Thursday, December 31, 2009

Being Mad as a Hatter is No Joke When it Comes to Mercury Poisoning

Do you know where the phrase "mad as a hatter" came from? It is not just a phrase, it has an actual meaning. Back in Britain, between 1600 and 1800, makers of felt hats used quicksilver, which is mercury nitrate, to make hats. It was a carefully guarded trade secret.

The only problem, of course, is that people who wore these hats became, well, mad as hatters. They developed poor memories, inappropriate behaviors, and even tremors that became know as "the hatter's shakes."

Wow! Talk about being mad as a hatter! Can you say heavy metal poisoning? So much for the "trade secret."

Before We Knew About Mercury Poisoning and Its Effects
Unfortunately, many people were negatively affected by mercury poisoning before scientists discovered that this heavy metal caused many health issues. Back in the day, mercury was used in many medications, especially those used to treat syphilis. Doctors even directly injected people with mercury and applied direct mercury ointments.

Worse, many dentists continue to use mercury amalgam fillings today, even though negative effects of mercury are well documented. What does mercury do to the body? Here's a short list:

- generates free radical cell damage and cell death
- inhibits many antioxidants, including super oxide dismutase (SOD)
- retards brain development
- speeds the development of diabetes, hypertension, strokes, and cardiovascular disease
- causes muscle weakness, include chronic fatigue syndrome

... and that's only the short list! Mercury poisoning can also lead to arthritis, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, gum disease, hair loss, and insomnia.

What to Do if You Suspect You Have Mercury Poisoning
If you are concerned about mercury poisoning, whether because of dental fillings, eating a lot of seafood, or external sources of contamination, luckily there are steps you can take to help your body get rid of mercury.

To help your body rid itself of mercury, you need to ingest foods and supplements high in:

- chlorophyll
- enzymes
- antioxidants

All of these will support the cleansing process, especially at the cellular level as well as from the liver and kidneys. Research shows that the food richest in all of these substances is AFA blue-green algae. According to Dr. Jeffrey Bruno,

"The use of algae has stimulated the excretion of some contaminants ... lead and mercury are also excreted without detrimental effects associated with conventional chelation therapy."

Other herbs that support detoxification of mercury include cilantro, yellow dock, milk thistle, dandelion, red clover, burdock, cleavers, marshmallow, and licorice.

I have successfully helped myself and other people I advise on nutrition to successfully detoxify their bodies of mercury. Of course, the first step is to remove any possible sources of mercury poisoning, including excess seafood and dental fillings made of mercury amalgam.

Then I usually suggest people take these daily packs of supplements,  that include AFA blue-green algae, enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus. For an extra boost, I also suggest this suplement with sprouts from the same company, as the concentrated wheat sprouts have a very strong antioxidant effect in the body. Alternatively, Dragon River Herbals also has a powerful herbal detoxification program, including detailed instructions on how to use it. Both of these approaches have worked well for many people.

So ... consider trying either of these approaches if you are feeling the negative effects of mercury poisoning, or just feeling a tad mad as a hatter!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathyrs_photo_wonderland/ / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Natural Solutions to Help You Avoid Bad Hair Days

Hair loss, graying hair, dull hair, crazy cowlicks, and split ends ... all of these can equal a bad hair day! Yuck. That's not pretty, whether you are a guy or a girl. No one likes a bad hair day.

Luckily scientists have been busy figuring out what causes bad hair days, and determined which nutrients your body needs to grow hair that is healthy, rich, lustrous, and, well, good!

Nutrition for Healthy Hair
Studies show that one of the main reasons we suffer from "bad hair days" is because our bodies don't have enough sulfur. Sulfur directly affects the health of not just our hair, but also our skin.

That's where biotin comes in. Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin coenzyme that incorporates sulfur into its molecular structure. So when our bodies produce enough biotin, we end up with healthier hair and skin. In fact, biotin has been nicknamed the "good hair day" vitamin.

Biotin also reduces glucose levels in the blood, which is good news for diabetics. If you're not sure whether your body is lacking in biotin, check for other signs of biotin deficiency, which include brittle fingernails, depression, and chronic fatigue.

Sources of Biotin for Healthy Hair
Now the question becomes, "Where do we get biotin?" Lucky for us, the beneficial bacteria in our guts produce biotin. That is, if we have enough acidophilus and bifidus in our intestines, then we tend to have enough biotin, and we also avoid bad hair days.

You can also eat foods high in biotin to increase the levels of biotin in your body. Foods high in biotin include:

- AFA blue-green algae
- brown rice
- mushrooms
- eggs
- liver

There are also topical biotin salves on the market, however studies indicate that biotin is not easily absorbed through the skin. So rubbing biotin salves on your scalp won't help you as much as eating foods rich in biotin, or increasing your intake of probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus, which help your body increase its production of biotin.

