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Male Hormonal Health and the Role of Eurycoma longifolia Herb in Enhancing Free Testosterone in Ageing Men

Posted on August 13, 2017 by Benjamin Drewe | 0 Comments

The Role of Testosterone in Male Health:

  1. Having lower than normal testosterone for ones age can contribute to many conditions of poor health.
  2. While testosterone does decline naturally with age there are several other factors that reduce the level of free testosterone (also known as bioavailable testosterone) and these are under our control.
  3. Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) is the most important natural herb available today to increase free testosterone and scientific research over the past 20 years confirms this.

While testosterone production gradually declines after age 30 there are other factors under our control that further lowers usable testosterone and negatively influences our health. By understanding and treating these we can reduce our biological age as opposed to our chronological age. Common symptoms of low testosterone include; low libido, erectile dysfunction, weight gains, loss of muscle mass, pessimism, depression, irritability, fatigue, poor memory, sleep problems and a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, prostate enlargement and cancer, osteoporosis and senile dementia.

Decline in testosterone in men with ageStudies have noted that testosterone levels and sperm count have been declining in many parts of the world as a result of poor diets, stress and sedentary lifestyles combined with rising estrogen exposure in foods and the environment. testosterone also becomes bound to serum globulin and is not available to the cell receptor sites where it is needed to initiate sex-stimulating centers in the brain. The component in the blood that renders free testosterone inactive is called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Aromatase an enzyme produced in skin, fat tissue, brain & adrenals also converts testosterone into estrogen (estradiol), further educing available testosterone. While normal in small amounts, aromatization is accelerated with excess abdominal belly fat. For testosterone to produce its positive health enhancing effects, it must be kept in the "free" form in the bloodstream. Bound testosterone is unable to be picked up by testosterone receptors on cell membranes. Estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man are often higher than those of the average 59-year-old woman. While some estrogen is a necessary hormone for men, too much contributes to a wide range of health problems, such as excess weight gains and prostate enlargement. Due to similarities in chemical structure, high serum levels of estrogen also trick the brain into thinking that enough testosterone is being produced, thereby slowing the natural production of testosterone. The testosterone level may also be affected unknowingly by various medications and alcohol.

For aging men, it may be desirable to initiate lifestyle and supplementary regimes to reduce excess levels of SHBG and estrogen while boosting free testosterone. Testosterone levels are supported by regular exercise (especially resistance or weight training exercise), reducing weight with diets that reduce all refined carbohydrates and processed junk foods and specific foods and herbal supplements that promote free testosterone and counter the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen (see our dietary recommendations here). A professional health regime must also supports adrenal function, blood sugar regulation, reduce inflammation and assist detoxification for maximum results.

The benefits of maintaining optimum testosterone levels are many, including;

    1. Improve muscle mass and strength
    2. Decrease body fat
    3. Increase bone mineral density
    4. Thicken body hair and skin
    5. Improve sexual desire
    6. Boost energy
    7. Decrease irritability and depression
    8. Improve cognitive function and confidence

      Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) Medicinal Research

      Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) DistributionTongkat Ali is a small rain forest tree common to Malaysia, Borneo and northern Sumatra in Indonesia. The long taproot of the plant has been used traditionally by the many different indigenous people of the region for a wide variety of conditions, the most common being low sexual energy and fevers. The name Tongkat Ali in Malay means “Ali’s walking stick” in reference to its famed aphrodisiac properties. Beginning in 1993, scientists from various Universities and research institutes around Malaysian began conducting scientific trials to evaluate whether Tongkat Ali had any scientific basis for its reputed aphrodisiac and sexual enhancing effects. These various studies started to be presented at local biotechnology and medicinal plant seminars after 1994. In these early studies Tongkat Ali was tested both on its effects on cellular activity in the test-tube as well as studies on live animals. These landmark studies on the effects of Tongkat Ali on living cells in the test-tube showed an increased rate of glycolysis (60% increased), an increase in ATP production (80%) observed in liver homogenates and an increase in cGMP and cAMP by 60% (this effect was compared to the action of sildenafil citrate or Viagra and was found to be similar). These results showed that cellular energy was significantly enhanced.

