NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

Join the conversation and stay up to date on all your natural health news. Plus, discover solutions to everything from arthritis to blood sugar.

  1. It‘s good to know...

    Can‘t put down the sweets? A study conducted by University of Toronto shows it‘s not your fault.

    It turns out they‘ve identified a gene, aptly named glucose transporter type 2, or GLUT2, that plays a key role in sugar intake. And people with a particular variation of this gene are significantly more likely to consume sugar than others.

    Although it‘s not an excuse for throwing all dietary caution to the wind, those of us who find it tough to turn down a dessert, can stop beating ourselves up for lack of will power...it‘s simply part our genetic code!

  2. Tea for type 2...

    New hope for type 2 diabetics may be found lurking in both teacups 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!

  3. How many fast food restaurants are in your neighborhood?

    If you’ve got a lot of fast food restaurants in your neighborhood, you’re at greater risk for suffering a stroke. That’s according to new research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2009. Men and women who live in neighborhoods with the highest number of fast food restaurants have a 13 percent higher risk of suffering an ischemic stroke than those living in areas with few restaurants. In fact, your risk increases by 1 percent for each fast-food chain in your neighborhood. While there’s a definite correlation, researchers don’t know what came first…the chicken or the egg. Are fast food junkies drawn to communities with three McDonalds in a 10-mile radius or do they become fast food junkies because the restaurants are on every corner? Whatever the answer, just make sure you’re not a victim of a Big Mac attack. Avoid these places at all costs. You can always pick up a quick dinner (with just steamed veggies and chicken) at your favorite Chinese restaurant. They’ll put the sauce (ask for no MSG) in a container for you.
  4. Land mines down every aisle

    Most of the foods found on the shelves at your local supermarket are loaded with artificial flavors and chemicals. In the United States, food manufacturers can legally add more than 3,000 different substances to our foods for the purpose of preservation, coloring, texture, flavor and more. Nowadays, it’s hard to find foods that haven’t been altered. So this week, I wanted to give you a primer on how to avoid some of the land mines found down every aisle of your supermarket. 1-2-3 food coloring for you and me! Did you ever consider that watermelon-flavored gum isn’t naturally pink? Or that your mint chocolate chip ice cream isn’t naturally green? These foods are dyed to make them look more like watermelon or mint. Many foods on the market today—especially snack foods, drinks, and gum—are filled with artificial colors. When you see an ingredient such as yellow 6 on the food label, it stands for a dye. This means the ingredients are literally “painted” with the color yellow 6 to make them look more appealing. It’s best to avoid any product containing artificial colors. Besides paint, these products often contain other chemicals, such as “stay fresh” preservatives. Stay away from “stay fresh” chemicals Some of the chemicals added to food have no color. You may pick up a loaf of bread made with whole grains and think that it’s natural. But chances are, it contains preservatives. In fact, preservatives are added to most products found on the interior shelves of the grocery store. Preservatives extend a product’s “shelf life.” Basically, this allows food to continue to look fresh long after you would ever consider putting it in your mouth. Some commonly used preservatives include:
    • Nitrates
    • Nitrites
    • Sulfites
    • Bisulfate
    • Sulfur dioxide
    • Propyll Gallate
    • BPA and BHT
    • Potassium bromate (banned everywhere in the world but the U.S. and Japan)
    You’ll want to avoid products containing these chemicals at all costs. Nitrites and nitrates are especially dangerous. They are used to cure meat and prevent the growth of bacteria. They’re mostly found in processed meats such as hot dogs, lunch meat, and bacon. But these chemicals are also known carcinogens. According to one study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, eating processed meats significantly increases your risk of developing cancer. In once recent study, Swedish researchers reviewed the eating habits of 4,700 people. They found that eating just 1 ounce of processed meat a day (that’s probably just a slice of ham or two slices of bacon) increased the risk of developing stomach cancer by up to 38 percent. So stay away from most deli meats in your grocery store. If you can find it, Hormel does make a line of additive-free lunch meat. Of course, you’ll also find additive-free meat at organic grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. Now, let’s consider the problem with milk… Did you know homogenized milk is a processed food? You probably all know that Cheez-Its and Twinkies are processed foods. But did you ever consider that the pasteurized, homogenized milk you buy is processed? You see, back in the 1920s, Americans could buy fresh, raw milk. It was delivered daily from a local farmer. The cream would separate from the milk (more cream meant a higher quality of milk), so Mom would shake up the bottle before pouring it in your glass. But some years ago the dairy industry realized that farm fresh milk wasn’t a very convenient product to sell to consumers. First of all, they wanted to get rid of the cream line. They didn’t want consumers to have to shake their milk. Plus, they wanted all consumers to get the same amount of cream. So—viola—they created “homogenized” milk. When milk is homogenized, the cream molecules become so fine, they will not separate from the milk. As a result, homogenization allows for small particles to cross the gut wall that previously were too big to cross. This contributes to the all too common “leaky gut” syndrome. (Normally, your intestinal tract pushes waste and toxins out of the body. But for people with leaky gut, larger—and sometimes toxic—molecules “leak” into the body, causing a whole slew of problems.) The problem with pasteurization Most milk has been pasteurized since the 1920s. This process slows the growth of bacteria in the milk. As a result, pasteurization extends the shelf life of milk. But this process also kills many of the beneficial nutrients found in milk. Besides destroying part of the vitamin C contained in raw milk and encouraging growth of harmful bacteria, pasteurization turns the sugar of milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is far more soluble and more rapidly absorbed into your body. The lactose found in raw milk, on the other hand, is more slowly absorbed into the body. So you stay fuller, longer. So, if you have access to raw milk (it’s becoming more available), go for it. Here’s a link to help you find raw milk suppliers in your state: http://www.realmilk.com/where2.html Otherwise, it’s best to minimize any dairy products in your diet. You just don’t need them and they’re probably filled with antibiotics and hormones. If you want to learn more about raw milk, I’d suggest picking up a copy of Dr. William Campbell Douglass’s excellent book on the subject. It’s called The Truth About Raw Milk. Here’s a link to learn more about it: https://www.web-purchases.com/640SRRTM/E6NSK2XH/landing.html And now a final word about additives… The harmful effects of chemicals and processed foods don’t show up immediately. It may take years or even decades for the consequences to become known. Overall, the best bet is to focus on adding more natural foods to your diet. You’ll hardly miss the junk. You’ll find most of these fresh foods around the perimeter of the grocery store. Make sure your diet is filled with 100% whole grains (bread, brown rice, pasta), and plenty of fruits and vegetables (organic, of course). Strive to eat fresh, wild fish several times a week. Some red meat is okay (organic, 3 times a week or less). Butter is far better than margarine (which is filled with artificial ingredients). For snacks, go for fresh nuts and seeds. They give just the right amount of crunch for any true snacker like me. And don’t get discouraged. It’s okay to slip up and have a little junk food once in a while. Just don’t let it become a habit.
  5. Take more time for tea

