Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Suggestions for Gout

Gout is an arthritic disease that can affect any joint in the body, but seems especially prone to "taking a bite out" of one's big toe.  The toe will swell, become red, and hurt like blue blazes; even making walking difficult.  Typically, the condition resolves on its own in a few days, but misery is in store while it lasts.

Gout is caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint.  Uric acid is a waste product generated by certain biochemical reactions in the body that involve nitrogen-containing chemicals (e.g. proteins).  It's excretion is through the kidneys.  Impaired kidney function and/or excessive uric acid generation will create the condition.

So here are 5 natural suggestions for addressing the cause.

1.  Reduce purine containing foods.  Purine is a common nitrogen-containing constituent in certain foods.  Foods with high purine content are: Anchovies, Kidneys, Liver, Oysters, Sardines, Shellfish and seafood, Sweetbreads, and Turkey.

2.  Decrease iron intake, increase copper intake.  Copper inhibits an enzyme that makes uric acid, while iron increases its activity.  2 mg of copper a day is sufficient.  Since excessive copper can decrease zinc stores, the best copper supplement is one that includes zinc.  Since gout tends to strike men and menopausal women, unless there is a problem with anemia, there is no reason why either of these two groups need to be taking any iron in vitamins at all; so check your multivitamin and get iron-free ones. 

3.  Taking omega-3 oils - e.g. flax oil, fish oils -- have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.

4.  Improve kidney excretion by drinking a lot of water -- at least 1/3 of your body weight in fluid ounces.  Adding a supplement like AC Carbamide (Standard Process) can improve ammonia handling, further reducing the nitrogen load on the body.

5.  Eliminate sugar and fructose.  Some of the same enzymes that reduce uric acid also process fructose.  If your diet is high in fructose, the enzymes get used up in processing it, leaving little chemical work that can be done on the uric acid.  Table sugar is half fructose.  So one must eliminate all sugar as well as fructose.  

So, try these suggestions out on your gout and see if you get some improvement.

NatureWords for your health!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dihydrogen Monooxide

There's a chemical that is naturally present in nature that every body must have in order to survive.  It is dihydrogen monoxide, or water.  Sixty to eighty percent of one's body can be made up of this vital fluid.  You should get in the habit of keeping track of your daily water intake.

Why is it so important?  What counts as water?  When and how should you drink it?  Let me answer these questions.

It is important in virtually all chemical reactions in the body.  To run your body there are thousands of these reactions going on every second.  Many of these reactions involve detoxification - the elimination of toxins and waste products that would kill you if they were prevented from leaving your body.  You lose water through sweat, urine, and breath; with that water loss also pass the toxins.  Water improves your skin tone, it helps moisturize your hair, it puts more shock absorbing cushion in your joints and spine, it helps you lose weight, and it keeps your blood at the right consistency and pH.  When it is hot out it helps cool you off.

Water is water.  Soft drink manufacturers have worked hard since the early 1900's to convince us all that water is not tasty enough.  They have confused our thirst and turned us to an addiction for sweets. The fact is soft drinks do not count as water.  Alcohol of any kind does not count as water.  Coffee or strongly caffeinated tea does not really count as water.  Herbal teas and very very diluted juices can count as water.  Water is the crucial ingredient and should predominant.  The fewer chemicals (e.g. chlorine, fluoride, iron, etc.) the better.  I would not recommend distilled water, however.  Distilled water tends to facilitate the theft of important ions out of the body.

Ideally, the major portion of your water intake should be uniformly distributed throughout the day prior to dinner time.  One suggestion is the 8x8 rule; 8 - 8 ounce glasses a day.  A more accurate measure is based on body weight - one-third of your body weight in fluid ounces; you might want to bump it up to half your body weight when it is hot or if you exercise strenuously.

Naturewords for your health!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

5 Suggestions for Insomnia

Sleepless nights are an incredibly common problem; probably everyone has had them.  There are a ton of different causes, but for chronic or perpetual insomnia there are probably three common causes.  They are stress, sleep apnea, and blood sugar regulation.  So, the five suggestions are these:

1. Exercise.  Exercise any time in the day, but never closer to bedtime than two hours.  Exercise is the single best stress-buster there is.  A sustained period of 20-30 minutes with an elevated heart rate makes for a better oxygenated brain.  Exercise releases "feel good" hormones, stimulates detoxification, and makes for more lean muscle - a key to longevity.

