SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

June 24, 2009

Women’s Hormones

Once again, I have borrowed from Dr Mercola, the source of so much of my really great information and this fabulous piece comes from his archives circa November 2000.  This may be more than you want to know, but for those always seeking the “Big Picture” in order to arrive at answers, you’re gonna love it. This can be very enabling toward a more healthy perspective and possible reduction in biology-confusion.  This was tucked in as a reference on his recent post on OPRAH and the seeming ire of the AMA toward her for her broad views on altrernative medicine etc.  It’s not too easy to push someone like Oprah around (thank God), but they aren’t happy with her.  Go Girl!

Women’s Hormones

By I. Michael Borkin N.M.D.

Originally Published in Alternative Medicine, Issue 37

Female hormonal health is not just related to menstruation and menopause – it is a matter of lifelong well-being and longevity

While a great number of women in our culture develop some kind of sexual reproductive organ dysfunction, most are misled about true sexual and reproductive health and what options exist to achieve it. People tend to think of women’s “hormone problems” as starting in midlife with the onset of menopause. In fact, a dysfunctional pattern can begin during adolescent years or even before birth. The severity of hormonal problems may increase with age, but it is not aging per se that is the root of declining health. It is most often the cumulative physiological effects of stress that cause disruption of the natural rhythms and balancing mechanisms of women’s hormones (see Quick Definition), thereby eventually compromising overall health as well as sexual and reproductive health.

Quick DefinitionSex and stress hormones are chemical messengers formed in endocrine organs and certain body tissues and then carried in the blood to other areas of the body. Depending on how specific their effects, hormones can alter either the functional activity or the structure of one or more organs. Synthetic hormones are different from naturally occurring hormones; they are structurally altered (so as to be patentable).

Allopathic (conventional) medical thinking fails to look for or treat the root causes of women’s hormonal imbalances. For example, more young women today are experiencing infertility because they are not ovulating, yet they are being given fertility drugs like Clomid without comprehensive hormonal evaluations. Though these women often succeed in conceiving, they generally end up paying a price for short-sighted symptom management. The future health consequence is that other symptoms will appear and hormonal imbalance will progress.

Similarly, women are led to believe that it is normal to experience distressing menopausal symptoms. They anticipate having to accept the conventional treatment choice of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with synthetic hormones. Women are encouraged to do this in spite of the fact that estrogen supplementation places them at risk for breast cancer and other serious health problems. HRT and fertility drugs — as well as birth control pills and other hormonal therapies — were all designed to treat only specific symptoms with no regard for the effects they have on the entire body. Because of this non-holistic approach, we are seeing an increase in the incidence of not only breast cancer and sexual reproductive organ dysfunctions but also uterine and ovarian cancer.

Another problem with conventional HRT is that it generally employs the wrong forms of estrogen and progesterone. Synthetic estrogens or the estrogens that are excreted in pregnant mare urine are often used. And of the three estrogen hormones (estradiol, estriol and estrone) found in women’s bodies, most conventional pharmaceutical products use only estradiol. Many HRT formulas also contain synthetic progestin (as opposed to natural progesterone), which is included to help balance the effects of synthetic estrogen. Yet an artificial hormone cannot function in concert with another artificial hormone to create balance in the body. Worse, these HRT formulas ignore the increasingly common wisdom that it is progesterone deficiency — not estrogen deficiency — that leads to early or difficult menopause and many other health problems affecting women.

A lot of women are discovering that conventional HRT does not give them the overall health and well-being they had hoped for, and they are seeking out healthier alternatives. What everyone will hopefully soon realize is that menopausal and sexual reproductive problems are actually symptoms of overall hormonal imbalances. Women need to get a complete picture of their hormonal status and find appropriate therapeutic steps to maintaining balance.

Meanwhile, millions of women continue to experience dysfunctions such as PMS, depression, decreased libido, fibrocystic breasts, food and sugar cravings, uterine fibroids, irregular or excessive uterine bleeding and endometriosis (see Quick Definition below). Those whose dysfunctions are extremely painful or debilitating are told that their “health is more important than their reproductive organs” and that “a hysterectomy would be the best thing.” Unbelievably, an estimated trillion-plus dollars was spent during the twentieth century to remove women’s reproductive organs. Hysterectomy now out-numbers almost all types of surgery performed in the U.S.

Reproductive organs play an important role in more than reproduction. Many studies show that each aspect of the female sexual anatomy serves an integral part in the health and well-being of the entire body. Each function is part of the whole, part of a system, or symphony, of interrelated parts and timing.

The Endocrine Interplay

What needs to be understood is that, for example, if a woman’s thyroid or adrenal glands are depleted or functioning inadequately — a fairly common occurrence in our stressful culture — she will likely experience problems with her sexual reproductive organs. The connection between these organs and the thyroid, the adrenals and other endocrine glands is that they are all governed by endocrine hormones. This is an important interrelationship, which is why what disrupts one gland can disrupt another, causing a kind of domino effect or vicious cycle. The immune system and the thymus are involved, too, because immune response is inhibited by abnormal hormone levels.

The endocrine system (see below) is responsible for homeostasis, the body’s ability to maintain stable internal conditions, including body temperature, regardless of changing external conditions. Balance is crucial to all life processes. The body functions within very specific margins, and being forced to function outside of those margins can cause a whole series of negative events, even death. The endocrine system also controls the processes of reproduction, metabolism, growth and development.

The Endocrine System and the Female Cycle

The endocrine system regulates the body’s major continuous and prolonged processes, including reproduction; growth and development; cellular metabolism and energy; blood balance of nutrients, electrolytes and water; and the mobilization of body defenses against stressors (things that cause wear and tear on the body’s physical and mental resources). It is made up of eight different glands located strategically throughout the body:

  • ovaries (in men, the testes)
  • adrenals
  • pancreatic islets
  • thyroid
  • parathyroid
  • pineal
  • pituitary
  • hypothalamus, which is also part of the nervous system

Besides these major organs, the system includes pockets of hormone-producing cells in tissues in the small intestine, heart, kidneys and stomach. The endocrine system develops and begins producing hormones by the end of the second trimester of fetal development.

In the order of endocrine command, the hypothalamus is the body’s CEO, orchestrating the events of the rest of the endocrine system. The hypothalamus controls autonomic reflexes (such as the activity of the heart and smooth muscles), and it houses the body’s “thermostat” and biological clock, which maintains the body’s rhythm of 24-hour sleep-wake cycles. The somewhat mysterious pineal gland also has a role in biological timekeeping, being an organ sensitive to retinal response to light. The pineal gland, believed to coordinate fertility hormones, produces melatonin, the hormone known for its sleep-triggering ability.

The hypothalamus also initiates part of the adrenal stress response,causing the pituitary to secrete the hormone that travels to the adrenal glands to stimulate secretion of cortisol, DHEA and aldosterone. The hypothalamus also initiates the female cycle by producing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which signals the pituitary to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH stimulates the ovaries to secrete estrogen, the sex hormone that stimulates development of breast, uterine and ovarian tissue (and in synthetic HRT forms is associated with excessive cell growth that leads to cancer).

When estrogen reaches a certain level, it signals the hypothalamus to trigger the pituitary to secrete luteinizing hormone (LH). Estrogen levels then fall, while the level of LH rises and peaks (around day 14 of a 28-day cycle), stimulating ovulation, the release of an egg from its ovarian follicle. After ovulation, the follicle (now called the corpus luteum) is filled with cholesterol, which is converted first to pregnenolone and then to progesterone. This newly-made progesterone is used in part for the building up of the uterine lining. If after about 13 to 15 days the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining is sloughed off (in menstruation) when both estrogen and progesterone levels drop.

Both estrogen and progesterone are necessary in the female cycle, and their balance is key for full health. Many women in our culture have an imbalance of these hormones, especially, insufficient levels of progesterone to counter excessive estrogen — an imbalance further exacerbated by chronic stress. Progesterone is a hormone important to a number of body functions. During times of stress or conditions of chronic adrenal hyper-stimulation, progesterone is capable of being converted into the stress hormone cortisol.

When one goes through chronic or severe long-term stress, the hypothalamus at first triggers an overproduction of the adrenal hormones (especially cortisol and DHEA). This eventually leads to adrenal insufficiency, a state in which the exhausted adrenals cannot respond adequately.

The thyroid gland is also adversely affected by chronic stress. This gland’s roles include regulating calcium metabolism and glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose for body energy fuel. Under normal conditions, the fight-or-flight response causes the thyroid to increase glucose breakdown. In conditions of chronic stress, however, the thyroid is continually overstimulated and eventually becomes depleted. Thyroid function is also disrupted by excessive estrogen, but this can be prevented by adequate progesterone levels.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid functioning) and especially hypothyroidism (low functioning) have become more common. The classic symptoms of hypothyroidism include sluggishness, early morning fatigue, cold extremities, lowered basal temperature and menstrual problems, including scanty periods.

Adrenal and other hormonal gland dysfunctions can cause some of the above symptoms and more, including cravings for sweets, weight gain, allergies, heart palpitations, insomnia, depression, fatigue, poor memory, foggy thinking, headaches, nervousness, inability to concentrate, recurrent infections and glucose intolerance.

One very damaging adrenal dysfunction is excessive cortisol production, which causes, among other serious problems, increased calcium mobilization from the bones, leading to osteoporosis, or loss of bone density. In a person with a healthy stress response, excessive levels of cortisol are automatically buffered. Constant stress destroys this feedback loop.

Hormonal imbalances compromise not only physical health but also psychological health, manifesting as problems ranging from depression to panic disorder. One way the body tries to compensate for imbalances created and exacerbated by the demands of stress is to overproduce key hormones. Another way it tries to compensate is by converting sex hormones to stress hormones, thus further diminishing reproductive functions and the enjoyment of sexual health.

It is helpful to learn about these hormonal interdependencies because they allow one to see the bigger picture, that the problems commonly associated with menses or menopause are actually indicators of greater endocrine imbalance. For many women, the next step in understanding the bigger picture might be to look at digestive health — such as the possibility of malabsorption syndrome or food allergies — and at nutritional supplementation strategies (see Supplementation below) that help restore or maintain hormonal balance.

One of the biggest reasons why hormonal imbalances are misunderstood is because “modern” medicine disregards the way the human body deals with its environment. Consider that the body’s responses basically have not changed for 50,000 years. We still respond to our environment with the most primal of mechanisms: the “fight-or-flight” mechanism, the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones. The stress response, initiated in the hypothalamus and pituitary, and regulated by the adrenal glands, is responsible for redirecting energy and resources away from the reproductive organs when we are under severe or chronic stress, directing it instead to the muscles and organs that are necessary for survival. This redirection is allowed to take place because, on the body’s list of priorities, survival comes first and reproduction comes last.

The reproductive system is the only body system whose functions are biologically expendable. With this in mind, we see how the ability to reproduce becomes a privilege in the body, not a right. Fertility, or the ability to ovulate, is therefore a good indicator of the overall health of a woman.