    Women who regularly drink tea reduce their risk of breast cancer by 37 percent. That’s according to a new study out analyzing drinking habits of nearly 5,000 U.S. women between the ages 20 and 74. Women younger than 50 who drank three cups of tea or more per day reaped the most benefits. How does it work? Tea (especially green tea and black tea) contains powerful flavonoids and antioxidants. These compounds work to purify the body and eliminate free radicals. Over time, unchecked free radicals can cause serious damage to the body. But flavonoids and antioxidants neutralize the free radicals and can slow down the body’s aging process. In addition, tea promotes a kind of cell death called “apoptosis.” By promoting a natural turnover of cells, it blocks the uncontrolled growth and spread of cancer cells
  6. When yogurt’s not enough

    How does anyone who’s got ulcerative colitis go fishing on a friend’s boat in the summertime…backpack along the foot hills of the Smokey Mountains with grandkids…sit through an important three-hour lunch meeting? The answer is, they probably don’t. For anyone with full-blown ulcerative colitis (or UC), life is tied to the bathroom. A UC patient spends much of the day managing symptoms like chronic diarrhea (with bloody stools sometimes up to 10-20 times a day), bloating, intestinal pain, and even fever. That’s why new research out of Japan this week caught my eye. It showed that by restoring the gut’s “natural balance” of good bacteria, UC sufferers significantly improve their quality of life. Going from bad to worse A form of “irritable bowel disease,” UC often first appears in early adulthood. Patients go through periods of flare-ups, searching everywhere for answers. Over time, the symptoms can get worse and more serious. Because their body doesn’t properly digest food, the UC patient doesn’t get the nutrients needed to fight off disease. As the years pass with no cure, UC patients become increasingly at risk for developing anemia, autoimmune disorders, and even colon cancer. Many family doctors just don’t know how to help their patients live with—much less overcome—this insufferable disease. While it’s common to prescribe drugs to help relieve the symptoms, these provide little relief (not to mention serious side effects). But the new Japanese study has shown there is a possible natural solution. It’s really nothing new…but now there’s more hard scientific data to back up what nutritionists have been preaching for years. Start getting more “good bacteria” In the Guide to Good Health, I’ve talked often about maintaining “good bacteria” (also known as intestinal flora) in your gut. These tiny microorganisms help you digest food. They also defend against toxins and keep your digestive tract running smoothly. It’s also your first line of defense against disease. Normally, your digestive tract is lined with billions of good bacteria. But antibiotics or diarrhea (experienced chronically by UC patients) can wipe out these healthy bugs. The good news is, you can replenish your body’s natural supply with probiotic supplements. Why not just eat yogurt? Probiotic supplements contain billions of units of good bacteria. Two common types are called acidophilus or bifidobacterium longum (known as BIFI). There’s also a lesser-known microorganism—called a prebiotic—that helps the probiotic work better. Prebiotics (such as fructo-oligo-saccharides and psyllium) are carbohydrates that support the growth and activity of probiotics. When you take probiotics and prebiotics together, it’s called “synbiotics.” Some people think eating “active culture” yogurt like Activia gives you all that you need. But unfortunately, these products only contain a fraction of the good bacteria your body needs on a daily basis. Plus—they usually contain so much sugar, it’s not worth the bother. Divide and conquer Japanese researchers wanted to see if supplementing with these beneficial microorganisms would improve symptoms for about 120 UC sufferers. Patients were divided into three groups and given: 1. prebiotic psyllium (8 grams) 2. probiotic bifidobacterium longum (2 billion colony forming units) 3. synbiotic (meaning the patients got both the prebiotic and probiotic) Each patient followed the regiment for four weeks. Researchers found that patients taking just a prebiotic or probiotic alone did not significantly improve their quality of life. On the other hand, patients following the synbiotic approach (meaning they received both types of microorganisms) experienced a significant boost in quality of life. Their bowel function improved and their emotional health improved as well. Interestingly, the researchers also noted decreases in the levels of a protein associated with inflammation called C-reactive protein (CRP) in the synbiotic group. If you try it, keep me posted Now—this study certainly has its short-comings. For instance, there was no group receiving a placebo (or sugar pill) to compare against. Also, the researchers based their findings on patient questionnaires rather than an endoscopy (which would have measured the actual physical outcome in the colon and intestine). Questionnaires can be unreliable for obvious reasons. But overall, there is definitely hope that anyone suffering from UC can find relief by naturally restoring more “good bacteria” in their digestive tract. If you want to try a probiotic for yourself, I would recommend L. acidophilus in a capsule or powder. You can even find these in Walmart nowadays. Get the strongest dosage possible (in the billions of units or CFSs). You’ll also want to make sure to take these supplements before meals and at bedtime. And don’t worry…you can’t overdose of probiotics. Any unused amounts are just flushed out of your system. For a prebiotic, go for 8 grams of psyllium daily (just like in the Japanese study). Lastly, I would also recommend taking aloe juice, as it has a long history of calming bowel problems. Give yourself at least 2-4 weeks to notice a difference. And if you do get results—good or bad—make sure to e-mail me and let me know how it’s going.
  7. Vitamin D = girl power!

