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Lost Secret to Better Vision

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDSalmon

Ancient cultures knew the value of the whole, fresh foods they ate, and what to do with them. Like eating fish for better eyesight. Unfortunately, this way of looking at things with an eye on nature has been discarded and forgotten.

Today, we have all of these individualized categories of study being looked at by very smart people. But we’re not as smart as we think. The people who interpret the information often don’t apply wisdom.

And their attempts to outsmart nature run into predictable problems.

Vitamin A was the first vitamin isolated and studied by modern science. And until a few years ago, it was mainstream advice to only take vitamin A for your eyes.

Then we discovered a natural vitamin A precursor called beta-carotene. Pick up any multi-vitamin formula today and you’ll see beta-carotene. But that turned out not to be a complete solution either. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, and can protect your own photosystem – your eyes – by turning to vitamin A. The problem is that if your body has enough vitamin A, it won’t convert beta-carotene.

Today, we are finding other carotenoids that are not only better than Vitamin A but better than beta-carotene. In fact, they’re up to 100 times more powerful.

So it’s a good thing we’re so smart now, and we don’t just recommend pure vitamin A or pure beta-carotene as the total solution. Because what you really need are these other carotenoids… right?

Not so fast…

My instinct is that we’re still only catching a very thin slice of that pie. The truth is they’re going to find a whole bunch more things next year or in ten years.

What we should learn from this is, the first thing you should do is get the right nutrients in as close to their native form as possible, rather than get them in a refined or processed form.

You’re always better off eating whole foods like wild-caught fish to get a baseline of nutrients for your eyes. Because your eyes depend on good, balanced nutrition, just like the rest of your body does.

If you give your eyes the building blocks and maintenance materials they need most, you can reverse many of the common symptoms of vision loss. And you may also prevent the major causes of blindness – glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, or macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye problem related to age. It’s a disruption of nerves in the retina. This disruption causes loss of sight. AMD is one the leading causes of blindness in older people.

Researchers from the National Eye Institute found that it’s not just carotenoids or vitamin A that helps fish protect your eyes. DHA, one of the omega-3 fats found in fish, supports the nerves in the retina. Their study looked at over 4,500 people ages 60-80 and found that people who ate two servings of high-DHA fish a week were 50% less likely to develop AMD that those who ate no fish.(1)

Another study performed by Harvard’s Schepens Eye Institute found that the DHA in fish protects you from dry eye syndrome. When a person’s eyes do not make enough moisture, the dryness can damage the cornea.

The study followed over 32,000 people. Those who ate more fish had up to 66% less chance of developing dry eye syndrome.

Wild cold-water fish like pollock, salmon, and sardines, as well as calamari, give you the most DHA. And if you eat those, or a good quality fish like wild-caught salmon a couple times a week, it should keep your eyes in top condition.

Our primal ancestors knew this through thousands of years of practice. Native Americans would eat the eyes out of the fish for better eyesight. Today we know that it’s not just vitamin A but that DHA collects in the vital organs of the fish.

However, in today’s world, we’ve lost that knowledge, and have gone very far from nature. We started to “grow” fish in man-made ponds, feeding them foods that are not native to their diet.

This has produced fish that are too high in omega-6, with little omega-3 and almost no DHA.

So while I recommend food as the most natural way to get your nutrients, and a supplement should never replace whole fresh foods … it’s very hard to get enough DHA from fresh fish alone.

I used to recommend cod liver oil as a supplemental source of DHA. But a much more bioavailable and concentrated source is krill oil. Krill’s DHA is in the phospholipid form instead of cod liver’s triglyceride form. So the DHA can cross cell membranes better and get deep into the tiny blood vessels of your eyes.

Try to get at least 500mg of DHA per day, and if you can, get it from a pure source of krill oil.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Resources:

1. SanGiovanni J, Chew E, et. al. “The relationship of dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake with incident age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 23.” Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(9):1274-9.

Is Gluten Intolerance Real – or a Made-Up Hoax?

By:Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetBread

Earlier this year, a university study appeared to throw a bucket of cold water on the “gluten-free” food craze. And there’s a good chance you heard about it, because within days the media had jumped on the bandwagon.

Much to the dismay of millions of people who have reported significant and measurable health improvements after adopting a gluten-free diet, dozens of mainstream news publications published articles based on this study claiming that non-celiac gluten sensitivity or “gluten intolerance” did not exist. Some even called it a hoax.

As usual, the truth is more complex than a daily newsbyte…

The study in question was performed by Dr. Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University in Australia. Part of the reason this study gained so much traction is that Gibson had gained notoriety for a previous study suggesting that gluten sensitivity in non-celiac patients was a serious and legitimate health concern.

In his follow-up study, professor Gibson recruited 37 participants who had reported that they were sensitive to gluten and who had irritable bowel syndrome.(1)  All of the subjects reported that their gastrointestinal symptoms improved on a gluten-free diet.

The study began with a two-week period where the subjects consumed a baseline diet low in FODMAPs. These are fermentable, short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body, especially common in grains like wheat. Following the baseline diet, the subjects were divided into three groups and consumed a diet that was either considered high gluten, low gluten or no gluten.

What the researchers found is that all of the participants did well on the baseline low FODMAPs diet – in other words no gastrointestinal symptoms. However, they also discovered that the patients who consumed the “high gluten” and “low gluten” diets did not show any raised biomarkers or gastrointestinal reactions to the isolated gluten.

Well, there you have it… sensitivity to gluten is obviously a hoax!

The first thing to understand about this study is that prior to and during the study, the subjects’ gastrointestinal symptoms DID improve on a diet that had no wheat. All this study proved is that the subjects did not react to gluten itself.

However, the protein we call “gluten” actually consists of hundreds of smaller compounds. Any ONE of these could trigger an inflammatory or immune response. And that’s not even a fraction of the whole story, because…

According to a study published in Plant Physiology, modern wheat is capable of producing at least 23,788 unique proteins!  

And that’s not all, because science has found numerous compounds in grains – besides gluten – which can cause serious long-term health issues…

One of these is a compound called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Note: despite the similar sounding name, this compound does not contain gluten.

Unlike animals, plants cannot escape being eaten. That’s why many plants have defenses to discourage predation. Thorns on a cactus are an obvious example.

But wheat and grains have defenses too, and WGA is one of these. Studies show that WGA can have direct toxic effects on most tissues in your body, including the heart and brain.(3)  WGA can also disrupt your hormonal system, weaken immunity, cause digestive problems and promote systemic inflammation (the cornerstone of degenerative disease).

