It's a term we hear daily in news about healthy eating. Some of us are well aware of what these letters stand for, who is behind them and what the risks are. Some of us may need to be made aware. In either case, we hope this
brief history and introduction will help those who hunger for knowledge and be a basic tool to help spread ...awareness to others.
In the 1980s, scientists began using gene splicing or recombinant DNA technology to alter the proteins in plants. This is not the same as crossing two types of tomatoes to make a third. Genetically modified organisms can have genetic information from completely different organisms. In other words, a peanut's DNA could be spliced with that of a tomato. Suddenly, those with a peanut allergy are at risk when eating tomatoes.
Genetically Modified Organisms came of age in the new millennium when Monsanto, a company born in 1901, changed direction from their original pharmaceutical-based interests to become an agricultural company. In 1901, the original Monsanto gave us saccharine. Today they provide farmers with "support" by producing Roundup herbicide and genetically modified seeds that are purported to be intolerant to Roundup. The first GMO marketed was tobacco. Now we have GMO soy beans, corn, cotton....and vaccines, such as Gardasil. Renowned scientists who have studied the effects of consuming genetically modified (GM) foods have found serious consequences in rats and amphibians from damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles to partially atrophied livers. (see http://tinyurl.com/32jgprl for an article on several studies.) These researchers were heroes who were quickly silenced by their countries' governments.In the UK, Parliament eventually reversed their gag order and GM foods are now banned in that country.
Since crops such as corn and soy are used in so many of our everyday products, and most corn and soy sold is genetically modified, it is almost impossible to avoid consumption without careful monitoring of your food. Remember, corn comes in the form of corn syrup, corn starch and may other guises. Soy takes many forms, as well. The only way to make sure you avoid these GM products is to carefully read labels and/or buy only certified organic food, as such can not contain GMOs. A great resource for monitoring your food for GMOs is to go to http://
www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/ and print out a guide.
Please remember, this article is only an introduction to GMOs. We hope you will be challenged and kindled to investigate and learn more on your own. There are many warriors already challenging the system and supplying us with daily news. There is much to be learned and much for which to fight. Our children are the guinea pigs.
Here's to your health!
I cannot even begin to express the gratitude and affection I feel for those at Heights of Health who walked each step of the way with me on my journey towards excellent health and happiness. You truly are amazing individuals.
I spent most of my 43 yrs dealing with some type of food and environmental allergie...
From our clinician Jane Rann...
Hawthorn Berries scientific name Crataegus.
Hawthorn berries are used to treat several health issues particularly heart issues. Hawhorn strengthens the walls of the blood vessels of the heart....
Hawthorn has been used as a means of treating the heart since the 1st century. You make take Hawthorn Berries for an indefinite period of time. Hawthorn Berries are rich in antioxidants which fight against free radicals, which are the cell destroyers. Free radicals occur more as we get older and people who smoke and have an alcohol issue.
In medieval Europe Hawthorn was used as a diuretic as well. If you could find fresh or frozen Hawthorn Berries you could always make yourself a Hawthorn pie to help remove excess water from your system and replace the water weight with those other extra pounds...
It is estimated that thyroid problems affect 40% of people living in the Western world and that most of these cases go undiagnosed. Most likely, this widespread imbalance is the result of changing lifestyles that include high stress levels, low activity levels, chemicals and poor diet. So, what can be done to combat these issues and strengthen an...d sustain the thyroid? First, let's look at what the thyroid does and how thyroid issues are diagnosed.
The thyroid is known as a master-controlling gland that is part of the endocrine system. It is intricately connected with the immune system, weight gain and loss, metabolic rate and energy levels. In Chinese medicine, the endocrine system is seen as a root system where imbalance can have devastating results on different organs. Some examples of the effects might be:
the liver and its control of the nervous and gynecological systems (fibroids, cysts, infertility, as well as anger, frustration and depression);
the kidneys and therefore the adrenal glands (fear, insecurity, sex hormone imbalance, reproduction issues, cortisone imbalance, melatonin deficiencies, low DHEA, chronic fatigue, low immunity, low back pain, joint pain, coldness and more.);
the spleen (worry, obsession, fibromyalgia, anemia, fatigue, fat digestion issues);
the heart (high or low blood pressure, palpitations, insomnia, depression/lack of joy and being over emotional).
