Tuesday, November 26, 2013

4 Ways to Survive the Holidays and Have a Happy, Healthy Winter

It's the time of year for joy, cheer and good tidings—so why are there so many people who feel sad, stressed and grumpy when December rolls around? There are a number of reasons why the start of winter is such a challenging time.

Natural Causes
  • Limited Daylight: Less sunshine means less vitamin D. This can increase the risk of depression and compromise the body's immune response. In addition, lack of vitamin D can decrease thyroid function, which can lead to fatigue, sluggishness and weight gain.
  • Less Time Outdoors: When the weather is cold, messy and dark, people tend to spend very little time outdoors. Because of this, they are less likely to get the exercise they need to maintain optimal wellness. And because exercise is a natural mood booster, they will be more prone to depression, stress and anxiety during the winter months unless they find ways to fit physical activity in.
  • Increased Communicable Illnesses: The winter months are when viral illnesses really take off. And because people tend to be in close quarters with others—and also may have weakened immune systems from reduced vitamin D—they tend to pick up minor illnesses that further wear them down.
Societal Causes
  • Increased Social Obligations: There seems to be no time busier than December! The relentless pace of tracking down just the right gift for everyone, attending endless parties, dinners and get-togethers, ensuring the home's décor is holiday-perfect, or setting time aside for a full schedule of concerts and pageants can wear down even the fittest and most gregarious of personalities.
  • Overindulging in Fatty and Sugary Foods: By their second or third holiday meal, many people have already eaten their weight in casseroles, deviled eggs and sugar cookies. In the short term, this kind of behavior can lead to weight gain, poor blood sugar management and reactivation of food sensitivities. All are things that can keep a person from feeling his/her best.

To devise a strategy for making it through the holidays with as little stress and sickness as possible, consider these suggestions:

1. Improve mood and mental resilience with supplementation.

Increasing the intake of vitamin D during the winter months helps reduce the risk of depression related to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Senior adults and individuals who are vitamin D deficient based on a sub optimal 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level should consider taking vitamin D year-round. Optimum range is 65-85 ng/ml.

For individuals who experience SAD, consider taking amino acid 5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP). This supplement is a great addition to depression treatment. And, despite warnings to the contrary, it can frequently be taken in conjunction with selective serotonin reuptake inhibiter (SSRI) antidepressants. The body converts 5-HTP to serotonin, the calming neurotransmitter responsible for improving mood. SSRIs only rearrange where the serotonin is—they do not stimulate its production, so a regimen of 200mg to 500mg of 5-HTP a day may be all that’s needed to for that extra mood boost. Serotonin helps one not be so hypercritical of themselves and others, less perfectionistic and not quite so OCD. It’s easier to laugh, love, feel secure, control carbohydrate cravings and be happy with sufficient serotonin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Patients currently on SSRIs should talk to a medical professional, such as an integrative physician, before making changes to their treatment regimen. Abrupt discontinuation of an antidepressant (or sudden changes in dosage) can lead to unpleasant or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Supplements that are known to aid the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin are magnesium, Vitamin C, zinc and B6. Some people have difficulty converting pyridoxine (plain B6) into activated vitamin B6 or pyridoxyl-5-phosphate (also known as P5P). If a B complex or 100 mg of B6 daily seems insufficient to lift mood, try 50 mg P5P once or twice a day. Taken at bedtime, it will also enhance dreaming.

Several other amino acids provide a calming effect. For individuals who are always fearful and wrapped a bit too tight, the amino acid glycine, which is often found in powder form, is great for anxiety and panic attacks. Think of this and gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) as the brain's natural Valium. Taking 1000mg to 3,000mg of glycine powder (it easily dissolves under the tongue) will result in a calmer and more focused countenance within 5-10 minutes. GABA 750 mg does the same thing. Evening Primrose Oil—around 3,000mg daily—can help GABA work even more effectively in people with a personal or family history of alcohol, Xanax or Valium dependence.

GABA and glycine reduce cravings for alcohol and sugar and fat.....chips and dip, brownies, cookies, cakes. It’s important to remember to take these supplements before the time that the goodies are available. Nothing works if a glass of wine or beer or a bowl of macaroni and cheese is already in hand!

There are other amino acids that can prove to be invaluable in the fight against holiday stress. L-Theanine 100mg 2-3 x/day, which is in green tea, increases the alpha-wave activity in the brain, shutting off the worry impulse and improving focus and concentration. L-Taurine 1000mg 2-3x/day can calm the brain in ways similar to GABA.

St. John's Wort is also effective in treating SAD. This herb works by raising a number of neurotransmitters in the brain—not just serotonin. It takes longer to work than the amino acids, so individuals who find that their mood is easy to track by season may want to consider starting St. John's Wort in early fall. This herb can also interact negatively with certain prescription drugs, so a physician should be consulted before taking it.

Herbs that can help combat stress include hops and passionflower, which act as mild sedatives, and lemon balm, which helps correct mental fatigue and low mood.

Don't forget fish oil ("DHA" in the brain). None of the previously mentioned supplements can properly do their jobs if cells are sick, starved and have unhealthy receptors. Low levels of DHA combined with high levels of saturated and trans fats make nerve cell membranes stiff, preventing serotonin or GABA from sending a strong signal. DHA also reduces inflammation in the brain. That's significant considering depression is sometimes due to inflammatory disease.

2. Maintain a healthful diet and don't overindulge in fatty, sugary foods.

Whether through weight gain, increased blood pressure, poor blood sugar control or acid reflux, poor eating can ruin the holidays. In addition, increased intake of carbohydrates and gluten prevent the adrenal glands from functioning properly. This can lead to fatigue, brain fog and irritability.

Of course, more healthful foods can also improve resiliency. For example, an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and protect the brain against depression and stress. Fatty fish (cold water, wild-caught), flaxseed, and walnuts are great choices. Selenium, which can be found in oysters, nuts and seeds, legumes and lean meats, can give the brain a boost. So instead of a fatty ham for that holiday meal, try lean pork or turkey. Speaking of turkey, the tryptophan it contains is converted by the brain into serotonin.

Also consider foods that can boost immune response during the holidays and throughout the winter months. Select foods high in vitamin C and zinc. Again, nuts and lean meats are good choices. Consider bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes as well. Research suggests that taking or consuming garlic can also help prevent viruses like the common cold.