      The next step was to investigate the effects on human testicular cells and testosterone synthesis (J.M. Saad et al 1995). The interesting results showed that Tongkat Ali extract significantly improved testosterone levels, while the dehydrotestosterone, also known as the bad testosterone (as it is implicated in prostate enlargement and male pattern baldness) was reduced.

      Further studies by J.M. Saad et al, on testosterone synthesis in mice, rats and rabbits demonstrated an impressive 320 to 479% increase in testosterone levels. In another study around this time Tongkat Ali extract was given to both male and female mice to determine the effects on mounting and litter size. While this test showed an increase in mounting frequency and testicular size increase in the male rats, what was interesting also was that the litter size increased by up to 76% with an increases ratio of male to female offspring, from the norm of 1:1 to 3:1.

      From this and other subsequent studies it was shown that Tongkat Ali consumed orally significantly improved all aspects of sperm quality including volume and motility. Its fertility enhancement effects of Tongkat Ali extract was due to its effect of increasing sperm concentration, motility and velocity of movement, thus helping to increase the chances of sperms to penetrate the ova. As such a higher rate of fertilization causes an increase in offspring number. Also the capability of the extract to enhance energy production helps to increase the percentage of embryo development and increase the amount of embryo surviving up to the blastocyst stage.

      It was however only in 1997 that studies on Tongkat Ali’s aphrodisiac effect were published in international scientific journals. This was achieved as a result of the studies conducted by the research team at University Science Malaysia (USM), principally Dr. Ang Hoi Hoon, with Tongkat Ali on rats and for the next 8 years or so they would go on to publish 1 or 2 studies each year, evaluating the aphrodisiac properties of Tongkat Ali.

      The first of these studies, entitled “Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances libido in sexually experienced male rats” was published in 1997. Dr. Ang and colleagues reported at the end of their study after dosing the male rats with increasing amounts of Tongkat Ali they observed a dose dependant increase in mounting frequency and summarized their report with the following statement, “this study provides evidence that Eurycoma longifolia Jack is a potent stimulator of sexual arousal in sexually vigorous male rats in the absence of feedback from genital sensation”.

      The natural product research team at USM published in total 13 research papers between 1997 to 2004, assessing via varied controlled protocols the aphrodisiac action of Tongkat Ali crude extract in their laboratory rats. With each subsequent scientific study the rats responded to their incremental dosages of Tongkat Ali with enhanced sexual enthusiasm as monitored via behavioural characteristic such as: increased mounting, licking, anogenital sniffing, movement, exploration, rearing, and climbing. In addition, rats were assessed for levels of genital and non-genital grooming. Analysis of these types of behavioral elements has served as the method for investigating the anecdotal aphrodisiac properties of Eurycoma longifolia and administration of the crude extracts has been correlated in each study to indicate increased sexual performance of the treated animals. It was noted that no toxicity was reported in these studies at the dosages required to elicit a pharmacological effect.

      With such positive results coming from the animal studies the next step was to conduct human studies and to date more than a dozen human clinical studies have been performed by researchers worldwide with Tongkat Ali. In the initial study in Malaysia by Dr Mohd. Ismail Tambi and colleagues, 10 males over 40 years of age who showed hypogonadism with testosterone level less then 11 were given a relatively low dosage of 2 x 2 (450mg) capsules of powdered Tongkat Ali root morning and evening for 1 month. By the end of the study serum testosterone showed increase in 50% of the participants.

      In their follow-up study the effects of Tongkat Ali extract on testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) were investigated over a 3 week period using an intermediate dosage of 50 mg extract capsules, with 4 capsules taken each day. Also a questionnaire to determine improvement in quality of life and sexual response was given to the participants. The final results showed that 82% of the participants experienced improvements in physical, sexual and psychological well-being. While total testosterone was not significantly different, the DHEA levels had increased by 26% after one week to 47% after 3 weeks. SHBG levels had reduced in 66% of cases after 3 weeks. When SHBG decreases the free testosterone index (FTI) increases. The FTI analysis showed an increase in 39% of participants after 1 week and 73% of participants after 3 weeks.

