Category Archives: alternative therapies
Many parents are concerned about the dangers of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) due to how the media is covering the virus.
Enterovirus D68 is a virus that has not been widespread in the past. This year it is spreading more rapidly. I felt compelled to share the facts about this virus because I keep seeing information shared that is not 100% factual. Let’s separate the fact from the fiction and hopefully set some parents’ minds at ease.
Important Facts About Enterovirus D68
Here are important facts about Enterovirus D68:
- EV-D68 was originally identified in 1962. Since then, there have only been small outbreaks, most of which rarely spread across state lines. This year’s outbreak has spread rapidly, possibly because very few children have developed immunity to Entervirus D68 due to never having been exposed. Most adults are not affected, as they have developed resistance (from exposure to other viruses) that provides protection. Enteroviruses are usually most active between July – October, so the current spread is in line with normal occurrences.
- The CDC confirmed cases of EV-D68 in 22 states as of September 19. It is important to note that the number of confirmed cases (160) is small because most children infected with EV-D68 do not need medical attention and are therefore not tested. Hospitals only recently began testing for this specific virus since the likelihood of it being the cause of breathing problems was almost nonexistent until recently.
- No deaths have occurred from the virus so far.
- Most children who become ill have nothing more than typical cold and flu symptoms. Few children wind up being hospitalized, and most don’t even need to see a doctor.
- The virus is closely related to hand, foot and mouth disease. It shares some of the same symptoms, although EV-D68 may have a stronger effect on the lungs and usually does not cause a fever. Children who have had hand, foot and mouth disease seem to have less likelihood of contracting EV-D68 or from having serious symptoms.
- Ninety percent of the children hospitalized had pre-existing asthma or other upper-respiratory diseases or conditions that weakened their immunity.
- Enterovirus D68 is a virus. Antibiotics are ineffective against it, and there is no known cure. Mainstream treatments focus on lessening the symptoms. Those with serious symptoms are put on supplemental oxygen, given breathing treatments, or – in extreme cases – put on a respirator to aid breathing until the virus runs its course.
Typical Symptoms of Enterovirus D68
The typical indicators of Enterovirus D68 include, but may not be limited to:
- Runny nose, cough, sneezing, etc.
- Body aches
- Mouth sores or blisters (do not occur in every case, but are possible)
- Fever (unusual in this season’s outbreak)
Extreme cases may include the following symptoms, each of which requires immediate medical intervention:
- Fever above 103 degrees F.
- Difficulty in breathing: Difficult breathing is not always easy to recognize. Look for extremely rapid, shallow breathing, with breaths occurring more frequently than one per second. Watch your child’s ribs. If you can visibly see the skin being “sucked in” between the ribs with each breath, that is an indicator medical intervention is needed immediately.
- Continuous coughing
- If you notice any of the above symptoms, please call your physician or take your child to the emergency room immediately. Call 911 if your child is unconscious, has blue lips, or other severe symptoms.
Protective Measures Against Enterovirus D68
Enteroviruses are all relatively hardy and can live for quite a while on surfaces. The virus is carried in body fluids, mucus, snot, etc. Potential ways to lessen the likelihood of the virus include:
- You know the drill – frequent hand washing, teaching children to sneeze and cough into their elbows, etc. There is no need to use antibacterial soaps. ALL soap is antibacterial. The chemicals in antibacterial products are known to be dangerous and should be avoided.
- Making a spray using 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of alcohol, 40 drops of tea tree oil, 40 drops of lavender essential oil and 40 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. Blend well and keep in a glass spray bottle. Spray on counters, door knobs, faucets, etc. to help kill viral cells.
- Give your children Vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the most powerful immunity boosters known. Most children over age two need a minimum of 1000 IUs per day for maximum immunity. This is especially true if you live in a climate that prevents daily sun exposure. There is no need to worry about toxicity at this dose. For more information about Vitamin D, read: Twenty Surprising Facts About Vitamin D.
- Taking Vitamin C throughout the virus and flu season is known to reduce infection rates. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosage, but know it’s safe to double the recommended dose at the first sign of a cold or flu. I recommend continuing the double dose until symptoms abate.
- Use Elderberry Syrup if you suspect your child has caught a virus. Elderberry is an extremely powerful antiviral that is known to be effective against the enterovirus. It can also be taken as an immunity booster prior to illness, but I would definitely use it at the first sign of a cold or virus. It tastes great, so getting children to take it is nice and easy.
- If your child has asthma or any other chronic illness, discuss and create a care plan with your physician prior to illness. Keep the plan handy and be ready to implement it immediately when illness occurs.
- If your child catches what appears to be a cold but symptoms rapidly worsen or your mother’s instinct insists something is wrong, call your physician. Take your child to the emergency room or call 911 if symptoms become severe.
The good news about the virus is that we are hopefully nearing the end of its “season.” Higher number of cases also mean we now have higher immunity throughout the country.
Has your child dealt with Enterovirus D68? What were your experiences?
People often look at me as if I’m crazy when I share that riding a motorcycle has taught me a lot about wellness, and that wellness and motorcycle riding have many similarities. To prove that point, I’ve created a list of my favorite health-related motorcycle posts. These posts share a little bit of everything, including a nice combination of science and satire. I hope they bless, inspire and encourage you to live life more abundantly!
How Motorcycle Riding Improves Physical Health: My compilation of why riding a motorcycle (or any two-wheeled vehicle with a motor) provides a wide variety of benefits to physical health.
Eight Reasons Why Motorcycles are the Best Drug: A satirical look at why motorcycles make better drugs than ones you can only buy in not-so-safe parts of town.
Diabetes and the Art of Motorcycle Riding: A great look at why it’s perfectly fine for people with diabetes to ride motorcycles, along with tips and tricks for ensuring blood sugars remain stable while riding.
Can Riding a Motorcycle Strengthen Old Bones? A scientific perspective on how the effects of riding a motorcycle improve bone density.
Healing Truths I Learned Riding My Motorcycle: A look at the similarities between riding a motorcycle and the steps the body uses to reverse illness. I promise there’s more wisdom and similarities between the two than you realize!
Riding a Motorcycle Makes You Smarter, Not Just Sexier: Interesting look at research done in Tokyo that proved the minds of motorcycle riders function at a higher cognitive level. (We knew that, but it’s nice to see it proven scientifically.) For the record, I hate the picture they used to illustrate this post, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
Two Weeks from a Broken Foot to Dancing in Heels: A true story about how a motorcycle rider used natural methods to enhance her body’s ability to restore a broken bone.
As always, ride safely, wear full protective gear and don’t push your limits!
Dry skin is a common challenge, yet very few people know how to identify the cause of their dry skin or how to alleviate the symptoms. This article is the first in a series of three articles about effectively alleviating dry skin. This article shares information about little-known causes of dry skin and how to identify them. The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 2 shares information on different ingredients that are great for alleviating dry skin.
The medical term for dry skin is “xeroderma,” but knowing the medical term does little to alleviate the symptoms. The bottom line is that dry skin needs to be addressed from the inside out. Most people use topical treatments to alleviate dry skin. Doing so creates very temporary relief. For prolonged relief, one must identify what is causing the dry skin and address that while using topical products to reduce symptoms.
Dry skin is typically the result of a lack of oil or water in the upper layers of the skin. Potential causes of the lack of oil and or water are listed below.
Most Common Causes of Dry Skin
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances are a very common cause of dry skin which are sadly often overlooked. Imbalances in thyroid hormones and/or reproductive hormones can create dry skin which itches so severely it strongly impacts quality of life. To ensure all hormone levels are normal, ask your physician to order a complete thyroid panel and a saliva hormone test. For more information, read How to Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate. You can order your own saliva hormone test here: Saliva Hormone Tests. Most people find their dry skin challenges disappear once their hormone levels are brought back into balance.
- Physiological illnesses or conditions: There are several health conditions that may cause dry, itchy skin. The following are known to cause dry skin: anemia, asthma, diabetes, thyroid imbalances, food and environmental allergies, high blood pressure, hepatitis (all forms), kidney disease, liver disease, ichthyosis vulgaris (“fish scale disease”), and others. If you suspect your dry skin is caused by an unidentified disease or illness, work with your physician to have the correct testing done.
- Dehydration: This seems like a no-brainer, but even mild dehydration can cause the skin to dry out. To ensure you are drinking enough water, make it your goal to drink half your body weight in ounces of purified water every day. This means a woman who weighs 150 pounds should aim to drink 75 ounces of purified water daily. The skin’s texture, health and vibrancy often improve dramatically simply by drinking more water. If skin dehydration is being caused by your heating system, using a humidifier may help.
- Lack of healthy dietary fat or a fatty acid imbalance: The myth that dietary fats are dangerous was especially damaging to skin health. Your body requires healthy forms of fat to maintain healthy skin, balance hormones, maintain healthy blood vessels, and more. Eating a fat-free or low-fat diet almost guarantees dry skin. Incorporating healthy fats such as those found in nuts and seeds, coconut oil, organic meats, dairy and eggs, avocados, etc. is one easy way to moisturize from the inside out. During the winter, I find that eating 1-2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil on a daily basis is a simple way to prevent or alleviate dry skin.
Eating large amounts of oils which are high in omega 6 fatty acids may also have a drying effect on the skin, as those oils are known to be very inflammatory. Avoid oils such as soy, peanut canola and corn, as those oils are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids. Using organic oils such as olive and coconut are much better options. Increase your omega 3 consumption by eating organic chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, etc.
- Failing to protect skin from harsh weather, cleaning products, etc.: If you are going to be in extreme weather conditions, please take time to protect your face and hands. Moisturizing prior to the exposure and covering your face and hands with a warm scarf or gloves can help. If you are frequently exposed to harsh cleaning products or chemicals, please protect your skin with gloves and other protective gear. If it is not practical to use gloves, coat your hands in a heavy coating of lanolin or cocoa butter prior to doing the work.
- Using products containing Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate: We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking a product cannot clean without lots of bubbly lather. That is simply not true. In order to create fake lather, many manufacturers add chemical foaming agents (sodium laureth sulfate and/or sodium lauryl sulfate) to their products. Both products are known skin irritants which are also known to cause dry skin. For more information on these products, read Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products.
- Using products containing alcohols or other harsh ingredients: If you do not recognize an ingredient in a body care product, chances are you’d be better off without it. Believe it or not, many lotions contain various forms of alcohol. The alcohols are added to make the product dry quickly or feel very light on the skin. The problem is that the alcohols in the moisturizers actually dry out the skin. If you don’t make your own body care products, only use moisturizers that do not contain alcohol and which contain truly natural ingredients.
- Taking medications that dry the skin: There are a number of prescriptions which have dry skin as a known side effect. Those medications include statin medications for high cholesterol, several medications for high blood pressure, and multiple medications for acne. If you suspect your dry skin is caused or exacerbated by one of your medications, discuss the issue with your physician and ask about alternatives. (Never stop taking any prescribed medication without discussing it with your physician.)
- Excess bathing: You do not need to take a shower or bath every single day. I promise. Frequent bathing, especially in very hot water, will dry the skin very quickly. Bathing in unfiltered water can also cause dry skin due to the drying effects of chlorine. Most people do just fine bathing 2-3 times per week. If you can’t bring yourself to bathe less frequently, bathing in slightly cooler water and using a dechlorinating shower filter or bath ball will help protect you from the drying effects of chlorine. (Click the links to see the products I use.)
- Aging: Sadly, one of the side effects of aging is that the skin produces less sebum, its natural moisturizer. The strategies discussed previously can help maintain more moisture in your skin, as can eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, exercise, etc.
