Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Power of Pomegranate

Why are pomegranates good for you? They contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, both powerful antioxidantsPomegranates also improve liver detoxification and increase glutathione.Studies show pomegranate has three times higher antioxidant activity than green tea or red wine! It is anti-diabetic, powerfully anti-inflammatory, and has also been shown to lower blood pressure and inhibit cancer cells. Aim for one to two ounces of fresh-pressed organic juice per day: add it to a smoothie or drink it by itself. In a season where there are so many foods to avoid, this is one fantastic fruit that is truly a boost to your wellbeing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When It's Best to Buy Organic

A recent study by Stanford University purports that organic food isn't any healthier than non-organic food. With studies such as this coming from reputable organizations like Stanford, unfortunately it emphasizes the need that we must always be vigilant and can still not trust our general food supply. 

It's true, you don't have to spring for organic if the food has a thick skin that you will discard, such as bananas, avocados, melons and citrus.  If it's a leaf you will eat, if the fruit has skin you will eat, or if it was grown in the ground it's worth it to buy organic.  Countless studies have shown these foods absorb and retain pesticides & herbicides used on them, and that these chemicals act as carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and immune disruptors in the human body.  For more information about who is behind the study, see what Mike Adam's team of sleuths revealed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are They Renaming High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is bad for you. Let’s unpack this controversial topic, so you can understand what high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is and why it is harmful.

Put in simple terms, HFCS is a combination of glucose (the sugar found in blood) and fructose (fruit sugar) that is sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) and also less expensive to manufacture.  (Read Marion Nestle’s guide for details on the chemical makeup of these sugars.) The increased use of HFCS in the Standard American Diet over the past few decades has correlated with the increase in diabetes and obesity.

Nutritional scientists such as Dr. Bruce Ames have proven that high fructose corn syrup is more readily absorbed into the blood stream than table sugar. The glucose causes insulin spikes—which in turn causes weight gain—and the fructose adversely affects the liver by prompting the production of triglycerides and cholesterol. In addition, HFCS makes glycated end products that are pro-inflammatory to brain neurons. This, in turn, leads to Alzheimer’s Disease.

If this isn’t enough to have you boycott it completely, other research suggests that HFCS contains traces of mercury and other contaminants, not to mention the fact that it comes from GMO corn, which carries bacteriotoxic genes, can cause dysbiosis of the gut because it imbalances healthy intestinal microbes.

The corn industry, backed by government subsidies that do little to support sustainable farming and the general health of the population, disputes HFCS’ negative effects in their alarmingly Orwellian, propagandist websites. They claim that high fructose corn syrup is the same as any other sugar, and your body can’t tell the difference. Obviously, this is absolutely untrue. The corn industry has even gone so far as to attempt to get high fructose corn syrup renamed “corn sugar” on food packaging. Though FDA struck this down, the Corn Refiners Association has threatened to call HFCS  “corn sugar” anyway. Their eagerness to rename it reinforces the idea they have something to hide.

How can you stay away from high fructose corn syrup? Read labels on food packaging, to begin. HFCS lurks in condiments, cereals, crackers, and other packaged foods. It’s important to remember that consuming sugar, no matter what type of sugar it is, negatively impacts your health. Soft drinks should be completely avoided, and sugary foods should not be a regular part of your diet. Preferred sweets include natural treats like fresh, whole, organic fruit.

How do you satisfy your sweet tooth without high fructose corn syrup? Share your favorite natural treats in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pharmageddon: What You Should Know

Did you know that for 62% of men and 46% of women, the first sign of cardiovascular disease is a heart attack? I recently attended the International Symposium on Integrative Cardiology and was fascinated about new measures where one can evaluate cardiac risk more efficiently. A lab test called the LPP Profile, which is available through my office, tests new biomarkers that more accurately assess your risk. The more exciting news is there are several natural interventions that can greatly reduce these cardiac risks, such as adequate amounts of Omega 3s, specific forms of Vitamins E and K, ribose, magnesium, and carnitine, to name a few.

People think that having elevated cholesterol is the main way to get atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  Dr. Mark Houston, a top integrative cardiologist, observes that antherosclerosis is a post prandial disease. This means if you eat unhealthy food (such as fast food), your body creates anthersclerotic plaques within the walls of the arteries immediately after eating. If you eat healthy foods such as veggies and clean lean protein, it directly counteracts this tendency to make plaques.

A recent study found unequivocally that taking statin medication commonly prescribed for high cholesterol dramatically increases the incidence of diabetes, more so in women. It is vital to manage your cholesterol naturally and not rely on statins. To paraphrase Dr. Mark Hyman, if we’re taking statins to prevent high cholesterol, but it causes diabetes, which causes cardiovascular disease, that’s ‘Pharmageddon!’               

