Nutrients from Flaxseeds

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben
If you’re looking for a vegan protein powder, you might want to think about ground up flaxseeds. They contain up to 30 proteins, which works out to around 10 grams per 1 ounce scoop. Although they don’t have all the essential amino acids – they’re missing lysine which is important for connective tissue – they have a good amount of both arginine and glutamine, which are youth promoting and build amino acids.

At $2.00 or so a pound (and that’s for the organic type), the price is certainly right.

Flaxseeds are chock full of other nutrients, including Omega 3 fatty acids, thiamine, manganese, magnesium and potassium. They’re also good sources of selenium and zinc, important for prostate health and the health of the male reproductive system. Selenium and zinc also make flaxseeds the perfect anti-diabetic food. In my opinion, using flaxseed fiber after meals or even just once a day as a supplement can be a powerful way to keep blood sugar stable.

The flax is not just biochemically powerful, it also has a more mechanical value. It acts like a broom that can sweep out excess estrogen, and estrogen metabolites as well as other toxins, out of the intestine and the body. The fiber can further enhance detoxification by helping support bile and the health of the microbiome, all of which can support estrogen clearances. Flaxseeds are also a good way to get your Vitamin E, in both the tocopherol and tocotrienol forms which are the two major versions of this key essential nutrient. In fact, to some degree, all 8 forms of Vitamin E are found in flaxseeds.

All of these qualities make flax a true super food and pretty darn cheap one too!

But there’s more! Flaxseeds also contain lignans, a plant chemical which can very helpful for balancing out estrogen levels. Lignans are found in pretty much all plants, it’s what gives them their hardness and crunchiness. The crunchier and harder a plant material (think seeds) the more lignans they contain. If you’re eating fiber, you’re going to get lignans. However, while you can get lignans in various seeds and plant foods, the champion source is flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain 7 times as many lignans as sesame seeds which is the next highest source, over 300 times as many as sunflower seeds, nearly 500 times as many as cashews, and over 3000 times as many as peanuts, which are all considered high lignan foods.

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD), flaxseed can be effective for digestive ailments including constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome , gastritis, enteritis, ulcerative colitis, and laxative-induced colon damage. The NMCD also cites that flax has also been utilized for the treatment of acne, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, obesity and weight loss, osteoporosis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, HIV/AIDS, hemodialysis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and nephritis as other health challenges that may improve with a daily dose of flaxseed. Finally, flaxseed has also been used for depression, cystitis, malaria, upper respiratory tract infections as a cough suppressant and expectorant, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Posted by publisher in Nutrition

Heart Disease Simplified

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

With 64 million Americans suffering some form of heart disease and over a million deaths attributed annually to what is the number one cause of mortality in the U.S., there is perhaps no health issue that is more worthy of discussion then how to keep your heart healthily humming.

We’ve been talking about nutritional supplements for improving heart health on The Bright Side and indeed there are lots. In fact, even more important than the specific nutrients and dietary routes you can take to your help your ticker, is the very idea that if you have heart health issues and you’re on a prescription drug and you want to get off of it, there are many, many non-toxic, non-pharmaceutical options you can use that restore cardiac vigor and at the same time contribute many other health benefits. Heart Disease SimplifiedIn a later post, we’ll list the top nutritional and dietary strategies for improving cardiovascular health. In this article we’d like to begin to clear up some of the confusion that surrounds the names and descriptions of the various forms of heart disease.

Atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis) – “sclerosis” is the Greek-derived medical term for “hardening”, thus athero- or arterio-sclerosis refers to hardening and thickening of arterial walls (also known as “hardening of the arteries”). This can ultimately lead to a blockage of blood supply and oxygen, and subsequent to damage to heart cells. The ultimate fate of long term blood and oxygen deprivation can be heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. The biggest problem associated with prevention of arteriosclerosis is its asymptomatic nature. Unfortunately many people do not know that there coronary arteries are hardening until they suffer from one of the unfortunate end results.

Angina – literally form the Latin for chest pain, this unfortunate condition affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Symptoms of angina are similar to those of a heart attack and include chest pain and pressure, nausea, sweating, dizziness, difficulty breathing and throat, upper back, shoulder or jaw pain. Unlike a heart attack however the symptoms are temporary and usually subside with rest. Still, angina symptoms are a serious sign of cardiac deficiency and need to be addressed immediately.

Myocardial Ischemia (MI) – refers to a lack of blood flow to the heart. Myocardial means “heart muscle” and ischemia is the Greek term for “stopping blood”. The most likely cause of is arteriosclerosis and the end result of long-term blockage can be permanent damage to the heart muscle. A sudden, severe ischemia will often result in a heart attack.

Cardiomyopathy– literally, heart muscle disease, this is a generic term that describes a diseased heart muscle and results in a diminished pumping action. This typically refers to a weakened left ventricle, which is responsible for the ejection of freshly oxygenated blood through the aorta to the rest of the body.

Myocardial Infarction (MI) – colloquially referred to as a “heart attack”, an MI occurs after a section he heart has been deprived of blood long enough for heart cells and ultimately heart tissue to begin to die. Symptoms like chest pain and pressure can resemble those of angina except unlike angina rest does not bring relief. Interestingly, although there are 1 million heart attacks that occur every year in the U.S, it is estimated that another 200,000 occur unrecognized because they have no symptoms. These so called “silent heart attacks” occur most commonly in diabetics.

Arrhythmia – when the normal pacing (rhythm) of heart beats is disturbed, and the heart beats either too fast (“tachycardia”) or too slow (“bradycardia”), the abnormal pacing of
heartbeats is called an arrhythmia. These can be caused by non-heart conditions like lack of sleep, too much caffeine, and fever or thyroid disease. If it is related to cardiac pathology the cause can be an electrical malfunction or disturbance in the heart’s blood supply caused by fatty deposits and plaques. Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias include palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, panic sensations and chest discomfort.

Heart Failure (HF) – while still pumping normally during HF, the heart’s blood supply begins to slow down and either it’s structure or size begin to change. There may be no dangerous symptoms as the heart begins to fail but gradually signs like fatigue and difficulty exercising (which may be attributed incorrectly to normal aging) eventually will begin to show up.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – As heart failure progresses, eventually blood is not pumped into or out of its chambers and fluid begins to accumulate and “congest” the lungs and heart. The lungs can become stiff resulting in constant fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath. Swelling in the extremities is a common occurrence with CHF. Sometimes, a CHF suffererer will
awaken from sleep with sensations of breathlessness, coughing or wheezing. Neck veins may be swollen and occasionally there is indigestion, a feeling of fullness or a lack of appetite. According to the Texas Heart Institute, people over 40 have a 1 in 5 chance of developing Congestive Heart Failure in their lifetime.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health