Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Lice Lice Lice

Every year parents everywhere get notes from school that there is an outbreak of head lice. There are packaged remedies, but hands down the best product for getting rid of lice is Petroleum Jelly. Get a big jar and apply freely. Wear gloves and apply the petroleum jelly through the hair and scalp. Then cover the head with a shower cap, plastic cap, or plastic wrap overnight. The lice will suffocate under the petroleum jelly.

Then the trick is removing the petroleum jelly from the hair. From personal experience, working at a children's home, there is nothing that does the trick like Dawn Dishwashing Liquid.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Eat Right And Look Good

Five foods that fight the effects of aging.

If you plan to have great sex for the rest of your life, you want to look good doing it, right? Add a couple of servings a week of these fountain-of-youth foods.

Sunflower Seeds

These salty wonders have the highest natural vitamin E content of any food around. "Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients around for looking younger," says Barry Swanson, Ph.D., a professor of food science at Washington State University. "No antioxidant is more effective at fighting the aging effects of free radicals."

Spinach and Beans

Researchers in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden studied the diets of 400 elderly men and women, and found that those who ate the most leafy green vegetables and beans had the fewest wrinkles. The reason? Spinach and beans are full of compounds that help prevent and repair wear and tear on your skin cells as you get older.

Grape Juice

Besides providing protection from heart attack and stroke, grape juice can also help keep your middle-aged skin from sagging. "Grapes are filled with antioxidant polyphenols that help to keep your skin flexible and elastic," says Swanson.

Sweet Potatoes

Overexposure to the sun is one of the primary reasons men age prematurely. But sweet potatoes may help to fight sun damage. European researchers recently found that pigments from beta-carotene-rich foods—like sweet potatoes and carrots—can build up in your skin, helping to prevent damage from ultraviolet rays.


No wonder rats always look so young. "Cheese is one of the best foods you can eat for your teeth," says Matthew Messina, D.D.S., an American Dental Association spokesman. "It's a good source of calcium, to keep your teeth strong. Plus, eating cheese can lower the levels of bacteria in your mouth and keep your teeth clean and cavity-free," he says. Dr. Messina recommends eating at least two servings of block cheese every week.

Source: By Brian Good, Men's Health

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Suzanne Somers on the Schwarzbein Principle - Bioidentical Hormones

For any of you who have read any of my books on Somersizing, you know the important role Dr. Schwarzbein plays in my life. She is an awesome doctor, cutting-edge, and the first doctor I met who truly understands menopause and its ramifications. As an endocrinologist, her specialty is the chemical makeup of the body. As I struggled to find a doctor who really understood what my body was going through in menopause (before I found the wonderful doctors I have interviewed for this book), it was Dr. Schwarzbein who was finally able to help me find relief. She understands the importance of replacing the hormones lost in the aging process with natural hormones that are exact replicas (bioidentical) of the ones we make in our own bodies. Because of Dr. Schwarzbein, I am enjoying my menopause more than any other passage so far. Here is our conversation.

SS (Suzanne Somers): First of all, I appreciate your giving me time to do this. I know how swamped you are at the office.

Every woman is looking for answers during this confusing passage, and you have made menopause a specialty. So let me first ask you: Because menopause is confusing not only to women but also to most doctors, how did you figure it out?

DS (Dr. Diana Schwarzbein): Most of what I know about hormone replacement therapy in menopause I did not learn in medical school, or in medical training. It was when I was in private practice. I had four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine, then two years of endocrinology, but in nine years of training no one said, This is menopause, this is what you need to be doing.

SS: What made you pay attention?

DS: I started treating diabetic patients back in 1991, and I was noticing that a subset of my diabetic patients who happened to be menopausal women, who were following the exact same diet and exercise program as all the other diabetic patients, were not responding with the same good results. In other words, their sugars were not budging. It was startling. They were eating the same way, doing the same kinds of exercises, but their blood sugars were staying at 300, whereas the men and the premenopausal women had blood sugar levels that were coming down.

SS: What were you missing?

DS: It started to dawn on me that maybe the sex hormones were playing a role in their problem. But initially I made a lot of mistakes.

SS: For instance?

DS: If someone said to you, you can have all the benefits of hormone replacement therapy with or without a period, everyone would probably say, "Oh, without a period, please."

SS: Very understandable. I mean, who wants to have a period if they don't have to?

DS: I agree, and at that point I bought into the current standard of care that believed you could have the benefits of hormones without a period. But I found that when you give hormones that way [continuously combining an estrogen with a progestin on a daily basis], you make the patient more insulin resistant.

SS: But isn't a woman her healthiest when she is pregnant, because her body is making estrogen and progesterone simultaneously?

DS: Actually, no. Pregnancy is not the healthiest state for a woman to be in. In fact, pregnancy is one of the times when you are more insulin resistant. If you are pregnant back to back and you have many children, I guarantee you're going to end up with type 2 diabetes or another form of insulin resistance such as obesity, abnormal cholesterol levels, and/or high blood pressure. Also, we now realize that pregnant women have a higher risk of breast cancer.

SS: Why is that?

DS: I am not sure that anybody really knows, but I'm going to say I think it's because of insulin resistance. Because high insulin levels have been linked to breast cancer. For instance, women with type 2 diabetes have one of the highest risks of developing breast cancer. So do women with metabolic syndrome [an insulin-resistant problem].

SS: Okay, but why would pregnancy make you insulin resistant?

DS: It's complex, but to simplify, physiologically you have many hormonal changes in pregnancy that block the action of insulin. One of them is the high progesterone levels.

SS: But people always think of pregnancy as a high estrogen state.

DS: Actually, pregnancy produces high estrogen levels but much higher daily progesterone levels, and the progesterone blocks the action of estrogen every day. The result of this is a low estrogen effect in the body.

SS: So let's get back to how you started treating your diabetic menopausal patients.

