Stair-climbing and other everyday tasks were harder for those with a vitamin D deficiency researchers found. Older people with vitamin D deficiency struggled with daily physical activities such as dressing or climbing stairs.
It is estimated that as many as 90% of older people are vitamin D-deficient. The vitamin, usually absorbed through sunlight or diet, plays a key role in bone and muscle health, and a deficiency can lead to reduced bone density, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and broken bones.
Volunteer’s vitamin D levels were checked nd they were asked to do routine tasks, such as sitting down and standing up from a chair or walking outside for five minutes without resting. Among participants aged 65 to 88 those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 1.7 times as likely to have at least one physical limitation as those with the highest vitamin D levels. Among participants aged 55 to 65 those with the lowest vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have at least one physical limitation as those with the highest vitamin D levels.
In the older age group 70% of those with the lowest vitamin D levels had at least one physical limitation, whilst most of those with moderate or high vitamin D levels had no physical limitations.
People with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to develop additional physical limitations over time. This occurred over three years among people in the older age group and over six years among those in the younger age group.
Seniors who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have mobility limitations and to see their physical functioning decline over time. Older individuals with these limitations are more likely to be admitted to nursing homes and face a higher risk of mortality.
Of course, when we are older and wiser, we know that sparkling, attentive eyes and a warm, genuine smile are the most effective beauty markers - but then again it is a fact that when we look better we feel better too. And sometimes a gal just wants an image boost.
Why It Happens: As we age our bodies produce less of the ‘stretchy’ ingredients (collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid) that it needs to stay firm and supple, but fluctuations in weight and sun exposure can exacerbate the problem.
Why It Happens: Smoking is the main culprit, but even those who don't puff can get them from the way our mouth muscles contract while talking.
Why It Happens: Sun damage can break down collagen and elastin in our hands, leaving the skin thin, fragile and covered in sunspots. Veins may also become more pronounced.
Why It Happens: As we age our metabolism slows and our body becomes more prone to storing excess weight - and our arms often suffer for it. There is a chance this may even be hereditary. Most of us will have more wobble factor to contend with by the time we pass 40.
Why It Happens: Poor muscle tone, excess weight and bad circulation are the main culprits. Your knees stretch and bend frequently, and are bound to wrinkle as you age.
Stress worsens the condition. It begins with red and itchy skin lesions, which enlarge and progress to involve more areas. Later inflammation of the skin spreads to joints, tendons, and muscles, and the bowel. Unless reversed it causes joint deformity. Many patients develop colitis and other inflammatory syndromes. Most patients also have fungal infections in their toes.
Psoriasis is considered a serious immune disease. It is treated with high doses of steroids followed by chemotherapy. All immune dysfunctions begin as inflammatory disorders, which cannot be reversed with steroids and chemotherapy. All inflammations begin with excess acidity, incremental oxyradical activity, and thickening bodily fluids. None of these derangements can be reversed with steroids and chemotherapy. The problems of acidity and oxyradicals develop when the oxygen-driven systems of the body are blocked and a state of dysox (dysfunctional oxygen metabolism) results. Dysox cannot be reversed with steroids and chemotherapy.
The proper treatment of psoriasis is to systematically detect and address all relevant issues of foods, environment, and stress that threaten oxygen-driven systems in the body. Successful treatment requires robust nutritional, environmental and detox remedies.
There are five types of psoriasis and the most common form, plaque psoriasis is commonly seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis (skin). Some patients though have no dermatological symptoms.
Gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free products are prescribed for 6 weeks for everyone with psoriasis. After this period, it is assessed whether to extend this rigid program and it may be suggested to have a one-day-a-week break to make the program less demanding. When psoriasis relapses occur due to stress, mould exposures, and infections the program is tightened. In essence the patients become their own primary physicians in the matter of the dietary control of psoriasis. Other patterns of food allergy and/or adverse food responses have not been common. In some case it is necessary to do food testing.
Seeding is the repopulation of the gut with microflora that have been destroyed by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics or crowded out by the unrestrained proliferation of yeast and bacterial organisms. The ‘guardian angel bacteria’ for bowel ecology belongs to the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species.
Feeding is the use of some growth factors that the normal bowel flora requires to flourish. These include biotin, pantetheine, Vitamin B12 and others. Clinicians have used vitamin B12 for decades with good clinical results. One of the principal mechanisms by which vitamin B12 exerts its myriad beneficial effects is by serving as a ‘growth hormone’ for health-preserving bowel flora.
When psoriasis is associated with psoriatic arthritis, ‘cold hands and feet’, thyroid diseases, and other immune disorders, a broad holistic approach is required that diligently addresses co-existent nutritional, environmental, allergic and fitness-related issues.
Findings from a new study conducted on almost 150,000 post-menopausal women revealed that height was significantly associated with cancer risk over a period of about 12 years. For every 10cm increase in height the researchers observed a 13% increase in cancer risk, and this relationship was evident for all types of cancer encountered over the course of the study, including that of the ovaries and breast. What is more the association between height and cancer did not change when other risk factors for cancer development were considered.
While this study was one of the first to critically examine other cancer risk factors in the context of this research, it is not the only one to reveal a potential link between height and cancer development. Several other studies, including one conducted on almost 90,000 Canadian women have shown the same thing. And it has even been suggested that men tend to be greater risk of numerous cancers (including that of the digestive tract, lung, urinary system and skin) simply because they are generally taller than women.
Taking these preventative steps can help improve your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer, whether you are tall in stature or vertically challenged.
Common myth 1: Arthritis is a disease of the elderly. While elderly people do develop arthritis, children and teenagers can get certain forms of the condition. Researchers report that two-thirds of people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis are under age 65. While the disease is associated with ageing, other risk factors include heredity, joint injury, obesity and lack of fitness.
Common myth 2: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. Despite what your grandmother told you experts say cracking your knuckles is not a risk factor for arthritis. “It is annoying … it is certainly not good for the joints but on the other hand it doesn’t cause arthritis.”
Common myth 3: Predicting the weather. Researchers have studied the claims but concluded there is no scientific evidence to suggest arthritis flare-ups occur during bad weather. Arthritis patients are no better off if they live in a warmer climate – they are simply more active for more months of the year and that is probably why people feel better.
Common myth 4: Exercise aggravates arthritis. Staying active is one of the most important ways to prevent and ease the pain of arthritis. It also helps with weight control. For people with arthritis it hurts to exercise, but over time the post-exercise pain diminishes if sufferers push through it.
Choose joint-friendly exercises such as walking, biking or swimming. In addition to putting ice on an aching joint, taking either nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medication or natural ‘painkillers / anti-inflammatories, before or after exercising will also help relieve the pain. People need to stay active and move their joints to keep the muscles strong and to keep the joints flexible.
Common myth 5: Nothing helps. There are still many arthritis patients who do not seek medical help because they do not think anything can be done about the pain.
A proper diagnosis can lead to a host of possible treatments, including the latest prescription medicines for pain and rehabilitating aching joints through physical therapy.
Patients should not wait until the pain is unbearable before seeing a doctor. If aches and pains persist for more than four weeks, then it is time to pay attention.
To keep your eyes in good shape you should eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet (high in fresh produce, and low in salt, sugar and bad fats); exercise regularly; do not smoke; avoid excessive use of alcohol, caffeine and painkillers; and protect your eyes from sunlight by wearing a hat and sunglasses.
In addition, consider supplementing with a good high-quality multivitamin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Cataracts involve the clouding of the lens of the eye, which is normally clear. This results in cloudy vision akin to looking through a fogged-up window Cataracts usually develop slowly and may take a while to interfere with your vision. Once this occurs though you may find yourself struggling with everyday activities, which may necessitate surgery to replace the faulty lens with an artificial one. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally considered a safe procedure with good results.
Glaucoma is characterised by damage to the optic nerve, which carries messages from the eyes to the brain resulting in the vision that you see. Glaucoma is usually, but not always, caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye. If the condition is left untreated progressive vision loss ensues, going from blind spots to tunnel vision and finally resulting in total blindness, as the function of the optic nerve is increasingly impaired.
Macular degeneration (MD) is associated with loss of vision in the centre of your visual field, caused by deterioration of the macular, which is situated at the back of the eye and is responsible for sharp central vision. Most commonly the macular degenerates for unknown reasons as the eyes age, but sometimes macular degeneration can be caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels and fluid leakage at the back of the eye.
Although treatment cannot reverse either form of MD it may help slow down vision loss. Supplements with specific nutrients such as a combination vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper.
Also, lutein and zeaxanthin (also beneficial in people who have undergone cataract surgery and may be a safer alternative to beta-carotene which has been linked to cancer in smokers), as well as vitamin D and calcium.
Some people may also benefit from a telescopic lens implant, while others may require medication or other treatments to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
As ever though prevention is better than cure. While medical advances allow doctors to manage these and other eye diseases with a fair degree of success, stopping them from developing in the first place, as far as possible, is the preferable option.
Question: I have recently read many articles about a study showing that fish oil raised the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. I have been taking omega-3 supplements for heart health but stopped when I heard the news about its effect on prostate cancer. What is your opinion about this research?
Answer: The American study in question, published online on July 10, 2013, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, certainly hit the headlines in print, on the radio and on TV. Much of the news coverage did not accurately reflect the findings. Aside from the sensationalist way it was reported the study itself has serious shortcomings.
As reported the study found that men who had high concentrations of omega-3s in their blood had a risk of developing prostate cancer that was 43% higher than men who had the lowest blood levels of these fatty acids. Even more alarming was the finding that men with the highest blood levels of omega-3s had a 71% higher risk of aggressive, possibly fatal prostate cancer than those with the lowest levels.
The select study was not set up to evaluate fish or fish oil intake in the study group, its relevance is not as significant as studies designed to specifically determine the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on prostate cancer risk. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that anybody in the study took fish oil supplements or even ate fish!
This research did not actually compare the cancer risk of men who ate fish or took fish oil supplements to men who did not eat fish or take supplements. In fact, the researchers provided no information regarding intake of fish or fish oil supplements by the men in the study group. The research team looked at blood levels of omega-3s among men who were enrolled in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, a large National Cancer Institute trial aimed at determining whether either of those supplements alone or in combination lowered the risk of prostate cancer.
The authors of this recent study based their conclusions on the analysis of a single blood sample from each of 834 men in the study diagnosed with prostate cancer through 2007 and from a corresponding group of 1393 healthy men who participated in the study and were matched by age and race to the men who developed the disease.
The fats the research team focused on were plasma phospholipid fatty acids, which tell you that an individual recently consumed fish or fish oil but do not really give you an accurate indication of the long-term use of fish oil supplements, or a diet that includes regular servings of fish. The study found that the mean blood level of plasma phospholipid fatty acids was 4.66% in the men with prostate cancer and 4.48% in the healthy controls, a difference of not quite 0.2%. That is a small difference on which to base the suggestion, as these researchers did, that omega-3s “are involved in prostate tumorigenesis” and that those who recommend that “men who consume omega-3s should consider its potential risks”.
These results appear to be an unfortunate combination of questionable science, unwarranted conclusions, and dreadful media coverage. The well-documented evidence for myriad benefits of high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids on both physical and mental health is strong. The best thing about the flawed study is that it will stimulate more research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids in prostate health.
Yes, it is the twenty-first century – but your body is probably still programmed for life in the Middle Ages, or even the Stone Age! Our ancestors ate extremely basic foods, most of them in their natural state. It is increasingly being speculated that the rapid changes resulting from developments in food production have not allowed enough time for our genes to adapt to a diet of processed and refined foods, predisposing us to many diseases and health problems.
Our genetic make-up, inherited from our ancestors, represents the way people’s bodies have adapted to their environment over many centuries. Our environment includes lifestyle conditions and diet, and it is likely that the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals about 10,000 years ago, and the industrial and technological developments of the past century, brought about dietary changes too rapid and extreme for our bodies to cope with. Many of the health problems and diseases of the modern, western world could therefore result from our ancient, genetic biology not being able to adapt to our rapidly changing environment.
Our ancestors’ diets were determined by the foods available to them, but they had certain aspects in common. These diets were quite different to our current Western diet, giving clues as to why our eating habits may be causing chronic disease.
Statistics of diseases of the Western world related to diet are astonishing. In the US for example:
More than 70% of the energy in the typical Western diet comes from foods that would not have been part of our ancestral diets. These foods include:
Most of the foods we eat bear minimal resemblance to the foods our bodies are programmed to require. Almost a third of the energy in the Western diet comes from ‘empty-calorie’ foods that provide hardly any micronutrients.
Chronic lifestyle diseases related to diet affecting 50-65% of adults are the main cause of death in the US and most westernised countries. We often try to identify a single dietary cause for chronic disease, such as a high intake of saturated fat being associated with heart disease. However, most ‘diseases of lifestyle’ are related to a range of lifestyle and dietary elements. Why not change your eating habits to include more unprocessed foods, or foods in their most natural state – a diet that your body may genetically be better adapted to?
The team was investigating the effect of cocoa consumption on thinking & memory performance, as well as something called neurovascular coupling, where blood flow in the brain changes in response to local brain activity.
“As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship called neurovascular coupling may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
For their investigation, the team recruited 60 dementia-free older people of average age 73 and asked them to drink two cups of hot chocolate a day for 30 days.
Half the participants drank hot cocoa high in antioxidant flavanol, while the other half drank flavanol-poor hot cocoa. (There is substantial evidence that consuming cocoa flavanols helps circulation and heart health). The participants were asked not to consume any other products containing chocolate during the study.
At the start of the study 18 of the 60 participants had impaired neurovascular coupling. By the end of the study, it had improved by 8.3%.
Participants also improved scores on a working memory speed test. At the start of the study, it took them 167 seconds to complete the test, while at the end of the test they did it in 116 seconds.
The conclusion was that: “There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments.”
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that belong in your digestive tract. Medication, stress, travel and illness are amongst many factors that can contribute to a deficit of these friendly flora.
Digestive enzymes are catalysts for the digestive process, breaking food apart into usable nutrients. Many factors affect the supply and capability of your own digestive enzymes, so supplemental enzymes play an essential role in your GI tract tune-up. Make sure you take them with you when you travel and when you eat things you do not normally consume.
Magnesium is a natural anti-stress nutrient. When we are stressed, the body focuses its efforts away from digestion, which can lead to digestive complaints and constipation. Magnesium is found in the whole form of many foods, including grains, beans and greens. Your digestive tune-up, however, requires adding quality supplemental chelated magnesium. This is especially important if you are taking a calcium supplement.
Prebiotics are a form of dietary fibre that we humans cannot digest. They do, however, act as food for probiotics (beneficial microflora in the gut), enhancing their growth and thereby indirectly improving the body’s immune system and promoting our good health and well-being! Natural food sources for prebiotics include chicory root, onions, leeks, garlic, legumes, whey, Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, asparagus & bananas.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified low vegetable and fruit intake as one of the top 10 risk factors contributing to mortality. We all know that we need to eat more vegetables, but do frozen vegetables counts towards the recommended 3 to 5 serving we should be eating a day? Yes, they do, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 1996 the FDA concluded frozen vegetables should not be barred from bearing the term ‘healthy’ as they are nutritionally comparable to fresh produce and ‘can contribute significantly to dietary guideline compliance’.
Most people agree that the flavour and texture of fresh vegetables cannot be beaten. You also have the option of crunching them raw – not a possibility with their frozen counterparts! These days, however, the word ‘fresh’ may sometimes be a bit of an exaggeration. The nutrient content of vegetables begins to diminish soon after harvesting. The longer they remain in transit or storage the less nutritious they become.
Vegetables and other produce are often shipped over long distances between countries to ensure availability out of season. To make sure they survive the trip without bruising or spoiling they are frequently harvested unripe and treated with gases, both of which can negatively affect their nutritional content. The fact that many of us use the ‘best before’ date as a guideline (unless obvious signs of spoilage are present) further detracts from the concept of ‘fresh’ produce.
A large volume of published research has proved that the nutritional quality of frozen vegetables is the same or even better than that of supermarket fresh. The research shows that the nutrient content of the fresh vegetable will be equal to that of the frozen vegetable at some point during retail distribution and storage but will then continue to fall to below that of the frozen vegetable (for which the values will remain unchanged).
A 1998 study compared the nutritional values of frozen versus fresh vegetables using vitamin C as a marker. Frozen peas and broccoli were like fresh, store-bought produce, and frozen whole green beans and carrots were like the freshly harvested vegetables. Frozen spinach compared well to freshly harvested spinach and was clearly superior to the fresh, store-bought variety.
The key message is that if we can be sure that fresh vegetables are indeed fresh (i.e., harvested from the home garden or purchased from a farmer’s market and consumed immediately) they would of course be the most obvious, delicious and nutritious choice. However, as most of us lead hectic lives and do not grow our own vegetables, the produce shelves and frozen food section of our local supermarket are our only alternatives. If we begin with the best-quality frozen or seasonal fresh vegetables we can afford, and are reasonably careful in their preparation, we will receive most of the nutrients and goodness they have to offer.
While the kinds of foods that we buy certainly make a difference, what we do with them in the kitchen can have an even bigger impact. Minimise nutrient losses by steaming vegetables rather than boiling them, washing vegetables quickly before cutting or peeling, and adding peeled or cut vegetables to vigorously boiling water in order to minimise the length of time they are exposed to vitamin-leaching water.
Azithromycin is widely prescribed to treat a series of infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis and wheezing. Patients with pre-existing heart problems or low blood levels of potassium or magnesium are at a particularly high risk of developing this side effect of the medication.
Doctors should be aware of the risk of fatal heart rhythm associated with azithromycin and consider prescribing alternative antibiotics among patients with existing heart conditions or low blood potassium/magnesium levels. A revised Warnings and Precautions box on the label of azithromycin will include information about the increased risk. The new warning comes following review of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study revealed patients who took the antibiotic were at a higher risk of developing heart problems. Data from over 540 million prescriptions revealed of all antibiotics prescribed, azithromycin was found to cause the most heart problems.
The study reported an increase in cardiovascular deaths, and in risk of death from any cause, in persons treated with a 5-day course of azithromycin compared to persons treated with amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, or no drug. The risks of cardiovascular death associated with levofloxacin were like those associated with azithromycin treatment.
Recently researchers said they were astonished to discover the “death test” which predicts the chance of a healthy person dying from a medical condition within five years. They found the levels of four “biomarkers” indicated a general level of frailty, and people whose biomarkers were out of kilter were five times more likely to die within five years of the test.
“What is especially interesting is that these biomarkers reflect the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. They seem to be signs of frailty in the body”, said Dr Johannes Kettunen of the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland. “In the future these measures can be used to identify people who appear healthy, but in fact have underlying illnesses, to guide them to proper treatment.”
A biomarker is a molecule found in blood, body fluids or tissues that signals an abnormal process, condition or disease. Blood samples from more than 17000 generally healthy people were screened for 100 biomarkers and those people monitored over five years.
In that time 684 died from illnesses, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. They all had similar levels of four biomarkers: albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, citrate, and a similar size of very low- density lipoprotein particles. One in five with the highest biomarker scores died within the first year of the study.
Professor Markus Perola said: “It was astonishing that these biomarkers appeared to predict mortality independent of disease.”
After the age of 35 or so many women experience a metabolism slowdown. This is mainly because any alteration to your hormones can upset your metabolism – the process of turning digested food, stored fat or muscle into calories that the body uses as energy – causing you to gain weight. “People put on 10% a decade because of how our hormones change as we age.” Says Dr Eva Cwynar, an endocrinologist and metabolic medicine specialist. Here are ways you can give your metabolism a boost and burn more calories throughout the day.
A reporter visited the people of Usuri Hara, near Mount Fuji in Japan, and found that in this small mountainous village, 90-year-olds are commonplace and more than 10% of the population is 85 or older! What is not common is disease. Cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are virtually unheard of. Is this genetic, or due to their low-stress lives, or because they consume HA-rich foods.
HA is a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate molecule) naturally present in the human body. Levels decline with age, and supplements are often recommended to treat or prevent ageing-related health problems. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints, and in connective tissue, and it helps the body resist wear and tear.
Japanese researchers first thought that the health secret of these villagers was connected to potatoes, their staple diet. Generations ago the villagers discovered that in the hilly terrain, potatoes were easier to plant than rice. A local doctor is of the opinion that their diet gives them an abundance of HA. He told reporters that he has never seen a case of skin cancer in Usuri Hara.
It has since been found that the reason for the villager’s longevity is related to oestrogen-like molecules in their diet from soya and tofu, which sends signals to the cells to make more HA. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are some of the absolute best vegetable sources of HA, and sweet potatoes have the additional advantage of high levels of magnesium – essential for the synthesis of HA in the body. Bananas are also rich HA and magnesium. Like magnesium, vitamin C is critical for the synthesis of HA.
Scientists are losing no time investigating the full potential of HA in Western medicine, as shown by the thousands of patents related to its use. HA has been used for more than 20 years in many products all over the world. Some examples of its uses are as follows:
According to a research review published in Current Rheumatology Reports, HA may help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, restore joint fluids, and protect against cartilage breakdown in patients with osteoarthritis.
HA can regenerate the cells in our bodies. It is available in supplement / cream and gel forms and can possibly considered something to add to your daily regime internally and externally.
In order to examine how hand clenching impacted memory and recall the investigators asked 51 right-handed participants to memorise 72 words. Researchers suggest that squeezing your right hand together into a fist may help with memorising a list. One group clenched their right fist for about 90 seconds right before memorising the list and then did the same right before recalling the words.
Results showed that the volunteers who clenched their right fist when memorising the list and then clenched their left when recalling the words performed better than all the other hand-clenching groups.
“The findings suggest that some simple body movements - by temporarily changing the way the brain functions - can improve memory. More research is necessary to determine whether their results with word lists extend to memories of visual stimuli, such as remembering faces, or spatial tasks, such as remembering where your keys are. This effect of hand-clenching on memory may be because clenching a fist activates brain regions that are also associated with memory formation."
Besides feeling overstressed and a bit depressed his memory is shot and his physical ability has diminished. His back may ache. He is out of shape and is no longer the fit beast he once was. Guess what? He has hit andropause – the male equivalent of menopause – and now he needs to do something proactive about it..
Firstly, it is necessary to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit, green, leafy vegetables, and good-quality protein; exercise especially if there is a history of heart disease or stroke; control stress and sugar levels; and limit the toxic load we all seem to be assaulting our bodies with every day. Toxins may include too much coffee, alcohol, chocolate, chips, cigarettes and diets with high saturated fats (animal fats). Drink plenty of water and have a 20-minute dose of sunshine each day.
The main cause of andropause is a testosterone deficiency. Testosterone starts its decline in the early 30s. This hormone is responsible for brain function, bone density, sugar control, muscle mass and strength, as well as being cardio-protective (it helps keep your heart healthy).
There are 2 main precursors: DHEA & Pregnenolone:
Pregnenolone is a precursor to progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and oestrogen. Oestrogen is necessary for the brain in both men and women in the right quantities, so yes, even men have oestrogen in their bodies. Pregnenolone increases resistance to stress, improves mental and physical ability, reduces pain & inflammation, and blocks acid formation. It may be used for the treatment of arthritis, memory loss, fatigue, moodiness and depression.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) slows aging, improves memory, increases sex drive, alleviates depression, boosts energy, promotes weight loss, and builds muscle mass. Produced in the adrenal glands, DHEA is converted into other hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone, or cortisol. Too much cortisol production means not enough DHEA or testosterone and consequentially a dramatic decrease in sex drive and metabolism, plus loss of muscle tissue.
Cortisol, whilst both pregnenolone and DHEA decrease with age, cortisol is the only hormone to increase with age making testosterone supplementation a necessity. Men should avoid long-term, chronically raised cortisol, as it will rob the body of its ability to produce DHEA and testosterone, and it also affects thyroid function. The result is a compromised immune system and many health-related problems.
NOTE: Testosterone supplementation does not increase the risk of enlargement of the prostate or of prostate cancer. According to Dr Abraham Morgantler: “There is now not – nor has there ever been a scientific basis for the belief that testosterone causes prostate cancer to grow”.
He goes on to say that recent data has shown no apparent increase in prostate cancer rates in clinical trials of testosterone supplementation in normal men or men with an increased risk of prostate cancer. He also mentions that there is no relationship between prostate cancer risk and serum testosterone levels in multiple longitudinal studies, and that there is no reduced risk of prostate cancer with low testosterone.
Mountainous parts of the world typically face both extreme heat and extreme cold. Plants that can survive such harsh temperaments have unique adaptive qualities that benefit those who consume them.
Rhodiola contains several powerful antioxidants, and flavonoids. Its unique array of phytonutrients allows Rhodiola to adapt to stressful environmental conditions, and consuming it helps us modulate our ability to withstand daily stressors.
Rhodiola helps us adapt to stress by modulating stress hormone levels. When these levels rise too high, we can become edgy and anxious. Over time fatigue, lethargy and chronic disease result. Rhodiola prevents our stress hormones from going too high at inappropriate times. This allows our stress response system to remain strong and sensitive to the needs of our environment.
Scientists have found that Rhodiola enhances serotonin, dopamine and endorphin activity in the brain. Healthy serotonin levels are necessary to balance our mood and keep us calm and positive. Dopamine drives us toward accomplishing goals and enhances our self-esteem and confidence. Endorphins help us to feel good and lift our mood and spirits.
