Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lupus—something you should be “aware” of

I’m generally not a big fan of “awareness” days, months or events.

Many are centered on things that people are already VERY well aware of, they regurgitate the same old information, and don’t really serve any significant purpose other than possibly funding drug research.

But I’ll make an exception in this case because October is Lupus awareness month, and that’s definitely something people need to increase their awareness of.  Many people report having heard of it, but don’t really know exactly what it is.

Here is the scoop on this disturbing disease that affects mainly women in their childbearing years.

Lupus—your immune system waging war on you
Lupus is one of over 80 autoimmune diseases that have been identified so far.  With autoimmune diseases, your body sees its own cells as enemies and wages war against itself.

Your immune system strikes out against your healthy cells, harming your tissues and eventually causing impairment or loss of normal bodily functioning.   

With lupus, the damage can occur in any part of your body—including skin, joints, or internal organs.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, 1.5 million US citizens and 5 million people worldwide currently suffer from lupus, and the majority (90 percent) are women between ages 15 to 44.

There are actually four different kinds of lupus:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
SLE is the most common form of lupus and can affect different organs and areas, including your veins, lungs or digestive system.  It can also cause kidney damage.

You may suffer multiple symptoms, such as fatigue, sensitivity to sunlight, pulmonary hypertension, joint pain, and rashes.

Drug-Induced Lupus
This type of lupus is caused by medications.  Its symptoms are similar to SLE, but it’s only temporary and the symptoms usually go away after several months. Here are the drugs that are known to trigger lupus and what they are used for:
  • Hydralazine: high blood pressure
  • Procainamide: irregular heart rhythms
  • Isoniazid: tuberculosis
  • D-penicillamine: metal poisoning
  • Minocycline: acne
  • Anti-TNF: rheumatoid arthritis
Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE)
CLE is a form of lupus that only affects the skin, and is characterized according to the type of rash it creates:
  • Chronic Cutaneous Lupus (CCLE)—causes disc-like rashes on the face.  Scarring and hair loss may also occur.
  • Subacute Cutaneous Lupus (SCLE)—causes red, scaly patches that resemble psoriasis (another autoimmune disease!).
  • Acute Cutaneous Lupus (ACLE)—this type leads to sunburn-like rashes on the cheeks as well as the limbs and torso.  Sensitivity to light is also common. 
Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus
This rare condition affects unborn infants.  Typically only the baby’s skin is affected and symptoms go away several months after birth.

Fight back!
The typical treatment for lupus is medications including NSAIDs, anti-malaria drugs, immunosuppressive medications and steroids, all of which can cause a plethora of side effects over and above your lupus problems.

But the good news is there are natural measures that can be a big help.

Since lupus is an autoimmune disease, the key to fighting back is to encourage a proper functioning immune system and give your body the nutritional support it needs!

Immune support
Nothing beats probiotics to help support proper immune function.  Look for multi-strain products that contain a wide variety of strains including both the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species.

Of special importance is Lactobacillus rhamnosus because it helps to strengthen gut-barrier function and has been shown to have a beneficial impact on autoimmune conditions. 

Nutritional support
When you have lupus, it’s more important than ever to have a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.  In addition, coconut oil has been shown to help support healthy skin, and skin is an area commonly affected by lupus.

The calcium from dark green leafy vegetables can help, as well as nutrient-rich homemade broths (beef or chicken).

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are important, as they are Nature’s anti-inflammatory and lupus is a very inflammatory condition.  Eating wild Alaskan salmon and supplementing with a top-quality fish oil formula can ensure your body has enough of these crucial nutrients.

Lastly, just as important as what to eat and supplement is what to avoid—and these should definitely be avoided by anyone with lupus:
  • Refined carbs, sugars, and soda
  • Processed foods and fast food
  • Unhealthy fats (hydrogenated oils, margarine, processed vegetable oils)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
There is definitely hope for people with lupus, and you can make a big difference in how you feel by supporting your precious immune system and your body’s nutritional needs.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A new “awareness” about breast cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink ribbons are everywhere to remind people to be aware of breast cancer.

Walks, runs, and other events are conducted to increase everyone’s awareness.

I might sound cynical, but all of this “awareness” has gotten us absolutely nowhere in terms of successfully preventing breast cancer from occurring.

While incidence rates decreased up to seven percent in the early 2000s, (when the truth came out about synthetic hormone replacement), the rates have remained stable since about 2003.

One in eight women still is at risk of getting the disease in her lifetime.

And according to the American Cancer Society, about 270,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer during 2016, and about 41,000 will die from it.

Clearly, we need to make a drastic shift in what we’re aware of, and that needs to be a shift toward…

Prevention of breast cancer!
Screening technology can get more sophisticated, advances in surgical procedures can continue to be achieved, but they both only address breast cancer once it has occurred!