Another highly problematic compound in wheat is a carbohydrate called amylopectin A, which is unique because of just how rapidly it is transformed into glucose. Seventy five percent of the carbohydrate in modern wheat is in the form of amylopectin A.

This is why wheat spikes your blood sugar higher than almost all foods – even when the same number of carbohydrates is consumed!

In fact, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating two slices of whole wheat bread spikes your blood sugar more than drinking a can of soda… eating a candy bar… or just helping yourself to SIX teaspoons of table sugar!

As you know, high blood sugar levels trigger a cascade of inflammation. It also promotes the storage of fat, especially “visceral” belly fat, which surrounds your organs and sends metabolic messages that promote disease.

And that’s not the only damage that the specific carbohydrates in wheat can do to your health…

The medical establishment has greatly exaggerated the role of cholesterol in heart disease. But there is one type of cholesterol closely linked to this killer – small dense LDL particles.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people with high levels of small dense LDL have a 300% greater risk of heart attack!(4)  Many doctors believe it is the number one risk factor for heart disease in the U.S.

According to preventive cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, the compound that triggers these dangerous compounds to form at a faster rate than any other food is the amylopectin A found in wheat!

One study does not seal the argument against gluten – and by no means does it prove that gluten sensitivity does not exist. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine lists 55 conditions that can be caused by eating gluten.(5)  And the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that gluten-sensitive people who still consume grains increase their risk of death up to 75%!

All this study that gained so much media attention shows is that some people who have a problem with wheat do not have a reaction specifically to gluten.

The bottom line is that there are MANY very good reasons to exclude wheat and grains from your diet – and most of them have nothing to do with gluten.

If your goal is to feel your very best… to prevent the onset of chronic disease… and to maintain your strength and vitality and quality of life well into your later years… then your best bet is to stick to the diet that our ancestors consumed – one that is rich in colorful vegetables, seasonal whole fruits, nuts, seeds and berries… and based upon the proteins and healthy fats found in grass-fed meats, pastured pork and poultry, wild fish, farm-fresh butter and organic eggs.


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Editor’s Note: Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
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References:  

1.Biesiekierski JR, Peters SL, Muir JG, Gibson PR. No Effects of Gluten in Patients with Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity after Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates.” Gastroenterology. 2013 Aug;145(2):320-8.e1-3.
2.Vandepoele K, Van de Peer Y. Exploring the plant transcriptome through phylogenetic profiling.Plant Physiol. 2005 Jan;137(1):31-42.
3.Ji,Sayer. Opening Pandora’s Bread Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease. GreenMedInfo.com
4.Melissa A. Austin, PhD; Jan L. Breslow, MD; Charles H. Hennekens, MD; Julie E. Buring, DSc; Walter C. Willett, MD; Ronald M. Krauss, MD. Low-Density Lipoprotein Subclass Patterns and Risk of Myocardial Infarction. JAMA. 1988;260(13):1917-1921.
5.Richard J. Farrell, M.D., and Ciarán P. Kelly, M.D.Celiac Sprue. N Engl J Med 2002; 346:180-188 January 17, 2002DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra010852

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5 Reasons to Eat Offal (And 6 Delicious Ways to Enjoy It!)

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetPate

Once reserved for the obligatory standard meal of “liver and onions”, offal has taken the culinary world by storm. And for good reason…

Not only does offal – which includes organ meats, bones, trimmings and pretty much everything in between – provide rich tastes and unique textures to a wide variety of cuisines, it is also some of the most nutrient-dense food you could put on your plate.

Of course, for many people, the idea of “nose-to-tail” eating may be a bit off-putting.
But today I’m going to show you five reasons why you should be eating these superfoods… plus six simple ways to make them delicious (or sneak them into your meals without a trace!).

Offal: The Disease-Fighting Nutritional “Supplement”

Nutrient-dense organ meats provide a stark contrast to the calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diets most Americans consume today. In fact, gram for gram, organs provide greater nutrient density than any other food we consume.

A study published in Horticultural Science illustrates why this is so important. The study found that the nutrient density of vegetables and fruits has declined by as much as 40% over the last 50 – 100 years. This means that even if you’re eating a whole-foods diet, free of processed foods, you’re still not consuming the nutrients our grandparents did.

And because nutrient deficiencies are a key factor in the onset of disease and age-related decline, it’s no surprise that the supplement market continues to grow. However, unlike synthetic vitamins and factory-created “fortified” foods, the nutrients in organ meats are present in their organic form alongside a matrix of synergistic compounds. This is the optimal way nutrients should be consumed for safety and the most efficient use by the body.

The nutrients in organ meats are also those most commonly lacking in modern diets and critical for disease prevention and healthy aging.

Here are five key nutrients concentrated in organ meats and their biological roles (in brief):  

1.    Vitamin B12: This complex vitamin is vitally important for brain health, cancer prevention, heart health, mood, bone health and more. After the age of 60, the ability to absorb this nutrient declines, placing many people at risk for deficiency.

2.    Selenium: An antioxidant micronutrient with numerous roles in immune, thyroid and prostate health, cancer prevention and more. Modern farming methods have depleted this nutrient in the soil, causing levels in the food supply to drop dramatically and leaving many deficient.

3.    Choline: A vitamin-like compound essential for the health of cell membranes, nerves and neurotransmitters, brain health, heart health, liver health and cancer prevention (especially breast cancer). According to the Institute of Medicine, only 10 percent of Americans meet adequate choline intake levels: 425 mg/day for most women and 550 mg/day for men (and women who are breastfeeding).

4.    Vitamin A: A fat-soluble group of compounds essential for vision, immune health, growth and development, gene expression, cancer prevention and more. Taken in isolated form (supplements), vitamin A can be toxic. Organ meats, specifically liver, provide the best natural source of this disease-fighting nutrient.

5.    CoQ10: A fat-soluble antioxidant compound required for cellular energy production (ATP), heart health, brain health and more. (Note: While a recommended intake has not been established, you can see absolute amounts in the list below.)