Photo courtesy of Ruby Blossom
Otitis Media – the common ear infection – is the most common reason parents schedule doctor appointments for children. Ear infections are incredibly painful and can lead to hearing issues, yet research has proven antibiotics are ineffective. There are a variety of alternative approaches that are known to be very effective.
When discussing ear infections, it is important to recognize they typically involve biofilms. Biofilms are a complex matrix of bacteria that may also include fungal and viral cells. The various cells in an ear infection create a strong matrix, called a “biofilm,” to protect them from antibiotics. The antibiotic resistance often develops before the child feels pain or realizes there’s a problem.
One important thing to remember about ear infections is that the human body is perfectly capable of healing them without intervention if the person’s immune system is functioning as it should. One of the primary ways of resolving ear infections is to help protect your immunity by eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, etc. However, there are times when medical intervention should definitely be sought.
If a child’s fever is extremely high (above 102F degrees), if the pain is intense or if symptoms last longer than three days, seek medical treatment immediately.
If an ear infection does develop, the following are known to help:
- Eliminate sugar from the diet. I realize that may be tough, but sugar depresses immunity and makes it difficult for the child’s body to use its natural defenses to battle the infection.
- Use herbal ear drops. Commercial herbal ear drops typically contain Garlic, Goldenseal and perhaps Mullein infused into oil. The oil is gently warmed and 2-5 drops are put in each ear every 2-4 hours. The oil feels good and diminishes pain, but the antibiotic/antiviral/
antifungal properties of the herbs actually penetrate (soak through) the ear drum to reach the infection on the other side. I find the combination of Garlic and Goldenseal to be far more effective than garlic and mullein. I like this one: http://amzn.to/1NpuXmw.
NEVER use ear drops if the ear drum has ruptured. Seek immediate medical attention.
- Use other naturally antibacterial ear drops. There are a wide variety of ear drops available which contain ingredients known to be naturally antibacterial and antiviral. One of my favorites contains Grapefruit Seed Extract and a tiny bit of Tea Tree Oil blended into a soothing amount of Glycerin. You can view them here: NutriBiotics Ear Drops.
- Consider homeopathic remedies. There are a variety of homeopathic remedies for ear aches. When using homeopathics, remember that nothing should be eaten ten minutes before or after taking them orally, and that mint products should be avoided for an hour. Homeopathic ear drops can be alternated with other ear drops being used. One advantage of homeopathics is that they do not interact with prescription medications and do not cause side effects when used as directed.
- Use colloidal silver drops. Colloidal silver drops can be placed in the ear canal every 2-4 hours. Similar to the ear drops described above, colloidal silver is known to be soothing and to stimulate the body to heal itself. For more information on colloidal silver, please read: Common Uses for Colloidal Silver.
- Use a probiotic and/or fermented foods other than yogurt. Probiotics help the Peyers Patches in the gut boost immunity. Probiotics also help maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. Since 70% of immunity resides in the gut, it makes sense to care for it! I recommend using a probiotic specifically designed for children, such as the ones made by Udo’s Choice, Renew Life or Garden of Life. Fermented veggies are also a great way of gaining beneficial bacteria. Serve some with every meal or serve water kefir between meals.
- Use immune boosters. During an active infection, the body will respond well and be able to fight infection better if immunity boosters are consumed. Eating a lot of garlic, onions and turmeric is a great place to start. Taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D or Monolaurin are also known to boost the body’s ability to fight infection.
- Eliminate dairy. If a child has recurring ear infections, try eliminating dairy for one month. Many parents find ear infections miraculously stop occurring when dairy is eliminated. Wheat or other food allergies may also be a culprit, but dairy is the most common.
- Use a rice bag: Applying a bit of warmth to the affected ear is a very effective way to bring soothing relief from the pain. The simplest way to create a heating pad is to pour uncooked rice into a clean cotton sock, tie the top, and then microwave the sock in 20-second bursts until it is warm to the touch but not hot. Lay the sock over the ear, repeat as needed. (For the record, this is the only time I advocate the use of a microwave.)
- Seek medical intervention when needed. There are times an antibiotic may be needed. If symptoms or fever remain for more than three days, if the fever is extremely high or if pain is intense, seek treatment immediately.
What’s your favorite ear ache remedy?
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Williams
Iron-Deficiency Anemia is a very common health issue. Many women have been told at some point in their life they have Iron-Deficiency Anemia and that it is “chronic.” Unfortunately, the term “chronic” typically means the diagnosing doctor has chosen to not identify the cause of the condition. The doctor assumes the woman’s anemia is “normal” for her and therefore can only be controlled, not treated. I beg to differ.
Iron-Deficiency Anemia always has a cause or causes. It is never a “normal” state of being. Never. Let me clarify that I am speaking about Iron-Deficiency Anemia, the type of anemia that occurs when the body’s iron stores are below normal. Please note I am solely referring to Iron-Deficiency Anemia, not Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia, Pernicious Anemia, Aplastic Anemia or any other form of anemia. Although the symptoms of the various types of anemia may be similar, they each have very distinct causes and cannot be addressed using the same approach. Please note that all references in this article are for adults, not children.
Iron-Deficiency Anemia results in a deficiency of red blood cells and diminishes the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide away from cells. The most common symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia include:
- Easy bruising
- Cold hands and feet
- Elevated heart rate/heart palpitations/chest pain (Seek immediate medical attention for any form of chest pain)
- Swollen tongue/sore tongue/cracks in corners of mouth
- Muscle pain
- Pale skin
- Depression and/or a lack of motivation
- Brittle nails
- Frequent infection/illness
- Irritability/inability to concentrate
- Bluish coloration to whites of eyes
- Cravings for unusual items (chalk, clay, paper, etc.) or a strong desire to chew ice
Each of those symptoms could also be a sign of other health conditions, some more serious than others. Please consult a trained practitioner if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
Possible Tests for Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Iron-Deficiency Anemia is typically identified via blood tests. When checking for Iron-Deficiency Anemia, the following tests should be run at a minimum. Please note that each lab has its own definition of what “normal” ranges are. The ranges provided below are general guidelines:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): An overview of blood composition.
- Hemoglobin: A protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Normal range for men is between 13.5-17.5; for women 12.0-15.5. Please note that results which are within “normal” but are at the low end may still cause symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia.
- Iron: A measure of the iron in the blood stream. Normal ranges between 60-170 mcg/dL.
- Ferritin: A protein that stores iron. Is a measure of the body’s iron stores. Although some labs state that levels as low as 10 are “normal,” most people do not begin to feel anything close to normal until their Ferritin levels are at least 40. Please note that levels as low as zero are not a definite indicator of cancer or other serious disease. Extremely low levels need to be researched in more detail to determine the cause, but are not necessarily an indicator of a terminal condition. I once had Ferritin levels of zero which my doctor erroneously assumed meant I had cancer. After having a bone marrow biopsy, the consulting hematologist looked at me and asked why on earth the doctor ordered a bone marrow biopsy instead of investigating the cause and type of anemia first. Good question!
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is essential for iron to be absorbed. A deficiency can lead to Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Normal ranges vary between 200-900 pg/mL.
- Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC): A measure of the number of proteins available for transporting iron. Normal ranges are typically between 240-450 mcg/dL.
- Transferrin Saturation: A measure of how saturated with iron the proteins responsible for transporting iron are. Normal ranges are between 20-50%.
Potential Causes of Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Your doctor may order other tests if s/he wishes to identify the specific cause of the Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Potential causes of low iron levels and Iron-Deficiency Anemia may include:
- Lack of iron in the diet
- Inability to absorb iron in the digestive tract
- Unidentified bleeding (in oral cavity, lungs, stomach, digestive tract, etc.)
- Other forms of anemia not yet tested for or identified
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Extremely heavy menstruation
- Frequent blood donation
- Excessive exercise (Iron-Deficiency Anemia is common in long-distance runners)
- Celiac, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s or other digestive disorders
- H Pylori infection (stomach ulcer)
- Use of a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec, Nexxium, etc.
- Kidney disease
- Gastric bypass surgery/colostomy
- Thyroid imbalances or other hormonal imbalance
- Enlarged spleen or splenic dysfunction
- Lead poisoning
Further Testing to Identify the Cause of Chronic Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Consistent Iron-Deficiency Anemia can be caused by any of the factors discussed previously, but may also be an indicator of more severe health issues. I advise considering the following to identify the root cause of Iron-Deficiency Anemia:
- Check antiparietal antibody levels to ensure Pernicious Anemia is not the cause of the anemia
- Test for other forms of anemia if symptoms and blood work indicate a possibility
- Test for digestive disorders
- Test for vitamin and nutritional deficiencies and supplement as needed
- Test for food allergies (the inflammation caused by food allergies can impair iron absorption)
- Check for bleeding in the digestive tract and digestive disorders
- Check for bleeding in the respiratory system
- Test thyroid levels (with a complete thyroid panel including TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO and Reverse T3 at a minimum)
- Test hormone levels and have a gynecological exam if extremely heavy menstruation is suspected as the cause
- Test for pregnancy (if appropriate)
Reversing the Deficiency
Many factors may contribute to Iron-Deficiency Anemia, so work with your doctor to determine what approach should be taken to reverse the deficiency. The most common approaches used to reverse the deficiency include:
- Identify and Address the Cause: Although it is imperative to get iron levels up using supplements or other approaches, it is also essential to identify why the iron deficiency exists and address the cause. If the cause can be identified and eliminated or greatly alleviated, the body can more easily restore iron levels to normal levels. If testing reveals a more severe form of anemia exists, additional steps will be needed. I will share more about the other forms of anemia in future posts.
- Increase Iron Consumption: Increasing the amount of iron eaten on a daily basis can be helpful, but may not be sufficient in cases of absorption and digestion challenges. Please be aware that the iron contained in plants is called “non-heme” iron. It is not as easily absorbed as the heme iron in animal products. The body must convert non-heme iron into heme iron before it can absorb it. The best way to assist the body in making converting non-heme iron into heme iron is to eat fruits or veggies high in Vitamin C with foods containing non-heme iron. (Eating foods high in Vitamin C will assist with the absorption of iron in animal products, too, but is especially important for vegetable sources of iron.) This is one reason why spinach salads often contain oranges. The food that is highest in iron content is liver. Other foods high in iron include red meat, chicken and turkey, quinoa, organ meats, raisins, dark leafy greens, egg yolks, prunes, molasses, beans and lentils, salmon, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate (at least 80%), broccoli and others. I am not a fan of “iron fortified” milk and cereals because the iron those foods contain is in a form that is very difficult to absorb.
- Use Iron Supplementation: Iron pills or supplements should never be taken if testing has not proven you are deficient in iron. Excess iron in the bloodstream can have negative affects which are as bad or worse as an iron deficiency. Please also be aware the forms of iron most commonly sold in drug stores are difficult to absorb and often cause constipation. Ferrous sulfate is the most commonly sold form of iron, but is very poorly absorbed and often causes constipation. It is not a form I recommend. My preferred forms of supplemental iron include iron citrate, iron gluconate, iron bisglycinate and/or chelated iron. Iron is best absorbed when it is taken on an empty stomach. My favorite iron supplements are Hematinic Formula and Vitamin Code Raw Iron.
- Severe cases of Iron-Deficiency Anemia may require blood transfusions or intravenous iron. Those approaches are usually not needed unless other health issues are present.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that Iron-Deficiency Anemia can usually be quickly addressed and reversed. More difficult cases may require further testing and additional therapies, but quality of life can usually be restored fairly quickly.
