Thursday, September 29, 2016

Scientists discover cause of Crohn’s (Hint: I was right)

Here’s some great news if you suffer from Crohn’s disease:

Science has finally caught up with natural health.
Natural health practitioners (including yours truly) have been saying for quite some time that Crohn’s is an autoimmune condition wherein your immune system attacks healthy tissue in the GI tract and stirs up inflammation, and since 70 percent of that immune system is in your gut flora, that’s where the problem lies.

Plus we’ve also been saying that medications like NSAIDs, birth control pills and most especially antibiotics destroy your friendly intestinal flora, which allows dangerous organisms to thrive and increases your susceptibility to Crohn’s.  There has been a concurrent rise in Crohn’s cases and antibiotic prescriptions over the last three decades and that’s no coincidence.

So we’ve been telling people with Crohn’s (as well as its cousin ulcerative colitis) to take care of their gut flora, keep it strong to fight off dangerous microbes and encourage their immune system to behave like it should!

Well, science finally agrees.  Hip hip hooray.

Here’s the scoop:

Study shows three distinct bacteria in the guts of Crohn’s sufferers
A recent study at the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center revealed that three specific bacterial and fungal species were highly correlated with Crohn’s disease—E. coli bacteria, Serratia marcescens bacteria and the fungus Candida tropicalis.

Research had previously identified E. coli as a culprit, but this is the first study to show the other two microbes are also highly common in the guts of people with this painful condition.

The researchers are hopeful that this “new” discovery will pave the way for “new” ways to treat Crohn’s disease including—wait for it—PROBIOTICS!

Who knew?

A three-step approach to ease the discomfort of Crohn’s

Now that science appears to be on board, here is the safe, natural three-step approach to getting real relief from Crohn’s by supporting sound immune functioning and gut health and curbing inflammation that I have been recommending for ages:

1- Encourage sound digestion
Encouraging sound digestion and nutrient absorption are essential for Crohn’s sufferers since the villi in their small intestine are prone to damage and this inhibits the assimilation of nutrients.

And a great way to help is to eat nutrient-packed meals that your body can more efficiently break down!

Concentrate on nutritious real foods (fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, fish, eggs and healthy fats) and stay far away from processed junk, fake foods, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, and especially soda.

Also, support better digestion by simplifying your meals—pair proteins OR starches (never both together) with vegetables and salads.  Simpler meals like this work in harmony with your body’s digestive enzymes and are much easier for your system to break down.

Here are some examples to help you:
  • Steak, green beans, tossed salad
  • Chicken, broccoli, Caesar salad
  • Whole grain pasta, spring mix salad, sautéed escarole
  • Turkey meatballs, mashed cauliflower, antipasto
If you need more help with food pairings, check out the Great Taste No Pain system.

2- Strengthen your gut wall
For people with Crohn’s, it's imperative to have a strong gut wall and help keep harmful bacteria and fungi in check.

In addition to having a healthy diet, supplementing with probiotic strains from both the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species can be a tremendous help.

The Lactobacillus species of probiotics reside in the small intestine, and Bifidobacteria live in the large intestine.  Since Crohn’s can strike anywhere in your intestinal tract, it’s crucial to support the entire area!

In addition, the amino acid glutamine has also been shown to help enhance gut wall strength.  Glutamine is found in foods such as beans, red meat, nuts, and fish.

3- Keep inflammation low
Keeping inflammation low in the intestines is vital for Crohn’s sufferers.

And a great way to help tame inflammation in any area of the body is to engage the power of Nature’s anti-inflammatory—Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

See what a difference in can make in how you feel when you support your gut health and counteract the underlying causes of Crohn’s.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

6 Ways to S-L-O-W the aging process

It’s been said that there are two certainties in life—death and taxes.

I’ll add another one onto that.


Time marches on for all of us, and eventually our bodies show the effects of getting older.

But the good news is you can help S L O W down the aging process and encourage better physical health as well as a more youthful appearance!

Let’s take a look at what aging really is, and how you can help turn back the biological clock.

So what exactly is aging?
In order to understand how you age, we need to peek inside your cells.

Inside the center (nucleus) of your cells, your genes sit on twisted strands of DNA called chromosomes.  At the ends of your chromosomes are stretches of DNA called "telomeres."

