Category Archives: zinc

Identifying the Cause Eliminated This Child’s Challenges

Shadow of Boy Flexing His Muscles

I want to send a huge shout-out and thanks to my friend Rocky Walls of 12 Stars Media. Last week, Rocky casually suggested to a group of friends that sharing case studies about successes in our business was a great way to let people know what we actually do on a daily basis. That recommendation was a light-bulb moment for me. I realized I spend a lot of time sharing health information, but rarely talk about what I actually DO to help people. Starting today, I intend to share more information about the types of challenges I work to resolve. Please note I will never use real names and all case studies are shared with permission.

I met a charming little boy – let’s call him “Chris” – about a year ago. He was happy and healthy, but his mom brought him to see me because his teachers were threatening to have him removed from their classroom. Chris was a bit rambunctious and had difficulty focusing. The same child who could sit and play video games for hours couldn’t seem to concentrate for more than 30 seconds on school work. He had poor impulse control, spoke out of turn, and could not sit still. Although he was popular with other kids, he was sometimes overly rough during play and sometimes over-reacted when conflicts occurred. His teachers and the school administrators insisted that Chris needed medication. Chris’ parents had researched their options and were firmly committed to not putting their child on any medication.

When I talked to Chris about the challenges he was having, Chris said, “I want to do what I’m told, but I just can’t! My brain doesn’t do what I want it to!” (For the record, I focus on the child and usually ask him or her more questions than I ask the mom during a consultation. Most kids, regardless of age, have amazing insight into their health and behavioral issues. Letting a child know up front that I consider him the most important part of the team helps gain his trust and increases his willingness to participate in the adjustments I recommend. I often receive additional information from the parents before, during and after consultations.)

Physically, Chris appeared to be very healthy, but did have the following:

  • He often did not sleep well
  • His nose ran and he frequently cleared his throat due to post nasal drip
  • He had dark circles under his eyes
  • He had eczema
  • He caught every cold and flu that went around and had frequent ear infections
  • He alternated between normal, very loose stools and mild constipation
  • He had occasional stomach aches
  • His mom commented that he had mild tremors in his hands, but that they weren’t consistent

When I reviewed Chris’ eating habits, I noticed wheat and dairy were part of almost every meal. When I asked Chris when his tummy last hurt, he told me it “hurt bad” the last time he ate pizza. Tiny warning bells started to go off in my head. When I asked his mom when she first noticed his eczema, she told me it started shortly after Chris stopped breastfeeding. The warning bells in my head now became screaming sirens. I asked a few more questions about diet and was thrilled to hear Chris and his family ate almost 100% organic foods. The exception to this was the days when Chris ate the school lunch. His mom and his teachers recognized that Chris’ behavior was worse on the days he ate the school food.

As I began reviewing Chris’ physical appearance, I noticed he had white spots under his fingernails, had many hangnails, had a thick yellow coating on his tongue, had puffy lips, and had inflamed gums. He also had some unusual color changes in the irises of his eyes. At this point, I asked Chris a surprising question: “Do your feet smell?” He giggled and shouted, “YES!” while his mom agreed emphatically. I also noticed Chris moved his hands in a way that seemed to indicate his joints were stiff. When I asked about it, he said his hands “worked fine.” I tested his hand strength and ability to make a fist, which made it very obvious his hands were not working the way they should. His finger joints also looked slightly inflamed. His mom commented that his handwriting was horrible.

I then gave Chris a teaspoon of a liquid Zinc supplement and asked him to swish it around in his mouth and tell me what it tasted like. He swished it around and said it tasted like water. 

Based on what I observed and the matters Chris and his parents were hoping to address, I made a variety of recommendations involving dietary changes, techniques Chris could use to stop fidgeting and pay attention, and ways nutritional deficiencies could be addressed. The main recommendations I made included:

  1. I asked Chris to stop eating wheat and dairy for one month.
  2. I recommended three supplements designed to alleviate nutritional deficiencies for which Chris had indicators. I also recommended one supplement which has been used successfully as a substitute for ADD/ADHD medications. I recommended the final supplement be used on a very short-term basis.
  3. I suggested his mom request three specific blood tests from their doctor. (They were working closely with a functional medicine MD who ran frequent tests anyway, so adding a few more was not difficult.)
  4. I recommended that Chris receive a thorough screening for food allergies. I can do food allergy screening using an EDS unit, but it takes over an hour and is not always a good option for children with short attention spans. The blood test I recommended would provide very rapid results on a wide range of potential allergens.
  5. I asked his mom to stop allowing Chris to purchase the school lunch. I made a variety of recommendations of healthy lunches she could pack. I also recommended increasing several foods in his diet to boost his nutrition and alleviate potential nutritional deficiencies.

