EFAs

Natural Moisture Factor for Skin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Mother Nature is nothing if not abundant. Just think of how many birds and bees and blades of grass exist in the natural world. Yet while Lady Gaia epitomizes generosity at the same time she doesn’t waste her wealth. That’s why plants grown with artificial fertilizers and pesticides produce less anti-oxidant and other medicinal and nutritional compounds than those grown organically, free of artificial growth inducing and protective chemicals. They simply don’t need to. Because they’re being protected artificially, they produce less of their own defensive molecules, which form the bulk of what we call phyto-nutrients.

Natural Moisture Factor for SkinLikewise with the skin. Under ordinary conditions, the skin, when healthy, makes its own moisturizing chemicals. Elements including fats (especially something called squalane, which is has many structural similarities to Vitamin A), fatty acids and vitamins as well as water trapping sugars and proteins form a biochemical complex scientists call the Natural Moisture Factor (NMF) which keeps water trapped in the skin. But if you use a typical standard issue moisturizing cream or lotion, which is composed of wax and oils that function to seal in moisture, the less NMF your skin will need to produce. That means, the more moisturizer you use on your skin, the less natural moisture factors your skin will need to produce and ultimately the drier your skin will be. In other words, the best way to assure yourself of needing a moisturizing product, is to use one!

The best strategy for keeping skin moist and hydrated is to make sure that you’re ingesting nutrients and raw materials that help the skin make the Natural Moisture Factor. Your diet should include plenty of fatty foods including olives, sardines, salmon and coconut oil. One of the quickest ways to create “xerodermia” (dry skin) is to go on a low-fat or fat free diet. Essential fatty acids, so-called Omega-6s and Omega-3s can help too. 10 to 20 grams of Omega-6 and 3 to 6 grams of Omega-3 are probably enough. You can get what you need with a daily dose of 6-12 capsules of a quality EFA product like Youngevity’s Ultimate EFAs or 2-3 tablespoonsful of a nutritional EFA oil such as Udo’s Blend. And don’t forget about Vitamin A. As anyone who has used Accutane (which works by suppressing Vitamin A activity) can tell you, depriving the body of this key vitamin will guarantee skin dryness. Use 20,000 international units a day. Make sure you’re getting quality protein too, especially from whey and egg both of which contain the amino acids that form a critical part of the NMF.

Topically, your best bet is to use substances that are already in the skin. These are more likely to be absorbed and utilized and at the same they are less likely to cause a suppressant effect on the NMF. Topical squalane which is typically derived from shark liver or olives is wonderful, although it may be a bit heavy for some. Vitamin A and a special form of Vitamin C with a fatty consistency can be very effective as well. Hyaluronic acid has potent water-trapping properties and can be an effective hydrating substance, and likewise for long-chain sugar molecules that are found in seaweed, aloe and noni. You can purchase dried seaweed products like Nori or Kelp or Kombu and hydrate them with some aloe or noni juice and make your own moisture restoring mask.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Skin Care

Asthma Epidemic

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Get ready for another epidemic! According an article posted on cnn.com the annual “September Asthma Epidemic” (their words, not mine) is coming, although the only evidence they cite are clinical studies that have shown the greatest number of hospitalization due to asthmatic attack are highest 17 days after labor day. Whether an epidemic is on the way or not may be up to conjecture, but what is not debatable is the well-documented fact that asthma is a big and getting bigger problem. From 2001 to 2010, the asthma incidence increased almost 15 percent. By 2009, asthma accounted for nearly 3,400 deaths, nearly 480,000 hospitalizations, 1.9 million emergency department visits, and 8.9 million physician office visits.

Asthma Epidemic

By BruceBlaus (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Asthma, which affects almost 13 percent of adults, and over 29 million Americans at least once in their lives is best thought as an inflammatory condition of the airways. The airways are the passageways where air, or more specifically oxygen, gets transferred into the blood. The net effect is an obstruction or a blockade of oxygen which causes the wheezing and shortness of breath, and a sense of suffocation that occurs with a asthmatic attack. The key word in the above description is inflammatory, which alludes to the microscopic blockages where inhaled oxygen from the air we breathe is transferred to the blood.

