Tuesday, June 30, 2015

10 Essential Nutrients For Heart Health

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Besides housing the day of celebration of your sweetheart, February is American Heart Month as well.
Did you know that the average adult heart beats 72 times a minute; 100,000 times a day; 3,600,000 times a year; and 2.5 billion times during a lifetime?  Everyday, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles.  In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back!
I am sure you do know that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States; one person dies each minute from its affects.  The vast majority of these deaths are completely preventable!
Here are ten essential nutrients to support your heart with the energy it needs to beat healthfully and happily for years to come!
10 Essential Nutrients For Heart Health
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Salmon (be sure to get wild-caught and not farm-raised or Atlantic) and sardines are great sources of the omega-3 fats. The omega-3 fatty acids eicopentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) support your heart by decreasing inflammation, preventing clot formation and helping to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Studies show that consuming two or more servings of salmon per week is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease.
If you do not eat fish, another important source of Omega-3 fatty acids can be flax seed.  Be aware that flax seed contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) only.  ALA must be converted in our body to EPA and DHA and due to nutrient imbalances some of us are unable to make this conversion, therefore consuming flax seed alone may not be enough.
2. Quercetin
Apples are a natural source of quercetin.  Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid that contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help to prevent blood clots.
The Iowa Women’s Health Study showed that those who ate apples regularly had a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.  So, an apple a day may actually keep the doctor away!  Quercetin may also be taken as a dietary supplement.
3. Folate
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce contain high amounts of folate, which helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid and people with blood levels over 12 mmol/L have been found to be at higher risk of heart attacks, vascular disease and strokes.
4. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Beef, organ meats, soy oil, sardines and mackerel contain CoQ10.   However, the amounts of CoQ10 found in these foods are relatively low and this may be one nutrient that is best taken as a supplement. CoQ10 acts as a natural anti-oxidant and energy-producer for every cell in our body. Our heart muscles contain the highest amounts of CoQ10.
An analysis of twelve clinical trials showed that CoQ10 reduces blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure.  Prescription cholesterol-lowering medications, referred to as statins, deplete coQ10 levels so if you are taking one of these medications it is a must that you supplement with CoQ10.
5. Monounsaturated fats
Avocado, olive oil, pecans, walnuts and almonds are wonderful sources of these heart healthy monounsaturated fats.
Studies have also shown that people who ate an avocado every day for a week reduced their LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) and triglyceride levels, which are associated with heart disease, by an average of 17 percent.  These same studies showed that at the same time, HDL (‘good cholesterol’) levels increased.
6. L-Carnitine
Avocado, fermented soy foods and animal protein contain L-carnitine.  L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative found in almost all of our cells. It’s essential for healthy cholesterol levels as well as aiding in breaking down fats into energy so that our heart muscle can function properly.
Two recent clinical trials reported that L-carnitine given immediately after a heart attack improved recovery and those taking it with heart failure showed improved exercise tolerance.
7. Lycopene
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene.  Lycopene, which gives tomatoes it’s red color is an antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
A study published in Atherosclerosis showed that lycopene increased levels of super oxide dismutase (SOD), which in turn reduced blood pressure as well as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels.  hsCRP is a marker of cardiac inflammation and if elevated, is a risk factor for cardio vascular disease.
8. Magnesium
Walnuts and spinach are awesome sources of magnesium.  Every organ in our body, and especially our heart, needs magnesium to function properly.   Magnesium is essential for a normal heartbeat. Magnesium is the main treatment for a heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
Magnesium has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in several large studies and may help those recovering from heart attacks as well.
9. Polyphenols
Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are packed with Polyphenols.  Polyphenols help to increase nitric oxide production in our body, which in turn causes blood vessels to relax and dilate and thereby lowering blood pressure.
A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed eating about a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure.
10. Resveratrol
Dark chocolate and red wine contain resveratrol.  Resveratrol prevents blood clotting as well as enhances antioxidant and nitric oxide production leading to lowed blood pressure.  Though, you would need to drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of dark chocolate to receive these benefits.  This again may be one heart-healthy nutrient that is best taken as a supplement.  However, today is Valentine’s Day, so do enjoy that glass of red wine and those dark chocolate truffles without guilt.

Originally published on MindBodyGreen.  Photo credit MindBodyGreen.

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FDA “Compounds” Its Attack on Supplements

FDA “Compounds” Its Attack on Supplements
The FDA’s hostility toward both supplements and compounded medicine is legendary—after all, they compete with the FDA-approved drugs that pay the government’s bills. Now the agency is attacking compounded supplements. Action Alert!
A few weeks ago, we reported on an amendment designed to fix a number of the most problematic regulations arising from Congress’s Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA). The amendment would clarify provisions governing “office use,” allowing physicians to keep certain quantities of compounded drugs on hand in their office, and also remove the cap on interstate shipments if the medication is for an individual patient. ANH-USA strongly supports this amendment, as it would ensure patient access to important compounded medications which are currently endangered.
Keep in mind that the House Appropriations Committee recently scolded the FDA for implementing the law “in a manner inconsistent with its legislative intent.” This isn’t the first time that members of Congress have made it clear that the FDA is going too far in its compounding regulations.
Despite these warnings, the FDA continues its attack on compounding. The latest meeting of the Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee (PCAC), which is advising the FDA as it drafts the new rules, revealed a new and serious cause for concern—this time related to what ingredients can be compounded.
At the PCAC meeting, an FDA representative said that nutritional supplements will need to be on a pre-approved list in order to be compounded, and solicited nominations from the public for the “bulk ingredients list.” Whoa—where did this come from? Where in the legislation does it say that the FDA can ban compounded supplements?
The FDA might reply that supplements can be approved. But will they be? In addition, as we reported previously, nominating a substance for the list is a herculean task, requiring mountains of data, resources, and expertise to comply with the all the arcane rules governing such submissions. We noted that smaller organizations would find it difficult or even impossible to meet the FDA’s requirements, tipping the balance in favor of large companies who would, as usual, support the FDA’s rules as a means of eliminating the competition. This includes some major drug makers who also have a foothold in the supplement market.
Does this mean that all supplements in need of compounding must go through the onerous process of being nominated—and approved—for the FDA’s bulk ingredients list? And what happens when the FDA approves one supplement but not another complementary one, so that the first supplement cannot even be used? The FDA has no clue about how supplements work together—how vitamin K2 must be taken with calcium, for example, so that calcium will go into the bones, where it’s needed, instead of into the blood, where it would be dangerous.
What’s most troubling about this latest action is that the FDA would end up punishing the most sensitive patients who need custom supplements because their bodies’ biology or genetics require it. Why deny these patients important supplements and medications?
We are working with key members of Congress to direct two pointed questions to the FDA:
  1. By what legislative authority would you prevent supplements that are not on your pre-approved bulk ingredient list from being compounded?
  2. By what authority would you exclude compounded supplements from your pre-approved bulk ingredients list when they are prescribed by a physician?

Action Alert! Tell the FDA to answer our questions about this latest attack on compounding. Please send your message immediately.

What is the role of the gut microbiome in developing Parkinson's disease?