When I saw Chris two weeks later, he was starting to see improvements in how he felt, how he slept and in his ability to concentrate in school. He told me the techniques I had shared with him were helping him do better in school. (I often teach kids to use behavioral techniques to help them focus better.) I reviewed his food allergy test results and made further recommendations. As the months continued, I met with Chris and his family several more times made additional recommendations.

Within three months, most of the issues Chris was addressing had disappeared. He no longer had eczema, he was sleeping better, the dark circles under his eyes were gone, his digestion had improved, his hands no longer trembled, his post nasal drip had vanished, and he had not had any colds or missed school due to illness. The best part was that his grades had improved and he had far fewer behavioral issues in the classroom. Chris still had occasional struggles with paying attention in class, but he was able to maintain his focus much more easily. He also had fewer conflicts with his friends and no longer had outbursts when conflicts arose. After seeing so many improvements, I made a few additional recommendations which included some therapies designed to eliminate additional imbalances that became apparent.

I’m happy to say Chris now has no behavioral issues at school and always gets high grades in Class Behavior.

I see “miracles” like this occur every day. The teachers Chris worked with commented that he “was a new boy.” I cringe when I hear statements like that. Chris was the same boy, but he was a boy who no longer suffered from food allergies and nutritional deficiencies. Addressing the cause of his physical and emotional challenges eliminated them. This approach to problem resolution is called “root cause analysis.” It simply means it is to solve a problem without identifying what caused the problem. It is a model that has sadly disappeared from mainstream medicine. It is, however, a model that is highly effective at reversing health challenges and creating lasting change. This is the model I use in my practice. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I helped Chris reach his goals. To discuss your health challenges or your child’s, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

Photo used with permission of Rhino Neal

Is Coffee Healthy or Not?

Steaming Cup of Coffee

I am often asked what my thoughts are about whether or not coffee is “healthy.” As with most health issues, your personal physiology determines whether or not coffee is beneficial for you. Many people are shocked that I am not opposed to coffee. To be quite honest, I recognize that coffee does have health benefits. I also recognize that some people have such poor diets that a morning cup of java provides the only antioxidants they receive during the entire day.

If you’d like to learn how to brew the healthiest coffee possible, please read my article, How to Brew a Healthy Cup of Coffee: Cold Brew.

In the points that follow, please note that a “cup” of coffee is 8 ounces. Most coffee mugs hold far more, so use caution.

Coffee’s Benefits

Coffee may provide the following benefits. Please note that some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity may counteract some of the positive effects I’ve shared below.

  • Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants.
  • Coffee contains certain minerals that are lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD), including magnesium, potassium, chromium (necessary for proper blood sugar control), zinc, and others.
  • A Harvard study found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee per day have a 15% lower risk of depression than women who do not drink coffee.
  • Coffee is rich in Trigonelline, a chemical that helps protect your teeth from bacteria that can cause decay.
  • Over 17 different studies found that people who drink one to four cups of coffee daily have lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes and some forms of cancer.
  • In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains high levels of 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid, a chemical that protects cells from free-radical damage.
  • Coffee is rich in niacin, a B vitamin that is essential for cardiovascular health, normal brain function, normal digestion, cell health, energy production and more.
  • Multiple studies found that those who drink two to four cups of coffee daily have lowered rates of Alzheimer Disease, liver disease, gallstone formation, Parkinson’s Disease, coronary rhythm disorders, heart attacks and more.
  • Several studies found that coffee consumption does NOT elevate blood pressure and actually improves coronary health. Hallelujah! If you have high blood pressure, test your pressure before drinking a cup of coffee and 20 minutes after to determine if drinking decaf might be a better option due to your personal sensitivity to caffeine.
  • A 13-year study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 found that coffee drinkers who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a 10-15% lower rate of mortality than those who did not. The researchers said this effect cannot be directly attributed to coffee and that further research is needed, but those numbers are certainly interesting!