In Western medicine, doctors test TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels to diagnose hypothyroidism (low thyroid activity). Although abnormally high TSH levels do indicate a problem, they do not determine whether the body is not producing enough thyroxine (T4), if the liver is not converting the T4 into T3, or if the body is unable to utilize the thyroid hormones efficiently. Even worse, some TSH results come back “normal” despite an existing thyroid imbalance. Before the commonly used synthetic T4, Synthroid, came into widespread prescription by doctors, porcine thyroid was the drug of choice. For patients who are not converting T4 properly, porcine thyroid would be more effective, as it contains both T4 and T3. Women are far more likely to be affected by thyroid problems than men. The risk for hypothyroidism is highest in women over 35 due to the hormonal changes of menopause.
Foregoing that leap to medicating, support of the thyroid with food and supplements can be an effective and natural method of restoring thyroid health. One specific nutrient essential to thyroid health is iodine. Even though we consume too much sodium as Americans, restaurants do not tend to use iodized salt. Sea salt does contain iodine, and that is a great choice for home use. Sea Kelp wrapped around sushi or added to soups or salads in a crunchy form provides a great source of iodine. Sugar, which is added to just about everything these days, suppresses the immune system. After removing refined sugar from their diets, many people have experienced more energy and a balancing of the thyroid. Pesticides contain estrogenic compounds that can compromise the endocrine system as well as the thyroid, which is another reason to eat organic. Since soy has estrogenic compounds, it should be avoided, as well.
Raw cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogenic enzymes that suppress the thyroid. Examples of this family include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy and brussel sprouts. These vegetables are fine when eaten cooked. Some other foods to avoid that lower thyroid function include radishes, horseradish, corn, canola, walnuts, turnips and millet.
Chronic stress has a devastating effect on the endocrine system. If you cannot remove the sources of stress in your life, find ways to combat it with physical and spiritual exercises. And spend time just being, not doing anything. With a combination of these nutritional, emotional, physical and spiritual changes it is possible to strengthen a weak thyroid Any issues that involve hormonal systems hinge on a delicate balance, but with a holistic approach and help from a qualified natural healthcare provider, it is often possible to return to a healthy homeostasis without pharmaceuticals.
The Forgotten System
Until a swollen gland results from an infection or perhaps even cancer appears, one very important system of the human body is often left forgotten and ignored. This system is the lymphatic system. It has been called the "second circulatory system" as well as "the body's garbage disposal." It consists of vessels, nodes, ducts..., capillaries, tissues and organs that produce and transport lymphatic fluid throughout the body between the circulatory system and the tissues.
The human body contains about twice as much lymph as it does blood. This lymph bathes the body in nutrients and works to carry away toxins. Unlike the circulatory system, there is no pump to move the lymph throughout the body. The lymphatic system relies on movement to keep the lymph traveling. When the lymph stops flowing productively and is blocked or pools, the body becomes toxic and degenerative diseases and premature aging can be set in motion. Some symptoms include lumps, pain and swelling. Some serious results that can come on suddenly are frequent cold and flu infections, allergies and sensitivities, menstrual cramps, mood irregularities, headaches and migraines, fibrocystic breasts, breast tenderness, joint pain, arthritis, sinusitis, muscle cramping, tissue swelling, loss of appetite and GI issues, fatigue, mental fuzziness, depression, parasites and cellulite.
So, what can we do to enhance lymphatic flow and promote overall wellness? Well, there are several ways.
Your diet should contain as few simple carbohydrates and sugars as possible.
Organic foods are best.
Regular cleansing is important to lessen the load on the lymphatic system.
Get regular ionic footbaths to aid in detoxifing.