Red Blood Cell Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Images
Anemia Blood Cell Photograph Courtesy of Alpha Images
Two weeks ago I woke up, sat up and almost fell off the bed because it felt as if I were spinning. (I promise I was sober.) As the day progressed, the dizziness occurred frequently. It became increasingly worse day by day. It took a few days before I realized I was suffering from what is commonly known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Vertigo and dizziness can have many different causes, some of which are serious and some of which are not serious at all. It is very important to seek professional assistance to identify the cause of dizziness, especially if the dizziness occurs repeatedly.
This must be said: “Vertigo” does NOT mean a fear of heights; it means dizziness.
There are several different types of vertigo. Please note that this article is about Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The information it contains pertains solely to that form of vertigo and is not applicable to most other forms of vertigo. Please work a trained health professional to identify the form of vertigo you have. Do not attempt self-treatment for vertigo, as several forms of it may be caused by serious health issues requiring medical attention.
BPPV is a vertigo that occurs when the head changes position. Deep within the structure of a normal ear, there are very tiny hairs which have calcium carbonate crystals attached to them. When the head and body move, the hairs and their attached crystals send signals to the brain about the change in position. The body uses that information to maintain balance. BPPV occurs when one or more of the calcium carbonite crystals becomes unattached and floats into the fluid-filled tubes just outside of their correct location. Once they arrive in the wrong location, the crystals move when the head moves and wind up stimulating neurons erratically. The erratic neurological stimulation sends misinformation to the brain about the body’s position. That misinformation causes vertigo as the body tries to maintain balance using misinformation. The dizziness typically occurs when the head is tilted up or down, but may also occur when the head is turned to the right or left.
In the simplest terms, vertigo can either be the sensation that the world is spinning or that the person’s body is spinning. Sometimes the vertigo lasts for a few seconds, other times it can last for up to a minute. People who have frequent vertigo of a long duration often also experience nausea. Luckily, BPPV typically only occurs in one ear, which makes it easier to control the head movements that trigger the vertigo.
No one knows what causes BPPV, but all of the following have been found to have potential involvement:
- A viral or bacterial inner-ear infection
- A head injury or blow to the head
- Poor calcium metabolism
- A Vitamin D deficiency
- Meniere’s Disease and other inner-ear conditions
- Estrogen deficiency
What is is like to have vertigo? Imagine trying to walk down a flight a stairs having to look straight ahead because looking down at your feet causes dizziness so severe you have to sit down to avoid falling. Now imagine trying to drive without moving your head, or trying to give a presentation and not being able to use notes because the change between looking down at the notes and up at the audience causes dizziness so severe you become completely disoriented. Imagine trying to put dishes away and having to hold onto the counter to avoid falling down every time you look up to reach a shelf. Imagine falling and not knowing where to reach to break the fall because you can’t tell which way is up. Imagine knowing that every time your turn your face up to kiss your very tall husband you will wind up spinning in a way you never have before. If you were able to successfully imagine those sensations, then you have a slight sense of what vertigo is and how much it interferes with daily life.
Living with BPPV and having every daily activity affected took a toll. I began researching, but found very little help. Most of what I read said BPPV goes away on its own in a few days to a few months. That was not an acceptable answer!
I visited my doctor. She used a test called the Dix-Hallpike Maneuver (a series of head and body movements to measure the degree of vertigo that corresponds with each movement) to confirm the vertigo was caused by BPPV and not by physiological imbalances. She confirmed I had BPPV and recommended a set of home exercises. Unfortunately, those exercises made things worse instead of better.
For those who are seeking exercises for BPPV, the most common ones are the Epley Maneuver, The Semont Maneuver and the Brandt-Daroff exercises. The purpose of the exercises is to move the calcium crystals to locations in the inner-ear where they cause less disruption. Most of the exercises are supposed to be done one to three times daily. The hope is that the repetition of the exercises will gradually move the crystals to a location where they no longer cause problems. One problem with these exercises is that the same movements are used regardless of which ear is affected.
My biggest frustration with BPPV treatment approaches is that they all deal with diminishing the symptoms, not with addressing the cause. My goal became to figure out how to eliminate the calcium carbonite crystals instead of simply moving them around several times a day. In my case, I suspected the calcium supplement I had taken for my broken foot had not been metabolized well, leading to problems with the crystals in the inner-ear. I cannot definitively say the poorly chosen calcium supplement was the cause of the vertigo, but my gut instinct knows it was. I bought the synthetic calcium because the store was out of the whole food calcium I usually recommend. I thought my broken foot needed the calcium right away. I will never make that mistake again!
There are a few supplements commonly recommended for BPPV, such as Gingko Biloba, Hawthorne Berry, Omega 3s, etc. Unfortunately, I have never seen those remedies work quickly or efficiently. I was therefore determined to find a solution that brought quick relief. My doctor recommended a prescription called Antivert, which has negative side effects including drowsiness, constipation, persistent cough, dry mouth and others. Oddly enough, one of the ironic side effects of Antivert is dizziness. I filled the prescription in a moment of desperation, but it did not help, made me very tired and caused horrible constipation. I chose to never use it again.
I am happy to say I was able to completely resolve the BPPV using the following approaches:
- The Foster Method: The Foster Method is a set of exercises developed by an MD who developed BPPV. She designed the exercises after thoroughly studying the anatomy of the inner-ear and considering what would be required to move the crystals into a location where the body could eliminate them. She also created two distinct sets of movements, one for BPPV occurring on each side of the head. I am happy to say I got immediate relief using the Foster Method. I repeated the exercises three times daily until the problem disappeared. (You can find instructions on how to do the Foster Method here: The Foster Method.)
- Zeolite: Zeolite is a volcanic mineral commonly used for heavy metal detoxification. Zeolite is incredibly effective because its molecules have a honeycomb shape that easily attaches to and binds with other mineral structures. Since heavy metals and calcium are all minerals, it occurred to me that taking Zeolite might help my body eliminate the crystals that were causing the problem. (Zeolite does not negatively affect bones and teeth, but is drawn to any minerals which are not where they should be.) I noticed improvement within a few days of starting to take the Zeolite. I continue to take it, but doubt I will purchase another bottle when this one is gone. I used Omica Organics Zeolite Capsules, but many people prefer the Omica Organics Zeolite Liquid. I cannot find any other site recommending Zeolite for BPPV, but it seems to have worked wonders for me.
I will add that while I had BPPV I ate a very clean anti-inflammatory diet, continued exercising and took good care of myself in every way possible. I am certain those factors contributed to my speedy recovery.
Have you dealt with BPPV? What worked for you?
There is a myth that time and immobilization are the only ways to heal broken bones. I disagree. It is very possible to heal broken bones more rapidly using changes in lifestyle, eating habits and supplementation. I know because I’ve done it more than once. For more information on broken bones, please read Five Myths About Broken Bones and Fractures.
Before I dive into my personal story of supporting a broken bone, please note the story I am sharing is purely my own. The techniques I used were appropriate for the type of break I had and its location.
They were also based on years of professional expertise. Although many of these techniques could be used by anyone with a broken bone, please discuss them with your orthopedic doctor and a natural health consultant before using them. As always, this information is shared for educational purposes only, was not evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness.
Three weeks ago I broke the fifth metatarsal of my left foot in a motorcycle incident. Thankfully, it was an “incident” and not an “accident.” In spite of the broken bone, I was very fortunate. So was the driver who caused the incident, as my break prevented me from chasing him down and giving him a piece of my mind.
The orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed the break said the bone would take six to eight weeks to heal, I would need to wear a “boot” for that entire period, and my lifestyle would need to drastically change. None of those options appealed to me. I knew he was wrong, but I politely refrained from telling him that – with God’s grace – I would get that bone healed much more rapidly. I was determined to wear heels with the little black dress I was wearing to my 30th high school reunion. That gave me 2.5 weeks to heal the broken bone and walk without a limp. I was on a mission!
How the Body Works to Heal Broken Bones
When a bone is broken, the body immediately sends a multitude of resources to repair the damage. Healing broken bones is a truly miraculous process. Within minutes, the body creates a cushion of blood between the pieces of the broken bone. The blood quickly begins coagulating to hold the bones in place. The body also causes the surrounding tissues to swell in an attempt to immobilize the bone and force the area to be used less. In the hours that follow, the coagulated blood allows new blood vessels to grow within the gelatinous “scab” that lies between the areas of broken bones. The new blood vessels carry specialized blood cells that create a network of collagen and which work to destroy and carry away the damaged bone. Eventually, this network crystallizes some of the collagen cells into bone crystals which are used to create new layers of bone. The process does take time, but is a truly miraculous combination of physiology and chemistry. Most experts agree that it takes six to eight weeks to completely heal a bone. Luckily, the outside of the bone heals first, which strengthens the bone so that the interior is not as vulnerable. When the outside of the bone is healed, the bone will appear solid on X-rays, but it may take longer for the interior of the bone to fully heal and repair itself. The area surrounding the break may swell for several months as the body continues sending resources to the area to heal it.
It is possible to support the body’s efforts to heal broken bones. Providing the extra nutrients that are needed to form the new tissues and bone cells can sometimes decrease the healing time. There are also lifestyle changes that support new bone growth, and eating styles that provide further support. Since most breaks also cause strains, sprains and damage to surrounding tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves, there are other ways to support the healing of those tissues.
My praise report is that a follow-up X-ray taken two weeks after I initially broke the bone showed the bone is healed. That doesn’t mean the internal structure of the bone is completely restored, but is truly miraculous. Even my osteopath was impressed! I still have pain from the ankle sprain that occurred with the break, but the area surrounding the break is no longer painful and it no longer hurts to walk. My left leg consistently swells up to my knee, but even that decreases a bit every day. I occasionally wear a wrap to keep the swelling to a minimum. I did wear heels to my reunion and did dance in them, but I confess I switched to flats after a few dances as a purely practical matter. Every woman there wished she could have done the same.
Following is a description of the things I did to support my body’s efforts to heal the broken bone more rapidly. Please note that the break I incurred was a “closed” fracture that did not require surgery or a cast, so the break required minimal medical intervention. Breaks requiring surgery and more in-depth medical intervention will obviously need more patience and have a longer period of healing.
Supplements Used to Heal Broken Bones
Following is a list of the supplements I took. These supplements may have drug interactions and are not recommended for some conditions, so please check with a health practitioner before using. Please let your doctor know you are taking them. Please also note I do not recommend taking this many supplements at once for extended periods of time. I had an acute situation requiring intervention, so I gave my body what it needed. Now that I know the bone is mostly healed, I have stopped taking most of these supplements.
- White Willow Bark: A natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory with few side effects. I only needed it a few days. NSAIDS are known to slow bone healing, so I was determined to avoid them. I am happy to say I didn’t need them. The White Willow Bark helped reduce pain during the first few days following the break.
- Whole Food Calcium Combination: Bones need calcium. I used a calcium that was derived from food and is very easily absorbed. The supplement I used contains multiple other ingredients known to improve bone strength and improve calcium absorption.
- Magnesium: To improve calcium absorption, provide mineral support to the tissues and relax the muscles in my ankle.
- Trace minerals: To provide the extra minerals my body needed to heal the bone.
- Selenium: For additional mineral support. Selenium is known to work synergistically with calcium to strengthen and build bones. It is also a powerful antioxidant, and I wanted to ensure my body had plenty of antioxidants to help repair my damaged cells.
- Liquid silica: An essential component of bone tissue. I debated between taking Collagen and Silica. I opted for the Silica because it benefits a broader range of tissues.
- Homeopathic Arnica: A powerful anti-inflammatory known to be very effective for reducing swelling and bruising. Arnica is one of my favorite supplements for soft tissue trauma. I used the 1M strength because it’s one of the strongest available.
- Homeopathic Symphytum Officinale: The homeopathic form of Comfrey. I continue taking this one to support the continued healing of the internal bone structure. I used the 1M strength.
