Archive for June, 2018

How do we get energy from “energy drinks”?

When my husband Bill walks our dog, Ollie, he often brings home litter that he finds on his path (Bill, not the dog. Ollie is smart but would just pee on the can.) One day he showed up with an empty can from an NOS energy drink. Bill has been brow beaten into reading labels and pointed out that the 16-ounce can was marked as 2 servings. Most people drink the whole can and therefore consume all 53 grams of sugar. That is about 13 teaspoons of sugar. That got me to thinking about energy drinks in general but, let me finish up with this good example of something I don’t think anyone should drink.

The sugar in the can is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and that is the second ingredient after water. Not only does our blood sugar system react badly to HFCS, it is also a source of toxic mercury. The yellow dye in the product provides aluminum that we sure don’t need. NOS contains sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda), 2 preservatives and a bunch of other chemicals that are hard on our friendly bacteria. Its 2 sources of caffeine total 160 mg—3 times as much as a Coke. There is an amino acid and a smidgeon of vitamin B6 and B12.

Most other energy drinks are similar. 5-hour energy has more vitamins and amino acids, but also sucralose (again not good for our bacteria friends) and less water. Water itself makes you feel more energetic. All the energy drinks that I’ve checked depend mostly on caffeine for a boost. The highest amount I’ve found is Redline with 316 mg in 8 ounces—a little more than 2 shots of Starbucks’ espresso. (Here is a caffeine chart for your reference.)

Caffeine doesn’t create energy. It more or less whips the adrenal glands into releasing adrenaline. Our body will have to counteract that stress effect at some point and use its other resources to replace the adrenaline. Over time we may risk adrenal exhaustion. Caffeine might produce a burst of pizazz that could save your life driving across West Texas and may improve mental function for a test. However, it is not a sustainable model. Mayo Clinic lists some of the problems with drinking more caffeine than your body can properly metabolize: “Migraine headache, Insomnia, Nervousness, Irritability, Restlessness, Frequent urination or inability to control urination, Stomach upset, Fast heartbeat and Muscle tremors.”

Researchers associated with the World Health Organization have come out against energy drinks as a class. Here is a good discussion about the drinks…and another (the source of most of the photo).

I am one of those people who do much better with tea. It provides a smaller amount of caffeine and in a more timed-release fashion. Better yet, the caffeine effect is naturally balanced with the stress-relieving amino acid, theanine which may lower blood pressure. The energy is smooth and longer lasting. My favorite brand of tea is the pure, flavorful, convenient instant crystals of Pique Tea. They have blends with and without caffeine.

There is a “con” in the vitamin D “controversy”

Most media articles on vitamin D quote studies that say there is no consensus that vitamin D helps whatever the disease that study focused on. At the very least, they say that more study is needed before people start supplementing. I’d like to debunk that so-called “debate”.

Humans are designed to get sunshine. Sunlight, among its functions, triggers our skin to turn cholesterol into vitamin D. Virtually every cell in the body has a receptor for vitamin D, so it must be pretty darn important. Many experts pretend that we get the needed amount of sun exposure, forgetting that most of us live indoors, get to work in a covered conveyance, work in a building and come home when the sun is down. If we dare to go outside, we are covered with clothes or sunscreen. Those “experts” point out that milk is fortified with vitamin D. Hah! Never mind that milk consumption is down, the amount of D added is small and it is D2 rather than the much more effective type, D3. These vitamin D supplement naysayers and downplayers do a great disservice to the public.

Many of the studies that fail to find benefit from vitamin D use tiny daily dosages (400-800 IU) that are barely adequate to keep a child from getting Rickets. There is so much good quality science already out there, that we must assume these researchers have a deep bias or an agenda to promote drugs for the consequences of vitamin D inadequacy.

There is a new page in the library—25 Benefits of Vitamin D. It was reprinted by permission form the Kotsanis Institute. The list contains an amazing variety of benefits. That reflects what I mentioned…every one of our cells is using vitamin D. I will mention just a couple of the many benefits that are ignored by the media.

