You Want To Vaccinate My Child? Just Sign This Form

You Want To Vaccinate My Child? Just Sign This Form

I have yet to meet a Physician that will sign this form now downloaded by hundreds of parents. The reason they won’t sign is two-fold: First, they do not want to place themselves in a vulnerable position of being negligent for not providing informed consent to thousands of other parents; and second, many of them realize after their own extensive research that the risks far outweigh any benefits when it comes to vaccination. It’s been over a year since hundreds of parents have downloaded this form.

Posted by postmaster in Health News

Anti-depressants: Hormone of Happy or Hormone of Horror?

So which is it, hormone of happy or hormone of horror? If serotonin is indeed the chemical of calm that you hear about on commercials and if SSRI drugs are indeed the glee-inducing, depression-fighting drugs that your doctor tells you they are, why is that Lilly and Pfizer and all the other manufacturers of these substances are warning patients about side effects like suicide and violent and aggressive behavior?

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Cholesterol and Sugar

A very strange cultural myth has somehow become health dogma (defined as an authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolute truth) despite little definitive evidence to support it. A biochemically ignorant speculation and hypothesis (experiment) that many of us have bought into is that you can poison your body and your body’s cholesterol manufacturing system with cholesterol lowering drugs, and somehow be the better for it.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Essential Oils

Essential Oil

Essential oils (EOs) are volatile chemicals that concentrate and contribute aromas and medicinal properties to plants. They’re found in all vegetation and can be extracted via distillation techniques to exploit the pharmacological and fragrance features. While EOs have many health benefits for various bodily systems, throughout history they’ve been particularly valued for their ability to treat skin health issues and to help maintain the health and beauty of the body’s largest organ.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Healthy Mushrooms

Healthy Mushrooms

Next to supplements, nothing contains more nourishment value per gram of edible material than superfoods which WebMD defines as “multitasking food substances that provide multiple disease-fighting nutrients”. Although a quick internet search will reveal dozens of various foods that claim superfood status including eggs, yogurt, algae and various fruits and vegetables none can boast more nutritional value than the humble, crepuscular and manure-munching mushroom.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Premenstrual Breakouts

As if periods weren’t bad enough with the bleeding, fatigue, and general discomfort (if you google “I hate my period” you get over 38,000,000 hits!), many women also deal with acne-like menstrual breakouts during that time of the month. If this is you, read on; you’ll find that there’s a nutrient you can use that may help eliminate and completely prevent period pimples and at the same time reduce other unpleasantries associated with your monthly cycle.

Premenstrual Breakouts

By Baker131313

From a vitamin standpoint, nothing beats the B’s for keeping skin blemish-free, especially Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Vitamin B6 is one of those vitamins that you don’t hear a lot about, which is unfortunate because it’s involved in so many different important biochemical functions. It’s especially significant for the skin; it was discovered by a Hungarian scientist in the 1930’s, who used in to treat skin lesions in rats. It’s important for the production of serotonin levels and has been shown to improve depression, mood, and even helps increase the vividness of dreams. It’s one of the most important of nutritional substances for cardiac health along with folic acid, B12, and possibly niacin; it forms an important part of the nutritional protocol for protection against heart disease and other circulatory issues. Along with magnesium, it’s been used to treat autism, and Dr. Abram Hoffer, who is considered one of the fathers of nutritional medicine, used it as part of his protocol for treating schizophrenia. Dr. Hoffer also wrote in his book Orthomolecular Nutrition, that vitamin B6 and zinc deficiencies can cause white spots in the fingernails. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and it can even help treat hangovers. It’s a critical component of the metabolism of essential fatty acids and female hormones, and this makes it an invaluable supplement for treating non-skin PMS symptoms like swelling, breast tenderness, moodiness, and depression. If you’re using it for any hormone related issues, it’s probably a good idea to take it with magnesium and zinc which work together for fat metabolism.

The B- vitamins, in general, are involved in the building of biological chemicals, and B6 seems to have a special role in the production of female hormones. For example, there is a lot of good literature to support the use of vitamin B6 for the nausea that’s associated with pregnancy, so-called morning sickness, and the part it plays in treating premenstrual breakouts (which are associated with a combination of nutritional deficiency and the drop in estrogen that occurs as a woman’s period approaches) arises from its important role in female hormone chemistry.