Do not be afraid to sweat. Saunas, steam baths and natural deodorants go a long way in furthering this effort.
Since the vessels contain one-way valves, using a rebounder, or mini-trampoline, is quite effective in increasing lymphatic flow especially in the arms and legs. Just five minutes of rebounding a day will produce many health benefits.
Deep breathing from the diaphragm and out through the nose also promotes lymph movement.
Drink plenty of water!
Examine your emotional issues. We can get stuck in a rut in our emotional lives and this can affect our physical lives. Are you repeating unhealthy behaviors?
Avoid restrictive clothing. Only wear a bra (esp. the wire ones) when necessary.
Get a lymphatic drainage massage.
Get a dry skin brush. Spend five minutes dry brushing your skin in long sweeping motions, always toward your heart, before you shower. This releases toxins and unburdens the lymphatic system.
Zinc is beneficial in lymphatic health. We also carry a great line of herbs and homeopathics to facilitate lymphatic health. Come in or call for product suggestions.
Thermography, like we do at our office, is very effective at detecting lymphatic congestion - another reason to get annual Thermal Imaging done!
The information in this article is a very basic lesson on this very complex system, but for those who were not aware of the importance of keeping the lymphatic system healthy or just needed a refresher, we hope this was an eye-opening experience. Making some healthy lifestyle changes initiates so many life-enhancing results and a complete wellness is our desire for you.
Studies show that many people in the U.S. are deficient in magnesium, and those at the highest risk of deficiency are women of childbearing age. Conventional physicians are just beginning to realize the importance of magnesium for good health .
Magnesium deficiency can affect almost every organ system in the body and mimics the symptoms found in pe...ople with certain diseases and conditions. In other words, the deficiency could be related to the cause.
Some known results of magnesium deficiency (grouped by system or muscle type affected) include:
Fibromyalgia, TMJ, tension, cramps, muscle tension and/or soreness, twitches, back and/or neck pain, migraine headaches
Asthma, chest tightness, frequent sighing, feeling of an inability to take a deep breath
High blood pressure, eclampsia, pre-eclampsia in pregnancy
Insomnia, hyperactivity, anxiety, restlessness and constant need to move, panic attacks, premenstrual irritability, agoraphobia, ADHD
Constipation, urinary spasm, menstrual cramps, photophobia
Numbness, tingling and other sensations of the peripheral nervous system
Diabetes, heart palpitations, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse
Allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Interestingly, these conditions often occur in clusters in individuals.
So how can you increase your magnesium levels through nutrition? The best way is by consuming more whole grains, seeds, beans and vegetables. Some great snack or meal ideas for kids(or adults) include banana/coconut milk smoothies, baked potatoes, peanut butter, bean soups and bean burritos. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these substances strip the body of magnesium. Also, too much calcium has a negative effect on magnesium levels as calcium is a magnesium antagonist. In studies it has been found that older women who take calcium supplements are at a higher risk for heart attack. This finding is probably due to the fact that they are taking more calcium than needed and/or not getting enough magnesium. Sparkling mineral water is also a great way to add magnesium to your diet with zero calories. Most multi-vitamins/minerals do not contain magnesium as it is too bulky, so even if you are taking a multi-vitamin, chances are good you are not getting enough magnesium. If you or a loved one suffers from several of the listed symptoms, increase your dietary magnesium intake and consider a magnesium supplement, if necessary.
Here's to your health! See you soon.