The fight-or-flight response can be a detriment as well as a lifesaving response. In a modern environment, many things — ranging from allergic reactions to being cut off while driving — can evoke this mechanism. Throughout daily life, there are many hidden as well as overt sources of stress. Most of the time, our response to stress ends without a literal “fight” or some form of physical activity, as our ancestors would have engaged in. One of the problems with this is that adrenaline, unlike most hormones, has no enzyme “switch” to turn it off. Once released it must be used or it remains active. As a result, we remain in a state of hyper-stimulation, with abnormal levels of adrenaline and cortisol, the primary fight-or-flight hormones. Other hormone levels, such as the pancreatic hormone glucagon, also become dysregulated. If hyper-stimulation persists, we have difficulty inducing a relaxation response, and we do not return to a normal state.

Over a period of time, if chronic stress continues, the body adapts to adrenal hyper-stimulation, continuing in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode. This is called maladaptation, a process in which endocrine system organs begin to break down. This process eventually reaches the point where the adrenals become exhausted and cortisol levels drop. One example of what can result from adrenal exhaustion is fibromyalgia, a condition that can arise when the protective benefits of normal cortisol levels are lost.

The adrenals are usually first in the order of endocrine function breakdown, followed by the insulin-producing portion of the pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, parathyroid, pineal, pituitary and finally, the link to the autonomic nervous system, the hypothalamus. The thymus gland, which produces immune defense cells, is also affected in the endocrine breakdown process. Each of these glands controls specific functions, and as each breaks down new symptoms appear. Symptoms are subtle at first. Then over the years, as the body goes further into deficit, the symptoms will increase and worsen.

The more stress endured, the worse the hormonal problems become. When the endocrine system is severely dysregulated, the hypothalamus is affected. If the production of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) becomes severely affected, the psychological symptoms can become debilitating. Because CRH controls fear through stimulating adrenal secretion, an abnormal level of CRH can make it difficult to perform routine chores or leave the house. The fear response in turn worsens hormonal problems by further stressing the adrenals, which respond by converting more sex hormones to stress hormones and becoming more maladapted — a vicious cycle.

The Creation of Maladaptation

A woman’s hormonal problems can begin even before birth, during her fetal development. If her mother is under chronic stress and adrenally hyper-stimulated, the mother’s body will draw on the developing fetus’s “survival chemistry” to supplement her own body’s hormonal needs. During the second trimester, the placenta produces on average about 450 milligrams of progesterone a day, and some of this progesterone will be routed to the stressed mother and converted for stress purposes. In the third trimester, the developing baby’s adrenal glands begin to produce stress hormones, and these can also be taken and used by the mother.

Quick Definition Endometriosis is the buildup of endometrial (uterine lining) tissue outside the uterus, most often in or on the fallopian tubes, ovaries and pelvic area. It is thought to be caused by or exacerbated by estrogen dominance (too much estrogen in relation to progesterone), and it can in turn cause organ dysfunction or intestinal blockage. Symptoms include painful menstruation and frequent and severe bleeding.

Women are rarely cautioned about this kind of fetal stress before or during their pregnancies. Nor are they told how the developing baby’s adrenal glands will enlarge to meet the mother’s demand for additional stress hormones. A baby born in this state of secondary hyper-stimulation produces too much stress hormone. While the baby’s adrenal glands can eventually decrease their output, the glands will tend to reinflate more easily — like a balloon — every time extreme demands are made upon them.If severe or chronic stress persists, however, hyper-stimulation continues. As the baby grows and matures into an adult, this maladaptive cycle will be perpetuated, causing her sex hormones to be routed from her reproductive system and used for her own stress purposes.

Breaking the Stress Cycle

Once a maladaptive stress cycle has been established, it will continue until appropriate intervention takes place to restore hormonal balance. This can be done at any age, and functional hormonal testing is the first step. The best type of stress and sex hormone testing is known as a circadian test, which is performed over a 24-hour period.

Sampling is easily accomplished at home, and the test results will determine the exact levels of accumulated stress and sex hormones. Using a collection kit, a woman can obtain a saliva sample every four hours for 24 hours by chewing on a salivette (a small dacron roll). The results will show specific hormonal changes that occur every four hours, demonstrating a 24-hour graphic representation of the body’s stress reactions.

Salivary testing is the best test method because saliva contains free fractions of stress and sex hormones. Free fractions are the utilizable hormones, those that the body actually has access to. Many studies have been conducted showing the validity of assaying these steroid hormones in saliva. The usual hormone tests, conducted with blood samples, measure total hormone production, a value that includes bound (not free) hormones that are unavailable for the body’s use. It is important to measure free fractions to get an accurate picture of how sex and stress hormone levels are varying by body function and activity.

Also, conventional hormone panels usually test only the blood plasma levels of the sex hormones and only at the moment of sampling (when the blood was drawn). The Female Circadian Panel from Sabre Sciences evaluates fluctuations of the salivary hormone levels of estrogen (estradiol), progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and melatonin over a 24-hour period. Important clues about endocrine health are revealed by circadian fluctuations. For example, we know that because human skin regenerates mostly at night, high nighttime cortisol values mean that less skin regeneration is taking place.

Steps to Restore Hormonal Health

  • First, support the endocrine system and allow it time to repair.
  • Support immune function, thereby reducing stress on the endocrine system.
  • Make dietary and nutritional changes according to genetic predisposition,
    allergies, personal weight and exerciseobjectives.
  • Support proper digestive function; eliminate any malabsorption problems.
  • Get exercise, establishing your level of capacity and personal training objectives.
  • To relieve stress, try meditation, hypnotherapy, visualization, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi or QiGong.
  • Consider individual counseling and group stress management workshops.
  • Relax by walking in nature, swimming, pursuing creative activities, changing routines.

Establishing a Baseline

Comprehensive hormonal testing should be performed to establish a baseline before a woman chooses any kind of hormonal treatment, and then should be repeated periodically thereafter. Baseline test results are also needed to order custom-made transdermal hormonal creams from Sabre Sciences and various compounding pharmacies around the country. Women should also consider additional testing, such as a comprehensive, 5-hour glucose tolerance test and a lipid panel (cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL). An abnormal (especially high) level of cholesterol, the basic building block of sex and stress hormones, indicates that the body is attempting to provide more stress hormones. In some cases, testing for gastrointestinal problems, allergies or even parasites is advised.

Note, however, that “normal” (negative) results from conventional laboratory diagnostic tests do not always mean normal function. Some tests do not reveal serious existing conditions, others are not able to detect borderline conditions. One example is thyroid testing, which cannot indicate how well thyroid hormone (T3) is able to bind to target cells, a thyroid condition that can be caused by high levels of estrogen. Woman suspecting hormonal imbalances or experiencing distressing symptoms should discuss testing with a healthcare practitioner.

Effective Treatment

By evaluating hormonal changes over a 24-hour period, a pattern can be determined and a treatment protocol designed. An effective plan involving natural hormones, nutritional support and various stress-relief therapies can be successfully implemented to reestablish the proper menstrual dynamics, hormonal balance and well-being.

It should be mentioned that in many scientific circles, the 28-day menstrual cycle is believed to be a result of the impact of the modern world. Up until the last hundred years, the menstrual cycle is said to have reacted to seasonal changes. Fertility was at its peak during the fall months, thus helping guarantee the survival of the newborn during the much more hospitable spring and summer environment. The menstrual/fertility cycle could last as long as 90 days, and was absent during times of serious stress.

When evaluating the “modern” 28-day cycle and hormonal balance it is important to understand that approximately the first 14 days of the cycle are estrogen dominant and the second 14 days are progesterone dominant. This is an over-simplification but it helps to establish an understanding of the healthy dynamics of the menstrual cycle.

The first treatment consideration is that the maladaptive stress response must be interrupted so that sex hormones will no longer be converted for stress purposes. Women must know that, until these conversion pathways are closed, supplementation with the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone is of little value because they will easily be converted. First, therefore, proper levels of the adrenal hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) need to be reestablished. DHEA is a much talked about hormone these days because of its importance in maintaining youthfulness; a healthy DHEA level is considered an indicator of longevity.

Hormonal restoral with transdermal creams is accomplished using a dual-phase approach, which uses estrogen-dominant supplementation during the first 14 days and progesterone supplementation during the second 14 days.

Transdermal Delivery System

In addition to individual needs, an important factor regarding the correct levels of any kind of supplement is how quickly it is metabolized and eliminated from the body. This is called metabolic clearance. A supplement, especially a hormone, should not accumulate or remain in the body too long, or it will interfere with the changes that must occur — in this case, the necessary shift from estrogen to progesterone — for supplementation to be effective.

A transdermal hormonal cream supplement works best. It is easily applied and delivered, bypassing the obstacle of breakdown in the digestive system or liver. Most of the available hormonal creams claim to be transdermal, but are actually topical. A big problem with topical creams is that most of them use an inexpensive oil cosmetic base. They are absorbed into fat cells, and months after discontinuance they can still be found in body tissues. Also, a topical relies on the small size of the hormone molecule (progesterone being very small, estrogen very large) to transverse the layers of the skin and make its way into the bloodstream. A true transdermal does not rely on the size of the molecule; instead it has a vehicle to carry it to the target. This is called a liposomal delivery system, which employs a molecular coating to control absorption.

A “stealth” liposome has 100 bilayer lipid shells, identical to cell membrane lipids, allowing it to pass through the skin tissue. The shells slowly dissolve, releasing hormones and cofactors gradually into the bloodstream.

The Sabre Sciences transdermal cream delivery system is also pulsatile, meaning that only a small, measurable quantity of hormone is released at one time. This not only allows for easy calculation of the amount that will be in the blood but also comes closest to matching the body’s own cyclic hormone rhythm.

Recreating Healthy Dynamics

The key factor in positively influencing estrogen and progesterone levels is to recreate or enhance the healthy dynamics of the menstrual cycle by maintaining estrogen dominance during the first 14 days of the cycle and allowing a shift at mid-cycle to progesterone dominance. A one-phase treatment involves supplementation throughout the entire cycle using only estrogen or progesterone factors. If you use this approach, not only will you not restore hormonal balance but also you will cause further imbalance, negatively affecting sexual and reproductive health as well as the health of the whole body.

To support the adrenal system, dual-phase transdermal creams from Sabre Sciences contain DHEA and pregnenolone, important precursors of sex and stress hormones. The creams also contain cofactors and nutrients (such as Alpha Lipoic Acid) as well as botanicals and homeopathics, all of which help estrogen and progesterone work properly. Custom transdermal creams are formulated using an individual’s hormonal test results. Off-the-shelf dual-phase creams called BioEst™ Phyto-Estrogen Formula and Bio-Femme™ Progesterone Formula are also available. These creams are designed to enhance the healthy dynamics of estrogen and progesterone activity in both pre- and post-menopausal women. For example, women suffering from hot flashes or postmenopausal vaginal dryness are aided by the phyto-estrogen cream.

Supplementation

The following list includes general recommendations for women who are “stressed out” or hormonally imbalanced and would like to restore overall hormonal health. For best results, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for guidance in establishng a supplement plan before assuming the important responsibility of self-care.

