Friday, September 22, 2017

Astrology for the Soul September 21, 2017

Stress Reduction Herbs

How to boost your adrenals

In just one day, I can feel like I’m on a crazy ride of opposites: stress and relaxation, happiness and sadness, bursts of energy and extreme fatigue. It is amazing how many emotions and physiological jolts I experience in 24 hours…sound familiar?!

Your body is extremely resilient and adaptive under a variety of conditions, but it cannot accomplish the demands of whatever happens to be thrown its way without proper nutrition and physiological support. Stress and fatigue tend to be a huge struggle for just about everyone, causing detrimental effects to your physical and mental health.

Businesses are jumping on taking advantage of the growing number of caffeine and sugar addictions, hence the ability to find at least one, if not two, coffee shops on just about every block. The endless supply of sugar filled lattes and carb loaded treats give your body and mind a boost of energy and a quick fix, and then abruptly leave you craving more and further exhausted.

Your body has a surprising ability to manage stress, yet on the inside your body is pleading for rest. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can affect every system in your body like burnt out adrenal glands, overstressed digestive tract, rapid aging, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue, common cold, hormone imbalance, irritable bowel disease, auto-immune disorders, thyroid conditions, and weight loss resistance.

Instead of just reaching for a short-lived remedy, I want to introduce an effective, long-term alternative for your body that will increase your resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

Adaptogens are a class of plants used for their healing abilities of balancing, restoring, and protecting your body as a whole – little miracles I call them.

Adaptogens were granted their name because of their distinctive ability to ‘adapt’ their function according to your body’s needs. An adaptogen does not have a specific action, nor target a certain body region, rather it benefits the body as a whole, being able to respond to any influence or stressor that it needs to.

These rejuvenating plants improve and recharge the health of your adrenal glands, counteracting the harmful effects of stress. Cells are accessed more energy and the ability to eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process to help the body use oxygen more efficiently. More cellular energy in combination with boosting the adrenal glands strengthens the body’s ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and fatigue – calming you down and boosting you up simultaneously.

While prescription drugs remain in your system and influence multiple organs, once an adaptogen has completed its job, those herbs are eliminated or absorbed into the body without any side effects. Adaptogens work slowly and gently, contrasting the instantaneous gratification of the caffeine cycle, you must be patient because they work subtly but the benefits are undeniable and long lasting.

Here are 6 of my favorite adaptogens:

1. Ashwaganda
The easer of anxiety, depression and sleep issues. Ashwaganda has immuno-modulating effects that boost and regulate the immune system and lower cortisol levels. You can take Ashwaganda is supplement form, I recommend Organic India Ashwaganda.

2. Astralagus
Increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to prevent and repair stress-related damage. By reducing the ability of stress hormones like cortisol to bind to receptors, astralagus boosts immunity and shields the body from the effects of stress.  I recommend adding 20-30 drops of Astralagus Root Extract to your morning juices or smoothies.

3. Cordycep Mushroom
Funguses with antioxidant properties include Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms. Each have adaptogenic, anti-tumor, and immune enhancing properties.  You can easily add a scoop of Cordycep powder to Smoothies, I like Mushroom Matrix Organic Cordycep.

4. Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Referred to as the “elixir of anti-aging,” holy basil helps fight fatigue and stress, boosts the immune system, and regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormone levels.  My favorite way to enjoy Holy Basil is in a warm cup of Tulsi Tea by Organic India.

5. Rhodiola (Golden Root)
Contains the phytochemical salisdroside which helps resist anxiety and aging. Other benefits include suppression of the production of cortisol, increased levels of stress-resistant proteins, restoration of normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress, resistance to mental and physical fatigue, and protection against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and toxic chemicals. Additional research has shown this adaptogen can protect the heart and liver, increase use of oxygen, improve memory and longevity, as well as aid in weight loss.  One of the easiest ways to take is in supplement form, I suggest Gaia Herbs Rhodiola.