Now take a look at how much you’ll get in these organ meats. The amounts represented are the absolute amounts per serving and how that amount compares on a percentage basis with the established RDA or RDI, assuming one has been established:

Lamb Kidney - 3 oz
Selenium - 186 mcg / 266%
Vitamin B12 - 67 mcg / 1,118%
Choline (data not available)

Beef Kidney - 3 oz
Selenium- 143 mcg / 204%
Vitamin B12 - 21 mcg / 353%
Choline - 436 mg

Chicken Liver - 1 oz
Vitamin A – 4,026 IU / 81%
Vitamin B12 - 5.9 mcg / 99%
Selenium - 24.7 mcg / 35%
Choline - 92 mg

Beef Liver - 1 oz
Vitamin A – 8,881 IU / 178%
Vitamin B12 - 19.8 mcg / 329%
Selenium - 10.1 mcg / 144%
Choline - 119 mg
CoQ10 – 1.1 mg

Lamb Liver - 1 oz
Vitamin A – 7,280 IU / 146%
Vitamin B12 - 24 mcg / 400%
Selenium - 32.5 mcg / 46%
Choline (data not available)

Beef Heart - 3 oz
Vitamin B12 - 9.2 mcg / 153%
Selenium - 33 mcg / 47%
Choline - 194 mg
CoQ10 – 96 mg

Lamb Sweetbreads - 3 oz
Vitamin B12 - 4.7 mcg / 78%
Selenium - 55 mcg / 79%
Choline (data not available)

As you can see, organ meats are a highly concentrated source of nutrition. It doesn’t take much to get major nutritional benefits!

How to Make Organ Meats Taste (Offaly) Good

If you’re serious about getting more of these superfoods in your diet, and preparing them in the best way, consider investing in the comprehensive cookbook by Fergus Henderson – The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.

To broaden your palette and optimize your nutrition starting today, here are six simple (and sneaky) tips for including organ meats effortlessly and enjoyably in your everyday meals:

1.    Grind: Take frozen beef heart or chicken heart and carefully cut into chunks. Process using the grating blade on your food processor. Combine with grass-fed ground beef or bison for a nutrient-enhanced burger, meatloaf, chili, meatballs or Bolognese sauce.

2.    Puree: Add grass-fed beef liver, bison liver or chicken liver to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Just like with heart, you can add pureed liver to meatloaf, meatballs, chili or Bolognese sauce. If you’re new to the strong flavor of liver (or don’t particularly enjoy it), start with 25% liver and work your way up. Mild-flavored livers - including chicken, lamb and bison - can be used at 50% or even in a 1:1 ratio with great-tasting results. To make liver easily accessible for later use, scrape pureed liver into an ice cube mold (silicone works well for easy removal) and freeze. Once frozen, store portions in a zip-top bag or (better yet) an air-tight food saver bag. Then simply defrost the amount you need and add it to your recipe for a superfood boost.

3.    Fry: Everything tastes better fried. And when you fry the healthy way - using nutrient-rich, heat-stable tallow or duck fat – you’ll get rich, delicious flavor, and you’ll increase your absorption of lipid-soluble vitamin A, to boot. Simply dredge ½ inch pieces of liver (soaked and patted dry) or lamb sweetbreads in a flour mixture (try a combination of arrowroot and coconut flour for a grain-free crispy coating). Then fry in a heavy-bottomed skillet with ¼ inch of healthy fat until golden, about two minutes. Flip and cook another two minutes, just until cooked through.

4.    Marinate: While texture can be more of a challenge with organ meats, flavor can be greatly enhanced by marinating. Try Thai flavors (coconut aminos, fish sauce and ginger), Mediterranean (lemon, garlic and olive oil) or even Indian or Middle-Eastern.

5.    Soak: To make the taste of liver or kidney less pronounced, soak in 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for a few hours or overnight. If you are liver-averse, choosing mild-flavored liver (bison, lamb or chicken) and soaking can make a big difference in the palatability.

6.    Grill: As a muscle meat, heart can be grilled very much like your favorite lean cut of meat. Because it is very lean, be careful to not overcook. Liver can also be delicious when grilled and lends itself to a variety of flavorful marinades.

If you have tried eating organ meats before with no luck: Take heart. Your taste buds, like all of the other cells in your body – are constantly regenerating. This means you can actually acquire a taste for organ meats, and may even find that over time you begin to crave their unique flavors.

Be adventurous and don’t be afraid to experiment! By adding a variety of organ meats to your culinary repertoire you’ll boost your intake of health-promoting nutrients the same way our ancestors did – with traditional superfoods!

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Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

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REFERENCES
1.    Davis, D. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is The Evidence? Hort Science Vol 44 (1) 2009
2.    Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center.  Vitamin B12. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminB12/
3.    Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center.  Choline. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/
4.    Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center.  Vitamin A. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminA/
5.    Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center.  CoQ10.
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/coq10/
6.    Rayman MP. The importance of selenium to human health. Lancet. 2000;356(9225):233-24
7.    USDA SR-21. Nutrient Data.
8.    Pinar Ercan, Sedef Nehir. Changes in content of coenzyme Q10 in beef muscle, beef liver and beef heart with cooking and in vitro digestion. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Volume 24, Issue 8, December 2011, Pages 1136–1140
9.    Kamei et al., “The distribution and content of ubiquinone in foods,” Internat. J. Vit. Nutr. Res. 56 (1986) 57-63.
10.    Mattila, et al., “Coenzymes Q9 and Q10: contents in foods and dietary intake,” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 14 (2001) 409-417.
11.    Ghirlanda, et al., "Evidence of plasma CoQ10-lowering effect of HMG-COA reductase inhibitors: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study," Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1993 Mar; 33(3):226-229.
12.    Sears, Al, MD, The Doctor's Heart Cure: Discover the Simple, Easy, Enjoyable and Above-All PROVEN Plan to Lose Weight and Achieve a Shock-Proof, Disease-Resistance Heart — with Delicious, Natural Foods and Just a Few Minutes of Exercise a Day, St. Paul: Dragon Door, 2004, 133-146.

Cardiologists Bungle Blood Pressure

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDdescribe the image

My old office manager J.F. was on beta-blockers for high blood pressure.

I put her on a treadmill once to give her a test and nothing happened.

She got extremely short of breath, but her heart couldn’t keep up. It was still at 80 bpm. She couldn’t challenge her heart and make it stronger because of the drug from her cardiologist.

How did this happen? Because no one has messed up modern medicine more than cardiologists.

They’re all about the methodology of using heart drugs and technology, but are opposed to the general concept of analyzing your health and how to improve it.

It’s a true but sad state of affairs that a cardiologist can’t tell you any more about how to improve the health of your heart than the average person you meet on the street. They know virtually nothing about it.

They know how to use drugs. But the drugs are not health enhancing. In fact, there are no categories of cardiac drugs that I don’t disagree with. One by one, I ruled all the drugs out.