  • Transdermal hormonal supplements (dosages vary)
  • Vitamin A (25,000 IU daily as beta carotene)
  • Vitamin B5 (500­1,500 IU daily)
  • B complex vitamins (25­50 mg daily)
  • Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids (2,000 mg/1,000 mg daily)
  • Vitamin D (400­1,000 IU daily)
  • Vitamin E (400 IU daily; 800 IU for women on HRT)
  • Digestive enzymes (needs and dosages vary)
  • Probiotics (including acidophilus; dosages vary)
  • Alpha Lipoic acid (100­200 mg twice daily)
  • Biotin (1,000 mcg prior to meals)
  • Calcium (1 tsp Coral Calcium daily)
  • Chelated magnesium (1,000 mg daily)
  • Licorice root (use if cortisol level is low)
  • Phosphatidyl choline (acetylcholine precursor; use if cortisol level is low)
  • Phosphatidyl serine (revitalizes nerve cells; use if cortisol level is high)
  • Siberian Ginseng (use if cortisol level is high)
  • Royal Maca (affects hypothalamic action; important to all hormonal therapies)

While the use of these creams or any other hormonal therapy should be initiated under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner, the creams provide an individual the ability to adjust the dosage to the exact amount needed during each phase. Supplementing with both phyto-estrogen (from natural plant sources) and progesterone will re-balance the natural monthly cycle. Pre-menopausal women should use the phyto-estrogen cream from day one through 15 of their monthly cycle (day one is first day of menses); the progesterone cream should be used from day 16 through 28. Postmenopausal women can create a cycle by choosing a day to begin using the creams. After four cycles, women should get fully retested to see whether the dosages of the creams and other supplements need further adjustment.

Women have seen amazing results after employing these creams, especially in combination with other treatments, including nutritional supplements (see above) and therapies for normalizing adrenal stress. Some women without a period for years, clinically diagnosed as being post-menopausal, have begun to menstruate again after using this system of hormonal supplementation. Most women find that the healthy, youthful aspects of their skin, hair and nails are reestablished, and they report greatly enhanced moods and feelings of well-being.

Again, it is important to look at all aspects of the reproductive system and its interplay with the endocrine system, especially adrenal health. It is equally important that women become observant and vigilant about what is happening in their own bodies. This is what it takes to maintain optimum sexual and overall health and maximize longevity.

Contact: I. Michael Borkin, N.M.D., in professional practice for 17 years, is dedicated full-time to endocrine research and is CEO/Director of The Foundation for The Advancement of Endocrine Research. He is also Director of Research and Development for Sabre Sciences. A pioneer in transdermal delivery systems, his ideas have given birth to naturopathic therapies, including Neuro Emotional Sensory Training (NEST) and Quantum Magnetic Manipulation (Q2m). He is past president of the California State Naturopathic Medical Association, and is an independent medical/nutritional consultant. Tel: 323-450-7101.

Sources

Sabre Sciences, Inc., EndoScreen Labs: hormonal test kits for women and men. (Doctors can order test panels; patients can order user-friendly testing systems.) 910 Hampshire Road, Suite P, Westlake Village, CA 91361. Tel: 888-490-7300. Web address: http://www.sabresciences.com.

Sabre Sciences, Inc., Transdermal Division: transdermal creams. 910 Hampshire Road, Suite P, Westlake Village, CA 91361. Tel: 888-490-7300.

The Foundation for The Advancement of Endocrine Research: 1218 S. Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, Nevada 89104. Tel: 323-450-7101. Hormonal research information (physicians only please).

Reprinted with permission from Alternative Medicine magazine, September 2000/#37. For subscription information call 800-333-HEAL (4325). Website: www.alternativemedicine.com.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

I had the opportunity to have Dr. Borkin come to my office and show me his work. He has developed quite an interesting and comprehensive method of diagnosing hormone imbalances.

He uses a technique called Q2M (quantum magnetic manipulation) in conjunction with his version of a transdermal hormone cream which appears to have resolved many of the concerns of the older creams.

Overall though, this is an excellent summary of a natural perspective on how the hormone axis becomes imbalanced.

June 20, 2009

Paleo and Your Bones

Filed under: acid/base balance,bone health,calcium,Paleo Diet — Jan Turner @ 12:14 am
Tags:

Here is one last shot at the Paleo Update – – great as always.     Good people, cutting edge thinking, enviable reputation.   This one is on

Protecting the Health of Your Bones.

.
“The Paleo Diet Update”
Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Issue: # 2009 – 25/June 19, 2009

Hello! Welcome to The Paleo Diet Update, an in-depth review of breaking scientific research investigating how what we eat influences our quality of life. The Paleo Diet refers to the diet that was available to our Paleolithic ancestors over a period of time that accounts for approximately 99% of human evolution. Thus, the Paleo Diet provides the best nutritional guideline to support optimum fitness and reduce disease because it is most closely aligned with our genetic makeup.

After digestion and metabolism, foods release acidic or basic substances into the circulatory system. With a heavy reliance on fruits and vegetables, our hunter-gatherer ancestors maintained a net-base-producing diet. In contrast, modern diets tend to be net-acid-producing with heavy reliance on dairy products and cereal grains and few servings of fruit and vegetables. The Paleo Diet offers the net-base balance needed to reduce the risk of kidney malfunction, osteoporosis, age-related muscle wasting, kidney stones, hypertension, and exercise-induced asthma.

In this issue, we’ll look at what causes osteoporosis and how the Paleo Diet can provide optimum bone density. We’ll also share suggestions for Paleo athlete snacks to provide fuel for training.

Enjoy.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

Protecting the Health of Your Bones

Pedro Bastos

Although people in the United States have one of highest calcium intake rates worldwide, they still have one of the highest rates of bone de-mineralization. A reduction in bone mineral density or osteoporosis not only increases the risk of bone fracture, but has also been associated with many other diseases and disorders.1 The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of the people over 49, are at risk for osteoporosis. It’s true that osteoporosis largely affects seniors, but it can be present at any age. It’s been called the silent disease since no pain or symptoms accompany it.

Most of the nutritional guidelines for osteoporosis rely on calcium supplementation or the consumption of calcium-rich foods such as milk, but, as Americans have proven, bone mineral content is not just dependent upon calcium intake.

Bone mineral health depends upon vitamin D status,2 physical activity,3 micronutrient intake4-7 (including not just calcium, but also magnesium, zinc, copper, folic acid and vitamin K, B2, B6 and B12), protein intake (it increases intestinal calcium absorption8,9 and has an anabolic effect on bone,8 particularly in the context of a net base yielding diet),10 omega-6/omega-3 ratio,11,12 and the glycemic load/insulinotropic effect of the diet (high blood insulin levels cause calcium loss).13

Moreover, when we talk about calcium balance, it should be pointed out that calcium intake is only part of the equation. We also have to consider calcium excretion, which can be increased by a diet that chronically elevates blood insulin levels13 (such as a diet composed of high glycemic load foods, such as sugar containing foods, potatoes and many grain based products,14 and by milk and fermented milk).15-19

Calcium excretion is also increased when people eat a net acid yielding diet, which is key to bone health. After the nutrients in the foods we eat are metabolized, they report to the kidneys as either acid or base.20 If the diet yields a net acid load, the acid must be buffered by the alkaline stores of base in the body,21 such as calcium salts,22 which are released from bone and then eliminated in the urine, gradually leading to osteopenia21 (low bone mineral density) and eventually to osteoporosis.

  • Acid producing foods include hard cheeses, cereal grains, meats, fish, eggs20 and salted foods.23
  • Fruits and vegetables are the only alkaline, base-producing foods.20,21
  • Energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods (such as separated fats and oils and refined sugars), although they have a neutral effect in terms of acid-base balance, displace fruits and vegetables, and hence contribute to the diet’s net acid load.24

Because the average American diet is overloaded with grains, cheeses, salted processed foods, fatty meats, refined sugars and separated fats and oils at the expense of fruits and vegetables, virtually everyone in the U.S. consumes a net acid yielding diet,24 which leads to bone de-mineralization.21,22

Replacing hard cheeses, cereal grains, processed foods and refined sugars and separated fats and oils with plenty of vegetables and fruits can bring the body back into acid/base balance,24 which naturally brings it back into calcium balance, and has numerous other health benefits.21 The Paleo Diet recommends an appropriate balance of acid yielding and base yielding foods, including lean meats, fish, seafood, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. We believe that this way of eating combined with proper exercise3 and optimization of vitamin D status2 (either through sun exposure or supplementation) affords protection from osteoporosis in otherwise healthy individuals, because it:

  • Provides all the micronutrients25 (including calcium, which can be obtained from green leafy vegetables of the large genus Brassica, in the mustard family. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and mustards);
  • Encourages the intake of plenty of fruits and vegetables to become net-base yielding. It is important to mention that green leafy vegetables are net base yielding and milk, yogurt and cheese are net acid yielding;20,24
  • Is high in protein;
  • Provides a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids and warns against excessive omega-6 intake;
  • Has a low glycemic load and avoids dairy products. Remember that milk, fermented milk and yogurt elevate plasma levels of insulin as much as white bread,15-19 making green leafy vegetables (again) a safer source of calcium.

This summer, you have another reason to enjoy your bone-building garden greens more than ever!

Next time, we’ll look at the health implications of the increasing intake of legumes in modern diets. We’ll also share how to make homemade smoothies – a quick snack you can eat on the go.

Paleo Athlete Snacks: Fuel for Training by Nell Stephenson

Having just completed our first round of The Paleo Diet Implementation Program, it’s become very clear to me how many athletes there are who’ve begun to eat a Paleo Diet, but are concerned that it may not provide enough fuel for training.

Being an endurance athlete myself, I can promise firsthand that it does! It will require more preparation since you’re not likely to find baked yams with salt in your local mart. You’ll fare much better in your training, racing and recovering than if you were to default to the commonly available sports bars, made with whey, grains and all sorts of other “interesting” non-Paleo food ingredients.

The following are some of my favorites. For a complete listing of why these are favorites, review sections on what to eat before, during and after training around the time of a training session in The Paleo Diet For Athletes.

  • Natural, unsweetened applesauce with plain egg white protein powder and a sprinkle of salt
  • Baked yam with hard-boiled egg whites (I’ll give the yolks to the dogs as I prefer a light meal of protein and carbs only if workout session is going to follow immediately and I don’t have time to digest the fat) and again, a touch of table salt
  • Bananas – either fresh or sliced, and then frozen. There’s not a time I enjoy a banana more than after a workout session!
  • Pineapple – again, right after a workout is a perfect time for this fruit. Pineapple (and papaya and mango) contain bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and helps to settle the stomach. That’s quite handy for those hard sessions when you’ve pushed your limits, and ended up feeling a touch of nausea!
  • Dried fruit – the best time to eat this higher-in-sugar snack is right after a session when your muscles are screaming for carbohydrate to repair and refuel for your next session.
  • Cantaloupe – a great source of potassium, even higher than bananas!
  • Finally, I can’t omit the essential: the recovery drink recommended in Paleo For Athletes, “Homebrew.” It’s superior to anything you’re going to find commercially available, and it contains fruit, protein and salt. You’ll never tire of it, as you can always vary which fruits you use to keep it interesting.