6. Schisandra
Used for preventing early aging which counteracts cortisol’s aging effects. Schisandra is also used to increase lifespan, increase resistance to disease, increase energy and physical performance, normalize blood sugar, and stimulate the immune system.  You can easily take as a supplement, like these Planetary Herb Adrenal Complex or add into shakes, juices, smoothies with Dragon Herb’s Goji & Shizandra.

Incorporating adaptogens into your daily regimen will allow you to feel a huge improvement in your energy and stress levels, a bigger improvement than you could think some small plants can do.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Petroleum Jelly

Stop Using Vaseline Immediately! 4 reasons you should never put petroleum jelly on your skin

Petroleum Jelly, the main ingredient in Vaseline®, is often used in beauty products and even on its own to moisturize skin. It’s cheap. It’s unscented. It seems to work well for softening skin, so what could be the problem?



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What is Petroleum Jelly?
Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the oil refining process. This means it is not sustainable or eco-friendly, and it also explains some of the potential problems with using it.
Petroleum jelly was originally found in the bottom of oil rigs and is further refined for use in the beauty industry. According to packaging and safety info, all of the harmful components are removed before use in beauty or personal care products, but some sources argue that it still contains some harmful components (like hydrocarbons).

How Does Petroleum Jelly Work on Skin?
Petroleum jelly is used in everything from lotions to baby products for its ability to create a protective barrier on the skin and hold in moisture. On labels, it may also appear as Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Liquid Paraffin, or Paraffin Oil.
While the ability to hold in moisture may seem like a good thing, it can have its downsides as well. Since petroleum jelly is both waterproof and not water soluble, it creates a waterproof barrier on the skin. 

At first glance, this may sound good, but it also means that it blocks pores and can lock in residue and bacteria. This is also the reason petroleum jelly should not be used on a burn or sunburn, as it locks in heat and can block the body’s ability to heal.
Also, while it certainly gives the appearance of hydrated and moisturized skin, this may be an illusion as there is nothing in petroleum jelly that is actually nourishing the skin. If you are looking for something to help hold in moisture and nourish the skin, some natural products accomplish both (see the end of this post for a list).
Problems with Petroleum Jelly

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Besides its pore-blocking potential, petroleum jelly carries some potentially bigger problems as well.
Harmful Hydrocarbons
Petroleum jelly can’t be metabolized by the skin and just sits as a barrier until it wears off. This means that the body isn’t able to gain any benefit from petroleum jelly (like it can from nutrient rich substances like shea butter or cocoa butter), and there is concern that some of the components (like hydrocarbons) may be stored in fat tissue within the body.
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In fact, a 2011 study found that:

There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 g per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal absorption.
This study was interesting because it evaluated both the long-term storage potential of these hydrocarbons in the body and also a woman’s ability to pass them on to her child through breastfeeding. It looked at fat tissue samples obtained from women during a c-section and a follow-up of breast milk samples and found a strong correlation between the amounts of fat tissue and the amounts passed on in breastmilk.
This suggests the potential for long-term accumulation of these hydrocarbons in the body. The study found no link between nutritional habits and hydrocarbon levels in the body but did find a strong potential link between cosmetic and beauty product use and contamination, suggesting that beauty products may be a major source of hydrocarbon exposure.
As moms, this study is especially interesting, since it shows the potential for passing on these contaminants to our children during breastfeeding.  We also know that we can’t metabolize these substances, so they can build up in the body and are difficult to remove.
Collagen Breakdown
Because of the barrier that mineral oil/petroleum jelly creates on the skin, there is also some concern about its potential to cause collagen breakdown (the opposite of what most women want).
Essentially, the concern is that when petroleum jelly coats the skin, it blocks the skin’s natural ability to breathe and absorb nutrients. This can slow the cell renewal process and cause the skin to pull the necessary moisture and nutrients from within, leading to collagen breakdown over time (aka wrinkles!).
Estrogen Dominance
A growing problem in today’s world, estrogen dominance is when the body has high levels of estrogen and proportionately low levels of progesterone to balance it. It is linked to infertility, menstrual problems, accelerated aging, allergies, and autoimmune problems as well as nutrient deficiencies, sleep problems and even some types of cancers.
Many products (including petroleum jelly) contain chemicals called xenoestrogens, which may increase estrogen problems in the body. Studies have shown that these chemicals may act on hormone receptors in the body and lead to estrogen dominance.
More Serious Problems
There is the potential that petroleum based products contain other harmful chemicals like 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen found in almost a quarter of all beauty products tested.  
Additionally, as drug commercials like to warn us, “other more serious complications may occur.” While more severe problems are rare, they can happen, and the statistics don’t matter if you are the 1% that ends up with the problem (though to put it in perspective, it is probably about the chance that you actually have liver cancer due to the skin rash you searched for on WebMD).
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One of these serious problems is called lipid pneumonia. Though rare, this occurs when small amounts of the petroleum jelly are inhaled and build up in the lungs (as mentioned earlier, the body can’t metabolize or break down petroleum jelly). This creates a potentially severe inflammation of the lungs.
Alternatives To Petroleum Products for the Skin