    Following up on last week’s Guide to Good Health, I thought I’d mention another new study out this month highlighting the importance of good ole vitamin D, especially for young girls. A research team from England measured vitamin D levels in 99 girls between the ages 12 and 14. Turns out that almost 75 percent of the young girls were deficient in vitamin D. The remaining 25 percent had adequate levels. The researchers then put all the girls through a series of tests to measure their muscle strength and stamina. Not surprisingly, the girls with low vitamin D performed badly on the tests. On the other hand, the girls getting enough vitamin D did great. They demonstrated significantly greater muscle strength and stamina than their counterparts. Just imagine the next 50 years for these young girls, already vitamin D deficient, already physically impaired. It’s not hard to connect the dots and see how a lifetime of deficiency can lead to major problems. If you have a young girl in the family, do her a favor…make sure she spends 30 minutes a day in the sun (without sunblock). She’ll get 10,000 IUs of vitamin D from it. Plus, she’ll certainly have more natural “girl power”!
  8. The art of misdirection

    I’m not a salesman. In fact, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sell water in the Sahara. But there’s one thing I do know about sales: the glossier the sales pitch, the shoddier the product. That’s certainly true of antidepressants on the market today. These slick ad campaigns pull you in and get you thinking, “Maybe I do need a pick-me-up.” Just take one little pill and you’ll turn into a happy, bouncing, smiley face again. It’s called the art of misdirection. Magicians have used it for centuries. They get your attention with a flourish of their right hand, so you won’t see what’s in the left. Drug makers know their antidepressant doesn’t work much better than a placebo, but golly those ads are so darn cute. Plus, drug makers now have a new tactic: once you get FDA approval, just throw away any data that doesn’t support your product. In essence that’s what drug makers did for about a third of all the data they collected during clinical trials of many different antidepressant drugs. That’s according to a report out in last month’s Journal of American Medicine analyzing data for 12 different drugs in 74 clinical trials. I wanna know what’s in Big Pharma‘s trashcan I know, you’re wondering how can 1/3 of the data just—poof—disappear. Well, it’s much easier than you think. Let me explain… If you review all the published data on antidepressants, you’ll see that about 60 percent of people taking them experience significant relief from depression. About 40 percent of people taking a placebo start to feel better. Not bad, right? The drugs work about 20 percent better than a sugar pill. Well, it turns out, that’s not the whole story. Drug makers must conduct dozens of clinical trials before getting FDA approval. Some of the results get published in medical journals and some just get filed away in a cabinet, never to be seen again. Any guesses which studies get filed away? You got it, the ones that don’t make you “happy.” In fact, according to the JAMA report, 94 percent of studies showing positive results for antidepressants got published. Meanwhile, just 14 percent of those with disappointing or uncertain results got published. So when you take the negative results into account, antidepressants sound far less appealing. The drugs still outperform placebos, but by a far more modest margin. To be honest, I doubt the integrity of most of the data on antidepressants (published or unpublished!). Drug companies certainly are masters of “misdirection,” but don’t be fooled. You can overcome depression without drugs. Ideally, depression can be averted by following a nutritious diet. One of the best ways to maintain your mood and sense of well-being on a day to day basis is to get more omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, according to a new study published in the journal Nutrition, women who have the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduce their depression by nearly 30 percent! When you consider that many popular SSRI antidepressant drugs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) barely outperform sugar pills in clinical testing, a regimen of omega-3 fatty acids might be a better alternative, especially for someone suffering from mild or moderate depression. We talked about fatty acids in the Guide to Good Health from two weeks ago. Fish oil is the best source. But most of us don’t eat enough fish to really boost omega-3s, so I usually recommend a high-quality fish oil supplement. But, remember fatty acids increase free radicals in your body. Unchecked, these molecules can cause cancer and disease in the body. So always take some extra antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium along with the fish oil to neutralize the free radicals. What about supplements? If depression‘s really got a hold of you, you must get help from a qualified physician. However, there are non-prescription alternatives that can be most helpful, such as taking St. John’s Wort. Ignore the naysayers because there’s plenty of hard data showing that it does give you a boost. I’d go for 300 mg of a 0.3% standardized extract three times a day. Avoid amino acid supplements and extended sun exposure during the trial, as these may lessen the therapeutic effect. Unlike antidepressant drugs, which can take 30 days to take effect, St. John’s Wort starts working in a few days. You could also try the amino acid SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine) at 400 to 1200 mg/per day. It’s more expensive than St. John’s Wort, but highly effective and has been used a lot in Europe to naturally correct depression. Some nutritionists believe it’s best suited to treat depression expressed as low energy and low motivation unrelated to anxiety. Tryptophan and DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) are two more amino acids that can be effective in improving depression if taken between meals (but not along with the other efforts). Given the safety issues and efficacy questions for most prescription drugs on the market, you’re much smarter to give these natural options a try first. In my opinion, they’re just as effective—and much safer—than any RX solutions.
  9. More problems with mammograms

    Turns out that mammograms are so uncomfortable, some women resort to applying topical anesthetic to their breasts before the procedure. Well, that’s got to stop, according to the FDA. Last week, this laughable government bastion of public health issued a statement advising women to tough it out. Topical anesthetics (like lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine) when applied over the skin can “cause serious and life-threatening adverse effects when used under certain conditions.” Evidently, two women died in 2007 from applying lidocaine to their skin before a laser hair removal session. So wait a minute…isn’t a “topical” anesthetic supposed to be applied to the skin? There goes the so-called secret to a “gentler” mammogram. Turns out there’s no such thing…unless you want to risk “life-threatening adverse effects.” So what’s a girl to do? Back in 12-11-08’s Guide to Good Health, I told you about a safer, highly accurate, and certainly less painful test to detect breast cancer. It’s called thermography and it works like an ultrasound. If you can find one in your area, thank your lucky stars. They’re hard to find. But definitely worth a drive. And definitely worth a little research on your end. Here’s the link again: http://www.breastthermography.com/find-a-center.htm Remember, many professionals estimate that thermograms detect the “potential” to develop breast cancer up to 10 years before conventional methods find a lump. And no topical anesthetic required!
  10. More beach vacations for cardiac patients?

