Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Strategies for Surviving Chemical Sensitivity: The Basics



By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

Don’t let the title of this book fool you. While this book does detail basic steps that chemically-sensitive individuals need to take in order to manage their exposure in and out of their homes, this book is a comprehensive guidebook that offers solutions even for those who have been battling chemical sensitivity for decades.

The author, Dr. Mayer, Ph.D., practiced pharmacy throughout his 20s. During that time, he owned two drug stores and numerous dry cleaning stores. He believes that the highly toxic chemicals used in the dry cleaning industry caused him to develop Chemical Sensitivity. After selling his businesses, he went on to earn a doctoral degree in history and a post-doctoral degree in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Mayer truly knows the struggles of the chemically-sensitive individual as he has had the struggles himself. He even had to leave New York City after trying to make four homes safe to dwell in. The strategies that Dr. Mayer, Ph.D lays out in this book are based on the trial and error experiences in successfully managing his own chemical sensitivity as well as experiences he gathered from over 1,000 individuals who responded to the question, “What works?”

Dr. Mayer explains how to find doctors and dentists who understand the needs of those who are chemically sensitive. He also describes various treatment options, including the following:

• Avoidance of Chemicals and Substances that Cause Reactions. According to Mayer, over 94 % of those surveyed felt better by avoiding chemical exposure. He defined avoidance as living in a chemical-free space, working in a chemically-free environment, and eating chemically-free, organic food.

• Clean Air. Many folks found that air filtration helped them.

Sauna Therapy. Dr. Mayer discusses the option of sauna therapy at many treatment centers in the United States or using a home sauna. He specifies that for those who are sensitive to EMFs, infrared saunas are said to be better.

• Liver Support. According to environmental physicians, self-administered glutathione in conjunction with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, including the Hydroxocobalamin form of B12 can be helpful.

After outlining general treatment options, Dr. Mayer offers helpful suggestions to aid you in every area of your life. He offers hundreds of suggestions on how to avoid exposure in all rooms in your home; these suggestions are nicely bulleted out.

Dr. Mayer’s chapter on personal care products is particularly useful. For soaps, he recommends Magick Botanicals products, among others. He also discusses cosmetics, mentioning facts like black mascara has fewer ingredients than color mascara. He also recommends using apricot kernel oil or almond oil for a moisturizer.

Dr. Mayer’s suggestions extend far beyond your home. He gives you tips on purchasing an automobile, buying a new home, and even reveals exact locales that will be better for those with chemical sensitivities to reside. His chapter on managing chemical sensitivity when traveling is helpful. One recommendation is that if you smell something bothersome, rinse your nose with saline solution. He also recommends taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C to bowel tolerance, wearing a face mask, and keeping yourself hydrated.

In conclusion, you will find this book as useful of a resource as those by Dr. Sherry Rogers. This is a must-read for the chemically-sensitive person and those who love them!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go Green and Clean…with Steam!




Over the years, our sensitive NEEDS customers have been asking us to help them find a completely non-toxic, no-odor method to do some serious cleaning. After searching far and wide, we are happy to announce the arrival of the Steamboy T1 steam floor mop. NEEDS tested and approved, this mop uses only water, and no other cleaning products. In the long run, you will save money on expensive cleaning products. The steam created by this mop is a great, effective, and eco-friendly way to remove dirt and kill bacteria and germs naturally. The Steamboy uses a powerful 1500W heating element to deliver 248ยบ F steam to floor and carpet surfaces, sanitizing as it cleans. It can be used safely on ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum, carpet and remarkably, even hardwood floors.

The Steamboy is easy to use- simply fill the reservoir with water, plug it in, turn it on, and it will quickly heat up and be ready to use. You can regulate the amount of steam released so there are no worries about making a dripping mess. The reservoir holds 3.3 cups of water and provides 30 minutes of continuous steam. The Steamboy can easily handle tight corners with its ergonomically designed handle and angled head with swiveling ability. The swivel head covers an eleven inch cleaning path. The cleaner comes with two washable microfiber pads; when dirty, simply throw it in the wash and hang to dry. To use on carpets, attach the carpet glide under the swivel head to easily convert it to a carpet sanitizer.

We love how simple and eco-friendly this new cleaning tool is. When it’s this easy and safe, cleaning isn’t so bad after all!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Ancestral Diet: Putting Healthy Nutrition in Context

By Linda Lizotte, R.D., CDN

As a nutritionist who has counseled hundreds of clients, I have to say that Americans could be a whole lot healthier. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise along with obesity, diabetes, and cancer. These present-day illnesses were barely seen thousands of years ago. You are the genetic equivalent of a caveman, yet the environment in which you live is vastly different from that which your ancestors evolved. For millions of years, our ancestors lived in a state of complete connectedness with the natural world. They woke with the sun and slept with the moon. They had no choice but to eat what they could forage from the woods, or kill in the fields.

The poor health of humans today is directly related to our modern diet. Evolutionary, historical, anthropological, and observational studies of past and present hunter gatherers show they had/have little heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases. Modern-day hunter gatherers enjoy good health just as our ancestors did, not because of better genes, but because of better eating habits and ways of living.

How did our food consumption go wrong? The beginning of grain cultivation marked the time when humans were exposed to much higher dietary levels of simple carbohydrates and sugars, in amounts they were not designed to handle. The 19th and 20th centuries brought the advent of additional never-seen-before food processing techniques, leading to an escalating dietary insult on human genetics. As a result, many people today have intolerances and allergies to many of these “new” (evolutionarily speaking) foods.

Unintended consequences from these dietary changes abound. For instance, modern methods process whole wheat flour, stripping out its fiber, minerals and vitamins, including natural folates. Low and behold, soon after this processing method became common, many more birth defects occurred. Governments identified at least one cause being that of missing natural folate in the diet, which lead to mandates of adding folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) into processed grain foods such as breakfast cereal, white bread and white pasta. Since this change, incidents of spina bifida in countries making the change have dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, recent research points to evidence of a growing number of cancers in the US, which have been linked to excessive consumption of this synthetic folic acid.

As the president of Designs for Health, I am active in product development decisions, including the decision to keep folic acid out of our formulations. Instead we use NatureFolate™, a 100% natural folate blend that mimics what is found in foods such as spinach. NatureFolate™ contributes to preventing birth defects by lowering levels of homocysteine in the body. This homocysteine modulation also can prevent heart disease, while not contributing to the increase in cancer seen from folic acid consumption.

In an attempt to go back to nature’s intended roots, Designs for Health has formulated convenient products that mimic the diet of Paleolithic man including PaleoGreens, PaleoReds, PaleoBars, PaleoMeal and PaleoFiber. PaleoGreens comes from organic green vegetables; it is in a powdered form for easy and fast consumption. Some people do not enjoy the taste of vegetables and therefore have a difficult time forcing themselves to eat them. PaleoGreens is available in both lemon-lime and mint flavors; it is a great way to get the required daily intake of vegetables. PaleoReds is a combination of various organic fruits in powdered form; it is loaded with naturally-occurring vitamins and phytonutrients such as polyphenols. PaleoFiber is made from 12 fiber-containing ingredients found in nature, including carrot, apple, and citrus fiber; it is free of grain fibers. It aids healthy bowel movements because it contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. PaleoBars contain essential amino acids and added nutrients. This perfect snack food does not contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, or any form of fructose, which exist in other common snack options. A paleolithic approach to diet is the closest thing we have to matching that with which our genes evolved. It is a great starting point in the quest for an optimal diet. Go Paleo!

Friday, September 3, 2010

UV light to eradicate bedbugs

Does the thought of bedbugs may make your skin crawl? Then watch out, because reports of bedbug infestation are on the rise. Once thought of as an issue found only in areas with poverty, bedbugs are now being found in four-star hotels, high-end retail clothing stores, and upper-class luxury apartments in Manhattan. Because the problem has become rather common, The New York City Department of Health and Hygiene has addressed this issue on their website. This public health service publishes a brochure that states that only pesticides will eradicate the pesky critters, but this is not an option for people who are chemically sensitive or have compromised detoxification pathways.

One option for those who cannot tolerate pesticides or prefer to not be exposed to them is this latest product from Verilux, known as cleanWave uV-c sanitizing Furniture & Bed Vac™, which uses ultraviolet rays to sterilize surfaces such as pillows, mattresses, and telephones safely and effectively. It can eliminate musty smells and pet odors. CleanWave™ is a chemical-free, odorless, and eco-friendly method to eliminate germs and bacteria and even kill bed bugs. Verilux has independent test results to show effi cacy on certain microbes, such as dust mites, mold, and hepatitis.

UV-C waves penetrate the membranes of viruses, bacteria, mold, and dust mites— attacking their DNA—terminating them and their ability to spread. The smaller, lighter UV-C sanitizing Travel Wand emits a blue spectrum of light to help you see the surface area you are leaning. This product is truly a breakthrough for disinfecting your surroundings at home and away!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Protocol "SHINE"

By Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum


We would be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t experienced exhaustion at one point in his or her life—whether you are a parent of a newborn, a college student working your way through school, or just suffering from a bad cold. Fortunately, this feeling is generally transient and can be relieved with rest. In contrast, people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS or CFS) experience severe, almost unrelenting fatigue, often associated with “brain fog”, widespread pain, and many other problems. CFS’s sister illness, fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is characterized by muscle pain. Oddly enough, despite their constant exhaustion, people with CFS/FMS typically find that they can’t sleep.

What Causes CFS?

