Month: July 2014

Crap That Others Recommend

I don’t want to embarrass anybody by naming names, but certain other health professionals recommend garbage vitamins to their patients because they haven’t spent 15 years studying vitamin and mineral quality.  Buckle your seatbelt because you’re in for a rant.  Here are the top 3 garbage supplements in my mind and why:

  1. Palafer – this is an iron supplement that contains 300 mg of ferrous fumarate per capsule.  If I had a nickel for every iron deficient patient who was put on it and then suffered terrible GI side effects like constipation, bloating and diarrhea I’d be rich.  It causes these side effects because it’s a very high dose of very poorly absorbed iron.  Iron is a metal and metals rust.  Rust is oxidation.  Oxidation is a bad thing in the body, it’s something we try to avoid because it can damage DNA and cause premature aging.  We take anti-oxidants like vitamin C to combat oxidation.  It’s cheap for the manufacturer to put this form in and then charge an exorbitant amount of money for it as a pharmaceutical. My approach is to us a much lower dose of much better absorbed iron.
  2. Materna – This drug store prenatal multivitamin is a perfect example of what’s wrong with drug store vitamins generally.  The product contains the cheapest and most poorly absorbed forms of the various vitamins and minerals in it – calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, synthetic vitamin E, ferrous fumarate (iron), zinc oxide, inactive vitamin B2 and B6 and inactive folate and has no boron, copper or vitamin K.  By comparison our recommended prenatal, Thorne Basic Prenatal, has higher amounts of almost everything, active forms of vitamin B2, B6 and folic acid (very important!), readily absorbed forms of all of the minerals, vitamin K to ensure that calcium gets into the developing baby’s bones and teeth.
  3. Preg Vit – this excuse for a prenatal multivitamin is even more ridiculous.  Synthetic vitamin E, cheap, poorly absorbed forms of the minerals, no vitamin K, selenium, manganese, chromium, molybdenum or boron, negligible B12, little vitamin D and inactive folic acid.  Depending on which one you are taking you may be getting either 1.1 mg of inactive folic acid or 5 mg.  Either way, if you are one of the 25-60% of the population who can’t convert inactive folic acid to active folic acid you aren’t getting any benefit from taking it and there is potential for harm.  Some research has suggested that excessive folate in someone with an existing tumor may promote tumor growth.  This doesn’t mean you should stop taking your folic acid, there are clear benefits to preventing birth defects, however I would recommend using some of the active form of folic acid, L-5-tetrahydrofolate.  And here’s the kicker, look at the list of “non-medicinal ingredients” in Preg Vit: ammonium hydroxide, N-butyl alcohol, carnauba wax, D&C Red #27, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Blue #2, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Yellow #6, isopropyl alcohol, macrogol/PEG 3350, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyvinyl alcohol, propylene glycol, shellac glaze, simethicone, sodium croscarmellose, sodium lauryl sulfate, starch (corn starch), talc, titanium dioxide.  Can any of those dyes, chemicals and talc be good for your baby?

The moral of this story are that drug store vitamins are usually formulated with one thing in mind – profit and that it takes a trained eye to choose good quality natural supplements.  Here endeth the rant!

 

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Healthy Heart Tips

 

  1. CoEnzyme Q10 – also known as ubiquinone, CoQ10 has been shown to help strengthen the heart muscle, help with infertility, breast cancer and diabetes.  It’s found in foods such as fish, organ meats, including liver, kidney and heart; and the germs of whole grains.
  2. Resveratrol – prevents aging-related decline in cardiovascular function including cholesterol level and inflammatory response.  It’s found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, and
    berries of Vaccinum species, including blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries
  3. Fish oils – Omega 3 fatty acids from eating fish or taking fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects, reduces blood pressure, and may also be anti-atherogenic.
  4. Get a dog!  Both adults and children who owned dogs reported greater levels of heart healthy physical activity and lower levels of stress than those without dogs.
  5. Reduce your stress.  Take up Yoga, Tai Chi, breathing exercises, meditation, a walking program, daily exercise, anything that helps you lower your stress hormones.
  6. Exercise every day.  Exercise flushes out the cardiovascular system, strengthens the heart muscle and helps all around because it reduces insulin, reduces stress and keeps blood sugar healthier.

The Health Benefits of Love

  1. Better Brain Health – married couples show lower cognitive decline with age.
  2. A Stronger Immune System – married people consult doctors less frequently, have shorter hospital stays, are less likely to be admitted to a nursing home, and have higher resistance to colds and flu.
  3. Greater Longevity – spouses look out for each other’s health.
  4. Healthier Kids – having a loving role model makes for kids who achieve a higher education and are at less risk of smoking and substance abuse.

Tips to Balance Your Hormones

 

  1. Keep your insulin level low.  Insulin is the biggest hormone disruptor there is, cut way back on the sugar and carbs.
  2. Reduce your stress.  Stress provokes insulin release just like doughnuts do, keep it low.
  3. Exercise every day.  Exercise helps all around because it reduces insulin, reduces stress and keeps blood sugar healthier.
  4. Get lots of B vitamins and magnesium from dark green leafy vegetables every day
  5. Help your liver detoxify by eating apples, grapefruit, dark green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables every day.  I recommend everyone do an annual or semi-annual intensive liver detox to clear out toxins and pollutants and any excess hormones.
  6. See a naturopathic doctor for advice about diet, supplements and herbs that can balance hormones naturally.

Does This Seem Like a Good Idea?

I work predominantly with people who have a hormone problem – infertility, PMS, menopause, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, hypothyroidism, acne, anxiety, cervical dysplasia, adenomyosis, painful periods, heavy periods, irregular periods etc.  Many of these people have been through the medical route either unsuccessfully or with too many unwanted side effects.  Frequently these hormonally imbalanced people have been put on hormones.  At best this approach is only masking an underlying imbalance that will return when the hormones are taken away.  At worst, putting hormones into someone whose body is not managing hormones correctly can be downright dangerous.  More than one patient of mine who has been put on hormone treatment has developed blood clots, these women are fortunate to be alive to tell their story.  My way of thinking is if someone’s hormones are imbalanced, does it really seem like a good idea to throw some more hormones into them?  Wouldn’t it be a better idea to assist their body by:

  1. Producing any hormones that appear to be inadequate by supporting the thyroid, the adrenal glands, the ovaries, the pituitary etc?
  2. Facilitating removal of any hormones that may be in excess through the liver?
  3. Facilitating removal of chemicals, pollutants, pesticides and herbicides that can act like hormones in your body?

Tips to Meet Your Calcium Needs

 

  1. Eat at least 2 cups of dark green leafy vegetables every day.  Dark green leafies come complete with vitamin K, B vitamins and all of the other minerals needed to make healthy bones.  For osteoporosis prevention they are the complete package.  These include parsley, kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussel sprouts and Swiss chard.
  2. Eat a small handful of almonds a few times a week.
  3. Cook bones in the slow cooker!  If you are eating meat, leave the bone in.  Minerals from the bones will leech into the meat or the cooking liquid and provide a full range of readily absorbed minerals.
  4. Eat canned salmon with the bones mashed up in it.  As an added bonus, canned salmon is wild salmon.
  5. Keep your existing calcium.  To lower your need for calcium and to keep more calcium in your bones lower your stress and cut down on carbs.  Carbohydrates get metabolised into acidic end products which requires the body to pull calcium and other minerals out of the bones to buffer the acid.
  6. Build bones by exercising, preferably outdoors to get your vitamin D at the same time.