    Last week’s deluge of snow, ice and cold weather has got me thinking again about the “sunshine” vitamin (otherwise known as vitamin D)…and how most of us aren’t getting enough of it this winter. As frequently noted in the Guide to Good Health, the best source of vitamin D is the sun. You can get up to 10,000 IUs a day just by spending 30 minutes in the sun. But during the winter, many of us just scurry back and forth from the house to the car. Spending time in the sun just doesn’t happen. That’s not good, especially when you start looking at all the diseases that vitamin D has been shown to help prevent. It’s not just about osteoporosis Most of us know vitamin D is good for the bones. But it’s actually much more versatile than that. In fact, some nutritionists and scientists now believe vitamin D can protect you against:
    • cognitive decline
    • depression
    • heart failure
    • back pain
    • cancer
    • insulin resistance
    • pre-eclampsia during pregnancy
    • impaired immunity
    • macular degeneration
    • weight gain
    It’s food for your brain In addition to building strong bones, vitamin D seems to help prevent dementia and support brain function for older adults. In a study published in December 2008, researchers assessed the cognitive levels of almost 2,000 adults aged 65 and older. Scientists found that patients with the highest levels of serum vitamin D3 (an overall indicator of vitamin D levels in the body) also had the best cognitive functioning. By contrast, those with the lowest levels of D3 were four times as likely to have cognitive impairment. But that’s not all the vitamin D can do. It’s also one of nature’s best antidepressants Vitamin D helps to regulate melatonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain that give you a sense of well-being. Without enough of it, you’re at risk of feeling low. For instance, in a study published two years ago in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, vitamin D3 was identified as a factor in regulating mood in older adults. Researchers found that patients with a D3 deficiency experienced depression. Some scientists also believe vitamin D is helpful in alleviating “seasonal affective disorder.” Not surprisingly, this condition is common up north where folks spend much of the year under snowy skies. They simply don’t get enough sunlight, their bodies lack vitamin D, and they become susceptible to the winter blues. But that’s not all. Recent studies suggest vitamin D also plays a role in heart health. Sunshine for your heart
    A few months back, one research team from the University of Michigan showed that vitamin D can protect against heart failure in rats. For 13 weeks, rats in a Michigan lab were divided into four groups: 1. Rats given high-salt diet (designed to simulate a “fast food” diet) 2. Rats on a high-salt diet given vitamin D 3. Rats on a healthy diet 4. Rats on a healthy diet given vitamin D At the end of the study, researchers found that rats on the fast food diet + vitamin D regimen faired much better than their counter parts receiving just the fast food diet. After just 13 weeks, the vitamin D treated rats had a lower heart weight. (This was really big news because an enlarged heart—known as “hypertrophy”—is all too common in heart failure patients. When hypertrophy happens in men and women, it makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. Your blood pressure rises. Even a simple walk to the mailbox becomes too much.) The treated rats’ hearts also worked less for each beat. They also maintained normal blood pressure. According to the study’s lead researcher, University of Michigan pharmacologist Robert U. Simpson, Ph.D., "Heart failure will progress despite the best medications. We think vitamin D retards that progression and protects the heart." Simpson has studied vitamin D’s effects on the heart for more than 20 years. At first, his ideas were thought of as far-fetched and improbable. Now—his research is starting to bear fruit. I’m sure there’s more to come on the heart + vitamin D link… Even for Oprah and Vogue readers?
    There’s much more to learn about vitamin D, from its role in preventing cancer to stabilizing blood sugar to improving autoimmune disorders. It seems like even some mainstream news junkies are starting to catch on. A colleague told me that Vogue magazine ran a bit on it this month. And evidently, even Oprah’s spoken publically about being vitamin D deficient. You too may be deficient in this important vitamin. Many of us don’t spend much time outside (even in good weather). And many of us dutifully follow the marching orders to lather up the sun block before setting foot outdoors. Sun screen blocks the rays that help your body make vitamin D. Or perhaps you’re of Latino or African-American descent and your skin contains lots of melanin (Just like sun screen, melanin blocks the rays that help your body make vitamin D.) Some scientists believe that anyone living above New York City’s line of latitude NEVER absorbs enough vitamin D through their skin, even in the summertime. Whatever the reason why, I’m convinced most of us need more vitamin D. You can get a simple blood test if you think you might have a deficiency. Optimal levels are between 50-70 ng/mL. For anyone not getting regular sun exposure, I usually recommend taking 2000 IUs of vitamin D daily. In winter months, I’d go for 4000 IUs daily. (Remember, exposure of your full body to the sun for 30 minutes will give you 10,000 IUs or more of vitamin D. So there’s little risk of reaching an upper limit with this supplement.) You can also get vitamin D into your diet by eating more eggs (naturally found in yolks), liver, and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and sardines).
    Keep up the good work and get some sunshine if you can.
  11. The melamine scandal continues

    In November’s Guide to Good Health, we talked about the dangers of melamine in infant formula. I just wanted to update you on that story. The whole mess started in China, where thousands of babies got sick because they drank formula tainted with melamine (a type of plastic used to make countertops). Apparently, it was purposefully added in China to artificially boost protein content in infant formula. Since this whole story broke, the FDA has found trace amounts of melamine in several brands of U.S.-manufactured infant formula. Companies here have been scrambling to ease the minds of parents and get rid of the melamine (even though the FDA says trace amounts are safe). But the fallout in China has been tremendous. There’s nothing like a major worldwide PR scandal to make the Communist Party really angry. Government officials have been stripped of their power, production plants have closed, and thousands have lost their jobs. In December, 17 of the men charged with producing, selling, buying and adding melamine to the infant formula were put on trial. Last week two of these men were sentenced to death. During the sentencing, one of the men knelt on the courtroom floor and pleaded for forgiveness from the victim’s families. The only bright spot in this whole tragedy is that maybe the U.S. will actually start taking a closer look at products imported from China. Well, we can always dream, can’t we? In the meantime, folks, buy organic. Buy local. And breastfeed your babies whenever possible!  
  12. New hope for the parents of preemies

    Omega-3 fatty acids spur brain development in preemie girls Premature babies need more fish oil in their diet. Sounds odd, I know. But according to a new study out last week, a key ingredient in fish oil might help prevent severe developmental delays, even mental retardation in premature babies. So why is fish oil so good for babies? Fish oil (found only in certain types, like salmon, tuna, sardines, and cod) is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids on earth. These natural wonders protect you against a long list of ailments, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease. We also know that omega-3s play a role in brain development (hence, the new study with preemies). But here’s the kicker… Your body doesn’t make omega-3 fatty acids. You must get them from the foods you eat. Very few of us eat enough fish to get adequate omega-3s. Plus, heat tends to destroy most of the good stuff. The best solution for anyone is really to take a fish oil capsule daily. So how does a newborn baby get fish oil, you ask? A pregnant mother passes on many essential fatty acids to her unborn child in the final weeks before giving birth. But premature babies often miss out on this period of development. They’re born lacking adequate levels of omega-3s. Breast milk and infant formula do contain some omega-3s, but some scientists believe it doesn’t contain enough for a preemie whose brain is still developing. In fact, some believe low DHA (one crucial type of omega-3) directly contributes to an increased risk of delayed cognitive development in preemies. This got a small group of researchers in Australia to start thinking.

