Rest Does a Body Good!

Now this isn’t about sleep, although I have talked about it enough and the importance it plays in our overall health and well being, this is about giving your body a rest from pills, vitamins, supplements, and food.

I am truly a fan of Dr. Christopher’s philosophy of health, if you haven’t noticed that yet. In his ‘Herbal Legacy’ book, he talks about the importance of giving your body a rest from taking his herbs. Dr. Christopher says you should take them 6 days and rest on the seventh, then take them 6 weeks and rest on the 7th week and then evaluate how they are working and how you feel. If things aren’t completed cleaned up then he suggests taking them for 6 more months with the same rotations and rest on the 7 month and reevaluate again. Now I have followed that plan haphazardly at best and sometimes forgotten about it all together. Then something comes up that reminds me of the wisdom of that idea and I recommit to trying again.

One of those times was when my bio-identicals weren’t working very well. I visited my doctor and he suggested giving my body a rest for a couple of days or more and see if that would jump start their effectiveness again. Well I did and they did and Dr. Christopher’s words came to mind. Another time that reminded me of that all important rest was when I was on vacation for a week and left all my hormones, vitamins and supplements home. I was worried that I would feel badly, but just the opposite happened. I felt great and when I got home and started them up again, everything seemed to work better and I felt great.

The last big reminder of the idea that ‘rest does a body good’ is when I tried Dr. Christopher’s 3 day cleanse, (something I will discuss on another blog). It was a little hard but I wasn’t hungry. What surprised me was how invigorated I felt after, and how I craved such healthy foods. Have you ever just felt so bloated and sick of food? Well, I have and whenever I fast I feel less burdened by my own body and the heaviness of food. I have read articles where they suggest a monthly one day fast from food and water, just to give your body a rest so it won’t have to work so hard digesting things for a day and instead let your mind contemplate other things for a change. I know I have felt the benefits of a monthly fast and would recommend it to any healthy person, but not to diabetics or nursing moms.

Sometimes we just overdo things and we need to take a break or rather give our bodies a break. Try it, you might find it helps you too.

Just something to think about.

Kris

Vitamin D3 is a Hot Topic

Why it takes mainstream medicine and the media so long to come around to natural solutions I don’t know, but I am always glad when they do. An article just appeared in one of our major newspapers, titled “Vitamin D is a hot topic with medical researchers, it may have untapped potential in preventing disease, aiding memory”. I know I have mentioned Vitamin D3 before but there was new information in this article that I thought was worth mentioning. It  suggested that:

“Vitamin D has shown promise in reducing the risk of, among other things diabetes, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and that it also seems to improve infertility, weight control and memory”!

It went on to say that:

“There is a consensus that everyone might benefit from higher Vitamin D levels. We all know that Vitamin D is critical to bone and muscle health by improving calcium absorption in the intestines and the way calcium is regulated in the bones. More recent research shows that receptors for it are found in almost every organ and tissue system in the body, suggesting that deficiencies may impact many types of cell functions”.

It continued that we don’t spend the necessary time in the sun and when we do we wear sunscreen (which is important most of the time). However, because of that  and for those over 50, dark-skinned people, and higher -latitude dwellers, we all have trouble getting enough from sun.  It concluded with the statement that:

“The July issue of the Annals of Epidemiology, devoted to Vitamin D research, links the vitamin to lower risks of cancers of the breast, colon, ovary and prostate. Five studies on colorectal cancer and breast cancer, taken together, showed that people with levels higher than 34 ng/ml to 52 ng/ml had a 50% reduced cancer risk”.

I think all that information is very significant, if you agree you might want to check out at your local pharmacy or health food store a pharmaceutical strength Vitamin D3 and when September starts you might want to buy it and start taking it as well.

Just some more things to think about.

