Ben Fuchs

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

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

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

Image credit: Dees Illustration

(PharmacistBen) If you watch the cartoonish commercials on TV about depression and anti-depressants, you would think that the molecule known as serotonin is a biochemical of bliss and if you’re feeling crappy, you can just take a medicine that bumps up its effects and voila, you’ll be happy. On the other hand, if you go to websites like “SSRI stories.com”, which is filled with nightmarish tales about violent behavior, assaults, suicides, suicidal thoughts, murders, and school shootings all associated with SSRIs; or if you read the papers and listen to conspiracy theorists, it’s almost impossible not to be impressed by the link between all of this unpleasantness and drugs that affect serotonin levels. Even the package insert that comes with Prozac and Effexor and Zoloft and other SSRIs pharmaceuticals contain warnings from the purveyors of these poisons about side effects of self-harm and savagery that one would never think would be associated with a drug that’s supposed to make you jump for joy.

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?

Well, as it turns out, serotonin, despite what you may have heard, is far from a happiness and joy brain biochemical. While it’s true that serotonin is partially a brain-based neurotransmitter (nerve chemical), it is, involved in far more than cranial chemistry. While 3-4. per cent is located in the brain, in fact, serotonin is found pretty much in all the systems of the body including the blood, skin, lungs, liver, and reproductive organs. And, as it turns out, most of the serotonin, some 90 per cent (or more) is found in the intestines, where it stimulates digestive contractions.

One of the serotonin’s main roles is to help the body eliminate ingested food poisons. Stimulating contractions of digestive tract muscles is the way the body deals with stuff it wants to expel. This is why SSRIs are sometimes used as appetite suppressants; under the influence of serotonin, we just don’t feel like eating. It’s also why one of the most common side effects of SSRIs is digestive disorders, especially cramping, loose stools and diarrhea. And this promotion of intestinal contractions is a clue to the real role of serotonin.
You see, far from being the happy hormone marketers and medical people tell us it is, serotonin is an emergency response hormone. It is involved in helping the body deal with survival threats and challenges; in addition to the ingestion of toxins, it’s protective against circulatory distress, especially bleeding. The term serotonin actually refers to “toning” (tightening) of the “sero” (blood). Sero-tonin is so named because it was first discovered in clotting components that are found in the blood, the little cell fragments called platelets. Thus, serotonin is a major blood clotting and blood vessel contracting chemical. It coagulates the blood and increases blood pressure, essentially preparing the body for an emergency.

So, not only is serotonin not a happy hormone, it is actually a hormone of stress and vigilance. Its main role is to prepare the body to respond to emergency, whether such response requires emptying the digestive tract of poisons by causing intestinal contractions, blood clotting to prepare the body for a fight, hypertension, to prepare the body for a flight or hyper-vigilance to prepare the body for some kind of perceived impending attack.

Contrary to mythology, not only does serotonin NOT signal joy and bliss and happiness, but it actually sends a completely opposite signal, specifically one of preparation for the avoidance of impending doom! Any happiness is associated with serotonin is a result of the body elevating emotional response to prepare its owner for some kind of stress.

Serotonin is a hormone of alertness, and this is what accounts for its link to suicides and violent behaviors which are manifestations of the vigilance response gone crazy. Basically it tells the brain that the body’s survival is at stake; that the digestive tract and the circulatory system (the blood) are being threatened, that the life of the organism is at risk. When you take a drug like Prozac or Effexor or Zoloft or any SSRI type drug you are up-regulating the chemistry of threat and danger. In the short run this may have anti-depressant effects and one of the body’s responses to emergencies is elevations in mood; cortisol which is another stress-related hormone will do the same thing in small amounts. This is one of the ways that the body handles emergencies. Pharmacologically increasing serotonin may in the short run improve affect, but in the long run it will semi-permanently up-regulate the stress response system. In other words, it improves mood by up-regulating the chemistry of threat and danger, which is most certainly NOT a good thing! This is why some studies show that paranoia, aggression, and suicidal thoughts/suicides can be caused by drugs that increase the levels of this stress management chemical. And significantly, this is why rage and aggressive behaviors, violence and suicidal behavior can be associated with drugs that increase the activity of serotonin.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Cholesterol and Sugar

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

(PharmacistBen) 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.