Your Body and the Importance of Vitamin D
To understand how your body makes and utilizes vitamin D, it is first important to be familiar with the three forms in which it exists-cholecalciferol, calcidiol, and calcitriol. Cholecalciferol is the form of vitamin D that is made naturally on your skin as a result of sunlight; calcidiol is a product of cholecalciferol which is made in the liver and occurs in your blood, and calcitriol is a product of calcidiol that is made by your kidneys and other tissues.<p></p><p></p><p></
p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></ p><p> </p>In order to keep vitamin D at a proper level, we need to expose our skin to the sun for about fifteen to twenty minutes per day. When the skin begins to turn slightly pink, it will have produced an average of 20,000 units of cholecalciferol. That amount is 100 times more than the government recommended amount. The UVB rays must not be blocked by glass or sunscreen in order to make vitamin D. Our remarkable skin also prevents us from developing vitamin D toxicity by allowing the ultraviolet rays to begin degrading the cholecalciferol once it reaches a level of 20,000 units produced. <p> </p><p>Once we have produced cholecalciferol on our skin or taken it orally, it is transferred to the liver where it is converted into calcidiol. In this form, vitamin D levels are most important. This is the form which would be tested in a lab to determine vitamin D deficiency. Calcidiol then takes one of two pathways to be turned into calcitriol. When your calcidiol levels are low, it would first be directed to your kidneys to undergo this process, but when your levels are optimum, the calcidiol goes to other tissues.</p><p>Calcitriol is the most powerful steroid hormone in the human body. A steroid acts by turning on and off genes in the body. Calcitriol made by the kidneys filters into the bloodstream and regulates blood calcium levels. Without enough calcitriol in the bloodstream, the body becomes ill. When calcidiol is able to reach other tissues, it goes directly to the cells and becomes a potent cancer fighter.Ultimately, the best way to introduce Vitamin D into our bodies is by spending about twenty minutes in the sun daily. Most sun block contains toxic chemicals and should be avoided, when possible. Vitamin D can be found in such dietary sources as fish, eggs, cod liver oil and fortified milk. Vitamin D supplements are a good backup source when necessary. We prefer an all-natural creme that simulates your body's natural production of this vital nutrient. </p><p> </p><p>You can have your blood levels tested in a laboratory. Make sure to keep a healthy level of vitamin D in your body for optimum health and cancer prevention. </p><p> </ p><p>Here's to your health! See you soon.</p>
Is Soy Safe
by Deborah Lance, MPH, RD"Pour on the power to help your heart and lower cholesterol!" instructs the ad for Silk Soymilk Soy products are readily promoted to both dieters and the general public as a healthy, beneficial food that will prevent cancer and heart disease, lessen hot flashes associated with menopause, build strong bones, enhan...ce mental ability and replace dairy products. But are they really beneficial?
Used ubiquitously in restaurants and processed foods, soybean oil is used to fry everything from french-fries to theatre popcorn. Look at that bottle of salad dressing or mayonnaise in your refrigerator, or that box of crackers on your pantry shelf - soybean oil! Soybeans, including organic soybeans, contain several naturally occurring compounds that are toxic to both humans and animals: isoflavones, phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin are anti-nutrients harmful to the human body. As if that weren't enough, soy protein isolate, an industrial produced food, is used extensively in school lunch programs as well as in commercial baked goods, protein powders, diet beverages, and fast foods.
Soybeans contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, that cause endocrine changes in our bodies. These plant estrogens are potent endocrine disrupters that suppress the function of the thyroid gland. When the thyroid is suppressed, hypothyroidism can result, accompanied by symptoms of lethargy, weight gain, constipation, dry skin and intolerance to cold. These thyroid inhibiting isoflavones are found in all soy products including soymilk, tofu and soy protein bars. Think you're doing yourself a favor by ordering a soymilk latte at Starbucks? Think twice.
Another of the anti-nutrients in soy is phytic acid, also known as phytates. Although present in the hull of all seeds and legumes, soy has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume. These organic acids block the body's uptake and assimilation of essential minerals thus increasing the need for iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Even traditional preparation methods such as soaking or slow cooking do not neutralize the phytic acid found in soy.
Enzyme inhibitors that interfere with protein digestion are also found in soy. These inhibitors block the uptake of trypsin and other amino acids, and can cause gastric distress, reduced protein digestion, amino acid deficiencies, and growth suppression.