Individuals already on a specific diet (such as a gluten-free diet) or those who have known food sensitivities (such as dairy sensitivity) should maintain their current regimens. Abandoning regular eating habits during the holiday season can cause fatigue and can increase vulnerability to stress, illness, headaches and upset stomach.

Those who enjoy cooking might consider using full-fat coconut milk for dairy in recipes. Avoid GMO-containing foods and use organic grains in cooking and baking instead of conventionally-raised grains, since the latter are sprayed with glyphosate (aka Roundup®) just before harvest. GMO foods and Roundup® are unwanted gifts that keep on giving—in negative ways.

Take probiotics, 25 billion CFU, to reduce the damaging effects of glyphosate on healthy gut bacteria. Take trace minerals or use Celtic sea salt to replace essential minerals which are bound up by glyphosate in the gut and elsewhere in the body.

It's probably not realistic to expect that, even with this information, people will always make completely healthy choices during the holiday season. After all, it's perfectly natural to want to eat, drink and be merry. The general advice is to just avoid going overboard. To prevent a reaction to certain foods or drinks, activated charcoal in capsule form may be taken before indulging. It will help to decrease adverse reactions to the toxic food. As the meal progresses, several more capsules may be taken. More details are available in the Holiday Feasting First Aid Guide.

After the holiday season, consider starting the New Year off with a full cleanse. An integrative or naturopathic physician can advise how to proceed safely and in a manner that optimizes the detoxification process.

3. Fit in some exercise.

Research has shown that exercise can reduce the severity of a number of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Studies are also showing that it can improve one’s ability to cope with stress. Intuitively, many people have already made that connection, but more and more research is becoming available to support that observation. It's now believed that physical activity increases the concentrations of norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is heavily connected to the brain's emotional and stress responses.

Exercise also improves the body's functioning, making everyday tasks easier. And it leads to better sleep, an important component to vitality, stress management and immune functioning.

Despite the evidence in favor of exercise, many are often stumped as to how they can fit it in during the winter months when outdoor time is limited. There are actually a number of ways to do so.
  • Join the YMCA or invest in a gym or fitness club membership.
  •  Make use of exercise DVDs at home. These days, workout discs that suit any exercise preference—from yoga to kickboxing to belly dancing—are easily available and reasonably priced.
  • Get the whole family involved and consider investing in a game console that allows everyone to participate in physically active games.
  • Sneak exercise into daily routines by walking to speak to a colleague in another part of the office instead of phoning her, parking at the far end of the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. 
4. Take time to recharge.

One of the wonderful things about the holidays is that they give people a reminder to stop focusing inwardly and to devote time and love to others. In fact, altruism is associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced depression. But giving of oneself too much without taking time to recharge comes at a price.

To combat the physical and mental drain that comes around this time every year, participate in healthy activities that provide downtime. Get a good massage or try something different; a healing touch session. This type of energy therapy can reduce pent-up tension (particularly in the neck and shoulders where many tend to carry stress), increase circulation and provide quiet time to rest and enjoy the power of human touch. Other forms of energy therapy that can improve mood are acupuncture, Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique.

Also, don't underestimate the power of alone time. Whether it's a long bath, a few moments journaling or meditating, or a half an hour of reading before bed, a little time alone to relax and focus can improve mental and emotional energy.

Try to reject the compulsion to have to “do it all” during the holiday season. Things often go much more smoothly when responsibilities are shared. Don't be afraid to delegate tasks to family members and friends, or hire a professional to perform services like decorating, catering and housecleaning.

Finally, get back to basics. The holidays are about the celebration of family and—for many—faith. Spend quality time where it matters, and take time away from the hustle and bustle of the season to engage in fun and meaningful family traditions.

For those who find themselves truly unable to cope with stress or depression, don’t hesitate to talk to a physician or qualified counselor.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Brain Power: Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Memory is as critical to human survival as food, water and oxygen. Not only are memories treasure troves of our passions and experiences, they're reminders of the most basic functions in everyday life. Without them, simple tasks like buttoning a blouse or remembering a pot of boiling water on the stove could become unmanageable or even dangerous. That's what makes Alzheimer's disease such a cruel illness. It robs its victims of both the small and grand moments in life, leaving loved ones and caregivers to fill in the blanks. It is also among the most expensive illnesses to treat.

Medical researchers are diligently working to better understand this neurodegenerative disease, hoping to gain more insight into its causes and ultimately find a cure. Initial steps have been made in treatment options for patients with Alzheimer’s but, as with any disease, prevention is the best option.

Primary Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
Our current understanding of Alzheimer's disease is that it results from a combination of factors that cause damage to the brain over time. There are some people who have a genetic risk for the disease; they fortunately represent a minority of cases. For most people who develop the disease, lifestyle and environmental factors play a larger role.

History of Head Trauma
People who have experienced severe or repeated head trauma have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have also noticed a connection  between mild traumatic brain injury and damage to the white matter of the brain, which is a phenomenon resembling Alzheimer's-related dementia.

Because of the likely relationship between head trauma and Alzheimer's, it's possible that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can lower Alzheimer's risk in those who've experienced such injuries. HBOT is known to be protective against a number of neurological problems by helping the brain to heal itself on a cellular level.

Poor Dietary Choices
There are always going to be strong opinions about what is the best diet to promote a healthy brain or healthy heart or healthy sex life. Increasingly, studies show that our high carb, low fat diet that has been promoted since the 1970’s has contributed to an explosive increase in type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Many integrative physicians side with Dr. David Perlmutter in his recent book Grain Brain. Eliminating high sugar and starchy processed foods and drinks, including fruit juice, is a great first step to reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Eliminating most commercial vegetable oils for cooking and margarine is a great second step. And eliminate all sources of gluten (see below).

Dr. Perlmutter explains how to change our diets to avoid Alzheimer’s disease. Here is a list of "brain foods" which are also "heart healthy":
  • Fish (choose ones low in mercury)
  •  Eggs (yes, they are good for your heart and your brain)
  • Grass fed meat, wild game
  • Free range, organic poultry
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  •  Flaxseed oil
  •  Coconut oil
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Legumes
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Orange-colored fruits and vegetables
  • Vegetable juices
  • Turmeric spice
Opt for a Paleo-style diet that avoids grains especially refined pasta, bread and other baked goods. It should be heavy on omega-3 and limited omega-6 fatty acids (fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, nuts and seeds), vitamins (fruits, vegetables), flavonoids (berries, citrus fruits, spinach, dark chocolate), mixed carotenoids (carrots, winter squash), and medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil). This will boost prevention.