    What if we could get more DHA to preemies?

    That’s just what researchers at the Women & Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, Australia did. They docs came up with the brilliant idea of giving nursing mothers (and formula fed babies) much more DHA and see what happened. It certainly couldn’t hurt as DHA is something all mommies and babies need anyway. Researchers divided the preemies into four groups: 1. Breastfed babies whose mothers received 3,000 mg per day of DHA in the form of tuna oil capsules. 2. Breastfed babies whose mothers received a placebo 3. Bottle-fed babies given DHA-enriched formula 4. Bottle-fed babies given regular formula DHA supplementation (for groups #1 and #3) began at birth and continued until the preterm baby reached his or her expected due date. Then, at 18 months of age (based on their full-term due date), all the children were given a series of cognitive and behavioral tests. The babies’ alertness, curiosity, and ability to perform simple tasks were rated according to a standard mental development index. The results were quite surprising, especially for a skeptic like me.
    Good news for preemie girls…
    Developmental delays are all too common for premature babies. But getting enough DHA worked miracles during the course of this study. In fact, the girls in the DHA groups had a 57 percent decreased risk of suffering a “mild” delay in mental development. In addition, girls in the DHA group were 83 percent less likely to suffer “significant” mental delays, opposed to the girls in the standard group. Overall, the preemie girls given extra DHA scored nearly as well as full-term babies in all the cognitive testing.
    But what about preemie boys?
    Interestingly, DHA supplementation appears not to have any significant impact on preterm boys. Why not, I wondered? Well, according to Maria Makrides, the study’s lead author and a nutritionist, “The higher metabolic rate in boys may mean that they utilize much of the DHA they receive into energy. Also, boys may have a higher requirement of DHA.” Hopefully, Dr. Makrides will continue her studies with DHA and preemie boys. It would be interesting to see if larger doses of DHA will make any difference in helping to prevent cognitive delays in those little guys.
    Watch out for the free radicals
    As a final note, it’s worth mentioning that DHA (and other fatty acids) increase the amount of free radicals in your body. (Free radicals are harmful molecules that can cause cancer and disease in the body.)
    So it’s important to remember, if you begin to supplement with any omega-3 fatty acid (or omega-6s), make sure to add some vitamin E and selenium to your regimen. These antioxidants will help neutralize the free radicals. In the meantime, if you or anyone you know gives birth to a baby prematurely, make sure to take a close look at this study. It was published in the January 14, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Any good neonatologist should have seen it, but you never know.  
  13. Urgent Warning for Alzheimer Families

    If you have a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you know it’s not just a memory disorder. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) causes major behavior and mood disturbances. According to doctors, less than 10 percent of Alzheimer’s patients remained free from symptoms of “psychopathology” during the course of their disease. In other words, agitation, aggression, depression, anxiety, paranoid delusions, and insomnia are very much the norm for AD patients. As a result, today’s Alzheimer’s patient is all too often prescribed some type of antipsychotic drug to control their behavior. Thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, trifluoperazine, or risperidone all belong to this class of drugs.

    Limited options for Alzheimer’s patients

    A new study to be published in Lancet Neurology, the respected British medical journal, confirms what one might guess about AD patients prescribed antipsychotics: the drugs shorten their lives. In fact, a patient taking an antipsychotic drug only has a 46 percent survival rate at 24 months (as compared to 71 percent for a patient taking a placebo). Moreover, only 30 percent of AD patients were alive at 36 months after having begun treatment with antipsychotics (as opposed to 59 percent taking a placebo). Bottom line here: if you’ve got a loved one with AD, think long and hard about using an antipsychotic drug to control their behavior. If you’ve run out of options, authors of the study suggest using the drugs for a limited time (3 months or less) to see if behavior improves.
  14. More options for Sally Field!

    This week I’ve got some surprisingly good news for anyone suffering from osteoporosis. Turns out one of my favorite condiments may help prevent bone loss. That’s great news for Sally Field, who I warned back in December to think twice about helping to promote Boniva. Drugs like Boniva and Fosamax (they belong to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates) may actually weaken bones and slow their ability to heal. There’s no question that osteoporosis is a real problem for lots of men and women. In fact, one in two women (one in eight men) have a lifetime risk of developing a fracture from osteoporosis. In the U.S. alone, osteoporosis causes a fracture every 20 seconds. So what’s a girl to do? I urge Sally and anyone at risk to go all natural: get more exercise, spend time in the sun, and make sure to supplement with calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, other minerals, possibly digestive enzymes and natural (bioidentical) hormones. But now—according to a study out in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—there’s another cheap and easy way to help fight bone loss. Ketchup for your bones? That’s right. New research suggests that lycopene—the powerful antioxidant found in good ole ketchup—may help protect men and women against losses in bone mineral density (BMD). , Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid that gives tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruit their red color. Numerous studies over the years (all denied, of course, by the FDA) have suggested that lycopene protects you against prostate cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease. But protect against bone loss? Now—that’s real news. Researchers from Tufts University, Boston University, and SeniorLife Hebrew studied data collected from 334 men and 540 women over the age of 75 who suffered from osteoporosis. They assessed the participants’ dietary intake of carotenoids, (including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein plus zeaxanthin) over a four-year period. They analyzed this data in conjunction with the participants‘ BMD at the hip, spine, and radial shaft. The data showed that increased intake of carotenoids, Lycopene in particular, showed “significant” protection against BMD loss at the lumbar spine in women and significant protection at the hip in men. New thought on bone loss This exciting new research proves that antioxidants may play a vital role in preventing and treating osteoporosis in the future. Here’s why… Most of us think of bones as static structures. But they’re not. They’re actually in constant flux, getting broken down and then built anew. Cells called osteoblasts build bone. Cells called osteoclasts break down old bone. But when free radicals roam unchecked in your body, this process goes haywire. Osteoclasts over-multiply and cause your bones to continually break down. The best way to control free radicals is to get plenty of antioxidants in your diet. And the researchers from this study take this logic one step further. They theorize that if you can reduce the free radicals in the body, you reduce the osteoclasts too. As a result, you control the unchecked bone loss. Fruits and vegetables contain loads of carotenoids This is why some people who eat high amounts of fruits and veggies seem to reduce their risk of bone loss. These foods are naturally high in antioxidants. According to lead researcher Katherine Tucker, "These results suggest a possible protective effect of carotenoids, particularly of lycopene, against bone loss in older adults. It is therefore possible that carotenoids explain part of the previously observed protective effects of fruit and vegetable intake on BMD." Some tips to get more lycopene in your diet Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and red bell peppers are all good sources of lycopene. Some research suggests that lycopene becomes more bioavailable after heating. So here’s all the more reason to make your own tomato sauce (with organic tomatoes and whole grain noodles, of course). Here are some other simple tips for getting more lycopene in your diet:
    • Use ketchup or salsa as a condiment whenever possible
    • Enjoy caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato & basil) in the summertime
    • Always add tomatoes to sandwiches and side salads
    • Go for a grapefruit in the mornings
    • Add salsa and red pepper to omelets
    • Dip morning eggs in ketchup
    • Add salsa on top of broiled salmon
    • Drink V-8 as an afternoon snack
    • Add salsa to guacamole
    New tools to fight osteoporosis without drugs