Coffee’s Risks

Coffee beans contain over 1600 different chemicals. Unfortunately, not all of them are healthy. Drinking coffee may have the following harmful effects:

  • Coffee has been shown to increase levels of LDL cholesterol, although the exact reason is not known.
  • Consumption of two or more cups of coffee per day has been associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Percolated or drip coffee is very, very acidic, which creates an overly acidic pH in the body. To counteract the acidity, the body will pull calcium out of the bones and teeth to alkalize the body’s pH. My personal belief is that acidic brewing methods lead to osteoporosis and not the coffee. See the section below for healthy ways to brew coffee.
  • Coffee is known to interfere with sleep and may cause irritability and anxiety in some people. Drinking naturally decaffeinated coffee may lessen this effect.
  • Coffee hampers the absorption of iron and has been connected to iron deficiency anemia. Women who take iron supplements should never take them within two hours of drinking coffee. (Iron supplements are best absorbed on an empty stomach, so taking them right before bed – at least two hours after eating – works best for most people. Please note that iron interferes with the absorption of some prescription medications. Check with your pharmacist to find out which medications should not be taken with iron supplements.)
  • Brewed and percolated coffee can irritate the lining of the digestive tract and may worsen the symptoms of digestive disorders, heartburn (GERD), ulcers and more.
  • Combining coffee with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is known to cause liver damage.

The Healthiest Way to Make Coffee

Here are my tips for enjoying coffee in a healthy way:

  • ONLY DRINK ORGANIC COFFEE. I cannot stress this enough. Coffee plants are often sprayed with gallons of chemicals. Since most coffee is grown outside of the US, those chemicals may not be regulated. Although it would be nice to think that roasting the beans removes those toxins, the opposite is actually true.
  • Enjoy it in moderation. Try to drink no more than 16 – 24 ounces per day.
  • Don’t substitute coffee for water. Coffee is a strong diuretic which can cause dehydration. Always drink extra water for every cup of coffee you drink.
  • If you drink decaffeinated coffee because you are sensitive to caffeine, only drink coffee that was decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process method of decaffeination. The standard method of decaffeination uses chemical solvents, some of which remain in the coffee after processing. These chemical solvents may be toxic and should be avoided.
  • Coffee is known to challenge the adrenal glands. The caffeine in coffee stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete hormones. Anyone who has adrenal fatigue should avoid coffee. Decaffeinated coffee has less of an effect.
  • Coffee raises blood sugar. When the adrenal glands are stimulated, the hormones they secrete stimulate the liver to release glycogen, a form of sugar the body stores for energy. Decaffeinated coffee has less of an effect.
  • Don’t drink it for dessert. Many people immediately ruin coffee’s health benefits by loading it up with sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemical creamers, flavored syrups, whipped cream and more. Black coffee is the healthiest. Adding a bit of stevia or a tiny amount of natural milk or milk alternative is fine, but don’t go crazy.

Healthy Brewing Techniques

My personal belief, based on much of the information shared above, is that cold brewed coffee is the healthiest. Cold brewing is very simple and provides all the taste (and caffeine, if you choose) of drip coffee without the acidity. I will share the cold brew method I use in my next blog post. Trust me when I say my method is far simpler than the methods shared online. I can brew a pot of cold brew in less than 15 minutes. 

If you prefer drip coffee, please only use a non-bleached filter. There is some evidence that a non-bleached, paper filter removes some of the chemicals in coffee that could potentially have a harmful effect.

If you’d like to learn how to brew the healthiest coffee possible, please read my article, How to Brew a Healthy Cup of Coffee: Cold Brew.

Did this article surprise you? I help many people evaluate their lifestyle habits to identify changes that may help improve their wellness or help them avoid future challenges. To schedule, please email me or call 317.489.0909.

What are your thoughts about coffee? Do you drink it? How do you ensure you get the benefits without the risks? Please share!

Top 10 Ways to Shorten the Duration of a Cold

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:

  1. 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.
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  2. 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.
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  3. 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.
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  4. 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 ZincAstragalusOlive LeafGarlic, etc. Please follow the dosage recommended on the bottle.
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  5. 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.
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  6. 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.
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  7. 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.
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  8. 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 WobenzymWobenzym is also useful for inflammatory arthritis, bursitis, and other joint issues, and is used in Germany as part of a cancer treatment.
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  9. 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.
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  10. 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!

Important Facts About Chia Seeds

I found an amazing buy today in a location that surprised me. While cruising through Costco with my hubby, we found a 32-ounce back of organic Chia Seeds for $6.89. For those who are familiar with chia seeds, you know that price is amazing. If you don’t have access to a Costco, you can also purchase chia seeds here: Two Pounds Chia Seeds.