And even if you are fortunate enough to have breast cancer detected at an early stage and successfully treated, the fact remains that your body has been an environment where cancer has flourished…and unless you do something to change that, it may show its face again in the future.

Let’s look at what cancer really is, and ways that you can dramatically slash your risk.

It’s no mystery
Cancer is not the mystery that it seems to be.  It’s actually quite simple.

With cancer, the DNA becomes damaged in one or more of your cells.  The cell begins to act erratically and reproduce itself WAY too quickly, forming a tumor.

Plus the rate of natural cell death (apoptosis) for the damaged cells decreases which allows the tumor to flourish.

This DNA damage can be the result of toxins in food or the environment, cigarette smoke, or exposure to other carcinogens.  Genetic mutations are also a possibility, especially mutations to the BRCA-1, BRCA-2 or p53 genes.

However, since only five to eight percent of breast cancers are related to genetic mutations, it’s not a death sentence if you do have one.  There is a lot you can do to fight genetics, and how healthy your lifestyle is determined which of your genes lie dormant and which are triggered into action.

Damage does not mean diagnosis

Having DNA damage in your breast cells is not a guarantee that you'll develop breast cancer.

Because you also have to provide the right body environment for it to thrive.

And that cancer-friendly environment is created when you:
  • Have weak immune system functioning
  • Are low in essential nutrients
  • Have inflammation in your cells and
  • Have an acidic blood pH
This is where you can make a tremendous difference in whether or not you will be among the one out of eight women who will face the disease!

Here’s how:

1- Beef up your immune system
A healthy immune system detects and engulfs cancer cells and destroys them, so clearly you don’t want to be without its protection.

Five of the best ways you can boost your immune function are to:
2- Correct nutrient deficiencies
Both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society estimate that at least 35 percent of all cancers are diet-related.

Having a nutritious whole foods diet is a MUST here.  Plus a complete multi-vitamin formula with antioxidant support can help ensure all of your nutrient bases are covered.

3- Get omega-3 essential fatty acids
Cancer is an inflammatory process, and Omega-3 fatty acids are Nature’s perfect anti-inflammatory.

Plus Omega-3 EFAs have been shown to help stop cancerous growth and metastasis by actually halting the nourishing blood supply to the tumor!

Fatty fish like wild salmon is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, but if you’re not a fish fan or just want to make sure your body has what it needs, a pharmaceutical grade fish oil formula can help.

4-   Keep your pH slightly alkaline
Your body was designed to function optimally in an environment where you have a slightly alkaline blood pH (about 7.365).

But a swing into the acid range can make your cells and tissues unable to function properly, and that can include the development of cancer.  Studies have shown cancer thrives in an acidic environment, but cannot survive in an alkaline environment.

Drinking enough water, avoiding refined carbs, and concentrating on fresh fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy pH.  Also, keep the booze under control and limit your consumption to one or two glasses.

Rethink mammograms too
Mammograms only detect cancer once it has occurred--they do nothing to prevent it.

And even if you have a negative mammogram, you don’t necessarily have a clean bill of health—you still might have breast cancer, but the tumor just isn’t large enough to be detected.

Plus studies show that mammograms are frequently incorrect (about 20 percent false negatives and 20-50 percent false positives), and they expose you to dangerous cancer-causing ionizing radiation!
A much safer, proactive approach is thermography.

Thermography doesn’t provide an “internal picture” like a mammogram. Instead, it measures the infrared heat emitted by your body and translates that information into thermal images.

Thermography can detect signs of physiological changes due to inflammation and/or tumor-related blood flow up to 8-10 years before mammography or a physical exam can detect a mass!

I encourage you to discuss thermography with your doctor.  I use thermography and will never have another mammogram.  Unfortunately, it is not covered by insurance, but the cost is around $150-$200.

Focus your breast cancer “awareness” where it really matters most—PREVENTION!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The 6 steps to diabetes—and how to decrease your risk

Contrary to popular belief, rarely does a person wake up one day and ZAP! they suddenly get struck with a disease that comes out of nowhere.

Even though learning that you have a disease can be shocking, trust me, it’s no surprise to your body.

And nowhere is this truer than with Type 2 diabetes.

Here is how Type 2 diabetes is created over time, and how you can help decrease your risk or even turn it around!

The six steps to diabetes

There are six steps that take you from normal blood sugar levels to Type 2 diabetes:

Step 1-Insulin resistance

Our typical diets are inundated with highly processed refined carbs which flood your bloodstream with glucose.  Excess glucose in your blood can be dangerous or even deadly, so your pancreas releases insulin to quickly restore the proper blood sugar level.