If you haven’t committed to being 100% Paleo for fear that it won’t support your athletic endeavors, again, I promise you, it will.

Train Hard Paleo Athletes!

News and Upcoming Events

  • Loren Cordain on National Portuguese TV: On June 14, Portuguese National TV included a segment with Loren Cordain. It can be found, in Portuguese, at http://tinyurl.com/ljohs5.
  • Losing weight linked to vitamin D: A new study found that Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet could predict whether weight loss would be successful. Unlike most of us today, our Paleolithic ancestors got their vitamin D directly from sunlight. Unfortunately, Vitamin D it is not available naturally in many foods. Because Vitamin D is important not only to improve weight loss, but also to prevent disease as well, it is one of the few supplements that we recommend most people take.
  • The TV series “Food Investigators” features the Paleo Diet: The episodes can all be viewed in June online at: www.sbs.com.au/foodinvestigators.

Our Recommendations

  • The Dietary Cure for Acne has been shown to eliminate acne in just a matter of weeks: With this program, you don’t have to buy medications, creams, masks, etc. With this program, you avoid any risk of drug side effects, and you get all the benefits of healthy nutrition, including optimizing your weight, improving your energy, and reducing your risk of a long list of diet-related diseases.

    I quit my medication the day I started the acne diet and since then my skin has steadily improved over the past two months. I have had minimal breakouts, inflammation has gradually decreased, and my skin is clearer now than it has been since pre-high school.”

    Mathew

    With 174 scientific references, The Dietary Cure for Acne explains all four causes of acne, and is the only program shown to clear acne blemishes in a human clinical trial. It has been shown to break the acne cycle even after decades of failure, as Nick found:

    After 10 days, my skin is completely clear for the first time in 40 years, and maintaining my ideal weight is far easier.”

    Nick

     

  • The Paleo Diet has helped people solve critical health problems without risking drug side effects: Professor Loren Cordain, widely acknowledged as a leading expert on the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, shares his in-depth understanding of the dramatic health benefits derived from optimum nutrition. The book is filled with examples of modern hunter-gatherer societies virtually free of the epidemics of life-threatening diseases that plague modern society. Here’s an example of how the Paleo Diet has been life enhancing:

    I just want to let you know how incredibly grateful I am for your research…I’ve been following the plan for well over a year now and have never looked or felt better. Headaches, allergies, and skin problems that used to constantly plague me have vanished and people constantly comment on my “radiant appearance.” The Paleo Diet combined with an excellent exercise program (CrossFit) has allowed me to effortlessly optimize my body composition. I’ve stabilized at a lean (single digit body fat)/muscular 160 lb (I’m 5’6″). My workout performance continues to increase as well.

    The benefits have extended to my family as well. In the past couple of months, I’ve managed to get my mom and dad on the wagon and they have both experienced enhanced health and vitality. The plan has helped to alleviate aches and pains and is providing a route for my mother to get back to her ideal weight. Both of them are also experiencing higher levels of energy and greater resistance to fatigue. Needless to say, the plan has been a panacea for all involved.”

    Jonathon

  • The Paleo Diet Implementation Program started yesterday, June 18th, but you can still join at the last minute: It’s one thing to read about how nutrition can help you lose weight, overcome disease and accomplish athletic goals. Actually searching through grocery stores, knowing when to use olive versus flaxseed oil, and understanding the acid-base balance that fights disease may take a little more effort. That’s why people are joining together for six weeks of live Q&A with Pedro Bastos, Jess Kuzma, Chris LaLanne, Dr. Loren Cordain, and me, Wiley Long. The Implementation Program also includes a discussion forum to enable you to connect with your fellow participants. You’ll receive an 80-page binder filled with step-by-step instructions on how to implement this optimizing diet. It will make not only make shopping and preparing meals easier and quicker, but will also provide:
    ·   63 easy-to-follow recipes
    ·   180 meal ideas
    ·   Tips to make dining out and traveling easier
    ·   30 days of meal plans, including weekly grocery shopping lists and meal plans
    Here’s how Joyce has overcome scleraderma with the Paleo Diet

    “I have been following the Paleo diet for over two years and have achieved great success. I live in the greater Los Angeles area and was diagnosed with scleraderma over eight years ago. The disease is fast moving to harden the skin and internal organs. Two rheumatologists and one cardiologist have been following my progress or lack thereof. Two years ago my sister-in-law, a nutritionist familiar with the Paleo Diet recommended it based on hers and my brother’s success. I started cold turkey…after advising my doctors of my decision. After two weeks, there was marked improvement in my skin and nails. I continued to gain energy and lose weight. My goal was to feel better and that has certainly been achieved. I weighed over 225 when I began and have continued to lose weight down to 147.

    This is a way of life for me and my husband and I will never knowingly eat any other way. When scleraderma was diagnosed my pulmonary function was tested at less than 50%. Last week, I was tested and reported normal (for age 69). I would like to improve more and will continue my 2-mile walks and other exercise to do so. My rheumatologists were very pleased with my progress and they spent a long time last week examining me and brought in three other doctors working with them to ask me questions and check me out.”

    Joyce

    As soon as you sign up, you can listen to the mp3 of the first call.  We’ll rush the binder to you, and get you caught up with the rest of us.  To take control of your own health, register for the June 18th Paleo Diet Implementation Program.  The program comes with a full money-back guarantee.

     

Follow Up and Feedback

    In this new section of our newsletter, we’ll occasionally print questions, feedback, criticisms, and responses. We’d like to share a letter we received regarding our article on Pregnancy, Young Children and the Paleo Diet. In this article, we wrote “For the Western mother, weaning at age 3 is impractical, but weaning should be delayed as long as possible (preferrably at least 1-1.5 years).”Jennifer wrote that she disagreed with this and here are her reasons below. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your experience and information about nursing. 

    “I would disagree with this statement. It’s not that it is impractical, but that it is often discouraged by societal factors. I managed to nurse my son until he was 4 years old, simply because we set up his bed (in various forms) adjacent to ours from day 1. Before you assume that I stay at home, let me assure you that I am most definitely a full-time working mom. He has been in daycare, full days, since he was 4 months old; until he was 13 months old, I pumped and sent bottles. When he moved from the infant room to the young toddler room, he chose not to drink milk from bottles any more – in fact, he won’t drink milk of any sort now. He still nursed lots in the evening and on weekends.

    Most mothers, however, are often not aware that nursing for so long can remain beneficial for young children (and mothers as well). It is certainly a convenient and easy way to avoid those meltdowns that 2 year olds and 3 year olds have! I’m always a little saddened when I hear that a mother has stopped nursing, saddened because I know how much joy a child has nursing. Nursing an older child (even one with a lot of teeth!) is so different from nursing an infant – it’s an entirely different relationship and the mothers who give up nursing early miss out on this later aspect of a nursing relationship.

    I would direct you to the work of Kathy Dettwyler, http://www.kathydettwyler.org/ – an anthropologist who studies extended breastfeeding, for some insightful information.”

     

    Jennifer 


    Talk to you next week!

    To your optimum health,

    Wiley Long, M.S., Nutrition and Exercise Science

    Editor

    References:

    1. Simonelli, C et al. (July 2006). ICSI Health Care Guideline: Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis, 5th edition (PDF). Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement

    2. Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):1080S-6S

    3. Borer KT. Physical activity in the prevention and amelioration of osteoporosis in women : interaction of mechanical, hormonal and dietary factors. Sports Med. 2005;35(9):779-830

    4. Sojka JE, Weaver CM. Magnesium supplementation and osteoporosis. Nutr Rev. 1995 Mar;53(3):71-4

    5. Abrams SA, Griffin IJ. Microminerals and Bone Health. In Holick MF, Dawson-Hughes B. Nutrition And Bone Health. Humana Press, 2004, pp 377-387

    6. Cockayne S, Adamson J, Lanham-New S, Shearer MJ, Gilbody S, Torgerson DJ. Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 26;166(12):1256-61

    7. Pols H, Yazdanpanah N, van Meurs J. Homocysteine, the vitamin B complex family and bone. In Burckhardt P, Heaney R, Dawson-Hughes B. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis, 4-6 May 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland. Elsevier, 2007, pp 151-157

    8. Kerstetter JE, Gaffney ED, O’ Brien O, et al. Dietary Protein increases intestinal calcium absorption and improves bone balance : An hypothesis. In Burckhardt P, Heaney R, Dawson-Hughes B. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis, 4-6 May 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland. Elsevier, 2007, pp 204-216

    9. Dawson-Hughes B. Protein intake and calcium absorption – Potential role of the calcium sensor receptor. In Burckhardt P, Heaney R, Dawson-Hughes B. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis, 4-6 May 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland. Elsevier, 2007, pp 217-227

    10. Sebastian A. Dietary protein content and the diet’s net acid load: opposing effects on bone health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;82(5):921-2

    11. Weiss, l.A.; Barrett-Connor, E.; Von Muhlen, D. Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and bone mineral density in older adults: the Rancho Bernardo Study. Am J Clin Nutr; 2005;81(4):934-8

    12. Watkins, B.A.; Li, Y.; Seifert, M.F. Dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs and docosahexaenoic acid: actions on bone mineral and serum biomarkers in ovariectomized rats. J Nutr Biochem 2006; 17(4):282-9, 2006

    13. DeFronzo RA, Cooke CR, Andres R, Faloona GR, Davis PJ. The effect of insulin on renal handling of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphate in man. J Clin Invest 1975;55:845-55

    14. Cordain, l.; Eades, M.R.; Eades, M.D. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just syndrome X. Comp Biochem Physiol Part A; 136:95-112, 2003

    15. Gannon MC, Nuttall FQ, Krezowski PA, Billington CJ, Parker S. The serum insulin and plasma glucose responses to milk and fruit products in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients. Diabetologia. 1986 Nov;29(11):784-91

    16. Holt SH et al. An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Nov;66(5):1264-76

    17. Ostman EM, et al. Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular and fermented milk products. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:96 -100

    18. Liljeberg Elmstahl H & Bjorck I. Milk as a supplement to mixed meals may elevate postprandial insulinaemia. Eur J Clin Nutr 2001; 55:994-999

    19. Hoyt G, Hickey MS, Cordain L. Dissociation of the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to whole and skimmed milk. Br J Nutr. 2005 Feb;93(2):175-7

    20. Remer T, Manz F. Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. J Am Diet Assoc 1995;95:791-797

    21. Frassetto L. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&term=%22Frassetto+L%22%5BAuthor%5D>, Morris RC Jr. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&term=%22Morris+RC+Jr%22%5BAuthor%5D>, Sellmeyer DE http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&term=%22Sellmeyer+DE%22%5BAuthor%5D>, Todd K http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&term=%22Todd+K%22%5BAuthor%5D>, Sebastian A http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&term=%22Sebastian+A%22%5BAuthor%5D>. Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet. Eur J Nu tr. 2001 Oct;40(5):200-13

    22. Barzel US. The skeleton as an ion exchange system: implications for the role of acid-base imbalance in the genesis of osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res 1995; 10:1431-1436

    23. Frassetto LA, Morris RC Jr, Sebastian A. Dietary sodium chloride intake independently predicts the degree of hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis in healthy humans consuming a net acid-producing diet. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2007 Aug;293(2):F521-5

    24. Frassetto L.A., Morris Jr R.C., Sebastian A. A practical approach to the balance between acid production and renal acid excretion in humans. J Nephrol. 2006 Mar-Apr;19 Suppl 9:S33-40

    25. Cordain L. The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24

June 18, 2009

(REAL) PROBIOTICS

I know, I know. . . . sorry,  its the second one today from Donna Gates!  But this is something We ALL seem so vitally interested in – I simply couldn’t help myself.  Especially after that ridiculous 4 – piece ASSOCIATED PRESS article which concentrated on supplementation.

