NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. Worlds "natural antibiotic" banned in Europe

    Welcome to the New World Order...

    As of January 1, the European Union banned the sale of colloidal silver as a nutritional supplement. Now, you'll need a doctor's prescription to get it.

    Forget that we've safely used colloidal silver for thousands of years to zap bacterial infections, fungus, and parasites from the body! Some call colloidal silver the world's strongest "natural antibiotic" because it's so good at wiping out infections.

    In fact, you'll find colloidal silver in just about every water treatment system on the market. It's also the main ingredient in Silvadene, a medicated cream used on burn victims to prevent (and treat) skin infections. You'll even find it in creams used to treat diaper rash in babies.

    I especially like to use it nebulized (or inhaled). It does an amazing job wiping out bacteria from the body if you're sick. Plus, as bacteria become more and more resistant to antibiotics, colloidal silver is a viable alternative.

    But according to CODEX ALIMENTARIUS colloidal silver's unsafe. Created in 1963 by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, CODEX sets food safety standards. It also sets restrictions on nutritional supplements.

    The European Union follows CODEX rules to the letter. And in the U.S., there's immense pressure for us to adopt CODEX regulations as well. So far, lobbyists have been unable to pull the U.S. into the CODEX clique. But I don't know how long this will last. If I were you, I'd stock up now on colloidal silver. You might not see it on U.S. shelves much longer.

    To learn more about the history of colloidal silver and how to take it safely, visit the Healthier Talk web site at:

  2. Vitamin E "rescues" brain after stroke

    Last week, we talked about vitamin E and bladder cancer. But, really, we just scratched the surface. There's so much more to learn about this powerful antioxidant. According to a new study, vitamin E may protect you against brain damage following a stroke. Scientists say they've never seen anything like it. Even small amounts of the vitamin appear to protect precious brain cells following a stroke.

    Too much of a good thing...

    A stroke occurs when a blood vessel leading to your brain gets blocked or ruptures. Your body wants to repair the damage. But it overreacts and causes more harm than good.

    In fact, following a stroke, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called glutamate. In normal amounts, glutamate helps with learning and memory. But too much glutamate sets off a chain reaction that kills brain cells. And this sudden loss of brain cells is what's to blame for most of the long-term damage from a stroke.

    This is also why time is of the essence when responding to a stroke. The faster you remove the blockage, the less glutamate flooding into the brain, the fewer brain cells killed.

    But scientists from the Ohio State University (OSU) have recently found another way to block the damage caused by excess glutamate in stroke victims' brains.

    You got it: vitamin E.

    Not just any vitamin E will do...

    As you'll recall, vitamin E is a collection of eight different molecules. We don't know a lot about the roles each of these molecules play in human health. And we probably know the least about the one fraction of vitamin E called alpha- tocotrienol. And that's exactly the fraction that OSU scientists used in their recent stroke experiments...

    First, OSU scientists divided lab mice into two groups. The first group of mice got no vitamin supplementation. The second group of mice received a daily regimen of alpha-tocotrienol. (But they didn't get a lot. In humans, it would be like cutting your vitamin E supplement into 10 pieces. If you took just 1 piece of it each day, you'd get the equivalent of what the second group of mice received.)

    Next, the scientists injected all the mice with glutamate (to simulate what occurs in the brain following a stroke). In the non-vitamin group, the glutamate triggered the release of a toxic enzyme called cPLA2. This toxic enzyme poisoned the animals' brain cells, causing massive brain cell death.

    But how did the mice given alpha-tocotrienol do?

    Saving brain cells...without a drug in sight

    The glutamate injection still triggered the release of cPLA2 in the second group of mice. But it caused much less damage. In fact, the mice who took alpha- tocotrienol reduced their glutamate and cPLA2 levels by 60 percent following the stroke. As a result, these mice saved four times as many brain cells than the group without alpha-tocotrienol.

    Just think about that...four times as many brain cells saved! In humans, would that make all the difference in saving your ability to speak? Or being able to feed yourself?

    Here's how the study's lead researcher summed up their results: "Our research suggests that the different forms of natural vitamin E have distinct functions. The relatively poorly studied tocotrienol form of natural vitamin E targets specific pathways to protect against neural cell death and rescues the brain after stroke injury...So what we have here is a naturally-derived nutrient, rather than a drug, that provides this beneficial impact."

    Imagine that! A mainstream scientist going on record that a vitamin, not a drug, can protect you against brain damage following a stroke.

    And believe it or not the National Institutes of Health funded the study! Maybe we are starting to make small inroads into mainstream medicine, after all? Now, if only we could get rid of all that garbage on TV during football season telling you to take a drug to lower your risk of stroke!

    Keeping it natural

    Sure, we've still got a long way to go before proving vitamin E does the exact same thing in humans. But believe it or not, mice and human have a lot in common. Our brains react in the exact same way when exposed to glutamate. Plus, OSU scientists believe that vitamin E will protect human brains in the same way it helped the mice.


    As you'll recall from last week, it's pretty tough to get enough vitamin E from your food sources. You'd have to eat a lot of almonds and wheat germ oil to get what you'll find in just one vitamin E supplement.

    I recommend finding a high-quality gel cap that contains all eight molecules. On the label, look for a blend of "mixed" tocopherols and tocotrienols. (They should be listed on the bottle as: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocopherol; and alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocotrienol.)

    You'll also want to make sure only to take the natural forms of vitamin E, not synthetic. There's a little trick I can teach you for spotting a synthetic. Just look back at last year's Guide to Good Health.

  3. Do not use St. Johns Wart for IBS

    This month, I came across a misguided study conducted by scientists at the Mayo Clinic. They tried to treat their IBS patients with St. John's Wort.

    Of course, the herb didn't make the patients' IBS symptoms any better. And it didn't work for the same reason why you don't use tomato sauce to paint your house: It's really great on pasta, but not so good on your walls. St. John's Wort works great for mild depression, but not for IBS.

