Chromium

Check Thyroid Health with the Basal Thermometer Test

By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen

One of the easiest and most effective ways to check for thyroid health is the ‘Basal Thermometer Test’ developed by Dr. Broda Barnes, one of the first physicians to recognize the importance of thyroid health when it comes to overall wellness. He wrote the classic book on hypothyroidism called “Hypothyroidism, The Unsuspected Illness” in the 1970’s, and he was of the opinion that numerous health issues including heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, frequent colds or infections, tonsillitis, ear infections, PMS and other female health issues as well as skin disorders, were all caused by a poorly functioning thyroid. Barnes thought that hypothyroidism affected more than 40% of the American population, which was much higher than most doctors at the time. However, perspectives are changing as hypothyroidism is becoming more and more recognized as a health problem.

Thyroid Health

By Almonroth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]

The test, which is sometimes called the ‘Barnes Basal Thermometer Test’ is done by placing a thermometer in the armpit for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning. This is important. If you move around and start your day before testing, your results won’t be accurate, so you want to do the test as soon as you wake up, while you’re still in bed. Because temperature for women is a bit lower on the first day of menstruation, Barnes advised women on their periods to avoid testing themselves until their second or third day.

Personally, I would suggest women wait until they’re done with their periods entirely just to be sure. You want to test your armpit temperature for three consecutive days and then determine the average. According to Barnes, if you’re below normal body temperature, which is 97.8 degrees, this can be indicative of hypothyroidism, especially if you have other symptoms. On the other hand, a reading over 97.8 degrees, according to Barnes, could indicate hyperthyroidism, again, especially if there are other symptoms present.

If it turns out you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, and nearly 10 percent of Americans are, it’s unlikely that using iodine supplements will make much of a difference. I’m not saying that iodine is not an important mineral; iodine is important, particularly for glandular health and for the production of thyroid hormone. If you are blatantly deficient, you may notice some benefits, but most hypothyroid patients are not suffering from a lack of iodine. The same goes for thyroid hormone drugs (levothyroxine), which may or may not provide the hypothyroid body with a little hormone activity, but will not do anything to correct the condition.

Hypothyroidism is typically the result of digestive health issues, blood sugar problems and chronic stress (adrenal) gland activity. That means the best strategy for dealing with hypothyroidism is the same strategy used when dealing with any other health challenge:

#1 Work on digestive health (using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with meals, eating fermented foods, using probiotics and eliminating problem foods).

#2 Stabilize blood sugar by eating less starchy and processed carbs (like cereal, as well as sweets and desserts), using supplements like selenium, sulfur, chromium, vanadium and the B-vitamins (among many others) and enjoying fiber-rich veggies with all meals.

#3 Focus on adrenal health with relaxation strategies and deep breathing, reduce sugar intake, and use nutritional supplementation including zinc, Vitamin C, the B-complex and magnesium. Progesterone cream may help, likewise pregnenolone and DHEA.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Glycation of Sugars

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

One of the most important and under-recognized causes of accelerated aging is a chemical process called “glycation” (also known as “glycosylation”). Best thought of as a reaction between sugar and protein (and sometimes fat). Glycation can be thought of as a type of caramelization, a candy making technique that creates a characteristic confectionary quality that candy cooks have exploited for centuries. During the caramelization process, sugar is heated to high temperatures until it turns brown. And it’s not just candy that caramelizes, or glycates. The same phenomenon occurs when bread is toasted, or onions or potatoes are grilled. French toasted bread, fried onions and French fried potatoes, also are among culinary delights that are carmelized.

Glycation of sugarsIn the body, caramelization/glycation of sugars can occur in conjunction with proteins, and as with caramelization of foods this can manifest itself as browning and subsequent degradation of various structures. Smaller systems are especially likely to be damaged; most especially tiny blood vessels and capillaries. Glycation is a leading cause of blindness and kidney diseases. Both structures are packed with thousands of miles of microscopic circulatory vessels. The net effect of this kind of damage can result in pockets of oxygen deprived, nutritionally starved, and toxin drenched tissue. Not good!

