Beta Glucan studied for colds: European Journal of Nutrition

NYBC has stocked Beta Glucan for quite a while, due to the variety of evidence about its capacity to enhance immune system function. On a more personal level, some at NYBC have taken to using it as a cold remedy or cold preventative, and generally–we’re speaking of the “anecdotal” level of evidence–have found it worthwhile.

Now we’re pleased to note a newly published, well-designed study in the European Journal of Nutrition that finds that beta glucan can reduce the number of colds by about 25%, and also acts to significantly decrease cold symptoms, including sleep disruption.

See NYBC’s product description:

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?cPath=50&products_id=40

Reference: Auinger, A. et al. Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-beta-glucan helps to maintain the body’s defence against pathogens: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentric study in healthy subjects.
European Journal of Nutrition. January, 2013.

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Green foods for immune support

As we pass through the short days of winter, which also brings the cold and flu season to those of us in the northern hemisphere, our thoughts may turn to fortifying ourselves with a good diet, making it as healthy as possible till that day when the arugula sprouts in the garden or the new crop of berries arrives (ok, getting a little poetical here!)

Anyway, here are NYBC suggestions for green foods and green/red foods combinations, which many use to boost the nutritional content of their diet when that boost is most needed:

Organic DAILY 5 (Jarrow). A mix of greens and reds (fruits). Used as directed, it is a 30-day supply, at $23.40/month. It is a blend of high quality, organic (USDA seal) fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins.

Each single (6 g) scoop provides 3,240 mg of a blend of organic fruits and vegetables, including apple, carrot, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, beet powder acerola powder, broccoli and spinach. In addition, each scoop includes 1,720 mg of organic flax seed powder as well as 110 mg of a blend of organic barley grass, wheat grass and oat bran powders.

Green Vibrance is a more complex mix of probiotics, greens, and immune supportive nutrients. The list of ingredients is long, so please follow the link to see how this green food supplement is structured. A month’s supply is $38.50, and a 60-day Green Vibrance is also available for the savings-conscious. (The large size will save you about 20% off the one-month version, if our calculations are correct.)

MS Sufferer Improves Dramatically

Here is a terrific YouTube post by Dr. Terry Wahls. She is a person living with secondary, progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). By 2008, she could not walk more than a short way with two canes. At this point, she began a journey into understanding how her disease progresses and ways in which diet and supplements can have an impact on that disease. Check out the video and see her remarkable results–one of the always remarkable and inspiring TED talks series!

Vitamin D for TB?

A recent report suggested that the use of cod liver oil may improve outcomes in those under treatment for TB. One speculation is that the oil, high in vitamin D, may be the most important and immune enhancing agent. Deficiencies of vitamin D are widespread, particularly among African Americans in general and people living with HIV in particular.

Note that cod liver oil also has significant amounts of vitamin A and the omega-3 fatty acids found in other fish oils. It may well be the combination of these agents that may help to improve outcomes and possibly act as a prophylaxis against tuberculosis–as well as being salutary for health in general!

PharmaNAC at NYBC

PharmaNAC, an effervescent tablet formulation of NAC (N-acetylcysteine), has been available from the New York Buyers Club for several years. We are pleased to offer this formulation, both because it’s a high quality preparation with careful manufacturing controls and protective packaging, and because ongoing research on NAC has continued to point to its usefulness in many fields, from respiratory and immune system support to serving as an antidote to acetaminophen (common tradename: Tylenol) overdose.

Here are some product details from the manufacturer:

N-acetylcysteine or “NAC” for short, is a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine, which is an essential precursor used by the body to produce glutathione. Glutathione is an important and powerful antioxidant produced by the body to help protect against free radical damage, and is a critical factor in supporting a healthy immune system.

PharmaNAC:
• Certified European Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) grade NAC.
• Effective way to help boost glutathione levels.
• Effervescent, quick-dissolving tablets allow NAC to enter cells readily, ensuring rapid absorption.
• Quality controlled according to pharmaceutical guidelines.
• Compliant to the standards of European Pharmacopoeia and United States Pharmacopoeia.
• Individually wrapped tablets in a 4-layer (paper/plastic/foil plastic) air-tight material to prevent moisture and air from degrading the NAC (a major problem with most other over the counter NAC).

For information on purchasing, see the NYBC entry at

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?products_id=258

Symptoms common, often ignored by docs

A recent report underscored the myriad symptoms and problems facing significant numbers of people living with HIV. The study involved 751 patients enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, undertaken between 1999 and 2000. Commonly reported symptoms included fatigue (71%), difficulty sleeping, depression, muscle aches and diarrhea (each reported by 60% of the respondents). Over 50% of patients reported headache, difficulty remembering, tingling hands or feet (neuropathy), weight loss and body shape changes.

The worry is that some may be associated with meds and this may reduce adherence to drug schedules. This can lead to resistance, etc. Which is why we at NYBC take very seriously the methods and means that may be available to manage some of these side effects. Diarrhea has been managed in studies that investigated agents like calcium and glutamine. Acetylcarnitine has some benefit for nuke-related neuropathy. You can review our literature on what we know (and need to learn more) about such interventions along with the different symptoms and side effects people experience and how they can be managed.

The study included about 54% African American. The study noted that healthcare providers often don’t recognize these as important symptoms. Perhaps this is why there is a strong racist element within American health care, one that arises out of blindness and ignorance as much as any overt hostility.

The second aspect of such care is that many people, of every ethnicity, are economically impoverished. So how can many people access sometimes costly, nearly always out-of-pocket agents like acetylcarnitine? NYBC is working on ways to make this possible, though we will need additional help to assure such access. State-run programs like ADAP and Medicaid can help in some states–but many of these programs are facing cuts due to tight budgets. Tight budgets induced by banks getting a socialized bailout for their malfeasance while Americans suffer?

So political activism will remain a key component in any comprehensive effort to provide care and treatment that includes the types of agents NYBC investigates and makes available. Ongoing research into dietary supplements and the ways in which they may improve health outcomes, enhance adherence to medications, reduce side effects and lower the burden of public costs by reducing morbidity and mortality are keenly needed.