Ben Fuchs

Ben Fuchs is a nutritional pharmacist from Colorado. He specializes in using nutritional supplements when other healthcare practitioners use toxic pharmaceutical drugs.

He is the founder and formulator of Truth Treatment Systems for skin care, host of The Bright Side syndicated radio show, a member of Youngevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, health expert and frequent guest on Coast to Coast am with George Noory.

“The human body is a healing and regenerating system, designed divinely to heal & renew itself on a moment to moment basis.” “Take charge of your biochemistry through foods and supplements, rather than allow toxic prescription drugs to take charge of you.” ~Ben Fuchs

Ben Fuchs is a nutritional pharmacist from Colorado. He specializes in using nutritional supplements when other healthcare practitioners use toxic pharmaceutical drugs. He is the founder and formulator of Truth Treatment Systems for skin care, host of The Bright Side syndicated radio show, a member of Youngevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, health expert and frequent guest on Coast to Coast am with George Noory. “The human body is a healing and regenerating system, designed divinely to heal & renew itself on a moment to moment basis.” “Take charge of your biochemistry through foods and supplements, rather than allow toxic prescription drugs to take charge of you.” ~Ben Fuchs

Is Medicalization Oppressive?

You may not have heard of it, but the term medicalization is so significant and relevant it has its own Wikipedia entry. Around since the 1970’s, the word applies to the process of regarding as much of human life as grist for the medical model mill as possible, to essentially control as much of human life as possible (using drugs, and devises, and doctors, and medical procedures) and make lots of lucre while doing it. It can be construed as a type of social manipulation that attempts to enforce and superimpose so-called standards and thereby “normalize” the wide ranging spectrum of human activities which are diverse, idiosyncratic and often based on nothing more than the unique nature of personal preference and individual biochemistry.

Is Medicalization Oppressive?

By Ddcfnc at en.wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons

One of the problems with the medicalization of everyday life (that’s the title of a book of essays by the medical writer and psychiatrist Dr. Tomas Szaz) is the tendency for it to become disease mongering. At what point does the need to control, become aspects of body and being, such as hell and the development of disease? At what point do regular mammograms and prostate exams and colonoscopies become excessive. And even worse, when does diagnosis like depression, and ADD, and Oppositional Defiance Order (which according to the psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, the DSM IV, is defined as “disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior toward authority figures”) become oppressive?

In fact, nothing exemplifies the tendency for everyday behaviors to become medicalized than the world of psychiatry, where even ordinary, non-extreme behavior can easily find itself in the medical model’s cross-hairs. According to Szaz, “…psychiatry’s first order of business was to establish insanity as a genuine disease”. In essence, psychiatry was an invented medical practice that is a textbook case of medicalization. Diagnosis often times is nothing more than labels that re-frame a dislike of authority, and a desire to shop, surf the internet or indulge in habitual behaviors as illnesses; and self-servingly assess whether said behaviors are in actuality extreme enough to require application of the tools of modern medicine. The result is, in essence, the doctor and his diagnosis as the sole determinant of whether or not a depressed, addicted or otherwise mentally/emotionally disturbed patient is actually dealing with a disease. This, as Szaz writes: “…psychiatry is medicalization through and through.”

One of most tragic and egregious examples of psychiatric medicalization involves children. Over the past 2 decades, what used to pass for rambunctiousness, insatiable curiosity, and excitement is regarded more and more as an opportunity to medicate. They call it ADHD and according to the US Center for Disease diagnosis have been increasing 3 percent a year since 1970. Currently more than 6 million children, more than one out of ten (!) between the ages of 4 and 17 have been labeled attention deficit, although according to the Hastings Center, a organization that bills itself as a “bioethics research think-tank”, many of the “…manifestations of the behaviors that today we call symptoms of ADHD (inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity) have been recognized as problematic for the last 100 years – and arguably for much longer.” In any case, whether or not a child has attention or concentration issues, in the opinion if this pharmacist anyway, should not be an excuse to medicalized him with physician approved poison (drug) or any other doctor intervention.

In addition to psychiatry, medicalization has affected some of the most intimate areas of human activity. In the 1990’s even the bedroom became a viable target for medical model sharpshooters. That’s when the little blue pill forever changed the way we think about and have sex, and Viagra, Pfizer’s azure entry into the erectile dysfunction market, made male virility and sexual vigor yet another reason to go to the doctor. These days many millions of men can enjoy regular long-term erections thanks to the support of at least three different pharmaceuticals that generate drug companies more 5 billion dollar a year in sales. Men who are losing their masculine mojo sexually can now enjoy a jolt of manliness via prescription testosterone creams and gels. You’ve probably seen the ads, which seem like they air during every commercial break and feature middle age studs telling us how they used to be fat, fatigued and sexless until they started applying their Androgel or Axiron on their arms or abdomens. What they don’t tell you however is the fact that using prescription testosterone may not be risk-free. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, men on testosterone therapy were shown to have four times as many cardiovascular problems as non-medicated men. The number of events was so significant that the study had to be stropped. And whether “Low-T”, as testosterone deficiency is referred by drug company marketers, is actually a disease and whether drug company motives are really health-based is not clear, but some observers of the medicalization phenomenon think not. According to Barbara Mintzes of the University of British Columbia School of Public Health, by marketing testosterone therapy, and “…expanding the boundaries of the disease to common symptoms in aging males, such as fatigue and reduced libido, drug companies seek to increase their markets and boost their sales”.

And, if you’re losing your locks, no worries. Healthy, disease-free men (and women) have been going bald for centuries without any other associated health challenges, but these days you can chose from a number of drug and doctor options that will grow hair. Whether it’s Propecia, or Rogaine, or even topical steroid creams if your lettuce is thinning, the pharmaco-medical model is ready and willing to assist (for a price). Never mind the fact that all drugs have the potential to cause adverse reactions and can negatively affect health as well as longevity, if you’re going bald, at least according to pharmaceutical manufacturers, you can always get a prescription, and as the marketing copy on the website for Rogaine Hair Growth Treatment claims: “’take control’ (??) of your baldness and ‘help regrow’ your hair”.

Whether the purported health issues are psychiatric, or sexual or anything else, the bottom line is there’s lots of money in convincing people that they’re suffering needlessly. Drug companies, no friends of mankind and with money and marketing in mind, actively define disease states and promote them to the medical community and to their patients. To be fair, some researcher’s still believe that the curative power of prescription medication outweigh the social implications of the pharmaceutical industry’s tendency to push their wares on consumers, and what might be called manipulative marketing is nothing more than intelligent business practice. But, whether it’s drug-pushing and disease mongering or simply smart sales techniques the fact remains that, in many cases, the businesses selling us cures are the same people telling us we’re sick.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Fibromyalgia Latin for “Muscle Fiber Pain”

Fibromyalgia Latin for “Muscle Fiber Pain”

The location of the nine paired tender points that comprise the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia.

The first thing I think about when I hear the dreaded diagnosis is something one of my professors in pharmacy school used to talk about at least once a semester. A diagnosis is a definition and not disease. What he meant was the nomenclature associated with some type of bodily dysfunction is nothing more than a moniker and designation. It tells nothing about what is occurring in the body or how to address it; it simply names it.
Fibromyalgia is the Latin term for “muscle fiber pain”. That means when you go to your doctor complaining of muscle pain and you leave with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, what your medical guru is basically doing is taking your complaint, translating it to a medieval dialect, giving you a pain medication or maybe an anti-depressant (!) and then billing you. This is a textbook example of how the medical model works. It can’t do anything real, but it can officiate your symptomology by sanctifying it with a Latin moniker.

