Category Archives: alternative therapies
Angelina Jolie’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 Ms. Jolie 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
This article is a follow up to Top 11 Reasons I Refuse to Get a Flu Shot. Please read the information shared in that article before reading this one.
The media has created a frenzy of fear related to the flu. I speak to many people on a daily basis who are fearful of getting the flu and who know little about how to successfully protect themselves against infection. The truth is we don’t get sick because we are exposed to a bacterial or viral pathogen, we get sick because our lifestyle and eating habits have weakened our body’s defenses to the point they cannot protect us from pathogens. There’s a huge difference. If merely being exposed guaranteed infection, then no one could step foot into a Walmart without dropping dead three to five days later. You are exposed to a wide variety of bacteria and viruses every day you are never aware of because your body “kills” and neutralizes them very effectively. The key to avoiding infection therefore lies in strengthening your body’s natural defenses.
Following are my tips for preventing the flu, followed by steps you can use to shorten the duration of any viral illness.
We all know what we should do to avoid illness, but very few people actively make an effort to strengthen their immune system. Following is a short list of simple things we can all do to strengthen our ability to resist infection:
- Wash your hands frequently (All soap is antibacterial, so do not bother exposing yourself to the toxins in antibacterial soaps.)
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day
- Exercise moderately 1-4 times per week
- Avoid sugar
- Eat a wide variety of foods rich in antioxidants, which generally includes brightly colored fruits and vegetables
- Eat lots of probiotic rich foods, such as coconut water kefir, fermented vegetables, etc. (Yogurt and dairy kefirs provide fewer benefits because your body uses most of the probiotics they contain to digest the proteins and sugars in them. Fermented veggies and water kefirs provide greater benefits due to their lack of sugars and proteins.)
Top Three Supplements to Avoid the Flu
The following supplements are my top 3 to prevent the flu. One nice thing about these is they can be taken on a daily basis even if you chose to get a flu shot.
- Vitamin D: A minimum of 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis has been shown to be 500 times more effective than a flu shot at preventing the flu. The bonus is that it has multiple other benefits and provides protection against ALL flu strains and many other viruses and bacteria. Vitamin D3 is an oil-soluble vitamin, so I prefer taking it in an oil-based form to improve absorption. I use: Carlson Vitamin D3 Softgels. Please note that a dose of 2000 IU/day is a very low dose. Many people take higher doses.
- Elderberry Extract: Elderberry is one of the strongest agents known to effectively kill viral flu cells. It is also a natural immunity booster, so it can be used both as a preventive and during an active viral infection. I recommend taking 500-1000 mg of extract daily to help prevent infection. I share my recommendations for use during an active infection below. The brand I like is: NOW Foods Elderberry Extract. I also like liquid elderberry extract for children, as it tastes great and they enjoy taking it. My favorite for kids is: Quantum Elderberry Extract. (Follow instructions on bottle.)
- Vitamin C: The body uses Vitamin C to create white blood cells, which are essential for combating bacterial and viral pathogens. Humans are one of few animals who do not produce their own Vitamin C and must maintain their levels by ingesting it. Sadly, few people in the US eat enough fruits and veggies to maintain sufficient levels of Vitamin C. Additional issues such as smoking, eating a highly processed diet, alcohol consumption, malabsorption, taking acid-blockers such as Prevacid, and other lifestyle factors can cause inadequate Vitamin C levels. (The disease Scurvy occurs at very low levels of Vitamin C, but it is possible to have inadequate levels before Scurvy develops.)
There are a multitude of opinions about which type of Vitamin C is best. The primary concerns focus on fears ascorbic acid, the most common form of Vitamin C, is overly acidic and has a negative effect on body cells. Recent research found that most people’s bodies effectively balance the acid in ascorbic acid and that using this form of supplemental Vitamin C is beneficial. Personally, I prefer to use the Calcium Ascorbate form for large doses and a food-sourced form for smaller doses. I also prefer to use a capsule form to ensure higher absorption. The food-based forms tend to come in smaller doses, but their absorption and bio-availability is higher.
My favorite Vitamin C supplements include: NOW Foods 1000 mg Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids (Calcium ascorbate, capsules); Vitamin C Gold (food sourced and organic).
How to Shorten the Duration of Viral Illnesses
If you use the techniques and supplements mentioned above, you should not have to worry about getting sick. The information I shared below will allow you to help anyone who hasn’t followed that advice.
The following supplements are often used to shorten the duration and severity of a viral illness:
Elderberry Extract: Most Elderberry Extract supplements have instructions for use as a preventive and for use during an active infection. For adults, I recommend taking 500 mg every 3-4 hours for three to five days. (The advantage of Elderberry Extract is that it has no known side effects. Diabetics should use the liquid extract with caution and check blood sugars frequently; capsules should not affect blood sugar.)
Vitamin C: During illness, the body’s capacity to absorb Vitamin C dramatically increases. The body will quickly absorb high amounts of Vitamin C and use it to bolster its defenses. I have known people who took more than 100,000 mg daily of Vitamin C while ill without developing any negative symptoms. (Diarrhea quickly results from taking more Vitamin C than the body can absorb.) I do not recommend taking such high amounts. For most adults, taking 5000 mg of Vitamin C every 4-6 hours will help the body fight the infection. Vitamin C also helps repair damaged cells and is an anti-inflammatory, so it can help decrease the duration of an illness and may help decrease the symptoms.
Influenzinum or Oscilococcinum: These two supplements are homeopathic remedies which are known to bring quick relief to flu symptoms. They contain a combination of homeopathic remedies which stimulate the body to heal itself and which help diminish symptoms. Most people feel better very quickly after starting on either remedy, but they are usually only effective if started within one day of symptom onset. Follow package instructions.
Please note: For best absorption, do not eat or drink anything other than water for 10-20 minutes before or after taking these remedies. (They are pellets which you allow to dissolve on the tongue.) Do not chew mint gum or use mint toothpaste within an hour of taking a dose, as mint closes the remedy’s receptors in the mouth’s mucus membranes.) Links for each remedy follow:
For more information on shortening the duration and severity of illnesses, please see Top 10 Ways to Shorten the Duration of a Cold.
What are your favorite remedies for the flu? I wish you well in avoiding it this year!
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 enzymes 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.
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, or other symptoms you have been unable to remedy, you may have a food allergy or sensitivty. 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. 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 merely shared for educational purposes and is not a diagnostic tool.
If you would like to learn more about Candida, please visit the following articles:
If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please join me for a free teleconference about Candida on Thursday, September 13 at 12 noon EST. To join, call 1-605-475-5950. Use Access Code 337029 to enter. The call will last approximately thirty minutes followed by a question and answer period. Please join us!
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 Assessement, 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.
Again … If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please join me for a free teleconference about Candida on Thursday, September 13 at 12 noon EST. To join, call 1-605-475-5950. Use Access Code 337029 to enter. The call will last approximately thirty minutes followed by a question and answer period. Please join us!
Are you familiar with Candida? Was your score a surprise? Please share!
I once heard a man say he couldn’t believe childbirth could hurt worse than an ingrown toenail. (I’ll withhold comment on that statement.) Anyone who has an ingrown toenail knows how painful they are. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail starts to cut into the skin surrounding it. Toenails should typically grow upward, but occasionally start to grow in a way that cuts into the skin instead of growing over it. One hypothesis is that ingrown toenails have nothing to do with the nails and are caused because the weight placed on the foot causes the skin around the nail to “bulge” around the nail and puts enough force on the nail that the edge of nail cuts into the skin. If you think about the amount of pressure put on the foot with every step, this makes a lot of sense.
Regardless of the cause, ingrown toenails hurt. Although ingrown nails typically occur on the big toe, they can happen on any toe or finger if certain situations exist. Left untreated, an ingrown toenail can create an open wound and may become infected.
Please note that any wound on the foot needs immediate treatment. If you have diabetes or know you have poor circulation, please seek medical intervention for any foot wound. Left untreated, these wounds can worsen to create life-threatening situations caused by non-healing sores. The American Diabetes Association has estimated that the death rate from foot ulcers may be as high as 55% when ulcers are left untreated or when mainstream medical treatment fails. Please note that ANYONE can get a foot ulcer from a severe ingrown toenail, not just people with diabetes. My father died from a sepsis infection resulting from an ingrown toenail. Please do not ignore ingrown toenails. Please don’t continue self-treating any foot condition that does not respond quickly to home treatment methods.
Let’s look at some of the possible symptoms of an ingrown toenail, what potential causes are for an ingrown toenail, and what some possible treatments are.
Pain is the primary indicator of an ingrown toenail, but other symptoms may include:
- Mild pain and faint redness and swelling may be seen in the early stages. This is the best time to take action and address the issue.
- Pain may be extreme. Even a tiny bump of the affected toe can cause extreme, sometimes excruciating pain
- In time, the redness and swelling around the ingrown portion of the toenail will increase.
- Infection surrounding the ingrown toenail may occur, which may cause cloudy, white or yellow liquid to ooze from around the nail.