For example, if you are getting treatment for high blood pressure, you might be on beta blockers. But think of what cardiologists are doing there.

They’re now giving you a drug that blocks the regulation of your heart, down-regulates your capacity to get your heart rate up, and suppresses your heart’s natural ionotropic capacity to beat more firmly.

Initially, beta-blockers sort of work to artificially bring down your blood pressure, and your heart will calm down, but now you can never get the benefit of exercise.

So over time, beta-blockers will turn your heart into a fat, lazy, incompetent water balloon. You already had high blood pressure to deal with, now you have a gross de-conditioning of your heart.

But there are other steps you can take to lower your blood pressure naturally. And when you do, your chance of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke go back to normal. It’s as if you never had high blood pressure in the first place.

Step 1 – Use Nature’s Own Blood Pressure “Prescription.” I’m talking about magnesium, your body’s natural blood vessel relaxer. I’ve used it in my practice with great results.

It helps balance potassium, sodium and calcium, which all affect blood pressure. There are many studies that show the more magnesium you get the lower your blood pressure will be.

Why take a drug when this overlooked mineral can have the same effect?

New research even finds that if you get enough magnesium you have a lower risk of dying from any cause. The study followed 4,203 people over ten years, and found that the rate of death from all causes was 10 times higher for people getting the least magnesium.(1) And the rate of death from heart problems was more than 50% higher for those with low magnesium.

You can get more magnesium by eating nuts, seeds, dairy products and dark green, leafy vegetables. But modern farming practices have depleted much of the mineral content in our soil, so there’s not much magnesium in vegetables any more.

Magnesium used to be in your drinking water but water with high mineral content – hard water – fell out of favor because most people don’t like the taste.

If you can’t get enough magnesium through food, you can take a supplement. I recommend between 600 and 1000 mg a day. Take it with vitamin B6. It will increase the amount of magnesium that accumulates in your cells.

Step 2 – Toss The Processed Salt. Salt itself isn’t bad. We naturally crave salty foods. In fact, when your blood is at its healthiest, it’s slightly salty.

Unfortunately, the salt you find in most foods today isn’t even close to what Mother Nature intended. It’s bleached and refined. When they’re done making it into the white stuff that goes into packaged foods and your salt shaker it’s like franken-salt, with residual chemicals from the processing.

Try to avoid the foods that have the most processed salt. Bottled salad dressing, cured meats (beef jerky, salami), processed cheese, salt-covered snack foods and pickled foods (like olives and dill pickles).

Instead, look for sea salt. It’s unrefined, and has all the minerals and co-factors nature meant salt to have, like potassium and magnesium.

Regular salt is almost pure sodium chloride. Natural sea salt has sodium chloride too, but also has over 50 other minerals (including magnesium) with all the co-factors and trace elements nature intended real salt to have.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Resources:

1. Reffelmann T, Ittermann T, Dörr M, Völzke H, Reinthaler M, Petersmann A, Felix SB. “Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.” Atherosclerosis. 2011 Jun 12. Epub ahead of print.

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Cancer, Heart Disease and Telomeres

By: Dr Al Sears, MDElderly

Here’s a truth about cancer … you don’t get cancer because your aunt Mae or anyone else in your family had it.

The high rate of occurrence is indicative of how far from our natural environment we’ve strayed. Man-made chemicals, toxicants and pollutants, combined with the loss of nutrient protection from food, for example, make us more vulnerable.

But that also means that when you restore these natural protectors to your body, you have a good chance of avoiding cancer altogether.

Take one of my favorite natural metabolic regulators, nitric oxide. It’s an important signaling molecule in your cardiovascular system. It relaxes the lining in blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely. That reduces blood pressure. It also helps prevent your arteries from stiffening up which can lead to heart disease.

But here’s something I only recently discovered about nitric oxide (NO) myself. It can help maintain your telomeres. German scientists injected NO into a culture of blood cells. The NO increased the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that rebuilds telomeres. it extended the life of the blood cells.(1)

The same is true in the other direction. Block NO production and telomeres get shorter.(2)

That would be a huge benefit all by itself, because longer telomeres means less chance of cancer.

But nitric oxide is a powerful anti-cancer nutrient in other ways, too.

Lab studies link nitric oxide to an increase in the programmed death of tumor cells. It also lowers rates of cancer metastasis.(3) That means cancers are less likely to spread when you have enough NO.

You see, cancer cells with high levels of nitric oxide can’t metastasize. And deadly cells that do metastasize have low NO levels. For example one animal study showed when mice had high NO levels, cancer cells could not survive long enough to spread to the lungs.(4)

Plus, each molecule is very small and can penetrate deep into tissues and cells(5) that other nutrients can’t get to, making it nature’s perfect weapon against cancer cells.

That’s remarkable when you think about it … that nitric oxide can cure heart disease, lengthen telomeres and fight cancer. Let me show you my three steps to raising your levels of this ultra-powerful metabolic miracle molecule:

Step 1) The first thing I have my patients do is the right kind of exercise.

As I mentioned earlier, getting the kind of exertion our ancestors got will restore the natural cancer-protective environment in your body that kept our primal relatives virtually cancer-free.

A higher-intensity, short-duration workout, like my PACE program, is an easy way to get NO flowing throughout your blood. The short duration gives you a bigger challenge to your metabolism. This boosts NO levels by increasing an enzyme called NO synthase. Short bursts of exertion that challenge your current level of fitness for no more than 20 total minutes will boost your nitric oxide naturally.

Step 2) Look for foods rich in nitrates. But don’t confuse that with “sodium nitrate.” That’s a chemical salt used to preserve meats like bacon, ham and hot dogs. Sodium nitrate converts to “sodium nitrite” during the preserving process. You want to avoid that.

When you cook foods with sodium nitrite at high heat, cancer-causing substances called nitrosamines can form.

Natural nitrates in vegetables are a different matter. They’re found in leafy greens like arugula, lettuce, Swiss chard, basil, cilantro, and rhubarb.

One of my favorite sources is beets. When you eat a beet, the nitrates mix with your saliva and mouth bacteria to produce nitric oxide. Studies show drinking beet juice can raise NO levels and lower your blood pressure within 3 or 4 hours. The effects can last up to 24 hours.(6)

Step 3) There are also supplements that can increase nitric oxide production in your body.

The best one is the amino acid L-arginine. It converts to NO in your body. And you get the added benefit of having it raise telomerase levels, protecting you from cancer even more.