As is probably evident,  I am a senior on social security which means that I don’t generally live too high on the hog.  Just graciously and as beautifully and completely as I can.  This is referenced for one main reason,  my mother (God bless her radiant soul) quite generally referenced me as a cheapskate.  I don’t agree, I have just always, always been basically a practical person (Virgo that I am).  Quality, value and utility and beauty are equally important to me (Libra rising). But these are trying times and one must try a little harder to make stuff come out neatly in the end.  So, with my practical nature in mind and dedication to all things healthful, I am totally committed to the practice of making my own fermented foods. I do this approximately every 6 to 8 weeks as my supply wanes.  My habit is to make a couple of gallons at a time put up in those  big quart and 1/2 jars with the rubber ring around the lip and a clamp down lid.  I put all in a portable cooler chest and leave in pantry about 10 days.  It lasts for months on end and just gets better with time.  NOTHING could be better for your gut or intestinal problems.  I did have a little anguish when I first tasted this stuff after all that work.  Lets just say that it took some getting used to, on the heels of which – addiction sets in.    Wouldn’t want to be without it now.  Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup with lunch and dinner and a spoon full or so whenever my tummy decides to feel funny.  Generally have a shot of Dong Quai to start the day.  So for me, I’ll always be grateful for learning about Donna Gates and her Body Ecology ways.  Its a good thing!  Enjoy.

Probiotic Liquids and Foods versus Probiotic Supplements: Which Is Better?

by BodyEcology.com

Did you know that many probiotic supplements on the market don’t actually contain all the beneficial microflora they claim to contain? Find out how to be SURE you get the probiotics you need to build your immunity.

If you look at the shelves of your local health food store, you may be confused by the vast array of probiotic supplements.

Probiotics are the buzz word in health these days for a good reason. With benefits ranging from boosting your immunity to easing Irritable Bowel Syndrome, treating autism and ending cravings, it’s no wonder we want our probiotics.

But how can you be sure that these probiotics contain all the friendly microflora necessary to populate your gut, build your immunity, and help you digest and assimilate your food?
The Business of Probiotics

Probiotics are big business, and sales of probiotics topped $243 million in 2005.1

In a lucrative market, it’s no surprise that supplement manufacturers would want a piece of the probiotic pie. Often, in the race to create a product with so many millions of beneficial bacteria strains and with little FDA regulation, one thing is becoming clear: not every supplement manufacturer understands the true nature of healing your inner ecosystem.

So while we know probiotics absolutely have nutritional value, what you see on the label may NOT be what you get.

In fact, two researchers at Bastyr University in Washington recently tested a wide variety of probiotic supplements and found that in four out of twenty products no sign of living friendly bacteria was present.2

The unfortunate truth is that too many probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and potency. Here’s why:

  • Many probiotic supplements cannot survive harsh stomach acid in order to get to your intestines.
  • Manufacturers talk about number of CFUs (colony forming units), but don’t always offer the types or combinations of probiotics that are ideally suited to human intestines. So while they have some value, they do not help re-colonize your inner ecosystem, which is the overall goal.

Just like the Earth has ecosystems that strive for balance, your body has it’s own “inner ecosystem.” At the heart of your inner ecosystem are probiotics, the beneficial microflora that keep you healthy and strong. Products containing these beneficial microflora are called probiotics.

After decades of studying exactly which microflora allow your inner ecosystem to thrive, Donna Gates developed the Body Ecology system with probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks as one of the mainstays of health and healing.
Best Probiotics?

Fermented foods and drinks can be your best solution to ineffective probiotic supplements!

Here are some reasons that fermented foods and drinks are superior:

  • Beneficial bacteria and yeast in fermented foods and drinks are live and active! Whether you purchase fermented foods and drinks or make them at home, you are getting active bacteria.
  • Fermentation pre-digests vital nutrients for you. Packed with B vitamins, minerals and enzymes, fermented foods and drinks are whole foods full of nutritional value in their own right. On top of that, the microflora increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in all the foods you eat by hundreds of times.
  • Fermentation does not use heat. Your fermented foods and drinks retain their vital amino acids that can be destroyed by heat.
  • You get a variety of live cultures supplied by nature in fermented foods and drinks. Lab produced probiotics are often a single strain of bacteria, like Lactobacillus acidophilus.
  • Supplements contain bacteria only while fermented foods and drinks also contain “food” for the microflora to help promote their growth. It’s like sending the good guys down into your digestive tract with a lunchbox of goodies to sustain them on their long and perilous journey down under. Once they reach their destination (and IF they reach their destination) the microflora in a supplement need up to 6 hours to colonize in your intestines. The microflora in fermented foods and liquids are so hardy they start working at once.
  • Fermented foods and drinks are acid-resistant and are viable in your system from the time they touch your lips all the way down into your gut.
    Body Ecology is on the cutting edge of using probiotics to impact your health, and because we believe in the healing value of beneficial bacteria and yeast, we have created several different ways for you to get daily doses of high quality, potent microflora in your diet.

(If you are just starting to use probiotics, be sure to read Is It Possible To Get Too MUCH Fermented Food In Your Diet? by Dr. Leonard Smith.

Our probiotic liquids and culture starters fit every lifestyle and every taste to populate your gut with a variety of nature’s beneficial bacteria and yeast.

Dong Quai is a potent probiotic drink that gives your body beneficial bacteria and healing herbs at the same time. Try Dong Quai today!

Dong Quai is one our newest probiotic drinks that not only supplies your body with four active cultures but also gives you fermented dong quai, a prized herb known for its hormone stabilizing properties.

Our fermented Dong Quai contains all four of these live probiotics, uniquely designed to re-colonize your intestines:

Besides being a potent probiotic drink, Dong Quai is an herb known for its ability to:

Also be sure to learn about our top-selling probiotic drink “star,” Coco-Biotic.
Make Your Own!

You can also make your own fermented foods and drinks at home with Body Ecology fermented food and drink starters.

Our starters are carefully formulated so that you can reap the health benefits of probiotics at home by making cultured vegetables, cultured butter, Young Coconut Kefir and milk kefir.

Try these fermented food starters and have fun doing it yourself:

  • Kefir Starter is perfect for homemade milk kefir and Young Coconut Kefir.
  • Essential Duo has high levels of two essential bacteria and can be used for delicious fermented drinks.
  • Culture Starter makes delicious vegetables and whipped cultured butter or crème fraiche (aka sour cream). Try it today!

To learn more about each starter, read Which Fermented Food Starter Should You Use For What?
Probiotics The Easy Way

Until a supplement exists that delivers the beneficial bacteria and yeast you need for a healthy inner ecosystem, you can rely on our probiotic liquids, like Dong Quai and fermented foods and drinks that you can make yourself.

You’ll be sure that you’re getting potent probiotics every time!
Sources:
Condor, Bob, “Living Well: ‘Friendly’ probiotics have some cons, too,” Seattle P-I, 18 Dec, 2006. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/health/296142_condor18.html.

GO GREEN at the table

The Body Ecology Guide to the Ten Healthiest Greens

by BodyEcology.com

Crammed with vital nutrients for every body, greens just might be the healthiest food our planet has to offer!

Popeye wasn’t just a man with muscles. He was a man with brains, too. He knew the power of leafy greens could get him out of a jam in a flash. (Okay, he was just a cartoon character… but you get the idea!)

Going Green – A Whole New Meaning

Leafy green vegetables rule the roost in the vegetable kingdom. Nothing against rutabagas or cucumbers, but leafy greens have the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. 1 That’s enough to make any vegetable feel superior!

The Power of Green
Just check in with a bowl of greens and you’ll find they are brimming with vital nutrients that provide a variety of health, growth and fertility benefits.

Your Liver’s Favorite Color is Green

Livers love greens because they’re amazing detoxifiers. If you want to cleanse your liver, eat your greens!

A Lean, Mean, Green Machine

Just to give you an idea of how important they are to include in our diets at every meal, this is a sample of what you can expect with every bite of green goodness:

  • Fiber – A leader in blood sugar regulation, blood cholesterol regulation and bowel function.
  • Protein – Perfect for vegetarians! Who wouldn’t rather have a side of escarole than a tofu cutlet?
  • Calcium – That’s right, leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium. Cows will rejoice everywhere!
  • Vitamin A – Better to see you with, my dear. Vitamin A is essential for vision and bone growth.
  • B Vitamins – Vital for human health and nourishes the nervous system.
  • Vitamin C – Powerful antioxidants to supercharge the immune system. Great for strong muscles, bones and skin, too!
  • Vitamin K – Just what you’re looking for to help support the healing process. Leafy greens are your best source of vitamin K1 but vitamin K2 is synthesized in your gut by microflora. So eat greens and a probiotic diet together for both forms.
  • Iron – Fit for a strongman, this mineral aids in immune function, cognitive development, temperature regulation, energy metabolism and work performance.
  • Chlorophyll – Scan through your notes from your third grade science class and you’ll be reminded that chlorophyll is what makes leaves green. Chlorophyll provides oxygen that’s necessary for the healthy bacteria in your gut to grow and flourish. Go chlorophyll!

Experts Agree, Green is the Color for All Seasons!

Much research has been done on the benefits of greens. Take a look at what has been found when greens are put to the test:

  • Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals who eat leafy greens had a 23% reduction in coronary heart disease.2
  • Scientists found that a diet rich in leafy green vegetables actually showed a significant reduction in the chance of developing colon cancer.3
  • Research shows that folate, one of the impressive B Vitamins in greens, may protect against cognitive decline in older adults .4
  • Studies found that caratenoids (powerful antioxidants) in green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.5 Doesn’t it make you want to have a plateful of broccoli rabe right now?
  • Another study showed that women who ate the most leafy greens had half the risk of ovarian cancer compared to those who ate the least.6 Half!! Pile them on!

The Greener the Leaf, the Greater the Good

The darker the green in edible plants, the more nutrients they hold. Choose those that are lusciously deep in color and mix them with a variety of shades, textures and tastes for the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals.

Go Ahead, Eat Them – Nature Will Make More

The Body Ecology Diet recommends eating greens at every meal…yes even breakfast or at least for brunch. Starting your day with greens is an alkalizing, mineral-rich way to get your day going!

A steamy bowl of greens sautéed in coconut oil with a little garlic and Celtic sea salt is the perfect complement to a healthy lunch.

