Monthly Archives: September 2013

We Are Supposed to Ignore These Toxins!

When we see atmospheric pollution from smokestacks and vehicle exhausts and realise that the toxins in the smoke are pollutants that may harm us when we inhale them in the inescapable activity of breathing, we begin a process…

It is a process of awareness which expands as we focus on different areas of the environment. And that includes home too. The toxic brew of cleaning chemicals comes as quite a shock. But when we look at medicines we may feel surprised or even betrayed that the same range of toxic chemicals we object to in the environment is there in Doctor's medicines too.

Nowhere is this more pointed, excuse the pun, than in the contentious issue of vaccinations. Whether you approve of the basic science of immunisation or not it is unacceptable to many that the essential delivery of the vaccine is accompanied by chemicals which are toxic. And when we object to this we are regarded as some kind of Luddite at best and health fanatic at worst – or is that the other way round?

Toxins in vaccines? No thanks – I have an Immune system that works very well.

Sea Buckthorn Health Benefits

orange sea buckthorn berriesSea buckthorn is not a well known plant and yet it is receiving attention from scientists all round the world and has even been on television!

 To see what is causing the flurry and research we only need to glance at the amount of vitamin C and E and carotenoids – all inpressively high and then we see the oil content and see that it is the richest source of omega 7 oil in the world…so this is a seriously healthy fruit and one that deserves all the research and publicity it can get.

 What is Sea Buckthorn?

 Sea Buckthorn is a thorny bush that grows right across Europe, Russia and China – although most of the plants are grown in China. It is salt tolerant and has a shallow root system that acts to bind and hold soil together.

 And it produces bright orange berries rich in vitamin C and flavonoids and ricch in the very unusual Omega 7 oil.

 Harvesting the berries for this oil is difficult due to the spikes although it's well worth it when you read "Sea buckthorn berries are among the most nutritious and vitamin-rich fruits known."

 Sea Buckthorn Oil

 Squeeze Olives and you get Olive oil; squeeze the berries of Sea Buckthorn and you get the Sea Buckthorn  Omega 7 oil!

 Omega 7? What's That?

 A few years ago when I first started seeing advertising for Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn I dismissed it as empty publicity. I thought I knew it all when it came to Omega oils…

 Omega 3 Oils from Flax oil (best source) – essential for counteracting inflammation which is at the heart of all chronic disease.

Omega 6 Oils from safflower oil and corn oil – essential for powering the ability to generate inflammation whcih is an essential part of the Immune system.

And then…

Omega 7

Omega 7? Surely you're having a laugh? Or just scamming people? Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils are called Essentail Fatty Acids because they really are essentail for our health but Omega 7 seemed like a dubious sales pitch.

But…

Far far away from Western society, and well over a thousand years ago Sea Buckthorn was being used as an anti-aging medicine. The berries are nutrient rich and were applied directly to the skin of the face and hands to counter wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

 Traditionally used in Traditional Chinese and Oriental medicine for skin disease such as eczema and Psoriasis as well as digestive disorders it seems that with so many possible therapeutic effects sea buckthorn will find its place in Western Herbalism and Naturopathic Medicine as it becomes more familiar.

 At present I cannot recommend it for any specific treatment – especially to be taken orally. I would not object to topical use – directly to the skin.

 I'd like to see more published results on oral treatments before using it myself.

 However I came across a research paper with huge possibilities and I am going to leave you with a quote.

 It is of a research project in 2007 done in Quebec on various berries and here is an extract from the "Results" section of the research…

 " The growth of various cancer cell lines, including those of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast, was strongly inhibited by raspberry, black currant, white currant, gooseberry, velvet leaf blueberry, low-bush blueberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry juice, but not (or only slightly) by strawberry, high-bush blueberry, serviceberry, red currant, or blackberry juice "

 And finally

 " CONCLUSION: These results illustrate that berry juices have striking differences in their potential chemo preventive activity and that the inclusion of a variety of berries in the diet might be useful for preventing the development of tumours."

