Archive for November, 2017

Newsy Tidbits

These mostly have in common  that they came to my attention recently and that they all relate to our health. (Aren’t we complex creatures?)

  • The head of the American Heart Association had a heart attack this week. Cardiologist John Warner, 52, is now recovering and we wish him well. Since he is based in Dallas, perhaps he can listen to our radio show and pick up some heart-protective tips that he will not likely get from his organization. Considering his family history of heart disease, Dr. Warner might do well to take Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, Longevinex, Reg’Activ Cardio Wellness, Molecular Multi, and fish oil for starters. Also, vitamin D has been linked to increased cardio risk markers. Study.
  • Women exposed to 8-Hours of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation from computer monitors experienced a significant decline in thyroid hormones. However, that effect was reversed by zinc supplementation. Bill Sardi article.
  • You might recall that glucosamine supplements for joint pain have been controversial. One review of studies did not find benefit, but for some reason did not include recent data from 15 studies that did show benefit. Here is an example of a recent study that showed benefit.
  • Any level of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of many types of cancer. Read more.  Previously, it was believed that moderate intake of alcohol was not an issue and that red wine was healthful. (The healthful part of red wine is the phenol it contains, which is the same one as in resveratrol. Read my article on that.)
  • Drug companies are in a race to patent specific probiotic bacteria for many purposes, including the fight against cancer. These companies can make big money with a bacterium that becomes a prescription drug. Their market will be people who become sick perhaps from a steady diet of alcohol…and at least in part because they did not maintain a robust diverse assortment of normal bacteria in their intestinal tracts. Since we are host to thousands of strains, it is likely that some of our native bacteria do the same jobs as the prescription product. In my book, The Probiotic Cure, I predicted that this issue would arise. But, I guess it is better that pharma companies are at least helping docs cut their usage of dangerous chemicals. Reuters article.
  • A cute animated video very effectively shows how our gut microbes affect our health. Video. (Oops, it does describe the womb as sterile which it is no longer thought to be, and the video fails to mention the profound benefit of fermented foods and probiotic supplements. Remember that Ohhira’s Probiotics is the result of dozens of fermented foods.)
  • A great example of a strain of bacteria with a special talent is Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3, which produces the master antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is protective of all the body’s systems. Fortunately ME-3 does not require a prescription. It is the principle power in Reg’Activ Detox & Liver Health. In 2017, for the second time, this innovative product was just awarded Better Nutrition Magazine’s 2017 “Best of Supplements” Award.

The better informed we are, the healthier we can choose to be.

Flipflops—no wonder we stay confused

Most of us must depend on our doctors, the media and the government for health information. That is a problem if what a former dean of Harvard medical school, Sydney Burwell, proclaimed is true. He reportedly told students “Half of what you are taught in medical school will be wrong in 10 years’ time. And the trouble is that none of your teachers know which half.” From all appearances, he was right. Below is a small sample of why I tend to take “doctor’s orders” and official government pronouncements with more than a grain of skepticism:

  • Wisdom teeth. I had mine out and I’ll bet you did too. Now they say that routinely doing so if there isn’t a problem is likely to cause one.
  • Acid blockers. We have been reassured by doctors and the impression left by commercials that the 24-hour proton pump inhibiting acid-blocking heartburn drugs are safe to take for months and even years. (The package directions said they were only proven safe to use for a couple of weeks periodically.) As I predicted in the first edition of my book, Natural Alternatives to Nexium, long term users pay a heavy price. In addition to increased risk of hip fracture, dementia, heart disease, kidney disease, pneumonia and other problems, the latest news is a doubled risk of stomach cancer. Study.
  • Drug side effects. It isn’t just acid blockers to worry about…all drugs have side effects. Many are hidden by drug companies to gain FDA approval. Others don’t appear until the medicine is in common use. Some side effects are tolerable like say fatigue or dry mouth. (Even those may be a sign of bigger trouble under the surface.) Others are tougher to swallow. For example, the diabetes drug Metformin depletes vitamin B12 which in turn leads to cognitive decline. (If you are on this med, work to reverse your diabetes naturally and meanwhile supplement with B) Januvia and several other diabetes drugs increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. (Yikes!)
  • Fluoride. Although literally forced down our throats since the 1940’s, many experts still question whether the practice really does markedly prevent dental cavities. What isn’t questioned is the fact that consuming fluoride interferes with the mineral iodine. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone. Normal levels of thyroid hormone are needed for proper brain function and development. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that a recent study showed that the more fluoride moms were exposed to during pregnancy, the lower their child’s IQ scores.
  • Autism, learning and behavior. Mercury was supposed to be safe in dental fillings and vaccines and was ignored after it was routinely found in high fructose corn syrup consumed so frequently by children. People were declared wild-eyed wackos for daring to suggest that toxins like mercury and food colorings and/or a deficiency of nutrients (e.g. zinc, selenium and omega 3 fats) might cause learning or behavioral problems in kids. Oops – check this study which is one of many.
  • More Flipflops. The following and many, many more chiseled-in-stone procedures have fallen out of favor because, after research, it turned out that they didn’t work as expected.
    1. Shaving hair around a surgical site to prevent infection (but it apparently doesn’t)
    2. Giving shots in the butt muscle
    3. Doing an episiotomy. That incision is made during childbirth assuming it would prevent tissue tears but instead made them more likely.
    4. Stretching before beginning exercise (do it after warmed up)
    5. Telling us that we are not more likely to catch a cold if we are out in the cold (turns out we are)
    6. Warning that modest amounts of vitamin A weaken bones
    7. Testing, testing, testing. Many tests like biopsies, PSA, mammograms and other scans have been scaled back because it was found they led to overtreatment and the fact that some involving radiation create

So, what is a person to do? Well, if something doesn’t make sense in the context of human history, be skeptical. Ask questions and push for the least harmful alternative. Ask what is the worst that can happen if you do nothing?