- Proteolytic Enzymes: Powerful anti-inflammatories that support healing in every way possible. The enzymes are typically used to reduce pain and swelling, but the enzymes also support the body’s production of collagen, which is then used for bone healing.
- Comfrey Tea: Another name for Comfrey is “bone knit.” It is known to greatly speed bone healing. The FDA claims Comfrey should not be used internally, but they based that recommendation on flawed studies. Please note Comfrey can cause liver damage when incorrectly used. I took a carefully calculated dosage and do not recommend that others use it internally. I also made Comfrey compresses to use externally on the break, but confess that was such a bother and so messy I only did it a few times. Had my break been more severe, I would have used the compresses more frequently.
- Colloidal Silver: Known to speed healing of damaged tissues. Read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more info.
Lifestyle Changes to Heal Broken Bones
- Careful Exercise: The type of break I had allowed me to very carefully exercise in an adapted manner. Even severe breaks benefit from mild exercise or from gently moving the toes and fingers that extend from the cast. When I broke my ankle 25 years ago, I wiggled my toes several times a day in the beginning and rode an exercise bicycle after the bone had firmed. I was able to get out of my cast in four weeks instead of six. Exercise stimulates blood flow to the region and is known to speed healing. However … you must discuss exercise with your doctor and physical therapist before trying it. Excess exercise could be devastating to the healing process and could do more harm than good.
- Sleep: Having a broken bone is exhausting. The body will pull energy from every available system and use it to heal broken bones. Getting extra rest and plenty of sleep is imperative to helping the body heal itself.
- Ionic Foot Baths: Ionic foot baths are known to ionize calcium and other minerals in the blood stream, making it easier for the healing bone to absorb them. Ionic foot baths are also known to help the body eliminate toxins, which can also speed healing.
- Prayer: Studies have proven prayer speeds healing. The speed of healing I experienced could only have happened with divine intervention, so I felt prayer needed to be mentioned. Other techniques such as meditation and positive visualization can also help speed healing.
Dietary Approaches to Support Bone Healing
The best way to support the body during bone healing is to eat a diet high in natural minerals that can very easily be absorbed. During the healing process, I increased my intake of dark leafy greens and other veggies. I also increased my consumption of fermented veggies and water kefir so that my body had more probiotics and enzymes to use for healing. Beyond that, I continued eating a very clean diet void of chemical additives so that there were no toxins to slow the healing process.
Have you ever had a broken bone? What did you do to support its healing?
Gastroparesis is a condition that causes food to empty too slowly from the stomach. When digestion is normal, food remains in the stomach for approximately 2-3 hours before moving into the small intestine. (High fiber foods may remain much longer and take significantly longer to digest.) Gastroparesis delays the normal emptying of the stomach because the muscles in the stomach fail to correctly transport food into the small intestine.
Gastroparesis is a very uncomfortable condition. It can interfere with nutrient absorption and definitely affects quality of life. Unfortunately, Gastroparesis is becoming more common as the incidence of diabetes and degenerative neurological disease increases. In my practice, I have many clients who deal with Gastroparesis on a daily basis.
Causes of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis can happen when nerves associated with the stomach are damaged or don’t work as they should. The most common causes of Gastroparesis include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Auto-immune disorders
- Inflammatory conditions (such as pancreatitis) that interfere with the delivery of nerve messages to the stomach
- Anorexia and/or bulimia
- Heavy cigarette smoking
- Idiopathic (unknown)
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis may cause one or more of the following symptoms. These symptoms may occur continually but typically intensify in the hours following a meal:
- Feeling full after eating just a few bites of food
- Stomach pain, either vague or intense
- Belching and hiccuping
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
There is no known cure for Gastroparesis. The most commonly used approaches to address or diminish the symptoms may include:
- Eating much smaller meals more frequently
- Blending foods in a blender and switching to much softer foods
- Using ginger or other digestive aids
- Using homeopathic remedies known to diminish symptoms and improve digestion
- Using liquid meal replacements to boost nutrition
- Strictly limiting fiber consumption and avoiding certain foods known to cause problems
- In my practice, I usually recommend the use of supplements known to improve nerve function and slow nerve deterioration
Prescription medications may also be used to diminish the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Many of the most commonly used prescription medications lose effectiveness with continued use and/or have severe side effects.
If muscle and nerve deterioration continues and symptoms worsen, Gastroparesis may also be treated with a device called a Gastric Pacemaker. A Gastric Pacemaker uses electrical stimulation to reduce symptoms. Extreme cases of Gastroparesis are treated with a feeding tube.
Gastroparesis may affect quality of life in horrendous ways. Those who experience it may become weak and malnourished. Some come to dread eating due to the pain and discomfort it can cause. Depression is a very common side effect of Gastroparesis. Many people are able to rise above the symptoms by making lifestyle changes and committing to remaining positive.
Are you affected by Gastroparesis? What techniques do you use to improve your quality of life?
Photo courtesy of Peter Gerdes
I have received many requests to share a natural sunscreen recipe. I developed this recipe several years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself from sunburn without exposing myself to the harmful chemicals found in most OTC sunscreens. I have found it to be very effective. Please note you may need to apply it more frequently than other sunscreens.
This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear many frightening warnings about the “dangers of sun exposure.” These warnings make me cringe. The truth is that sun exposure is very beneficial to our health. Severe sunburn is not. Recent research found skin cancer is not caused by simple sun exposure but is caused by severe sunburn. In addition, several studies found the most common ingredients in OTC sunscreens actually CAUSE skin cancer. Even newer research discovered sun exposure (without sunscreen) increases the levels of nitric oxide in our system. Nitric oxide is known to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Please read Shining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure for more information about the necessity of sun exposure.
What’s the solution? Here are my tips for allowing sun exposure to improve health:
- Get 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day. After you have a good base tan, it’s fine to spend longer periods of time in the sun as long as you do not burn.
- Use a natural sunscreen. See links at the end of this article to a few pre-made versions I really like.
- Keep a close eye on how much sun you’ve gotten. If you think you’re in danger of burning, take time to put on more clothing or to apply a natural sunscreen.
My sunscreen recipe follows. This is easy to make and has ingredients which are easy to find. I included links to make it easier to find the ingredients. Each of the oils used has a natural SPF ranging from 6-30. I added zinc oxide powder to the recipe to provide added protection. This sunscreen is very effective, but may need to be applied more frequently. You can feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance if you like.
Good Works Wellness Natural Sunscreen Recipe
o 1/2 cup beeswax pastilles
o 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
o 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
o 3/4 cup combination of organic hempseed, macadamia nut or wheat germ oil(s)*
o 5 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
o Optional: 1/2 tablespoon essential oil
*You may use a single oil or a combination of oils to total 3/4 cup. Note you can make the natural sunscreen thinner by adding more liquid oil or thicker by adding less.
Gently melt the beeswax over a double boiler, then whisk in the other oils until all oils and butters are melted. Gradually stir in the zinc oxide powder and blend until well blended. Add essential oils after that if desired. This is best stored in a glass container.
Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens
If you don’t have time to make your own sunscreen, I recommend the following, some of which are water-resistant:
- Badger SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen (This one’s my favorite.)
- TruKids Children’s SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen
- Nature’s Gate SPF 50 Water-Resistant Natural Sunscreen
Photo Courtesy of Rhys Asplundh
I recently promised to share more case studies so you could gain a better grasp of what I do on a daily basis and the types of cases I handle. Please note I have permission to share this information, will never use the person’s real name and may change minor details of the case to protect the client’s identity.
This case study is about “Eleanor,” a woman in her 50’s who came to see me because she wanted to lose weight and was trying to reverse Type 2 Diabetes. She was on Metformin, a nasal inhaler, two different allergy medications, asthma medication, high blood pressure medicine, a statin drug, Levothyroxine and Nexium. During her initial consultation, she casually mentioned she had constant post nasal drip with a cough and had to clear her throat constantly. She said this had begun over 20 years ago and nothing had worked to eliminate it. She had grown so used to this she didn’t even consider it a problem. I thought it was a significant issue we needed to address. Eleanor also shared she was exhausted and was often too tired to participate in social activities she was invited to attend.
As I reviewed Eleanor’s medical history and eating habits, I noticed she ate a large amount of carbohydrates and had bread or crackers with every meal and snack. The fact she was eating so much wheat made me suspect she had developed an allergy to it. A further review of her physical symptoms and a check of her allergy point with the EDS unit confirmed this. “EDS” stands for “Electro Dermal Scan” unit. It is a unit I use to check nerve centers associated with body systems and health conditions. Eleanor’s allergy point scored extremely high, meaning there was a large probability she had one or more allergies. Using a piece of bread, I was able to identify that wheat was a likely culprit.
I made the following recommendations:
- I recommended that Eleanor eliminate wheat for three weeks. I encouraged her to keep a diary during those three weeks to record any changes she experienced physically, mentally or emotionally.
- I recommended a revised eating plan known to help reverse insulin resistance.
- I encouraged her to engage in some form of movement ten minutes each day.
- I recommended three supplements known to help insulin resistance, thyroid function and systemic inflammation
At Eleanor’s next visit, she burst into my office grinning from ear-to-ear. She was visibly more energetic, happier and her skin looked better. When I asked her to share what changes she had seen, she said her cough and need to clear her throat had completely disappeared. After 20 years, she was finally able to sit through a movie without embarrassment, sleep soundly and leave home without tissues. She went on to say her energy levels had improved and she had lost ten pounds. Not bad!
After six months, Eleanor had lost 30 pounds, was off the Metformin, the statin drug, all allergy medications, the inhaler, Nexium, the asthma medication, and her blood pressure medication. In addition, she was on a lower dose of her thyroid medication, Levothyroxine. She had gone from taking nine daily prescription medications to only taking one. She said she no longer turns down social invitations, got a raise at work because her productivity improved dramatically, and she was training to run a mini-marathon. She thanked me profusely, but she gets all the credit. She recognized she needed to make changes and she committed to making them. I am so proud of her!
Currently, I meet with Eleanor via telephone about once a year. She is truly a different woman from the one who first walked into my office. Stories of transformation and progress such as hers are why I do what I do. How can I help you? Please contact me if you would like to schedule a consultation.
Colloidal Silver has been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with Colloidal Silver, please read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more information about the myths surrounding Colloidal Silver. This article shares the most common uses for Colloidal Silver. There are many other uses, but the most common ones are described here with information on the safest way to use colloidal silver for each application.
Please note all information shared in this article is shared for educational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Please discuss any changes in your lifestyle or health regimen with your physician. Never take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.
The most common uses for colloidal silver include:
if you have any doubts about the purity of water, colloidal silver can be used to purify it and remove bacteria. Use at a ration of one tablespoon colloidal silver to one gallon of water. If you are trying to purify water from an outdoor source, filter the water first. Proof of its effectiveness is that NASA used a silver purification system on the space shuttles and many airlines use silver filtration combined with hydrogen peroxide to purify the water on their planes.
Soak your tooth brushes between uses to ensure they are free from bacteria, viruses and fungus. I have a dental partial which I also soak in colloidal silver a few times a week. As an added benefit, add a bit of colloidal silver to your oral irrigator to help control oral bacterial. I make my own toothpaste and mouthwash and always add colloidal silver.
Nasal Irrigation and Sprays
Colloidal silver can be used in a neti pot as a nasal wash. Many people have reported success in reversing colds and sinus infections using colloidal silver, but please do not substitute colloidal silver for an antibiotic if your doctor has identified a severe sinus infection. Colloidal silver can also be used as a nasal spray to help diminish symptoms of allergies.