DS: I started treating women with diabetes in 1991, and I prescribed Prempro to those who were in menopause. Luckily, I noticed right away that their blood sugar control worsened. This was a group of patients who were not improving despite how hard they were working at eating well and exercising. In fact, some of them were getting worse. That's when I realized Prempro was the problem. Then I switched these women to estradiol and progesterone, thinking the bioidentical hormones would be the answer. However, I still prescribed them in a continuous combined way (no periods), and their blood sugars remained elevated.

Then I thought about the four rules that I use for the replacement of any missing hormone:

1. Don't take a hormone that's not low or missing.
2. Take only bioidentical hormones.
3. Mimic normal physiology as much as possible.
4. Track the hormone levels and their effects.

Starting with rule number one-in menopause you are low in estradiol and progesterone. Rule number two, give back the same hormone in its bioidentical form. I realized that Premarin was being substituted for estradiol, and Provera was being substituted for progesterone, and this was not the right thing to do. So I prescribed bioidentical estradiol for estradiol and bioidentical progesterone for progesterone.

Then, because of rule number three, I realized that continuous combined therapy was not the way the body made these hormones. To mimic normal physiology as much as possible, these hormones would have to be taken in a cyclical manner, and then women would have to have withdrawal menses [monthly period] again.

Then, rule number four, I followed my patients by tracking their hormone levels through blood work and the effects of these bioidentical hormones.

When I followed my four rules of hormone replacement that I used in treating all types of hormone deficiencies, the blood sugars of the women with diabetes improved and their hormone levels came back into balance. Finally, these women felt well again.

I realized the mistake I was making [ten years ago] treating menopausal women with type 2 diabetes was in giving them continuous combined HRT. Remember, as diabetics they were already insulin resistant, and they became more insulin resistant on continuous combined HRT. Unfortunately, many doctors today still don't understand the link between continuous combined therapy and insulin resistance and are still making the same mistake today that I did all those years ago.

In my opinion, the harm of continuous combined therapy was confirmed in July 2002, when the first results of the Women's Health Initiative was published. There were three groups of women in this study:

1. The observational group. These women were in menopause but were given only a placebo. They were "observed" to check for heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, type 2 diabetes, and so forth.

2. Two treatment groups: subdivided by whether the woman had a uterus or did not because of a hysterectomy.

If the woman had a uterus, she was given Prempro, a synthetic drug hormone comprising an estrogen, Premarin, and a progestin, Provera. Progestins block the effect of estrogen, so the women on Prempro did not get a period. In other words, if you take an estrogen and then block the action of it with a progestin, you end up with a low estrogen effect in the body. Hence, no bleeding.

If she didn't have a uterus, she was given Premarin alone. [Premarin is a drug that contains many different estrogens, most of which are not found or made in the human body.] Taking Premarin alone would lead to a higher estrogen effect in the body.

SS: Interesting. And when you have a low estrogen effect because of continuous combined HRT [no period], are you subject to disease?

DS: That's what the WHI study showed. It was going to be an eight-plus-year study. They wanted to compare the outcome of the treatment groups with those of the observational group.

But at 5.2 years, the Prempro study was stopped early.

SS: Why?

DS: They started noticing that the women on Prempro [continuous combined therapy-no period] were having more heart attacks, more strokes, more blood clots, and more breast cancer than the group taking the placebo.

SS: What about the women who were taking Premarin?

DS: They haven't found the same kind of increased risk for disease with Premarin alone; therefore, that part of the WHI study is still ongoing. It is slated to be finished and reported in 2005 after eight years plus.

Last year when the news broke out about Prempro, the initial reaction was to get all women off all HRT, and to this day that is what most physicians are recommending.

SS: Why was the Women's Health Initiative done in the first place?

DS: The idea was to do a long-term prospective study on the possible benefits versus risks of the most commonly used HRT. They studied Premarin and Prempro because these are the most commonly prescribed therapies.

SS: So, when a woman takes these drug hormones, is she getting any good out of it at all, or would she be better off not taking anything?

DS: The WHI concluded that Prempro is worse than not taking anything, and I agree with the conclusion.

SS: That's a pretty strong statement.

DS: Yes, but that's what the study concluded.

As far as Premarin goes, I do not like it because it is not a bioidentical estrogen. However, it hasn't been shown to be more harmful than not taking anything at all. But this part of the study is still ongoing. It's important to know that Premarin has not yet been shown to be of much benefit, either. When it first came on the market, it was only supposed to be used in the short term to treat hot flashes, but then its use got extended (without any studies, I might add) to long-term hormone replacement therapy for menopause. As far as I am concerned, one of the uses of HRT after menopause should be for protection against heart disease. Premarin does not protect against heart disease.

SS: Well, all I know is I am feeling so wonderful that I am going to take bioidentical [natural] hormones for life, or as long as I choose to do so.

DS: And I believe it is safe for you to take bioidentical hormones for the rest of your life as long as we keep monitoring the effects of these hormones and we keep adjusting the amount to match your ever-changing lifestyle.

SS: Now what about Prempro or Premarin? Would a gynecologist put a woman on these drugs for life?

DS: I know many women who have been on these drugs for too long. There are two paralleling concepts going on: One is don't substitute a drug for a hormone; they do not do the same thing in the body. Two, do not think that you are going to come up with a better way to give these drugs than to match the physiology that already exists, as in natural bioidentical hormones.

I learned from my own studies and my treatment of menopausal women that you can approach menopause in two ways: symptomatic relief therapy or bioidentical HRT following the four rules mentioned earlier. Most gynecologists have been approaching it from the symptomatic side. They feel that as long as a woman is not having hot flashes, she is being treated properly. That is not true.

Furthermore, in my experience most gynecologists treat the uterus as the most important organ in the human body. As such, they feel their role is to keep harm from coming to your uterus. The medical literature in gynecology is filled with studies on the amount of progestin needed to protect the uterus from developing cancer. In trying to save the uterus and prescribing continuous combined therapy, gynecologists have increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes in once-healthy women! Unfortunately, by messing with Mother Nature and giving drug hormones without restoring menstrual bleeding, we have done more harm than good.

SS: Okay, here we are again at having a period.

