Category Archives: dysbiosis

Are These Garden of LIfe Probiotics Worth the Cost?

Garden of Life LogoI recently received the opportunity to review several Garden of Life products, including their line of Doctor Formulated Probiotics. In the spirit of full disclosure, please be aware I was given these products for free. I  tried two of them myself and gave the others to clients who volunteered to try them and report their results. As you read this review, it will be obvious the fact I received free product in no way influenced my review. I am brutally honest and am fully committed to always sharing the truth. Please note that some of the links shared in this post are affiliate links for which I receive a very small sum if you make a purchase after clicking the link. These small affiliate sums help pay the costs of maintaining this website.

I reviewed a meal replacement powder, several probiotics, and several organic multivitamins. The products I reviewed and my opinion of each follow. I’m covering the probiotic line first, as it’s one that has products marketed toward the entire family. I’ll review the other products in future articles.

Dr. Formulated Probiotics

This line of probiotics was formulated by Dr. Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist who is a recognized expert on nutrition, the gut-brain connection, gluten issues, and neurodegenerative disorders. The entire line includes broad spectrum probiotics with a high number of active cultures and a large number of bacterial strains. Each product is hypoallergenic, vegetarian, and free of gluten, dairy and soy.  The probiotics in each product are specially formulated to be resistant to stomach acid and bile so they reach the digestive tract. (Many probiotics on the market are not, so they are consumed by stomach acid and bile and never reach the digestive tract.) Those are all definite “pros” related to this line. 

It is also important to note that Garden of Life is the only manufacturer of OTC probiotics that ships them in refrigerated trucks. This ensures the probiotic strains stay viable. Most other manufacturers ship in regular trucks, which means the heat during the summer may very well diminish the potency of the products. Garden of Life shipped me the Prostate+ product in a cooler filled with ice packs. I was impressed. In spite of that, the cost required to do so doesn’t seem to have impacted the cost of these probiotics. They range in price from $21 for the children’s up to around $40 for the probiotic with the highest potency. Those prices are in line with similar probiotic products, and are less expensive than some which are only sold to doctor’s offices but which have fewer strains and lower potency.

The complete line includes general formulas and specific formulas for the following:

  • Mood+:  A combination of organic Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb known ot assist with stress, combined with probiotic strains known to help support neurotransmitter balance.
  • Prostate+:  A formula that combines organic herbal remedies known to support prostate health combined with specific probiotic strains known to do the same.
  • Urinary Tract Plus:  A combination of organic cranberry extract combined with Vitamin D and strains known to boost immunity to support the body’s natural ability to resist e coli.
  • Fitbiotic:  A combination of healthy organic fiber combined with probiotic strains known to support weight loss and blood sugar levels.
  • Once Daily Ultra:  This probiotic contains a whopping 90 billion active cultures and also contains lactobacillus gasseri, a strain known to support healthy blood sugar levels. Not many probiotics on the market contain that strain.
  • Once Daily Women’s:  A nice blend specifically designed for women’s physiology. Is shelf stable, meaning it maintains its potency without being refrigerated. (However, for best results I don’t recommend storing these in hot, steamy bathrooms.)
  • Once Daily Men’s:  The counterpart to the women’s version. My male clients liked only having to take one capsule per day.
  • Children’s Plus Chewable:  A nice blend that includes 5 billion active cultures along with Vitamin C and Vitamin D in an organic, all-natural tablet that actually tastes good. I have many clients who found their kids didn’t get sick as often when they happily ate one of these each morning during the winter.

It’s a simple fact that most of us need a probiotic and would benefit from taking one every day. I like this line and especially like that it contains strains of probiotics that most OTC probiotics do not. I’ve used the 

I like this line and I especially like the products designed to support specific systems. In the midst of that, be aware that the specific support products aren’t designed to be used alone. They should always be used as part of a support program and not used as the sole product. It would be impossible to include therapeutic doses of additional support ingredients in a single dose, so the products for specific systems don’t contain a large enough quantity of additional ingredients to provide a strong amount of therapeutic support. 

My clients who used these products reported the following:

  • Several saw improvements in digestion, ranging from being more regular to having less indigestion. One saw loose stools completely disappear. She had resisted using a probiotic prior to this, even though I had recommended it repeatedly.
  • More than one reported feeling more energy throughout the day.
  • A male client who was using the Prostate+ product said everyone in his office came down with a nasty virus, but he skated through without so much as a sniffle.
  • A client who used Urinary Tract+ said, “I liked knowing this provided extra support, but really think the D-Mannose I was taking helped prevent UTIs more than this did.” 
  • One client had mild detox symptoms associated with having harmful bacteria in her gut die off. Those symptoms disappeared once we reduced her dosage from once daily to once every-other day. She was able to return to a once-daily dose two weeks later, and I recommended other steps to help improve the balance of good and bad bacteria in her digestive tract.

The only “cons” I found with this line of probiotics were related to the fact the products marketed to benefit specific systems don’t contain therapeutic doses of additional nutrients, and that this line can only be purchased online or in specialty health food stores. Those are paltry issues when compared to the other benefits of these probiotics.

Are they worth the money? In my opinion, that answer to that question is a definite YES.