Colloidal silver is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. For that reason, it makes an effective household cleaner. Keep a spray bottle filled with it and use as a topical disinfectant on counter tops, as an anti-fungal spray in the bathroom, or as a means of preventing bacterial growth on kitchen sponges and dishrags. It is also a very effective cleaner for trash cans and diaper pails. If you make your own household cleaners, adding a few ounces of colloidal silver can boost their effectiveness.
In my household, we have always used colloidal silver at the first sign of an eye infection or conjunctivitis. I place 3-5 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in the affected eye every two hours until the issue clears. However, I watch the condition of the eye closely and immediately seek medical attention if the condition does not improve within two to three hours. Please do not substitute colloidal silver for a physician’s care. Any issue affecting the eyes should be immediately addressed by a medical professional.
Colloidal silver is popularly used for mild abrasions, burns, fungal infections and even acne and eczema. One advantage of colloidal silver is that it does not harm skin cells as many topical antiseptics do. (Please never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound or sore. It kills new cell growth and may slow healing.) Many people find that spraying colloidal silver onto minor burns and abrasions speeds healing and helps prevent infection. (The key word there is “minor.” Serious wounds and burns require medical attention.)
I purposely left this topic for last. Most of the controversy surrounding colloidal silver revolves around its use internally. Every person has his or her own opinion about whether or not colloidal silver is “safe” to use internally. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people use it internally on a daily basis. These people experience health benefits with no negative consequences from the colloidal silver. If you’re comfortable using colloidal silver internally, then do so in a controlled manner and do plenty of research. If you are not comfortable using it, never let anyone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Each person must decide what is right for him or her. I believe colloidal silver can be very effective and used without danger if:
- A true colloidal silver is used. Be sure your colloidal silver is a colloid and not a protein synthesis. Most of the products sold over the counter are ionic, not colloidal. Ionic silver solutions are clear; colloidal silver solutions are brown or rust colored, not clear. Ionic solutions are safe to use, but are not as strong as a true colloid. Beware of any product that foams when shaken and has bubbles that remain for several minutes, as that product is most likely a protein synthesis which may be dangerous.
- A realistic, safe dosage is used. Dr. Mercola recommends the following formula to determine the appropriate amount of colloidal silver to take on a daily basis:
12 times body weight divided by the colloidal silver strength (ppm) = drops that can be safely ingested on a daily basis
If someone weighs 150 pounds and is using a colloidal silver at a strength of 10 ppm, the equation becomes:
150 lbs x 12 = 1800 / 10 ppm = 180 drops per day. (One tablespoon is approximately 180 drops.)Having shared that,
I can also share that many people take much higher doses during an illness. Please contact a trained professional for guidance on what dosage is correct for your personal needs.
- Colloidal silver should never be used by anyone who has an allergy to silver jewelry.
- Use caution when reading about people who claim colloidal silver miraculously cured them of incurable diseases. I’m not saying their claims are not true, but each person’s situation is very different. Use caution and do extensive research.
I use colloidal silver on a daily basis. Since starting to use it daily, I have experienced fewer bladder infections, lower yeast levels, improved digestion and slightly lower blood glucose levels. My experience was very positive, but each person must monitor his or her health and make changes as needed.
We make our own colloidal silver using this generator: LifeForce Compact X-2 Colloidal Silver Generator. Please note it is imperative to use distilled water and extremely pure silver if making your own colloidal silver. We also use a TDS Meter to measure the potency of our colloidal silver so we know exactly what we’re using.
If you don’t want to make your own colloidal silver, I highly recommend Sovereign Silver colloidal silver. It is sold in most health food stores and is highly reliable.
What do you think? Do you use colloidal silver? If so, what do you use it for and how do you use it?
Few products have evoked as much controversy as Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver has been vilified ever since the “Blue Man” appeared on national news shows and blamed Colloidal Silver for his blue skin. (Please note that argyria, or “Blue Man Syndrome,” can only occur in the presence of extreme negligence and ingestion of Colloidal Silver made using impure silver or protein synthesis.) This is the first article in a series of posts about Colloidal Silver.
Many myths exist about what Colloidal Silver is, how it works and how it can be used. My goal in this post is to address those topics and bust a few myths.
What is Colloidal Silver?
Colloidal Silver is a blend of microscopic and submicroscopic silver particles suspended in water. Silver is known to be antifungal and antibacterial. It is also known to kill and prevent the growth of algae. When colloidal silver is placed in a petri dish containing bacterial, fungal or viral cells, the cells die very quickly – often more quickly than they die in the presence of prescription antibiotics or antifungals. Silver has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is currently used in topical medical treatments, eye drops, bone prostheses, catheters and cardiac devices. Silver is also a prime ingredient in several prescription oral medications.
What many people do not realize is that silver is an essential electrolyte, or trace mineral, in the body. The cells in our bodies require silver for optimal health. The same is true of gold and other minerals/metals we don’t typically associate with internal use.
How is Colloidal Silver Made?
Colloidal Silver is made by passing an electrical charge through pure silver suspended in distilled water. As the charge passes through the silver, it causes submicroscopic silver particles to separate from the metal and move into the water. The resulting suspension is Colloidal Silver. The word “colloidal” means “suspended.” In other words, the silver particles are suspended in the water, not dissolved in it. The particles are suspended, yet are so small they cannot be filtered out. The particles can easily be seen and measured with a microscope or with a special measurement tool. It is interesting to note the particles of silver are so small they do not register on X-rays. The small size of the particles is part of the reason cells receive and respond to Colloidal Silver so readily.
Reputable Colloidal Silver is made and sold by a variety of companies in the US. I will share more about how to spot a good product and how people make their own in future posts.
What is the History of Colloidal Silver?
As I stated previously, many ancient cultures used silver as a method of purifying and protecting goods. Many civilizations stored water and other liquids in silver containers as a means of controlling bacterial and fungal growth and retarding spoilage. Multiple accounts exist of silver being used as a protective measure against bacteria and germs in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and other regions. Even early settlers in the US used to put silver dollars in their milk jugs to protect the milk from bacterial growth and spoilage. Colloidal Silver was commonly used in hospitals and by doctors until the advent of profitable antibiotics in the 1940s. Silver was commonly and successfully used in bandages, salves and stitches during World War I. In addition to being a strong antimicrobial agent, Colloidal Silver is also known to stimulate skin cells to heal more rapidly, making it perfect for application on wounds.
Silver is still a major component of many prescription wound creams, special dressings used on burns and other serious wounds, and in other prescription products. The primary reason Colloidal Silver ceased to be used in hospitals is because it was more difficult to manufacture than pharmaceutical antibiotics, not because it was less effective.
What’s the Best Form of Colloidal Silver?
There are three basic types of silver solutions sold today. Each of these types may be labeled “colloidal,” but only one is truly a colloid:
- Ionic: Ionic silver solutions are clear and are far weaker than a true colloidal silver. Ionic silver solutions contain individual atoms (ions) of silver instead of complete particles of microscopic silver. The clear color is a dead give-away that this form is not a true colloid. You can also test to see if a solution is truly a colloid by adding around half a teaspoon of table salt to 2-4 tablespoons of the colloidal silver in question. If the salt forms a “cloud” as it dissolves, it means the solution is ionic and is not truly colloidal silver. Benefits can be gained from using an ionic solution, but the effects are much weaker.
- Protein Synthesized: Protein synthesis silver solutions are typically made by blending a silver powder with water. A protein binder is used because the silver particles are too large to remain in solution without a binder of some sort. Protein silver solutions have the largest silver particles yet lowest surface area of silver particles, which makes this solution the least bioavailable or able to be absorbed. These products are known to be very dangerous and are known to cause Argyria, or Blue Man Syndrome. You can spot protein synthesized silver products because they foam heavily when shaken and the foam remains for quite a while. These products also typically have extremely high strengths, some as high as 20,000 parts per million (ppm). Please do not buy or use any product you suspect of being a protein synthesis.
- Colloidal: True colloidal silver is produced using an electrolysis process that removes sub-microscopic particles from a pure silver wire and places them in solution. The silver particles are so tiny that nothing is required to keep them in solution. A true colloidal silver will NEVER be clear, but will have a brownish color. This color results because the silver particles in solution prevent light from passing through the solution, thereby causing a darker color. A true colloidal silver will also NEVER cause Argyria (Blue Man Syndrome) because the silver particles are so small they are very easily absorbed and metabolized and do not lodge in cells. Reputable Colloidal Silver solutions indicate how many parts per million (PPM) of silver are in the solution. True Colloidal Silver comes in strengths ranging from 10 PPM to 100 PPM. (Some come in higher strengths, but I rarely find such strengths to be necessary.)
In future articles, I will share information about how colloidal silver is typically used, what the appropriate dosages are, and which prescription medications may react with colloidal silver.
Have you used colloidal silver? What did you think?
Dai, T.; Huang, Y. Y.; Sharma, S. K.; Hashmi, J. T.; Kurup, D. B.; Hamblin, M. R. (2010). “Topical antimicrobials for burn wound infections”. Recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery 5 (2): 124–151.doi:10.2174/157489110791233522. PMC 2935806.PMID 20429870.
Searle, A.B. (1920). “Chapter VIII: Germicides and Disinfectants”. The Use of Colloids in Health and Disease. Gerstein – University of Toronto : Toronto Collection: London Constable & Co.
Purest Colloids Website: http://www.purestcolloids.com/history-silver.php
New Guidelines for the Safe Usage of Colloidal Silver, Dr. Joseph Mercola
Lansdown AB (2006). “Silver in health care: antimicrobial effects and safety in use”. Current Problems in Dermatology. Current Problems in Dermatology 33: 17–34.doi:10.1159/000093928. ISBN 3-8055-8121-1.PMID 16766878
Frequency Rising website
A famous actress, mother and philanthropist’s recent announcement that she had a double mastectomy as a preventive measure against breast cancer has everyone wondering what her true risks were and whether her decision was warranted or extreme. Please let me say I very much respect her decision and her desire to protect herself out of love for her children. Any decision related to cancer and other health matters is highly personal. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions. I applaud her for taking control of her health and making the decision which was right for her. I also strongly encourage other women to do thorough research before making a similar decision.
Her decision was reportedly based on her family history of breast cancer (her mother died at age 57 after battling the disease for a decade) and the fact she was tested for and told she has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
What are BRCA1 and 2 Gene Mutations?
In their normal state, the BRCA1 and 2 genes help stop abnormal cell growth. They provide a natural form of protection against breast cancer. When these genes are mutated – typically by environmental toxins and other lifestyle factors, not solely heredity – they stop providing the protection they were designed to. If left unchecked, this may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. If is important to note that only 2% of breast cancers result from a BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation, and that less than 0.25% of the population has such mutations. While researching this article, I spoke with and read quotes from multiple MDs and surgeons who are frustrated that many women are getting elective double mastectomies who do not have the BRCA1 or 2 gene defect.
Why Preventive Mastectomies Often Fail
Unfortunately, the following factors may make the decision to have a preventive mastectomy an extreme measure offering little or no protection:
- Only 2% of breast cancers involve BRCA1 or 2 genes; and approximately only 0.25% of the general population has the mutation.
- Women who had preventive mastectomies often get breast cancer in spite of having little or no breast tissue. Tumors form where breast tissue was previously.
- Women who have preventive mastectomies often believe they are “safe” and therefore fail to make simple lifestyle changes that greatly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
- Genes are activated and inactivated by environmental and lifestyle factors. Having the gene may statistically increase the likelihood of cancer developing, but it is not guaranteed and the likelihood can be diminished.
- One study found the risk primarily increased when women with a BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation had their breasts exposed to radiation – such as that from a mammogram. This is significant because women with known BRCA1 or 2 gene mutations are often advised to get a mammogram every three to six months. Although this recommendation is intended to help, the excess exposure to radiation can be very harmful.