Rhodiola is known to help calm the emotions and to stimulate cognitive processes that improve memory and creative thinking. Several studies have shown that it improves associative thinking, speed of audio-visual perception and ability to perform complex calculations. Researchers have also found that it significantly reduced stress-induced fatigue after just two weeks of regular use.
Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola enhance muscle glycogen synthesis. Glycogen is the stored sugar in muscle that gives the body greater endurance, enhancing performance during challenging workouts and competitions. Athletes can improve their strength, speed and endurance and perform at higher levels when the take adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola.
A 2010 study showed that Rhodiola supplementation improved the use of fatty acids as fuel during training sessions and enhanced athletic adaptation to stress. The herb lowered levels of lactate and skeletal muscle damage after exhausting exercise. This was due to its ability to improve circulation and modulate stress hormone secretion, both during and after the training sessions. Rhodiola is completely safe and approved for use by athletes in all major sports.
Rhodiola has also been shown to boost fat burning mechanisms. This is because it stimulates the enzyme adipose lipase that mobilises fatty acids as energy source. Rhodiola helps the body preserve sugar as stored energy in the form of glycogen and to burn fat as a primary energy source during times of rest and low-level activity. This metabolic shift is essential for healthy weight management and blood sugar stability.
All of us are affected by stress and toxins. Stress and excess toxins weaken the immune system, lead to fatigue, interfere with the digestive system, suppress cardiovascular function, impair cognitive function, and can even create additional internal toxins. It is time we put a stop to this vicious cycle by attacking stress and toxins together.
The French investigators reviewed records on retirees, most of whom had been self-employed as shopkeepers or craftsmen, to establish the risks of dementia linked to age at retirement. After adjusting for other risk factors the study showed that individuals who retired at 65 were 14.6% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those retiring at 60.
To make sure that a shaky mental state had not been responsible for retirement the researchers analysed their data to eliminate people who developed dementia within 5 or 10 years of retirement. The upside of continuing to work include the mental challenges, social connections and physical activity involved, all of which can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
We know people who participate in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, playing cards, doing crossword puzzles, learning a language or taking courses on subjects that interest them are at lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, so it makes sense that people who continue to work beyond normal retirement age are also at lower risk.
Other research shows that the more years of formal education you have the less likely you are to develop the condition. The theory is that challenging intellectual activity builds up rich neural connections that function as insurance against later brain-tissue losses, just as well-developed muscles maintain their integrity longer during periods of inactivity than atrophied muscles.
Although the risk is minor all seeds are potentially dangerous if they are swallowed without being chewed first. Since they are poorly digested and sharp, they can be hazardous in the intestine, resulting in blockages, tears and infection (appendicitis for example) – though these sorts of complications are rare.
Another way in which seeds may pose a threat is if they are inhaled or ‘go down the wrong way’ and end up in the lungs. Avoid this unpleasant situation by sitting up straight while eating.
There are a few seeds you may want to watch out for however – Apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and apples are examples of fruit with something potentially sinister inside their seeds.
These seeds contain a chemical called amygdalin, which is harmless while it is kept safely inside the seed – but if the seed is moistened or crushed, amygdalin may be converted into the poison cyanide.
Within the group of edible fruit seeds some outshine the rest. The following seeds contain health-enhancing nutrients so there is no need to panic if you swallow one of them by mistake.
Watermelon seeds contain small amounts of iron, zinc and protein (about one gram of protein for every 24 seeds). While these doses are not particularly impressive, they add up for every slice of watermelon you eat and provide a good enough reason to skip the seedless varieties.
Pomegranate and granadilla. These are jam-packed with healthful seeds. One pomegranate (flesh and seeds) contains antioxidants and almost half of your daily requirement of vitamin C; granadillas are also high in vitamin C and will give your diet a useful fibre boost.
Papaya seeds contain an enzyme called papain, which helps digest protein.
Citrus seeds from fruit like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and tangerines contain natural chemicals known as limonoids. These chemicals may have anti-cancer, cholesterol lowering and antiviral effects.
Grape seeds are rich in vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid and powerful antioxidants called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes.
Cocoa is a seed you possibly savour frequently – without even knowing it is a seed. Yes, cocoa beans are not really beans at all.
These seeds which are transformed into cocoa powder and chocolate, contain special compounds that have been associated with health benefits like improved blood flow and arterial elasticity, decreased blood pressure and anti-inflammatory action.
Some fruits contain seeds that make the perfect snack – even without the rest of the fruit. Pumpkin and the various kinds of squash (like butternut and gem squash) are botanically classified as fruit, and their seeds are tasty and very nutritious.
Pumpkin and squash seeds are high in healthy fats and pumpkin seeds are also a good source of amino acids and several minerals (especially phosphorus, magnesium and potassium).
To give the seeds a richer flavour, roast them in the oven – simply scoop out the flesh and seeds, separate the seeds and place them in a single layer on a baking tray, and roast them at low heat (about 75 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.
The low heat and short roasting time will limit the damage to the seeds’ healthy fat content.
Because irritable bowel syndrome has such a wide range of symptoms the diagnosis has become something of a ‘catch-all’. Before you start any medication regimen it is therefore essential to rule out other conditions that may be causing your digestive problems.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most diagnosed digestive disorders. If you have not yet been told you, have it chances are that you know someone who has. But is it possible that so many of us suffer from this condition, or has the term IBS become synonymous with ‘I don’t really know what is wrong with you, so let us call it IBS?’
When a patient presents with IBS-type symptoms how often does the doctor do investigations for disorders such as increased gut fermentation, histamine intolerance, small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), post-food poisoning syndrome or hidden allergies, intolerances and other immune responses? Very rarely!
This is because the many forms and presentations of IBS can make the diagnosis a particularly challenging one, and its functional nature can make a satisfactory treatment regimen difficult. Often patients are sent home with antispasmodic medication or tricyclic anti-depressants, or told to eat more fibre, or take more probiotics. Success rates of both conventional and complementary medicines are therefore historically quite low.
The Gut-Brain Axis: The gut contains the greatest concentration of immune tissue in the body. These immune cells are intertwined with the greatest concentration of nerves outside the central nervous system. Both immune cells and nerves are continually communicating with the mucosal epithelia (the cells that line the gastro-intestinal tract).
These interactions control both the physiological and patho-physiological aspects of gut function. Communication between the gut nervous system and the central nervous system is common and is known as the gut-brain axis. Disturbances in either have effects that resound throughout the body. The same neurotransmitters that influence the gastro-intestinal tract also influence endocrine, immune, behavioural and emotional function. Stress (either psychological or physiological) may therefore be an important factor in gastro-intestinal health.
Malabsorption of Carbohydrates & Sugars: Faulty digestion or absorption of carbohydrates and sugars by the small intestine allows increased amount of these foods to reach the colon, where greater amounts of gas are produced. This increased gut fermentation is characterised by bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue and gas – symptoms often associated with IBS.
The most common example of malabsorption leading to increased production of gas is lactose (milk) intolerance. Lactose intolerance is caused by a genetic lack of the enzyme in the lining of the small intestine that digests lactose, the sugar in milk.
Other causes of malabsorption that may lead to excessive production of gas and be mistaken for IBS include malabsorption of sugars such as sucrose, sorbitol, or fructose, inadequate amounts of pancreatic enzymes (necessary for digesting sugars and carbohydrates in the small intestine) diseases of the lining of the small intestine (e.g., coeliac disease) that reduce enzymes in the lining necessary for breakdown and absorption of sugars and carbohydrates.
Malabsorption is often characterised by an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. These bacteria damage the intestinal brush borders, resulting in increased intestinal permeability that may increase the incidence of allergies, intolerances, emotional disturbances and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Histamine Intolerance: There is increasing evidence that histamine intolerance is a major cause of food hyper-sensitivity, facial flushing and IBS-related symptoms. Studies have shown that histamine-intolerant individuals may have a deficiency of certain enzymes in the small intestinal mucosa. This type of deficiency results in decreased breakdown and increased absorption of histamine in the gastro-intestinal tract.
High-histamine foods include all minced meat, sausages, salami, all tinned and smoked fish, all ripe cheeses, yeast, sauerkraut, avocado and tomatoes. Some foods that should be excluded because they liberate histamines include kiwi fruit, papaya, grapefruit and pineapple.
Small-Intestinal Bacterial Over-Growth (SIBO): The small intestine is the section of the gastro-intestinal tract that connects the stomach with the colon. Its main purpose is to digest food and absorb it into the body. The entire gastro-intestinal tract, including the small intestine, normally contains bacteria. The number of bacteria is greatest in the colon and much lower in the small intestine.
Moreover, the types of bacterial in the small intestine are different to the types of bacteria in the colon. SIBO is a condition in which abnormally high numbers of bacteria are present in the small intestine, and in type resemble the colon bacteria rather than the bacteria that normally inhabit the small intestine. This imbalance of bacteria may result in excess gas, abdominal bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, symptoms not dissimilar to those often diagnosed as IBS.
The gastro-intestinal tract is a continuous muscular tube through which digesting food is transported. The muscular activity that sweeps through the small intestine is important not only for the digestion of food, but also because it sweeps bacterial out of the small intestine and keeps down the numbers of bacteria there. Any condition that interferes with muscular activity in the small intestine results in bacterial over-growth. Lack of muscular activity may even allow bacteria to spread backwards from the colon and into the small intestine.
Before accepting a diagnosis of IBS it is important to explore all other possibilities. Some test to consider:
Just as there is no one cause of IBS-type symptoms there is no one diet that works across the board. Dietary management is crucial but usually requires progressive changes and modifications.
It is quite easy to misdiagnose IBS owing to its wide range of symptoms. It is therefore essential to get a clear diagnosis and rule out other possible causes before starting any medication regimen.
Topics covered at this conference included immune, heart, cognitive, muscle and blood sugar health. High doses have been shown to improve lung function, and to produce antimicrobial peptides that ward off pathogens. Inflammatory bowel disease and dermatitis are also associated with inadequate vitamin D, as are many other inflammatory conditions.
Around 50% of pregnant women are deficient. Doses of 4000 IU daily during pregnancy and nursing – deemed safe by the Institute of Medicine – helps prevent pre-eclampsia, impaired dentition, gestational diabetes, hypertension, infection, bacterial vaginosis and pre-term birth.
Vitamin D also builds bone / muscle strength to help prevent falls and fractures. Indeed, low vitamin D status is linked to reduced mobility, disability and dependency that reduce the quality of life and markedly increase healthcare costs. It is also associated with cognitive decline. The problem is compounded in the elderly due to reduced skin production, reduced dietary intake, intestinal absorption, activation in the kidneys, and calcium absorption from the gut.
Still, there is no consensus as to optimal dosing, condition-specific needs, or danger from sun exposure. Also in question are the needs for different populations, including the elderly, dark-skinned, obese, sun avoiders, vegans, and those on certain drugs. Is there one dose that is best for everyone, or do genetics and disease matter? For example, hip-fracture and institutionalised patients have much lower levels than normal people. Dark-skinned people get much less vitamin D from the sun.
Roughly every 100 IU of vitamin D raises blood levels by about 1ng/ml, so raising levels to 30ng/ml would require nearly 3000 IU daily.
Folk lore touted the cranberry as a healing agent for gout, rheumatism, diarrhoea, constipation, fevers and skin problems. Today scientists are investigating dozens of health-promoting compounds found in cranberries, and they are finding there is a lot of truth to the lore of centuries past.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), more common in women than in men, occur in both the lower urinary tract (cystitis) and in the kidneys (pyelonephritis). The E. Coli bacterium is the main cause of these conditions although other bacteria, viruses and fungi may be responsible.
Modern medical research has revealed the chemical and physiological effects cranberries have on the urinary tract and how drinking cranberry juice may help prevent UTIs. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that can prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria associated with UTIs, including E. coli, to the urinary tract wall. Once bacteria are unable to stick to the lining of the urinary tract, they cannot reproduce and bring on an infection. Cranberry tablets are just as effective in preventing bladder infections as the juice in its unsweetened form.
Incredibly, the cranberry offers cardiovascular benefits at several different levels:
Two key risk factors that increase the likelihood of cancer are chronic excessive oxidative stress (from lack of sufficient antioxidant support) and chronic excessive inflammation (from lack of sufficient anti-inflammatory compounds). Thanks to its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, the cranberry appears perfectly poised to help in the prevention (not the treatment) of cancer, particularly in breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer.
Although the jury is still out on this one, cranberries may be helpful in dissolving and preventing kidney stones. There are different kinds of kidney stones and most Americans, for example, develop the calcium-oxalate variety, which is problematic as cranberries can thereby increase the chances of this type of stone formation. On the other hand, however, the risk of developing stones containing uric acid (urate stones) is minimised by the intake of cranberry as the fruit decreases urinary uric acid. If you have kidney stones talk to your doctor before going the cranberry route.
A recent study has shown that the high concentration of phytonutrients in cranberry may increase the number of good bacteria (Bifido-bacteria) in the gut, which in turn improves the immune system. In addition to this, research suggests that the cranberry’s anti-adhesion effect may prevent Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, from attaching to the stomach lining.
It is the large variety of phytonutrients contained in the cranberry that make it an invaluable health-supporting food. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of its triterpenoids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and flavonoids are what really make it effective in preventing the health concerns above.
First identified in 1929 by Danish scientist Henrik Dam, vitamin K was named for its coagulating properties. Dam’s initial study, which examined chickens on cholesterol-depleted diets, prompted excited research. Joined by Edward Doisy of the Saint Louis University, the two men shared a Nobel Prize for medicine in 1943 in recognition of their work.
It is fat soluble, which means that it requires dietary fat to be absorbed. It follows then that a poor or restricted diet can lead to a deficiency, as do certain conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption (e.g., digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease). Certain liver conditions and taking medications for cholesterol, or broad-spectrum antibiotics also impact or block vitamin absorption or storage.
As with many vitamins, K has different forms, K1 and K2. Around 90% of vitamin K1 in the traditional Western diet comes from green leafy vegetables like lettuce, broccoli and spinach. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented food products like cheese or natto (fermented soya).
Vitamin K has been linked to increasing bone density by converting the protein, osteocalcin, into an active bone building form. It also activates Glaproteins and is found in high concentrations in the brain where it contributes to myelin production (myelin sheaths cover & protect nerves).
The power of K also keeps calcium inside your bones and out of your bloodstream. This assists in reducing blood vessel, heart and kidney calcification. This star of the vitamin empire has numerous roles, and it is about time it experienced resurgence in popularity as its positive effects on the body are as varying as they are brilliant.
Heart failure is exactly as dire as the term suggests, with the heart unable to effectively pump blood around the body. This can damage various organs, including the heart itself – blood that is not pumped out starts to build up, can damage valves and lead to a heart attack or stroke, as well as causing numerous other complications such as water on the lungs.
Heart failure can be caused by lifestyle-related factors, including a narrowing of the arteries or high blood pressure; heart defects that you are born with; or damage caused by, for example, infections, illnesses such as diabetes, or drug abuse. All these factors make it difficult for the heart to pump blood, and over time the muscles become weak or stiff, leading to heart failure.
Although the functioning of the heart may be improved with medication or surgery, in many people, heart failure cannot be reversed. This means that treatment is aimed at improving symptoms and helping the affected person live as long as possible with a failing heart. Better ways of achieving this are constantly being investigated, and now scientists have found that a common nutritional supplement may help people with heart failure live longer.
A study presented at the recent Heart Failure Congress held in Portugal showed that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 – 100mg three times daily) was associated with a significant reduction in heart failure-related hospitalisations and deaths over two years compared with a placebo. CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that has antioxidant properties and plays an important role in energy use by cells. It has been previously suggested that energy starvation of heart muscle cells plays an important role in the progression of heart failure. For this reason, the researchers concluded that CoQ10 supplementation is extremely valuable to heart related problems.
If I had to choose only one to take daily which, would it be? Would it be anti-ageing Resveratrol, heart protective Coenzyme Q10, antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid, immune-boosting vitamin D3 or maybe stress busting Rhodiola I wondered? It turns out that it is none of these. It is Fish Oil (or preferably the more expensive and better absorbed Krill Oil).
The type of omega-3s found in fish oil and krill oil have more beneficial health effects than any other supplement. So exactly what are the benefits? Omega-3s are essential for helping to protect the brain from ageing and they boost memory and concentration. Omega-3s also keep the eyes functioning properly into old age, and they keep the heart healthy.
Research shows that they can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by as much as 40% and reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by about 30%. Immune system health is also enhanced by Omega-3s. Since the immune system is partly responsible for protecting your body from cancer cell development, omega-3s are part of an important cancer-prevention strategy.
Finally, omega-3s help protect against inflammation. Inflammation is not only a cause of arthritis but also many other chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
So, we now know what the number one supplement is but that begs the question what are number two and three? Vitamin D3 is probably the second most important. Blood tests statistics show that approximately 80% of UK residents may be deficient in this cancer-protective and immune-boosting vitamin.
In third spot the water becomes a bit muddled since it depends on each person’s individual situation. If your diet is lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables, then a broad-spectrum multi-vitamin and antioxidant combination is third best.
But if you are experiencing a lot of stress which can cause heart attacks if not managed, then Rhodiola is in place number three. If you have cardiovascular health issues, then magnesium and Coenzyme Q10 are probably a tie in third place.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a pollution-free environment, where we drank only the purest of water and ate naturally untainted foods? Where the homes in which we lived were free of chemicals and the air we breathed, water in which we swam, and even the clothes hugging our skin, were all clean of any artificial substances?
Of course, this idealistic notion can probably never be the case, and is especially impractical today. That is why the next best thing we can do for our health is to cleanse our bodies of these toxins from time to time through various methods of detoxification.
Detoxification refers to the elimination of poisons or toxins from our bodies. Due to the huge amounts of today’s environmental contaminants, our bodies are in serious need of regular cleansing to reduce damage to our immune systems and metabolism.
Detoxification is vital to maximise the body’s energy and to prevent chronic illness. It is also a time-honoured way to keep digestive elimination regular, circulation under control, and stress to a minimum. Detoxification both maintains good health and promotes healing from illnesses.
Massage, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, is an excellent method to improve lymph movement and blood flow. That, in turn, aids in getting cellular waste products and accumulated toxins out of tissues, into the bloodstream, and to the kidneys where they are eliminated in urine.
Hyperthermia techniques, which elevate body temperature slightly to remove toxins, have been used throughout history, such as by ancient Greek physicians, in the ornate bath complexes of the Romans, in sweat lodges of the Native Americans, and in the steam baths of the Scandinavians.
These techniques are still extremely popular today. Steam baths, hot tubs, and saunas are favourite ways to get your heart beating and your blood circulating, which improves toxin transfer from tissues to the bloodstream, then to the liver, which chemically alters many harmful substances into harmless ones.
Dry skin brushing is another European technique that has been used for centuries. Not only does it remove toxins accumulated in dead skin cells, but it enhances circulation. Dr Bernard Jensen (author of Dr Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care) recommends in his book, ‘Your daily regime should begin with skin brushing for a period of three to five minutes. I believe skin brushing is one of the finest of all “baths”.
No soap can wash the skin as clean as the new skin that you have under the old. You make a new top layer of skin every twenty-four hours. Skin brushing removes the old layer and lets this clean new layer come to the surface.’ He recommends ‘the whole body (except the face) should be brushed one-half hour after rising and prior to the morning bath or shower. You may wish to skin brush again before retiring for the night.’
Certain foods and beverages aid in inactivating toxins or in removing them. These include fruits and fruit juices, fresh vegetable juices, chlorophyll-rich foods, herbal teas, and sea plants. For optimal results, these foods should be organically grown and consumed fresh.
Blend or juice your favourite fruits in the morning for a detoxifying breakfast. Fruit juices speed up metabolism to release waste quickly and have an alkalising effect (acid-neutralising) on the blood; citrus fruits and their juices are rich in alkaline salts, mainly potassium.
High-fibre fruits – such as figs, apricots, dates, avocados, coconuts, peaches and papaya – aid digestive regularity and stabilise insulin levels. Together these properties of fruits reduce fat storage, speed metabolism, and minimise sugar cravings. Fruits should be eaten by themselves, without protein or complex carbohydrates, and before noon for best energy conversion and cleansing benefits.
Fresh vegetable juices provide the body with necessary vitamins, minerals and enzymes to power the natural detoxifying activities of cells.
Leafy green vegetables have chlorophyll, a detoxifying agent that helps clear the skin, cleanse the kidneys, and cleanse the blood. Eating any chlorophyll-rich food will help to boost immunity, treat illness, and rid the body of unwanted substances. Spirulina (blue-green algae) and chlorella (green algae) have become popular supplements due to their extremely high chlorophyll content.
China introduced us to the miraculous green tea, which is high in antioxidant content and combats free radical damage to protect against degenerative diseases. It also boosts enzyme production in the body. It has antibiotic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and is highly valued as a cancer preventative.
Milk thistle, one of the best liver cleansing tonics, used with honey by the Romans, is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants to prevent free radical damage. Burdock, known as the plant of longevity, is one of the best blood purifiers of the herbal world and its use dates to ancient Greece.
One of the most important detoxification methods is regular exercise. Exercise accelerates the removal of toxins, through our largest organ of elimination, the skin, when we sweat. It also stimulates lymph flow, which depends solely on muscular movement (or massage). Lymph function is critical to our body’s ability to cleanse itself. Exercise also enhances metabolism and circulation.
Almost any kind of exercise, from riding a bicycle to planting flowers in the garden, increases the circulatory system’s transportation of oxygen and nutrients to our cells, while carrying away toxins and wastes from tissues to the organs of elimination. Furthermore, exercise counteracts the greater risk for some diseases, such as heart disease, which correlates with a sedentary lifestyle.
Synchronising the timing and dosage of medicines with our internal body clocks makes them work better with fewer side effects. Doctors tell us to take pills before or after eating and at what intervals, but rarely will they specify what time to take them. If pressed they encourage us to link taking drugs to a daily routine such as cleaning our teeth.
This is understandable since they want us to remember to take our treatments consistently. Yet the severity of our symptoms and how our bodies absorb drugs fluctuate over 24 hours. “Indeed, many drugs labelled ‘take one a day’ often work better at night,” says Michael Smolensky one of the world’s foremost authorities on chronotherapeutics.
As drug chronotherapy researchers discover the optimal times to take drugs the medical community is slowly revising its advice. In future when doctors prescribe medicines, they may also routinely stipulate when to take them and possibly tell us to take unequal amounts at different times. Expect more smart drugs in the coming years that release medicine at intervals. This is some of the latest research but do not change your regime without talking to your doctor as your case may be different.
Taking at least one blood pressure-lowering medicine such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs at bedtime could give your arteries a much-needed rest. Blood pressure is usually 10-20% lower during sleep but many people with high blood pressure and especially those aged 55-plus do not have a dip during the night. “Non-dipping” raises the risk of strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease.
In a five-year Spanish study of 2156 patients published in Chronobiology International in 2011 those taking one of their blood pressure medicines at night had a 33% lower risk of heart attack or stroke than those taking all their pills in the morning. In 2007 Dr Roberto Minutolo of the University of Naples told 32 “non-dippers” with kidney disease to take one drug at bedtime instead of in the morning. His study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases showed that nearly 90% of them had turned into “dippers” in two months.
Their night-time blood pressure dropped an average of seven points without side effects or increases in daytime readings. Lead researcher of the Spanish study Ramon Hermida of the University of Vigo advised patients to talk to their doctors before switching to evening doses, however.
The production in the liver of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol which can lead to strokes and heart attacks is highest after midnight, perhaps because we have stopped eating. A 2003 trial at The University of Sunderland showed the common statin simvastatin (Inegy, Simvador, Zocor) worked better taken at night and in a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found the same with atorvastatin (Lipitor).
Roda Plakogiannis and Henry Cohen, professors of pharmacy at Long Island University, New York, writing in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2007 concluded there was “sufficient data” to recommend night-time statin use. The British Heart Foundation and online medical resource guide Patient.co.uk advises patients to take statins at night.
Conventional wisdom has been that proton-pump inhibitors which suppress acid production should be swallowed before the first meal of the day. However, studies including one in 2003 at the University of Kansas have found evening doses more effective against acid reflux especially for patients with night-time symptoms. More than 70% of patients taking the drugs in the afternoon or evening had relief from symptoms compared with 42% on a morning regime. This is probably because the drug acts when the stomach produces two to three times more acid between 10pm and 2am than at any other time and when heartburn is made worse by lying down. Some doctors now suggest taking half the daily dose in the morning and half in the evening.
Different people experience the pain, swelling and tenderness of osteoarthritis at different times of the day. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen are widely used to ease this condition. Convincing French research in 1985 found that the effectiveness of NSAIDs doubled when taken four to eight hours before the most intense pain.
That way the highest blood levels of the drug coincided with peak pain. “It was remarkable how much the time of day of taking the medicine mattered,” says the American Association of Medical Chronobiology and Chronotherapeutics. Take medicine for afternoon pain around mid-morning to noon, take it mid-afternoon for evening pain and for night-time pain take drugs with an evening meal.
Stiffness, swelling and pain of RA, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder, is characteristically worse in the morning. “Taking painkillers late evening may be the most effective way to prevent pain developing overnight,” advises The American Association of Medical Chronobiology and Chronotherapeutics.
Lung function undergoes circadian changes and reaches a low in the early morning. This dip is particularly pronounced in asthmatics who often suffer night-time attacks and debility and loss of sleep. Asthma authority Dr Richard Martin of the National Jewish Centre for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver says unless treatment improves night-time asthma it is hard to improve its daytime manifestations.
