Archive for the ‘Innovational Concepts’ Category

Lic-Or-Ice Is The New Spring Protective Ingredient

licoriceLicorice root extract has a long history for its flavor in food and drinks as well as for its anti-inflammatory properties in medicinal preparations, but did you know that it can also play a role in promoting healthy skin?  As an active ingredient in skin care treatments, licorice root extract does double duty by lightening dark spots as a botanical alternative to hydroquinone while offering protection against UV damage.

As a skin lightener, licorice root contains a compound called glabridin which suppresses pigmentation by stalling melanin production.  It accomplishes this by hampering tyrosinase activity, the enzyme responsible for producing melanin.  For those who are not able to tolerate hydroquinone, licorice root extract offers a plant-based option with few side effects or allergic reactions.  Irritation is also rare, most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

As protection against UV damage, new research has been focused on another of licorice root extract’s compounds called Licochalcone A, an antioxidant that has the unique ability to boost the body’s own defensive system against skin-damaging free radicals.  When the skin is exposed to daily assaults by environmental hazards, pollution and UV rays, the body’s natural defense kicks in to eliminate the free radicals that are generated.  Using a lotion containing Licochalcone A, researchers found that pretreated skin cells in a laboratory setting produced a higher amount of antioxidant molecules and, as a result, significantly fewer harmful free radicals. A subsequent study on volunteers supported those findings by showing how licorice root extract was able to protect from UV damage by stimulating the skin’s own defense system.

Another new research project that backs this concept was published in Experimental Dermatology introduces a new plant-sunscreenderived agent, which protects skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. “We found out that the antioxidant active licochalcone a, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice), is able to protect the skin from subsequent UV irradiation damage from within by strengthening the skin’s own defense systems,” says Gitta Neufang, a researcher involved in the work from Beiersdorf AG (Hamburg, Germany). “Thus plant extracts with the described profile are able to provide a protective shield from sun exposure supporting and going beyond the action of sunscreens regarding sun protection.” Neufang and colleagues isolated human skin cells and irradiated them with solar simulated light mimicking sun exposure. They were able to show that skin cells pretreated with licochalcone a produced a higher amount of self-protecting, antioxidant molecules. Consequently, significantly fewer harmful radicals were detected in licochalone a treated human skin cells. In addition, they also conducted a study with healthy volunteers demonstrating that the application of a lotion containing Licochalcone A-rich root extract on the inner forearms for two weeks protected the skin from damage after UV irradiation.

The hope is to use licorice root extract as a means to boost the effectiveness of sunscreens. These findings show that the skin’s own defense system can be stimulated by the application of licorice extract. In combination with UV-filters this approach therefore might provide superior sun protection by not only offering physical but also biological sun protection.  No sunscreen is able to block out 100% of the sun’s damaging rays.  Even SPF 50 products only block up to 98%. Researchers are hoping to make up the 2% gap by using new information about licorice root extract to boost the body’s own defensive systems.

~ Courtesy of American Spa Magazine

Is maple water the next coconut water?

maple water

One of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets has been exposed. Maple water, the all-natural, nutrient-packed elixir enjoyed for centuries by native peoples in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, is landing on retail shelves across America. Made solely from raw sap—the very stuff that brings maple trees back to life after each long, cold winter—maple water is now being tapped, Tetra Pak’d and sold to natural-minded consumers and athletes looking for a hydration booster not fabricated in a lab.

If this sounds a lot like the darling hydration drink of the past few years—the venerable coconut water—it’s definitely similar. Both plant-based products provide refreshment with the added value of vitamins, minerals and minimal processing. However, maple water offers a few attributes that coconut water can’t match—less sugar, fewer calories, a subtler taste, and a less-milky mouthfeel. And although maple water has fewer electrolytes than its tropical counterpart, it still provides a solid option for everyday hydration. Perhaps maple water’s most salient selling point is its North American sourcing, whereas coconut water comes from so far away. Though maple water is trying its best to not position itself as the next coconut water, it clearly has potential to pilfer from coconut water’s market share.


Absolutely Breath Taking: Cancer Breakthrough

bees cancerCancer is Detectable in Breath

A hand-blown glass device housing a small team of honey bees may be able to detect cancer and other diseases, thanks to the acute sense of smell of the bees. Their extraordinary sense of smell can detect particles in the air in the parts per trillion range, naturally used for searching for pollen in flowers. By training the bees to recognize smells associated with certain diseases and cancers, the bees can determine the presence of the disease or not, based solely on the breath of a patient.

The device was revealed at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, by Portuguese designer Susana Soares. There were multiple distinct structures presented by the designer, but the function relies on two main chambers. The first chamber is a diagnosis area, into which the user exhales. The honey bees are kept in the outer larger chamber, but fly into the smaller chamber if they detect any aroma they were previously trained to recognize.