A survey of the current literature suggests complex interactions, as reported in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease

Amsterdam, NL, June 23, 2015 - In recent years, an important Parkinson's disease (PD) research focus has been on gut-related pathology, pathophysiology, and symptoms. Gastrointestinal dysfunction, in particular constipation, affects up to 80% of PD patients and idiopathic constipation is one of the strongest risk-factors for PD. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and coffee consumption, as well as blood urate levels, have been associated with a decreased PD risk. These factors may also be influenced by the bacteria living in the human gut mediating the effects of various chemicals and nutrients on disease processes. In a contribution in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, researchers review some of the latest studies linking gut microbiota to PD.
"Considering the gastrointestinal involvement in PD, it was recently speculated, that the associations between smoking, coffee, and PD risk could be mediated by gut microbiota," explained lead investigator Filip Scheperjans, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Hospital. "Through a comprehensive review of the medical literature, we looked at the possible mediatory role of gut microbiota, taking into account recent findings on microbiome composition in PD and their relevance to gut inflammation and permeability, as well as extending the scope of the investigation to include urate."
While it is known that a history of smoking reduces the risk of PD by about 36%-50% and coffee consumption reduces risk by about 33%, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. At the same time, the concentrations of different microbiota are altered in PD patients, where for example, Prevotellaceae bacteria are found in reduced levels.
The literature review indicated that smoking affects gut microbiome composition and this seems to be associated with improved barrier function and anti-inflammatory effects in the colonic mucosa. It remains to be established whether these simultaneous changes are causally related to each other and eventually to PD. "Also a possible reverse effect of gut microbiota on smoking propensity and its relevance for PD is an interesting field for future studies," added Dr. Scheperjans.
In the case of coffee consumption, most of the direct effects on the GI tract are related to gut motility, such as gastro-esophageal reflux, gallbladder contraction, and increasing colonic motor activity. The authors reviewed studies relating gut motility to microbiota compositions and suggest that there might be complex relationships between coffee, microbiome concentrations, and the altered gut motility found in PD patients.
They also note a few studies concerning urate metabolism related to microbiome concentrations in PD patients. While the evidence is as yet scarce, they suggest that further studies could be valuable.
Intriguing associations have been reported based on which microbiota could indeed play a role at the interface between environmental and lifestyle factors and PD. The most promising domains seem to be related to gut barrier function, inflammation, oxidative stress, gut motility, and metabolism. "By studying these we may gain more insight into the hugely complex network of microbiome-host-interactions underlying the observed associations," concluded Dr. Scheperjans. "Considering the well-established gastrointestinal abnormalities in PD and the vast interactions of gut microbiota with the human host, it seems mandatory to explore whether gut microbiota are involved in this devastating disorder."


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

What is the role of the gut microbiome in developing Parkinson's disease? | EurekAlert! Science News

What is the role of the gut microbiome in developing Parkinson's disease? | EurekAlert! Science News

How You’re Probably Chewing and Drinking Yourself Sick And how to first 'make your food your own'


The correct process of eating has been handed down by indigenous cultures to subsequent generations throughout the ages. Unfortunately, these common sense ‘rules’, which had been followed for millennia until the modern era, are no longer observed by most people.  The ensuing imbalance and excess throughout the GI tract has been a contributing factor to various modern-day ills and ailments.

There is perhaps no more important mealtime practice than the way that food and drink are properly consumed. There’s an ‘old’ saying in the New Age health movement: “Drink your food; chew your liquids.”
Never has this prescription for good eating practice ever been more important. The modern era has now become so fast-paced that eating in a slow and relaxed manner is seemingly impossible. This state of affairs is causing an epidemic of stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disturbances. It is especially triggering much unnecessary gall bladder dysfunction as well as chronic indigestion.

Why is it important to drink your food and chew your liquids?
Because it is the only way to correctly mark your food and drink so as to truly make it your own … before you swallow it.
Make it your own? What exactly does that mean?
The longer an individual slowly and thoroughly masticates his/her food, the more that food is mixed with their saliva. In this way the food is literally changed into a form whereby the body literally recognizes it as its own, not as a foreign substance. The longer the food is chewed in this manner, the more information is conveyed to the rest of the digestive system.
This significant information tells the stomach and small intestine what kind of food is coming down the esophagus. This unseen communication process ensures that the right types and amounts of digestive enzymes and HCL are secreted for proper digestion.  Proteins and fats require a certain mix of enzymes, as do carbohydrates.
Likewise, when an individual is drinking their beverages, they must be especially careful not to gulp down a fruit smoothie or a freshly squeezed vegetable juice. That liquid food must also be made their own, and the only way to do that is to chew it — thoroughly.
Hence, proper eating practice subscribes to the time-honored advice that you “Drink your food; chew your liquids.” In this fashion, the food becomes so well masticated that it becomes liquified. The drinks are also thoroughly chewed, treated as though they are solid foods, before swallowing.

Just How Important is This Practice?
It all depends on how sick or well an individual is, as well as what their chronic ailments are.
Simply put, if you want to heal what ails you quicker, you ought to follow this eating prescription religiously … as in every meal and snack and drink you take. If you show no outer signs of illness and you would like to stay healthy, again, this sage advice ought to be followed reflexively.
Yes, it is difficult to maintain such discipline because of so many rushed business lunches and talkative suppers. However, it is in those contexts when food is often shoved down the pipe with inadequate chewing, thus causing ama to be generated as a waste product.
According to Ayurveda, ama is the waste product which always occurs as a result of improperly digested food and drink. Even though one may have no outward signs of ama buildup, it will always have to be removed from the body. It accumulates in all the compromised organs and organ systems, body tissues and spaces.
There are those diseases and illnesses which require a greater commitment to chewing properly. Anyone with an ailment which so compromises the GI tract that emaciation occurs, should consider this practice more seriously.
If it becomes hard to maintain a body weight due to malabsorption, weak assimilation or inefficient uptake of nutrients, chewing becomes that much more essential. Likewise, anyone who has had issues with parasites, candida albicans overgrowth, recurrent stomach flus, food poisoning, or bacterial infections anywhere in the GI tract ought to embrace this chewing practice.

Make Eating the Ritual that it was Meant to Be
There is a great eating practice advocated by The Health Coach that goes by the acronym S.T.C.T.S. Each letter represents a different quality of the mealtime chewing ritual. In other words, we should at least try to chew every single bite in the following ways:
  • Slowly
  • Thoroughly
  • Consciously
  • Thankfully
  • Spiritually
    (Source: The Health Coach)
Many would probably agree that “Slowly,” “Thoroughly,” and “Thankfully” are quite straightforward. But what about the other two? To chew “Consciously” is to eat and drink with a presence of mind that is focused on eating … not worrying about the morning’s problems or the afternoon’s challenges. It is eating in the present moment, not rehashing the past or fretting about the future.
As for eating “Spiritually,” we will leave that one for the reader to understand based on their own spiritual and/or religious orientation. We will say that the more one views their food as blessed and benevolent and sacred, the more it will heal and rejuvenate, cure and energize.

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How This Extract Reduces High Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Oniona

And much, much more


Onion, that powerful pungent bulb that makes food taste so good is also good for you. A boatload of studies have documented that onions contain many compounds shown to be beneficial for numerous conditions. Recent research has found that onion extract has strong action against high blood sugar and total cholesterol levels.
Lead researcher Anthony Ojieh MD and his team gave anti-diabetic drug Metformin and varying doses of onion extract to three groups of rats with induced diabetes to find out if it would enhance the effects of the drug in controlling the condition.

