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To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 20, 2017

Sleepless nights can be triggered by countless factors, but by controlling confronting the issue head on, practitioners are able to gain a better understanding of what causes them. By Nicholas Saraceno 

As the old saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun (or sleeping for that matter). Unfortunately for some, this is not always the case. According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have some sort of sleep disorder. These disorders can range from dyssomnia’s to parasomnias.

Often times, this inability to rest results in sleepless nights. Although there are a plethora of causes linked to difficulty sleeping, integrative practitioners are able to pinpoint the most popular ones, while finding potential solutions.

Causes & Common Conditions

As previously mentioned, the causes that influence the lack of sleep are numerous, but doctors and experts alike have been able to narrow these down to ones backed by science, such as brain function, which could be the root of the problem.

“There are cycles of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM),” said Jeremy A. Holt, associate director of Ajinomoto North America’s health services section in New Jersey. “REM is typically 25 percent of the sleep period. Non-REM is divided into four stages. Stage One is the period between being awake and falling asleep. Stage Two is the onset of sleep and becoming disengaged from your surroundings. Stages Three and Four are the deepest and most restorative sleep, where muscles are relaxed, blood pressure drops and breathing becomes slower.

“A restless sleeper will wake up while transitioning between these stages. Once the body wakes, it doesn’t return to the state it awoke from – it must go back to stage one. Continually waking during the night and not reaching Stages Three and Four is what causes poor sleep quality.”

However, lack of sleep can also stem from gender-related issues that interfere with the REM process.

Gina Besteman, RPH, is the director of compounding and dispensing at the Women’s International Pharmacy in Wisconsin, a compounding pharmacy that provides high-quality bioidentical hormone therapies.

“One of the more common symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause that patients complain of is difficulty sleeping. There is a significant amount of research showing how hormones affect sleep,” she noted. “Progesterone affects GABA receptors which are responsible for non-REM sleep, the deepest of the sleep stages. Progesterone also affects breathing. Its’s been shown to be a respiratory stimulant and has been used to treat mild obstructive sleep apnea. Estrogen’s role in sleep appears to be more complicated than that of progesterone. Estrogen is involved in breaking down norepinephrine, serotonin and acetylcholine in the body. Estrogen has been shown to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, decrease the number of awakenings after sleep occurs and increase total sleep time. Low estrogen levels may lead to hot flashes which can also affect sleep.”

Perimenopause refers to the menopausal transition, normally occurring in a women’s 40’s, sometimes mid-30’s (mayoclinic.org). Dr. Besteman also cited that if there is a disruption in cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands and melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep and wakefulness manufactured by the brain’s pineal gland, these could be contributors to the issue.

As a result, different sleep conditions affect different societal demographics.  According to Svetlana Kogan, MD, an integrative doctor in New York, NY and author of Diet Slave No More!, individuals affected by difficulty sleeping can be broken up into three categories.

“Young people have over stimulated nervous systems due to cell phones, video games, computers, TV and other electronic gadgets,” she said. “Older people (ages 35-60) are having difficulty sleeping due to all of the above, plus the stress of having to balance family, children and work. Much older people (over 60) have physiologic issues during sleep that cause them to wake up many times during the night (urinary incontinence or frequency, sleep apnea, insomnia, pain syndromes). Overall, people who live in big cities sleep much less than the rest of the country. This could be due to overstimulation of the nervous system, work stress and lack of time spent outdoors (that is, less oxygen to the brain).”

Solutions to Better Sleep

After hearing of patients’ difficulty sleeping, the next question is: what exactly can practitioners recommend to their patients to help combat these issues?

A great starting point would be in the mineral magnesium, which notably has a calming effect to it.

“Magnesium is an essential electrolyte and is known as the anti-stress mineral, and is a natural sleep aid,” mentioned Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, advisory board member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association. “Numerous Studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing stress levels as well as helping with deeper more restful sleep. This mineral has been depleted from our soils and foods due to modern farming methods and food processing. More than 75 percent of Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance of this mineral, which is a co-factor in 700-800 enzyme reactions in the body.

