June 25, 2012

171 The Insect Repellent You Eat [25 June 2012]

Finally, a mosquito repellent that you eat! Doesn’t sound very appetizing, but that’s because we think of insect repellent as smelly, toxic creams or sprays. Xerion Dispensary Ltd, the developers of this remarkable new product they called Mozi-Q, insists it is safe with no known side effects. Health Canada must agree, as the product received approval for sale in Canada last month.

Xerion is a Calgary homeopathic clinic, the largest in western Canada. Mozi-Q is their first homeopathic product brought to market. A few years ago they discovered, in a textbook, a homeopathic remedy for keeping mosquitoes away and started to sell it in their clinic. Over four years of testing they improved the formula with four additional remedies. It worked so well they decided to manufacture it.

Mozi-Q works two ways: it greatly reduces the frequency of insect bites and also reduces your reaction should you get bitten anyway – no more itchy red bumps! It works on other bugs too besides mosquitoes – including flies, ticks, head lice and bed bugs.

Mozi-Q starts to work about 30 minutes after you take the first tablet, which is dissolved under the tongue. It lasts 3-5 hours before you need another one; there is no limit to how many you can take in a day. Because it is a homeopathic, it is non-toxic, has no contraindications for use, and does not react with any medication or herb. It is also safe for pregnancy, babies and children.

Now whenever mosquitoes start “bugging” you this summer, just pop a pill and they’ll leave you alone. Warning - always carry the box with you when you go out because your friends will want one too.

To learn more about Mozi-Q and Xerion Dispensary see www.mozi-q.com.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 18, 2012

170 Lysine – the “Cold Sore Cure” [18 June 2012]

Lysine is one of the eight essential amino acids, meaning that we must obtain all our daily needs in our diet. That is usually not a problem as lysine is found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, pulses (lentils, beans and peas) and dairy. A vegan diet depending on grains for protein would be deficient in lysine, so it is commonly added to animal feed.

Lysine is an essential building block for all protein in the body, including hormones, enzymes and antibodies. It is important for increasing muscle and in the healing of wounds or surgery. Lysine plays a role in calcium absorption and is essential in the production of collagen, a protein found in skin, tendons and cartilage. Lysine also helps regulate serotonin, one of the anti-anxiety neurotransmitters I discussed in column #167.

Lysine is sometimes taken as a supplement to help fight infections of herpes simplex virus which causes cold sores. For this purpose, lysine is often taken in a formula along with zinc, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and immune-supporting herbs like garlic, echinacea and goldenseal. Studies have found that a diet high in lysine and low in arginine reduces the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks.

Lysine appears to inhibit herpes infections by suppressing arginine, the amino acid I wrote about last week, which is essential for the virus to replicate. Arginine and lysine compete with each other for absorption, so increasing lysine will create a relative deficiency of arginine. So if you are taking lysine for this purpose, you should avoid supplementing with arginine and temporarily reduce consumption of foods high in arginine (see list in last week’s column). Because arginine is also important to our health, long-term supplementation of lysine is not recommended.

Speaking of arginine, two functions that I missed mentioning last week are:
• arginine enhances the immune system by stimulating the thymus gland to increase production of B and T cells
• arginine stimulates the pituitary gland to produce human growth hormone (HGH)

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 11, 2012

169 Arginine – the NO Precursor [11 June 2012]

Arginine is an interesting amino acid. It is considered “essential” (meaning it is required in our diet) in infants and children whose synthesis pathways are undeveloped, and “conditionally essential” (meaning that some is required in our diet) in adults. Arginine is usually sufficient in our diets – it is found in meat, poultry, dairy, seafood, whole grains, nuts, seeds and even chocolate – but in certain situations is also taken as a supplement. As with all amino acids, look for the L-arginine form.
An important function of arginine is the production of the gas nitric oxide (NO). NO lowers blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles of the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels) thus dilating the arteries. This process increases blood flow when partially blocked arteries to the heart cause angina pain, or to the leg muscles cause intermittent claudication. Nitroglycerine works similarly in treating angina by releasing NO. NO is also essential for penile erections, so arginine is often used for erectile dysfunction.
Arginine has several other uses. Taken with RNA and the essential fatty acid EPA, arginine improves wound healing, especially bone injuries, and shortens post-surgery recovery time. Arginine is sometimes taken along with ibuprofen for migraine headaches. Arginine also plays an essential role in the detoxification and elimination of ammonia through the liver and kidneys.
There are several important cautions regarding arginine supplementation:
·         do not take arginine if you have had a recent heart attack
·         arginine may be helpful with congestive heart failure, but use with medical supervision.
·         take under medical supervision if you are on prescription drugs for high blood pressure or angina
·         stop two weeks before surgery, resume a few days after
·         women: avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding
·         men: use caution if you take arginine along with sildenafil (Viagra) as the combination may lower blood pressure too far
·         avoid if you are subject to cold sores as arginine reduces the absorption of another amino acid, lysine, which is believed to play a role in combating herpes simplex infections.
Despite all the precautions, arginine supplementation can be safe and effective in certain conditions. I’ll explore more about lysine and its relationship with arginine next week.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. 

June 4, 2012

168 L-Carnitine – the Energy Booster [4 June 2012]

Continuing the series on amino acids, this week we will look at carnitine. Carnitine is synthesized in our livers from two other amino acids, lysine and methionine. It occurs in two forms, D- and L-, with L-carnitine being the biologically active form.
An important function of L-carnitine is to facilitate the breakdown and transport of long-chain fatty acids from the cell plasma into the mitochondria where they can be burned for fuel, creating energy in the form of ATP. Studies have also found that carnitine:
·           reduces fat mass and increases muscle mass
·           increases energy & endurance
·           reduces fatigue, including those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
·           reduces triglycerides and cholesterol levels
·           increases osteocalcin, the hormone responsible for building new bone
·           acts as a strong antioxidant protecting the brain and spinal cord
·           improves mental alertness, memory, and mood
·           improves insulin resistance
·           improves male fertility by increasing sperm count & motility
·           is often deficient in vegetarians
·           may need to be supplemented in pregnancy.
Carnitine is found in most muscle meats, but is particularly high in lamb and beef. It is a popular supplement for weight loss and body building. Carnitine has only recently (December 2011) been approved by Health Canada for sale in Canada without prescription. Caution: people on prescription blood thinners should only take carnitine under medical supervision.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.