The team discovered that 400 and 600mg doses per day of onion extract could boost the reduction of fasting blood sugar levels in the diabetic rats by as much as 50 percent above and beyond what Metformin alone could do. Total cholesterol levels in the diabetic rats treated with the extract were also reduced. These study results were presented to the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.
Dr. Ojieh commented, “Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement. It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes.”
The Mighty Bulb has Broad-Spectrum Benefits
Multiple human studies have shown onion is protective of the heart and blood vessels, and can ward off heart attack when it’s consumed in a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.
What’s more, eating onions can help increase bone density and restoration of lost bone, and lower risk of hip fractures. To get the most bone benefits, onions should be eaten daily. Onion’s high content of sulfur brings benefits to connective tissue as well. Many connective tissue components require sulfur for their formation.
Garlic may be the king for reducing inflammation, but onion is not far behind. A unique sulfur molecule in onion is able to inhibit the activity of macrophages, white blood cells important to immunity. One of their defenses involves triggering large-scale inflammation. Though macrophage activity is normally a good thing, taming this activity may be critical to getting chronic inflammation in control.
Onions are also rich in antioxidants which include a flavonoid known as quercetin. Although this flavonoid has several actions in the body, it is arguably best known as the master of weight loss. Research has found that quercetin reduces the accumulation of fat in human fat cells and triggers the demise of existing fat cells.
Eaten in only moderate amounts once or twice a week, onions can reduce risk of cancer, particularly colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers. What amount is considered moderate? The George Mateljan Foundation’s World’s Healthiest Foods says,

“The overall take-away from this research seems clear: you do not want to err on the side of small onion servings or infrequent onion intake if you want to obtain the full cancer-related benefits of onions. A few slivers of sliced onion on a tossed salad are a good thing, but probably not enough to provide you with the cancer-related onion benefits that you are seeking.”
Check out other awesome health benefits of onions here.
Getting More Onion into Your Diet
Red onions are a great source of health-promoting anthocyanins. This makes them ideal for use in salads, sandwiches and salsa.
Most of the benefits of onions can be had whether they are eaten raw or cooked. For summer grilling, cut an onion in half and butter the cut sides. Place them cut side down on the barbecue to cook until soft. Use sautéed onions in salads and on sandwiches, and when autumn comes make onion soup a regular.
The flavonoids in onion are more concentrated in the outer layers of the bulb, so when peeling, remove only the papery outer skin. A red onion can lose 20 percent of its quercetin and as much as 75 percent of its anthocyanins from careless peeling.
Additional Sources:

Nutrition: The Anti-Aging Factor

Posted on July 7, 2014 by Sylvia Onusic2 Comments
Due to increasing gains in life expectancy, by 2025 the number of people aged sixty-five and over will comprise 29 percent of the U.S. population. As a consequence of aging, the typical chronic diseases of the body and brain such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will claim more and more precious human resources. To pursue good health as we age becomes more and more important in order to enjoy a disease-free and rewarding quality of life during our later decades.1
From the moment of our birth we begin to age. Aging can generally be defined as a progressive decline in the efficiency of biochemical and physiological processes after the reproductive phase of life.2 From one birthday to the next we are unaware of the fact that our cells, organs and bones are slowly losing some of their function. The common lament, “I am not as young as I used to be,” has become reality for the Baby Boomer Generation as it grows older.
With the appearance of the first crow’s feet, many men and women flock to cosmetic surgeons, anti-aging physician specialists, dietary supplements, and cosmetics counters to buy the newest anti-aging products, which are often laden with toxic chemicals. Americans spend millions on anti-aging therapies, according to Global Industry Analysts, which says that this spending will “push the U.S. market for antiaging products from about $80 billion now to more than $114 billion by 2015.”3 But the solution to feeling good and looking fit and healthy may not be so elusive or expensive, and in fact may be found only a few steps away—at your farmers’ market or in your own garden.
Aging has been predetermined in our genes, experts say, and cells can only divide forty to sixty times before they reach the “Hayflick Limit,” a theory advanced in 1961 by Leonard Hayflick at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Structures at the end of chromosomes called telomeres protect cells from deterioration or fusion with other chromosomes. After each new replication the telomeres shorten until they reach a critical length when they stop dividing, begin to “age” and ultimately die.4  Scientific laboratories like SpectraCell now provide telomere testing as “a window into your cellular age.”5 DNA damage, exposure to toxins, irradiation, and activation of oncogenes (genetic material that carries the ability to induce cancer) also cause cell aging and death in healthy cells.6
On the other hand, a rare “genetic condition” called progeria—accelerated premature aging— can develop in infants and young children which is not actually genetic in nature yet appears through a “new” point mutation on a specific chromosome. These children quickly develop the typical symptoms of old age, such as hair loss, atherosclerosis, loss of eyesight, wrinkles and stiff joints, but the brain seems not to be affected and mental development is normal.7
An exception to the Hayflick limit is cancer cells, which appear to be immortal in their ability to continue reproducing. Because of a telomere-lengthening enzyme, mutation, viral infection, or production of chemicals such as the enzyme nagalase, which blocks the immune system from destroying them, they avoid normal programmed cell death (apoptosis).8
The most famous, oldest, and most commonly used immortal cell line, dubbed HeLa, originated in a tumor sample taken from an African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks, who is the subject of the recent book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.9 The tumor cells, harvested at Johns Hopkins Hospital, gave rise to the eponymous HeLa cell line which researchers have used continuously since her death in 1951 for numerous experiments, including Jonas Salk’s development of the polio vaccine. Contamination with human papillomavirus made them immortal.10 Neither Henrietta Lacks nor her family received one penny from the millions of dollars made from her uninformed and involuntary cell donation. Researchers have grown and used around twenty tons of her cells and research relating to this cell line has generated seventy-six thousand abstracts on Pub Med.11
Cancer cells aside, probably the most important factor in aging and living long with a good quality of life is nutrition. What we eat supplies the building blocks for our body’s cells, energy-producing mitochondria, enzymes, and co-factors that build or break the body. When a vital piece of this complex puzzle goes missing, the body scrambles to find substitute pieces. But the results may not look much like what nature intended. Disease and illness are the result.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) comprises a supermarket basket of industrially refined products whose packaging is sometimes more nutritious than the contents. Dominated by genetically modified corn and soy derivatives along with trans fats, refined and rancid vegetable oils, artificial colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup, the unpalatable and sickening ingredient list goes on and on. Coupled with pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, suspicious animal products from factory and confinement operations, our standard commercial food supply is far from nutritious and is more likely dangerous. Fortunately there are many things that we can do to improve the quality of our meals and supply our bodies with the building blocks they need to function optimally all throughout life.12
Sugar has proved to be one of the most damaging substances to health and is a major factor in premature aging. Fructose in particular is an extremely potent pro-inflammatory agent that accelerates aging.13
Since its introduction to the New World, sugar consumption has progressively increased from less than five pounds per year per individual in 1850 up to one hundred fifty pounds in 2003.14 Between 1900 and 1967 the use of sugar more than doubled in the U.S. and U.K.15 In 1970, an additional sugar source, high-fructose corn syrup, was introduced into the industrial food supply.14
Fructose, contained naturally in some fruits and in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is a part of the fructose load, which the body processes differently from glucose. The body uses glucose for fuel but stores fructose in the form of triglycerides. Sucrose (cane or beet sugar) is half glucose and half fructose.16
Sugar forms advanced glycation end products (AGEs) when it reacts with amino acids and fats, a process which can occur in food itself during cooking and also in metabolic reactions inside the body.15 In cooking, the process is called the Maillard reaction, which gives breads and meats their browned, caramelized aroma and appearance. Searing meat and cooking at high heat form AGEs. Braising and stewing cuts of meat at lower temperatures and in “moist heat” environments in covered vessels are more healthful cooking methods because fewer AGEs are formed. AGEs are also responsible for colors and flavors in foods, such as in toasted bread, french fries, malt whiskey or beer, condensed milk, roasted coffee, caramel, chocolate syrup, and others.17 Pressure cooking can also contribute to the formation of AGEs because of the high temperatures generated during cooking.18
Glucose is the least reactive form of sugar and forms many fewer AGEs than fructose. In diabetic patients the concentration of fructose often surpasses that of glucose in the lens of the eye, causing cataract growth and blindness, and in nerves, causing neuropathies.19
Fructose is also a potent creator of AGEs that speed up the aging process.20 It does this in the conversion from fructose to fructose 1-phosphate, which drains the energy source, ATP, from the cells and promotes a dramatic inflammatory response.21 Gary Taubes explains in his books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, that it is fructose, not saturated fats, that contribute to high insulin levels and insulin resistance, promoting adipocyte formation around the liver and midsection, and increasing insulin and leptin levels, all factors associated with premature aging.22 In addition, fructose elevates blood cholesterol, uric acid, urea nitrogen and lactate production.20
AGEs cause inflammation, which promotes heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, liver damage, and other chronic degenerative diseases. When receptors for AGEs bond with scar tissue in the endothelium of blood vessels, arterial plaques are formed. Collagen, the lens of the eye (cataracts), myelin, and DNA also accumulate AGEs. Glycation can be determined by a test for hemoglobin A1c, which is a marker of long-term blood sugar levels and how the body processes sugar.20
Fluoride has been added to community water supplies in the U.S. since the 1940s and continues to be a goal of the Public Health Service (PHS), which considers water fluoridation “one of the ten greatest achievements of the 20th century.” Yet for all this lip service to the victories of public health mandates, the PHS in fact has paid little attention to the harmful physical effects of fluoride on the human body. No government funds are available to explore the topic of fluoridation dangers. Existing research on fluoride’s insidious effects on the body comes from scientists in other countries such as India, where ground water contains extremely high amounts of fluoride and all want it out, not in. The Chinese government recently funded a series of studies on fluoride and IQ. 25,26