He says patients with severe asthma taking oral steroids should do so at 3pm. Those using steroid inhalers for milder asthma should use them between 3pm and 5.30pm. However, William E Berger, professor medicine at the University of California, says it is “unrealistic” to expect people who must take medicines regularly to do so at inconvenient times, particularly if it is preventative and they feel fine.
Some chemotherapy treatments are being improved by chronotherapy. One example is 5-fluorouracil to treat colorectal cancer. It is now often given at night when these cancer cells are more vulnerable and normal cells are resting and least sensitive.
Research that tracked thousands of adults for about 20 years found that people who eat a diet rich in animal proteins are four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet.
The risk is nearly as high as the danger of developing cancer by smoking 20 cigarettes a day. The US study found that people with a high-protein diet were 74% more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their low-protein counterparts.
They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes – somewhat oddly this trend appeared to reverse for those aged over 65 researchers found.
Dr Gunter Kuhnle, a food nutrition scientist at the University of Reading, said “Though this study raises some interesting perspectives it is wrong, and potentially dangerous to compare the effects of smoking with the effect of meat and cheese.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in marine and plant oils. The most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In general, our diets today are incredibly deficient in omega-3 fatty acids - in fact, the average person eats only one-sixth of the omega-3 fatty acids that would have been found in the diet in 1850. This is largely due to food processing.
This is by no means the end of the list...in fact, it is just the beginning - the crux of the matter is that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for general health and well-being.
Dietary sources - the best are quality oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies and tuna) and eggs can be reliable sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
The blood test, which forms part of a regular medical check-up for men over 40, measures the levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that is secreted by the prostate. Heightened levels of the protein can indicate prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate or infection.
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr Anthony Komaroff says, “What most people don’t realise is that most prostate cancers never spread and cause suffering. Under the microscope, they look like a disease. But they do not act like a disease. With those cancers the treatment always is worse than the disease. What we desperately need is a test that distinguishes between the occasional prostate cancers that spread and cause suffering, even death, and the much more frequent prostate cancers that will never cause suffering. The PSA is not that test.”
Men often think their bodies should work like a well-oiled machine, and thus find it difficult to cope when they malfunction – even more so when they discover they are suffering from a ‘women’s disease.’ There are, in fact, several conditions commonly considered to be women’s diseases from which men can suffer, sometimes with more serious outcomes.
Breast cancer is the most common life-threatening disease for women – for every 100 Caucasian women only one man will get it. Some risk factors are the same for both sexes, such as family history, excess alcohol consumption and obesity. Unique risks for men include a history of testicular conditions (such as undescended testes); liver disorders (such as cirrhosis); Jewish ancestry and chest wall radiation exposure.
Increasing age is also a risk, as men tend to be more prone between the ages of 60 and 70 years. Although breast cancer in men is much less common than in women the survival rates for men seem lower, with development of larger and more aggressive tumours, and with more frequent spread to adjacent lymph nodes. A lack of awareness and screening with men means tumours are detected at a much later stage and are more likely to be fatal.
Here the incidence is much more common with one man for every four women suffering from osteoporosis. However, the age of onset is later for men with women experiencing rapid bone loss after menopause in their fifties while men have the same rate of bone loss only after the age of 65. This is accounted for by the decline in testosterone and oestrogen levels with increasing age.
Advertising and medical screening protocols ensure that women are far more aware of the risks of developing osteoporosis than men, and bone densitometry scans may detect bone loss early. Have you heard of men requesting densitometry scans? Osteoporosis is usually diagnosed in men only when something major occurs, such as a fracture, and by then the disease may be far advanced. This results in twice the number of men dying from the consequences of hip fractures than women. Lifestyle factors causing osteoporosis are the same for both sexes: smoking, excess alcohol, insufficient exercise, chronic use of cortisone drugs, ethnicity and genetics. A unique risk factor for men is the testosterone-reducing drugs used to treat prostate cancer.
Men may not feel the sadness that women do when depressed, but experience instead physical pain (such as muscular and back pain) anger, frustration, discouragement, fatigue and an escape into excessive work, alcohol or drugs. They are less likely to seek help, which results in many men with depression going undiagnosed. Men generally suppress their emotions while women are far more in tune with their feelings and talk to each other, which provides a ready outlet for some frustrations before they develop into bigger problems. An alarming statistic is that more women attempt suicide, but that more men succeed at it.
Eating disorders are 9x times less common among men but have similar effects on health. Bulimia is motivated in both men and women by a need to manage emotions. The risk factors or motives that men have for developing anorexia differ from those of women; it may be a need to lose weight for sports performance, or an elimination of certain foods to enhance health that triggers the slippery slope toward anorexia.
A term that describes the changes that some men experience in midlife. Although menopause in women is not a disease but a stage of life, it is associated with significant hormonal changes, which can lead to emotional rollercoasters, uncomfortable physical symptoms and an urge to re-evaluate life. Similarly in men declining testosterone levels with relatively higher oestrogen levels can cause gynaecomastia (the development of breast tissue) and osteoporosis. Some men experience emotional shifts that cause despair in the face of advancing age, and they yearn for their younger days. This need for validation may manifest in the acquisition of a sports car or a young girlfriend.
Unlike men, who seem to be protected by their long urethra, some women are plagued by recurring urinary infections (UTIs). However, the risk for men does increase with age because as the prostate enlarges so does the likelihood of developing a UTI. The symptoms of dysuria (painful urination) and frequency are similar for both sexes.
There are several AIDs that affect women in particular: rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and thyroid disorders such as Grave’s and Hashimoto’s disease. The ratio is about 3:1 for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but for Hashimoto’s disease and lupus the ratio is higher at 9:1. The reasons why women are more prone to these than men remain unclear, but the fact they have a larger inflammatory response and bigger hormonal fluctuations may have an influence. Men are more likely to suffer from lupus in their sixties, but if they do contract it when young the disease is likely to be more serious.
A few AIDs are as common, or more common, in men than in women. Examples of these include ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae), Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and psoriasis. In most cases AIDs symptoms in men are generally more severe than those found in women for similar diseases.
A common – but difficult to diagnose and treat – syndrome manifesting in body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues as well as sleep disturbance and memory and mood issues. Although this illness is more common in women men can get it too. A recent study shows men with fibromyalgia are less likely than women to receive a diagnosis.
The most common cause of death due to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is cervical cancer in women. Infection of the penis is common in men, which can easily be transmitted to women thereby putting them at risk for developing cervical cancer. Men have an equal risk of contracting HPV, which is also linked to several cancers.
Men often tend to underplay early signs and symptoms, which leads to delayed diagnosis. In addition to this, far less screening is offered to men, resulting in delays in detection and diagnosis. Both these factors contribute to an escalation of the disease process, and more advanced disease, before treatment is initiated. Furthermore, some diseases seem to manifest more severely in men anyway.
By their very nature men generally have more difficulty in coping with chronic disease. They are more likely to feel like a failure when something goes wrong with their body. Embarrassment at having a ‘women’s disease’ make them less likely to share with others. Hopefully, this brief overview will help to increase awareness and promote the treatment of these often-ignored conditions in men.
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that men with the very highest levels of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids had a 71% higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer.
Dr Theodore Brasky of Ohio State University Medical Centre, who worked on the study said... "These fish oil supplements in which some men (are) getting mega, mega doses…in our opinion that is probably a little bit dangerous."
The researchers found that fatty acids found in vegetable oils, flaxseeds and other vegetable sources – including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)- did not pose a prostate cancer risk. The key words to note are mega doses – unless you eat a lot of oily fish daily and or take 3000 mg Omega 3 fish oil upwards your risk is extremely low.
A healthy diet is key to preventing, and sometimes even treating, breast cancer. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal has reaffirmed this with a particular focus on fish-sourced omega-3 fats.
The researchers reviewed and analysed a total of 26 studies which involved over 800,000 participants and over 20,000 cases of breast cancer. In this case the results showed that a high consumption of fish is linked to a 14% reduction in the risk of breast cancer in later life.
Past studies show that the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA accumulate in cell membranes and increase the transfer of nutrients and oxygen to the cell nucleus, thereby helping prevent cancer growth. Anyone wishing to obtain a healthy source of Omega3 should seriously consider Krill Oil as the safe alternate.
While tens of thousands of people undergo chelation for heart disease, there has been no definitive evidence that it works for this. Until now that is the first large-scale study to determine its safety and efficacy as a heart disease treatment has been completed.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Director, Dr Gary Gibbons says “Between 2002 and 2007 use of chelation therapy grew by nearly 68% - despite there being no evidence as to its safety or efficacy. Given that so many people are trying chelation therapy it was imperative that a large-scale and very rigorous study be undertaken. Preliminary results found that a chelation regime is safe in the context of a clinical trial and suggested that there may be benefits in some patients with coronary heart disease.”
Dr Terry Grossman, whose clinic participated in the trial, has this to say “Objections to chelation therapy have centred largely on the lack of well-designed studies demonstrating its effectiveness. This is no longer the case as the trial was a well-designed, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that involved over 1700 patients and more than 40,000 intravenous infusions. This study provided convincing evidence of the effectiveness of chelation therapy in reducing the progression of arteriosclerotic disease and was particularly evident in patients diagnosed with diabetes.”
He also said “chelation which has been an approved treatment for over 40 years binds to heavy metals such as iron, lead, cadmium, mercury and zinc, and helps your body to get rid of them.
Chelating agents also reduce the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, helping to reduce hardening of the arteries. Chelation is certainly an attractive alternative to angioplasty or bypass surgery, which come with their own risk and health-depleting side effects.”
Intravenous chelation is quite expensive, and while you are being treated this way you must supplement with high-dose minerals and vitamins to reduce the risk of deficiency.
Fortunately, there are oral alternatives that are equally effective but take longer for full results and do not deplete the body of large quantities of essential vitamins and minerals whilst they are being taken.
The girls from Hjallerup School in North Jutland were motivated to carry out their investigation because they noticed they struggled to concentrate in class and to sleep well when they kept their cell phones next to their beds.
The girls placed six trays of cress seeds into a room without radiation, and six trays into another room next to two (Wi-Fi) routers, which broadcast the same type of radiation as an ordinary mobile phone. All 12 trays received the same amount of sun and water over 12 days.
The results were clear: the watercress in the room with routers did not grow and some were even dead or mutated. The watercress in the other room was healthy.
Lea Nielsen, one of the young researchers, says "None of us sleep with the cell phone next to the bed anymore. Either the phone is put far away, or it is put in another room. And the computer is always off."
This brilliant biology test has caught international attention from England, Holland and Sweden. Olle Johansson, renowned professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is planning to repeat the experiment with a Belgian research colleague, Professor Marie-Claire Cammaert at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, as he regards this trial as outstanding.
Scientists studied 60 heavy but healthy Danish men who exercised for either 30 or 60 minutes a day while wearing a heart-rate monitor and calorie counter. The training sessions were designed to generate a light sweat but the participants were expected to boost the intensity and push themselves harder three times a week. The men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost an average of about 3.5 kilos over three months, compared with an average of 2.5 kilos for those who exercised 60 minutes a day.
Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should be relative to the training program that was set for them. Exercising for a whole hour instead of a half did not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. Thirty minutes of concentrated exercise gave equally good results on the scales.
These surprising results may be because doing just 30 minutes of exercise left participants with the desire and energy to do more physical activity after their required exercise sessions. In addition, it is likely that the men who did 60 minutes of exercise daily ate more and therefore lost less weight than anticipated.
Antidepressants are among the drug industry's biggest sellers with more than 1 in 10 Europeans taking such medications as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa. But these drugs are expensive, do not work for all patients, and can have serious negative side effects.
Dr. Goel, director of epigenetics and cancer prevention at Baylor University Medical Centre, confirmed in his clinical trial that curcumin is nearly as powerful as Prozac, when it comes to easing depression symptoms. The study enlisted three groups of 20 volunteers suffering depression - One took 500 milligrams of curcumin twice a day; the second was given Prozac; and the third received a combination of the two.
After six weeks, the team evaluated the depression symptoms of the patients evaluating mood, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, agitation, anxiety, weight loss, and other factors. The results showed the spice compound had roughly the same beneficial impact as Prozac on the patients.
He concluded - "These antidepressants, they are fine if you're taking them for a short time, but as you know depression is a chronic disease, so the problem happens when you take these antidepressants for a long time," he says. "And when you do that, you put yourself at risk for developing side effects and toxicity. By contrast, the turmeric spice is a natural, non-toxic compound, even at high doses.”
The latest research shows that even slightly raised blood pressure may age your brain – even if you are under 40, ultimately putting you at risk for memory problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The research used high-tech MRIs to look at the grey and white matter of participants’ brains – these participants were mainly in their thirties, and fell into three groups: hypertensive, pre-hypertensive and normal blood pressure.
The results showed that the brains of 30-year-olds with high blood pressure looked like people in their 40s who had normal blood pressure. While previous studies have shown a link between high blood pressure and memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, this is the first one showing that the decline may begin as early as your 30s and 40s.
Experts believe that high blood pressure may lead to stiffening of the arteries that ultimately restricts blood flow to the brain, depriving the brain of oxygen. This is supported in a study that looked at the cognitive function of elderly participants with arterial stiffness which was accelerated by hyper-tension. The results showed a correlation between hypertension-induced arterial stiffness and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The Mayo Clinic also lists the following as brain effects of high blood pressure: transient ischemic attack, sometimes called a mini-stroke, is a temporary disruption of blood supply to your brain – it often serves as a warning sign that you are at risk of a stroke; high blood pressure can lead to a stroke by weakening your brain’s blood vessels – which can cause them to narrow, leak or rupture; and vascular dementia has a number of causes, one of which is as a result of narrowing and blockage of the arteries supplying blood to the brain.
These findings send a clear message that you need to start testing blood pressures from a younger age. If your blood pressure is elevated the quicker the corrective action the better. Make lifestyle changes like losing weight, exercising and reducing salt intake. Supplement your intake of nutrients that protect the brain and support healthy blood pressure.
While exact statistics are not known it is thought that at least 20% of Americans & Europeans have parasitic worms. Our bodies are well designed to combat infestations but the impoverished and malnourished, those with weak immune systems or chronic disease, and children are less resistant. People with low stomach acid bile or digestive enzymes should also be extra careful.
Unless infestation is severe and/or the sufferer was malnourished or ill already, symptoms are either vague or absent altogether. If present they may include anaemia, nausea, fatigue, irritability, concentration problems in children, appetite changes, diarrhoea, an itchy rash or an itching anus, weight loss, abdominal discomfort and a cough.
You may see traces of worms or actual live ones in the loo after passing stools, or around the anus - they may look like white or off-white fine threads (threadworm), narrow, flat ribbons, or segments thereof (tapeworm), tiny earthworms (roundworms), or little ‘squiggles’ with a hooked end (hookworm). Never try to remove them from the body - instead, start de-worming measures immediately.
The number one worm-related problem is nutrient deficiency which causes fatigue and ill health. Once you have eliminated the worms take a probiotic (healthy intestinal bacteria decrease the risk of infestation), vitamin B Complex, and possibly iron (you will need a blood test to check for anaemia).
Sutherlandia has also traditionally been used in South Africa for all manner of digestive complaints, including worms, and to help support immune function. When your immune system is functioning well intestinal parasites find it extremely hard to set up residence.
Regularly eating fresh garlic, turmeric and cloves helps to combat worm infestations, and pineapple, pawpaw (especially the peppery-tasting seeds) and raw coconut are traditionally used to eliminate intestinal parasites. Proper fibre and fluid intake is also important.
An effective traditional anti-worm remedy consists of grated carrots and pumpkin seeds, both of which are said to be toxic to worms. While pumpkin seeds are more specific for roundworms, they are thought to affect all intestinal parasites - plus the fibre content will help to expel dead worms and toxins in general.
When it is a ringworm! This is a fungal infection, identified by itchy, red, raised and scaly skin patches that start out as a bump and spread outward into a ring-like shape, often clear in the centre which resembles a worm curled up - hence the name. Ringworm occurs in people and animals and is easily transmitted but fortunately also easy to treat.
A study in the 1960s by American physician Dr Palma Formica tested the effects of magnesium and potassium supplements on 100 people suffering from fatigue. The study included 84 women and 16 men, all of whom were given extra magnesium and potassium for five to six weeks.
The findings were astounding: 87 of the volunteers improved, even those who had been suffering from fatigue for more than two years. The subjects became cheerful, alert and energetic, and some even recorded getting by on six hours sleep a night when they had struggled to feel rested on twelve hours sleep before they started taking the supplements.
Magnesium is thought to combat fatigue because it helps release energy in the body. It also plays a role in the production of melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep; this production is disturbed when levels of magnesium are insufficient.
The mineral calcium contracts muscles whereas magnesium relaxes them, so when magnesium levels in the body are low more calcium can flow into the vascular muscle cells which makes them contract. This contraction causes tighter blood vessels and thus higher blood pressure. Severe magnesium deficiency in the heart causes its muscles to go into spasm, and there is evidence that some heart attacks are in fact caused not by obstruction but by cramping of the coronary arteries, which cuts off oxygen supply to the heart. Good levels of magnesium can prevent these effects, as magnesium is thought to dilate blood vessels and relax heart muscles.
Magnesium also helps to make platelets (the tiny blood cells that form clots) less sticky and so prevents blood clots from forming.
Around 57% of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones. Magnesium is necessary for bone formation, and many people diagnosed with osteoporosis are found to be suffering from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is essential for calcium metabolism and depositing calcium where it is required as well as for converting vitamin D to an active form in the body.
Magnesium is often called the anti-stress mineral because of its role in relaxing skeletal muscles and the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and blood vessels. To fulfil these and other functions properly, magnesium must be balanced in the body with calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium chloride.
As magnesium is a crucial factor in the natural self-cleansing and detoxification responses of the body, many detox programmes recommend a warm bath with a handful of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), in fact many commercially prepared bath salts contain magnesium sulphate as one of their main ingredients.
Epsom salts in your bath have a relaxing effect on your body because magnesium sulphate, which is absorbed through the skin, is necessary to produce serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that may increase feelings of relaxation and well-being.
When your gut becomes sluggish your liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs and skin are put under increased strain, causing an ageing environment in the body, and your gut does not absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as it should.
Your hair and nails get thinner and break; skin becomes dehydrated and loses tone; your eyes feel gritty, lose their whiteness and may become painful; cheeks sag; your weight may increase, and energy levels fall. You will soon start to look and feel older.
A healthy gut allows nutrients to pass through its walls while blocking harmful debris. Because 70% of your immune system is in the gut, if it is sluggish, it can compromise immunity, meaning you are more likely to develop infections, and disorders such as food allergies, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, acne, eczema and intolerances.
You feel ‘unwell’ for no reason, stress levels rise, and the ageing process will accelerate. Therefore, eliminative slowdown is the most important ageing process to avoid.
Secondary symptoms include acne, arthritis, body odour, chronic fatigue, colds, eczema, fine lines, migraine, headache, food allergies and psoriasis.
To check your gut’s transit time take 5-10g charcoal two hours before eating and five hours before bed. Check how long it takes for your stool to come out black. The ideal time is 12-24 hours. Anything more and sluggish gut movement could cause toxic build-up. Anything less and nutrients are not being absorbed properly.
A healthy stool should look like a smooth banana with a point at one end, well hydrated and with no mucus on it. If yours looks like compacted balls stuck together it has been sitting in the colon for too long.
And if it is difficult to expel you are probably constipated. Press on the inside of your left hip; your stool builds up in the colon here, so discomfort/bloating/gas is often a sign of sluggish elimination. The gut lining renews itself every five days though, so improvement is possible – fast!
Concerns about hormone therapy stem from the results of both the combined oestrogen-progestin and the oestrogen-alone clinical trial. The study population consisted of older postmenopausal women – the average age was 63 at the start of the trial. For women taking the combination oestrogen-progestin used in the study, researchers found an increased risk of - Heart disease, Breast cancer, Stroke, Blood clots, and Dementia.
For women taking oestrogen alone, preliminary results showed no increased risk of breast cancer or heart disease but did find a slightly increased risk of stroke.
Also, among the accumulated study results, combination hormone therapy did not provide a meaningful improvement in such quality-of-life measures as sleep, emotional health, general health, physical functioning and sexual satisfaction.
Researchers did note a few benefits, including a decreased risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures and fewer instances of colorectal cancer.
Note: it is unknown whether the study findings can be applied to younger postmenopausal women.
Most experts now agree that hormone therapy is not the therapy of choice for disease prevention in healthy older women and many experts advocate natural Progesterone in preference to hormone therapies for long-term benefit.
Short term hormone therapy might still be your treatment of choice if you have: Hot flushes, vaginal discomfort or Osteoporosis. Sometimes switching from an oestrogen pill to a patch may offer benefits, since the patch does not affect blood-clotting factors the way the pill can. If you opt for hormone therapy, take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time needed to treat your symptoms. Alternatively, if you desire a long-term solution without adverse health risk seriously consider Progesterone Cream.
There is no blood test to diagnose WTS, and thyroid hormone levels are usually normal. It is characterised by a sub-normal average body temperature (normal is 36.8 degrees – 37 degrees C), together with many of the following symptoms:
Inappropriate weight gain, fluid retention, fatigue, headaches and migraines, insomnia and needing to sleep in the day, allergies, hives, asthma, elevated cholesterol, heat and/or cold intolerance, low blood pressure, frequent colds and sore throat, light-headedness, ringing in the ears, dry eyes and blurred vision, flushing, poor co-ordination, increased nicotine or caffeine use.
Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, impaired memory and concentration, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, premenstrual syndrome, irritability.
Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hypoglycaemia, food cravings, excessive tiredness after eating, abnormal throat or swallowing sensations, stomach ulcers, bad breath, acid indigestion.
Hair loss and dry hair, prematurely grey or white hair, unhealthy nails, dry and itchy skin, arthritis and joint pains, muscular aches, abnormal sweating, slow wound healing, easy bruising, cold hands/feel that turn blue, acne / skin infections, changes in pigmentation, carpal tunnel.
Decreased libido, irregular periods, severe menstrual cramps, frequent urinary or yeast infections, infertility.
Many of these symptoms are characteristic of an under-active thyroid, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune disorder. Many patients will be treated with a thyroid hormone supplement, such as Eltroxin, for years. Some will feel better on this medication, whereas others continue to suffer from many of the above symptoms, despite being told repeatedly that their blood tests are ‘normal’ and that all is well. Sometimes the dose of thyroid medication is increased to improve the symptoms. This may provide temporary relief but worsens the situation.
WTS is most common in women (80%) and is caused by exposure to one of more acute stresses or prolonged stress over years. People whose ancestors have a history of struggle or famine, such as Jews or American Indians seem to be particularly susceptible to WTS.
WTS can be treated with herbal and other combinations to support the thyroid (which may include substances such as iodine, selenium, zinc, bladderwrack, ashwagandha and tyrosine), or with cycles of slow-release T3 hormone under the supervision of a certified WTS medical doctor.
Although testosterone levels do drop naturally as men get older, we are starting to see levels of the hormone decreasing prematurely among men in their late 30s and 40s and decreasing more steeply than nature intended among many older men.
This is a symptom of our way of life. Stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet increase the demand of our stress hormone, cortisol. The same building blocks that make cortisol also make testosterone. So, if your body is busy making cortisol it will not make as much testosterone as you need.
Research has shown that the biggest testosterone robbers include weight gain and a large waist. This can lead to symptoms such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), osteoporosis, sleep disturbances, depressed mood, lethargy and diminished physical performance. Additionally, many men experiencing ED do not need medications they just need to lose a little weight.
Phthalates are a class of industrial compounds added to plastics to increase their flexibility and durability) in products such as PVC (polyvinyl-chloride) shower curtains, baby toys, paint, floor tiles, makeup, hair spray, food containers, nail polish, liquid soap - the list goes on and on.
Becoming popular in the 1930s, phthalates are in many products that we encounter daily.
They work against hormones like testosterone and low testosterone is connected to weight gain and decreased muscle mass in women and men. Studies have linked Phthalates to birth defects in boys, reproductive problems in men, and thyroid problems in both men and women.
The immune system is also affected by phthalates, increasing inflammation in the body because of cell damage and hormone imbalance. This inflammation can also be associated with illnesses such as allergies, asthma and contact dermatitis. In addition, the increase in cortisol demand created by the inflammation causes an increased risk of belly fat, weight gain and severe hormonal imbalances.
The study 'sends a signal worthy of observation' said the editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that about 16 percent of U.S. adults use statins, and many it seems, claim that their sexual performance declined after they started taking a statin.
Men who take statins and have sexual problems should not stop taking the drug. They should see a doctor for a blood test. If their testosterone is low, they should not stop taking statins but should consider starting testosterone treatment.
The Italian study is important because it is the first to bring up this message in many men. Several scattered studies have found a relationship between statin use and lower levels of male hormones.
A U.S. study reported in 2007 by the New England Research Institutes, also found lower levels of testosterone in a general population of men taking statins.
You could consult an osteopath who does manual therapy, or a craniosacral therapist. For many people manual therapies solve snoring issues quickly. If there is no physical obstruction a possible problem may be airway inflammation, which is often diet related. A good way to start dealing with this would be an allergy elimination diet. Remember that while sugar is not an allergen it is pro-inflammatory and incredibly pervasive, so cutting sugar out of the diet often impacts on snoring.
A digestive dysfunction could also be causing the problem. Digestion is a finely orchestrated process, and when one thing goes out of whack it can affect everything else. Problems in the gut can cause chronic inflammation or increased mucus, which can lead to snoring.