Cancer. There is impressive data linking low vitamin D and a higher risk of breast cancer. (Sadly, you don’t hear about that from the cancer charities.) In 2014, a review of studies said that evidence of vitamin D protecting against cancers was inconclusive. Hmm. Here is a study published just last week that shows a fairly dramatic advantage for D protecting women against colon cancer.  Here is another one this month showing a significant reduction in breast cancer with blood levels above 60 being optimum.

We have been warned to stay out of the sun because of the risk for skin cancer. A study recently completed in South Africa showed that 90% of those suffering non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell or squamous) had blood levels that were deficient or at least sub-optimal in vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system. It is complicated, but the bottom line is one way or the other, be sure to get sufficient vitamin D.

Depression. As we will discuss on the show this week, in the last couple of decades, the rate of suicides has increased by 25%. Although ½ the victims have not been formally diagnosed with mental illness, most are apparently depressed. A study published this week showed that blood levels of D track with both depression and obesity (which is also depressing). Another recent study showed that blood levels of D around the time of pregnancy are a major determinant of whether mom becomes depressed. (Mom probably stopped playing tennis and gardening and was warned away from supplements?)

Could the widespread use of sunscreens that block the formation of vitamin D have a subtle influence on the suicide problem? What about the huge increase in the use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol…remember the body needs that to make vitamin D. Teens are among the biggest factors in the suicide trend. In an article from 10 years ago, I saw that 1 in 7 teens were deficient and half of African American teens were deficient in vitamin D. It is even scarier that what was considered normal then is known now to be low. Teens now seem to be indoors more and are drinking less milk that has at least low levels of supplemental D.

There are 2 other articles on vitamin D in the Supplement Section of the Library on this site. For example, there is information about testing and safety. I also call your attention to some notes on this brain/mood page relating to Dr. Martin’s appearance this week on the subject of suicide.

HBN’s guiding principles

It seemed it might be time that we reviewed the bedrock beliefs that guide Healthy by Nature’s choice of guests, sponsors, blog topics, consumer events and well, everything:

  • We should reject classic fake news. The gradual decline in health and vigor with age may be typical in the USA, but it is unnatural and unnecessary. We can be active and healthy to a very advanced age, IF we learn to obey nature’s laws.
  • We don’t catch diseases, we create them. God gave us miraculous bodies. When we don’t burden the body with excesses it cannot handle (e.g. stress, sugar and toxins) and provide optimum nutritional support, miracles happen! [As an example, on last week’s show, Sherry Rogers, MD listed 7 toxic M’s: Mercury (now in corn syrup and sugar), Meds (she said statins guarantee Alzheimer’s), Mycotoxins (from yeast overgrowth), Mangled fats (like trans fats), Manufactured toxins (like Teflon), Managed Care and Monsanto (the chemical giant that brought us aspartame and now pushes GMO’s  and the toxic herbicide in Roundup®).]
  • Diseases should not be treated as drug deficiencies. Staying alive propped up by drugs is not the same as LIVING. All drugs, by definition, have side effects. In contrast, most natural approaches offer fringe benefits. It is common sense to use less toxic and non-invasive approaches first and save the heavy artillery of drugs and surgery for emergencies.
  • Doctors do the best they can in a broken system. However, to avoid over-treatment and missed opportunities, consumers must arm themselves with the nutrition and prevention information that the average doctor has simply not been taught and may have been wrongfully warned against.
  • We were originally provided with the health basics. They include exercise, clean water, adequate sleep, sunshine, a supportive social network, spiritual wholeness, a toxin-free environment, and of course, good nutrition.
  • Good food must be the base, but today a sensible dietary supplement plan is also a necessity. Laying a good nutritional supplement foundation provides a broad range of cellular benefits and can limit the number of special supplements needed for specific ailments. We recommend products based on research, not hype. High quality products bring the most reliable benefits and are less expensive in the long run. There is a big difference between the common low price and the rarer good value.