Ingestion of fluoride induces adverse effects not only in teeth and bones, but also in various soft tissues such as brain, skeletal muscle, kidney and liver, and interferes with reproductive functions, such as the production of sperm. Fluoride is a powerful central nervous system toxin and adversely affects brain function even at low doses, and causes neuron death along with impaired memory and learning. Fluoride disturbs the antioxidant enzyme activities in the brain. Fluoride fed to rats caused DNA damage in their brain cells and epigenetic changes in the brain tissue of offspring of the exposed rats.27
In rats treated with sodium fluoride (NaF) (the pharmaceutical form of fluoride), administration of vitamin D significantly lessened the skeletal and visceral abnormalities of skeletal fluorosis. Altered serum enzyme activities and lipids in the livers of male rats with fluorosis recovered to normal levels when the rats were given selenium. By improving mitochondrial membrane stability, selenium (Se) protected skeletal muscle cells damaged by fluoride through a disruption of energy metabolism in the mitochondria. 27
A recent Indian study showed that rats treated with NaF showed significantly enhanced activity of the pro-oxidants xanthine oxidase and lipid peroxidation, and decreased activity of the antioxidants catalase, superoxide dimutase, glutathione- s-tranferase, glutathione perioxidase, and glutathione reductase. Supplementation of Se along with NaF reversed the pro- and antioxidant systems towards normal levels. Selenium also increased general fluoride excretion. The accumulation of fluoride in the mouse brain was significantly less in mice treated with Se.27
Selenium is a necessary trace mineral in human nutrition and a potent antioxidant. The major biological form of Se is found in the amino acid selenocysteine. It is toxic in high doses. As a co-factor, it is required for the activity of a number of selenoenzymes involved in the stress response and in the maintenance of high tissue antioxidant levels.
Selenium acts nutritionally through its various selenoproteins to control the level of cellular hydroperoxides and the redox tone of the cell. Hydroperoxides can damage protein and cell organelles involved in the regulation and control of the body’s antioxidant glutathione peroxidase system, which plays a major role in the control of reactive oxygen species (ROS).28
Selenium appears to be an anti-aging nutrient in that it protects humans from the pro-oxidant effects of fluorides on the brain and body. Selenium is found in fish, shellfish, Brazil nuts, organ meats, poultry, dairy, onions, and in supplements of seleno-methionine. Supplements containing selenites are not useful and may be harmful.28
One of the most memorable fluoride researchers of all time was Dr. John Yiamouyiannis, a biochemist, researcher, and the editor of Chemical Abstracts Service, the world’s largest information center on chemicals. Dr. Yiamouyiannis demonstrated that fluoride caused cancer and that mortality rates were significantly higher in fluoridated communities. In 1993 he wrote in Fluoride: The Aging Factor that fluoride caused premature skin wrinkling through its effect on the breakdown and irregular formation of collagen in the skin, along with weakened tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage and bones, causing cases of irreversible arthritis. By studying populations in Turkey, India, and Italy where natural fluoride in the water is high, he saw the effects of crippling skeletal fluorosis.29
He revealed in his book that by 1981, scientists knew that fluoride inhibited enzymes by binding to their co-factors, such as magnesium and phosphate. At one part per million (ppm) fluoride changes the bonds holding the protein in place, disrupting the enzyme shape and activity and setting off an autoimmune reaction, with possible effects on the DNA molecule itself.29 The U.S. government claims that fluoridation at four parts per million is not harmful.25
Fluoride also blocks the migration of white blood cells to the site of infection in the body, damaging the immune system’s ability to destroy pathogens. Researchers discovered that fluoride perturbed the white blood cells’ components and function by stimulating their production of superoxide when at rest, thus releasing superoxides into the blood stream, damaging tissues and depleting energy reserves, processes associated with accelerated aging. Further, in the presence of infection, fluoride inhibited the cells’ production of superoxides— compounds that the cells normally employ against the challenge of a pathogen— thereby crippling white blood cells’ healthy response.29
Back in 1932 the dentist Dr. Weston Price reported a general disturbance of mineral metabolism and decreasing blood levels of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium by fluorides. He wrote about his findings in the paper “Evidence of a need for fluorine in optimum amounts for plants and animal growth, and bone and tooth development with thresholds for injury.”26
To avoid fluoride’s detrimental effects on the body, avoid fluoridated water, and products made from it, such as soft drinks, beers, tea mixes, energy drinks, fruit juice mixes, and especially those products packaged in aluminum cans. Baby formula should never be mixed with fluoridated tap water. Mother’s milk is the beverage of choice for infants.25
If you live in an area where the community waters are fluoridated, a reverse osmosis system will remove it from your water. However, exposure to fluoride occurs not only through drinking and cooking, but also through bathing, showering, and watering the garden. Many vegetables and fruits are sprayed with a fluoride spray for storage and grown with fertilizers that contain fluoride.29
Fluoride occurs naturally in the soil and tea plants (Camellia sinensis) have a natural affinity for it—they take it up into their roots. Soils in parts of India, Turkey, and China, where most tea is grown, have high amounts of fluoride in the soil. Some tea is also sprayed with fluoride-containing pesticides. Especially high in fluoride is instant tea. Organic teas have somewhat lower fluoride content. Grapes and grape products such as raisins and wines are high in fluoride.25-26,29 People living near industrial areas with steel, fertilizer, aluminum, clay, glass, enamel and other manufacturing industries are exposed to high levels of fluorides in the air.29
Cells cannot live without oxygen, yet oxygen is the very source of free radicals that endanger the cells’ existence. The body uses molecular oxygen to produce energy via oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondria. This energy production and other metabolic reactions generate free radicals which cause a condition called oxidative stress. This cellular damage affects proteins and DNA replication, and inhibits repair through many complex processes, including telomere shortening in the DNA components.30-31
Denham Harman, MD, PhD, the “father” of the free radical theory of aging, first proposed his hypothesis in 1965. Today it is the most widely accepted theory used to explain the aging process. Harman claimed that aging is the result of oxidative stress due to reactive oxygen species (ROS)—also called free radicals—generated by a multitude of endogenous and environmental processes. They are highly reactive molecules that can directly damage the structures of cells and their lipids and proteins, as well as DNA. Other cellular sources of superoxide radicals include xanthine oxidase activity which forms the superoxide anion followed by the generation of hydrogen peroxide. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and macrophages are also sources of cellular ROS.32
In the body, free radicals are produced in the mitochondria during detoxification reactions (cytochrome 450), in peroxisomes, and during inflammation. ROS can be produced from outside sources such as xenobiotics, chlorinated compounds, fluorides, environmental agents, metals, ions and radiation.30
The body possesses multiple endogenous defense mechanisms to protect it from ROS by weakening and destroying those substances. These mechanisms take the form of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase) and the non-enzymatic antioxidant molecules (vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, ubiquinone and others), which include the sulfur-containing antioxidants (glutathione, theoredoxin, alpha lipoic acids), melatonin, carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols. The best dietary choice to fight aging is first and foremost avoidance of industrial fats and oils, which are just loaded with free radicals. Use butter, cook in saturated fats, and make your own salad dressing with olive oil.