It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. As you’ll recall at the end of the flick, the scarecrow, with a head filled with nothing but straw, travels far and wide to find the magical wizard (doctor) who, it was said, could miraculously create for him a brain. As it turns out however, the wizard (doctor) is nothing but a fraud, and while he can’t deliver him any gray matter, he can give him something that, where he comes from, re-presents a brain. A diploma! In other words instead of giving his patient anything real, he gives him a piece of paper that supposedly symbolizes something real. Sounds a lot like the medical model to me!
So what to do if you are dealing with muscle fiber pain i.e. fibromyalgia? Well, as turns out you can actually do a lot. That’s because fibromyalgia represents toxicity, specifically blood toxicity. In 1990, Dr. John Couvaras, a fertility physician from Phoenix, discovered that women given an injection of the blood thinner heparin to improve circulatory problems associated with infertility reported that their fibromyalgia symptoms were dramatically reduced. He subsequently developed the “Hypercoagulation Theory of Fibromyalgia” that postulated that sticky, coagulated blood, following toxicity, results in the deposition of clotting proteins and other poisons in the muscle that eventually results in the classic pain syndrome associated with fibromyalgia. And where does that toxicity come from in the first place? Typically, the liver and the ultimately the small intestine. Here’s what happens:

The small intestine is the home of the “microbiome”, trillions of bacterial cells made up of many hundreds of strains. The numbers and types and exact proportions of these bacterial strains are tightly regulated. If there are long standing digestive health issues, especially in the processing of fats, over time these proportions get thrown off and the wrong types of bacterial strains can proliferate. Medical folks call this “dysbiosis” or “SIBO” (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). Because these bacteria are constantly secreting waste material, eventually the body will mount an immune (defensive) response and an inflammatory reaction will ensue. As this progresses eventually the blood can become contaminated. And the major blood response to this kind of contamination is clotting.
To compound the problem the healthy microbiome is involved in estrogen metabolism. When dysbiosis occurs, estrogen is not broken down correctly and toxic byproducts can build up. Usually the liver can handle these byproducts, but under conditions of long term bacterial and estrogenic toxicity, this critical detox organ can become overload and even more poisons can enter into the blood. Thus fibromyalgia should be regarded as the final result of estrogenic and digestive system toxicity following long term dysbiosis.

So if you are dealing with the pain and misery of fibromyalgia here’s what you want to do: First of all correct digestive problems. Look for problem foods i.e. foods that cause any digestive distress (heartburn bloating cramps, loose stools, constipation etc.) and eliminate them. Get on a good probiotic supplement (I like Youngevity’s BioLumin Nightly Essence) and eat lots of fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kim chee and fermented beets. You can make your own fermented veggies pretty easily, basically by mashing or cutting up veggies and adding some bacterial starter and salt. And use a good probiotic supplement on a regular basis and make sure you use a product that has multiple bacterial strains. Use digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar after all meals, especially ones that contain lots of fat. And, taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach can have blood thinning effects that can improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Practice calorie restriction (eating less) and take a food holiday (fast) once a week or so. Use essential fatty acid supplements which can support estrogen metabolism. Consider estrogen balancing supplements like Vitamin A (20,000 iu a day), Vitamin E (400 iu a day) and pregnenolone (100mg a day). And applying a progesterone cream 5-7 days a week cream can be helpful too.
10 other interesting supplements that may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms:

Melatonin-4-6 mg at bedtime
Theanine-100-500mg daily
Magnesium Glycinate-2000mg daily
Vitamin C -1000-5000mg daily
N-Acetyl Cysteine- 500mg daily
Vitamin E-(mixed tocopherols) – 400 iu daily
Selenium-200-400mcgdaily
Cetyl Myristoleate -100-500mg daily
Malic Acid – 1000mg a day
Sam-E – 100-200mg daily

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Anti-oxidants

I get lots of letters. Mostly they’re honest questions from folks trying to resolve health issues and get back on track with taking care of their bodies, getting off prescription drugs, and getting on a good nutritional supplement program. Sometimes I get positive feedback or kudos encouraging me to carry on with my efforts to wake people up to the power of nutrition. And sometimes (not too often fortunately) I get letters criticizing my work or the positions I take on health care, prescription drugs, or vitamin and mineral supplementation. Yesterday, I received a note that falls into that last category from a gentleman in Texas that referenced a story that appeared in the mainstream media questioning the health benefits of anti-oxidant type supplements.

Anti-oxidantsThe article threw cold water on the importance of these highly regarded nutritional substances and attempted to debunk the idea that they could have beneficial effects on health on longevity. Even worse, it was headlined “We Spend Millions on Anti-oxidants, But Now Researchers Say They Make Our Bodies Age Faster” and implied that anti-oxidants may even have a harmful pro-aging effects.

Needless to say, as a longtime advocate for the use of these types of supplements, the letter and the title both grabbed my attention. However, after reading the study itself which was published online in the May 8, 2014 edition of the prestigious journal ”Cell”, I discovered that despite the compelling and somewhat incendiary newspaper headline, that’s not what the researchers from McGill University in Canada actually concluded. Rather than stating that anti-oxidant nutrients were harmful (the study actually never even mentioned the word “anti-oxidant”), the researchers were simply making the point that some toxic free radical effects, that would ordinarily be neutralized by protective nutrients, can potentially have longevity inducing effects.

This idea that substances that are toxic or poisonous may actually provide health benefits is based on the science of “hormesis”, a tried and true theory that says that small amounts of ordinarily harmful material may actually promote health. In other words, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Clearly there’s lots of evidence to support this theory which, for example, explains the body building benefits associated with the stresses of exercise-induced muscle trauma, as well as homeopathic practices which involve giving infinitesimally small doses of poisons to activate healing mechanisms.

But this idea of stresses and toxins supporting health should not be misconstrued to mean that the use of protective nutrients like anti-oxidants are somehow hurtful and can have an anti-health and anti-longevity effects. If that were the case, then the next logical next step would be to immerse ourselves in toxicity, and keep ourselves deprived of essential and protective nutrients lest we interfere with the hormetic, health promoting effects of toxins.

Clearly that’s nonsensical. While no one disputes that some stresses (whether they’re in the form of exercise, homeopathic medicines OR free radicals) can be beneficial and can stimulate growth as well as health and longevity; to make that obvious truth mean that anti-oxidants, by virtue of their protective effects against cell damage, can somehow accelerate the aging process is an inaccurate conclusion. At best it is a stretch and at worst a misleading unwarranted conclusion that flies in the face of logic and common sense.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Stem Cells and Skin Care

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The latest skin care “must have” ingredient is plant stem cells. Now if you’re asking yourself why exactly you need, or want to be using, these substances which are technically called meristem cells on your skin, this article is written for you.

So first of all what exactly are “stem cells”? Well, the simple answer is stem cells are precursor cells. They are essentially blank cells that can be turned into any other type of cell. They stay dormant until they are triggered to become specialized. Scientists refer to them as “pluripotent”. That means they are potent in many different ways. Stem cells in other words are like magical raw material “master” cells that may be transformed into bone cells, OR skin cells, OR brain cells, OR any other of the 220 different types of biological cells. That’s pretty cool. This pluripotent property makes stem cells the ideal raw material for the body to use to repair various organs and tissues in the case of injury, damage, or simply wear and tear. And it makes them potentially very useful for medical treatments that can restore and regenerate the health of bodily systems that contain cells damaged from disease.

Plant Stem Cells

SuperManu – Own work, by Clematis 1) Meristem; 2) Columelle 3) Lateral part of the tip; 4) Dead Cells; 5) Elongation zone

The skin which is turning over and subject to more damage than most other systems in the body understandably contains large concentrations of stem cells. Thus manufacturers of skin care products have become intrigued with the use of these elements for their potential use in skin care products.

Can topically applied human stem cell-containing products really have an effect on the skin? Well, that an interesting question that is unfortunately impossible to answer. That’s because human stem cells are tightly regulated by the FDA. As of April 2014, the FDA has not approved any stem cell-based products for consumer or patient use, other than blood forming stem cells designed for the treatment of certain blood cancers and some inherited metabolic and immune system disorders. And the FDA takes the illegal marketing of these kinds of products very seriously. In December 2011, three men were arrested and charged with 15 counts of criminal activity related to manufacturing, selling and using stem cells without FDA approval.

Thus the entrance of plant stem cells (technically called “meristem” cells) onto the skincare product stage. Cosmetic companies always looking for something new to market and sell, but legally prevented for exploiting the possible benefits of human stem cells in the creams and lotions have turned to the use of plant-derived stem cells which suffer no limitation from government intervention.

Meristem cells, like their human counterparts, are unspecialized and pluripotent. Like our stem cells they are chameleon-like and can become any other cell. Except, obviously they can only become any other plant cell. They can become root cells, or leaf cells, or pistol or stamen cells. They are, after all, the precursor masters cells for PLANTS.