- An article published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported the link between the BRCA genes and breast cancer was grossly overstated. The study found that preventive surgery, at best, may only add 3-6 years of life. This low gain in life expectancy exists because preventive surgery does not provide 100% protection from breast cancer, offers no protection from other cancers, and provides no protection against other causes of death.
What Are Other Options?
The cancer industry in the US treats cancer as an “inevitable” disease that cannot be prevented instead of encouraging people to live in a way that reduces the likelihood of cancer developing. The following tips for preventing and reducing the likelihood of developing breast cancer are based on scientific data and research:
- Have thermograms done to check for breast abnormalities and tumors instead of mammograms. Thermograms are an alternative form of scan with significantly lower risks and radiation exposure. Thermograms are also known to provide higher levels of detection.
- Eat your veggies. Several studies proved cruciferous vegetables contain a phytochemical which actually turns off mutated BRCA genes. This study found as little as one serving per day of cruciferous vegetables greatly reduced cancer risks. Indole-3-Carbinol (IC3) in broccoli has also been shown to reduce the activity of the BRCA genes.
- Get out in the sun. Multiple studies have identified a connection between breast cancer and low Vitamin D levels. A study done in 2009 determined 30% of breast cancers could be prevented if men and women would maintain adequate Vitamin D levels. (On a side note, a more recent study which concluded Vitamin D was of no benefit cannot be trusted because the study used a flawed protocol. The study did not use a high enough dosage of Vitamin D to make any difference in health outcomes.) One cancer study estimated that as many as 600,000 cases of breast cancer each year could be prevented if adequate Vitamin D levels were maintained. Vitamin D plays a powerful role in genetic expression and is also known to cause the death of cancer cells. Its value in treating and preventing breast cancer should not be underestimated. (It has been proven beneficial in preventing over 16 different cancers. Are your levels adequate?)
- Maintain normal weight and insulin levels. It is commonly recognized that obesity and insulin resistance (resulting in excess amounts of insulin in the bloodstream) are connected to breast cancer. Eating a diet low in high-glycemic carbohydrates can help with weight maintenance and may help improve insulin resistance. Regular exercise is also known to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.
- The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that about 40% of breast cancer cases in the US – or approximately 70,000 cases per year – could be prevented using simple lifestyle changes such as making better food choices, exercising more, and choosing a diet high in natural foods. Some experts think these numbers are actually a low estimate and that significantly more cases of breast cancer could be prevented by improved lifestyle habits.
- Consume adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and limit intake of Omega-6 fatty acids. Multiple studies have shown a connection between Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies and breast cancer. These studies also found higher rates of breast cancer among women who had excess levels of Omega-6 fatty acids compared to their Omega-3 levels. Good food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include wild salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, sardines, olive oil, hemp seeds and eggs. Taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement is also a valid option. I prefer Krill Oil due to its purity and because its fatty acid content provides other benefits.
As I stated previously, decisions related to health are very personal. I encourage you to do extensive research before making extreme choices.
BRCA Genes In Breast Cancer Chemoprevention, Eliot Rosen, National Institutes of Health
High Penetrance Breast and/or Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Genes, National Cancer Institute, 3/4/2013
BRCA1 and BRCA2 as molecular targets for phytochemicals, British Journal of Cancer
Research Interests, Donaldo Romangolo, Bio 5 Institute, University of Arizona
Comparison of Effect Sizes Associated With Biomarkers Reported in Highly Cited Individual Articles and in Subsequent Meta-analyses, John P. A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc; Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011;305(21):2200-2210. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.713
Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective; Garland, C.F., et al. 2009
Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis; Garland, C.F., et al. 2007
Estrogen and Insulin Crosstalk: Breast Cancer Risk Implications. The Nurse Practitioner. 2003
Opposing effects of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on mammary carcinogenesis: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2003
Regulation of tumor angiogenesis by dietary fatty acids and eicosanoids. Division of Nutrition and Endrocrinology, American Health Foundation. 2000
Graphics: All graphics in this post courtesy of Tips Times
Few topics inspire as much confusion as the difference between lactose intolerance and dairy allergy. The two issues can both cause digestive distress, but each has a very different cause.
Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks sufficient lactase, the enzyme required to digest the sugars in dairy. The enzyme is lactase, dairy sugar is lactose. The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be as mild as a bit of gas or bloating, or may be extreme enough to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Each person will lactose intolerance will respond very differently. The symptoms result because the enzyme lactase is needed to break milk sugar (lactose) down into simpler sugars which can be absorbed and metabolized. If the lactose is not broken down, the body cannot absorb it and will experience digestive distress. Some people with lactose intolerance may also experience fatigue due to the strain caused when dairy is ingested. The amount of dairy required to cause a reaction in someone who is lactose intolerant varies from person to person. Some people must consume large amounts of dairy, while others can safely consume small amounts before experiencing symptoms.
Lactose intolerance may occur in infancy, but more commonly develops later in life. Lactose intolerance can be inherited and may run in families. It can also develop as a secondary challenge resulting from digestive disorders that damage the colon, such as Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, etc. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed through a Hydrogen Breath Test in adults or via a Stool Acidity Test in children.
Most people can counteract the effects of lactose intolerance by limiting dairy consumption or by taking a digestive enzyme containing high amounts of lactase when they eat dairy. My favorites include:
Dairy (Casein or Whey) Allergy
Dairy allergies are an autoimmune reaction to one or more proteins found in dairy. Casein is the most common dairy protein that causes a dairy allergy. (A dairy allergy may also be the result of an autoimmune reaction to other chemicals in dairy, but casein and whey are the most common.) Reactions to a dairy allergy may be very mild or may be life-threatening, and can affect every body system. There are over 200 symptoms that may be caused by a dairy allergy. The symptoms may include severe or mild digestive distress, skin reactions, respiratory distress, cognitive and emotional issues, and many more.
The reactions occur when the body comes to regard chemicals in milk as “foreign invaders” that must be attacked and neutralized. To neutralize the invader, the body releases antibodies. These antibodies get carried throughout the body via the bloodstream and can therefore cause reactions in any part of the body. Dairy allergies are typically the result of one or more autoimmune genes getting turned “on.”
Dairy allergies can occur at any stage of life. Babies are sometimes born with a dairy allergy. Other people develop a dairy allergy much later in life. Dairy allergies often appear to develop very suddenly. Causes of dairy allergies have been linked to Candida overgrowth (click link to learn more), feeds containing genetically modified produce fed to dairy cows, genetics, environmental toxins, and many unknown causes. Sadly, the incidence of dairy allergies is rising at a rate that is much higher than population growth.
Dairy allergies require the affected person to completely avoid all foods containing dairy. This can be difficult because many processed foods contain ingredients that can set off a reaction but whose ingredient list does not contain words associated with dairy. Some people can reverse their dairy allergy by strictly avoiding dairy for six to twelve months, but others cannot. Some children outgrow a dairy allergy, while others do not. Because most allergies result when a gene is turned “on,” it can be very difficult to reverse milk allergies. Reducing or reversing a dairy allergy must include steps to also heal the digestive tract. Extreme measures are typically required to reverse the allergy, but it is possible for some people to eventually eat small amounts of dairy very occasionally without a negative reaction.
I personally had a dairy allergy so severe that I vomited multiple times per day and was extremely ill for many months. Before recognizing my allergy, I lost over 30 pounds, was extremely weak, had hair loss, was extremely grumpy and irritable, had severe acne, and had explosive diarrhea that made leaving the house difficult. To put it mildly, I was miserable. My dairy allergy was identified by a test called the ELISA Allergy Test. This is the test I recommend to my clients who have symptoms indicating a food allergy. (I’m now able to very occasionally eat small amounts of dairy without visible symptoms, although I know my digestive system remains healthiest if I refrain.)
Food allergies can be identified through blood tests, elimination diets, or muscle response testing. I do not recommend using “skin prick” testing for food allergies, as that form of testing is very inaccurate and often incorrect. Blood testing is also often inaccurate unless dairy is consumed within 72 hours of the blood draw, but there are tests which can identify the presence of dairy antibodies without recent dairy consumption.
One of the most popular ways of reversing dairy allergies is by following a diet called the GAPS diet. “GAPS” stands for “Gut and Psychology Syndrome or “Gut and Physiology Syndrome.” Click the link the view copies of the book that describes the protocol to be followed.
If you have digestive issues, constant congestion or cough, chronic fatigue, eczema or other symptoms you have been unable to remedy, you may have a food allergy or sensitivity. I have helped many people with food allergies and would love to help. Please contact me via email or by calling 317.489.0909 to schedule a consultation.
Have you dealt with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy? How did you figure it out? What tips can you share about coping on a daily basis?
I’ve never been much of a “follower,” but it appears the expected thing to do at the start of a new year is to create a top 10 list. This is mine. Following are the articles I wrote in 2012 which received the highest number of views and which focus on topics which are frequently searched for. Some of the articles that made the list surprised me. Based on the titles included in the top ten, it is obvious everyone loves lists.
As always, if there is a topic you would like me to cover, please let me know! I am here to serve you.
Top Articles of 2012
- Green Coffee Bean Extract and Raspberry Ketones: Truth or Hype?
Shares important information about whether or not these popular supplements actually work. Also shares important warnings on side effects and potential negative consequences of using them.
- Signs of Zinc Deficiency and Ways to Increase Zinc Levels
Discusses ways to spot a zinc deficiency and the best ways to boost your zinc levels. The statement, “You need zinc to think,” is very true!
- Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients
Provides details on simple ingredients you can add to a bath to create a pampering detoxification experience and boost health.
- Top Seven Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight
An inability to lose weight is not always due to lifestyle issues. This article discusses physiological imbalances that can make weight loss impossible.
- Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products
What are you putting on your skin? Read this to learn which skin care ingredients can have negative effects.
- Top 10 Ways to Shorten the Duration of a Cold
A helpful article that shares simple steps to take to make any cold or flu less severe.
- Important Facts About Chia Seeds
Chia seeds rarely get the respect they deserve. This article shares important information that may make you appreciate them much more.
- Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion
Many health practitioners consider digestion the most important determinant of health. Read this article to learn helpful ways to improve digestion and absorption.
- Best Tests for Sources of Vitamin B12
B12 deficiencies are very common. This article discusses ways to spot a B12 deficiency, which forms of B12 are most effective at reducing deficiencies, and which tests are the most accurate.
- Dark Circles Under the Eyes: Causes and Solutions
Dark circles under the eyes are not merely a cosmetic issue, but have a physiological cause. This article provides helpful information on recognizing why you have dark circles and steps you can take to diminish them.
I want to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous night of celebration and a very Happy New Year. Please celebrate with caution and be careful! This post is dedicated to ways to avoid hangovers.
- Alcohol causes dehydration, which leads to inflammation and feeling generally horrible.
- Alcohol contains two highly toxic compounds: acetaldehyde and malondialdehyde. These two chemicals create massive cell damage throughout the body. The damage caused by these chemicals is so severe it resembles the damage caused by radiation. There’s a good reason you feel so bad!
- Alcohol lowers blood sugar and can cause hypoglycemia. Typical symptoms of hypoglycemia include weakness, dizziness, nausea, and more. Sound familiar? If you ever notice someone acting far drunker than their consumption warrants, chances are they have a low blood sugar. Get them something to eat!
If needed, use the following ten tips for avoiding hangovers:
1) Don’t drink. (This is the only certain way to avoid hangovers. You know it.) Please don’t waste your money on products claiming to be a hangover “cure.” There is no such thing. The only way to avoid hangovers is to not drink, or to drink very small amounts of alcohol.
