Nancy T Angelini Supplement Super Sleuth™

Health Care for the Rest of Us

Freedom to choose evidence based herbs
& nutraceuticals for personal health and wellbeing

Needs for Ailing Knees

Surgery #2Six years ago I had a freak accident. Someone fell into my left knee at a “team building” workshop that was poorly organized.
Most know where I’m going with this.
My anterior cruciate ligament and my medial meniscus were damaged in the mishap.
This is a common injury with many athletes and lay folk alike.
The strange thing is that I have been extremely active all of my life and have done a multitude of sports, inclusive of ballet, without chronic injury and with very little sprains or strains over my 50 years of running, jumping, skating, yoga, dancing, swimming, cycling, hiking, climbing and whataver else was the activity du jour.
Five surgeries to the same knee later, I began an indepth search on what is called HIT Medicine from the Far East. The herb that stood out again and again in “Jow” formulas that are applied topically was Tienchi Ginseng also known as Panax notoginseng.

Panax notoginsengI, of course am terminally curious, and set about doing a search to see if there had been any modern research studies exploring the mechanism of Tienchi ginseng. Truly, it is enought that every Kung Fu artist uses Jows with excellent benefit and this should be enough for me, but I just can’t help myself.

I found a trail of breadcrumbs that lead me to this gem. In an early study, published in 2015, there it was, a well conducted and written expose’ of the possible mechanisms of Panax notoginseng of promoting self-repair of the anterior cruciate ligament. Bellow is the abstract and you may follow the links to the full free article.

I backed up from my computer after reading the entire study (with my magnifying glass, of course) and I wondered why I had spent the last 6 years and 5 painful surgeries where two of the three grafts screwed into my tibia failed. Why had I not given my injury a year or two and a boat load of Panax notoginseng to heal itself? I can only say that if something were to happen with my other knee, I am going the route of the martial art masters of old. With this new insight firmly planted in my mind, I am starting now to encourage my battered and still unsound left knee to heal to the best of its ability in the face of all the insults, trauma and scar tissue by taking Tienchi ginseng daily.

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Jan 1;8(1):441-9. eCollection 2015.
Panax notoginseng saponins promote wound repair of anterior cruciate ligament through phosphorylation of PI3K, AKT and ERK.
Yu L1, Xie J2, Xin N2, Wang Z2.

Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS) are components derived from Chinese herb panax notoginseng and play important roles in the cure of wounds. However, how PNS plays this function is still unclear. In this study, we used MTT assay, wound healing assay, western blot, quantitative real time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect the effects of PNS on the proliferation, migration and expression of collagen and fibronectin of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) fibroblasts as well as the underlying mechanism. We found that PNS promoted the proliferation and migration of ACL fibroblasts and increased the expression levels of collagen and fibronectin. Further mechanism study indicates that PNS might play its function through the phosphorylation of PI3K, AKT and ERK. This study provides a possible mechanism for the function of PNS and lays foundation for further study on the function of panax notoginseng.


ERK; PI3K/AKT; Panax notoginseng saponins; collagen; migration; proliferation

PMID: 25755732

The Divine is in the Details (Especially when it comes to Food)

I think most would agree that peanuts are a food that are fairly high on the allergen list.
I grew up eating peanut butter. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, but my mother had a child almost every year, producing eight children in ten years. Peanut butter was quick, easy, satisfying and most of the children ate it without argument.
Many children today have full blown peanut allergies and those statistics continue to grow rapidly.
I often have these “what’s wrong with our food today” conversations with my father because it usually engenders lengthy “battles of scientific study” that are fun and mentally stimulating.
One of my continued arguments with my father, who was a PhD analytical chemist in food science for his entire carreer with the United States Army, is that if we would just embrace ancient sprouting techniques, we wouldn’t have most of the legume and grain reactions that we do today.
Well, I was mildly vindicated by an unlikely source.
My father purposefully walked into my kitchen several weeks ago and plopped his copy of Food Technology onto my kitchen table. It was open on page twelve and he points his finger at the article without saying a word.
“Germination Decreases Allergenicity of Peanuts” is the title of a 100 word article with a link to the research. The abstract was published ahead of print, but it is available in full text print online.

I didn’t know what to do. I could do my victory dance, or ask the question that most of us in the natural products industry ask which is, I wonder why the sudden interest in this ancient food technology? Is it because peanut sales are down?  Is it because the peanut industry is truly concerned about the probable allergenicity of this legume?

We may never know for sure what has inspired the scientific inquiry, but I was content to see the early possibility of confirmation regading sprouting making this food safer to consume, especially since it is linked with some of my most pleasurable childhood memories.

You can click on this title to read the abstract in PubMed.