Kris

Sun Worshippers Great Gift: Vitamin D3

It is amazing that such a little known vitamin could make such a huge difference! Let me clarify. I just learned about a little known hormone, vitamin D3. Yes that is right, Vitamin D3 is a hormone not a vitamin. Seems it was misnamed many years ago and no one bothered to correct it, probably because they didn’t realize all the great things it could do and what problems it would cause without it. Infact, I think it just fell off the face of the earth for awhile. That is until natural hormone medicine (Bio-identical Hormones) became such a huge factor in womens lives across the country. Doctors started paying attention to all the possible hormones that could be causing so many problems and maladies for women and men. I say women first because we have finally demanded answers and help with our hormones and will no longer accept the perverbial saying of “Oh, that just comes with age”. I also mention men because as my doctor always tells me, men can benefit from hormone help as much as women. I know there are skeptics out there but it is true.

Ok, so what is so great about Vitamin D3? Well I will tell you. On a website called Vitamin Research Products there is an article by Chris D. Meletis, ND, he states the following:

“Vitamin D3 is one of the most useful nutritional tools we have at our disposal for improving overall health. This vitamin is unique because cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is a vitamin derived from 7-dehyrocholesterol; however, Vitamin D3 acquires hormone-like actions when cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is converted to 1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D3 (Calcitriol) by the liver and kidneys. As a hormone, Calcitriol controls phosphorus, calcium, and bone metabolism and neuromuscular function. Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin the body can manufacture from sunlight (UVB). Yet, with today’s indoor living and the extensive use of sunscreens due to concern about skin cancer, we are now a society with millions of individuals deficient in life-sustaining bone building and immune modulating 1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D3.”

Now that is just telling you how it is created. He goes on to say that:

“Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to a surprising number of other health conditions such as depression, back pain, cancer, both insulin resistance and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, impaired immunity and macular degeneration.”

That is quite a list, and may I add that my doctor said it is one of the best things for SAD or seasonal affected disorder (winter blues). He even says that:

“When examining the medical literature, it becomes clear that Vitamin D3 affects human health in an astonishing number of ways and that not obtaining enough of this important nutrient can leave the door open to developing a number of health conditions.”

I asked my doctor, “Couldn’t we just drink more milk?” He explained to me that would have to drink 50 glasses a day to even come close. The article by Chris Meletis seems to support the same idea saying the doses have to be quite high to make any difference.

“One of the challenges is the outdated acceptable upper limit for Vitamin D3 consumption, which was set at 2,000 IU. However, researchers point out that more recent studies have shown that 10,000 IU is the safe upper limit.”

Now my doctor only recommended 4000 IU, but he told me I needed to get pharmaceutical grade Vitamin D3, so that might make a difference. He also said I only needed to take it from September through May, because the days were long enough in summer and people tended to spend more time outside. Of course that makes sense. Now I am just here to attest to the fact that it makes a huge difference. I am using it now and would recommend it to everyone, unless you live at the equator.

Just another thing to consider.

Kris

Caffeine and Heart Attacks

I apologize to you my readers for having not written for a while again. First, it was my husbands heart attack and now it is a book I am writing on Restless leg Syndrome. I hope to have it ready to publish this summer. Anyway, thanks for staying with me and I appreciate your comments.

In my last post I mentioned a possible link of caffeine to heart attacks.The source of this information was in an article called “The Energy Drink Epidemic”, by a Dr. Thomas J. Boud. He mentions the staggering numbers of energy consumption drinks and that…

“…consumption has more than doubled in the past three years…..This means that many people are drinking energy drinks with a poor understanding of the potential physical and medical side effects of the caffeine contained in the beverages they consume.”

So what can that lead to? He goes on to say:

“Milder conditions include jitteriness, agitation, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and rapid heart rate. Use of caffeine can lead to a decrease in cerebral blood flow in adults and could increase the chance of compromising long-term growth in infants…..Using caffiene on a long-term basis to compensate for tiredness resulting from life-style choices results not only in sleep deprivation but also in physiological stress. These in turn can lead to an increased level of certain hormones that can lower one’s metabolism. A lower metabolism leads to an increased craving of carbohydrates and sugars and often drinks in order to lose weight, whereas just the opposite may occur. Many physicians believe that this process has contributed significantly to the current problem of obesity in the U.S. Weight gain has a negative influence on the medical conditions fo sleep apnea, diabetes, depression, and even cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases.”