Telomeres protect your genetic code and make it possible for your cells to divide.  Cell division is needed so you can grow new skin, blood, bone and other cells.

Telomeres are like the plastic tips on your shoelaces.  They prevent the ends of your chromosomes from fraying and sticking to each other, which can, in turn, mix up your genetic information and lead to cancer, other diseases or death.

But unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and that includes your telomeres.

Every time one of your cells divides, the telomeres get shorter and shorter.  When they eventually get too short, the cell no longer can divide and it becomes inactive or dies.

As this process continues over time, you begin looking and feeling older and older.

Factors that speed up the aging process
Although telomeres shorten over time and nothing can be done to completely stop this, there are certain factors that can accelerate the aging process.

Number one is a poor diet--especially eating foods with trans fats, vegetable oils, sugar and refined carbs.  All of these substances trigger inflammation in your cells, which promotes disease and can make you look FAR older than your years.

Stress is another major ager.  Chronic stress causes the repeated release of the hormone cortisol which can harm your gut flora, weaken your immune system and damage your cells.

Environmental and household toxins cause inflammation in your cells, stress your liver and kidneys, and can put you on a path of disease and aging.

Decreased levels of hormones also play a big part.  Hormones impact every major organ and system in your body, so when your hormone levels diminish, you can feel the effects from head to toe.

Fight back…and WIN!

Now that you know how aging occurs and many of the factors that can make it that much sooner that Boy Scouts will offer to help you cross the street now is the time to SLOW down that aging process!

Here are six very effective strategies than can help:

1) De-stress
There are many ways to help de-stress: Meditation, exercise, yoga, counseling, deep breathing, prayer, and acupuncture, to name a few.  Pick what feels right to you and help get rid of that stress.
Also, help your gut microbiome recover from the harmful effects of stress with a full-spectrum probiotic supplement.  

2) De-tox
Avoid common sources of household and environmental toxins like unfiltered tap water, bug sprays, weed killers, cigarette smoke, and medications as much as you can.

Start by using a filter for your tap water and avoid lawn and pest chemicals.

Buy organic produce whenever you can.  Shop local farmer's markets or participate in community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

If you smoke, please stop now.

Lastly, if you’re on any medications, talk to your doctor about alternatives, decreasing your dose or getting off them altogether.

3) Eat real foods
The best way to avoid age-accelerating trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, refined carbs and sugar overload is to eat REAL foods.

Real foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry and fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, eggs and healthy fats.

Also, pair the right foods together for better digestion—avoid the protein and starch combination in your meals, as it’s very taxing on your system and can practically guarantee gas and heartburn. 
Instead pair proteins OR starches with vegetables.

4) Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is an anti-aging MUST.

It helps your body eliminate age-accelerating toxins, it increases your heart strength, helps improve digestion, promotes better sleep, helps lower blood pressure, helps you maintain a healthy body weight and by strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints, it can decrease the symptoms of arthritis!

Pick an activity that works for you, get your doctor’s OK and get moving.

5) Consider bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
Unlike synthetic hormone replacement, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy works to help naturally reestablish the way your body sends messages to your tissues and organs to keep them healthy…and helps keep you feeling younger!

6) Supplement with Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Studies are showing that the Omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA can play a crucial role in slowing down the telomere action associated with the aging process.

So if you want to jump on the bandwagon to help preserve the youth of your cells, as well as help lower cholesterol, experience fewer joint aches and improve your memory (among other things), a top-notch fish oil supplement can help ensure you get what you need.

Time marches on and we are all going to age.  That is a certainty.

But as you can see from the information above, there’s so much you can do to help slow the aging process internally and keep feeling great well into your golden years!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Massive cover-up exposed—sugar causes heart disease!

If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you may recall me saying in the past that saturated fat is not the heart disease-causing devil it’s been made out to be, and sugar is really the bad guy.
You might have even thought I was crazy.

After all, everyone knows that red meat is a heart attack on a plate, right?  And that sugar, while not innocent, merely causes cavities and packs a few pounds on your backside?

Well, hold onto your hat because it’s now come out that the sugar industry PAID research scientists back in the 1960s to minimize the link between sugar and heart disease, and instead push saturated fat as the criminal.

The damning historical documents (that were uncovered by a researcher at UCSF and published in JAMA Internal Medicine), support the fact that Big Sugar was able to buy researchers off in order to hide the sweet stuff’s significant role in heart disease.

