no improvements in the placebo group but those who received glucosamine sulphate reported important improvements in resting and moving pain, overall pain, stiffness and function. A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine evaluated osteoarthritis patients over 3 years during which 202 participants were given glucosamine while others were given a placebo. Glucosamine sulfate slowed the progress of knee arthritis, and the participants taking glucosamine reported a diminution in pain as well as stiffness compared with the placebo group. Participants taking glucosamine had no joint-space narrowing, while participants taking placebo had a joint-space narrowing of 0.19 mm.

Glucosamine sulfate is a safe alternative to NSAID pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. A 1994 study in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage showed that glucosamine was as powerful as ibuprofen drug for controlling the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In a study involving 178 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, those taking glucosamine sulphate 1500 mg daily for 4 weeks demonstrated improvements similar to those seen with ibuprofen 1200 mg daily. The important advantage of taking glucosamine sulfate is that it does not have any of the adverse effects commonly associated with NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin, or COX-2 such as Celebrex, the medications that have been used for the therapy of arthritis.

The medical journal Clinical Drug Investigation findings one study found MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), when used along with glucosamine sulfate, was effective for reducing inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. New studies have shown that the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine may be effective in reducing moderate to severe knee pain from osteoarthritis. Like glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin helps produce substances necessary for the formation of connective tissue. Also, chondroitin may have the ability to protect existing cartilage from prematurely breaking down by inhibiting cartilage-destroying enzymes. The combined use is known to produce a synergistic effect. One study reported in the February, 2006, edition of the “New England Journal of Medicine” concluded glucosamine taken with chondroitin sulfate, benefited those with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis pain.

The most common kind of arthritis, called osteoarthritis, causes degeneration of cartilage and bone at the joints and can occur at the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) arthritis. Some researches shows that taking glucosamine sulfate works about as well as the NSAID ibuprofen for relieving jaw pain. The Journal of Rheumatology reported a study which concluded glucosamine and ibuprofen reduce pain levels in patients with TMJ degenerative joint disease. Other study has concluded a reduction in pain associated with combination treatment of chondroitin sulfate (1200mg) and glucosamine hydrochloride (1500mg) for a period of twelve weeks.


For osteoarthritis, the standard adult dose of glucosamine used in most studies was 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate taken three times a day. 1,500 milligrams dose taken once daily is another option. Some publications use 20 mg for each kilogram of body weight per day. Glucosamine is also available as an injectable form that your physician can insert directly into a joint.

Side Effects

Glucosamine may cause mild stomach upset, nausea, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea. Since glucosamine can be made from the shells of crab, shrimp, and other shellfish, individuals with shellfish allergy may have an allergic reaction to glucosamine products. Glucosamine may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you also take blood thinners like aspirin, clopidogrel or warfarin. Glucosamine may affect your insulin or other blood-sugar-lowering drug. Some studies have shown that when taken in pill form, glucosamine has no effect on insulin, however, when taken by injection, glucosamine may cause insulin resistance.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Metal Detoxification Effects

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an effective chelating agent for lead, mercury, arsenic, copper, excess iron, excess calcium, cadmium, and zinc. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, copper, cadmium and arsenic can be very damaging to the body. Studies have shown that alpha lipoic acid is capable of chelating transition metals by forming stable complexes with manganese, copper, cadmium and zinc ions.

Alpha Lipoic Acid and Heavy Metal Chelation

ALA may reduce the toxicity from toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and zinc ions. In vitro studies show that ALA,  forms insoluble complexes with toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. ALA, by binding to these substances, it pulls them out of circulation and facilitates their excretion, thereby preventing damage to body tissue. ALA is a true oral chelating agent that has been widely used in Europe in the therapy of heavy metal toxicity caused by chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride, arsenobenzoles, and mercuric chloride.

Alpha lipoic acid increases the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that plays a role in the detoxification and elimination of potential carcinogens and toxins. Alpha lipoic acid directly terminates free radicals, chelates transition metal ions, increases cytosolic glutathione and vitamin C levels, and prevents toxicities associated with their loss. ALA have shown efficacy in minimizing liver toxicity following exposure to toxic industrial chemicals such as n-hexane and heavy metals such as mercury, copper and lead. In animal-based studies, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to provide protection against arsenic poisoning and to safeguard the liver against the effects of cadmium exposure. Other study demonstrated that ALA helped protect the delicate nervous system against the deleterious effects of mercury poisoning. A study on mercury  intoxication revealed an injection of 10 mg/kg/day Alpha-lipoic acid in rats inoculated with 1 mg/kg/day mercuric chloride prevented damage to nerve tissue caused by lipid peroxidation. In one study an intraperitoneal injection of 25 mg/kg alpha-lipoic acid given to rats for 7 days was  able to significantly alter the oxidative stress induced by lead toxicity.