    Now, I would have been the first one to rejoice if the scientists had discovered that St. John's Wort could work for IBS. But it didn't. And I have a sneaking feeling that this study was designed from the beginning to fail.

    Plus, what happens as a result of a study like this is that "Middle America" hears that another herb hasn't lived up to expectations. They don't know that we've used St. John's Wort with great success for roughly 2,400 years to treat mild depression, but it's never been considered a real treatment for IBS.

    In any case, keep your St. John's Wort in the kitchen cabinet for slight bouts of depression we all run into from time to time. But if you suffer from IBS, you'll need more than one pill to fix the problem. And that's because IBS is a direct result of a SAD diet (SAD stands for Standard American Diet). The good news? It's nearly always curable. If you suffer from IBS, here's a quick crash course on how you can improve your symptoms:

    1. Cut out white flour.
    2. Cut out sugar and fried foods.
    3. Cut out caffeine.
    4. Cut out milk (and milk products). Go for rice or almond milk instead.
    5. Cut out processed foods.
    6. Add more whole grains to your diet (100 percent whole wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, etc.).
    7. Drink more water.
    8. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.

  4. Antioxidant wards off cancer in older adults, smokers

    This year, I want you get more vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is one of your greatest weapons against cancer. But you've got to get enough of it to form a strong defense. And the RDA just won't cut it. In fact, a new study shows that getting extra vitamin E can slash your risk of bladder cancer, especially if you're a smoker. But you'll need to take much more than RDA. Just how much am I talking about? Keep reading to find out exactly what I recommend. But first let's look at why bladder cancer is something you should take seriously, especially if you're a man over 65 or a smoker. Know your risk... The biggest risk factor for bladder cancer is actually smoking. Sure, most of us are keenly aware that smoking causes lung cancer. It causes about 85 percent of lung cancer cases. But few people know that bladder cancer's a close runner-up. In fact, according to some studies, smoking directly causes about 65 percent of the bladder cancer cases among men each year. You see, two chemicals found in cigarettes often show up in the urine of smokers. Scientists believe these chemicals cause changes to the cells in your bladder. Over time, normal cells begin to mutate wildly, grow ferociously, and eventually form a tumor. So, if you smoke, make 2010 the year you quit! Also, men are four times more likely than women are to get bladder cancer. The third risk factor is your age. The older you are, the greater your risk. In fact, we see most cases of bladder cancer in white men over 65. Now, if you fall into any of these three categories, here's the good news: bladder cancer's highly preventable, especially with the right antioxidant support. Cut your risk of bladder cancer by up to 42 percent Scientists from Australia recently analyzed the dietary habits of 322 people with bladder cancer. They also looked at the diets of 239 people without bladder cancer. They found that men and women with the highest daily consumption of vitamin E (at least 193.4 milligrams) were 34% less likely to develop bladder cancer. And smokers fared even better! In fact, smokers with the highest intake of E slashed their bladder cancer risk by 42 percent. Get more than the RDA of vitamin E The Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin E is about 20 mg per day. But truthfully, that's not enough, especially if you're concerned about bladder cancer. Remember, the men and women in this study who got the most protection took at least 193.4 mg per day of vitamin E. And they probably got that by taking a supplement. Because you'd have to eat about 20 handfuls of almonds (or 10 tablespoons of wheat germ oil) to get that much vitamin E. Now, stick with me, because here's where things can get a little confusing... The authors of this study and USDA (which sets the RDA guidelines) use milligrams (mg) when talking about the amounts of vitamin E. But that's not what you'll see on the package when you go to the whole foods store looking for it. You'll see vitamin E sold in IU (or International Units). You'll want to find a bottle that contains 400 IU of vitamin E. (Even though that's much higher than the RDA for E, it's an antioxidant and will cause zero toxicity even in very high amounts. In fact, doctors back in the 1950s used 8,000 IU daily on some 30,000 patients with zero side effects!) Just make sure to look for the mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E in a gel cap. (Finding this all-natural form of vitamin E can be very tricky. There's a lot of synthetic junk out there. These, you should avoid like the plague. To learn how to find the right kind of vitamin E, take a look back at last year's Guide to Good Health on the topic.) Lastly, for anyone at risk for bladder cancer, I'd recommend drinking plenty of water every day. In fact, we know statistically, that people who drink lots of fluids have lower bladder cancer rates. Scientists believe that emptying the bladder frequently throughout the day helps to flush out toxins and chemicals that can lead to cancer.
  5. Skip the boring treadmills! Make exercise fun in the New Year

    This week, I promise not to bore you about the importance of getting your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. You've heard it before. But I do have a suggestion for all you non-treadmill-loving readers out there who are looking for a way to mix up your exercise routine in the New Year. Try bouncing! You could bounce on your bed, but I recommend investing in a mini-trampoline with bungee-type springs. Bounce while watching TV shows, listening to music, or talking on the phone. Switch bounce positions every few minutes to keep things interesting. Go from bouncing on the balls of your feet to bouncing on your heels. Not only is bouncing surprisingly fun (try it, if you don't believe me), it's also easier on your joints than walking or running. Aim for 30 minutes of straight bouncing to get your heart rate up. But how do you know how hard you should work? Well, first ask your doctor and make sure you're fit for aerobic exercise. Then, you'll need to figure out your goal pulse. Do that by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply that number by .8 for your target pulse rate per minute. Try to reach your target level five to 10 minutes into your workout and keep it there for a few minutes to start. But remember, slow and steady wins the race. Trying to do too much, too fast will only get you into trouble…or it will become too hard and you'll quit. And remember, it's supposed to be fun. So don't get too caught up checking your pulse or figuring out how many calories you've burned!
  6. Hidden causes of your chronic cough