CFS is thought to be an “energy crisis” associated with hypothalamic dysfunction. The hypothalamus can be likened to a circuit breaker/fuse in your home. This circuit regulates hormonal function (thyroid, adrenals, etc.), the autonomic system (body temperature and blood pressure regulation), and the sleep center. The hypothalamus can be suppressed by physical or emotional stress, which can cause you to “blow a fuse”.

The “SHINE” Treatment

In my 30 years of clinical experience treating CFS, I have found that the SHINE approach is successful in helping the large majority of CFS/FMS patients. The “SHINE Treatment Protocol” for treating CFS/FMS includes:

A Specialized Nutritional Program for Recovery

The reality is that most people don’t get the optimal amount of nutrients from their diets.1 In addition, many nutrients can be depleted as a result of CFS/FMS. Supplements can play an integral role, in conjunction with a healthy diet, in achieving optimal nutritional intake. Look for a powdered supplement that supplies a strong nutritional foundation, providing optimal and balanced nutritional support. By using a good vitamin powder, one can get the majority of nutrients in a single drink, instead of needing handfuls of pills. An ideal dietary supplement should include such key ingredients as:

Amino Acids—
Amino acids, as the building blocks of protein, are critical to every reaction that occurs in the body. Amino acid supplementation, especially with whey protein, has many benefits including maintenance of muscle tissue, energy levels, and brain function. They have also been shown to increase the production of glutathione, a potent antioxidant.2

Overall Vitamin and Mineral Support—
Vitamins C, D, E, K, and many minerals (e.g. zinc, magnesium iodine, selenium, etc.) are critical.

B vitamins—Nutritional deficits in B vitamins in CFS sufferers have been a subject of research for some time.3,4,5 B vitamins are especially critical for energy production.

Alpha Lipoic Acid—In addition to being an important antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) helps recycle other important antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, and glutathione.

Energy Metabolites —Malic acid is critical for energy production.7, 8

In addition, you may also want to add a special nutrient called ribose. In a recent study of 257 people with CFS/FMS, conducted at 53 practitioner clinics, supplementation with ribose was shown to increase energy an AVERAGE of over 60% after three weeks.9

Summary
Natural solutions are available in the form of dietary supplements and when combined with different medical treatments,supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes, can be integral in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.


References

1 White E, Patterson RE, Kristal AR, Thornquist M, et al. Vitamins and lifestyle cohort study: study design and characteristics of supplement users. Am J Epidemiol 004;159:83-93.

2 Krissansen GW. Emerging health properties of whey proteins and their clinical implications. J Am Coll Nutr 2007;26:713S-23S.

3 Jacobson W, Saich T, Borysiewicz L, et al. Serum folate and chronic fatigue syndrome. Neurology 1993;43:2465-2467

4 Puri BK, Counsell SJ, Zaman R, et al. Relative increase in choline in the occipital cortex in chronic fatigue syndrome. Acta Psychiartr Scand 2002;106:224-226.

5 Heap LC, Peters TJ, Wessely S. Vitamin B status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J R Soc Med 1999;92:183-185.

6 Biewenga GP, Haenen GR, Bast A. The pharmacology of the antioxidant lipoic acid. Gen Pharmacol 1997;29:315-31.

7 Hendler SS, Rorvik, D., eds. Malic acid. In: PDR® for Nutritional Supplements. 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Physician’s Desk Reference Inc; 2008: 412-413

8 Russell IJ, Michalek JE, Flechas JD, Abraham GE. Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, placebo controlled pilot study. J Rheumatol 1995;22:953-958.

9 Scripps Integrative Medical Center’s 7th Annual Natural Supplement Conference. La Jolla, CA. January 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Study Reveals Promise in Connection Between Resveratrol and Brain Health


One of the biggest obstacles in holistic medicine is cultivating the science behind the way that herbs and nutrients work in the body. Some categories have been researched more than others, such as herbs like Echinacea and nutrients such as selenium, and we have a fairly good understanding of how they function in human physiology.

But for many nutrients and herbs, we are less certain about their mechanism of action, despite the clinical evidence of their benefits. The gaps in our scientific understanding are obstacles when mainstream medicine challenges our profession and asks for “proof ” that a supplement works. So it is always interesting when research provides us with a glimpse of the inner mechanisms of dietary supplements.

This recent study on trans-resveratrol, by researchers from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, gives us one of those glimpses to help answer the question of “How does it work?” Resveratrol is a chemical found in red wine, which may be responsible for the heart-healthy reputation of this delicious beverage. It is a potent antioxidant with a reputation for protecting blood vessels, reducing “bad” cholesterol, and benefiting our health in several ways. This study investigated how trans-resveratrol affects blood flow and cognitive function. Twenty-two volunteers took placebo and two single doses of resveratrol (250 mg and 500 mg), each on separate days. With each of the three doses, researchers measured cognitive function by testing the volunteers with particular tasks. They also measured blood flow to the brain by testing for blood oxygen levels after the doses.

The researchers found that the larger the dose of resveratrol, the better the blood flow. Increasing oxygen delivery to the brain is a key component for cognitive function. This test did not reflect an improvement in cognitive function with just a single dose, but its promising results regarding the blood flow suggests that later research may find that long-term supplementation of resveratrol could have a positive effect on the brain.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What Makes a Great Probiotic Formula?

Contributed by Master Supplements

Probiotics are the first gifts from a mother as her infant passes through the birth canal. Breast-feeding further colonizes the infant with beneficial bacteria and provides the probiotic fingerprint, which is dependant on the mother’s diet and gastrointestinal status. These bacterial microflora are so critical to our health and survival, that without their presence, every aspect of our health would suffer. Stress, ingested items, and poor diet choices affect the gastrointestinal tract and alter the bacterial environment, allowing different opportunistic organisms to take the place of the beneficial organisms. PRO- (the opposite of ANTI-) biotics are Mother Nature’s way of providing health benefits and a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) immune system. The immune system of the GI tract lies in the mucosal layer. Probiotics stimulate this immune system to send activation signals to the systemic immune system throughout the entire body. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and two strains of bifidobacterium are specifically known to stimulate macrophage and natural killer cells of the systemic immune system to fight viruses and bacteria.

Probiotics also help manufacture nutrients, such as B vitamins, folic acid, and vitamin K. Additionally, they help in the absorption of essential minerals including calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium. How can you determine if a probiotic is high-quality? The first thing to examine is the packaging. It should be an amber glass bottle, with totally inert packaging. It should be refrigerated to preserve the life of these freeze-dried bacteria. Moisture, heat, and light can kill probiotic bacteria in a package that lacks protection.

Look for well-studied organisms that have efficacy in humans and are not merely cheese-culturing bacteria of the genera Lactobacillus. Theralac contains a well documented strain of acidophilus known as LA-1 or NCFM, as well as four other researched strains of probiotics. Be sure the product guarantees its CFU (colony forming units) potency at the expiration date,NOT at the date of manufacture. Ten billion CFU is a minimal quantity to have any effect. Theralac has 30 billion CFU. Gastric acid can destroy probiotics, so it is vital that the capsules are protected. Typically, manufacturers use enteric coating, which works well for aspirin, but it is not ideal for probiotics. If the enteric coating is keeping stomach acid out, then it is keeping metabolic toxins in. An alternative to enteric coating is a technology used in Theralac that includes sodium alginate and grape skin extract, which create a buffered gel in the stomach and guarantees live delivery through the acid. Multi-strain is also important, and all strains should all be compatible; for example, Lactobacillus salivarius is somewhat antagonistic to Bifidobacteria sp. A sufficient quantity of each probiotic strain is required to be effective, so keep in mind that a capsule only holds so much material (typically 450-500 mg). When there are too many species in a formula, it can mean there is not enough of any one to make a difference. Be wary of “proprietary formulas” since it is possible that there is much more of the less expensive ingredient, and less of the more expensive (and effective) bacteria.

Prebiotics are a good addition to help support the growth and reproduction of probiotic bacteria. One well-known prebiotic is FOS, which is effective, but for some people, it generates gas and causes bloating. Another downside is that several grams of FOS are needed to be effective and that quantity cannot fit in a standard 500 mg capsule. A better form of prebiotic is partially-hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), which is much more specific to organisms such as bifidobacteria that produce an enzyme called inulinase. Typically, PHGG is found in stand-alone products, such as BioActive TruFiber, rather than as an ingredient in a capsule form of probiotics.

A great feature about Theralac is that it does not need to be taken daily. The dosage is one capsule daily for two weeks followed by two capsules per week thereafter. One bottle lasts 10 weeks on this standard dose program. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a nationally-recognized board-certified neurosugeon, author, and editor of The Blaylock Wellness Report, offers an unsolicited endorsement of Theralac because he found it to be so effective. He writes “I have found one probiotic supplement that seems to meet all the requirements for a good probiotic. And that is Theralac.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Alter Gene Expression and Disease


By STUART TOMC, CNHP

We can no longer blame DNA as the primary cause of disease. That is the extraordinary implication of emerging research. It is not DNA itself that determines how or what genes will be expressed. The real story is what we expose to our DNA, through diet and lifestyle. In a nutshell, what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression.

The growing field of epigenetics studies how diet, lifestyle, environment,and even thoughts determine our health, rather than DNA alone. Nutrigenomics studies how food and nutrients in particular modulate(turn on and off) gene function. Together, they are among the most interesting areas of research into how EPA and DHA—the omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil—work in the body.

The discovery that epigenetic factors (literally: “beyond the control of the gene”) are the primary factors in determining how or what genes will be expressed. This discovery may open a new dietary approach to a wide variety of common diseases, as it indicates that nutrition is even more important than once thought. We cannot change our genes, but we may be able to change their actions through nutrition in general and through fish oil in particular.