What’s more, it’s really not possible to include active plant stem cells in a skin care products. Plant stem cell like all cells requires a growth medium; the right kinds of chemical and pH conditions. In addition to that, the anti-microbial and anti-oxidant systems required for preservation of most cosmetic products are toxic to stem cells (and really all cells).

What most manufacturers are able to do is include extracts of plant stem cells in their wares. Plants are cut to trigger the production of chemicals that form a healing tissue called a callous which contains undifferentiated meristem cells. The cells from this callous are then fed and grown in the lab where the callouses concentration of active substances is increased by up to a thousand times. The callous is then added to a liquid, typically water, glycerin or glycol, which serves to dissolve the actives that have been nurtured in the laboratory. This active material containing liquid which is essentially a type of tea is then used as a raw material for the production of supposed stem cell containing skin care products. What is important to recognize is this extract contains no meristem cells but simply the contents of these cells which have been dissolved in the liquid medium

This is not to say however, that there isn’t any upside using these kinds of ingredients. Even though it is not possible to get any actual stem cell benefits from meristem cells, there is a lot of nutritional value. That’s because stem cells, and the liquids they are extracted into, are absolutely packed with vital growth inducing environmental protecting and anti-aging active materials that can be exploited by human skin. Amino acids, trace minerals and bioflavonoids. In addition complex sugars and growth factors can help improve cell-to-cell communication, therefore helping maintain an overall healthy skin environment.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Skin Care

Fight or Flight Stress Response

In an article that was published in October of 2010 in the journal “Psychological Science” collaborating researchers from Harvard and Columbia Universities found that humans and animals can up-regulate, (i.e. stimulate) the production of healing chemicals by intentionally assuming open, wide, spread out expansive positions and postures; holding the shoulder up and widening the chest muscles for as little as two minutes. In that short period of time, according to the researchers, you can drop your stress hormone levels, and increase testosterone and other anabolic building hormones, just by holding the body in certain positions.

Fight or Flight Stress Response

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. Harvard Health

When was the last time you went to as doctor’s office for your arthritis or osteoporosis, autoimmune or degenerative disease and had him tell you to keep your shoulder wide and open up your chest? Probably never, but strategies like these that can not only improve our ability to heal in a completely non-toxic fashion, but even more importantly they can keep us from having to interact with an intrusive and ineffective medical model that has presided over the most dramatic increase in degenerative disease in the history of man.

The stress response that manifests as elevations in blood pressure, clotting of the blood, suppression of the immune system, and a laxity of the digestive musculature is the unifying component in the devolvement of all degenerative diseases. It’s the one thing they all have in common. Whether you’re dealing with arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular health issues, digestive distress, autoimmune issues, or any of the 12,800 various diagnosis that you can get from your MD, the one thing all of these various pathologies have in common is an underlying activation of stress response chemistry.

The stress response is a survival response; it’s the way the body handles a threat to its existence, whether perceived or real. The body communicates to the brain via chemicals that are secreted into the blood. When a threat is sensed stress chemicals will enter into the blood, which will travel to the brain, which will in turn initiate various biochemical activities to dispatch the threat.

One of the first things that the brain will do is signal the liver to release sugar, which is required for quick bursts of energy in anticipation of handling survival needs via “fight or flight”. Of course, if the stress is only perceived and doesn’t require actual fighting or fleeing, the sugar released from the liver won’t get used but will likely make its way into a fat cell. In this way excessive stimulation of fight or flight biochemistry, without the actual fight or flight occurring, can result in an increase in the size of fat cells. To make matters worse, fat storage itself is a survival mechanism. In other words, if the body thinks it’s survival is being threatened all sugar will be readily converted into fat. That means that in addition to all that excess stress induced sugar released from the liver that is going to get converted to fat, under conditions of repeated and chronic fight or flight stimulation, any sugars and carbohydrate that we’re eating will get stored as fat pretty efficiently as well. This is the brain’s way of protecting us from what it thinks is the main survival threat, which is starvation. Repeated activation of survival biochemistry is one if the main reasons for our obesity epidemic, and until we figure out how to deal with the stress response it isn’t going to be going away. If you’re one of the many folks who is trying to lose weight, but you can’t seem to do it, this might be why. Weight gain is, often times, the manifestation of a stress response; and as long as the brain thinks survival is being threatened it can be very difficult to drop the pounds.

If you just can’t seem to drop the pounds regardless of aerobic exercise and counting calories, consider techniques to reduce the stress response. Slow, deep breathing works. So do hot tubs and massage. Taking regular naps can help. Reducing the intake of sugars and processed foods, which can represent a major stress burden, is important. And because nutritional deficiencies are a major survival threat, making sure you’re using the “Mighty 90” essential nutrients throughout the day should be a pillar of any anti stress, weight loss program.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Oxygen Deficiency or Hypoxia

Miki Ryosuke says that breathing can keep you skinny. In an article published in the Daily Mail, The former Japanese actor claims to have lost nearly thirty pounds in 7 weeks by practicing what he calls the “Long Breath Diet” a system whereby practioners inhale slowly for three seconds and exhale vigorously for seven seconds. Mr. Ryosuke claims that by practicing his Long Breath technique for two to five minutes a day, overweight and obese patients will notice rapid weight loss benefits. Even if Ryosuke claims are exaggerated, what is not exaggerated is the fact that there is an important relationship between fat cells and oxygen that may play a role in the development of obesity, and the difficulty of weight loss.

Oxygen Deficiency or Hypoxia

By LadyofHats, via Wikimedia Commons

Of all the substances that are required for the functioning of the human body, none is more critical than oxygen. While not typically regarded as one of the “Mighty 90” nutrients, no vitamin, mineral, fatty or amino acid can come close to the importance of the 8th element, a simple little atom that comprises about one-fifth of the air we breathe. Without essential nutrition we can live for months, without water can probably survive for 3 or 4 days, but without oxygen inspiration our expiration is inevitable within mere minutes.

The condition called hypoxia, tech-talk for oxygen-deprived blood is the single most important cause of disease in the body. Under hypoxic conditions, blood pressure will rise as the body attempts to deliver more oxygen to the tissues and breathing rates will increase as the lungs reach out, grasping for more air from which to extract the essential element. The brain, which utilizes 20 to 25 percent of the body’s oxygen, is likely to begin to operate sluggishly. Stress hormone (cortisol) secretion will increase as the body attempts to cope with oxygen depletion. This can ultimately result in immune system suppression and an increase in the formation of tumors and cancers. And, over time, genetic changes will take place that will inhibit protein synthesis and slow down key process like detoxification and repair.

One of the most interesting responses to oxygen deprivation involves fat cells. Known as adipocytes, these cells initiate various coping strategies to deal with an inability to obtain oxygen. One of these strategies involves fat cells becoming impervious to the signals of insulin. This phenomenon known as insulin resistance, can in turn lead to an increase in the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, ultimately increasing fat storage, manifesting as weight gain. In other words, less oxygen means more fat. Additionally, increases in insulin secretion following insulin resistance can lead to fatty tissue fibroids and fatty tumors called lipomas

If you just can’t seem to lose weight no matter how many calories you’ve cut, supplements you’ve swallowed, miles or time you’ve spent on the treadmill, it’s possible that you’re dealing with oxygen deficiency. Try practicing slow deep breathing on a regular basis. Always breathe through the nose and make sure that the breath gets down into the lower part of your belly. You can get apps for your smartphone that can help you learn to deep breathe. I like one called “My Calm Beat”. Buy a bag of balloons and practice blowing them up with as few long, strong breaths as possible. If possible, working out at high elevation can be a great way to increase lung capacity and improve oxygenation. And, because plants produce oxygen as a byproduct of their natural chemistry, making sure you’ve got lots of greenery in the house can be helpful.

Paying attention to your breathing may give you some significant weight loss benefits,but even if you don’t lose weight immediately you’re gonna have more energy, think more clearly, improve heart health, and reduce stress hormone levels. Breathing may not make you skinny right away, but it will definitely help you feel better, and in the long term you’re probably going to lose some pounds too.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Mighty 90 Essential Nutrients Detox

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Mrs. Adams looked grumpy,but who could blame her. She had just gotten out of the hospital and her first stop after being discharged was my pharmacy and her first order of business was having a stack of prescriptions filled. And, aside from the fact that Mrs. Adams was going to be parting with a significant chunk of change (she had a twenty dollar co-pay which meant her 12 prescriptions were going to costing her 240 bucks), she was about to bombard her biology with enough chemical poisons to make her body eligible as a toxic waste dump. To compound her problems, unbeknownst to Mrs. Adams and probably her doctor too, not only were her pharmacological protocols going to be poisoning her body, but even worse, unless she was savvy enough to get on a supplement program, she was inevitably going to be dealing with the consequences of nutrient deficiency that could conceivably lead to a whole host of pathological symptomology, and might even shorten her life.

