Archive for August, 2019

6 important facts you should know about bottled water

  1. Purity. By law, bottled water is only required to be as good as tap water…which despite claims from the cities, you will see below, that is not very good. Most bottled waters start with tap water and at least filter the chlorine taste out. But, even “spring water” is just ground water under pressure. That means if agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and toxins from the air have seeped into the ground water, it will likely be in that bottled spring water. Even the rain and snow falling on pristine-appearing mountains harbor hundreds of toxins. According to Consumer Reports, several popular bottled waters (including Crystal Geyser and Whole Foods house brand) contain worrisome levels of arsenic. Good luck finding out what is really in your favorite brand.
  2. Drugs. Cities are not required to remove pharmaceuticals from tap water and neither are the bottled water companies. According to a 2017 study, up to 47 different pharmaceuticals were found in some water supplies and dozens were still present—after processing! What kind of drugs are we talking about? For example they are: antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, hormones, muscle relaxants, and pain killers. The National Resource Defense Council says “they enter water through manufacturing waste, human or animal excretion, runoff from animal feeding operations, leaching from municipal landfills, or improper disposal.”
  3. Microplastic contaminants. Of the hundreds of brands tested in a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Chemistry, 93% contained tiny bits of plastic. They can cross our protective barriers including the important blood brain barrier and placenta (affecting the fetus). This Time article describes the problem, lists studies and offered this quote: “Nestlé Pure Life had the largest average concentration of plastic particles out of all the brands tested; one sample from the brand was found to contain more than 10,000 microplastic particles per liter.” Why is the plastic a problem? See the next item.
  4. The bottle itself. Plastic bottles release various plasticizers and other chemicals collectively known to interfere with hormones and have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, infertility, hearing loss and neural problems like attention deficit disorder. I’ve recently become aware that a metal, antimony, leaches from many plastic bottles. It is considered to be carcinogenic and may cause lung and heart problems. Leaching of the chemicals is worsened if the bottles get hot. Please never leave bottled water in the car in the summer.
  5. Environmental impact. 24,000,000,000 plastic bottles (2 million tons) end up in landfills every year. They can take 1,000 years to break down. There is more bad news. The production of the bottles requires huge amounts of petroleum and energy. The San Francisco airport is banning the sale of water in plastic bottles. Good for them!
  6. Expense. Even from Walmart, in a 12-pack of 750 ml bottles, Evian costs $.10 per ounce. That is $12.80 per gallon. Almond milk in a 6-pack costs only $9.73. (Think how many almonds go into a gallon of that! Bottled water companies are making a killing which explains why there are hundreds of brands.)

So now what? A logical alternative is to filter your own clean water and carry it in bottles that are not plastic. I’m not a fan of the aluminum variety of carry around water bottles because they are generally coated inside with plastic. Whether it is aluminum or stainless steel, if you can taste it, you are ingesting some traces of that metal. The least reactive material is glass. I just buy a bottle of unsweetened tea and reuse the container. I frequently put it in the dishwasher. (I put my name on it because people always want to throw it away for me.)

3 Simple Steps to Improve your Sleep

Since I’m just a little bit busy this week with last minute details of The 2019 Health, Home and Garden Expo, I invited a guest to do the blog this week, professional writer, Erika Long.

The human body is an extraordinary machine which even the best minds may never be able to fully understand. What we do know is that both the mind and the body need adequate rest and sleep to perform optimally. However, there are thousands of people who suffer either from sleep disturbances or chronic insomnia. Here are 3 simple steps to improve your sleep starting today.

Foods: Inducing or Disturbing Sleep

First, it’s important to identify the factors that could be causing sleep disturbances. Stress from work or relationships, traveling or an injury can all cause interruptions in our sleep patterns. The food we eat also play a role.

It’s best to avoid food with a high glycemic index a couple hours before bed as these foods can spike blood sugar levels. When sugar levels then drop suddenly, the body will crave more sugar and can wake you in the middle of a deep rest in order to get the next sugar rush. Alcohol is another item to avoid before bed. Though the depressant in alcohol, makes us sleepy, the sugar in wine and cocktails can cause an insulin spike.

Caffeine is great at keeping us alert but when it comes to sleep, it could cause problems. Be sure to stop consuming caffeine, like in coffee, tea and chocolate, by the late afternoon if you want to easily fall asleep. Spicy foods can also cause digestion problems if consumed to late in the evening. Finally, foods that are rich in vitamin B12 should be avoided before sleep as B12 converts the glucose in food into energy and can make us alert when we are trying to wind down. Eggs and meat are just a few foods rich in B12.