- The area around the toenail may be very hot to the touch. In extreme cases of infection, a person may develop a fever. If this occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
- Extra skin may begin to grow around the affected area as the body tries to protect itself
A variety of causes are suspected, although the specific cause for each person varies and is based on lifestyle habits, weight, shoe choices, etc. Causes of ingrown toenails may include:
- Improper hygiene
- Improper methods of trimming toenails
- Wearing tight shoes
- Excess weight
- Fungal overgrowth – causes thickening of the toenail and may create an ingrown situation
- Injury or trauma – past injury or trauma to a toe or finger may cause an ingrown nail in some situations
- Genetics – whether it’s truly genetic or more a case of lifestyle habits being passed from generation to generation, people who had a parent with an ingrown toenail are more likely to have one themselves
- Poor self awareness – people who ignore the early warning signs of an ingrown toenail tend to develop more severe problems as the problem progresses. People with circulatory problems need to check their feet on a daily basis to check for any developing issues.
The following may help prevent ingrown toenails:
- Don’t cut toenails too short: Cutting toenails extremely short, although more convenient, can potentially make it easier to develop an ingrown toenail because it allows the nail to grow into the skin instead of growing over it.
- Cut toenails in a square shape, not tapered: Toenails should be left square, not tapered into pretty curves. This helps create separation between the skin and the nail and may help prevent ingrown toenails. Cut toenails straight across. It’s fine to file the corners if you find they snag socks and hose.
- Stop wearing tight shoes: Yes, this includes high heels with tapered or pointed toes. One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are too tight. The cramped space in the shoe pushes the toenail into the skin and sets the stage for an ingrown toenail. If you must wear shoes that are tight for tapered, try to wear them only for short periods of time, or remove them frequently.
The following methods may be used to assist ingrown toenails in the very early stages and to help prevent infection. If these techniques don’t bring quick relief, seek medical attention.
- Switch shoes: Stop wearing any shoes that put pressure on the toes. Switch to shoes with wide toes and with a heel less than an inch high. In the summer, try to wear sandals that put no pressure on the toes and which expose the toes to fresh air.
- Avoid colored socks: The dyes used to create colored yarns often leech out of the socks when the socks are exposed to damp, sweaty feet. An ingrown toenail may provide an opening for these toxic compounds to enter. Stick to white, cotton socks until your situation improves.
- Wash feet twice daily: It is important to keep the area surrounding an ingrown toenail clean to avoid infection. Wash the foot twice daily with warm water and soap, then thoroughly dry it.
- Soak the foot twice daily: Soaking the foot will help reduce inflammation and will soften the skin enough that the toenail may be able to withdraw from the inflamed area. Soak in a solution of one half gallon warm water with 1/4 cup Epsom salts, 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 1/2 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Soak for 10-20 minutes and then thoroughly dry the foot.
- Elevate the toenail: If the toenail has not yet grown into the skin very far, roll a small piece of gauze into a small cylinder and insert it under the toenail. This may be slightly painful, but will help “redirect” the growth of the toenail. Leave the gauze in place for one week, changing the gauze after every wash or soak, at least twice daily.
- Don’t go to extremes: Please don’t execute minor surgery on yourself. If none of these methods work to eliminate your ingrown toenail, please get professional help. Very simple surgery can be done by a podiatrist or MD to remove the portion of the toenail that is growing into the skin. The surgery is usually done in a doctor’s office and recuperation is very quick. For most people, the ingrown toenail does not occur after surgery.
- Forget the V: There is an old wive’s tale that says cutting a “V” in a toenail will help eliminate an ingrown toenail. This is false. Toenails grow from the base of the nail upward, so cutting a V in the end of the nail has no effect on how the toenail grows. It’s also a great way to ruin socks and hose.
I cannot stress enough that any foot ailment needs to be addressed quickly and should be handled by a professional if home remedies don’t bring relief quickly. As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. These statements are not intended to replace medical care and are solely shared for informational purposes.
The recent rise of West Nile Virus has raised concerns about ways to prevent the spread the virus. West Nile Virus can become a severe illness in a very small percent of the population. The majority of us have nothing to worry about. The best defense against West Nile Virus is controlling mosquito populations in your neighborhood and ensuring your immune system is functioning at full capacity.
Please note: West Nile Virus is a very serious illness. Anyone with symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. The information in this post is shared for educational purposes only. The information in this post has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness. It is also not intended to replace the medical advice received from your physician.
Facts About West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is reported to be a virus that is typically found in birds. The virus spreads to humans when a mosquito stings an infected bird and then stings a human. Although the virus is listed as a “severe illness” by the CDC and mainstream media, the fact is that less than 1% of those who are bitten by an infected mosquito develop severe symptoms. Children are reported to be the least likely to be infected. The population most at risk are adults over 50 who have pre-existing conditions which compromise their immunity.
Per the CDC, “No reliable estimates are available for the number of cases of West Nile encephalitis that occur worldwide.” The CDC also acknowledges that there is a broad variance in the data reported about the prevalence of West Nile Virus in areas where it is tracked. This raises questions about whether or not many cases listed as West Nile Virus truly are. Many people believe the severity and frequency of the virus are being exaggerated to support the spraying of dangerous chemicals. I encourage everyone research and draw your own conclusions. I also encourage you to take measures to protect yourself from the sprayed chemicals, as most of the insecticides being sprayed are known carcinogens and/or are known to impair liver and endocrine function.
Good News About West Nile Virus
It is important to note the following very positive facts about West Nile Virus:
- Most people bitten by an infected mosquito never notice any symptoms. Their body very naturally combats the virus and they never contract a full-blown case.
- A smaller number of people, typically those with slightly weaker immune systems, experience very mild flu symptoms. These symptoms include headache, sore joints, mild fever, etc.
- Less than 1% of people – typically those with extremely compromised immunity – experience the most severe symptoms of West Nile Virus. These symptoms are very similar to those of encephalitis and include brain inflammation with headache, fever, muscle weakness, stiffness, confusion and sometimes convulsions. Only 5% of the one percent that may contract these severe symptoms experience long-term complications or death from the virus. (This equates to 0.05% of those infected.)
Protective Measures Against West Nile Virus
The most obvious way to protect yourself and your loved ones from West Nile Virus is to ensure there is no standing water in or near your home. The most common carrier of West Nile Virus, female Culex mosquitoes, typically do not travel more than 440 yards (one quarter mile) from where they hatch. Although they may travel further, your best defense is to focus on controlling stagnant water in your neighborhood. If you have a water source you cannot eliminate, I recommend using Bt bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis), a non-chemical insecticide. This insecticide is used heavily in third world countries and has no known harmful effects to humans and other mammals even in very high doses. Most garden supply stores carry it.
The other option for reducing your risk of serious infection is to ensure your immune system is working at full capacity. The most effective way to boost immunity is to limit sugar and to eat a clean diet consisting of organic whole foods and no artificial food additives. Drinking adequate water, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in exercise are also known methods of improving immunity. If you wish to take a supplement to boost immunity, I recommend the following three for adults. Dosages must be adjusted for children:
- Vitamin D3: 2000-5000IU/day
- Vitamin C: 500-5000mg/day
- Olive Leaf Extract: Follow dosage instructions on bottle, as extract strengths can vary
The final option for protection is to use insecticidal sprays. The CDC has acknowledged that the essential oil Lemon Eucalyptus is equally effective as DEET when applied frequently. I recommend using natural sprays for protection, but you must realize these sprays must be applied more frequently to be effective. Very simple spray-on protection can be made using the recipe that follows:
Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipe
- 1 oz Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 oz Lavender essential oil
- 1 oz Lemongrass essential oil
- 1 oz organic soybean oil
- 16 oz alcohol (100% vodka, Everclear, etc.)
Blend all ingredients well and allow to “meld” for at least 48 hours. To use, shake well and spray onto skin and clothing. Re-apply frequently. Avoid spraying into eyes or mouth.
Other home remedies that can help include eating lots of garlic and taking Vitamin B1 on a daily basis. For maximum protection, dress in long sleeves and pants and avoid going out at dawn and dusk.
What are your favorite mosquito repellents? What are your thoughts on media coverage of West Nile Virus? (Let’s keep comments positive, please.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Image courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Some links in this post are affiliate links
This post covers a variety of behaviors and lifestyle habits that people with diabetes rarely tell their doctor. I need to state a disclaimer before diving into this post. Please note I am not condoning the activities and actions I’ve shared below. I’m simply sharing what I know to be true and what I see occur frequently in the diabetic community. Please follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and do not deviate from them.
Most of you know by now that I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes (the auto-immune, insulin-controlled type) for over 45 years. In the time I’ve had it, I’ve devoted years of research to the disease of diabetes. I have also dedicated myself to understanding how diabetes affects a person’s emotions, not just their body. One of the most fascinating things I’ve discovered from chatting with thousands of people with diabetes is that there are some very common habits many of them share, but which few of them tell their medical staff. Some of these habits are harmless, while others could be potentially harmful.
Why do diabetics break the rules? The most common reason is because the rules don’t work for them. Although MDs live in a world of black and white absolutes, every diabetic knows that much of what they’re told about controlling their disease does not work for them or apply to their specific case. Their body never read the diabetes text book and doesn’t do the things the text book says it should. Most of us wish our doctors understood that control is highly individualized and that not all care guidelines work for all people. People with diabetes soon learn which topics are “safe” to discuss with their doctor and which will earn them a quick lecture. They grow weary of being told they’re “wrong” or being told one of the control tactics they rely on “can’t possibly work.” The truth is that every person’s body and lifestyle is highly unique and requires a unique approach to maintaining control. What works for me may not work for anyone else, and what works for them may not work for me. Doctors don’t have time to consider these “gray areas,” so diabetics keep this “secret info” to themselves.