Mighty 90 Healthy Start PackOne of the more significant, if underappreciated, aspects of prescription drug toxicity, involves the depletion of nutritional raw materials that fuel the detoxification system, the collective term for the ordinarily extremely effective purifying processes that are, for the most part, housed in the liver. That’s because these detoxifying biochemical reactions all depend on the must-have “essential” nutrients known as the “Mighty 90” to do their work. In fact, every chemical reaction in the body depends on these essential substances and in the presence of excessive poisons (drugs), detox “machinery” can become like a metaphorical sinkhole, diverting and draining nutritional elements, keeping them from participating in the many other biochemical reactions that are responsible for maintaining the health and integrity of the human body.

Vital vitamins, mandatory minerals, and important amino acids and fatty acids are not only key detox players, but are also important molecules involved in providing cells with energy, and protection; and also as mechanical raw materials for building structural components of cells and tissues. The more drugs we take and the more they accumulate in the body, the more nutrients will be diverted from the heart, brain, skin, and various glands and organs and into the liver for detoxification. If they are not replaced via food and supplements, over time they can become depleted and not only will purification and elimination of poisons become compromised but so will also thousands of other biochemical reactions that likewise are dependent on the presence of these critically important biochemicals.

The key point is that the depletion of the “Mighty 90” that follows the entrance of drugs/toxins into the body, and the subsequent increases in detoxification activity may show up as a breakdown in any of the countless biochemical processes that occur in the body. Respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system dysfunctions are especially likely. as these systems require large amounts of nutrition. The same is true of the digestive system and the skin. In fact any pathology is possible under conditions of nutrient deficiency, BUT because these disease symptoms may not be directly linked to specific pharmacological toxins they won’t be considered a side effect. These symptoms may not even show up on the package insert that by law must list all possible adverse reactions, but nonetheless, even if merely indirectly, they can be considered to be manifestations of the toxicity prescription drugs.

Thus the introduction of any poisons into the body, while obviously not in an organism’s interest, and which by definition can directly initiate toxicity, may also result in indirect negative effects simply by costing the body precious nutritional materials. Sure, the detox system is great and wonderfully efficient, but it needs raw materials to do its work. These raw materials are the essential vitamins, minerals and fatty and amino acids, and the more detoxification work that occurs, the greater the cost in these nutrients, and the more likely the appearance of side effects related to deficiency. All of us need the “Mighty 90” or “90 for Life”. The countless chemical reactions in the body depend on their presence, and because they can’t be made, they must be obtained and ingested. But if you’re on prescription drugs, which suck up nutrition like a dry sponge sucks up water, its extra important that you to be replacing them via diet and especially via supplementation. Focus especially on detox vitamin Like Vitamin C (500mg a day), Vitamin E (400 iu a day), and the B-complex (use a B-100 capsule several times a day), and sip on Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine which is packed with all the B vitamins). Minerals like magnesium (1500mg a day), zinc (50mg a day) and copper (2-4 mg) a day can also be helpful. Hyaluronic acid (200mg a day) and glutamine (1-5 grams a day), while not strictly must-have biomolecules, can provide additional support for detoxification system.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Acupuncture Treatments

Pictures this: a Chinese peasant is having a baby. She’s screaming and writhing with the pain all mothers have known since the beginning of time. A medical man comes into her room, sticks a couple of needles in a few strategic spots in her body and just like that her previously unbearable agony begins to lighten up. Within a few minutes her misery is but a memory.

Acupuncture TreatmentsOr how about this: my brother, addicted to his Camel Lights, tries without success, to quit smoking. Over the course of 15 years and countless attempts to kick the habit, he’s still hooked. Yet an alternative health care professional sticks a few needles in his ear, and just like that, the addiction monkey is off his back. He hasn’t touched a cigarette in over two decades.

Another woman with chronic excruciating pain following a car accident can’t recall the last time she’s had a full night’s sleep. To make matters worse the pain and sleeplessness have caused a generalized sense of anxiety and depression. Within several months of weekly acupuncture treatments, she feels less discomfort in her extremities. Her right side becomes much more flexible and her range of motion is dramatically improved. And, on top of that her anxiety lessens and her depression is gone. Her friends say she looks healthier, and she seems like an all-around less nervous person.

Even your dog or cat can enjoy the benefits of acupuncture. Chinese nobility have been indulging their pets in the pin pricking procedure since the Jin Dynasty which began in the first century AD. More modern medicine men in the United States began needling various domesticated animals in the 1970’s and these days the American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes the legitimacy of acupuncture and if you’re fortunate you can even get your pet insurance to pick up the tab.

So, what is it about sticking metal pins in various places in the body in to the body that can create such dramatic biochemical changes and provide so many important health benefits?

To understand the functionality of the ancient eastern art of acupuncture, the electrical energetics of biological systems must be recognized. Bodies are highly electrical. The heart, brain, skin, muscle, bones, the various organs and glands are high-energy electrical systems. Their electrical energy is channeled through various transmission pathways called “meridians” and concentrated in nodes called “points”. These meridians and points are the targets for the needles that are inserted into the body.

The electrical system that is manifested in the points and meridians is linked to major mediating molecules of the body, the hormones and neurotransmitters (nerve hormones), which are directly responsible for everything that occurs in the body. By changing or disrupting the flow of electrical energy through the points and meridians, various hormonal effects can be modulated and manipulated. Pain and anxiety hormones can be diminished. The biochemicals that are associated with cravings and addiction can be reduced as well. Even more significantly, levels of neurotransmitters associated with calmness and happiness can be stimulated.

If you’re interested in getting acupuncture treatments you should be aware of the differences between acupuncturist licensing, and certification. Licensed acupuncturists have to complete over 2700 hours of training at a nationally recognized college of acupuncture. On the other hand, certified acupuncturists are required to have only 300 hours of training and education, much of which can be completed via home study. Licensed acupuncturists must have treatment experience with over 250 patients prior to licensing, while certified acupuncturists have no patient experience requirements. Finally, licensed acupuncturist must pass a national examination and complete continuing education courses to maintain their license. Neither of these stipulations applies to certified acupuncturists.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Choline is a Stabilizing Force

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

On the TV show Star Trek, when the starship Enterprise makes the jump from regular cruising to warp speed there’s a momentary jolt as the spaceship leaps to the higher, faster-than-light velocity. This type of bumpy ride is a boundary phenomenon and is always experienced as changes occur from one condition to another. Changes, after all, are never easy! This bumpy boundary “change” that occurs as one speed is changing to the next can be thought of as a type of membrane which is in essence an adjustment from one type of substance to another. Scientists call these substances “phases” and they refer to the change that occurs from one phase to another as a “phase shift”. Phase shifts can be thought of as transformations and anytime there is a transformation there is going to be a period of adjustment, hence the bump. And, that phase shift/ period of adjustment is chemically represented by what is referred to as the membrane.

Choline is a stabilizing forceThis transition from the watery milieu inside a cell through the oily cell covering and into the outer cellular environment is regulated and facilitated by the chemical components of the membrane. And, of these chemical components, which include fats and proteins, none is more important than choline, a molecule that can have BOTH watery and fatty properties. This ambidextrous nature makes choline an ideal molecule for the membrane transition area.

Choline thus acts like a stabilizing force that allows the membrane to segregate the inside world of a cell from the outside environment it’s sitting in. In this way choline can be considered to be a converting chemical that can connect and transform the energetics, the energy activity of water molecules which have has a particular type of structural pattern (scientists call it polar) to the energy activity of oil which from a molecular standpoint is more like an unstructured straight line (scientists call it non-polar).