2) Alternate every alcoholic drink with a big glass of water or other beverage. Dehydration is one cause of hangovers, so drinking a non-alcoholic beverage between each alcoholic beverage will help limit your intake and will help keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is key to avoiding hangovers.
3) Add trace minerals to every drink. In addition to replacing essential electrolytes, trace minerals help counteract alcohol’s acidic effects. My favorite trace mineral is I like this one: Premier Polar Mins, but drinking coconut water is also an excellent way to replace trace minerals. It makes a good mixer, so it’s a win-win.
4) Don’t mix different types of alcohol. Stick to one type. Mixing beer and wine and distilled liquors puts a heavy load on your body’s ability to metabolize both the alcohol and the other ingredients in the drinks. There’s no guarantee that only drinking one kind of alcohol will avoid a hangover, but it may diminish the symptoms.
5) Drink lighter colored forms of alcohol. Darker alcohols (bourbon, dark rum, etc.) contain higher amounts of congeners, the toxins in alcohol which cause hangovers. Cheap booze also has higher amounts of congeners, so splurging on name brands which are more expensive may reduce hangover symptoms.
6) Avoid bubbly mixers. The gases in bubbly mixers can cause alcohol to enter the bloodstream more rapidly and may make it more difficult for the body to eliminate the toxins in the alcohol. Instead of carbonated mixers, use coconut water (loaded with electrolytes), fruit juice, water, etc.
7) Eat before you start drinking. Eating slows the absorption of alcohol and helps your body eliminate alcohol’s toxins. Eating a meal high in healthy fats is known to reduce hangover symptoms.
8) Order drinks on the rocks. The ice will melt and dilute the alcohol and will help keep you hydrated.
9) Ask for a larger glass. Ask your server to put your drink in a 16-ounce glass and fill the empty space with water.
10) Use supplements. Yes, supplements can reduce the effects of a hangover. Many hard core alcoholics know that taking Lecithin and Milk Thistle before, during and after drinking can help reduce hangover symptoms. The added bonus is that these also help repair the liver, so there is some value in using them.
Alcohol depletes the body of B Vitamins, Magnesium, Potassium and other essential nutrients, so taking a multi-vitamin before you drink and a B Complex vitamin can help. Taking potent antioxidants can also help prevent the damage done by alcohol’s damaging chemicals. Taking all of the previously mentioned supplements as soon as you wake up may also help.
A study at the University of Michigan found people with diabetes have a 35% higher chance of having Glaucoma than people who do not. The study went on to say the reason for the higher rates of glaucoma in diabetics is “unknown.” My purpose for writing this article is to explain the nutritional reasons that diabetes and glaucoma often go hand in hand.
Before going further, let me state this very clearly: The purpose of this article is to provide education. Both diabetes and glaucoma are serious conditions requiring medical intervention. All eye conditions must be diagnosed and treated by an ophthalmologist. It is imperative that everyone with diabetes have an eye exam including a retinal exam and a glaucoma screening once yearly at a minimum. Never change your medication dosage without consulting your MD and/or ophthalmologist. If you wish to reduce the amount of glaucoma medication you take, consult with your ophthalmologist. Ask him or her to check your ocular pressure every three months, adjusting your dosage as needed. Failure to work with your ophthalmologist could result in blindness. Please do not take matters into your own hands. None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any health condition.
I was diagnosed with glaucoma in April of 2000. I reversed my glaucoma in less than six months using simple lifestyle changes and it has never returned. (I know it has not returned because I continue receiving ophthalmologic care on a yearly basis.) As someone who has had diabetes for over 45 years, I have dedicated my life to researching the biochemical effects of diabetes and to helping those who have it avoid complications. My research led me to draw distinct conclusions about why diabetics are more likely to have glaucoma.
In the simplest terms, glaucoma is an increase in the internal pressure of the eye. (This is known as the “intraocular pressure.”) In the most common form of Glaucoma, Open Angle Glaucoma, the increase in intraocular pressure often occurs because the eye’s drainage system, the trabecular meshwork, fails to drain excess fluid from the eye. This creates increased pressure within the eye. Left untreated, the increased pressure harms the ocular nerve, causing loss of peripheral vision in the early stages and blindness as the disease advances. Glaucoma typically has no symptoms. Those who have it rarely notice its effects until it progresses to the point it harms vision.
Why do diabetics have such high rates of glaucoma? Some suspect it’s due to peripheral nerve and vessel damage caused by high glucose levels. This may be true, but if we dig into the chemistry of diabetes – and insulin – a much simpler cause comes to light. Glucose has a very similar molecular structure to Vitamin C. When cells become resistant to and stop absorbing insulin, they therefore also may stop absorbing vitamin C. (Insulin resistance occurs in Type 2 Diabetes due to excess insulin produced by the body; and in Type 1 Diabetes due to the need to inject high amounts of insulin.) What is one of the first effects of a Vitamin C deficiency? Increased interocular pressure. (For more information on insulin, read: Surprising Facts About Insulin.)
Other deficiencies known to contribute to increased intraocular pressure include deficiencies in vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, iron and others. All of these deficiencies are very common in people with diabetes. The fact that nutritional deficiencies contribute to or may cause glaucoma cannot be denied. Scientists in Russia have known this for years and very successfully treat glaucoma using a much different protocol than what is used in the US. Quite frankly, the US is one of few countries where glaucoma is treated purely with prescription medications. Other countries combine prescription medications with nutritional support.
Multiple studies showed taking oral Vitamin C reduces interocular pressure by as much as 30% within half an hour. In spite of this being a known fact, very few ophthalmologists tell their patients to take a Vitamin C supplement. For many patients, taking 500 – 2000 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis reduces their interocular pressure to the point they no longer need prescription medication. One study found Vitamin C was very effective at reducing eye pressure even for patients who did not respond to prescription medication.
So can we reduce ocular pressure simply by taking Vitamin C? In part, yes; however, additional change must occur to allow the body’s cells to adequately absorb the Vitamin C. A key factor to allowing the body’s cells to absorb Vitamin C is to reduce the amount of insulin needed (or being produced by the body) and to improve the cells’ insulin sensitivity. This is typically accomplished by eating a low-carbohydrate diet, eating high amounts of antioxidant-rich foods on a daily basis, and other lifestyle changes.
I recommend taking oral vitamin C throughout the process of improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin levels. Some people use vitamin C eye drops to bypass the digestive tract and get the vitamin C directly to the eye tissues, while others use intravenous vitamin C to deliver it directly to the blood stream. Although all three delivery methods are known to be effective, taking vitamin C orally is certainly the most convenient.
Vitamin C is known to benefit diabetics in a variety of ways. In addition to aiding glaucoma, the antioxidant effects of vitamin C are known to help prevent cataracts by preventing the formation of compounds that can lodge in the lens of the eye. Vitamin C is also known to be beneficial for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic complications. Vitamin C has also been shown to be effective at helping reduce high blood pressure when used in conjunction with other lifestyle changes. The use of vitamin C for both diabetes and glaucoma is beneficial in most cases.
For me personally, the combination of high doses of oral Vitamin C, a strict low-carbohydrate eating style, and high intake of antioxidants quickly restored my intraocular pressure to normal. Since then, I continue eating limited amounts of carbs and still eat high amounts of vegetables, but reducing the amount of insulin I take on a daily basis seems to have been the key to permanently reducing my intraocular pressure. Reducing the amount of insulin I need on a daily basis allowed my cells to absorb Vitamin C and naturally decreased systemic inflammation. One of the greatest joys of my life is knowing I was able, by God’s grace, to permanently eliminate my need for glaucoma medication.
I’ve had diabetes for over 46 years. I’ve lived on both sides of the “medical fence” and have devoted my life to helping other diabetics and anyone dealing with metabolic disorders. I have helped 100’s of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics improve their glucose control, reverse their need for medication, lose weight and more. I have higher success rates than other practitioners because I live this on a daily basis. I know I can help you. Please contact me to schedule a consultation.
Virno M, Bucci M: Oral treatment of Glaucoma with Vitamin C, The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Monthly, Vol. 46, 1502-1508, Dec. 1967
Liu KM, Swann D, Lee P, Lam KW . Inhibition of oxidative degradation of hyaluronic acid by uric acid. Curr Eye Res 1984;3:1049-1053
Schachtschabel DO, Binninber E. Stimulatory effects of ascorbic acid in hyaluronic acid synthesis of in vitro cultured normal and glaucomatous trabecular meshwork cells of the human eye. Z Gerontol 1993;26:243-246
Insulin is an important hormone for everyone, whether they have diabetes or not. It performs many functions in the body that most people are completely unaware of. The purpose of this article is to show you how important insulin is and why you may need to start paying more attention to it. Unfortunately, we live in a society where many people’s cells have stopped absorbing the insulin their body produces. This insulin resistance creates a domino effect of negative consequences, even though many people never have elevated blood sugars. All of us have insulin resistance to some degree. The resistance is partially caused by aging, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. However, it is very simple to regulate insulin production and insulin sensitivity. (The picture you see is a cross section of the beta cells of the pancreas that create insulin.)
Let’s get started! The following facts about insulin may surprise you.
Insulin is found in almost every life form, including single-celled creatures
Any chemical that is found in every life form on earth must be vitally important. For most single-celled organisms, insulin’s role is to control and advance aging. The older the life form becomes, the more insulin it produces. Insulin is therefore vitally connected to the aging process. When people become insulin resistant, causing their body to produce excess insulin, their cells age and deteriorate much more rapidly. Controlling insulin production and resistance is vital to slowing the aging process.
Insulin allows the body’s cells to store and create energy
We’ve all been convinced that insulin’s role is to lower blood glucose levels. Truth is, that is not insulin’s job. Insulin’s primary role in the body is to create energy. Plain and simple. The insulin your body creates should allow your cells to create energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, it means those cells can no longer create energy. Fatigue and exhaustion follow. This is why many people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are often so tired.
Insulin signals the body to store fat
Insulin is a fat storage hormone, especially when it is not absorbed by the body’s cells. Excess insulin in the blood stream tells the body to start storing as much fat as possible. This is why people with insulin resistance and diabetes often find it impossible to lose weight. It is also why people with those challenges often have extremely elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s just that simple.
High cholesterol has a stronger connection to insulin than it does to fat consumption. I recently worked with a lady who came to me with a cholesterol reading of over 300 and a triglyceride level of over 1500. What did I do? I recommended an eating plan that was very low in carbohydrates and very high in healthy fats. (Yes. You read that right. I gave her body what it needed. A low fat diet does not help weight loss, nor does it improve coronary health.) She lost forty pounds in three months and had normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels within six weeks. Focusing on insulin instead of her blood lipids made the difference.
Insulin delivers magnesium
One of the most important jobs insulin fulfills is to carry magnesium into the cells. Experts currently estimate that seventy percent of the US population is magnesium deficient. There is a large probability this deficiency is not solely due to bad eating habits, but is also linked to insulin resistance. For information on the negative effects of magnesium deficiency, please read Why You Need More Magnesium.
One of magnesium’s jobs is to relax the blood vessels. A primary result of a low magnesium level is that blood vessels constrict and blood pressure rises. Over 80% of people with diabetes or insulin resistance also have high blood pressure. The connection is purely related to insulin. Unfortunately, the cells in blood vessels never become resistant to insulin. These cells continue absorbing all the insulin that is present. The excess insulin in the walls of the blood vessels makes them hard and predisposes them to being covered with plaque. Both of these factors create elevated blood pressure. Left untreated, these factors create serious heart disease. Few people speak about regulating insulin levels as a means of preventing and reversing coronary disease, but it is one of the simplest ways to improve heart health.