Even worse, there an important relationship between glycation and oxidation, which is thought to play an important part in accelerated aging. As it turns out, glycated proteins can be a source of free radicals that are responsible for the oxidation, which can be thought of as a type of “biological rusting”. In an article published in the journal “Glycobiology”, researchers claimed that glycated proteins produce 50 times more free radicals than non-glycated proteins. According to the article, free radicals amplify the production of inflammatory peptides and the net result is not only rapid aging of organs and tissues, but also many health challenges including diabetes, neuro-degeneration, and kidney failure.

The best way to protect yourself from glycation is to keep your blood sugar concentration as low as possible. There should only be around one (1) teaspoonful of sugar floating around in the blood at any given moment. It’s not uncommon for blood sugar concentration to double after a carbohydrate-laden meal. Reducing your intake of refined carbs (flour, fruit juice, cereals, dessert, etc.) should be a priority, making sure you’re taking in lots of water, especially after drinking a soda pop or indulging a sweet or a starchy bread-filled meal. Supplements can also be beneficial. The B-complex stands out in importance, especially Vitamins B1 and B3. Use a B-100 or something like Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine. Vitamin C is important too, 1000mg maybe. Minerals like Magnesium Glycinate, Zinc , Selenium, Chromium, and Vanadium are known to help the body process sugar. Arginine and Taurine are two amino acids that improve sugar metabolism and the B-vitamin-like substance choline can be helpful, too.

*Did you know that the sugar beet and sugar cane are excellent sources of many of the nutrients that the body needs to process carbs?*

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Top 12 Heart Nutrients Part 2

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, nearly one in 5 Americans is dealing with some form of heart disease. Much of this is needless suffering and can be alleviated with appropriate life style strategies.

Exercise is important. So is making good food choices and being a non-smoker. But there is nothing more important than getting on a good nutritional supplement program. Last post we listed the first part of the top 12 supplements for cardiovascular health.

Heart NutrientsWe conclude with Top 12 Heart Nutrients Part 2 below. For more detailed information make sure to listen to The Bright Side on the Genesis Communication Network, daily 8 to 9 PST, 11-12 EST (The Bright Side).

Omega 3s –thin the blood and relax blood vessels allowing for more blood flow and oxygen to the heart. Provide well-researched and dramatic protection against cardiovascular disease and fatal heart attacks. Reduces inflammation and may improve blood fats and cholesterol too. Fish oil works but Krill Oil may be
even better.

CoQ10 –super vita-nutrient for the heart. Used by cardiac cells to produce energy and as a defense against rogue oxygen “sparks”. Thousands of studies show protection against all forms of heart disease.May help lower blood pressure too. Look for oil-soluble gel caps.

B Vitamins –protection from cardio-toxic homocysteine. Intimate involvement in energy production chemistry make these nutrient absolutely indispensable for protection against all forms of heart disease. Vitamin B3 helps lower triglycerides and cholesterol too. Water-soluble format leads to rapid excretion and potential deficiencies.Dissolve in liquid and drink them all day long for maximum benefits.

Carnitine – take as L-Carnitine or for maximum cardiac benefits as Propionyl L-Carnitine. A must-have supplement for all form of heart disease.Critical for the production of energy from fat (fat-burning) by cardiac cells.Numerous studies demonstrate benefits for coronary artery disease as well as myocardial ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart).

Vitamin E – provides vital cardiac protection from oxidized (rancid) cholesterol plaques.Thins blood and helps maintain heart oxygenation.Reduces free radical activity in heart.Take as both tocopherols and tocotrienols (mixed tocopherols and mixed tocotrienols) in mixed format for best results.Especially important for smokers and as protection from a second heart attack.