Indeed, a number of recent studies suggest that supplementing with omega-3-rich fish oil beneficially affects gene expression and health outcomes. A 2009 study showed that an increased genetic risk of prostate cancer was essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 intake by 500 mg per day.1 A 2010 study suggests that genetic predisposition to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome is more evident with individuals with low omega-3(EPA and DHA).2 Similarly, other recent studies have shown that EPA and DHA are genetically associated with cardiovascular health outcomes and that supplementing with fish oil altered the gene expression profiles in cells to a more anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic (clogged arteries)status.3-4

Knowing that omega-3s are capable of turning DNA on and off not only adds new evidence to the crucial importance of EPA and DHA, but also opens new perspectives on therapeutic approaches to a wide variety of modern diseases, by demonstrating how nutrients can affect genes. Many scientists believe that nutrigenomics has tremendous potential for improving public health. By tying together the fields of nutrition and genetics and exploring how they interact, nutrigenomics offers the exciting promise of preventing or even treating diseases through diet or supplementation.

References

1. Fradet V, Cheng I, Casey G, et al. Clin Cancer Res 2009 Apr1;15(7):2559-66
2. C Phillips, L Goumidi, S Bertrais, et al. J Nutr 2010;140(2):238-244
3. H Allayee, N Roth, H Hodis. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics 2009;2:140-148
4. M Bouwens, O. van de Rest, N Dellschaft, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:415–424

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Acid-Alkaline Diet...for Optimum Health! Book Review



Book by Christopher Vasey, ND
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Morganti, ND

Balance is the key to great health. One of the many impressive balancing acts that occur in the body on a continuous basis is the creation of acid by metabolic processes, countered by the neutralization of acid by alkaline substances. This determines the pH of the body, which can be measured in the blood, urine, sweat, and saliva. When acid dominates the environment on a consistent basis, health problems ensue. In his new book The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimal Health, Christopher Vasey, ND discusses ways in which you can achieve an ideal acid-alkaline balance in your body.

How do I know if I have an acid problem?

Are you excessively fatigued, have you lost enthusiasm and drive, or are you worried, depressed, or anxious? Are you sensitive to cold, have low blood pressure, and maybe low blood sugar? Do you have a suppressed immune system and suffer from multiple infections? These are all vague and general symptoms that could be pointing to an acidic pH, usually caused by a diet high in acid-generating foods and a stressful lifestyle.

pH can be measured in bodily fluids, but not all of them accurately reflect the body and tissues’ overall pH. Blood pH does not reflect tissue acidity because the blood quickly transfers out acids in order to maintain a very narrow acceptable pH range. If the blood pH were to stray outside the narrow requirements, illness or even death could ensue. Because it is so tightly regulated, blood pH is not a good way to determine overall body tissue pH. Urine and sweat are good indicators of overall acidity, and pH can easily be measured with pH test strips. The kidneys and skin are both mechanisms in which the body eliminates acids, so a low pH (or high acidity) in their fluids indicates high levels of acid in the body. Dr. Vasey provides detailed instructions on how to measure pH of the urine, which he believes to be the most accurate method.

How does acidity cause health problems?

Urine, blood, and sweat will transfer acids out as they are produced, but these mechanisms can become overloaded fairly easily. When acid levels exceed the elimination capacity, the overage gets stored in tissues, and then they interfere with enzymatic reactions, inflammation, and demineralization. For example, enzymes, which elicit a multitude of critical biochemical reactions in the body, are very sensitive to their environment. They function only in a very narrow pH range, so an acidic environment will disrupt their activity and cause health problems, from minor to very serious. Extra acid in the tissues can also be corrosive and irritating, causing inflammation, manifesting as a skin rash, painful urination, arthritis, or intestinal inflammation. Demineralization is another consequence of a chronically acidic state. Bones and teeth, which store large amounts of calcium, will sacrifice this alkalizing mineral to improve the pH of blood and tissues, resulting in osteoporosis and loss of teeth.

Consuming an alkaline-focused diet is important for dealing with current acid production, but it is not efficient enough to neutralize built-up acids stored in the tissues. Suggestions for meal choices can be found in the book. To truly alkalize deep in the tissues, supplements must be added to the regimen. Supplementation will help alkalize and resolve symptoms, but to thoroughly neutralize the acid in deep tissues, be prepared to stay on the program for the long term.

Minerals are the foundation of the alkalizing therapy. Calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese are the main minerals to look for in a supplement. Sodium is in some products, but it is not appropriate for those who are salt-sensitive and hypertensive. Silica may be present, although it is acidic, it is usually found in small quantities, and is beneficial for those with weak nails, bones, teeth, and joint pains. Dr. Vasey resides in Switzerland, so the products he recommends in his book are not readily available in the US. However, the ingredients he recommends can be found in several great domestic products.

Alkaline minerals may come in the form of citrate, carbonate, tartrate, sulfate, gluconate, and lactate. TriSalts, by Bio-Tech Pharmacal, Inc., contains a combination of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the carbonate and bicarbonate forms, and is popular for alkalizing and quelching allergic reactions. Whey products are also alkalizing because they are rich in minerals and can be cleansing. (Whey is not appropriate for those who are lactose intolerant). Capra Mineral Whey, derived from goat’s milk, is highly concentrated, alkaline, and contains minerals and electrolytes such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Leafy green vegetables are very alkalizing—and an easy way to supplement the diet is with powdered green drinks. New Zealand Green Organic Barley Grass from Living Foods USA is an extremely fresh and tasty source of sprouted barley grass with alkalizing properties.

There are no specific dosage recommendations for alkalizing supplements. Dr. Vasey simply recommends taking alkalizing supplements several times a day, in moderate doses, to increase the urinary pH to about 7-7.5. It is common to make the mistake of taking enough of the supplements for a long enough period to achieve full cleansing of the stored acid waste. It can take several months or up to a few years of supplementation to achieve a balanced pH. To determine if therapy is successful, one should have a pH of over 7, without taking supplements. Even when the supplementation period is over, one must continue to follow an alkaline diet for optimal health.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism: Could This Be You?


By Holly Lucille, ND, RN for NEEDS Natural News

Hypothyroidism, the most common type of thyroid disorder, occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, as many as 27 million Americans may have some type of thyroid disorder. Of that number, approximately half remain undiagnosed. Managing hypothyroidism requires a comprehensive understanding of its effects, its fluctuations, and the targeted nutritional strategies that can restore optimal thyroid function.

Thyroid 101:

The thyroid is located in the middle of the neck, just below the “Adams apple” or larynx. This gland utilizes iodine to make thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid is under the control of the pituitary gland, a small gland found at the base of the brain. If the levels of thyroid hormones drop too low, the pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid to make more T3 and T4—raising their levels in the blood. When the pituitary gland detects increased levels of T3 and T4 in the blood stream, it then decreases its TSH production. The pituitary gland gets its information in several ways. It is able to detect and respond directly to the amounts of T4 circulating in the blood, but it also responds to the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that releases its own hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). This network of communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the thyroid gland is often referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis).

Once released into the blood stream, T3 and T4 are transported throughout the body to regulate numerous physiologic functions, including metabolism. In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not produce enough T3 and T4. Often, hypothyroidism is not diagnosed because the signs and symptoms are easily confused with other conditions, such as the natural aging process, menopause, or stress. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weakness, weight gain, coarse/dry hair, hair loss, dry/rough skin, memory loss, abnormal menstrual cycles, pallor, cold intolerance, muscle aches/cramps, constipation, depression, irritability, and decreased libido. Often, individuals will have “normal” lab results, but may still be symptomatic. This is referred to as subclinical or sublaboratory hypothyroidism. Regardless of the severity of hypothyroidism, if left untreated, it can affect the cardiovascular system, reproductive system and other major organs.

Modern Day Influences:

Ultimately, hypothyroidism is due to an imbalance in the HPT axis. In most cases, the imbalance has multiple causes, including stress, excess hormones, and many other factors. The body is hardwired to respond a certain way to dangerous situations. This “fight or flight” response prepares the body to either run away from the danger (e.g., bear) or confront the danger (e.g., fight the bear). During these fight or flight” responses, a hormone called cortisol is secreted in higher levels and is responsible for several stressrelated changes (increase in blood pressure, lower sensitivity to pain, etc.). After the perceived threat is gone, the body’s relaxation response is activated and cortisol levels return to normal. However, in modern times, the “fight or flight” response may be constantly activated and cortisol levels remain high.

Our modern day lifestyle and the chronic stress it produces can profoundly effect thyroid function. Studies have demonstrated that stress, no matter how induced, is capable of altering thyroid hormone levels. In addition, combining several different stressful factors (sleep deprivation, calorie restriction, and intense physical activity) has been shown to have a synergistic effect on thyroid hormone levels. Exogenous hormones, such as HRT and xenoestrogens, have also been shown to interfere with thyroid function. A 2007 study suggests that the thiocyanate in tobacco smoke interacts with other substances to affect thyroid function—yet another reason to kick the smoking habit. Other factors that have been shown to affect thyroid function include insulin resistance, nutritional deficiencies, poor digestion, dysbiosis, goitrogens, genetics, and aging.

Supporting Thyroid Function: Safe, Natural Alternatives

When looking at optimizing thyroid function, we need to first look closely at such basic factors as diet, sleep, and stress reduction. Achieving the recommended 7-9 hours of deep sleep each night is crucial for overall health in general. Because stress plays such an integral role in thyroid health, individuals should look at incorporating stress-reducing practices into their daily routine, whether it’s taking a yoga class or just spending five minutes doing some deep breathing exercises. Another key to managing thyroid hormone production is to ensure the thyroid glands are well-nourished. However, the reality is that most individuals don’t get the recommended daily allowances of nutrients from their diets. Supplements can play in integral role, in conjunction with a healthy diet, in achieving optimal nutritional intake.