DS: You have to have a period, because this mimics normal! The normal state is not pregnancy! Prempro mimics pregnancy, so continuous combined therapy is not normal. Having a monthly period is normal. At one point gynecologists understood this concept. Prior to the last ten to fifteen years, most doctors did prescribe Premarin and Provera in a cycling way. That was the standard of care for quite some time.

SS: Then what happened?

DS: Primarily, women weren't feeling good on Premarin and Provera. They were complaining of bloating and irritability and on top of it were getting their period again! Then many women stopped taking HRT because they felt so poorly on it. Instead of treating women with bioidentical hormones, gynecologists tried different ways to give Provera to protect against uterine cancer and came up with continuous combined therapy without thinking about or studying the long-term consequences.

SS: Quite a dilemma. So if rule number three is to mimic normal physiology as much as possible, that would mean having a period, but is having a period all your life normal?

DS: Medically we are altering natural phenomena everywhere. There is nothing natural about immunizations, or open heart surgery, or hip replacement surgery. We have to decide as a society whether we are all going to honor aging or not. If we are, then I would say don't give hormone replacement therapy. But if as a society we choose to alter natural phenomena medically, we have to be consistent. Taking HRT after menopause is not natural, but neither is performing open heart surgery.

SS: Let's talk more about rule number four-tracking.

DS: Tracking means monitoring the effect of the hormone a woman is taking. It is done through assessing hormone levels, assessing how the woman feels on hormones, when and how much bleeding she has on a monthly basis, assessing bones and cholesterol, and evaluating her uterine lining with yearly ultrasounds. It also entails following specific issues pertinent to the woman's personal health history such as blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels.

Menopause is a serious condition. In other words, I don't just prescribe hormones and say, "Have a nice life, call me if you get a hot flash." Menopause needs to be followed just like any other hormone replacement therapy. Dosages of hormones may need to be continuously adjusted around a woman's aging and her changing lifestyle.

SS: What about self-medicating, as in today my breasts are a little more tender, I think I'll take a little more estrogen cream?

DS: I don't feel very comfortable with women self-medicating around symptoms. For instance, let's take breast tenderness . . . it could be from too little estrogen or too much estrogen. So how would a woman know what to do?

I'll tell you something else about estrogen: It can act like an antidepressant, and women can end up taking too much of it if left to determine how much they should be on in relation to how they feel. Then you get into the complications of high hormone effect in the system.

And then there is progesterone. Women cannot tell if they're taking too much progesterone because it is a stimulant and can initially make one feel better. It isn't until later that they can start feeling depressed or gain weight from too much progesterone, and by then they may not realize it's the progesterone because of how long it took before the symptoms occurred.

SS: Oh, so that is why you don't like women to self-adjust their hormones.

DS: Right, you have to be very careful. You do not want too much or too little. It has to be just right, and the only way to do that is through tracking.

SS: Should women and men go only to an endocrinologist who specializes in bioidentical HRT to get their sex hormones balanced?

DS: As an endocrinologist, I have chosen to specialize in sex hormones. But not every endocrinologist has the same training. I wish I could say, "Go to your local endocrinologist and everything will be okay." Unfortunately each person must find the right endocrinologist or doctor for him- or herself. It will require interviewing the doctor to see if he or she has made sex hormones a specialty.

SS: When you do get your hormones in balance (as you have helped me balance mine), life is blissful. It's worth a trip or a drive to another city to get on track. After all, it is a three-hour drive for me to see you, but you are worth it.

DS: Well, thank you. Now that you and I have worked together for all these years, you know that hormone replacement therapy can be complex.

SS: And this is where the concept of synthetic pharmaceutical hormones is screwy to me. How can one pill fit all?

DS: Exactly. Even though we all share the same physiology, we don't all share the same metabolism rate of different hormones. I mean, you and I have completely different body types. Let's look in the mirror at ourselves: Who has more estrogen . . . you or me?

SS: Old friendly me. Curvy body . . . you get to have a long, lean body and slim hips (I hate you, by the way). But I get your point. Every "body" has different needs.

DS: It's also genetics. It's about ratios among different hormones.

SS: Right now the ratio, the match, you have prescribed for me feels good. I'm feeling fantastic.

DS: Great. But it's sometimes a very difficult thing to find the perfect match for women. It takes patience and focus.

SS: How difficult?

DS: Well, it depends on their lifestyle and what is going on.

SS: So if a woman lived by a river and didn't work and didn't have a telephone or a television set and wasn't constantly thinking, Oh, my God, I have to juggle a million things . . .

DS: It would be easier to find a match for that woman. She could probably get away with much less estrogen, because estrogen is the multitasking hormone. But if this same woman smoked, it would make the body rid itself of the estradiol faster.

Another example is you, Suzanne, when you were going through that period where you were so stressed. Your hormone needs kept going up, so I had to keep changing your doses, yet your hormone levels stayed the same, because you were using it up so much. And then abruptly your stress stopped and the dose of your hormones was too much for you. All of a sudden you had a high estrogen effect.

SS: Right, and that was excessive bleeding . . .

DS: Yes, you called me and I decreased your doses and things got on track and in balance again.

SS: What's interesting to me as the patient who has been doing this for several years is that I have become very sensitive to when the doses are not correct. I find this an incredible way to work with you as my doctor. We are doing this in concert together, and it helps me to feel that I am in control of my health and my body.

DS: Yes, and as you recall when we first started working together, I was very clear about the fact that this is a pain in the butt. A "one pill fits all" would be a lot easier, but the rewards of doing it this way, from a health standpoint, a quality-of-life standpoint, and a longevity standpoint, are indisputable.

And it's not just about the hormones. It's about eating well and stress management, and tapering off sugar and other chemicals, and doing the right kinds of exercise. All hormones talk to one another. So you can't take estradiol and progesterone and expect to find balance if your insulin and adrenaline levels are going crazy from poor nutrition and lifestyle habits. Every hormone has to be in balance with the other hormones.

SS: That makes a lot of sense. A woman has to have better habits after menopause to keep her hormones in balance to help keep her prescribed hormones in balance, too. How do you feel about gynecologists giving antidepressants to quell menopausal symptoms?