By training different groups of bees to recognize different odors, doctors can accurately determine the presence of lung, skin, and pancreatic cancers, as well as tuberculosis. “Trained bees only rush into the smaller chamber if they can detect the odour on the patient’s breath that they have been trained to target,” explains Soares.

The bees can be trained in only 10 minutes using Pavlov’s reflex, connecting a certain odor with a food reward. Mentally wired to constantly search food for the hive, the bees will remember the odor for the entire six week duration of their lives. The bees are especially sensitive to pheromes from apocrine glands, which excrete information about a persons health.

~Courtesy of Healthy Living Magazine

A Fruit Replaces Hormonal Sleep Aid

cherriesIf you’re having trouble getting enough quality sleep, try drinking tart cherry juice, according to research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting. Louisiana State University scientists say imbibing tart cherry juice, a rich source of melatonin, the sleep hormone secreted by the body’s pineal gland, twice a day for two weeks increases sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among adults with insomnia.

Tart cherries also increase levels of tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to manufacture serotonin, a neurotransmitter that facilitates sleep.

It is increasingly important to find sleep aids without side effects, says co-author Frank L. Greenway, MD, director of the outpatient research clinic at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Courtesy of Healthy Living Magazine

OMG! Contact Lenses For Diabetics

If you thought Google Glass was pretty far out, the tech giant’s latest project might have you seeing double.

Google is developing a “smart” contact lens. Yes, a contact lens made with super-tiny chips and sensors and an antenna inside that — of course — you wear right on your eyeball. No joke.

But instead showing you status updates, driving directions or allowing you to take pictures directly from your field of vision like Glass does, the intention for these contact lenses is very specific: to aid people with diabetes. The chips and sensors in the contact lenses are supposed to be able to track glucose levels in a person’s tears. Collecting tears can be difficult so why not get the technology directly to the source?

“Although some people wear glucose monitors with a glucose sensor embedded under their skin, all people with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day,” the project’s co-founders, Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, wrote in a Google blog post. “It’s disruptive, and it’s painful. And, as a result, many people with diabetes check their blood glucose less often than they should.”

Tracking blood glucose, or blood-sugar-concentration, is a way to monitor the spikes and drops that are common in people with diabetes.

Google is still testing the technology in the contact lenses, which could eventually include tiny LED lights that could light up when a wearer’s glucose levels cross above or below certain thresholds, the company says.

~ courtesy of Entrepreneur Magazine and OMG

Pickle Juice – The New #1 Sports Drink

Currently professional, college and high school football teams and college and  high school cross country track teams will soon be beginning their hot summer practices.  They will also begin their need to drink pickle juice as a way to help stave off  muscle cramps. Runners and bikers, especially those in the very warm southern  climates also know full well the benefits that pickle juice provides. Pickle  juice can definitely help to prevent muscle cramping.

Pickle juice contains salt, calcium chloride and vinegar. The basic ingredients  are similar to what you would find in isotonic drinks. Where pickle juice has  acetic acid, isotonic drinks contain citric acid, like the sports drink  featuring the name gator and power in it.

Sometimes you may sneak a sip of juice from the pickle jar. That’s OK. That  seemingly worthless liquid, which often gets tossed into the trash when the  pickles are gone, could be the key to athletic endurance and avoiding  debilitating leg cramps?

The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted  headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their  cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas  heat. Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.”  Pickle companies (such as Mt. Olive Pickle, Vlasic Foods and Golden Pickle)  claim that pickle juice is similar to an isotonic beverage and can prevent  muscle cramps caused from strenuous exercise.

Golden Pickle has even created a sports drink, appropriately named “Pickle  Juice Sport.” Golden Pickle claims that Pickle Juice Sport has “approximately 30  times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade.” It is  even endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten.

So how does this work? Muscle cramps are caused by dehydration from  exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids. How could pickle juice  help? When you sweat during exercise, you lose a lot of salt and minerals. These  minerals and salt are also known as electrolytes. This loss of electrolytes can  cause muscle cramping, especially in hot, humid weather. Cells in the body use  electrolytes in the cell fluid to maintain voltages across their cell membranes  and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. In the case of my bike ride, I  had to be able to use my muscles in both a pulling and contracting motion, or  muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt, or electrolyte content.  Therefore, drinking pickle juice before and during exercise could possibly  provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.

Confused? Don’t be. Anything liquid containing any or all of the four  commonly considered electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium will  work to help to prevent muscle cramping. Obviously, the more the better. Give it  a try on a daily basis and see for yourself. Don’t worry about how people look  at you when you tip that empty pickleless laden jar of liquid up to your  lips.