      In another study by Dr. Tambi et al, varying dosages of crude water extract were given to male volunteers and a more detailed blood profile was taken in regards to lipid profile, liver function, electrolytes, various tumor markers, immune reaction and hormonal levels. A sexual health questionnaire was also completed. The dosage of extract now given was 200 mg, 400 mg and 600 mg daily. In conclusion the majority of volunteers claimed improvements in sexual health and strength and blood tests showed that Tongkat Ali crude water extract was non-toxic even at high dosage of 600 mg extract daily in regards the test results on liver function, renal function, hematological profile, lipid profile, body electrolytes and immune system, as well as cancer markers, and specifically prostate specific antigen (PSA) was unchanged, signaling that dihydrotestosterone levels are not affected by Eurycoma longifolia administration. Interestingly HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) showed a trend to improve as well as blood sugar levels. There was also an improvement in human growth hormone IGF-1 and thus Tongkat Ali may also modulate the release of IGF-1 from the liver. IGF-1 is known to increase muscle bulk, promote lean body and cell regeneration and acts as an anti-ageing hormone.

      In an open study that measured the levels of testosterone in the saliva of 9 athletes between the ages of 26-52 years of age, the dosage of 100 mg of Tongkat Ali extract were given each day morning and night. Within a statistically short period of only 10 days each athlete had increased salivary testosterone between 15% to 50%.

      Tongkat Ali Clinical Research on PerformanceThe first blind controlled study was performed by researchers at the Department of Exercise Physiology at University Malaya. In this study 14 healthy men were given either 100 mg day crude Tongkat Ali water extract or placebo for 8 weeks. Simultaneously both groups performed an intensive strength-training program. Body composition, strength and arm circumference were measured before and after the test. The results of the study showed that fat free mass showed a significant improvement in the Tongkat Ali group but no improvement was made on placebo. Both groups showed body fat reduction, however the Tongkat Ali group had the highest compared to placebo i.e. 9.14% to 6.57% respectively. Both groups showed an increment in muscle strength, but again the Tongkat Ali group was higher than placebo i.e. 6.78% to 2.77 %. The arm circumference in the Tongkat Ali group increased significantly by 1.8 cm while there was no significant improvement in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that the increments in the Tongkat Ali group were consistent with increased testosterone levels and thus Tongkat Ali can be of use as an ergogenic aid of benefit in sports regimes.

      Today we see the natural progression of these initial positive studies into finding the exact phytochemical markers in the herb responsible for it's multiple pharmacological effects as well as expanding the research into novel areas, well beyond its traditional uses. More than 80 peer review studies have been performed over the last 7 years, including additional human studies, investigating the following:

      1. Further confirmation of the testosterone, fertility and libido enhancing effects, including multiple human clinical studies.
      2. Studies on reversing the effects of estrogen in male rats.
      3. Multiple studies reversing androgen deficient osteoporosis.
      4. Reduction in stress in both male and female subjects and reduction in cortisol.
      5. Pharmacology of individual Quassinoids, including Eurycomanone.
      6. Natural alternative to Testosterone Replacement Therapy studies.
      7. Safety and toxicological studies showing a high degree of safety at prescribed therapeutic dosages.
      8. Anti cancer properties including against prostate cancer.
      9. Anti-inflammatory properties.
      10. Antiprotozoal studies.

      Some of these studies may be accessed on PubMed here. Due to the nature of scientific research grants being predominantly funded for the purpose of pharmaceutical development, Tongkat Ali has been largely ignored for its role as a natural alternative to Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Tongkat Ali's long traditional use as an aphrodisiac does not allow for pharmaceutical patenting for its effects in male sexual function. Despite this, Tongkat Ali research has shown strong laboratory and clinical evidence as to its effectiveness in enhancing free Testosterone in ageing men and safety at normal prescribed dosages. Tongkat Ali is indeed a national treasure of Malaysia and a tribute to the ethnobotanical knowledge of its traditional healers.