Common Uses for Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver has been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with Colloidal Silver, please read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more information about the myths surrounding Colloidal Silver. This article shares the most common uses for Colloidal Silver. There are many other uses, but the most common ones are described here with information on the safest way to use colloidal silver for each application.

Please note all information shared in this article is shared for educational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Please discuss any changes in your lifestyle or health regimen with your physician. Never take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.

The most common uses for colloidal silver include:

Water Purification

if you have any doubts about the purity of water, colloidal silver can be used to purify it and remove bacteria. Use at a ration of one tablespoon colloidal silver to one gallon of water. If you are trying to purify water from an outdoor source, filter the water first. Proof of its effectiveness is that NASA used a silver purification system on the space shuttles and many airlines use silver filtration combined with hydrogen peroxide to purify the water on their planes.

Oral Care

Soak your tooth brushes between uses to ensure they are free from bacteria, viruses and fungus. I have a dental partial which I also soak in colloidal silver a few times a week. As an added benefit, add a bit of colloidal silver to your oral irrigator to help control oral bacterial. I make my own toothpaste and mouthwash and always add colloidal silver.

Nasal Irrigation and Sprays

Colloidal silver can be used in a neti pot as a nasal wash. Many people have reported success in reversing colds and sinus infections using colloidal silver, but please do not substitute colloidal silver for an antibiotic if your doctor has identified a severe sinus infection. Colloidal silver can also be used as a nasal spray to help diminish symptoms of allergies.

Household Cleaning

Colloidal silver is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. For that reason, it makes an effective household cleaner. Keep a spray bottle filled with it and use as a topical disinfectant on counter tops, as an anti-fungal spray in the bathroom, or as a means of preventing bacterial growth on kitchen sponges and dishrags. It is also a very effective cleaner for trash cans and diaper pails. If you make your own household cleaners, adding a few ounces of colloidal silver can boost their effectiveness.

Conjunctivitis

In my household, we have always used colloidal silver at the first sign of an eye infection or conjunctivitis. I place 3-5 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in the affected eye every two hours until the issue clears. However, I watch the condition of the eye closely and immediately seek medical attention if the condition does not improve within two to three hours. Please do not substitute colloidal silver for a physician’s care. Any issue affecting the eyes should be immediately addressed by a medical professional.

Skin Care

Colloidal silver is popularly used for mild abrasions, burns, fungal infections and even acne and eczema. One advantage of colloidal silver is that it does not harm skin cells as many topical antiseptics do. (Please never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound or sore. It kills new cell growth and may slow healing.) Many people find that spraying colloidal silver onto minor burns and abrasions speeds healing and helps prevent infection. (The key word there is “minor.” Serious wounds and burns require medical attention.) 

Internally

I purposely left this topic for last. Most of the controversy surrounding colloidal silver revolves around its use internally. Every person has his or her own opinion about whether or not colloidal silver is “safe” to use internally. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people use it internally on a daily basis. These people experience health benefits with no negative consequences from the colloidal silver. If you’re comfortable using colloidal silver internally, then do so in a controlled manner and do plenty of research. If you are not comfortable using it, never let anyone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Each person must decide what is right for him or her. I believe colloidal silver can be very effective and used without danger if:

  • A true colloidal silver is used. Be sure your colloidal silver is a colloid and not a protein synthesis. Most of the products sold over the counter are ionic, not colloidal. Ionic silver solutions are clear; colloidal silver solutions are brown or rust colored, not clear. Ionic solutions are safe to use, but are not as strong as a true colloid.  Beware of any product that foams when shaken and has bubbles that remain for several minutes, as that product is most likely a protein synthesis which may be dangerous.
    .
  • A realistic, safe dosage is used. Dr. Mercola recommends the following formula to determine the appropriate amount of colloidal silver to take on a daily basis:
    .
    12 times body weight divided by the colloidal silver strength (ppm) = drops that can be safely ingested on a daily basis
    .
    If someone weighs 150 pounds and is using a colloidal silver at a strength of 10 ppm, the equation becomes:
    .
    150 lbs x 12 = 1800 / 10 ppm = 180 drops per day. (One tablespoon is approximately 180 drops.)Having shared that,
    .
    I can also share that many people take much higher doses during an illness. Please contact a trained professional for guidance on what dosage is correct for your personal needs.
    .
  • Colloidal silver should never be used by anyone who has an allergy to silver jewelry.
  • Use caution when reading about people who claim colloidal silver miraculously cured them of incurable diseases. I’m not saying their claims are not true, but each person’s situation is very different. Use caution and do extensive research.

I use colloidal silver on a daily basis. Since starting to use it daily, I have experienced fewer bladder infections, lower yeast levels, improved digestion and slightly lower blood glucose levels. My experience was very positive, but each person must monitor his or her health and make changes as needed.

We make our own colloidal silver using this generator: LifeForce Compact X-2 Colloidal Silver Generator. Please note it is imperative to use distilled water and extremely pure silver if making your own colloidal silver. We also use a TDS Meter to measure the potency of our colloidal silver so we know exactly what we’re using.

If you don’t want to make your own colloidal silver, I highly recommend Sovereign Silver colloidal silver. It is sold in most health food stores and is highly reliable.

What do you think? Do you use colloidal silver? If so, what do you use it for and how do you use it?

