Overview Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them — you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation. It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.
Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Cognitive decline
- Skin disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Macular Degeneration
- Menstrual pain
Forskolin 4 Health Benefits You May Not Know About
Forskolin is a natural substance said to offer a number of health benefits. Extracted from the Coleus forskohlii plant, forskolin is known to activate adenylate cyclase (an enzyme involved in regulating many cellular functions).
Health Benefits of Forskolin: To date, there is very little scientific support for any claims about forskolin’s effects on human health. Here’s a look at several findings from the available research on forskolin:
1) Weight Loss Forskolin may help treat obesity, according to a small study published in Obesity Research in 2005. For the study, 30 overweight or obese men were assigned to receive either forskolin or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, members of the forskolin group showed a greater decrease in body fat and a greater increase in lean body mass (compared to members of the placebo group). Study participants treated with forskolin also experienced a significant increase in bone mass.
2) Eye Drops Early research on animals suggests that eye drops containing forskolin may help protect against glaucoma. For example, two studies on rabbits found that forskolin may help reduce intraocular pressure (a key factor in the development of glaucoma).
3) Tanning Laboratory experiments on animals indicate that applying forskolin to the skin may cause tanning. In a mouse-based study published in Nature in 2006, for instance, scientists showed that forskolin may help manipulate the skin’s pigmentation and induce tanning without exposure to ultraviolet light. However, there’s no evidence that forskolin can promote tanning in humans.
Forskolin may help fend off asthma attacks, a 2006 study from the Journal of International Medical Research suggests. The study found that asthma attacks were significantly less frequent among patients who took forskolin capsules (compared to those who were assigned to treatment with inhalations of sodium cromoglycate, a common asthma treatment). Lasting six months, the study involved 40 children and adults with mildly or moderately persistent asthma.
Common Uses for Forskolin:Proponents claim that forskolin can help prevent or treat a variety of health conditions, including:
- high blood pressure
Forskolin is also said to promote weight loss, protect against cancer, and improve heart health.
Forskolin Side Effects: Forskolin may cause a number of side effects, including headache and hypotension (a condition marked by abnormally low blood pressure). In addition, forskolin should be avoided by people with polycystic kidney disease and people using blood pressure medications and/or blood-thinning drugs.
Using Forskolin for Health: Although preliminary research suggests that forskolin may offer beneficial effects, little is known about the health benefits of taking forskolin supplements. If you’re considering the use of forskolin for a chronic health problem, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen.
Coleus Forskohlii (Makandi)
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Coleus Forskohlii is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family native to India. The root is used medicinally. Ancient Sanskrit texts show that coleus was commonly used to treat heart and lung diseases, intestinal spasms, insomnia, and convulsions. Today it is employed in the treatment of glaucoma.
ROLE FOR ANTI-AGING: Forskolin is a diterpene found in coleus that inhibits the enzyme adenylate cyclase. Adenylate cyclase regulates the formation of cAMP, a compound that controls many cellular activities. Forskolin-induced elevation of cAMP levels has been shown to cause blood vessel dilation, inhibition of mast cells (hence the herb is a powerful agent for reducing inflammation caused by allergies), an increase in thyroid hormone secretion, and the stimulation of fat release from fat cells. Research carried out in 1983 by Agarwal and Parks suggested that forskolin was able to inhibit the spread of cancer cells. Direct application of forskolin to the eyes has consistently been shown to lower the pressure inside the eye, therefore the herb can be useful for treating glaucoma. One study on humans has shown that forskolin can reduce blood pressure and improve heart function in people with cardiomyopathy.
-THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT: 50 to 100 mg can be taken 2 or 3 times per day. Fluid extract can be taken in the amount of 2 to 4 ml three times per day. The majority of clinical studies have used injected forskolin, so it is unclear if oral ingestion of coleus extracts will provide similar benefits in the amounts recommended above. MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: Not established
SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS: Coleus is thought to be free from side effects, however it should be avoided in people with stomach ulcers as it may increase stomach acid levels. There are reasons to suggest that coleus could potentiate anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin, however, such an effect has never been documented. The safety of coleus in pregnancy and lactation is unknown.