Other foods full of certain minerals and vitamins can aid relaxation, like the classic warm cup of milk before bed. Milk is a rich source of calcium, magnesium and tryptophan which can all help the body fall asleep and stay asleep.  Drinking chamomile tea is also very soothing and can  function like a mild sedative due to a flavonoid called apigenin that has an effect on the GABA receptors in the brain.

  • Honoring the Body’s Rhythm

The circadian rhythm is the internal clock in the brain that regulates when we are awake and when we sleep. It tells the brain when to release melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone, and when to release cortisol, a stress hormone that makes us alert. When our sleep gets disturbed, it could lead to an imbalance in these hormones, as well as other ones. There are sleep aids available at drugstores but those can cause dementia. Instead, natural supplements like CBD oil for sleep are a safe and effective way to treat sleep issues as CBD works to regulate the hormones that induce sleep.

Before reaching for supplements, you can try resetting your circadian rhythm. It’s not hard. It will require going to bed and waking at about the same times and some light exercise. Go to bed by 10pm, wake up between 6-8am and then going for a walk in the morning sunlight for 30-45 minutes. When our eyes register sunlight, cortisol is released waking us up and serotonin is also produced that will begin converting approximately 12 hours later into melatonin right in time to start winding down for bed. It’s important not to wear sunglasses or anything that will block the sunlight getting to your eyes. It’s fine to wear sunscreen.

  • Turn off the light

Because light is such a critical factor to our circadian rhythm, it’s important to turn off blue-light emitting devices, like cell phones, computers and tv monitor in the evening. It’s best to switch off all electronic gadgets and devices at least one hour before bed as the blue light confuses the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.

Sleep is one of the most important activities our body needs to be healthy and feel good. Besides good nutrition and exercise, restful sleep is essential to supporting the body to be at its best.

Thank you, Erika.

Both Men and Women Need It

This hormone is powerful! The effects are approximately the same in both sexes, but a little goes a long way in women. There is no reason women can’t pay attention to the following diet and lifestyle suggestions, but only a doctor skilled in testing and bioidentical hormones should attempt supplementing the hormone itself…really for men or women. I was answering a listener question last week on the radio show and said I’d review the subject in writing with more details. I’ll focus here a bit more on men.

What does it do? It supports muscle mass, bone strength, energy, libido and sexual performance. Oh and that’s right, a longer healthier life!

What happens if you don’t have enough? Fatigue, blue moods, indecision, loss of muscle mass, low sperm count, prostate trouble, hair loss and a need for blue pills for bedroom issues.

What is a healthy level for total testosterone? A now out of print book by Kyle Smith, DC said that for men the range was 348 – 1197 ng/dL. However, in a study of elderly men, those who had levels above 550ng/dL had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events. Most readers will probably have to request a test if they are experiencing some of the symptoms of low testosterone.

Does losing weight help? Yes, for those who are overweight. That is mainly because fat generates estrogen which has somewhat opposite effects of testosterone.

What changes in diet might help? Reducing sweets and refined starches usually helps with weight loss. There is another reason to go that route for boosting testosterone because eating fast-acting carbohydrates increases insulin. High insulin levels are associated with low testosterone, and conversely, low insulin is associated with high testosterone. That means eating a low glycemic diet. Foods that are high in antioxidants (vegetables, berries, spices, etc.) is also a good idea.

What lifestyle improvements might help achieve a healthy balance?

  • Physical exerciseeven weight lifting.
  • Getting sufficient restful sleep.
  • Reducing psychological stress. For one thing, when under stress we tend to eat more carbohydrates. As noted above, that raises insulin. Insulin in turn packs pounds around the middle which increases levels of aromatase enzyme in men. That matters because the enzyme turns testosterone into estrogen.

What supplements might I consider?

  • Boron. Our friend Bill Sardi reminded me that 12 mg of the mineral Boron daily helps to release testosterone from its binding protein.
  • Zinc. Because it has more than other multis and in a good form, I recommend Molecular Multi.
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS). Supplementation may help lower the serum cortisol (stress hormone).
  • Ashwagandha. This herb is an adaptogen. Those normalize various factors up or down as needed. It is especially known to be calming and to help testosterone.