Difference Between Lactose Intolerance and Dairy Allergy

Milk drop

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

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks sufficient lactase, the enzyme required to digest the sugars in dairy. The enzyme is lactase, dairy sugar is lactose. The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be as mild as a bit of gas or bloating, or may be extreme enough to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Each person will lactose intolerance will respond very differently. The symptoms result because the enzyme lactase is needed to break milk sugar (lactose) down into simpler sugars which can be absorbed and metabolized. If the lactose is not broken down, the body cannot absorb it and will experience digestive distress. Some people with lactose intolerance may also experience fatigue due to the strain caused when dairy is ingested. The amount of dairy required to cause a reaction in someone who is lactose intolerant varies from person to person. Some people must consume large amounts of dairy, while others can safely consume small amounts before experiencing symptoms.

Lactose intolerance may occur in infancy, but more commonly develops later in life. Lactose intolerance can be inherited and may run in families. It can also develop as a secondary challenge resulting from digestive disorders that damage the colon, such as Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, etc. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed through a Hydrogen Breath Test in adults or via a Stool Acidity Test in children.

Most people can counteract the effects of lactose intolerance by limiting dairy consumption or by taking a digestive enzyme containing high amounts of lactase when they eat dairy. My favorites include: 

Lacto by Enzymedica (My favorite enzyme company)

Dairy Digest Complete by NOW Foods

Dairy (Casein or Whey) Allergy

Dairy allergies are an autoimmune reaction to one or more proteins found in dairy. Casein is the most common dairy protein that causes a dairy allergy. (A dairy allergy may also be the result of an autoimmune reaction to other chemicals in dairy, but casein and whey are the most common.) Reactions to a dairy allergy may be very mild or may be life-threatening, and can affect every body system. There are over 200 symptoms that may be caused by a dairy allergy. The symptoms may include severe or mild digestive distress, skin reactions, respiratory distress, cognitive and emotional issues, and many more.

The reactions occur when the body comes to regard chemicals in milk as “foreign invaders” that must be attacked and neutralized. To neutralize the invader, the body releases antibodies. These antibodies get carried throughout the body via the bloodstream and can therefore cause reactions in any part of the body. Dairy allergies are typically the result of one or more autoimmune genes getting turned “on.”

Dairy allergies can occur at any stage of life. Babies are sometimes born with a dairy allergy. Other people develop  a dairy allergy much later in life. Dairy allergies often appear to develop very suddenly. Causes of dairy allergies have been linked to Candida overgrowth (click link to learn more), feeds containing genetically modified produce fed to dairy cows, genetics, environmental toxins, and many unknown causes. Sadly, the incidence of dairy allergies is rising at a rate that is much higher than population growth.  

Dairy allergies require the affected person to completely avoid all foods containing dairy. This can be difficult because many processed foods contain ingredients that can set off a reaction but whose ingredient list does not contain words associated with dairy. Some people can reverse their dairy allergy by strictly avoiding dairy for six to twelve months, but others cannot. Some children outgrow a dairy allergy, while others do not. Because most allergies result when a gene is turned “on,” it can be very difficult to reverse milk allergies. Reducing or reversing a dairy allergy must include steps to also heal the digestive tract. Extreme measures are typically required to reverse the allergy, but it is possible for some people to eventually eat small amounts of dairy very occasionally without a negative reaction.

I personally had a dairy allergy so severe that I vomited multiple times per day and was extremely ill for many months. Before recognizing my allergy, I lost over 30 pounds, was extremely weak, had hair loss, was extremely grumpy and irritable, had severe acne, and had explosive diarrhea that made leaving the house difficult. To put it mildly, I was miserable. My dairy allergy was identified by a test called the ELISA Allergy Test. This is the test I recommend to my clients who have symptoms indicating a food allergy. (I’m now able to very occasionally eat small amounts of dairy without visible symptoms, although I know my digestive system remains healthiest if I refrain.)

Food allergies can be identified through blood tests, elimination diets, or muscle response testing. I do not recommend using “skin prick” testing for food allergies, as that form of testing is very inaccurate and often incorrect. Blood testing is also often inaccurate unless dairy is consumed within 72 hours of the blood draw, but there are tests which can identify the presence of dairy antibodies without recent dairy consumption.

One of the most popular ways of reversing dairy allergies is by following a diet called the GAPS diet. “GAPS” stands for “Gut and Psychology Syndrome or “Gut and Physiology Syndrome.” Click the link the view copies of the book that describes the protocol to be followed.

If you have digestive issues, constant congestion or cough, chronic fatigue, eczema or other symptoms you have been unable to remedy, you may have a food allergy or sensitivity. I have helped many people with food allergies and would love to help. Please contact me via email or by calling 317.489.0909 to schedule a consultation.

Have you dealt with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy? How did you figure it out? What tips can you share about coping on a daily basis?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/toru_okada/

Candida Self Assessment

Candida overgrowth has become an epidemic that is often unrecognized. I developed this Candida Self CandidaAssessment to help you identify whether or not Candida may be a factor that is negatively impacting your health. Please note that not all fungal overgrowths include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.