While estrogen is associated with a smooth, soft, blemish-free countenance, not too oily but naturally hydrated, as a woman approaches her period and the levels of this critical cutaneous hormone drop, the skin can suffer. Zits, oiliness, and a blotchy tone are just some of the ways the monthly plunge in estrogen production can show up. And that’s where vitamin B6 comes in. The water-soluble nutrient, whose levels are reduced by various factors such as antibiotics, birth control pills, and poor dietary choices, combined with lack of supplementation, plays a key role in sensitizing skin cells to estrogen. Making sure you’ve got enough of it floating in the blood can mitigate some of the effects of estrogen deficiency by making cells more responsive to the estrogen that’s there. In other words, the more B6 is around, the better your estrogen will work.

If you are breaking out when you get your period, that is NOT a normal part of the menstrual cycle. It is a sign that there are some biochemical deficiencies, and given how under-nutriated we are and the kind of foods we eat, we probably shouldn’t be surprised. If you’re one of the many women with multiple uncomfortable symptoms around your period, in addition to B6 you’d be smart to include the other B-vitamins, including niacin, biotin, and B12. Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is particularly helpful especially if the skin is oily. B5 is important for healthy fat hormone production as well as fat processing. It can even be used topically by breaking open a capsule, mixing a little pantothenic acid powder in a cream, and applying directly to blemishes. But even if you’re a woman that’s lucky or healthy enough to have relatively easy periods and you’re just breaking out a little bit, Vitamin B6 at about 100 to 200 mg a day WITH all the other B’s(!!!) can be helpful. Either way, you’ll have dramatic improvements in all of your symptoms. No woman has to suffer from premenstrual or menstrual distress symptoms, period!

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Pharmacy Rx, Pharacakeia & Horus

The Egyptians regarded Horus as the father of medicine. Horus according to Egyptian theology was the son of the two primary Egyptian deities Osiris and Isis. According to the tale he was also the avenger of his father’s death at the hands of his wicked uncle Seth (later named Satan), brother of Osiris with whom he did battle, losing his left eye in the fight.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Perspective

Avocado Soybean Unsaponafiables

Recently something called “Avocado Soybean Unsaponafiables” (ASUs) has gotten a lot of attention. Dr. (Wizard of) Oz and guests on his syndicated television show have raved about it. A European research review determined that it was beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. And, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine, ASUs can help reduce the production of inflammatory agents secreted from the body’s defense (immune) system.

Avocado UnsaponafiablesAs the name implies, ASUs are derived from avocados and soy. But what exactly are “unsaponifiables”? Well, to understand unsaponafiables, we must first understand saponafiables.

Basically, there are two important classes of active materials we can get from plants. One can be turned into soap; the other can’t. Scientists call the soapy ones “saponafiable” and the rest are said to be “un-saponafiable”. Saponafiables called glucosides are a key ingredient in many “natural” cleansing products. For example, one specific type of glucoside called “decyl glucoside” is a standard issue foaming ingredient derived from the saponafiable components of corn. Unsaponifiables, on the other hand, while valuable are the parts of plants, including avocado and soy that you can’t clean your skin with.

Unsaponifiables account for the much of the nutritional value of plants. Sterols are a particularly beneficial type
“unsap” (as herbalists refer to the more unwieldy unsaponafiable term) nutrient that can help stabilize blood fats and lower blood cholesterol. They may have anti-inflammatory benefits too. Other unsaponifiables get deposited in the skin and eyes where they help protect delicate tissues from the sun. Most eye vitamins will contain a few unsaponifiables like lutein or zeaxanthin. Beta carotene is a particularly important skin health-supporting unsaponafiable that the body can convert into Vitamin A.
Unsaponifiables called terpenes can be used in skin care products to help improve the penetration of active materials. The skin makes its own version of terpenes, and when the ones made by plants are applied to the skin, they tend to gravitate towards the biological one found in the body’s largest organ (the skin). This makes terpenes and terpenes-containing plants extracts particularly effective at penetrating the skin surface into the lower, more active cutaneous layers.

Terpenes also have sun protection benefits. One in particular, called cinnamic acid, is found in cinnamon, citrus fruits, grapes, and Shea butter (made from the African Shea nut), and can detoxify solar radiation and provide a mild sun blocking activity. You can make your own sun protecting moisturizer by mixing some cinnamon with Shea butter, and adding a lemon or orange rind and red wine. Evaporate off the alcohol and water, and what is left behind will be tithe unsaponifiables.
And speaking of Shea butter, when it comes to plant unsaponafiable content, the remarkable African nut butter pretty much tops the list. While most contain 1-2 or maybe 3 percent unsaponifiables, unrefined Shea Butter contains 7 to 19 percent, although once refined and processed, it has much less. Besides the aforementioned cinnamic acid, Shea butter also contains skin-friendly unsaponafiable carotenoids and Vitamin E, both of which are sun protective.