I recommend at least 500 mg a day. You can find it in capsules or powders. But make sure you get the L form and not the synthetic D,L form.

Also, niacin improves nitric oxide activity. Use 500 mg of sustained release niacin to boost nitric oxide activity.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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1. Vasa M, et. al. “Nitric Oxide Activates Telomerase and Delays Endothelial Cell Senescense.” Circulation Research. 2000; 540-542.
2. Scalera F, et. al. “Endogenous Nitric Oxide Synthesis Inhibitor Asymmertic Dimethyle L-Arginine Accelerates Endothelial Cell Senescence.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2004; 1816-1822.
3. Xie K et al, “Transfection with the inducible nitric oxide synthase gene suppresses tumorigenicity and abrogates metastasis by K-1735 murine melanoma cells.” J Exp Med. 1995;181(4):1333-43.
4. Dong Z, Staroselsky A, Qi X, Fidler I. “ Inverse correlation between expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase activity and production of metastasis in K-1735 murine melanoma cells.” Cancer Res. 1994: 54:789-793.
5.Robson T, Hirst D. “Targeting nitric oxide for cancer therapy.” JPP 2007;59: 3–13.
6. Webb. A. et al, “Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Antiplatelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite.” Hypertension. 2008; 51: 784-790

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Is Your Probiotic Harming Your Health?

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetProbiotic Yogurt

Probiotics have become one of the most widely-used nutritional supplements on the market. According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research, sales of probiotic ingredients, supplements and foods are estimated to reach $38 billion by 2018.

And while more and more people are turning to fermented foods and probiotics to improve digestive health, there’s something important you should know: Your probiotic could actually worsen your digestive symptoms and harm your health.

Research published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 84 percent of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also suffer from harmful overgrowth of a specific type of gut bacteria.

This overgrowth – called SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) – is responsible for a host of digestive and systemic health symptoms including:

•    Bloating, belching and gas
•    Cramping, constipation and diarrhea
•    Headaches
•    Fatigue and fibromyalgia
•    Rashes and skin disorders
•    Irritability, unstable moods and depression
•    Asthma
•    Joint Pain

But what causes SIBO?

Risk Factors and Testing for SIBO

While our large intestine is teeming with bacteria – up to 100 billion per teaspoon of fluid – the small shouldn’t contain much at all.

But stress, infections (including H. pylori and food poisoning) and even a simple irritation of the gut lining from food intolerances or allergies can cause functional changes that lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

Over time, displaced bacteria in the small intestine multiply. And if you are taking probiotic supplements or foods, your SIBO can worsen – compounding digestive distress and contributing to an array of seemingly unrelated health issues.

Unfortunately, diagnosing SIBO can be a challenge. It is often overlooked by conventional practitioners or misdiagnosed as another digestive ailment.

The good news is that there’s a simple, non-invasive test that can help. Considered the “gold standard” in diagnosing SIBO, the Breath Test (or lactulose breath test) involves drinking a sugar-rich solution and then measuring hydrogen gases and methane produced by bacteria.
Once you are tested and have been diagnosed with SIBO, you can begin the healing process.

Natural Treatments for SIBO

While SIBO must often be treated with antibiotics (including Metronidazole and Rifraximin), many people find relief with a combination of diet and natural remedies.
What kind of diet is best for SIBO?

Not surprisingly, the best diet to effectively treat SIBO is very similar to the diet enjoyed by our ancestors – rich in healthy native fats and gut-healing gelatin and free from simple sugars and grains. It is also low in fruit and starchy vegetables. This restricts the fermentable food sources for the bacteria. The protocol set forth in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or SCD) is ideal for this.

While starving the bacteria is a step in the right direction, complete relief and healing from SIBO also typically requires some “heavy artillery” to kill off the colonies that are residing in the small intestine.

As mentioned earlier, antibiotics can certainly play this role, and are effective at doing so. The downside is that antibiotics also kill the healthy bacteria in the large intestine, which can promote an overgrowth of yeast (Candida) leading to an assortment of unpleasant or harmful side effects.

Luckily, natural, non-prescription alternatives do exist: Cinnamon, olive leaf, peppermint oil, echinacea, garlic, wormwood, goldenseal, grapefruit seed extract (GSE), ginger, cat’s claw, oregano oil and barberry have all been shown to effectively help treat SIBO.

With this being said, it is very important to work with a skilled clinician to create a healing protocol that is right for you. These substances are potent and can be harmful if used in improper amounts or for a prolonged period of time.

Achieving Digestive Health: More Isn’t Always Better

As a flood of new probiotic supplements and foods become available, remember this important point…

More is not always better.

Achieving optimal health is about finding your body’s natural state of balance. If you think you may have SIBO, default to the native diet enjoyed by our ancestors and work with a natural-minded practitioner to help fine-tune your diet and get your digestion back in balance naturally.

______________________________________________________________________________

ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

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REFERENCES
1.    Lin HC. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: a framework for understanding irritable bowel syndrome.JAMA. 2004 Aug 18;292(7):852-8.
2.    Mönnikes H1, Tebbe JJ, Hildebrandt M, Arck P, Osmanoglou E, Rose M, Klapp B, Wiedenmann B, Heymann-Mönnikes I. Role of stress in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Evidence for stress-induced alterations in gastrointestinal motility and sensitivity. Dig Dis. 2001;19(3):201-11.
3.    Savarino E, et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and Helicobacter pylori: can they be cause of thrombocytopenia in patients with chronic liver disease? Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jun;106(6):1171-2; author reply 1172. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2011.106.
4.    Posserud I1, Stotzer PO, Björnsson ES, Abrahamsson H, Simrén Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gut. 2007 Jun;56(6):802-8. Epub 2006 Dec 5.
5.    Sachdev AH1, Pimentel M. Antibiotics for irritable bowel syndrome: rationale and current evidence. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):439-45. doi: 10.1007/s11894-012-0284-2.
6.    Logan AC, Beaulne TM. The treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with enteric-coated peppermint oil: a case report. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Feb;8(1):3.
7.    Pimentel M, Wallace D, Hallegua D, Chow E, Kong Y, Park S, Lin HC. A link between irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia may be related to findings on lactulose breath testing. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Apr;63(4):450-2.
8.    Pimentel M, Chow EJ, Lin HC. Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Dec;95(12):3503-6
9.    de Boissieu D, Chaussain M, Badoual J, Raymond J, Dupont C. Small-bowel bacterial overgrowth in children with chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, or both. J Pediatr. 1996 Feb;128(2):203-7.
10.    Musumeci R, Speciale A, Costanzo R, Annino A, Ragusa S, Rapisarda A, Pappalardo MS, Iauk L. Berberis aetnensis C. Presl. extracts: antimicrobial properties and interaction with ciprofloxacin. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2003 Jul;22(1):48-53.
11.    Optimal Digestion: New Strategies For Achieving Digestive Health. Edited by Trent W. Nichols, M.D. and Nancy Faass, MSW, MPH. Avon Books, 1999.