Having good hair days isn't difficult. At 73, I still have a full head of rich dark hair, and I have eating acidophilus, bifidus, and blue-green algae for over 25 years. I'm also fond of eggs and brown rice, too. Eating healthy for "good hair days" doesn't have to be complicated ... in fact, just follow the guidelines above for a convenient approach to healthy, shiny, lustrous hair. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29654876@N02/ / CC BY 2.0

Thursday, December 24, 2009

SOD: Cuss Word, Green Grass, or Anti-Aging Wonder?

One of my British buddies is very fond of saying, "You sod!" or "Sod that!" so naturally when I first came across the acronym SOD in a nutrition book I thought that it referred to the British cuss word.

Here in our farming community, the word "sod" means green grass. People around here cultivate sod, which they then sell to developers to create new lawns.

But my favorite definition of the word "sod" is Superoxide Dismutase, the acronym for which is SOD. Neither green grass nor a cuss word, SOD is an extremely important antioxidant in the body. In fact, we pretty much can't live, at least not well, without SOD.

So What the Heck is SOD Anyway?
SOD is an antioxidant, which basically means that it's the body's police and cleanup crew. SOD goes around the body and neutralizes free radicals, specifically the superoxide free radical, and other destructive antioxidants. So far that all sounds good, if a bit boring. So let me put it in terms that are a little more stark:

Throughout our lives, our bodies produce about 3 TONS of superoxide free radicals.

That equals a lot of damage to the body, since the superoxide radical can attack cells, damage DNA, and even be a pre-cursor to cancer. All this makes SOD super important. In fact, it is such an important part of keeping our body's healthy that whenever we are stressed, our brains immediately increase the production of SOD.

What Else Does SOD Do for Us?
In addition to general policing of free radicals around the body, SOD has many other important functions, including:

- keeping cell membranes and tissues supple
- keeping gums healthy and protecting them from gingivitis, especially among smokers
- protect our DNA from the superoxide free radical

SOD is one of our body's first line defenders against free radicals, and basically protects the body from free radicals on all levels, from the cellular level to organ systems.

Where Do We Get SOD?
All organisms contain and produce SOD, some more than others. There are actually three kinds of SOD, one each associated with copper, zinc, and manganese. When we suffer from deficiencies in any of these minerals, then our bodies can't produce SOD.

Well sod that!

Luckily, we can get SOD in the foods we eat. Foods that are high in SOD include:

- concentrated wheat sprouts
-AFA blue-green algae

You can also boost your intake of copper and zinc by eating foods including:

- crimini mushrooms
- collard greens, spinach, and chard
- asparagus

To boost your intake of manganese, try these foods:

- oats and brown rice
- berries like strawberries and raspberries
- green beans
- collard greens, spinach, and chard

For humans and animals, I have personally found that supplementation with wheat sprouts is a particularly convenient "all in one" solution that doesn't require a lot of shopping or cooking. Wheat sprouts also supports joint health and has many antioxidant properties of its own. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You Have a Fat Brain? If Not You Should

Seriously, everyone needs a fat brain. In a world where "skinny" is good, if you want a healthy happy brain, you need a fat brain. Get this:

Did you know that 60% of your brain is made of fat?

No kidding. It's a scientific fact. Look it up if you don't believe me. Most of those fats are polyunsaturated fat, so, sorry, but eating Twinkies isn't going to help your brain.

Instead these fats are omega-3 fatty acids, and form the cell membranes that cover neurons and other cell organs. These fats are also the main ingredient in your synapses and dendrites, which are the connections between your neurons. In short, these fats form the parts of your brain that allow you to think. Huh, imagine that!

So What Kind of Fat Does Your Brain Need?
Omega-3 fatty acids are what your brain needs to function. Specifically, the brain needs two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. There's been a lot of news lately about DHA, and that is because studies show that a low intake of DHA fats can lead to depression and other brain impairments, while increasing intake of DHA relieves these problems.

Why Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Hard to Get?
Unfortunately, because of food processing methods and industrial methods of raising livestock, most of the omega-3 fatty acids have been removed from the foods we eat. I'm not just referring to Twinkies here, but basically any packaged food and meats that are not organic.

So unless you are eating food out of your own garden and raising your own livestock, you may need to supplement your body's natural supply of omega-3 fatty acids ... that is, if you want to have a fat brain. In fact, your brain needs to be really fat to function well.

Here's another interesting fat fact: fat makes up 25% of a healthy brain's total brain. That's pretty fat!

Healthy Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you want to supplement your body's omega-3 fatty acids, look to the ocean and think Eskimos. As a population Eskimos have been shown to have some of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Why? Because they eat a lot of coldwater fish like cod, mackerel and salmon. These cold-water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids because they, in turn, eat a lot of blue-green algae.