    Have a cough that just won't go away? You've had it for months (or years) and know it's not a cold. You don't have allergies, asthma, or acid reflux. And you're not a smoker. Could it be that you've got a B12 deficiency? It's highly possible, especially if you're over 60. That's according to a new study presented at the World Allergy Conference last month. For this study, Italian scientists looked at 40 patients with an unexplained chronic cough. The scientists had a hunch that sensory neuropathy (or nerve damage) caused their older patients' chronic cough. And what's one of the main causes behind sensory neuropathy? You got it: deficiencies in the vitamin B12. So, following their hunch, the Italian scientists tested the patients' blood. They found that 25 of the 40 patients with a mysterious chronic cough were deficient in vitamin B12. According to the lead author of the study Giuseppe Guida, M.D., their older patients were particularly prone to B12 deficiencies. He said, "Generally, you can find these lower levels of vitamins in older people because they can have some problem with their nutrition." So how does low B12 cause a chronic cough? Well, over time, lack of B12 may cause inflammation of the nerves leading to your airways. It also may cause you to become hyper-sensitive to every little dust particle... Does just a little bit of dust make you cough? The Italian scientists wanted to see exactly what made their vitamin B12 deficient patients so prone to coughing. They measured the lung capacity of all 40 patients using a machine called a spirometer. The patients exhaled into the machine to measure their bronchial capacity to get a baseline reading. Then the patients took a histamine "challenge test." You see, typically, when exposed to histamine, your airway will constrict and cause you to cough. But if you are "hyper-responsive," your airway will constrict at lower doses of histamine. Each of the patients with a B12 deficiency had significantly lower thresholds for histamine response. Translation? When exposed to even just a tad of histamine, the vitamin B12 deficient group started coughing. Then, the scientists gave them B12 shots. And any guesses what happened? Yep, their histamine responses improved. Their airways didn't constrict as readily and they didn't start coughing. Dr. Guida's guardedly optimistic. In his presentation at the World Allergy Congress, he said, "Of course, we need more data to confirm the fact that there is a strong association between these two cofactors [chronic cough and the B12 deficiency]." However, "if this is the case, [this] could be a very easy way to help these people," he said, "especially because they are older and it's a very easy medication to [administer]." Boosting B12 naturally Bottom line here, folks? If you've got a mysterious cough that just won't go away (or if you seem to overreact to allergens in your house), ask your doctor for a B12 blood test. Ideally, you should have blood serum levels above 300 pg/mL. An important warning here for vegans and vegetarians: don't necessarily trust your B12 blood tests. You see, some vegetables contain a nutrient that mimics B12 in the body. So it appears as though you have enough B12 in blood tests; but this analog doesn't perform the same job as B12. In fact, if you're a plant-eater, you can be severely B12 deficient and still look normal in blood tests. In any case, if blood tests show you're a little low, you'll definitely want to add some grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and free-range eggs to your diet. In most cases, your body should have no trouble at all absorbing B12 from these natural sources. For readers who have a more serious B12 deficiency, I recommend B12 shots. They're not as bad as they sound, I promise! Some people get them once a month and some people as often as two times per week. Your doctor will help you figure out how often you need one. (As always, I recommend finding a natural healthcare practitioner which you can do through associations like the International College of Integrative Medicine at, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at, or the American College for the Advancement of Medicine at If you're not thrilled about getting regular shots in the arm, you can always try sublingual B12 tablets (you put them under your tongue) or low dose mouth sprays. Unfortunately, B12's just not very well absorbed in tablet form. Try this for a few months and see if your levels improve. If they don't, B12 shots are your best alternative. No matter how you get it, B12's one magic elixir. When your body gets enough, you'll feel more energized and relaxed. And you may just see your mysterious cough disappear!
  7. Head Hunting at the CDC

    Last year I made a bad joke to watch out for the next big vaccine: one for pimples. Well, if Julie Gerberding gets her way, you may actually see this kind of outrageous vaccine hit the market in the near future. Gerberding just landed a new job as the head of Merck's $5 billion vaccine division. At Merck, she'll be responsible for boosting sales of Gardasil, the company's cervical cancer vaccine, as well as Zostavax, the company's shingles vaccine. So here's the interesting twist to the story... Does Gerberding's name ring a bell? It should. She's the former top dog at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, she left the CDC last January—almost one year ago to the day—when the new Obama administration took over in Washington, D.C. Gerberding couldn't go straight to work for Merck. No, that would raise too many eyebrows (and break a few federal laws)... Gerberding "cools off" and ignites fires Instead, Gerberding's been "cooling off" for the last 12 months. You see, federal law requires that former employees wait at least one year before going to work for a company whose profits stem from government decisions. But, truthfully, Gerberding didn't "cool off" very much in 2009. No, she went to work for the PR giant Edelman. And any bets on which companies Edelman represents? You got it: Merck pharmaceuticals (as well as just about every other key player in the industry). In 2009, Gerberding became a PR pro. She gave lots of TV interviews, especially about H1N1. During one interview with Good Morning America, Gerberding really stoked the fires. Commenting on the H1N1 vaccine, she said: "We know there's not going to be enough globally, and it will be many months before we can cover our own population." As if the H1N1 virus wasn't enough of a hot button, thanks to Gerberding, viewers found out they had something else to worry about: There weren't going to be enough vaccines. Not hired for her truthfulness... Well, Gerberding wasn't right about the H1N1 vaccine. Turns out, there are still plenty of shots to go around (mostly because people don't believe it's safe). But who cares. Merck's got high hopes for her anyway. According to Richard Clark, Merck's CEO: "As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives." Translation? We hired Gerberding for her rolodex. And what a fat one she has! Just think of it! Not only does she have CDC officials at her fingertips, she also has connections to all the major DC lawmakers as well as leaders at the World Health Organization. In fact, I'd bet the ranch that Merck had access to Gerberding's rolodex even while she was at the CDC. Why such the cynic? Well, as you'll see, back- scratching was pretty much the norm at the CDC... You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours Under Gerberding's leadership, the CDC turned a blind eye to conflicts of interest. In fact, the majority of experts the CDC hired in 2007 had conflicts of interest. According to a new federal report, "The CDC did not identify or resolve potential conflicts of interest for 64 percent of special Government employees in 2007." Plus, we're not talking about your run-of-the-mill conflicts of a wife who works for a drug company. No, we're talking about financial conflicts, meaning that some experts voted on issues at the CDC that they could gain from financially. According to a recent New York Times article, "Most of the advisers [to the CDC]...had either a job or a grant from a company or other entity whose interests were affected by the [CDC] committees' discussions, and a considerable number also owned stock in such companies." All this happened right under Gerberding's nose. Even the new head of the CDC has admitted the agency's rife with problems. And he's actually making an attempt (at least publically) to implement stricter rules. But it's not all fun and games... I actually feel sorry for Gerberding. It's not going to be all fun and games for her at Merck. For the first time in a lot of years, she's going to have to look at the bottom line of a spreadsheet. And she's got her work cut out for her. Gardasil sales have been slumping (even though the CDC recommends it for 11- and 12-year-old girls). In fact, in the third quarter of 2009, sales were down 22 percent. Guess word's finally started to get out about this horrendous vaccine (to learn more about my take on Gardasil, check out 8-6-09's Guide to Good Health "Maximizing Profits One Way or Another." Watch out for more vaccines in 2010 Unfortunately – even if Gardasil doesn't pick up the pace in 2010 – I'm sure there will be another vaccine to take its place. Maybe for pimples. Or maybe even one for dry skin. You see that's big pharma's newest (and scariest) trend. They scare people into thinking their body isn't the most powerful healing machine ever created. And then they make a vaccine for something your body can – and should – fight off on its own. Just keep tuned-in to my Guide to Good Health in 2010. I'll steer you away from any new vaccines Gerberding and her new (or should I say "old") friends at Merck cook up.
  8. Majority of Americans do not get enough blue and purple fruits