Gluten Sensitivity
People with celiac disease have a severe immune reaction to foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye. The damage may not be limited to the gut. Unfortunately, those with celiac disease may have a higher risk of developing dementia. The good news is that the same research that found this connection also discovered that people with celiac disease may be able to reverse cognitive decline by adhering to a gluten-free diet.

Many others are gluten sensitive, which still causes significant inflammation. Inflammatory responses may include brain fog in the short-term, and can contribute to dementia over time. Sometimes the routine tests used to diagnose gluten sensitivity are not sensitive enough. A new, highly sensitive test of gluten intolerance, endorsed by Dr. Perlmutter, is available:  Cyrex labs Array 3.

Poorly-controlled Blood Sugar
There has been such a notable connection between Alzheimer's disease and poorly- controlled blood sugar that Alzheimer's disease is sometimes referred to as "type 3 diabetes." While this term may not be entirely accurate since it doesn't account for other causes of Alzheimer's disease, it does point to an important link.

A long-term Japanese study found that Alzheimer's disease developed two times more often in participants with diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance. A study in Germany showed that proteins that were glycated (or had a sugar molecule permanently attached to them) produced nearly 50 times more free radicals than non-glycated proteins. In the brain these free radicals damage adjacent neurons. Physicians measure the percent of one molecule that is glycated in our bodies every day in their offices: Hemoglobin A1c. This is just one of 1000’s of proteins that are glycated every time blood sugar gets high.

Cholesterol and Statin Usage
Having high levels of HDL cholesterol, which is known as "good" cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. In the past, it was also believed that low levels of LDL, or "bad” cholesterol, helped prevent Alzheimer's disease. Thus, statin drugs were often considered helpful in reducing the risk of the disease. Studies into the connection between statins and Alzheimer's have not found this to be the case, however. In fact, because statins, beta-blockers, and diabetes drugs lower coenzyme Q10, they may actually contribute to dementia. Coenzyme Q10 is believed to help protect against dementia. Research is ongoing.

Additionally, the membranes of brain cells are made of cholesterol, fish oil and other fats. Cholesterol is critically important for communication between brain cells. Too low a level of cholesterol robs the brain of essential building blocks and compromises function of nerve cells. This increases the risk of dementia.

Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiencies
Numerous studies have suggested that optimal vitamin levels may play a major role in Alzheimer's prevention. Research into the effectiveness of vitamin E has been mixed; however, studies examining vitamin C, beta-carotene (a precursor form of vitamin A), and vitamin D have been more positive. Research that measured the levels of these particular vitamins in patients with and without Alzheimer's disease found that participants with dementia tended to have lower levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin D than patients with higher cognitive function.

Additionally, supplementing with vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate appear to slow down cognitive decline. Herbs such as gingko biloba (which enhances blood flow to the brain), lemon balm (which is calming, and raises GABA to improve focus), and bacopa monnieri (which raises dopamine levels to enhance focus) may also play roles in preventing Alzheimer's disease. Other supplements decrease inflammation. (See below.)

Hormonal Imbalance
As people age some will experience obvious changes in brain function when they go through menopause or Andropause. Some will notice deterioration in memory when they experience chronic stress.  Herbs, lifestyle changes or hormone therapy may improve brain function and prevent further deterioration.

Sedentary Lifestyle
The same study that found a link between a high saturated-fat diet and memory loss in rats and mice discovered a potential correction to the problem—despite fat intake. According to the research, exercise helped reverse the memory damage in the rodents. Rats and mice that remained on the high-fat diet but were given access to a running mill achieved memory restoration over a period of seven weeks.

So, while a healthy diet is important to Alzheimer's prevention, exercise can help negate the effects of an unhealthy diet, as it relates to cognition. Optimal brain health is achieved through a combination of healthy diet and regular exercise.

Exercise that requires thinking while moving...ballroom and square dancing, tennis, and golf maybe more beneficial than running on a treadmill.


High Levels of Aluminum, Mercury and other toxins
Mercury can cause nerve cell deterioration in the brain, even at very low levels—something other metals are unable to achieve. This suggests that people with high levels of mercury in their bodies are more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease. Key sources of mercury exposure in most people are dental amalgam (silver) fillings, polluted air from coal-fired power plants, immunizations and some fish.

There is also growing evidence that aluminum is linked to the advancement of Alzheimer's disease. Exposure to aluminum can come through cookware and aluminum foil, antiperspirants, ground water (in certain areas), immunizations and a variety of environmental toxins. The primary treatment for ridding the body of toxic metals like mercury and aluminum is chelation. Other toxins accumulate over time and frequently damage the brain. Consider reducing your exposure to toxins and making cleansing or detoxing a part of your daily lifestyle.

Lack of Active Learning and Social Engagement
There is a definite link between an active brain and a healthy brain. Lifelong learning and social interaction are activities that are believed to help ward off Alzheimer's disease. Higher and continuing education, mentally challenging work and hobbies, and an active social life are all ways of keeping the brain young and agile. Some studies have even found a link between late retirement and reduced Alzheimer's risk.

Check Your Genes
While most genes are turned off and on every time we eat a donut or an organic apple, there is one gene that can have a significant impact on your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If you have a family member with autism, Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative disorder, consider obtaining an Apo E test. This genetic marker has to do with the movement of cholesterol around the body and it reveals your ability to eliminate mercury from your body. Around 25 percent of the population has a score of 3/4 or 4/4, which corresponds to a reduced ability to detoxify mercury and eliminate it from the body, and is therefore associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s at an earlier age.