 In short, sea buckthorn is a superfood with some documented powers and a long track record. However we do have many superfoods with much accepted research and evidence. By all means investigate Sea Buckthorn and it's benefits but take full advantage of other berries some of which you can grow in your own garden.

 Credits

Government of British Columbia: Mostly from the Agricultural point of view, this will download into your browser or PDF reader…

http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/speccrop/publications/documents/seabuckthorn_may2001.pdf

http://is.gd/0sitg7 Sea Buckthorn in the past

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17465224 Modern research

sea buckthorn image

Toxins in Your Teeth ?

If like most of us you have Mercury Fillings – also known as Silver fillings or "Amalgam" then you too have Toxins in your teeth. Mercury really is a neurotoxin and studies have shown that it leaks out of teeth – especially when we chew.

That the mercury they use is toxic has been denied by Dentists for decades. How they managed to do this and not get "regulated" by Government Health and Safety legislation is complex but it does not detract from the simple truth.

Mercury is toxic.

Dentists are putting it in fillings.

That needs to stop.

Removal of these toxic fillings is not an easy task but one that must be done with great care by a specialist Dentist. Otherwise it can cause you excessive exposure to the entire toxic load of the teeth concerned in a way that might cause great damage.

Yes you can detox after wards but the removal must be handled with great care and following very special protocols. 

There is a consumer group which you can turn to for support because this is a BIG issue!

 

Health Benefits of Yogurt

Raita - Yogurt and cucumberOurs was a yogurt free household. Growing up in the UK in the fifties a lot of what we now call superfoods were in short supply if they were available at all.

Yogurt is not a modern or trendy superfood. It is an ancient food probably widespread in all nomadic and farming communities that kept sheep, goats, water buffalo or horses  or other milk bearing animals.

In my mind I associate yogurt with Bulgaria which gave its name to the bacterial culture Bulgaricus that makes yogurt from milk – and with India from the Indian yogurt drink called lassi and from the side dish called raita, (pron. as writer) which is totally yummy!

Why is Yogurt a superfood?

Let's look at  the health benefits of yogurt starting with…

Allergies and Sensitivities

People who cannot digest or tolerate cow's milk can frequently digest and tolerate yogurt very well. As the milk from which yogurt is made ferments the lactose in milk is turned into glucose and galactose which are much better tolerated than lactose.

Mineral content

Yogurt is very high in Iodine, calcium and phosphorous. The iodine content was a surprise to me and a welcome one. it can be very hard to get our essential intake of iodine and eating yogurt is a really easy and enjoyable way to make sure of it.

"Eat yogurt for strong bones" sounds a little odd but the high protein value 25% and high calcium content make it clear that this is an ideal food for kids and maybe for elderly people too who may be at risk for bone weakening diseases.

Digestive Health

I just read of a mouse study in which including yogurt in their diet provoked the cancer cells in their colons to initiate apoptosis- the cancer cells effectively committed suicide.

Yogurt fighting cancer?

Looks like it does in mice anyhow and if a mouse study gave this result by taking a chemical drug this result would be trumpeted from the rooftops!

And if you have heard that ulcers are caused by a virus called Pylori then you'll be interested that eating yogurt controls and effectively suppresses it.

People suffering dysentery get relief from their symptoms while others have used it to avoid dysentery.

Heart Health

A group of female volunteers who eat yogurt for 4 weeks improved their LDL to HDL ratio. They also had a decrease in blood homocysteine.

Many people- including me take blood homocysteine levels to be very important markers of heart health – much more so than cholesterol by the way.

One interesting point is that homocysteine is lowered by the correct intake of B vitamins so I wonder if the effect is due to the amount of vitamin B in yogurt?

Immune System

Many small studies have been done on the immune boost delivered by yogurt. One group of women had an increase of their T lymphocyte count of over 30% after consuming yogurt for a few weeks.

This is amazing and again if a drug could do this it would be trumpeted from the rooftops!