DS: I think it's a tragedy. We are one of the first generations of women to fully experience this passage. We have much higher stress levels and more anxiety in our lives than ever before, and we are seeing menopause at earlier ages. And all this accelerated aging is due to bad lifestyle and dietary habits! Giving a woman an antidepressant to deal with the suffering of menopause does nothing to replace the hormones she has lost in the aging process. Antidepressants take away the vibration of living and create a host of other problems. Menopause is natural, but dying is natural also! Today we have ways of dealing effectively with menopause or delaying death; why wouldn't we want to take correct advantage of that? Antidepressants are not the answer.

SS: So what is the answer?

DS: Remember this concept . . . she who keeps her hormone levels highest the longest wins. That's the race, dear!

It's got to start with good nutrition. People don't realize that if they want to be busy and run around like a crazy person, and they don't eat well, then they will literally eat themselves!

If a woman of childbearing age wants to make a baby but is under any type of stress, she can end up dealing with infertility. Eggs are dispensable. This is not the time to make a baby, because she needs to use whatever she would use to make an egg for energy instead to fight off the stress.

We have advanced medically so that women no longer need to die prematurely from childbirth or from infectious diseases as they did before we had antibiotics. Women also used to die in perimenopause from infections before proper medicine was available, because we are more susceptible to infections during this phase. Women are their healthiest and strongest during their childbearing years, when they are making a full complement of hormones. The loss of hormones makes you weak.

SS: So the theory is that if I keep my hormones balanced and I continue to eat right, I can expect to stay strong and most likely avoid the diseases of aging?

DS: Right, and we now know that it's not just about menopause. It's about nutrition and stress management and sleep and exercise, and hormone replacement, if needed.

SS: Are we baby boomers the guinea pigs?

DS: I think the women who have been given the chemicals are the bigger guinea pigs. Come on, giving drugs to replace a hormone? These chemicals will cause you to lose the hormones that protect you from heart disease, namely estradiol. Real hormones provide protection from heart disease if given in bioidentical form [exact replicas of the hormones we make in our own bodies]. This was confirmed by the Howard Hodis study at theUniversity of Southern California. He showed that estradiol-not Premarin, not synthetic hormones, not drugs, but the bioidentical estradiol found in human ovaries-will protect a woman against heart disease.

SS: Okay, Dr. Schwarzbein, we're sold, but where am I going to send women to find this kind of excellence and understanding relative to this passage? Women are barraged with bad medical advice and are highly influenced by the drug companies, so where do they go, and what should they ask their own doctor? For instance, the woman says, "I am in menopause, I am having hot flashes, I am irritable, and I am bloating."

DS: First thing to ask your doctor is to get baseline hormone levels through lab work. You want to have your estradiol, progesterone, and follicle-stimulating-hormone levels tested. If you are in menopause, you proceed to rule two.

Tell your doctor that you want to be prescribed bioidentical estradiol and progesterone. You can get the best form of these hormones from a good compounding pharmacy. Next, ask your doctor if he or she knows or works with a good compounding pharmacy. If not, or if you don't have one in your area, have them check the reference guide you have provided in the back of this book. However, some doctors won't know how to use the compounding pharmacy, so ask them to prescribe an estradiol preparation such as Estrace or Gynodiol found in the local pharmacies. There is also a noncompounded form of bioidentical progesterone known as Prometrium.

SS: How would someone know how much to take?

DS: You always want to take the lowest dose and taper up slowly.

SS: And see how you feel?

DS: Yes, and take the estradiol hormone twice a day. Estradiol is in and out of the body very quickly, so you really need to take smaller amounts more frequently to achieve the best balance. Take it twice a day about twelve hours apart, because you want to mimic a steady stream, as if your own body is still making it. The progesterone may be taken once a day or sometimes twice a day if needed.

SS: Okay, they have their estradiol and progesterone preparations. Now what?

DS: They will need to take them in a cycling manner. Take the estradiol every day of the month twice a day and add in one pill of progesterone for fourteen days out of each month. The easiest way to do this is on calendar days one through fourteen of every month.

SS: What dosage should they take?

DS: Start with about 0.5 mg of estradiol twice a day and with 100 mg of progesterone a day, and then track symptoms and levels to determine if a higher or lower dose is needed.

SS: What happens after the fourteenth day of progesterone? Is that when a woman should expect to have her period?

DS: Yes, they are supposed to be having a regular menstrual flow around the end of the progesterone or just after it is finished. . . . If they break through early [bleeding], then they are taking either too much progesterone or not enough estradiol.

SS: How will they know?

DS: They will need to have their blood levels checked to see which one it is.

Now, we are not taking into account that some people would like to be on progesterone 50 mg twice a day, not 100 mg once a day. Unfortunately, we don't have a 50 mg at every drugstore. We only have 100 mg. You have to try to work with it. But if you are able to work with a compounding pharmacy, they will be able to work it out to fit your needs more specifically.

SS: This will be a big help to women who are frustrated and do not live in an area that has an informed endocrinologist or gynecologist. As women, we have to be proactive about our health and our hormonal needs, because there is so much misinformation and lack of understanding about this passage. That is the point of this book, to empower women and men (and believe me, they also lose their hormones) to find quality health care and information about hormones for themselves.

DS: We are in a crisis as far as menopause is concerned. Doctors are going to have to learn something new, because we can't keep allowing women to suffer and become ill due to the lack of understanding that exists.

SS: So what is the future? I agree with you that menopause is a crisis at this time with this lack of understanding among women and doctors, but another generation is coming up right after us, and everyone is still in a state of confusion and frustration. Women my age are suffering, their marriages are falling apart, the divorce rate is going up, men are remarrying young girls to get the fun back in their lives, so what is going to happen? What are your hopes?

DS: Menopausal women have to demand answers. We also have to get them over their fear of breast cancer and of estrogen. One of my hopes is that the right information gets out. Women have to know that the risk of breast cancer is much less than the risk of dying from not taking hormones, or the risk of getting a heart attack or a debilitating stroke.