“High caffeine intake can cause a number of other serious problems as well, such as elevated blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, and even osteoporosis. Other commonly know physiological effects of caffeine consumtion include acid reflux, urinary incontinence, restless leg syndrome, tremors, irritable bowel syndrome, and atrial fibrillation. Research also indicates a close relationship between caffeine use and elevated cholestrol levels and, potentially, coronary heart disease.”

Now, I know that is a lot of information that needs to be reviewed and not all of it is related to heart disease, but the last sentence is the thing that caught my attention and for me answered the question as to what could possibly have caused my husbands heart attack. He had none of the normal indicators that could have caused a heart attack, except a unhealthy love of coca cola that he consumed in large quantities.

I will leave the final connections to you my readers, but even if you don’t see the connection of caffeine to heart attacks, I hope you picked up on the further proofs that caffeine can cause restless leg syndrome.

Just some more things to think about.

Kris

Artificial Sweeteners, at What Cost?

I just recently read an article in our local newspaper about the dangers of artificial sweeteners and felt it was an important subject to address. I have read a lot about the problems with these sweeteners and was interested in the study out of Purdue University that she quoted. It appeared in the February 2008 issue of Behavior Neuroscience by the American Psychological Association.

“It showed the results of tests on rats using yogurt with sugar and another with saccharin. Those given the artificial sweetener consumed more calories and ended up gaining more weight than the regular sugar group. Artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s natural ability to “count” calories based on foods’ sweetness. This finding may explain why increasing numbers of people in the United States lack the natural ability to regulate food intake and body weight.”

There is a lot of controversy on the use of these artificial sweeteners. The US regulatory body currently approves five artificial sweeteners, which it regulates as food additives. These are aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame-K, neotame and sucralose. Depending on what you read and from what source you have very differing opinions. Mainly from the Natural Health Food Industry and the FDA.

According to the National Cancer Institute there’s no scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer. Aspartame does carry a cautionary note, however. It isn’t safe for people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria (PKU). Products that contain aspartame must carry a PKU warning on the label.

The first study done on aspartame said it increased the risk of urinary or bladder cancer. Subsequent studies have not found the same results. Also some studies have shown there to be a link between aspartame and primary brain tumours while others have shown no link. A study in England is underway to try to prove it one way or the other.
On the health food side of the scales many problems are mentioned along with urinary and brain cancer and weight gain. One of those is what they call excitotoxins meaning they excite the neurons in your brain to death or they kill brain cells. It is also mentioned that they give you things such as migraines, stomach aches, mood swings and insomnia.

One comment I read was from a researcher in a neuroscience lab. It mentioned that all artificial sweeteners break down in the body to toxic chemicals including formaldehyde. They mentioned that everyone that worked in that lab, now only use raw sugars, Stevia, and agave nectar.

It seems there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to prove one side or the other, but I always say if there is the slightest chance why take the risk. And the old saying of where there is smoke there is fire just might apply to the use of artificial sweeteners.

I hope I have given you something to think about.

Kris


Creating Friendly Bacteria with Pro-Biotic Acidophilus

It is discouraging that I have forgotten so many of the health facts I have learned over the years. I should have started this blog a long time ago, but alas I didn’t so I just have to hope that little things will jog my memory for those long forgotten ones. One of those happened just the other day. I was talking to my chiropractor about some antibiotics I was taking and he mentioned that when I was finished with them that I should remember to take some Pro-Biotic Acidophilus. Memories came flooding back about how important it was to keep healthy bacteria in our stomachs. I know that sounds funny if you have never heard of Pro-Biotic Acidophilus before, but it is true. Antibiotics kill all bacteria and we actually have friendly bacteria that live in our bodies that help fight diseases. So when we take antibiotics we not only kill the bad ones that are making us sick but we also kill the good ones and that means we can more easily become sick again. I decided to refresh my memory on the subject and went to the website http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsad/a/Acidophilus.htm. The website gave some great basic information, part of which I will share with you, but if you want the whole article just go to their website.
They said that:

“Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract and vagina….some of the ways they are thought to promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, improving immune function, enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and helping to produce vitamin K.”
” A number of medical, diet, and lifestyle factors are believed to disturb the balance in the colon. This imbalance is called dysbiosis. Factors include:”

  • Inadequate dietary fiber
  • Oral antibiotic therapy
  • Infant formula feeding
  • Ingestion of environmental toxins

“No longer kept in check, less healthy bacteria and yeast may flourish, which is thought to increase the likelihood of conditions such as infectious diarrhea and vaginal yeast infections.”

I hope all my women readers caught that; not having friendly bacteria could increase the likelihood of yeast infections. So if you are having a lot of yeast infections or have never had any and suddenly are getting some, maybe the antibiotics you have taken in the past have destroyed the good bacteria that were keeping those yeast infections away.

The article continued by talking about why people use Probiotics and gave a list of the different things that could be helped by taking a dietary supplement of Pro-Biotic Acidophilus. The list is below.

  • Diarrhea Due to Antibiotic Use
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea
  • Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Vaginal Yeast Infections
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Immune Support
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Prevention of Colds
  • Allergic Rhinitis / Hayfever
  • Constipation
  • Colon Cancer Prevention
  • Pouchitis
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Canker Sores

I was also intrigued by the fact that irritable bowel syndrome could be helped by Acidophilus as well. That could be a subject for a blog for another time.
It also listed some safety concerns that I thought I should list as well, even though I have never had any problems with the supplement:

“Side effects of probiotics may include mild, temporary digestive complaints, such as gas and bloating. People who are immunosuppressed should seek medical
advice before using probiotics. It is possible that the probiotic itself may cause a serious infection. One death was reportedly linked to probiotic use in a person taking immunosuppressant medication.”

Now where can you buy this dietary supplement? Just about any health food store. I really don’t have any information on whether one kind is better than another, so just go with what ever you can find.

Heres to healthy bacteria!

Kris

New Iron Supplement!

Actually I do not know how long this type of iron supplement has been on the market, but it is new to me and I liked what I heard. It is marketed by several different companies on line, you only have to type in “iron supplement blood builder”, and it will give you the list. What impressed me about this product is that it is made from plants that have iron occurring naturally without artificially adding iron to be absorbed by the plant.  Anything that is found naturally in nature has to be better and more easily absorbed by the body. I have mentioned many times the benefits of iron for those with Restless Leg Syndrome, so I like to continue to look for the best products available for us.

Just as a side note they have found that iron helps our thyroid to function better and since our thryoid helps us sleep better and maintain our weight, taking iron now has a double benefit. Besides who couldn’t use a better night sleep.

More things to think about.

Kris

A More Natural Form of Iron!

OK, so here is some more on iron. We know that RLS and low iron go hand in hand; too much research on the matter to deny it. My question is why is there not more information and dialogue on the types of iron? You have to go to a health food store or browse on the internet to learn that there are different kinds of iron and do’s and don’ts in taking them. The pharmaceuticals and unwittingly the doctors would have us believe there are only 2 major kinds of iron that work thus the debate on which is absorbed better, ferrous gluconate versus ferrous sulfate.
 “Ferrous salt preparations (ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous fumarate) are equally tolerable. Controlled-release iron preparations cause less nausea and epigastric pain than conventional ferrous sulfate, although the discontinuation rates between the 2 iron formulations were similar. Ferrous sulfate remains the standard first-line treatment of iron-deficiency anemia given its general tolerability, effectiveness, and low cost.”
I too was as uninformed as the general public as to the different kinds of iron until my hormone doctor found out I was so low in iron and recommended a more natural form of iron so I wouldn’t have induced iron-related digestive distress or free-radical problems that come with the salt related irons. I started to research on the internet and found some interesting information, in particularly from eHow and wellnessresource.com.
  