The most effective products to overcome this tend to be sprays that can be sprayed either in the nasal passages or in the throat. These work by coating the back of the throat to reduce the vibrations there that cause snoring. Special mouthpieces have also been designed to move the lower jaw forward, keeping the airway open and unobstructed.
Dry AMD is the most common and affects about 90 per cent of patients. It is caused by a gradual deterioration of the macula, the part of your retina responsible for central vision. You use central vision to see everything straight ahead, e.g., when reading, driving, or climbing stairs.
Wet AMD involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula, which can leak blood and fluid and disrupt vision. Besides AMD's link with ageing, scientists know little about what triggers either type, although they have linked smoking and high blood pressure to wet AMD.
Whilst you cannot necessarily stop your eyesight from failing with time, you can slow the process by keeping your eyes as strong and healthy as possible. The following nutritional strategies and eye exercises, culled from healing traditions around the world, can help you see clearly well into your sunset years.
You are what you eat, and that goes for your eyes too! For optimal eye health go green and yellow.
A 2007 study in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that people 60 and older reduced their risk of wet AMD by 35% by eating at least two daily servings of yellow and green vegetables. These vegetables provide antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which absorb harmful UV rays that hit the eye. You find lutein in leafy greens, such as spinach and in broccoli. Zeaxanthin occurs abundantly in yellow corn, pumpkin, squash, and orange bell peppers.
On the flip side, loading up on sugary and starchy foods make your eyes more vulnerable to AMD.
In most cases gout is an inherited metabolic disorder in which high concentrations of uric acid circulate in the blood. As it accumulates, uric acid can form needle-like crystals that deposit in joints, causing swelling and discomfort. Uric acid is a by-product of protein metabolism, and people with gout should avoid a particular class of proteins called purines that occur in many foods, including animal organ meats, sardines, anchovies and lentils, as well as in alcoholic beverages.
Certain drugs can also increase your risk of gout because they affect the amount of uric acid in the system. These include salicylates (the active ingredient in aspirin), and diuretics that may be prescribed for high blood pressure, oedema or cardiovascular disease.
Gout is usually treated with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs or with injections of cortisone to reduce the swelling, the following recommendations may minimise - or help to avoid - the need to take prescription drugs.
As far as general diet is concerned, the best advice is to avoid foods high in purines (cut back on red meat and choose protein sources with a low purine content such as poultry, dairy products and soy) and follow a balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
A AN APPLE A DAY. There may well be some truth to the age-old saying. Apples contain pectin, a type of fibre that helps prevent protein matter from putrefying in the intestines and aids in the removal of waste from the digestive system. Their vitamin and mineral content also make them great additions to salads and packed lunches and a healthy mid-morning or afternoon snack.
B BOUNCE! Fun and particularly good for you, rebounding is a form of aerobic exercise that is excellent for encouraging good blood circulation, so increasing the body’s ability to carry nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. Rebounding improves functioning of the lymphatic system, which unlike the circulatory system does not have its own ‘pump’ and needs exercise to stimulate the lymph to flow efficiently and remove toxins from the blood.
C CARROTISE. Carrot juice contains high levels of beta-carotene, a substance converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for good eyesight, healthy skin and strong tooth enamel, and has antioxidant properties that can help boost the immune system.
D DELEGATE. Knowing when to delegate can save much unnecessary stress and avoid a feeling of being overwhelmed. In his book How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job, author Dale Carnegie cites ‘learning to organise, deputise and supervise’ as one of the 4 good working habits that help prevent fatigue and worry.
E EXERCISE. Regular exercise has many benefits, among them assistance in reaching and/or maintaining a healthy body weight, better sleep, increased illness resistance & improved mood.
F FORGIVE. Letting go of past hurts can help free your energy, enabling you to be more productive in the present moment. As White Eagle says in his book The Quiet Mind, “To forgive is often difficult my children; but with forgiveness release comes to the spirit; the soul that has been in bondage and perhaps stretched upon the cross of suffering no longer suffers.”
G GLYCAEMIC INDEX. The GI is a numerical value between 0 and 100 that is given to a carbohydrate food to show how fast it affects blood sugar levels in the body. Foods with a low GI have a value of less than 55, an intermediate GI is 55-70 and a high GI 70-100. Foods with a low or intermediate GI help provide sustained energy release throughout the day, thus preventing extreme blood sugar highs or lows.
Foods with a low GI include fat-free yoghurt, oat bran, milk, seed loaf or whole-wheat products, legume such as chickpeas and peas, and apples, peaches, pears and plums. Foods with a high GI include potatoes, rice, white bread, watermelon, carrots, pumpkin and honey. It could also be useful to investigate the glycaemic load (GL) which is a ranking system based on the GI as well as portion size and so is a more accurate way to predict how different types and amounts of food could affect blood glucose values. A low GL is a value or 10 or less, 11-19 is medium and 20 is considered high.
H HERBS. Reduce sodium intake and add a variety of flavours by using more herbs when preparing your favourite dishes. Fresh and dried herbs can also be used to make teas and tinctures to aid in the treatment of a host of common ailments. Try adding 3 fresh peppermint leaves to your morning cup of (rooibos) tea and leave too steep for 5 minutes before drinking. This aids digestion and perfumes breath, leaving your mouth fresh and clean.
I INHALE, exhale. Apart from keeping you alive, the simple act of breathing helps to remove carbon dioxide and other wastes from your body and brings oxygen to your cells. Insufficient oxygen in your body can affect your nerve cells and brain functioning as well as speed up the ageing process. Breathing deeply is also a good aid to relaxation when you find yourself tensing up involuntarily at work or in a stressful family situation.
J JUICE IT! Providing concentrated forms of the nutrients found in the whole fruit or vegetables, juicing is an excellent way of helping to provide your body with its daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. Add spirulina powder or wheatgrass to fresh juices for even more of an energy boost. Juices can also form an integral part of a balanced detoxification programme. Consult your dietician or nutritionist before embarking on a juice fast or any other form of detoxification.
K KEEP IT COVERED. Getting that sun-kissed look naturally can be helpful in combating anaemia and aid your body in synthesising vitamin D, which assists in the absorption of calcium. Be careful not to spend too much time in direct sunlight between 12 noon and 3 pm as this is when the UVA and UVB rays are at their strongest and can have harmful effects on the skin. Twenty minutes of early-morning sun exposure is all that is recommended for optimal vitamin D synthesis; after that always ensure that you wear a sunscreen with the correct factor protection for your skin type.
L LAUGH. There is no stronger medicine for the blues. Laughter lifts your mood, exercises the facial muscles, and causes your body to release more of the feel-good hormones called endorphins. Children laugh more times a day than adults and laughing more often may help put you more in touch with a childlike sense of wonder when approaching life's daily ups and downs.
M MEDITATE. Taking time every day to sit quietly and think about your goals and dreams is not only a good way to relax, but it also helps you to reconnect with where you are in your life and to start each project from a grounded perspective.
N NUTRITIOUS NIBBLING. Eating small snacks throughout the day can prevent a slump in blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy, helping to keep your moods even and your mind focused. Why not replace your mid-morning coffee and muffin with fresh fruit and herbal tea? This places less stress on your digestive system and provides you with easily assimilated nutrients, as well as counting towards your 'eight a day'. Snacking on unsalted nuts and seeds instead of crisps will cut down on your sodium intake as well as providing you with essential good fats.
O OILS. Cold-pressed, extra-virgin oils of flax, olive and avocado contain good amounts of omega-3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids, also known as EFAs. The body needs these to manufacture and repair cell membranes and support the cardiovascular, immune, reproductive and nervous systems. In addition to these considerable benefits, I have personally noticed a marked improvement in the condition of my skin, hair and nails when I include these oils in my daily diet. Oils can be damaged by heat and light, so to get the most benefit store them in dark bottles, in the fridge if possible, and use them cold in salad dressings and dips such as hummus or drizzled over stir-fries.
P PROBIOTICS. Beneficial bacteria such as bifidum and acidophilus help to boost the immune system and fight infection. Taking probiotics after a course of antibiotics is also recommended to help restore balance in the gut flora. Up your intake further by eating a small pot of 'live' yoghurt daily.
Q COQ10. Yet another good reason to eat your greens! Green vegetables contain con-enzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant needed by the body for energy production. CoQ10 can also be found in oily fish and eggs.
R RAW. Following a diet high in raw foods such as fruit and vegetables can be beneficial to digestion and nutrient assimilation. Many international clinics such as the Bircher-Benner clinic in Zurich have used high-raw diets to help treat several chronic illnesses. A diet high in raw foods provides plenty of fibre and can be a good aid to weight loss, but do not attempt to make the change all at once. Consult with your dietician or nutritionist before embarking on a raw food diet, as the body needs time to adjust to any change in eating habits for the maximum benefits to be attained.
S STUB IT OUT! Apart from damaging your lungs, smoking increases your body's need for many vitamins and minerals. In her book Body Foods for Women, dietician Jane Clarke recommends that smokers eat as many vitamin C-rich foods as possible and supplement daily with 2000 mg of this vitamin. Best of all, of course, is to put a plan in action that will help you to quit smoking completely.
T TEA TREE, an Australasian flowering shrub or small tree with leaves that are sometimes used for tea. Tea tree oil is one of the best-researched essential oils in the world. Many studies have demonstrated its value as an antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. For almost a century it has been used for these purposes, and its ability to kill bacteria is well established. Try a specially formulated shampoo that contains tea tree oil, as it is also a powerful cleanser.
U UNITE. Sharing common interests with people around you give a feeling of belonging and can prevent you from becoming too insular. Joining a yoga or philosophy class or signing up to volunteer in your community can help you make new friends and broaden your horizons.
V VINO. Red wine is said to contain antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body. Do not over-indulge, however, as excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and serious psychological problems. It is recommended that women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week and men no more than 21 units. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, in South Africa one unit of alcohol is equal to 90ml of wine (12%), half a can of cider, one shot of spirits, or two-thirds of a can of beer or bottle of alcoholic cooler.
W WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER. Yes, we know you have heard it before, but 6-8 glasses of water a day really is good for you. Your body is made up of 60% water and needs water to aid in the digestive processes and remove toxins. Regular water consumption also helps with regulating body temperature. Many supermarkets now sell home filter jugs; alternatively, there are various filter systems available that can be fitted in your kitchen, ensuring a healthy source of clean water for your family.
X X-FILES. Finding out about subjects you do not know much about broadens your mind and makes for more interesting conversation. Constantly challenging your mind and beliefs keeps you mentally agile and up to date.
Y YOGA. Regular yoga practice is a wonderful way of toning and exercising the body. It improves posture and increases flexibility. There are many different schools of yoga - find the one that is best for you. Many health centres and gyms now offer yoga classes on a regular basis.
Z ZZZZZZ. Enough sleep is essential to good health! While you sleep your body works to repair damage and eliminate toxins. Too little sleep can lead to weakening of the immune system and lack of concentration. The need for sleep varies from person to person according to age and environmental factors, but eight hours of sleep a night is generally recommended.
A depressed mood is present for most of the day, for more days than not (subjective or through observation), for a minimum of 2 years, during which two or more of the following are present:
During the 2-year period the person has not been without the above symptoms for more than 2 months at a time. There has never been a manic or hypomanic episode. No major depressive episode has been present during the first 2 years. The symptoms must not be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition.
This is diagnosed when there have been many periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode for a minimum of 2 years, the person has not been without symptoms for more than 2 months at a time, and no major depressive episode, manic episode or mixed episode has been present during that time.
It is not possible to examine all the neurological pathways that may impact on depression in this small article, so it is sufficient to say that not all depression is a result of reduced activity of serotonin; rather there are many different pathways, and treatment must be individualised.
Milder depressive episodes that do not meet the criteria for a full-blown disorder, or depression linked to a temporary situation or nutritional deficiency, also need to be acknowledged and treated, and this is likely to be where the suggestions below will be extremely useful.
Raw cacao is rich in minerals and has many benefits - it is particularly good for depression. Cacao is high in magnesium, which is needed for serotonin production and balancing brain chemistry. It also contains anandamide (known as the ‘bliss chemical’) as well as tryptophan.
Note: Many experts believe that diet & supplements can make a big difference in treating depression, though not every type. If you can connect your sadness to a particular event, such as the breakup of a relationship or a job loss, you are much more likely to find success with mood-boosting supplements. If your depression is unexplained however, you should be seeing a professional and asking serious questions, and not just popping supplements.
Fact: 80% of people above the age of 55 are estimated to have cholesterol levels above those recommended because of the build-up of plaque over time
Two ground-breaking studies released staggering results on the presence of toxic substances in our bodies. One conducted by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA looked at individual chemicals in a multitude of people; the other, led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, examined individual people for a multitude of chemicals.
The CDC study looked for 116 different contaminants in the blood and urine of 2500 people and found every single one. The Mount Sinai study identified an average of 91 metals, industrial compounds, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of all nine volunteers.
It is not clear how many of these contaminants affect our health, but alternative medicine has long offered a way to remove some of those known to be harmful from our bodies - chelation. The word comes from chele, the Greek word meaning claw, for the ability of a synthetic amino acid called EDTA to wrap itself like a claw around a heavy-metal molecule and carry it out of the body. In the customary method of chelation patients are injected with a solution of EDTA, along with certain vitamins and minerals. But a gentler version has been developed too that allows people to take supplements that perform the same function, though more slowly.
Since then, the primary use of EDTA chelation, which accounted for 800,000 patient visits in the USA in 1997, has been for heart disease and circulatory problems.
It has numerous other uses as well: it has been reported to cure high blood pressure, kidney disease, psoriasis, gangrene from diabetes and even autoimmune diseases. Limbs have even been saved from amputation with chelation therapy.
A meta-analysis of 19 studies on chelation published in the autumn of 1994 Journal of Advancement in Medicine, showed improvement in 88% of cases of people with heart disease problems.
The US National Institutes of Health has now determined that enough people are using intravenous chelation for coronary artery disease to warrant more definitive research: it recently launched a $30 million five-year study on the therapy’s efficacy and safety.
Meanwhile, recent studies continue to support the association of heavy metals – particularly lead – with serious disease.
"The average level of lead in the bones today is 1000 times what it was four or five hundred years ago," says Arizona-based physician, homeopath and osteopath Garry Gordon, one of the founders of the chelation therapy movement.
He notes recent findings from the New England Journal of Medicine which concluded that there may be no safe level of this highly toxic heavy metal. It is now well established that lead can cause permanent neurological and behavioural problems and affects every system in the body. "There is significant IQ loss in children exposed to levels well below the CDC limit of 10 micrograms per decilitre," Gordon says.
He maintains that children treated for lead with his approach may be cured of hyperactivity and aggression, and do not need Ritalin. He says he knows the process works because he finds high levels of minerals in patients’ urine and faeces after treatment.
In addition to booting out lead, intravenous and oral chelation can also remove mercury, cadmium and other metals. Everyone could benefit from the continuous lifetime ingestion of EDTA and other natural chelators, including garlic, vitamin C and malic acid (apple acid), says Gordon. "It would help offset the increasing burden of toxic metals coming from our degraded environment."
Dr Hans-Peter Kubis, who led the research at Bangor University, said: "Our results give a stark warning against regularly drinking sugar-sweetened drinks…it seems that our muscles are able to sense the sugars and make our metabolism more inefficient, not only in the present but in the future as well."
In the study researchers investigated the effect of SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages) on healthy, lean individuals. Body composition, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), insulin sensitivity, muscle metabolic gene and protein expression were assessed before and after. After four weeks of drinking SSBs (about 140 grams of glucose a day), data showed a reduced ability to burn fat: muscle metabolism became less efficient and underwent a persistent shift to preferentially burning sugar and storing fat. This is the unhealthy adaptive change that occurs in the obese and diabetic.
What is more - diet sodas may be worse than your regular sodas. A study at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, found that diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners, spiked the risk of type 2 diabetes.
GABA supplements act as a natural tranquilizer and have many other benefits with no known side effects. GABA works wonders for ADHD as GABA helps brainwaves flow in calm rhythms. In effect, it does naturally for the brain what Ritalin does chemically - but without the deadly side effects.
GABA enhances normal sleep cycles, can improve blood pressure and can also be an effective pain killer, providing relief from back pain and arthritis. GABA stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete Human Growth Hormone (HGH) leading to weight loss and an increase in muscle tissue. GABA also helps in the production of endorphins to provide you with a sense of well-being after a good physical workout or sexual intercourse.
It also relieves anxiety, improving mood, reduces symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and stabilises blood pressure.
Human growth hormone is a substance naturally produced in the body which is essential for muscle development and growth. Many men are primarily motivated to train their bodies in the gym in order to build muscle and enjoy greater levels of strength as well as a better-looking aesthetic appearance. The body naturally produces lower levels of human growth hormone as it ages and this can lead to a decrease in muscle tone. Studies have shown that higher levels of GABA, achieved through supplementation, are able to boost the amount of human growth hormone produced and utilized by the body. This has been backed up by numerous clinical studies that are controlled against a placebo.
One of the main goals for men is to get six pack abs. It is undeniable that this look is incredibly appealing to women and this notion is constantly reinforced through advertising and the media. What many men are unaware of is that no matter how many crunches they perform they will not have visible abdominal muscles unless their body fat percentage is low enough. GABA can help with fat loss which is conducive to having a visible six pack. This is achieved through its ability to promote lean muscle mass which in turn has a greater level of caloric burn as opposed to fat. This results in calories being expended to maintain muscle rather than being stored as fat.
One of the key roles of GABA within the human brain is to regulate the central nervous system. This is linked to anxiety and sleep amongst other bodily functions. If levels of GABA are too low, then people may find it difficult to sleep and the sleep they do manage will be low quality. Taking a GABA supplement increases the levels of this vital neurotransmitter in the brain which allows the central nervous system to promote healthy sleep. This in turn promotes clear focus and improved energy levels during waking hours.
One of the lesser-known abilities of GABA is that it can improve healthy sexual functioning in men. This is due to the role of GABA as a neurotransmitter within the brain. GABA has a direct link to sexual desire and performance along with other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. By increasing the levels of GABA active within the brain through supplementation a man is likely to find that his levels of sexual desire are elevated. This is a great alternative to unproven herbal treatments or riskier pharmaceutical or surgical intervention.
One of the most prevalent problems in modern society is depression and anxiety. The world we live in is stressful and men find themselves struggling to juggle the many demands of home and work life. This can result in a depressive or negative mind state which is often accompanied by mild to severe anxiety. This is often serious enough to disrupt normal life but not severe enough for a man to visit the doctor. Boosting GABA levels allows a healthier functioning of the central nervous system which is the body’s regulator of stress and anxiety levels. Taking a correct dosage of GABA is a great, natural way to boost a man’s mood and reduce his anxiety levels without turning to prescription medication.
GABA is required to relax muscles and to reset posture by making a normal wave of motion when walking, running or swimming. GABA also stimulates the enteric muscles for intestinal peristalsis and faeces elimination. In a GABA deficiency, the intestines fail to contract properly and the gut becomes bloated with food.
In addition to bowel trouble, other problems that GABA deficiencies cause are carbohydrate cravings, trembling, twitching, hyperventilation, flushing, tachycardia, palpitations, sweating, cold or clammy hands, paraesthesia, chest pain or discomfort, restlessness, blurred vision, abnormal sense of smell, abnormal odours, lump in throat, butterflies in stomach, unusual allergies, anxiety, hypertension, cystitis, gastrointestinal disorders, tinnitus and PMS.
GABA is considered safe for children and adults alike. You can find it at the health food stores. It is food! If your body does not need GABA it will burn it as fuel or use it to build other amino acids.
Note: some users experience a mild tingling and increase in heart rate when first used, especially at high doses.
GABA is a man’s best friend in the bedroom, boardroom and gym. Giving GABA a try for yourself might be the turning point that allows you to finally achieve your goals and live the life you deserve.
*Glutamine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins), found naturally in the body.Glutamine is used to counter some of the side effects of medical treatments. For example, it is used for side effects of cancer chemotherapy including diarrhoea, pain and swelling inside the mouth (mucositis), nerve pain (neuropathy), and muscle and joint pains caused by the cancer drug Taxol. Glutamine is also used to protect the immune system and digestive system in people undergoing radio chemotherapy for cancer of the oesophagus. Additionally, glutamine is used for improving recovery after bone marrow transplant or bowel surgery, increasing well-being in people who have suffered traumatic injuries, and preventing infections in critically ill people.
Before we look for the quickest diet and various marketing tools available to lose weight, we must first pay attention to our real needs and make sure we are happy, wholesome human beings. Dr Sandra Smit advises these tips:
Have a notepad ready in the kitchen and write down your feelings and motivation for eating. This simple exercise will break the habit of compulsive eating and will buy you the few extra minutes that enable your conscious mind to intervene. Next time you run for the fridge ask yourself:
Then find ways to readdress and care for your emotional needs other than through eating. This might involve learning to express yourself clearly to others who might have caused your hurt or disappointment in that moment.
By stating your needs and boundaries, and voicing when you feel hurt and angry, you will be taking a large step towards empowering yourself. It is by taking back our emotional and personal power (not ego or pride) that we feel strong and confident enough to break unwanted habits and addictions, including emotional eating.
This news, researched and backed up in study after study, is particularly interesting in that it is only relatively recently that the medical fraternity has come to show that inflammation - a part of the body's natural defence system - can go rogue and turn this defence into an attack, and to accept that this is potentially the root of all degenerative diseases.
If you have ever burnt yourself while pulling dinner out of the oven you will know exactly what inflammation is - it is the bright red mark that immediately pops up, and the blister that follows. It is the purple bruise after a knock, the swelling after a twisted ankle, or the red heat around an infected tooth. Essentially it is the body’s built-in, first-aid response to an injury, to prevent further infection and assist the body's repair processes.
This acute inflammatory response - where the body identifies which cells are damaged and require repair - switches on when it is needed and then retreats when it is not. But when it does not retreat, pro-inflammatory cells continue to be stimulated, eventually becoming highly destructive, resulting in chronic inflammation. When this state continues, it can lead to the expression of genes that can trigger major diseases - primarily coronary artery disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation can occur in two ways: either because of repeated exposure to an offender such as Candida - in which case the body never gets a rest from the acute inflammation phase - or because it is triggered by cellular stress and dysfunction caused by diet and environmental factors. Once chronic inflammation settles in and spreads, it can result in metabolic collapse, resulting in long-term damage.
This cellular stress is essentially a breakdown in communication between your body's innate immune system (what you are born with) and your acquired immune system (which develops according to the environment, toxins and allergens you are exposed to).
In contrast to acute inflammation, which makes itself felt, chronic inflammation is more insidious in that it often falls just below the point at which you would clearly identify it as 'pain'. Because of this chronic inflammation is sometimes referred to as ‘silent’ inflammation.
However, there are some signs to look out for: general congestion and stuffiness, body aches and pains, lethargy, digestive troubles such as indigestion, stiffness or swelling around joints, shortness of breath, poor complexion or acne, and weight gain.
These, of course, can also be symptoms of a myriad of other problems, which further complicates matters when trying to get a diagnosis, and because they might be vague, test results might not show anything out of the ordinary.
If you feel that you have been suffering from these symptoms or have had an unexplained few years of ‘just not feeling well’, the first test to ask your doctor about is the C Reactive Protein (CRP) test. When the innate and acquired immune systems communicate with one another through a series of bio-chemical reactions, they turn the inflammatory response on and off. But is this response is not turned off, this test will show an increase in CRP, even if there is no obvious reason for that inflammatory response to have been activated. Incidentally, CRP is also used to assess your risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are several groups who are at greater risk of their body’s inflammatory response not shutting off when it is no longer required. Older adults form the biggest of these groups - it is believed the older you are the higher the chance that you have consistently raised levels of inflammatory markers. And while it is not yet fully understood why, perimenopausal and menopausal women are believed to be most at risk, which could go some way to understanding why women are more likely than men to have an auto-immune disease.
Obesity is thought to be another risk factor, as are low sex hormones, which help modulate the inflammatory response and which decrease after menopause, and a diet high in saturated fat.
Aside from drug therapies prescribed by a physician there are several lifestyle changes that you can implement relatively easily:
Exercise is a must even if it is just a brisk walk (with your dog?)!
These ingredients are great anti-inflammatories: Oily fish, Avocado, Berries, Oats and oat bran, Green, leafy vegetables, Citrus fruits, Onion, Low glycaemic-index foods such as whole-grains. Spices, include garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric and oregano.
Spongy bone contains many large spaces that form a storage area for red marrow, the function of which is to produce red blood cells and a proportion of white blood cells, and it also provides the body with some support. The outer covering, also known as compact or dense bone, contains few spaces and is deposited in a layer over the spongy bone tissue. The layer of compact bone is thicker in the shaft of the bone than at the ends, and it provides protection and considerable support.
The outer or compact bone is where the muscles attach, so it facilitates movement when the muscles contract and relax. This dense structure is also what gives bone its intrinsic strength.
Although most bone strength (including mass & quality) is genetically determined, it is also influenced by many other factors - nutritional, environmental and lifestyle. Nutrition is an important modifiable factor in the development and maintenance of bone mass and the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Approximately 80-90% of bone mineral content consists of calcium and phosphorus. Protein, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fluoride and vitamins D, A, C and K are also required for normal bone metabolism, while other things we ingest, such as caffeine, alcohol and phyto-oestrogens (plant chemicals that can mimic oestrogen) also impact on bone health.