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Superhero Snack Company!

"Are you ready? Because there has never been a bar like this before. As an Olympic athlete I ate a lot of bars, I depended on them, they were literally a part of my daily life and job! As an athlete I thought of food as fuel or energy, boy was I wrong. Too focused on the numbers I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was eating. Piles of protein powders, concentrated sugars like brown rice syrup, chemically processed things like sugar alcohols and things like natural flavors...whatever those are! Sure they were calories, they gave me “energy”, they allowed me to run around for a bit longer...but where was the nutrition?"

- Kristen Buchanan, Founder & CEO GoodOnYA

GoodOnYa Bars    “Every question you will ever have, the answer you will find in nature.”
    - Bryce Courtney, The power of one

I love that quote, nature is an awesome example of balance. We can all get so out of whack in our lives. Friends, love, diet, exercise, you…. Life…. They all need balance. There is even a new disorder, Orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy. I can fall into this at times because honestly, the more you know about our current food system the worse it is. Do I wish I could just take a pill like in the Matrix and go on eating GMO’s, pesticides and fluoride in my water? No, I don’t. But if you constantly worry about it to the point where it causes you stress then all the healthy food in the world won’t keep you healthy. Stress trumps it all.

I founded this company in 2001 after a playing field hockey for the US National Team for 11 years. As an Olympic athlete healthy food was obviously a big part of my life. But back then, as an athlete, I equated being skinny and fit with health. Sure exercise is a big part of it, but in my quest for gold (and coming in 5th) I trashed my adrenals, joints, muscles and ended up with a full blown auto immune disease of the thyroid. A low fat, high carb diet is what we thought was healthy.  And lots of energy drinks with food colorings, synthetic salts and sugar. (yeah, a LOT of sugar)  Boy what I would give now to go back and make sure I had pastured meats, raw dairy from grass fed animals, good fats from nuts and coconut and better water! Well, actually I wouldn’t go back, I much prefer yoga and surfing now. But I do hope to help educate athletes, moms, kids, everyone on the benefits of real food. I often say “it’s not just about selling bars for us”, and it isn’t. If it was we would have made a very different bar.  One that could retail for .99 and we’d source the cheapest ingredients, add a boat load of sugar to make it taste ok and market the heck out of it. That’s just not who we are.

 

GoodOnYa

Here at US Wellness Meats we are honored to carry all four varieties of the GoodOnYa Bars, packed with real, whole foods and rich flavors.  If you haven't tried one yet, you don't know what you're missing!  These are some of the very best health bars that we have found, and they are a personal favorite of the US Wellness Meats staff. 

The breakfast bars are delicious with your morning coffee, but are just as tasty any other time of day.  The rich flavors of both the peanut butter & honey and peanut butter & chocolate bars are second to none, a hands-down favorite to anybody who tries them.  The Superhero bar is their newest addition and as it's name indicates, is a true super-food.  All can be found on our website:

 

Breakfast Bar

Breakfast Bar:  Organic hemp seeds, organic brazil nuts, organic sprouted flax, organic pure maple syrup, organic raisins, organic sunflower seeds, organic cacao liquor, organic vanilla, organic coconut oil, & Celtic Sea Salt

 

 

PeanutButterHoneyPeanut Butter Honey: Organic peanut butter, organic raw honey, organic sprouted flax, organic sesame seeds, organic hemp seeds, Celtic Sea Salt, organic vanilla

 

 

 

PeanutButterChocolatePeanut Butter Chocolate: Organic peanut butter, organic raw honey, organic hemp seeds, organic sprouted flax, organic sesame seeds, organic cacao liquor, Celtic Sea Salt, organic vanilla

 

 

SuperheroSuperhero: Organic cashew butter, organic ground chia seeds, organic goji berries, organic cashews, organic raw cacao powder, organic raw honey,  organic lucuma, organic coconut oil, organic coconut butter, organic vanilla, Celtic Sea Salt and Sol Raiz organic maca

 

These powerful nutrition bars are all certified Organic, Gluten-Free, Kosher, and Non-GMO Project Verified.  They are all free from: Soy, Dairy, Grains, Sugar Alcohols, Natural Flavors (corn) or anything that does not grow on the earth.

Any variety pairs well with your morning coffee, is a great afternoon-snack, and kids love them as well - so throw a few in their lunchboxes!

 

KrisFillatMuch thanks to GoodOnYa Founder Kris Buchanan for her expertise and help with this blog post & for sharing her wonderful products with us.  With her long athletic history and first-hand knowledge of health and nutrition, she has built a successful company based on the idea that "Every Ingredient Matters".  You can find more information on her company on their website.  You may also want to check out their revolutionary new sports drink line: GoodOnYa Hydrate.


Estro Cancer

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDShopping

Did you ever wonder why women can shop all day, and for men it drives them nuts? Did you know there are hormonal reasons for that? It’s not just culture, it’s evolution.

Women have traditionally been responsible for doing the gathering. They get a surge of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and it gives them energy. The more they shop and gather, the more energy they get. They come home energized.

For a man, you can see what happens out in the malls. After about a half hour, he needs to go get a cup of coffee, or else he just sits pathetically, slumped in a chair looking miserable. Being the hunter, he wants to bag the kill. So to have game in front of you that you don’t get to catch zaps you of your male hormonal drive.

The idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus has always been part of our nature … until now. Because that difference is disappearing fast.

The unnatural world we’ve created isn’t just society taking away the man’s hunter instinct. Or modern stress taking away a woman’s gatherer energy…

We’ve created a world full of feminizing chemicals that act like estrogen. The result of that is even worse than male breasts and mega-menopause for women.

These things are causing cancer. For example breast cancer rates are rising for women … but today, more men than ever are being diagnosed.(1)

The good news is even though getting cancer is more likely because of our modern environment, it’s also more likely than ever that you can have successful treatment of it.