The list that follows includes the top six things I’ve found diabetics rarely tell their doctor. Do you know of others? Please share!
I take a lot of supplements to help control my diabetes
This one is perhaps the most common. I hear this not only from diabetics, but from many different people with many different health conditions. Why do people not tell their doctor about their supplements? People I chat with share one of three basic reasons: 1) They are tired of their doctor telling them the supplement doesn’t work (even though using it has improved their health); 2) They are taking the supplement(s) instead of taking a prescription (see the next point); or 3) They know their doctor doesn’t believe in supplements and don’t want to risk upsetting him or her.
Obviously, it is IMPERATIVE to tell your doctor about every supplement you take. Your MD needs to know what you’re taking so that s/he can advise you about any potential interactions with your prescriptions. A growing group of MDs is learning about supplements and accepting their use. If yours is not one of them, perhaps it’s time to find one who is more accepting of the lifestyle you’ve chosen.
There are a wide variety of supplements that can help people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes maintain better control. However, these supplements must be very carefully researched before being added to one’s regimen. It can be dangerous for a Type 1 diabetic to begin taking supplements without checking their blood sugar more frequently. No one taking a prescription medications should begin taking a supplement without first discussing the potential interactions with their doctor or pharmacist. My favorite resource for researching potential interactions between prescription medications and natural supplements is the PDR for Non-Prescription Drugs, 33rd Edition.
I don’t take some of the prescriptions you write for me
This is another very serious item. If you are not going to take a prescription your doctor prescribed, you must tell him or her. It is your choice to not take a prescription, but you owe your MD the courtesy of being honest about it. When you share this information with your MD, take your research, be direct without being emotional, and make it clear your decision is final. If your MD has an issue with this, perhaps it’s time to find someone who is a better fit for your needs. (On a side note, there are times it may be better to take the prescription. Please do significant research before deciding to not take a prescription. As an example, I take insulin. There are no viable alternatives that are 100% effective, so I consider myself blessed to have it available.)
I don’t use alcohol when I take my shot or check my blood sugar
I can’t say that 100% of diabetics fall into this category, but a huge number of them do. Remembering to pack alcohol swabs is just one more thing on an already long list of items that have to be carted around on a daily basis. Many diabetics have found – contrary to what their MD told them – that not using alcohol doesn’t make much difference. They don’t wind up with skin infections, and their insulin continues working perfectly. It’s a personal choice. (This is only true if they are healthy and are under good control.) From a bird’s eye perspective, I don’t think this is a big deal, provided their blood sugars are under good control, they don’t have any other auto-immune conditions, and they are not in a dirty environment filled with toxins. It’s always best to use alcohol, but the likelihood of developing a complication if none is available is fairly small.
I use my syringes and lancets more than once
Most people are horrified to learn that many diabetics re-use their syringes. Let me make it perfectly clear they are not sharing their needles, they are simply using them twice in order to save money The same is true of the lancets used to prick their finger to check their blood sugar. Is it the best way to treat their disease? No. Is it one that has a huge negative effect? Not really. I don’t recommend it, but based on the hundreds of diabetics I know who do this, the effects are too small to even be measured. Re-using syringes is never a good idea, but the effects will probably be minimal for someone who is under good control, is in a clean environment and who does not have other auto-immune conditions affecting their immunity.
In all honesty, if a diabetic cannot afford syringes and lancets, I’d much rather they re-use them than not take insulin at all. A diabetic who needs insulin and stops taking it will wind up in the hospital and deathly ill very quickly. Diabetics who re-use needles run a risk of infection and run a risk of injecting bacteria into their insulin bottles. The potential for disaster is huge, but the fact is that very few ill effects are seen. I don’t advise re-using syringes, but if you’re in a situation where you’re forced to re-use one, please do not exert much energy to worrying about the after-effects. Again … this does not refer to people sharing needles. I’m not talking about a family of diabetics using each other’s syringes. I’m talking about an individual who re-uses their own syringes.
I leave my insertion set in for more than 3 days and refill my reservoirs
This item applies to people with diabetes who use an insulin pump. Insulin pumps use a reservoir that looks somewhat like a short, squat syringe with no needle. The diabetic fills the reservoir manually and then inserts it into the pump. One end of the reservoir is connected to a long tube. The other end is connected to the body via an insertion set. The insertion set contains a very tiny plastic cannula (a form of tiny needle) that is inserted into the abdomen, arm or buttocks. The pump injects insulin into the diabetic’s body on a continuous basis. The amount of insulin infused into the person’s body is controlled by information the diabetic (or his/her support staff) programs into the pump. Programming the pump and inserting the insertion set is a very simple process. An insulin pump is the closest thing we have to a functioning pancreas.
Most pump companies instruct their users to change insertion sets and reservoirs every three days to avoid infection and to ensure insulin delivery continues at the correct dosage. Many diabetics I know leave their insertion sets in for longer periods. I also know a few who refill their reservoir instead of replacing it. These diabetics swear they can’t tell a difference. (One told me she can leave her insertion set in for more than 10 days before infection develops. I would say that’s pushing the limit on the insertion set’s ability to maintain adequate delivery.)
Why do they do it? It’s very simple. Many diabetics are uninsured, and many are underinsured. Many insurance companies have changed their deductible program and have raised deductibles above $10,000 per family. This means that most diabetics receive NO assistance with their pump supplies, in spite of having insurance. On my insurance plan, our regular prescriptions are filled for a co-pay and don’t apply to the deductible, but my insulin pump supplies do not. My insurance company will not pay a dime toward my supplies until my family meets our $10,000 deductible. There is no logic behind this, as helping their insureds maintain good control is the best way insurance companies can avoid more expensive claims. Almost four billion dollars each year are spent on diabetic amputations. That number could potentially be lowered if insurance companies would re-think their approach to handling insurance claims for basic care needs.
A 90-day supply of infusion sets and reservoirs costs anywhere between $500-900 dollars. That’s a huge expense for many people. It is an expense that motivates many diabetics to stretch a 90-day supply of materials into a 180-day supply or longer. They don’t do it as a form of rebellion; they do it because they have no other choice.
The diet you told me to follow kept my sugars sky high, so I found a new one that works for me
I hear this more than any other concern voiced by people with diabetes. A mother with a 10-year old recently came into my office and said her son’s dietitian recommended he eat seven servings of high-glycemic carbohydrates per day. She said he used over 100 units of insulin per day eating that diet because his blood sugars were so high. He also felt horrible most of the time. I worked with her to create an eating plan her son could easily work into his daily activities. The plan I recommended focused on low-glycemic carbohydrates in smaller quantities. Within two weeks, this young man’s energy had returned to normal levels and his insulin needs had lowered to around 60 units per day. (Lowering the amount of insulin needed to maintain control is helpful because of the hormonal side-effects of insulin.) I’ve also had clients come to my office who said they argued with their diabetes educator because they felt the amount of sugars and carbohydrates they were eating was excessive. These patients typically get a slap on the wrist and are told they must obey. Sadly, many who find they can maintain better control using a different eating style than the one their doctor’s staff recommended are labeled “non-compliant.”
This brings us back to individuality. Every person’s body responds to carbohydrates and other types of foods in different ways. Most people with diabetes know which foods affect them more than others. (For me, a quarter cup of white rice will send my blood sugar through the roof in about five minutes. I can’t eat it, even though it was one of the main foods recommended by the diabetes educator I saw many years ago.) It is impossible to use a “cookie cutter” approach to eating styles for people with diabetes. Each person must start with a basic recommendation and then tweak it to fit their needs. Many endocrinologists and their staffs are not willing to allow their patients to deviate from their strict guidelines. This is sad, because it makes many diabetics think they have to hide things from their endocrinologist.
I recognize and fully expect this post will generate controversy. I’ve shared the truth, but I know many will react in anger. I’m ok with that.
Do you have diabetes? Do you hide things from your doctor? What do you think needs to change in the world of diabetes to encourage more open dialog between endocrinologists/doctors and people with diabetes? I firmly believe change occurs one person at a time. Let’s start here!
*Links in this post are affiliate links shared to provide a visual representation of the mentioned item.
Many people are currently trying to eat less sugar and fewer carbohydrates. The reasons for this are related to attempts to lose weight, eliminate Candida or pursue a new level of wellness. Most of these people look at smoothie recipes and sigh with frustration because they believe it’s impossible to create a delicious smoothie that is low in carbohydrates. (Even carbohydrates from natural fruit sugars can be challenging to anyone with Candida, insulin resistance or diabetes.) It is very possible to make delicious smoothies that are sugar-free, fruit-free and very low in carbohydrates. Fruitless smoothies can be delicious and can easily become a very addicting habit. Fruitless smoothies are the perfect solution for anyone trying to embrace a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, lose weight, reduce Candida overgrowth, etc. The smoothies I’ve shared below are also perfect fits for the Paleo lifestyle which is currently very popular, and make great options for anyone with insulin resistance or diabetes.