Unfortunately, Candida often gets ignored and few medical professionals recognize that Candida overgrowth can negatively impact every body system. Even fewer realize Candida overgrowth can be a contributing factor to many very common chronic conditions. This Candida Self Assessment is a very simple way of identifying habits, history and symptoms that may indicate your body has a yeast imbalance. This test is shared for educational purposes only and is not a diagnostic tool.

If you would like to learn more about Candida, please visit the following articles:

Please note that the Candida Self Assessment will not give you a diagnosis of Candida overgrowth and that Candida is not the sole cause of the factors mentioned in the assessment. The self assessment is simply a tool to use to evaluate whether or not Candida may play a role in your health challenges. The Candida Self Assessment can be used to help you determine if you should consider seeking assistance from a health professional to begin the process of balancing the yeasts in your body.

To take the Candida Self Assessment, score 1 point for every “YES” answer to each of the following questions. The scoring profile follows the assessment.

Candida Self Assessment

Do/did/were you now or during the past three years:

  1. Told you have a heavy metal toxicity?
  2. Belch frequently?
  3. Crave alcohol?
  4. Crave breads, pastas, crackers, etc.?
  5. Drink more than 16 ounces of beer or wine per week?
  6. Drink more than 6 ounces of distilled alcohol (vodka, rum, etc.) per week?
  7. Feel depressed?
  8. Feel fatigued frequently?
  9. Feel you have “brain fog?”
  10. Have a coated tongue?
  11. Have abdominal bloating or gas?
  12. Have acne?
  13. Have white, flaky patches on the skin?
  14. Have ADHD/ADD or lack of impulse control?
  15. Have amalgam fillings?
  16. Have an inability to concentrate?
  17. Have an inability to lose weight or an inability to gain weight?
  18. Have asthma or hay fever?
  19. Have athlete’s foot?
  20. Have dandruff?
  21. Have diabetes or hypoglycemia?
  22. Have discomfort during intercourse?
  23. Have dizziness?
  24. Have dry mouth?
  25. Have ear pain?
  26. Have elevated liver enzymes?
  27. Have endometriosis or infertility?
  28. Have fluid in the ear or frequent ear or sinus infections?
  29. Have food allergies?
  30. Have frequent bad breath?
  31. Have frequent boils?
  32. Have frequent colds or flus?
  33. Have frequent headaches?
  34. Have frequent heartburn?
  35. Have frequent hives?
  36. Have frequent hoarseness and/or postnasal drip?
  37. Have frequent insomnia?
  38. Have frequent irritability?
  39. Have frequent mood swings?
  40. Have frequent nasal congestion or stuffiness, especially on rainy days?
  41. Have frequent numbness or tingling?
  42. Have frequent rashes?
  43. Have frequent sore throat?
  44. Have frequent urinary tract infections?
  45. Have frequent vaginal yeast infections?
  46. Have frequent water retention?
  47. Have hemorrhoids?
  48. Have impotence?
  49. Have inflamed prostate?
  50. Have irritation in folds of skin or in areas where joints bend?
  51. Have irritation near areas rubbed by waistband, underwear elastic, bra, etc.?
  52. Have itchy skin?
  53. Have jock itch?
  54. Have loss of sexual desire?
  55. Have frequent mouth sores or blisters?
  56. Have mucous in stools?
  57. Have muscle aches?
  58. Have occasional or frequent constipation?
  59. Have occasional or frequent diarrhea?
  60. Have pain or swelling in your joints?
  61. Have persistent anal itching?
  62. Have persistent vaginal itching or burning?
  63. Have poor memory sometimes?
  64. Have premenstrual tension?
  65. Have psoriasis or eczema?
  66. Have rapid mood swings?
  67. Have ringworm or other fungal skin infections?
  68. Have thrush (oral yeast infection)?
  69. Have toe or fingernail fungus?
  70. Have urinary urge or frequency?
  71. Sometimes have abdominal pain?
  72. Take an antacid or prescription such as Nexxium, Prevavid, Protonix, Prilosec, etc.?
  73. Take antibiotics in the past five years? (Score 1 point for each time one was prescribed or refilled)
  74. Take Prednisone or other corticosteroids? (Score 1 point for every time one was prescribed or refilled)
  75. Taken oral birth control for more than two months in the past five years?

Candida Self Assessment Scoring:

  • 0-10 Points: Congratulations! The likelihood of Candida affecting your health is very low. Keep up the great work!
  • 11-25 Points: The likelihood of Candida being a factor that is affecting your health is likely, but the effects are probably minimal at this point.. You may benefit from making lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of Candida in your system.
  • 26-55 Points: Candida is probably an issue that is negatively affecting your health. Taking action to reduce Candida will most likely benefit your health in multiple ways.
  • 56-75 Points: It is highly likely that Candida is negatively affecting your health in multiple ways. Taking action now to reduce Candida will most likely improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally.

If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Pamela. She uses a customized Candida protocol that not only helps kill Candida but also strengthens your body to help it naturally balance Candida. The 12-week program is comprehensive and very effective.

Are you familiar with Candida? Was your score a surprise? Please share!

The Joy of Fruitless Smoothies

Picture of a sliced avocado

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.

Following are some guidelines you can use as a basis for creating wonderful fruit-free smoothies:
  • 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.
Using these guidelines and a bit of creativity, you can create a multitude of uniquely delicious and nutritional smoothies. Your options are limitless! Following are a few smoothie recipes I enjoy. Please let me know what you think of them!