"Take control with Total Soy - your first step in the battle against heart disease," claims Naturade, a soy protein manufacturer. In October 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to allow soy manufacturers to make health claims for low-fat and low-cholesterol soy products. But don't be fooled. Soy is NOT a heart-healthy food. Hemagglutinin, another soy anti-nutrient, causes red blood cells to clump together and promotes clotting. When red blood cells are clustered together, they are unable to efficiently absorb the oxygen needed for transport to the body's tissues.
Cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease that is on the rise in the US. Defined as a weakening of the heart muscle, cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death among young athletes. University of Colorado researches report that dietary soy worsens cardiomyopathy. Is it coincidence that this group may consume a lot of soy in the form of protein bars and protein drinks?
Remarkably, the American Heart Association (AHA) does not concur with the FDA's stance on soy. According to the January 17, 2006 issue of Circulation,an AHA publication, "Soy does not lower cholesterol, does not prevent heart disease and does not deserve an FDA-approved soy heart health claim."
Soy protein isolate (SPI) is an industrially produced food that was once considered a waste product of soy processing. Today it is a key ingredient in foods used as substitutes for meat and dairy products including baby formulas and some brands of soymilk. It is also found in diet beverages, commercially baked goods and is a mainstay of school lunch programs. Industrial factories produce SPI by washing a slurry of soybeans in an aluminum tank, a process which leaches high levels of aluminum into the final product. Aluminum is a heavy metal that is toxic to the kidneys and the nervous system. MSG, a potent neurotoxin, nitrites, potent carcinogens, and the toxin lysinoalanine are all formed during processing. Unfortunately, SPI now serves as one of the principle milk and meat substitutes for vegetarians and health-conscious people who hope to avoid heart disease and cancer.
It should be noted that it was not until the discovery of fermentation techniques, during the Chou Dynasty, that the soybean served as a source of food for the Chinese, and even now it is mainly used as a condiment rather than a protein source. In fact, the Chinese never ate large amounts of unfermented soy foods nor drank soymilk. Before you throw out that bottle of soy sauce in your pantry, note that occasional use of fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce, is acceptable unless there is an allergy or sensitivity to soy. Fermentation removes most of the anti-nutrients, although even fermented soy products contain the dangerous phytoestrogens. Fermented products made with organic soybeans are preferable because not only is a large percentage of soy genetically modified, but it is also one of the foods most highly contaminated by pesticides in our country. In addition, it is one of the top eight allergens of all foods. Soy is NOT a health food and more and more warnings are being issued about it.
Healthy Gums Mean Healthy Hearts
Did you know that your heart and gums are made up of the same tissue? It should be no surprise, then, that inflammation and bleeding in your gums has been shown to have a high correlation to heart disease. In fact, doctors use periodontitis (gum disease) as an independent marker for coronary disease. Several suppl...ements can be incorporated into a healthy diet to improve heart and gum tissue and prevent future disease.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound that is found in almost every cell in the body and is shown to improve heart and gum tissue. It acts as a strong antioxidant and is necessary for cellular energy production.
You might recognize cranberry as being beneficial in treating or preventing urinary tract infections. The juice inhibits certain bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Researchers found that the same results occurred when applied to bacteria in the mouth. Cranberry supplements also appear to increase HDL. Low HDL is related to heart disease.
According to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (2001-2002), elderly adults who have low serum folic acid levels show greatly increased risk of periodontal disease. In other studies, patients who had a low folic acid level were found to have a high homocysteine level which marks signs of heart disease and stroke.
A surprising healthy addition to the diet is xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol extracted from plants and fruits. This low-glycemic, natural sugar substitute has been found to reduce plaque and to fight the bacteria streptocci mutans. Mothers who chewed xylitol gum during pregnancy and/or by the third month of their children’s lives were even able to protect their children from the virulence of the bacteria. This protection even carried on throughout the children’s lives. The low-glycemic benefits of xylitol can also keep blood-sugar levels balanced preventing diabetes, which is well known as a pre-cursor to heart disease.
Correcting poor oral health can be a direct avenue to protecting you from future heart disease. Incorporate CoQ10, xylitol, cranberry and folic acid into your regimen to prevent inflammation and build a healthier heart and gums.