A wide variety of creamy, great tasting smoothies can be made without fruit. My breakfast many mornings is a delicious, all-vegetable, smoothie that is low in carbs, high in protein and which keeps me going strong for many hours. This type of smoothie not only provides huge amounts of energy, but also keeps me feeling full until lunch and beyond due to the tremendous nutrition provided. By using a low-carbohydrate, high-protein blend, my bloodsugars stay very stable. Fruit-laden smoothies that don’t contain protein can cause blood sugar spikes. These blood sugar spikes later fall because they don’t have protein to keep them stable. These falls may cause hunger and fatigue mid-morning as blood sugar levels plummet. A combination of carbohydrates with protein creates a slower, smaller rise in blood sugar and helps maintain blood sugar levels at a more stable level.
- Use sweet veggies such as yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, etc., to add natural sweetness to smoothies
- Add avocado to make smoothies creamy and thick without using sugar-laden yogurt
- Use Stevia as a sweetener if needed
- Use neutral tasting veggies such as cucumbers and zucchini to add bulk to smoothies without adding a lot of taste
- Add dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, etc., to increase the nutritional content of smoothies
- Use liquids such as coconut water, aloe vera juice, coconut water kefir, unsweetened nut or coconut milk, the leftover soak water from sundried tomatoes or nuts, or vegetable juices to add flavor, sweetness, and additional nutrition to smoothies
- Add a protein powder to balance blood sugars and extend the feeling of fullness
- Use organic spices to taste to add flavor. Don’t limit yourself to sweet spices … have fun with spicy spices to create soups and gazpachos!
- Strategically add ingredients such as protein powders, green powders, superfoods, seaweeds, powdered greens, maca, raw cacao powder and others to add unique flavor and increase the nutritional content of smoothies.
Vitamineralicious Smoothie Delight
A lack of minerals can wreak havoc on health. The smoothie that follows is rich in minerals from vegetables, but also adds an extra punch by including a liquid trace mineral. You can boost the mineral (electrolyte) content of this smoothie by using coconut water or coconut water kefir as the liquid.
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 scoop Hemp Protein Powder
1 tomato, diced
1 handful kale or spinach (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon organic lemon Juice
1 serving green powder
1 cup unsweetened milk alternative of choice OR 1 cup of coconut water kefir or coconut water
1/2 – 1 cup Purified Water (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
Stevia to taste (optional)
Red Light District Smoothie
This smoothie is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C.
1 diced organic red pepper
1-2 cup(s) water from soaking sun-dried tomatoes, purified water or organic tomato juice (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
1 handful red lettuce
1 teaspoon organic Cinnamon
1 avocado (optional)
Stevia to taste (optional) or experiment with many flavored stevias
Diabetic Chocolate Shake
This smoothie is delicious! Add ice to make it more like a shake. If you really want to make it shake-like, add a scoop of So Delicious Diary-Free Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream. (It’s to die for! That’s not an affiliate link … I just love their products!) Be aware that adding the coconut ice cream will increase the carbohydrate content of this shake.
1/2 cup organic cacao powder or organic cocoa
1/2 – 1 cups unsweetened milk alternative of choice
Stevia to taste (I use chocolate liquid stevia)
Experts estimate that 80% of the US population is deficient in Magnesium, a very basic mineral that is essential for good health and which is used by every system in the body.
A lack of Magnesium in the body may cause any of the following:
The problem with these symptoms is that many are very vague and most could be caused by a wide variety of other issues. Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for a medical professional to consider a magnesium deficiency and act accordingly when faced with symptoms that indicate one. Additionally, plasma levels of magnesium measured during blood tests are very inaccurate because only 1% of magnesium in the body is stored in the blood. The majority of magnesium in the body is stored in the tissues, making blood tests almost worthless. We live in a society where mainstream physicians are taught to place more weight on blood test results than on symptoms, which makes it even less likely that a person exhibiting multiple symptoms of magnesium deficiency will be given magnesium. (There is a blood test that is more accurate, the ionized magnesium test, but it is not widely available.)
As the huge list of symptoms indicates, magnesium is necessary for the proper functioning of every body system. A deficiency can have devastating consequences. Magnesium is the most prolific mineral in the body and is responsible for almost 400 different biochemical reactions in the body. A short list of the body functions magnesium directly influences include:
- Allows the body to absorb calcium and to place it where it belongs
- Essential for the production of energy
- Essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats
- Relaxes muscles so they remain flexible
- Essential for the activation of B vitamins
- Helps build bone and keep it flexible enough to not shatter
- Helps maintain a normal electrical flow of nerve impulses in the heart
- Essential for hormone balance (especially during PMS and menopause)
- Essential for initiation over 300 different enzyme reactions essential for health
- Essential for proper digestion
- Essential for the production of key brain chemicals
- Essential for normal kidney and liver function
Obviously, you need magnesium. If you eat a standard diet, drink alcohol, or drink coffee, you are probably magnesium deficient. Many people are magnesium deficient because of digestive disorders and malabsorption. (Please read Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion for tips on improving digestion.)
It is possible to maintain adequate magnesium levels by eating high levels of dark leafy greens, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds on a daily basis. If you’re eating well and don’t have absorption problems, you’re probably not deficient. If you don’t eat well, drink alcohol or can’t get by without your daily cup of java, you need to be getting supplemental magnesium other ways. (Coffee and alcohol sap the body of magnesium very quickly. It is not unusual for alcoholics to have anxiety and sleep disorders as a result of their magnesium deficiency.)
Drinking a daily Green Drink is a wonderful way to get sufficient magnesium and other essential nutrients. If you don’t care for the taste of green drinks (which taste like grass, to be blunt), try Green Vibrance Capsules by Vibrant Health. It is one of my favorites and is one I use frequently.
If you prefer to increase your magnesium using supplements, do NOT take Magnesium Oxide. It is a form of oxide that your body cannot absorb. It is worthless. Read labels and make sure whichever supplement you purchase does not contain magnesium oxide. Most people do best taking 200-800 mg of magnesium on a daily basis. I recommend starting with 200/day and very gradually working up (not exceeding 1200 mg) until your symptoms disappear. Having loose stools is a good indicator that you’re taking too much. If you develop diarrhea, take less magnesium.
I recommend doing or using the following to increase magnesium levels, in conjunction with a healthy diet:
- Take a very warm bath three times weekly with 2-3 cups of Epsom salts in the bath. Your skin will absorb the magnesium, eliminating the need for it to be absorbed through the digestive system.
- Magnesium Oil: Magnesium oil is not an oil, but has an oily feeling due to the high concentration of magnesium in the liquid. Note that it is necessary to use high doses of magnesium oil in order to receive a high amount of magnesium. Most oils need to be used in doses of eight sprays, three times daily.
- Magnesium Glycinate: Magnesium Glycinate is one of the more easily absorbed forms of magnesium. The magnesium molecule is bonded with glycine, which is an amino acid. The human digestive tract is maximized to absorb amino acids, and glycine is known to improve digestion, so the combination of the magnesium and the glycine greatly increases the absorption levels. The amount of glycine absorbed is minimal, so please do not use magnesium glycinate instead of a glycine supplement if you need supplemental glycine.
My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies and other causes of illness. I have helped thousands of people improve their health, reverse symptoms and reduce their need for medication. If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none were intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Check with your medical practitioner before starting or stopping any supplement or medication.
Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 120.
Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Many people do not realize the prescription they are taking to address one health issue is depleting nutrients that may cause other health problems. Unfortunately, few patients are told about nutritional deficiencies that can be caused by prescriptions. This results in health issues developing which may be a mystery but which can typically be reversed very quickly simply by replenishing the nutrient that was depleted by the prescription medication. In a strange twist of fate, many of the prescription medications I listed below deplete the body of a nutrient that is essential for preventing or controlling the very condition the prescription is used to remedy. Unfortunately, many doctors are not aware of the nutritional deficiencies caused by the medications they prescribe. As a patient, it is imperative to look up each prescription medication you take to see if you should be supplementing to replace what it is depleting. In my office, I review each client’s prescriptions medications to ensure they are taking measures to prevent a potential deficiency.
The table that follows provides a list of just a few of the most common prescriptions that can cause a nutritional deficiency. I’ve provided information about the prescription medication, the nutrient(s) it is known to deplete in the body, and information on which supplement might be used to help counteract or prevent deficiencies. I’ve shown one possible supplement per deficiency, but many options exist. I’ve merely shown the one I like or use personally. Please note this is a very tiny list and is not complete. If you’d like to pick up a book providing excellent, detailed information on deficiencies caused by prescriptions, I highly recommend Suzy Cohen’s Drug Muggers: Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients and Natural Ways to Restore Them.
Please also note this table does not list interactions which may occur between foods or supplements taken with prescriptions. Please consult your MD, read the information that comes with your prescriptions, and research to determine which supplements and foods should never be taken with your prescription medications.
NOTE: This information is being shared for educational purposes only. If this information concerns you, please discuss it with your MD before making any changes to your care plan. Please DO NOT begin taking any supplements without checking with your MD. Additionally, never stop taking a prescription medication or alter the dosage without the express consent of your MD or other healthcare practitioner. None of these statements were reviewed by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.
Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Prescription Medications
|Medication||Deficiency Caused||Potential Source of Replenishment|
||Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)||Co-Enzyme Q10 is essential for heart health, so it is concerning that statin and drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes cause a severe depletion in this nutrient. Some studies indicate congestive heart failure’s base cause is a deficiency in CoQ10. If you take a statin drug of any of the antidiabetics listed, I strongly encourage you to take a Ubiquinol Supplement on a daily basis. I recommend taking .5-1mg per pound of body weight. Your body must convert CoQ10 into Ubiquinol in order to absorb it, so it is much more efficient to simply take the Ubiquinol.
*Almost all antibiotics deplete Vitamin B12. A complete list would not fit in this table.
|Vitamin B12||There are many differing opinions about how much Vitamin B12 a person should take to replenish a deficiency caused by a prescription medication. Luckily, Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, so it is very difficult to develop an excess without taking ridiculously high amounts. My recommendation is to take a minimum of 2000mcg of sublingual, Methylcobalamin B12 on a daily basis. I also recommend having your B12 levels checked every three months if you are taking a medication known to deplete B12. Please see my post, Surprising Facts You Need to Know About Vitamin B12 for more information about how important Vitamin B12 is and how many health issues may result from a deficiency.
||Magnesium||Magnesium is essential for lowering blood pressure, yet almost all blood pressure medications deplete the body of this essential nutrient. Seems somehow backward, doesn’t it? Several studies found that 70-85% of the US population – children included – are magnesium deficient. (See my post Why You Need More Magnesium for more information on the importance of Magnesium and information on which types are most beneficial.)
||Melatonin||Oddly enough, Melatonin is a hormone that is essential for maintaining serotonin balance and for maintaining a positive outlook. Deficiencies can cause depression and insomnia, and may also increase the effects of aging because Melatonin is such a strong antioxidant. Dosage of Melatonin varies from person to person. I generally recommend starting with 1-3 mg each night and increasing the dosage (up to 10 mg) until restful sleep is easily attained. If you take Melatonin and it does nothing for you, that’s a good indicator that you are not deficient. However, most people taking anti-anxiety medications are deficient and find their symptoms improve very quickly once a Melatonin supplement is started.
|Iron||A word of warning about iron: Do not take an iron supplement unless you know you need it. Additionally, iron may interfere with the absorption of many prescription medications. (One example is that it should never be taken with thyroid medications such as Synthroid or Armour.) For best absorption and to prevent interactions with medications, I recommend taking iron supplements on an empty stomach, at least two hours before or after taking prescription medications.Many forms of over-the-counter iron supplements are almost impossible to absorb. This is why many of them cause constipation. I prefer to use forms of iron which are very easily absorbed and therefore do not cause digestive upset or constipation. My recommendation is to never purchase iron supplements from standard drugstores, as I have yet to find one that carries iron in a form that is easily absorbed. (Please let me know if you find one!)
Have you suffered from a nutritional deficiency you later learned was due to a prescription? How did you counteract it? If you’re taking one of the medications listed, I’m curious to know if your doctor told you in advance about the possibility that it might cause a deficiency? Were you warned and given a list of recommended supplements? I hope you were!
My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies and other causes of illness. I have helped thousands of people improve their health, reverse symptoms and reduce their need for medication. If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
Please note that the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links but that my use of an affiliate link in no way encouraged my listing of these supplements. They truly are my favorite supplements, most of which I use myself.
This contest ended July 29, 2012. Many congrats to the winner, Lynn from Fort Hood, Texas!! I will be offering more contests in the future … stay tuned!
I recently received a great invitation to review Tropical Traditions’ Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I was especially excited to receive their invitation because I have been a very happy customer of Tropical Traditions for many years. I’m excited to say Tropical Traditions has offered to give one of my readers a free quart of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil! See ways to win later in this post.
Their Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is the best I’ve found. We use it in our household on a daily basis, but not only for cooking. We also use it as a moisturizer, as a base for many body care products, and have found it even works well to quiet squeaky hinges! We use nothing else for cooking. If you’ve never tried it, cook a batch of organic popcorn in Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. It is absolutely delicious and requires no butter!
I could ramble on for quite a while on the health benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, but the Tropical Traditions website provides ample information for you. I promise to share a future blog post on the health benefits and to debunk the many myths that surround it. Those of you who know me know I devote ample research to any product I’m considering using in my home and know I would not promote a contest to give away any product I did not fully believe in and support.
I have many reasons for loving their products. They use the finest processing available and are very committed to providing healthy, natural foods ethically and at an affordable cost. The company not only sells Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, but also sells:
- Grass Fed Ground Beef
- Organic, Soy-Free Eggs
- Organic Brown Rice Syrup and Organic Raw Honey
- Natural Pet Shampoo (and other pet products)
- Non-Toxic Household Cleaner, Natural Dish Liquid and other household products
- Coconut Soap, which is biodegradable, very environmentally friendly and will lather in any type of water
- And a multitude of other products. Visit the Tropical Traditions Home Page to see all the products they offer
You have seven ways to enter this contest. Note that the only way your entries will be counted is if you post a comment below! You may also share one additional tweet and/or one additional Facebook share of this page each day during the contest. Please note that you MUST enter a new comment for every entry – including a new comment for every retweet or Facebook share. Selection of winner is totally automated, but you must add a separate comment for each entry item you complete. (I’ve said that three times in a row … is it sinking in? Only The only entries that count are those for which you leave a comment.) Contest ends July 29 at midnight.
To select the winner, I am using a WordPress plugin called And the Winner Is written by @spencersokol who resides in the great state of Indiana. Each entry must have a separate comment to be counted. (That makes four.)
You can earn an entry into the contest by doing any of the following. Please note I will verify each entry. YOU MUST ADD A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY ITEM YOU COMPLETE:
- Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter
- Like the Tropical Traditions Facebook Page
- Join my newsletter
- Follow me on Twitter: @IndyHealer
- Like my Facebook Page: Good Works Wellness
- Share one of the posts about this contest that was posted on my Facebook page on your Facebook page
- Tweet about this contest using the following text:I just entered @IndyHealer’s contest to win a jar of @TropTraditions coconut oil! http://ow.ly/ch62F #coconutoil RT to win! <– And then enter a comment below!
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. Please also note that if you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.
I recently realized my dosage of thyroid medication was too high. This was great news, as it means my thyroid gland is coming back to life and doing what it’s supposed to! Good news always has a positive outcome, right? Yes, but in this case it took a while.
I had changed doctors and switched to an integrative Nurse Practitioner who has a fantastic reputation. I was excited to see her and hopeful she would be willing to listen to what I’ve learned about my body in the 48 years I’ve spent living in it. After hearing my symptoms, she said she needed to lower my dose by a huge amount. I resisted, letting her know that I am extremely sensitive and that such a large change would send me from being hyperthyroid to hypothyroid, a trip I wasn’t willing to take. She insisted, and I had no choice to but to accept the drastic dosage change.
Within two days, I began experiencing such severe edema (water retention – a classic sign of hypothyroidism) that I had to take off my wedding ring and couldn’t wear certain pairs of shoes. I also noticed that my hair was falling out by handfuls, another classic symptom of hypothyroidism. Even my husband noticed how much hair I was losing. In addition to those obvious signs, I became exhausted and started sleeping 10-12 hours per night and then taking 2-3 hour naps midday. None of this is normal for me, and all are poster-child symptoms of insufficient thyroid medication.
When I called to request a slightly higher dose, since the lower dose obviously wasn’t working, her nurse informed me in a somewhat snotty tone that my nurse practitioner “didn’t believe” my symptoms could be caused by the medication change and could not possibly manifest so quickly. She’s wrong. When she returned my call seven days later (yes, I was left hanging that long), the nurse asked me in a very doubtful, judgmental tone, if I honestly thought “ten days” was long enough to manifest symptoms. Any thyroid patient will enthusiastically tell you ten days is far too long to wait if a dosage is wrong and symptoms occurred much earlier.
Every thyroid patient I’ve ever met or interviewed says they know within two days whether a new dosage will work or not. Unfortunately, many doctors and mainstream practitioners don’t believe this and insist on waiting SIX WEEKS before performing blood work and agreeing to change a dose. If your thyroid gland stopped producing adequate levels of hormones, you would know something was terribly wrong within a few days. The same is true for medication dosage changes. Making a thyroid patient suffer for six weeks … or even ten days … is simply not acceptable and indicates a lack of understanding of the severity of thyroid conditions. It also indicates a lack of understanding of how sensitive patients are to what is occurring in their own body. There are multiple Facebook groups and international thyroid support groups that repeat this over and over again. Thyroid patients are tired of having practitioners ignore their symptoms. The fact these groups have hundreds of thousands of members from all over the world is valid proof there is a problem and lack of understanding related to adequately and effectively treating thyroid disease.