Chromium – low levels associated with increased risk of heart attacks.Chromium deficient diabetics especially at risk for heart attacks.Critical role in sugar metabolism provides benefits for the cardiovascular system.May improve high blood pressure too.Niacin bound form (chromium polynicotinate) most effective for protection from heart disease.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Mental Health, Sugar and Insulin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

One of the most important mental health references in my library is called “Insulin Treatment in Psychiatry”. It was published in the 1950’s and it provides ample evidence of how critical changes in blood sugar chemistry are for mental and emotional well-being. There are chapters with titles like “Biochemical Changes in the Brain Occurring During Insulin Hypoglycemia” , “Insulin Therapy in Schizophrenia” and “Trends in Insulin Treatment in Psychiatry” that provide proof positive that manipulations of blood sugar can play a crucial, non-pharmacological role in improving mental health.

Mental Health, Sugar and InsulinInsulin is an anabolic (growth) hormone with many properties, the most striking of which is its ability to encourage fat cells to absorb sugar (glucose) and store it as fat. But what was recognized by old-time medical researchers, many decades ago, was the fact that this same hormone, as well-known as it was for its role in blood sugar control, was also a potential tool for psychiatrists treating various mental disorders.

Why is this so important? Well, the average American is ingesting over 140 pounds a year of sugar and another 60 pounds or so a year of high fructose corn syrup. In 1960 the amount Americans consumed was less than 100 pounds a year of sugar and zero pounds of high fructose corn syrup. If it is indeed true that there is an insulin connection to mental illness, considering the seeming epidemic in mental disorders 21st century Americans are confronting, one is forced to question how much is related to insulin and associated issues with blood sugar.

This question becomes especially significant in the case of children who are the most obvious and notorious consumers of the sweet stuff. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at any given time one out of five American children are suffering from some kind of mental illness. That’s anywhere from 7.7 to 12.8 million kids! 30 to 40 percent have ADHD, 10% suffer from an anxiety disorder, and at any given time, 1 out of thirty three will be clinically depressed and 3 out of 1000 will be diagnosed as schizophrenic.

The statistics for adults are no less alarming. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in four Americans over the age of 18 suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder.

If you go to a physician or psychiatrist and leave with diagnosis of depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD or some other mental health issue, it’s unlikely anyone will be questioning your diet or suggesting nutritional supplements. In fact, the odds are pretty good that you’re going to get a prescription (or two or three) for a psychotropic drug. In a one year survey period from 2006 to 2007 there were 472 million mental health prescriptions written. That’s almost 10 percent of the total annual number of prescriptions written in the U.S.. There are over 170 prescription drugs used for mental health and there are more on the way. According to the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, there are 313 new drugs in research and development that are designed specifically to treat a variety of mental health concerns.

If you are suffering from some kind of mental illness, or you or your children are on a prescription drug that you want to get off of, or if you are being pressured by a well-meaning physician or loved one to start taking a prescription drug, please understand that you have options. And one of the most important ones involves (surprise, surprise) blood sugar and insulin.


Insulin Treatment In PsychiatryInsulin Treatment In Psychiatry

Contributing Authors Include Hans Hoff, Joseph Wortis, Ivan Bennett, And Many Others. Proceedings Of The International Conference On The Insulin Treatment In Psychiatry Held At The New York Academy Of Medicine, October 24-25, 1958.

Insulin Treatment In Psychiatry


Laying off the sugar and refined carbohydrates is the obvious first step. But “just say no” doesn’t usually work. Will-power is relatively useless when it comes to resisting sugar. The best way to wean yourself blood sugar and insulin spiking foods is to increase intake protein and essential fatty acids. It’s probably a good idea to start off all meals with a protein powder drink and 3 to 9 Omega6/Omega 3 capsules or a couple of teaspoonful of a good EFA liquid like Udo’s Choice. Then make sure you’re getting all the nutrients that help the body process sugar. The B-vitamins in liquid form are very important. Vitamins B1 and B3 have specific sugar-metabolizing properties. (Interestingly, Dr. Abram Hoffer used to use these two nutrients as medications in his protocol for treating schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.). Taking 50mg a day of Zinc picolinate and 2000 mg of chelated Magnesium would probably be wise. And, the minerals Chromium and Vanadium are well known for improving insulin response and blood sugar levels. There are many more supplements available for stabilizing blood sugar, and ultimately improving and helping maintain mental health. We’ll be getting to those in future posts.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health