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ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
WHAT IT IS: Not to be confused with alpha linoleic acid, which is flaxseed’s famous precursor to Omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in the body’s cells. It works in concurrence with several other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
Studies show: ALA, like other antioxidants, fights free radicals that ravage the body. When free radicals attack our cells, this is known as oxidative stress, which ALA prevents. But ALA goes a step further than other antioxidants.
This compound helps to regulate blood sugar and insulin. For this reason, ALA plays a vital role in energy, health and weight maintenance. Many diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, are linked to unhealthy blood sugar and insulin production levels.
ALA is also one of the only antioxidants that is both fat and water soluble, which is just one more reason why experts consider it to be such a valuable nutrient. Studies have shown that ALA both fights oxidative stress and helps improve the metabolism. Specifically, ALA has been shown to fight the destructive free radicals that contribute to aging.
In a recent study, ALA improved energy levels significantly. And ALA helps its buddies: at least two other antioxidants have been proven to work more effectively in conjunction with ALA.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like ALA because of its potential for great energy improvement and age-fighting effects. ALA helps fight oxidation, is fat and water soluble, and improves the effectiveness of other antioxidants.
While the body does produce ALA within its cells, scientists have discovered a unique and wonderful side effect when an additional ALA supplement is taken – the ALA “free floats” to any area in the body suffering from oxidative stress, whether it be water, fat or blood. How cool is that? This is special because other antioxidants (like C and E) remain in particular cells, and often just the fatty section, at that.
Furthermore, ALA supports other antioxidants, increasing their effectiveness. And because high blood sugar and insulin irregularity are both problems for Americans, we believe ALA is crucial to managing your health. That’s why Mark includes a big dose of ALA in his world-class Damage Control Master Formula.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Taco Bell’s Fourth Meal Campaign – where they’re advising you to revisit mealtime late at night – is suddenly wrought with a lot of potential for humor in bad taste…and terrible puns. We’re not going to stoop to such low standards, but you can bet someone in the blogosphere will. And all because of scallions – scandalous. Clickativo. Good job, Big Agra. Way to win one for the team.
2) The intersection of morality judgments, motherhood and drugs: the debate over breast-feeding continues. The UK reports epidural drugs induce a desire in the mother to breast-feed; depending on when the drugs are given, there may be some unhealthy side effects; and doctors have concerns about another side effect: guilt in mothers who cannot breast-feed. Clickativity.
3) And the kids up at Evergreen U in Washington weigh in (sorry) on the whole Chicago-foie-gras-New-York-trans-fat fracas, which is apparently beginning to turn into a multi-city competition. Will Los Angeles (if it even notices) be the next to ban an unhealthy food? (What, no more white rice in the sushi?). Will Dallas come down on BBQ sauce? Will we start talking about “bootleg” buffalo wings? “Hooch” hamburgers? You know what the unintended consequences are of banning stuff people love: you get organized crime and mob syndicates. You’d think Chicago, of all cities, would remember that one.
Myspace, blogs, cell phones: the infrastructure exists, people. Soon we’ll see 14-year-old boys pelting city headquarters with ketchup packets on their way to deliver forbidden French fries to suburban housewives whose stressed-out husbands just have to have the hooch. Or not. Hey, we know this is absurd, but isn’t it absurd to live in a country where obesity is so out of control, cities actually ban certain foods?
The Evergreen U article suggests posting menu information instead of trying to tell people what to eat. That’s really logical and reasonable (one of the Worker Bees grew up a stone’s throw from Evergreen, and gosh, are they thoughtful people up there). But while it’s a nice idea, this food problem is way past logical. As Mark questioned last week in his musings on relative gluttony, would people really pay attention to the menu information? No one wants to be told what to do, but let’s face it, gluttony is the backbone of the American diet. So here’s the clickativity. Discuss, Apples!
Here’s Mark’s weekly health challenge, Apples:
This week, let’s go green. Eat something green – whether leafy or crunchy – at every meal, including breakfast. You’ll feel leaner by the end of the week (but not meaner).
Have you ever dreamed of having a personal trainer at your side to offer guidance, advice and words of encouragement when the going gets tough? (Wouldn’t that be nice!) Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone at your beck and call to give you direction, and assist you through your rigorous workouts? Now you can have all this without it breaking the bank. PumpOne is an innovative approach to providing exercise and workout routines to people on the go. All you need is a compatible iPod, Blackberry, Zune, or any other similar such hand-held device that allows you to store and view color images (jpegs). Their site provides dozens of downloadable workout routines in the categories of strength, weight-loss, endurance, flexibility and heart-health so that you can target your fitness goals. Each routine costs between $19 and $29 and has numerous exercises. With the varying types of workouts and levels 1, 2 and 3 difficulties there is bound to be a routine that fits your needs. Still, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for right away as an expanded inventory is coming this fall when ‘sports specific training for golf, skiing, triathlon training, tennis, wakeboarding, and outdoor pre/post natal and senior workouts’ will be released.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT:
WHAT IT IS: Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid present in everything from wine and tea to onions and garlic. Apples, green vegetables and leafy greens also contain this powerful antioxidant. Quercetin is particularly helpful for overworked blood vessels, meaning it may help those seeking optimal heart health.
WHAT IT DOES: Quercetin is one antioxidant of many; other flavonoid antioxidants include polyphenols, red wine’s resveratrol, and tea’s catechins. All are vital to good health. In general, antioxidants destroy the dangerous free radicals that are responsible for many health problems that have roots in cellular damage. Quercetin is unique because it does more than the typical antioxidant – in addition to destroying free radicals and supporting cardiovascular health, quercetin may boost cellular energy levels.
STUDIES SHOW: Well-documented studies show that quercetin is capable of blocking an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase (or COMT). By inhibiting this enzyme, the level of a substance called norepinephrine is raised, creating several neat effects. Scientists think some of these may include increased energy expenditure and possibly more. It’s recently been shown that quercetin appears to support LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation. This makes it a terrific supplement to support a healthy cardiovascular system.
In addition, quercetin is known to have antihistamine effects, making it a valuable antioxidant supplement for those troubled by allergies. Recent research has theorized that quercetin may also be beneficial to asthmatics for this very reason.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We really dig quercetin for its antioxidant properties and subsequent role in overall health. Since quercetin may help to fight heart problems (though this theory is not conclusive), we think it’s important for everyone.
Quercetin is also great for those with allergies because of its antihistamine effects. An important vasodilator, quercetin supports the cardiovascular system and may strengthen blood vessels. In addition, quercetin’s known ability to increase norepinephrine levels in the brain leads many scientists to believe quercetin may help to increase one’s cellular energy output. That’s one hard-working antioxidant!
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