Archive for October, 2018

Is it really the season or is it us?

Avoid Colds and Flu!

It is called “the colds and flu season” because so many get sick during that time. But, you and your family don’t have to be victims. Follow these steps to be the “lucky” ones who don’t get whatever is going around at school or the office.

  1. Some of the common seasonal advice is useful. For example, the guidance to avoid close contact with sick people, cough into your sleeve and wash your hands often makes sense. That is especially important when you are touching railings, knobs and buttons in public places. Sanitizing hand gels also help. Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t be tempted to rub your eyes or pick a dry winter booger because you might be putting germs right where they can quickly set up shop.
  2. The conventional wisdom explanation for having a “season” for these upper respiratory ailments is only part of the story. Yes, the air might be drier and we might be inside around more people, e.g. at school. However, another important factor is that because we are indoors we do not get as much sunshine. As you surely know by now, sun exposure is how nature intended us to manufacture vitamin D. However, you may not fully appreciate how critical vitamin D is for avoiding infectious disease (as well as cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, asthma, autoimmune conditions and much more.) Over half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D all year and this “sunshine” vitamin is obviously even scarcer in the winter. The current enlightened thinking is that it takes supplements of 5,000-10,000 IU a day to reach optimum blood levels. Learn more at this Library link and at the non-profit Vitamin D Council.
  3. Another seasonal anomaly is our increased intake of sugar starting before Halloween. Sugar acts as a major drag on the immune system for several hours. Nuts and fruit will help dull the cravings. If you have a hard time avoiding sugar—even feel addicted—you may have too much yeast in your system. Yeasts make chemicals that tell you to find their favorite foods—sugars and starch. To learn more about that problem take the yeast quiz. Sugar and the bad company it keeps (e.g. refined flour, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers and contaminants such heavy metals and agricultural chemicals) damage the friendly bacteria in our digestive systems. Not good because they make up 75% of our immune function. Studies show that supplementing probiotics reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.
  4. While some blame the heavier winter foods for dragging us down, it seems more likely that the problem is not so much what is added but what is missing. Most people eat lighter fare in the summer and that includes fruits and salads. Those contain plant antioxidants that help immune function and they are also a source of vitamin C. Many studies show that regular intake of vitamin C reduces the incidence and severity of colds. Here is a recent example.
  5. Hustle, bustle and stress seem to pick up in the fall and winter. Those may in turn interfere with sleep. Stress and sleep deprivation are well known to reduce immune function. So, avoid burning the candle at both ends. Prioritize your to-do list. If something at the bottom doesn’t get done…oh well, at least you will be healthy enough to tackle it tomorrow!
  6. Due to unfortunate changes over time in our food supply and diet, most people are low in the mineral zinc. To date, zinc is known to perform over 100 functions in the body. One important job is to keep the thymus gland vital and producing immune cells to fight off disease. Read Bill Sardi’s enlightening article about this important nutrient and how to get the kind of zinc that will be absorbed and used. That is important, because an excess of the wrong kind can interfere with our ability to use the right kind. He also has a fascinating one about the flu protection that we get from eating eggs.

Choose to not participate in the colds and flu season!

Copyright Martie Whittekin, CCN 2009-2018

What is old becomes new again…mostly

Husband Bill gave me a 1940 magazine that he found in a box of items from a departed relative. I thought it might be fun to poke through Physical Culture. Not only was it fun, but also interesting. It turns out that the publisher, Bernarr Macfadden (1868-1955) shown above posing as Michelangelo’s David, was a forerunner of famous health coach Jack LaLanne.

As you can see the cover (obviously, before the “Me-too” movement), promoted an article entitled “Sex Appeal and Business Success”. The photos accompanying that article show a woman who, after getting her appearance and posture improved, was sexy enough to land a job as a secretary! The magazine also predated women becoming CEO’s and even “Rosie the Riveter”. 

Many of Bernarr’s health ideas were more enlightened:

  • He was opposed to over-medication and, not surprisingly, was bashed by the medical community.
  • He advised against eating processed foods such as white bread which Wikipedia quotes him as calling “the staff of death”.
  • One of his articles, smartly entitled “You are what you eat” advised readers to “Eat only when you are hungry.”
  • Celebrated author and nutrition pioneer, Carlton Fredericks, contributed an article. It discussed thyroid trouble due to low iodine levels in the “goiter belt” which is around the Great Lakes, Appalachia, and Northwestern U.S. and in most of Canada. (Goiter is an enlarged thyroid due to low iodine. Iodized salt helped with that, but we are now told to avoid salt. And the substitution of iodine’s competitor, bromine, instead of iodine in bread makes matters worse. Still a problem.)
  • Carlton Fredericks also notes that the Department of Agriculture was lamenting the depletion of minerals in the soil and the resulting depletion of minerals in our food. [Remember, this was 1940! Every test since has shown even more nutrient depletion in our food.]
  • Macfadden thought that fasting helped strengthen us. This is a brand “new” popular idea now—especially noteworthy is intermittent fasting. That is a practice where you restrict your eating to an 8-10 period during a day.
  • The magazine sponsored a walking club. He was right about that need 78 years ago!
  • He thought that sexual intercourse was good for us. That was an idea not supported by doctors at the time. He must have had a lot of that kind of energy because he was married 4 times.