Insulin triggers hormones that create a feeling of fullness
Insulin is a hormone that tells the body when it’s time to stop eating. This makes perfect sense. As we eat a meal, our body releases insulin to turn that food into energy. As those insulin levels rise, it should trigger a feeling of fullness once a sufficient amount of food has been eaten. When the body stops absorbing insulin, it prevents the signal that tells the person it’s time to stop eating and allows people to eat far more than they need without feeling full. This is another reason why people with insulin resistance and diabetes have such a hard time losing weight. The key is to improve the body’s ability to absorb insulin. It is very simple to improve insulin sensitivity using lifestyle changes and sometimes a few inexpensive supplements.
Insulin lowers blood glucose levels
Last on the list is that insulin lowers blood sugar. Insulin’s least significant role in the body is lowering glucose levels. The fact is that elevated glucose is merely a nasty side effect of poor insulin metabolism.
Do you deal with insulin resistance? Is this a new concept for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Please contact me at 317.489.0909 if you would like to start the process of improving your health and slowing the aging process by improving your body’s ability to absorb insulin.
Many people seem to have a difficult time distinguishing between Bach Flower Essences, Essential Oils and liquid Herbal Extracts. This is probably because these remedies are liquids and are packaged very similarly. In my practice, I use each of these, so I wanted to share information to help explain what each of these supplements is, how it is used, and how the remedy is made. Each description contains links to some of the most popular remedies of that type. Please consult a trained practitioner before using any of these remedies. As always, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, are shared for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Let’s go!
Bach Flower Remedies/Flower Essences
Dr. Edward Bach first began using flower essences in the 1930’s when he realized that his patients’ emotional state directly affected their ability to heal physically. Through his research, Dr. Bach identified 38 different negative emotional states and developed a flower remedy for each. Bach Flower Remedies are used to address emotional states such as depression, obsessiveness, bitterness, etc. The essences are made by infusing flower petals from specific flowers in brandy. (Non-alcoholic versions are available for children and pets.) The beauty of the flower essences is that they have a very gentle impact and do not interact with prescription medications. (The Bach flower remedies cannot be used with prescription Antibuse due to their alcohol content.)One of the most popular Bach Flower Remedies is Rescue Remedy, commonly used during times of extreme stress. Rescue Remedy is often used in emergencies to help people calm down. It is also known to be highly effective for pets who have separation anxiety or storm fear. (Pet Rescue Remedy is alcohol free and very effective.) I often find the Bach Flower Remedy Gorse to be very helpful when addressing long-term depression. Most practitioners use a specific set of written questions to identify which Bach Flower Remedies may be best for emotional issues and then create a customized blend in mineral water that is taken four times daily. It is very important to work with a trained practitioner when identifying which Bach Flower Remedy is best for specific issues. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, please read my post: Stop Seasonal Affective Disorder Now.
Essential oils are the highly concentrated volatile aromatic oils that give plants their aromas. They are highly medicinal and can be used for physical issues and emotional issues. (The chemicals in essential oils can have very powerful and positive emotional effects because they cross the blood-brain barrier.) Essential oils are so versatile they also have culinary uses and a wide variety of uses for cleaning and scenting. The oils are distilled or pressed from the leaves, flowers, stems, barks, roots or seeds of a plant, tree or bush. Essential oils are highly concentrated and have such strong medicinal powers that they must always be diluted before use.
Very few essential oils are suitable for internal use. There are a few applications that do not require dilution, and several essential oils that can be used internally, but only highly trained practitioners should use essential oils in those manners. Additionally, some essential oils can actually be harmful to health when incorrectly used. Please never use essential oils without consulting an expert or doing extensive research. (On a side note, I am aware there is a network marketing company which claims their essential oils are such high quality they can always be used internally and without dilution. I STRONGLY disagree with this company’s teachings and feel they encourage very dangerous usage of essential oils.)The medicinal effects of essential oils can be gained through inhalation, balneotherapy (bathing), diffusion, massage, compresses, etc. Essential oils do smell good (most of them, at least) and can be used for scenting, but their potential extends far beyond that. My two favorite essential oils, which I consider “essential” for every home first aid kit, are Lavender and Tea Tree oil. For more information on essential oils and their uses, please read Hand Sanitizer Alternatives with Recipes.
Liquid Herbal Tinctures (Extracts)
Most people now use the term “tincture” to refer to any liquid herbal extract, but this term is actually incorrect. My definition is that a tincture is made using fresh plant materials and extracts are made using dried plant materials. However, everyone seems to have their own definition to distinguish between liquid tinctures and extracts. Since the term “tincture” is commonly used to refer to all liquid extracts, that’s the term I use in this post. Liquid herbal tinctures are concentrated forms of medicinal herbs that contain the beneficial properties of the herb extracted into a liquid. Tinctures are typically made by placing an herb or herbs in a natural solvent, such as alcohol, glycerin or vinegar, and allowing the mixture to infuse for three weeks or longer. The amounts of herb, solvent and water used are very specific and are dependent upon the herb being used. (Some herbs require higher amounts of solvent, some require lesser amounts.)
It is actually very easy to make your own herbal tinctures. I make them frequently and love being able to make my own in the comfort of my kitchen. For detailed information on how to make herbal tinctures and other herbal products, I highly recommend reading Richo Cech’s book, Making Plant Medicine. The book provides ample information about herbs and provides detailed information about how to use herbs in a variety of ways. Herbal tinctures can be used for any and all conditions which are treated with herbs. They are typically taken internally, although some people use them topically in poultices. Some people even add anti-bacterial herbal tinctures to their neti pot. Why use an herbal tincture instead of drinking teas or taking capsules? Because a therapeutic dose of the desired herb can be obtained in a tiny amount of the tincture instead of having to eat pounds of the raw herb or drink gallons of tea. My personal preference is to use liquid tinctures instead of dried extracts in capsules because I believe they are stronger and because it avoids consuming “fillers” commonly used in capsuled products. Herbal tinctures can have a very strong taste, but diluting them in a bit of water or juice effectively modifies the taste.Glycerites are herbal extracts made in glycerin Glycerin is a very sweet vegetable liquid that is often used to make liquid herbal extracts for children. The glycerin is used so that the extracts taste good. The problem with glycerites is that (for most herbs) glycerin is not as strong a solvent as alcohol, which makes glycerites weaker in terms of their medicinal potential. However, glycerites are a good compromise for anyone who cannot tolerate the taste of alcohol tinctures. (For detailed information on one of my favorite herbal tinctures, Goldenseal, please read The Wonders of Goldenseal.)
Have you tried or used Bach Flower Remedies, Tinctures or Essential Oils? What was your expereince? Please share!
My passion is helping others improve their health using a natural approach to wellness. If you are interested in feeling better and reversing symptoms by addressing their cause, please feel free to contact me. I will work with you to help you reach your goals. I will not let you fail!
The most obvious conclusion I’ve drawn from writing this post is that I need to write many more posts about the uses of specific Bach Flower Remedies, essential oils and herbal extracts! Stay tuned for more!
Photo used by permission courtesy of LaWendula Photography
Candida overgrowth has become an epidemic that is often unrecognized. I developed this Candida Self Assessment to help you identify whether or not Candida may be a factor that is negatively impacting your health. Please note that not all fungal overgrowths include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.
Unfortunately, Candida often gets ignored and few medical professionals recognize that Candida overgrowth can negatively impact every body system. Even fewer realize Candida overgrowth can be a contributing factor to many very common chronic conditions. This Candida Self Assessment is a very simple way of identifying habits, history and symptoms that may indicate your body has a yeast imbalance. This test is shared for educational purposes only and is not a diagnostic tool.
If you would like to learn more about Candida, please visit the following articles:
Please note that the Candida Self Assessment will not give you a diagnosis of Candida overgrowth and that Candida is not the sole cause of the factors mentioned in the assessment. The self assessment is simply a tool to use to evaluate whether or not Candida may play a role in your health challenges. The Candida Self Assessment can be used to help you determine if you should consider seeking assistance from a health professional to begin the process of balancing the yeasts in your body.
To take the Candida Self Assessment, score 1 point for every “YES” answer to each of the following questions. The scoring profile follows the assessment.
Candida Self Assessment
Do/did/were you now or during the past three years:
- Told you have a heavy metal toxicity?
- Belch frequently?
- Crave alcohol?
- Crave breads, pastas, crackers, etc.?
- Drink more than 16 ounces of beer or wine per week?
- Drink more than 6 ounces of distilled alcohol (vodka, rum, etc.) per week?
- Feel depressed?
- Feel fatigued frequently?
- Feel you have “brain fog?”
- Have a coated tongue?
- Have abdominal bloating or gas?
- Have acne?
- Have white, flaky patches on the skin?
- Have ADHD/ADD or lack of impulse control?
- Have amalgam fillings?
- Have an inability to concentrate?
- Have an inability to lose weight or an inability to gain weight?
- Have asthma or hay fever?
- Have athlete’s foot?
- Have dandruff?
- Have diabetes or hypoglycemia?
- Have discomfort during intercourse?
- Have dizziness?
- Have dry mouth?
- Have ear pain?
- Have elevated liver enzymes?
- Have endometriosis or infertility?
- Have fluid in the ear or frequent ear or sinus infections?
- Have food allergies?
- Have frequent bad breath?
- Have frequent boils?
- Have frequent colds or flus?
- Have frequent headaches?
- Have frequent heartburn?
- Have frequent hives?
- Have frequent hoarseness and/or postnasal drip?
- Have frequent insomnia?
- Have frequent irritability?
- Have frequent mood swings?
- Have frequent nasal congestion or stuffiness, especially on rainy days?
- Have frequent numbness or tingling?
- Have frequent rashes?
- Have frequent sore throat?
- Have frequent urinary tract infections?
- Have frequent vaginal yeast infections?
- Have frequent water retention?
- Have hemorrhoids?
- Have impotence?
- Have inflamed prostate?
- Have irritation in folds of skin or in areas where joints bend?
- Have irritation near areas rubbed by waistband, underwear elastic, bra, etc.?
- Have itchy skin?
- Have jock itch?
- Have loss of sexual desire?
- Have frequent mouth sores or blisters?
- Have mucous in stools?
- Have muscle aches?
- Have occasional or frequent constipation?
- Have occasional or frequent diarrhea?
- Have pain or swelling in your joints?
- Have persistent anal itching?
- Have persistent vaginal itching or burning?
- Have poor memory sometimes?
- Have premenstrual tension?
- Have psoriasis or eczema?
- Have rapid mood swings?
- Have ringworm or other fungal skin infections?
- Have thrush (oral yeast infection)?
- Have toe or fingernail fungus?
- Have urinary urge or frequency?
- Sometimes have abdominal pain?
- Take an antacid or prescription such as Nexxium, Prevavid, Protonix, Prilosec, etc.?
- Take antibiotics in the past five years? (Score 1 point for each time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Take Prednisone or other corticosteroids? (Score 1 point for every time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Taken oral birth control for more than two months in the past five years?
Candida Self Assessment Scoring:
- 0-10 Points: Congratulations! The likelihood of Candida affecting your health is very low. Keep up the great work!
- 11-25 Points: The likelihood of Candida being a factor that is affecting your health is likely, but the effects are probably minimal at this point.. You may benefit from making lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of Candida in your system.
- 26-55 Points: Candida is probably an issue that is negatively affecting your health. Taking action to reduce Candida will most likely benefit your health in multiple ways.
- 56-75 Points: It is highly likely that Candida is negatively affecting your health in multiple ways. Taking action now to reduce Candida will most likely improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally.
If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Pamela. She uses a customized Candida protocol that not only helps kill Candida but also strengthens your body to help it naturally balance Candida. The 12-week program is comprehensive and very effective.
Are you familiar with Candida? Was your score a surprise? Please share!