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.

Ingredients:
 
1 avocado, diced
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
5-10 drops of a trace mineral
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)
 
Place ingredients in regular blender or high-powered blender and blend well.  Drink 1-2 cups for breakfast and save the rest for a mid-morning snack.

Red Light District Smoothie

This smoothie is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C.

Ingredients:
 
1 diced organic tomato
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
 
Place ingredients in regular blender or high-powered blender and blend well.  Drink 1-2 cups for breakfast and save the rest for a mid-morning snack. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon
 

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 Dairy-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.

Ingredients:
 
1 avocado, diced
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)
Organic cinnamon  or organic nutmeg to taste if desired
 
Place ingredients in regular blender or high-powered blender and blend well.  Drink 1-2 cups for breakfast and save the rest for a mid-morning snack. This is one of my favorite treats.
 
Please consider these recipes to merely be a suggestion. Run with them and modify them to your heart’s content.
 
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.
 
Have fun!

Candida Battle Plan – How to Win!

Before reading this post, please read my prior two posts related to Candida: Candida Basics-Important Information, Candida Self Assessment, and Dietary Options for Organs Affected by CandidaCandida. Those posts provide a great foundation of information that will help provide perspective for this post.

One of the most common issues I see when people try to battle systemic yeast overgrowth is that they only attack it from one direction. Unfortunately, Candida requires a multifaceted approach that requires changes to dietary intake, lifestyle habits, and usually requires a supplement regimen. Carefully selected supplements are used to kill the biofilm Candida uses to protect itself, restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract, and kill Candida cells. I also find that many people benefit from including a liver-cleansing supplement to assist the body in eliminating the dead yeast cells; and many people require immune-boosting assistance and/or a program to restore gut health and address leaky gut. The Biofilm Protocol program I use has a 12-week regimen that addresses each of these factors. The regimen starts very slowly and gradually increases the intensity of the approach so that my clients don’t have to endure horrific die off symptoms.

A summary of the changes required to combat Candida follow. Please note that each person’s needs will be very unique, so the program must be tailored to fit the specific physiology and systemic needs of the person.

Temporary Changes in Eating Habits

I cannot stress enough that Candida cannot be effectively addressed without changing how the person eats. In other words, you can’t win the battle if you’re still feeding the enemy. You could take mountains of pills on a daily basis, but the supplements will be useless if your diet still contains high amounts of foods that feed the yeast. Please read Dietary Options for Candida for an overview of a typical Candida eating style. In addition to temporarily making changes to how someone eats, most people also need to follow a program to restore general gut health and restore normal gut permeability.

Lifestyle Changes

The primary lifestyle changes that are necessary to stop Candida overgrowth may include:

  • Avoid antibiotics if at all possible. Work with a trained practitioner who can provide advice on alternatives. If an antibiotic is necessary during the 12-week program, the dosage of certain supplements may need to be increased and some may need to be taken at different times of day. Related to this, I strongly encourage my clients to only eat organic meat if possible so that they are not exposed to low levels of antibiotics contained in commercially farmed animals. (There are times that an antibiotic is absolutely necessary. Please never refuse an antibiotic if your doctor deems it necessary and/or if natural approaches have not reversed the issue.)
  • Elimination of alcohol (It’s temporary … you can do it!)
  • Avoid vinegars at all costs. Vinegars feed yeasts like crazy. Anyone who has ever watched vinegar be added to a petri dish filled with yeast cells can vouch that vinegars – even raw apple cider vinegar – should be avoided.
  • In a perfect world, birth control should be discontinued, as most birth control pills used in the US create an environment that feeds Candida. If switching to a barrier method is not possible or desired (which I completely understand), some supplements may need to be taken in a higher dosage.
  • Elimination of heavy metals in body – This may require removal of amalgam fillings or going through an internal heavy metal cleanse. Heavy metals have a tendency to create an environment that is acidic and devoid of oxygen, situations which Candida thrive on.
  • Depending on the person’s health, I sometimes recommend an immunity-boosting regimen before starting the Candida protocol. I also often work to restore normal permeability of the digestive tract.
  • Depending on the person’s symptoms, there are sometimes other lifestyle changes that may be necessary. These changes may include temporary changes in clothing worn, sexual habits or toilet habits.

Supplementation

Please note that I never use a “prescriptive” approach to helping people address their health challenges. I always select specific supplements to address specific issues, but I make sure the supplement(s) used are appropriate for other challenges the person is addressing. Having said that, the following types of supplements are typically needed during a Candida regimen. This is merely a starting point, as many people require additional systemic support during a cleanse. Please consult a trained practitioner to determine which options are best for your specific needs.

  • Probiotics: I generally recommend taking a probiotic of at least 30 billion active cultures once daily on an empty stomach, but also recommend taking a probiotic of lesser strength with every meal. The importance of regulating the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract cannot be underestimated. My favorite probiotics include any of the following:
  1. Renew Life Senior Formula
  2. Renew Life Adult Formula
  3. Garden of Life Raw Probiotic for Women

Doses will vary based on the person, the severity of the issues, and which day of the Biofilm Protocol the person is on.