      Weight loss body hacks to turn fat into energy

      Posted on May 23, 2017 by Benjamin Drewe | 0 Comments

      Body hacking or biohacking is a moder term for an ancient practice

      Body hacking refers to the lifestyle tweaks we can perform to enhance human performance. The principle body hack to lose weight is to activate a natural process called "ketogenesis" that we normally only experience when we are fasting. Scientists have discovered a shortcut to this process that involves adding specific oils and fats, particularly MCT Oil, to our diets and restricting refined sugars, starches and all processed foods.

      Bulletproof coffee MCT body hackLosing weight gets progressively more difficult the older we get and the secret is to implement small but fundamental changes that can be maintained over a long period of time, indeed for the rest of your life. We can enjoy many of the foods we love but we need to tweak them to support metabolism and fat burning and not fat gain. The basic principles are:

      1. Start your day the bulletproof way. This means real bulletproof black coffee with our Body Hack MCT Oil and Organic Coconut Butter. To read more about Bulletproof Coffee click here. By the way it works equally well in tea or other drinks!
      2. Remove refined sugars and starches from your diet in all forms. Sugar is the key orchestrator of inflammation leading to obesity, insulin resistance and high LDL cholesterol. We promote a step by step process of incorporating low carbohydrate and healthy fats to your current diet. This includes increasing non-starchy vegetables, nuts and berries with high quality oils and fats. Protein from meat, fish, eggs should be from grass-fed or organic source and not be excessive in quantity. Not included is refined, processed foods, low fat foods and foods with chemical additives.
      3. Move more. Adopt a more active lifestyle and an exercise program that supports the growth of lean muscle mass.
      4. Practice Intermittent Fasting. Research has shown that fasting extends our memory and lifespan due to the protective effects of the ketones produced on our brain and nervous systems.
      5. Weight loss body hacks to turn fat into energyCook with Coconut Oil and add coconut products to your diet. These contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) that support weight loss. Replace processed polyunsaturated oils in your kitchen with Virgin Coconut Oil and Odourless Coconut Oil. Stop buying white sugar and replace it with Coconut Sugar and try introducing Coconut Flour for healthier baking and desserts.
      6. Women - Enjoy Moringa Tea & Misai Kucing Tea. Their unique anti-inflammatory properties supports the switch to fat burning.
      7. Men - Support Testosterone with Tongkat Ali. Tongkat Ali has been shown to deal with declining testosterone and hormonal imbalance in middle aged men that negatively influences weight gain.

      Weight loss body hacks from Rainforest HerbsWe are faced with a race against time as our bodies cannot withstand a diet and lifestyle that is not in harmony with our evolution indefinitely. When we are young we can usually get away with a much higher form of dietary and lifestyle abuse but eventually the punishment will become apparent in disease and the necessity to take some form of pharmaceutical medicine. Once we reach this point of pharmaceutical dependency then we are often caught in the web and our condition only deteriorates unless more dramatic changes in improving health are made. To achieve this we may need to educate ourselves on a completely new model of health.

      These straightforward body hacks have been shown to be effective in achieving natural weight loss while also improving health and disease prevention as we age. If you have an existing illness and are on doctor prescribed medication then feel free to email us your specific enquiry and always consult with your healthcare provider before making changes if chronic health issues are present.

      For more info see our articles:

      Herbal Protection from Liver Toxicity and Inflammation

      Posted on February 16, 2017 by Benjamin Drewe | 0 Comments

      The Role of Detoxification in Health:

      1. Our digestion / liver / elimination systems are under constant pressure to cope with inflammation and toxicity from multiple sources.
      2. Low level digestive health results in inflammatory conditions and imbalances in our digestive microflora that are poorly diagnosed in Western medicine.
      3. The liver in particular has to deal with a far greater toxic burden as a result of "modern living". These toxins and free radicals can overwhelm our bodies ability to handle them and this "oxidative stress" plays a role in most chronic diseases.
      4. Specific herbs are powerful antioxidants that greatly assist the process of detoxification and restoring balance.

      Hempedu Bumi Plus for digestive inflammation and liver detoxificationProper functioning of our liver and digestive system is the foundation of good health. The digestion and absorption of nutrients from our diets and removal of wastes and toxins is a continual process and many factors can impede this normal function leading to systemic inflammation and toxicity overwhelming our bodies own detoxification and free radical scavenging ability. Intestinal dysbiosis occurs when unfavourable microrganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and parasites colonize our digestive system. These microflora imbalances are poorly diagnosed in modern medicine and thus usually remain untreated, contributing to nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, toxicity and increasing the likelihood of developing food allergies and "leaky gut syndrome".