Let me state that insulin is a much bigger hormone relative to breast cancer than estrogen will ever be, because insulin is a major growth hormone. Insulin is a major growth hormone and estradiol is a minor growth hormone. Breast cancer is not caused because you took estradiol. Breast cancer comes from damage to DNA from the environment and damage caused by unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits.

SS: Like . . .

DS: Stress, smoking, too much caffeine, high daily doses of progestins, lots of artificial sugar, anything that you put in your body that shouldn't be there. If you damage an area of the DNA that promotes a tumor, then that tumor is going to start to grow. Estradiol is a growth factor for normal breast tissue. So if you have normal breast tissue, but now the DNA of that normal breast tissue gets damaged, estradiol is still going to make it grow, but it didn't cause the damage.

In fact, I am going to stick my neck out and say that when we finally get around to studying bioidentical estradiol, it is going to be shown to be protective against cancers because it is an antioxidant in the human body.

Again, though, it is not about too much or too little of a hormone. The balance has to be just right.

SS: Thank you so much.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Where Are The Goji Berries?

"Where are the Goji berries?" ... is fast becoming the most-heard phrase in many health food stores around the world.

If you have not yet heard of goji juice, you will soon. The goji berry has occupied an important place in traditional Asian medicine for countless generations, but the secrets of its nutritional benefits have remained a mystery to most of the world until recently.

Many of the world's longest living people, in parts of the world where the average life span is 100 to 120 years old, consume regular daily helpings of a tiny red fruit that may just be the world's most powerful anti-aging food—the goji berry. Many of the legendary properties of lycium barbarum (Goji's Latin name) are being confirmed in modern scientific studies, and this has led to the possibility of even more far-reaching benefits. In addition to its anti-aging qualities, this little berry is showing that it can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol and cure morning sickness.

However there are many varieties of goji – as many as 41 species in Tibet alone, and like with grapes they are not all created equal!

December 01 - In the New York Times:
Running The Sahara - Documentary - Rating: NR

Starring: Matt Damon
Directed by: James Moll


LivePlanet, Inc. founders Matt Damon and Ben Affleck team with Emmy-winning director James Moll to cover the most physically demanding marathon ever attempted as a three-man international expedition team attempts to run across the blistering-hot Sahara desert on foot with little more to drive them than a steady supply of FreeLife's Himalayan Goji Juice. With 4000 miles of treacherous terrain that stretches across Mali, Niger, Senegal, Libya, Egypt, and Mauritania, this punishing run offers the equivalent of two marathons a day for seventy-five days. No one has ever accomplished such a feat before, and if these brave adventurers reach their lofty goal they will have set the bar for human endurance to a spectacular new level. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


For anyone suffering from ulcerative colitis or for those having had a colonectomy... Smartwater is an answer to prayer!

Smartwater made by Glaceau a U.S. bottler begins as an artesian spring in Northern Connecticut. After the water is distilled, they add electrolytes; a balance of Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium. So Smartwater is a great alternative to Gatorade for athletes who don't like the sugary sweet taste, but need electrolytes, and it is a must for all those who suffer from conditions and illnesses that keep them constantly fighting dehydration.

The attractive bullet shaped plastic bottles reinforce the product's image, and make it a smart accessory for those who must constantly have a bottle in tow. Smartwater is great for those who both want and need to look and drink their best.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Top 10 Benefits of Polysaccharides

1. Inhibit tumor growth
2. Prevent cancer
3. Neutralize the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
4. Help normalize blood pressure
5. Help balance blood sugar
6. Combat autoimmune disease
7. Act as an anti-inflammatory
8. Balance Immune Function
9. Lower cholesterol and blood lipids
10. Increase calcium absorption

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oxidative Stress

Even though the average life expectancy in the United States has increased dramatically during this past century, our quality of life due to chronic degenerative disease has taken a major hit. We are essentially "living too short and dying too long". Most of us can simply look forward to suffering and dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, macular degeneration, and the list goes on and on, unless we literally attack the underlying cause of all of these diseases—oxidative stress.

How long do you expect to live? Now envision what your last twenty years will look like. I can assure you my patients today are not as concerned with the number of years in their lives as they are the quality of life in those years. Who wants to live to a ripe old age if he or she cannot even recognize close family members because of Alzheimer’s dementia? Who looks forward to a decade or two of suffering severe joint or back pain due to degenerative arthritis?

One of my close friends told me recently that he simply wants to live until he dies. Is this your desire? It certainly is mine. That is why I recommend preventative rather than post-problem medicine--empowering people to avoid getting major diseases in the first place. Over the past seven years, I have changed my approach. I now strongly encourage and support my patients in taking a three-fold approach to health: eating well, practicing a consistent exercise program, and daily consuming high-quality nutritional supplements. I now use medication as a last resort—not as my first choice.

Do you fear growing old? Have you accepted chronic disease or pain as a given in your future? Are you willing to make necessary life changes to ensure your health? I believe a full and abundant physical life does not need to start slipping away at age forty. Each year of your life can be your very best. But first you must understand the war that is waging within every one of our bodies.

Oxygen is essential for life itself. But did you know it is also inherently dangerous to our existence? I call this the "dark-side" of oxygen. And as a result, we are essentially rusting both inside and out. The same process that causes a cut apple to turn brown or iron to rust is the cause of all the chronic degenerative diseases we fear and even the aging process itself.

Consider the aging of our skin. Oxidative stress is the cause of wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. The next time you are with a large gathering of people of different ages, observe closely the change you see in people’s skin. Aging is a process we all take for granted, but when you look more closely, and compare a baby’s face, to that of a grandparent’s, the effects of our largest organ being exposed to all the pollutants in the air, sunlight, and cigarette smoke is baffling. This aging of the skin is an outward manifestation of "oxidative stress," which is occurring within every cell in your body.

Over the past 7 years, I have reviewed well over 2,000 medical and scientific studies in regards to nutritional supplements and their affect on your health. These studies appearing in medical journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Lancet, and Annuals of Internal Medicine report that beyond any doubt the "root" cause of well over 70 chronic degenerative diseases is "oxidative stress." These are the "who’s who" of diseases we all fear and want to avoid; diseases like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s dementia, macular degeneration, lupus, MS, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. "So what," you may be wondering, "is ‘oxidative stress’?"