Quality Supplements for Supporting Thyroid Function Should Contain the Following Nutrients:

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins, including B6, C, and pantothenic acid are important to supporting thyroid function. vitamin B6 is considered the key vitamin in processing amino acids, such as L-tyrosine, which are the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Pantothenic acid is also necessary in the synthesis of hormones. A water-soluble nutrient, pantothenic acid must be replenished each day. Since it is not stored in the body, it is essential to have vitamin C each day. Vitamin C has been shown to help boost the immune system, which may need extra support during periods of chronic stress. Minerals, including iodine, zinc, and copper, are essential to thyroid health. The thyroid just absorb at least 60 mcg of iodine daily to ensure proper hormone production. Iodine combines with tyrosine, an amino acid to produce thyroid hormones. Adequate levels of zinc and copper are required for many endocrinological processes, including support of thyroid function and thyroid hormone metabolism.

Other Beneficial Nutrients

Betaine works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids and is a precursor to SAM-e (S-adenosyl-L-Methionine). Licorice reduces the stress response and helps to inhibit the breakdown of cortisol. The amino acid L-Tyrosine combines with iodine for the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

Glandulars

Glandular extracts provide nutritional support for metabolism and immune system responses. Thyroid extract provides nutritional support of thyroid function, while adrenal polypeptide fractions and adrenal cortex extract help support adrenal gland function.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Licensure at Stake in New York! Please contact legislators to let them know you don't want the bill to be held up!

Two Things You Can Do To Help:

1. We need you, and everyone you know in NY, to CALL Committee Members TODAY and tell them to "Vote Against The Hold, Vote For The Bill, A1370." See list of phone numbers below. Call as many as you can.

2. Click the link below RIGHT NOW and enter your New York address at the bottom of the letter to automatically send an email to your assembly members. Repeat for second address in NY.

http://www.capwiz.com/naturopathic/issues/alert/?alertid=15095501&type=M



New York Assembly Higher Education Committee Members
Non-Sponsors: They really need to hear from you!

· Inez D. Barron 518-455-5912
· Michael J. Fitzpatrick 518-455-5021
· Ellen Jaffee 518-455-5118
· Charles D. Lavine 518-455-5456
· William Magee 518-455-4807
· Joel M. Miller 518-455-5725
· Joseph D. Morelle 518-455-5373
· Audrey I. Pheffer 518-455-4292
· Mike Spano 518-455-3662
· Lou Tobacco 518-455-4495

Sponsors: Let them know how much you appreciate their vote against the "hold" and for the bill.

· Tom Alfano 518-455-4627 Sponsor
· Marc W. Butler 518-455-5393 Multisponsor
· Kevin A. Cahill 518-455-4436 Sponsor
· Michael Cusick 518-455-5526 Multisponsor
· Steve Englebright 518-455-4804 Sponsor
· Barbara Lifton 518-455-5444 Multisponsor
· Donna A. Lupardo 518-455-5431 Multisponsor
· Amy Paulin 518-455-5585 Multisponsor
· Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes 518-455-5005 Multisponsor
· Jack Quinn 518-455-4462 Multisponsor
· Al Stirpe 518-455-4505 Multisponsor
· James D. Conte 518-455-5732 Sponsor
· Nelson L. Castro 518-455-5511 Sponsor
· Richard N. Gottfried 518-455-4941

Thank you for your support! This will ultimately make Naturopathic medicine more affordable for everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is Your Water Bottle Safe? BPA Dangers


Plastic is one of the defining characteristics of modern life. Try to go a day without using plastic; it's difficult! The sad truth about plastic products is that they contain chemical components that can harm the environment and your health! One such chemical is called Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is one of the most widely-used synthetic components in the world. Most of the clear, shatter-proof plastic used in baby bottles, food storage containers, and rigid water bottles contain this chemical. Plastics that have the recycle symbol with the # 7 likely have BPA. BPA is also widely found in the lining of beer and soda cans, as well as the lining of various canned food products. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking molecule and therefore disrupts systems in our bodies that are influenced by the estrogen hormone. BPA leaches from plastic and can easily end up in our systems! CDC scientists measured BPA in the urine of 2,517 individuals aged six years and older who took part in a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found BPA in the urine of nearly all of the people tested, which indicates widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.

Should we be worried about this finding? Absolutely! Scientists have known that BPA is an endocrine-disrupter since the 1930s. In the past ten years, researchers have been aggressively investigating the potential harms of BPA and the findings are frightening. BPA has been linked to early onset of puberty, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, abnormal brain development, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, three types of cancer (breast, prostate, and uterine), and asthma.

How do you avoid BPA exposure? Most importantly, stop storing your water and beverages in plastic bottles that have the recycle symbol and a number 7 on them. As an alternative, use stainless steel water bottles or opt for the new glass water bottles by LifeFactory, which are free of BPA and other harmful chemicals found in plastic (such as PVC). Also, avoid heating plastic containers, whether it's heating them in a microwave, leaving them out in the sun, or washing them in a dishwasher; the heat will accelerate the breakdown of the chemicals in the plastic, making the chemicals more likely to leach into your food. Look for canned food options that are BPA-free, such as products from Eden Foods. Another step you can take is to tell Congress to ban BPA in our food products. Sign a petition here: http://tinyurl.com/banBPA. In Japan, when BPA-lined food cans were outlawed, tests showed that the population's BPA levels dropped significantly. We can only hope that our voices will be heard and that this harmful chemical will be banned in our country as well!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Research Backs Clinical Use of Magnesium to Control Asthma Symptoms

Research Review By Dr. Jen, NEEDS Education Director

Magnesium supplementation is a common recommendation for
people with asthma because it helps decrease inflammation and
acts as a bronchodilator, relaxing the airways and allowing for better
airflow. To test this theory, researchers recently conducted a small
clinical trial with 55 volunteers with mild-to-moderate asthma.
Half the group took 340 mg of magnesium, and the other half took
placebo, both in conjunction with their medication, for 6.5 months.
The group taking magnesium experienced a six percent improvement
in lung function by the end of the study, measured by peak oxygen
flow rate on exhalation. The placebo group did not experience a
change in flow rate.

Another test in this study, which was published in the February
2010 edition of the Journal of Asthma, demonstrated that
magnesium also improved lung function. A drug called methacholine,
which causes constriction of the airways, was given to the asthma
patients. Twenty percent more methacholine was required to cause
bronchoconstriction in the participants who took magnesium as
compared to placebo, meaning that the magnesium counteracted
the constriction. Overall, patients using the magnesium had double
the improvement in quality of life as compared to the placebo group,
according to a questionnaire

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Dirty Dozen List for 2010


While shopping for produce, have you ever wondered which veges and fruits are most pesticide laden, and therefore making it more essential to pick the organic version? This great "Dirty Dozen" list, published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) outs the most chemically laden produce.

The EWG's research shows that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Yum.

If you’re familiar with the old list, you’ll notice a few changes in the latest iteration. Celery, which formerly was the fourth filthiest produce pick, is now top of the heap. Pears and lettuce dropped off the Dirty Dozen list this year (though they’re still not the cleanest). And blueberries and kale got the honor of joining the list this round—blueberries rank fifth for pesticide residue and kale ranks ninth.

Dirty Dozen

1. Celery
2. Peaches
3. Strawberries
4. Apples
5. Blueberries
6. Nectarines
7. Bell peppers
8. Spinach
9. Kale
10. Cherries
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes (imported)

Note: Due to the fact that pesticides are stored in fat, non organic meat and butter contain high levels of pesticides.

The Clean 15
Low pesticide residue foods that are not organic; eating these foods can reduce exposure to pesticides by 90% by exposing you to only 2 pesticides per day.

Onions
Avocado
Sweet corn (although often genetically modified)
Pineapple
Mango
Sweet peas
Asparagus
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Sweet potatoes
Honeydew melons

Eat Well and Shop Wisely!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Toxic Heavy Metals: Eliminate the Bad and Ugly

By: Rita Ellithorpe, MD and Robert Settineri, MS
Tustin Longevity Center

Human beings have been exposed to toxic heavy metals for thousands of years. Even the ancient Roman civilization wasn’t exempt. Today we are inundated with these insidious contaminants more than ever in history. Modern industrial and commercial practices pollute our drinking water, air and soil with toxic metal compounds. These harmful metals are involved in mining and the manufacture of consumer goods, as well as burning and refining processes. Toxic heavy metals are found in a vast array of sources: construction materials, cosmetics, medicines and fuels, to name just a few. They infiltrate your daily life through common everyday commodities such as baking powder, personal care products, pesticides, and antibiotics. It’s interesting to note that some of the diseases related to toxic metal poisoning have the same symptoms as the poisonings themselves. For instance, when comparing multiple sclerosis, autism and mercury poisoning, you will find some overlap in general neurological , cognitive and mental symptoms, specifically anxiety, depression, lack of coordination, memory loss and cognitive challenges to mention a few. Here we list several toxic heavy metals, symptoms of poisoning, and disease links.

Lead

Mined extensively in Missouri, Colorado, Idaho and Utah, lead is the fifth most utilized heavy metal in the United States. Lead is one of the most harmful elements on Earth and is absorbed into the body following inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to lead can come from a myriad of sources, including drinking water and air-borne lead particulates. Sources include batteries, cast iron products, canned foods, ceramics, vinyl products, black hair dyes, rinses and more. It is widely recognized as a neurotoxin and high concentrations can cause irreversible brain damage. Lead can kill brain cells, causing seizure, coma, and even death.