2.  Associate your bed with sleeping.  Get your brain on board the sleep train by creating the thought habit that seeing your bed means it's time to sleep.  Don't do all the other activities in bed you hear of other people doing like watching TV, eating, knitting, or reading.  When you crawl into bed, your brain should know it's time to turn out the lights.  Don't lay in bed tossing and turning for hours trying to sleep.  If you haven't fallen asleep in ten minutes, get up and do something else -- read, clean, organize, journal, etc. for 10-20 minutes then try lying down again.

3.  Get allergies handled.  Allergies make your nose stuffy and lead to snoring and sleep apnea.  When the sinuses don't drain, your head will stay full making it difficult to breath. Nighttime drainage can be improved by putting 2" blocks under the head of your bed, so your head is a bit elevated.  Lack of oxygen will cause you to wake up or not sleep as deeply.  Lack of oxygen also puts a shadow of fear in the back of your brain that you will die in your sleep and cause you to have a more difficult time going to sleep as well.

4.  Try consuming a small high protein snack at bedtime.  Protein acts as sustained release glucose and will stabilize blood sugar through the night.  Often blood sugar that drops too low will cause a person to wake up for no apparent reason.

5.  Use some of the herbal stress/mood or sleep remedies.  Beneficial ingredients in these products to look for include: valerian, skullcap, passion flower, GABA, theanine, and melatonin.

Naturewords for your health!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

5 Suggestions About Fat Intake

In the 1990's erroneous information about fat put Americans into a health tailspin.  Everything was supposed to be low fat.  The lower your fat content in food the more gold stars you won.  All kinds of foods suddenly appeared with the zero fat or low fat label.  Doctors, health educators, and nutritionists alike all told their clients to eat less fat.  "Fat is bad for you," was said over and over like a broken record.  As with most new health information there was a certain amount of exaggeration and overkill.  High cholesterol was attributed to too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet.  High cholesterol was associated with heart disease so fat was implicated in heart disease. With twenty years of additional knowledge we now know that the fat "problem" is far more complex.

First, there are good fats and bad fats.  A blanket zero-fat diet is throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Two fatty acids are essential (only available from your diet).  Cell membranes - all 70 billion of them in your body -- need fats to keep the cell wall intact.  Without the right kind of fat to form those membranes the cell wall gets weak and over reactive and cells rupture; disease occurs.  Hormones, the chemical communication system, need fats for their chemical structure.  Skin needs fat to prevent hypersensitivity and excessive drying out.  The human being can use a variety of fats for all these functions.  Some fats are better than others though.

Second, when the food industry removed fat it replaced it with sugar, high fructose corn syrup particularly; because it was cheap.  This was to keep their product tasting good, so people would continue to buy it.  Fructose, however, gets metabolized into fat - Very Low Density Lipids (VLDL) to be specific.  Thirty percent of ingested fructose, in fact, becomes fat that is stored in the liver or floats around in your blood, clogging arteries.  Reduce your fat by avoiding fructose!

So, in light of these two facts here are five other suggestions for what to do about your fat intake.

  1. You need fat.  About 30% of your total calories should come from fat every day.  If you are eating a 2,000 calorie diet, this is 600 calories or about 65 gm.  This sounds like a lot because we've been so conditioned to think zero is better.  Once upon a time humans probably consumed over 100 gm of naturally-occurring fats and prior to 1910 heart disease was rare.
  2. You need the right kind of fat.  It should NOT be hydrogenated fat (e.g. margarine or Crisco) or trans-fats!  Between the time it was first introduced in 1910 and 1920 coronary artery disease doubled.
  3. You need the right kind of fat.  Thirty percent (30%) of your total daily fat intake should be saturated fat.  It needs to be NATURAL saturated fat, like from coconut oil, butter, organic eggs, raw dairy, or meat from grass-fed and uncaged animals.  Animals fed corn and grain form different saturated fats that possess different energetics and get metabolized differently creating aberrant health effects (e.g. heart disease.)
  4. You need the right kind of fat.  Sixty percent (60%) of the fat total should be from Mono-unsaturated fats, like olive oil and oils found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and avocados.
  5. You need the right kind of fat.  Ten percent (10%) of the fat total should be from Poly-unsaturated fats, like flax and fish oils, evening primrose oil, black currant oil, hemp oil, and some other nut and seed oils.  
 You can have your fatty acid balance checked in my office to see if your body has the right amounts of each.