This falsified research has shaped our standard dietary recommendations (and medical school textbooks) toward the avoidance of saturated fat (while stressing low-fat, high-sugar foods) for the last 50 years!

And it’s devastating to think of the number of people that have suffered and died from heart disease as a result of this greed.

Here’s the truth about sugar and heart disease:

How sweet it ISN’T

Sugar can affect your cardiovascular system in these three distinct ways:

1) It raises cholesterol
The most widely used form of sugar in processed foods and soda is high fructose corn syrup.  And contrary to what the cleverly designed sugar industry commercials tell you, it’s NOT the same as regular sugar, NOR is it “safe in moderation.”

Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of two natural sugar units--one glucose and one fructose.
High fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, is 100 percent fructose in a highly processed form that does NOT exist in apples, peaches or plums…plus it’s made from GMO corn to boot.

Your body processes glucose and fructose in two different ways--your liver needs to break down only 20 percent of the glucose you take in, but 100 percent of the fructose.

So inundating your body with large amounts of HFCS puts a tremendous stress on your liver.

And since your liver is responsible for regulating your body’s cholesterol levels, having a liver that is taxed from HFCS can certainly affect its cholesterol monitoring abilities.

Plus unlike glucose which your body can use for energy, HFCS turns into fatty acids, excess cholesterol, and triglycerides.

2) It raises blood pressure
Sugar is a very inflammatory substance…and when you eat a lot of it, you tax your pancreas’ insulin production capabilities.  Eventually, sugar builds up in your bloodstream and stirs up inflammation in your arteries.

Your body heals the inflammation by summoning cholesterol to the area as a salve.

But when your arteries incur repetitive sugar-induced inflammation, not only is cholesterol repeatedly recruited, but those areas become "magnets" for fibrous proteins called fibrinogens, plus calcium deposits, and wastes and toxins in your blood.

And that is the perfect recipe for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis!

3) It causes leaky gut

Your intestinal wall is strong enough to move your wastes along and keep dangerous toxins "locked up" until they can be eliminated with your bowel movements.

At the same time, it also "opens its doors" just ever so slightly to allow nutrients from your foods to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

But when your gut wall becomes TOO permeable--known as leaky gut-- toxins from your foods, the environment, and disease-causing bacteria now have an "open door" to seep into your bloodstream and ignite inflammation in your arteries.

And a leading cause of a leaky gut wall is SUGAR!

Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in your gut, which then overcome your friendly flora and eat away at the gut wall, making it too porous.

Fight back
Here are three ways to help minimize sugar’s effects on your body, and help you recover from any harm it has caused you.
  1.  Find alternatives and curb your consumption
Use organic raw honey, organic cane sugar, organic real maple syrup or stevia for sweeteners in moderation, and avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague.
Drink water instead of soda.  Soda is THE single largest source of sugar (HFCS) consumption in the world.

Concentrate on real foods—fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, dairy, real butter, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  You will stay satisfied longer and won’t be as tempted to reach for a sweet snack.

And limit your “sugar indulgences” to special occasions like a birthday or a holiday.  Trust me, our heart disease epidemic is not the result of people eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or a piece of birthday cake—it’s the result of a daily onslaught of sugar to the tune of 150 pounds per person per year.
  1.  Encourage better digestion
Eat simpler meals to support better digestion and a healthier gut wall.  Pair proteins OR starches (never both together) with vegetables and tossed salad—you’ll likely feel the difference in your digestion immediately!

Also, if you have low stomach acid, take antacids or frequently suffer from indigestion or heartburn, digestive enzyme supplementation can pinch hit where your body needs a little enzyme boost.

       3.  Support your friendly flora

The friendly bacteria in your system help to keep your gut wall strong and non-porous, assist with digestion and keep harmful bacteria under control.

Unfortunately, sugar destroys your friendly flora, so if you’ve been a sugarholic for a while, a full-spectrum probiotic supplement can help rebuild your supply of these helpful good guys.

PS:  You may be thinking, “OK, this is great but what about saturated fats?”

Here’s what you must know:

Your body needs saturated fats for your brain, nervous system, hormones and even your heart to function properly!  They are only a concern if you have WAY too many or the wrong kind.