Within every cell of the body is a furnace called the mitochondria. As oxygen is utilized within the furnace of the cell to create energy and life itself, occasionally a charged oxygen molecule is created, called a "free radical." This free radical has at least one unpaired electron in its outer orbit essentially giving it an electrical charge. If this free radical is not readily neutralized by an antioxidant it can go on to create more volatile free radicals, damage the cell wall, vessel wall, proteins, fats, and even the DNA nucleus of our cells. Chemically this reaction has been shown to be so volatile that it actually causes bursts of light within our bodies!

Imagine yourself in front of a crackling fireplace and I’ll give you the best illustration I have to explain the process of oxidation. The fire burns safely and beautifully most of the time, but on occasion out pops a hot cinder that lands on your carpet and burns a little hole in it. One cinder by itself doesn’t pose much of a threat; but if this sparking and popping continues month after month, year after year, you will have a pretty "ratty" carpet in front of your fireplace.

The fireplace represents the furnace of the cell (the mitochondria), the cinder is the charged "free radical," and the carpet is your body. Whichever part of your body receives the most free radical damage will be the first to wear out and potentially cause one of these degenerative diseases. If it’s your arteries, you could develop a heart attack or stroke. If it is your brain, you could develop Alzheimer’s dementia or Parkinson’s disease. If it’s your joints, you could develop arthritis.

Through biochemical research we’re learning that we are not defenseless against this attack on our body by free radicals. Antioxidants are like the glass doors or fine-wire mesh we place in front of our fireplace. The sparks are still going to fly but our carpet will then be protected. As you begin to imagine the war that is taking place within every cell in your body, you can envision the two opposing forces: the enemy--free radicals; and your allies--antioxidants and their supporting nutrients.

Living a healthy life becomes a matter of balance. You must have enough antioxidants available to readily neutralize the number of free radicals your body produces. If you don’t, "oxidative stress" will occur. When this oxidative stress is allowed to persist over a prolonged period of time, you will most likely develop a serious chronic degenerative disease.

Each of us must ask, "Am I getting enough antioxidants from my diet to protect myself from this onslaught of free radicals or do I need to be taking nutritional supplements?" This is the question that I’ve had to ask myself as I have spent countless hours researching medical literature. You see I was taught in medical school that you don’t need supplements—that you can get everything you need from a good, healthy diet. And this is what I told my patients for years. I was wrong.

Since balance is the key, we need to look closely at the individual players that are at war within. The number of free radicals you produce each and every day is never the same. All the pollutants in our air, food, and water dramatically increase the number of free radicals we produce. Enormous stress, excessive exercise, cigarette smoke, sunlight, radiation, and every drug prescribed greatly increases the number of free radicals produced in the body. In fact, there has never been a generation on this planet subjected to more oxidative stress than this present one. We are literally under attack from our polluted environment, stressful lifestyles, and over-medicated society.

This ongoing attack is depriving us of our most precious gift—our health. But God did not leave us defenseless against this onslaught by free radicals. In fact, we actually have our own army of antioxidants, which are able to neutralize free radicals and render them harmless. In generations past, these defense systems were sufficient. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Our bodies’ defense systems need additional allies.

Most antioxidants come from vegetables and fruit. This creates a gap in our protection, because our foods have become significantly depleted in their content of antioxidants and supporting minerals as a result of mineral depletion in our soils, green harvesting, cold storage, foods that are highly processed, our poor food choices and food preparation.

At a time when we are under the heaviest attack from the environment around us, our natural defense systems are becoming overwhelmed and depleted. We must do all we can to rebuild our antioxidant systems with a healthy diet, but too you need to learn how complete and balanced nutritional supplementation with high quality supplements (cellular nutrition) is our best hope in winning this war within and protecting our health.

Source: Dr. Ray Strand

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Super Foods vs.Ten Foods You Should Never Eat

Super Foods

Health experts agree that simple diet changes including the addition of an array of easily found SuperFoods can do wonders for our overall health, disease prevention and longevity. Although the list of SuperFoods varies somewhat from study and expert to expert, the following foods rank high and overlap.

  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chili Peppers
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms (Shitakes and other exotic mushrooms)
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Papaya, Pineapple and Kiwi
  • Pumpkin
  • Wild Salmon
  • Soybeans and Tofu
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey (skinless turkey breast is the best)
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt
Ten Foods You Should Never Eat

1. Judging by the label, Pepperidge Farm Original Flaky Crust Roasted Chicken Pot Pie has 510 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat. But look again. Those numbers are for half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as most people probably do, and you're talking more than 1,000 calories and 18 grams of sat fat. Then add the 13 grams of hidden trans fat (from the partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening) in each pie and you're up to 31 grams of artery-clogging fat – that's far more than a day's allotment.

2. McDonald's Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips sounds healthy. In fact, ounce for ounce, the Selects are no healthier than the chain's Chicken McNuggets. A standard, fivestrip order has 630 calories and 11 grams of artery-clogging fat. That's about the same as a Big Mac, except the burger has 1,010 mg of sodium, while the Selects hit 1,550 mg, even without the salty sauce.

3. Each slice of The Cheesecake Factory's 6 Carb Cheesecake has 610 calories – that's the same as you'd get from a slice of their Original Cheesecake. Think of it as an 8-ounce prime rib for dessert – with 29 grams of saturated fat, 1½ days' supply. The next time you step on the bathroom scale, you may never know that the carbs were missing.

4. Dove squeezes some 300 calories and 9 to 13 grams of saturated fat (half-a-day's worth) into a tennis-ball size serving (half a cup) of its Dove Ice Cream. That puts it in the same ballpark as Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs. With names like "Unconditional Chocolate," Dove is trying to link chocolate with romance. A scoop of its ice cream will fill your heart all right … but not with love.

