Over the last four decades, the rates of asthma and allergy have been steadily climbing, and with good reason. Many of the most common environmental toxicants have been shown to imbalance the immune system, resulting in increased rates of allergies (and a reduced ability to fight infections). These pro-allergenic toxicants are common in outdoor and indoor air: diesel and gas engine exhaust, as well as plastics and a host of other compounds that most people are exposed to daily. With the stage set for increased allergic reactivity, the immune system is exposed to the same food antigens daily, because most people eat the same few foods over and over again.
When a person is having food intolerances and adverse food reactions they can present with a wide range of symptoms:
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Depression and anxiety
- Food cravings
- Gas and bloating
- Otitis media (recurrent)
If you are having any of the above problems, then you are likely to be reacting to one or more of the foods that you are eating regularly. For these symptoms to be a chronic health problem, you would need to be consuming one of the following foods at least three times a week or more. Foods that you are consuming only twice weekly or less will NOT be the cause of the above listed chronic health complaints.
The most common foods to have an adverse reaction to are:
- Milk and milk products
One day I was working with a patient who told me: “Doc, I have finally found out how I can tell if I am reacting to a food! ” To which I excitedly responded “Great, tell me how”. She simply replied: “If I love it”. And, she was quite right. If you love and crave any of the above foods (and eat them more than once daily) you are undoubtedly reactive to that food. Sorry! But you are.
The next step is to take the suspected foods out of your diet for at least four days (but 14 days would be better) and see how you feel. Then add the foods back into your diet one-at-a-time and see what symptoms show up. If you experience your typical battery of symptoms, take some alkalinizing agents to help reduce reactivity. You can then try the suspected foods a second time along with the digestive enzymes necessary for those specific foods and see if enzyme supplementation is sufficient to address your intolerances.
The enzymes that I have found most beneficial in persons with adverse food reactions include:
Dipeptidyl peptidase-IV – very helpful in breaking down gluten in the small intestine, dramatically reducing one’s reaction to grains.
Xylanase – breaks down plant cell walls – helpful in digesting fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.
Blended proteases – for breaking down proteins at the various pH levels that are found throughout the digestive tract.
Blended amylases – for breaking down carbohydrates at the various pH levels that are found throughout the digestive tract.
Blended lipases – for breaking down fats at the various pH levels that are found throughout the digestive tract.
Alpha-galactosidase – for digesting the carbohydrate lectins that are found in most foods.
Lactase and maltase – for helping the digestion of sugars.
Identify what foods you have an intolerance to with the Enzyme Science Food Intolerance Identification Program.
Fatigue, osteoporosis, muscle spasms, sinusitis, insomnia, nerve pains, eczema, poor circulation…could these seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions possibly have a common thread? The surprising answer is—YES! These symptoms were selected from a much longer list of conditions that can originate from an acidic environment in the body. The good news is that with diligent effort, one can neutralize the acid through a healthy diet and supplementation, and these issues may be resolved without requiring prescription drugs.
Acidity and inflammation don’t impact everyone in the same way—symptoms tend to manifest in a person’s weakest link. For some people, that might be the joints, so they experience joint pain, and some might incur urinary tract infections, yet both conditions can be a consequence of chronic acidity and inflammation.
Diet is the most significant cause of acidosis. The standard American diet is rich in acidifying foods and deficient in alkalizing foods, particularly vegetables. Stress and illness also impact the body’s pH, but diet is the major source of acid. It is highly recommended to read a book like The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health by Dr. Christopher Vasey, or the Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Dr. Susan Brown, to better understand the complexities of how foods affect pH and which foods have superior alkalizing activity. The general rule of thumb is that green leafy vegetables, followed by other colored vegetables and fruits, are alkalizing, and sugars, refined carbohydrates, and protein tend to be acidifying. It is helpful to have one of the food guides for reference, because some foods that have acidic qualities actually have an alkalizing effect on the body, such as lemons and vinegar. The books also provide guidelines on how to accurately test pH using pH test strips to track your progress.
Dietary changes are critical for alkalizing but to truly enhance the alkalization process, supplementation is highly recommended. Because vegetables are such an effective way to increase alkalinity, green drinks easily boost the daily veggie intake with just a few gulps. Minerals are a good way to alkalinize. Coral calcium provides a broad range of minerals, along with calcium in the carbonate form, which is the most alkalizing form.