Weight Loss Too

Another surprise for me. I read some interesting studies at the University of Tennessee. First they showed that Calcium aided fat loss – and that dairy Calcium seemed to work best. They go so far as to talk about an Anti-obesity effect of Calcium.

Then they show that this works with yogurt. In fact the fat loss found with yogurt is the stubborn fat around the middle.

Fat loss was markedly increased on the yogurt diet

This is an amazing superfood and the health benefits of yogurt are so striking that I give a permanent place in my kitchen and an almost daily healthy snack.

One last word – yogurt means live yogurt with living cultures in it. Fruit in the culture or sugar or anything else completely changes and reduces the value and the power of the yogurt.

Yogurt means simple, live, real yogurt with no sweeteners or fruit. if you like to eat yogurt with fruit that's fine just chop and mix the fresh fruit yourself freshly into the plain yogurt and for very best results  I recommend buying or making only real, live yogurt.

This has made me hungry – I'm off to the kitchen to enjoy some yummy yogurt…..and if you have not seen a yogurt maker they have a good range at Amazon and perhaps at your local store too.

Picture credit Elisabeth Nara at the Wiki

 

Review of the Green Vibrance Detox Drink

green vibrance powder - 30 day supply If your Mum made you eat your greens then welcome to the club. We know it's good for us but many fail to eat their greens once they grow up and are able to ignore Mum's advice!

The easy way to get your green fix is to drink your Greens instead

Yes the perfect alternative to buying, preparing and cooking green vegetables is to take green drinks either on their own or in a shake.

You can either make your own or buy a green powder such as Beyond Greens which I'm taking right now or Green Vibrance – the topic of today's review.

So let's look at Green Vibrance and see if it lives up to its great reputation. And analyse the ingredients which are all published on the Vibrant Health website

The first thing that strike you is the sheer number of ingredients in Green Vibrance. Printing the table of ingredients out gives you a table covering 3 and a half pages of A4.

And it keep changing – the company keeps working on the product ingredients as nutritional understanding deepens so you may want to scan the current ingredients label here

Just to help you keep track of all this I'm going to keep to the list Green Vibrance give and go down the label. For the calorie conscious (and please do rethink that notion, OK?) the serving size is a scoop of 12 grams which has a measly 45 calories.

The initial facts show a high dose of potassium which is good and what you'd expect from a green drink. The protein in 1 scoop is 2.6 grams so this is fine for a drink but not enough for a meal or meal replacement. The initial vitamin and mineral section shows a nice high beta carotene at just under 5,000 iu and a high-ish dose of calcium of around 150 gms and a very low magnesium of 27 gm.

The main ingredient by weight is Spirulina with 1.5 gms or 1500 mg. Spirulina is a blue green algae and a well known superfood. It has a good spread of amino acids and Essential fatty acids – both GLA and linoleic acid.

A writer at Natural News claims that "Spirulina is so nutrient dense that you could survive on it and water alone."

Sounds good and I like the enthusiasm but there is not enough protein and the magnesium and I think the zinc levels are low. This is a superfood but it must be used as part of a whole diet and supplement programme and not instead of one!

Chlorella is another kind of microalgae included. It is very rich in chlorophyll which carries life force into the body that is vital for someone who is exhausted or toxic.

Very useful for us Detoxers.

Grasses- some of the initial enthusiasm for superfoods centered around barley grass. There is a whole list of cereal grasses here including wheat grass. So much so that I would recommend starting taking Green Vibrance with a lower than standard dose and working up to a scoop gradually!

Other than cereal there's broccoli, spinach, parsley and other gorgeous veggies that we should all take but often don't.

A whole section of sea veggies too – kelp, laver and others adds to the green power and importantly boosts the iodine level which is widely ignored and under supplied in our diets.

Lecithin from Soy is the third biggest ingredient by weight coming in at 750 mg.

Lecithin or to use the official name Phosphatidyl choline is a part of all cell walls and provides material to coat all nerves. Research has shown that soy lecithin has increased HDL cholesterol ( also called "good cholesterol") and lowered triglycerides.