Next, include foods and botanicals that contain multiples of anti-oxidant nutrients: the anti-aging powerhouses of garlic, curcumin, herbs, blueberries, and so on, which contain potent free radical scavengers.30
Catalase is a very important enzyme which protects the cell from oxidative damage by ROS. It is involved in the quick conversion of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), produced in many reactions, to water and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is produced as a potent antimicrobial agent in the immune response when cells are infected with a pathogen. It is also a byproduct of normal cellular respiration, and is formed from the superoxide anion by the action of superoxide dismutase. Fuel your catalase production by eating foods like meat which contains sulfur, iron and methionine. 32
Catalase has one of the highest turnover rates for all enzymes: one molecule of catalase can convert approximately six million molecules of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen each minute.62 Catalase deficiency has been implicated in diabetes type 2, and in schizophrenia, atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases.32
Despite the presence of the cell’s antioxidant defense system to counteract oxidative damage from ROS, oxidative damage accumulates during the life cycle and has been implicated in aging and age-dependent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and other chronic conditions. It becomes extremely important to supply the body with building materials needed for enzyme and antioxidant production through diet and supplementation to lessen the processes that lead to aging.30-32
Aging is accompanied by lower levels of gastric acid, an increase in stomach pH, and delayed stomach emptying, all of which contribute to a shift toward gut dysbiosis and a loss of microbial diversity. A lifetime history of antibiotic use destroys healthy colonies of probiotic bacteria and leads to increasing numbers of pathogenic bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff ), especially in those receiving antibiotic therapy. Studies show 21 percent of hospitalized patients with C. diff infections compared to 1.6 percent in the community at large.
The most important characteristic of age-related gut dysbiosis is the decline in the abundance, diversity and adhesive properties of Bifidobacterium species, which have important anti-infective and immunomodulatory functions. Lower levels are associated with an increased susceptibility to gastrointestinal and systemic infections as well as inflammatory conditions. This status leads to a decline in immunological function accompanied by an increase in inflammation, called “inflamm-aging,” a characteristic of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Aging is also accompanied by a decrease in innate as well as adaptive immunity, termed “immunosenescence,” which relates to an increased susceptibility to infections and autoimmunity.
One of the most important strategies to healthful aging and long life is to maintain a healthy immune system via the gut. Centenarians studied have healthy immune factors and the portion of healthy Bifidobacterium species ranging from 53 to 87 percent compared to 40 percent found in healthy younger people.
“Bifidobacterium strains isolated from healthy centenarians have been shown to enhance both immune function and intestinal function in healthy mice following oral administration. These findings provide tantalizing evidence that healthy centenarians are characterized by a gastrointestinal microbiota containing more numerous, diverse Bifidobacterium populations that possess more valuable immunomodulatory properties than are even present in younger healthy people. Other studies show that preserved immune function modulated by a balanced gut microbiota is a characteristic of healthy elderly people at any age.”40
Centenarians and especially those over one hundred years of age are examples of those who have learned to age successfully and well. What factors contribute to that longevity? Some of the longest lived people come from the Bulgarian mountains near the Greek border where fermented milk products have a long tradition in the local diet. The bacterium that ferments milk to yogurt is known as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and researchers from around the world have come to Bulgaria to study the fermented milk. A typical Bulgarian centenarian eats yogurt three times a day, “sometimes with bread crumbs.” In existing pockets of longevity in locations around the world, like the native peoples studied by Dr, Weston Price, these peoples continue to eat their native diets of mostly fresh and unprocessed foods, and are generally isolated from most of the worst influences of modern civilization. They enjoy lives of moderation, sleep well and walk and work outdoors. They benefit from sunny, pollution-free, and oxygen-rich mountain living. 41
The brain also ages and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, can be blamed on the processes of aging. Cerebral volume decreases and ventricles expand. Plasticity—the ability to change and function—decreases, as do the gray matter cells composed of neurons involved in senses, emotions, self-control, and muscle control, as do the memory parts of neurons, called dendritic spines.42-44
Increasing numbers of neurofibrillary tangles, accumulated tau proteins, and amyloid plaques are found in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Recent theories have connected aluminum deposits in the brain to the formation of fibrillary tangles, the hallmark of AD. Aluminum is a neurotoxin involved in the development of AD. It is contained in vaccines, absorbed from aluminum cookware, and is an ingredient in antiperspirants, coated aspirin, and many over-the-counter medications. “Aluminum’s contribution to AD is based upon at least seven independently derived observations that at physiologically realistic concentrations, aluminum strongly promotes amyloid aggregation and accumulation, a key feature of AD neuropathology.”45-47
Vitamin D is extremely important in the maintenance of a healthy brain and makes the antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin, which suppresses herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) flareups, otherwise silent except for the appearance of cold sores. HSV-1 has been implicated in AD. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is found in fat-based foods such as cod liver oil, pastured butter and lard from pastured pork. Vitamin D supplements are not always effective because they lack vitamin D’s partners, vitamin A and vitamin K2, which work in tandem with vitamin D.48
A recent study found that melatonin protects neurons against the damage of AD.46 Melatonin is produced from serotonin in the pineal gland located in the inner brain. With aging, the pineal gland becomes calcified, thus less functional. But calcification has also been observed in young children. About 40 percent of Americans have calcified pineals by age seventeen.50 “Calcium, phosphorus and fluoride deposits increase with aging and are likely to cause decreased melatonin production and abnormal pineal function, which could contribute to a variety of effects in humans.”51 Upon examination in many studies, the pineal gland had the highest fluoride concentrations in the body, higher than bone or teeth.52 This contributes to accelerated sexual maturation in females.53
Cognitive impairment is related to ROS. Inflammation is the most controllable risk factor in oxidative stress.54 Antioxidants like fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as B and C vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, are recommended to reduce oxidative stress.23
Neurotransmitters like serotonin and their receptors change with aging.54 Dopamine synthesis declines as well as the number of dopamine receptors. DNA damage accumulates with age in the brain.55-56 Saturated fats and fats from cod liver oil are extremely helpful in regulating the oxidative stress in the brain as we age.
Although there are many other nutritional giants that could be included in your arsenal, they cannot all be discussed here. Overall, the basic advice that we learned as children to “eat a variety of foods from many colors” still applies. Of course man cannot live on fruits and vegetables alone. Saturated fats, especially those from pastured animals and poultry, are most important in the diet to promote a happy, healthy brain and body. Follow the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation diet which includes generous amounts of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, good fats, high quality proteins, and probiotic foods flavored with unprocessed sea salt.59-61
Avoid industrial fats and oils, processed foods, refined sweeteners and fluoridated water.
In addition to good nutrition, other lifestyle practices such as those listed in the sidebar below all provide pieces to the puzzle that can help create a good life crowned with satisfaction, pleasure, health, and fulfillment as we age.58