Although choline intake is considered to be far below the adequate levels established by the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit health and nutrition think tank, choline is available in lots of foods. Fatty fish, beans, peanuts and organ meats especially liver (always a great source of nutrients) are good sources. Collard greens, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are also rich in choline. Lecithin is one of the best sources; it’s largely composed of choline and choline derivatives. And of course choline is available as a nutritional supplement. There’s no RDA dose for choline, it wasn’t even recognized as an essential must-have nutrient until 1998, but 200 to 500mg is probably a good minimum daily dose.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Melatonin is More than a Sleep Aid

Everyone knows that melatonin is a great sleeping aid. If you have insomnia or if you just want a good night’s sleep using this natural and non-toxic, uber-gentle supplement at bedtime can help you fall asleep fast and get you some pretty cool dreams too. But melatonin is way more than a sleeping aid. It’s one of the most powerful antioxidants made by the human body. It’s strengthens the immune system and has anti-aging properties too. And it’s even been shown to help improve some of the systems of autism.

GERD X-ray - Melatonin

X-ray of the abdomen and chest in a patient with a gastrostomy. By Steven Fruitsmaak, via Wikimedia Commons

Melatonin, which is largely manufactured in the pineal gland, is released into the blood in a daily, rhythmic “circadian” fashion. This accounts for its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Upon its secretion into the blood stream in response to evening reduction of sunlight, body temperature drops, drowsiness ensues and the body prepares for sleep. Conversely as the light of day reaches the pineal gland which is centrally located in the brain, melatonin manufacture and release slows down signaling and initiating wakefulness.

According to a January 2010 article in the Journal of Pineal Research, studies have suggested that circadian disruptions caused by exposure to nighttime light may be associated with higher risks of cancer. In essence, 21st century, 24-hour lighting can disrupt rhythmic secretion of melatonin resulting in lower blood levels. Because it has significant anti-tumor properties, it’s thought that these lower levels may result in an increase the incidence of carcinogenesis. Interestingly this circadian cycle of secretion and cessation has been exploited by oncologists who use it to dose anti-cancer medication in a process called “chronotherapy” which can be defined as a “the timely administration of chemotherapy agents to optimize trends in biological cycles”. By dosing chemotherapeutic agents in association with nighttime surges of melatonin release, medication potency and effects can be maximized.

One of the most functional benefits for melatonin involves improving the symptoms of gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease (GERD) which show up as an inflamed esophagus following backing up of acids and digestive juices from the stomach. Not surprisingly melatonin, which inhibits the secretion of stomach acid, and has significant protective effects on the stomach lining is not especially effective for nighttime acid reflux.
In one study, published in 2007 in the Journal of Gastroenterology, this one done on chronic indigestion and heartburn, nearly 60 percent of patients who took a daily 5mg dose of melatonin for 12 weeks, were completely symptom free and required no further treatment while another 30 percent of patients reported a partial response

Melatonin plays a very important role in the functioning of the esophagus. And because heartburn can be cause by activation of the stress nervous system, the so-called sympathetic nervous system, melatonin’s relaxing effect may also play a part in improving the symptoms of acid reflux. Melatonin also reduces the production of gasses that relax the esophageal sphincter specifically something called nitric oxide. Other researchers attribute melatonin’s protection from GERD symptoms to its anti-oxidant properties, but whatever the reason if you’re dealing with chronic heartburn, using melatonin is at least worth a shot. Try taking 6 to 9 mg at night and giving it about 4-6 weeks to see if it helps.

Melatonin is cheap and readily available. The sublingual form which is dissolved under the tongue can be particularly effective. Recently melatonin containing creams have become available. Although these may not increase melatonin levels or help you fall asleep, according to dermatologists they may allow consumers to take advantage of melatonin’s anti-oxidant properties for protecting and improving the health of the skin.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the most distressing health challenges a woman can face. Not because it’ll kill her, but from a superficial and cosmetic standpoint it’s can make her not want to leave the house! In fact, the set of symptoms associated with PCOS can be among the most uncomfortable and distressing, non-life threatening, health issues a woman will ever have to confront. Some of the unpleasantries a PCOS sufferer may have to address include heavy and crampy periods, anxiety, insomnia and weight gain. What’s worse, it’s not unusual for victims of PCOS to have to deal with fast growing facial or body hair.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary as seen on Sonography – By Je Hyuk Lee, via Wikimedia Commons

The polycystic part of the term PCOS refers to the fact that patients will be producing excessive growths (known as “cysts”) in their ovaries. These are said to be “polycystic” ovaries. Usually this is a result of blood sugar problems and most PCOS patients have an underlying pre-diabetic condition that they need to work on. Pre-diabetes is associated with excessive secretion of insulin which initiates changes in cell growth and division that can ultimately show up as lots of (“poly-”) cysts. Because ovarian tissue/cysts produce male and female hormones, poly cysts means lots of both gender’s hormones.

So, with an ovary that is “cystic”, you’ll have lots of female hormones being made and lots of male hormones being made, and that’s where the idea of syndrome (multiple symptoms) kicks in. Excessive production of female hormones leads to bad periods (sometimes no periods), bloating, weight gain, obesity, moodiness, lethargy and sluggishness. The excessive production of male hormones can result in oily skin, acne sometimes on the chest and back, and perhaps thinning head hair and excessive hair growth on the body and face; not a pleasant set of symptoms.
One of the hidden connections to polycystic ovaries involves the thyroid, which regulates all bodily processes including those of the reproductive system. Hypothyroidism affects millions of Americans, and interestingly, most of them are women. There is a hypothyroid link to every single health issue you could name including heart disease, cancer, skin diseases, anxiety and depression, and digestive illnesses of all kind. And nothing will throw off reproductive health faster than a whacked out thyroid. Thyroid dysfunction is a well-known cause of infertility, menstrual irregularities, PMS and infertility as well as PCOS.

PCOS needs to be treated first and foremost as a diabetic problem. Stabilizing blood sugar by avoiding processed flour, refined carbohydrates, sweets and desserts, and using sugar metabolizing nutrients like the B-vitamins, chromium, vanadium and zinc can help. Also, many PCOS patients have underlying gastro-intestinal problems, so you’re going to want to look here too. PCOS patients should focus especially on fat malabsorbtion issues, gall bladder and liver health as well as the health of the intestine. They should make sure they’re getting a daily dose of fatty vitamins especially Vitamins E and A. One or two teaspoonsful of lecithin granules taken with fatty meals can support fat metabolism, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to finish off all meals with a little apple cider vinegar which can stimulate the secretion of fat digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Probiotics can helpful as can supplemental bile salts and digestive enzymes. Supplemental iodine and selenium are important for healthy thyroid functioning, which may in turn improve the symptoms of PCOS. Pregnenolone tablets can help balance excess estrogen and some woman can get relief by using a progesterone cream, which you can get over the counter (OK) or from a compounding pharmacist (better).

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Rest and Digest

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

While you probably know that you have a nervous system that controls the flow of the electrical energy in the body. As it turns out, you actually have two nervous systems!

One, which has been called the “fight or flight” system, is technically known as the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and it directs energy into the activities that keep us alive in emergency and life-threatening situations. The second, called the parasympathetic system (PNS) is involved with more long-term activities. The PNS is sometimes called the “the rest and digest” system and the more time we spend in this parasympathetic realm, the longer we will be alive and healthy. Or to put it another way, the less time we spend in fight or flight mode the longer we will be alive and healthy.

Rest and DigestMany of the signs of illness and disease reflect chronic SNS activation and overload. Heart health issues especially high blood pressure and blood clotting are classics signs of fight or flight. Same goes for immune system suppression and frequent colds and flues. Cold sores and other skin problems may indicate that the sympathetic nervous system has been kicking in. Constipation, cramping and digestive problems often mean the body is in survival mode. For women dealing with menopause, hot flashes, night sweats, jitteriness, and anxiety are also signs that the body’s SNS emergency system has been activated.

In fact, almost any degenerative disease can follow long-term activation of the sympathetic nervous system. And it should come as no surprise that most us spend a large amount of time in fight or flight mode. Anything we can do to maintain ourselves in rest and digest, relaxation mode is in our long term health interest. This is especially true if we’re dealing with a major crisis like cancer or heart disease.