Lecithin is another neglected superfood. Prebiotics come next and are a range of special foods that encourage the growth of good bacteria.

Antioxidants and circulatory support– this section has several powerful herbs including Ginkgo, Green Tea and Grape seed extract and Pomegranate with 40% Ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is important, I've written about it in my book and will again here on the blog.

Antioxidants and Liver Support-notable mentions here of milk thistle, dandelion, Gentian and chicory Adaptogens. In Classical herbalism these were called, "Thinking Herbs" for their seeming ability to do the right thing whatever they may be to help heal the body.

Included here are Schisandra berry, Eleuthero coccus senticosus and Suma.

Immune Support–astragalus, arabinogalactan ( a new one to me) and beta glucan which is a special sugar with immune powers which may be important in fighting cancer.

Probiotic Blend- a super wide variety of friendly bacteria with 12 different cultures Several enzymes derived from the Aspergillus fungus or mould – to boost digestion of proteins, fats, starch and sugars

Skeletal support– good minimum dose of D3 (1000 iu) along with 3 mg of boron, an important mineral often ignored or supplied at tiny doses so all credit to them for a healthy dose of such a vital mineral

Tonics – Ginger root and Cayenne.

Lastly – for taste – freeze dried grape juice.

My goodness, what an enormously long list!

For a start there are hundreds of enthusiastic reviews by happy customers of Green Vibrance. In a way with such a long wish list of green superfoods, pre and probiotics and herbs you can't really go wrong.

The only questions for a prospective customer are will this suit me and is it worth the money?

The first question can only be answered with a suggestion to "try it and see if you want to know" and the second depends on your budget.

If you are only going to buy one health supplement I would not choose this one. I would go for the biggest cheapest deal on vitamin C I could get!

And then take 3 to 6 grams per day.

But if I had enough left over to try a jar of Green Vibrance I would definitely try it. You may not like the taste so be prepared to mix it with a juice such as apple or tomato. If you find it suits you then pop back here and let me know in the comment section below what you noticed in your health as you continued to take it

You can buy Green Vibrance from Vibrant Health direct or for a lower price from Amazon

Aloe Vera Health Benefits

aloe vera Aloe Vera is one of the superfoods that is a combo of food and herbal remedy or medicine. Garlic is another example and Dandelion yet another. Strangely Aloe Vera seems to attract more than its fair share of criticism from the establishment and maybe that means it's worth looking deeper!

Aloe Vera 101

First a few basics; Aloe Vera seems to have originated in Africa although it is widespread in desert conditions throughout the world and grows in the southern US as well. It is a succulent plant (and not technically a cactus) which means that here is a special gel in the leaves that holds moisture.

It is that gel that is so special.

Using the gel directly is possible if you have your own Aloe Vera plants. Many people have them as house plants and will break off a portion of a leaf and squeeze out some of the gel onto a skin wound or sunburn.

Others will carefully fillet a leaf to extract the gel and pop it into a smoothie. In small quantities this appears to work OK but with larger amounts there is a compound in raw aloe gel that will give you the runs!

Shop bought Aloe Vera will be filtered to remove this ingredient but take care because commercial Aloe juice and gel is often of low quality and adulterated with preservatives – so read the label carefully!

Aloe Vera Health Benefits

Aloe is rich in healing substances – there are 75 potentially useful ingredients including "vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins, and salicylic acids."

With a profile like that there are going to be many diseases and problems that can potentially be treated with Aloe Vera.

Just take a look at the last ingredient in the quote…..salicylic acid.

Pronounced "Sally + silic as in silicon"  it is widespread in foods such as berries and is an effective anti-inflammatory.

Now that's just one of the 75 ingredients. We need a lot more research to explore the full extent of what Aloe Vera can do.

It is also worth pointing out there are some compounds in Aloe that are best filtered out so that the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe can work properly. Also that some may be allergic or sensitive to one or more ingredients in Aloe.