Thankfully, there are many great alternatives to petroleum jelly and mineral oil that help increase moisture on the skin and provide nourishment as well. The best part? Most of them can be used alone, and you don’t even have to make anything!
If you are looking for a simple alternative to petroleum jelly or Vaseline®, try:
  • Shea Butter A natural skin superfood that is high in Vitamins A, E, and F. It also contains beneficial fatty acids that nourish skin and it may reduce skin inflammation and increase collagen production. It is excellent on its own or in homemade beauty products. (This is the one I like).
  • Cocoa Butter – A great source of antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids, cocoa butter is another great product for skin. There is even some evidence that it may reduce the signs of aging. (This is the brand I’ve used)
  • Beeswax – A great substitute for the waterproof and protective properties of petroleum jelly without the hydrocarbons. Though not usually used alone, beeswax can be blended into homemade beauty products for its skin-protective ability and is especially useful in lip balms and body creams.
  • Coconut Oil Coconut oil has so many benefits, internal and external, and it can be great for the skin. It does cause breakouts in some people, so I always suggest testing on a small area of skin first, but it is a source of skin-nourishing fatty acids, lauric acid, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Almond Oil – A liquid oil that is fragrance-free and nourishing to the skin.
  • Jojoba Oil – A perfect choice for skin care because it naturally resembles sebum, the oily substance naturally produced by the body to nourish and protect skin. I like to mix Jojoba Oil with Shea butter for a simple natural lotion.
Petroleum Jelly Free Skin Recipes
If you’re feeling crafty, there are a lot of great skin-nourishing recipes that you can make using the simple ingredients above:
The Bottom Line
I’ve never been a fan of petroleum jelly (or Vaseline®) because every time I’ve tried it, my naturally oily skin went crazy and I had breakouts for at least a week. Since there are many potential problems with using it and a variety of great natural alternatives, I’m glad it is a product I never actually started using.
Do you use petroleum jelly? Have you switched to these alternatives instead?
Here’s one more great alternative – Homemade Rub For Colds and Skin Problems!
Adams, R. (2013, October 21). Petroleum Jelly May Not Be As Harmless As You Think. Retrieved from
Concin, N., Hofstetter, G., Plattner, B., Tomovski, C., Fiselier, K., Gerritzen, K., . . . Grob, K. (2011, November). Evidence for cosmetics as a source of mineral oil contamination in women. Retrieved from
Vrabie, C. M., Candido, A., Van, M. B., & Jonker, M. T. (2010, July). Specific in vitro toxicity of crude and refined petroleum products: II. Estrogen (alpha and beta) and androgen receptor-mediated responses in yeast assays. Retrieved from
Environmental Working Group. (2007, February 8). EWG Research Shows 22 Percent of All Cosmetics May Be Contaminated With Cancer-Causing Impurity. Retrieved from
Brown, A. C., Slocum, P. C., Putthoff, S. L., Wallace, W. E., & Foresman, B. H. (1994, March). Exogenous lipoid pneumonia due to nasal application of petroleum jelly. Retrieved from
Vasil, A. (2013, February 21). Can you recommend alternatives to petroleum jelly? Retrieved from
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Serum Ferritin and GGT Two Potent Health Indicators You Need to Know