The body detoxifies chemicals and substances that occur naturally, such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, cholesterol, steroids, bile acids, and lipids, or those that are synthetic, such as drugs, food additives, agricultural chemicals, chemical products, parabens and phthalates, in a two-step balanced process called biotransformation, making them water-soluble to promote their elimination. In the liver, Phase I breaks down substances into substrates which then must go through Phase II to become water-soluble. A system of enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP), found in the liver, kidney, lungs and the brain do the job. However, things can go awry. Products produced in Phase I, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and toxic metabolites, are often more harmful than the original substances. The products of Phase I can also be delayed entering Phase II systems and can do local damage. Imbalances often occur with one phase becoming up-regulated or downregulated depending on nutrition, genetics and toxicities. Both phases are fueled by specific nutrients, and if these are not supplied by diet, the pathways may not function correctly. There are thousands of mutations in the CYP genes that can affect the efficiency of the detoxification enzymes.
Certain foods promote detoxification or imbalances in detoxification pathways. Diets low in protein increase pesticide toxicity because certain detoxification mechanisms are dependent upon adequate amino acids. Foods like onions, garlic, cruciferous and green leafy vegetables, citrus, gingko biloba, grape seeds, green tea and curcumin “act in a complex, highly beneficial manner to improve balance in detoxification capability.”45 In Phase II activity adequate amounts of glycine, glutamine, methionine, cysteine, N-acetylcysteine, sulfur, selenium, and taurine are very important to support activity. These proteins are found in pastured meat and eggs. Lipoic acid is an effective inducer of Phase II enzymes and supplementation enhances the level of glutathione synthesis when sulfur is adequate. Alpha lipoic acid is found in spinach, broccoli, yams, tomatoes, carrots and beets. Red meat, particularly organic meats, are good sources of this nutrient.23 
In older rats compared to young rats, cellular oxygen uptake is lower and lipid peroxide levels higher. Age-induced oxidative damage caused deformities in the ability of key enzymes to bind to their substrate components. Scientists were successful in reversing mitochondrial decay in old rats by feeding them alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-carnitine in higher levels, which served to speed up the enzymes’ ability to function as well as to increase cognition and improve heart rate.23 Animal-based foods such as beef, chicken, milk and cheese are good sources of acetyl-carnitine.24
Senior citizens are targets for pill-pushing physicians; many become dumping grounds for drugs, taking up to ten or more per day, most of them unnecessary. Often seniors in decline will recover their health and energy simply by going off all their drugs.
By far the drugs that age us the most are the statin (cholesterol-lowering) drugs, prescribed today to almost all seniors, male and female alike. The side effects of statins read like a description of aging: sore muscles, back pain, shuffling gait, slowed reactions, type 2 diabetes, digestive problems, liver disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, mental confusion and memory loss. When patients complain about these side effects, their doctors usually brush off their concerns with the observation, “You’re getting older, these are the normal signs of aging.” But there is no need for seniors at any age to suffer from these symptoms.
Most seniors are unaware of the cruel irony—cholesterol lowering does not help you live longer. In fact lower cholesterol levels in the elderly are associated with increased rates of death from cancer, suicide, stroke and intestinal diseases. Several studies have shown that once past the age of sixty, the higher your cholesterol, the longer you live.
Seniors with all their mental faculties can just say no to cholesterol-lowering drugs. Those in long-term care facilities will receive cholesterol-lowering drugs as a routine unless family members make it very clear that they don’t want them given—repeating the instruction every few months and checking the medication list to make sure their instructions are not forgotten.
For more information, see “Dangers of Statin Drugs,” by Mary G. Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon at westonaprice.org.
As we age, our digestive forces weaken. It becomes harder for the body to make hydrochloric acid (for digesting protein), bile (for digesting fats) and digestive enzymes (for digesting carbohydrates, proteins and fats). That means that seniors are often not getting the full benefit of their food, even if they are eating well and the food is nutritious.
Attention to the digestibility of foods is key to ensuring optimal nutrition for senior diets. Soups and stews made with nourishing bone broth are ideal, as bone broth greatly aids the digestive process. Vegetables should be well cooked. Salads may not be the best choice for seniors—soups serve them better, being easier to digest. Vegetable purées made with butter and cream are great comfort foods for seniors. Lacto-fermented foods with every meal will help ease the digestive burden.
Government warnings to the contrary, raw milk is a great food for senior citizens. It contains all the enzymes needed for full digestion and nutrient assimilation and represents a complete nutrition package. It is our best source of glutathione, the body’s leading anti-oxidant. Fermented raw milk products, like yogurt and kefir, supply the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria, as well as digestive enzymes.
All grains should be properly prepared by soaking or sour leavening, for optimal digestion. Hard-to-digest grains like extruded breakfast cereals, granola, granola bars and muesli represent a difficult digestive burden for aging digestive tracts.
In addition to proper food preparation, supplements that can aid digestion include hydrochloric acid and ox bile; while the herbal preparation Swedish bitters aids in the digestive of protein and fatty foods.
The goal is not to live forever, but to ensure that all those years at the end are full of vigor and optimism. Making sure the diet is easy to digest will ensure that the “golden years” are truly filled with golden good health.
Conventional medicine rarely associates falls, difficulty in walking, memory lapses, depression, dementia—all symptoms of aging—with B12 deficiency. However, studies closely link these behaviors with B12 deficiency. Between 15 and 40 percent of people over sixty have low serum B12 levels. Seniors are a high risk group for severe B12 deficiency for several reasons. Wasting of the stomach lining causes decreases in the levels of stomach acid, which is needed to liberate B12 from its protein host so that it can be absorbed. Unfortunately doctors treat the effects of this condition with protein pump inhibitors like Zantac, Prilosec, Pepcid and other medications; these actually lower stomach acid even more. Because of this condition, people may not be able to break down the foods containing B12. Unfortunately, B12 oral medications may not make any difference in blood levels. B12 injections of hydroxyl or methylcobalamin are often the most effective in raising B12 levels.
Low B12 levels at any age cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline, even within the lower “normal range,” resulting in inflammation of brain myelin. Bi-polar disorder and other mental illnesses may be a result of B12 deficiency, as well as other factors.
At risk for premature aging are vegans, vegetarians, and those who follow macrobiotic diets, because they avoid the very foods that contain substantial sources of B12: meats and organ meats. B12 analogues found in such foods as spirulina or tempeh falsely raise B12 levels because they are not active in the body and may in fact increase the risk of B12 deficiency disease as these B12 analogues compete with true B12 at binding sites and inhibit metabolism. Vegan websites like veganhealth. org caution that no plants, including mushrooms, have real vitamin B12 activity. In these cases regular supplementation with B12 injections (hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin) are necessary to avoid premature aging. Unfortunately, pharmacy prepackaged B12 injectibles contain aluminum and parabens. It’s best to get B12 injectible preparations from a compounding pharmacy and check with the pharmacist about excipients he may include. The doctor should specify “no preservatives” on the prescription.
B12 deficiency can actually start in infancy if mothers of breastfed babies have undiagnosed pernicious anemia, are vegan, celiac, or B12 deficient in any way. B12 deficiency can take the form of developmental delays and behavioral disorders in children. Young children with inadequate B12 levels can develop low IQ levels and mental retardation. Some antibiotics, birth control pills, antacids and other prescription drugs deplete bodily stores of B12.57
Aging is a complex process involving various genetic, hormonal, and environmental mechanisms. With aging of the body often comes graying hair and decrease in hair production as a result of the decrease in melanocyte function and lower levels of the enzyme catalase. Oxidative stress may be the main mechanism contributing to hair graying and hair loss. Endogenous factors influence familial premature graying and androgenetic alopecia (hair loss). External factors include ultraviolet radiation (UVR), smoking, and nutrition.31
Hair color is determined by the presence or absence of melanin pigments. Skin and hair melanins are formed in cytoplasmic organelles called melanosomes, produced by the melanocytes, and are the product of a complex biochemical pathway (melanogenesis) with tyrosinase being the rate-limiting enzyme.31
Current theories say that hair graying is caused by the loss of the pigment-forming melanocytes in the hair follicle because of a decrease in activity of the tyrosinase enzyme and a reduction in a number of melanosomes. The free radical theory says that the activity of producing melanocytes is likely to generate ROS and if not neutralized, graying and hair loss will result. A recent study by Wood et al. demonstrated for the first time that human white scalp hair shafts accumulate hydrogen peroxide, a product of oxidation, with absent or very low levels of catalase and methionine sulfoxide reductase (MSR) protein. MSR is known to repair or damp down the effects of the free radical produced there, methionine sulfoxide (MS). MS produces residues in the active site of the key enzyme tyrosinase, which limits the melanogenesis process, leading to loss of hair color.33-34
Wood suggested that methionine oxidation may be prevented by supplementation with L-methionine, thus reversing or preventing hair graying. Methionine is an important amino acid found in meats.34
Studies indicate that lipid peroxides, which can cause free radicals, induce the cell death (apoptosis) of hair follicle cells in an inflammatory process which is gradual and initiated by several factors. Tobacco smoking has long been linked to premature aging of the skin and is now associated with graying hair and hair loss. High doses of environmental cigarette smoke cause alopecia (bald patches) in mice, which was prevented by oral doses of L-cystine and vitamin B6.35
For hair loss in women with androgenic hair loss, a 0.1 percent topical melatonin solution applied to the scalp once daily for six months led to significantly increased hair growth in occipital hair compared to placebo. For frontal hair loss in the group with diffuse alopecia, the melatonin solution gave a significant increase in hair growth. “The occipital hair samples of patients with diffuse alopecia and the frontal hair counts of those with androgenetic alopecia also showed an increase of anagen hair, but differences were not significant.”36 Anagen is the active growth phase of the hair follicles during which the root of the hair is dividing rapidly.
Melatonin is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects in humans: it is a direct free radical scavenger and anti-aging factor made in the pineal gland, originating with the base amino acid tryptophan in four steps, with production of serotonin at the third step.38
There is a melatonin-producing system in the skin. In healthy human subjects, topical melatonin effectively prevented the development of redness and blistering in skin exposed to UV rays. In studies, the antioxidative effects of melatonin were superior to those exerted by vitamin C. “Topical melatonin would seem to represent the first topical ‘antiaging’ product for treatment of the aging scalp.”31  Melatonin is secreted into the blood during the dark period of sleep thus highlighting the importance of sleep. Sleep quality and duration will be affected with aging because melatonin production gradually decreases, and an exogenous source, via diet or supplements, may be desirable.38 Melatonin is found in cherries, bananas, oranges, grapes, herbs (feverfew, St. John’s wort), olive oil, wine, tomatoes and other fruits. Blood levels of melatonin significantly increase in humans consuming foods rich in melatonin.37-38
• First and foremost, avoid all industrial fats and oils, such as margarine, spreads, artificial whipped cream, commercial dips and cooking oils. Use butter liberally, cook with animal fats and use olive oil in salad dressings.
• Take it easy on the sweets, and use only natural sweeteners.
• Make sure foods are easy to digest, using bone broths and proper cooking techniques. Eat lacto-fermented foods daily.
• Raw whole milk can be a senior citizen’s best friend; it is a full nutritional package that is very easy to digest.
• Avoid all pharmaceutical drugs, especially the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
• For healthy catalase production, favor foods with lots of healthy sulfur like eggs, garlic, and crucifers. Avoid food additives, artificial flavorings and sweeteners, and products made with them as they create oxidative stress in your body.
• Avoid genetically modified foods like corn, soy, cottonseed oil (in many snack foods), sugar beets, and papayas. GMO feeds cause rampant inflammation in the pigs and cancerous tumors in laboratory animals.
• Avoid fluoridated water by using reverse osmosis filtration or spring water, and don’t ingest instant teas, conventional grape juice and wines, which all contain high levels of fluoride.
• Make it a pleasurable priority to search out organic, local and biodynamically grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Even better, grow at least some of your own!
• Make sure you get plenty of fat-soluble vitamins from grass-fed butter and egg yolks, organ meats, fatty fish and cod liver oil.
• Exercise, walk, and maintain a happy, grateful mood during the day. Relaxation exercises and yoga lead to higher melatonin production.
• Eat only enough to satisfy hunger, savor your meals in relaxed surroundings with good company, and avoid excess calories and stress-related eating.
• Get enough good quality sleep regularly.
• Selenium, vitamin C ascorbates or natural vitamin C formulations, omega-3 fatty acids, and natural sources of vitamins E and K are great antioxidants.
• Pure water is healthful and delicious. Avoid diuretics such as coffee or tea, which flush out minerals.
• Maintaining an active social life and friendships is good for mental health.
• Intellectual and cultural activities such as attending opera or theater, reading and writing keep your mind young.
Additional Notes on the Topical Melatonin Solution
I don’t know if this preparation is on the market in the US or if it is just experimental. There is no brand name given which makes me think that it is not.  The participants applied a 1% melatonin–alcohol solution (melatonin, high-purified; Helsinn Chemicals,Biasca, Switzerland) or alcohol solution alone topically once daily in the evening for 6 months. The daily amount to be applied was 1 mL given in eight sprays. The alcohol solution alone was for the control group. Perhaps a compounding pharmacy could make this up for you.  I would be careful about the source and type of alcohol. Food grade ethanol derived from a non-gmo grain- maybe a good vodka as used for tinctures– might work. Here in PA we can’t get the 100% alcohol which is typically best for tinctures but in NJ. Another suggestion might be to consult with an herbalist. Also from my experience with compounders you might tell them “no preservatives.”