Lastly, be sure to use pH test strips to monitor your pH changes. The pH fluctuates throughout the day based on food and beverages that are consumed. It is wise to use alkalizing supplements several times throughout the day to maintain an alkaline environment.
Cold season can extend from fall well into spring. It is worth spending a moment discussing the ancient Zulu remedy for successfully fighting off symptoms such as runny and stuffy noses, sore throats, and coughs.
Native to the coastal regions of South Africa, Pelargonium sidoides was described as “umKhulkane” (denoting respiratory infection) and “uHlabo” (roughly meaning chest pain) by the Zulu. The herbal remedy was introduced to Europeans in the late 19th century by the Englishman and TB-sufferer, Charles Stevens. On a trip to South Africa to seek a cure for TB, he consulted a tribal healer who gave him a strong concoction of Pelargonium sidoides root. Fully recovered, he returned to England with this new remedy and popularized it throughout Europe as “Steven’s Consumption Cure.”
The rediscovery of the root extract occurred in Germany where a standardized product known as Umckaloabo® has been approved for the treatment of bronchitis, tonsillitis, and sinusitis. The overwhelming success of the product has led to its recent introduction to the United States as Umcka Coldcare from Nature’s Way.
Specific findings of the Pelagonium sidoides root include:
Common Cold: A recent study gave 93 adults suffering the common cold either Pelargonium sidoides root extract (30 drops or 1.5 mL three times per day) or a placebo for 10 days. By the fifth day, the majority of participants taking the herbal extract reported not only feeling better, but were back to almost 75 percent of their normal level of activity. Those taking the placebo didn’t feel much better and were at only about 50 percent of normal activity. By day 10, 82 percent of those taking the herbal remedy were back to their normal daily routine compared to only 54 percent of those taking the placebo.
Bronchitis: A clinical study treated 468 adults with bronchitis with either the Pelargonium sidoides root extract (30 drops three times per day) or a placebo. Treated for only seven days, symptoms such as cough, chest pain, sputum production, and shortness of breath, were reduced by almost 50 percent in those persons taking the herbal extract compared to those taking the placebo. Coughing either improved or disappeared in 89 percent of those taking Pelargonium sidoides compared to only 57 percent of those taking the placebo.
Sinusitis: A frustrating and difficult condition to treat, sinusitis is often a recurring problem and resistant to repeated antibiotic use. A new study has shown that using Pelargonium sidoides root extract (60 drops or 3 mL three times per day) for 21 days dramatically reduces not only symptom severity in adults with acute sinusitis, but also improves sinus health. Using x-rays to check for sinus congestion, the study found that almost 98 percent of those taking the herbal extract had normal x-rays by the end of the study compared to only 10 percent of those taking a placebo. Notable is that none of the participants took antibiotics.
As stated above, the researched Pelargonium sidoides root product used in these clinical studies is available in the product Umcka Coldcare™ from Nature’s Way. The safety and effectiveness of this extract for both adults and children makes it a must-have for any natural medicine cabinet.
As you grow older, age-related stiffness and discomfort in the joints becomes a fact of life. Activities once routine become a challenge as limited mobility hampers your every move. You now have a more potent option to provide broad-spectrum support for aging joints. ArthroMax™ Advanced with UC-II® and AprèsFlex™ is a multi-nutrient formula based on the very latest data on natural support for joint health. The new ArthroMax™ formula provides more joint support than ever before, enhanced with two innovative, clinically validated ingredients: AprèsFlex™ and UC-II®.
AprèsFlex™ represents a quantum leap forward in the delivery to aging joints of boswellia, long prized for its ability to help with inflammatory issues. It is a superior inhibitor of the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase or 5-LOX. Excess activity of 5-LOX results in the accumulation of leukotriene B4, a proinflammatory compound that affects aging joints. Boswellia has been shown to bind directly to the 5-LOX enzyme, preventing it from facilitating production of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes. (46,47) AprèsFlex™ boswellia absorbs into the blood 52% better than previously available forms of boswellia, for superior effectiveness.
In addition to AprèsFlex™, this new ArthroMax™ contains a novel standardized chicken cartilage: UC-II®. New data shows it helps with immune issues that can impact joint discomfort and ease of motion in aging individuals.