Mr. Macfadden wrote over 100 books, had many successful business ventures besides publishing, and lived to age 87. So, it seems at least some of his ideas must have worked.

However, his extreme stance against mainstream medicine proved to be his undoing. Because he refused medical treatment for a urinary tract infection, he needlessly died from it.

Advertising in the magazine:

“Be a nurse. Make $25-$35 a week!”

Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal had big print on the front calling it “A Natural Laxative Cereal”. The box front also proudly proclaimed “with sugar, salt and malt flavoring.”

For prostate sufferers, there was advertising for a scary-looking use-at-home device called an “oscillatherm” that provided heat, massage and dilation. Ouch.

We are very AWARE—now let’s PREVENT cancer!

We’ve been waging a conventional “war on cancer” since 1971 and yet death rates have remained relatively the same. The war strategy has been to find some silver bullet (translate that as “drug”) to kill cancer after it is established—i.e. we’ve been fighting the forest fire. We should be telling people how to blow out the match before it starts the fire—i.e. prevention. Cancers develop when something in the original plan has gone wrong—the body isn’t getting everything it needs for optimum function and is being sabotaged with excesses it can’t handle.

That is the first paragraph of my Library article Cancer Prevention and Treatment. It started out to cover prevention of breast cancer, but I broadened it because most of these factors apply to other types of cancer. I list 13 categories and lots of specifics and resources.

New items added to that article deserve to be noted here:

  • Cannell called our attention to a recent STUDY that shows that women with Vitamin D blood levels of  60 ng/ml have nearly 80% lowered risk of breast cancer than those at only 20ng/ml! Higher blood levels = even lower risk. Vitamin D helps us make neutrophils (one type of immune cell). Please donate to help the Vitamin D Council continue to share this kind of lifesaving information. (They have had a little trouble with the website. If you don’t receive a confirmation after you click “submit”, call 1-805-439-1075 to donate or mail a check to 4108 Del Rey Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90290.)
  • Bill Sardi recently reminded us that zinc helps the thymus gland keep from shrinking with age and so it can better make T cells (an immune cell). He also noted that resveratrol increases production of another important immune cell, natural killer cells.

I also recommend reading my article on Pancreatic Cancer. The factors shown to protect us from this very hard to treat disease are surely valuable for protection from other types and for helping the body fight them off when they already have a foothold.

Integrative cancer specialist, Dr. Gus Kotsanis provided his advice regarding cancer: 10 Steps to Thrive.

It always helps to hear not just theory but real life examples of nature at work. Read this Survivor Letter.

Be a savvy consumer of “health care”

If I’m ever in an accident, I sure hope it is in the US, because our doctors are second to none at putting us back together. They are also fabulous for holding down the fort when a disease is in crisis. However, for prevention of disease and for the treatment of chronic disease, we have a poor record. The United States ranks 37th out of 191 countries in average life expectancy and rates poorly in  infant mortality, diabetes, heart disease, disability and health span. For all the pressure we feel to take cholesterol and blood pressure drugs we have the second highest death rate from cardiovascular disease among the top 17 wealthiest countries.

A giant portion of our national economy is now spent on what we euphemistically call “health care” but it is in fact “sickness care”. Whatever you call it, the US spends more per person on this care than any other nation on the planet. Annual costs reached $3.3 trillion in 2016 and is heading toward consuming almost 20% of our economic output. Those costs increase the price of everything we buy. Yet, as we all know, in spite of all those dollars, our citizens are still fat and sick.

We only do fairly well (but not great) in statistics for stroke, cancer and keeping folks alive if they make it to age 75. Our advantage in those categories is due in large part to the happy fact that we smoke less than many countries and that our high tech medical heroics at the end of life are superior. By that I mean we can prolong life almost indefinitely but, by then that may have become a miserable existence. Isn’t what we really want to live younger longer? That is where diet and lifestyle save the day and we’d darn well better do what we can ourselves because the medical profession is not prepared to lead the way and teach us. The question I’m asked most often is how to find a doctor like those I interview on the show. A good start is the Library page: Doctor Resources. Be sure to also visit a cutting-edge dentist–check out this page: Dental Resources.

There is a good reason that it is called the “practice” of medicine. Treatments and recommendations go out of favor as more is learned and the proponents of the old ideas retire. Major changes often take 40 years…especially if there is a big financial incentive to stick to the old paradigm. Meanwhile, old ideas can cost lives. The article linked below, Death by Medicine, and the radio interview with one of the authors points out that the side effects of drugs, hospital-acquired infections and medical mistakes add up to be the number one cause of premature deaths. The more you know, the better you can avoid being one of those statistics. The doctors in the resources noted above blend historic wisdom with new science to provide better care. Self-care is the most important and that is what this website and our radio show are all about.

For more information, read our pages on How to Recognize a QuackDrugs, and Testing

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