The potential for optimal bone strength, development and function therefore begins with the health status of the mother who is expecting to fall pregnant.
Peak bone density is reached somewhere between age 17 and 26 and is to a large extent influenced by exposure to ‘Pro-Life’ signals or ‘Pro-Death’ signals. ‘Pro-Life’ signals that lead to enhanced bone formation include high intake of nutrient-dense food - fruits, vegetables, salads, healthy oils (avocado, flax seed, olive etc) concentrated proteins (eggs, fish, poultry, lean meats, tofu, soy, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese), nuts and seeds. The higher the intake of organic and free-range products the more ‘Pro-Life’ the messages will be.
A low intake of dairy products, refined grains, sugar, processed food and caffeine (coffee, cola drinks) which can send unhealthy or ‘Pro-Death’ messages to the cells, is strongly advised.
A further critical factor, and another signal that encourages healthy bone development and strength, is a weight resistance (exercise) regime. The more muscles are stimulated the more the feedback mechanism directing further absorption of calcium and phosphorus to enhance bone strength will kick in.
Children these days spend more and more time in front of the TV or computer, sometimes because of the heavy demands of schoolwork, but often simply because of computer games! There is less running around, jumping and throwing - activities that demand and encourage stronger bones.
Diet is crucial to bone development and strength, and a suitable supplementation regime as well as a good diet, ensures that no matter the age he or she is getting enough of the critical nutrients for bone development, including all those mentioned above.
Evidence has been found that calcium supplements are not safe nor particularly effective. The latest study which followed 24,000 middle-aged and elderly Germans for 11 years found calcium pills roughly doubled the risk of having a heart attack. It is essential that calcium supplements contain other essential minerals and vitamins as per earlier.
The study found that patients who took the osteoporosis medications for five years or more had nearly double the risk of oesophageal cancer compared with those who had never taken the drugs. There was no increase in the risk of stomach or colorectal cancer.
The link between the use of bisphosphonate medications and oesophageal cancer first surfaced in 2009 when US Food and Drug Administration reports noted 23 cases of oesophageal cancer in patients who had taken Fosamax between 1995 and 2008.
Certain fat-soluble supplements, for instance Vitamin E, can accumulate in tissues. Some accumulate without harm - such as beta-carotene leading to orange-coloured palms (carotenemia) - but others may continue accumulating and potentially cause problems. Overstimulation can occur. For instance, the effects of SAMe can continue building up in the body and cause restlessness, insomnia and irritability if a high dose is taken over several days or weeks.
Many herbs, hormones and supplements have a stimulatory nature. Some of these include Acetyl-L-Carnitine, CoQ10, DHEA, DMAE, Ginseng, Lipoic Acid, Pregnenolone, Rhodiola, St. John's Wort, Tongkat Ali and most sexual herbs, Trimethylglycine and Tyrosine.
Taking too many in high doses can potentially cause heart rhythm irregularities, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, early morning awakening, especially when combined with other stimulants such as caffeine.
We just do not know enough about the long-term effects of many supplements and herbs if taken daily for periods of months or years. Some of the supplements may interact with the medicines you may be taking or interact with over-the-counter drugs or even interact with other supplements.
Certain supplements may benefit the immune system in the short term, but when used daily for many months may be counterproductive. For instance, Echinacea is helpful in stimulating the immune system. If taken daily for several months or years, it lowers the immune system and in rare cases it may initiate an autoimmune condition. Long term, high dose, daily use of hormones - such as DHEA and Pregnenolone - could stimulate tumour growth or lead to scalp hair thinning. Taking "hormone holidays" is likely to significantly reduce the risk.
Tolerance can develop. For instance, Melatonin and Tryptophan may not work as well for sleep if taken every night and you may need a higher dose for the same effect. Certain libido herbs may work by stimulating testosterone release or release of other substances in the brain and body and the body may need a break for a few days to replenish these substances so the herbs can be effective again.
Another form of tolerance is that you may get used to the feelings that the supplements provide and not realize how well you are feeling until you stop them for a few days. Certain supplements may influence the endocrine system (hormonal balance) in ways we do not yet fully understand.
There may be impurities in the products or the binders and fillers that could be tolerated by the liver or other organs if consumed occasionally, but toxic if consumed daily for prolonged periods. Or an allergy could develop.
Most minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium; Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Fish Oils, Green Tea, Probiotics, Psyllium, Stevia; herbs used as spices such as Basil, Curcumin, Fennel, Ginger; most supplements used for joint health such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin; most herbs used for prostate health such as Saw Palmetto and Pygeum; most herbs used for menopause support such as Black Cohosh, Chaste Berry and Red Clover.
Cleaning your skin is not limited to the outside. It must begin on the inside, where the real work starts at a cellular level in what you are feeding your body. The first thing to consider in your routine is drinking enough water. The human body is more than 70% water, so it makes sense to start here. Around 8 glasses a day is considered a healthy amount, and it will not hurt to aim for a little more than that, particularly during the hot summer months.
Water boosts lymphatic circulation, which is the body’s toxin-disposal system. Puffy eyes are an indication of an accumulation of toxins in this area and can often be rectified by drinking adequate amounts of water.
Dark shadows under the eyes can be a sign of sluggishness, too little water, or food allergies - even too little sleep and insufficient exercise may show up as dark rings. Sometimes poor heart or kidney function manifests in this way, but usually it is something less sinister such as an unhealthy lifestyle, or even a yeast infection such as Candida albicans.
Milk contains dihydrotestosterone (DHT) precursors, including 5a-pregnanedione and 5a-androstanedione, hormones that are only a few steps away from DHT. Skin glands contain the enzymes required for converting these precursors to DHT, and this is what immediately happens if you consume milk - bad news if you tend to acne, as DHT signals the skin glands to produce more sebum and for this reason is regarded as a prime cause of acne.
Perhaps second only to water in skin health - and in fact, whole-body health - would have to be omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) in the form of fish and fish oils. Because these help both to produce and to preserve the skin’s natural oil barrier - essential for maintaining hydration of the skin, giving healthy skin its plump appearance, and keeping the skin looking younger - they are paramount to skin vitality. Healthy fats are found in fatty fish or high-quality fish oil supplements, nuts and seeds (not their oils - only eat them fresh and raw), and omega-3 rich eggs.
It is extremely important to make sure you buy organic eggs as ordinary eggs from battery farms will not contain anywhere near the omega-3 content you are looking for. The egg can offer you only what the chicken has been fed, and organic eggs will be free from harmful chemicals while at the same time being rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids along with a host of other beneficial nutrients.
We already have an over-abundance of the other EFA (omega-6) in our Western diet, so it would be prudent to concentrate on rectifying the ratio of 3 to 6 by taking only omega-3 fish oils, not a mixture of the two. Omega-9 is not an EFA and is easily made by the body from the other EFAs.
Just as it is important to know your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight numbers, men need to know their waist circumference. So, get out the tape measure. A waist measurement of 40 inches (101 cm) or more puts the average man into the risk zone for serious illnesses the experts warn.
Excess abdominal fat, as opposed to fat elsewhere on the body, increases men’s risk of developing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. This fat around internal organs is known as visceral fat.
To measure your waist size correctly, wrap a tape measure over bare skin on your natural waistline, a little above the belly button at the narrowest part of your torso. Do not hold the tape measure too loose or too tight. And if you are over the danger level? Eat better, reduce portion sizes and cut back on alcohol, decrease stress levels, exercise regularly, and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every day.
Whilst exercise will increase your metabolic rate and help increase the rate of calorie (fat) burn supplements such as cordyceps can also increase metabolic rate that little extra.
The vegetable with the most prostate-protective buzz these days is the tomato. It contains lycopene, one of the vitamin A family of carotenoid antioxidants. Yale scientists recently analysed blood samples from 437 men with and without prostate cancer.
They found that the cancer-free men were far more likely to have high levels of lycopene in their blood than those with aggressive, life-threatening disease.
Your best lycopene bet is cooked tomatoes. Cooking not only makes lycopene more available to the body it gives you more tomato per bite. “Tomatoes contain many more carotenoids as well as lycopene”, says physician William Dahut of the National Cancer Institute and “they all help”.
If you do not like tomatoes or tomato sauce or cannot eat enough to reduce your risk, then a daily lycopene supplement is a must. What to do? Eat at least three servings of cooked tomato-based foods per week and/ or take a Lycopene supplement daily.
A team from Harvard University recently found that men who drink at least 6 or more cups of coffee a day may cut their risk for advanced prostate cancer by 60% and even men who drank one to three cups a day had a 30% lower risk.
The reductions in risk were found to be irrespective of whether the men drank caffeinated or de caffeinated coffee. Even after considering other lifestyle factors such as age, smoking, obesity and exercise, the decline in the odds for prostate cancer remained.
They concluded “this adds to the evidence from a variety of diseases that coffee doesn’t seem to be harmful. It has been shown pretty consistently to be associated with lower risk of Parkinson disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver cancer”.
The finding comes on the heels of a study that found that women who drank five or more cups of coffee per day saw a significant drop in their risk for a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.
According to the Journal ‘Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology’, the scent of rosemary can help boost your brain power and improve your mood. After exposing 20 volunteers to varying levels of rosemary aromas, their cognitive performance, concentration, speed and accuracy and mood had all improved.
The antioxidants in rosemary can also be used for cancer prevention. A 2008 study found that adding rosemary to chicken for instance was shown to break down potentially cancer-causing compounds that form when meat is cooked.
Taking sleeping pills. According to a recent study published in the BMJ, commonly prescribed sleeping pills like benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, barbiturates and sedatives are linked with higher death risk.
The study found that people who took between 18 and 132 doses of the pills per year were 4.6 times likelier to die than people who do not take them. Older research about sleeping pills found they are linked to night-eating syndromes (bingeing on food), car accidents, serious falls and peptic ulcer disease.
Evidence has been found that calcium supplements are not safe nor particularly effective. The latest study which followed 24,000 middle-aged and elderly Germans for 11 years, found calcium pills roughly doubled the risk of having a heart attack.
Note - Calcium must always be taken with magnesium and depending upon the form of each at least twice the amount of magnesium to calcium.
70% of your immune system is in the gut so if it is sluggish, it comprises immunity. The ideal transit time in the gut is 12-24 hours. Here is a simple way to check yours - take 5-10gms of charcoal (tablets) two hours before eating and again five hours before bed.
Check how long it takes for your stool to come out black. Anything longer than 24 hours then your sluggish gut movement causes toxic build up and anything less than 12 indicates nutrients are not being absorbed properly.
A study by researchers from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, on volunteers aged between 21 and 84 concluded after just two weeks that “both sexes had seen significantly increased testosterone levels”. All the volunteers did was to drink one glass of pure pomegranate fruit juice! Pomegranate also contains a range of antioxidants that help ward off heart diseases, help blood circulation, mood and memory.
Change is never easy, and in fact our whole culture resists it. The food industry, the drug industry and even the medical industry profit from how we live right now. These secrets are practical ways to keep transforming your health at every level and give guidance on how to build into your diet and lifestyle, the critical components that will keep you healthy for years to come.
"Most people don’t realise that 40% or more of cancer patients actually die from malnutrition", says Dr Patrick Quillin, an internationally recognised expert in the area of nutrition and cancer from California. Good nutrition and supplements can help combat this, but unfortunately many oncologists cling to an old mindset that rejects supplements out of concern that they will interfere with treatment.
Dr Charles B Simone, medical oncologist, immunologist and radiation oncologist at the Simone Protective Cancer Centre, New Jersey, did a recent survey of 280 peer-reviewed studies that should put most of these fears to rest. Most of the studies found that dietary supplements did not interact negatively with treatments. Along with supplying much-needed nutrients, many of them improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation, reduced appetite-suppressing side-effects, and even increased the chances of survival.
His conclusion - include a cancer nutrition expert as part of your health care team. Based on your type of cancer, your dietary habits and blood tests to determine your vitamin levels, heavy metal toxicity and immune function, nutrition experts can customise a strategy to keep you well nourished.
In addition, supplements can make the body’s internal environment less hospitable to new tumour growth.
A natural sleep remedy, a tea extract and a good multi-vitamin can help alleviate fatigue and pain among cancer patients, new research suggests. The study by researchers at Cancer Treatment Centres of America looked at 50 pancreatic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. All were taking pain medication, but 36 also took green tea extract, melatonin and multivitamins. Taking supplements may help pain meds work longer and lift the haze that accompanies analgesics. The recommendation is 1000mg of green tea extract a day, 20mg of melatonin at bedtime, and a daily multivitamin with 1000mg of vitamin C.
Just remember to keep your oncologist in the loop about your supplement use.
Cancer Nutrition Info (www.cancernutrition-info.com) provides a wealth of information about nutrition and dietary supplements for cancer patients and survivors.
Yes, although you will find this difficult to believe – it has been proven that elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels have fewer heart attacks than those with lower cholesterol levels. Elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels also have fewer strokes than those with lower cholesterol levels. And elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels are indeed hospitalised for infections less often than those with lower cholesterol levels.
The scientific explanations of the above relationships between low cholesterol and disease are simple.
After taking this look at the molecular biology of cholesterol you would expect that people with high blood levels of healthy (non-rancid, non-oxidised) cholesterol would live the longest. This is a fact.
Microscopic studies by Professor M Ali in the 1960’s of arterial plaques removed in autopsy samples showed the presence of cholesterol crystals only in dead tissues deep in the walls of the vessels. There were never crystals in the inner lining tissue of the arteries. /p>
His conclusion - cholesterol deposits are not the cause but a consequence of tissue injury in blood vessel walls caused by excess acidity, incremental free-radical activity, micro clot and micro plaque formation in the circulating blood, stickiness of arterial lining, and intimal injury that precedes plaque formation. Cholesterol crystals only appeared in the plaque much later.
The message is do your ‘homework’ about lowering cholesterol levels and the relationships of low cholesterol with disease before you start taking statin drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor.
Many studies validate the above statements:
IBS is a common condition and one that responds well to nutritional therapy. This is because nutritional therapy places great emphasis on gut health. Our body needs a wide range of nutrients, but these nutrients need to be digested and absorbed, and unwanted matter eliminated.
The ‘irritable’ in IBS implies that there is a dysfunction somewhere in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract (which runs from the mouth to the anus), and the health of the gut needs to be addressed if the body is not to suffer from lack of nutrients and a build-up of toxic waste.
It is important to remember that the health of the GI tract is of additional importance because it helps to prevent harmful pathogens from entering the body.
IBS may develop for several possible reasons, the most common being poor digestion, gut dysbiosis or infection, and food intolerance. It is probably easiest to understand the possible problem areas by working our way down the gut.
There are four organs that are key to good digestion - the stomach, pancreas, liver and intestines. In an ideal situation they work together to break down foods efficiently so that nutrients can be absorbed into the body, but any weakness in any of these organs can result in foods not being properly digested and absorbed.
Acid produced by the stomach is responsible for the first part of the breakdown of proteins and is also important in liberating minerals so that they can be utilised by the body. Acid production is affected by stress and can be hampered by a zinc deficiency, as zinc plays a part in the chemical reaction in the body that creates the acid. Stomach acid production generally also decreases with age. A reduction in stomach acid allows bacteria and other infectious agents to survive.
Enzymes are essential to break food down further and are mainly produced by the pancreas. The term pancreatic insufficiency is used when the pancreas is not producing sufficient enzymes. Both poor stomach acid production and pancreatic insufficiency lead to inadequate break-down of foods. These foods can ferment in the gut, which is one of the causes of bloating and wind.
Bile is produced by the liver and helps to break down fats. It also gives stools their characteristic dark brown colour.
The intestines are responsible for the absorption of digested foods into the body. The intestines are home to bacteria and often parasites and fungi as well. Some of the bacteria help us and are known as good gut bacteria (probiotics) which help keep the bad bacteria at bay. Certain foods (e.g., bananas, oats and onions) contain substances that feed the good bacteria and help keep the gut microflora in balance. Live yoghurt can contain probiotics.
There is an ongoing battle between the bacteria that help the body and those that are harmful. Antibiotics are often a curse to the gut as they disrupt the normal balance of bacteria, enabling pathogenic agents such as Candida albicans (a fungus) to get out of control. Pathogens such as candida and parasites release toxins that can lead to bloating. They can also damage the gut wall and allow foods to enter the bloodstream before they have been broken down, which is known as leaky gut syndrome. The body will regard these food particles as an unwelcome visitor (antigen) and an immune reaction may take place, leading to puffy eyes, fatigue, a foggy brain and even arthritis. The food that caused this reaction is now toxic to the body, and a food intolerance can develop.
We have seen that there are several possible causes of IBS: poor stomach, pancreas or liver function, the presence of unfriendly bacteria, fungi or parasites in the gut, and food intolerances.
To a large extent an analysis of the symptoms can often determine where the problem lies. For example, diarrhoea that recurs on a regular basis suggests the presence of a parasite.
Too often, people assume they have a candida problem and undergo a highly restricted dietary regime for months with no improvement, because candida was not the problem in the first place.
Another useful tool is a test to establish whether you have food intolerances. True food allergies are quick to show up, but the more common food intolerances have delayed symptoms, making identification of the food that is causing the problem difficult. Often people experience a marked improvement if they avoid the most common problem foods such as wheat, dairy and citrus, but any food could be a problem and a clinically proven food intolerance test that measures immune reactions to foods can be useful.
Once the underlying problem has been identified there are various nutritional solutions on offer:
These substances generally leave the good bacteria intact, and you need to test which causes you no aggravation.
The whole process of killing off any unwanted pathogens, increasing the number of good bacteria and healing the gut wall can take months, and a good diet, particularly avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol, is important at this time.
The liver may also need to be supported to help it cope with toxins created as the candida, parasites etc, die off.
Once the health of the gut has been restored, avoiding foods you are intolerant to for a few months can allow the body to adjust itself, and the food may then no longer be a problem.
Symptoms of low iron levels (anaemia) include tiredness, pallor, shortness of breath, fatigue, irritability, and decreased general health and wellbeing. Iron deficiency is thought to impair psychomotor development and cognitive function in infants and to reduce work performance in adults. Anaemia in pregnancy increases the likelihood of having a premature or low-birth-weight baby, and even the risk of peri-natal death of the baby.
Signs of lack of iron include pallor of the skin, tongue, lower inner eyelids and nail beds, a sore mouth, unusual hair loss, dry hair and skin, abnormally heavy periods, fatigue, reduced stamina, headaches, dizziness, irritability, a decreased appetite and reduced immunity.
Iron deficiency may be a result of blood loss (including heavy menstruation), pregnancy or lactation. Vegetarians and vegans are at increased risk if they do not ensure that they get sufficient dietary iron.
Iron absorption is increased by stomach acid, vitamin C, meat, protein foods, citrus fruit, vegetables, iron cookware, copper, cobalt and manganese.
Absorption of iron is decreased by antacids, phosphates, phytates (found in raw grains and nuts), oxalates (such as those in uncooked green leafy vegetables), low copper levels, calcium, raw and unfermented soy protein (including soy milk and tofu), coffee and black tea.
If you want to supplement both Spirulina and Iron chelate are recommended.
Whilst some Naturopaths and other practitioners of complementary medicine suggest fasting during detoxification a less dramatic detox can be achieved with supplements. Always drink plenty of water whilst on any detox.
The scary thing is that we lose the ability to distinguish between what is normal and not normal.
A good barometer for establishing whether you are lacking in energy is to look at various aspects of your life, such as sleep habits (are you sleeping more or less?), productive hours in your day (are you getting as much done as you used to?), how much exercise you can do, and what you do in your spare time (are you active or resting?).
The causes of fatigue are in fact often subclinical, meaning that there is a dysfunction in the person’s health but no condition that can be identified using the diagnostic criteria of mainstream medicine.
The next point of call is often the integrative medicine or naturopathic practitioner, who can look at the person’s functional state to ascertain the nature of the fatigue.
Mitochondria are tiny structures that occupy our cells. They are like miniscule batteries, providing energy for the entire body. For the mitochondria to fire, specific nutrients are required to produce energy at a sufficient rate.
When our bodies become deficient in these nutrients, or any of them are not available, our energy store runs out, leaving us feeling tired or, over a longer period, fatigued. In order to keep the mitochondria firing we need to feed them with the right stuff!
Another way to boost energy is to build lean muscle mass. By increasing muscle mass, we directly increase the levels of mitochondria in our bodies. Not only does the increased muscle help us to burn energy, but it also helps to convert unwanted fat stores to energy, leading to weight loss.
If you notice any of the following signs you should immediately contact your doctor for further investigations.
As we age this protein is slowly lost, leading to joint degeneration, synovial (joint) fluid loss and dramatic skin changes (wrinkles, cellulite, dryness and loss of elasticity).
Collagen is not available in food so supplementing with a highly absorbable hydrolysed collagen is recommended to help maintain the vitality of connective tissues and improve general health & appearance.
“Within five years of menopause 30% of skin collagen is lost.” Br. Med. J. (Clin. Res. Ed.) 287 (8402): 1337.38.1883
The 174 page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centres, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, shows zero deaths from any of the vitamins, including multivitamin preparations; no deaths from any amino acid or herbal product, including blue cohosh, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, kava kava, St John’s wort, valerian, yohimbe, Asian medicines, ayurvedic medicines, or any other botanical; no deaths from creatine, blue-green algae, glucosamine, chondroitin, melatonin, or any homeopathic remedies; and none from any dietary mineral supplement – i.e.. calcium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, colloidal silver, selenium, iron or multimineral supplements.
Two children died as a result of medical use of the antacid sodium bicarbonate, and the other ‘Electrolyte and Mineral’ category death was that of a man who accidentally drank sodium hydroxide, a highly toxic degreaser and drain-opener.
Over half of the US population takes nutritional supplements every day. Even if each of those people took just one tablet that makes 154,000,000 individual doses a day, a total of over 56 billion annually. Since many people take more than just one vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is even more remarkable.
If nutritional supplements are as ‘dangerous’ as the US Food and Drug Administration and news media so often claim where are the bodies?
In 2007 the Healthcare Professionals Impact Study revealed trends in the recommendation of natural supplements by doctors in the USA.
Up to 79% of the 1200 health care professionals included in the study advised their patients to take supplements. These included supplements for bone health (recommended by 33%), overall health and wellness (32%), joint health (29%), and heart health and cholesterol management (26%).
An interesting fact highlighted by the study was that 72% of these health care practitioners used dietary supplements themselves.
Doctors most often took multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium/ magnesium combinations for osteoporosis.
Use of supplements by 4501 female doctors was compared with that of the general population. Regular supplement use increased with age, individuals at risk of heart disease had a higher antioxidant intake, and those with a history of osteoporosis took regular calcium supplementation. The doctors who took supplements also regularly consumed fruit and vegetables and avoided dietary fat. It was concluded that female doctors used supplements at similar rates to women in the general population.
Many people avoid taking high doses of vitamins or herbal supplements when they hear that these may cause side-effects. However, the same individuals often do not hesitate to take pharmaceutical drugs with very well-known side-effect profiles that far outweigh any potential adverse effects of natural remedies. Do we know what the real risks are? Statistics from the US National Poison Data System showed that in 2008 no deaths whatsoever were associated with supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
Fact: Hypochlorhydria arises when the stomach is unable to produce hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) and is a greatly overlooked cause of problems. It is especially common in those with ME/CFS/FM and is known to be associated with childhood asthma.
Gastric acid is an essential part of normal defences against disease. Gastric acid is also essential for getting rid of undesirable bacteria and yeast that appear in the diet.
If there is an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the stomach, then foods will get fermented instead of being digested. This produces wind and gas resulting in bloating and alcohols which may or may not be useful to the body.
The treatment in the short term is to take acid supplements. Cider vinegar is a popular treatment for many problems - the vinegar acidifies the stomach and improves the digestion of food. The problem with cider vinegar is that it contains yeast and would therefore not be tolerated by everyone.
A second possibility is to take high dose ascorbic acid (vitamin C) at mealtimes. Ascorbic acid taken at mealtimes mildly acidifies the stomach and promotes absorption.
The third approach is to take Betaine Hydrochloride (Betaine HCL), a naturally occurring substance derived from beets. Capsules are best and need to be taken with food, with the dose adjusted according to the response.
Often in the longer term with the correct diet (low glycaemic index, low allergy, smaller meals, get rid of Helicobacter pylori, correct gut flora) this cures the chronic gastritis, and the stomach is again able to produce acid normally.
As with all health issues you should discuss stomach acidity, testing, and management with your professional healthcare team.
But a simple preliminary test of stomach acidity is to drink a small amount of baking soda in water first thing in the morning. If you have not belched within a few minutes, you may not be producing enough stomach acid, since hydrochloric acid reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas.
As the major fat-burning organ in the body it regulates fat metabolism, via a complicated set of biochemical pathways and can also pump excessive fat out of the body through the bile into the small intestines. It is therefore a remarkable machine for keeping weight under control, being both a fat-burning organ and a fat-pumping organ.
Apart from a vital role in regulating fat stores, the liver synthesises proteins and immune factors, stores vitamins, secretes hormones and transforms and breaks down many different substances in the body, including the essential removal of waste products. Ultimately every substance that we eat, drink or smell is processed in the liver. Many drugs are substantially metabolised by the liver before entering the general circulation, which is why so many drugs list liver damage as a notable side-effect.