      The digestive system are called upon to produce high levels of antioxidants to neutralize free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative damage to our cell's DNA by free radicals leads to a process that can cause cells to mutate and become cancerous if our antioxidant enzymes are insufficient to meet the demand.

      The most important organ in the process of detoxification is the liver. The liver performs hundreds of functions, and it's not surprising that if the liver does not function well, our health is affected in many ways. One of the liver's primary tasks is to filter toxins. If your body has to handle too many wastes, then the filter may be unable to eliminate toxins sufficiently and they recirculate through your blood and affect many organ functions and bodily systems. Toxins can also affect the nervous system and mental function, leading to fatigue, depression or anxiety.

      The major causes of toxicity and inflammation are:

      Bacteria e.g. H. pylori, shigella, campylobacter, E.coli etc Dental problems / mercury fillings
      Pharmaceutical drugs Food additives / hormones / antibiotics fed to animals
      Heavy metals Lack of exercise / lack of sleep
      Industrial chemicals / environmental pollution Yeasts / candida
      Myotoxins (produced by microbes) Parasites
      Pesticidies / herbicides / fungicides Poor diets and oxidative stress
      Radiation Stress and high cortisol / intestinal secretory immunoglobulin A
      Smoking Byproducts of metabolism
      Viruses Zoonosis (carried by animals / insects)

      Liver detoxification pathways

      Western medicine has little answer for liver detoxification and free radical protection, nor is it equipped to diagnose or treat intestinal dysbiosis and inflammation. Because of this many Doctors today are recommending natural herbal liver protective antioxidants that have been used by traditional herbalists for centuries. Three of the most important herbs from Asian herbal medicine for this purpose are as follows:

      Andrographis paniculata (Hempedu Bumi) contains a group of active ingredients known as andrographolides that have been shown to have powerful free-radical scavenging properties for the digestive system and liver. These compounds have also shown potent anticancer and immunostimulant properties as shown in hundreds of scientific studies. As a systemic antioxidant that also markedly improves white blood cell immunity and liver detoxification, Andrographis is uniquely suited to protect human health in the face of oxidized fats, dietary and environmental free radicals.

      Curcuma longa (Kunyit) contains the active ingredient known as Curcumin, responsible for the yellow colour in curry and which is the most intensively researched herbal antioxidant in the world. The unique property of Curcumin is its ability to penetrate its free radical scavenging ability throughout the body and has been shown to have an anti-cancer potential for multiple types of cancer.

      Phyllanthus niruri / amarus (Pokok Dukung Anak) is well researched for its liver protective and antiviral effects and shows potential in treating viral hepatitis infection. It contains ellagitannins that have potent antioxidant and superoxide radical scavenging ability and enhance glutathione.

      Chronic Stress and Adrenal Function

      Posted on March 16, 2016 by Benjamin Drewe | 0 Comments

      The Role of Cortisol and Adrenal Fatigue Recovery:

        1. Our adrenal glands control our ability to handle stress
        2. Long-term stress raises cortisol stress hormone levels which disrupts our hormonal balance and affects blood sugar, blood pressure, libido, sleep etc.
        3. If excess cortisol is not brought to normal then we can suffer from metabolic diseases and premature ageing.
        4. There are definite steps we can take to restore hormonal balance.

          Adrenal fatigue recoveryWe've all heard it said that stress can bring on illness and plays a role in all chronic illnesses. A deeper understanding of the process by which emotional and physical stresses impact us is one of the keys to raising health and vitality. Our adrenal glands play a central role in our quality of life as they enable us to adapt to physical and emotional stress. When functioning optimally we have higher tolerance and positivity towards dealing with stressful situations, greater energy levels, better sleep and balanced blood sugar. The adrenal glands that sit above our kidneys are a tiny 5cm in size yet the hormones they produce impact every system in our body. They are composed of several layers producing different hormones with distinct physiological responses.

