Archive for December, 2019

Give your amazing gut buddies a break


Well over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine taught that all disease begins in the gut. It turns out that he was right—even though he had no way to know then about the crucial role of bacteria. For a long time we thought that bacteria were only bad. Then we became aware that good varieties might help keep our elimination regular. Now, we appreciate that having a robust, diverse, and well-balanced personalized collection of friendly bacteria in our intestinal tracts does a whole lot more. It help us avoid, reverse, or at least improve obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many more chronic health concerns of our time. It isn’t clear that we can even stay alive without what Steven Gundry, MD calls “our gut buddies”!

We are host to a LOT of these critters—perhaps 100 times more bacterial cells than our own body’s cells. Together they weigh 3-4 pounds, which is about as much as our liver and they have even more jobs! This internal collection of microorganisms is called our “microbiome”. It is a crucial part of the body’s instruction manual because the bacteria have 1,000 times more DNA than our own cells! For a tiny glimpse of how they work, look at this page showing a few of the jobs performed by the 12 species (also known as strains) used in the fermentation of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics.

A few probiotic basics:

  • Antibiotics are our gut buddies worst enemies. These drugs are created to kill bacteria and they are not like Santa Claus, e.g. checking who’s naughty and nice. Up to 50% of the time, antibiotics should not even be prescribed because, like in the case of the flu, the problem is not bacterial. After a round of antibiotics it may take our gut up to a year to return to normal. We are also getting stealth agricultural antibiotics slipping through in commercial meat and dairy. Glyphosate weed killer (e.g. in Roundup) acts as an antibiotic. It is used so extensively that studies show that 93% of us probably have it in our bodies.
  • Modern life in general is hard on our gut buddies. The assault starts when a child is born by C-section and therefore misses the first donation of bacteria that he or she would have gotten in the natural birth process. Then, mom and baby are both likely to receive antibiotics. Tap water has chlorine added to kill bacteria. The air and a great many consumer products contain toxic chemicals and most medications are hard on bacteria. You can see why we must look out for them.
  • What the bacteria like to eat. Foods they eat are called “prebiotics”. The probiotics thrive on fiber, especially from vegetables and fibrous fruits. Fibers like FOS and inulin that are often added to probiotic products do increase the numbers of bacteria, but not necessarily the important diversity and certainly not the postbiotics that you will read about below. It is smart to eat as much organic produce as you can because the agricultural chemicals are so harmful. The Environmental Working Group makes an annual list of the “Dirty Dozen andclean 15”. Commercial kale is now at the top of the dirty list, so that is a good place to start going organic. Good bacteria appreciate spices like turmeric.
  • What they don’t like to eat. Ultra-processed foods in general are bad for our good bugs because they lack fiber and nutrients and contain harmful chemicals such as preservatives, artificial colors and the like. Sugar from any source is a special problem because it feeds intestinal yeasts that are competing bad guys.
  • “Postbiotics” are the magic. It seems that the main way that probiotic bacteria help us is to digest the good foods we eat and turn them into useful substances…hundreds if not thousands of them. For example, you’ve likely heard that pomegranates are a sort of superfood. An interesting study showed that pomegranate extended the life of mice 50%, but only if the mice were host to the right bacteria that could make Urolithin A (a postbiotic) from the fruit. Click here to see a list of the types of postbiotics our bacteria make.
  • Meaningless marketing claims. It isthe American way to assume that more is better. So, when we see a probiotic ad claiming 50 billion organisms that might sound pretty good. However, without even getting into why the freeze-dried type might not be viable, consider that well fed bacteria in a good environment can double in numbers every 30 minutes. That means that in 24 hours, 100 bacteria can become 28 quadrillion! Obviously, we should get well researched strains and give them a good home.
  • What do I recommend? I think eating a diet with lots of vegetables and fiber plus fermented foods is a great start. Most of us need some extra help and over the years I have not found anything that works as well and as quickly as Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. That’s because it is a concentrate of fermented foods, not a freeze dried powder. Twelve strains of bacteria are fed dozens of superfoods over at least 3 years. That means you get the postbiotic benefit of untold generations of bacteria. The bacteria are not freeze-dried, they are alive and come in a capsule with their food supply and hundreds of the postbiotics they made for you. Because they are fermented at room temperature, they don’t need to be refrigerated. The usual probiotics are probably not bad, but their benefit is no comparison to Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. It deserves to be in a different category.

For a more complete story and an indexed guide to solving many health issues naturally, please read my book The Probiotic Cure: Harnessing the Power of Good Bacteria for Better Health

FDA’s war on homeopathy

Access to Homeopathy Threatened by Latest FDA Action

Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine that has been used by untold millions of people around the world since the 1800’s. (Even the British royal family!) People love it and the medical literature includes hundreds of clinical trials demonstrating its safety and effectiveness. Unfortunately, we are facing a serious threat to our freedom to use homeopathy. But, you can help and it isn’t hard.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a change in policy that, unless rescinded, would make all homeopathic medicines automatically illegal by classifying them as “new drugs”! Why is that a problem? The FDA is allowed to remove any unapproved and therefore illegal drug from the marketplace without notice and without any proof of harm.  Homeopaths as far away as Australia are worried about the likely ripple effects of this impending change—and rightfully so! We only have until January 23rd to stop them!