    More research into this lycopene theory is definitely warranted (as always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated). But this study is a step in the right direction. Anything that helps you avoid resorting to drugs like Boniva and Fosamax is a winner in my book.

  15. Glorious grapes!

    The other day, reading through my ‘Inbox,’ I came across an e-mail about an all-natural grape seed treatment for leukemia. The gist of the article claimed that grape seeds could kill 76 percent of diseased cells overnight. Being the skeptic that I am, I thought this sounded way too good to be true. Where did these results come from, I wondered? It had to be a fluke, concocted by some backward scientist in Slovakia. How could an all-natural remedy really kill 76 percent of leukemia cells overnight? However, after checking into the research myself, I found that the study was conducted at the University of Kentucky. (No, it wasn’t Harvard, but a big university laboratory nevertheless.) I also found that the results got published in the highly-respected, peer-reviewed medical journal Clinical Cancer Research. Okay, these little grape seeds had my attention. Now what? How do they destroy leukemia cells so quickly? First, let’s back up. I probably should explain a little bit about leukemia so you can truly appreciate how promising this study could be in the years to come for any family touched by this brutal disease. It’s the goliath of cancer Leukemia is a vicious type of cancer that attacks the lifeline of your body: your blood. Normally, blood cells start out as stem cells made in the bone marrow. Then they mature into:
    • White blood cells (which help fight infection)
    • Red blood cells (deliver oxygen to vital organs and tissues in your body)
    • Platelets (help form blood clots when you get a cut or injury)
    In healthy individuals, blood cells have a life cycle. When this happens, the old cells get replaced by new, healthy cells that are made in the bone marrow. It’s this natural turnover that helps keep you free from disease. But in leukemia patients, this natural system has gone awry. The bone marrow begins to produce abnormal white blood cells that don’t die. Over time, the abnormal cells crowd out the healthy blood cells. As a result, diseased cells take over the blood stream. Leukemia patients can become prone to infection, grow tired easily, and become anemic. Plus, sometimes the treatment’s worse than the disease Treatment depends on the type of leukemia (there are four main types). Most mainstream routes involve some type of rigorous chemotherapy regimen, steroids, radiation, or even bone marrow transplants. The road is far from easy for a leukemia patient. That’s why a proven and effective non-toxic treatment like grape seed extract is such welcome news. What led scientists to test grape seeds? The majority of research into grape seed extract has focused on promoting heart health. But recent studies have shown that grape seeds also seem to protect you against cancer. Grape seeds contain loads of proanthocyanidin, an antioxidant thought to be 20 times more powerful than vitamin C. These antioxidants seem to neutralize roaming free radicals in your body that can cause cancer and disease. In recent lab tests, grape seed extract has been shown to work against cancers of the breast, lung, and prostate. As recently as 2006, a very promising study funded by the US National Cancer Institute showed that grape seed extract could control the spread of colon cancer in mice. Up until now, however, scientists dared not even dream that the natural extract could touch a disease as complex as leukemia. A quick end for abnormal cells In a new in vitro experiment (which means the work was conducted in test tubes with human cells, not animal cells), grape seed extract caused 76 percent of leukemia cells to literally ‘commit cell suicide.’ And, this mass drop-off (a process known as apoptosis) occurred within 24 hours. Plus, unlike chemotherapy, which kills all replicating cells (even hair cells), the grape seed extract left healthy cells alone. Send those leukemia cells packing Researchers at the University of Kentucky discovered that grape seed extract activates JNK, a protein that regulates the apoptosis pathway. So the extract literally sends the leukemia cells packing, never to be seen again. According to the study’s lead author Xianglin Shi, PhD, Professor in the Graduate Center for Toxicology at the University of Kentucky: "These results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as grape seed extract into prevention or treatment of hematological malignancies and possibly other cancers." While this treatment has only been proven in the lab, not on human patients, the results are extremely promising. Check out your local health food store Grape seed extract is actually pretty easy to come by. And it’s cheap too. For preventative measures, I would recommend 200 mg per day (under the care of a naturopath, of course). If you’ve got leukemia and would like to add grape seed extract to your regimen, check with your doctor or hematologist first. There hasn’t been a lot of research into how grape seed interacts with other drugs or supplements you may be taking. I’d use caution and probably stick pretty close to 200 mg a day. (As a side note: In a 12-month study, rats were given 100 mg of grape seed extract and they safely tolerated that dosage. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume 200 mg is a safe dosage for humans.) Also, buyers beware that grape seed extract is sometimes shortened to "GSE.” But that acronym is also sometimes used as an acronym for grapefruit seed extract. As research into this promising, non-toxic leukemia treatment continues, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
  16. The Secret about Flu Vaccines