5. No one expects a Mrs. Fields cookie to be good for you, but who would guess that a single Mrs. Fields Milk Chocolate & Walnuts cookie has more than 300 calories and as much saturated fat as a 12-ounce sirloin steak? It's also got six teaspoons of sugar. If you can't resist Mrs. Fields, share the smallest bag of Nibblers (six half-ounce cookies) with a friend. Or walk a few feet and look for a piece of fruit at another store instead.

6. The Starbucks Venti Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème with whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. Think of it as a milk shake. Few people have room in their diets for the 770 calories and 19 grams of fat (10 of them saturated – half-aday's quota) that this hefty beverage supplies. It's the nutritional equivalent of a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza that you sip through a straw.

7. Burger King makes some of the most harmful french fries you can buy. A King Size order packs 600 calories and three-quarters of your daily maximum for heart-unhealthy fat.

8. Campbell's red-and-white-label condensed soups are brimming with salt: Half a can averages more than half of a person's daily quota of salt. Instead, try brands like Healthy Choice and Campbell's Healthy Request, which have less than half as much sodium.

9."Swoops are the essence of your favorite chocolate candy," explains the package. "The unique shape envelops your mouth in chocolate bliss." Hershey crams almost 200 calories, seven or eight grams of saturated fat (a third-of-a-day's worth), and more than four teaspoons of sugar into each six-Swoop pack. Swoops? Oops is more like it.

10. A Mint Chip Dazzler at Häagen-Dazs stores (three scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, Oreos, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream) has 1,270 calories and 38 grams of saturated fat – that's two days' worth. Think of it as a portable T-bone steak with Caesar salad, and baked potato with sour cream. But that's dinner – yet many people have a Dazzler as a dessert after lunch and dinner!

Sources: Health Check Systems, WebMD and Center For Science In the Public Interest

Friday, November 24, 2006

Reduce The Blues - Stop Eating Sugar!!

1. While sugar will give you an energy boost, it is an artificial boost characterized by a dramatic raise in blood sugar. When this happens your balancing mechanism, insulin, is released through the pancreas to compensate for the sudden sugar rush. Your blood sugar is on a bit of a roller coaster which often leaves you feeling tired and drowsy within 30 minutes.

2. Depression and fatigue are believed to be tied to the rise and fall of blood sugar. Since sugar essentially steals from your energy reserve and gives you a quick lift, its fitting to assume that on its way down, it has the ability to alter your mood.

3. According to a study 50% of people involved reported improvements in their moods within a week of eliminating sugar from their diet. A reasonable amount of sugar in your diet is no more than 10% of your daily calories. Many people are upward of 20% with hidden sugars being the culprit in many processed foods. If you crave something sweet, grab a piece of fruit. Fruit has fructose and takes your blood sugar for less of a ride than its friend glucose.

4. The average American consumes the equivalent of 53 HEAPING teaspoons of sugar every day.

Source: Quality Health

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Storing & Reheating Thanksgiving Leftovers Safely

Storing & Reheating Thanksgiving Leftovers Safely

For storing, cut your leftover turkey into small pieces; refrigerate the stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days; gravy within 1-2 days; or freeze these foods. Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 ° F or until hot and steaming. Try to gage how much of the leftover food you will actually use and send the rest home with guests, as long as their travel time and temperatures will allow for safe transport and storage of the food.

If you’re like most Americans, eating turkey and dressing goes on long after holiday meals are over. Most don’t think twice about sticking leftovers in the microwave and reheating them. But when heating up food in plastic, you might be consuming chemicals you never knew existed. Studies have shown that in some plastics, a chemical called DEHA can seep into your food when heated up. High levels have been shown to cause cancer in some lab animals.

It might surprise you that the Food and Drug Administration has guidelines on how to reheat food safely in the microwave. Dr. Glen Aukerman at the Ohio State University Medical Center said consumers really have to look to see the precautions printed on most packages. For example, many frozen foods say -- in very small print -- “re-reheating of tray is not recommended.” Aukerman said many plastic plates are “not intended for microwave use” and foam plates actually have a warning on the package saying the plate “may melt and cause injury.” He said glass or microwave-safe plates are best for cooking or reheating food. If you buy plastic bowls or plates, look for the words “microwave safe” on the label. But what about covering your food with plastic? The FDA suggested you leave some room between the wrap and your meal. “Make sure that there’s at least 1 or 2 inches between it and the food," Aukerman said. "And if there isn’t, you’re absorbing the chemicals coming out of that when you microwave it.” It’s important to know that there is no evidence yet that those chemicals cause problems in humans, and following the precautions should keep consumers safe. What worries Aukerman is just how many people know those precautions even exist.

Also try to resist picking at leftover food, even in the refrigerator, you can still contaminate it.

Facts for this article were taken from the US Census Bureau, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Library of Congress. For the FDA guidelines, go to and type in the words “microwave safety”.

Distributed In Part by Internet Broadcasting.

Happy Thanksgiving To You And Yours!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Thanksgiving Meal: How to Eat Healthy and Well

Simmons College nutrition experts give tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving meal

BOSTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Health and nutrition specialists at Simmons College in Boston have these tips for eating well at Thanksgiving while avoiding overeating and gaining weight.

Q: On Thanksgiving, I tend to go overboard with portions. How can I eat healthfully, without feeling deprived?

Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful foods that we tend to eat once or twice a year. We recommend enjoying the flavor of the food by taking small bites, eating slowly, making the food last, and eating only until you are satisfied.

If we come to the table ravenous, we tend to eat faster, eat more, and choose higher fat foods. The best way to fend off hunger is to have a glass of water, a piece of fruit or a small snack before the meal and while you are preparing it to help you avoid eating too much too soon. Be aware that drinking alcohol can also stimulate appetite and lower inhibitions, which may make it difficult to eat healthy. And remember, you can always take some food home with you for later -- something to look forward to!

Most importantly, don't have Thanksgiving dinner be your only meal of the day.

Q: Why not? Wouldn't that be a good way to keep my calorie intake down?

It is never a healthy choice to just eat one meal throughout the day, not even on Thanksgiving. It is best to give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day. If people eat only one meal a day, they are ravenous and will tend to eat more at that meal.

Q: I've been on a diet for a few months now. How do I handle this food- laden holiday?