I am available to create a protocol for you to help you manage cholesterol levels naturally and guard against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Contact our office to set up an appointment.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Protect Your Brain from Cell Phone Radiation

As I've written here before, oncology and neurology experts warn that using a cell phone for ten years or more raises your risk for brain tumors 10-30%. The good news is that an innovative new cell phone case can actually protect you from the toxic EMR signal. A patient of mine brought in a Pong case and we tested her iPhone both with and without it. The case tremendously reduced the EMR signal going to her brain and entire body. See their website for information about the science behind this remarkable case. Is available for several smart phone models and is definitely a worthwhile purchase!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Toxic Cosmetics: Know What's in Your Medicine Cabinet

Many cosmetics contain levels of harmful chemicals that are dangerous to your health – and unregulated by the EPA and FDA. Are you poisoning yourself with the soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, and makeup you use? Take matters into your own hands and educate yourself about the toxic chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products.

In 2011, UC San Francisco researchers reported that out of 268 pregnant woman studied, 100% of them carried up to 163 chemicals that could be passed on to their fetuses. These included pesticides and flame-retardants with proven health risks, as well as other chemicals from everyday household products and cosmetics. It’s important to realize that while our bodies may be able to tolerate a single chemical in a small dose, over time we are each exposed to thousands of chemicals that our bodies can absorb and store. This is referred to as “body burden.” The rise of diseases such as breast cancer, autism, and Parkinson’s parallels the rise of synthetic chemicals in our daily lives.

Since government regulations may never catch up with the thousands of dangerous chemicals in our everyday products, there are a few key things you can do to protect yourself. You can research the products you currently use at EWG’s Cosmetics Safety Database or look up individual ingredients at Toxipedia.org. Examine labels closely.  Labels on cosmetic products that tout themselves as “all-natural,” “dermatologist-tested,” “hypoallergenic,” “fragrance-free,” and “non-comedogenic” are meaningless. Look for products with the USDA Organic seal, which means they contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients. They may still contain toxins, though it won’t be as likely. Also beware of products with the following toxic chemicals:

  • Lead – We all know how dangerous lead paint is, but did you know that lead is still found in some lipsticks and hair coloring kits? This is a neurotoxicant (a toxin that can cause damage to the nervous system).
  • Mercury – Another neurotoxicant, it’s sometimes listed as “thimerosol” and can be found in some cosmetics such as mascara, skin-lightening creams, and anti-aging products.
  • Formaldehyde – A known carcinogen, formaldehyde is found in many nail polishes and bath products. The state of California recently discovered that some nail polish containing formaldehyde was falsely labeled as being toxin-free. Look for brands recommended by the Cosmetics Safety Database.
  • Parabens – These are estrogen mimickers that can lead to cancer, and are found in shampoo.
  • Triclosan – Found in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizer, it contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and has been linked to hormone disruption.
  • Phthalates -- Another hormone disruptor, they are also linked to asthma, allergies, and liver and kidney lesions. They’re hidden in the fragrances of many products.
  • Fragrance – Chemicals used to scent products can be listed as “fragrance” without any specifics to avoid revealing proprietary information. Stay away from products that use this designation.
  • Nanoparticles – These are microscopic ingredients that can penetrate cell walls and have been largely untested. They’re found in lotions, makeup, and sunscreen. Check out the book Sunscreens: Biohazard for a detailed study on nanoparticles and their connection to obesity, diabetes, asthma, and ADHD.
  • Petroleum -- Watch out for mineral oil, petrolatum, liquid paraffin, toluene, and xylene. These are often contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4 Dioxane.

The good news is that there are many cosmetics that have been verified to be nontoxic, such as Hemp Organics lipstick, Mineral Fusion makeup, Jane Iredale makeup, and Surya Liquid Henna Hair Color, which is available at Co-Op and Whole Foods. You can also browse through the Cosmetics Safety Database to find their best-rated products, or get really crafty and make your own.

Do you have a favorite nontoxic beauty product? If so, please share it here!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Arsenic in Brown Rice Syrup

Recently an organic toddler soy formula using organic brown rice syrup was found to be high in arsenic by Dartmouth College researchers. It has been known for years that rice tends to concentrate arsenic.  This is worse in rice from southern states and Bangladesh.  Unless you have the genetic polymorphism of being a "collector" of toxic metals, your body will detoxify the arsenic you may have been exposed to.  If brown rice syrup has been a staple in your child's diet, you can do a hair toxic metals test.  The test is $55 and is easily performed with a sample of hair.  The kits are available through my office. If needed, there are some simple steps you can take to detox arsenic. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fight for GMO Labeling

Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are not labeled on our food packaging, yet they comprise up to 90% of common products such as corn, soybeans, and sugar beets (and their derivatives, which include corn syrup, soy lecithin, and corn starch). As I mentioned in a blog post last year, it is vital to our individual health and to the health of our environment to avoid consuming toxic and altered foods. Bacterio-toxic (BT) corn, for example, is engineered to kill pests that threaten the corn crop, but when we consume it, it affects the healthy bacteria in our intestines. A European study done over ten years ago showed that GM genes can spread to people and animals.  A group of organic farmers recently sued Monsanto to have its patents on GMOs invalidated because they were worried that GMO crops planted adjacent to their fields would contaminate their organic crops through cross-pollination. A federal judge struck down their case, accusing the organic farmers of “creating a controversy where none exists.”  While many countries in the European Union have banned GM crops, and Peru recently announced a 10-year GMO ban, in the United States it seems that big corporations like Monsanto call the shots.