Serum Ferritin and GGT — Two Potent Health Indicators You Need to Know

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Story at-a-glance
  • By monitoring your serum ferritin (stored iron) and GGT levels and taking steps to lower them if they’re too high, you can avoid serious health problems
  • Virtually all adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for iron overload due to inefficient iron excretion. Left untreated, it can contribute to cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and other chronic health problems
  • GGT is a liver enzyme involved in glutathione metabolism and the transport of amino acids. GGT can be used as a screening marker for excess free iron and is a potent predictor of mortality

By Dr. Mercola
While many health screens and lab tests are overrated or unnecessary, there are a few that are vitally important, such as vitamin D. I recommend checking your vitamin D level at least twice a year.
Two other really important tests are serum ferritin (which measures stored iron) and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase or sometimes called gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT; a liver enzyme correlated with iron toxicity, disease risk and all-cause mortality). By monitoring your serum ferritin and GGT levels and taking steps to lower them if they're too high, you can avoid serious health problems.
For adults, I strongly recommend getting a serum ferritin test and GGT on an annual basis. When it comes to iron overload, I believe it can be every bit as dangerous to your health as vitamin D deficiency. In this interview, Gerry Koenig,1 former chairman of the Iron Disorders Institute and the Hemochromatosis Foundation, explains the value of these two tests.
Iron Overload Is More Common Than Iron Deficiency
Iron is one of the most common nutritional supplements. Not only can you get it as an isolated supplement, but it's also added to most multivitamins. Many processed foods are also fortified with iron. While iron is necessary for biological function, when you get too much, it can do tremendous harm.
Unfortunately, the first thing people think about when they hear "iron" is anemia, or iron deficiency, not realizing that iron overload is actually a more common problem, and far more dangerous. Many doctors don't understand or appreciate the importance of checking for iron overload.
Virtually all adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for iron overload due to inefficient iron excretion, since they do not lose blood on a regular basis. Blood loss is the primary way to lower excess iron, as the body has no active excretion mechanisms. Another common cause of excess iron is the regular consumption of alcohol, which will increase the absorption of any iron in your diet.
For instance, if you drink wine with your steak, you will likely absorb more iron than you need. There's also an inherited disease, hemochromatosis, which causes your body to accumulate excessive and dangerously damaging levels of iron.
If left untreated, high iron can contribute to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and many other health problems, including gouty arthritis. In one small study,2 100 percent of the patients achieved marked reduction in attacks or complete remission after phlebotomy was used to remove iron and maintain an iron level at near-iron deficiency — "the lowest body iron store compatible with normal erythropoiesis and therefore absence of anemia."
Iron causes all this harm by catalyzing a reaction within the inner mitochondrial membrane. When iron reacts with hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl free radicals are formed. These are among the most damaging free radicals known, causing severe mitochondrial dysfunction, which in turn is at the heart of most chronic degenerative diseases.
GGT Is a Potent Predictor of Mortality

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GGT is a liver enzyme involved in glutathione metabolism and the transport of amino acids and peptides. Not only will the GGT test tell you if you have liver damage, it can also be used as a screening marker for excess free iron and is a great indicator of your sudden cardiac death risk.
In recent years, scientists have discovered GGT is highly interactive with iron, and when both your serum ferritin and GGT are high, you are at significantly increased risk of chronic health problems, because then you have a combination of free iron, which is highly toxic, and iron storage to keep that toxicity going.3
"Recently, [GGT] was proven by the life insurance industry as the single measure that is most predictive of early mortality,"4,5 Koenig says. "In other epidemiological studies, it's linked to pretty much every cause of death,6 because it provides those free radicals and hydroxyl radicals …
I believe that … people born after World War II are now at greater risk because of the environmental toxicants we face … Basically, reduction in glutathione levels — your body's most important antioxidant — is indicated by an increase in GGT …
[G]lyphosate, excess iron, all of the substances in the environment — whether you take it in as food or it's in the air — that utilize your body's toxic waste disposal system in some way [will] reduce your antioxidants, whether it's vitamin D, cholesterol, vitamin E or vitamin A. A reduction of those makes you more vulnerable to disease, particularly chronic disease and autoimmune diseases across the board."
Ideal GGT and Iron Levels
As with many other lab tests, the "normal" ranges for GGT and serum ferritin are far from ideal.7 If you're in the "normal" range, you're virtually guaranteed to develop some sort of health problem. Based on Gerry's recommendation I had my GGT tested last month and it was 17, which is healthy especially since my ferritin level is 37. You really need both tests to confirm lack of iron toxicity as he explains in the full interview.