Taken orally, UC-II® travels to the intestinal tract where it “introduces” the immune system to the same type of collagen molecules found in joint cartilage.
Not just any form of collagen will do. Normally, when chicken collagen is processed, its molecular shape is changed. It loses bioactivity and becomes denatured—which researchers found has no beneficial effect (2) on the immune system. Fortunately, a unique processing technique preserves the correct molecular shape of the collagen (3,4) and preserves its bioactivity (5)—producing a form known as undenatured collagen. The result of this innovative process is an undenatured chicken collagen called Bio-Collagen with Patented UC-II®.
Scientific studies have found that UC-II® reduced sensitive joint discomfort and eased joint function. (1,6-10) One double-blind, placebo-controlled study on patients found that UC-II® provided relief by 33%, and decreased joint discomfort scores by a remarkable 40% in just 90 days.(1)
1. Int J Med Sci. 2009;6(6):312-21. 2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Oct;83(19):7443-6. 3. Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Jan;11(1):12-8. 4. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2002;22(3-4):101-10. 5. Immunol Rev. 2005;206:232-59. 6. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Aug;28(4):385-90. 7. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Jun;30(3):275-8. 8. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2007;17(4):189-96. 9. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). Epub 2011 May 30. 10. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Dec;32(6):577-84. 46. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15-16):373-8. 47. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Sep 19;107(2):249-53.
Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Reprinted with exclusive permission of Life Extension Magazine
Lavender, an herb long prized for its pleasing fragrance, is also an effective remedy for anxiety. Taken orally, lavender extract can be as effective as some of the conventionally prescribed alternatives. Lavender has been used, both internally and by aromatherapy, for centuries for anxiety and depression, as well as for insomnia and gastrointestinal distress (Greive, 1931). Modern analytical methods show more than 160 constituents, many of which interact synergistically to contribute to lavender’s healing effects (Cavanagh et al, 2002).
Clinical Trials of Oral Lavender
Although much previous research on lavender was on its effects when administered as aromatherapy, two controlled clinical trials of have explored the effects of oral, pharmacopoeia-grade lavender oil on anxiety.
Kasper and colleagues compared lavender oil (WS® 1265) against placebo for anxiety in 221 adults from 21 primary care or psychiatric practices. (Kasper et al, 2010). Subjects took 80 mg of lavender oil or placebo for 10 weeks. Those taking lavender showed a total reduction in anxiety scores decrease of 16 points versus 9.5 points for those taking placebo. The lavender was also superior to placebo in terms of having more people respond and fewer people relapse.
In another study, researchers compared lavender oil (WS®1265) to a low-dose, commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug. (Woelk & Schlafke, 2010) The lavender oil, a steam distillate of Lavandula angustifolia, decreased mean anxiety total scores by 45%, versus 46% in the drug group. At the conclusion of the trial, 40% of the lavender group and 27% of the drug group met criteria for remission; the lavender group had a response rate of 52.5% compared to 40.5% of those on the drug.
Lavender oil products for oral use should comply with the most stringent quality standards, such as those set forth in the European Pharmacopoeia. When in compliance with or exceeding these standards, and used at the recommended dose, there is no reason to expect any significant adverse effects. As a precaution, oral lavender oil is not recommended for children only because there are insufficient data available pertaining to this use. Unlike commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs, for example, lavender does not cause psychological or chemical dependence.
Kasper S, et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010; 25:277–87
Woelk H, Schlafke S. Phytomedicine Int J Phytotherapy Phytopharmacol 2010; 17:2: 94–99.
Blumenthal M, ed. Lavender flower. In: The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 1998:159–60.
Bio: Jeremy Appleton, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician with an extensive background in natural medicine and education. He graduated from National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), and did his residency at Bastyr University, where he was also on faculty. He served as chair of the nutrition department chair at NCNM for 5 years. He has lectured extensively around the world on topics in nutrition, botanical medicine and dietary supplement quality issues. He is currently Director of Scientific Affairs at Integrative Therapeutics.
by John Neustadt, ND
More than 10 million Americans have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis—approximately 15% of women and 4% of men over the age of 50. Another 34 million or so have osteopenia—bone density that is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis. And every year, two million people with osteoporosis have a so-called “osteoporotic fracture,” usually of the hip, spine, or wrist.
