Category Archives: research

Natural Sunscreen Recipe

I have received many requests to share a natural sunscreen recipe. I developed this recipe several years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself from sunburn without exposing myself to the harmful chemicals found in most OTC sunscreens. I have found it to be very effective. Please note you may need to apply it more frequently than other sunscreens.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear many frightening warnings about the “dangers of sun exposure.” These warnings make me cringe. The truth is that sun exposure is very beneficial to our health. Severe sunburn is not. Recent research found skin cancer is not caused by simple sun Sunshineexposure but is caused by severe sunburn. In addition, several studies found the most common ingredients in OTC sunscreens actually CAUSE skin cancer. Even newer research discovered sun exposure (without sunscreen) increases the levels of nitric oxide in our system. Nitric oxide is known to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Please read Shining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure for more information about the necessity of sun exposure.

What’s the solution? Here are my tips for allowing sun exposure to improve health:

  1. Get 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day. After you have a good base tan, it’s fine to spend longer periods of time in the sun as long as you do not burn.
  2. Use a natural sunscreen. See links at the end of this article to a few pre-made versions I really like.
  3. Keep a close eye on how much sun you’ve gotten. If you think you’re in danger of burning, take time to put on more clothing or to apply a natural sunscreen.

My sunscreen recipe follows. This is easy to make and has ingredients which are easy to find. I included links to make it easier to find the ingredients. Each of the oils used has a natural SPF ranging from 6-30. I added zinc oxide powder to the recipe to provide added protection. This sunscreen is very effective, but may need to be applied more frequently. You can feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance if you like.

Good Works Wellness Natural Sunscreen Recipe

Ingredients:

o 1/2 cup beeswax pastilles
o 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
o 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
o 3/4 cup combination of organic hempseed, macadamia nut or wheat germ oil(s)*
o 5 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
o Optional: 1/2 tablespoon essential oil

*You may use a single oil or a combination of oils to total 3/4 cup. Note you can make the natural sunscreen thinner by adding more liquid oil or thicker by adding less.

Instructions:

Gently melt the beeswax over a double boiler, then whisk in the other oils until all oils and butters are melted. Gradually stir in the zinc oxide powder and blend until well blended. Add essential oils after that if desired. This is best stored in a glass container.

Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens

If you don’t have time to make your own sunscreen, I recommend the following, some of which are water-resistant:

Photo Courtesy of Rhys Asplundh

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/29/sun-exposure-vitamin-d-production-benefits.aspx

Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, Harvard University

Scientists Say Benefits of Sun Exposure Far Outweigh Risks

Is a BRCA1 Gene Mutation Worthy of Physical Mutilation?

A famous actress, mother and philanthropist’s recent announcement that she had a double mastectomy as a preventive measure against breast cancer has everyone wondering what her true risks were and whether her decision was warranted or extreme. Please let me say I very much respect her decision and her desire to protect herself out of love for her children. Any decision related to cancer and other health matters is highly personal. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions. I applaud her for taking control of her health and making the decision which was right for her. I also strongly encourage other women to do thorough research before making a similar decision.Woman performing a breast exam

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:

  • Cancer Prevention TipsHave 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.

References:

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

Evaluation of the synergistic effect of insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factors on the risk of breast carcinoma. Cancer. 2004

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

Diabetes and Glaucoma: A New Perspective

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 Picture of a pretty eye“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. 

References:

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

http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1995/pdf/1995-v10n0304-p165.pdf

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

http://www.cforyourself.com/Conditions/Eye_Conditions/eye_conditions.html

Simple Ways to Evaluate the Validity of a Research Study

I know first hand that scientific studies often make claims which are not valid. I know this because I worked as a validation expert (the title is hysterical) as a member of research teams for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. In this role, I saw statistics manipulated every day to change the conclusions drawn. Typically, statistics were manipulated to make dangerous outcomes appear safe. This practice is mainstream in the pharmaceutical industry. It is an insidious habit, but one that is not limited to the pharmaceutical industry. I’m not the only one to draw this conclusion. If you’d like more information, please read The Mainstream Manufacture of Misinformation.