“A magnesium deficiency can magnify stress because of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical that is boosted artificially by some medications, depends on magnesium for its production and function. Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body. Magnesium citrate powder is a highly absorbable form that can be mixed with hot or cold water and sipped at work or at home throughout the day.”

As another option, Boiron USA, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of homeopathic medicine, offers Quietude, dissolvable tablets that help target lack of sleep, without the effects that come with it. Christopher Merville, DPharm, director of education and pharmacy development at the company, explained how exactly the medication is effective.

“Quietude temporary relieves sleeplessness, restless sleep and occasional awakening without grogginess or risk of dependency,” he said. “The biggest advantage of this sleep aid is that it doesn’t knock you out. It may sound funny for a sleep medicine to be non-drowsy and non-doping, but this means you won’t have that groggy hangover effect the next day like you are still in a fog, which is typical with sleep aids that mask the problem by sedating you. Instead, Quietude helps and overactive mind calm down. It’s perfect for when your head hits the pillow but you keep going over that to-do list or replaying the day’s events. If you’ve had a particularly exciting day- whether it’s from good or bad news- prepare for bed by taking Quietude once in the early evening and then again at bedtime.”

A common trend among those struggling with sleeplessness is the fact that the body, especially the brain, is operating at full capacity even during the late evening hours, when it should be resting. Glycine, and amino acid found in Ajinomoto’s Glysom, is able to affect he body accordingly.

“Glycine is a naturally occurring amino acid that induces sleep by setting the body’s internal clock and reducing the core body temperature,” said Holt. “It signals the body to relax and prepare for a better sleep cycle, improving the body’s sleep architecture. Taking Glysom together with melatonin provides a combo effect- the melatonin helps you fall asleep, the Glysom keeps you asleep.”

State of the Market

Being that difficulty sleeping is an ongoing issue, there are positive strides being made in the market, precisely in terms of both traditional and natural medications respectively. In fact, a major contributor to traditional medicine’s success is the severity of the conditions that it treats.

“Insomnia is recognized as the fourth most prominent health issue just behind stress,” said Dr. Dean. “The projections for sleep aids for 2018 are approximately $732 million with a 27 percent category growth rate. The recognized drawbacks are side effects and addictive nature of these medications.”

Moreover, as Dr. Kogan stated, “the sales are unprecedentedly high- especially those of generic sleep meds, as they are cheaper.”

On the other hand, natural sleep medication has continuously garnered attention, partly due to individuals that are popular in the public eye. “Awareness of the importance of sleep an getting proper sleep is growing, and with high profile celebrity deaths (Michael Jackson, Prince) related to sleep issues, consumers are searching for and demanding natural alternative to otherwise harmful side-effect ridden medications,” added Dr. Dean.

As a result, being that pros and cons lie in both forms of medication, practitioners must fairly provide both options to their patients.

Research

There are endless questions surrounding sleep, such as what in fact is the best solution to a good night’s sleep and how one gets to that point. Progress has been made in this regard, and to further enhance this progress, practitioners are thinking out of the box with their interest in research.

“I am interest in researching auto-hypnosis and sleep- specifically how teaching patient’s self-hypnosis techniques can help them fall asleep easier,” noted Dr. Kogan.

In fact, she is quite fond of this delivery method, as it takes more of a holistic approach to medicine. “Self-hypnosis (which I admire) is the least popular method because it’s an acquired skill that needs to be rehearsed many times over, until it becomes a lifestyle,” she mentioned. “Teaching patients self-hypnosis is my favorite modality, because it empowers patients to tap into their own inner resources, instead of depending on pills.”

Although the medical world may not have received all the answers is has been looking for thus far, one ideas is for sure: good sleep is king.

“There is a much greater understanding of the overall physiological and emotional role sleep plays on a body’s health,” said Holt. “Polysomnographic studies have proven that there is no substitute for good sleep. If a body is deficient in vitamin C, a supplement will help adjust that. The same cannot be said of sleep deficiency. Lack of sleep affects the whole body, including metabolism. That’s why good sleep  is so important for weight loss.”