    Chances are, you don't eat enough purple and blue fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, pomegranates, purple cabbage, and beets. These are some of the healthiest foods on the planet, but hardly any of us eat enough of them. In fact, according to a new study, only 12 percent of Americans eat enough purples and blues. And that's a crying shame. Because these vibrant foods contain powerful antioxidants that can:
    • Zap free radicals in their tracks—one culprit that may contribute to the diseases of aging
    • Help keep your cells in tip-top shape so they do their job and do it well
    • Even promote young, tight skin and strong, silky hair
    So if you're like most of us and have a hard time getting plenty of these dark fruits and vegetables into your diet, I have a suggestion. Give NorthStar Nutritionals' new product Vital Purples a try. It's a delicious drink mix that contains antioxidants from 19 different fruits and vegetables. In just one scoop, you'll get five servings of vital nutrients from the darkest, most potent fruits and veggies on the planet.
  9. Reduce your risk of dangerous colon polyps by 40 percent

    Last month, I told you about steps you should take to prevent colon polyps. And now, I have more solid advice. Make sure to get plenty of antioxidants, especially selenium. It will help protect you against dangerous growths in your colon. In fact, a new study shows that certain antioxidants may reduce your risk of polyps by up to 40 percent.
    High-risk patients shrink their risk of colon cancer
    Polyps that grow in your large bowel start out benign. But over time, they can turn cancerous. Plus, if you've already had one polyp, you're at greater risk for developing more. But now we know there's another sure-fire way to shrink your risk... Recently, a group of Italian researchers rounded up 400 high-risk men and women with a history of benign polyps to take part in their study. They wanted to see if antioxidants would help prevent the polyps from returning. They gave half of the patients a daily supplement containing selenium and zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, and E—five antioxidant powerhouses. The other half took a placebo. Researchers found that men and women who took antioxidants developed 40 percent fewer new polyps in the large bowel. But that's not all... The study also showed that antioxidants have long-term benefits. In fact, researchers found that the antioxidant group still had 40 percent fewer polyps compared to the placebo group even 13 years after the study ended!
    Interpreting the results...
    Now, if I had to pick out the real star in the group, I'd pick selenium. It's a trace mineral that helps strengthen your immune system. In the old days, you probably got plenty of it just by eating fruits and vegetables. But today, that's just not the case. Why? Well, most soil used for farming today just doesn't contain much. As a result, the fruits and vegetables don't contain much of it either. In my book, that's one reason why cancer rates have skyrocketed in the last 50 years. You see, your body needs selenium to guard against cancer. It boosts T cell activity in the body. It also encourages T cells to produce cytokines, which act as messengers throughout all the cells in your body. Selenium also helps white blood cells produce antibodies and fight off toxins invading your system.
    The study that started it all...
    The first big selenium study came out about 10 years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This one involved patients with a history of skin cancer. Scientists wanted to see if selenium could prevent skin cancer.. Unfortunately it didn't. But it did prevent prostate, colon, and lung cancer. In fact, patients who took selenium had 63 percent fewer prostate cancers, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers, and 46 percent fewer lung cancers than the placebo group. Plus, when scientists followed up with their patients after six years, the selenium group had fewer cancer-related deaths as well. In fact, the men and women taking selenium had almost 50 percent fewer cancer deaths overall.
    Load up on antioxidants—especially selenium—in 2010
    Now's the perfect time to start a new routine. I recommend getting plenty of antioxidants, especially selenium. I'd go for 200 mcg (micrograms) of selenium along with vitamin E for extra antioxidant protection. In fact, that's exactly how much the high-risk colon cancer patients took to prevent their polyps from returning. Here's to a healthy, happy 2010 everyone!
  10. Those antimicrobial wipes may be doing more harm than good

    As we hear more reports about "superbugs" and other evolving microbes, our obsession with antibacterial everything continues to flourish. Yet a new study shows that those antimicrobial wipes may be doing more harm than good.

    In efforts to control "superbugs," like MRSA, hospital protocols call for all surfaces to be cleaned with antimicrobial wipes.