Cholesterol and Sugar

By David-i98 via Wikipedia Commons

This is very important as millions of Americans (an astounding 1 out 8 or 9 Americans) are on one or another. One out of every 4 adults over the age of 45 is on a statin drug. This, despite the fact, that there are hundreds of studies demonstrating their toxicity and relationship to all kinds of health issues ranging from muscle pain to brain and memory problems. Stain drugs have even been linked to diabetes and cancer; two of top three the leading causes of death.

Cholesterol control is best thought of as sugar control. There’s a reason why diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol go hand in hand. But the thing about diabetes is that the designation of it (or the determination of it) is arbitrary. That’s right! Whether or not you’re officially considered a diabetic is arbitrarily determined by the magic of the medical model and the black magicians who come up with so-called diagnostic standards.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are three main tests that determine whether or not you’re a diabetic. The A1C test measures blood glucose as an average over the course 2 to 3 months. You’re considered a diabetic if you’re A1C score is greater than 6.5%. The Fasting Blood Glucose test is the second test doctors use to assess diabetes. As the name implies, you have to fast for at least 8 hours before this test, and you’re considered a diabetic if your blood glucose is over 126 mg per dl of blood (which works out to about a teaspoonful of glucose for the entire gallon or so of blood that circulates in the average human body). The third test is called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, and that measures blood sugar before and after you drink a super sweet glucose drink. If your blood sugar is over 200 after you take an oral glucose tolerance test, the doctor will pronounce you officially a diabetic.

The problem with these tests is no one really knows just exactly what a healthy or appropriate blood sugar should be. All of these numbers and determinations are based on bell curves, reference values, and statistics. Human beings are individuals. To take care of our health, we have to recognize our specific, individual biochemical nature. To superimpose statistics and bell curves on top of individuals is BAD SCIENCE.

Does it make sense to anyone that if your fasting blood sugar is recorded as 125 mg per dl, you are non-diabetic, but if you’re at 126, all of a sudden you have a disease? If you’re at 125, you can go about your business as usual because you’re healthy. No, our blood sugar is still way too high, and just because the medical model hasn’t officially pronounced us diseased, our sugar chemistry is definitely wacked, and we are most assuredly not healthy.

Pretty much all adults (or at least those who are subsisting on the SAD) can assume that blood sugar control is not good. Dysglycemia is part and parcel of our modern lifestyle and of the aging process. A sure sign that your blood sugar is starting to get thrown off is a pot belly. Do you know ANYONE who doesn’t have a little pooch going on? How many people are able to say their gut is the same size when they’re 40 as when they are 20? High blood pressure is another dysglycemic red flag and, most assuredly, so is elevated blood fats and cholesterol.

Think cholesterol and blood fats, think blood sugar. The best way to lower your cholesterol naturally is to lower blood sugar by eating less food that spikes blood sugar and by eating less food in general. Dysglycemia is a food and eating health issue; it’s not a drug issue. Because elevated blood cholesterol is about dysglycemia, if you want to lower your blood cholesterol, change the way you eat: more protein and less sugar. And EAT MORE FAT, and EAT MORE CHOLESTEROL!! (I know this is contrary to all the conventional crapola that you hear from mainstream lobbyist groups, but they care more about your money than your health.) Organizations (really, big business corporations) like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have presided over the biggest increases in heart disease and diabetes IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. When, in fact, the more cholesterol you eat, the less cholesterol your body makes! In other words, cholesterol-containing foods are nature’s non-toxic, healthy statin drugs. Tell that to the next boneheaded medical doctor who warns that you better start taking a toxin that poisons the liver cells so they can’t produce this incredibly important biomolecule!

