NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. Lumivella helps keep your skin looking plump and firm

    Collagen is a type of protein found in your tendons, your joints, your bones, and even your teeth. It's also found in your skin. In fact, it works hand-in-hand with elastin to help keep your skin looking plump, firm, and smooth.

    But as you age, your collagen breaks down. As a result, the skin on your hands feels paper-thin and your cheeks don't look like round rosy apples anymore. Without collagen, your lips even begin to thin.

    You may find yourself applying lipstick outside the lines of your mouth to create an illusion of fullness. This is when your Hollywood-type friends take more extreme measures. They turn to collagen injections. They want the full, round lips of Angelina Jolie and the tight, high cheekbones of Julia Roberts, so they just inject collagen into their skin...often with disastrous results.

    But why go to such extremes when there are natural ways to support you body's own collagen production?

    Lumivella may help support healthy collagen production. You see, collagen can't form properly without an amino acid called hydroxyproline. In fact, this amino acid is the main component of collagen. Ultimately, it helps stabilize the 3-D structure of collagen in the body.

    Plus, this amino acid may help your body produce more collagen. In fact, in one in vitro study, it seemed to stimulate cells called fibroblasts. (Fibroblasts are tiny cells that help the body produce collagen.)

    That's why Lumivella contains a patented form of this amino acid. Plus, Lumivella helps your body remove harmful toxins...

    Promote vibrant skin by removing harmful toxins

    Poor skin tone may signal a toxic problem. Toxins come from all sorts of sources, such as the environment, alcohol, and processed foods. Your liver tries to flush out toxins, but sometimes it can't keep up and your skin gets hit with oxidative stress.

    That's why I'm happy to report that Lumivella contains a powerful antioxidant called "The Great Protector." It helps protect all your cells -- especially the cells in your skin -- from toxins and even free radical damage. This can have a restoring effect on your skin tone.

    As you'll recall, researchers in Thailand found that 60 men and women who took 500 mg of "The Great Protector" for just 4 weeks improved skin tone. Plus, the dark spots on the right side of the face and left forearm responded particularly well to the antioxidant treatments. As an added bonus, the volunteers even experienced a modest "increase in skin evenness and a reduction in pore sizes."

    But that's not all. Lumivella also addresses...

    The world's oldest (and simplest) beauty secret

    In my opinion, this next ingredient is what makes Lumivella so inspired. This ingredient tackles the problem of getting enough beauty sleep...because let's face it...when you don't get enough sleep, you don't wake up looking your best. Anyone can tell you that -- over time -- lack of sleep adds years to your face.

    To help you get a good night's rest, NorthStar Nutritionals added 500 mg of Lactium® to Lumivella. Lactium is a milk protein that promotes relaxation and helps relieve occasional sleeplessness.

    In fact, one study sponsored by the makers of Lactium showed a lot of promise. Researchers recruited 32 men and women who had complaints about the quality of their sleep. They split the volunteers into two groups. One got Lactium and one got a placebo for four weeks.

    By the end of that period, the Lactium group's sleep improved by leaps and bounds (based on their scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index). In fact, the Lactium group fell asleep faster and enjoyed better quality sleep than the placebo group

    But there's more to know about Lactium...

    What's another beauty "don't" you read about in all the magazines?

    Stress, of course!

    Over the years, everyday stress can wreak havoc on your appearance. Well, Lactium might help with this too. In one study with 42 participants, Lactium appeared to help stabilized cortisol levels (a hormone released during stress). On the other hand, cortisol levels rose among volunteers who took the placebo.

    So with a solid night's sleep -- and a tool to help manage stress levels -- you're well on your way to feeling and looking rejuvenated.

    Nutritional answer to timeless beauty

    Lumivella is the nutritional approach to achieving timeless beauty. Finally, you can improve your skin's appearance from the inside out.

    To get all the details about this powerful nutritional solution to the visible signs of aging, follow this link. Plus, as a reader of my Guide to Good Health, NorthStar Nutritionals will offer you a very special risk-free guarantee that "your friends will notice a difference in your skin" or you money back.