If this happened only once in a while, there would be no problem.  But growing numbers of people are taking in excessive amounts of refined carbs, causing the pancreas to repeatedly secrete insulin.

Eventually, your cells resemble a soaked sponge—they can’t absorb any more glucose so they turn off their receptors for insulin—known as insulin resistance.

Take a look at yourself.  If your four food groups are pasta, bread, chips, and cookies, you never drink anything that isn’t sweetened, and you’re overweight, chances are excellent you have insulin resistance in the making.

Step 2- Insulin resistance with hyperinsulinism

Once insulin resistance hits, your pancreas gets frustrated because the insulin it produces isn’t as effective anymore.

So what does it do?  Releases MORE insulin—and you end up with elevated glucose AND elevated insulin in your bloodstream!

High levels of insulin in your blood increases your risk of:
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Elevated uric acid levels
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
At this stage, your blood sugar level starts resembling a roller coaster—spikes followed by drops.
If you’ve had a long-standing love affair with refined carbs and get jittery when you haven’t eaten for a while, insulin resistance with hyperinsulinism may be brewing.

Step 3-Insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, and low blood sugar
As time goes on and your blood levels of insulin and glucose are consistently high, your blood sugar roller coaster becomes more dramatic.

Your pancreas takes longer to produce insulin after you eat and your blood sugar level skyrockets.

Then eventually the pancreas kicks in, which then causes your blood sugar to plummet.

This is called reactive hypoglycemia and if you’re noticing any of these symptoms, it may be a concern for you:
  • Weight gain
  • Sugar cravings
  • Frequent hunger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling anxious or panicky
  • Lacking focus or motivation
  • Fatigue
Step 4- Prediabetes
Eventually, your blood sugar level will peak above the normal range and you will arrive in the land of prediabetes.

What you start seeing is a combination of sleepiness after a carbohydrate meal, along with the symptoms of hypoglycemia mentioned above.

Step 5- Type 2 diabetes with insulin resistance and high insulin production
In this stage, your blood sugar level becomes more frequently elevated.  Your pancreas is still cranking out insulin, but it’s getting slower and slower about it.  This results in dangerously high glucose levels after eating.

Step 6- Type 2 diabetes with little or no insulin production
Now your pancreas is exhausted—its beta cells become dysfunctional and can no longer produce adequate insulin or any at all.

Your blood sugar levels are more consistently high for longer periods of time—even after fasting.
The symptoms you see here are:
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision
Change your path now!
No matter what step of Type 2 diabetes you may have reached, the condition is very preventable, and even if you have gone through all six steps, there is a LOT you can do to help keep it under control and even turn it around!

1- Eat for diabetes prevention and control

Here are some good food choices to combat diabetes:
  • Salmon and cod:  The Omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish like salmon and cod provide crucial support to your metabolism including maintaining proper insulin levels. 
  • Legumes:  Legumes are packed with fiber and protein and help regulate blood sugar.
  • Onions:  Onions are rich in chromium, which is an important mineral to help regulate blood sugar.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are also a good source of chromium and antioxidants. 
  • Red and purple fruits: The anthocyanins (phytonutrients) found in fruits like cranberries, cherries, and blueberries can help lower blood sugar levels.
  • Leafy greens and sweet potatoes: Leafy green vegetables and sweet potatoes contain special compounds beneficial for blood sugar balance.
  • Cinnamon: This spice is a potent antioxidant and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Walnuts: Another great source of Omega-3 EFAs.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: Studies show extra-virgin olive oil can have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels. 
2- Supplement with Omega-3 EFAs
Omega-3 EFAs provide vital support to your metabolism including maintaining proper insulin levels.
In addition to fatty fish in your diet, a pharmaceutical grade Omega-3 fish oil supplement can help you satisfy this crucial need.

3- Get regular exercise
Exercise increases the ratio of muscle to fat in your body.  The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, which helps you burn more glucose.

Plus the more muscle you have, the more responsive your body is to the effects of insulin!
Pick an activity you like—even walking is helpful—get your doctor’s OK and do it for at least 30 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week.

4- Help keeps your immune system strong and sharp
Colds, flu, and infections not only make you feel miserable, but they can send your blood glucose soaring through the roof, and your best protection against illnesses like these is to have a strong and sharp immune system.

Since most of your immune system is located in your intestinal tract, having a healthy gut environment is a MUST.  Eating nutritious real foods and supplementing with a top-notch, full spectrum probiotic can help support your gut health and keep your immune system sharp and strong.

Stop Type 2 diabetes in its tracks and get on the road to better health now!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stop your decline into harmful inflammation

We Americans are an inflamed bunch.

Our levels of chronic inflammation continue to skyrocket and trigger diseases of all kinds, including our two main killers—heart disease and cancer.