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  Better Sleep  Glysom  integrative medicine  Magnesium  REM sleep  sleep apnea 

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GASP - ACAM BOD Howard Hindin, DDS announces new book

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Airway Centric® Model prevents Airway-Centered Disorders, Sleep-Disordered Breathing to maintain mental and physical health. Learn how to recognize and correct Airway-Centered Disorders, Sleep-Disordered Breathing. Gasp is about our airway, breathing and sleep. Problems can start at birth. Many premature babies are mouth breathers. A poorly structured and functioning airway leads to mouth breathing, snoring and sleep apnea; it can interfere with restorative sleep and ultimately damage the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which controls executive function skills, attentiveness, anxiety and depression. Learn how to restore an ideal airway with early intervention, and where to go for help. Learn how once the airway is established with breastfeeding, allergy treatment, and other methods, neurocognitive and neurobehavioral problems are greatly improved—often without any medication. Anxiety and depression are alleviated, and the behavior and performance of children are remarkably transformed.

Today there is a health movement toward “Wellness.” Wellness is about diet and nutrition, exercise, and mental attitude. The new paradigm is called “Functional Medicine.” It addresses the causes of chronic disease with an individualized approach and emphasizes early intervention. It restores the balance amongst functional systems and the networks that connect them. The missing link is airway, breathing, and sleep. If we don’t breathe well when we sleep, 1/3 of our life is affected. Gasp describes the impact of a narrowed airway from cradle to grave. Every day, we encounter fatigued patients with chronic headaches and neck pain. They have difficulty concentrating; they suffer with GI problems from acid reflux to irritable bowel syndrome. They range from thin women to men who have put on a few pounds. And you do not have to be obese to have an airway problem. Many of our younger patients with ADHD and airway issues have little body fat. Time after time we see that once the airway is opened during the day and maintained during sleep, the transformation is quick and dramatic. Breathing is life.

 

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The Cancer Revolution - ACAM BOD Leigh Erin Connealy, MD announces new book

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

In her new book The Cancer Revolution, Leigh Erin Connealy,MD shares her groundbreaking integrative approach to both treating and preventing cancer.

“Fortunately, you can learn about many cutting-edge cancer therapies by reading this book,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola in The Cancer Revolution foreword. “Dr. Connealy carefully and clearly details the wide array of comprehensive strategies that you can consider for treating cancer. There really are an astounding number of choices and she does a magnificent job of compiling them conveniently in one place. It would take you many weeks, and more likely months or years, to collect the options that she concisely reviews here…Not only does she outline the natural options for treating cancer, but she provides resources that you can use to identify a natural clinician that resonates with your philosophy and budget.”

Dr. Connealy’s latest book offers practical strategies that have helped thousands of patients:

  • Let food be your medicine.
  • Remove toxins to repair and restore your body.
  • Harness the healing power of supplements.
  • Reduce stress and reclaim your life.
  • Strengthen your immune system with sleep.

With a 7-day detox and a 14-day healing program — including recipes based on anti-cancer foods, as well as inspiring stories from patients successfully treated at her Cancer Center for Healing — Dr. Connealy provides healing strategies for patients and those at risk.

“Dr. Connealy understands the role of nutrition, epigenetics, and integrative approaches in healing cancer and even preventing cancer,” says author and documentarian Ty Bollinger. “Cancer is not a death sentence. There is always hope, and this book will empower you with knowledge that just might save your life or the life of a loved one.”

The Cancer Revolution reveals its’ secrets in this three-part book:

A New Way to Prevent, Treat, and Beat Cancer

  • Cancer: What It Is, What Causes It, and How to Fight It
  • How to Detect Cancer Before It Wreaks Havoc
  • Groundbreaking Cancer Treatments

The Six Revolutionary Cancer Strategies

  • Let Food Be Your Medicine
  • Remove Toxins to Boost Your Health
  • Harness the Power of Supplements
  • Get Moving to Get Well
  • Reduce Stress and Reclaim Your Life
  • Strengthen Your Immune System with Sleep

The Cancer Revolution Plan for Health and Wellness

  • Putting Together Your Support System
  • Creating an Anticancer Living Environment
  • The 14-Day Anticancer Wellness Plan
  • The 7-Day Juicing Detoxification Program
  • Living a Cancer-Free Life
  • The Recipes: Dishes for Repairing and Restoring Your Body

“The Cancer Revolution enables everyone to understand and take responsibility for their health and their role in the prevention of disease. It is truly an outstanding guide of how to create health and maintain wellness — from a personal and professional standpoint,” notes Paul Fisher of Biotics Research.