The consequences of mistreating the liver include obesity, an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies and many other ailments. And although the immune system protects our body from many dangers, it is the liver that protects the immune system from overload.
If the liver filter is damaged by toxins or clogged up with excessive waste material, it will be less able to remove the small fat globules circulating in the bloodstream. This causes excessive fat to build up in the blood vessel walls, in other organs of the body and in fatty deposits under the skin, seen as cellulite in the buttocks, thighs, arms and abdominal wall.
Weight gain will occur, especially around the abdominal area, and a pot belly will develop. It can be almost impossible to lose this abdominal fat until liver function improves.
If the liver is dysfunctional, it will not manufacture adequate amounts of HDL, which scavenges the unhealthy LDL from the blood vessel walls. Most cases of high LDL cholesterol are caused by a dietary-inflicted blockage of the liver’s LDL clearing mechanism.
To find out if you are a sitting duck, answer these questions:
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are a sitting duck waiting for a dreaded disease to strike. You may be fine now, or at least thinking you are. But the degenerative and damaging processes are already happening inside your body, increasing your risk as time goes by.
The more yes’s you have answered to these questions, the greater your risk is, because with each affirmative answer comes an increased risk of all four of the biggest killers – heart attack, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
What supplements will stop sitting ducks from suffering heart attack, stroke, cancer and diabetes you ask?
This is the period in a woman’s life when menopausal symptoms start to rear their ugly head. A well-balanced diet is essential, as it helps the body to adjust automatically to hormone changes, naturally maintaining oestrogen levels from the adrenal glands and fat deposits. Blood sugar control is key! If your blood sugar is all over the place you are more likely to experience fatigue, irritability and hot flushes. Balancing your blood sugar also prevents your adrenal glands from working overtime, which is important because they should be producing more oestrogen while your ovaries are producing less. Stabilise your blood sugar by eating low glycaemic load carbohydrates with protein while avoiding sugar, refined foods and stimulants such as tea and coffee.
Menopausal and postmenopausal women can benefit from including phyto-oestrogens in their diet. These plant hormones imitate the protective effect of oestrogen on the heart and bones. In the breast, the same compounds appear to compete with natural oestrogen in a way that may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Phyto-oestrogens have also been shown to reduce vaginal dryness and irritation as well as hot flushes.
Phyto-oestrogens can also have a protective effect on men. In Japan, where consumption of fermented soy products is high, the death rate from prostate cancer is far lower than it is in the West. As many men over the age of 55 suffer from an enlarged prostate and 20,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Britain annually, it is advisable to increase these foods in the diet. Zinc has also been found to be an especially important nutrient for protection of the prostate.
Good sources of zinc are oysters, peas and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and linseed. Tomatoes are especially beneficial for prostate health, as they are packed full of an important antioxidant called lycopene. Sun-ripened and very ripe tomatoes tend to contain higher levels of lycopene than their paler counterparts.
Not only are green leafy vegetables a good source of calcium, which is necessary for bone health, they are also rich in an antioxidant called lutein. Lutein is concentrated in the retina of the eye, and low levels are linked with a risk of macular degeneration – the leading cause of age-related blindness. So, eat your greens!
In this age group the risk of a heart attack and heart disease rises. To decrease your risk significantly avoid fried foods and limit your intake of foods high in saturated fats. Increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by consuming significant quantities of omega-3 oils, found in oily fish, walnuts and flax seed oil. Reducing salt intake is important to help minimise the rises in blood pressure that can occur in middle age.
However, reducing salt is only one factor. In order to manage blood pressure effectively one also needs to increase intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium by eating plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables.
Production of stomach acid and enzymes often declines with age. Stomach acid production depends on zinc, so in your sixties and beyond it is important to ensure that your zinc intake is adequate. Lack of zinc also reduces a person’s sense of taste and smell, resulting in a preference for strongly flavoured foods like cheese and meat, and those high in salt and additives such as MSG and lack of interest in fruit and vegetables. Improving zinc intake, rather than avoiding or overcooking vegetables and adding strongly flavoured sauces can improve your health considerably.
One of the greatest causes of suffering in old age is aching joints and arthritis. To reduce symptoms all simple processed and concentrated carbohydrates should be avoided. Complex carbohydrates and high-fibre foods should be emphasised, and fats should be kept to a minimum. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis food allergies are often involved, so it is advisable to identify and avoid the offending foods.
Foods particularly beneficial for the rheumatoid arthritis sufferer include oily fish and flavonoid-rich berries such as cherries, blueberries and blackberries. Ginger and curcumin (found in turmeric) have been proven to have potent anti-inflammatory properties so use them liberally in cooking.
At over 60 women no longer require as much iron because they no longer have periods. However, dietary intake of vitamin D becomes even more important to protect against hip fractures and broken bones. You can hit your daily target with a serving of canned salmon. Eggs, butter and cheese provide smaller amounts of this vitamin, so a supplement may be necessary.
The occasional glass of red wine is fine into your sixties and beyond. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, which may help protect the heart. Researchers at the University of Bordeaux claim that red wine may even help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease when consumed in regular but moderate amounts.
However, the best way to keep the brain sharp is to keep eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. Several studies have shown that elderly people who eat lots of fruit, vegetables and their juices have better memories than those who say no to greens!
Pomegranate contains a cocktail of chemicals which appear to reduce cell damage and potentially kill off cancer cells, according to scientists at the University of California. They asked 50 men with prostate cancer to have a glass (0.24 litres) of the juice daily. They then kept track of the men's levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein linked to prostate cancer. Usually, cancer patients' levels double in about 15 months, but in patients who drank pomegranate juice it took an average of 54 months for their PSA levels to rise.
Pomegranate juice also helps fight heart disease and lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. Antioxidants in pomegranate juice may help reduce the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls. (Antioxidants are compounds which help destroy free radicals, harmful molecules produced by the body and environment and which are linked to a range of diseases, including cancer). It is best to have fresh juice where possible, but if not, go for pasteurised juice over concentrates, which can be packed with sugar.
By aiding more efficient metabolism of sugars, it can be a useful aid to weight-loss programmes. A US study looked at the benefits of grapefruit by dividing 100 obese people into three groups: one group was given half a grapefruit before each meal, another had a glass of grapefruit juice, the remaining third had no grapefruit.
After 12 weeks those eating grapefruit had lost an average of 1.6kg and those drinking grapefruit juice lost an average of 1.4kg. Those in the control group who consumed no grapefruit lost only an average of 0.22kg. It also enhances the body's absorption of CoQ10, an energy compound vital to our cells and boosts the anti-cancer effect of certain drugs (can adversely interfere with other medication so check with your doctor first).
A study conducted this year showed that cranberry juice prevents the growth of the bacteria E. coli, the most common cause of urinary infections. Researchers who presented their findings to the American Chemical Society showed that within eight hours of drinking a glass of cranberry juice, the juice could help prevent bacteria from developing into an infection in the urinary tract.
However, contrary to popular belief the juice will not treat cystitis - being acidic it can exacerbate discomfort. Can also help to raise "good" HDL cholesterol through high levels of polyphenols, the antioxidants in the fruit.
Drinking apple juice maintains your levels of the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is vital for memory and brain health (low levels are linked to Alzheimer's Disease), according to a US study. Although the research was conducted on mice, researchers suggest that two glasses (500ml in total) of apple juice a day could have similar benefits in adults. Apple juice is also good for digestion and healthy bowel functions thanks to its high fibre content.
Recent studies at Northumbria University have shown that runners who drank the juice of Montmorency cherries twice a day for five days before the London Marathon recovered much quicker and experienced less muscle pain than those who did not. In addition, cherry juice can help ease the agony of gout by helping the body to excrete uric acid. Drinking a glass of cherry juice every day offers the same health benefits as eating 23 portions of fruit and vegetables one study found. A 250ml serving of the juice contained more antioxidants than five portions of peas, tomatoes, watermelon, carrots and bananas.
Orange juice contains an antioxidant called hesperidin, which improves blood vessel function, helping to cut your risk of heart disease. US researchers found that men who drank 500ml of orange juice (containing 292mg of hesperidin) daily had lower blood pressure than those who took an antioxidant supplement. It also helps prevent kidney stones. It is known that supplements of citrate, a substance found in citrus juices, can help slow the formation of kidney stones, but some people find the acidic nature of the pills hard to tolerate.
The enzyme bromelain, found in the flesh and juice of pineapples, helps the body digest proteins and aids digestion, but also has other major benefits. When taken on an empty stomach, bromelain acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which has been shown to reduce arthritis joint pain and swelling.
One study showed a combination of enzymes including bromelain may be a safe alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis of the knee. It also helps ease symptoms of coughs and colds and thins the blood.
Acai juice, which is made from a berry found in South America, has been shown to have high levels of antioxidants. Studies by the University of Texas have found that drinking the juice daily can help prevent the development and spread of cancer cells. It also helps aid weight loss by stabilising blood sugar levels.
A study by psychiatrists at the University of Cincinnati found that a daily drink of the juice improved patients' memory significantly compared with a placebo. Experts think the grapes provide brain-boosting antioxidants. It also helps lower cholesterol and prevents blood clots. The fruit contains higher levels of disease-fighting antioxidant compounds than red wine and apple juice, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those who drink coconut water (taken from the centre of the fruit; coconut milk is made with the flesh) to speed up recovery after a workout. Enthusiasts have dubbed it "nature's sports drink" because it contains everything you need - fluid for rehydration, carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes (or body salts) to replace what is lost through sweat, but with only 1kJ per serving and no fat. It also helps offset hunger pangs by stabilising blood sugar.
Researchers at Newcastle University isolated a compound in carrots that has been shown to fight cancer and found that rats fed raw carrot juice in addition to their normal food had a one-third lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than rats not given the compound. It is also good for enhancing immunity (thanks to high levels of vitamin C) and aiding digestion.
Researchers have shown that lycopene, the substance that makes tomatoes red, is a great antioxidant. It has been scientifically proven to help prevent skin from sun damage, perhaps by neutralising the harmful effects of UV light. In tests people who ate more tomatoes had 33% more protection from sunburn. Several studies have shown that a regular consumption of tomatoes is linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Substances in blueberries may help keep the brain healthy, according to a small study at the University of Cincinnati earlier this year. Researchers looked at the effect of blueberry juice on memory in adults in their 70s who had age-related memory decline. Those who drank 500ml of blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks performed significantly better in memory tests. It is also good for stabilising blood sugar levels, preventing food cravings that can lead to weight gain.
It is found in most areas where there are joints and allows for their easy movement. It also covers and protects the bones in the joint space lining the articular bone ends.
Unlike most tissues in the body cartilage has no blood vessels within it. Cartilage gets its nutrients from the thin film of fluid in the joint cavity called the synovial fluid. The fluid itself is derived from the blood vessels in the joint capsule.
Cartilage is a type of connective tissue and is made up of the following:
Pressure on the cartilage is essential for its good health and one of the reasons why exercise is so important. Constant pressure and release create a pumping action that has the effect of activating chondrocyte activity, moving fluid around and absorbing nutrition to supply all parts of the cartilage.
NSAIDs can work very well to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, but they also interfere with cartilage repair and therefore accelerate degeneration.
The number one rule for healthy cartilage is exercise. The pressure and release effect are essential. The nutrients reaching the cartilage should also be of good quality. Poor food choices mean poor nutrients reaching cartilage surface and being absorbed into the connective tissue matrix.
Do you experience muscle cramps, aches, pains or stiffness in muscles or joints? Do you suffer from digestive problems or constipation? Are your blood fats or cholesterol level high? How is your sex drive – not great? Do you cope badly with stress?
Answering ‘yes’ to most of these questions suggests that you have an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). If your blood tests for thyroid function are normal but you keep answering ‘yes’ you may have a more subtle form of hypothyroidism known as euthyroid sick syndrome (ESS), low T3 syndrome, non-thyroidal illness NTI), functional hypothyroidism or subclinical hypothyroidism.
What is interesting is that patients with high (hyperthyroidism) or low (hypothyroidism) thyroid function can complain of the same symptoms – fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, insomnia, heart palpitations, irritable bowel, muscle weakness, menstrual irregularities. The patterns of cause and effect between hypothyroidism and its symptoms are complex. Probably the most debilitating symptom of all is the deep-seated tiredness experienced as the result of the slowing down of all body systems and organs.
In his address at the 14th International Symposium of Functional Medicine (May 2007), Alan B McDaniel, MD, stated that in many cases blood tests for thyroid do not ‘show that there is nothing wrong with you’, instead they ‘don’t show what is wrong with you’. A blood test is not always a reliable indication of functional hypothyroidism. A temperature consistently lower than 36.6 degrees Celsius indicates that your thyroid is not functioning optimally and requires further assessment.
The thyroid gland requires extremely specific nutrients to be able to make thyroid hormones – iodine, iron, L-tyrosine, manganese, vitamins A, B1, C and E. Without these nutrients thyroid hormones simply cannot be produced adequately.
If liver function is compromised thyroid hormone production will not be optimal. An enzyme called 5-deiodinase is needed for the active thyroid hormone to be produced. This enzyme is inhibited by numerous factors including stress, infection or fever, chronic illness, severe dieting, low-protein diets, carbohydrate withdrawal and heavy metal toxicity (especially cadmium, lead and mercury). In addition, for the enzyme to function it requires certain nutrient co-factors. These are selenium, zinc, copper and vitamin D.
Research from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, stated: "We believe it possible that chronic consumption of many prescription and non-prescription drugs with tumour-growth-promoting properties may represent a previously unrecognised, and therefore insidious, environmental risk factor for cancer growth."
The researchers did cancer-promoting studies with the drugs Elavil, Prozac, Claritin, Hismanal, Aterax, Unison, NyQuil and Reactine. Three of these appeared to speed up the growth of the cancer injected into mice.
Loratadine (Claritin) and astemizole (Hismanal) significantly enhanced growth of both melanoma and fibrosarcoma, while hydroxyzine (Aterax) promoted the development of melanoma.
What appears to be taking place is these drugs do not cause cancer but speed up the proliferation of a cell that is already malignant. These drugs diffuse through the cell membrane and bind to histamine receptors.
This interferes with the P-450 enzyme system, a group of enzymes that detoxifies poison and aids in regulating cell growth. If the cell is healthy this disruption may not do too much. If the cell has already been triggered by a cancer initiator the alteration of the P-450 system, may tip the cell over the edge.
Many who suffer from cancer become clinically depressed and are subsequently treated with antidepressants which may well trigger a further significant impact of the patient’s cancer and overall health.
Dr Lorne Brandes from the University of anitoba believes the society's use of prescription drugs may well explain the general increasing incidence of cancer.
Hormone Decline = HGH (human growth hormone): Resulting Condition = Somatopause
Hormone Decline = Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone: Resulting Condition = Menopause / Andropause
Hormone Decline = DHEA, Thyroid: Resulting Condition = Thyropause
Hormone Decline = Insulin, Parathyroid Hormone: Resulting Condition = Parathyropause, Diabetes
Hormone Decline = Calcitonin, Erythropoietin : Resulting Condition = Osteoporosis, Memory Problems
Our bodies are bombarded by disruptive pressure from countless sources. There are pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and chemical additives in our food and water, we endure chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation, medication that is supposed to heal leads to further imbalance, and we face stress and toxic emotions every day. Heavy metals such as mercury and lead, food additives such as MSG and aspartame, and xenoestrogens from plastics are all powerful disruptors of our natural state of balance. These noxious influences affect our health in several ways, one of the most important of which is by causing hormonal imbalances./p>
Our endocrine system is a vastly complex system of glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones, each of which has its own specific function or functions. The main glands of the endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pineal, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries and testes. Other organs that secrete hormones include the liver, kidneys, stomach, striated muscle, heart, skin, adipose tissue, ovaries and uterus. Hormones play a vital role in the regulation of metabolism, growth, development, puberty, tissue function and mood, to name just a few.
Our hormones are our friends when they are in balance with each other and our foes when they are out of balance. Fortunately, it is possible to treat most hormone imbalances through correct supplementation with bio-identical (same as produced by the body) hormone replacement therapy, herbs and nutraceuticals.
Menopause is probably the best-known example of age-related decline in hormone levels. There is a marked decrease in the production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone as women get older. This decline is considered normal, but often leads to uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flushes, mood changes, insomnia, fatigue and memory problems. Falling hormone levels also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and heart disease after menopause.
An interesting fact – in both men and women it is oestrogen that helps our brain to think!
Oestrogen dominance occurs when the body is producing too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone. Progesterone is only produced by the ovulating woman, and a woman does not ovulate when she is using the oral contraceptive pill or later as she ages. Levels of progesterone in these cases are far too low compared with oestrogen levels (oestrogen is also produced by fat cells, the adrenal glands and the brain).
The opposite situation can also occur, where there is insufficient oestrogen compared with progesterone. There are many natural oestrogen supplements, including bio-identical transdermal creams that are much safer to use than their conventional oral counterparts. The synthetic oral oestrogen replacement medications are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers in susceptible individuals. The natural alternatives have a much lower risk (care should still be taken by women who have a history or family history of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer).
Oestrogen deficiency can also be corrected by using certain herbs that can increase oestrogen levels. Known as the phyto-oestrogens they include black cohosh, red clover, dong quai and soya extracts. Another option that has proved to be highly effective is the use of bio-identical oestrogen in the form of creams that are absorbed through the skin. Progesterone cream is also effective, as it regulates the production of oestrogen and enhances the effectiveness of oestrogen in the body.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a sex hormone precursor for both men and women, which converts into testosterone and oestrogen. As well as reducing naturally with age, DHEA is affected by stress and an increase in the cortisol level. As both oestrogen and testosterone are produced from DHEA it is especially important to keep your stress levels down, or you will face the problems associated with decreased production of sex hormones. A decrease in DHEA will also result in impaired immune function (that is why when you are stressed your libido goes down and you get sick).
Testosterone & Women: It is not so well known that women also produce testosterone, though in much smaller quantities than men. However even in small quantities it has important functions. Testosterone helps us cope in the world, helps us to confront, and keeps the libido lively. Testosterone deficiency can be corrected by using bio-identical testosterone cream, applied to the skin and some specific herbs.
Testosterone & Men: Andropause is the male equivalent of menopause. As men age their production levels of testosterone declines and the rate of conversion of testosterone to other male-ageing hormones increases. Lowering this decline is considered normal, but it can produce troublesome symptoms.
The symptoms can be relieved by supplementation with DHEA and/or transdermal testosterone cream. Men can also use progesterone cream to help oppose high oestrogen levels. Excess oestrogen in men causes serious hormone disruption, enlarge the prostate gland, and increase the risk of prostate cancer. Chrysin an aromatase inhibitor prevents conversion of testosterone into oestrogen, making more testosterone available. Nettle root and the herb Tribulus Terrestris are the most well-known herbs used to help the body make more testosterone. Interestingly it is now thought that prostate cancer is a low-testosterone problem, so supplementation with testosterone may be greatly beneficial in preventing prostate problems.
Facts: For someone with high cholesterol levels, dietary cholesterol should be restricted to 300 mg per day. One whole egg contains approximately 210 mg cholesterol. Provided that all other dietary sources of cholesterol are avoided, eating one egg a day is therefore not excessive in terms of cholesterol allowance. Since most people do include other cholesterol-containing foods, dietary guidelines recommend two to four eggs a week as part of a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Facts: Even though these seafood items do contain high levels of cholesterol, research has shown that eating prawns, shrimps and other high-cholesterol seafood in moderation does not significantly impact on blood cholesterol levels. It is believed that this is because these foods contain truly little saturated fat. The combination of saturated fat and cholesterol is believed to have the greatest impact on blood cholesterol levels.
Facts: Even though avocado is rich in oil, it contains no cholesterol. In fact, the fats in avocado, also known as mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, are known to help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Facts: All chips are cholesterol free! Chips are generally made from potatoes (or corn), fried in sunflower oil, which are all naturally cholesterol-free ingredients. Unfortunately, this does not mean that chips are a good thing since the heating of the oil during the frying process results in a build-up of harmful trans-fats in the oil, known to indirectly increase cholesterol.
Facts: Even though margarine is always cholesterol-free, the trans-fats that are formed during its manufacture can also result in increased cholesterol levels. Certain margarines claim to be free from trans-fats; however, they are still highly processed plant oils that are liquid in their natural state, as opposed to margarine which is solid due to processing and hydrogenation.
Facts: Many cheeses are rich in fat and cholesterol, such as full-cream cheddar and mozzarella. However, low-fat cottage cheese and ricotta cheese can be used freely in weight-reduction or low-cholesterol diets because they have a low cholesterol and fat content.
Facts: It all depends on how much milk you consume! If you only use milk in your two cups of tea a day this would amount to about 50 ml of milk per day. However, if you drink two glasses of milk a day the difference becomes more significant.
Facts: Dream on! Fresh cream contains the same amount of fat as cream processed into any other form.
Facts: Low-fat foods should contain less than 3 grams of fat per 100 grams of the food item. Unfortunately, manufacturers of cream cheeses that are labelled as low fat often ignore this guideline in order to mislead consumers. If the check the tub of 'low-fat' cream cheese in your fridge you will see that it probably contains 21 grams of fat per 100 grams - that is 900% more fat than is allowed in foods that are labelled as low fat!
Facts: Fruit juice is highly concentrated in natural fruit sugars. It is the ideal health drink for growing children and physically active adults and athletes, but if you are watching your weight rather eat fresh fruit and drink water. One glass (250 ml) of grape juice (590 kJ) contains more kilojoules than a glass of cola (417 kJ)!fat.
Facts: 1 medium sized banana = 350-400 kilojoules, 1 medium sized apple = 370-420 kilojoules.
Facts: 1 beer (375 ml) = 645 kilojoules, 1 loaf of bread (700 g) = 6510 kilojoules. The truth is that 10 beers are about equal to a loaf of bread in kilojoules!
It manages this herculean task with the help of a meshwork of specially adapted muscle cells that spread electrical impulses to one another in a beautifully orchestrated symphony. The best way to prevent acute cardiac issues is to keep the heart healthy by supporting the physical apparatus of the circulatory system and balancing the emotions. Here are details on specific nutrients and herbs that can help us do this.
Antioxidants protect the heart and arteries from the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidants tend to work in harmonious synergy, playing a highly organised game of pass-the-parcel with these molecular hand-grenades, which have the potential to blast holes in vulnerable tissue. The following will help to provide comprehensive antioxidant support:
Vitamins C and E. Together they work to prevent inflammation, reduce clotting, repair blood vessels, and help raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL - often referred to as 'good') cholesterol. A combination of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and chicken provide a good spread of these nutrients. To bridge nutritional gaps a high-quality multivitamin/mineral complex is always advised.
Phytonutrients. These potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds are largely found in fruit and vegetables. They include the carotenoid lycopene, which when taken at doses of over 20mg a day has been linked to a 47% reduction in heart attacks. Cooked tomatoes are a particularly rich source of lycopene.
Selenium, manganese, copper and zinc are all key components of antioxidant systems within the body. Copper depletion is common and has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Liver, kidney and cocoa are rich sources of copper. Good levels of selenium, manganese and zinc are found in nuts (particularly Brazil), seafood and whole grains.
The omega-3s help to reduce inflammation of the arteries, cut the tendency to clotting, can reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, so called 'bad') cholesterol, and increase levels of HDL cholesterol. Their heart-protective effects were confirmed by a meta-analysis (a review of existing scientifically conducted trials) which concluded that for patients with coronary heart disease, omega-3 from either diet or supplements significantly reduced the risk of death from heart attack as well as the incidence of sudden death.
Although oily fish are rich sources of omega-3 they also tend to attract environmental pollutants, such as dioxins and PCBs (poly-chlorinated biphenyls). To minimise exposure to these toxins, opt for smaller fish further down the food chain. Both fresh and tinned sardines, and herring and mackerel - eaten up to twice a week - are excellent options. When supplementing look for high-quality, purified brands that supply daily intakes of 120-360 mg EPA and 80-240 mg DHA. Krill Oil which is at the beginning of the food chain (found in the artic and Antarctic waters) and contains astaxanthin is particularly recommended. Note - use omega-3s with caution if you are taking other anti-clotting agents.
CoQ10 is found in especially high concentrations in organs that require a lot of energy, such as the heart. Without CoQ10, energy production and therefore organ function would screech to a halt. Researchers proven that in most cases of heart problems, there is an associated deficiency of CoQ10 and when supplemental CoQ10 is administered, ailing hearts started showing signs of new life.
Nutritionally orientated doctors now agree that supplements of Co Q10 are essential for people with heart failure. CoQ10 has been proven in many patients who used it to live longer, lead more active lives, has saved some people who would otherwise have died waiting for donor hearts and has even allowed some to take their names off the transplant list.
Studies at the University of Texas at Austin showed that 75 percent of heart patients have severe deficiencies of CoQ10 in heart tissue compared with healthy individuals. They have also found that taking coenzyme Q-10 significantly benefited three-fourths of a group of elderly patients with congestive heart failure. Not only does it help keep the all the cells of the body healthy and in good condition.
They occur on the inside of the lips, cheeks or under the tongue and are usually red with a whitish coating.
Mouth ulcers can sometimes be a symptom of gluten intolerance (gluten is the protein in wheat and other grains). Beyond that, it is not really known what causes recurrent attacks, although there is a theory that they might be an autoimmune disease, with stress as a possible trigger.
Deficiencies of vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid, and iron are thought to be contributing factors.