I also like the products shown below. (Click to view):

 

  • Anti-Candida Enzymes: Enzymes are an essential part of the Candida battle plan because they consume the protective layer Candida surrounds itself with and ultimately consume the yeast cells and the dead yeast cells. These enzymes MUST be taken on an empty stomach (at least 30 minutes before or two hours after eating) to be effective. The enzymes not only help kill the yeast cells, but can also help diminish the inevitable die-off symptoms. I like either of the following:
  1. Pure Essence Candex
  2. Renew Life CandiZyme
  • Antimicrobials/Antifungals: There are a wide variety of options available for killing live yeast cells. The problem is that yeast are very adaptive and soon grow resistant if the same antimicrobial agent is used for too long. Some of the most commonly used antimicrobials, such as Oregano Oil and Garlic, are no longer as effective as they used to be. I like the following, although a wide array of other options exists:
  1. Agrisept-L: A powerful citrus seed extract that is antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial … pretty much anti-everything. This is a powerful remedy to keep on hand for a wide variety of uses. One word of warning: It tastes horrible. (Must be honest.) I recommend starting with 5-10 drops in two ounces of water with 1-2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil added to diminish the awful taste.

  1. Solaray Candida Cleanse: This is a simple-to-use antifungal combination supplement that combines a fantastic array of antifungal agents. Each bottle lasts two weeks. Starting with this cleanse and then graduating to 20-30 drops of Agrisept-L on a daily basis is usually a nice approach for many people.

As I stated previously, this is merely a starting point of options. Most people require other assistance during a Candida cleanse. Please note this information is shared for informational purposes only. None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please consult your physician or a trained practitioner before making major  lifestyle changes or before taking new supplements.

My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting systemic imbalances. I have helped thousands of people eliminate the challenges caused by Candida overgrowth If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

What are your thoughts? Have you battled Candida? What worked for you? Please share!

Candida Basics: Important Info

I confess I’ve started this post multiple times and then rejected it because the topic of Candida is too large to tackle in a Candidasingle post. I therefore chose to share multiple posts about Candida and its effects. Those posts include:

Introduction

Candida is, quite simply, yeast. We all need a tiny bit of it in our systems to maintain balance in our digestive tract. In a perfect world, our immune system keeps Candida in balance. Sometimes, however, Candida growth can reach a level where it overwhelms the immune system. Please note that systemic fungal overgrowth may or may not include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.

As with any yeast, Candida feeds on sugars. Because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbohydrates that our bodies metabolize into simple sugars, Candida overgrowth is a very common problem in today’s world. Other factors that can trigger Candida overgrowth include antibiotics, birth control pills, diabetes, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances (including imbalances in reproductive, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal and hypothalamic hormones), drinking tap water (chlorine kills beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can lead to Candida overgrowth), immune challenges, genetically modified foods, and alcohol consumption.

Candida Overgrowth

Candida overgrowth can affect the body in a wide variety of ways. The overgrowth tends to start in the digestive tract. In the early stages of Candida overgrowth, symptoms may include indigestion, GERD, diarrhea or constipation, cramping and more. As the Candida continues to grow, it gains strength and will begin to bore holes in the colon. This results in what is commonly known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Although Leaky Gut can have a variety of causes, Candida is one of the most common.

Things tend to go downhill after Leaky Gut Syndrome develops. The holes in the gut allow undigested food particles to enter the blood stream. Since the body doesn’t recognize undigested food molecules, it may launch an attack against those molecules, causing an immune response. Food allergies are a common result of Candida overgrowth. There is also a hypothesis that Fibromyalgia is the result of undigested food molecules in the bloodstream which become lodged against muscles and in joints, causing pain. 

Candida can also cause other immune issues. One of the most common immune issue I see resulting from Candida overgrowth is an allergy to mushrooms and to environmental molds. This makes sense logically, since each are other forms of fungus. If the body is already reacting to and trying to control an internal fungal overgrowth, it will logically negatively react to fungi in the environment or fungi that are consumed.

Effects of Candida Overgrowth

Candida overgrowth can have a multitude of symptoms. It would take multiple posts to cover them all, but many of them are not issues most people would associate with yeast. The belief that the only indicators of fungal overgrowth are vaginal yeast infections, jock itch and/or athlete’s foot are false. Many mainstream doctors don’t believe there is any such thing as Candida overgrowth, in spite of multiple studies proving they do indeed exist and do indeed cause serious health challenges. Following are just a few of the most common side effects of Candida overgrowth. Please note that each of these may also be an indicator of other health issues and may not solely be related to a fungal overgrowth:

  • Digestive problems
  • Tan-colored stools
  • Fatigue (sometimes extreme due to the energy the body exerts to fight the Candida overgrowth)
  • Headaches
  • Food allergies
  • Brain fog and problems concentrating
  • Sugar cravings
  • Alcohol cravings (a treatment facility in California starts treatment with a yeast cleanse to help diminish alcohol cravings)
  • Skin rashes including eczema, psoriasis, ring worm, etc.
  • Weight gain or an inability to lose weight
  • Acne
  • Mood swings, depression, irritability
  • Anal itching
  • Itchy skin
  • Dandruff and itchy scalp
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic sinusitis, sore throat, post nasal drip, cough
  • Fungal infections of finger and toe nails
  • Heavy white coating on the tongue
  • Itchy ears and nose
  • Athlete’s foot, jock itch, vaginal yeast infections
  • Thrush (oral yeast infection)
  • Joint and muscular pain 
  • Impaired immunity resulting in frequent colds and flus