Even better, there’s a lot you can do to prevent these kinds of cancers, and I’m going to show you some of them in a minute. But it won’t be what you might hear from the cancer societies or your family practitioner.

We’re not getting more cancer because Aunt Jenny had cancer and it’s in the genes. This higher rate of occurrence illustrates something the cancer societies and family practitioners miss when they talk about cancer. Higher rates illustrate how far we’ve strayed from our natural environment.

We’ve changed the nature of the world we live in. Many of the chemicals and processed foods we eat increase estrogen in the body. Now, cancers that affect parts of your body with estrogen receptors are on the rise, even though other cancer rates have stabilized.

Which makes a lot of what those mainstream sources advise for “lifestyle changes” dangerous. Most of what they want you to do isn’t pleasant, isn’t natural to you, and isn’t helpful.

The most important thing you can do to prevent male and female breast cancers, and prostate cancer for that matter, is to stop the accumulation of excess estrogen.

How do you do that? By promoting the C-2 pathway of estrogen metabolism, instead of the C-16. That might sound complicated, but it’s really pretty simple.

Estrogens that go down the C-2 pathway are weaker, and those that go down the C-16 pathway have much more damaging physiological effect.

Studies show that people who metabolize estrogen on the C-16 pathway have much higher rates of prostate and breast cancer than those who metabolize on the C-2 pathway.(2)

There are two things I recommend for estrogen detox:

1.  This first one is for men. One of the most important things you can do is to reduce the action of a molecule called aromatase because it turns testosterone into estrogen.

  • You can use minerals like selenium and zinc to reduce aromatase.
  • But another powerful group of nutrients is citrus flavonones. Flavonones seek out and bind to aromatase molecules. Studies show this action of flavonones can help stop the development of estrogen-related cancers.(3)
  • Flavonones came mostly from oranges and grapefruits. Though juices can be a good source of flavonones, they also contain a lot of sugar. So if you want the flavonones, eat grapefruit and oranges instead of drinking the juice.

2.  If you’re a regular reader, you already know some of the nutrients that support estrogen detox.

  • The B-vitamins detoxify your body of estrogen down the C-2 pathway.
  • DIM (Diindolylmethane), which you can get from eating broccoli, is also effective.
  • Other important nutrients that can help your body naturally move the excess estrogens along the detox pathway and out of the body
  • SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) Besides being an antioxidant, SAM-e promotes bile circulation, which enhances estrogen’s excretion out of the body. It’s also effective at negating the effects of estrogen in the body by preventing estrogen toxicity.(4)  I recommend you take 200 mg a day to start. You can take as much as 800 mg twice a day if your estrogen is particularly high.
  • Another notable antioxidant that can stop estrogen from damaging cells is alpha lipoic acid. A recent study shows that alpha-lipoic acid can protect your reproductive organs from the estrogenic effects of estrogen-mimicking chemicals like BPA (bisphenol-A).5  Taking 250 mg a day of alpha-lipoic acid is a good place to start, and you can take up to 600 mg a day.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

______________________________________________________________________________

Resources:

1. Bushak L. “FDA Requests More Volunteers For Male Breast Cancer Research, Hopes To Boost Awareness About Disease.” Medical Daily. medicaldaily.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 2. Falk R, Brinton L, Dorgan J, Fuhrman B, Veenstra T, Xu X, Gierach G. “Relationship of serum estrogens and estrogen metabolites to postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a nested case-control study.” Breast Cancer Res. 2013;15(2):R34. 3. Hatti K, Diwakar L, Rao G, Kush A, Reddy C. “Abyssinones and related flavonoids as potential steroidogenesis modulators.” Bioinformation. 2009;3(9):399-402. 4. Frezza M, Tritapepe R, Pozzato G, Di Padova C. “Prevention of S-adenosylmethionine of estrogen-induced hepatobiliary toxicity in susceptible women.” Am J Gastroenterol. 1988;83(10):1098-102. 5. El-Beshbishy H, Aly H, El-Shafey M. “Lipoic acid mitigates bisphenol A-induced testicular mitochondrial toxicity in rats.” Toxicol Ind Health. 2013;29(10):875-87.

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Digestive Issues? Avoid These Specific Carbohydrates

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetCarbs

Do you ever experience bloating, acid reflux, cramping, indigestion or other digestive distress?

If so, you’re not alone.

In fact, it is estimated that up to 70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive issue – ranging from chronic constipation to serious and even life-threatening conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.

And while digestive issues can stem from a wide variety of causes, there’s one factor quite often overlooked: Carbohydrates.

The Link Between Specifi Carbohydrates & Digestive Problems

Carbohydrates come in several forms - monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Of these three types, the monosaccharides (“mono” – meaning one) are the only type of carbohydrate that doesn’t require an extra step during digestion to fully break down. On the other hand, polysaccharides and disaccharides have additional chemical bonds, which make these forms of carbohydrates more complex – and therefore more difficult to fully digest, especially for some people.

Unfortunately, this partial digestion of carbohydrates can lead to many uncomfortable and even dangerous results – beginning with an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the gut.
Although bacteria and yeast are a natural and important part of our individual microbiomes, problems can arise when the delicate balance of microorganisms that live inside you is disturbed. As harmful bacteria and yeast (like Candida) begin to proliferate unchecked, toxins are released and the pH of the digestive tract changes.

This can lead to irritation and inflammation, damaging the cells in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to chronic discomfort, the end result can be a variety of issues, including leaky gut, food allergies and even autoimmune disease.

And this vicious cycle will continue as long as the offensive carbohydrates - poly- and disaccharides – are being consumed.

Breaking the Cycle: The First Step Towards Better Digestive Health

Eliminating those specific carbohydrates can help to break the cycle of inflammation and cellular damage, allowing the microbiome to regain a healthy balance and the gut to heal.
Not surprisingly, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is very close to the diet enjoyed by our ancestors. Like the Paleo diet, it is grain-free and unprocessed. It encourages regular consumption of bone broth, healthy fats like tallow and lard, and a wide variety of grass-fed meats and wild fish.

But SCD also eliminates starches and sugars that can be problematic – including many foods like sweet potatoes, parsnips, sunflower seeds, chocolate, jicama, okra, maple syrup, kohlrabi, plantains and many others that are often considered “approved” foods for those following a “Paleo Diet.”

If you’ve been following an ancestral diet – and yet you still experience digestive problems – the Specific Carbohydrate Diet may be just the tweak you need to achieve complete digestive wellness and relief from uncomfortable symptoms.