So go ahead and have saturated fats in healthful amounts—like a 4-5 oz. piece of meat, some butter on your vegetables or scrambled eggs for breakfast.

The truly health-wrecking saturated fat is TRANS-FATS—they are what will guarantee your appointment with the cardiologist (or undertaker), and must be avoided at all times.  Read food labels carefully and avoid margarine and hydrogenated oils.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The #1 cause of disease—and how to prevent it

I once had a conversation with a woman who proudly told me that she was happy to be in good health in her mid-50s.

This is how she described "good health":
  • Her cholesterol was under control with Lipitor
  • Her blood pressure stayed right around 120/80 with Lopressor
  • Nexium kept her acid reflux quiet
  • Imitrex worked like a charm on her migraines
THAT'S good health?

This woman is anything BUT healthy.  What she has is a chemically-induced absence of symptoms.

Sadly, people like this sickly woman are rapidly increasing in number in our society today.  Plus we’re not dealing with isolated health challenges anymore—at least one out of four of us has two or more chronic conditions which are never "cured" but just "managed" with multiple medications.
And that's our new definition for "health"--medicated for life and never really feeling good, but making drug companies rich beyond belief.

What's behind these health horrors?
While there are many reasons for our abysmal states of health, one of the most significant underlying factors is chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is the primary causative factor behind ALL of these health trends:
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 of us are overweight or obese. 
  • Allergic conditions (including asthma) now rank 5th among chronic diseases.
  • Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and estimates are that by 2025, the number of Americans with diabetes will be at least 50 million.
  • Arthritis and joint disease affect 53 million people in the United States--almost 1 out of 5 people.
  • Over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Our number one and two killers—heart disease and cancer—are responsible for nearly half of all deaths.    
  • Nearly one-third of us have high blood pressure.
If those statistics don't scare you, I don't know what will.

Fight back

The good news is there are ways you can fight chronic inflammation and help prevent it from creating chronic disease in you.

And even if you are already affected with one or more chronic diseases, you can help mitigate their effects and even possibly reduce or eliminate the need for certain medications!

Here are four effective inflammation-fighting strategies that can help make all the difference in YOUR state of health:

1) Eat away at inflammation
These are foods that have been shown to help reduce inflammation:
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts and almonds
  • Herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, basil and rosemary
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Berries
  • Oranges
2) Get enough Omega-3 EFAs
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are Nature's anti-inflammatory.  These are found in abundances in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and cod.

Unfortunately, also found in abundance in these critters are high levels of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins, especially in those caught from the Atlantic…so it's wise to avoid Atlantic varieties and eat only wild-caught Pacific or Alaskan varieties.

Also, purified, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements are a great way to get the Omega-3 EFAs you need without having to worry about pollutants in grocery store fish.  Just remember to talk to your doctor first if you are on blood thinners. 

3) Do the avoid-dance

Just as important as getting natural sources of anti-inflammatories is avoiding these harmful inflammation-causing foods:
  • Sunflower oil, corn oil, hydrogenated oils and other processed vegetable oils
  • Refined carbohydrates (sugar, flour, white bread, pastries, etc.)
  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Fake foods (including margarine and artificial sweeteners)
  • Soda
  • GMO foods (assume any packaged food that is non-organic has GMO ingredients in it)
  • Meat and eggs from conventionally farmed animals, especially beef and chicken.  Strive for organic versions of these.
  • Conventionally grown produce with high pesticide residues.  Try to buy organic as much as you can.
4) Support your beneficial gut bacteria
The beneficial bacteria in your gut house 70 percent of your immune system, so that should give you a clue as to how important they are.

Unfortunately, our gut bacteria populations have been under assault from things like antibiotics (from both pills we take and conventionally farmed animals we eat), refined carbohydrates, soda, smoking, lacking sleep, medication residue, and stress.

In addition, our exaggerated fears of bacteria and our efforts to wipe them out of our existence has created immune systems which have not been conditioned or developed to function as they were designed to.

Instead what we’re seeing are over-sensitive immune systems that launch an out and out inflammatory attack against harmless microbes or tissues, and this is coming out as our skyrocketing rates of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

So now more than ever, it’s crucial to help support your gut bacteria and immune system with a full-spectrum, multi-strain probiotic formula

It’s never too late!

No matter what your state of health is, you can be helped by counteracting inflammation in your body with safe, natural measures.