    Well, if nothing else, at least the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) is predictable. Every year at about this time (going back to at least 2002 ), the AAP goes into marketing overdrive and puts out an report urging parents to get flu shots for themselves and their kids. And this year, like previous years, they’re recommending children as young as 6 months get the vaccine. Well, there goes my dream of a more sensible world in 2009! What a bunch of phooey. First off, the flu vaccine hardly ever targets the correct virus circulating in a given year. Even the CDC basically admits they’re shooting in the dark. That’s why you’re given three different strains of viruses. They’re hoping at least one of them will hit the mark. On the CDC’s web site it states: ‘How well the flu vaccine works depends on how well the match is between the influenza (flu) vaccine and the types of flu viruses that are circulating that year. Scientists try to predict what strains (types) of flu viruses are most likely to spread and cause illness each year to put into the vaccine.’ Okay…but here’s the problem… The CDC’s ‘predictions’ hardly ever hit the mark. Case in point: last year’s flu vaccine was only 44% effective in preventing the flu. This is according to the CDC’s own numbers, folks! Why such bad results? Here’s a surprise: two of the vaccine‘s three components didn‘t match most of the flu viruses circulating. But many elderly people (those most at risk) and parents of young children got lulled into a false sense of security. As a result, millions of people who thought they were protected actually ended up getting very sick. In fact, last year, by mid-February, flu deaths peaked at 9.1% of all U.S. deaths. Annually, about 30,000 people die from the flu. And the flu vaccine hasn’t done much to cut into those numbers. In my book, the flu vaccine is a medical failure of tragic proportions. In fact, calling it a ‘vaccine’ at all is certainly irresponsible, if not criminal.
    Nevertheless, the scare-tactic marketing continues. And more people than ever have been ambushed into getting the annual flu shot.
    Last year a record 113 million doses were given out. That was up almost 10 million from the previous year. (Guess all that marketing is starting to pay off.) Plus, your local government is now starting to get in on the act. The state of New Jersey now mandates that children ages 6 months to 5 years old get a flu shot to enroll in preschool or day care. According to New Jersey state law, parents had until December 31, 2008 to get their kids ‘vaccinated’ against the flu or the kids couldn’t go to school or day care. What scares me most about this development isn’t the government gone berserk (I imagine that other states may actually follow suit), it’s that children are now required to get a risky vaccine they could do without.
    There is no question that routine vaccines cause serious problems in many children.
    But the flu vaccine is even scarier. Here’s why… Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines since the 1930s. It’s known to break down into ethyl mercury in the body. Many experts believe this mechanism triggers autism in some children. One significant study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons examined the link between vaccines and autism. Results showed that kids who receive just three vaccines containing thimerosal were 27 times more likely to develop autism compared to children who get vaccines with no thimerosal. The CDC of course denies a connection between autism and thimerosal. But, in 2001 they went ahead and eliminated from most childhood vaccines as a ‘precautionary’ measure. A lot of docs like me are now waiting for children who received this wave of ‘thimerosal-free’ vaccines to mature. Hopefully, we’ll see a drop in the cases of autism.
    But here’s the problem. The flu vaccine still contains thimerosal.
    Besides the fact that the flu shot won’t do a lick of good at protecting your child against the flu, now you’ve got autism to worry about again. For parents, this is the biggest reason to avoid the vaccine. In my book, any pediatrician who doesn’t warn you about the thimerosal in the flu shot just doesn’t have your child’s best interest in mind. There is a thimerosal-free flu vaccine, but chances are your pediatrician won’t have it.
    My advice? Skip the flu vaccine all together.
    A strong immune system is all you need to fight off the flu virus. So, keep up the healthy eating habits (discussed in last week’s GTGH) in 2009. Plus, there are loads of research linking vitamin D deficiencies and a weakened immune system. Instead of the ‘flu shot-in-the-dark,’ try upping your intake of vitamin D to at least 2000 IU per day during the winter months. That should help boost your protection against anything Mother Nature throws at you!
  17. People are dying to avoid heart disease

    Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have been on the market for well over a decade now and represent one of the biggest pharmaceutical money-makers in drug history. But for as many statin prescriptions as are written every year, you would think that heart disease would have slipped down a notch or two from it‘s No. 1 spot in the "top causes of death" list. Yet it hasn‘t budged. That‘s at least partially because, even though statins have proven beyond all shadow of any doubt that they can effectively lower cholesterol, they have yet to prove an ability to prevent strokes and heart attacks. In fact, roughly 50 percent of all heart attack patients have what are considered to be normal, healthy cholesterol levels. So, researchers are trying a different angle. Rather than more drugs to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, they‘re developing new drugs to raise good (HDL) cholesterol. The good news is, a lot of them work! They‘re actually raising HDL cholesterol levels by as much as 61 percent in some cases! But they‘re also causing an incredible number of heart attacks, kidney problems and death. Pfizer had to pull the plug on an $800 million investment in an HDL-raising drug called torcetrapib for just that reason. Of course, what Merck, Pfizer, Roche and their respective brethren aren‘t telling you, is that good old fashioned niacin will do the trick for pennies a day and no prescription. Sure, some people experience a mildly uncomfortable "flushing" from niacin. But it‘s very temporary and tends to go away once the body has grown more accustomed to the increased niacin. It‘s a small price to pay when compared to the potential heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures or deaths that come with these "cutting edge" medications. Of course, if you‘re just not into pills, exercise is also a great HDL-booster. It comes with no harmful side-effects, and more often than not, exercise is free!  
  18. 75 Percent of Juvenile Diabetics Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

    A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics caught my attention this week. It said more than 75 percent of children with type-1 diabetes aren’t getting enough vitamin D. While I’m glad those darn pediatricians (the doctors most likely to put their head in the sand and keep it there) are paying attention to how much vitamin D their patients get, their solution to the problem is mind-boggling! Lead author of the study, Britta Svoren, M.D., wrote ‘We need to make sure all youths in general are getting enough vitamin D in their diets.’ In their diets? Are you kidding me! Do you know how many glasses of milk a kid have to drink to get the equivalent of just 30 minutes spent in the sun? Way too much! As you’ll recall in my Guide to Good Health (10-23-08) from just a few months ago entitled ‘Pour Yourself a Tall Glass of Sunshine,’ I reminded everyone that the best source of vitamin D is sunshine. Just a half hour of sunshine daily without sunscreen will give you up to 20,000 IUs of vitamin D. This limited amount of time is also safe for children. So, if your child’s got type-I juvenile diabetes, make sure the little tyke gets some daily rays every day. Forget the milk. It’s full of hormones, hard to digest, and the cause of lots of allergies.
  19. Tis the season of antibiotics