Checklist for Prevention
Now that you know the risk factors involved with Alzheimer's disease, you can take steps toward reducing or removing those risks. Here's your healthy brain checklist: 
  •  Avoid head trauma. Consider HBOT therapy if you've ever suffered a concussion or other head trauma.
  • Start making changes to your diet. Fortunately, the foods that help reduce your Alzheimer's risk are usually both delicious and healthy. Take a Paleo-style cooking class to motivate you. Also avoid genetically modified foods (GMO/GE).  These may contribute to many illnesses including Alzheimer’s.
  • If you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive, eliminate gluten from your diet. These days going gluten free is much easier than it has ever been in the past. There are a plethora of gluten-free foods and cookbooks on the market.
  • Have your blood sugar levels tested. If you're already diabetic, talk to your doctor about how you can control your blood sugar levels better. Changing your diet as listed above is an important start. Even if you don’t have diabetes, get a fasting insulin and blood sugar (FBS) and Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C) checked. The optimal goals are: fasting insulin below 8microIU/ml, FBS less than 95 mg/dL and Hgb A1C less than 5.2% – much lower than the level of 6.5, which confirms a diagnosis of diabetes.
  •  Get your good cholesterol up. One of the easiest ways to improve your HDL numbers is to add foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These foods are good for the heart and the brain! And talk with your doctor about mental side effects from statins or other drugs. Not everyone experiences these, but if you do: take CoQ10 and consider letting your cholesterol trend a bit higher than the very low levels now being recommended.
  • Have your vitamin levels measured. Vitamins D, B-12 and folic acid are easy to measure. A simple blood test can determine whether your levels are in the upper 1/3 of normal range. If they aren't, talk to your doctor about a supplement regimen that can improve your health. Also check homocysteine. This is a pro-inflammatory molecule that speeds up the progression toward dementia when folic acid, B6 and B12 are low.
  • Supplement for optimal brain function. Alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, turmeric and probiotics all reduce inflammation or enhance detoxification or act as antioxidants. The first three also penetrate the brain for enhanced benefits.
  •  Harmonize your hormones. If you are noticing symptoms, get your hormone levels tested. Work with someone to enhance brain function as you age.
  • Get off the sofa! If a rat on a running mill in a cage can reverse its memory problems, then surely you can achieve similar results much more creatively and pleasurably by hiking, running, cycling or any number of physical activities.
  • Quit smoking. You now have another really good reason to give up the habit.
  •  Have your aluminum and mercury levels tested. The best test is a provoked urine test using chelating agents. (A blood or random urine test only shows evidence of recent exposure.) Depending on the results, you may want to consider undergoing chelation therapy to remove the heavy metals from your body. Another important step is to have your amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings.
  • Avoid, detox and eliminate the toxins. The world is polluted and we are too. Dealing with these toxins must become part of our lifestyles.
  • Engage your mind. Take a class in a new subject, start a new hobby, spend your spare time on stimulating activities like reading or assembling puzzles. Consider online programs like www.lumosity.com. And don't forget to make time for friends and family.
  • Research your genetics. If you have a 3/4 or 4/4, don’t panic. Lots of people do. It’s better to know what you’re dealing with than to let fear paralyze you. Get counseling to decide how to best manage your risk if you have either of these gene combinations. Get informed so that you can take appropriate actions to avoid developing Alzheimer’s disease. This may include removal of your amalgam fillings and chelation of the mercury to prevent your developing dementia.

Lastly, if you or a loved one already has signs of early dementia, work with your doctor AND consider all the above as first-line treatments to reverse and prevent early progression. Once Alzheimer’s disease is well established, the degree of recovery will be proportionally less. Act sooner, not later. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bumps and Breasts and Bras ... Oh My!

A woman arrives at her doctor's office in a state of fear. She found a lump in her breast and is worried it might be serious. She has already been diagnosed with Fibrocystic Breast Disease (FBD), and she's no stranger to lumps, bumps and cysts. Yet this routine is far from old hat for her. Whenever a new abnormality develops in one of her breasts, she's always worried it will be the one that turns out to be cancer.

A scenario just like this plays out thousands of times a year in doctors' offices across the country. Countless women have sensitive, painful, lump-prone breasts and live in fear of breast cancer. And because of their FBD, they often go through numerous scar-producing biopsies and cyst aspirations. For these women, their breasts are battlefields, complete with war wounds and surprise attacks.

It doesn't have to be this way; women can make peace with their breasts by identifying and treating the causes of FBD. In the process of doing so, they may also help reduce their breast cancer risk.

Evaluating Breast Health
When a woman presents with a lump in her breast, an integrative physician usually asks the following questions:
  • At what age did you start your period?
  •  Do you smoke? Or, were you exposed to prolonged secondhand smoke at any point during your life, particularly childhood?
  • How many X-rays have you had?
  • Do you take birth control pills? And, if so, how many years have you been taking them?
  • Do you have children? Did you breastfeed them?
  • Do you have painful periods? What about premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms?
  • Have you ever suffered from endometriosis or ovarian cysts?
  • Have you had previous breast lumps or cysts, and have you ever been diagnosed with FBD?
  • Do you have a family history of breast, uterine or prostate cancer?
  • Do you wear a bra? If so, for how many hours a day?
  • What is your diet like? Do you consume a lot of caffeine, sugar and red meat?

The answers the patient provides help uncover important details about her breast health and how it can be improved. For instance, many women with FBD experienced an early onset of menstruation, and were also exposed to secondhand smoke and X-rays as children. Those contributing factors, combined with longtime use of birth control pills and unhealthy diets, are indicators of an increased risk for breast cancer. On the other hand, breastfeeding, multiple pregnancies and a family history devoid of breast, uterine or prostate cancers are signs that a woman might have protection against developing breast cancer down the road.

If a woman has a history of endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods and previous breast lumps, her body is probably producing too much estrogen compared to progesterone. This hormonal imbalance can lead to a number of women's health issues including FBD, breast cancer, menstrual issues, and ovarian cysts.

In addition, two extremely common, but often unrecognized, risk factors for both FBD and breast cancer are chronic low-level toxin exposure and excessive bra wearing.

Everyday environmental and food-borne toxins such as phathalates (plastic wrap), hydrocarbons (cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, grilled foods) and bisphenol-A (heavy plastic bottles, test tubes, canned food liners) enter breasts through the bloodstream. Without a healthy lymphatic flow, the breasts won't detoxify, and this can make them vulnerable to disease.

Wearing a bra puts pressure on and around the breasts and restricts lymphatic flow. Consider this: lightly resting one finger on your arm will create about 5mm of mercury pressure in that location, which is enough to stop lymphatic flow. The restriction of lymphatic flow that tight bra straps have around the breasts, shoulders and back is much more significant.