In addition to consuming cholesterol, using sugar-metabolizing supplements can help. The Chromium and Vanadium in the product Sweet Eaze can help lower blood sugar and can lower blood cholesterol. The Sweet Eaze is like a natural statin drug without the drug toxicity. The B-vitamins are incredibly important for blood sugar metabolism. Beyond Tangy Tangerine is loaded with the B-vitamins. If you’re a diabetic (and remember we all are to some extent), you would be very wise to use some BTT after all sweets as well as starchy meals (bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.). Thiamine is especially important for lowering blood sugar. Niacin is one of the most critical of all nutrients for helping the body process sugar. And not coincidentally, niacin is one of the most important nutrients for the liver, and is just as effective at lowering cholesterol as statin drugs. You’ll get a good dose of niacin in the Beyond Tangy Tangerine, but if you’re seriously concerned about elevated blood cholesterol, you might want to add in a 100mg daily dose of time-release niacin too.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Essential Oils

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

(PharmacistBen) 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. They’ve been topically applied to accelerate healing from burns and wounds, included in skin preparations that claimed to prevent wrinkles and visible signs of aging and they been exploited for their supposed antimicrobial effects too.

Essential Oil

By Itineranttrader

Some of these benefits are associated with a skin cell’s ability to, in effect, “smell” essential oils. As it turns out there are actually little spaces on the outside of a skin cell that can precisely fit with essential oil molecules. These little spaces are similar to the little spaces on the cells that line the nasal cavity. They’re called olfactory (smell) receptors and they allow us to distinguish the smell of an onion form an orange or mocha from manure. Recently it’s been discovered that skin cells also have olfactory receptors and some of these can hook up with components of essential oils. When this occurs various elements of skin chemistry can be initiated which may include the growth of cells to speed healing, extrusion of collagen fibers to prevent wrinkles and stimulation of hydration factors to help maintain moisturization.

Essential oils have another interesting property. They can help improve the penetration of active and medicinal ingredients in topical preparations through the skin surface. Under ordinary circumstance the outermost portion of the skin, the stratum corneum acts as an effective barrier to the penetration of these types of substances; yet the driving of materials through the skin (scientists call this property “transdermal delivery”) offers many advantages over oral or intravenous dosage forms. For one thing, medication delivered into the blood through the skin bypasses liver detoxification which can reduce the potency of medication. For another, such delivery allows medication to get into the body without depending on absorption through the digestive tract which is oftentimes compromised.

Improving the penetration of active skin care ingredients can also make it easier for non-medicinal active ingredients like vitamins and peptides provide skin health benefits. And the transdermal effects of essential oils are not insignificant. In an article published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics some were found to increase the penetration of topically medications into the blood by 30 times.

If you want to take advantage of essential oil’s transdermal penetration try squeezing the liquid out of a Vitamin A or E capsule, mixing it with a little lavender or lemon EO in the palm of your hand and applying it to your face after washing. You’ll get skin health benefits from essential oil and you’ll improve the activity of the blended vitamins. By the same token you may want to be careful about using EOs in creams or lotions that contain preservatives as the penetration of those potentially toxic materials can be enhanced too.

7 Interesting Essential Oils for Skin Health
Lavender – helps heal burns, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, soothing and calming
Germanium – dry and aging skin
Patchouli – oily hair and skin
Violet – anti-inflammatory, anti-acne
Sandalwood- healing especially effective for cracked chapped skin
Bergamot – anti viral properties can help prevent and heal cold sores
Rose – soothing, ideal for sensitive skin

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Healthy Mushrooms

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

(PharmacistBen) 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.

Healthy Mushrooms

Chris 73 via Wikimedia Commons

Mushrooms and their uncouth and downright toxic cousins called toadstools (“tod” is the German word for death) are neither plant or animal or bacteria, and instead fall into a separate classification called fungi. They are botanically referred to as “fruiting bodies”, a plant structure that produces spores, which can be thought of as a type of seed specific to fungus and molds.

Mushrooms are members of one of the six great kingdoms of life, the Fungi (the others are the Plant, Animal, Archaeal, Protistal and the Bacterial), and like their fungal cousins, the molds and yeasts they contain tremendous medicinal value. And, although many are inedible and some deadly, the nutritional relevance of edible mushrooms appreciated by culinary types as a delicacy since ancient times, is off the charts.