Unfortunately, that long list is just the tip of the iceberg related to the symptoms Candida overgrowth can cause. The toxicity of Candida is the primary cause of these symptoms. Unfortunately, Candida overgrowth puts quite a strain on the body’s immune system and immune system. The most common test used to identify fungal overgrowth are tests of the stools. Many practitioners don’t do the stool tests, since the symptoms of Candida overgrowth are often easily recognized. Medical history and lifestyle habits are also often a sufficient means of identifying a Candida issue.

Correcting the Problem

The biggest problem with treating Candida overgrowth is that yeast are incredibly adaptive. One of the first organisms to return after fires or nuclear attacks, yeast quickly adapt to changes in their environment. This means they quickly become resistant to the more commonly used herbal treatments. Oil of Oregano used to be very effective, but in the past few years yeast organisms have become very resistant to Oregano Oil. Yeast also have a tendency to protect themselves with what are called biofilms. 

A biofilm is a wall of minerals and organisms yeast use to create a protective barrier to Microscopic Image of Candidasurround themselves with. The biofilm effectively prevents antimicrobials and antifungals from reaching the yeast cells and prevent them from being killed. Unfortunately, biofilms can even prevent prescription antifungals (such as Nystatin, Diflucan, Nizoral, etc.) from killing Candida cells.

So how can Candida be brought into control? It takes commitment and a multi-faceted effort including dietary changes and a variety of different supplements. It also requires the use of specific enzyme supplements to “eat through” the biofilm so that the antifungal and antimicrobial supplements (and pharmaceuticals in extreme cases) can reach the yeast cells. It is also necessary to take large doses of probiotics to help re-establish a positive balance of good bacteria in the digestive system.

The process of bringing Candida overgrowth into control can take several months. It can also cause uncomfortable symptoms as the yeast cells die and the body begins eliminating them, but there are many ways to reduce those symptoms. 

This is my first post in a series of posts covering Candida. Please read the entire series to get a greater understanding of how yeast overgrowth can affect health and how the overgrowth can be brought back into balance.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your health issues and to begin my 12-week Biofilm Protocol and Gut Restoration Program.

The Wonders of Goldenseal

Goldenseal Plant and Flowers

Many people have heard of the herb Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) but have little idea of the multitude of uses this versatile herb has. Goldenseal has been used throughout history as a medicinal herb, partly because of its amazing ability to stimulate the body’s own immunity. The bushy plant typically grows wild in rich soils. and has beautiful bright yellow flowers that produce a gorgeous red oil when infused. Goldenseal is now an endangered species due to excessive wild harvesting. It should therefore only be purchased from companies who grow it and who do not wildcraft it.

Please note that this information is shared for informational purposes only. None of these statements were reviewed by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please check with your MD before taking any supplement.

Goldenseal’s popularity is based on the following properties herbalists believe it has:

Antibacterial and Antiviral

Goldenseal has been shown to have powerful antibacterial properties. Because it targets the mucous membranes, it is commonly used to address issues such as upper respiratory infections, dental infections, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, allergies, urinary tract infections, and bacterial diarrhea. It has even been shown to successfully combat the bacteria H Pylori which is thought to cause some forms of bacterial ulcers. Goldenseal is often described as having a “miraculous” effect on colds or flus that have lasted longer than they should. I can attest to Goldenseal’s effectiveness as an antibiotic, having recently used it to avoid needing a prescription antibiotic for an abscessed tooth and a root canal.

Goldenseal’s antibacterial properties make it wonderful to use topically on small wounds and cuts. It is known to be especially useful in preventing or addressing skin infection. Another benefit of Goldenseal is that it is a powerful styptic and can be used to stop bleeding in minor wounds. I again can personally verify its effectiveness on wounds. I used Goldenseal in ample amounts after wrecking my motorcycle two years ago, and had incredibly rapid healing with no infection. I also used it recently when I deeply gashed my finger but didn’t have a way to get to a mainstream medical facility for stitches. I poured Goldenseal powder (which I always keep on hand) over the cut and bound it tightly. The bleeding stopped in less than a minute. (I had been applying strong pressure to the wound for over 45 minutes with no luck.) The wound healed cleanly within a week without stitches, with no infection and with very minimal scarring. I was amazed at how little scarring occurred, as I tend to scar deeply and very easily.

Goldenseal is also known to have powerful antiviral effects which make it popular used internally against colds and flus. It is also commonly used to help with cold sores and herpes lesions when made into a tea and used as a gargle or topical wash. Goldenseal has the added benefit of being known for boosting the body’s own immunity, which makes it a great help in colds and flus.

Anti-fungal

 

Goldenseal is known to be a powerful ally against Candida overgrowth and other forms of fungal infection. Whether used internally or topically, Goldenseal is reported to curtail fungal growth very quickly. The trick with using Goldenseal for Candida is to keep the Candida confused so that it cannot adapt to the antiviral properties of Goldenseal. I use Goldenseal for two weeks and then use a different antifungal supplement for two weeks on a rotation basis.