Symptoms of lead poisoning: Abdominal pain, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, bone pain, brain damage, confusion, constipation, convulsions, diminished motor reaction times, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, hypertension, inability to concentrate, seizures, learning disabilities, indigestion, irritability, appetite loss, muscle incoordination, memory problems, miscarriage, muscle pain, tremors, vomiting, weakness.


Disease links: Dementia, brain cancer, high blood pressure, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, liver impairment, myocardial infarction, stroke, birth defects.

Arsenic

Not only is arsenic famous in detective novels and screenplays as the secret poison of choice, arsenic is the most common environmental cause of heavy metal toxicity in humans. It enters the environment through volcanic gas and ash, and can also enter the environment when volcanic rocks are eroded by running water. It is an industrial byproduct of metal smelting processes, and can enter the atmosphere as arsine gas or enter the water supply in effluent. People can also be exposed to arsenic through common household products such as paints and wood preservatives. Perhaps the most prevalent sources are pesticides and fungicides used both around the house and in agriculture. Arsenic can cause damage to the peripheral nervous system, leading to numbness in the hands and feet, tingling, and feeling “pins and needles.” It can appear as a darkening of the skin (not due to exposure to sunlight). Excessive exposure can also appear as white bands in the fingernails a month or more after a critical dosing, as well as excessive growth of the skin on the palms and soles of the feet. It also blocks the production of glutathione which prevents oxidative cell damage.

Symptoms of arsenic poisoning: Acute symptoms include rawness of the throat from ingestion/breathing, red skin or rash at point of contact, severe abdominal pain and vomiting and diarrhea. Chronic exposure can lead to anorexia, fever, inflammation of the mucosal membranes, heart arrhythmia, liver damage and jaundice, and gangrene.


Disease links: Anorexia, multiple cancers, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes mellitus, heart attack, liver cirrhosis, stillbirths and postneonatal mortality, blackfoot disease.

Mercury

Mercury is everywhere in today’s world: it not only degasses from the earth’s crust in volcanic emissions and evaporates from bodies of water; it also comes from commercial processes like burning fossil fuels (such as coal), incinerating waste, forest fires, fertilizers, and fungicides. It is found in thermometers, barometers, fluorescent light bulbs, vaccines (thimerosal is still in vaccines in thresholds considered un-reportable) and dental fillings. Mercury accumulates in the body and has been implicated in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Occupations that chronically expose workers to mercury include dentistry, painting, electrical, pharmaceutical and laboratory, farming, factory production, mining, chemistry and beautician work.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning: Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhage, chronic bronchitis, lung problems, kidney disorders, fatigue, insomnia, loss of memory, excitability, chest pains, reduction of sensory and motor nerve function, depression, visual and/or auditory hallucinations, muscular tremors, sleep disorders, impaired coordination, speech disorders, dementia, headaches, and diminished mental function.


Disease links: Multiple sclerosis, autism, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, psychosis, chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cadmium

Since cadmium is found in zinc-, lead-, and copper-containing ores, industrial activities such as mining, smelting and refining metal ores discharge significant amounts of cadmium into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel burning, waste incineration and steel production also contribute their share, as do vented nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries used in aircraft, buses, and diesel locomotives. And smokers beware; about 40 to 60 percent of cadmium inhaled through cigarette smoke is absorbed by the body as opposed to the five to 10 percent taken up from food or water. From all combined sources, it is estimated that 4,000 to 13,000 tons of cadmium are released annually into the environment.

Symptoms of cadmium poisoning: Anemia, dry and scaly skin, emphysema, fatigue, hair loss, heart disease, depressed immune response, hypertension, joint pain, kidney stones, liver dysfunction, loss of appetite, diminished sense of smell, lung cancer, pain in the back and legs, yellow teeth.


Disease links: Immune system deficiencies, lung cancer, prostate problems, birth defects and miscarriage, behavioral and learning disabilities.

Aluminum

Even though it technically is not considered a “heavy” metal, aluminum is a toxic metal and the third most abundant element on earth. Besides a myriad of commercial sources, aluminum comes to us from out of the sky and land. Acid rain (originating from air pollution)comes into contact with soil and other sources, to dissolve aluminum compounds and spread them widely over the planet. Some scientists and health professionals believe that bioaccumulation of aluminum could be responsible for at least ten common neurological disorders—including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and senile and pre-senile dementia. Note: Beryllium, a metal in some ways similar to aluminum and used in exotic aircraft and spacecraft parts, as well as bicycle wheels, is also toxic.


Symptoms of aluminum poisoning: Excessive headaches, abnormal heart rhythm, depression, numbness in the hands and feet, blurred vision, muscle pain, psychosis, fatigue, long-term memory impairment, loss of balance, inability to pronounce words properly, even liver and kidney failure.


Disease links: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), birth defects.

Nickel

Nickel is a heavy metal used in the automobile industry, electronics, as a catalyst in chemical processes, in nickel-cadmium batteries, many household products and in cheap jewelry. Environmental nickel comes from surface runoff, industrial and municipal waste discharges, and natural erosion from soil and rocks. You can become allergic from contact with nickel jewelry. The nickel ions are transported through the sweat into the skin. Nickel can cause cancer of the upper respiratory tract and it is thought that its carcinogenic effects are due to its lipid-peroxidation properties that burn the cell’s fatty membrane, causing DNA-strand gaps and breaks and DNA-protein crosslinks. Foods like cocoa, soybeans, some dried legumes and nuts, and oatmeal contain high concentrations of nickel.

Symptoms of nickel poisoning: rhinitis, sinusitis, nasal septal perforation, asthma, dermatitis, kidney damage, headaches, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, insomnia.

Disease links: Lung and nasal cancers.

Other Toxic Heavy Metals

There are approximately 35 “heavy metals”, of which 23 are listed as being toxic to humans. A heavy metal is defined as having a density 5 times greater than water. Technology has introduced uses for heavy metals that have never before been present in our environment, and hence new avenues for humans to be exposed to those heavy metals.


Urine and feces samples offer the most accurate methods for diagnosing individual toxic heavy metal burden. It’s important that you take a test for heavy metals both before and after undergoing a chelation regimen. That way you can assess your levels and monitor your progress.

We have vast experience in our clinic and have conducted published clinical studies on chelation therapy utilizing Detoxamin (calcium disodium EDTA suppositories). We have performed extensive clinical studies with Detoxamin and I personally have over 4000 of my patients on the product. Some of the most important clinical outcomes I see in my patients are increased blood circulation, improved cognitive function (memory, concentration and mental focus), better sleep patterns, reduction multiple toxic metals, increased activity/energy levels, improved prostate conditions, reduced muscle and joint pain, improved blood marker values (LDL and HLD cholesterol) and more.

I urge all my patients and all health care professionals to become more informed about chelation therapy, and to consider Detoxamin as a foundational solution for the removal of toxic heavy metals to improve the quality of their lives. Detoxamin is safe, gentle, 80% less cost than intravenous EDTA therapy and works while you sleep.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Black Mold Exposure…....It Can Happen To You


A Review of the New DVD Movie by Michael Roland Willams
By Dr. Jen Morganti


This must-see documentary begins with the camera panning through a couple’s sparsely furnished house where every item is covered in plastic. The chairs, the tables, the computer keyboard, and every other item is sealed in plastic and covered in cloth. As the story unfolds, we discover that this almost obsessive sterilization process is absolutely required for this couple to exist in their environment. Any type of slight contamination sends their health into a tailspin, causing anything from skin rash to migraines to vomiting. The couple spends hours washing articles of clothing (especially when they are new), dusting,cleaning, and plastic-wrapping every new item they introduce to the home to prevent off-gassing. They spend an entire weekend tediously wrapping and rewrapping a new couch they bought, but nothing prevents them from having a reaction and they must return it.

Imagine being so sensitive to every odor in household products, food, furniture, clothing, carpet, your car, and even outdoor air, that you become ill to the point of dysfunction. You must isolate yourself from other people because of the products they wear. You are unable to work because your work environment makes you ill; the doctors don’t believe you and neither does your family. This film documents the daily struggles of real people with these extreme sensitivities to everything in their environment, all because they were exposed to high levels of toxic mold.

Mold and fungus are critical to a balanced ecosystem, but overgrowth of mold in living spaces can be inhaled, and over time exposure can cause multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). Molds such as Aspergillus, Fusarium,and Penicillium are some of the offending factors that can be toxic. The symptoms that mold exposure can cause are common and non-specific, such as fatigue, asthma, abdominal pain, dizziness, vomiting, hearing loss, and skin rash.

MCS can be caused by chronic exposure to any kind of toxin, including mold, chemicals, heavy metals, and more. It is not a widely-accepted diagnosis within the medical community, due in part to lack of education in medical school as well as the fact that the American Medical Association hasn’t given it credibility. Some of the doubt continues because patients present a long list of non-specific symptoms and there is no definitive lab test to determine a diagnosis. As a result, a person suffering with MCS symptoms may get passed from doctor to doctor without getting any help. During the course of this unproductive process, people with MCS may instead
become labeled as mentally ill, liars, money grubbers, or whiners. The skeptics may argue, why is it that only some people become ill when living in an environment contaminated by black mold or other toxins, and others have no symptoms at all?

Some researchers believe that genetic susceptibility explains why some people are sensitive and others are not. In this documentary, several experts weigh in, including Dr. William Rae, pioneer of environmental medicine and director of the Environmental Health Center of Dallas. His experience shows that people can recover from MCS, but everyone’s physiology is different, so treatments and successes will vary.