          Our adrenal glands are the first responders of the body to a stressful situation. Adrenal Exhaustion and the stress responseWhen faced with any shock, such as when a car swerves into our lane, then within a fraction of a second the brain has signaled the adrenals to produce adrenaline and norepinephrine and our focus, heart rate and muscular energy has been activated to avoid the life threatening situation. At the same time, the shock also prompted the the release of cortisol via a sequence beginning with corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus signalling the pituitary gland to produce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This instructs the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, the hormone that regulates many bodily functions, including blood sugar and metabolism (that determines fat storage), blood pressure, nervous system activation, controls inflammation, immune responses and heart and blood vessel tone and contraction. While necessary for health at normal levels that cycle during the day, cortisol production may become chronically elevated in times of extended emotional or physical stress and do not return to normal levels even after the source of stress had subsided. The high stress levels of modern living and the increase in highly refined inflammatory foods aggravates excess cortisol production and initially this causes problems due to excess cortisol production which if prolonged can then result in too little cortisol being produced, a condition known as adrenal fatigue. The downward spiral of long-term stress and elevated cortisol. As we all know, short-term stress contributes to temporary headaches, minor digestive problems, emotional irritability and so on. When stress is prolonged and cortisol remains elevated, for example in instances or work, financial or family related problems then our physical and emotional health can start its downward spiral. This occurs due to excess cortisol production causing subsequent drops in DHEA and testosterone, because the same precursor hormones are used to produce both cortisol and the sex hormones. At this point in prolonged stress, we may suffer from sleeping difficulties from being tired yet alert, immunity drops and colds and flus are picked up easily, blood pressure can be elevated and blood sugar problems may be detected (and a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed). A low libido, due to reduced testosterone in men and estrogen / progesterone hormonal imbalance in women may also start causing issues in relationships and mood.

          The effects of excess cortisol and adrenal exhaustion

          Conditions due to excess cortisol production and adrenal stress may include:
            1. Anxiety and inability to handle stress
            2. Increased appetite, especially for salty and sugary foods and refined cabohydrates
            3. Metabolic imbalances, lowered thyroid function and weight gain, especially abdominal fat
            4. Raised blood pressure
            5. Insomnia
            6. Reduced immune function and frequent colds and flus.
            7. Allergies, asthma and intolerances to foods such as gluten and dairy
            8. Problems with libido
            9. loss of muscle tone
            10. Frequent urination
            11. Easily feeling of cold
            12. Low testosterone in men
            13. Female reproductive problems, infertility, fibroids & cysts
            14. Dark circles under eyes
            15. Craving for coffee and caffeinated drinks
            16. Joint and muscle pains of unknown origin
              With advanced adrenal exhaustion the symptoms above may fluctuate with:
              • Fatigue, brain fog and depression
              • Low blood sugar
              • Increased inflammation and inflammatory / autoimmune diseases
              • Sleep problems and difficulty waking up in the mornings
              • Lack of sexual interest

              Adrenal exhaustion leads to a downward spiral of healthThe downward spiral of long term stress and adrenal exhaustion

              As is often the case during prolonged stress during middle-age, medicines prescribed by one’s doctor for blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes further reduces testosterone production in men (for which Viagra may then be prescribed) and accelerate premature ageing. The decline in health due to metabolic disease and obesity and pharmaceutical drugs then becomes a viscous cycle. At this point our lowered ability to handle stress and anxiety may lead to addictive behaviours, such as abuse of alcohol or overeating that further compounds health issues. The cumulative effects of elevated stress / cortisol, processed food diet and lack of exercise contributes to premature ageing, gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular disease and cancerous conditions.

                How to Strengthen our Adrenals?

                There is no quick fix when it comes to strengthening our adrenals. The awareness that adrenal fatigue is a major part of our health or weight issue is the first step in the right direction. The adrenal glands are the most overworked and under appreciated organs in our body and they need to be supported on a long term basis. Diet, lifestyle and herbs form the basis of our Rainforest Balance Program for adrenal recovery.