For the most part activating the rest and digest nervous system is simple. Simply reading a book or watching television can initiate PNS activity. Petting a dog or cat, getting a massage, or soaking in a hot bath are wonderful ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. . In addition to mental and emotional relaxation strategies, a good nutritional supplement program is one of the best ways to reduce the body’s sympathetic stress. High calorie, processed foods are particularly burdensome, so laying off the burgers, shakes and fries is important. Committing to spending 60 seconds a day practicing deep breathing techniques can be particularly helpful in turning on the “rest and digest” nervous system.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

SAM-e

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Back in the 1990’s SAM-e was popular as an antidepressant and energizer, and although its effectiveness may have been overstated, the fact remains that SAM-e can be a very important nutritional supplement for a lot of mental health issues; anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. And SAM-e, which was first discovered in the 1950’s, is involved in the production of the stress management hormone serotonin, and the pleasure and reward brain chemical dopamine.

SAM-eSAM-e, a derivative of the amino acid methionine, is a vital bio-chemical that’s involved in the healthy functioning of the brain and the nervous system. SAM-e is also required for helping keep the insulation of nerves resilient and intact. This insulation which is called myelin is required for keeping the conduction of electrical energy flowing smoothly. Movement disorders, neuropathies, paralysis, impaired vision, numbness, muscle weakness, difficulties with speech or with hearing even incontinence and weak bladder control can all be examples of health issues that can be associated with myelin defects. SAM-e is made in the body, so it’s not really technically “essential”, but rather it is said to be “conditionally essential”. That basically means you don’t absolutely have to be ingesting it on a regular basis, but doing so might not be a bad idea!

However, just because you have been making sure you’re eating lots of methionine doesn’t mean you’ll be making enough SAM-e. SAM-e is an activated version of methionine. That means that not only is the intake of plain old methionine required, but because activation requires nutrition and cellular energy, so is adequate nourishment and a healthy biochemistry. If the biochemical milieu in the body is disturbed in any way, activation of SAM-e may not occur. That’s why the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) has called SAM-e a “supernutrient”. In other words it’s no mere nutrient, it’s an activated nutrient. And, according to a 2002 article in the AJCN, supernutrients like SAM-e, while not themselves essential (the body can make them), they… “…must be provided to meet the normal cellular requirements when its endogenous synthesis from a nutritional precursor becomes inefficient”. In other words, according to the fine scientists at the AJCN, if your body can’t make enough, you might want to consider supplementing!

SAM-e may also relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It has been shown to increase the productivity of cartilage making cells and also to upregulate the squishy, gummy protein-sugar complexes called “proteo-glycans” that have a protective and shock absorbing benefits for joints. Proteoglycans conduct electrical energy and trap water and can make cartridge more effective. Proteoglycans can also keep the skin thick and robust and stimulate the production of skin-firming collagen. That makes it helpful for keeping the visage youthful and wrinkle-free. And because SAM-e upregulates proteoglycan synthesis, in addition to helping keep skin smooth, makes it beneficial for the skeletal system and the circulatory system too; both of which depend on the gel like protein-sugars for healthy functioning.

SAM-e’s fat metabolizing functions make it a very liver-friendly supplement. The liver is the main fat processing organ in the body, and when it’s working too hard or health is compromised it tends accumulate fat. This buildup of fat in known as “Fatty Liver Disease” and it’s a serious health issue that affects one out of three Americans. Alcoholics are at even higher risk for fatty liver disease as are patients on multiple prescription drugs. And because a great deal of SAM-e production takes place in the liver, SAM-e deficiency can be both the cause and an effect of an unhealthy and/or fatty liver.

The best way to make sure you’re getting the benefits of SAM-e is to supplement. You can take 400-800mg a day. It’s a little pricy. A month supply will cost you around 40-60 dollars, depending on how much you take. But you’re not going to get SAM-e from food. So, if your health is compromised in any way you might not be making enough of it, and adding a 200mg tablet or two to a daily supplement program might not be a bad idea.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Lecithin is Protective

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Lecithin, a key component and “bio-product” made in all cells is also is an active ingredient in “bile”, the body’s soap or detergent. Bile is an under-appreciated substance that’s charged with the role of dissolving fatty substances from foods, loosening them, if you will, so that the rest of the body can have access to them. Because bile is important for mineral absorption from the intestine, lecithin plays a role in helping the body obtain valuable elements like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Conveniently, lecithin is readily available as a dietary supplement and it’s really inexpensive. An average dose (it’s organic and GMO free) will cost you less than 10 cents. So a couple of capsules or a teaspoon of the stuff taken once (or twice) a day can be a cheap way to support health and wellness.

LecithinBecause cholesterol is dissolved by bile, lecithin is protective against the formation of gall-stones which can result from poorly dissolved or crystallized cholesterol. Under ordinary and healthy circumstances, cholesterol stays dissolved in bile. However if our cells are making too much cholesterol, it can precipitate out in crystals and form little rocks or stones (gall stones) which can clog up the tiny tubes in the gall bladder. If this sounds familiar, the last thing you want to do is what half a million people do every year and that’s remove your gall bladder. You can keep stones from forming by making sure the bile detergent system is operating as it should and that may mean supporting it with supplemental and/or dietary lecithin.
Lecithin plays a special role in supporting the health of the brain and the nervous system. It’s an essential component of nerve cells and its electrical properties facilitate the movement of nerve impulses. This makes it valuable for helping prevent movement disorders and dementias. For kids, a little lecithin taken on a daily basis can improve learning and perhaps help reduce the symptoms of attention deficit disorder.

Lecithin can be a good source of essential fatty acids. A 1200 mg capsule of soy lecithin can contain over half (696mg) Omega-6s and more importantly it may contribute 82mg of ordinarily-hard-to-obtain Omega-3 fatty acids. There are other important nutrients in lecithin too. It’s a good source of phosphorus, a vital component of bones and teeth and a major chemical cog in the cellular energy production process. It has inositol which has a relaxing and calming effect on the brain and may be partially responsible for lecithin’s beneficial effects on focus and attention. Diabetics can benefit from lecithin too; it’s packed with the B-vitamin like substance choline, which is important for sugar control. That’s a lot of great stuff for one natural, non-toxic, food-based nutrient!

If you have history of gall stone formation, or if you want to improve brain health and mental functioning, or if you’re looking for a good source of essential fats and nutrients, you’d be wise to make sure you’re using lecithin, especially with fatty meals. Because lecithin is found throughout nature, there are lots of foods you can use to give yourself a lecithin bump. There’s not a lot in processed foods but you can get lecithin in organ meats, seeds and butter. Eggs are nature’s richest source and yet another reason why enjoying eggs on a daily basis can be an important and delicious health strategy. Aside from the aforementioned food sources, you can get lecithin as a liquid or in capsules. It’s also available as a powder that you can blend into a protein drink. Its tastes great and it’ll give your smoothie a nice creamy texture too.

Make your own healthy “PAM” by dissolving organic non-GMO lecithin in some macadamia nut oil. You’ll get the non-stick effects and lots of nutritional value too!

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Alpha Lipoic Acid

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

I’m not sure why, but you don’t hear a lot about alpha lipoic acid. This is kind of strange considering it may the most potent and clinically sanctioned of all non-essential nutritional supplements.

Alpha Lipoic AcidAlpha lipoic acid or ALA is an anti-oxidant, a type of cellular rust protector with an interesting twist. Most anti-oxidants are either fatty or watery, that is to say they are either water soluble or fat soluble. Some like Vitamin E and Vitamin A, which are fatty (lipids is the more technical term or lipophilic for fat loving) can protect fatty parts of the body, most especially cell membranes. Others like Vitamin C and the B-complex can protect the inside parts of a cell which is watery. But alpha lipoic acid is unique in the world of anti-oxidants in the sense that it can protect both. This makes it very valuable, in fact it is one of the most valuable of all anti-oxidants and it really should be a part of any nutritional supplement program.

In a study that was published in the journal Toxicology in 2002, it was shown that alpha lipoic acid increases the concentrations of the body’s ‘master’ detoxifier and cancer fighter, glutathione, both inside AND outside cells. ALA can help cells regenerate glutathione after it’s been used up. According to the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI), which is a great resource for all issues involving nutritional supplementation, several studies have shown that feeding rats alpha lipoic acid restored several markers of age related glutathione depletion, especially in heart cells.

And, alpha lipoic acid has its own detoxification supporting properties,and is especially important for helping to clear heavy metals, especially mercury. Dr. Sherry Rogers talks about using alpha lipoic acid with Vitamin C and glutathione as a detox cocktail in her book “Detoxify or Die”

One of the most exciting applications of alpha lipoic acid involves using it intravenously, and in her book “Honest Medicine”, Julia Shopick talks about using IV ALA for liver regeneration. Intravenous alpha lipoic acid has been used successfully to treat pancreatic cancer as well, and on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website there’s an article that discusses the use of IV alpha lipoic acid to treat peripheral neuropathy, a painful nerve condition that affects millions of Americans, most notably long-term diabetics.

Alpha Lipoic acid is readily available as 500mg capsules. Try taking one or two a day. If you’re dealing with blood sugar problems, take a third dose. If you’re looking to get ALA in foods, the best sources are going to be green leafy veggies and beef, organ meats and brewer’s yeast, but according to the LPI, consumption of alpha-lipoic acid from food does not have a significant effect on the free lipoic acid in the blood, while using free lipoic acid in supplements results in significant increases. And, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the alpha-lipoic acid in food is chemically locked up and less available to enter the blood plasma. On the other hand, the free form ALA that you obtain from supplements is not bound and easily enters the blood, from which point it is distributed throughout the body.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Keratin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Keratin, the hard protein that gives hooves and horn and feathers and scales and claws their tough, solid quality is a critical component of human skin as well. In fact, the surface of human is in effect coated with a super-thin layer of the resilient and protective substance.

KeratinThe 22 square foot organ called the skin is composed of layers and skin cells are born in the bottom layer and they gradually rise to the top. Skin cells are technically called keratin-o-cytes which is the Latin term for “cells that make keratin”.
Skin cells or keratinocytes are born in the bottom layer of the skin and they gradually rise to the top becoming more and more filled with keratin. As they’re rising to the top they’re shriveling up too. Interestingly as the keratinocyte journeys upwards it produces a complex mixture of non-keratin amino acids called the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) that act as a water attractant to help maintain skin moisture. By the time a skin cell has made it from the bottom layer to the top layer it is shrunken and filled with keratin and NMF to the point where it is not much more than a little speck of the hard protein and water trapping amino acids.

Sometimes skin cells will make way too much keratin. They’ll basically overproduce the stuff and you can little hard bumps called milea or keratosis, which is medical talk for excessive production of keratin. Excessive keratin can also clog pores and cause pimples to form.

If you have tiny little bumps on the skin, milea or keratosis, or your dealing with troublesome acne, one of the most functional ways to deal with the problem is to use topical vitamin A, especially retinoic acid (brand name Retin-A) or retinol. Even application of the mildest form of Vitamin A, retinyl palmitate can be helpful. Taking a couple 10,000 iu capsules a day is probably good idea too. You can apply apple cider vinegar or a 10 percent solution of glycolic acid directly on the skin, too. Correcting fat malabsorbtion problems with supplemental digestive enzymes, probiotics, lecithin and bile salts can help clear skin up, too.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Anti-hypertensive Drugs

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Anti- hypertensive drugs are one of craziest of all medical pharmacological health strategies. Here’s why:
If your blood pressure is high enough that you need a drug then that means either:

  1. a lot of blood-clogging, sludgy gook is impeding flow, resulting in a build-up of pressure, OR
  2. blood vessels have narrowed restricting flow and resulting in pressure elevation. The blood vessels narrow (that’s called “stenosis”) from damage or as a manifestation of the stress response; it’s the body’s way of making sure the muscles and nerves have enough oxygen and nutrients to get us out of the jam (it thinks) we’re in.

Anti-hypertensive DrugsThe body is a pressurized system. Nutriated and oxygenated blood flows through the circulatory system forcefully pushed (pressured) by the rhythmic pumping action of the heart. From the heart, it enters into the large arteries then travels into smaller and smaller vessels until it reaches the tiniest capillaries which are in close contact with cells. And this is the ultimate goal of the “Journey of the Blood”: to reach a cell with nutrients and oxygen and then as it leaves on its return trip back to the heart, to drain away it’s wastes.

Thus, each of the 100 trillion cells that compose the human body depends on the free flowing of liquids for nutrition, detoxification, and oxygenation. Essentially, it is the force of blood flow (pressure) which acts to bathe and nourish cells and rinse away the cellular waste like your garden hose waters and rinses your plants.
A diagnosis of hypertension refers to a resistance to blood flow, i.e. increased pressure in the blood vessel. In other words, it becomes harder and harder for blood to make it to its ultimate destination, the capillaries and the cells. Ironically, the result of this increase in pressure is LOW pressure on the other side of the resistance, the capillaries and cells. At the level of a cell, which is where it counts, high blood pressure is actually LOW blood pressure! If you have a circulatory pressure problem, your problem is in the vessels NOT in the cells. You may have high blood pressure as measured at the level of the blood vessels (where a blood pressure cuff works), but there’s some kind of resistance that’s actually keeping the pressure low at a cell. That’s because the cell is on the other side of the resistance.

If you take a pharmaceutical anti-hypertensive that’s only going to make matters worse. If you take a beta blocker or calcium channel blocker drug that shuts down the pump (the heart), you may lower the pressure but that means even less flow to the already deprived cell. Likewise, if your drug widens the vessels (vasodilators) or reduces the blood’s fluid content (that’s how diuretics work). Ultimately, no matter what kind of drug you use, you’re going to have even lower pressure at the level of a cell, and more cellular starvation suffocation and toxification
In fact not only are these pharmacological interventions not going to make you any healthier, in true drug therapy style, they’re likely to make you even sicker! If cells depend on pressure for their nutrients and oxygen and blood flow, what is going to be the result of further reducing the pressure? Yup, starvation, suffocation, and toxification at the cell level; AND disease and degeneration at the human being level.

So let’s see: the health of the body depends on pressure; it’s entire fluid system (and 60 percent or more of the body is fluid) moves via pressure. Cells are fed nutrients via pressure, they’re delivered oxygen via pressure, and the same pressure that feed and breathes cells is required for rinsing away cells waste and toxicity. And what happens to the pressure when we take an anti-hypertensive. It drops.

Here’s the math: (Lowering blood pressure artificially, pharmacologically, = (Less cellular nutrition, oxygen, and detoxification). Now, who thinks that’s a good idea?

Perhaps we should be thinking about and addressing the causes of pressure building stagnation and stenosis, i.e; stress and digestive system sludge. One of the most important reasons for the stagnation of circulatory fluids that cause high blood pressure in the first place involves the lymphatic vessels, the body’s waste disposal system. The lymph, while often regarded as distinct from the circulatory system, is essentially one and the same. There are just as many miles of lymphatic vessels as there are blood vessels. And they are connected. They are in essence one system. Both branch out from centralized large vessels into teeny tiny capillaries at which point nutrients are dropped into tissues and cells and then picked up again for a return trip. At this point, an uptake between systems takes place and what was in the blood becomes the lymph and what was in the lymph becomes the blood.

The implications of the merging and unification of these two systems for blood pressure health is significant. It means that blood pressure actually depends on the fluidity and movement of two systems, not just one. While both the blood and the lymph are susceptible to sludge, the lymph in particular is vulnerable. It’s the main port of egress for gross gunk that accumulates from bad living and eating.
The good news is it’s real easy to address the health of the lymphatic system. Of course the most important move is to stop putting the toxins in it the first place. The lymph is especially prone to congestion from fat malabsorbtion. In addition to being a route for the elimination of toxins, it’s also a transport system for EFAs, and fatty vitamins and other dietary fats. Eat smaller amounts of fatty foods and make sure you’re getting your fatty nutrients, too.

One of the best ways to move the lymph and improve circulation is to get a rebounder. Lymph movement depends on muscle movement. Sedentary lifestyles all but guarantee lymphatic congestion. And that means poison congestion, not good! Even a brisk walk can get muscles to put enough pressure on the lymphatic vessels to move things around, deep breathing works too. Lungs are heavily muscle-ized. There are large concentrations of lymphatic system plumbing located next to these lung muscles and as they move, so does the lymph. You’ll bump up your pleasure hormones (endorphins) and improve your mental health, all while you’re safely and gently lowering your blood pressure without doctors or drugs.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Toxic

Intermittent Fasting

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

One of the healthiest lifestyle strategies is easy and won’t cost you anything. In fact you’ll probably end up making money in the long run. I’m talking about intermittent fasting (IF), a healthy idea that has been practiced for thousands of years. Intermittent fasting turns on genes that stimulate growth, repair, and anti-aging, especially in combination with exercise. If done correctly it can help keep the body in fat burning mode. And, it’s got important effects on stimulating motivation , drive, and brain power. After all, when someone is young and ambitious we often say that they are…. ”hungry”.