The bottom line is that you can rarely trust the media’s reports on a study’s findings. Most media professionals don’t have time (or don’t take time) to actually read a study. Instead, they rely on other media reporting agencies to draw conclusions for them. The only true way to evaluate a study is to actually read it or to read a synopsis of it. Specifically, one must check the number of participants studied, the study protocol used, who sponsored the study and paid for it, and other factors that may influence the conclusions. More than once, the media has reported on a study but failed to share comments made by the people who actually performed the study. Instead, media channels reported on conclusions drawn by companies which could potentially be negatively affected by the study. Do your own research. Don’t trust mainstream media.

Before accepting the findings of a research study, one must evaluate the research techniques used, the study protocol, and other factors to determine if the study’s claims are valid. Let’s look at a few items that should be reviewed before accepting the findings of a research study:

  1. Number of Participants: A study using three participants is obviously not going to be as predictive as a study using a much larger group of participants. Yes, I have seen studies PUBLISHED which based a conclusion on three people. In the study I’m referencing, a Japanese study on the herb Lion’s Mane, the three people negatively affected by the herb had cancer and were receiving chemotherapy. The conclusion which was published was that Lion’s Mane unequivocally causes liver damage. In my mind, this study proved nothing, since chemotherapy is known to cause liver damage and the people studied had severely compromised health. When reviewing a study, always check the study protocol to see what size “control” group was used and what “controls” were in place. More on the control group follows.
  • Specific Study Protocol:When reviewing a study done on pharmaceuticals or herbs, very carefully review how the study was performed. Things to check include the dosage used, what effects were studied, how the effects were measured, which part of the herb was used, etc. A 2005 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Turner, 2005) claimed the herb echinacea had no effect on the duration or severity of colds. However, the study only used 900 mg of the herb on a daily basis. Herbalists typically recommend a minimum dosage of 2700 mg daily. A study which only used 900 mg was bound to fail. Additionally, this study used extracts that were created in the lab by scientists who knew nothing about how to make herbal extracts and who used chemicals to make the extracts. I’ve been an herbalist for 25 years. Trust me when I say the art and science of creating a valid herbal extract requires extensive training, practice and research. Additionally, an extract made using a chemical such as ethanol (one of the chemicals used in this study) will be contaminated in a manner which could negatively impact the herb’s effectiveness. I shudder to think what the study participants were actually taking.Another problem in this study was that the extracts were made using a single variety of the herb and were made from the herb’s root. A truly effective herbal extract of echinacea will include extracts from the three most common varieties and will include extracts from the roots and aerial portions of the herb. Quite simply, there was no way this study could have shown echinacea to have positive effects. The study protocols were so flawed that it leads one to believe the desired outcome of the study was to prove echinacea useless. This study had multiple other flaws, but I’ve shared the main ones. You can read an abstract of the study yourself here: http://bit.ly/rt1Urc.If you’re interested in seeing how one person tore apart a research study and effectively proved it to be invalid, I encourage you to read Kevin Trudeau’s research on one study done on Gardasil: http://bit.ly/q9Kxxv
  • Study Sponsor and Resource Provider: It would be nice to think that all studies are commissioned purely for the sake of science and not because someone has a point to prove. The fact is that many studies are set up and paid for because the sponsor has a desired outcome. While this practice is in direct opposition to the scientific method, corporate greed guarantees that studies are often commissioned whose protocol is designed to have a specific outcome and to prove conclusions which were drawn in advance. I always get a bit leery of any study paid for by a pharmaceutical company (or a research facility highly funded by a pharmaceutical company) which claims to prove an herbal extract is absolutely ineffective. For instance, the Glaucoma Research Foundation sponsored several studies on natural remedies for glaucoma and reported that no natural treatments are effective. I know this is untrue because I reversed my own glaucoma using natural methods, have helped others do the same, and have spoken to natural practitioners who have had similar success with 100s of clients. Anecdotal evidence isn’t scientific, but substantial amounts of it should lead one to desire additional information.

To conclude, don’t assume the reported conclusions of a study are correctly reported and do not accept a study’s validity without digging a bit deeper. Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff when reviewing scientific evidence can help avoid being deceived.