Anti-Inflammatory Effect

Inflammation is the major sign of the body needing some treatment – typically from anti-inflammatory herbs or vitamins. Aloe Vera has a good record of effectiveness of when used directly on the skin and when taken by mouth.

Studies support the use of Aloe Vera to treat burns and wounds. Skin conditions such as dermatitis and Psoriasis generally benefit from topical ie direct, treatment.

Similar good results would be expected Ulcerative colitis and similar conditions but the studies are conflicted.

One study on peptic ulcers showed a healing effect by Aloe, another on irritable bowel syndrome showed no effect. Does that mean that Aloe is no use in IBS? I doubt it – I don't know the dose used or the kind of Aloe or the diet and other factors such as big variations in the contents of the Aloe used.

Often medical research on natural remdies is marred by inclusion of accessory ingredients widely regarded as damaging but taken by the researchers as harmless!

Diabetes…

Remember salicylic acid above? It is not just a pain killer and anti-inflammatory but also has anti-diabetic effects. Aloe Vera has been found to normalise not just blood sugar but also the abnormal lipid profile common in diabetics.

Cancer- in one study in which adding Aloe to the melatonin patients were taking increased their survival time significantly. In a prostate tumour study Aloe showed promising results.

Summary of Aloe Vera Health Benefits

Aloe Vera is a superfood but it is not a "Silver bullet" type drug. When used alone it can help to heal many conditions but the most effective way to get the best out of Aloe Vera is to use it along with other Natural Medicines in a well designed programme worked out by a Naturopath.

Commercial Aloe Vera is a mild and effective anti-inflammatory herb and since it is a liquid is suitable for those who hate taking tablets. I actually like the taste  – just writing about it makes me feel like drinkking some…. Yum, that was refreshing! Aloe is widely available but if you want to get yours at Amazon then this one looks good to me! – it is organic, low cost and gets great reviews

Credits

Photo sky#walker

Research Notes

Where to Start My Detox? Part 3 – After Colon Cleansing

Detox - step b y Step Where to Start My Detox? Is such an excellent question that it has taken 2 blog posts so far to answer it.

Part One is here and Part Two is here

We start Detox by raising the quality of our diet. We do this by increasing the number of Superfoods in our diet and decreasing the number of junk foods – by choosing to exclude junk foods such as sugar, sodas, fries and burgers.

So far, so good!

Then we focus on preparing ourselves for the Detox by healing the gut with a simple combo of gut healing foods, nutrients and herbs.

Only then can we successfully get down to detox.

We started in Part 2 with detoxing or cleansing the colon. My first choice for colon cleaning is the Robert Gray Colon Cleansing Programme.

Suppose you spend 2 months or longer doing that – what's next?

After Colon Cleansing…..

After detoxing the colon or even before – you decide how thoroughly you want to detox.

If you want a simple procedure that is easy to follow then you can just use a general detoxer such as Capra cleanse which is the simplest detox formula I have found with a credible combination of detox nutrients and herbs.

But if you want a thorough detox of the colon in particular then you start your detox with a colon cleanse and then move on to a detox of the Kidneys and Liver.

So you could decide to use the Robert Gray Colon Cleanse and then use Capra cleanse to detox your kidney and Liver.

Or you could use the extremely thorough detox programme designed by Jon Barron which has a number of detox teas and tinctures which focus in turn on the colon, then the kidney and then in the liver.

You don't often see these options spelled out like this because these decisions are generally made in a 1 on 1 with a Naturopath.

There are other options too – which I have discussed in my detox books.

There are some people who just want the most thorough, deep and far reaching detox they can get and there are other people who want the simplest option they can find.

I have tried to find a way of providing the way forward for each type but it gets a little complicated sometimes that's for sure.

If you have never done a detox before I'd suggest you consider doing the Robert Gray and follow it up with Capra cleanse.

And if you have extra questions about Detox feel free to ask them in a comment at the end of this post.

And if you have a Detox method that you think I should have covered do share it!