How can we avoid GMOs if we don’t know where they are? Companies that manufacture GMOs are insistent that GMOs cause no harm to human beings, so why do they refuse to label them? Marion Nestle, a public policy expert who was a member of the FDA’s Food Advisory committee when the first GM products became available in 1994, emphasizes that “Intelligent people can argue about whether GM crops are good, bad or indifferent for agriculture, the environment and market economies, or whether the products are safe. But one point is clear. The absence of labeling cannot be good in the long run for business or American democracy.”

We need to demand GMO labeling on our food products. A legal petition has been filed with the FDA, asking them to require labeling of GMOs. Please sign it at JustLabelIt.org. Additionally, if you are a registered voter in the state of California, you can add your signature to a ballot initiative that would allow voters to vote on labeling GMOs. Eight hundred thousand signatures must be collected by April 22 for this to make it onto the ballot, and signatures must be collected in person. Stop by my office to sign or visit LabelGMOs.org for more information.

While we wait to see if legislation will be passed, what can you do?
  • Educate yourself by watching documentaries about modern agriculture, such as King Corn, Food Inc, and the Future of Food.
  •   Keep up-to-date on GMOs in the news by following The Non GMO Project’s blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter pages, and take action when you can.
  • Avoid purchasing products that are likely to contain GMOs. The Center for Food Safety has a comprehensive shopping guide you can download from their site, and they also have apps for iPhone and Android.

 What are your thoughts on GMOs? Share them here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Update on FDA Supplement Ban

Supplements are still under attack by the FDA, despite thousands of signatures on petitions and intervention by members of the US Senate. As I mentioned in a blog post last year, the FDA has drafted an approval process for New Dietary Ingredients (NDIs) that would virtually wipe out our access to all supplements currently on the market . Thanks in part to people who wrote to their senators and representatives (in my office, we printed and mailed over 50 letters from our concerned patients), Senators Orrin Hatch from Utah and Tom Harkin from Iowa arranged a meeting with the FDA in January. You can read their letter to the FDA commissioner here.

Senators Hatch and Harkin were the original authors of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which was designed to ensure “access to safe, affordable, dietary supplement products.” During their meeting they recommended that the FDA go back to the drawing board on NDI approval and write new guidelines that do not “undermine the balance Congress struck with DSHEA.” The FDA’s response was a resounding “no.”

Fortunately others in Congress are acting to stop the FDA. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah is urging the FDA to draft new guidelines for NDI approval, and Representative Randy Hultgren of Illinois recently made a one-minute speech on the floor of the House that stated his opposition to the FDA’s supplement guidelines. You can ask your senator or representative to make a similar one-minute floor speech by sending this online letter via the Alliance for Natural Health. They also have a form you can fill out to ask your congresspeople to add their signatures to Rep. Chaffetz’s letter.

Please act now and let your voice be heard! Now that we have Congress listening, it’s time for all of us to work together to stop the FDA from barring our access to the supplements we depend on for our health.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Juice Fasting and SIBO

With celebrities jumping on the bandwagon, juice fasting seems to be a trend these days. It’s important to be aware of the risks a juice fast could pose to your health. For one thing, there is little to no protein intake, which means your body will start burning muscle mass. This can cause slowing of the metabolism and subsequent weight gain. And while juice concentrates the plant nutrients, which is great for your body, it also concentrates the sugar. Plant sugars – fructose in particular – have been implicated in causing Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO creates inflammatory imbalances in your body,  weakens the immune system, and is heavily associated with fibromyalgia. Studies show that 2/3 of the population has SIBO, so it’s a good idea to periodically go through a course of microbial-balancing herbs including oregano and berberine. Other things that help prevent SIBO include fermented foods like sauerkraut and coconut kefir.

If you are searching for a healthy cleanse, look for one that utilizes detoxifying foods and a meal replacement medical food. (Whole food smoothies are also a great addition to a cleanse. Watch my video to see why a smoothie is better than a juice.) Clinical studies have shown cleanses such as these to be effective at detoxifying without the detrimental effects a juice fast would have. In this way you’ll be able to increase detox pathways in the liver and kidneys and release toxins gently and naturally. 

Have you ever done a fast or a cleanse? What effects did you notice in your body? Share your experiences here.