Exploring Deeper
Of course, learning about a patient's personal habits and health history isn't the only way to find out what's causing her to have breast lumps, pain and sensitivity. There are several tests that can tell a physician what's going on behind the scenes. These include:
  • An iodine skin patch: Healthy levels of iodine are needed for good lymphatic flow, and will frequently eliminate or prevent breast cysts from recurring. To determine a patient’s iodine levels, a physician can paint a patch of iodine onto the skin. The quicker the iodine disappears, the more likely there is a deficiency. Ideally, the patch should last around 24 hours. For a more definitive result, the physician may order an oral iodine loading test.
  • A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test: Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy breasts and reducing the risk of breast cancer. Many women with FBD don't have enough vitamin D. African-American women are particularly susceptible to low levels.
  • A progesterone blood level: Women with low levels of progesterone in the two weeks leading up to their period are more likely to experience breast and ovarian cysts, PMS, and are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
  •  A thermogram: Thermograms are infrared pictures of the breasts. "Hot spots" in a thermographic image indicate unhealthy, inflamed breast tissue. While a thermogram isn't used to diagnose active cancer, it can give a physician a good idea if a woman is heading down the road toward breast cancer. Mammograms, on the other hand, usually don't detect a cancerous area until years later when it has already developed into a mass about the size of a pea. In women who are on hormone replacement therapy or who are less than 50 years-old, a mammogram can be unreliable. This is because of the woman's increased breast density. Thermograms are helpful because they provide an earlier look at breast health.  Unlike mammograms, there's no exposure to additional radiation which is something that can increase the risk of cancer. Mammograms are complimentary to thermograms. Mammograms and ultrasound are most useful in women who have a new lump.
An Action Plan
Once the causes of unhealthy breasts are discovered, action can be taken to help you reduce the occurrence of FBD and, potentially, the risk of breast cancer.

First, the levels of essential vitamins and minerals should be optimized. Iodine/iodide supplementation can improve FBD and reduce congestion of the breasts.  Supplementing with 12.5 mg of iodine/iodide is a great starting point. Take iodine with food. Topical iodine can reduce the tenderness and size of breast cysts in a few days. Vitamin D3 helps to reduce cancer risk; supplementing with 2000 IU per day is a safe dose for any adult without having levels tested. It should be taken with food. Patients taking over 5,000 IU of the supplement for a prolonged period of time should make sure levels are monitored to prevent toxicity.

Other helpful supplements include flax seeds with phytoestrogens, which help protect against environmental estrogens and di-indole methane 150-300 mg daily which enhances the metabolism of stronger estrogens into weaker estrogens. Eating 1-2 Tbsp. of ground flax seeds per day on cereal, salads, or in smoothies is a great way to increase your estrogen lowering lignans which block the stimulation of estrogen receptors and enhance detoxification of stronger estrogens.

Vitamin A 10,000-25,000 IU per day should be taken with food. Omega-3s from fish oil or algae oil are anti-inflammatory. A healthy dose is 1200-2400mg per day with food to include DHA 400 IU.  Green tea extract enhances detoxification. The optimal dose is 600 mg per day between meals. Tocotrienols 100mg which are extracted from rice bran oil are taken at night and mixed tocopherols or Vitamin E 400IU should be taken in the morning away from the tocotrienols. These both support breast health and reduce cancer risk.

Curcumin, 1000-2000mg in divided does between meals per day is isolated from turmeric; an age old spice that prevents and treats many types of cancer including breast cancer. A dose of curcumin reduces inflammation and enhances detoxification. Eating more Indian food and taking curcumin supplements is good insurance against many cancers.

Estrogen dominance coupled with progesterone insufficiency, which is often the case, should be treated with bio-identical progesterone, which should be taken days 15-26 of the menstrual cycle. Supplements containing isoflavones from red clover and kudzu, and DIM, Rosemary 100mg, Resveratrol 50-75 mg per day can all be taken with food to normalize high estrogen levels.

While implementing these treatments and changes, a physician will monitor any existing breast lump(s). With the prescribed treatments, the lump(s) should become smaller and less tender over several weeks to a month. If it continues to grow, it needs further evaluation.

Lifestyle changes are also important. A high-fiber, anti-inflammatory diet that includes increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and decreased consumption of red meats will go a long way toward reducing breast cancer risk. Decreased intake of caffeine and high-sodium foods can also minimize breast pain and tenderness.

Any woman who smokes should quit. Smoking is not only harmful to the lungs, heart and skin; it's bad for breasts, too. Non-smokers should avoid secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoke contains cadmium and other toxic metals which are estrogenic metalo-carcinogens.

Undergoing regular cleanses and reducing exposure to other toxins will also improve breast health.

Finally, take off that bra! At the very least, wear it less than 12 hours a day. Ideally, though, avoid wearing it whenever possible. Visit BraFree.org for tips on how to easily and discreetly make the transition.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Have You Heard the Latest on GM/GEs?

Again, I cannot tell you how horrified I am at the information that keeps coming out about GM/GE foods and Roundup/glyphosate. While I was flat in bed last week with a back injury, I finished reading Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith, who clearly describes how Monsanto has been in bed with the government--and vice versa. And this has been going on since the late 1980s. No wonder Senator Kay Hagan has said: “It’s the same as regular food. All the scientists say so.” 

She's been totally conned, and I told her so.

Anyhow, the latest tidbit is that Roundup is being sprayed on ALL GRAINS just before harvest--not just GM/GE crops. This dries up the plant so that they can proceed with harvest on schedule. But this also means that all the lovely gluten-free, but not organic, mixes and flours I’ve enjoyed for so long are contaminated with glyphosate.

Buy organic grains as much as possible... rice, wheat, barley, etc. For more detailed info on glyphosate, read Men! Save Your Testicles (and Humanity). Recommendations for protecting your body are at the end of the article. We are exposed to GM/GE foods all the time now. We need labeling, and we need government action to remove these foods from the food chain. But that will take time, so protect yourself and those you love with my suggestions--and by choosing organic whenever you can.  

By the way, this new info comes from the very end of a 60 minute video of Jeff interviewing Stephanie Seneff, PhD, who has written a brilliant article about how glyphosate contributes to just about any disease you can think of. I watched this on my iPhone last week as I laid on my back. ;-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Too Much Fish Oil May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk

"Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Increased Prostate Cancer Risk Confirmed."
"Study confirms link between high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer."

These are scary headlines for men who worry about getting prostate cancer. But is this what the study published online in July 2013 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center really showed? Did they demonstrate a real link between consuming oily fish and taking fish oil supplements and an increased risk of prostate cancer? The short answer is “No.”

There are a number of problems with this study.

First, this study is at odds with epidemiologic studies performed over generations in different populations. Dr. William Rawls, an integrative physician in Wilmington NC, states it this way “This study stands in stark contrast to studies of people groups who eat lots of oily fish.  There are three populations to take note of; the Japanese, Okinawans and Inuit people consume the highest concentrations of oily fish in the world and also boast very low rates of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer.  The elderly Okinawan population is a particularly well studied group. 

