Lecithin is Protective

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Alpha Lipoic Acid

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health


By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Intermittent Fasting

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Destroying Cancer Cells

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health