Another important class of unsaponifiables called catechins is found in Green Tea, a beverage enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people around the world. One in particular, best known by its acronym EGCG, is responsible for the remarkable health benefits associated with drinking what is considered to be the world’s most popular drink. EGCG (which is much easier to say and write than the tongue-contorting designation it refers to: epigallicathechin gallate!) is renowned for its health benefits for the heart and circulatory system, joints and skin. ECGC can even help fight cancer. According to the ordinarily skeptical American Cancer Society, ECGC has been shown to act against laboratory-induced cancer cells. Other studies have indicated that EGCG may suppress the spreading of cancer cells and induce their spontaneous suicidal destruction.
In addition to ASU, another unsaponafiable-rich plant has recently become popular, this time in the world of hair care. It called Argan Oil, and you can find it as an active ingredient in many premium shampoos and conditioners. Unsaps from Argan, including polyphenols and tocopherols, have been touted for their anti-hair loss benefits, for moisturizing and softening hair, and for improving split ends and frizziness. And, in an article published in the Journal of Cosmetics in September of 2013, Argan Oil unsaponifiables were shown to provide protection against hair damage associated with coloring processes and dyes.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

About Hormones and Hormone Problems

I had just finished a talk, and as usual, folks were milling around looking to get some questions answered. A woman named Nancy steps out of the crowd. She’s in her early 50’s with a whole slew of symptoms that I’ve heard many times before; Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety. Her moods are swinging like a cheap screen door in a winter storm and loss of libido may end her marriage. She’s carrying an extra 30 pounds of body weight, and no matter how she changes her diet, she can’t drop them.

Hormones and Hormone ProblemsShe, of course, knows it’s her hormones. At least that’s what she tells me. But when I ask her what exactly she means by hormones she really can’t come up with much of an answer. That’s because she has little understanding of what is meant by this catch-all term “hormones”, and Nancy isn’t alone. Women like Nancy come up to me after every presentation that I do. I receive letters, take phone calls, and answer texts and messages on this subject many times a week.

Modern scientific understanding of hormones is over a hundred years old, but do a random survey amongst your non-medical friends to see how many people could really explain what a hormone is and/or what it does. Probably not many, if any. How can we really understand how to address hormone related health issues without having a basic grasp of what these things are and how they work.

In order to understand hormones, we have to understand cells which are best thought of as little extraordinary animals. Each one of these creepy-crawly blobs of goo, so tiny it takes 1000 to make an inch, is studded with hundreds of thousands of sub-microscopic switches called receptors. When these switches are activated, stuff happens.

A hormone is nothing more than a chemical that activates those switches. It’s a bit more complicated in the sense that there are different hormones for different switches and because combinations of hormonal switches get activated simultaneously, but, in essence, it’s just a question of switches and chemicals, i.e. the hormones that activate them.

Because the body’s functions all result from the activities of cells, if it’s happening in the body, it’s happening because of hormones. Hormones can be thought of as messages; the very word “hormone” is Latin for: “I arouse to activity”. That means that we are healthy (or not) because of hormones. In fact, from a physical perspective, we are everything we are because of hormones. To say you have a hormone problem when you are sick is like saying you have a money problem when you’re broke. Or a mechanical problem if your car breaks down. Of course, it’s true, but it’s tautological (saying the same thing twice in different words) and not helpful for taking care of the problem.

We have two major types of hormones. One type is fast-acting and rapidly broken down. These are substances that activate quick biochemical functions such as nerve firings, muscle contractions, and various secretions in response to food or some kind of irritant. These quick acting hormones have names like “prostaglandins” and “leukotrienes,” and they live fast and die young. They allow cells to respond to their environment in a speedy fashion, and they’re quickly broken down. In the brain, these hormone chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and they’re associated with various moods and brain functions.
When most people talk about hormones and hormone problems, most of the time they are referring to the second type, more long acting hormone substances called steroids, typically the so-called male hormone testosterone and the so-called female hormone estrogen. I say “so-called” because it’s somewhat of a misunderstanding to refer to these hormones in this sex-specific fashion as both genders produce both substances. Nonetheless, despite the fact that there are dozens upon dozens of various hormone substances in the body, when women blame their hormones, they’re usually referring to estrogen; likewise, when males talk about theirs, they typically mean testosterone.

So, if you’re a guy or a gal and you want to work on your hormones (testosterone or estrogen), what can you do? Well, probably the most important step you can take to return these two steroid substances back to their appropriate levels and potency is pay attention to intake of fatty foods and fat absorption. Steroid hormones are all derived from cholesterol which is a major component of fat-dense foods like eggs and dairy and organ meats, so making sure you’re getting enough of these types of foods can be helpful. You, of course, want to make sure that you’re absorbing these substances in the intestine as well. That means after you eat your omelet, cheese, and liver, you use digestive enzymes, lecithin, and apple cider vinegar– all of which can improve the body’s ability to absorb and utilize their cholesterol content.