                Diet for Adrenal Fatigue:

                Adrenal fatigue also puts more stress on the gastrointestinal system and encourages inflammation, colitis, irritable bowel conditions and infection and dysbiosis from yeasts (such as candida), unhealthy bacteria (H. pylori), parasites and other intestinal microbes. An inflamed GI tract also aggravates cortisol production and further contributes to adrenal fatigue in a viscous cycle. To counteract the damaging effects of the modern diet we recommend a modified Paleo style diet that provides nutrient rich fresh unprocessed foods that reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar. Central to this is Virgin Coconut Oil that supports energy, metabolism and digestive function and intestinal health.

                It's essential to start ones day with a healthy breakfast to stabilize blood sugar and avoid refined carbohydrates and excess caffeine. There's now hundreds of good books on integrating the Paleo or Primal Diet into our modern lives as well as great websites offering a load of worthwhile information. For more info on Paleo lifestyle principles and list of recommended foods click here.

                Exercise and Lifestyle:

                Exercise such as swimming, walks in nature, yoga, tai chi and going to the gym are very important aspects in strengthening adrenal function, especially to bring down excess cortisol. To avoid energy spikes in the evening and subsequent sleep disturbances, try exercising in the mornings rather than evenings. Relaxation techniques, positive thinking and prayer / meditation help retrain the brain to experience joy in the moment and release negative fears and worries. Fatigues adrenals are our bodies way of informing us to develop regular habits of relaxation and sufficient sleep in balance with our natural circadian rhythms.

                Herbal Medicines from the Malaysian Rainforest - Tongkat Ali Plus Capsules

                Many of the most famous energy herbs from Asian herbal systems are in fact "adaptogens" that support adrenals and the bodies ability to handle stress. Tongkat Ali is the most well researched adaptogenic herb from the Malaysian rainforest that supports adrenal function. The formulation, Rainforest Herbs Tongkat Ali Plus proprietary formula contains standardized extracts of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) also known as Malaysian Ginseng, along with well known adrenal adaptogen herbs; Licorice Root and Gotu Kola (Pegaga) herb.

                The Science Behind Phytoestrogens and Female Health

                Posted on January 19, 2016 by Benjamin Drewe | 0 Comments

                Pueraria mirifica and hormonal health:

                1. There is a sensitive balance between estrogen and progesterone during a womans life and imbalance between these can cause many health issues. This imbalance may be especially prevalent during peri-menopause.
                2. Pueraria mirifica is a unique phytoestrogen that may act as a hormonal balancer for women, conferring the benefits of estrogen without the negative side effects as seen in excess estrogen or with pharmaceutical estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

                What is the function of estrogen?

                Estrogen is a hormone that serves as a chemical messenger in the body. For women, it helps control their menstrual cycle, breast growth, maintain healthy bones and a healthy heart. From puberty to menopause, the ovaries produce estrogen. In addition to estrogen the ovaries also produce progesterone, that works in counterbalance with estrogen during the menstrual cycle.

                The balance between estrogen and progesterone can be upset by many factors and this imbalance becomes more pronounced during the five-year or so period of bodily transition before full menopause, called “peri-menopause.” During this period, estrogen and progesterone levels in the body can fluctuate unpredictably (in both excess "dominance" or in deficiency) until ultimately declining. These fluctuations cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and vaginal thinness. Women may also notice decreased libido, a decrease in arousal and orgasmic response, fatigue, weight gain, joint pains, mood swings, sleep disturbance, and hair loss. It also marks the beginning stages of an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Once menopause sets in, the ovaries no longer make estrogen or progesterone. Instead, body fat becomes the primary source for estrogen and the adrenal glands the source of low levels of progesterone, however this can be blocked in adrenal exhaustion.

                Pueraria mirifica - Nature's most potent phytoestrogen

                Pueraria mirifica phytoestrogen support for womenDespite the increased sales in phytoestrogen products in recent years, especially those containing soya phytoestrogens, many have reported that the positive effects are too slow or only very mild. This is because some phytoestrogens work better than others. Recent scientific studies have shown that the most potent and safe phytoestrogen found in nature comes from a tropical rain forest plant in Southeast Asia called Pueraria mirifica. This herb has been used for centuries by both women and men in Thailand. The key ingredient in Pueraria mirifica is a unique phytoestrogen named miroestrol. Miroestrol is similar to the safest human estrogen estriol. Miroestrol is 3000 times stronger than the estrogenic activity exhibited by soy isoflavones (genistein). In addition to miroestrol, Pueraria mirifica contains substantial amounts of other phytoestrogens including daidzein, genistein, puerarin, and mirificin. When miroestrol enters an estrogen receptor it modulates the effect on the receptor, either increasing its effects when the estrogenic activity is low or diluting its effects if the receptor estrogenic activity is high.