How to Start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Interested in trying SCD? Start with Dr. Elaine Gottschall’s groundbreaking work - Breaking the Vicious Cycle; Intestinal Health through Diet. In her book, you’ll learn about the foods to avoid as well as those to include.

You’ll also learn what to include on the “intro diet” - a jumpstart plan that is comprised of foods that are very easy to digest. This provides your body with deep nutrition while giving the gastrointestinal tract a chance to heal. After this first phase, more complex foods are reintroduced, as you discover how well your body tolerates them.

Because every individual is unique, SCD can be tailored to your personal intolerances and ability to digest certain foods to create a plan that is right for you.

Have you tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? If so, what was your experience?   

______________________________________________________________________________

ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

______________________________________________________________________________

REFERENCES
1.    Elaine Gottschall. Breaking the Vicious Cycle; Intestinal Health through Diet. August 1994
2.    American College of Gastroenterology 2013 Annual Scientific Meeting. Rush University Medical Center, SCD Study

Drugs & Anti-Aging

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDdescribe the image

Sometimes patients come to me with what they call “symptoms of old age.” But often they’re not symptoms at all. They’re side effects.

Here’s what I mean: Prescription drugs cause side effects that look a lot like “aging.”

Research shows some drugs cause major cellular damage. They attack the mitochondria, the tiny energy generators in each cell of your body.

Why is that important?

Damage to the mitochondria is related to many diseases we think of as occurring in the elderly. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary artery disease … even strokes and diabetes.

One of the reasons these synthetic, man-made molecules cause aging is that mitochondrial damage shortens telomeres.

Telomere shortening causes cells to go into repair mode to fix the shortened DNA. All that repair activity going on while your body tries to fix your DNA and damaged mitochondria generates a lot of free radicals. They cause oxidation, which can shorten telomeres more. And the cycle continues.

You can trace mitochondrial damage back to statins, pain medications like acetaminophen, and a long list of psychoactive drugs. These cross the blood–brain barrier and can age brain cells.(1)

Other drugs directly shorten telomeres. Especially chemotherapy drugs. They also slow down the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that repairs telomeres.(2)

Most doctors wouldn’t think to blame premature as a side effect of medical drugs. They are taught that becoming older and more feeble is normal. They might even prescribe another drug to treat your new “symptoms.”

How can you protect yourself?

Here are a few of the drugs that age your body the most, and what you can do as an alternative:

1) Corticosteroids: Worse than arthritis pain. Some of my least favorite drugs are corticosteroids, like the hydrocortisone cream your doctor might prescribe. This is a family of anti-inflammatory medicines many doctors use to treat arthritis, asthma or a skin rash.

These drugs turn off your body’s natural repair and rejuvenation mechanisms, causing you to age more quickly. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

For Asthma: Try daily breathing exercises, massage therapy, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For Arthritis: Guggul and meadowsweet relieve osteoarthritis. Guggul is a Southeast Asian remedy which studies showed to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.(3) Meadowsweet is a great example of why no matter how many times we think we’re smarter than nature, nature is better. Meadowsweet stores its active anti-inflammatories as inactive compounds. So when you ingest them, they go past your stomach intact. Then your liver safely converts them into the healing inflammation-dousing compounds that really work.

For Eczema or Skin Rash: My patients report great results with vitamin D oil while others prefer chamomile oil. Both are very effective.

2) Beta blockers: Shortcut to old age. Lopressor, Tenormin, Inderal, Corgard, or Normodyne and other beta-blockers age your heart more than almost any other drug. And in a recent study people who received beta blockers after having surgery that wasn’t even heart-related were at higher risk of dying or having a stroke.(4)

Here’s what you need instead:

CoQ10: This is my go-to supplement for my heart patients. It is the most important heart nutrient. Half of my patients have their blood pressure return to normal with CoQ10 alone. And it cures congestive heart failure.(5)

Garlic: This herb not only reduces triglycerides, which protects your heart, but it can also significantly reduce diastolic blood pressure.(6)

Hawthorn: This is the heart tonic of the ancients and it really works to relax the blood vessels.

3) Bisphosphonates: Perfect way to create old brittle bones. The bone drugs like Fosamax, Actonel and Reclast work by poisoning the cells that remove old bone. This disrupts natural bone remodeling so you get bones that are denser, but have weaker cells. If you take these drugs, your bones get more brittle and more prone to fracture, not stronger.

Before you take a bone drug, consider these natural alternatives that will harden your bones:

Natural D: The D3 form of vitamin D is the hormone that directs bone building in your body. Vitamin D also increases telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres.(7) Get 5,000 IU a day, preferably from direct sunlight.

Vitamin K2: This forgotten vitamin aids with your bones’ absorption of calcium to help make them stronger. The other benefit of vitamin K2 is that it rescues damaged mitochondria and cures mitochondrial dysfunction.(8) This helps prevent telomere shortening. You can find K2 in a variety of different foods including egg yolks, organ meat, and organic milk. I recommend 90 mcg a day if you supplement.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

______________________________________________________________________________
Resources:
1. Neustadt J, Pieczenik SR. “Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease.” Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jul;52(7):780-8.

2. Li P, Hou M, Lou F, Björkholm M, Xu D, “Telomere dysfunction induced by chemotherapeutic agents and radiation in normal human cells.” Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012;44(9):1531-40.

3. Singh B. et al., The effectiveness of Commiphora mukul for the osteoarthritis of the knee: an outcomes study. Alternative Therapies 2003 May/Jun; 9(3): 74-79.

4. Devereaux PJ, Yusuf S, Yang H, Choi PT-L, Guyatt GH. “Are the recommendations to use perioperative b-blocker therapy in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery based on reliable evidence?” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2004; 171: 245–7

5. Langsjoen H., et al. Usefulness of Coenzyme Q10 in clinical cardiology: a long-term study. Mol Aspect Med 1004; 15 Suppl: s165-75

6. Andrianova I., et al. Hypotensive effect of long-acting garlic tablets allicor (a double-blind placebo-controlled trial).Ter Arkh 2002; 74(3): 76-78.

7. Zhu H, Guo D, Li K, Pedersen-White J, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Huang Y, Parikh S, Liu K, Dong Y. “Increased telomerase activity and vitamin D supplementation …” Int J Obes. 2012;36(6):805-9.

8. Vos M, et. al. “Vitamin K2 is a mitochondrial electron carrier that rescues pink1 deficiency.” Science. 2012;336(6086):1306-10.

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