 
I am sure that my doctor was aware of the recent study that….. “identified iron as a key nutrient in cells that enables thyroid/ zinc gene signals to function in metabolic pathways. A lack of iron inside cells may reduce up to 80 different gene signals that would otherwise be following “thyroid instructions.” A lack of iron may handicap metabolism and cause metabolic fatigue”…… “Adequate iron is vital for properly oxygenated blood, muscle function, thyroid function, and growth.”
So, if iron is that important to not only the function of the blood, muscle and thyroid function and growth, as well as Restless Leg Syndrome, then why not more readily assessable information on it and some natural alternatives? I have found two that I think are worth mentioning; Ferrofood by Standard Process Inc. that is sold through Health Care Professionals and Blood Builder on Wellnessresource.com. If anyone out there has any other good natural forms of iron, I would love to post the information.
 
 
One last point; I found these great tips on eHow, that give you several steps that can help you maximize your iron absorption with whatever type of iron you are currently taking.
 
Step One  
 Take iron and vitamin C together. The presence of vitamin C can increase iron’s absorption by as much as 30 percent. 

 

Step Two 
Avoid taking an antacid at the same time you take iron. Stomach acid is needed to properly absorb iron. 
 

Step Three  
Take iron at the same time as copper, manganese and molybdenum. They are needed for complete iron absorption. 

Step Four  
Avoid using excessive amounts of zinc and vitamin E, which can interfere with iron absorption.  
 Step Five  
Take vitamin A and B complex at the same time as iron. They are also needed for complete iron absorption. 


Also, if you have milk allergies your body might not be able to process the iron at all, so that might be something to check out.
 
Hope you have found this helpful.
 
Kris
 
 
 

Amino Acids and Iron Level Power

In an article I read in Aternative Medicine by Kristin Bjornsen, she mentions that evidence has been found pointing to the importance of balanced amino acids , the building blocks for dopamine and other neurotransmitters and iron levels. The article goes on to say that:

“One amino acid in particular seemed to play a starring role: L-theanine…….taking 100 mg three times a day has improved (RLS) symptoms tremendously. L-theanine is found in green tea and is available as a supplement at health stores. RLS sufferers should opt for the supplement form, rather than the caf­feine-laden tea. According to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, director of The Annapolis Center for Effective CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies and author of Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw Hill, 2006), “L-­theanine is one of the single best nutri­ents for inducing deep sleep, [which is vital for RLS sufferers], although it doesn’t necessarily target Restless Legs Syndrome specifically.” He suggests try­ing 1,000 mg of tyrosine (a precursor of dopamine) in the morning as another source of relief. Sufferers can also opt to have a doc­tor analyze their blood and urine to de­tect possible amino-acid deficiencies and tailor a specific treatment to restore proper levels. Although L-theanine has worked well …………a primary frontline defense for RLS is iron-and iron levels should be the first thing checked if some­one exhibits RLS symptoms. “Low iron is a potent trigger because the part of the brain that makes dopamine is iron ­dependent,” Jacob Teitelbaum, says, about 25 percent of RLS sufferers have low iron levels, so supplementing with iron is “one of the most effective treatments for eliminating the underlying condition.” According to Teitelbaum, a blood ferritin level below 40 or an iron percent saturation below 22 percent warrants supplementing with 70 mg of iron plus 150 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for three to six months. Take them on an empty stomach for maximum absorption. “

I believe strongly that what we take into our bodies effects our health, and that when we are not eating a healthy diet, we are inviting disease and life long problems. As we age it is also harder to maintain a healthly chemical balance in our bodies and therefore it is important that we get blood tests that can indicate which essential chemicals, minerals, etc., are low. So if you haven’t had your blood tested in a long time may I suggest that you consider getting it done as soon as possible?

More things to think about.

Kris

Does Caffeine Effect Your Restless Legs?

You think I would learn, but I am a little dense at times. I know what a great difference caffeine can make in the severity of my RLS at night, especially any coca cola products, but I forget about chocolate and the amount of caffeine it can have. I just need to satiate my cravings for chocolate with something else or at least be smart enough not to eat it late at night.
Kris