Work to maintain your weight, instead of to lose weight, during the holiday season. Remember to stay active, and continue to eat the healthy foods you have been eating on your diet -- particularly whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and lean meat and poultry.

Most of all, enjoy the holiday season. Take the focus off of the food and create some new social traditions with family and friends. Remember to re-affirm your choices and your motivation for why you are on a diet or have made a commitment to eat healthfully.

Q: In my family, we eat until we're so stuffed, we can't move. Are there any tips that can help me eat avoid eating "past full"?

Try to wait 20 minutes or so after your first portion before going for seconds; let the fullness set in. We tend to no longer feel hungry when we wait before going back for seconds or thirds.

Q: What are some of the best food choices during Thanksgiving? The worst?

There are no bad choices you can make for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Over the long term, however, choosing more healthful choices can make a difference in your well-being.) The general rule of thumb is to eat what you enjoy, eat small amounts, and enjoy the festivities. Load your plate up with a variety of foods: lots of colorful vegetables, fruit, salad, whole grains, and potatoes (sweet potato is a better choice than a white potato because it is more nutrient dense), and turkey/poultry or meat of choice. White meat -- which includes the breast -- is leaner than dark meat. And here's an interesting fact: a study showed that it didn't matter if the turkey was cooked with the skin, as long as the skin was removed before eating it. Also when preparing foods, use broths instead of cream, steam your vegetables, and have fresh fruit available.

Q: Other than "tofurky" (tofu shaped into a turkey), are there any food or dish substitutions you recommend for a vegetarian?

Vegetable loaves, quiche or cheese pies, pasta and rice dishes, and any soy product that you enjoy are good choices. There also are some great vegetables available this time of year, like acorn squash, parsnips, and pumpkin.

Q: Many people get tired after eating their Thanksgiving meal. What's the best way to energize ourselves after we eat?

Choose an activity that makes you move after the meal. Take a walk with your friends or family, or put on some of your favorite music and do some gentle dancing. This will help with digestion and metabolism. Then you can return to cleaning up from the meal, and get ready for the dessert course. Most importantly, enjoy the day and the people you're spending it with!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dark Days, Darker Moods: Is It Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Sometimes the winter blues indicate something more serious.
by Kathleen Donnelly for MSN Health & Fitness

As the days darken during fall and winter, many people find their moods occasionally darkening too. But for an estimated 10 to 20 percent of Americans, the lowered light and colder temperatures prompt more than a temporary bout of the blues. They bring on a depression that is as predictable as the change of seasons: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

"With the blues, you tend to have maybe one or two symptoms, and primarily they have to do with your mood," says Dr. Douglas Jacobs, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the nonprofit group Screening for Mental Health. "If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, you'll have multiple symptoms. You not only feel down, you sleep too much, or lose interest in things, or overeat."

SAD is sometimes difficult to differentiate from other forms of major depression, Jacobs says, because some of the symptoms overlap: sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and apathy, for example. But people who have SAD may also have extreme difficulty awakening in the morning and staying awake during the day. They may crave sweets and other carbohydrate-filled foods. They may overeat and gain significant amounts of weight. They may feel very tired and irritable, and find concentrating difficult.

"You may experience the blues for a couple of days, then you get some good news and you cheer up," Jacobs says. "With Seasonal Affective Disorder, you won't react so much to outside events."

And, most markedly, you may feel this way during the darkest months of the year –January and February are especially difficult for people with SAD – and not during the brighter days of spring and summer.

SAD was first identified only 20 years ago, and researchers still aren't sure what causes the problem. But from the start, scientists have suspected that the disorder is linked to light. After all, Jacobs points out, there is some evidence that the farther you live from the equator, the more likely you are to have SAD.

This may be because the low light of winter is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain. Because light suppresses the secretion of the hormone melatonin, the theory goes, people are exposed to more of the hormone during the short days of winter than they are during the long days of spring and summer. Researchers don't know exactly how increased melatonin affects people, but it may alter our cycles of sleeping and waking.

In addition, many studies have found that exposing people with SAD or more mild winter depression to bright light, both artificial and natural, can make them feel better, says Dr. David Avery, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. Avery, whose research has centered on the timing of exposure to bright light, says that for most people morning exposure is most effective, whether the light comes from a specially designed fluorescent lamp, a dawn simulator that gradually becomes brighter, or the sun itself.

In most studies of light therapy, people have bathed in the bright light for a half-hour to two hours at a time, though Avery says exactly how much exposure a person needs tends to be individual and can decrease as therapy continues. What may be just as important, he says, is consistency.

"All of these light therapy studies have been done with instructions to the subjects to use the light at the same time every day, even on weekends," he says. "Many people in our culture sleep in on the weekends. In effect, when that happens, people are experiencing a kind of jet lag."

For people with more severe symptoms of SAD, getting help from your doctor is crucial. If your symptoms significantly affect your ability to function -- and especially if you have had thoughts of suicide -- get professional help quickly. Jacobs points out that in addition to light therapy, treatment with antidepressants and talk therapy can sometimes help. And although light therapy may seem like a simple idea, it's important to get direction on how and when to use it.

That's not to say people who have more mild winter depression can't help themselves, says Avery. For example, something as simple as putting a timer on a bedside lamp so that it lights 15 minutes before your alarm sounds may be enough to help some people who have trouble getting up on dark mornings.

Making a point to go outside even during the relatively weak light of winter is also a good idea. "One fact that many people are not aware of is that light outside, even on a cloudy day, is much brighter than most indoor light," says Avery. "People make the mistake of looking out the window, seeing it's cloudy, and thinking they aren't going to get much light if they go outside." If you can't get outside, he says, sitting next to a window during the day is "the next best thing."

Exercise may also help. While researchers have not studied its effectiveness with SAD specifically, Avery says exercise has been found to help with depression in general. Jacobs suggests getting at least a half-hour of exercise on three to four days a week – and exercising outdoors if possible.

"If you have mild symptoms, you can try some things and if they work, that's fine," Jacobs adds. "But if the symptoms really affect your daily life, get some professional help."