 

Is Stevia Safe: The Controversial Sweetener?

small white Stevia flowersThe search for low calorie sweeteners goes back a long way. I remember giving up sugar when I read that Professor John Yudkin was quoted as saying that he, "Would rather have his family face the possible dangers of cyclamates than the certain dangers of sugar".

Other sweeteners Cyclamates and saccharin were under scrutiny at the time for possible health problems but sugar was not and the casual saying by the Prof prompted me to stop putting sugar in my tea and coffee stat!

Clearly a safe sweetener was needed and fast– I can give up sugar in a split second but most people will not!

Stevia comes to us from Paraguay where it has been used as a sweetener for more than 1500 years. Funny then that there has been so much lobbying and controversy about it since 1500 years of use as a food seems like a pretty thorough way to see that something is safe!

To me it seems to be either politics or lobbying either by the sugar industry or by the other sweetener companies that would account the amazing delay.

An Alternative Sweetener…..

Back in the 1970s when I started to avoid not just sugar but cyclamates and saccharin as well the search started in Japan for an alternative.

They turned to Stevia and ever since have been using more and more of it. According to the Wiki, " Japan currently consumes more stevia than any other country, with stevia accounting for 40% of the sweetener market".

Here in Europe Stevia has only just got approval from the EU and is at last on sale in local supermarkets.

Is Stevia Safe  – Does Stevia Damage Your Health?

Of course just because a substance is natural does not mean that it is good for us! Mushrooms are natural and some are yummy and some are killers!

Well we know that Stevia is safe. With 1500 years of use in teas and other food uses and over 40 years research to its name it is as safe as any of our foods.

The most obvious place to look for evidence of Stevia being a problem is how the body handles it.

Stevia does not cause a sudden rise in blood sugar so it appears to be fine for diabetics and others concerned with keeping their blood glucose steady.

It does not encourage dental caries either –one of the most serious problems with sugar and fruit juices.

So far so good! How about using it as part of a calorie controlled diet?

Stevia is either a low or no calorie sweetener so it can help you to cut calories – although I have to say that "calorie counting" is a dumb strategy to try to lose weight and body fat.

Is Stevia a Superfood?

And now let's move on and see if Stevia is actually beneficial?

Some long term studies – over 1 and 2 years, have shown that Stevia may be effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

In addition there may be other benefits hinted at here is this very technical quote,

"steviol and isosteviol (metabolic components of stevioside) may also offer therapeutic benefits, as they have anti-hyperglycaemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-diarrheal, diuretic, and immunomodulatory actions."

Well there is enough there to keep anyone explaining that for a few months – so let's put that in bullet points…

  • Stevia is anti-hyperglycaemic – so it puts a cap on blood sugar
  • Stevia is anti- hypertensive – reduces high blood pressure
  • anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation which is the major driver in chronic illness
  • anti-tumour – acts against cancer but how powerfully I do not know
  • anti-diarrheal – good for travellers then!
  • Diuretic – reduces water retention, might be useful in some PMS
  • Immunomodulatory – sometimes the immune system goes into over drive and Stevia nudges it back to normal

This is an amazing list of properties and if any drug did half of this we would be hearing about every da

And when combined with….."Taken together, the research indicates that stevia is safely metabolized by the body without any effect." Global Stevia Institute

And…..

"No allergic reactions to it seem to exist." PubMed

…..then it looks like we are on not just safe ground but potentially the beginning of the exploration of a very useful healing herb.

Named after the Spanish botanist Pedro Jaime Esteve who was the first Westerner to study Stevia it seems that there is a sweet future for this South American herb often called Sweetleaf.

Last words on Stevia

We started with the Question," Is Stevia Safe?" and we saw the long tradition of use and research results too that answer that question decisively.

However, the future of Stevia or Sweetleaf may well depend more on the taste than on the safety!

Some Stevia products leave a bitter aftertaste which turns some people off. So keep trying other brands until you get one you like.

The benefits are worth it – have another look at those bullet points!

So how about You – Do you like Stevia? The brand shown in the pic gets good reviews at Amazon.

Picture Credit

Stevia

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