But chronic inflammation doesn’t just POOF! appear out of nowhere.  Instead, it’s a gradual process, and once you know how it happens, you can do a lot to fight and prevent it…and avoid being another morbid statistic.

It all starts with warning signs called irritation…

Something wrong in there?
When something is wrong in your body, you typically don't jump from feeling great one day to flat on your back the next.  Instead what you get first are subtle warnings from your body that something is not quite right, and these warnings come in the form of "irritation." 

Irritation can be things like skin rashes, hives or acne.  An itchy nose is another form of irritation, and so is frequent flatulence!

Other examples of irritation are sleeping difficulties, increased body odor, bad breath, nervousness, lethargy, moodiness, loss of appetite and nausea.  These are all gentle nudges that your body gives you to let you know something isn't right.

Now, when the average person gets symptoms of irritation, what do they usually do?

Yup--it's off to the drug store you go.  Over the counter drugs and products are available for just about anything that's bugging you.  Pain relievers.  Gas or acid reducers.  Skin creams. 
Mouthwashes.  Scented body washes.  Laxatives.  Energy pills and drinks.  Sleep or relaxation aids.
Unfortunately, these chemicals only mask the symptoms of your particular irritation--they do positively nothing for what's really going on inside of you.

Your graduation to inflammation

If you continue to simply rely on drug store remedies and do nothing to address what's truly behind your irritation, the situation can deteriorate into full-blown inflammation.

Now, it's important to note that all inflammation is NOT created equal--it can be acute or chronic.
Acute inflammation is your body's natural response to challenges like infections, injuries or insect bites.  It's a sign that your body's "repairmen" (including your immune cells and cholesterol) have come to your rescue and are doing their job to "fix" the problem and get you back to normal.

Once the healing process is underway, acute inflammation naturally subsides.

But chronic inflammation is another story.

This is when inflammation is NOT related to an isolated, temporary health challenge, but instead is caused by other underlying factors and becomes more constant and long-term.

In addition to heart disease and cancer, chronic inflammation manifests itself as conditions like:
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Crohn's disease and colitis
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Myositis (muscle pain)
  • Accelerated aging
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Degenerative joint disease
Unfortunately, when you get to the point where you're facing one of those monsters, that's when the "big guns" come out.  

Prescription drugs.  Pharmaceuticals.    

And it's all downhill from there!

Because the underlying problem just continues to progress.  So your symptoms can get worse and worse and you'll need stronger and stronger drugs.

That vicious cycle of more symptoms-stronger drugs, more symptoms-stronger drugs is exactly what millions of people are living every single day.

Am I talking to you?  If so, listen up!  Because I am about to tell you how you can help fight chronic inflammation.

NOT with more drugs or chemicals.

Instead by listening to your body and giving it the help it needs:

Curb acid-triggering wastes

Acid wastes that are absorbed into your bloodstream and travel through your body are a significant cause of inflammation.

Acid wastes can be the result of poor digestion, chemicals, and preservatives in processed foods, normal cell metabolism, and medication residue.  When these waste products become more than what your body can effectively eliminate through the colon, kidney, liver, or skin, they build up and trigger inflammation.

So reducing acid wastes is crucial to controlling inflammation!

You can start by having an alkalinizing diet.  Try to make at least half of your plate alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables) and eat a tossed salad every day.  Certain acid foods are OK, but you have to know the good from the bad.

Good acid foods are meats, poultry, fish, and dairy.   Bad acid foods to avoid are refined carbs, sugars, soda, processed foods and excessive alcohol intake.

Also, drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, and if you must have coffee, try to limit your consumption to one cup in the morning.

Lastly, although medications are sometimes necessary, we’ve gone WAY overboard with our reliance on them.  If you are on any medications, talk to your doctor about reducing your dose or trying natural alternatives, such as fish oil for high blood pressure.  If your doctor refuses to discuss your meds, find one who will.

Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
A deficiency in Omega-3 essential fatty acids is also a leading cause of inflammation, and our typical modern processed food diets are grossly lacking in these natural anti-inflammatories.

Although fatty fish are a good source of Omega-3s, much of the fish in the supermarkets is farmed and contaminated with disease and pollutants, which makes them more harmful than helpful!

So to make sure your body maintains a health-supporting level of Omega-3 EFAs, supplementation with a top-quality pharmaceutical-grade fish oil formula is essential.

Beef up your intestinal microbiome
The vast majority of your immune cells reside in your gut microbiome, and since inflammation is an immune response gone haywire, it’s important to encourage healthy immune functioning by starting with a healthy gut.

In addition to a nutritious alkalinizing diet, supplementing with a full-spectrum, multi-strain probiotic formula can help ensure that your intestinal flora balance is one that supports sound immune functioning.