And inflammation? Well, that’s always the manifestation of a jacked-up immune system. ALWAYS! I can think of no more fundamental concept in all of physical health. Inflammation is the way a defensive (immune) response shows up; a defensive response to some kind of stressor. And a defensive/stress response means something is getting into the body or something is happening to the body that the body perceives as an attack. In order for a DEFENES-ive response to be initiated there has to be a preceding OFFENSE-ive agent; And the main routes for an offensive agent to get into the body for a defensive response to be triggered, such as those observed with an ordinary asthmatic attack, are typically through the lungs (they are breathed in) or the digestive system (they are eaten). In the case of exercise induced asthma the stress results from the need to heat and humidify large amounts of air that enter into the lungs during exercise.

So what’s an asthmatic to do? Though the medical treatments of choice are inhalers, which are usually some kind of steroid type drug or a nervous system agent that dumbs down respiratory responsiveness or suppresses immunity. Pharmacological intervention is not without toxicity or side effects. The questions for asthmatics are: Do you really want to suppress the immune system that is so essential for protecting the body from the environment assaults, animate and inanimate Or, do you really want to dial down your nervous system that distributes the electrical energy that runs our bodies and brains?

In my opinion the best way to deal with asthma is to take a healthy, natural and multi-pronged approach. In the case of asthmatic attacks that are directly caused by something you’re eating, obviously you want to eliminate those kinds of foods. Dairy and grains are likely suspects. Sometimes legumes, including peanuts and soy, can be problematic. Even vegetables can induce an asthmatic attack in those who are predisposed. Be especially careful of the nightshades which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers.

In addition to avoiding foods that can trigger asthmatic attacks it’s important to reduce the load on the immune system, from non-triggering substances that simply burden the immune system without directly causing respiratory symptoms. If there are predisposing immune loads(mostly problem foods), these can contribute to the signs of inhalation asthma albeit without directly causing asthmatic symptomology. Even if it doesn’t seem like there is a connection between foods and asthmatic symptoms, foods can still PREDISPOSE even if they don’t immediately CAUSE an asthmatic attack. This is kind of tricky, because the connection between predisposing factors that weaken the immune system or burden the immune AND immediate triggers might not be obvious. You might think your asthmatic symptoms are the result of exposure to pollen, not realizing that the pollen is merely the trigger and the cause is really an overburdened immune system that is struggling to keep up with food allergens or toxins that are getting into the body on a regular basis, even if they are not causing immediate symptoms or problems. I call it the “straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back” effect where the inhaled substance is not the actual cause but merely the “straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back”. What’s worse, if you have an immune system that is burning through nutrients or if you are malnourished, either because you’re not absorbing or nor getting nutrients this undernutriation can also be a contributing factor.

Look for other indicators of immune activation. Skin problems, rashes, frequent colds, autoimmune disease are all signs. If you have any of these symptoms associate with them foods and eliminate those foods. And if you don’t have any of those symptoms, then look for digestive difficulties. And really look. Bowel movement issues and gas are especially good clues. So is heart burn. If you have any of these symptoms connect them to food and eliminate those foods. This will decrease the burden on the immune system and reduce the “straw-that-breaks-the camel’s-back-effect”.

And don’t forget to add in the digestive support nutrients including probiotics, digestive enzymes with food, glutamine powder, juices of aloe vera and noni. There are also important nutrients for the lungs and blood and immune system. Magnesium is an asthmatic’s best nutritional friend. It can help relax constricted blood vessels and strengthen the immune system too; use 1000-2000mg of the glycinate form. Vitamin C is especially important for lung health. I’d be using 100-5000 mg a day. Vitamin E is also an important respiratory nutrient. Use the tocotrienol form, 400 IU daily, for best results. Vitamin E’s cousin, CoQ10 can be helpful, use the oil soluble gel-caps and take 100mg a day. And don’t forget about Vitamin D which can provide respiratory health benefits and beef up a burdened immune system. Sun exposure is always the best way to get your Vitamin D, but if you prefer to go the supplement route, take 5,000 to 10,000 IU. And always balance out your Vitamin D supplementation with Vitamin A, which can provide its own respiratory health benefits. I’d be taking 20,000 IU of Vitamin A at least 4 or 5 days a week. It’s stored in liver so missing a day or two isn’t going to hurt. Don’t forget your EFAs especially Omega-3 s from fish oil which can have wonderfully beneficial benefits for addressing the inflammation associated with asthma. Finally, in addition to supporting digestive health, probiotics can strengthen the immune system and keep it from being so sensitive and jumpy. Take 80 billion units a day and look for products that contain multiple strains of good bacteria.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Understanding Unsaturated & Saturated Fat

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The most misunderstood and maligned nutrient is undoubtedly fat. Those three letters that are responsible for so much misery and marketing spell out the most powerful and energetically dense of all the macro and micro nutrients human beings and animals consume.