Nutrients can help too. Below are 13 nutritional supplements that can help improve steroid hormone health:

Probiotics – 10 billion units/multiple strains daily
Magnesium Chelate -1000-2000mg daily
B-100 Complex – 2-3 tablets daily
Vitamin C -1000-3000mg daily
Omega-3’s – 1-2 grams daily
Evening Primrose Oil – 1-2 teaspoonsful daily
Zinc Picolinate – 50mg daily
Selenium Chelate -400mcg daily
Vitamin A -20,000 iu daily
Vitamin E -400 iu daily
Vitamin D – Sunlight 5000 iu daily
Pregnenolone -100mg daily
Choline – 100-200mg daily

 

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Chitin’s Powerful Anti-inflammatory Properties

Shrimp and lobsters make their own anti-inflammatory molecules. That has scientists very excited. In a press release posted last week by the College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, officials announced that they had received a $380,000 National Institute of Health grant to investigate just how the marine medicine could be used to eliminate inflammatory diseases in humans.

The crabby chemical that is the center of attention is called a chitin. It’s a key constituent of the shells of various oceans animals including crayfish, shrimp, krill, and barnacles. It is one of the most abundant molecules in all of nature, second only to cellulose. And, as it turns out, in addition to being abundant (and cheap), chitin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Properties that are so impressive, that the natural molecule found in so many crust critters is being studied in hopes of finding a pharmaceutical treatment for inflammatory diseases including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, arthritis, and heart disease. And it’s not just shellfish that contain this fascinating medicinal molecule. You can find chitin in the hard shells of insects as well as in the cell walls of most fungi and algae.

Chitin's Powerful Anti-inflammatory PropertiesChitin is made up of repeating pieces of sugar to which it owes its interesting medicinal properties. Actually the sugar isn’t any old glucose. It’s a “specialty” glucose that scientists call a “proteo-glycan” (protein-sugar) because it has a little chunk of amino acid attached to it. The little proteanaceous piece turns the ordinarily “one trick pony” glucose, which is basically only good as a source of energy, into glucoseamine, a sort of “super glucose”, that provides structure and support for everything from bones to butterfly wings and has therapeutic properties to boot. Arthritis sufferers, in particular, have exploited the healing powers of glucosamine for decades.

The glucosamine pieces that make up chitin are a type of glucosamine called NA-glucosamine (NAG). The NA component makes this type of glucosamine especially effective at healing and soothing. This is really what has scientists and drug companies so excited. In addition to NAG’s calming and quenching qualities, it contains the precursors for hyaluronic acid, one of the most important of all growth and repair and anti-inflammatory molecules in the body. NAG is especially effective at helping take the edge off intestinal pain and discomfort associated with various digestive ailments.

If you don’t want to wait for some drug company to patent a molecule, and sell it to you for 20 dollars a dose, to enjoy the benefits of crustacean chitin, use glucosamine supplements. If you’re looking to heal the gut get some NAG. They’re available in health food stores or on the internet. They are very inexpensive and both are completely non-toxic.

Food can be an especially good source of NAG, especially homemade chicken soup. The knobby cartilage on chicken bones is a great source of NAG as well as other substances like amino acids, chondroitin, and collagen that can all contribute joint health benefits. You can save shrimp shells, put in a tea ball and let them steep in the soup. Make sure you throw in some lime or lemon; a little acid is required to dissolve the NAG into the soup. Aloe is also a good source of NAG, as is Noni. Algaes, a great source of everything good and healthy, also contain appreciable amounts of NAG.

  • NAG can improve the health of your skin. It can prevent wrinkles, improve sun damage, and has topical moisturizing benefits too.
  • If you’re looking for a blend of joint rebuilding glucosamine AND gut soothing, skin supporting NAG use chitosan, a chitin-derivative that is composed of both glucosamine and NA glucosamine.
  • Chitosan is great for your hair. Break open a capsule; dissolve it in water, mix, and let sit until it forms a clear gel which you can apply to your tresses as a hair mask. Upon rinsing, it will leave your hair soft and smooth. Its molecules are positively charged, and they can bind to negatively charged protein on the hair cuticle giving it conditioning and strengthening properties too!
  • Glucosamine and NAG contain glucose, so if you’re a diabetic, taking too much may throw off your blood sugar a bit.
Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

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

Plant Stem Cells

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 ..

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

Mighty 90 Healthy Start Pack

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.

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

Choline is a stabilizing force

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 ..

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