So to increase your levels of omega-3 fatty acids, you can eat fish, take fish oil supplements, or go straight to the source and eat blue-green algae. In fact, going to the source may be best because many fish suffer from environmental contamination, and many fish oil supplements degrade by the time they reach your local health food store's shelves. The University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter strongly recommends eating AFA blue-green algae as an alternative to fish oil supplements.

Personally, although I quite like to cook and eat fish, especially salmon, I find that taking blue-green algae capsules to be a convenient daily supplement to ensure that my brain's getting enough fat.

I've never wanted to be fat in my life, but these days, I'm thinking being fat in certain parts of my body is a good thing.

I'm going for a fat brain ... what about you?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are You Tired of Cleaning Up Dog Puke? 3 Ways to Avoid It

I hate cleaning up dog puke.

Literally abhor it. Worst of all, I usually end up cleaning up this foul substance in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, when, let me tell you, I am less than at my best! Oh yes, and I usually have to step in it first! Are you like me? Hate cleaning up dog puke?

Then I've got three words for you: acidophilus, bifidus, and enzymes.

These three little words will prevent you (mostly) from having to wipe slime off your bare foot in the middle of the night because you have stepped in a pool of dog puke on your way to the bathroom. Just about anything is worth avoiding that experience in my book.

Just so you know, the reason I'm writing about this right now is because we adopted a Chihuahua mix (nicknamed "Mouse") a while back (that's his adorable mug above), and he went through a long spell of "dog puke-itis." Not pleasant. Being a street dog in Denver for his first year of life, he literally eats anything ... and then pukes it back up later. It's like having a goat in a dog suit.

Luckily, having been a nutritional counselor for years, I knew to immediately supplement his diet with enzymes, acidophilus, bifidus.

How Acidophilus, Bifidus, and Enzymes Help Your Dog's Digestion
Basically no matter what you feed your dog, adding acidophilus, bifidus, and enzymes to his diet will help decrease the chances of dog puke. Of course, the better quality food you feed him, the healthier he will be, and the less he will puke. However, this article isn't about debating the ins and outs of feeding a raw diet versus serving up Alpo. This article is about how to prevent yourself from having to clean up more dog puke. So here goes. We'll start at the top of your dog's digestive track and work our way backwards!

Enzymes and the Stomach
Once food enters your dog's stomach, dozens of different kinds of enzymes start to break down the food. For instance, there are separate enzymes for digesting proteins, starches, and lactose. If your dog's body does not naturally produce enough enzymes, or the right kinds of enzymes, to digest the different kinds of substances in his food, then you get all kinds of "feedback," including vomiting, burping, bad breath on the front end, and all kinds of unmentionables on the back end. Adding a full-spectrum potent enzyme supplement to your dog's feed will prevent these problems from occurring.

Acidophilus and the Small Intestine
Acidophilus (more properly called lactobacillus acidophilus) is a probiotic, a beneficial bacteria that lives in small intestine of healthy dogs (and healthy people, too!). Acidophilus manufactures the enzyme lactase, which digests sugars. This beneficial bacteria also produces lactic acid and natural antibiotics, which can keep your dog healthy. Acidophilus helps your dog better digest his feed, no matter what you feed him. It has also been shown to improve coat condition, and kill off Candida yeast as well as 27 kinds of harmful bacteria, including salmonella. Best of all, Acidophilus prevents gas (yay!), bad breath, and, oh yes, dog puke.

Bifidus and the Large Intenstine
Like acidophilus, bifidus (properly called bifidobacterium bifidus) is a friendly probiotic. This strain of bacteria lives in your dog's large intestine, and is responsible primarily for aiding in digestion (especially of fiber) and preventing harmful viruses and bacteria from taking up residence in your dog's large intestine. Bifidus is even effective against nitrite toxicity (nitrites are present in packaged meats and many dog foods) as well as the bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome. Bifidus even addresses the opposite end of the dog puke problem: diarrhea. If your dog suffers from diarrhea, Bifidus tends to "soak up" the excess fluid in the bowel and firm up loose stools.

High Quality Enzymes, Acidophilus, and Bifidus
So there you have it. That covers the gamut of your dog's digestive tract, and gives you three ways to avoid cleaning up dog puke. Enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus are perfectly safe to feed your dog on a regular basis, and should be fed in increased amounts if your dog will be under stress.

For instance, when we brought Mouse home, his diet changed from "street dog fare" to home-cooked meals. That definitely put his digestive tract under stress, not to mention the fact that he was probably already deficient in enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus. Other activities that may stress your dog's digestion include travel, boarding, or visiting the veterinarian. If you increase your dog's dose of these three digestive aids before any of these activities, you drastically reduce your chances of having to clean up dog puke.