This documentary is valuable to anyone. If you suffer from MCS, it is a great movie to share with friends and family, and if you are healthy, it shows us how we should be both careful and aware about hidden dangers lurking in our environment.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

YEAST GONE WILD

Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.

You may have been trying for years to resolve chronic health symptoms and, yet, still not realized that one of the undiagnosed triggers might be yeast overgrowth.

What is Yeast?
Candida albicans is a fungus living in our intestines that produce 180 chemical toxins capable of making you feel dizzy and fatigued, shutting down your thyroid, throwing your hormones off balance, and causing you to crave sugar and alcohol, and gain weight. Candida and its 180 by-products are associated with symptoms of PMS, loss of libido, painful intercourse, infertility, numbness, tingling, multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s, colitis, irritable bowel, acne, lupus, insomnia, drowsiness, white tongue, breath bad, body odor, sinusitis, bruising, sore throat, bronchitis, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, spots in front of eyes, and dozens more symptoms.

Yeast overgrowth is primarily caused by overuse of antibiotics that kill bacteria, both good and bad, wiping out the intestinal flora. Another overlooked cause is mercury, a powerful antibiotic from dental fillings, which can be inhaled and swallowed in the process of chewing and act like an antibiotic in the intestines. Once yeast has the room to expand, a diet high in sugar, simple carbohydrates, and fermented foods feed their ravenous hunger and corticosteroids, estrogen, and birth control pills further encourage its growth.

Leaky Gut: An Open Door to Our Tissues
In the absence of competition, yeast colonies grow into all the empty nooks and crannies of the large and, possibly, small intestine. It is a scientific fact that when yeast cells reach a certain critical mass, they change from round buds to a thread-like invasive tissue. They are running out of food and looking for more, so they pack their bags and emigrate to the small intestine from their main home in the large intestine.

In the small intestine, the yeast threads poke microscopic holes in the intestinal lining. Such a phenomenon is called “leaky gut”—a superhighway to the blood stream with nothing to block toxins trickling across the gut lining. Instead of absorbing life-giving nutrients, a now-compromised and permeated intestinal wall allows all 180 of yeast’s chemical by-products, as well as undigested food molecules, bacterial toxins, and other chemicals to take a one-way ride straight into the blood. Though the holes are not necessarily big enough to allow the yeast to get in or infected the blood, the bloodstream is now carrying hundreds of waste products from head to toe.

Yeast and Inflammation
When yeast, bacterial, and food toxins hit the blood stream, they trigger widespread inflammatory reactions by either directly attacking tissues or creating allergic reactions along with the production of histamine, which causes immune cells to react. Some of the yeast toxins, like acetaldehyde, alcohol, zymosan, arabinitol, and gliotoxin, have been named by mycologists (biologists who study fungi), but rarely do they extend their discussion to the human suffering caused by these toxins.

Acetaldehyde is produced when yeast digests sugar. It is a particularly potent toxin that can damage all bodily tissue, including the brain. It is also produced when you drink alcohol, breathe the exhaust from cars, and smoke cigarettes. What most people don’t know is that yeast also produces alcohol in the body—enough to make some people feel drunk and give a positive reading on a breathalyzer test. Most people with yeast overgrowth can’t touch alcohol because it makes them feel so rotten.

Weight gain is very common in yeast overgrowth. Our bodies create pounds of fluid retention in an attempt to dilute the inflammatory toxins that yeast produces. Over time, tissue toxins and fluid build up lead to cellulite and weight gain. The gas produced by yeast can cause abdominal bloating that can increase your waist size up to 6 inches from one meal to the next.

The Yeast Questions
Positive answers to most of these questions may mean you have yeast overgrowth.
1. Have you taken several courses of antibiotics in the past?
2. Have you been on the birth control pill?
3. Do you react to the smell of damp moldy places?
4. Do you crave sugar and bread?
5. Do you feel drained to the point of exhaustion?
6. Do you have symptoms of intestinal gas, bloating, and cramping (IBS)?
7. Are you troubled by constant vaginal infections?
8. Are you bothered by itchy burning eyes?

Where’s the Cure?
The treatment for yeast does not lie in just a pill, as many women have learned. Even if your doctor is one of the few that does recognize yeast overgrowth, the most common treatment recommended is a week or two of antifungal medications. Most doctors don’t understand that yeast overgrowth requires a change in diet, probiotics, and antifungal supplements and/or medications.

• Diet: avoid sugar, wheat and dairy as well as fermented foods, and alcohol.
• Probiotics (good bacteria): the best ones are acidophilus and bifidus. Products that guarantee 2-10 billion organisms per capsule are recommended.
• Antifungal supplements: garlic (eat one or two cloves a day), oil of oregano (take 2-3 capsules per day) and grapefruit seed extract (take two to three capsules per day) or take a formula that also includes caprylic acid, pau D’Arco, black walnut, beta carotene, and biotin.

If you are suffering with long-unresolved symptoms, then it may be worth investigating the possibility that your intestinal tract may be under siege of a yeast overgrowth. When the source of the symptoms is properly identified as yeast, you can arm yourself and finally lay your suffering to rest.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor and naturopathic doctor, specializes in managing and healing often misdiagnosed and chronic conditions, such as digestive problems, hormone imbalance, recurring infection, IBS, widespread inflammation, allergies, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. In the health industry for 28 years, she has authored and co-authored 12 books on health,, including The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health. Dr. Dean has an active telephone wellness consulting practice; visit her at www.carolyndean.com.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia Making You Crazy?

by Rodger Murphree, D.C., C.N.S., reprinted from NEEDS Natural News

Do you suffer from anxiety, fatigue, and chronic pain, yet are told you're crazy, lazy, or depressed by friends, family, and doctors who try to make you think your illness "is all in your head?" If so, you're not alone.

Though your distress certainly feels real, their accusations make you wonder. You do often lose your train of thought mid-sentence, have strange reactions to medications, and suffer with an assortment of health problems as all your labs return normal. Then there is insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, mitral valve prolapse, chronic sinusitis, tingling in the extremities, night sweats, chemical sensitivities, headaches, and reflux to name a few. Maybe you are crazy. You've been bounced from one doctor to another, had dozens of tests, taken numerous prescription drugs, which didn't help, and you get worse year after year. Anyone would be made crazy if they went days without sleep, had diffuse chronic pain, no energy, no answers, no life, and no hope.

The traditional drugs of choice for fibromyalgia include: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), antidepressants, anticonvulsant medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and pain medications. While they may provide short term relief, their results are often fleeting and their side-effects detrimental. It's not unusual for fibromyalgia sufferers to take 12 or more prescription drugs, many of which contribute to their erratic behavior.

For example, the sleep drugs, Ambien and Lunesta, may cause short-term memory loss, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and depression. Tricyclic antidepressants, including Trazadone and Elavil, may cause early morning hangover, mental confusion, and lethargy. Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI) drugs may cause anxiety, depression, mental blunting, and lethargy. Klonopin and other benzodiazepines may cause depression, fatigue, and decreased mental function. All of these drugs are known to deplete at least one or more essential mood-dependant vitamins, minerals, or nutrients (B6, B12, CoQ10, folic acid, etc.). Individuals with fibromyalgia are also deficient in the brain chemicals, which help regulate mood and mental function.

NEUROTRANSMITTER DEFICIENCIES

Research shows that most fibromyalgia patients are deficient in serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These three neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) are essential for optimal mood and mental function. Serotonin, also known as the "happy hormone", helps regulate mood, sleep, digestion, bowel movements, pain, and mental clarity. Individuals with fibromyalgia also have low levels of the amino acid, tryptophan, as well as 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), necessary for the production of serotonin. L-phenylalanine-derived norepinephrine, when released in the brain, causes feelings of arousal, energy, drive, and ambition. It's no wonder you suffer with "fibro fog."

STRESS-COPING SAVINGS ACCOUNT

I like to use the analogy of being born with a stress-coping savings account. We have certain chemicals, vitamins, minerals, and hormones, like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, that allow us to handle day-to-day stress. The more stress, the more withdrawals we make. Individuals with fibromyalgia make more withdrawals than deposits.

SSRIs like Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, and others don't make serotonin, they only help the brain hang onto and use serotonin more effectively. These drugs are essentially a high interest loan. Those with fibromyalgia simply don't have serotonin to re-uptake. They've bankrupted their stress-coping savings account and depleted their serotonin long ago. These drugs usually only provide short term relief, while perpetuating their debt. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true nutritional protocols that can help put your stress-coping savings account back in the black.

REBUILDING YOUR NEUROTRANSMITTER ACCOUNTS

» 5-HTP

Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials show that patients with fibromyalgia experience benefits from increasing serotonin through 5-HTP replacement therapy:
• Decreased pain
• Improved sleep
• Less tender points
• Less morning stiffness
• Less anxiety
• Increased energy
• Improved mood in general, including in those with clinical depression
» S-ADENOSYL L-METHIONINE (SAMe)

SAMe increases the action of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, by binding these hormones to their cell receptors. However, patients with fibromyalgia can be deficient in this essential amino acid.

One study shows that patients taking SAMe for a period of six weeks had a 40% reduction in pain and 35% improvement in their depression.