    However, in a study conducted by the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University, researchers found that, while the wipes successfully removed most bacteria from a given surface, the antibacterial agents do not kill off the actual microbes. So a wipe used on more than one surface may actually deposit more than it's clearing away.

    That's not to discount their effectiveness entirely. But it's important to dispose of wipes properly. And, obviously, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after sneezing, coughing or wiping down surfaces that might carry harmful bacteria.

  11. Tea for type 2...

    New hope for type 2 diabetics may be found lurking in both tea cups and wine glasses alike. A University of Massachusetts study found that the polyphenols found in both wine and tea have a beneficial effect on alpha-glucosidase-an enzyme responsible for the absorption of glucose in the small intestine. For the study, researchers looked at four kinds of red and white wine and four types of tea (black, green, white and oolong). Results showed that red wine inhibited alpha- glucosidase by almost 100 percent.White wine showed only a 20 percent reduction while black tea, the most active of the four teas tested, came in at over 90 percent. White tea and oolong tea came in at a close second and third with 87 and 80 percent respectively. Many of the more common diabetes treatments are designed to inhibit alpha-glucosidase production, so these findings show great promise for developing a natural solution for people with type 2 diabetes. Neither wine nor tea had any effect (or only minimal effects) on alpha-amylase levels. Alpha-amylase is an enzyme used in the small intestine to break down starches and is usually inhibited along with alpha- glucosidase by a lot of the more conventional medications. Another key point in favor of this natural approach. Although these findings are both significant and promising, one obvious limitation is that the study was done in vitro. And although animal and human clinical studies are on the horizon, it'll be quite some time before your doctor prescribes a bottle of merlot to help treat your diabetes. In the mean time, both tea and red wine get to add another feather in their respective caps for yet another fantastic health benefit!
  12. Knock out the risk of colon cancer with vitamin-mineral combo

    If you've ever had benign polyps in your colon, count your blessings. And then start upping your vitamin D and calcium. A new study shows that this one-two punch of nutrients may protect you from ever developing colon cancer. And that's because vitamin D and calcium can "normalize" cells in the colon and rectum, even in patients at high risk for developing cancer. The Rodney Dangerfield of vitamins & minerals A team of U.S. researchers recruited 92 men and women with a history of benign colorectal tumors. Doctors consider these kinds of patients at high risk for developing cancerous tumors down the line. They divided these high-risk patients into four groups. One group received 2 g of calcium daily for six months. One group got 800 IU of D3 daily. The third group received both calcium and D3. And the last group got a placebo. As you can imagine, the group taking the supplements did really well. And I'll get to their results in a moment. But first, let me say this... Vitamin D3 and calcium are like the ABCs of good nutrition. For years, I've been urging everyone to take up to 5,000 IU of D3 daily. It protects you against any number of horrible diseases. Cancer's just one of them. Also, I've been talking a lot lately about taking D3 to prevent the flu, as it plays a big role in supercharging your immune system. And what about calcium? Well, it goes without saying that calcium's one of our most important minerals. Most women know to take it for their bones. But calcium's much more versatile than that. It's involved in many systems throughout the body, including your cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems. In your digestive tract, calcium binds to bile and fatty acids. Many scientists believe this protects the mucous membranes in your large intestine. Yet despite all the known benefits, these nutrients don't get the respect they deserve. I blame one bad study. Back in 2006, a study involving the Women's Health Initiative found that vitamin D and calcium had "no effect" on the risk of colorectal cancer. The mainstream media picked up on this and blasted it everywhere. Of course, since then, the study's methodology has been completely discredited. But now we can chalk one up for the good guys... New study on vitamin D and calcium study gets it right Scientists in the new study checked back in on their high-risk patients after six months. They took samples from the patients' intestines and found something very interesting. One "super" gene had kicked into action in the patients taking vitamin D and calcium. This gene – called p21 – helps protect the body against the spread of cancer cells. It causes them to self destruct. Scientists refer to this as apoptosis. In fact, this area of research is super hot right now. In another, unrelated study, scientists showed that p21 can actually repair your DNA. In the high-risk patients who took vitamin D and calcium, the activity of this "super" gene increased by up to 242 percent. Scientists also noted that vitamin D and calcium blocked cells in the colon from growing or mutating. They say we should continue to look closely at the role these nutrients play in preventing cancer. I'm hopeful that all this great research will get some well-deserved attention. It should! After all, researchers from the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and two very well-respected U.S. universities conducted it. But I'm not holding my breath. The 11 o'clock newscasters only want to spread gloom and doom. Preventing cancer naturally In closing, I encourage you keep up your vitamin D and calcium intake. Strive to spend 30 minutes in the sun each day without sunscreen. If that's not possible, go for 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Yes, that's quite a bit higher than what patients in the study took, but there's little risk of overdosing. A 30-minute sunbath gives you 10,000 IU of vitamin D. For extra calcium, first try to get more calcium-rich foods into your diet. Your body will more readily absorb calcium from foods you eat. Start becoming a fan of green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and turnip greens. Kale has 200 mg of calcium per cooked cup. Collard greens boast 300 mg. And turnip greens contain a whopping 450 mg of calcium per cooked cup. Of course, you can also take a calcium supplement. If you go that route, make sure your daily multivitamin contains digestives enzymes (such as amylase, lipase, and protease) as these will help your body absorb the calcium. It's even better to use a calcium/magnesium supplement that has 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium.
  13. Reduce your prostate risk with salmon

    For those men out there who don't like eating's the time to expand your horizons. Just look at what eating a little salmon did for men: It reduced their risk of aggressive prostate cancer (the kind where they cut out your prostate) by a whopping 63 percent.

    A recent study conducted at the University of California San Francisco looked at 466 men with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 men healthy men. Scientists from UCSF asked the men about the foods they ate. Then, they took samples of the patients' blood to see if they carried the COX-2 gene known to increase prostate cancer risk.

    They found that men who carried the gene and had low levels of omega-3s had a five-fold increased risk of getting prostate cancer. On the other had, the men with the highest levels of the omega-3s in their blood reduced their risk of getting cancer by 63 percent. And their risk diminished even if they carried the COX-2 gene!

    The researchers noted the men who ate dark, oily fish – such as salmon – got the biggest boost. What's most shocking is that just a little bit of salmon did the trick. In fact, the men who got the most protection ate salmon just one to three times per week.

    It can be hard to find fresh wild-caught salmon year round. So check your grocer's freezer section. My store carries a whole section of frozen wild-caught fish. Maybe yours does too. Check it out!

  14. Maybe you do not need nutritional supplements

    Last week, I made the case for taking vitamins. I said unless you eat a dozen peaches, two heads of lettuce, and 25 tomatoes a day, you're probably not getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. But this week, I got to thinking. Was I too rash? Am I too much of a skeptic? Can you live a perfectly healthy, disease- free life without taking supplements? To solve this dilemma, I came up with a list of criterion for you to ask yourself. If you answer "YES" to all of the questions, chances are, you don't need to take vitamins. So here goes... You don't need nutritional supplements if you: ...Live in a peaceful, low-stress environment. ...Never drink chlorinated public water. ...Never breathe polluted air. ...Always get enough sleep (8-9 hours per night). ...Never have headaches. ...Never get colds. ...Never get indigestion. ...Always eat fresh organic food, harvested ripe (not early so it ships better). ...Have never been exposed to toxins or fertilizers. ...Have never taken antibiotics. ...Never eat sugar or white flour products. ...Never mix carbs and proteins in the same meal. ...Have never taken birth control pills. ...Have never had surgery. ...Have never smoked. ...Have never indulged in alcohol. ...Have no genetic predisposition for disease (such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer). ...Have never taken cortisone or prednisone. ...All the dairy products you eat have been certified "raw," so that all the enzymes are intact. ...Never drink homogenized milk. ...Never eat processed foods. ...Eat several small meals, instead of large ones throughout the day. ...Never overeat. ...Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. ...Never get heartburn. ...Never get constipated. ...Still have your gallbladder. ...Never eat food that contains artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives. ...Never eat food that contains hydrogenated oils. ...Eat wild caught oily fish 2-3 times per week. ...Only eat organic lean meats. ...Never eat grilled foods. ...Eat plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables with every meal. ...Rotate the foods in your diet regularly. Don't worry, nobody's perfect... You get the point, don't you? Clearly, I don't believe it's possible for you to get what you need just by "eating healthy." Even if you eat five to seven peaches a day! And I'm not alone. Dr. Michael Roizen – co-author of the new best-selling book You: The Owners Manual – estimates that only one percent of American adults get enough of the right vitamins and minerals from their diet alone. But here's where Dr. Roizen and I differ: He thinks you can get by with the average grocery store brands. Plus, his recommended dosages (while better than the RDA) just won't cut it. For example, he recommends 1,200 IUs of D3 for adults over 50. I'd go much higher with 5,000 IUs of D3 daily (especially for anyone living north of Florida!). You could follow Dr. Roizen's advice and take the grocery store brand vitamins. But that's like the little pig who built his house out of straw. I'd rather build my house out of bricks. Build your house out of bricks Here are a few steps you can take to help protect your body: 1. First off, start with a multivitamin that you believe in. Most grocery store brand multis contain only 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). And the RDA just doesn't cut it. As I've said before, look for a high-quality multi like Daily Defense Plus that will give you 25 mg of B1, B2, and B6. 2. Go for capsules as your body will absorb these better. 3. Skip any grocery store brand that claims to give you all the essential vitamins and minerals in a once-a-day tablet. Here's where a lot of people go wrong. They want the convenience of an "all-in-one" daily vitamin. But all the "good stuff" (such as minerals, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants) can't fit into one single capsule. A good multivitamin usually consists of 3 to 6 capsules. 4. Look for a multi that contains digestive enzymes like amylase, lipase, and protease. These make your capsules bigger, but they're really important. They help support proper digestion and ensure the best possible absorption of vital nutrients in your multi. 5. In addition to your multi, I recommend taking 1,000 mg capsules of vitamin C twice a day. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells in the body from free radical damage. It also helps your body detoxify drugs and chemicals you're exposed to on a daily basis. 6. Lastly, remember to take your vitamins with meals and space them out throughout the day. Again, this will help your body get the maximum benefit. By following this regimen, will you feel like a totally new person overnight? Probably not. But I think you'll notice small, but significant improvements in your overall health. Plus, this added protection will help fill in any gaps in your diet. That's why we call them "supplements," after all.
  15. Do you really need vitamins?

    Even if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, chances are, your body's still not getting the nutrients it needs.

    And that's because fruits and vegetables aren't grown the way the used to be. First off, the soil's different. It's now rich in fertilizer and chemicals, instead of minerals. Secondly, farmers now pick produce off the vine before it's ripe so that it will survive the long truck ride to your store. Lastly, we're breeding Miss Americas not Albert Einsteins.

    What do I mean?

    We now breed fruits and veggies to look prettier and taste sweeter. But they've become less nutritious in the process, according to the United State Department of Agriculture.

    In fact, according to one recent report I've read, you'd have to eat seven to nine 2009 peaches to get the same nutritional content packed into one 1950s peach.

    What's the bottom line? Unless you eat a dozen peaches, two heads of lettuce, and 25 tomatoes a day, you might not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Start with a solid multivitamin that's got at least 25 mg of B1, B2, and B6. This is an excellent litmus test for whether or not your multivitamin is any good.

    Unfortunately, most multivitamins out there skimp on the good stuff or leave out certain nutrients that can help you stay healthy. But Daily Defense Plus by NorthStar Nutritionals has got it all, including plenty of vitamins B1, B2, and B6.

    I also recommend NorthStar Nutritionals' new product called Vital Purples. It's a great-tasting fruit drink mix designed to support healthy aging. In fact, Vital Purples delivers powerful extracts from 31 different fruits and vegetables proven to help fight free radicals, such as blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, beets, and pomegranates. In just one scoop, you'll get the five servings of vital nutrients and antioxidant power from the darkest, most potent fruits and veggies on the planet.

  16. Four reasons to skip your annual mammogram

    Last month, an independent task force came out with a blasphemous recommendation for women: You can wait until you're 50 to get your first mammogram. And even then, you don't need to get one every year. Just every other year. The truth is, I'm not just in favor of cutting back on mammograms. If I had my way, we'd throw the test out all together. A far more accurate test should take its place. More on that in a moment. But first, let's look at three reasons why mammograms fail to protect women... Reason #1: Radiation First off, a mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. And it's an established fact (though the American Cancer Society doesn't want to admit it) that each test generates a huge dose of radiation. In fact, each "life-saving" mammogram generates 1 rad (radiation-absorbed doses) of exposure. And even just 1 rad can be harmful. According to Dr. Frank Raucscher, the former Director of the National Cancer Institute, every rad of exposure increases your lifetime risk of breast cancer by 1 percent. That's for women ages 35 to 50. Other experts put the risk even higher. Especially if you got your first mammogram in the 1970s when each test delivered 5 to 10 rads of exposure. Over a lifetime, you could actually increase your risk of breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent just by following your well-intentioned doctor's advice and getting annual tests. But the radiation's not the only thing you need to know when it comes to mammograms... Reason #2: Trauma to the breast Anyone who's had a mammogram can tell you, it's not a fun experience. The procedure painfully compresses your breasts. And this kind of intense trauma, year after year, can liberate tumor cells that your body might have kept contained. This isn't theory: I spent two years in surgical pathology, and had to process mastectomy specimens directly from the operating room. Many times I found a perfectly straight dotted line of small tumors extending from the main tumor mass to the skin surface...clearly the precise track of a needle bi Reason #3: False negatives, false positives, and over diagnosis Even the federal government's task force has admitted that annual testing only pays off for a very small number of women in their 40s. In fact, if you're younger than 50, annual mammograms most often lead to false positives and unnecessary biopsies. In women age 50 to 74, routine mammograms often lead to "over diagnosis." This means that while mammograms do find small tumors in this age group of women, many of the tumors would never have caused a problem or "shortened a woman's life." A recent New York Times article took this idea a step further. The article stated, "...some researchers estimate that as many as one-third of all cancers picked up by screening would not be fatal even left untreated." The story goes on to quote Laura J. Esserman, M.D., a breast surgeon. She argues that mammograms often catch slow-growing types of cancer that may not need treatment. But they can miss aggressive, deadly types of cancer that need treatment. In fact, overall mammograms miss up to 20 percent of malignant breast cancer. But there's one more reason why I'm against mammograms... Reason #4: Give your body a chance to heal itself Last year I told you about a major mammogram study conducted in Norway. Researchers followed more than 200,000 women (age 50 to 64) as part of a national breast-screening program for six years. About half of the women received three mammograms during that time. The other half of the women got a single "screening mammogram" at the end of the six-year period. Incredibly, researchers found that breast cancer rates were 22 percent higher among the women given regular mammograms! Did the extra mammograms actually increase the rate of breast cancer? Based on my experience in pathology, that's highly possible. But the Norwegian scientists seemed to think something else was at play here. They believe the second group of women actually did get cancer just as often. It's just that some of their cancers may have "spontaneously regressed." What does that mean? Well, the scientists believe the women who got just one mammogram developed just as many tumors. But their tumors went undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. And given time, some of them disappeared. In other words, the body healed itself! Plus, in case you're wondering, this wasn't some quack-job study. It got published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.. Chances are, your doctor saw it. But how could he or she dare question the mantra preached for years about annual mammograms? Even the best internists, gynecologists, and family physicians are subject to an incredible, long-term propaganda blitz by the American Cancer Society telling us these barbaric tests save lives. Open a debate, ask your doctor Now, I'm not saying that women shouldn't get tested for breast cancer. But there's a far better test out there. It's called a thermogram. According to some data I've seen, this highly accurate test can detect cancerous cells up to 10 years before a mammogram. Plus, there's no radiation involved and it doesn't cause trauma to the breast. Unfortunately, it's not widely available yet. But with a little luck, we'll see mammograms go by the wayside as more and more of us learn about their shortcomings. And we'll see an increased demand for better testing. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about thermograms and where to get one, look back at 12-11-08's Guide to Good Health article called Beware of mammograms. Take a look at the facts for yourself. Weigh your options. And talk to your doctor.
  17. BPA plastics linked to sexual dysfunction in men

    Last year I warned you about a chemical used to make plastic called Bisphenol-A (BPA). Scientists know that BPA mimics the hormone estrogen in the body. And for a man in his prime, too much estrogen can be the kiss of death for his sex life.

    In fact, according to the new report, men exposed to BPA in the workplace had seven times more difficulty ejaculating compared to men who worked at factories without BPA exposure. Also, the BPA factory men experienced erectile problems four times more often than men who worked in non-BPA factories. Plus, the men didn't have to work long in the BPA factory for the dysfunction to start. Even men who worked in the factory for one year or less experienced sexual dysfunction.

    Granted, these men worked with BPA on a daily basis. And some of them had BPA levels in their urine up to 50 times higher than normal. So how much is too much? Is a tiny bit okay? Well, you won't see Uncle Sam admitting the truth any time soon.

    Considering what we do know about BPA, I'd steer clear of it all together. A chemical that mimics estrogen is bound to cause trouble sooner or later. Choose glass or stainless steel drink and food containers instead. And throw out canned foods (fresh is better anyway) as the inside lining of many of them contain BPA.