Most mouth ulcers heal within a week to 10 days on their own. Conventional medicine treats severe mouth ulcers with anti-inflammatory ointments such as Kenalog in Orabase, that is applied directly to the sore.
An alternative remedy is alum powder, applied directly to the ulcer. It will burn for a few minutes but can promote rapid healing.
Probiotics (products that help replenish the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract) are helpful. Open a capsule and apply the powder inside directly to the ulcer. Minimise the discomfort by avoiding acidic, spicy and abrasive foods such as nuts, all of which can be irritating.
Switching to a mild toothpaste may also help reduce recurrences. You can also try the amino-acid l-lysine.
Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for and their satisfaction with sleep. Insomnia can be classified as transient (short term), intermittent (on and off) and chronic (constant). Insomnia lasting from a single night to a few weeks is referred to as transient. If episodes of transient insomnia occur from time to time, the insomnia is said to be intermittent. Insomnia is chronic if it occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more.
Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following: Stress; Environmental noise; Extreme temperatures; Sleep/wake schedule problems such as those due to jet lag; Medication side effects.
Chronic insomnia is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, that include: Misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances - Excessive napping in the afternoon or evening - Disrupted sleep/wake cycles as may occur with shift work or other night-time activity schedules - and Chronic stress.
Insomnia is found in males and females of all age groups, although it seems to be more common in females (especially after menopause) and in the elderly. The ability to sleep, rather than the need for sleep, appears to decrease with advancing age.
These factors may prolong existing insomnia and they can also be responsible for causing the sleeping problem in the first place. Stopping these behaviours may eliminate the insomnia altogether.
If your leg cramps occur during or immediately after exercise, this may be a sign of arteriosclerosis (or “hardening of the arteries”), where the arteries are clogged by fatty deposits, limiting the supply of blood to the muscles. When you exercise your leg, muscles need more oxygen.
But because the arteries are narrowed, the arteries cannot get enough and so they switch to anaerobic metabolism, which results in the build-up of chemicals which can trigger pain and spasm, usually in the calves. When you rest the pain gets better. Smokers, people with high cholesterol levels or diabetes and those with a family history of heart disease are all at particular risk. In rare cases leg cramps are caused by medical conditions, such as an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), Addison's disease and kidney problems.
Many people find that leg cramps cause trouble at night when the pain stops them from sleeping or wakes them up. These are known as night cramps. They are rarely serious, although they can cause a lot of discomfort. Very heavy or tight bed covers can force the toes downwards, straining the leg muscles, so try to sleep under a light and loose duvet.
When you start to exercise warm up gently, gradually building up the intensity of what you are doing so that the muscle is not suddenly overworked or torn. After a short warm-up stretch the muscles out gently. Stretching also helps during the cramp to relieve the spasm and the pain. You should stretch out after exercise too.
Do not let yourself get dehydrated (particularly during exercise) because this can upset calcium and phosphorous levels in the body, which can trigger cramps. So, drink plenty of fluid daily and more so before and during activity. Giving the muscles a good massage may help ease the discomfort.
Non-phosphate calcium supplements may also help to reduce cramps, as can magnesium supplements. Sometimes quinine is used to prevent night leg cramps, particularly at night. Try some tonic water, but if this does not help ask a pharmacist about quinine tablets.
Without sodium our nerve cells cannot transmit electrical impulses, our body cannot maintain the right balance of fluids and our muscles cannot contract and relax properly.
Why then is the World Health Organisation advocating a global reduction in salt? Because many, many people get around twice the recommended amount of sodium in their diets.
A study published in the January 2009 Journal of Rena Nutrition concluded that lowering ones sodium intake helps reduce blood pressure, also lowers your risk for having a heart attack or stroke and helps keep blood vessels working properly.
The study also measured the impact of salt restriction on the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the interior of the blood vessels and help regulate blood flow.
Overweight and obese study participants with normal blood pressure who restricted the sodium in their diets showed evidence of improved endothelial function compared to participants who did not restrict salt. The improvement appeared to be unrelated to the impact on blood pressure, suggesting that salt restriction is independently protective of blood vessel function.
It is generally recommended that healthy people eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day – about the amount found in one teaspoon (6 grams) of table salt. But the average European eats more than twice that, even if they rarely pick up a saltshaker. Processed foods are often loaded with salt, even those that do not taste all that salty – that is why it is so important to read labels.
The study examined the effects of the vitamin in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment over the course of two years. Such patients can generally function normally but have slight memory difficulties such as recalling names or misplacing items.
Of the participants in the study, 85 received large daily doses of vitamin B12 and folic acid, and 83 only a placebo. At the end of the trial period, the researchers used cranial magnetic resonance imaging to determine the amount of brain atrophy in the two groups.
The patients who received vitamin B showed a 53% lower rate of atrophy than those who received placebo. Brain atrophy means loss of neurons, cells that play a vital role in the processing and communication of information.
The researchers attributed the lower rate of atrophy in the first group to decreased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known to increase the risk of brain atrophy.
They stressed that the doses of vitamin B taken by the study participants were extremely high – the patients received 300 times the recommended daily amount of B12, and 15 times the recommended amount of B6.
More studies are needed to evaluate the potential of vitamin B as a treatment option for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
When it comes to preventive medicine, understanding how disease starts and the way to forestall it, conventional medicine mistakes results for causes, treating symptoms not underlying problems. So, if you are in relatively good health and you want to stay that way, you need a more reasonable approach to wellness that helps your body stay clean of the number one cause of disease: toxins.
Ever visited a big city’s refuse dump on a hot summer day? Just the smell can make you feel sick. Left on the street, refuse decomposes, providing a home for parasites, bacteria and other unsavoury organisms. Removing that rubbish from the streets makes a city habitable.
Well, the same basic removal process goes on inside your body. Toxic waste – is constantly produced during normal processes like digestion and cellular respiration. Damaging chemicals and other pollutants continually need to be removed. Allowed to accumulate in tissues and organs, toxins make you sick, the same way a prolonged refuse collection strike makes a city smelly and unliveable. Similarly, researchers now believe the body’s continual exposure and accumulation of toxins, lies at the heart of disease and is the moving force behind illness.
For evidence of how well or poorly your body is coping with toxins, you must look no farther than your skin. Is it clear and glowing with health? Or does it look mottled, wrinkled and incorporate a disturbing pallor? Looking at people’s skin you get a good idea if toxins are coming out or are slowed down. A lot of people do not think of the skin as a detox organ, but it is, it is the largest detox organ, although many parts of the body participate in the teamwork of toxin removal.
Toxins can enter one part of the body, the lungs, but cause eventual disease in another, such as the heart. It can start when white blood cells detect these (toxins) and signal the body that ‘we have a problem’, which usually starts the inflammation process and ultimately disease. The large number of pollutants we encounter every day complicates our body’s toxin-elimination efforts. “We’re living in a toxic soup of polluted air, water, food and electromagnetic toxins. The foundation of what you should do (to defend yourself) is drink filtered water, eat organic food, use air filters, live around trees which are natural filters of the air.
Nutritionists advise that water is a crucial detoxification tool, saying “drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day (i.e., for every 60lb drink 1 litre). If you do not give your kidneys enough water, they will suck it out of the material in your bowels. Your kidneys need the water to hold toxins in solution and get them out, however urine can only be so concentrated - without enough water, toxins are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. If your urine is cloudy or dark you have a major problem. If it is pale or clear you are drinking sufficient water.
Even in a clean environment, the simple act of living is a sloppy business. Like workers at a city’s construction site, your cells are constantly tearing down and building up body parts. New tissue is formed, and old ones disposed of. To feed this kind of activity, your cells absorb nutrients, produce energy, synthesise natural chemicals and throw off waste products.
Just as demolition debris and lunch break leftovers at a construction site must be disposed of, the body needs to rid itself of waste products and metabolic scraps. Otherwise, like a new building that has had refuse buried in its foundations, it rots from within. But if you help your body relieve its toxic burden, you increase your chances of having a clean bill of health.
There are many natural ways to support the removal of toxins from your body with particular attention being paid to water, antioxidants, fibre, essential fats, digestive enzymes and probiotics all of which help the body cope with its constant task of eradicating problematic toxins from the bowel, urinal tract and skin.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. By the year 2047, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is expected to quadruple.
Columbia University Medical Centre, New York, reported that after analysing the diets of 965 individuals and then tracking them for six years, the intake of folate from both diet and supplements was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 by themselves did not yield the same benefit.
For the new study, participants had an average age of 76 and 70 percent were women. After an average of 6 years of follow-up, 192 cases of Alzheimer's disease had been diagnosed. Adjusting for potential confounding factors, like age, sex, ethnicity, cardiovascular history and B6 and B12 intake, researchers reported that those with higher levels of folate through diet and supplements were associated with significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease - giving a 50 percent risk reduction!
Folate is a B vitamin the body needs to make healthy new cells. It is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables like spinach, citrus fruits and beans. Folic acid is the form found in dietary supplements and in fortified foods. Elevated homocysteine levels also are linked to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The vitamins that reduce homocysteine levels are folate, vitamin B12 & B6.
Higher folate intake was correlated with lower homocysteine levels, "indirectly suggesting that a lower homocysteine level is a potential mechanism for the association between higher folate intake and a lower Alzheimer's disease risk." The link between Alzheimer's and homocysteine involves the accumulation of amyloid proteins in the brain.
In vitro studies have reported that folate deficiencies and high homocysteine levels may enhance the effects of amyloid-beta, which in turn would indicate an increase in Alzheimer's risk factors. It is generally agreed that additional controlled trials are necessary to determine the full value of this research. However, these latest findings add weight to growing evidence about the important role that dietary factors can play in preventing Alzheimer's disease.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, which gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.
Acidity and disease: Modern diets are packed with wheat, sugar, dairy, meat and alcohol, all of which are acid-forming foods. Our stressful lifestyles also cause our bodies to create more acid waste and we tend to eat less wholesome, cooked-from-scratch foods. With this acid-rich diet come ailments such as indigestion, heartburn, diabetes, ulcers, eczema, asthma, as well as cancer and heart disease.
The easiest first symptoms to identify include bone and joint stiffness, headaches in the morning and migraines during the day.
The body has different buffer systems, which means that bodily fluids require different pH values in order to function optimally – for example, thyroid glands need acid minerals. It is vitally important to maintain these buffer systems, but acidity stresses and eventually depletes these systems, and acids start to pool in the body and organs, causing tumours that may eventually lead to certain cancers. Excess acids deplete the body of vital oxygen and this is what ultimately leads to these ailments and diseases.
Testing your pH balance is simple – most pharmacies stock litmus paper that comes with a small colour chart. ‘The best time to measure your pH is first thing in the morning, just as you wake up and while you are still lying-in bed. Make sure you have plenty of saliva in your mouth, then place the litmus paper on your tongue for one minute. Match the colour of the paper against the colour chart. The litmus paper should be as dark as possible, from light blue to purple. A lighter shade – from green to yellow – indicates too much acid.
Another fast indicator is on those who wear copper-based health bracelets – if your skin shows any sign of green-ness you are too acidic.
Bringing back balance - Drink lots of water to neutralise your pH balance and wash out acids. Try to eat lots of salads, and green and yellow vegetables, and less meat, wheat and sugar. You can also supplement with a specialist mineral like coral calcium which is quite effective. It is also important to eat less and slower, eat fewer rich foods, and avoid eating any acid-forming foods after 7pm in the evening.
Cortisol suppresses memory. In fact, mental deterioration is not an inevitable part of ageing as many believe, but rather largely reversible – reduce cortisol levels and memory improves.
Cortisol is a neurotoxic hormone: it starves the area of the brain responsible for memory (known as the hippocampus) of glucose, sometimes to the point that memories cannot even form!
Research has shown that people with chronic pain (which releases cortisol) as well as highly intelligent people exposed to intense stress (which also releases cortisol) became less cogent! These stresses include work stress, noise, information overload, financial worries, struggling to succeed and multi-tasking.
Further research published in July 2007 shows a strong connection between high cortisol levels and memory loss. The researchers showed that keeping cortisol levels low protects brain health and improves memory.
Cortisol also prevents various brain neurotransmitters from working properly. This prevents nerves from communicating well. Finally, cortisol kills brain nerves – it causes too much calcium to enter the nerves of the brain, and this kills them (this calcium influx is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease).
Two other factors are crucial for brain health – brain oxygenation and nerve protection. Over the age of 40 the blood vessels in the brain begin to narrow, restricting the amount of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This results in brain fogging, fatigue, but most of all, memory loss. Lack of Omega-3 fatty acids cause brain nerve damage and reduce memory capabilities.
Osteoporosis is a silent killer – it creeps up on both women and men – mainly with age. Often their first signs are a broken bone – most worryingly of all is a fractured hip. Even though half of women over the age of 50 will suffer a bone fracture, only 4% say they worry about developing osteoporosis, compared to 56% who fear cancer. Studies show that 20% of women who suffer a hip fracture die within the following 12 months.
There are currently about 3 million with osteoporosis in the UK - it affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over the age of 50. It is a silent condition - there are no warnings until you suffer a broken bone.
You are never too young to start thinking about your bones and building them up. From your 20s through 30s you are building your bones, but after you hit the menopause, you are more at risk. So, make sure you are doing healthy exercise and getting your bone-density regularly checked.
Osteoporosis is a major condition, but there is much that can be done to prevent the broken bones from happening. Women with a family history of the disease, smokers, those whose periods have stopped for any reason other than pregnancy and anorexics are all at a greater risk and so need to get checked out.
If you are in a risk category have a bone mineral density test regularly and supplement your diet with the minerals required to maintain and increase bone mass and density. Regular exercise also helps build bone mass.
A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction. Researchers subjected volunteers to stressful situations – such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic – and noted their blood pressure response to stress. Those who had intercourse within the prior 24 hours, had better responses to stress than those who abstained. Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet another research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.
Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of antibody called immunoglobin A or lgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University took samples of saliva, which contains lgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had. Those in the “frequent” group – once or more a week – had higher levels of lgA than those in the other groups – who were abstinent or had sex less than once a week.
Whilst some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that is not so, according to English researchers. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years. And the heart health benefits of sex do not end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attacks by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.
As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase and pain declines. So, if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels. In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapour and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.
Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s and 50s.
But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third. Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.
The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research. And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you have been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.
These bacteria boost immunity and help protect us against invasion by undesirable organisms. Increasingly, though, researchers are proving that among their benefits, one of the most significant is their help in lowering your risk of cancer.
When good bacteria (flora) flourish, they crowd out health-wrecking pathogens. Researchers on ageing are now starting to understand how a decrease in these bacteria may be one reason for increased cancer and other illnesses as we age. Protecting your flora with probiotic supplements and the right nutrients, may be the key to optimal well-being, and disease prevention.
Normally, each of us carries around about two pounds of bacteria in our digestive tract. They are bugs are a mixture of the good and the bad. For best health, friendly bacteria should outnumber the harmful by four to one.
As we age, our susceptibility to cancer increases. For instance, according to the National Cancer Institute, your chances of developing colon cancer at age seventy-five is one hundred times greater than it was at age twenty-five. Similarly, your chances of bladder cancer grow as you grow older. During the past fifty years, as America has aged, the incidence of bladder cancer has ballooned more than fifty percent.
Japanese studies have found that giving people with bladder cancer high doses of probiotics can double the average time that elapsed before they were susceptible to the return of more tumours.
In a follow-up study, when these researchers gave bladder cancer victims stronger and more varied doses of probiotics, they found that they again doubled the time people were tumour-free. In addition, tumours that returned were less aggressive and took longer to grow.
Research into other cancers also gives scientists reason to believe probiotics may lower the risk of malignancies. A study of people who had been treated for colon cancers or had intestinal polyps removed showed that taking probiotics along with prebiotics (special fibre called oligosaccharides that nourish beneficial bacteria) decreased their cancer risk.
In this study, probiotics improved the immune response of people with colon cancer and their cells made more interferon gamma, a natural substance that fights harmful viruses. In addition, those who took the pro and prebiotics had less damage to their cells' DNA, a problem that otherwise might increase cancer risk.
In a review of two dozen studies researchers found strong evidence that when probiotic bacteria fed on prebiotics in the digestive tract, the by-products had the potential to “inhibit (cancer) cell growth, modulate differentiation and reduce metastasis activities.”
In other words, the bacteria's fermentation processes slowed cancerous developments and kept tumour growth to a minimum.
As Gregor Reid, PhD, probiotic researcher and professor at the University of Western Ontario says, “You have ten times more bacterial than human cells and half our excrement is bacteria…I feel that everyone should be taking some probiotics.
Once you get into specific reasons such as to prevent diabetes or help with obesity or prevent vaginal infections or cardiovascular disease, in the future you will find specific probiotics targeted for such purposes.”
Of all the toxins we are exposed to daily, mercury is considered one of the most dangerous. Mercury is now number three on the Top 20 list of toxic substances compiled by the US Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. Only arsenic and lead rank higher.
On average a person’s body contains between 10 to 15 milligrams of mercury. We absorb mercury when we breathe contaminated air, eat contaminated fish, receive vaccines preserved with mercury-based Thimerosal, or are exposed to a variety of pesticides, fungicides and petroleum products.
But your greatest vulnerability to mercury may come from the fillings in your teeth. “People with amalgam fillings are particularly vulnerable to a toxic overload of mercury,” says Myron Wentz, PhD, author of A Mouth Full of Poison. “The metal can poison every enzyme, damage every cellular structure, and kill virtually every cell in the body.”
How much mercury is too much for the human body? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no known safe level. Mercury affects the brain and central nervous system, the endocrine system and can cause kidney malfunction. It increases the risk of heart disease, boosts your susceptibility to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, damages the immune system and can destroy stomach and intestinal epithelial cells. Foetal mercury poisoning problems can be compounded ten-fold when a pregnant woman has mercury amalgam fillings put in or removed during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Initial signs of mercury poisoning include short term memory loss, mood swings, anxiety, depression, fits of anger, irritability, indecision, excitability, fatigue and headaches. The most common early symptoms are fatigue and short-term memory problems since the brain is one of the first organs affected.
Over the past twenty years, The Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome group (DAMS), a US based patient support group, has evaluated over a thousand peer-reviewed and government studies that show that mercury is either the principal cause or a major contributing factor in over 40 chronic health conditions including Alzheimer’s and low thyroid function.
The good news? Having your mercury fillings removed by a dentist experienced at extracting these types of amalgams will alleviate the health effects of mercury originating in your teeth.
Conventional dental amalgam fillings consist of about 50% mercury, 35% silver, 9% tin, 6% copper, and trace amounts of zinc. Once the amalgam is hard, the mercury is bound within it, but small amounts are slowly released due to corrosion or chewing or grinding motions throughout the life of the filling(s).
A procedure called chelation, that leaches heavy metals from the body, can assist the body’s detoxification mechanism in eliminating mercury and other chemical toxins from deep within your tissues. See the product Chelogarde for more on Oral .
Supplementing with N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) a precursor to cysteine can boost levels of glutathione, the most powerful mercury- scavenging antioxidant. In addition, the antioxidant supplement alpha-lipoic acid also enhances glutathione scavenging. Plus, vitamins C, E, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and beta-carotene and selenium can help reduce mercury toxicity and, in some cases, help replenish glutathione.
Herbs like cilantro (Chinese parsley) and supplements like chlorella that contain high levels of sulphur can boost detoxification because they bind with mercury and aid in pulling it out of the body, says Dr. Engelsberg. “I use chlorella tablets and fresh cilantro. The sulphur in each combine readily with mercury and enables the body to excrete it.”
Dark green vegetables which are high in sulphur help facilitate mercury detoxification.
You probably try to ensure you do not exceed the RDA’s (Recommended Daily Amounts) of Vitamin and Minerals as set down by the Government. But you may be staggered to read the chance of your diet meeting the RDA requirements is negligible.
Think of life as a league table with health at the top and disease at the bottom. Should you start at the bottom, aiming to prevent obvious diseases caused by deficiency e.g., Scurvy (vitamin C), Beri-Beri (vitamin B1) or Pellagra (vitamin B5), or at the top? Well, the government has started at the bottom when setting RDA’s!
Why, you may well ask? Because our body’s needs have not changed. NO, it is because the government advisors are changing their minds. To their credit, they are (very) slowly recognising the need not just to look at the bottom of the league table preventing basic disease but at optimising health. However, they have a long way to go to meet the views of respected Nutritional Consultants.
You may be staggered to discover vitamin C for example the Optimum Daily Amount (ODA) is between 1000 and 3000mg a day! This is what a gorilla can eat in a tropical jungle from leaves, berries and fruit.
In our concrete jungle the average daily diet provides just 100mg and even if your diet is better than average - because you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables - you might just achieve 200mg! That is still a huge difference in relationship to the ODA and being at the top of the league table.
The conclusion is that if you want to stave off basic disease then living by the RDA’s you can reach most of these by a good diet alone. However, if you want to retain optimum health and minimise the problems of degenerative diseases then you need to take food supplements to be at the top of the league.
To do this you need to take a good multivitamin supplement and / or specific formulations that offer these in conjunction with complementing one’s diet, in particular supplements such as concentrated Fruit & Vegetable extracts. Note: Very few people have a good enough diet - aggravated by mineral depletion - from the food they eat.
The choice is yours! but it is obvious, to meet many RDA’s you need to take supplements and for optimum health you most certainly must.
Although doctors are primarily concerned with diastolic pressure (the second number in the blood pressure reading), systolic pressure is also an important factor. Individuals with a normal diastolic pressure (less than 82 mm Hg) but elevated systolic pressure (greater than 158 mm Hg) have a twofold increase in their cardiovascular death rates compared to individuals with normal systolic pressures (less than 130 m Hg).
Since over eighty percent of patients with high blood pressure are in the borderline-to-moderate range, (120-160/90-94 and 140-180/105-114 respectively), most cases of high blood pressure can be brought under control through changes in diet and lifestyle. In fact, in head-to-head comparisons, many non-drug therapies – such as diet, exercise, and relaxation – have proven superior to drugs in cases of borderline-to-mild hypertension (mild 140-160/95-104).
- Lifestyle factors that cause high blood pressure include alcohol, lack of exercise, stress, and smoking.
Dietary factors include obesity, low fibre, high sugar diet, high sodium-to-potassium ratio, high saturated fat and low essential fatty acid intake, a diet low in calcium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Next to attaining ideal body weight, perhaps the most important dietary recommendation is to increase the consumption of plant foods in the diet. Vegetarians generally have lower blood pressure, and a lower incidence of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases than non-vegetarians.
Special foods for people with high blood pressure include celery (for its 3-n-butyl phthalide content), garlic and onions (for their sulphur containing compounds), nuts and seeds or their oils (for their essential fatty acid content), cold water fish (salmon, mackerel etc), green leafy vegetables (as a rich source of calcium and magnesium), whole grains and legumes (for their fibre), and foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli and citrus fruits. One study showed that a small amount of 3-n-butyl phthalide lowered blood pressure by twelve to fourteen percent, (and lowered cholesterol levels by about seven percent).
Potassium and Blood Pressure: It is a well-established fact that a diet low in potassium and high in sodium is associated with high blood pressure.
Potassium shortage results in lower levels of stored glycogen. Because glycogen is used by exercising muscles for energy, a potassium deficiency will produce fatigue and muscle weakness. These are typically the first signs of a deficiency.
Most Europeans have a potassium-to-sodium (K:Na) ratio of less than 1:2. This means that most people ingest twice as much sodium as potassium. Researchers recommend a dietary potassium-to-sodium ratio of greater than 5:1 to maintain health - ten times higher than the average intake.
There is considerable evidence that a high intake of magnesium is associated with lower blood pressure. Water that is high in minerals like magnesium is often referred to as “hard water”.
A double-blind clinical study of twenty-one male patients with high blood pressure were given 600 mg of magnesium daily or a placebo. Mean blood pressure (the average between the systolic and diastolic) decreased from 111 to 102 mm Hg – an 8% drop.
Population-based and clinical studies have shown that the higher the intake of vitamin C the lower the blood pressure. Several preliminary studies have shown a modest blood-pressure-lowering effect (a drop of 5 mm Hg) from vitamin C supplementation in people with mild elevations of blood pressure.
Vitamin B6 supplementation has been shown to lower blood pressure. In one study twenty people with high blood pressure were given oral vitamin B6 at a dosage of 5 mg per day per 2.2 pounds of body weight for four weeks. The subjects demonstrated significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
CoQ10 deficiency is typically found in thirty-nine percent of patients with high blood pressure. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), is an essential component of the mitochondria – the energy-producing unit of the cells of our body.
A good analogy for CoQ10’s role in our body is the role of a spark plug in a car engine. Just as the car cannot function without that initial spark, the human body cannot function without CoQ10.
Increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure. Over sixty double-blind studies have demonstrated that either fish oil supplements or flaxseed oil are highly effective in lowering blood pressure. Fish oils typically produce a more pronounced effect than flaxseed oil.
According to the World Health Organisation, an overweight, post-menopausal woman has more oestrogen circulating through her body than a skinny pre-menopausal woman.
From puberty through her fertility years and on into menopause, the flow of hormones, especially oestrogen and progesterone, profoundly affect every cell in a woman’s body.
What are oestrogen and progesterone and what do they do? Oestrogen helps control a woman’s menstrual cycle, is essential for reproduction and helps maintain a healthy heart and bones.
Progesterone is calming to the central nervous system, supports the cells that build bone, influences water balance in the body, influences fat distribution and supports digestion.