SUPPORTING FIBROMYALGIA

A blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids comprise the necessary building blocks to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms. These include malic acid, sometimes known as the apple acid, which helps the body make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) more efficiently. ATP is the body's primary form of energy currency. Magnesium complexes with ATP become the main carrier of metabolic energy in the body and are essential for all biosynthetic processes in the body. Magnesium is also well regarded for its role in maintaining healthy mood, sleep patterns, and joint function. Amino acids are required for protein synthesis, which builds muscle, connective tissue, and other structures. Individuals with fibromyalgia have been shown to be deficient in several key amino acids, including methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, threonine, and lysine—all of which must be supplemented to restore healthy levels. I have formulated a product that includes these critical nutrients and more, in a convenient, easy-to-remember "packet" system.

Please know that, while you might not feel you're the sharpest tool in the shed at the moment, you can replenish your brain chemicals, rebuild your stress-coping savings account, and even remember where you put your car keys … with the proper nutritional support.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Safer alternatives to statin medications


High cholesterol levels are associated with increased incidences of cardiovascular disease, however, many authorities believe the current federal guidelines on what are considered healthy cholesterol levels may be too low. Cholesterol serves several important functions within our bodies; lowering it too much can actually be harmful. Furthermore, the guidelines have led to the over-prescription of statin medications, which may lead to potentially dangerous side-effects.

Moderate levels of cholesterol are not the enemy we've been told they are. Benefits of cholesterol include being the precursor for many hormones, serving as "insulation" around nerves, forming bile acids (which help us digest fats and absorb fat-soluble vitamins), and being an important component of every cell's membrane.

Emerging research shows low cholesterol levels may account for many symptoms of diseases. In women, it can lead to hormonal imbalances, negatively affecting the menstrual cycle. Low cholesterol levels have also been associated with mental disorders, such as depression and violence.

So, we must walk a middle road. Using statin medications, however, may not always be the best approach. Statins deplete Co-Q10 levels and may damage the liver. There are natural ways to reduce cholesterol levels without dangerous side effects. One of the most promising natural ingredients is phytosterols. The research is so compelling and abundant that, in a rare move, the FDA granted permission for a health claim to be used on phytosterols regarding their effectiveness in lowering cholesterol levels.

HUMAN CLINICAL RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT PHYTOSTEROLS:

• Are effective in lowering moderately high cholesterol levels
• Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10 to 15% in 4 to 8 weeks
• Lower total cholesterol about 10% on average
• Can be taken by people with familial hypercholesterolemia (genetically high cholesterol) and can be safely used in conjunction with statins in those with extremely high cholesterol levels
• Can be safely used by children with familial hypercholesterolemia
• Have no significant side effects
• May work by decreasing cholesterol absorption from the diet

On average, Americans consume about 180 mg of plant sterols daily, a far cry from the necessary 800 mg required to lower cholesterol levels. The most effective way to get adequate phytosterols is to take them as a dietary supplement.

Red yeast rice, another effective natural tool that lowers cholesterol levels, has been the subject of criticism in the recent past due to concerns over quality and the pharmaceutical industry's claim that it too closely resembled statin drugs. In 2001, at a pharmaceutical company's urging, the FDA pulled red yeast rice off the shelves because of the allegation of chemical similarity to prescription statins. The nutraceutical industry eventually won back the right to manufacture and distribute this product on the grounds that the statin portion of the red yeast rice is naturally occurring and perfectly safe to consume.

Red yeast rice has been the subject of a small clinical trial published in the June 2009 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine*. This recent study evaluated the effectiveness of red yeast rice as a natural LDL cholesterol-lowering agent. Sixty-two study participants all had the common experience of significant muscle pain and weakness when taking prescribed statin drugs intended to lower their cholesterol, resulting in their discontinued use of the medication.

Patients were divided into two treatment groups; one taking 1800 mg red yeast rice and the other a placebo, for 24 weeks total. All participants were also enrolled in a 12-week lifestyle change program designed to lower cholesterol levels. After 12 weeks, the group taking red yeast rice saw a 27% decline in LDL levels as compared to baseline at the beginning of the study and a significant decrease in total cholesterol. The placebo group experienced 6% drop in LDL levels.

Having healthy, balanced cholesterol levels is one way that we can help prevent cardiovascular disease. As demonstrated, a rethinking of our current guidelines for what constitutes healthy levels is in order. And while statin medications may be appropriate for someone with very high cholesterol and many other risk factors of cardiovascular disease, the judicious prescribing of statin drugs could stand review.

*Red Yeast Rice for Dyslipidemia in Statin-Intolerant Patients: A Randomized Trial, Becker et al. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009; 150: 830-839

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do You Need More Vitamin D?

By Dr. Jennifer Morganti

Vitamin D has been the topic of the most exciting news in the scientific community for the past several years. Numerous clinical trials reveal that a large portion of the North American population is quite deficient in this critical nutrient, and this may be a key reason so many suffer with one or more inflammatory-based conditions.

It is common knowledge that vitamin D enhances absorption of calcium from the intestine to promote bone building, thus preventing osteoporosis. The latest research, however, has greatly expanded scientists' understanding of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked with several health problems, including inflammation, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), nervous system problems, Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal pain. Vitamin D's anti-inflammatory activity seems to be one of the underlying mechanisms that make it so effective at alleviating these conditions.

Vitamins D2 and D3 are the primary forms, both of which are eventually converted via the liver and kidneys to the more bioactive form, calcitriol. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, can be obtained from food (animal sources), supplements, and from sun exposure, which is then converted to a usable form by cells in the skin. The pervasive use of sunscreen has likely contributed to high deficiency rates, as it blocks the absorption of UV light and vitamin D conversion. D2 (ergocalciferol) is derived from fungal or plant sources and less efficient at converting to usable calcitriol than D3. Some sources claim that D2 absorption is one third of the rate of D3 absorption. Vitamin D2 is also made synthetically, but this form can be toxic and should be avoided entirely. A wide range of the body's tissues have vitamin D receptors and, like the kidneys, have the ability to convert preliminary forms of vitamin D to calcitriol. This indicates that this nutrient is critical to these tissues' metabolic processes.

Because sunlight exposure is such a critical source of vitamin D3, there is a correlation between living in northern latitudes and vitamin D deficiency. Subsequently, this population has increased risks of at least two maladies: cardiovascular disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). One study shows that patients with cardiovascular disease have lower levels of vitamin D than healthy people. Another demonstrates that patients with hypertension reduced their blood pressure significantly simply by increasing vitamin D levels via increased exposure to ultraviolet light. Vitamin D also has been shown to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker for inflammation and an indicator of increased risk for heart disease.

MS is a neurological disease that exhibits symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness, vision problems, loss of balance and muscle coordination, slurred speech, tremors, stiffness, and bladder problems to name a few. MS is also believed to have an autoimmune component. Incidences of MS are elevated in northern latitudes because of the limited availability of sunshine. The connection between MS and vitamin D levels was finally given credibility in 2006 when the Journal of the American Medical Association announced that MS risk can be lowered by increasing vitamin D based on a large amount of epidemiological data gathered between 1992 and 2004. These researchers felt that vitamin D may prevent MS because it is a potent immune modulator and because of its ability to temper MS's autoimmune component. An additional clinical trial shows that daily supplementation with 5000 IU of vitamin D3 (plus calcium and magnesium) over two years reduced exacerbations of MS symptoms.

A multitude of studies also conclude that low vitamin D levels are linked with increased risk of cancer, such as breast, ovary, colon, and prostate, while many in vitro (laboratory-based), animal, and human studies show that vitamin D prevents cancer cells from proliferating. At the 2007 annual meeting of the conservative American Association for Cancer Research, the CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute confirmed that a significant amount of research strongly links low vitamin D levels with increased risk of many types of cancers.

Vitamin D levels can be measured by a simple blood test, which may be called either 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin. Be aware that some labs have not yet updated their reference ranges, and that the ideal levels of vitamin D are now considered to be over 50 ng/mL versus 20-45 ng/mL as some labs may indicate. An article in the June 2007 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine describes how a leading researcher on vitamin D, Dr. Michael Holick, called for a fourfold increase in the recommended daily intake (RDI) of D3 from 200 IU to 1000 IU daily. Other physicians call for even higher doses, such as 2000-4000 IU. Holick also called for an increase in the current tolerable maximum daily dosage from 2000 IU to 10,000 IU daily. To raise vitamin D levels, it is wise to take at least 1000 IU daily for 4 to 8 months before levels return to normal. (Note: Vitamin D toxicity is now thought by some to occur only when taking over 100,000 IU daily for several months.)

Did you take your vitamin D today?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hidden Dangers In Your Drinking Water




The safety of your drinking water has been compromised by municipal treatments, industrial waste, and unreliable government regulation that leave dangerous cancer-causing byproducts in your glass. There has been an alarming increase in the amount of contaminants in drinking water supplies, both in big cities and small towns. Each time we hear of another waterborne disease outbreak, we wonder whether the benefits of drinking tap water outweigh the risks. These newly discovered contaminants that may be in your water include MTBE, Arsenic, and Trihalomethanes.

MTBE—A NEW CHEMICAL THREAT
MTBE is a chemical added to gasoline to reduce carbon monoxide emissions from automobiles. However, because of the toxic health effects, many states are phasing it out and will eventually ban it. MTBE is toxic and causes eye irritation, tearing, nasal discharge, trouble breathing, nausea, and is a probable carcinogen. MTBE has leaked into ground water throughout the U.S., over a period of years. Reports of hundreds of people becoming ill have come to light and are connected to MTBE contamination in drinking water.