Naturewords for your health....  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

5 Suggestions for Weight Loss

So I keep seeing all the weight loss commercials on television - Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig... and food commercials touting their ability to aid weight loss.  There is going to be quite a lot of overlap here on the five suggestions from prior posts about five suggestions.  If you've seen these, or heard them here before, take that as a sign of how vitally important they are to health.

Suggestion #1: Water.  Drinking adequate amounts of water is essential on many fronts.  Water before meals can help fill your stomach so you can more easily hit the "I'm full" state, thereby cutting down portion sizes.  Water aids in flushing toxins from your body.  Toxins can leave you feeling lethargic and tired - two emotions that fire up the need for more comfort eating.  Water keeps you moving; trips you have to take to the bathroom qualify as exercise.  Finally, just try it; I have seen a third of your body weight (or more) in fluid ounces in water intake drop a pound or two.

Suggestion #2: Exercise.  The FIRST step in exercise is simply making up your mind to keep your body upright and moving whenever possible.  If your body is in any kind of motion, you are exercising.  There are so many ways we get JPL (just plain lazy.)  Hollering for someone to bring you something =JPL.  Deciding you're too tired to get up for something you want = JPL.  Parking as close to a door as you can = JPL.  Laying down when you could be sitting = JPL.  Sitting down when you could be standing = JPL.  Standing when you could be doing tiptoe stretches, or walking = JPL.  The second step is get a pedometer; it counts your steps.  There is no lying to a hard and fast instrument.  10,000 steps a day is making very good progress!  7,000 is fair progress.  The third tier of exercise then is getting to a gym, or taking on a 3-7 day a week commitment to aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes; with some weight training thrown in for good measure.

Suggestion #3: Food Allergies:  Food sensitivities and allergies are a common, but hidden, cause of weight gain.  The exact mechanism that causes this to happen is not known precisely, but it has been pretty firmly established that removing the offending foods can take pounds off.

Suggestion #4: Fats.  Do not be afraid of foods with GOOD fats.  You will use calories digesting and metabolizing good fats and they are instrumental in so many different biochemical pathways producing hormones and regulating inflammation/histamine, just to name two.  What's a good fat?  Good fats have a significant portion of their fatty acid content made up of omega-3 fats.  Nuts and nut butters; fish and seafood; and flax, hemp and other seeds.  Avoid trans-fats as if they're the plague.  Coconut oil is a good saturated fat.  I would cook with either olive oil or coconut oil.  I would restrict animal fats and most vegetable cooking oils.  

Suggestion #5: Eliminate sugar.  Sugar creates addiction.  Like any addiction, your body will adjust to the dose and you will need more of it to give the same high.  The excess calories volumes of sugar add pile on the weight, in addition to creating damage to your blood vessels and genetic integrity of your cells.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sugar is Toxic

I always appreciate when the mainstream media finally catches up to a story that embraces what I've been saying for a lot of years.  It confirms for me that when I'm "out there" about something that I'm not crazy or hallucinating on mushrooms or something.

Last night on 60 Minutes, Dr. Sanjay Gupta concisely brought together the information everyone should have about sugar.  It's not just about weight any more!  You can watch the three minute segment by clicking here.

Here's a short little added tirade about high fructose corn syrup... In ADDITION to the sugar connection talked about by Dr. Gupta, HFCS is also made from corn.  Over 90% of the yellow corn in the United States is genetically modified.  So, all this high fructose corn syrup getting put into every processed food is also coming with a foreign genetic structure.  The manufacturers' of high fructose corn syrup have a number of advertising campaigns on TV about how it is as healthy as sugar.  When sugar is already toxic, I don't see that they're helping themselves much by comparing their product to another toxin.  Even the name changes they are proposing does not change the poison it is.

More Naturewords for your health!