I grabbed a bag and began using my new stash of chia seeds as soon as I got home. While pondering what to make first, it occurred to me that not everyone is familiar with chia seeds. This blog will hopefully change that. If you can make it to the end, you’ll find my favorite recipe.

The Latin name for chia seeds is Salvia hispanica. Please note: This variety of salvia is NOT the salvia that became a popular drug a few years ago due its hallucinogenic effects when smoked. (If you purchase chia seeds, you may want to explain this to your teenagers.) Chia seeds are, however, the same seeds that are used on Chia Pets. The seeds make great grass seed, too.

Chia seeds began being cultivated over 5000 years ago in Mexico. They were a dietary staple of the Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” is actually a derivative of the Mayan word for “strength.” One Aztec legend claims Aztec warriors could survive for days on a very tiny amount (about a tablespoon) of chia seeds soaked in water. Modern-day athletes often find that chia seeds improve endurance and strength and help boost the effects of workouts. I find this very easy to believe, because the nutrient content of chia seeds includes extremely high quantities of the following nutrients:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Chia seeds are known for having strong anti-inflammatory properties, primarily because of the high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids they contain. One of the amazing things about chia seeds is that they provide a form of Omega 3s that does not have to be converted for use in the body, and the seeds are easily broken down during the digestive process. Many people rely on flax seeds as a vegetable source of Omega 3s, but the omega 3s in chia seeds are much more easily absorbed and do not need to be converted to be absorbed. The omega 3s in flax seeds must be converted before they can be absorbed by the human body, and the only way the essential fatty acids in flax seeds can be released for absorption is if the seeds are ground. Whole flax seeds pass through the digestive tract intact, providing little more than fiber. Chia seeds, on the other hand, have a seed casing that is easily broken down by the digestive process, allowing all of the nutrients in the seeds to be easily absorbed. The seeds also provide significant amounts of fiber. It’s a win-win! Ad additional advantage chia seeds have over flax seeds is that chia seeds can be stored up to two years in an air-tight container without having the oils in the seeds go rancid. The oils in flax seeds go rancid very quickly if the seeds are not refrigerated.
  • Calcium and other essential minerals: Ounce for ounce, chia seeds have 500% more calcium than milk (in a much more absorbable form) and also contain significant amounts of phosphorous, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, strontium, and other minerals. Because chia seeds are so easily digested and absorbed, some people consider them a “superfood” that is a viable alternative to multivitamins when combined with a green drink. Their large content of highly bioavailable calcium and strontium also make them a viable option for improving bone density.
  • Protein: Chia seeds are 20% protein, providing a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids the body requires but cannot manufacture for itself. This means that eating chia seeds by themselves provides a sustainable form of protein. Four tablespoons (two ounces) of dry chia seeds provides 8 grams of protein, which is a full serving. The protein in chia seeds is very easily absorbed. For that reason, chia seeds are often recommended to anyone needing additional protein in their diet, including children, pregnant women, and anyone recovering from surgery or trauma. Chia seeds have also recently become a popular food for body builders.
  • Fiber: One ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, which is about 1/3 of what most people require for good digestive health. Increased fiber intake is also often recommended to anyone trying to lose weight. An added benefit for weight loss is that one ounce of chia seeds contains 12 grams of carbohydrates. This makes chia seeds an extremely low glycemic-index food that impacts blood sugar very, very slowly. For me personally, I can eat a large amount of soaked chia seeds without seeing any increase in blood glucose levels and without requiring any insulin. Some diabetics report including chia seeds in any meal containing carbohydrates because the chia seeds help to delay the impact the carbohydrates have on blood sugar.
  • Antioxidants: Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants. They have more antioxidants per ounce than blueberries, providing 844 ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) per ounce. Antioxidants are known to fight free radicals and slow the aging process, so eating high amounts is always advised.
  • Vitamins: Chia seeds contain significant amounts of all B vitamins, significant amounts of Vitamin C, and also contain high amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins E, D and K.
  • Water: Although dry chia seeds do not contain any water by themselves, they are capable of absorbing up to 20 times their weight in water, and they absorb it very quickly. This is helpful for anyone struggling with dehydration, as they can drink the soaked seeds and know the water will reach their large colon for absorption. Their ability to absorb large amounts of liquid also provides ample opportunity for experimentation making drinks and puddings. More on that in a bit. They make a great gel that has a variety of uses. To make a “pudding,” I typically blend three to four parts liquid to one part chia seeds by volume. Simply add more or less liquid to control the thickness of the blend. (A quick and easy pudding can be made by blending 3/4 cup chocolate hemp milk with 1/4 cup chia seeds and allowing to soak for 10-20 minutes. Delicious!)
  • Energy: I guess this isn’t a nutritional content topic, but most people find that eating chia seeds provides solid energy that doesn’t fade. Their nutritional content helps maintain stable blood sugars and provides plenty of protein and nutrition to keep a body going. I highly recommend!