ARSENIC—EPA SETS MAXIMUM LIMITS
No one would purposely add arsenic to the water supply—yet arsenic has been found in thousands of water supplies serving over 12 million people across the U.S. Studies have linked long-term exposure of arsenic in drinking water to increased rates of cancer of the bladder, lung, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate. Non-cancerous effects impact the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological, and endocrine systems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a new arsenic standard for drinking water at 10 ppb (parts per billion) to protect consumers against the effects of long term, chronic exposure to arsenic in drinking water. All public water systems in cities, towns, apartments, mobile home parks, nursing homes, and factories will be required to reduce the arsenic concentration in their drinking water systems which will lower cancer deaths, chronic disease, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs.

TRIHALOMETHANES—INCREASED USE OF CHLORINE AND CHLORAMINE—RESULTS IN MORE CANCER-CAUSING BYPRODUCTS
Trihalomethanes (THMs) are chemicals formed by the action of chlorine with naturally occurring organic matter in water. In January 2000, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease, published a study associating several different types of birth defects with the ingestion of Trihalomethanes (THMs). Also, exposure to THMs occur through exposure from showering, washing dishes, and flushing toilets. According to Erik Olson of the Natural Resource Defense Council, water supplies have as much as one-and-a-half to two times the amount of chlorine added in the summer months, increasing short term exposure and health risks.

The discovery of these toxins in munincipal drinking water is causing concern for many Americans. One of the most important things to do to protect yourself is install a water filtration system in your home. There are a variety of filters available that remove specific toxins and material. Filters can be placed at the source of water for the entire house, or at each faucet. The first step is awareness!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Vaccine Debate


Jennifer Morganti, ND, Director of Education for NEEDS


The media had a field day in 2009 over flu vaccines, particularly vaccines for the H1N1/Swine Flu. Because there is so much information and misinformation in the media, it may be difficult to discern what is right for you and your family. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do have many questions and a little research has revealed some interesting facts. This topic will certainly remain one of the most controversial ones this year, but hopefully the facts and quotes below will shed some light on the topic.

When considering if you want to get a vaccine, drug, or anything, you should investigate its safety and its effectiveness.

This leads me to question how extensively the H1N1 vaccine has been tested. Unfortunately, it appears that safety testing has been limited. Generally, before a medication or vaccine is introduced to consumers, there are large, double-blind placebo controlled clinical studies to determine safety and efficacy. This was not the case with the H1N1 vaccine because the FDA wanted to introduce it to the market as quickly as possible, due to the perceived pandemic.

It may also be disconcerting to some that the CDC strongly recommended the vaccine to pregnant women (because they are at increased risk of dying from the swine flu), however, no studies have been completed to prove the vaccine is actually safe for pregnant women or their fetus. My question then becomes: “Does the fact that they have increased risk of catching the flu (and possibly dying from it) consequently prove that the vaccine is actually safe for pregnant women, when the safety hasn’t been properly evaluated?” Clearly, we are still lacking solid evidence. As of October 8th, 2009, the National Institute of Health was still in the process of recruiting volunteers to participate in a trial to test the safety of the H1N1 vaccine on pregnant women. “The purpose of this study is to evaluate an investigational 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to determine vaccine safety in pregnant women and how the body reacts to different strengths of the H1N1 influenza vaccine.” They are only in the early stages of the study, yet the CDC has been strongly recommending that pregnant women get this vaccine without hesitation.

Lastly, when considering safety, we must decide how we feel about mercury (thimerosal) exposure. The FDA clearly states on their website: “As with the seasonal influenza vaccines, the 2009 H1N1 vaccines are being produced in formulations that contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, and in formulations that do not contain thimerosal.”

Regarding the efficacy of the vaccine, regulators assume that this vaccine will have similar efficacy as other flu vaccines, however, they say that this H1N1 virus is much different from previous seasonal viruses. Most concerning, the CDC tells the public to assume that one in every 100,000 vaccine recipients will suffer serious side effects, yet the FDA only requires the vaccine to be effective in three out of 10 recipients.

The CDC says that the majority of people over 65 already have natural immunity to the swine flu due to previous exposure in the 1970s. Unlike the standard seasonal flu, the CDC is not classifying this population as an “at risk” population for the swine flu.

The last big question in my mind is: “How big of a threat is the swine flu?” We tend to only hear about the severe cases of the swine flu. However, the CDC states that the severity of this swine flu is on par with other viral infections we have seen in the past decade. The World Health Organization (WHO) states, “the overwhelming majority of persons worldwide infected with the new H1N1 virus continue to experience uncomplicated influenzalike illness, with full recovery within a week, even without medical treatment.”

Are people more fearful of the swine flu than necessary? Perhaps. Recall the SARS virus. The British Medical Journal makes this sensible point: “The SARS outbreak showed that large numbers of infected people are not necessary to generate concern and fear over disease. The SARS virus is known to have affected only 8096 people globally, but the fear of infection, involuntary quarantine, travel restrictions and subsequent political antagonisms, and at least $18 billion in losses were felt by far more. It was not the virus but the response to it that caused these social and economic harms.”

Unfortunately, despite the lack of compelling evidence of vaccine safety and efficacy, the FDA and FTC are tightly restricting the dietary supplement industry from making any claims that natural products may help prevent the flu, and any mention of the swine flu has brought threats of severe penalties.

Monday, March 1, 2010





Heart Health Advice from Dr. Sherry Rogers’ Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?
By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

In her latest book, Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?, Dr. Sherry Rogers empowers you to protect your heart with the help of nutrients as opposed to drugs (in most cases). She points to recent research as evidence of the effectiveness of nutrients over commonly prescribed heart “protection” medications. She boldfaces the research evidence and cites the specific studies, which makes this book a great tool for those who value the scientific backing of natural therapies.

Whether you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a type of arrhythmia, or even heart failure or a previous heart attack, Dr. Rogers offers many nutrient suggestions that can help you boost your heart health long-term. While Dr. Rogers discusses nutrient protocols that are very specific to each heart-related health condition, she emphasizes the important roles that magnesium and omega-3 essential fatty acids play across the board. She provides an immense amount of scientific evidence to back up these recommendations.

For high blood pressure, doctors often prescribe diuretics or fluid pills, which are harmful and may make your condition worse according to Dr. Rogers. Diuretics cause your body to lose potassium and magnesium. Mineral deficiencies are often the cause of high blood pressure in the first place, hence the reason why a diuretic may make your condition worse. Dr. Rogers points the reader to several studies that have found that more than half of Americans are deficient in magnesium and that the average American diet offers less than 1/10th the amount of magnesium that people need. The most potent form of magnesium that Dr. Rogers recommends is a magnesium chloride solution.

After prescribing diuretics for high blood pressure, doctors often prescribe calcium channel blockers. Dr. Rogers cites a study that found that calcium channel blockers actually shrink the brain and can cause a drop in IQ. The reason doctors prescribe calcium channel blockers in the first place is because cell membranes stop working due to nutrient deficiencies. Dr. Rogers recommends feeding omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) to your cell membranes using fish oil. She also recommends that you stop feeding your cell membranes harmful fats (such as the trans fats found in many packaged food products). Repairing your cell membrane with fish oil can also lower high cholesterol.

If you have arrhythmias, guess what? Magnesium and essential fatty acids can help you too! Dr. Rogers cites studies that have found that magnesium deficiency is one of the most common causes of the common arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation. Even the USDA published a study in 2007 with strong evidence that magnesium deficiency induces arrhythmias. In fact, several studies have found magnesium to be more effective than any prescription drug at treating arrhythmias. Dr. Rogers recommends the magnesium chloride solution, for people who have arrhythmias.

One of the downfalls of living in an industrial society is that it’s difficult to escape some of the causes of heart damage, one of them being vehicular and industrial exhaust. Dr. Rogers cites studies that have found that “environmental chemicals damage the autonomic nervous system and can create any arrhythmia imaginable.” However, Dr. Rogers says there is hope; one teaspoon a day of fish oil can prevent chemicals from getting into the heart. She also cites studies that have found that fish oil can turn off arrhythmias if omega-3 is the causative deficiency.

Congestive heart failure is the most dangerous disease in our country. Close to 70 % of those diagnosed die within five years. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) quadruple your risk for heart failure; NSAIDs include aspirin, which many cardiologists recommend to stop unwanted blood clots. Just like the heart disease precursors discussed earlier, your heart needs essential fatty acids for protection. Again, Dr. Rogers recommends fish oil for those with congestive heart failure. One study found that cod liver oil was 10 times more effective than statins for those with heart failure. If you have high C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels, you are at risk for heart failure. Correcting hidden magnesium deficiencies can lower your CRP levels

For those who’ve had heart attacks or stents, the importance of magnesium and omega-3 essential fatty acids is paramount. Sherry Rogers frankly claims “Magnesium is a major determinant of who walks out of the hospital in a few days [after a life-threatening arrhythmia or heart attack] and who is carried out in a body bag.” Dr. Rogers reiterates that there is a link between magnesium deficiency and many diseases beyond heart disease such as: asthma, migraines, depression, insomnia, irritable bowel, and more. As for the link between magnesium deficiency and heart disease, in addition to the research findings cited earlier, another study found that magnesium can cut coronary artery pain after exercise by as much as 21 %. Dr. Rogers believes that anyone who has had a heart attack or a stent needs 1000 mg of magnesium a day. Dr. Rogers says that fish oil is a must for anyone who has had a heart attack or stent.

Is Your Cardiologist Killing You is a great resource even for those who have never been to a cardiologist. If you have any risk factors for heart disease (such as high cholesterol, high levels of stress or anxiety, overweight, high blood pressure, alcohol consumption, and diabetes), you would certainly benefit from adding magnesium and fish oil into your supplement regimen, in addition to several other nutrients that Dr. Rogers discusses in this remarkable read!