Vitamin D Can Benefit Mental Health

Vitamin D has been found to be very important on many fronts… and, indeed, there is an almost universal deficiency of this vitamin because people have been told to stay out of the sun. Since exposure to sunlight causes the skin to produce Vitamin D, this has become a big health issue. Now, a study has shown yet another benefit from Vitamin D… mental health acuity!

Vitamin D ‘is mental health aid’

“Vitamin D, found in fish and produced by sun exposure, can help stave off the mental decline that can affect people in old age, a study has suggested. UK and US researchers looked at 2,000 people aged 65 and over. They found that compared to those with the highest vitamin D levels, those with the lowest were more than twice as likely to have impaired understanding. Alzheimer’s charities said the research was interesting, but more work was needed to understand vitamin D’s role. Vitamin D is important in maintaining bone health, in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in helping the immune system. The body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun, or it can be obtained from foods such as oily fish, and those fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, cereals, and soya drinks. But older people’s skin is less able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight so they are more reliant on obtaining it from other sources.”

If you are considering supplementing Vitamin D, be sure that you get the form that your body can readily use, which is called “D3,” or cholecalciferol. A lot of synthetic Vitamin D supplements contain D2. Be careful to get the right kind!

Natural Remedies to Male Pattern Baldness

Those with male pattern baldness may increase hair growth by taking a preparation containing saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and beta-sitosterol (a compound found in many edible plants), according to a new study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2002;8:143;52).

Here’s a LINK to a good article on this research into Saw Palmetto.

Here are some beneficial herbs that are said to benefit hair growth:

Ginkyo biloba – this popular herb is thought to improve blood circulation to the brain and skin. Herbalists believe that the increased flow of blood to the brain area delivers more nutrients to the hair follicle thus promoting hair re-growth. The recommended dose is 120-160mg of dry extract each day spread over three doses.

Green tea (Camellia sinesis) – it is thought that catechins found in green tea may inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase that converts testosterone into hair-unfriendly DHT. It is therefore believed to be effective in preventing and treating male pattern type baldness. You should drink several cups of green tea each day or take it in capsule form as instructed by the manufacturer.

He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum) – also known as Fo-Ti, this Chinese herb has traditionally been used to reduce hair loss. It is found in many commercial preparations, or in tea and capsule form.

Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) – derived from the bark of an evergreen, it works in a similar way to green tea. It is widely used to treat prostate problems and male pattern baldness. Users should take 60-500mg per day in pill or capsule form.

Saw palmetto (Seranoa repens) – this is the current treatment of choice for many men due to its ability to protect the prostate, slow hair loss and encourage hair re-growth. It forms the core element of many commercially prepared hair loss treatments but can easily be obtained in its pure form. The recommended dose is a 160mg capsule twice each day, but make sure the ingredients are made from the berry extract not the dried berries themselves.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica diocia) – this has long been favored as a means of preventing hair loss due to its ability to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT. It can be taken in pill or capsule form with an optimum dose of 50-100mg per day. It is particularly effective when combined with pygeum and saw palmetto.

And, in his book, “The Green Pharmacy,” James A. Duke, Ph.D., a leading authority on healing herbs, lists several other herbs that might help prevent hair loss:

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which also prevents conversion of testosterone to DHT. Dr. Duke suggests adding licorice to your shampoo.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), which may encourage hair growth by stimulating circulation when mixed with an oil and rubbed into the scalp. Dr. Duke noted that naturopaths often suggest nightly scalp massage with one part rosemary oil and two parts almond oil.

Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) and sage (Salvia officinalis), which Dr. Duke says have the reputation of preventing hair loss and retaining hair color. He suggests adding a few teaspoons of sage tincture to your shampoo.

Arthritis Drugs Can Cause Fatal Fungal Infections

Again we see that the “unintended consequences” of drugs designed to fight one problem, can cause other problems! The drugs in question here lower the operation of the natural immune system (a bad idea on it’s face, it seems to me!) That leaves one open to various types of infections.