Obviously, you should care if you stay healthy by seeing a homeopathic physician. But, you should care even if you just enjoy a safe, effective homeopathic sleep spray or if you reduce muscle soreness with Arnica after a workout, or if you appreciate safe children’s homeopathic products that help avoid the need for antibiotics. (Have you ever tried Oscillococcinum® at the first sign of the flu? Amazing!)

For the last 30 years, the FDA had a regulatory system for homeopathy that worked. It allowed manufacturers of homeopathic remedies to thrive while also ensuring the quality and purity of homeopathic medicines. However, the FDA has revoked that framework and proposes to replace it with one that reflects the agency’s extreme bias against any non-pharmaceutical health-related products. (We shouldn’t be too surprised given the well documented incestuous relationship been the industry and the regulators.)

Makers of homeopathic products cannot patent homeopathic medicines like the manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs do thereby cornering the market and making billions in profit. Therefore, not one homeopathic company can justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to gain FDA approval. Even if they could, the process takes many years.

The FDA claims to be concerned about safety of active ingredients. Really? The ingredients they say could be a problem are been diluted to the point that there is not even one molecule of the substance in the medium. All that remains is the energetic signature that gently urges the body to correct a problem. This regulatory change supposedly started because several years ago one homeopathic product also administered zinc directly into the nose and may (or may not) have caused a loss of smell. Then teething products were targeted, but the agency could not confirm a connection to the problems claimed. The FDA extreme position on homeopathy seems an especially cruel joke in light of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who die annually due to FDA-approved medications. (And don’t get me started on the fact that USDA that allows toxic Roundup in our approved foods on store shelves.)

What about manufacturing safety? This week, I visited a prominent supplier of homeopathic products. I was extremely impressed with their cleanliness, safety consciousness and finely detailed control procedures. This wonderful US homeopathic company was targeted by the FDA mainly because they couldn’t account for which customers walked away with 3 individual products given as samples at a tradeshow! Once looking for trouble, the regulators found a non-infectious bacteria in a product and all heck broke loose. The company would have had to close if the owner hadn’t used his life savings to fight their way back. (I’ll bet good money that they are safer than the Indian and Chinese pharma companies who make those generic drugs so frequently found to be contaminated. I heard on the news that FDA only cares to inspect foreign makers once every two years or so.)

Don’t depend on a company or organization to solve this problem—the FDA isn’t worried by them. However, when the public gets riled up, the FDA knows that Congress listens—that might affect the FDA’s budget! Protect your access to this extraordinary system of medicine NOW because the comment period ends January 23, 2020. Click this link to submit a comment to the FDA. Say something like this:

  1. Please extend the comment period by 180 days because more of my friends need to express their opinions.
  2. I want to protect my ability buy homeopathic medicines because I know that they work and I trust them.
  3. Please do not classify homeopathic remedies as unapproved drugs because that gives the product makers no protection and your agency too much leeway to act on prejudice.
  4. I request that instead of going after homeopathic products, the FDA should use its resources on much higher priorities such as antibiotic resistance and the unacceptable number of deaths and disability from FDA-approved medications.

Send a copy of this email to friends you know use homeopathics. (Also contact your US Representative and Senator. Ask them to monitor the FDA on this issue.).

Some of the above is copied from an article by The Board of the American Institute of Homeopathy. I confirmed the points with this article and with lawyers who specialize in defending homeopathic companies.

Just say “NO” to the colds and flu season

Why do we have a “the colds and flu season”? Good question. I believe it is mainly because we change our behavior. 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. One important seasonal factor is sunshine. Sunlight is less plentiful and we are indoors more. As you surely know, sun exposure is how nature intended us to manufacture immune-critical vitamin D.( It not only helps avoid infectious diseases but also 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 harder to come by 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 change is our increased intake of sugar starting before Halloween and lasting until…well Valentine’s Day? Sugar is a major drag on the immune system for several hours. 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 quizSugar 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. That is not good because they make up 75% of our immune function. Studies show that supplementing probiotics reduces the incidence of respiratory infections. (There is nothing even similar or close in effectiveness to Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics.)
  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. Vegetables and other plant foods are important foods for supporting our friendly bacteria which as stated above are key to a vigorous immune system. Plants contain vitamin C and other antioxidants that help immune function. Many studies show that regular intake of vitamin C reduces the incidence and severity of colds. Here is a recent example(I recommend Formula 216 for more comprehensive protection.)
  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! (This is a homeopathic stress control product I like.)
  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. (I highly recommend Mr. Sardi’s multiple vitamin, Molecular Multi, in part because of the zinc it contains.) He also has a fascinating article about the flu protection that we get from eating eggs.

You can choose to NOT participate in the colds and flu season! But, if you somehow do get ill, read this article on Do’s and Don’ts and this one about Remedy Kit. (On second thought, better have that remedy kit on hand now so that you can react at the first sign of trouble.)

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