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61. And all those wonderful authors out there who have added to our knowledge through their efforts to promote healthful aging through good lifestyle practices.
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2014

Monday, June 29, 2015

14 Ways Birth Control Pills Rob Us Of Our Health


After being diagnosed with Hashimoto's I was not ready to start a family due to my less than optimal health. An unplanned preganacy would wreak havoc on my health (not to mention life). At the same time I realized that taking  artificial hormones in the form of birth control on a daily basis was contributing to my poor health. 

14 Ways Birth Control Pills Rob Us Of Our Health...

1. Birth control pills are described as "Drug Muggers" by Suzy Cohen, RPh, America's Pharmacist. Birth control pills deplete selenium, zinc and the amino acid tyrosine from our bodies. These are all vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper thyroid function! Thyroid conditions affect 1 in 5 women at some point in life and are responsible for weight gain, depression and heart disease. 

2. The hormones in birth control pills suppress our own body's production of estrogen and progesterone through a negative feedback loop mechanism. Birth control pills flood our bodies with high doses of artificial estrogen and progesterone leading our own production of natural hormones to turn off, preventing ovulation and thinning the uterine lining.  This can lead to a hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance. 

3.    Birth control pills increase the risk of blood clots and strokes. The risk greatly increases after age 35 and for women who smoke. 

4.     Birth control pills can thin our bones leading to osteoporosis. 

5.     Oral contraceptives, which stimulate pseudopregnancy simulate a shift from the Th1 to the Th2 Immune Branch. This can produce an imbalance of the immune system perpetuating autoimmune conditions.  

6.     Birth control pills can change our normal flora, allowing yeast and other pathogenic organisms to thrive. 

7. Women who take birth control pills have an altered preference to mates. 

8. Birth control pills increase the risk of breast, ovarian and liver cancers. 

9. Birth control pills impair our ability to build muscle despite exercise. 

10. Birth control pills can also decrease sexual desire by suppressing testosterone (Yes women produce small amounts of testosterone too). 

11. High dose estrogen contained in birth control pills increases the activity of TBG (Thyroxine Binding Globulin). TGB binds thyroid hormone. More circulating TGB leads to lower levels of free thyroid hormone available for use by our body. 

12. Many oral contraceptives contain lactose as an inactive filler. This may be an issue for many individuals with food intolerances and for women with Hashimoto's who often present with dairy and gluten intolerance issues.1

13. Birth control pills lower our DHEA production. DHEA has been described as an anti-aging hormone. Many conditions, including autoimmune conditions have been associated with low DHEA.

14. Birth control pills deplete  our bodies of folic acid, B12 and B6 vitamins. A deficiency in any of these may result in anemia, birth defects, depression and other serious conditions....

So what's a girl to do?

With all of these things in mind, I knew that it was time to kick the birth control habit. But what were my alternatives? Condoms have a 14-15% failure rate...that seemed like too big of a risk to take. And I wasn't too crazy about implants or any of the other birth control methods out there. 

I then learned about the Fertility Awareness Method. 

This method utilizes knowledge of the female reproductive cycles to predict days a woman will be fertile, and days that she isn't. There are only 6 days a woman can get pregnant within every cycle. 

With a typical menstrual cycles lasting 28 days (Count day one as the first day of the menstrual period), on average women ovulate somewhere in the middle. But not every woman has a 28 day cycle. Also, not every woman with a 28 days cycle ovulates right smack in the middle of the cycle. And many women may ovulate at different times each month depending on lifestyle factors. 

Fertilization can occur 5 days before ovulation, or on the day of ovulation....Thus the beginning and end of a menstrual cycle a woman will typically be infertile, and fertile for 6 days somewhere in the middle after she ovulates. 

A thermal shift in basal temperatures, cervical position, and cervical fluids help determine ovulation. 
Our temperatures go up by 0.4-0.6 degrees Fahrenheit after ovulation, and this thermal shift can be measured by using a very sensitive basal thermometer right after waking up. The temperatures, along with the other fertility signs are recorded daily in a fertility chart that will help the woman analyze where she is in the fertility cycle. 

As a bonus, measuring your basal temperatures can help with measuring progress in your Hashimoto's treatment. Your pre-ovulatory temperature (usually the he first 10-15 days of your cycle) is key to determining how well your thyroid and adrenals are performing. 

A pre-ovulatory temperature is normally between 97.0-97.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Temps that are consistently lower than 97.3 degrees F may signal an under active thyroid,while temps that are consistently above 97.7 degrees F may signal an overactive thyroid. Also, temperatures that are low but inconsistent or all over the place may signal adrenal insufficiency. You can document your interventions on the same fertility chart where you document the daily temperatures and fertility signs. 

 I highly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility that gives an amazingly descriptive and thorough overview of the Fertility Awareness Method for pregnancy prevention and achievement. After reading this book cover to cover, I have purchased a copy for all of my girlfriends!

While the Fertility Awareness Method can be very effective, I was still worried about doing it on my own....This method can fail in 25% of "typical" users, and I was afraid that I would fall into that category with my busy lifestyle. 

That's when I found the LADY-COMP fertility monitor! This is a mini computer/alarm system that comes with an ultra sensitive thermometer. This mini computer learns your own body's normal temperatures and does the analysis for you, letting you know which days you are fertile with easy to read displays (red light-fertile, yellow light-learning, green light-infertile).  If you are super nerdy like me you can still make your own charts. I am currently running statistics on adrenal insufficiency temperatures and will share my templates soon. 

I have been using the Lady Comp for over a year now, and it has been a really amazing tool that has taught me a great deal about my body. It has been an eye opener watching my temperatures change, as well as noticing that all of a sudden my husband smelled really really good after a jog around the time of my ovulation... (which is usually day 17 or 18 for me, not 14 as some would lead you to believe). 

According to the manufacturer "Lady Comp is programmed with all natural family planning research data, it contains a database of more than 900 000 cycles and uses bio-mathematical forecasting calculations as well as the very latest computer techniques. It is a personal fertility monitor, which learns and adjusts to your individual cycle regardless of irregularities or cycle length. Lady- Comp is a one-time purchase without any recurring costs. Several clinical studies confirm its 99.3% accuracy."

While this mini-computer is costly, fertility monitors are covered under Flex Spending and Health Spending Accounts. Very good to know for those who use it or lose it at the end of the year, or want to plan for next year.  It is also a one time purchase. One month of brand name birth control pills can cost an upward of $100, thus the monitor pays for itself within a few months! (I included this last sentence for those of you who have husbands who work in finance like mine does). 

This monitor can also be used to plan a future pregnancy for when the time is right!

Of course if the benefit of the oral contraceptives outweighs the risks, such as for certain serious medical conditions, a woman may need to continue taking the pill. In that case, supplementing with probiotics, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and Vitamin C is strongly recommended. Please note...all supplements are not created equally, and throwing them all in one pill often does not lead to good absorption. I will soon be blogging about two of my favorite topics, drug interactions and supplements soon. 

PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift . You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.  

For future updates, make sure to follow us on Facebook!


Your Thyroid Pharmacist
Izabella Wentz, PharmD