    Check out NorthStar Nutritional's Auto-Delivery Service. You'll never pay shipping and never run out of Lumivella! Plus, you can cancel at anytime.

  2. Bill Clinton should take a walk

    I sure wish Bill Clinton had read last summer's Guide to Good Health called "Skip the Angioplasty and Start Moving." He'd have been better off.

    Last summer German scientists studied heart disease patients just like Bill Clinton. Each of the patients in the study had angina (chest pain) with some artery blockage. But overall, they were in pretty good health. (Interestingly, this is exactly the same way doctors described the former President's condition in February. He hadn't suffered a heart attack or heart damage. He just had some narrowing of the arteries with chest pain.)

    If you walk into most hospitals today with these symptoms, you'd probably get a fast pass for an angioplasty. But German scientists wanted to see if that's really the best option.

    Which works better: angioplasty or exercise?

    The scientists divided the heart disease patients into two groups. The first group received an angioplasty to fix the clogged artery. For this procedure, doctors clear out the clogged artery and place a stent (or tube) in that spot. The second group didn't get angioplasties. They just began a daily exercise regimen.

    Doctors followed up with patients five years later. Any guesses which group fared better?

    Well, 63 percent of patients who followed a daily exercise regimen did not suffer a cardiac event (such as heart attack, stroke, or death). On the other hand, only 40 percent of patients who received an angioplasty survived without a similar cardiac event.

    The exercise group clearly fared better! They had almost 25 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. But don't cite that statistic to any cardiologist...

    You see, cardiologists perform 1.2 million angioplasties each year in this country. It's their bread and butter. Plus, angioplasties encourage repeat business. In fact, if you're anything like Bill Clinton, your first angioplasty isn't going to be your last. But in my book, the choice is perfectly clear. If you've got chest pain due to narrowing of the arteries, get moving!

  3. New study confirms there is an easy way to ease the pain of colitis

    Last November, I told you about a study showing how you could control ulcerative colitis through your diet. But the study involved mice, not humans. So I asked you to "stay tuned" because I was sure that scientists would get the same results, once they tested their claim on men and women. And, sure enough, three months later... a new study from Sweden proves that you can in fact control colitis symptoms by eating a simple fruit. Not only that, you can even super-charge the soothing effects adding a simple supplement. What to do when your immune system misfires... Many scientists believe that ulcerative colitis occurs when your immune system misfires and attacks a part of the body that it's supposed to protect. In the case of ulcerative colitis, your immune system attacks the lining of your intestines, creating inflammation. This can cause bloating, severe diarrhea, pain, and even fever. And over time, it can even increase your risk of colon cancer. But you can tame your immune system adding one simple fruit to your diet... Now, what is the super-food that reduces inflammation? Scientists from Sweden gave ulcerative colitis patients three different types of foods: rye bran, oat bran, and blueberries. And contrary to all the advertisements, they found that blueberries worked the best to control painful symptoms of colitis. Blueberries are particularly unique because they contain tannins. These substances help to control inflammation. Blueberries also contain plenty of insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber doesn't break down in your intestines. It stays intact and helps to flush away harmful waste, bacteria, and toxins. Plus, your body converts the insoluble fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which scientists believe, also help reduce inflammation. So, not surprisingly, when the Swedish patients ate blueberries, their symptoms improved. The blueberries acted like a sponge in the intestines. They soaked up anything that would typically cause inflammation and flushed it from the body. But then, the scientists took it one step further. They gave patients a probiotic supplement along with blueberries to see what would happen. The surprising findings about this powerful combination The scientists found that blueberries worked even better on UC patients when taken with a probiotic supplement. You see, it's all about creating a friendly environment in your intestines. Probiotics help to boost the friendly or "good" bacteria in your gut. And blueberries contain polyphenols, which kill any harmful bacteria. Plus, blueberries and probiotics boost your body's production of butyric and propionic acid. These helpful acids feed the cells in your intestines and promote a healthy immune system. Prior to this study, most doctors believed that these types of acids never left your intestines. But the Swedish scientists proved that theory wrong. They found that when UC patients took blueberries and probiotics, the helpful acids actually circulated throughout the body in the blood stream. In my book, that's an important discovery. It means that if your body makes enough of the helpful acid that some of it will spill over into your blood stream, which may help tame inflammation in other parts of the body, such as your joints. So it's true - You can heal your body with foods This study reaffirms everything we've discussed over the past year or so in the Guide to Good Health. You can heal your body with food. And if you're prone to intestinal problems, make sure to eat plenty of fruits, especially blueberries. Lastly, if you want to keep UC under control, make sure you also take daily probiotics. Yogurt's not enough. If you're lucky, a cup of yogurt will contain 10,000 active strains of bacteria by the time if reaches your mouth. But it also comes with a host of sugar, which is counter-productive. A good probiotic supplement will contain billions of units of active bacteria, which will actually give you the desired effect. Your digestive tract will thank you.
  4. Two sodas a week increases cancer rate

