Your liver and energy in the January 2011 Ageless herbal newsletter
OK – so the fact is we all over-indulged this holiday season. Be that the extra slice of cake or that one extra drink too many. So now, even leaving “new-year resolutions” aside, lets actively start this 2011 to live life with us more in control, have more energy, be more vital, have increased stamina and drive while looking far healthier, younger and with the oomph we so often miss after the holiday season when the new year dawns.
Let’s start with Greek mythology. Zeus punished Prometheus for his crime of stealing fire, by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day.
The Roman physician Galen again called the liver the seat of passion. The brilliant Islamic medical philosopher Avicenna observed, "Physicians regard the liver as the seat of manufacture of the dense part of the humors” and he agreed with Aristotle that the liver is the power of life and natural heat.
Even traditional Chinese medicine see the liver as the seat of anger, and according to the Chinese, the liver is one of the organs that "age" us – and it is therefore interesting that all “longevity herbs” used in Chinese medicine include liver tonics.
I find it scary that the American government spends millions of dollars in warning people against smoking, yet not a single word is spoken about the health of the liver.
Without an under-par liver, blood is not filtered properly and toxins have a field day in the entire body.
This prevents oxygen and nutrient circulation and due to this fact organs and cells do not receive their requirements – and this cause tiredness and a host of other problems, and this under-performance is exactly where premature aging starts and can also contribute to the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
When blood is loaded with toxins due to a weak and inefficient liver, there is limited capacity for the blood to carry oxygen and nutrients which are necessary for energy production. The result is constant fatigue. A clean and efficient liver which produces cleaner blood would help energy production because clean blood can carry more oxygen and nutrients. Clean blood is also lighter; it flows better and results in better blood circulation.
The eye and brain cells are especially affected because the blood has to flow against gravity to reach them. In an article on Alzheimer disease in the January 1988 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, malfunction of the liver and kidneys was mentioned as one of the causes leading to Alzheimer disease. Brain tumors, which physically blocks blood flow to the brain, were also cited as one of the causes.
Herewith an article about the health benefits of beetroot juice:
The common beetroot that is normally cooked and sliced or grated for salad is from the species Beta Vulgaris and the family Chenopodiaceae. Beetroot is commonly cooked, but the juice of raw beetroot contains a host of health benefits, and is classed as a “super food” in today’s nutritional jargon.
Since making beetroot juice with your juice extractor is a messy affair, we decided to offer an easier option, by taking raw beetroot juice, freeze drying it (so no active compound is harmed or damaged) and thereby make taking a glass of beetroot juice easy. All you need to do is to add a teaspoon of the freeze-dried powder to water and to drink it.
It does not really have a very strong taste and is pleasant to drink – it has a sweet and earthy taste. Our director Duane Milne takes a glass of beetroot juice daily and also adds a teaspoon of barley grass to the juice, to create an invigorating easy-to-make raw vegetable drink.
What is important to know is that beetroot juice is high in nitrate – which is changed to nitrite, by bacterial anaerobes found on the surface of the tongue.
Beetroot juice contains a host of nutritional compounds:
Beetroot juice contains magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and calcium as well as small amounts of copper, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese.
It contains trace amounts of various amino acids (including D-amino acids [Alpha Amino Acids]) which help to build proteins and for use by the body.
Various antioxidants (including flavonoids and carotenoids) are found in the juice. They fight and destroy free radicals in the body and help to fight premature aging and to maintain a healthy body and mind.
Raw freeze-dried beetroot juice also provides vitamins A, B1, B2 , B3, C and folic acid [folate] (B9).
The deep red color is produced by betacyanin and is seen as an anti-cancer agent for colon cancer. Silica is also present which helps to utilize the calcium in the body and strengthens the bones, hair and skin. Also of importance is the glycine betaine contained in beetroot juice.
Benefits of beetroot juice
The daily intake of beetroot juice has a host of health benefits, and these benefits are not merely folk-lore or based on anecdotal evidence, but are supported by good solid clinical investigation.
Reducing blood pressure (hypertension)
Beetroot juice lowers blood pressure within an hour of consuming it and therefore helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure, which in turn helps to prevent heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
The iron content in the juice is most useful to people who have problems with low hemoglobin and anemia.
It aids in the absorption of iron, which increases the blood count and improves blood circulation and the oxygen-carrying capacity of erythrocytes (the red blood cells).
Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) can be formed during the cooking of meat and fish and are associated with an increased risk for cancer, but the juice of beetroot can help to negate this problem.
The betacyanin contained in beetroot (the beetroot’s deep red color pigment) has also been linked to fight cancers. Studies showed that it is helpful in reducing precancerous esophageal lesions and tumors.
The Betanin in beetroot has proven effective in fighting both skin tumors and liver tumors in a study done on mice - where the cancers were artificially created and then treated with beetroot.
One study suggests that smokers may want to look at adding beetroot juice to their diet, as it helps to expel cancer forming agents.
In a German study, which looked at alternative treatments used by cancer patients, beetroot juice rated the most popular of all alternative cancer treatments.
The main factor to keep in mind, when reading about all the positive effects of beetroot juice, is that it is in most areas effective, since it contains extremely active antioxidants and phenolic compounds.
The high anti-oxidant content will help prevent cell and DNA damage and help remove damaging and aging free radicals.
Digestive help and regulating the metabolism
Taking the juice is also associated with improving the digestive health as well as the body's metabolism. Apart from helping with the digestion of food, especially fat digestion, it also stimulates the nerves in the intestine.
The nutrient also helps individuals with hypochlorhydria, a condition causing abnormally low levels of stomach acid, by increasing stomach acidity.
Reduced oxygen use and boosting stamina
Beetroot is helpful in creating healthy red blood cells and helps to maximize the amount of oxygen being carried on the red blood cells.
It also increases the efficient uptake of oxygen and during exercise it helps that less oxygen is required – leading to far more stamina and staying power.
The reduced consumption of oxygen by the muscles during exercise and physical activity has important implications for our understanding of the factors that regulate mitochondrial respiration (cell functioning) and muscle contractile energetics in humans.
The magnesium contained in the juice can also help to ease muscle tension, stress and anxiety.
Glandular fever – Epstein Barr virus
When beetroot was used on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen (EBV-EA) induction, using Raji cells, revealed a high order of activity – and taking beetroot juice could therefore be of benefit to people suffering from glandular fever / Epstein Barr infection.
In a clinical trial it was concluded that beetroot juice could help the metabolism in obese and overweight patients and that the inclusion of the juice could be important when treating obesity in overweight people holistically.
Detoxifying the liver
The glycine betaine and methionine contained in the juice supports liver detoxification and stimulates the function of liver cells. It also protects the liver and bile ducts, thereby improving liver, kidney and bladder functioning and overall health.
Beet juice benefits the liver by protecting it against fatty depositions caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency etc.
From the above it is easy to see why beetroot juice is used as a detoxifying agent, or as part of a detox mixture.
Since it is a powerful antioxidant, the ripple effect of taking beet juice will also benefit the skin and protect it from premature aging due to the free-radical neutralizing effect the antioxidants have.
The juice effectively boosts the immune system and fights inflammation (which leads to premature aging). Since the immune system is supported by this humble vegetable, it is worthwhile to include the raw juice in the diet, specifically when a person is prone to recurrent infections or has a deficient immune system.
The older generation used to talk about “building-up your strength” after illness or operations – and taking the juice will achieve just that.
Beetroot juice is helpful in fighting any inflammatory diseases, and if you have any type of inflammation it may be worthwhile to include it in your daily supplementation.
It must be kept in mind that inflammatory processes are one of the main causes of premature aging, and age related diseases.
Although not clinically verified, people do believe that the carotenoids contained in beet juice will help increase the quality, thickness and gloss of hair, and to fight dandruff.
What is clinically proven is that it assists with proper blood circulation. This will then also help to nourish the hair follicle and it may just be true that better quality hair can be produced. The natural silica in beetroot may also support the belief that it improves the general health and gloss of the hair.
Brain function and age related neurological problems
Ingesting beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain, which in older adults is very important, and may help in halting the progress of dementia. It also improves cognitive (mental) functioning.
In studies it was found that blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain in older people improved in as little as four (4) days. The frontal lobes of the brain are the part involved in dementia and reduced mental functioning – and is a critical part of the brain.
After the catastrophe at Chernobyl, Russian scientists searched for compounds that could be used as radiation protectors and found that concentrates of dietary fibers (CDF) in beetroot (containing lignin) are a very effective agent when used for radiation protection and radiation poisoning.
If you have problems with your kidneys or gall bladder it is advisable to first contact your medical practitioner before taking beetroot juice on a daily basis, as the juice is rich in oxalate.
Please also check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in beetroot juice.
After consumption of the juice, your urine (Beeturia) and stools may be red, but this is a normal manifestation when taking beetroot juice.