There are two main classes of food fats, which are sometimes referred to as “lipids” : saturated fats which are solid (think lard) and unsaturated fats which are liquid (think corn oil). Liquid oil, i.e. unsaturated fats can contain important components called EFAs and this makes them very, very important. Deficiencies in EFAs are associated with a myriad of health problems including skin issues, degenerative disease, impaired mental health and heart pathology name just a few. Because of the important role unsaturated lipids play in keeping the body strong and healthy, for most part nutrition-mined folks have rationally focused on getting enough those important fats while marginalizing, completely ignoring the significance of their saturated biochemical cousins.

Saturated FatUntil recently that is. In the past couple of years one the most important and functional, (not to mention tasty) of the saturated fats has been getting quite a bit of attention. Coconut Oil for many years vilified and verboten, a heavy, artery clogging, and cholesterol raising generally unhealthy fat, as it turns is not so bad after all. In fact there actually a lot to love about coconut oil!

Another three letters should come to mind when you think about coconut oil: M.C.T. . Coconut Oil is one of nature’s richest sources of MCT. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides and it is very good stuff. And, coconut oil is 2 thirds MCT, which means in every teaspoonful you’re going to get 3 grams of MCT oil.

So why should you care about MCTs? Two words: weight loss! Well actually there are a lot of things MCTs are good for, they suppress your appetite you can use them for energy really quickly. They’re very satisfying and you’ll find yourself eating less food, and you’ll have more energy to do stuff.

Body builders love MCTs because they go right into the blood, for use they don’t need to be processed before they can be used. As opposed to the long chain fatty acids that comprise most of our dietary fats, MCTs are relatively inert; they don’t really affect digestive chemistry. That’s important, especially if the digestive system is stresses or impaired. MCT’s don’t require bile. For those sans gall bladder, a teaspoonful or two of coconut oil can be a very tasty way to make sure they’re getting fats. We used them alot in the pharmacy when I worked at University Hospital which was a regional center for digestive system health issues. Burt best of all, MCTs don’t get stored like other fats, they’re used! Which makes them an ideal source of fat nutrition for dieters.

And coconut oil has non MCT related features that make it so darn loveable! Most especially it tastes great. Roast some veggie in it and not only do you get stable oil with a high smoke point, and nutritional value, but you get all that in great tasting oil!

You can use coconut oil topically as a moisturizer or hair conditioner, it’s vitamin E content can protect skin and moisturize skin and hair protective and if you mix it up with a little honey or stevia and some fruit flavoring it has some great adult “entertainment” benefits too (use your imagination here!).

If you have a favorite way to use coconut oil I love to know about it. Please fell free to share it in the comments below.

Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

One 54-ounce jar of pure-white, USDA-certified-organic, extra-virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed from fresh coconuts within two hours of chopping; light true-coconut taste, aroma.

Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – 54 fl oz

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Omega-6 EFAs

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The Borage flower contains high levels of essential fatty acids. The second essential fatty acid is generally known as Omega-6 and like its aforementioned cousin Omega-3, supplementation is critical. While Omega-6 EFAs are found in many commonly used food oils, such as corn, soy, sunflower and safflower, production that occurs at manufacturing and food processing levels as well as simple cooking in restaurant and homes depletes most of them of this vitally important nutrient.

Omega 6 EFAs Borago flower
This makes supplementing diet with Omega-6 oils an important part of a good nutritional program. The best nutritional sources of Omega 6 oils include evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil. Omega-6 fats are associated with lowering the incidences of various common health ailments including diabetic nerve pain, rheumatoid arthritis, attention deficit disorder, eczema and menstrual and menopausal symptomology.

Most nutritionists recommend taking Omega 6 and Omega 3 EFAs in proportion with each other in a 2:1 to 4:1 range. The so-called “Mediterranean Diet”, which is associated with good health and longevity, is noted for its optimum Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio.

Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has naturalized in many other locales. It grows satisfactorily in gardens in the UK climate, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The leaves are edible and the plant is grown in gardens for that purpose in some parts of Europe. The plant is also commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds. [From Wikipedia]

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Secrets of Fat Loss & Super Health

Secrets of Fat Loss & Super HealthInfowars Nightly News co-host Aaron Dykes talks with pharmacist and radio talk show host Ben Fuchs about the Secrets of fat Loss and Super Health.