And if you’re like most people, dinner isn’t really dinner without a leafy green salad on your plate.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for…
The Ten “Must-Have” Healthiest Greens for Every Nutritional Wardrobe

  1. Collards – These fan-like greens stand out as a nutritional superstar. Their vitamin K, A, C and magnesium levels are off the charts and their folate, calcium and dietary fiber content is nothing to sneeze at. 7Dinosaurs must have been gnawing on collard greens because they date back all the way to prehistoric times. They’re one of the oldest members of the cabbage family and a close cousin to the curly-headed relative, Kale. 8Known as a time-honored tradition in southern kitchens, collards are held in high regard as the green of choice and are at their best between January and April!
  2. Kale – Flat or curly, this vegetable is considered to be one of the most highly nutritious vegetables, with super strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 9Central and northern Europe as well as North America seem to be the breeding grounds for kale. On a quest for something bigger and better, kale is actually the result of man’s artificial selection for enlargement of leaves in the wild mustard plant. 10
  3. Spinach – The incredible shrinking vegetable! If you’ve ever prepared spinach, you know that the volume is decreased by three quarters when cooked.But that’s OK, spinach is loaded with enough vitamin C and fiber to survive the loss and make it worth every bite! While spinach is a good source of calcium it also contains oxalic acid that reduces intake of dietary calcium.Despite a popular misconception, spinach has only slightly more iron than most other vegetables.

    The mega-iron myth first began in 1870 when Dr. E. von Wolf misplaced a decimal point in his publication which led to an iron content figure that was ten times too high. Although investigated in 1937 by the Germans, the rumor remained strong for decades (thanks to a pipe-smoking sailor man).

  4. Chard – Packed with nutrients, chard is one of the most powerful anti-cancer foods due to its combination of traditional nutrients; phytochemicals, chlorophyll, other plant pigments and soluble fiber. 11Folks in the US love the veiny leaves for cooking while European chefs save the stalks and toss the leaves. Slightly bitter, the fresh young leaves can be steamed, sautéed or used raw in salads. (See note at end of article about the oxalic acid in chard.)A visual knock-out in your grocer’s produce section, chard is found in green forms as well as red-ribbed such as Ruby Chard, Rhubarb Chard and the always exquisite Rainbow Chard.
  5. Mustard – Also known as leaf mustard, Brassica Juncea and Indian mustard, mustard greens have a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. In fact, the brown mustard we all grew up on is made from mustard greens.Mustard greens are particularly beneficial for women going through menopause. They’re a no-nonsense vegetable that can protect against cancer and heart disease and also support bone health.A little on the pungent side, mustard greens are typically mixed with other milder greens and are a favorite in soul food, Chinese and Japanese cuisines.12
  6. Broccoli Raab – Oh, that broccoli raab is such a trickster. Despite its name, look and taste, broccoli raab has nothing to do with broccoli. It’s really in the turnip family.Loved by Italian and Chinese cooks, broccoli raab, also known as rapini, is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium. 13A little on the bitter side with a rich, nutty flavor, broccoli raab can be an acquired taste. But once it’s acquired, watch out! It can be positively addictive.
  7. Dandelion Greens – Without a doubt, this leafy vegetable is one of the most nutritious foods you can pick.Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne.A close cousin to the sunflower, dandelions can create the perfect spring tonic with their liver cleansing properties. Also known as a good laxative and diuretic, it’s French name, pissenlit (wet the bed), tells all. 14

    Find a field free of pesticides and forage away for a delicious salad or stir fry. A bit on the bitter side but tasty as can be with a little olive oil and lemon.

  8. Watercress – Yet another member of the cabbage family that’s doing amazing things with its vitamins B6, C, magnesium and carotene.Watercress is a fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It has a significant amount of folic acid and acts as a great digestive aid.With a perk-you-up peppery flavor, watercress is found on a lot of salad bars these days, but is best known for the cute little sandwiches served at ladies’ teas.
  9. Bok Choy – Bok choy is also considered a cabbage, although you would never know it based on its long stalks and slender leaves.High in vitamins A, C and calcium, bok choy is high in nutrients but low in calories.15 They make a beautiful presentation on any plate and are yummy in salads (but blanch and chill the bok choy first), stir-fries and soups. Bok Choy can be fermented like any other cabbage and is the main ingredient in Chinese Kim Chi.Cultivated in China since ancient times, bok choy is a favorite for its light, sweet flavor and crisp texture. Young, baby bok choy lightly sautéed and seasoned with a few shakes of shoyu just might be the most delicious food known to man.
  10. Chicory – This crunchy salad green can be divided into five groups: radicchio, sugar loaf, large leaf, cutting leaf and Belgian endive. The curly types are the most cultivated and often seen in a salad bowl.Rich in potassium, iron, beta carotene, vitamins A and B, chicory has more calcium than even kale and collards. This is the green for anyone who is looking for more calcium in their life.First introduced to England, Germany, Holland and France in the 13 century, the French used it primarily for medicinal purposes to “comfort the weake and feeble stomack and to help gouty limbs and sore eyes”.16
  11. Seaweed – What, did you think we were only covering leafy vegetables that grew on land?Seaweed, or sea vegetables if you want them to sound more dignified, is incredibly nutritious and provides many minerals (most notably from iron), a good supply of protein and fiber as well as vitamins A, B6 and C.Basically, sea vegetables are algae and are used in a number of processed foods as stabilizers and thickeners, not to mention a closet full of beauty products. 17

    Because of the staggeringly strong nutritional value of sea veggies, Donna Gates, author of the Body Ecology Diet recommends eating them each and every day. There are a number of species, each with slightly different tastes and characteristics and are great additions to soups and salads, or sautéed with other vegetables.

    Not everyone loves the taste or texture of sea vegetables, though, or has the time to create flavorful recipes. Our Body Ecology Ocean Plant Extract is a concentrated supplement that offers all of the valuable nutrients in sea vegetables without any preparation time needed.

  12. Cereal Grass – We really couldn’t end this list without at least mentioning healthy grasses. Known as one of the healthiest foods on earth, healthy grass is supersonic fuel for your body.To learn more about this miracle food, check out the Body Ecology article at http://bodyecology.com/07/08/02/healthiest_grasses.php

Don’t Go It Alone!

To get the most of out of your healthy greens, be sure to eat them with cultured foods such as raw cultured vegetables or young coconut kefir. Both pump the gut with friendly bacteria that is necessary for your body to get optimal performance out of B Vitamins and Vitamin K.

Pot Likker (or Liquor) is Quicker

A tradition all the way from Africa, pot likker is the juice from greens that have been cooked and saved at the bottom of the pot that is perfect to drink for a quick, super recharge. Don’t throw those precious minerals away!

But VITALITY SuperGreen Has It ALL!

Body Ecology’s VITALITY SuperGreen is a robust blend of mega-nutritious whole foods designed specifically to balance, heal and revitalize your body, with a special emphasis on nourishing your digestive tract.

Get all the vital nutrients of greens plus so much more with Vitality SuperGreen.

Learn More About Body Ecology’s Vitality and Order Now!

With all the benefits greens have to offer, Vitality SuperGreen is a smart and convenient way to include green goodness in your diet any time of day.

In addition to all of the vitamins and minerals found in leafy greens, Vitality SuperGreen is an outstanding source of complete, easily assimilated protein, enzymes, essential fatty acids, nucleic acids, and microflora, critical for a healthy inner ecosystem.

Our delicious formulation includes:

  • Fermented Greens (kale, parsley and spinach)
  • Fermented Algae
  • Fermented Soy Lecithin

Clearing Up Some of the Confusion around Green Veggies and Oxalates

Some greens like parsley, spinach and chard contain a significant source of calcium and also have a high oxalate content. Because about 80% of kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate there is both concern and controversy over eating these greens.

Is their oxalate content too high for some people? And should they be cooked or not?

Repeated food chemistry studies have shown no statistically significant lowering of oxalate content when green leafy vegetables are blanched or boiled. However, some green foods like collards and kale are difficult to digest and cooking breaks down cell walls so we can absorb the nutrients.

While many researchers do not believe that dietary restriction reduces the risk of stone formation, if you have kidney or gall bladder disorders, you may want to limit the amount of oxalate foods in your diet. This would include coffee and chocolate as well.

It is interesting to note, however, that black tea thought to increase stone formation because of oxalates actually appears in more recent research to have a preventative effect. So sorry, but we probably haven’t cleared the confusion at all since the science around this subject is still remains unclear.

Sources:

(1) Arts & Leisure, http://weeklywire.com/ww/10_25_99/alibi_veggies.html
(2) http://www.happystomach.com/scg.htm
(3) http://www.happystomach.com/scg.htm
(4) Science Daily, “Green Leafy Vegetables May Help Keep Brains Sharp”, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926082256.htm
(5) American Institute for Cancer Research, “Foods that Fight Cancer”, http://www.aicr.org/site/pageserver?pagename=dc_foods_greens
(6) American Institute for Cancer Research, “Foods that Fight Cancer”, http://www.aicr.org/site/pageserver?pagename=dc_foods_greens
(7) The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138
(8) Collard Greens (mess o’ greens) History and Recipe of Collard Greens, http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/CollardGreens.htm
(9) Dr D.G.Hessayon (2003) The Vegetable & Herb Expert, Expert Books, ISBN 0-903505-46-0
(10)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
(11) http://www.everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsofchard.html
(12) Brassicajuncea, Wikipedida, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_juncea
(13) http://whatscookingamerican.net/vegetables.broccoliraab.htm
(14) Rebecca Wood – The Kitchen Dakini, Healing with Food, http://www.rwood.com/Articles/Dandelion_Greens.htm
(15) http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/a/bokchoy.htm
(16) http://www.innvista.com/HEALTH/foods/vegetables/chicory.htm
(17) National Geographic, The Green Guide, http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/97/seaweed

June 11, 2009

About Your Water

Your water is SO IMPORTANT as well it should be.  Your health will not prosper the way it should without an adequate ongoing supply of fresh, vital water.  You know this.  Also, if you are a regular visitor to this blog, you have no doubt seen other of my rantings going back a while. . . . “You Think Fluoride is Safe?” (11-22-08),   “Chlorine and Your Shower” (11-08), and “Fixing Water” (1-05-09).          This reminder  is prompted because today, I am adding welcome and helpful thoughts from  Donna Gates at Body Ecology in her letter of today.

There is no question that we cannot get there (good health) from here if we are slaking that thirst with soda pop ( see  “Soda Pop – all it’s Gifts”,  2-10-09), nor can most of our bodies handle the extra sugar of fresh fruit juice no matter how delicious

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Dehydration is More Common Than People Realize: How to Tell If You are NOT Getting Enough Water

BodyEcology.com

Ahhh, water. Our bodies crave it and it tastes so good. But how much water do you really need? And what are the best kinds? Read on to learn how to give your body the hydration it needs.

Are you dehydrated?

One of the easiest conditions to reverse, but one of the most commonly overlooked, dehydration is serious and can cause major problems in your body. Severe dehydration is even fatal.

Here’s how to know if you’re dehydrated:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Cravings for sugar and salt
  • Dizziness
  • Dark urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some people experience these symptoms on a regular basis, especially the milder ones like headache, irritability, cravings and weakness.