    Happy 2009 everyone! The good news for ‘bah, humbugs’ like me is that the holidays are over. The bad news…it’s officially cold and flu season. So I figured I’d start out the year with a serious warning about antibiotics. New evidence links antibiotics to significant risk of liver failure. In fact, researchers at the University of Indiana found that just one course of antibiotics can cause serious damage to the liver, [including] hepatitis, and even death. So what should you do when…
    Your head starts to pound, your nose gets blocked up like Fort Knox, and coughing keeps you up at night?
    After a week of sleepless nights and groggy days, many of us head to the doctor and say ‘it’s been over a week…just give me an antibiotic.’ But if your doc’s got any sense, he’ll send you right back home to a cup of lemon tea and lots of rest. That’s because the common cold, the flu, and even most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses, not bacteria. And an antibiotic won’t do a lick of good. Here’s one last word about viruses…
    Getting over a cold, bronchitis, or the flu can take up to two full weeks
    Give your body enough time to heal. Just because you’re going on day 10 and you’ve still got a cough, doesn’t mean you have an infection. If you’ve got a particularly nasty cold, reach for some extra vitamin C (at least 2,000 mg per day) and grapefruit seed extract. These have been proven to keep viruses and even some bacterial infections at bay.
    On the other hand, there may be times when you have no other choice but to treat an infection with an antibiotic. If this is the case, just be sure to proceed with caution.

    Antibiotics are non-selective in their elimination of bacteria in your digestive tract. That means…

    Yes, they kill the harmful bacteria causing your bladder infection, but they also kill the ‘friendly’ bacteria in your digestive tract as well. This puts you at risk for:
    • Cramping, indigestion, or abdominal pain
    • Diarrhea (caused by the lack of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut)
    • Increased vaginal yeast infections in women (caused by killing off the ‘Doderlein’s bacilli’ in the vagina that normally keep yeast in check)
    • Antibiotic tolerance (needing longer treatment courses with each infection)
    • Impaired digestion of nutrients
    • Suppressed immune system
    • Possible increased risk of breast cancer (University of Washington researchers linked high antibiotic use and breast cancer in a study of 10,000 women.)
    Plus, new evidence shows that taking an antibiotic puts you at serious risk of liver failure.
    Some of the most clear-cut risks to the liver involve patients taking Nydrazid or Laniazid to treat latent tuberculosis. Other common antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections also seem especially apt to cause liver problems. Even Augmentin — commonly used to treat ear infections in children — we now know has been linked to liver damage.
    The next time you think about running to the doctor to get an antibiotic for bronchitis, remember this…
    Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine looked at 100 patients with drug-induced liver injury (DILI). This means that normally healthy people experienced liver damage simply by taking a drug. They discovered that antibiotics, by far, caused more DILI than any other type of drug (45 percent) with the exclusion of acetaminophen. Sure, DILI is a fairly rare condition. It accounts for only about 13 percent of all the cases of liver failure in the United States. But it’s the most deadly. While many causes of liver failure are reversible, if you experience DILI, it’s pretty much a death sentence. With that dire warning in mind, here are some warning signs to watch out for if you are currently taking or have recently taken an antibiotic and are concerned about liver failure:
    • Lack of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Unusual itching
    • Muscle or joint aches
    • Jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin (this is often one of the last symptoms)
    Sure, these symptoms sound kind of vague and could be attributed to lots of different ailments. But if you’ve recently been on an antibiotic, make sure to keep an eye out. If you notice any worsening of these symptoms over a period of hours or days, make sure to see your doctor right away. Now, don’t get me wrong…
    Antibiotics have saved more lives than any other type of drug. And if you have a proven infection, you’ve got to take one.
    If that’s the case, there are a few things you can do to help offset the havoc antibiotics will wreak in your gut. 1. I recommend taking a probiotic during antibiotic treatment and for a week following treatment (in fact, you should take them year round to help keep digestive tract healthy). I recommend L. acidophilus in a capsule or powder. You can even find these in Walmart nowadays. Get the strongest dosage possible (in the billions of units or CFSs). You’ll also want to make sure to take these supplements before meals and at bedtime. And don’t worry…you can’t overdose of probiotics. Any unused amounts are just flushed out of your system. 2. As a general rule, you’ll want to limit sugar and high-yeast foods like bread, beer, wine, and refined sugar products. This will help clear the infection and make you less prone to a recurrence. 3. Take a good look at the book The Yeast Connection Handbook, by William Crook, M.D. It’s an excellent resource for anyone prone to chronic infections. Here’s a link to his book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757000606 As always, the best medicine is prevention. So take care to prevent infections with good health 365 days of the year. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2009!
  20. New approach to preventing and reversing skin cancer

    It is believed that a mutation in the p53 gene is the cause behind both sun-related skin damage and skin cancer. The p53 gene is called the “guardian of the genome” for its role in repairing DNA in cells, cell division, and the disposal of unhealthy cells. For this reason, researchers have been looking for a way to protect and restore the functioning and activity of p53...and it looks like they may have found it. Pharmaceutical researchers at Pfizer found a compound, called CP-31398, which appears to restore normal activity to mutated p53 proteins in cell cultures. Biochemistry researchers at University of Alabama, Birmingham, went on to test the compound on mice...with some rather remarkable results. The compound, suspended in a cream, was used on a batch of hairless mice that were then exposed to UV (ultra-violet) lights twice a week for 35 weeks. Those using the compound developed an average of seven tumors while the untreated mice grew an average of 16. What’s more, not only did the treated mice develop less than half the average number of tumors, the tumors that did grow tended to be about one sixth the size of the tumors seen in the untreated group. The compound also seemed to slow the growth of existing tumors. Safety and efficacy tests will need to be conducted before CP-31398 can be used on humans, but it shows significant promise for use in a cancer and skin-damage preventative in the not too distant future!