I was told my symptoms were “impossible” and that the NP wouldn’t change my dosage until I had waited two more weeks and had blood work drawn. I put my foot down and said I couldn’t do that. I requested a specific dosage be called in to my pharmacy. The good news is that my NP did indeed call in a new dosage … five days later. By then, I couldn’t endure the physical and emotional symptoms I was experiencing any longer and started taking a higher dosage of medication. Was it wrong to take a dosage not prescribed? Definitely. Was it wrong to change my dosage when my practitioner ignored my symptoms? Heck no. My health is one of my top priorities. After spending ten years almost bedridden due to physician error related to my thyroid levels, I MUST take action as soon as I realize my dosage is wrong. I will not return to being bedridden and useless and refuse to suffer because of a practitioner’s refusal to listen to me.
Being hypothyroid – or having insufficient levels of thyroid hormones – is a form of hell on earth that no one can understand unless they’ve experienced it. This is why many mainstream practitioners just don’t get it. They think thyroid patients should happily endure incredibly rapid ten pound weight gains, edema that causes “cankles” and makes it impossible to see the bones in one’s feet, bald spots, depression, fatigue, itchy skin, severe aches that resemble arthritis, loss of balance with vertigo, weak muscles, muscle cramps, constipation, irritability, memory loss, slurred speech, feeling cold all the time (even in 100+ degree heat), and more. I’m here to say: NO MORE. (What I would actually say can’t be posted in a family-friendly article such as this one.)
It is estimated that 10-20% of US citizens have a thyroid disorder that requires intervention. Unfortunately, many of these thyroid conditions get ignored due to improper testing and doctors who don’t recognize the common symptoms. There is also a tendency for practitioners to dismiss symptoms, saying things such as, “You work full time and have four kids. Of course you’re tired!” Many doctors assume that complaints of fatigue, weight gain and more are simply “whining” and are not genuine symptoms or are indicators of psychological issues. That attitude, my friend, brings me closer to cussing than anything shared previously.
So what can you do? Be the squeaky wheel. If you know you have something physically wrong or that your thyroid medication dosage is wrong, INSIST your doctor change the dosage. Do your research and share your symptoms, stating that the symptoms you are experiencing are obvious indicators the dose is wrong and that waiting several weeks to perform blood work will cause further damage. Be blunt and be insistent. If this doesn’t work, go ahead and get the blood work run early. Although docs insist blood work requires six weeks to show true results, your blood levels of thyroid hormones will show enough change after two weeks to show an imbalance and a need for a medication change.
Let’s review … to truly check how your thyroid is functioning, you must have the following tests run every time:
- Free T3: A measure of the active T3 thyroid hormone
- Free T4: A measure of the less active T4 thyroid hormone
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): A measure of a pituitary hormone the body uses to stimulate the thyroid gland. Many doctors ONLY order this hormone, which is a grave error. Only measuring TSH – a hormone produced by a different gland entirely – is similar to checking the the temperature of your radiator fluid in order to gauge whether you need more oil or not. It is indirect and very inaccurate. Measuring the true thyroid hormones (Free T3 and Free T4 at a minimum) is the only way to tell where your levels are for sure. TSH levels may also fluctuate greatly in thyroid conditions caused by an autoimmune condition, so their use is highly unreliable.
- Reverse T3: Reverse T3 is a hormone that counteracts the T3 your body is producing. It is important to test this because your TSH, T3 and T4 could potentially be “normal,” but overproduction of Reverse T3 could cause you to be extremely symptomatic because your body is “killing” the T3 that’s produced.
- Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO): TPO measures the amount of anti-thyroid antibodies in your blood stream and is used to identify an auto-immune thyroid issue. TPO typically should be measured multiple times, because levels vary and it may take several tests before levels are high enough to be identified in a blood test. (Remember that a blood test is a very tiny “snapshot in time” and that the results shown in that instance may not always be 100% accurate for some measures.)
- Anti-Thyroglobulin (Anti-TG): This is another measure of autoimmune antibodies that is typically only used when hyperthyroidism exists.
When a dosage is changed, it is imperative to have new blood work run (TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 at a minimum) within 3-6 weeks to ensure the new dosage is correct. It breaks my heart when people tell me their provider changed their dosage of thyroid medication and told them to come back in six MONTHS for blood tests. Severe physical harm can occur in six months of hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Waiting that long is not acceptable.
Did you notice your thyroid gland makes two hormones? (It makes more, but T3 and T4 are two of the most important ones and affect health the most.) Be aware that commonly prescribed medications such as Synthroid and its many derivatives only contain T4. Your liver should convert the less active T4 into the active T3, but many people’s bodies just don’t do that. This means many people suffer needlessly while taking Synthroid because their bodies desperately need more T3. There is a mainstream prescription, Cytomel, that contains T3. Many people find their hypothyroid symptoms disappear once they add T3 to their regimen. Natural thyroid medications such as Armour and Naturthroid contain both T3 and T4 and work far better for most people. For me personally, switching to a combination of T3 and T4 was a true life-changer. My symptoms began to disappear within a few days and I could actually begin living again.
To receive the best care possible, you must be your own advocate and seek the best care you can. Have you done that? If not, please do!
If you are a thyroid patient who can’t make sense of your blood test results, please contact me. I would love to help you interpret the results and will help guide you to discuss the results with your practitioner. Please feel free to call me at 317.489.0909 to schedule a 15-30 minute test results review consultation.
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It recently occurred to me that most of the truths I learned about achieving wellness and healing have parallel truths I learned while riding my motorcycle. Healing is as much a mental process as a physical. I hope the following wellness tips bring a smile to your face and help you advance in your healing journey.
Look at Where You’re Going, Not Where You Are
Most beginning motorcycle riders find that cornering – or making a turn – is one of the hardest skills to master. Cornering has so many different facets to consider that schools exist that solely teach how to corner more effectively. One of the first lessons learned is that the best way to turn without winding up in a ditch or in oncoming traffic is to focus on where you want to end up. (This tidbit works while driving a car, too, but is most effective in motorcycle riding.) It’s a simple fact that when you focus on your ultimate destination, your mind automatically triggers your body to do what’s needed to take you there. Most beginning riders get hung up looking down at the road lines or at their own front tire and wind up veering far away from where they need to be. Focusing on our destination is especially important for physical healing.
I find many people become so focused on being sick they fail to focus on becoming well. Their thoughts become so burdened by their physical challenges they stop thinking about regaining health. I know how easy it is to stop focusing on wellness and to become almost obsessed with the many physical problems you’re battling. I’ve been there. I can speak from experience that true healing requires the ability to look past today’s challenges to focus on tomorrow’s healing victories. Doing that will be easier some days than others, but committing to focus on your end goal will help you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.
Always Wear Protective Gear
Nothing concerns me more than seeing a motorcycle rider zipping along without a helmet and without any protective gear. Common sense dictates that wearing protective gear will help protect one from the unexpected. In our household, one of the basic rules each of our kids has to follow before riding anything with two wheels is that full protective gear is always required. Ignoring this rule and not taking basic precautions for protection would be foolish. The same is true of wellness.
I am often amazed when I meet with people who want to feel better but who are not doing basic things to maintain the health they have or who are not doing the things they know they must to control a specific condition. For example, a diabetic who eats everything, doesn’t exercise and who never checks a blood sugar is asking for trouble. Regardless of the health challenge one is working to reverse, there are simple lifestyle habits that must be done on a daily basis. Occasionally skipping a day is acceptable, but ignoring basic health needs on a continual basis may result in worsening health or in an additional diagnosis. Taking full precautions to protect oneself from harm just makes sense. I’m not talking about extreme changes, but am merely referencing the basics. I estimate it only takes me about 60 seconds to put on my protective riding gear. Taking the steps needed to improve health usually aren’t complicated or time consuming, either.
Speeding Doesn’t Get You There Faster
If you do the math, you’ll quickly find that riding fifteen to twenty miles over the speed limit only gains two to three minutes on short trips. The time gained is minimal and typically does not justify the added risks. Driving from one location to another is a process. It would be nice to speed up the process or skip a mile or two, but that usually isn’t possible.
The same is true in healing. Healing takes time. Most health conditions develop over time, so it makes sense that it will take time for your body to reverse conditions. One of the basic healing guidelines I learned in school was that the body heals conditions in the reverse order they occurred, and that one can typically expect the body to need about one month of healing time for each year the condition has existed. This is just a guideline – each person’s situation will be very unique. Sometimes the body can reverse a condition very rapidly, sometimes additional time is needed. Regardless, the fact remains that the body requires time to heal. Healing is a process. Mainstream medicine says you can skip the process by taking a pill, but this merely hides the symptom instead of reversing the problem. Healing takes times. We live in a society used to receiving instant gratification. Our bodies don’t work that way. Patience may sometimes be needed to stop being a patient.
Drop the “When Not If” Mentality
When I was learning to ride, one of the things I heard over and over again was the mantra that: “It’s not a question of IF, it’s a question of WHEN you’ll drop your bike.” So what naturally happened? I developed a nagging fear of dropping my bike and dropped my brand new Buell within two months of buying it. Here’s my problem with the “when not if” mentality: It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you have those seeds of impending doom planted in your subconscious, they inevitably take root and bloom if you don’t work to pull out that weed of deception.