Ideal GGT Level, units per liter (U/L)
Average level, above which your risk for chronic disease increases significantly
"Normal" GGT Level8
Less than 16 U/L
25 U/L
Up to 70 U/L
Less than 9 U/L
18 U/L
Up to 45 U/L
According to Koenig, women with a GGT above 30 U/L have a higher risk of cancer and autoimmune disease. Interestingly, while for most other tests the range between what's healthy and what's risky tends to be quite broad, in the case of GGT, the range between health and disease is in the single digits.
"Part of it is dependent on body weight," Koenig says. "Strangely enough, the most recent indications are that people who are too thin (whatever their level of GGT is), it could be harmful if [their GGT is] relatively high.9 For instance, for a thin woman with a GGT … in the range of the second quartile, which is going to be generally 14 to 18 today it can be dangerous if she's expecting to have children and has a very low BMI."10
When it comes to serum ferritin, a level of 200 to 300 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) falls within the normal range for women and men respectively, which is FAR too high for optimal health. An ideal level for adult men and non-menstruating women is somewhere between 30 and 60 ng/mL.
You do not want to be below 20 ng/mL or above 80 ng/mL. The most commonly used threshold for iron deficiency in clinical studies is 12 to 15 ng/mL.11 Maintaining a healthy iron level is also important during pregnancy. Having a level of 60 or 70 ng/mL is associated with greater odds of poor pregnancy outcomes.12 That said, iron deficiency during pregnancy is equally problematic, so make sure you get tested.
Last but not least, since the ferritin and GGT are interactive, low GGT tends to be protective against higher ferritin. So, if your GGT is low, you're largely protected even if your ferritin is a bit higher than ideal. Still, it would be wise to take steps to lower your ferritin to a more ideal level nonetheless. On the other hand, even if your ferritin is low, having an elevated GGT levels is cause for concern, and needs to be addressed.
When Might a Transferrin Saturation Test Be Useful?
If you are thin, with a body mass index (BMI) below 22 or 23, Koenig suggests getting a transferrin test as well, which gives you a percentage saturation level. A level of 25 to 35 percent is typically considered healthy. In the 1970s, the transferrin saturation test was used as a marker for early death. Having a transferrin saturation percentage of over 55 indicated a 60 percent increased risk for premature death.
At that time, an estimated 2.6 percent of the U.S. population had transferrin saturation percentages that high. Today, it's down to half of that, in large part because of the increase in obesity, which "dilutes" your saturation percentage, and the transferrin test is no longer used as a marker for early death. However, if you are very thin, it can still be a useful test.
"Anything between 25 and 35 is safe. If you're unusually thin, I would get that test because there you could have unsuspectingly high transferrin saturation, particularly if you're malnourished … Anorexia nervosa has severe effects on the brain when you're that thin and your BMI is at 14 or 15," Koenig says.
Why Excess Iron Is so Dangerous
Your body creates energy by passing the electrons from carbs and fats you eat as fuel to oxygen through the electron transport chain in your mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Ninety-five percent of the time, the oxygen is converted to water. But 0.5 to 5 percent of the time, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created. ROS are not all bad as they are important biological signaling molecules, but excessive ROS leads to mitochondrial damage and dysfunction.
Iron can react with hydrogen peroxide in the inner mitochondrial membrane. This is a normal part of cellular aerobic respiration. But when you have excessive iron, it catalyzes the formation of excessive hydroxyl free radicals from the peroxide, which decimate your mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial electron transport proteins and cellular membranes. This is how iron overload accelerates chronic disease.
If you eat excessive net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) the situation is further exacerbated, as burning carbs as your primary fuel can add another 30 to 40 percent more ROS on top of the hydroxyl free radicals generated by the presence of high iron.