    Think having a soda once or twice a week isn't a big deal? Think again. According to a new study, drinking just two sodas per week can double your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Researchers followed 60,000 men and women for 14 years. They found that people who drank two or more sodas per week had an 87 percent increased risk of suffering pancreatic cancer (compared to people who didn't regularly drink soda). Drinking soda is just bad news. It contains so much sugar that your body must unleash massive amounts of insulin to metabolize it. This overproduction of insulin – scientists believe – puts a strain on the pancreas, which may contribute to the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. It's true that pancreatic cancer is very rare. But it's one of the most deadly. In fact, only about five percent of men and women diagnosed with it survive five years. So the next time you feel like having a soda at the movies. Skip it. Order bottled water instead!
  5. Forget cholesterol...Ask your doc to check your CRP!

    You probably know your cholesterol level. But what's your CRP level? If you don't know it, you should - especially if you're over 65. In fact, according to many experts, CRP (C-reactive protein) is a much better indicator of your cardiovascular health than your cholesterol. If your CRP is too high, you're definitely at double or even triple the risk for a heart attack or stroke. But according to a new study, there's a way to control CRP. All you have to do is add modest amounts of one of the world's most common vitamins.
  6. Vitamin D protects you against Crohns disease

    Vitamin D just won't quit. It seems as though every time I pick up a medical journal, I see scientists have proven that the "sunshine" vitamin can protect you against another disease. This time, it's Crohn's disease.

    Crohn's disease is more than just an irritable bowel. It's an autoimmune disorder that creates inflammation in your intestines. Over time, Crohn's disease even puts you at risk for getting colon cancer.

    But here's the good news: Scientists now believe vitamin D can protect you against this disease. In fact, in this new study, they've gone one step further. Canadian scientists now believe that a vitamin D deficiency may actually cause Crohn's disease in the first place.

    They concluded that everyone should supplement with vitamin D to protect themselves against Crohn's disease. It's especially important – they said – if you have a family history of the disease.

    So how much should you take?

    Recently, I saw one health guru make a big deal about upping his recommended dosage of vitamin D3 (the most bioactive form of D in the body) from 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU per day. But I've always recommended taking as much as 5,000 IU per day, especially if you live in the northern half of the United States. You just don't absorb enough D from the sun in that part of the country, especially in the winter.

    Lastly, remember to take D3 with a meal containing healthy fats, such as olive oil, as this will help your body absorb the nutrient.

  7. Slash five years off your age with a supplement you should already be taking

    How would you like to take a magic pill to slow down your aging process? I'm talking about literally adding years to your life. Sounds like something from a fairy tale, I know. But especially for heart disease patients, this magic pill is for real. It all starts with your telomeres... A telomere is a tiny "cap" found at the end of each of your chromosomes. Some experts liken a telomere to the plastic wrap at the end of a shoelace. The plastic stops the shoelace from unraveling. Likewise, telomeres protect your chromosomes from mutating or fusing with each other, which can lead to cancer and other diseases. But your telomeres change with age. They get shorter. In fact, each time one of your cells replicates, the telomere on those chromosomes become shorter. Things like poor eating habits, smoking, drinking alcohol, and oxidative stress can also shorten your telomeres. When a telomere is totally gone, the cell dies. This has led many scientists to conclude that the shorter your telomeres, the older your biological age. In fact, Dr. Richard M. Cawthon and his colleagues at the University of Utah discovered that your telomere length has a direct affect on your lifespan. They found that men and women over 60 with shorter telomeres are three times more likely to die from heart disease. And they're eight times more likely to die from infectious disease. And that's not all... When Cawthon divided men and women into two groups based on telomere length, they found something interesting. The group with longer telomeres lived five years longer than the group with shorter chromosome caps. In fact, in a recent interview, Dr. Cawthon said that if you could find a way to protect your telomeres, he believes you could add 10, 20, or even 30 years to your lifespan. And now – thanks to scientists from the University of California, San Francisco – we know there is one thing you can do to prevent your telomeres from shortening... Get more omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3s protect DNA Scientists from SCSF recruited 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD). Why'd they pick CAD patients? Well, it's an established fact that omega-3s have a positive impact on heart health. But until now, scientists haven't understood why (or how) this nutrient protects the heart. So they measured the length of the patients' telomeres and the level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood streams. Then the scientists made a note of those scores and rechecked these patients five years later. And what did they find? Well, as you'd expect, the patients with plenty of omega-3s in the blood stream had the slowest rates of telomeres shortening. Patients with low levels of omega- 3s had the fastest rates of telomere shortening. Translation? Getting plenty of omega-3s slowed down the aging process in these heart patients. In fact, I'm quite confident, you'd get the same results using healthy patients or even patients with other diseases, such as cancer. So what's the bottom line for you? It's pretty simple. Just get plenty of omega-3s into your diet. The best way to do that is by taking a fish oil capsule. And be consistent. Take it every day. Just be sure to take extra selenium and 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherol-type vitamin E along with it for extra antioxidant protection. Also, if you want to learn more about omega-3 fatty acids, you can always look through back issues of my Guide to Good Health. Just visit http://www.northstarnutritionals.com/article_list_all.php. Type "omega-3" into the KEYWORD search box and you'll find 13 important articles on the topic.
  8. Diabetics strengthen blood vessels with Folic Acid

    Last summer, I told you about a study of women who used folic acid. In just 21 days, the women decreased their homocysteine levels. (Homocysteine is an amino acid—which if you have too much—puts you at risk for heart disease). They also lowered both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And they improved their bodies' response to sugar. Not bad for 21 days, right?

    Well, I've recently found a study that might explain why these women experienced such robust gains in heart health in just 21 days.

    Scientists from China gave folic acid to mice with diabetes. (Why'd they use diabetic mice, you ask? Well, diabetes contributes to heart disease. It weakens blood vessels and can cause blood clots. In fact, most people who have diabetes don't die of too much sugar. They die of heart disease because the sugar's damaged their blood vessels.)

    The scientists divided the diabetic mice into two groups. One group received a daily dose of folic acid. (They received a daily folic acid supplement equivalent to taking 5 mg per day if you weight about 150 pounds.) The second group of mice received no supplementation.

    After one month, scientists found that mice given folic acid reversed harmful damage (caused by diabetes) to the lining of their blood vessels. Scientists also saw marked improvements in a protein pathway that dilates blood vessels and prevents clotting. On the other hand, the mice not given folic acid did not experience these improvements.

    Bottom line: here's more proof that folic acid's an important tool in warding off heart disease, especially if you have diabetes. You can get some from the foods you eat. I'd skip the fortified cereals and other processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Also, you can take a folic acid supplement. Go for 800 micrograms (mcg) of it per day. Also, make sure to take folic acid along with 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

  9. Is krill better than regular fish oil?

    A Guide to Good Health reader recently asked me a question about fish oil. She wanted to know if krill oil is better for you than fish oil. Of course, the answer's never simple when it comes to your nutrition. So let's first start by discussing the ABCs of fish oil. The catch-22 of fish oil As you'll recall from previous issues of the Guide to Good Health, omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish or cod liver oil) are basic building blocks of good health. In fact, that's why we call them "essential" fatty acids. These vital nutrients support your immune system, heart, mood, blood sugar, joints, brain, and so much more. But they also increase free radicals in your body. Free radicals are charged molecules that can speed up the aging process. In addition, many scientists believe that free radicals can damage your DNA. They disrupt the natural life cycle of your cells, which over time can lead to diseases like cancer. That's why I always remind you to take plenty of antioxidants (especially vitamin E and selenium). These antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Finding the right fish oil Our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids for survival, but we can't produce the essential omega-3 ourselves. So we've got to get it from the foods we eat. Unfortunately, very few of us do. In that case... A bottle of high-quality fish oil capsules should always be a staple in your kitchen cabinet. Find a brand that you trust. Look for the bottle to say 99.99 percent purified fish oil. But don't worry. The last .01 percent doesn't contain mercury. Just small impurities that are nearly impossible to refine away. (It's the same with gold. You'll only find 99.99 percent pure gold. There's no such thing as 100 percent pure gold.) So if you can find good fish oil, what's the big deal about krill...? The pros (and cons) of taking krill oil As far as I can tell, there are four big reasons why people opt for krill instead of fish (or cod liver) oil. First off, krill oil contains a decent dose of the antioxidant astaxanthin. So some natural medicine practitioners say you don't need the added vitamin E and selenium when you take krill. But I disagree. Even if you opt for krill oil, you should still take a natural mixed tocopherols-type vitamin E along with it. Secondly, some people like taking krill better. There's less of a fishy aftertaste. (This isn't a huge problem in my book, especially if you take your fish oil before meals. But I know that trick doesn't work for everyone. And some people don't like to belch fish.) Thirdly, sometimes people take krill because they want a "more pure" product. You see, fishermen catch krill in the deepest, darkest waters of Antarctica. So some people believe this pretty much guarantees that your krill oil won't contain any pollutants or heavy metals. (But as I said earlier, I wouldn't worry about it too much if you find a major brand of fish oil that says 99.99 percent pure on the bottle.) The last benefit to taking krill has to do with the environment. You may have seen the recent TIME magazine article about fish oil. Apparently, the market for fish oil supplements has skyrocketed to $1 billion since 1996. As a result, some environmentalists say we're putting certain types of fish at risk. Scientists have seen declining numbers of one type of fish used primarily for their oil, called menhaden. These fish eat algae in the ocean. But when menhaden levels drop off, algae grow out of control. This depletes oxygen in the ocean and—according to some environmentalists—upsets the ocean's ecosystem. From this point of view, krill's a great option. It's a "sustainable" or "renewable" form of fish, which means even if everyone on your street starts taking krill; the fish won't disappear off the planet. One of the biggest reasons against taking krill has to do with the cost. A 30-day supply of krill oil costs at least twice as much as regular fish oil does. Plus, research for this relatively new supplement is still pretty limited. I've yet to see overwhelming research convincing me that nutritionally it's any better for you than regular fish oil. So unless you feel strongly about one of other the reasons cited above, the benefits might not warrant the big price tag. Decide for yourself Look at the pros and cons and decide for yourself about krill oil. I do take it from time to time. Though, it's certainly much more expensive than regular fish oil, so I really only take it when I'm feeling extravagant!
  10. 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: www.healthiertalk.com/stop-super-germs-their-tracks-one-powerful-silver-bullet-061

  11. 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. Now... 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.
  12. 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.

  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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 www.icimed.com, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at www.naturopathic.org, or the American College for the Advancement of Medicine at www.acam.org.) 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!
  16. 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 interest...like 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.

  20. 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!