This is closely related to focusing on your desired destination and not on where you are now. I find many people become terrified of and focus on the potential outcomes of their condition instead of being thankful for the health they have now. I recently chatted with a woman who has had active cancer for over fifteen years. The doctors keep telling her she should be dead, but she refuses to listen. She gets up every day and gives thanks for how good she feels – even when she doesn’t. Her blood work continues to improve, she feels better every day, and her doctors can’t figure it out. By focusing on the positive and ignoring the potential negative consequences of her illness, she is maintaining a high degree of health. There are no guarantees. Just because you’ve received a diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re going to have every possible complication associated with that diagnosis. Focus on your wellness and maintain a positive attitude! Focusing on the positive actually creates physiological changes in our body chemistry that aid healing. Keeping a positive attitude may accomplish more healing than anything else. Even if it doesn’t, you feel better when you focus on the positive, so give it a try!
Everybody Loves a Custom
Anyone who’s ever watched the Discovery Channel knows many hit shows revolve around taking a stock motorcycle or stock parts and creating a custom look. We have a fascination with taking what the factory hands us and customizing it to fit our own personality and style. Most bike owners find that customizing their bike is a back and forth process that is never really done. We need to use this same approach with wellness!
Every eating plan and lifestyle program can and often should be “tweaked” to fit your personal needs. Your body won’t lie to you. If you began a program that worked well for a few months but you’re now starting to lose the momentum you gained, it’s time for a change. I encourage my clients to get regular blood work or EDS scans every six months to make sure various nutritional and physiological measures are staying at their optimum level. There is no single eating style or lifestyle approach that is perfect for everyone. Constantly monitor your progress. If you start to feel poorly or regain symptoms, then it’s time to identify and address the reason. This typically means a change is needed in lifestyle habits, eating styles or supplementation. Wellness is a journey with many twists, so we should expect to need to make adjustments along the way.
What are your thoughts about this analogy? Please share your perspective!
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There are a multitude of diabetes myths still perpetuated and shared as “fact” even though they are blatantly false. Myths get perpetuated in odd ways. Case in point: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) recently allowed Krispy Kreme donuts to sponsor a fundraising run. During the run, participants – many of whom have diabetes – ran a single mile, ate a dozen donuts, and then ran a mile back. The JDRF spokesperson defended this run by stating that “food doesn’t cause Type 1 diabetes.” Guess what? Studies done in Finland since 1991 prove she’s wrong!
I was blessed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1967 and have been researching it through life experience or active study ever since. I’ve studied the mainstream approaches to Diabetes control and have also studied and experimented with many natural wellness approaches. My desire is to help people with any form of Diabetes live life abundantly and realize that having Diabetes doesn’t mean their life is over. Following are a number of myths related to diabetes that need to be busted right now:
Myth #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that has nothing to do with food
Fact: While Type 1 Diabetes is indeed an autoimmune condition, autoimmune reactions are caused when the body secretes antibodies that attack cells of the body. Studies have connected dairy antibodies (antibodies the body produces to cow milk, not human breast milk) to an attack on the beta cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Countries having the highest intake of bovine dairy products (Sweden, Denmark and Finland) also have the highest incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in children. The connection cannot be denied. The studies found that children who were not given bovine dairy prior to the age of 7 months had significantly lower incidence of Type 1 Diabetes than those who were. My recommendation is to not give babies cow milk, cheese, ice cream or other dairy products prior to the age of 12 months. (Avoid soy, too, as other studies found that boys given soy formula had lower sperm counts as adults and that girls given soy formula developed breasts and began menstruating at an earlier age.)
The American Academy of Pediatrics Work Group on Cow’s Milk and Diabetes Mellitus issued this statement in 1994: “The evidence incriminating cow-milk consumption in the cause of type 1 diabetes is sufficient to cause the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue this warning, ‘Early exposure of infants to cow’s milk protein may be an important factor in the initiation of the beta cell destructive process in some individuals.’ and ‘The avoidance of cow’s milk protein for the first several months of life may reduce the later development of IDDM or delay its onset in susceptible people.’”
Having said that, let me add that dairy antibodies are not the sole causative factor of Type 1 Diabetes. Many other factors may be associated with Type 1 Diabetes, including viral infections, bacterial infections and some genetic factors. There is also some evidence that toxins in vaccinations may be associated with auto-immune over-stimulation that may contribute to Type 1 Diabetes. Genetic factors also play a role in whether or not a child’s body can counteract certain antibodies.
Myth #2: Only fat people get Type 2 Diabetes
Fact: I personally know several very thin, athletic people who have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is caused when the body develops insulin resistance, or when the body’s cells no longer absorb and use insulin as they should. Although insulin resistance is much more common in people who are overweight, thin people may also develop it.
The pancreas of most – not all – people with Type 2 Diabetes typically works as it should. It works so well, in fact, that it over-produces insulin in response to elevated glucose levels. The excess insulin in the blood stream causes the body’s cells to become “overwhelmed” by the excess insulin, which creates worsening insulin resistance. Please read my article, “The Top 3 Blood Tests Almost Everyone Should Request” for information about having your insulin level checked. Unfortunately, insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so excess insulin in the blood stream may make weight loss very difficult if it is needed.
There are multiple potential causes of insulin resistance, and every person with Type 2 Diabetes may have very distinct issues that led to their body’s resistance. The fact does remain, however, that people who are overweight and who eat diets which are extremely high in high-glycemic carbohydrates are much more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than those who are thin and who eat a more balanced diet. Luckily, many people with Type 2 Diabetes have reversed their insulin resistance and reduced or even eliminated their need for prescription medication simply by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
Myth #3: My doctor says I have “pre-diabetes,” which means I don’t need to make any changes
Fact: The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes has become so high that a new term – Metabolic Syndrome – was developed for people who have the early stages of insulin resistance but who may not have highly elevated blood glucose levels. Those who are in the very beginning stages of insulin resistance, or “pre-diabetes,” often reverse insulin resistance by making simple lifestyle changes.
When I have clients whose blood work shows elevated insulin levels, I recommend the same regimen I recommend to people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Placing a prefix before the word “diabetes” doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about, it simply means early intervention is needed.
Myth #4: People with Diabetes have to eat a very restricted diet
Fact: This myth floors me. People with any form of Diabetes need to eat a very nutritious diet, but not one that is severely restricted. I will admit that my research and personal experience with diet cause me to disagree with the typical regimen prescribed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The ADA encourages people with Diabetes to eat high amounts of carbohydrates and to avoid fats, stating that carbohydrates are essential for energy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client come to see me and claim their dietitian is trying to kill them. People with Diabetes can eat carbohydrates, but I encourage them to primarily eat low-glycemic carbohydrates that don’t require large amounts of insulin. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so weight loss is often dependent upon eating in a fashion that allows the body to produce less insulin. Eating in this manner may also improve insulin resistance, as a lower amount of insulin in the blood stream may help the body’s cells not be “overwhelmed” by it. For more information on effective eating styles for controlling glucose levels, please read: Why Mainstream Diabetes Diets Often Fail.
The typical eating style I recommend for people with any form of diabetes is highly personalized to meet the physical and personal needs of each person. I typically encourage the use of low-glycemic carbohydrates in somewhat limited quantities. I basically encourage my clients to use a similar eating style to that which I use. Why? Because the eating style I use – which is not at all restrictive – allowed me to cut my insulin needs to less than a third of what they were ten years ago and to reduce my Hemoglobin A1C from 8.5% to a typical reading of 5.7%. Hemoglobin A1C is an “average” of blood glucose levels over a three-month period. “Normal” levels are said to be between 4.5 – 6.0%. I know people who are not diabetic who have higher A1C readings than I do. Not bad for someone who’s had Type 1 Diabetes for more than 46 years! (On a side note, I recommend asking your doctor to run an A1C after age 40 simply to establish a baseline that can be used to spot any changes.)
The program I recommend to people who have insulin resistance or full-blown Diabetes is always very personalized. Cookie-cutter approaches don’t work. I customize the approach to be suitable for anyone of any age and any body size, including pregnant women and children – with physician approval.
Myth #5: I had gestational diabetes, but I’m no longer pregnant so I don’t need to worry about it
Fact: The incidence of developing Type 2 Diabetes is significantly higher for women who had Gestational Diabetes. Those women obviously need to make careful dietary changes while pregnant in order to maintain normal glucose levels and protect their baby, but should consider continuing to consume fewer carbohydrates and lower-glycemic carbohydrates after giving birth. Making post-partum dietary changes may help improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Note: None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. This information is shared for informational purposes only and should never be used to replace standard medical care. Always check with your physician before making any changes to diet or lifestyle, and never adjust medication or begin taking supplements without your physician’s recommendation.
Infant Feeding in Finnish Children <7 yr of Age With Newly Diagnosed IDDM. 10.2337/diacare.14.5.415 Diabetes Care May 1991 vol. 14no. 5 415-417.
Cow’s milk consumption, HLA-DQB1 genotype, and type 1 diabetes: a nested case-control study of siblings of children with diabetes. Childhood diabetes in Finland study group. 10.2337/diabetes.49.6.912. Diabetes June 2000 vol. 49no. 6 912-917
Infant feeding and the risk of type 1 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr May 2010vol. 91 no. 5 1506S-1513S
There is a Cure for Diabetes, Gabriel Cousens, multiple references.
This post is a follow-up to Surprising Facts About the Common Cold. You may want to read that post before you read this.