Okinawan elders consume large amounts of vegetables and beans (including high concentrations of fermented soy), oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids several times per week, minimal meat and dairy, and virtually no processed food.  They have the lowest incidence of prostate cancer in the world; their rate is 80% lower than the average rate of prostate cancer in North America! (The Okinawan Program, Willcox, Willcox and Suzuki, 2001).” For the Japanese, the incidence of prostate cancer is a full 10 times lower than it is for Americans.

Furthermore, Duffy MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry stated in a press release in response to the study: “Hundreds of studies over the past two decades have shown omega-3 fatty acids to have positive effects associated with cardiovascular health, perinatal health, inflammation, cognitive function, or cancer. Collectively, this body of research serves as the basis for numerous recommendations from respected organizations, scientific boards and health care practitioners that Americans get omega-3 fatty acids in their diets.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Institute of Medicine's Food Nutrition Board recommend consuming Omega 3 oils. The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association both encourage eating 2 servings of oily fish like salmon each week. This is because Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, and improve lipids. All of these are underlying causes of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Omega 3 fats also favorably alter gene expression which reduces the chance a cell will become a cancer cell. This and inflammation are underlying causes of cancer. Surprisingly, the American Cancer Society has no mention of eating fish on their website.

In other words, based on previous research, we would predict that fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids would be more likely to prevent cancer than cause it.

Now let’s talk about the study itself. It follows an earlier study in 2011 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center which suggested that Omega 3 fats contribute to prostate cancer. Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H. senior author stated “This (second) study confirms previous reports of increased prostate cancer risk among men with high blood concentrations of LCω-3PUFA (omega 3 fats). The consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis.”

Dr. Anthony D’Amica , a professor at Harvard and an internationally recognized authority on prostate cancer, criticized the study saying that “the study really cannot make the conclusion it’s trying to.” The study was not designed to show cause and effect. “They tried.... but they didn’t do it properly ... At the end of the day (the study demonstrates) an association that at its best is very weak and further weakened by the fact that they didn’t account for the known predictors of prostate cancer.” 

Dr. Stephen Sinatra points out in his blog the entire conclusion of the study was based on a mere 0.2% difference in the participants' omega-3 levels. 
Another concern, the study used plasma samples which only reflect the Omega 3’s that someone has consumed in the last 24-48 hours. A single fish oil dose (or hearty serving of fish) results in over 100% increase in plasma Omega 3 levels. A better test for ongoing effect of essential fats is a red blood cell Omega 3 (RBCO3) analysis, not plasma.  RBCO3 reflect intake over the past several months.

“The difference in blood (plasma) concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids between the lowest and highest risk groups was about 2.5 percentage points  (3.2 percent vs. 5.7 percent), which is somewhat larger than the effect of eating salmon twice a week” according to the author Kristal.

He did not criticize eating fish. Instead, Kristal pivoted and condemned taking fish oil supplements: "We've shown once again that use of nutritional supplements may be harmful."

No, they did not show that supplements are harmful.

The study did not ask about dietary intake. Or supplement intake. They did not collect this information. Maybe the patients with cancer heard from their hairdresser or physician or spouse that Omega 3 fats are good for you, and figured why not take some--or maybe they just had a nice Alaskan salmon steak the night before. Or maybe they were trying to eat a “healthier” diet since they had cancer. Eggs, leafy greens, grass fed beef, poultry, walnuts and flax seeds all contain Omega 3s.

The article’s conclusion that Omega 3s cause cancer (tumerigenesis) is speculative at best, and alarmist and confusing at worst. It is certainly not helpful.

The press didn’t help either. It frightened patients and caught physicians off guard. The media misled the public and sensationalized the results before the scientific community could respond. It is wise for all to not jump to conclusions and make abrupt changes based on any single study. If a therapy is working for you, don’t stop it because someone reports that it is “bad for you.”

So what are reasonable recommendations concerning fish oil supplementation or intake of oily fish? Just do it. Most of us are deficient. Our ancestors used to have a ratio of Omega 6 (vegetable oil)/Omega 3 (walnuts, flax and fish oil) of 1/1. We are now closer to 16/1. Unless you are told otherwise, 1200-2400 mg (EPA+DHA) Omega 3 fats/day is reasonable. If you have heart disease, autoimmune disease, depression or manic depressive illness you may require much higher doses. But too much fish oil isn’t good either. It can calm down inflammation too much. Work with someone and test red blood cell, not plasma, levels of essential fats. 

Choose safe healthy fish oils. The product must be distilled to remove dioxins and PCBs. We have contaminated the seas with these toxins and bigger fish concentrate them in their fats. Oils made from sardines, anchovies and herring are the least polluted. To achieve the dose mentioned above consider buying a more expensive oil that has a higher concentration of EPA and DHA and swallowing fewer pills. Less expensive pills may only contain 200-300 mg EPA+DHA. One would have to take 10 of these a day. 

If you prefer eating fish, eat oily fish. Farm raised Atlantic salmon does not have Omega 3 fats. It has Omega 6 fats from the corn that it is being fed in the salmon farm. Alaskan and Pacific salmon have good levels of Omega 3s and relatively low levels of pollutants. Two-three servings per week are enough. Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s. 

If you are vegan, take flax oil. But you will have to take eleven grams of flax oil to make 1000 mg of fish oil. And if you eat any trans fats or have B vitamin deficiencies or drink alcohol or are “older”, you may not convert sufficient amounts of flax oil into DHA, the fish oil that makes up 25% of your brain. So take at least 400 mg DHA from algae in addition to the flax oil. That’s where the fish get it from.

If you use Krill oil take 300mg 1-2 x daily. Krill is EPA and DHA already attached to phospholipid which is their functional unit in the body. The phospholipids are more easily incorporated into cell membranes, which are where they reduce inflammation. Do not use Krill if you are sensitive to shrimp. Krill is especially good for lowering blood triglycerides.

When we take Omega 3 supplements, we must protect them from getting rancid by having sufficient antioxidants available. Omega 3 fats are the most unsaturated fats in the body. They need the most antioxidants. Be certain to take Vitamin E 400 IU with gamma and other tocopherols. Do not take synthetic dl alpha tocopherols alone. Or take ¼ cup sunflower seeds daily. Add selenomethionine 200mcg daily or a small handful of Brazil nuts and Vitamin C 1-2 1000mg twice a day.