J Food Sci. 2016 Jan;81(1):T255-61. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13161. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Beneficial Influence of Short-Term Germination on Decreasing Allergenicity of Peanut Proteins.
PMID: 26618608

It’s not just high cholesterol that increases CVD risk

Somewhere after Christmas and before the New Year, my mother called me late. I picked up the phone knowing something was up since it is uncustomary that either one of my parents calls me after 8PM. It was my mother calling for my father.
I had been watching my Dad since late autumn, suspecting a brewing heart condition. Well trained clinical herbalists take the pulses, the tongue and look at other signs that sometimes give us very early warnings for all kinds of imbalances before they become disease. I had been worried, but I was playing it cool. My father was not convinced it was his heart. His GP had given him a clean bill of health, but I was seeing too many signs that were pointing to his heart.
That strange, late evening Dad was having mild chest pressure. It wasn’t intense, it was almost in his esophagus and there were no other signs at all. He thought he had swallowed a vitamin sideways, but it wasn’t going away which was why he called me. Not wanting to be alarmist, I asked him to have a cup of chamomile tea, go back to bed and if he woke in the night with the same feeling, he was to go to the hospital under any and all circumstances.
Turns out my Dad was having a very mild heart attack. It was caught so early that there was no damage to any of his heart muscle.
Several weeks after the two stents were expertly sprung open in fairly blocked coronary arteries, my Dad asks the question which most might ask on meeting my father.
My father doesn’t smoke, has maybe one glass of red wine a week, eats incredibly well, doesn’t eat a lot of sugar, doesn’t eat fast food, is a perfect weight for his hight, is a very active gentleman farmer and his cholesterol levels were normal. At 82 he is outwardly the picture of health.
What the heck?!
What you can’t see is that my father has had a lifetime of tooth decay and periodontal disease. At first blush you may never attribute oral health as an inducer of CVD, but it can be.
Anyone who has a weak heart valve knows the antibiotic protocol before having their teeth cleaned. But its not necessarily the bacteria from the gums that is the culprit. There have been bacteria from the oral cavity found in atherosclerotic plaque which you can read about here:

J Oral Microbiol. 2014 May 15;6. doi: 10.3402/jom.v6.23408. eCollection 2014.

Bacteria and bacterial DNA in atherosclerotic plaque and aneurysmal wall biopsies from patients with and without periodontitis. 

PMID: 25006361 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4024159

What early research is finding is that gum disease can be a contributing factor to an overall systemic inflammatory response that may, over time, negatively effect the coronary arteries. A couple of research pieces that might start you thinking….

J Dent Res. 2011 Sep;90(9):1062-9. doi: 10.1177/0022034510397194. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Novel endothelial biomarkers: implications for periodontal disease and CVD.

PMID: 21321068

Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 Apr;120(7):263-83. doi: 10.1042/CS20100429.

Endothelial progenitor cells: novel biomarker and promising cell therapy for cardiovascular disease.

PMID: 21143202

The real point to all of this inquiry is just to illustrate that our body systems are all connected. To focus only on our cholesterol levels as an indicator for whether we will have CVD or not doesn’t tell the whole story.

The liver sends cholesterol to areas where it thinks there’s a lesion and that signal is set off by certain inflammatory markers. It’s the same reason why sticky fibrin and platelets are sent to these areas and clots are formed. The body thinks there’s an injury or need for repair based on the inflammation signals. So, yes cholesterol has a part to play, but other systems, organs and tissues are suspect for influence on the underlying mechanisms.

Not that any of this is diagnostic in any way, but there is a golden thread here. The body is not the sum of its parts. The body is whole and coordinated and each aspect of it communicates with the totality of the being at all times.

It is a wondrous thing, our bodies and maintaining good health keeps some of us on our toes.

If you are interested in natural approaches to improving oral health, check out the Ayurvedic practice of Oil Pulling.

Take Good Care!





Why can’t I lose this fat? I diet, exercise and nothing seems to change?

Check this out…

The two groups in this randomized, crossed-over trial both had restriced caloric intake (the groups were all on the same calorie intake) but one group had 8.5 hours of sleep at night and the other group had 5.5 hours of sleep at night for only 14 days.

Guess what happened?

The group who had the 5.5 hours of sleep lost 55% LESS body fat and INCREASED the LOSS of their lean body mass (muscles) by 60%! Which means, the group with less sleep got FATTER on the same diet! Oye!

The link to this study is here, if you want to sit with it for a while.

Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts… [Ann Intern Med. 2010] – PubMed – NCBI.

In short, if you don’t get enough sleep at night, no matter how low the calorie intake is, or the amount of exercise you manage to perform, you will lose your muscles and GAIN stored body fat.

The trouble is getting to sleep and staying asleep, isn’t it?

The inquiry continues…..