I’m often amazed at how many people are affected each year by colds and flu’s that attack their depression immune system. So what can you do to protect yourself? Here are the steps I recommend to shorten a cold. Using these techniques have very successfully helped many people shorten the duration of illness and reduce the severity of their symptoms. Doing the following may help shorten the duration of a cold:
- The Obvious: Drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods (lots of fruits and veggies), and avoid sugar at all costs. A single teaspoon of sugar suppresses the immune system from two to six hours, so a single can of soda could potentially make you more susceptible to colds for up to 24 hours. It’s not worth it. Another tip that should be obvious is to please blow your nose, constantly if necessary, so that you don’t swallow infected mucous. Do I really need to say anything more? Another tip is to take at least 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D daily to boost immunity and help prevent colds before they start. You can take higher doses while fighting a cold.
- Use a Neti Pot with Additives: I recommend using a Neti Pot twice daily to help clear congestion, reduce inflammation and eliminate virus-infected mucous from the sinus passages. You can increase the effects of a Neti Pot by adding two to three tablespoons of Colloidal Silver or 30-60 drops of Goldenseal Extract. Both of these additives can also be taken internally. (Read The Wonders of Goldenseal for more info on this great herb.) If you’ve never used a Neti Pot, please rest assured that it is not an unpleasant experience. When done correctly, you should feel next to nothing while using it. The trick is to keep your mouth open and make sure your head is pointed slightly forward. If you find yourself gagging, change your head tilt to correct this. Please ONLY use distilled water in your Neti Pot.
- Make Clove Tea to Soothe a Sore Throat: Cloves not only have an anesthetizing effect but are also one of the highest sources of antioxidants on the planet. (Antioxidants are known to lower infection rates from viruses and bacteria.) Make clove tea by putting one to two tablespoons of whole cloves in a tea strainer and allowing to seep in hot water for five minutes. (You can also put the cloves directly in the water and then scoop them out. They float, so scooping them out is relatively easy.) Add stevia to sweeten it if needed. This tea is a true blessing for a sore throat. The warmth is very soothing, the steam will help clear the sinuses, and the cloves work as an anesthetic to kill the sore throat pain. This tea is a perfect remedy for children, as they generally like the taste and will enjoy not having a sore throat. The fact the tea also makes the mouth numb is a minor inconvenience.
- Take Extra Vitamin C: The body uses Vitamin C to produce the white blood cells which are responsible for fighting viral infections. The recommended dosage of Vitamin C is typically 1000-5000 mg/day. Taking excess Vitamin C produces an “ascorbic acid” flush and causes diarrhea, but during a cold your body can absorb far more. Since getting sick, I’ve been taking an average of 25,000-65,000 mg in divided doses throughout the day and have not experienced the flush effect. This means my body is craving the Vitamin C and is using every single bit of it to fight this cold. During a cold, I recommend starting with 4000 mg/day and very gradually working up to 10,000 mg/day. (Note: I can tolerate higher amounts of Vitamin C because I receive intravenous Vitamin C in huge doses to combat autoimmune issues. Please don’t take the same dosage I take.) You can also use other immunity boosters, such as Zinc, Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Garlic, etc. Please follow the dosage recommended on the bottle.
- Use Elderberry Extract: Elderberry Extract is one of the strongest anti-viral ingredients known, yet it is 100% natural and will not react with any prescription medications. It is known to very effectively and very quickly kill viral cells. Some expert estimate that 1000s of deaths could have been prevented if Elderberry Extract were distributed during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. It is a powerful antiviral that works very quickly. It is very easy to take, tastes good, and is safe for children.
- Use an Immunity-Boosting Combination Supplement: Instead of taking 40 different pills every day, take a combination supplement designed to boost immunity. A few of my favorites that can be easily found in health food stores include: 1) SystemWell by Nature’s Way: SystemWell helps protect and improve cellular health, digestive immunity, respiratory immunity, systemic, lymphatic and circulatory immunity. It’s a great product and works well. 2) Full Spectrum Immunity Defense: This is a heavy-hitter containing 18 of the top immunity-boosters known. It is a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals and herbs. I highly recommend it! The dosage can be increased based on need, which is nice.
- Use Monolaurin: Monolaurin is potent antibiotic and antiviral. It is a simple fatty-acid that is present in breast milk and is considered to be one of the components responsible for boosting immunity in breast-fed babies. It is also present in extra virgin coconut oil and a few other vegetable oils. Monolaurin is one of my “can’t live without” supplements, mainly because it’s so darn effective! It is also perfectly safe, having no known interactions with other supplements or prescription medications. The bottle recommends taking three to six 600mg capsules daily, but many MDs who prescribe Monolaurin recommend using higher doses at the beginning of a cold.
- Use Proteolytic Enzymes: Proteolytic enzymes help by reducing the inflammation that contributes to congestion and irritated nasal passages. They also help kill viruses. Most viruses have cell walls that are made of proteins. Using a proteolytic enzyme containing high amounts of Protease (which digests protein) on an empty stomach will work to destroy the cell wall of virus cells, thereby killing them. The most important part of proteolytic enzymes is to always take them on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before eating or two hours after eating. If you take them with food in the stomach, the enzymes will help digest the food and will not get into the blood stream to work their magic. The company Enzymedica makes what I consider the best product in the business for combating viruses: ViruStop 2x. I highly recommend it! The best of the best in terms of a mainstream proteolytic enzyme that functions as an anti-inflammatory is Wobenzym. Wobenzym is also useful for inflammatory arthritis, bursitis, and other joint issues, and is used in Germany as part of a cancer treatment.
- Cook Up a Healing Soup: I don’t want you slaving all day in the kitchen, but tossing handfuls of anti-oxidant rich veggies into the crockpot/slow cooker with lots of mineral-rich veggie broth, meat of choice (or not), and immune-boosting spices can do wonders for a cold. It’s also easy to digest, allowing your body to dedicate more energy to healing than to digestion. As you sit and sip, the vapors from the soup will help clear out your nasal passages and the warmth will soothe your throat. Herbs and spices that are known to boost immunity include: garlic, oregano, turmeric, sage, basil, ginger, cayenne, rosemary, and many others. Ginger is especially nice because it opens blood vessels, allowing the body’s own defenses to circulate more easily. See my next hint for another potential use.
- Take an Anti-Virus Bath: Taking a bath is a simple way to help your body eliminate toxins and viruses. It is also wonderfully soothing, so why not take advantage of it? Here’s my favorite blend for baths: 1-inch (grated) of ginger root to increase circulation, warm you up and help you sweat out the virus; 10 drops of tea tree oil to boost immunity and help pull toxins out of your system; 2 cups of Epsom salts to increase your magnesium and to soothe aches and pains (See Why You Need More Magnesium for more info); 3-4 drops Eucalyptus oil as a decongestant; 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar to help your body expel mucous. Add everything to the tub while the water is running, and then sink into the warmth and think positive, healing thoughts for 20 minutes. You’ll feel better immediately and will sleep like a baby! You can repeat part of this process in the morning by putting 30-40 drops of Eucalyptus oil on a washcloth and placing it on the shower floor to inhale while you take a hot shower, or by using Aura Cacia’s Eucalyptus Shower Tablets. Eucalyptus is a wonderful decongestant that is also known to be antiviral and to boost the body’s immunity. For more bath info, read: Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients.
Ok … you obviously can’t do every single one of those. Since several of you have already asked, following is a list of what I’m doing on a daily basis to combat this cold. Please note that what’s right for me may not be right for you. Please consult a trained professional before taking any of the supplements mentioned, and please note that I have extremely high tolerance to some of these supplements and therefore take higher doses than what is typically recommended. The fact my cold is moving through incredibly rapidly and is diminishing quickly is testimony to the fact that these things truly work:
- Nightly detox bath
- Drinking high amounts of water, green tea and an immunity-boosting tea
- Eating lots of soup loaded with a rainbow of veggies and lots of dark, leafy greens; completely avoiding grains, dairy and all sugars. (Eating 100% organic, non-processed foods will also reduce your body’s toxicity and boost immunity.)
- Taking high doses of Vitamin C, Goldenseal (60 drops four times daily for five days; then 30 drops three times daily until symptoms subside), Monolaurin (900-1200 mg four times daily). During the first few days, I used Agricept (10 drops in one ounce of water) every two hours.
- Drinking lots of probiotic-rich coconut water kefir every day
- Using a neti pot with goldenseal tincture and colloidal silver twice daily
- Light yoga daily
- I broke down and got an antiviral IV from a functional medicine MD. If you have access to a doctor who offers IV therapies, I highly recommend these when you come down with a cold or flu. The IV contains vitamins, minerals, glutathione (a natural amino acid that is an antioxidant, immunity booster and detoxifier). The antiviral IVs are a great way to get rid of a viral infection quickly. I felt better within an hour and will get another one tomorrow to help protect me when I fly to LA on Friday.
Many people are surprised to hear I am available to assist with temporary ailments and do not limit my practice to chronic conditions. If you are struggling with a cold, flu or other short-term challenge, please consider scheduling a 15-minute phone consultation. Feel free to email me or call 317.489.0909 to schedule.
Please consult a medical professional if your cold persists, if you have an extremely high fever, or if you develop a severe cough. As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please check with your personal health practitioner before making any changes to your health regimen. I hope you feel better soon!