  18. Thankfully, you can still lower your cholesterol without statins!

    Today is Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful that even a mainstream doc like David Katz from the Yale University School of Medicine has admitted the obvious: You can lower your cholesterol without taking statin drugs. In fact, according to Dr. Katz's new research, you may be able to lower your cholesterol, even if you're diabetic, by eating one of my favorite snack foods. Preventing heart disease if you've got diabetes If you're diabetic, your blood sugar is constantly on your mind. And rightfully so. But what about heart disease? Heart disease is a major complication of diabetes. In fact, if you've got diabetes you're just as likely to suffer a heart attack as someone who's already had one. The build-up of plaque in your arteries is usually to blame. So how do you guard against a heart attack if you've already got diabetes? Without blinking an eye, most doctors will write you a prescription for a statin drug. And sure, these drugs can lower your cholesterol. But they can also cause permanent muscle damage as well as other serious side effects. Plus, in one major study, men and women who took statin drugs died of a heart attack just as often as those who didn't take them (but just took better care of themselves). More than one way to skin a cat If you've got diabetes and high cholesterol, you don't have to resort to statin drugs. In fact, Dr. Katz found that diabetics could potentially lower their "overall cardiac risk" just by eating walnuts. Dr. Katz and his team asked 24 middle-aged diabetics to take part in their study. Half of them maintained their established eating pattern. The other half ate a small handful of walnuts (56 grams) each day for eight weeks. After eight weeks, the walnut eaters experienced:
    • Improved cholesterol levels
    • Improved blood sugar
    • Improved health of blood vessels
    What makes walnuts so great for your heart? Well, for starters, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, similar to the kind you find in fish. But isn't fish oil better for your heart? Fish like salmon and tuna contain powerful omega-3 fatty-acids called EPA and DHA. Without a doubt, these nutrients play a vital role in protecting your heart. Even the American Heart Association admits as much. According to their web site: "Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death; decrease triglyceride levels; decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque; and lower blood pressure (slightly)." But walnuts (as well as flaxseeds and chia seeds) contain a lesser-known nutrient called ALA that gets converted into EPA and DHA in the body. And ALA seems to play a unique role in regulating cholesterol in the body. In fact, in another study, published earlier this year, walnuts lowered cholesterol better than fish in healthy individuals. Now, I'm not saying to forget the fish. Rather, just toss in a handful of walnuts, too. Keep unsalted, organic walnuts in your kitchen. Sprinkle them on salads or your oatmeal. Just make sure to get a handful a day to support healthy cholesterol levels.
  19. Tea drinkers have less depression than Web surfers

    I recently ran across a study encouraging seniors to surf the web. It may help cut your risk of depression by 20 percent, the article said. But, to be honest, the study lacked substance. (Probably just some "junk science" funded by a computer company trying to boost sales.) On the other hand, if you really want to cut your risk of developing depression, think tea. Green tea to be precise. Scientists in Japan found that green tea drinkers over 70 years of age were less likely to get depressed. Now -- you have to drink a lot of tea to get the benefits. In fact, more than four cups a day. But among men and women who did this, the occurrence of depressive symptoms was 44 percent less. Wow. Now, that's what I call an improvement! Plus, green tea has a long and spectacular track record for boosting your overall health. It's been proven to help ward off heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and weight gain, just to name a few. So drink up (green tea, that is). And if you like to surf the net, go for it. Just don't expect Google to keep the blues away.
  20. Banish tip-of-the-tongue syndrome in three weeks flat

    Most of us know that blueberries support strong eyesight and help fight off disease. That's their claim to fame. But according to new research, this small "super food" may hold the power to recharge your mental cylinders in just three weeks.

    Researchers from the UK divided adult male rats into three groups. The first group consisted of "young" rats. The second group consisted of "aged" rats that received a normal diet. The third group of "aged" rats got a normal diet supplemented with blueberry powder.

    Before starting the rats on their diets, the scientists sent them all through a maze aimed at measuring their mental capacity. The scientists measured how fast the rats got through the maze as well as how often they made "correct" turns.

    Out of the gate, the young rats performed "extremely well and very consistently." They got through the maze very quickly and made correct turns about 90 percent of the time.

    The two groups of "aged" rats didn't finish anywhere near as well. Both "aged" groups took longer to finish the maze and only made correct turns about 60 percent of the time.

    Then the researchers turned up the heat. They started giving one group of aged rats blueberry powder along with their regular diet. And guess what happened...

    Aged rats perform like young studs

    After just three weeks, the aged rats given blueberries started acting like young studs. In fact, they improved their scores big time. They made correct turns through the maze 83 percent of the time. That's just 7 percent off the pace of the young rats in just three weeks.

    Better yet, these aged rats continued to perform at a fast clip for the rest of the study. On the other hand, the older rats given a regular diet saw little to no improvement throughout the 12-week study.

    According to researcher Dr. Matt Witterman, "This study not only adds to the claim that eating blueberries is good for you, it also provides support to a diet-based approach that could potentially be used to increase memory capacity and performance in the future."

    Blueberries turn your brain's cylinders back on

    Blueberries are antioxidants. This means they gobble up harmful free radicals that cause disease throughout your body.

    But blueberries aren't your run-of-the-mill antioxidant. They contain nutrients that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes them especially good at zapping free radicals in your brain that clog mental function.

    And best of all...

    According to the famed neuroscientist James Joseph, PhD, blueberries may even help your brain grow new neurons. This would explain why the older rats in the study started performing like young studs.

    Heck, I'll eat blueberries at breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it means I'll grow more neurons – instead of lose them – with each passing birthday.

    Now, I know, these studies used rats, not people. And not everything that works on rats will work on humans. But Dr. Joseph is currently testing out his theory on men and women. And the early results look promising. According to an advance report, men and women in the study who ate just a cup of blueberries a day significantly outperformed their counterparts.

    I'll keep you updated on Joseph's research as it surfaces. In the meantime, get plenty of blueberries into your diet. Drizzle them on oatmeal and yogurt. Make blueberry muffins (with whole wheat flour, of course). Or just keep a bowl of them at your desk.