Bill Sardi on natural support for autoimmune issues

On last week’s program, Bill Sardi discussed thyroid problems. In case you just joined the conversation, you might want to look at last week’s blog for an introduction and short list of symptoms that can be caused by an underactive thyroid gland. To follow up:

  • Several folks asked where to buy Armour thyroid pills. That contains both the active (T3) and storage (T4) forms of thyroid hormone. Although it is a natural product, a prescription is required, so it is necessary to ask your doctor.
  • As we noted, the body requires iodine to make thyroid hormone. However, that mineral is less available in the American diet than it is in most cultures and is more scarce than it used to be here. Table salt in the box usually has iodine added, but not so the type uses in processed foods and that is where people get most of their sodium. Iodine used to be added to bread. Since the 60’s bromides are used instead (cheaper?). Too bad because bromides interfere with iodine. Fluoride (e.g. in tap water and dental products) also interferes with iodine.

Mr. Sardi noted that as much as 90% of underactive thyroid is due to autoimmune activity. I asked him for a summary statement to clarify and to expand on autoimmune problems. He said:

  • It is very plausible that a shortage of zinc and its co-factors B6 (required for absorption) and selenium (required for zinc release) may result in vulnerability to autoimmune disorders…that is, the immune system attacks various organs such as the eyes (uveitis, macular degeneration), kidneys (nephropathy), liver (hepatitis), pancreas (type 1 diabetes), colon (colitis, leaky gut). [We know that imbalances in the gut bacteria and leaky gut also foster autoimmune trouble.]
  • Zinc is crucial for proper function of the immune system (and so much more). Zinc deficiency is rampant in the American population. Anyone who doesn’t get enough zinc or can’t use it properly is prone to autoimmune reactions. It is possible to get enough zinc in the diet, but it takes adequate selenium to release the zinc from its binding protein. And you should know that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) depletes zinc. Given the high consumption of HFCS in the US, the increasing incidence of autoimmune disorders is not surprising.
  • Some autoimmune conditions start as something else. Take, for example, Lyme disease. An infection (Borrelia burgdorferi) may or may not result from a tick bite. Such an infection may or may not be quelled by antibiotics. If people are low in zinc, the medication is less likely to be effective. If they are low in critical nutrients and/or have an imbalance in gut bacteria, they be more prone to autoimmune reactions.  So, seemingly out of nowhere, an infection from a tick bite mysteriously becomes an unremitting chronic problem. That effect is reported more frequently among those who are zinc-deficient. Tick bites and the infections have been around throughout human history. The new element may be zinc deficiency made worse by a craving for sugar that is too often satisfied with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Modern medicine is dealing with over 100 autoimmune conditions and trying to calm the symptoms with steroids and treat the disease with medication called monoclonal antibodies. Sadly, that process interferes with normal wound healing and restorative processes.
  • The over-reliance on monoclonal antibodies to treat “wet” macular degeneration is an example of this issue. Anti-growth factor drugs (Avastin, Lucentis, Eyelea) totally block the development of new blood vessels which can become destructive to the visual center (macula) of the eyes. However, in so doing, they interfere with growth factors needed for wound healing. Startlingly, there is a significant increase in the risk of death down the road after injections of Avastin [Study] and lawsuits because of increased stroke risk. Eye researchers now propose the use of the red wine molecule resveratrol* which inhibits the growth of the destructive blood vessels, but allows normal healing to still take place.  (See Scientific Reports Sept 25, 2017)

Drug store brands of multivitamins contain little that is worthwhile and too many chemicals. Even health food brands skimp on nutrient amounts and use cheap forms. Among the many reasons I take Molecular Multi is that it delivers ample amounts (30 mg) of zinc and in a particularly beneficial form. The multi also includes the co-factors needed for absorption and usability of zinc. Those co-factors are in the active forms needed—vitamin B6 as pyridoxyl 5 phosphate and organically-bound selenium.

I believe that most people will save money with Molecular Multi because they can eliminate several other supplements (e.g. no longer need for a B complex). I compared Molecular Multi to a popular health food store brand that had ½ as much zinc and did not have the superior forms of most other nutrients. The list price of that store product in stores is $53.45 for a month’s supply. HAH! I purchase 4 bottles of Molecular Multi at a time and that reduces its price to only $41 per month—less than the store brand. And get this—I think taking even ½ the recommended dose (which would obviously cut the price to a bit over $20) you would still be better off than with a full dose of any other vitamin I’ve seen!

* Not all resveratrol products are created equal. Please read my article.

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