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Dr. Kestner: You’ve got to be kidding… KUDZU?!

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I’m gonna be rich! I’ve been looking for an opportunity like this all my life. I have always wanted to be really, really wealthy. Yet, I was not born into riches, and quite frankly, I don’t want to actually work very hard to earn all that money. So I have spent my life thinking. My idea is that if I think enough, sooner or later the perfect idea for easy money will simply pop into my head.

I did try some other approaches for a while. I went to a lot of those seminars that are held in hotels that explain how to make a fortune selling miracle nutritional products to all of your friends or buying vending machines. Turns out there are already a lot of other people that jumped on those ideas. (And, after a while, your friends run when they see you coming.)

I even tried collaboration. I spent some time working with Murfreesboro Post’s favorite columnist, Stephen Lewis. I was hoping that between us we could come up with a great plan. That was a waste of time. All of my ideas were too off-the-wall and his all involved ways to increase women’s bust dimensions or market his collection of super-secret Beanie-Weenie recipes. We never seemed to be able to stay on task for very long.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a medical news tidbit that might just provide the opportunity I have long dreamed of. The news almost slipped by the editors of the major medical news sources. It originated at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Probably the only reason it caught the eye of anyone in the medical press is that they mistook the source for Birmingham, England.

Anyway, the story did manage to find its way to my e-mail inbox. I didn’t write about it for a while, because my initial impression was that this must be a joke.

Before I share the news, I have to explain something called metabolic syndrome. This is simply a scientific name for what happens to some of us when we get too fat. Moderate obesity in many individuals leads to a combination of problems that includes elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. This is a bad combination, as it leads to serious health problems and often contributes to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

Since millions of Americans now have metabolic syndrome or will in the next few years, this is a very serious problem facing our country as a whole and certainly for the individuals involved. Any answer to this common problem would be welcome.

Can you see where I am going with this? A solution for metabolic syndrome would almost certainly bring untold riches and fame.

So, what’s the connection between my interest in easy money and this growing health problem called metabolic syndrome? One word: Kudzu.

That’s right, that leafy vine that has practically consumed Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi may hold the promise of deliverance from the dread condition known as metabolic syndrome.

A handful of creative researchers at UAB have successfully demonstrated that laboratory rats having metabolic syndrome (and are therefore stroke-prone and at risk for other deadly events) could be saved by feeding them kudzu extract.

These bright thinkers weren’t the first to consider the notion that the vine that ate the Southeast might have health benefits. People in Asian countries have consumed kudzu extract for centuries. But the UAB group is the first to actually demonstrate in a scientific study that the plant has health benefits for metabolic syndrome.

I have already looked into the profit potential of this finding. It turns out that there are thousands of landowners in the Deep South that are willing to literally give their kudzu crop away (Rubes!). That means my raw materials are virtually free.

With that kind of supply, I can make endless amounts of products like Kudzu Kola or maybe Kudzu Flakes for breakfast. I’ve already developed a prototype snack that should be big in the South: Kudzu Kreme donuts! Who wants to be first to try one?

Next week: Other, more conventional solutions for metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Mark Kestner
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Dr. Mark Kestner, Kudzu, Living Well, Voices
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