Arthritis Drugs Cause Fatal Fungal Infections

“The U.S. FDA has ordered stronger warnings on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections. Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking your body. For people with rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment provides relief from swollen and painful joints. But the drugs also lower your body’s defenses against various kinds of infections. The FDA became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a particular kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis. The infection is prevalent in much of the middle part of the country, and it can have grave consequences if it isn’t caught early and spreads beyond the respiratory system to other organs of your body. Of 240 cases reported to the FDA in which patients taking one of the four drugs developed this infection, a total of 45 (or about 20 percent) died.”

Again, I see the need for watching these types of medications closely, and looking for safe, natural alternatives!

Olive Leaf Extract… Lowers BP and “Bad” Cholesterol!

I love reports of research that confirms that natural supplements are as effective as drugs, with no side effects. Why? Because herbs are food! They are natural and gentle to the system.

Olive Leaf Extract Lowers Blood Pressure

“The leaves of the olive tree have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and research has suggested that olive leaf extracts have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Now it also appears that a supplement containing olive leaf extract could help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. A study looked at 20 sets of identical twins with ‘borderline’ hypertension — blood pressure that is above the optimal level of 120/80, but below the cutoff of 140/90 used to diagnose high blood pressure. One member of each twin pair was given tablets containing olive leaf extract, while the other received no supplements but did get lifestyle advice on lowering blood pressure. After eight weeks, supplement users taking 1,000 mg of olive leaf extract per day showed a substantial dip in their blood pressure overall, and lowered levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. The twins who received no supplements showed no significant change in their blood pressure and a smaller improvement in cholesterol. The medicinal use of the leaves from the olive tree (Olea europaea) dates back thousands of years. In fact, it’s the first botanical healing herb cited in the Bible (Ezekiel 47:12): ‘The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.’ There’s also recorded evidence that the ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures used the leaves to treat a variety of health conditions.”

God Himself recommends the “leaf thereof for medicine!” I can’t think of a higher recommendation! Olive Leaf extract is also said to have anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and can be beneficial in stopping colds and flu from developing by taking Olive leaf when the first symptoms begin to appear.

Cholesterol Drug Linked to Cancer!

Staton drugs have been touted as a great advance due to their cholesterol lowering properties… but now research is demonstrating that they can increase the risk of cancer! And, as we will see, the “hype” of the importance of lowering your cholesterol numbers should be called into question anyway!

Cholesterol Pill Taken by Thousands Causes Cancer

Dr. Mercola writes: “A pill intended to lower cholesterol levels has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing data from a trial which found a ‘larger percentage’ of patients treated with the drug Inegy died of cancer. The FDA is expected to issue its conclusions within six months. Inegy combines the widely-used statin drug simvastatin with a new medication called ezetimibe. Ezetimibe works in a different way from statins. Statins block cholesterol made in the liver, while ezetimibe blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Back in 2004, the U.S. Government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to very low levels. It’s been a health disaster ever since. Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk. These updated guidelines instantly increased the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs. Not surprisingly, eight of the nine doctors who were on the approval panel for these absurdly low guidelines had been making money from the companies of the cholesterol-lowering drugs they were suddenly pushing onto a much larger (oftentimes healthy) segment of the population. Now, in order to get to these outrageous and dangerous low levels usually requires multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as Inegy, which combines two cholesterol-lowering drugs into one. Folks, it is VERY rare for anyone to need a cholesterol-lowering drug, let alone multiples. Among the more than 20,000 patients who have come to my clinic, only four or five of them truly needed these drugs, as they had genetic challenges that required it. But if you or someone you know is taking them, odds are very high — greater than 100 to 1 — that you or they don’t need them, and they may even create more health challenges than what you started out with. Inegy combines two different medications — simvastatin and ezetimibe — into one pill. Although the Daily Mail article above claims statins ‘should lead to a drop in heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems,’ that is not necessarily the case. Statin drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to heart failure. They have also been linked to:

* Weakness
* Muscle aches
* An increase in cancer risk
* Immune system suppression
* Serious degenerative muscle tissue condition (rhabdomyolysis)
* Potential increase in liver enzymes so patients must be monitored for normal liver function

Is ‘Bad” Cholesterol Really ‘Bad?’

It’s important to remember that you actually NEED cholesterol in your body – including LDL, or so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol — in order to maintain your health. There is actually no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Both HDL and LDL cholesterol perform vital functions in your body, which is why it’s actually dangerous to bring your LDL levels down too low. HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) are actually proteins that transport the cholesterol to and from your tissues. Cholesterol in turn is a precursor to steroid hormones. For example, you can’t make testosterone or estrogen, cortisol, DHEA or pregnenolone, or a multitude of other steroid hormones that are necessary for health, without cholesterol. Even more importantly, you can’t make new cell membranes without cholesterol. So, the major reasons your body makes cholesterol in the first place, and why you have LDL, is to take the cholesterol to the tissue so you can make new cells or repair old damaged ones.”

This information from Dr. Mercola’s article is stunning, and I suggest that you do more personal research into the issue… check out this book:

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease

The truth is amazing!

Flax Shown to be Beneficial Against Cancers

In case you haven’t tried them, let me recommend (I am not affiliated in any way) a great flax seed tortilla chip by R.W. Garcia, “R.W. Garcia Soy & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips.” I am NOT kidding… they are awesome! Anyway, that is just one way I get some flax into my diet. You can also take flax seeds and sprinkle them over you salad! They are great! And, they are very beneficial nutritionally as well!

Flax Shown to Be Effective Against Cancers of the Colon and Breast

“(NaturalNews) Flax oil and flax seeds have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and to help reduce damage to cell membranes. Flax is also important in the body’s ability to reduce inflammation and prevent the many degenerative diseases associated with it. Studies have shown that women with a high intake of flax oil and flax lignans are at much lower risk of developing breast cancer. Research is now documenting the benefits of flax oil, lignans, and flax meal in preventing and treating cancer in the gastrointestinal tract and colon, and breast cancer metastasis. In a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology researchers noted that flax seed oil and flax seed meal are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Their objective was to investigate the feeding of flax seed oil and flax meal to groups of rats with induced precursors of colon cancer. These precursors form in the lining of the colon and rectum prior to the appearance of colorectal polyps. The groups of rats were fed either a controlled diet alone, controlled diet plus soybean oil, controlled diet plus flax oil, or controlled diet plus flax meal. The rats were examined after 17 weeks. Those fed the flax seed oil and the flax seed meal showed reduced incidence of colon cancer precursor by 84% and 87.5% respectively. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity rates were significantly higher in the rats fed flax seed oil and flax seed meal compared to those fed soybean oil. The enzymes in GST play a significant role in the detoxification of such substances as carcinogens, therapeutic drugs, and products of oxidative stress. In the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer researchers note that fatty acid composition of dietary fat plays a vital role in colon tumor development in animal models. Fats containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax oil, and those containing omega-6 fats, such as corn oil, reduced chemically induced colon tumor development in rats. Lignans have also been shown to prevent colon tumor development in animal studies. These researchers investigated the effects of dietary flaxseed meal, a source of both omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, on colon tumor development and compared them with the effects of dietary corn meal. One group of cancer induced rats ate a controlled diet supplemented with corn meal, while another ate the controlled diet supplemented with flaxseed meal. After 35 weeks, the gastrointestinal tract was isolated, and the site, size, and number of tumors were recorded and the tumors were evaluated. Tumor incidence in the corn meal group was 82.6% vs. 29.4% in the flax meal group. Tumor multiplicity was 1.3 for the corn meal group vs. 0.3 for the flax meal group. And tumor size was 44.4 mm for the corn meal group vs. 5.3 mm for the flax meal group. Researchers attributed these amazing statistics to the increased omega-3 fatty acids levels ingested by the flax meal group.”

More Great Benefits from Stevia!

I have long said that stevia is a great herb, and I use it exclusively to sweeten my unsweetened tea when I eat out (as well as at home!) It has been shown to strengthen teeth, as well as the heart muscle. Instead of damaging your health, as UN-natural artificial sweeteners do, stevia actually HELPS! Now there is even more evidence of the health benefits of stevia!

Natural Sweetener Stevia Loaded With Antioxidants; Protects Against DNA Damage

“(NaturalNews) Extracts from the leaf of the Stevia plant have been found to be high in antioxidants that prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer, according to a new Indian study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “These results indicate that Stevia rebaudiana may be useful as a potential source of natural antioxidants,” said lead author Srijani Ghanta, of the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Kolkata. This is good news for stevia, the natural sweetener that has been suppressed for decades by the FDA, but which is now about to go mainstream thanks to interest from Coca-Cola and Cargill. Stevia rebaudiana is a South American shrub that grows in semi-arid areas of Brazil and Paraguay. The leaves of the plant have been used for generations as a sweetener, originally by the Guarani people and more recently throughout South America and Asia. A campaign of intimidation against stevia companies by the FDA has so far prevented the sweetener from being approved for use in foods in the United States or Europe, but it is currently sold as a supplement and has gained mainstream acceptance as a safe, natural, calorie-free sweetener. The FDA, of course, suppressed stevia as a way to propel the sales of aspartame, the artificial chemical sweetener that was pushed through FDA approval by none other than Donald Rumsfeld. Aspartame has never been shown to be safe for human consumption in any honest studies. In the research on stevia mentioned here, researchers used two different chemicals (methanol and ethyl acetate) to obtain extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant. These extracts were found to contain a variety of antioxidants including apigenin, kaempferol and quercitrin. The antioxidant activity of the extracts was tested with a 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay to determine how much extract would be needed to remove half of the free radicals from a solution. For methanol extract, 47.66 micrograms per milliliter extract were needed, while only 9.26 micrograms per milliliter were needed of ethyl acetate extract. When tested against hydroxide radicals, the amount of ethyl acetate needed dropped to 3.08 micrograms per milliliter. The researchers then tested the extracts’ ability to protect DNA strands against damage by hydroxide radicals. It only took 0.1 milligrams per liter of ethyl acetate extract to inhibit DNA strand damage. DNA damage has been linked to a variety of diseases, especially cancer, reproductive problems and developmental defects. Halting DNA damage is also a key to longevity. The recent research may add a boost to anticipated efforts to secure FDA approval for stevia as a food additive in the United States. Stevia extract has 300 times the sweetness of sugar, and it mixes easily into foods or beverages. It causes no significant increase in blood sugar levels, making it safe for diabetics. While many stevia extracts have a slightly bitter aftertaste reminiscent of licorice, a number of manufacturers claim to have figured out how to eliminate this. Already sold as a sweetener in a variety of countries including Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, stevia has not yet been approved for use in the United States or the European Union. Although stevia had been used for decades without any reports of health problems, the FDA labeled it an ‘unsafe food additive’ in 1991 and restricted its use to dietary supplements. It also placed restrictions on the importation of stevia, even going so far as to demand that a recipe book publisher destroy its books that mentioned stevia in recipes.”

So, despite the FDA and their lobbyist friend’s best efforts, stevia is still holding its own against the barrage of forces trying to destroy it! Thankfully, a large number of us in the natural health community know its benefits, and know how to grow and cultivate it ourselves! I look forward to a new era of stevia acceptance and freedom… as with the recent introduction of “Truvia” by Cargill we mentioned in an earlier article.

Avandia Users Have a 60% Higher Rate of Heart Failure

60% HIGHER rate of heart failure. In case you don’t fully grasp that… heart failure is bad. It usually leads to rather permanent death. Sorry to be so factious… but this is just amazing to me! So called “health care professionals” giving patients a drug that increases heart failure by 60%! This is criminal!

Avandia Study Shows 60 Percent Increase in Heart Failure Risk Among Diabetics who Take the Drug

“(NaturalNews) Seniors who take the popular Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia have a 60 percent higher risk of heart failure than patients who take other diabetes medications, according to a new data analysis conducted by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science in Toronto and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ‘Our study suggests that at least in this high-risk population, the harms of the drug may outweigh the benefits,’ lead author Lorraine L. Lipscombe said. Researchers conducted an analysis of the health data for 159,000 people over the age of 64 who had been treated for Type 2 diabetes in the Ontario public health system, including 2,268 who had been given Avandia. Patients treated with Avandia had a 60 percent higher heart failure risk, 40 percent higher risk of experiencing a heart attack, and a 30 percent higher chance of dying during the study period than patients given other oral diabetes drugs. This means that for every 100 people taking Avandia, there would be five more deaths, four more heart attacks and three more heart failure episodes over the course of four years than if those people had not taken the drug.”

Truvia: Has the FDA “Folded” on the Use of Stevia?

The FDA and the sugar and artificial sweetener lobbies have fought hard to keep us from using and being able to buy stevia. Now, they have approved a Cargill product for general use! Wow! Cargill’s “Truvia” went on sale yesterday in New York, is available on-line, and their site says it will be generally available in the Fall of 2008! This looks promising! Truvia is a combination of stevia and erythritol, another sweetener derived from natural sources. Erythritol is produced by a natural process, and is also found in fruits like grapes and pears. Cargill is billing their product as “Nature’s Perfect Sweetness.” Having watched the battle over stevia use, and having used it myself for a very long time, I am looking forward to general availability of a nature sugar alternative for sweetening my tea in restaurants!

Truvia Product Web Site

A blurb from the web site about Truvia: “It’s time to feel good about sweet. And Truvia, a natural sweetener is something to feel good about. It starts with stevia, renowned for its sweet taste. But that’s only the beginning. The stevia plant that Truvia, natural sweetener originates from has been used in South America for sweetening foods and beverages for more than 200 years. And though stevia has been commonly used to sweeten foods, it often contains a bitter aftertaste. The difference with Truvia, is the key part of the stevia plant, which is rebiana. By taking the best-tasting part of the stevia plant, rebiana gives Truvia a brand-new way to enjoy life’s every day moments. Nature has never tasted so sweet. Stevia leaves were discovered centuries ago by the native people of South America and used to flavor hot drinks. But it isn’t just South America. Stevia, and products derived from stevia, is used all over the world, including the United States, Japan and parts of Europe. And with Truvia, you’ll get all of that, zero calories and a clean, pure taste to match. Now that’s universal sweetness.”

FDA Forced to Admit Metal Fillings are Hazardous

As a settlement in a lawsuit, the FDA has reluctantly admitted to common sense. Mercury is a neurotoxin, therefore mercury in fillings can be hazardous. True, they only admit it for babies and expectant mothers… but you have to wonder… what about everyone else?

A Victory for Health — FDA Forced to Admit That Mercury Fillings are Hazardous

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally admitted that metal dental fillings containing mercury can cause health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses. As part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by several consumer advocacy groups, the FDA agreed to alert consumers about the potential risks on its Web site and to issue a more specific rule next year for fillings that contain mercury. The FDA’s Web site now states that: ‘Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.’ Charles Brown, a lawyer for advocacy group Consumers for Dental Choice, said the agency’s move represented an about-face. According to Brown, ‘Gone, gone, gone are all of FDA’s claims that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe … The impact of the re-writing of its position on amalgam can hardly be understated. FDA’s website will no longer be cited by the American Dental Association in public hearings.'”

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