You now know how wonderful chia seeds, so let’s talk about how to incorporate them in your daily meals. Please start with very small amounts if you have never tried Chia seeds before or if your diet does not contain high amounts of protein. Their high protein content can create some issues (diarrhea, bloating) if people start with too much too quickly. I also don’t recommend chia seeds to anyone with diverticular disease, as their tiny size easily fits into inflamed pockets.

By themselves, they are a bit crunchy and have a very slight nutty flavor. (Their flavor is so slight they are virtually unnoticeable when added to dishes or beverages.) They make a great addition to smoothies and taste wonderful sprinkled over salads, stirred into yogurt or cottage cheese, etc. Following are some unique ways to add them to common foods:

  • Sprinkle them over sandwiches (they are especially delicious in any sandwich containing almond or peanut butter)
  • Stir into protein drinks
  • Add to ice cream when making home made ice cream
  • Add to coffee beans before grinding to get a few of the health benefits without adding much taste to the coffee
  • Add them to salsa: they help prevent salsa from becoming “watery” as the juice leaks out of the tomatoes and add a nice texture to salsa
  • Sprinkle them over pizzas
  • Sprinkle over cucumber salads
  • Stir two tablespoons (or more based on your taste) into 16 ounces of fruit juice and allow to “gel” for ten minutes – this makes a drink called “Chia Fresca” that is very popular in Mexico and Central America. Several companies now make chia drinks that can be purchased in health food stores. The ones made by Mamma Chia are my favorites. (Their high carbohydrate content is somewhat offset by the chia seeds, but diabetics should consume them cautiously.)
  • Stir into hummus or any dip or spread
  • Stir a tablespoon or two into a 16-ounce glass of lemonade or other flavored drink
  • Mix one teaspoon of chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and use as an egg substitute
  • Grind and substitute for up to 1/4 any flour
  • Add to sauces you’re using to brush over meat while it cooks
  • Add to meat marinades
  • Grind and use in place of flour or bread crumbs in meatloaf
  • Add to pancakes (this is especially delicious if you soak them in fruit juice first)
  • Sprout the seeds and add to salads (or cover a terra cotta head … your choice)
  • Add to oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • Add to granola and include while making
  • Blend with butter and honey for a delicious spread for toast or bagels
  • Add to soups or to slow cooker masterpieces
  • In all honesty, I haven’t found any dish that can’t have chia seeds added successfully … have fun experimenting!

Here’s my favorite breakfast “pudding” blend. I love this because I can toss the jar in the car on my way to work and munch on the pudding throughout the day. It’s delicious, filling and very energizing!

Protein-Packed Chia Pudding

In a quart-size Mason jar, blend the following:

  • 24 ounces (3 cups) purified water or milk substitute of choice (You can also use regular milk, but I prefer not to)
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice – use flavored or unflavored based on choice. My favorite is Vibrant Health PureGreen Protein in either vanilla, chocolate or berry.

Blend well and then add 1 cup of dry chia seeds. Stir and then shake the jar well. Allow to soak for five minutes and stir well. Stir again after ten minutes. If you want to enjoy the pudding immediately, allow it to soak 10-20 minutes. I blend mine at night and let it soak overnight. That way it’s ready to go as I walk out the door in the morning. Since I don’t use any ingredients that can spoil, I don’t refrigerate the pudding overnight, but do refrigerate it once I get to work.

If you would like to receive additional information about ways to improve your health using simple dietary changes, please feel free to schedule a consultation. You may email me or call 317.489.0909 to schedule.