Progesterone should be in balance with the other major female hormone, oestrogen. Sometimes a woman’s body does not produce enough progesterone after ovulation. Women in perimenopause sometimes will fail to ovulate but will still have a period. If ovulation does not occur, no progesterone is produced at all that month. If progesterone is low in comparison to oestrogen (known as oestrogen dominance), women may experience typical PMS-like concerns such as breast tenderness, bloating, irritability, and trouble sleeping.
Balance may be restored by increasing progesterone effect or decreasing oestrogen effect.
Women who suffer from PMS and who suffer from menopausal symptoms will recognise the hallmark symptoms of oestrogen dominance: weight gain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, headaches, fatigue, depression, hypoglycaemia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts.
Pre-menopausal women: In the ten to fifteen years before menopause many women regularly have anovulatory cycles in which they make enough oestrogen to create menstruation, but they do not make any progesterone, thus setting the stage for oestrogen dominance. Using progesterone cream during anovulatory months can help prevent the symptoms of PMS and oestrogen dominance in later years.
Progesterone is needed in hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women for many reasons, but one of its most important roles is to balance or oppose the effects of oestrogen. Unopposed oestrogen creates a strong risk for breast cancer and reproductive cancers.
Oestrogen levels drop only 40-60% at menopause, which is just enough to stop the menstrual cycle. But progesterone levels may drop to near zero in some women. Because progesterone is the precursor to so many other steroid hormones, its use can greatly enhance overall hormone balance after menopause. Progesterone also stimulates bone-building and thus helps protect against osteoporosis.
The ovaries continue to function and produce hormones the entire length of a woman’s life. Far from a deficiency of oestrogen, what has now been proven is that today's women have high levels of oestrogen – relative to progesterone (i.e., oestrogen dominance). Taking HRT (and yet more oestrogen) only makes the likelihood of breast cancer etc, worse and it is progesterone that is needed for hormone balance post-menopause.
On July 9, 2002 the National Institute of Health in the USA announced that it has stopped a proposed eight-and-a-half-year study on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after only five years because of an unexpected 26% increase in breast cancer in study participants. Further, the negative effects discovered went beyond increased breast cancer to include increased heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and blood clots.
The study, involving 16,000 healthy post-menopausal women, had been designed to evaluate the benefits and risks of combined hormone replacement therapy. The study was on one of the most used synthetic oestrogen-progesterone hormone preparations - Prempro, a combination of Premarin and Provera. The results of the study disclosed that in addition to its benefits, this hormone combination had the following five risks.
What are we referring to when we say, ‘I have arthritis’, or ‘I have rheumatism’? Both are ‘catch-all’ terms referring to a varied group of conditions – but what are their real meaning?
Arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but the term has been far more universally used to describe many of the aches, pains and afflictions that most of us experience at some point in our lives.
More than 100 forms of arthritis have been identified, but by far the most common is osteo-arthritis (OA). OA will affect 100% of the population to some degree or another if people live long enough! However, having some arthritic degeneration in certain joints does not imply that there will inevitably be pain or disability.
Having arthritic degeneration will, however, make one more vulnerable to sprains and strains, and one will need to be more careful with certain activities – lifting heavy weights and doing repetitive activities, for example. OA affects only the skeletal system, and certainly tends to affect certain areas – specifically the spine, hips, knees and shoulders – over others.
OA is unfortunately not a ‘curable’ condition, nor is it totally avoidable; there is no tablet that can be taken to prevent it, but it is certainly a manageable condition. There are many ‘management’ approaches, varying from using medications such as anti-inflammatories and pain killers, which suppress the symptoms (usually pain, muscular spasms and stiffness) but carry a risk of side-effects, to chiropractic, physiotherapy, exercise, stretching and lifestyle changes.
The other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and infective arthritis, are genetically driven and require medical management and often intensive disease-modifying medication.
Rheumatism has a far more general definition than arthritis, and the word is used to describe a range of conditions rather than a particular condition. The word rheumatism could describe symptoms that include pain, stiffness, pins and needles, tingling, numbness and inflammation in, or at, multiple sites in the body – for example, joints and other non-articular soft-tissue structures such as tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue structures, bursae, etc.
The symptoms related to both arthritis and rheumatism can, come on quickly and sometimes for no apparent reason, or develop over time. The symptoms can be ‘self-limiting’, which means that they gradually improve on their own with some rest. If the symptoms do persist, it is never a good idea just to live with the problem. Very occasionally there can be a more sinister underlying cause that would require further investigation and possibly medical management.
The very nature of life these days, the pace at which we live, and the demands, both physical and emotional that are thrust upon us or that we create for ourselves, result in the body putting itself into a state of defence physiology. This state precipitates the release of numerous ‘stress chemicals’ such as noradrenaline and cortisol, and the side-effects of over-production of these chemicals are the symptoms described that are attributable to arthritis or rheumatism.
Very often, making some minor changes in your lifestyle will allow you to manage both arthritis and/or rheumatism very successfully, especially if the conditions are chronic. The ideal approach would be to consider a maintenance programme to prevent the symptoms from occurring. This may involve regular visits (say monthly) to a chiropractor, physio or massage therapist, regular exercise classes (e.g., Pilates), paying special attention to your stress levels, and being careful with your posture. As well the various types of maintenance programs above some supplements can also help alleviate either condition. These include Shark Cartilage, L-Phenylalanine, MSM, Glucosamine & Chondroitin as the most popular.
Anaemia: Causes of anaemia include a deficiency of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12. Symptoms can include dizziness, feeling cold & irritability. Treatment usually consists of iron supplements if iron deficiency is the cause – Good sources are spinach and Nettle tea.
Underactive Thyroid (hypothyroidism): If you are generally sluggish, run down and even a little depressed, the problem may be a slow thyroid. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck and controls your metabolism – the speed at which your body operates.
According to the American Thyroid Foundation, by age 60 approximately 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder and most will not know it. Blood tests will detect thyroid hormone levels and if these are low natural and/ or synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed and you should begin to feel better rapidly. Thyrostim is a natural supplement that normalises thyroid function.
Caffeine Overload: Many of us grab a coffee or cola for a quick burst of energy, but for some, caffeine can have the opposite effect. If you take too much the tables can turn – indeed in some people continued abuse results in fatigue. And if you think this means you simply require more caffeine to get the kick, you are wrong. Any attempts to solve the problem by increasing caffeine intake causes the fatigue to worsen.
Also remember it is not only in coffee, chocolate, tea, soda and even some medications also contain caffeine. Large doses of Vitamin C can help overcome the caffeine effects also.
Sleep Apnoea: If you are not getting enough sleep, it stands to reason you will be tired. But what if you do not know that you are not getting sufficient sleep? This is often the case with a condition called Sleep Apnoea – a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing, often many times during the night. Each time you stop breathing you awaken just long enough to disrupt your sleep cycle, usually without being aware of it.
Your only clue is that you experience constant fatigue no matter how many hours you sleep each night. Sleep apnoea, which is caused by an upper airway obstruction, often occurs in patients who are overweight or obese.
Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnoea. If you have sleep apnoea you will have to make lifestyle changes, including losing weight and quitting smoking. Medical treatment includes devices that keep airway passages open while you sleep. In extreme cases surgery may be necessary to ensure proper airway flow. Left untreated, sleep apnoea can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack.
In the past few decades, many massive, long-term studies have shown that this diet is an extremely poor choice. Not only is it proven to be ineffective, but it can also be downright harmful for a lot of people.
When the low-fat guidelines first came out, food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. They wanted to bring a whole bunch of “heart healthy” low-fat foods to the market, in order to sell to the health-conscious crowd.
However, there is one big problem with foods that have had the fat removed from them… they taste like crap.
For this reason, the food manufacturers added sugar instead. Sugar is not a fat; it is a carbohydrate. Therefore, a product can be labelled “low fat” even though it is loaded with sugar. (I should point out that the low-fat guidelines DO recommend that we reduce refined sugars, but not nearly as enthusiastically as they warn us about the “dangerous” fats).
The conventional low-fat diet (brought to you by the United States Department of Agriculture) also advocates increased consumption of certain foods:
Vegetable Oils: Vegetable oils can reduce cholesterol in the short term, but in the long term they cause harm and are significantly associated with inflammation and heart disease.
Whole Wheat: A significant portion of the population may be sensitive to wheat gluten, experiencing symptoms like pain, stool inconsistency, tiredness, among various other symptoms.
Basically, since the low-fat guidelines came out, people have increased their consumption of harmful foods like sugar, wheat and vegetable oils.
Bottom Line: Many high sugar junk foods with a low-fat label have flooded the market. The low-fat diet also advocates consumption of foods now known to cause harm.
Having elevated triglycerides in the blood is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is also one of the features of the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms believed to play a causal role in cardiovascular disease, obesity and type II diabetes.
When blood triglycerides are elevated, it is usually because the liver is turning excess carbohydrates (especially fructose) into fat. Because the low-fat diet is also a high-carbohydrate diet, this diet can lead to an increase in blood triglycerides, potentially elevating the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The best way to lower triglycerides is to eat in the exact opposite way, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Such a diet consistently leads to reductions in blood triglycerides.
Bottom Line: The low-fat diet is extremely high in carbohydrates. Excess carbohydrates are turned into fats in the liver, which raise blood levels of triglycerides, an important cardiovascular risk factor.
Animal foods that are naturally high in fat tend to be healthy and nutritious. While I agree that factory farmed, grain-fed animal products are not an optimal choice, foods from animals that have been properly raised and fed are extremely healthy.
The low-fat diet discourages people from consuming these foods because they contain saturated fat and cholesterol.
Here is a newsflash: Neither saturated fat nor cholesterol have ever been proven to cause harm. It was a myth all along, they have now been proven to be perfectly safe in multiple large, long-term studies.
Blaming the epidemics of obesity, diabetes or heart disease on fatty animal foods makes absolutely no sense, because the diseases are relatively new, while the foods have been with us all along.
Plenty of populations throughout the world, for example the Inuit and the Masai, have consumed almost all their calories from animal foods and remained in excellent health. Here are 4 examples of foods that have been demonized due to the misguided war on saturated fat:
Bottom Line: Foods that are naturally high in saturated fat and cholesterol tend to be highly nutritious and perfectly healthy. The low-fat diet discourages consumption of these foods.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol. It is well established that having high levels of HDL is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Eating more fat can raise HDL levels, while a high carbohydrate intake can lead to a reduction. Therefore, it is not surprising to see studies where a low-fat, high-carb diet leads to reductions in HDL, which may lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
One of many good ways to raise HDL levels is to eat a low-carbohydrate diet.
Bottom Line: HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol and is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Studies show that the low-fat diet reduces blood levels of HDL.
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males, but women have small amounts of it too.
Like other steroid hormones, testosterone is produced out of cholesterol. Having adequate testosterone levels is important for various aspects of health in both men and women. Having low testosterone levels can lead to decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, osteoporosis, depression, decreased libido, among others.
One of the side effects of a low-fat diet is significantly reduced testosterone levels, one study showing a reduction of 12% after 8 weeks on a low-fat diet.
Bottom Line: Testosterone is an especially important hormone in both men and women. Low-fat diets can significantly reduce testosterone levels.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol.
It is well established that elevated LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, new data is showing that there are subtypes of LDL. We have small, dense LDL (called pattern B) and Large LDL (called pattern A).
The small, dense particles (sdLDL) contribute to heart disease, NOT the large ones. A high intake of carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) increases sdLDL, while saturated fat and cholesterol change the LDL particles from the small, dense (bad) subtype to the large (benign) subtype.
Studies show that low-fat diets shift the LCL pattern towards small, dense particles, while low-carb, high-fat diets shift them towards large particles.
Bottom Line: Even though low-fat diets may cause mild reductions in LDL cholesterol, at the same time they shift the pattern of LDL cholesterol from Large LDL (which is benign) towards small, dense LDL (which is very harmful).
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in middle- and high-income countries.
It is known that traditional populations that do not eat a Western diet have truly little heart disease. When these populations adopt a western diet, they rapidly become obese, diabetic and start dying from heart disease. Therefore, it seems clear that the western diet is a significant contributor.
There have been several massive, long-term randomized controlled trials (which are the gold standard of science) that have examined the effects of low-fat diets on the risk of heart disease.
The Women’s Health Initiative: In a study of 48,835 women, the low-fat diet produced weight loss of only 0.4 kg (1 lb) over a period of 7.5 years. The diet did not lower the risk of heart disease or cancer.
MR FIT: A low-fat diet did not reduce heart disease in a group of 12,866 men at a high risk of having a heart attack, even though many of the men quit smoking.
Look AHEAD: A 9.6-year study of 5,145 diabetics revealed that the low-fat diet did not reduce heart disease, even though they managed to lose weight by forced calorie restriction.
Be aware that they are comparing the low-fat diet to the standard western diet, which is pretty much as bad as a diet can get.
Another way to consider these results… The low-fat diet is just as effective at causing heart disease as the standard Western diet. (reprinted from Authority Nutrition).
1. You are not bullet-proof (well not anymore): When we are young men (under 30 years) we tend to think that we are bullet-proof and will live forever. We guzzle beers and pizza and still have a washboard tummy to show for it, stretching and warm-up exercises are for a mama’s boy, and our erections are as hard as steel. Well, I have news for you.
We all share the same hormones, and those hormones all take the same route: south! Our bodies all share the one universal and very democratic law that applies to all people: they age and are prone to mental fatigue. And how you look after yourself, exercise, eat, take supplements and handle stress right now will impact positively not only on the length of your life, but also on the quality of your life.
2. Nutrition, exercise and health rules apply to you as well: I know you are special and unique. But all us males are prone to heart attacks, cancer, injuries, strokes, and so on. It is the way we are wired, and a heart attack is not interested in your ‘cute factor’ or how many push-ups you once did in grade 10. It does not care how special you are, it is simply interested in the numbers we all share. Yes, the numbers on your scale, the numbers in your cholesterol test, triglyceride test and body mass index (BMI) do not lie. They apply to you.
3. A little bit is better than nothing at all or going too BIG: We men tend to think big or do nothing. We either hunt or think about the hunt in the shade of a tree. After thousands of years in pursuit of the woolly mammoth we are conditioned that way. Big hunter gets big mammoth, gets big cave and many offspring. It was a simple recipe in those days. Not anymore. We tend to go big at the gym and at exercise and overdo it, with aches and sprains as the result.
A few little changes will do the trick. Cut the smoking. Exercise lightly for 6 days a week rather than playing Rambo or Rocky twice a week in the gym and live to exercise again next week. Eat white meat 2 nights of the week, drink one beer less. We can do it.
4. Go ape: This should be the easiest one of all. Eat like your family tree and focus on fresh fruit, vegetables, roots (sweet potatoes/potatoes/carrots) and nuts. (You do not have to overturn rocks and look for insects). If you follow the fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts diet long enough you may eventually be able to swing by your tail from a tree. Have you ever seen a depressed monkey on this diet?
5. Go for your check-ups and screenings and make a friend of your doctor: Put his number on speed dial. The first hour after a heart attack is crucial – if you can get hold of him quickly, you might live to see your grandchildren. There are some things in life us men hate, like being wrong, our team losing, and admitting that we are growing older.
Most of these screenings do not hurt; some might be a bit more intense. But you are not scared of a teeny-weeny little needle, are you?
6. Fun is good for you: If you are not the gym type, go walking with your best friend (the hairy one that barks), make some fun out of exercise, ride a bicycle, hit or kick a ball, throw a Frisbee and laugh while you are doing it. Boys were made for play. It lowers our blood pressure and raises our testosterone and IQ.
7. Mates & family are good for you: Research has repeatedly proved that we function optimally as social animals if we are part of a small herd. We were made to be part of a team, whether you call that team a marriage, a committed relationship, family or your golf buddies. It not only adds value but years and quality to our lives. Volunteer work, spiritual ties, friendship, a pet reduce stress & enhance life.
8. Have a purpose: Find something you enjoy, a reason to live for, something bigger than you to believe in. Something that makes you excited when you wake up, something that makes life purposeful and meaningful.
9. Get outdoors in the fresh air: We come from nature and we should visit her more often. We were not designed to live permanently in artificial surroundings, breathe artificial air, meet so many people every day, and hunt for food on a computer.
10. Attend a yoga class: Ok. Have you stopped laughing yet? Imagine a world where you are surrounded by lithe, sexy women all dressed in spandex, smelling feminine and taking evocative postures. Make that world smaller, and you are in a yoga class. And what is more, research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that attending yoga classes regularly for three months improves overall sexual function in men, including desire, satisfaction and confidence.
In other words, a pharmaceutical medicine ‘robs’ you of one or more nutrients or other helpful substances, and this lack of nutrients causes additional side-effects.
In a sense the medicine acts as an ‘anti-vitamin’ pill, taking away the substances you need for good health. Thus, nutrient depletion caused by the medicines, rather than the medicines themselves, is often solely responsible for many of the side-effects associated with pharmaceuticals.
Among the most common medicines linked to nutrient depletion are oral contraceptives, cholesterol-lowering statins, and antibiotics. These and many other over the counter and prescription medications can interfere with your body’s ability to digest, absorb, synthesise, or make use of certain nutrients, leading to nutrient deficiency-related ‘side-effects’.
A pharmaceutical medicine ‘robs’ you of one or more nutrients or other helpful substances, and this lack of nutrients causes additional side-effects.
The only solution to averting pharmaceutical-induced nutritional deficiencies is to replace the depleted nutrients through nutritional supplements, dietary sources, or both. The below summarises some commonly prescribed medicines, along with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutraceuticals they are most likely to deplete. It is important to supplement with these nutrients if you are on any of these medicines.
Our amazing bodies are extremely efficient in warning us of nutrient deficiency states, underlying disease conditions and even possible future illness by means of physical signs. Exploring some of the ways in which your body can communicate with you can often be extremely helpful in diagnosing a potential health problem.
Veins on the cheeks can indicate digestive enzyme insufficiency or low stomach acid.
Cracks in the corners are a sign of vitamin B2 deficiency. Eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, parsley and wheat germ or take B2 daily to overcome.
A puffy lower lip (unless you have been injected with collagen!!) indicates digestive stagnation or constipation. Take eN-ZYME+ and / or drink warm herbal teas.
Bleeding gums are a sign of vitamin C deficiency. Taking 2g of vitamin C a day should stop this unless there is underlying gum disease.
There are many ‘tongue’ symptoms, but these are the most common ones…
A midline crack that does not reach the tip of the tongue indicates weak stomach acid and poor digestion.
Teeth marks around the sides of the tongue are also a sign of nutritional deficiency. This also indicates impaired digestion and a possible spleen deficiency, which often manifest in gas and bloating.
A sore tongue is a sure sign of nutrient deficiency - often iron, vitamins B6, B3 or B12 – or all. Take a strong vitamin B complex with perhaps a vitamin B12 injection for added effect.
A burning tongue indicates a lack of gastric juices in the stomach, and often stomach trouble of some sort. Drink dandelion tea twice a day and try a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar before each meal. If the burning is caused by a localised Candida albicans infection in the mouth, gargle with probiotics for a few minutes which quickly eradicates the problem.
A swollen tongue and / or thick white coating are signs that there is too much mucus in the body. They also indicate a lack of beneficial bacteria and possibly an elevation of yeasts.
A red tip of the tongue often indicates emotional stress and / or strain. Take Sceletium.
Horizontal cracks, small cracks or grooves are sometimes referred to as a ‘geographic tongue’. This is a sign of malabsorption of nutrients, particularly B vitamins, and is often accompanied by lethargy. Take a good B complex and eN-ZYME+ with meals.
A thick yellow coating on the tongue indicates excess mucus in the digestive tract and a deficiency of healthy bacteria. If the coating is mainly at the back of the tongue, your colon needs attention – your bowels are probably not working as well as they should be. Stress is often to blame.
A pale inside lower eyelid, instead of pink-red may mean that you are anaemic. Take a vitamin B complex and a B12 injection or tablets. Nettle tea is a great natural iron booster.
Dark circles under the eyes usually indicate food allergies or an iron deficiency, or possible weak kidneys. Find out which foods you are intolerant to and rotate your foods by not eating the same few favourites day in day out.
Dry eyes can sometimes be a symptom of severe fatigue. Glands in the eyelids secrete special oils, water and something called mucin, every time we blink. Staring at a computer or monitor for extended periods of time can slow down your ‘blink rate’, leading to visual fatigue, and often dry eyes. Another common reason for this condition, especially in older people, is a simple GLA, EPA and DHA deficiency. Take Fish Oil or Krill Oil to offset this deficiency.
Dandruff is often caused by yeast overgrowth and / or deficiency in essential fatty acids, vitamin B6 and / or selenium. Take Fish Oil or Krill Oil, 200mcg Selenium, & 600mcg Biotin daily. Include an antifungal such as Grapefruit Seed Liquid Extract or olive leaf if yeast overgrowth is present and eliminate sugary foods.
Once chemotherapy, stress, hormonal issues and male-pattern baldness are ruled out, unexplained hair loss is frequently due to a protein deficiency and increasing intake of animal protein usually makes a difference in both quality and quantity within a few months. A low-fat diet can also lead to significant hair-thinning – another reason to reassess the fat-crazed world we live in, where fat has become the enemy. Healthy fats are essential to good health, and very often your hair reflects the status of these healthy fats in your body.
Some skin symptoms are difficult even for specialists to diagnose, but the following examples may help to demystify a few of the more common skin complaints.
Dry, blackened skin (pellagra) is caused by a niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency. A good B vitamin complex twice a day usually solves this problem. It may take time though and if you find you need to take more B3 than the recommended dose it is a good idea to have your liver enzymes tested by a health professional from time to time to make sure you are not overdoing it.
Dry, scaly skin indicates deficiencies in essential fatty acids (mainly in omega 3) vitamin E or biotin. The low-fat fad has meant that generally people are eating too much of the damaged fats and too few of the good fats as fat is perceived to be ‘bad’. Nothing could be further from the truth, and if you skin is dry and scaly, including avocados, raw nuts, seeds and fish in the diet in generous proportions will soon have a beneficial effect. By eating ‘diet’ foods you may be taking in enormous amounts of damaged fats and chemicals that rob the body of the important nutrients responsible for smooth skin. Of course, it goes without saying that adequate water intake is crucial for smooth skin tone.
Greasy, scaly skin is due to riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency. It is common in teenagers, who typically have both scaly and greasy skin at the same time. Taking a good B vitamin complex can often make a difference.
Dry skin that stands up when pinched is a sign of severe dehydration and drinking more water will sort this out. Cross-linking (wrinkles) and premature ageing can indicate a lack of antioxidants in the diet. Water and antioxidants are a powerful recipe for healthy skin.
A skin rash may be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency, although there are many reasons for rashes.
Delayed wound healing can be caused by a lack of vitamins A, C and Zinc.
In the end what you put into your mouth becomes what you are – flesh, bone, skin and hair. Perfect health forever is out of our reach, but you can almost certainly attain an improved level of health by eating a sensible whole-food diet, avoiding toxins, eliminating refined and processed food, getting enough water and sleep, and finding peace in your life. Take care of your body and it will take care of you, displaying the outward signs of inner health for all to see – healthy hair, smooth skin & clear, bright eyes and more.
Tender spots where the shoulder meets the arm could indicate vitamin B12 deficiency, common in vegetarians who do not eat meat. Try vitamin B12 sublingual lozenges (1000 mcg daily).
Small pimply bumps on the arm are frequently a sign of long-standing essential fatty acid deficiency, remedied by taking 3g of Fish Oil a day. B complex vitamins also help, and digestive enzymes assist with nutrient absorption.
Red spots on the front of the thigh could mean a vitamin A deficiency, but also appear to be linked to an omega-3 deficiency, in which case Fish Oil is helpful. Taking cod liver oil provides the DHA and EPA plus some added vitamin A.
A painful knee or knees (unless you have had an injury) may indicate widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Try taking 400mcg Selenium and 400IU vitamin E for three months and a general good all-round multivitamin.
A sore lower leg bone when pressed indicates vitamin and mineral deficiency. You need a healthy diet, supplementing it with a basic regimen of vitamin C, Fish Oil or Krill Oil and a good multivitamin.
Leg cramps may mean that your magnesium levels are low, and often a supplement of 400-600mg, together with green leafy vegetables, which are naturally high in magnesium, will address this problem very quickly.
Varicose veins could indicate nutritional deficiencies and / or congestion in the liver. Try vitamin E (400IU a day), bioflavonoids (500mg a day) & magnesium (600mg a day). Spider veins seem to respond well to proanthocyanidins, MSM and Ester C supplementation.
Fingernails can be a fascinating gauge of overall health. For instance, unless your spoon-shaped nails are inherited they could be a sign of thyroid insufficiency or iron deficiency anaemia. Nails that have no ‘moon’ or white crescent at the base, and are thin and brittle, might indicate an under-active thyroid. Naturally, it is impossible to ‘diagnose’ a problem by looking at the nails alone, but they often give us early warning signs. If you are worried about any of the below it may be a good idea to check them out with your GP.
Brittleness may indicate impaired circulation, deficiency of vitamins A, C or B6, Niacin, Calcium or Iron, or thyroid insufficiency.
Pitting is often seen in sufferers of eczema and psoriasis.
Ridges, if not hereditary, often develop as we age, but can also be an early sign of weak kidneys or a poor thyroid.
A nail that lifts off the nail bed may be due to a fungus infection, iron deficiency or psoriasis.
Spoon-shaped nails can often indicate thyroid insufficiency or iron deficiency anaemia.