Experts know that an osteoporotic hip fracture is disastrous, as 12% to 40% of victims die within six months (partly because they tend to become depressed and more sedentary). But when Australian researchers studied more than 4,000 people age 60 and older for 18 years, they found that almost any kind of osteoporotic fracture increased the risk for death. Focusing on people over age 75, they found that breaking a wrist increased mortality risk by 40% in women and 80% in men, a spinal fracture doubled mortality risk in both sexes, and a hip fracture more than doubled mortality risk in women and tripled it in men.
It has also been found that bone mineral density (BMD) does not accurately reflect fracture risk. A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) test measures the BMD in your hip, spine, and wrist. A score of –1 to –2.5 indicates osteopenia and a score under –2.5 signals osteoporosis. But in one study, 82% of women who reported fractures of the wrist, forearm, hip, rib, or spine in the year after a BMD test did not have scores indicating osteoporosis (scores of –2.5 or lower). Overall, BMD predicts only 44% of fractures in elderly women and 21% of fractures in elderly men.
The BMD test indicates the hardness of bone, imparted by the minerals calcium and magnesium. But flexibility is what helps bones resist fracture—the bone’s ability to bend a bit and not break. Flexibility is created by the bone’s collagen, the protein-rich infrastructure. To build bone collagen, you need vitamin K.
The Power of MK4
Doctors from England analyzed the data from 13 studies on osteoporosis and a form of vitamin K called MK4. They found vitamin MK4 decreased hip fractures by 73%, spinal fractures by 60%, and non-spinal fractures by 81%. Compare those results to the average 19% decrease in fracture risk from taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D (which aids in the absorption of calcium). And in a clinical trial, when MK4 (45 mg daily) was combined with calcium and vitamin D, the patients had an incredible 87% fracture reduction.
To help my patients, I developed a supplement that contains the same amount and type of the nutrient (45 mg of MK4) used in the clinical trials. The supplement, called Osteo-K, also contains calcium and vitamin D.
MK4 May Help You if You’re Taking Corticosteroids
Medications called corticosteroids (cortisone, prednisone, hydrocortisone) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They are synthetic versions of cortisol, an adrenal hormone. They often are prescribed to help control the symptoms of chronic diseases with an inflammatory component, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and severe asthma. Taken regularly for six months or more, corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis. Additionally, taking these medicines for more than six months increases the risk for vertebral fracture by up to 200%. Clinical trials have shown that taking 45 mg daily of MK4 decreases bone loss and fractures caused by corticosteroids.
MK4 May Help You if You’re Taking Acid- Blocking Medicine
Medications such as Protonix, Prevacid, Zantac, Nexium, Aciphex, Prilosec, are powerful acid-suppressing medications. Many people take them for years without knowing that they increase the risk for osteoporosis and fractures. In one study published in the JAMA, taking these medications for four years increased the risk for hip fracture by nearly 60%. While no clinical trials have been conducted with MK4 and acid-blocking medications, MK4 has been shown to decrease bone loss and fractures due to many medications, including prednisone, leuprolide, and phenytoin.
What About Taking Bone-Building Drugs?
You might think that a MK4 supplement would be a lightweight compared to the widely prescribed bisphosphonate drugs, such as alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), raloxifene (Evista), and zoledronic acid (Zometa). But drugs are less effective at decreasing fracture risk than vitamin K. For example, Fosamax decreases vertebral fracture risk by 47%, compared with a reduction of up to 60% for MK4. And the latest research shows that these bone-building drugs can hurt your health, causing esophageal cancer, heart problems, osteonecrosis of the jaw, and even increased fracture risk!
If you are concerned about losing bone density in the natural aging process, or you currently have low bone density, consider adding Osteo-K to your supplement regime.
Caution: If you are taking the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin), talk to your doctor before taking any type of supplemental vitamin K, which can block the action of the drug.
|John Neustadt, ND is co-founder and president of NBI Health, has published more than 100 scholarly research reviews and consumer articles and is editor of the textbook, Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. He has appeared on local, national, and international radio shows reaching more than two million listeners. In August 2008, Dr. Neustadt was voted Best Doctor in the annual Best of Bozeman (MT) survey. Dr. Neustadt, along with Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD, authored three medical books.|
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