Unfortunately, most people reading this are burning carbs as their primary fuel. If you struggle with any kind of chronic health problem and have high iron and eat a standard American diet that is high in net carbs, normalizing your iron level (explained below) and implementing a ketogenic diet as described in my book, "Fat for Fuel," can go a long way toward improving your health.
Taking extra antioxidants to suppress ROS generated by high iron alone or in combination with a high-sugar diet is inadvisable, as ROS also act as important signaling molecules. They're not all bad. They cause harm only when produced in excess.
Your best bet is to lower the production of ROS. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to eat a diet high in healthy fats, adequate in protein and low in net carbs. Eating healthy fats can make a bigger difference than you might think, especially if you have high iron.
How to Lower Your Iron
The good news is it's easy to lower your iron level if it's too high. One of the easiest ways is simply to donate blood two or three times a year. If you have severe overload you may need to do more regular phlebotomies. Two years ago, my ferritin was 150 ng/mL. I implemented self-phlebotomy where I would take out anywhere from 2 to 6 ounces of blood every few weeks, which brought me below 100 ng/mL.
I stopped the phlebotomy when I started a comprehensive detoxification strategy involving near and far infrared sauna, and interestingly, despite the fact I was no longer removing blood, my ferritin continued to drop over the next nine months. Now, it's down to 37 — far lower than I was ever able to get down to with therapeutic phlebotomies, and as I mentioned earlier I have a healthy GGT level of 17.
As it turns out, an effective detoxification program can lower iron as well. While this was a surprise to me, Koenig confirms that this has indeed been documented by Dr. F.S. Facchini in some of his research on iron. While I've long recommended donating blood as the solution to iron overload, I now believe a balanced approach using phlebotomy, detoxification and reducing dietary iron, especially meat, is the best way to go about it.
Keep in mind that trying to control high iron through your diet alone can be risky, as you will also forgo many valuable nutrients. That said, to avoid maximizing iron absorption, avoid eating iron-rich foods in combination with vitamin C-rich foods or beverages, as the vitamin C will increase iron absorption. If needed, you could also take a curcumin supplement. Curcumin acts as a potent chelator of iron and can be a useful supplement if your iron is elevated.
How to Lower Your GGT
GGT is inversely related to glutathione, a potent antioxidant produced in your body. As your GGT level rises, your glutathione goes down. This is part of the equation explaining how elevated GGT harms your health. By elevating your glutathione level, you will therefore lower your GGT. The amino acid cysteine, found in whey protein, poultry and eggs, plays an important role in your body's production of glutathione.
Red meat, which does not contain cysteine, will tend to raise GGT, as will alcohol, so both should be avoided.13 Research also suggests eating at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables rich in in vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, anthocyanins and folate per week can help reduce GGT.14,15 Examples include carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots and tomatoes.
Also, be aware that certain medications can raise your GGT. If this is the case, please confer with your doctor to determine whether you might be able to stop the medication or switch to something else, and avoid over-the-counter medicines, including ibuprofen and aspirin, both of which can damage your liver.
General detoxification is another important component if your GGT is high, as your liver's job is to remove toxins from your body. The fact that your GGT is elevated means your liver is under stress.
The Protein-Iron-GGT Connection
I personally typically eat only 2 to 4 ounces of meat per week Americans tend to overeat meat in general, and most of it is dangerous CAFO meat loaded with toxins. Additionally, while the meat supplies you with more iron than you likely need, excess protein can also cause problems. Another little-known fact is that giving iron to a person who is malnourished and cannot process protein properly can be extremely dangerous. Koenig explains:
"I've been studying malnutrition for several years now, mainly kwashiorkor (also known as protein-calorie malnutrition), which is a typical malnutrition disease, along with marasmus in developing countries. There you have a situation where the children, particularly in kwashiorkor, cannot synthesize important proteins because of essential amino acid deficiencies … 
[When] giving iron too early in a recovering child with kwashiorkor, or an adult for that matter, the measure that skyrockets early on, in that particular case, happens to be GGT.
High amounts of free iron [are dangerous] because they don't have the proteins to safely contain that iron into either transferrin, which is the protein that protects the body from the iron in the bloodstream, or ceruloplasmin, which is necessary for copper transport. To get iron safely into the brain, it needs to be complexed with ceruloplasmin. Those can't be synthesized in a malnourished person. [So, giving] iron to a malnourished person is highly toxic."
African and Chinese Research Confirm GGT's Relation to Chronic Disease
Koenig recently found a few African studies showing the importance of GGT. In the 1990s, when GGT was tested broadly in the U.S. as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III, 1988 to 1994), results revealed that African-Americans had higher levels of both serum ferritin and GGT than Caucasians and Hispanics.
"Back then, those measurements were compared to measurements in Zimbabwe. In [Zimbabweans] who were not exposed to spraying for mosquitoes … the [ferritin and GGT measurements] were roughly half.
They had obviously been on a native diet … But I found, through several papers recently submitted in South Africa, that those measurements now are very high. They're catching up and probably surpassing the American Blacks' measurements, and they're suffering the [same] chronic diseases …"
More recent studies from South Africa depict increasing GGT levels are associated with insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disease risk.16 Moreover, a recent Chinese study showed that while having a GGT level above the midpoint raised the risk of chronic kidney disease, when combined with high serum ferritin, that risk increased nearly fivefold.17 Other common diseases associated with high iron and GGT include diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Blood Donations Lead to Radical Reduction in Disease
A number of epidemiological studies have also documented a significant reduction in chronic diseases among those who donate blood two or three times a year — findings that support the notion that iron overload is prevalent, and contributes to chronic disease. In some, heart disease and cancer were reduced by as much as 50 percent, Koenig notes.
Unfortunately, many doctors are still unaware of the importance of checking for iron overload (based on ideal levels and not what's considered normal), and may overlook the GGT test as well.
"One of the reasons it's difficult to get doctors to order GGT tests is they're discouraged because they know some prescription drugs increase [GGT]. Although the overall effect may be protective, it's not a happy situation to see a measure of disease increase just by taking a drug. There's resistance in that area of getting tested. But it's a pretty simple test. It would be recommended. And blood donation basically keeps one healthy," Koenig says.
In summary, if you're concerned about maintaining your health and preventing chronic disease, I would strongly encourage you to get a ferritin and a GGT test regularly, and if needed, implement the strategies discussed above to get them into their optimal ranges.
Serum ferritin and GGT are markers for iron toxicity, which is a major mostly unrecognized contributor to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and many other chronic diseases. High iron even increases your risk of infections. As noted by Koenig, you really don't want to check into a hospital with high iron, as your risk of contracting a hospital-acquired infection will be that much greater. The good news is, it's so easy to turn around, thereby dramatically reducing your risk.
More Information