Mission: HBN aims to educate listeners with responsible science-based information that is tempered with history-proven wisdom. We hope to motivate listeners to choose a healthful path that leads to wellness, abundant energy and a bright outlook. Although the show supports its carefully-chosen sponsors, neither the host nor the show sell anything for their own benefit.

I hope you share these seemingly sensible beliefs. But, if you don’t agree I’m open to hearing a well thought out counter argument.

Why we must be very picky about vitamin brands

Technically, in the photo above, both are cars. But no one would confuse the junker on the left with the $12 million Rolls-Royce Sweptail on the right. The differences among dietary supplements are almost as dramatic.

Bogus study hits the news. A recent review of studies proceeded as though crappy supplements are just as beneficial as good ones. That is one reason the report concluded that dietary supplements do not have benefits against cardiovascular disease or deaths from any cause. The video at this link itemizes other serious problems with the study and shows why the conclusion is nonsense. Shortcomings of the study include: bias, conflicts of interest, excluding data not published in English and zero control of compliance rates or dosages consumed. To me, the most brazen deceit was tossing out positive results from use of the mineral selenium. Apparently, good results from a supplement did not help achieve their intended goal of discrediting supplements. (On that basis they sure wouldn’t want to include the many positive studies on Kyolic Aged Garlic.) Such junk science may serve the vested interests of the authors and publishers. And, their flakey conclusions are plausible enough to fool a lazy media, but they do a great disservice to the American public.

Why supplementing is common sense. According to the Centers for Disease Control “Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations…” Even those who do eat exceptionally well have a problem. That is because every few years when the government tests the nutrient content of foods, the levels are lower. (Factory farming practices are the reason.) Medications that we take and residues of pesticides and herbicides on food block nutrient uptake. They also use up our stored nutrients to detoxify them. Stress depletes many nutrients. Due to genetic differences, some people need much higher levels of certain nutrients than the typical diet provides. Extra amounts of nutrients can do more than protect us from deficiency diseases, they can help us heal and operate at optimum levels.

Examples of why quality matters.

  • Vitamin B6 operates in the body as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P). The cheaper form, pyridoxine is typically used and listed on labels as simply B6. If you supplement that form, the body must do some work to make it into the active form, P-5-P. That work uses energy and among other things, magnesium and vitamin B2.
  • As Bill Sardi discussed on last Saturday’s show, the cheap form of folic acid is used so widely in food fortification that people may become overloaded with it. Then they may not be able to make sufficient amounts of the active form of this B, folate. Up to half of us are already genetically poor at converting folic acid to the active folate. An excess of unmetabolized folic acid is implicated in mental disorders, miscarriages, strokes, migraine headaches, even a compromised immune system. Read more.
  • The most easily absorbed and utilized form of vitamin B12 is Methylcobalamin. The “methyl” part also offers some benefits in helping with detoxification. Too often products use Cyanocobalamin instead. The “Cyano” part of that is cyanide which you may know as a poison. Cyanide is an issue especially for smokers and those with kidney problems. It should also matter to anyone who values the tiny power producers in their cells (the mitochondria) because cyanide is bad for them.
  • There is a growing appreciation for the crucial role of those energy producing mitochondria. For example, they may be a key factor in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s patients’ mitochondria apparently don’t create enough energy to run their systems normally. A preliminary lab study indicates that a type of vitamin B3 helps revitalize the mitochondria.
  • Synthetic and inferior forms of vitamins may be worse than taking nothing because they can interfere with the body’s ability to use the real thing.
  • The minerals in some multivitamins are rather like ground up rocks—not exactly what the body is accustomed to being fed! For example, zinc citrate is far more beneficial than cheap zinc oxide. Centrum Silver®, as a popular example, contains poorly absorbed zinc oxide and at only 11mg. (It also uses all the low-grade forms of the vitamins discussed above, other cheap mineral forms and unnecessary chemicals.) In contrast, Molecular Multi uses zinc citrate and at the 30 mg dose which research shows is needed. Yes, using all the finest, most useful ingredients costs more. But, Bill Sardi would rather do it right…even if that means he can’t sell his multivitamin in retail stores because that would double the price.

If you want good results, I recommend using good products.

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