But most people don’t realize that these are symptoms of dehydration!

Imagine: the solution to your chronic headaches and afternoon fatigue could be as simple as drinking more water. But that’s not the only solution, so read on to find out more!
Bodies of Water

Our bodies are mostly made up of water, and our cells need lots of it. While you do get some water from water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, you also need to drink a substantial amount of water every day.

How much?

Most health experts are now recommending that you drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.

If you’re 200 pounds, that’s 100 ounces of water. That’s 12.5 cups or 3 quarts, 4 ounces of water.
What’s the best way to get that much water? Just think slow and steady.

Sipping 2 to 3 ounces at a time is the best way to effectively hydrate your body. If you gulp it down, you may dilute your blood and actually cause your kidneys to excrete more water.

Here are a few other tips for optimal water consumption:

  • Drink only 2 to 4 ounces of water with meals.
  • During and after exercise, always replenish with more water.
  • Whenever possible, drink pure, high quality water.

Hydrate Your Body Right

Now that you’re ready to properly hydrate your body, it’s time to decide what kind of water to drink. But with all the water out there, sometimes it is difficult to decide what kind is best.

Here at Body Ecology, we recommend that you drink pure, mineral-rich water whenever possible.

Mineral-rich waters include:

  • Well water
  • Natural spring water
  • Artesian or spring water
  • Mineral water

Look for these designations on labels.

If you use tap water to drink or for cooking be sure you use a high quality water filter. There are many on the market. Reverse osmosis water is pure but we suggest you add minerals to this water because it is acidic. To learn more about the different kinds of water filters available, read The Best Water to Drink, And The Types That Should Be Avoided. (below)

If you don’t always like the taste of pure water, try some Body Ecology options:

  • Make a healthy “soda” by combining sparkling mineral water with a few ounces of one of our probiotic liquids, plus a 12 – 15 drops of Stevia, and even a splash of lemon or lime juice.Full of alkalizing minerals and probiotics, you can hydrate your body and populate your intestines with good microflora at the same time.One of our favorite probiotic liquids is Innergy-Biotic, the gluten-free probiotic liquid that makes you feel happy and energetic from the inside out.
  • Brew some tea. Tea time is a ritual around the world. Delicious and nutritious, teas have powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals plus a great flavor. They can certainly make it easier to enjoy your recommended amount of water every day.

Find out about the benefits of one of our favorites, green tea, by reading: The Nine Most Amazing Health Benefits of Green Tea

Add apple cider vinegar to your water. Apple cider vinegar in water makes an potassium-rich and alkalizing drink that helps you digest animal protein and lowers your blood sugar.

Ahhh, water. Our bodies crave it and it tastes so good. But how much water do you really need? And what are the best kinds? Read on to learn how to give your body the hydration it needs.

Just because you need to drink a lot of water doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. If you are thirsty and want a tasty, sparkling beverage, try a probiotic liquid, like Innergy-Biotic With nutritious and delicious drinks like these, you’ll be hydrated AND energized!

Still Thirsty?

Are you drinking large amounts of water but still experience dehydration symptoms? You might actually have adrenal fatigue.

Your adrenals are two tiny organs that sit on top of your kidneys. They create energy and regulate hormone levels in your body, including those that help you respond to stress.

If your body and mind are frequently under stress (from negative thoughts and emotions, lack of sleep, processed foods, and toxins), you may be depleting your adrenals and thus unknowingly dehydrating your body. No amount of water will hydrate your body unless you first nourish your tired adrenals.

Adrenals need rest and nourishment, so adequate sleep, plenty of minerals, and pure water can renew your adrenal function, enabling your body to stay healthy AND hydrated.

To learn more about hydration and adrenal fatigue read: You May Be Dehydrated Even If You Drink Lots of Water: Dehydration Risks & Solutions.
Hydration for A Healthy Body

To sum it all up… proper hydration is essential for a health body. Each time you hydrate, you will flush out toxins, give your cells needed water for proper function and cellular growth and enjoy greater energy.

So while pure water with minerals is your most important liquid to drink each day, additional liquids from a tasty tea (especially hot with meals to aid digestion) or a delicious probiotic liquid “soda,” for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, here’s to drinking up to build up your health!

Cheers!

The Best Water to Drink, and the Types that Should Be Avoided

by BodyEcology.com

Water: it makes up almost 75% of your body and is absolutely necessary for life. You probably know you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of this life-giving liquid per day, but have you given serious thought to the quality of your water? Our water guide will tell you everything you need to know about water and which kinds are best for optimal health.

Water is the elixir of life- without it we cannot exist. But the water you drink every day could be harming your health!

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

In the United States, we have many different options for our drinking water, but they are not all healthy!

  • Tap water is municipal water that comes out of the faucets and has been treated, processed and disinfected. It is purified with chlorine and generally has added flouride. But one of the byproducts from using chlorine in our drinking water is linked to cancer1.
  • Distilled water can be any kind of water that has been vaporized and collected, leaving behind any solid residues, including minerals. Distilled water has no minerals in it at all.
  • Reverse osmosis water has been forced through membranes that remove larger particles, pollutants and minerals. Reverse osmosis water is usually acidic2.
  • Deionized water has had ionized impurities and minerals removed from it but not bacteria or pathogens.

All of the above waters lack essential minerals that are necessary for good health. Mineral deficiency can lead to insulin resistance, migraines, high blood pressure, constipation and even heart beat irregularities!
The Dangers of Bottled Water

Bottled waters deserve some special attention because they are not always as pure as you might expect them to be.

Here are some reasons not to choose bottled water:

  1. Dangerous toxins from some plastic water bottles can leach into your water.
  2. Bottled water is often just purified municipal water and lacks essential minerals. (Brands like Dasani and Aquafina are cleaned-up city water.)
  3. Purifying, bottling and shipping water requires vast resources and uses more water than when you get your water from a pure source in the first place.

If you do you use bottled water, make sure you use reusable glass or plastic containers, and try not to consume ultra purified municipal waters in favor of naturally clean sources.
Mineral Rich H2O

The best water to drink is naturally clean, pure and full of naturally occurring minerals:

  • Well water comes from a hole drilled in the ground that taps into a water source. A pump brings it to the surface. If you do not have access to city water, then you would need a well.
  • Natural spring water flows up from a natural spring and is bottled at the source.
  • Artesian or spring waters come from a natural source but are bottled off-site and are processed and purified.
  • Mineral water could be natural spring water or artesian water, comes from an underground source, and contains at least 250 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved solids, including minerals and trace elements.

All of the types of water mentioned above have essential minerals and nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

Minerals are important for nearly every function in your body, especially your adrenals. Learn more about adrenal fatigue and why minerals are so important for hydration in this article: Adrenal Fatigue: Symptoms & Solutions for this Under-Reported Condition Even Your Doctor Doesn’t Know.

Mineral-rich water can be one source of these nutrients, but if you can’t get these waters because of cost or your location, then home filters are an option.

Filters

Look for these types of filtration when you purchase filters or bottled water:

  • Absolute 1 micron filtration removes any particles that are larger than 1 micron in size. This filtration leaves minerals in water.
  • Ozonation is used by bottled water companies instead of chlorine to eliminate baceria. Ozonation does not change the mineral content of your water.

Remember that any filter is better than no filter, so even standard “pour through” filters like those from Brita help clean up your water, can remove chlorine and improve the taste, but they also remove minerals.

June 8, 2009

Obama focused on Health-care, Really?

Filed under: Barack Obama,Health care — Jan Turner @ 7:25 am
Tags: ,

Obama taking bigger health-care role

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
THE NEW YORK TIMES



WASHINGTON — After months of insisting that he would leave the details to Congress, President Barack Obama has concluded that he must exert greater control over the health-care debate and is preparing an intense push for legislation, senior White House officials say.
Mindful of the failures of former President Bill Clinton, whose intricate proposal for universal care collapsed on Capitol Hill 15 years ago, Obama until now had charted a different course, setting forth broad principles and concentrating on bringing disparate factions — doctors, insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, unions — to the negotiating table.

But Obama has grown concerned that he is losing the debate over certain policy prescriptions he favors, like a government-run insurance plan to compete with the private sector, said one Democrat familiar with his
thinking. With Congress beginning a burst of work on the measure, top advisers say the president is determined to make certain the final bill bears his stamp.
“Ultimately, as happened with the recovery act, it will become President Obama’s plan,” the White House budget director, Peter R. Orszag, said in an interview. “I think you will see that evolution occurring over the next few weeks. We will be weighing in more definitively, and you will see him out there.”
Yesterday, while Obama was traveling in Europe, he used his weekly radio and Internet address to make the case that “the status quo is broken” and to set forth his ambitious goals.

Broadly speaking, he wants to extend coverage to the nation’s 45 million uninsured while lowering costs, improving quality and preserving consumer choice. His budget includes what he called a “historic down payment” of $634 billion over 10 years, accomplished mostly
by slowing the growth of Medicare and limiting tax breaks for those with high incomes.
“We must attack the root causes of skyrocketing health costs,” Obama said.
The radio address was the beginning of a public-relations campaign in which Obama will take his case to the American people with the hope of providing what his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called “air cover” for lawmakers to adopt his priorities. It is a gamble by the White House that the president can translate his approval ratings into legislative action.
“Obviously,” Emanuel said, “the president’s adoption of something makes it easier to vote for, because he’s — let’s be honest — popular, and
the public trusts him.”
But as Obama wades into the details of the legislative debate — a process that began last week when he released a letter staking out specific policy positions for the first time — he will face increasingly difficult choices and risks.
Aides say he will not dictate the fine print. “It was never his intent to come to Congress with stone tablets,” said his senior adviser, David Axelrod. But he will increasingly make his preferences known.
If Obama insists on a biggovernment plan in the image of Medicare, he could lose any hope of Republican support and ignite an insurance-industry backlash. If he does not formulate credible
ways to pay for his plan, which by some estimates could cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years, moderate Democrats could balk.
Obama is well aware of these risks, advisers say. “This is what he is now very focused on,” Orszag said.

June 6, 2009

GM Food and Farming

Okay, so I’ve given up corn, one of my favorite foods  (my whole life) because anything I can buy is genetically modified. But with each passing day, this just gets worse.  We have got to stop this madness.  Now its BEETS.  We make our sugar from beets.  Also, its another of my favorite foods.

Dr. Mercola’s letter today speaks of all this and I’m hoping you’re reading this stuff so I don’t have to repeat it all.  I am (once again, extrapolating from him to wrap this up because he does a better job, has more clout and maybe just a tad more smarts than yours truly.    Cart before the horse, I want to suggest you avail yourself of the True Food Shopping Guide at : “http://www.geaction.org/truefood/shoppersguide” This an invaluable tool to take with you to the market to assist you in buying that which is NOT genetically modified.  This is the True Food Network.  Here and there we do have congressmen and senators motivated to do the people’s work such as Dennis Kucinich of  Ohio and Barbara Boxer of California.  They would love it if you would get behind the “Genetically Engineered Food Right To Know Act” , bill HR 2916. Tell your elected representatives YOU WANT IT and demand they take appropiate action to protect the people – do the job they were paid to do.        Be well people, be happy.   ’til nex time                       Jan

GM Crops Fail to Live Up to Advertised Promises Again and Again

The fact remains that GM crops have failed to deliver on virtually every single promise and expectation. After 30 years of GMO experimentation, we have the data to show:No reduction in pesticides use; on the contrary, USDA data shows that GM crops has increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the U.S., and the use of glyphosate went up more than 15-fold between 1994 and 2005, along with increases in other herbicides to cope with rising glyphosate resistant superweeds.