To learn more, I recommend visiting, where you can also order your serum ferritin and GGT tests or either of their special FeGGT-LifePRO™ test panels. If either serum ferritin or GGT is elevated, you need to take action. The treatment couldn't be simpler. Unless you're a menstruating woman, simply donate blood two to three times a year. If you do not qualify to donate blood, ask your doctor to write you a prescription for therapeutic phlebotomy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

7 most common toxins people apply to their skin Daily without even knowing it

The 7 most common toxins people apply to their skin DAILY without even knowing it


(Natural News) It’s so easy to say you are living a healthy life when you are safeguarding what you eat and drink, trying to stick to mostly organic and raw whole foods, but millions of Americans often forget the fact that their skin is their largest organ, and most body care products are loaded with allergens, irritants and carcinogenic chemicals that are easily absorbed by their porous skin and thus enter the blood and lymphatic system. Never underestimate how easily chemicals we breathe in or put on our skin have just as much effect on our health as what we consume.
What’s worse is that the personal care products industry as a whole has virtually no regulations or inspections from the FDA, so companies and corporations literally “get away with murder” regarding a slow poisoning of people who don’t pay attention to ingredients or know the names of the “repeat offenders” that are found in thousands of products.
You won’t believe how fast and easily the skin absorbs dangerous chemicals. Skin absorption rates for chemicals were tested and published in the American Journal of Public Health. Fragrance ingredients are absorbed at an astonishing 100 percent rate. Your face, underarms and genitalia are also much more vulnerable to absorbing toxins than other broader body surfaces, so be extra careful when inspecting ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, deodorants, antiperspirants and powders. Take extra special care to inspect baby products also, which are barely regulated at all for health safety. Here are some rules of thumb to abide by when selecting body care products.
If you cannot pronounce an ingredient and you would not eat it, you probably should NOT put it on your skin, hair, lips or fingernails
Do the ingredient lists in most body care products you buy look like formulas for chemistry class experiments? You may be wondering how the heck these ingredients are supposed to help you take care of your body, and that’s because they don’t. Fancy words like preservatives, additives, fragrances, emulsifiers, conditioners, smoothing agents, straightening agents and derivatives might simply mean YOU and your children are the guinea pigs for untested, unregulated chemistry experiments, and you could wind up in a laboratory being studied for some disease or disorder the doctors and scientists just can’t seem to “find a cure” for at all.
Here are some common chemicals you may find in the cocktails and concoctions sold as “all natural” or “pure and natural.” Some corporations and companies that brag about using organic ingredients will still add in other chemicals and toxic agents that lead to health problems, so you really have to read the entire ingredients list carefully and be your own filter. Some products will brag about not containing two or three popular toxins, but then still include plenty of other carcinogens. Watch out for these body care “criminals:”
  • Phthalates
  • Parabens
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Sodium Luaroyl Sarcosinate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laueth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Sulfates
  • Tocopheryl acetate
  • Cyclotetrasiloxane
  • Cocoamidopropyl Betaine
  • Olefin Sulfonate
  • Petroleum and petroleum-based derivatives (industrial chemicals often listed as coloring and dyes)
  • Disodium EDTA
  • BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Methylparaben
  • Iodopropynyl buutylcarbamate
  • Polyisobutene (a synthetic polymer)
  • Cocamide DEA
  • MIT (Methylisothiazolinone)
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
The Cosmetic “Dirty Dozen” – Beautifying ingredients that aren’t very “pretty” at all
One out of every eight beauty product ingredients are actually industrial chemicals. This means if you put them on your skin, hair, lips or fingernails, your body will be absorbing pesticides, hormone disruptors, reproductive toxins, plasticizers, surfactants, paints, inks, degreasers and other cancer-causing agents. A U.S. researchers report on toxic beauty product ingredients found that at least 80 percent of cosmetics contain at least one of the following toxic chemicals:
– BHA and BHT (often found in makeup and moisturizers)
– Coal tar dyes listed as “CI” with a five digit number (watch for p-phenylenediamine and FD&C Blue No. 1)
– DEA, MEA and TEA – chemicals that are already proven harmful to fish and wildlife (remember humans are animals too)
– Dibutyl phthalate (check your nail care products)
– Formaldehyde (embalming fluid for the dead) and Urea (animal urine that slowly releases formaldehyde) “preservatives”
– Parabens
– Parfum or fragrance (also listed as “unscented”) – linked to asthma, allergies, neurotoxic effects and cancer
– PEG compounds (may include 1,4-dioxane cancer-causing ingredient and/or propylene glycol)
– Petrolatum (could be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or “PAHs”)
– Siloxanes and Methicones (used for smoothing, softening and moisturizing agents)
– Sodium Laureth (or Lauryl) Sulfate (foaming agent for shampoos, bubble bath, cleansers and cosmetics often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane)
– Triclosan (often found in toothpastes, antiperspirants, cleansers) – contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria and can be an endocrine disruptor for humans.
Just how many of the 7 most common body care toxins are YOU using daily?
#1. Antibacterial hand cleansers (destroys good bacteria too)
#2. Talc (baby powder, foot powder, body powder)
#3. Petroleum (common lip balms, baby oils and Vaseline)
#4. Phthalates
#5. Sodium lauryl sulfate
#6. Parabens
#7. Lead (common in lipstick)
Learn more about the ingredients in the products you use at
Sources for this article include: