Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Natural Ways to Boost Energy

Natural Ways to Boost Energy
Do you feel tired and run down? Do you find it hard to stay focused on the task at hand? Are you always reaching for the coffee pot, an energy drink, or candy to get you through the day?

Well, stop! These quick-fix energy boosters are actually energy robbers in the long run. They reduce blood flow to the brain, and when the immediate effects wear off, they make you feel even more tired and mentally foggy.

The next time you need an energy boost, consider some of these natural supplements that support brain health, energy, and focus.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it enables the body to better handle stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It helps to rejuvenate and energize the nervous system in addition to increasing physical endurance and restoring sexual health. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging effects.

Caution should be used if you are taking thyroid medications, as ashwagandha may stimulate thyroid function. It may also lower blood pressure or blood sugar, so caution should be used when combining it with hypertensive or diabetic medications. Recommended dosage is 125 mg, twice a day.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important in energy production. It helps convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. It also helps to eliminate toxic chemicals from the body, and has been shown to increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Niacin also helps to increase blood flow near the skin. Higher doses may cause skin flushing, characterized by a red and itchy face and neck, which lasts a few minutes. One form of niacin, called niacinamide, causes less flushing. Food sources include meat and dairy products, leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, nuts, and whole grains. Dosage is 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for B vitamins.

Green tea leaf extract is another potential energy booster. Included in the extract is L-theanine, an amino acid derivative that has been shown to induce relaxation and reduce feelings of anxiety while increasing concentration and energy. There is scientific evidence that green tea boosts exercise ability, helps muscles recover faster from workouts, and improves attention span.

The typical recommended dosage is 200 mg to 300 mg of green tea leaf extract capsules daily. Up to three cups a day of green tea can be consumed for health benefits, but pregnant women should use with caution, as green tea does contain caffeine.

Panax ginseng is most widely known as a stimulant that promotes energy, improves circulation, and speeds recovery after illness. Research supports its energy-boosting properties, and has shown that it improves physical performance during exercise. Panax ginseng is also considered an adaptogen.

Panax ginseng is well tolerated by most, but caution should be used when taking blood thinners, as its effects can be additive. Ginseng may cause hypoglycemic activity, so caution also should be used when taking it with insulin or medications for hypoglycemia. The recommended dosage is 200 mg of the extract, containing 4 to 7 percent of ginsenosides.

Rhodiola is an herb that has been used to fight fatigue, improve memory, and increase attention span. Research shows that it does indeed help prevent fatigue. In addition, scientific evidence points to an ability to fuel sexual energy, boost immunity, and ease depression. The recommended dosage is 200 to 600 mg daily for the treatment of fatigue and depression.

Rhodiola is best taken on an empty stomach, early in the day, as it may interfere with sleep. It should not be used by individuals with bipolar disorder or those taking hypertensive or hypoglycemic medications.

Food safety bill awaits president's(Obama) signature

The legislation passed Tuesday would give the government broad new powers to inspect processing plants, order recalls, and impose stricter standards for imported foods. The $1.4 billion bill would also require larger farms and food manufacturers to prepare detailed food safety plans and tell the Food and Drug Administration how they are working to keep their food safe at different stages of production.

Praising the House, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the bill will give her agency new tools to make substantial improvements in food safety.

"This law makes everyone responsible and accountable at each step in today's global food supply chain," Hamburg said.

The food safety bill has faced several false starts since the House first passed it in July 2009. It stalled in the Senate for more than a year as small farms objected to the increased oversight and conservatives complained about the cost. Most recently, the Senate passed the bill in November with tax provisions that were supposed to originate in the House under the Constitution, threatening completion of the bill.

Attorneys for 20 states fighting the new federal health care law told a judge

Attorneys for 20 states fighting the new federal health care law told a judge ..

20 states ask judge to throw out Obama health law.The states want U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to issue a summary judgment throwing out the health care law without a full trial. They argue it violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.
"The act would leave more constitutional damage in its wake than any other statute in our history," David Rivkin, an attorney for the states, told Vinson.
President Barack Obama's administration counters that Americans should not be allowed to opt out of the overhaul because everyone requires medical care. Government attorneys say the states do not have standing to challenge the law and want the case dismissed.
Vinson, who was appointed to the bench almost 30 years ago by President Ronald Reagan, heard arguments Thursday but said he will rule later.
In a separate case, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson earlier this week became the first federal judge to strike down a key portion of the law when he sided with the state of Virginia and ruled the insurance requirement unconstitutional. That case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement.
In Florida, Vinson questioned how the government could halt the massive changes to the nation's health care system that have already begun. Rivkin told him the constitutional violations are more important.
The judge questioned the Obama administration attorneys about whether the government is reaching beyond its power to regulate interstate commerce by requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties.
"A lot of people, myself included for years, have no health insurance," said Vinson, who described being a law student and paying cash to the doctor who delivered his first child.
"It amounted to about $100 a pound," he said, laughing.
Vinson also grilled government lawyers about their contention that people can be required to have health insurance because everyone needs medical care. Under that logic, he said, Americans could be forced to wear shoes or buy groceries or clothes.
But administration attorney Ian Heath Gershengorn said health insurance is different because it covers catastrophic injuries and chronic diseases.
"Those costs, when they come, are unpredictable and substantial," he said.
Gershengorn also defended the administration against the states' claim that it was coercing them into participating in the health care overhaul. The states say the have no choice but to go along with the federal program because billions in Medicaid dollars are at stake.
Gershengorn said the states see huge benefits from Medicaid and the federal government is covering the bulk of the health care overhaul costs.
The other states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.