Finally, if you are going to feed your dog enzymes and probiotics, go for the best quality you can afford. The best quality probiotics are the ones that are kept and sold in refrigerators. This maximizes the number of live bacteria present in each capsule. I have found that  from The enzymes and probiotics I have found to work best and can be ordered online. However, there are also many health food stores that carry high quality enzymes and probiotics (stored in the fridge). Feeding straight yogurt usually won't provide enough density of probiotics to really improve your dog's digestion, so I suggest sticking with straight supplements.

You can expect to see results from these supplements in four to eight weeks, depending on your dog's original level of digestive health. After that, prepare to experience a life free of dog puke, bad breath, and stinky farts! Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snot and the Common Cold: 3 Things You May Not Know

Tis the season of tissues, snot, coughing and sneezing. Oh how jolly! Actually, these symptoms of the common cold should be welcomed as signs your body trying to get healthy ... even if they make you miserable!

Facts About the Common Cold
Obviously no one likes to catch cold and very few people appreciate the purpose of cold symptoms. When you "catch cold" and have cold symptoms, you are actually experiencing your body trying to get rid of toxins, foreign invaders, and other unhealthy substances in your body.

Without a cold, all of these toxic substances would literally be "stuck" in your body forever, wreaking further havoc and leading to more chronic illnesses. Hooray for the common cold! So that you can more fully appreciate the "value" of a cold, here are three things you probably don't know about snot and the common cold.

#1 - Snot is Good, Really
Whenever the body encounters something unwanted in the body, one of its first forms of defense is to dilute the substance and then move it out of the body. Hence, you get snot, as well as mucous, phlegm, and other such goodies. Diluting an unwanted substance in the body, like bacteria or viruses, makes the substance less harmful, and also helps move it out of the body.

Even though having a runny nose or watery eyes may make you feel miserable, you can be glad that your body is strong enough to put up this kind of defense. A less healthy body would not be able to mount this kind of defense, and the toxic substance would remain in the body. So every time you catch cold, instead of feeling miserable, you can congratulate your body on being healthy enough to defend itself!

#2 - Fevers Help Your Body "Clean House"
Although many western cultures don't acknowledge this, tribal cultures have long understood the value of a controlled fever (104 degrees Fahrenheit or less). A fever is another way your body rids itself of bacteria, viruses, germs, and other toxic materials. Fevers literally "burn off" toxic substances and kill foreign invaders, many of which cannot live at such high temperatures. That just about makes all the aches, pains, and crazy dreams associated with fevers worth it!

#3 - Germs Don't Cause Colds
Saying that germs cause colds is kind of like saying that fire trucks cause fires; since fire trucks are always at the scene of a fire, then they must be the cause of the fires, right? Not really. The same goes for germs. Germs are often "at the scene of the crime" when you catch cold, but that doesn't mean they are the root cause of the common cold.

You only catch cold when your body's immune system has been weakened, which then allows germs to set up residence, giving you the common cold. This explains why not everyone exposed to the same germs catches cold. Only people with weak immune systems catch cold. So there you have it ... the poor luckless germ has been blamed this whole time for the common cold when it is actually a wimpy immune system that is at fault.

3 Things You Can Do About the Common Cold
If you do end up with a common cold, for whatever reason, you can take steps to move the cold through and out of your system more quickly and effectively. Here are three things you can do:

1. Don't Suppress Cold Symptoms
If you try to suppress cold symptoms, you interfere with your body's defense mechanisms. This allows foreign invaders to stay in your body. Instead, your goal should be to help your body push these invaders out of your system faster. Just accept that you have a cold and try not to suppress the symptoms with too many over-the-counter medications. If you need relief from cold symptoms, try taking Echinacea tincture or Vitamin C.

2. Support Your Body's Immune System with Beta-Glucan
Beta-glucan is a substance made from brewer's yeast that has been shown to activate and support the body's microbe-killing capabilities. In studies, beta-glucan increased the body's ability to identify microbial invaders and also increased the communication among various parts of the body's immune system. Note that this effect was only achieved with beta-glucan that had been separated by a special process from brewer's yeast. Ingesting brewer's yeast alone with not have this effect. This immune support supplement is an excellent source of beta-glucan.

3. Hydrate to Increase the Dilution Effect
Drink, drink, and then drink some more clear liquids. Whether you are drinking water, hot tea, or warm broth, take in as much fluid as you can since this helps your body dilute the effect of microbial invaders. If you have difficulty drinking cold water, try drinking either warm water with honey and lemon, or warm water with a bit of high-grade sea salt. Either will soothe your throat and produce the desired dilution effect.

The Common Cold: A Good Thing
It's never fun to catch cold, but if you do end up with the common cold then don't hate it. It's just your body doing its job and keeping you healthy. Do everything you can to support your body's immune response and know that you will emerge on the other side healthier and with a stronger immune system!

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanj/ / CC BY 2.0