How is Glucose made?

Our Herbalist

Published Oct 2005 by Joan Toth

Written by
Joan A. Toth, Chartered Herbalist
President, Nahanni River HerbsCopyright © 2004 - 2014

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health - "G" is for Glucose
  • Halt Bad Breath- Eliminate It!
  • Tip of the Month - Clean your iron with salt
  • The Herbalist - "R" is for Raspberry Leaf

ABCs OF HEALTH

Glucose - an important simple sugar


"G" is for Glucose.  Glucose is a carbohydrate, and is the most important simple sugar in human metabolism because it provides energy to all the cells in your body.  It is called a simple sugar or a "monosaccharide" because it is one of the smallest units which has the characteristics of this class of carbohydrates.  Glucose is one of the primary molecules which serves as energy sources for plants and animals.  It is found in the sap of plants and in the human bloodstream where it is referred to as "blood sugar". 

When oxidized in the body through a process called metabolism, glucose produces carbon dioxide, water, and some nitrogen compounds and in the process, provides energy which can be used by cells.  As a primary source of energy in the body, it requires no digestion and is often given intravenously to persons in hospital as a nutrient. Glucose is also sometimes called dextrose.

The glucose in your blood comes from the food you eat.  Brain cells and red blood cells rely solely on glucose for fuel. When you eat, glucose gets absorbed from your intestines and is distributed by the blood stream to all the cells in your body.  The body tries to keep a constant supply of glucose for your cells by maintaining a constant glucose concentration in your blood, otherwise your cells would have more than enough glucose right after a meal and then be starved in between meals and overnight.  If the body has an oversupply of glucose, it stores the excess in the liver and muscles by making glycogen - which are long chains of glucose.  When glucose is in short supply, your body mobilizes glucose from the stored glycogen and/or stimulates you to eat food.  To maintain a constant blood-glucose level, your body relies on two hormones produced in your pancreas that have opposite actions: insulin and glucagon.

HALT BAD BREATH/ HALITOSIS - ELIMINATE IT!

Bad breath?  Join the millions of North Americans that spend billions of dollars each year on an array of fresh tasting flavoured products in an attempt to put their dog breath to sleep.  While there are many causes for bad breath, halitosis is an unwelcome side effect in the era of Atkins and other high-protein diets.  When there is a surplus of acid in the digestive system caused by excessive amounts of protein, it creates an environment where yeast and bacteria can flourish - often causing bad breath.

Burning fat for energy also creates putrid ketones, which are released through the breath and urine, creating what is sometimes called a "fruity smell", but is far from fresh-smelling. Bad breath is not a question of what you eat or can not eat, but more in finding an approach to reach that delicate balance in your intestines and digestive system.  Eating a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, which have an alkaline effect helps lower acidity levels.  While adding healthful foods to your diet, you should also take stock of other possible culprits in bad breath such as refined sugars, starchy carbohydrates, and alcohol.  Simple sugars are the most acidic foods in existence. While high protein diets can make your breath smell bad, it is a secondary problem to sugar.

Smoking and drinking are other ways to create unpleasant breath.  Smoking because of the sulfuric compounds it creates, and alcohol for its dehydrating effects. Dentists suggestusing an alcohol-free mouthwash, as high alcohol rinses like Listerine tend to dry out the mouth.

Dry mouth from aging, dehydration or breathing through the mouth during sleep creates bad breath because it allows dead cells to build up.  Some dentists suggest that mouth breathers cover their gums with vaseline before going to sleep.  In older populations, there is a decrease in the quantity and quality of saliva in the mouth, compounded by drying out of the mouth by some medications.  Also with aging comes gum disease, which forms when an excess of plaque mixes with sugars and starches to form acids, irritating the gums and making them red, tender, and swollen.  Bacteria builds up in pockets within the gums.  Sulfur -containing proteins break down while the gums and teeth rot, creating a noxious smell.  The answer dentists and health professionals agree, won't likely come from chewing gums and mints, which just mask the scent. A better bet would be to strive for a balanced diet and maintaining a good mouth cleaning regimen.  This includes scraping the tongue, where yeast can develop in the grooves, brushing your teeth and gums and using non-alcoholic mouthwash.

If this type of regimen does not clear up bad breath, there may be a systemic problem that should be checked out by a physician.  Chronic bad breath can be a sign of  deeper health problems, an ulcer, diabetes, or mouth, nose, sinus, or throat infections.  It can be something as innocuous as gum disease, or it can be  something as serious as lung cancer.

Start your oral health healing : Get the full report, on how to  eliminate bad breath by using household ingredients. Click Here!

TIP OF THE MONTH

To remove sticky film from the bottom of your iron, place 2 tablespoons of salt on a piece of brown paper.  Using a warm setting, iron over the salt to clean and polish the iron like new.

THE HERBALIST

I promised I would give you some information on a specific herb, it's origins and uses.  I really enjoy this part of our newsletter, as I always learn something new and exciting.  This month we will discuss:

Raspberry Leaf

Latin Name:  Rubus idaeus (Rosaceae[rose] family)

Other common name:  Red raspberry

General Description: The Raspberry leaf is a deciduous shrub that grows as high a six feet (2 metres).  It has woody stems with thorns, pale green leaves, white flowers, and edible red berries.  The leaves are the part of the plant used in herbal medicine.  They are a rich source of vitamin C and contain manganese, iron, and niacin.

Excellent For: Raspberry leaf has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years.  It has astringent and stimulant properties and is a popular remedy for many ailments.  The most common use of raspberry leaves is as a uterine tonic.  It has the ability to relax tight uterine muscles and tighten relaxed uterine muscles.  This has led to its use as a stimilant at the beginning of labor. 

Benefits of raspberry leaf for specific health conditions include the following: 

Bed-Wetting: Raspberry leaf is a traditional remedy that tones pelvic muscles.
Burns - raspberry leaf contains tannins, which stop burns from oozing.  The tannins also cause proteins in healing skin to cross link and form an impermeable barrier.
Diarrhea and morning sickness: Raspberry leaf eases diarrhea that may accompany morning sickness.  The tannins in raspberry leaf prevent the flow of fluids into the intestines, which makes the stool more solid.  Used as a tea, in doses of one to two cups, raspberry leaf helps to relieve diarrhea without stimulating contractions.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Raspberry leaf contains ferulic acid, which is a uterine relaxant, and can help relieve menstrual cramps.  At the same time as it relaxes the uterus itself, it stimulates the muscles that support the uterus.  This allows easier menstrual flow.
Sore Throat : Its astringent properties justify using raspberry leaf tea as a mouthwash and gargle for mouth or throat inflammation.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Raspberry leaf  is used as a tea.  It is available as a bottled beverage in many health food stores. (Do not confuse raspberry leaf teas with sweetened, raspberry-flavored drinks.)  Since raspberry leaf is a uterine stimulant that can hasten childbirth, it should not be used on a regular basis - that is, more than two cups in any single day, or more than twice in any given week during the first trimester of pregnancy.  If you use this herb during pregnancy, you should do so only under the supervision of a knowledgable physician. 

This concludes another exciting issue of Natural Health. REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO READ TO WIN!

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