Stem cells / Constipation / Ultra-process foods

Stem Cells. I was beyond thrilled by what my guests told us on the show last week. I knew that therapy with Human Umbilical Cord Stem Cells could do marvelous things, but their stories (about cancer, kidney failure, Parkinson’s and more) elevated “marvelous” to “miraculous” for me. If you did not hear that program, I sure hope that you will listen to the archived show. We probably all know someone who would benefit from our forwarding that link. I want everyone to understand that the type of stem cells and the provider make a big difference! Read my refreshed blog post, Regenerate the tissues that time and trauma degenerate. I also updated the article: Regeneration with Human Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Therapy.

Constipation – A unique approach. The usual recommendation is to eat more fiber; drink more water; and get more exercise. Beyond that, laxatives are the conventional go-to remedy. But, those have limitations. A new approach being tested in clinical trials does not rely on chemicals. It uses a capsule that gives off vibrations which remind the digestive tract to get moving. Here is a website with more information. We got a hint of that at the end of the show last week when Vanessa Galvan (who represents Alinea Research at the Kotsanis Institute) told us about a clinical study they are doing on constipation. In the DFW area, they are conducting a clinical study on constipation using this capsule. Call Vanessa at 972.595.4415. She will also be in our Health, Home and Garden Expo, 8/24 with Dr. Kotsanis and his staff.

It is too easy to eat junk. A new university study shows that 70% of packaged foods in the grocery are ultra-processed. The CDC says that type of food leads to overeating and weight gain. But, surely it’s a serious problem on many other counts. Besides lacking needed nutrition, the contents of these foods are hard on our microbiome. We depend on our gut bacteria for everything from our brain function and immune function to liver health and well…everything! According to this article, “ultra-processed” means it is more “lab product than actual food”. An interesting observation was that “The worst of the worst food- and drink-like products were not sodas, or even power bars, but bread products. Breads were high in unhealthy saturated fat, sugar, sodium and calories overall.”

The Journey to Optimum Health

I imagine that the majority of Healthy by Nature Show listeners and our readers already have a pretty good idea how to head in the direction of optimum health. However, we all have folks in our circle that we’d like to help but who don’t even know where to start. Since most people are familiar with traveling and probably know more about their cars than their bodies, maybe this analogy will help them.

  • Know where you are going. Realize that health is a lot more than the absence of disease. Aim for being energetic, cheery, optimistic, calm, pain-free, well-rested, clear-headed, happy with your weight, and resistant to colds and flu. If you are not those things and are being propped up by medications, you have not yet arrived at optimum health.
  • Have realistic expectations. If it took you 20 years to get in the shape that you are in, don’t expect to get back to perfect in 20 minutes. An aspirin might work in 20 minutes for a mild headache, but it hasn’t fixed the cause…it just dulled the pain.
  • Do preventive maintenance. For example, your vehicle (your body) might need an oil change. If your cell membranes aren’t composed of the right materials, they can’t do their job of letting the good things in and keeping the bad things out. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils, damaged fats and an excess of the omega-6 fats (from vegetable oils) are bad. Omega-3 (e.g. from fish) and omega-9 (e.g. from olive oil) are good.
  • Use the fuel your vehicle was designed for. You wouldn’t think of putting kerosene in even a beat up old Ford. Your body, at its best, is like a brand new Lamborghini that requires premium gasoline. The “what to eat for health” rules can be confusing, but the basics are pretty simple. Your body craves real food that is as close to nature as possible. The more it is processed and laden with chemicals, sugar and while flour, the more it is like kerosene. The good bacteria in your gut need fiber and vegetables. For more details, read my article, ABC’s of Healthy Eating”.
  • Pay attention to the warning signs. Red lights on the car dashboard and funny sounds get our attention and send us to the shop. Body symptoms might send us to the doctor, but what if they are our red lights asking for preventive maintenance? Read more. We should also heed little changes too. For example, bleeding gums, broken capillaries and tiny red spots on the skin might be telling us that we need more vitamin C. Likewise, little white spots on fingernails might be calling out for zinc.
  • Don’t let it sit unused too long. You don’t want to end up with a dead battery or flat-spotted tires or worse. It appears that sitting too much is really hard on our bodies.
  • Don’t sabotage that fine machine. You wouldn’t ask a regular car to climb rocky hillsides like off-road vehicles do in commercials. It is clear that smoking, excess alcohol, extended stress, recreational drugs and even pharmaceuticals can be our rocky hillside.
  • Get factory-authorized repairs. Functional medicine doctors and naturopathic physicians are among those better trained in our body’s “factory settings”. They know what is out of balance and how to fix that. For example, they would try to fix what is wrong with your knee rather than give you a new metal one. Click here for more information about finding a “factory-authorized” doctor.

Happy trails.

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