GM crops do harm wildlife
, as revealed by UK and U.S. studies.

Bt resistant pests and Roundup tolerant superweeds render the two major GM crop traits useless. The evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented.

Unpredictable transgene contamination is completely unavoidable, as science has recently revealed that the genome (whether plant, animal or human) is NOT constant and static, which is the scientific base for genetic engineering of plants and animals.

Instead, geneticists have discovered that the genome is remarkably dynamic and changeable, and constantly ‘conversing’ and adapting to the environment. This interaction determines which genes are turned on, when, where, by what and how much, and for how long. They’ve also found that the genetic material itself has the ability to be changed according to experience, passing it on to subsequent generations.

How to Avoid GM Foods

Avoiding GM products in your diet means avoiding an ever-growing number of ingredients, or choosing organic versions of them. This is not an easy task, especially if you eat processed food. However, the four most prevalent GM ingredients to look out for are:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Cottonseed
  • Canola

You’ll also want to avoid the offspring of these products, which includes items like maltodextrin, soy lecithin, and high fructose corn syrup.

You CAN Demand Better Food

It’s easy to sit back and think you can’t do a thing to change the current state of affairs, but the fact is, you CAN make a difference. You can demand something better — food that is still food, grown the way nature intended.

First and foremost, you can vote with your pocketbook by avoiding everything that contains GM ingredients, and ask your local supermarket to stock their shelves with more natural organic foods. Some supermarkets will even allow you to special order food items.

And don’t forget about your elected officials. Let them know how you feel about it, and what kind of policies you’re willing to support.

  • People in certain professions can play a significant role to advance this cause as well:
  • Chefs, restaurants and food companies can switch to non-GM sources
  • Retailers can remove or label GM products or offer in-store Non-GMO Shopping Guides
  • Religious leaders can help to educate their congregation
  • Health practitioners can provide patient education materials
  • Those in the education world can help make school cafeterias GM-free
  • Reporters can expose the health risks

To get an idea of just how widespread GM ingredients are, I recommend taking a look at The GMO Food Guide. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.

And the incredible series Seeds of Doubt, written by staffers at the Sacramento Bee, can offer further guidance to fully understand the many problems associated with GM foods.

Last but not least, I urge everyone to watch the video The Future of Food, and forward the link to this video to your friends, family and acquaintances. This in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind genetically modified foods is one of the best documentaries made to date. It will help you understand how and why the genetic engineering we allow to be unleashed today is a very real threat to ALL future generat

grist

Would you like some GMOs in your coffee?

by Tom Laskawy

gmoOne cube or two? Jill Richardson made a good catch on the GMO crop front the other day. She dug up an article from a Boulder, CO newspaper that detailed the debate over local sugarbeet farmers’ request to plant GM seeds within the city limits. The farmers claim that without GM sugar beets, they’ll be unable to meet their Western Sugar Cooperative quota. But that’s not the reason I’m telling you all this (nor is it for the useful fact that sugarbeets have been a staple crop in Boulder for a century). I’m telling you all this because the article contained this revelation:

Since it was approved a year ago, more than 90 percent of the nation’s sugarbeet crop has been converted to Roundup Ready, according to a Boulder County staff report.

“Roundup Ready,” of course, refers to Monsanto’s group of genetically engineered corn, soy, canola, cotton and now sugarbeet seeds that can withstand the direct application of the potent pesticide glyphosate (aka Roundup). In the course of a year, Monsanto’s Frankensugar has taken over the national sugarbeet crop. Yeesh.

As Jill observes, something like half of the refined sugar available in the US comes from sugar beets. That, of course, means that no small amount of the sugar that you cook with or put in your coffee is genetically modified—and suggests that pretty much 100% of conventional processed foods now contain GMOs. Whatever our expectation of processed foods, few of us, I think, would have considered plain, old table sugar a potential GMO product. I know I found this unsettling.

This wouldn’t be quite the same problem, of course, in Europe, which has mandatory GMO labeling laws. You wouldn’t need crack bloggers digging around in local Boulder, CO newspapers to learn the truth. It’s enough to make you think that the big food companies just don’t want you to know. Nah. I must just be getting paranoid. Anyway, I think I’ll take up Jill’s suggestion and stick to organic sugar. For better or for worse, the organic label, with its restrictions on the use of GMO ingredients, is the closest we’ve got to GMO-labeling in this country.

UPDATE: Stephanie Ogburn in comments below flagged another sugarbeet battle going on in Oregon. Turns out an organic farmer found viable GMO sugarbeet roots in a commercial soil mix. His fear is that it could contanimate huge swathes of land with Roundup Ready sugarbeets when the roots sprout and then flower. The farmer involved also has a “lawsuit, now before a federal judge in California [that] contends that USDA officials violated federal law when they deregulated the genetically modified sugarbeets in 2005 and asks for an injunction to halt their planting, sale or distribution.” I doubt the suit will succeed but one can only hope. This kind of unpredictable cross-contamination does make you feel like Monsanto has no real understanding of exactly what they’ve unleashed on us.

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• GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK •

COMMON GM BIOTECHNOLOGY PROPAGANDA MYTHS

GM BIOTECHNOLOGY & SCIENCE

Genetic engineering of crops is a continuation of traditional breeding methods

Most GM crops are modified by the introduction of DNA (genes) taken from other biological kingdoms,
genera and species. Such transgenic mixture of DNA does not normally occur by natural evolution or
traditional breeding methods. This usually includes a “promoter gene” from a virus, an “anti-biotic-resistant
marker gene” from a bacterium, and a gene intended to confer a desired trait (such as resistance
to weedkiller or capacity to produce a pesticide toxin) from either a bacterium, plant or animal.
Examples include potatoes with spider genes, maize with bacterium genes, tomatoes with fish genes,
and cows and rice with human genes.

Genetic modification is a precise science

It’s more of a hit-or-miss approach. Most GM crops are modified by the insertion of transgenic DNA
“cassettes” into random and unpredictable locations of the recipient organism’s genome. The two most
common insertion methods include bacterial infection using the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens,
or the use of microscopic particles of gold or tungsten coated with a solution of the transgenic
cassette, which are literally blasted into the recipient organism using a microscopic shotgun (“gene
gun”)! Both insertion methods create undesirable side effects including genetic instability and genome
scrambling (where thousands of genes may be mixed up, accidentally duplicated, relocated in different
parts of the chromosome, switched permanently on or off, etc.). Apart from this collateral damage
caused by the crude nature of the modification process itself, current scientific knowledge does
not enable us to predict the long-term effects of inserting transgenic DNA on the modified organisms,
the ecosytems into which they are released, or the wildlife, farm animals and humans which consume
them. No long-term studies exist to prove the industry’s claims that GM crops are safe for the environment,
wildlife, livestock or human health.

Opponents of GM food and farming are “anti-science”

Leading opponents include CRIIGEN – Scientific Council for Independent Research on Genetic Engineering,
the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Independent Science Panel, the U.S. Center for Food
Safety, the Institute of Gene Ecology, the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, the
Assembly of European Regions, The Foundation on Future Farming, the International Commission of
the Future of Food and Agriculture, Slow Food, and numerous agronomic, environmental and health
scientists from leading universities and research institutes around the world.

Opponents of GM crops oppose biotechnology in general

Another lie. Biotechnology includes many useful applications including genome sequencing (to identify
genetic traits), Marker Assisted Selection (to take the randomness out of plant breeding), and the
contained use of GM bacteria in sealed vats in secure laboratories for the production of medicines such as insulin for diabetics and other useful pharmaceutical products.  Opponents of GM biotechnology are against the environmental release of live Genetically Modified Organisms into the environment and food chain.

GM CROPS ARE WIDELY GROWN AROUND THE WORLD

In the EU, only one GM crop – Monsanto’s patented GM maize MON810 – is authorised for cultivation.
This is only grown on 0.06 per cent of the EU’s arable land (74% of which is in Spain, where it has
already contaminated conventional and organic farmers). This crop is banned in Austria, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland and Switzerland, and by 196 Regional Governments, 93
Provinces, and 4,567 Local Authorities in 22 EU member states. Its cultivation is decreasing in the EU.
Worldwide, GM crops are grown on less than 2.4% of arable land. 50% are grown in the US. 70% are
grown in the US and Argentina. 90% of are grown in US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
GM-free Ireland Network

June 5, 2009

Obama on Healthcare reform

What the People want.

When I learned that President Obama expressed his continuing interest in a public health insurance plan,  well no matter what else develops  – – this just made my day!  He continues to focus on what “the people want” and what seems to be in the best interest and the highest good of all.  Read that “all the people,” – – not just what’s good for corporate interest as has been the custom for so long in Washington .   America is indeed blessed

..

Obama raises hackles with talk of public insurance

Comments hinder bipartisan efforts, Republicans say

By Erica Werner
ASSOCIATED PRESS


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s hopes for a bipartisan health deal seemed in jeopardy yesterday as GOP senators protested his renewed support for a new public health insurance
plan, and a key Democratic chairman said that such a plan would likely be in the Senate’s bill.

A public plan would compete with private insurers and is opposed by nearly all Republicans. Obama long has supported it, but he had avoided going into detail about his health goals, leaving the specifics to Congress and emphasizing hopes for a bipartisan bill.  That changed when Obama released a letter Wednesday to two Senate Democrats saying he believed strongly in the need for a new public plan.

“It wasn’t helpful,” said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is taking a lead role in crafting a health-care overhaul. “Words make a difference. And this made a difference.”
Added Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.: “If he wants a bipartisan bill, he has to recognize that a government-run plan doesn’t get you to a bipartisan plan.”

The White House spokeswoman for health policy, Linda Douglass, responded: “As the president said in his letter, he remains hopeful that many Republicans will see fit to join with Democrats to enact legislation that will lower health-care costs for businesses, families and government.”

Congress might be able to pass a health-overhaul bill with little GOP support.  Supporters of the public plan contend that it would give people more choices, create more competition and “keep insurance companies honest,” as Obama wrote Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, DMass., and Max Baucus, D-Mont.

There appears to be little room for compromise, with Republicans contending that no matter how a public plan is designed, it would inevitably balloon and crush the private market.

Many Democrats, meanwhile, insist that a final bill must contain a public plan. Even Baucus, a moderate who’s been working intensely with Grassley to produce a bipartisan product, said yesterday that he can’t see the Senate passing a health-care overhaul without one.  The goal of overhauling the health-care system is to lower costs and extend care to 50 million uninsured people. Obama wants a bill on his desk by October.

We need to get behind this folks, by communicating with our congress representatives and senators.   If we all got behind this effort and let them know how we feel – what we want, we CAN get this done.   Jan

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