Don't procrastinate.  Do it now.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hope and healing for eating disorders

One of the most complex and devastating types of conditions that we face today is eating disorders.

Eating disorders present a unique challenge because they are not solely a physical OR psychological condition but BOTH—specifically, a behavioral (psychological) issue that involves eating (a physical event) and the hefty price (both physical and mental) of the resulting severe nutritional deficiencies.

In anorexia, Nervosa's cycle of self-starvation, the person’s body is repeatedly denied the nutrients it needs to function and is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy.

This can result in:
  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, indicating that the heart muscle is changing. This also presents a risk for heart failure and death.
  • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis).
  • Muscle loss and weakness.
  • Severe dehydration, which can trigger kidney failure.
  • Fatigue and low energy.
  • Dry hair and skin; hair loss.
On the other hand, the binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can cause the following:
  • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and death.
  • Gastric (stomach) rupture during periods of bingeing.
  • Inflammation and rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
  • Tooth decay from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Irregular bowel movements and chronic constipation.
  • Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.
They’re not rare!
Eating disorders are not as rare as you may think.  According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the US suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life.

Despite their prevalence and serious health consequences, very little funding is awarded for their research as compared to other brain/psychological conditions like Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia.
And get this—the CDC doesn’t even have disease entries for anorexia or bulimia on its website!
But eating disorders are REAL conditions—not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice but a true illness for which people that are suffering need help.

And one of the places to look for help is in the area of certain nutritional deficiencies!
Here are three deficiencies that are recognized as triggers or contributing factors to eating disorders:

The zinc link
During the 1980s the idea began to emerge that certain nutritional deficiencies could play a part in the development of eating disorders when it was noted that the symptoms of zinc deficiency and anorexia were virtually identical:
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Amenorrhea
  • Impotence in males
  • Nausea
  • Skin lesions
  • Malabsorption
  • Disperceptions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
Since that time several studies have been done that show dramatic improvement in eating disorders when supplemental zinc was introduced.

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 helps create serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. Serotonin is the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter that is linked with happiness. When our serotonin levels drop (as they can with B6 deficiency), so do our feelings of self-esteem.

This can create a dangerous cycle, especially in body-conscious young girls.  As their self-esteem drops, girls tend to see themselves as “fat” (regardless of how slender they may be) and diet vigorously, which in turn even further depletes B6 and serotonin.  Eventually, their serotonin-starved brain can become obsessed by thoughts they can’t turn off or behaviors (dieting) they can’t stop—creating a pathway to an eating disorder.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are crucial to proper brain function, hormone production and neurotransmitter production (including serotonin).

Unfortunately, many people with eating disorders see all fats as fattening and something that must be avoided, thereby further worsening the challenges their brain has to deal with (including anxiety and depression) as well as making themselves susceptible to hormone imbalances and low serotonin levels.

Hope and healing from eating disorders
First and foremost, dealing with an eating disorder requires treatment with a skilled psychotherapist that is experienced with these conditions.  Inpatient hospitalization may also be necessary depending on the severity of the condition.

In addition, filling the gaps with any nutrient deficiencies is a MUST!

Step one is to concentrate on nutritious real foods and avoid nutrient-poor refined carbohydrates and sugars as much as possible.  Also, drinking adequate water is crucial to combat dehydration.
Step two is to seek out helpful supplements:

A full-spectrum multi-vitamin and mineral formula can provide healthful doses of zinc and vitamin B6, and serve as a “safety cushion” of other vital nutrients while the person recovering from the eating disorder is attempting to improve their eating habits.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil supplements are crucial since our food supply is severely lacking these fats that are essential to brain function.  Omega-3 EFAs are also a natural anti-inflammatory which can help counteract a GI tract that may be inflamed due to frequent vomiting.
Probiotics can help ease chronic constipation as well as support a healthier intestinal environment and improved nutrient absorption.

A complete amino acid formula can help restore needed protein to the brain, heart and muscles, especially if the person recovering is a vegetarian or vegan.  Also, vitamin B12 is a must to help restore energy and mental clarity for vegans and vegetarians since their diets are lacking in food (animal) sources of this nutrient.

By addressing both the psychological and physical/nutritional aspects of eating disorders, the level of success of the recovery process can be enhanced dramatically…eventually restoring better health and lifelong healthful eating patterns.