Lastly, if you eat a lousy diet, taking fish oil doesn’t make up for eating a lousy diet. Supplements are supplementary to a great diet.

For more information, read the following resources.

Dr. Murray: http://doctormurray.com/how-a-selected-bad-study-became-big-news/

Dr. Geo: http://drgeo.com/one-last-thing-on-the-fish-oil-prostate-cancer-study

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Call Your Senators About SB959 NOW!

This is a portion of a letter that I just sent to Senators Hagan and Burr. They may vote on SB 959 tomorrow (July 31). This bill will compromise health care for women and men across the country. It is in response to the tragedy last winter when New England Compounding Company sent out contaminated steroids to physicians across the country. Many people died, even more are still sick. This bill allegedly is an attempt to keep that from ever happening

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. The restrictions on neighborhood compounding pharmacies and those from which I get ingredients for IV's that I give to patients and on doctors like me who use and prescribe compounded medications is ridiculous.

Please contact you senators across the country and tell them to vote NO on S.959.

For more information: http://www.anh-usa.org/compounding-bill-vote-possible-tomorrow/

My letter is below:

I understand that a substitute bill in the form of an amendment has been
proposed for S.959. The rewritten bill is now 189 pages long, up from its
original 50 pages. While there have been a few positive changes to this new
version, it remains a terrible bill that will, for millions of Americans,
cut off access to the important compounded medications on which they rely.
As your constituent I'm asking you to vote NO on S.959. 
Several new provisions in the bill are especially troubling. The first is
the potential loss of  estriol (the bioidentical hormone) which has a USP-NF
monograph. Legally, it can be compounded. Estriol is an anti-cancer
estrogen. It is very safe. It's incorporation into HRT prescriptions lowers
the risk of breast and other cancers for women. The bill would allow FDA to
identify bulk ingredients as "drugs not suitable for compounding" even
though they have a monograph as estriol does! This is a huge concern for me
and my patients. In the past, the FDA has attempted to ban bulk bioidentical
estriol at the request of Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company. Wyeth still
promotes Prempro for HRT even after it was proven to increase the risk of
cancer during WHI and up to 10 years later...even after women in the WHI
study stopped the drug. Wyeth even uses estriol in European formulations! 
The current language of the bill could allow FDA to regulate away my access
to that critical medication. Let's not forget: the regular prescription
drugs that the FDA promotes as an alternative to bioidentical estriol have
been proven to be very dangerous. This provision is a direct danger for
millions of women who depend on bioidentical estriol. 
Another section of S. 959 which directly affects women's health will let
compounded versions of "FDA-approved drugs" be banned as "copies" of the
drugs depending on how strictly that term is interpreted. This could
eliminate access to the much less expensive 17P in favor of the FDA-approved
Makena drug.  
The pharmaceutical companies and their representatives have a vested
financial interest in this bill. Even though they themselves praise the
safety and efficacy of bioavailable hormones, they bemoan the fact that
compounding pharmacies have the lion's share of the market, and they have
stated quite explicitly that they intend to take that share for themselves.
Their versions of the drugs are wildly more expensive than the compounded
versions and in some cases have been proven to be unsafe. Big Pharma is
trying to control the marketplace through legislation, and that's just not
right. And women will suffer needlessly. 
Please don't let FDA or drug companies use the smokescreen of compounding
regulation to seize huge new markets for themselves, leaving consumers with
vastly more expensive and less safe alternatives, or with no alternatives at
all! Please vote NO on S.959, the Compounding Medications Bill!
If you don't act, who will?
Thanks and blessings!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Men! Save Your Testicles (and Humanity): Avoid Roundup® and GMO/GE Roundup Ready® foods

The 2012 Farm Bill is still working its way through the legislature in Washington DC. It includes an amendment called the Monsanto Protection Act. The amendment prevents agribusiness giants like Monsanto from being held accountable for any health problems that may arise through genetically modified (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds.

Let me tell you why Monsanto might be thinking it needs protection.  Monsanto manufactures Roundup® and GMO/GE Roundup Ready® seeds.  These include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton for cottonseed oil, soybeans, and sugarbeets.  Between 88 and 94 % of these crops are GMO/GE. These seeds grow into plants and are sprayed with Roundup® to control weeds.

Farmers were told that if they used Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, they would need to spray less of the herbicide/Roundup.® False. It hasn’t worked out that way. To keep weeds down, they are actually having to spray more. A lot more. These days, every bite of a Roundup Ready® plant, plant oil, animal feed, or human food contains increasing amounts of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®.

What’s the problem with glyphosate? Scientific evidence is growing that glyphosate has a toxic effect on the testicles, reducing both sperm production and testosterone levels. Below I have freely quoted from an article on line at www.greenmedinfo.com by Sayer Ji. I have inserted my comments:
  • A disturbing new study published in the journal Free Radical Medicine & Biology implicates the herbicide Roundup®, and its main ingredient glyphosate, in male infertility, at concentration ranges well within the EPA's "safe level" for food. Unfortunately, the EPA’s “safe level” allows Roundup® herbicide residues in your food at concentrations that are a million times higher than amounts already shown to be carcinogenic. (That’s a topic for another day__ERV.)
  • Performed by Brazilian researchers, the study found acute Roundup® exposure at low doses (36ppm, 0.036g/L) for 30 minutes induced cell death in Sertoli cells in prepubertal (young__ERV) rat testis.  Sertoli cells are known as "mother" or "nurse" cells within the testicles. They are responsible for maintaining the health of sperm cells, and are required for normal male sexual development. (If all Sertoli cells die, no further sperm can be made.__ERV)
  • Roundup herbicide exposure was found to induce oxidative stress (producing an excess of free radicles__ERV) and to activate multiple-stress response pathways within affected cells, and was associated with an increase in intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration leading to Ca2+ overload, and cell death.
  • Thirty-minute incubation tests with glyphosate alone (36 ppm) also increased Ca2+ uptake. Both Roundup® and glyphosate were observed to down regulate reduced glutathione levels. Glutathione is an antioxidant (electron donor) found within every cell in the human body. It’s important to protect it against oxidative stress. It also maintains a wide range of biochemical reactions such as DNA and protein synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid and enzyme activation, (and elimination of mercury__ERV). A dysregulation of glutathione can result in a wide range of adverse effects.
  • The researchers noted "Glyphosate has been described as an endocrine disruptor affecting the male reproductive system; however, the molecular basis of its toxicity remains to be clarified. We could propose that Roundup® toxicity, implicating in Ca2+ overload, cell signaling misregulation, stress response of the endoplasmic reticulum and/or depleted antioxidant defenses could contribute to Sertoli cell disruption of spermatogenesis that could impact male fertility." (Glyphosate reduces the effective glutathione supply resulting in damage to cellular communication, cellular factories and integrity of the cell wall.__ERV)
This study adds to a growing body of research implicating Roundup® herbicide in male infertility:

  • A Nov 26, 2011 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology on line revealed maternal exposure to glyphosate disturbed the masculinization process and promoted behavioral changes and histological and endocrine problems in reproductive parameters. (Testicles affected before birth of male baby rats causing permanent changes__ERV).
  • A 2010 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology, leading researchers to describe the herbicide as "a potent endocrine disruptor.” (Young rats affected.__ERV)
  • A 2011 study published in the journal Toxicology In Vitro found a glyphosate-based herbicide induced necrosis and apoptosis (death) in (mature) rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. In the study, Roundup® and glyphosate at concentrations as low as 1 part per million produced a testosterone decrease in sperm cells by 35%. (Older rats affected__ERV.)
  • A more recent 2013 study in male rats published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Reproductive Safety found glyphosate (in combination with another pesticide) provoked severe oxidative stress in male testes, resulting in inhibited testosterone production and disrupted gonadotropin levels. (Older rats again__ERV.)
  • A 2007 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that Roundup® herbicide altered the structure of the testis and epididymal region (part of the tubular spermatic duct system), as well as the serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, in male ducks, leading the researchers to conclude that Roundup® "...may cause disorder in the morphophysiology of the male genital system of animals." (Frog and rabbit testicles have also been damaged by glyphosate.__ERV)
  • (What does all this mean? __ERV) Given the growing body of research clearly revealing Roundup's® toxicity to the germ line of animal species, the argument can be made that this herbicide has contraceptive properties and therefore genocidal consequences. By directly affecting the biologically immortal cells within the testes, whose DNA contains over 3 billion years’ worth of information essential for the continuation of our species as a whole, Roundup® should be considered an instrument of mass destruction.
  • At the very least, the precautionary principle should be applied. (The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful ,then the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action. Meaning Monsanto. The European Union made the application of the precautionary principle a statutory requirement years ago__ERV.)  Any chemical (including glyphosate) that signals the potential to disrupt or destroy our species' germ line cells should be banned unless the manufacturer can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is safe to exposed populations.
At www.greenmedinfo.com you can find out about more about the wide spectrum of adverse health effects now linked to glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup®, view our research articles on GMOs, as well as view and download our free biomedical PDF on glyphosate/Roundup® research.

Is glyphosate contributing to the progressive lowering of male fertility and testosterone levels that has been going on for years? 10-15 years ago, there were forecasts that within 75 years men will be sterile.

If you have enough information and want to take action to protect your testicles, and the rest of your body and humanity, do these things:
  • Get educated. There is a lot of information available on the web. There is wisdom at the following sites:
    • www.drvaughan.com search for glyphosate
    • http://www.greenmedinfo.com has excellent information about natural treatments and environmental toxins.
    • http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/non-gmo-apps/  has descriptions of 10 food apps for avoiding GMO/GE foods or others that you are sensitive to.
    • The Institute for Responsible Technology provides excellent resources. Jeffrey M. Smith who wrote the book “Seeds of Deception” and recently released the movie, Genetic Roulette, maintains this site. You’ll find guides for feeding families and infants, and for eating out. Recommendations from this site include:
      • Tip #1: Buy Organic: Organic producers cannot intentionally use GMOs or GEs.
      • Tip #2: Look for "Non-GMO" Project Verified Seals.
      • Tip #3: Avoid At-Risk Ingredients: If it's not labeled organic, or doesn't have a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal, then avoid processed food products with ingredients made from these GMO crops: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed and Beet sugar.
  • Canola or rapeseed oil and cottonseed oil are widely used in processed foods.
  • Sugar Avoid anything not listed as 100% cane sugar since GMO beet sugar recently entered the food supply. To avoid it, look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar.
  • Aspartame Avoid this artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet and Equal. It’s derived from GM/GE microorganisms.
  • Also if you have an infant or are expecting, you should be aware that infants and children are more sensitive to the dangers of genetically modified foods.  Unfortunately infant formula contains genetically modified food.  Independent laboratory tests show significant amounts of GE soy in Similac Soy, Enfamil Pro Soybee, Wal-Mart soy, and Gerber Good Start Soy.  All the formulas distributed by the government's WIC program contain GMO/GE food brands. If you cannot breast-feed, choose only organic formulas.
  • Vote for healthier food with your pocketbook. Don’t buy GMO/GE food if you have any other choice.
  • Tell farmers at the market, grocers, and restaurant owners that you want non-GMO/GE food. Period. Go to www.nogmogso.com for information on how to take action locally.
  • Get involved in the campaign to eliminate GMO/GE foods from the food chain to protect our futures. Contact your Senators and representatives and tell them to reject the Monsanto Protection Act and vote FOR the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. This is a big first step. This will allow us to easily choose whether we eat or do not eat GMO food. Unfortunately, eating organic isn’t enough. In one study, glyphosate was found in 60-100% of all US air and rain samples tested, and another 2012 study found that glyphosate widely contaminates groundwater.
  • Do not use Roundup® or plant GMO seeds.
  • Lastly, protect your body and your children’s bodies:
    • Take probiotics to outnumber the germs in the gut that have been infected with the Roundup Ready® DNA.
    • Take a mineral supplement to replenish the minerals that are bound up by Roundup®.
    • Take alpha lipoic acid and Vitamin E to protect  your testicles  (and other cells) from the damaging effects of glyphosate.
    • Use infrared sauna to sweat out accumulated pesticides and herbicides.
    • Do a cleanse at least twice a year.
    • Be brave. You will hear people disparage the movement to get rid of GMO/GE food. You will read a lot of criticism. There is money, power and greed behind those opposed to the ideas in this article. Remember, the American Academy of Environmental and Occupational Medicine has urged physicians to have their patients avoid GMO/GE foods since 2009. Even in 2009, they recognized that people consuming GMO/GE foods will develop diseases caused by the food. Now we are seeing how right they were.