Research Study to Support this OMG Moment:

~Although there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of pickle juice as a method of preventing dehydration and muscle cramps, the is little scientific evidence supporting or refuting these ideas. Dale, et al. examined the effectiveness of pickle juice as a preventative measure for exercise-associated muscle cramps compared to Gatorade. This study compared the pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product. Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage. Dale et. al. concluded that pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study warns of the danger of ingesting large amounts of salt and suggests that athletes should dilute the pickle juice with a sufficient quantity of a hypotonic or isotonic solution. Two ounces is the suggested serving size of pickle juice.

~ Researchers suggest that the pickle juice acts on neural reflexes — a plausible suggestion, given that earlier experiments have found that vinegar can provoke reflexes and affect neurotransmitter levels. This fits with an alternate theory that cramps have nothing to do with dehydration or electrolyte loss, first proposed in the 1990s by Martin Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town:

“Schwellnus et al. proposed that [cramps] were due to neuromuscular fatigue. Neuromuscular fatigue is thought to create an imbalance between muscle spindle and Golgi tendon organ activity, resulting in increased alpha motor neuron excitability. Thus, if [cramps] are caused by an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory stimuli at the alpha motor neuron pool, pickle juice ingestion may cause an increase in inhibition from supraspinal sources, thereby resulting in cramp alleviation.”

Healthy Icecream for Hospital Recovery Patients

Though they are in the business of healing patients, hospitals and long-term care facilities are rife with germs and bacteria that can hinder a patient’s road to recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two million patients per year pick up infections in U.S. hospitals. About 90,000 die as a result of these deaths, with approximately 70% caused by bacteria that are resistant to at least one antibiotic. Those figures were a compelling factor in the creation of HHice Cream Probiotic Defense, a “healthy hospital” frozen yogurt mix developed by NEWtritious, a relatively new startup food and beverage company based in Los Angeles, CA.
HHice Cream, which debuted at Natural Products Expo West, is designed to deliver “viable and potent probiotics along with a beneficial serving of vitamins and minerals,” and provides “much-needed supplementation” in the form of a cooling soft-serve to coax patients—especially pediatric and geriatric patients—who are reluctant to eat in the hospital. The product’s marquis ingredient is GanedenBC30, a patented strain of probiotic bacteria Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, which according to the company may help enhance immune system response while supporting gut health.
“Each cell of GanedenBC30 contains a hardened structure, or spore, which is similar to a seed,” explained Michael Arlen, founder and president of NEWtritious. “This spore or seed, serves as a natural protective shield against the strong acids in your stomach to arrive alive and then thrive in your intestines—their intended target. GanedenBC30 is designed by nature to survive and thrive so more probiotic cells can help support your immune system.”
To ensure its probiotic would perform as expected NEWtritious sponsored research at the University of Reading in the U.K. on its proprietary strain BC30. In vitro fermenters (continuous culture) were used to assess the persistence of BC30 in the background of a complex mixed microbiota, and modern molecular based technologies were used to assess microbial changes in the fermenters. The researchers found BC30 to be “effective at persisting in the reactors for the duration of the experimental period,” with no negative effects of supplementation determined.
The researchers also reported that their co-culture work showed that BC30 could exert anti-microbial activity against C. difficile, C. perfringens and Listeria monocytogenes (to varying degrees). And in a culture system designed to favor C. difficile growth, the probiotic demonstrated the ability to repress the pathogen. “In the human situation where persons at risk of C. difficile associated diarrhoea are likely to be taking antibiotics, the BC30 sporulation is almost certain,” the researchers reported. “We propose that both the level of growth (i.e. number of vegetative cells) and phase of growth (i.e. log phase, late log phase, or sporulation) are important factors in the expression of anti-microbial compounds from Bacillus probiotics. We also suggest that the (unique among probiotics) bi-modal lifecycle of BC30 may lead to antimicrobial activity in distal regions of the gastrointestinal tract. This is an important facet given the prevalence of gut disorders in the left side of the large intestine.”
NEWtritious is promoting the product for its ability to “deliver active cultures more effectively than yogurt,” citing an independent lab study that simulated a gastric environment with a pH of 2.0 for two hours during which GanedenBC30 delivered more than 10 times the live cells than common probiotic yogurt cultures.
Mr. Arlen said GanedenBC30 does not adversely influence HHice Cream’s taste, mouth feel, texture or color. “HHice Cream is both appealing and delicious, and can be the perfect solution for those having difficulty swallowing or suffering from alimentary tract inflammation due to chemotherapy or surgery,” he said. “It also provides an enjoyable way to deliver nutrition to children during their hospital stay, as well as healthcare professionals on the go.”
 In addition to Vanilla, 3 D Chocolate (Deep Dark Dutch) and Tart, hospitals can purchase flavored syrups or powders that blend with the Tart Mix for an assortment of soft-serves varieties including: Almond, Banana, Blueberry, Coconut, Green Tea, Kiwi, Lemon Ice, Lychee, Mango, Mint, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pistachio, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry and Strawberry Banana. – Nutraceuticals World Now
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