Digestive Aid

Goldenseal has a long history of use as a digestive aid and a liver supporter. It is thought to stimulate the production of bile, which may make it helpful in digesting fats and as a general digestive aid. The fact it stimulates bile production makes it a popular choice for use in addressing potential liver and gallbladder issues. Goldenseal also has a strong reputation as a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and appetite.

Anti-diabetic

Many herbalists recommend Goldenseal to people with diabetes because of its reputation of helping lower blood sugars and the belief that it has a stimulating effect on the beta cells of the pancreas. Goldenseal is a popular addition to many herbal products designed to help lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and support the pancreas. I find that my blood glucose levels stay much lower when I use Goldenseal on a regular basis. It is most effective when used in combination with other herbs that support normal blood sugar levels.

Astringent

Goldenseal has a very astringent effect when used topically, which makes it an excellent choice for topical use on hemorrhoids. It is also known to help alleviate inflammation in hemorrhoids and to have a soothing effect. Some people find that using it as a wash for acne is also very helpful. I find that using an infused oil of Goldenseal in my baths adds a wonderfully soothing touch and makes me feel very pampered.

Preparations
Goldenseal is commonly sold as (listed in order of my opinion of the highest potential strength to lowest):

1.  Tinctures containing an alcohol-based extract of Goldenseal root. Herb Pharm makes one of my favorites: http://amzn.to/Qsmm80

2a. Capsules containing an extract of Goldenseal root.  

2b. Capsules containing powdered, dried Goldenseal root. There are many on the market. I have come to rely on Nature’s Market as an over-the-counter brand providing reliable, high-quality herbs: http://amzn.to/QIdOLO

3.  Teas containing dried Goldenseal root. Alvita carries a wide range of herbal tea bags: http://amzn.to/UFRKQb

When determining what form of Goldenseal to use, select the form you take the most consistently . For example, if you do not like the strong taste of a Goldenseal tincture (which does have a very strong flavor) and may not take it as frequently as needed because of the taste, then using a capsule form may be best. If you find swallowing capsules to be difficult, then a liquid tincture might be best. The powdered extract, which contains only the active chemical in Goldenseal, may or may not be more potent than the straight herb, depending on how many milligrams are delivered per serving. The author’s preference is to use the root in its entirety to ensure receiving the full potential of the herb’s beneficial qualities. There is some evidence that suggests that some of the chemicals in Goldenseal are not soluble in water but are readily soluble in alcohol.

Dosage
There are many different opinions about the ideal dosage of Goldenseal. Please note that the dosages that follow are intended for adults only. Please consult a qualified practitioner before giving Goldenseal to children. The general recommendations for adults include taking 400-2000 mg of the powdered root three times per day. Recommended dosage of an alcohol based tincture is 90-210 drops per day in divided doses. Typical dosage for a powdered extract is 30-120 mg three times per day. As with any herb, discontinue use if any unusual symptoms or reactions occur after starting to take Goldenseal.
In my experience, a low dose (500 mg, three times per day) of powdered root is effective for Candida overgrowth, while higher doses (1000-2000 mg, three to five times per day) are effective for bacterial infections. I used 6000 mg/day when battling my abscessed tooth and during my root canal. It worked like a charm!
Considerations
As with any herb, there are some things that should be considered when taking Goldenseal. Although these considerations are important, please note that Goldenseal is considered a very safe herb to use. I recommend Goldenseal without hesitation when appropriate.

1. Goldenseal should never be used by pregnant women or given to children under age two unless under the direction of a qualified practitioner.

2. People using the prescription medications Warfarin (Coumadin), protease inhibitors or cardiac glycosides should not use Goldenseal due to a potential interaction with these prescription medication.

3. Goldenseal can sometimes cause an imbalance in the bacterial balance of the digestive tract. It is therefore recommended to take a probiotic (acidophilus or other probiotic) when taking it long-term. If using Goldenseal on a short-term basis, most people take it for a period of 10-14 days, then take a break of one to two weeks, then resume taking it if needed.

4. People taking prescription antibiotics should refrain from taking Goldenseal within two hours of taking the prescription medication.

5. Some people with pre-existing hypertension have noticed higher blood pressures when taking Goldenseal for a prolonged period of time. Although this side effect is rare, it is wise to check blood pressures frequently if taking Goldenseal for more than two weeks.

6. Goldenseal may lose its effect if taken for a long period of time. For that reason, I typically recommend a “two weeks on, two weeks off” regimen when Goldenseal is needed for use over an extended period of time.

7. Diabetics who use Goldenseal should check blood glucose levels more frequently.

This explains why Goldenseal is one of my most favorite herbs!!!


[i] Mahady GB, Pendland SL, Stoia A, et al. In vitro susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to isoquinoline alkaloids from Sanguinaria canadensis and Hydrastis canadensis. Phytother Res. 2003;17(3):217-21.
[ii] Jellin J.M., Gregory P.J., Batz F. and Hitchens K. (2004): Pharmacist’s Letter/ Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA, Therapeutic Research Faculty. http://www.naturaldatabase.com/member_home.asp?ph_img=memberhome.gif&ex=0&ex=0

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