Highlights

* How to incorporate the 8 Chapters of Good Nutrition into your life.

PROTEINS
* The need for protein is huge. It’s one of the single best foods.
* 1/2 gram to gram of protein per pound of body weight.
* The only way to get this is to supplement. The best is whey.
* Potein has Lactoferrin (Natural antibiotics) and Immunoglobulins.
* Desire for sugar can mean lack of protein.
* Protein is a dieters best friend.
Your brain scans the blood for nutrients to determine if you are hungry.
Looks for specific proteins. Tryptophan and glutamine. Amino acids.
If those nutrients are present, brain says “no need to eat”.

FATS
* Good fats keep you away from bad fats.
* EFAs are good fats.
* EFAs convert to Master Hormones.
* EFAs makes Skin soft.
* Ease menstral cramps.
* EFAs are oxygen magnets.

VEGETABLES
* Most of your calories should come from veggies.
* Cabbage is great for digestive system.
* Hunter gatherer cultures had stronger bones than agrarian.
* Gather knowledge for your own health.

Part 1/3 Part 2/3 Part 3/3

 

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Video

HMB, PMS, Problems & Solutions

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

OMG!  HMB, the latest disease acronym to hit the medical lexicon now has a pharmacological option for “treatment” (whatever that means!).  It stands for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and it affects lots of woman, 10-20 percent of child bearing age, according to freemed.com, and the real number may be larger, as many cases go unreported.  Not to worry though, if you’re one of the millions of HMB sufferers, for the Pharmacology Fairy has come to your rescue. 

Doctor’s have now received blessings from government regulators (or, if you prefer, pharmaceutical interest protectors) for dispensing Natazia, the first, FDA-approved, oral contraceptive, indicated for the “treatment” of HMB.  Never mind that the side effect profile for this hormone cocktail reads like a laundry list  of unpleasant stuff you don’t want to have happen to you, including: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ acne, weight gain, headaches, breast pain, nausea, vomiting and ironically enough, problem periods and  irregular menstrual cycles!HMB, PMS, Problems & SolutionsIf you are one of the multitudes of mademoiselles dealing with HMB, (whose symptoms include migraines, lethargy and anemia,  in addition to heavy bleeding), and you don’t want to deal with drugs or the other unenlightened medical protocol used to treat this condition, a hysterectomy, which 60 per cent of patients will undergo,  your best nutritional bet is Essential Fatty Acids. 

Use a a couple of tablespoonsful flax seed oil, which contains anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s and make sure you’re getting some nutritional Omega-6’s, such as hempseed oil or evening primrose oil which can be important for stabilizing and slowing down bleeding.   If you prefer capsules, use a good blend that contains a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio of omega-6’s to Omega 3’s.  GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) is a derivative Omega-6 fatty acid with interesting anti-inflammatory properties and taking 100-200 mg a day is not a bad idea.  Make sure you’re getting fatty vitamins like A (20,000 IU a day) and E (400 IU a day) and probably K as well (maybe 200-300 mcg a day).  I’d be using K2, which is a little more body friendly than K1.   If you’re dealing with fat malabsorbtion, make sure your using digestive enzymes and everyone needs a good probiotic, but this is especially true if there are problems with fat digestion.  Take 80-100 billion units a day and look for multiple strains of bacteria.  That’s alot of microbes, but the benefits for this supplement tend to be dose dependent, i.e. more is better. Bile salts and lecithin can help absorption of fats as well.  I’d also make sure I was getting 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C and 1 or 2 daily grams of magnesium (chelated is best) which can be helpful for all female health issues.

It’s VERY important to stay away from highly processed foods, trans fatty acids and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.  Anything that induces digestive stress should be avoided too.   The systemic inflammation that can arise from hard to process foods can make matters far worse than would otherwise be. Also, too many refined carbs can wreak havoc with insulin and sugar chemistry which can exacerbate heavy bleeding issues.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding is not an inevitable condition.  Despite the inference that the best a woman can hope for is drug intervention, like all other so-health challenges, HMB,  more often than not, involves nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues.  Correct these conditions and it’s likely you won’t have to deal with HMB.  Or TPS (Toxic Pharmacological Syndrome) or UMP (Unhealthy Medical Protocol) either!

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health