Intermittent FastingIn a famous experiment in the 1940’s, scientists from the University of Chicago showed that they could increase the lifespans of animals by up to 20 percent simply by denying them food every 3rd day. And in a review by that published in 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from U C Berkeley found that alternate day fasting could save lives by decreasing risks for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, the three leading causes of death in the United States. Moreover, they found that it is important for the nervous system and the brain, improving cognitive function and providing protection from Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, too.

And there’s an important insulin connection to the benefits of fasting. Insulin is a type of “master” hormone, in the sense that it upregulates many different cell activities; and it affects every single cell. The prime stimulus for insulin secretion is food. When we eat any carbs or protein, cells get drenched in insulin. And, in addition to feeding cells, insulin tells cells to divide and grow. Insulin turns on cellular activates. Biochemists call that up-regulation. While that’s important, it’s helpful only in the right context. If we’re not lifting weights and we’re not building muscle, exercising, etc., if we live the typical American sedentary lifestyle, this up regulation is not necessarily a good thing. Elevated blood fats, hypertension, skin problems like acne, psoriasis, cysts, growths and endometriosis are all possibilities if cells are stuck in overdrive from too much exposure to insulin.

Even worse, if we’re constantly eating and insulin is constantly being secreted, eventually cells become immune to insulin’s effects on cell nourishment and feeding. Unfortunately, you’ll still have enough insulin around to stimulate cell growth and division, and upregulate activates. Except now cells will be upregulated in a state of starvation that’s VERY, VERY BAD!! This unfortunate insulin issue is behind every single chronic degenerative disease you can name. Doctors call the various breakdowns in the body that are associated with dysfunctional messed up insulin Metabolic Syndrome, which means basically everything or anything can go wrong. High blood pressure, elevated blood fats and cholesterol, heart disease, cognitive breakdown, etc., eye diseases, and osteoporosis are all examples of Metabolic Syndrome symptoms that can be traced back to elevated insulin secretion.

Of course using nutrients to potentize insulin is always a good idea. Vitamins like niacin, thiamine, Vitamin A, and minerals like chromium, vanadium, and zinc can be helpful. And, you want to make sure you’re getting some regular exercise, too. But there is no quicker way to get insulin back in line and to improve longevity, increase muscle growth and generally slow down the aging process, than to reduce caloric intake and make it habit to fast once or twice a month.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Subway to take out the Azodicarbonamide

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Last week Subway announced that they would no longer add azodicarbonamide to their dough. Apparently the multi- syllabic, difficult-to-pronounce, food conditioning chemical, (which is used in shoe leather and synthetic belts as well as fake food), while considered safe by the FDA, breaks down to form a well-known carcinogen called urethane. In addition to being found in all manner of synthetic and rubberized non-comestible products, azodicarbonamide is used as a dough softener, which means it makes bread mushy and squishy allowing to be swallowed more quickly, presumably so we’ll eat more of the stuff. Food processors know that the faster a food slides down a customer’s gullet, the more of that food said customer is likely to eat. They call it “throat slip” and it’s these kinds of taste tricks and palatability plots hatched by food scientists that make indulging in fast fare such a risky proposition.

Subway to take out the AzodicarbonamideWhile it’s really nice for the folks at Subway to take out the azodicarbonamide (whose use is completely banned in Europe and Australia), there’s a lot of other chemicals added to their processed bread that should also raise a red flag. One of the worst is bromide, which supposedly gives bread an elastic quality that makes it seem more substantive than it really is. That way even though the stuff effortless slips down your throat you still think you’re eating something substantial and real. Bromide is a hormone disrupter that can negatively affect the skin, brain and kidney and is especially problematic for the thyroid gland. And according to a June 2012 article published in the journal “Cancer Cause Control”, bromide derivatives are associated with increased risks for stomach
cancer.

Although when we think about bread most of us have a warm fuzzy feeling, (throughout history a warm loaf has come to represent home, health and happiness) between emulsifiers, softeners, conditioners, flavor enhancers, sweeteners, improvers and preservative our 21st century modern version of the stuff represents less the staff of life and more the sickle of death.

Lest anyone think “whole grain” bread is any better than the squishy, soft, white, processed, “play” dough you get at a fast food joint like Subway, you might be interested to know that in reality there’s no such thing, at least from a legal perspective. Whole grain actually isn’t really made with any whole grain. It’s a composite, a processed pastiche of various proportions of the germ, (the good stuff) highly nutritious backed with minerals and vitamins, the bran (that’s where the fiber is), and the starch (the insulin spiking, diabetes causing sugar).

According to an article published last week in the Journal Food and Nutrition Research, while the term indicates the inclusion at least some of each of the three components, there are no standards legal or otherwise, and significant variances exist in how much of the good stuff has been used in a particular loaf of bread. The authors of the article proposed what they considered to be the “most comprehensive definition of the ‘whole grain’ term to date”, which take into account various factors including grain types,
pseudo-grains (which according to the authors include quinoa and amaranth), and milling procedures; all of which impact nutritional value. Unfortunately, the proportion issue, that is how much of each particular grain component is in a given loaf of bread, is a subject that is not addressed by the proposed definition and guidelines.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Toxic

Destroying Cancer Cells

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Cancer is a sign of a body, tissues and cells that have been abused for decades. And, because cancer cells are OUR very own cells (dysfunctional, delinquent, and perverted as they may be), anything that “kills” cancer cells is in essence suicide medicine that ultimately kills the very body it is supposedly healing! That’s why chemotherapy is such a miserable experience and is rarely effective. The idea of using supplements to address what is essentially a trashed out biological system (I don’t mean to be mean or graphic, but think putrid, fetid, stinky landfill) is naive and simplistic, and like trying to eliminate the horrific smell of a sewage dump with a stick of incense. And herbal formulas like Hoxsey, Essiac and Cantron (which bills itself as an “amazing bio-electrical wellness formulation”) etc., while generally non-toxic, are not much more effective.

Destroying Cancer CellsHealthy cells become cancer cells as a survival mechanism in response to long-term deprivation of oxygen and energizing nutrients which leads to an inability to produce energy AND eliminate toxins. The net result is a starved, suffocated, and toxic cell and ultimately multiple cells, then tissues and organs. The hallmark signs of a cell gone cancerous, i.e. rapid chaotic growth/division and the greedy utilization of sugar and nutrients, represent a cell’s desperate attempt to survive under conditions of toxicity, nutrient deficiency and oxygen deprivation.

Because this process takes many years to develop, reversal while certainly possible (according to medical researcher Anthony Campbell www.acampbell.org.uk over 20 research articles on spontaneous remissions are available on Medline), for the most part effectively addressing the scourge of cancer requires converting the body’s biochemical environs to a state that is non-conducive to carcinogenesis. Thus, hawking herbs and supplements or dispensing medical poison to “cure” the condition by (supposedly) destroying cancer cells is ignorant at best and exploitative and predatory at worst. Not that there aren’t charlatans and hucksters everywhere who will be glad to exploit the sick, scared, desperate, innocent, and gullible by selling “magic” cancer-“killing” formulas. As always Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware)!

On the other hand, using supplements (especially intravenously), food/diet, oxygenation, and other health strategies are important for providing the body with what it needs to maintain its health, vigor, immunity and defense systems. This includes the use of vitamin C, glutathione-building NAC and glutamine, organic cold-processed whey protein, fermented foods, probiotics, and essential fats. Also, The Mighty 90 essential nutrients, fasting, CRON (Calorie Restriction Optimum Nutrition) Diet, laying off sugar and processed supermarket and restaurant foods are also advisable.

Bottom line: if you are dealing with cancer or any other degenerative state, rather than thinking of killing or curing, consider supplementing and making lifestyle choices (including spiritual, mental and emotional techniques) and doing what it takes to create a healthy body and biochemical environment in a manner that is no different than addressing the needs of a well body that is not confronted with a disease condition.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health