                Because of this, Pueraria mirifica is considered an estrogen balancer in both estrogen deficiency and estrogen dominance. What is important to understand is that the phytoestrogens such as miroestrol help to balance or modulate the estrogen receptor. If the estrogen levels are too high (estrogen dominance) then the phytoestrogen can protect the receptor from overstimulation and if the estrogen levels are too low then the phytoestrogen will exert estrogenic activity without actually increasing the amount of estrogen in your body.

                Estrogens and female hormone balanceThere are three types of estrogen found in humans: estrodial, estrone and estriol. Of the three, estriol, which is produced in high levels during pregnancy, and in small amounts in non-pregnant women, is the weakest. Its weakness, however, is actually its strength. Clinical trials have shown no links between estriol and cancer, and women who have taken it reported few side effects compared with those who took estrodial or estrone as hormone replacement therapies. This is why estriol has sometimes been referred to as “the friendly estrogen.” However, miroestrol, which functions in the same way and provides the same benefits as estriol, is found only in Pueraria mirifica and has also been shown to be completely safe in clinical trials. Once again, it is important to emphasize here that Pueraria mirifica does not make the body produce more estrogen. It doesn’t need to as mirosterol is performing the same function on the cell receptors without the harmful side effects. Mirosterol is the key compound that sets Pueraria mirifica apart from any other plants or herbal remedies. Pueraria also contains many other phytoestrogens that have also been shown to have beneficial health effects. Among them are the isoflavones and coumestans. Isoflavones also compete with estrogen for the same cell receptors. Isoflavones are what makes soy such a healthy food. Two of the most beneficial isoflavones found in soy are also found in Pueraria mirifica: genistein and daidzein. In addition, Pueraria mirifica has its own unique isoflavones named puerarin and mirificin.

                The safety of Pueraria mirifica for natural hormonal replacement therapy has been extensively studied. While pharmaceitical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is now in decline because of its links to cancers, the same is not true for Pueraria mirifica. The reason is that in drug hormone replacement therapy, estrogen is added to the body after it has naturally stopped producing it. Estrogen aids cell division. Cancerous tumors are cells that are dividing and replicating at a pace that is out of control. Pueraria mirifica inhibits the growth of estrogen-sensitive cancer cells by depriving them of natural estrogen. Northern Thailand, where Pueraria mirifica has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries, has the lowest rate of breast cancer in the world and low rates for other cancers as well.

                Pueraria mirifica benefits:

                Breast enhancement
                1. Prevents breast sagging
                2. Improves breast tone and fullness
                Anti-ageing
                1. Improves collagen production and skin firmness
                2. Improves female hormonal balance
                3. Improves joint health and prevents osteoporosis
                4. Improves energy and memory
                5. Improves sleep
                Benefits for pre and post menopausal women
                1. Natural gentle alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
                2. Reduction in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, depression, loss of sex drive headaches etc.
                3. Moisturizes and hydrates the skin keeping it young, supple, and vibrant
                4. Reverses urinary incontinence symptoms

                In traditional Thai herbal medicine, menstruating women are recommended to stop for one week from the beginning of menstruation. For post-menopausal women, Pueraria mirifica may be taken daily for best results. As with most herbs they are not to be taken during pregnancy.

                Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) PhytoestrogenKacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) is another rainforest phytoestrogen that's used in  traditional medicine in Malaysia and Borneo. It's widely used for women's reproductive complaints and low energy and has thus been the subject of multiple laboratory, animal and human clinical studies in recent years. This research has shown a safe and effective phytoestrogenic effect that may have a protective role for post-menopausal women as well as potential in weight control management.

                 

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