The most important of their nutrient elements are a type of non-sweet sugar called polysaccharides which compose the bulk of the solid portion of the typical mushrooms. Polysaccharides can be thought of long chains of repeating and identical chemical chunks that form a cage-type network that allows them to effectively trap water. This ability to hydrate itself in what is essentially a sponge-like fashion, accounts for the characteristic gel like texture of the typical mushroom. One of these polysaccharides, a substance called chitin, which gives the mushroom cell a certain solidity and structure, is regarded as one of the most common organic molecules in the natural world, second in abundance only to its chemical cousin cellulose which provides a similar structural support for the cells of plants.

The mushroom’s polysaccharides also are responsible for many of the important health benefits associated with mushrooms, most especially when it comes to fighting cancer. In fact there is no food that has ever been shown to have more anti-carcinogenic effects, and their tumour fighting properties have been exploited by medical men throughout history. They’re a mainstay of ancient Chinese anti-cancer medicine and even today modern medicine has come to appreciate the significant t immune boosting properties of the simple fungi. In a 2012 article published in the journal Food and Function, mushrooms were described as having evident clinical (anti-tumour) results and having the ability to activate numerous human immune cancer destroying cells of the human immune system, including white blood cells and natural killer cells. But polysaccharides do more than strengthen immunity and fight cancer. One in particular called beta glucan has been used for everything from improving liver health to lowering blood fats and fighting wrinkles. Its wonderfully sun protective and I’ve formulated many a sun protecting skin care product with it. It’s particularly effective in eye creams.

Mushrooms are also an important and rare source of vegan friendly Vitamin D. Typically only found in animal foods, Vitamin D has powerful immune strengthening properties of its own. And as it turns out Vitamin D from mushrooms, although not as long acting as Vitamin D3 animal version, is absorbed as effectively. Keeping in mind the best Vitamin comes from the reaction between skin cholesterol and the sun, food based vitamin D from animal products or mushrooms can be an important secondary source. And vitamin D does more than boost the immune system and fight cancer. Adequate levels in the blood can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and immune disorders, the big 3 causes of degenerative disease and an early demise.

Mushrooms are also a source of other helpful nutrients including the B-vitamins, Vitamin C, and helpful non nutrients like nerve cell growth factors for improving brain health and anti-microbials to fight viruses and bacteria’s. When you include the easy to absorb minerals like magnesium and potassium which are especially easy to absorb in their mushroom form, and fibers with blood sugar stabilizing and hormone balancing properties, it’s hard to imagine a more nutrient dense superfood than the simple little mushroom.
Four most common medicinal mushrooms:

Maitake Mushrooms – mineral rich mushroom, often found growing on the bottom of trees supports immune system health, used to treat cancer supports healthy blood sugar and provides cardiovascular health benefits.

Reishi Mushrooms – One of the oldest of the medicinal mushrooms; use recorded in Chinese medical texts as early as 200 BC, and handbooks on Reishi were the first illustrated publications in the history of Chinese mushroom medicine. High concentration of medicinal elements including blood thinning compounds and plant steroids give Reishi a bitter taste that makes them difficult to eat but when sipped on as a pre-meal tea, the same bitter qualities can help improve secretion bile, enzymes and stomach acid for digestive health benefits.

Shitake Mushrooms – One of the tastiest of medicinal mushrooms considered to be the most popular gourmet mushroom in the world. Produces high amounts of Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight. Detoxification properties being studied for removal of heavy metals and hydrocarbon (oil spill) contamination from soil.

Cordyceps – The athletes mushroom; Cordyceps supplements used by Chinese Olympians for its respiratory and oxygenation support properties. Loaded with anti-oxidants and prized for its anti-aging and adaptogenic (biochemistry stabilizing) properties, may stimulate libido and improve male sexual performance. Contains sedative properties that can be leveraged as in a soothing, sleep promoting bedtime tea.

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