Have you tried chia seeds? What did you think? Please share your experiences and thoughts.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency and Ways to Increase Levels

Zinc is a mineral which we need to remain healthy, but which gets little to no attention. It is essential for health, yet most Zincof us consume far too little of it. The medical community ignored Zinc until 1974. The World Health Organization now estimates that Zinc deficiency is a global problem affecting the health of millions. Some estimate 12% of the US population has a Zinc deficiency. The symptoms of a Zinc deficiency mimic those of many other disorders. The potential that these disorders could be diminished simply by increasing our Zinc levels is profound.

Among other things, Zinc is responsible for:

  • Over 300 enzymatic reactions affecting the function of every body system
  • Maintaining healthy immunity
  • Wound healing
  • Forming healthy sperm and eggs while regulating hormone levels
  • Maintaining healthy skin
  • Synthesis of healthy DNA
  • Maintaining normal metabolism
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining normal vision
  • Maintenance of normal connective tissues and collagen levels in the body

Obviously, a Zinc deficiency can have a negative affect from head to toe. Many people have a Zinc deficiency but do not realize it. The symptoms of a Zinc deficiency may include, but are not limited to:

  • Body odor and stinky feet (Stinky tennis shoes a problem in your teen’s room? Increase his or her Zinc intake)
  • Acne and other skin disorders
  • Frequent illness from compromise immunity
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes and sores or dry, scaly skin
  • Splits and cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Diarrhea, loss of appetite, malabsorption and decrease in stomach acid
  • Infertility, impotence, menstrual irregularity and PMS
  • Premature graying of the hair
  • Multiple white spots or lines on the fingernails (This is NOT caused by a Calcium deficiency. Let’s please kill that myth. A single white spot may be a positive sign that the body combatted an infectious organism. Multiple white spots or bands are often seen in a Zinc deficiency.)
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Diminished or lost sense of taste and smell
  • Anemia
  • Brain fog
  • Hang nails
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression and anxiety (Many psychiatric conditions improve when a combination of Zinc and B Vitamins is administered)
  • Stretch marks not caused by pregnancy or weight loss/gain
  • Inflamed gums
  • Allergies (To both food and environmental allergens. A Zinc deficiency is common in those with multiple food allergies and may make symptoms and sensitivity worse)
  • Joint pain
  • Emotional Instability, PMS, OCD and irratibility
  • Benign tremors in the hands
  • Vision changes (Poor night vision may be partially caused by a Zinc deficiency. People with cataracts and glaucoma typically have low levels of Zinc.)
  • Post-partum depression (and development issues in infants born to Zinc-deprived women)
  • Changes in cell death which may lead to increased cancer levels

So how can you test for a Zinc deficiency? A simple test I use in my practice is to have people swish a liquid Zinc assay in their mouth for 10-20 seconds. If they taste metal or a very bitter taste immediately, their Zinc levels are probably fine. If the solution tastes like water, that is a good indicator of a Zinc deficiency. Zinc levels can be tested in the blood, but these tests are somewhat inaccurate and may vary greatly based on meals, time of day, etc.

If you suspect you have a Zinc deficiency, you may notice a quick decrease in symptoms simply by increasing foods that are high in Zinc. The food highest in Zinc is oysters, preferably raw. Raw oysters provide an incredibly high amount of Zinc. (This may be why they are touted as an aphrodisiac.) Eating a half cup or more of Pumpkin Seeds on a daily basis is also a healthy way of increasing Zinc levels. Other foods high in zinc include meats, fish, nuts, liver, crab and legumes. Increasing your dietary intake of Zinc will only be beneficial if your digestion and absorption are suffcient. (See my post The Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion for tips on improving absorption.)

If you suspect you have an extreme Zinc deficiency, it may be wise to use a Zinc supplement for one to two months. I prefer liquid Zinc supplements and recommend swishing them for 30 seconds before swallowing. Two of my favorites include:

If you prefer to take a Zinc supplement in capsules, I like:

Most multivitamins also contain Zinc. When taking a Zinc supplement, I recommend taking no more than 50 mg daily. Some experts have found it beneficial to take higher amounts – up to 100 mg daily – for a very short amount of time during periods of illness or during extreme healing. Never take more than 50 mg daily for more than two weeks except under the direction of a professional practitioner. Please be aware that taking too much Zinc can cause problems and may result in liver issues.

If you are experiencing unusual symptoms but are not sure of what is causing them, please consider scheduling a consultation with me. I will help you identify the source of your challenges and will then work with you to create a personalized plan to address them. To schedule, please email me or call 317.489.0909.

Do you take a Zinc supplement? Which one do you take?