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Chelation Therapy: Life-saving Alternative Treatment?

Posted By Allan Magaziner, DO, Monday, February 6, 2017
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Coconut Chocolate Bars

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ingredients

2 cups Keebler graham cracker crumbs or a gluten free version

½ cup Earth Balance organic buttery spread

1 (14oz) bag of Bakers sweetened coconut flakes

2 (12oz) bags of chocolate bits, semi-sweet ( for dairy, soy and nut free mini chocolate chips, try Enjoy Life brand)

5oz, half bag of chopped walnuts

8 oz bag of chopped pecans

2 (13.5oz) cans of Lite coconut milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spread the buttery spread over the bottom of a 9 and ½ x 14 and ½ inch pan

Add the crumbs and press down with a spatula to even them out

Sprinkle the bags of pecans, walnuts, and chocolate bits over the crumbs

Use a utensil to spread out the coconut flakes over the chocolate and nuts

If desired, you can use one half the amounts to alternate two layers of each

Pour the coconut milk over the mixture and place into the preheated oven

Cook 30 minutes or until edges are bubbling and coconut has a golden brown top.

Cool well and cut into squares; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Bon appetite and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Versatility of Virgin Coconut Oil

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Everyone has their favorite scent: lavender, rose, balsam and many others, but for me it is definitely coconut. Maybe this particular scent conjures up the tropical vision of swaying palm trees and turquoise waters and immediately, I am feeling more relaxed.  Whether the scent is coming from some type of beauty product or from something yummy cooking in the oven, coconut based products and edibles are abundant today. Aside from its soothing qualities, its health benefits are rapidly being documented in research studies, so let’s take a look at some of those first. I was curious about what was being studied in regard to coconut oil.

In a cursory perusal of PubMed abstracts, a number used rats as the subjects. In a study by Rahim et al (2017), virgin coconut oil (VCO) was associated with increased antioxidative, cholinergic activities along with reduced oxidative stress that produced enhanced memory in the groups treated with the VCO. Another study by Alves et al (2016) showed that intravenous doses of lauric acid, the most abundant medium chain fatty acid in VCO, reduced blood pressure and oxidative stress in hypertensive rats. In another study on lauric acid, Lekshmi et al (2016) found that animals fed lauric acid had lowered cholesterol levels. In a different type study by Famurewa et al (2017) VCO attenuated the toxic effects of the anticancer drug methotrexate on the liver by reducing oxidative stress in rats.

In the studies on humans, research focused on the antibacterial efficacy of VCO, particularly on the effect of Streptococcus mutans in the mouth (Peedkayil et al, 2016). An ayurvedic practice for oral hygiene is to swish VCO in the mouth for 20 minutes in the morning. Other studies examined effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Cardoso et al, 2015, found that a diet rich in VCO increased HDL cholesterol, the “good cholesterol ,” and decreased waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients. Another study by Vijayakumar et al, 2016 showed that the use of coconut oil as a cooking oil for two years did not alter the lipid profile of patients with stable coronary heart disease receiving standard medical care.

I did not find any studies on diabetes and VCO but there was one on Alzheimer’s disease that discovered that subjects who received 40mg/day of VCO had an improvement in their cognitive status as measured on their test scores, particularly in women and those without diabetes type II. (Hu et al 2015). There was an additional study looking at the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of an ayurvedic formula, kerabala, which is partially comprised of VCO. There was a beneficial effect on inflammation, tissue damage and the pain associated with arthritis.(Ratheesh et al, 2016).

There is certainly more positive data than not but VCO should still be used in moderation. Botanically the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. A drupe is a fruit that has an outer fleshy part surrounded by a pit of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. Allergic reactions to coconuts are very rare and it is thought that those with tree nut allergies are safe eating coconuts. Although it does not contain any cholesterol, it is a saturated fat, although approximately 75% is in medium chain fatty acids that produce ketones that can serve as an energy source for the brain. The best VCO is the pure natural oil, which is hardened at room temperature and has a higher heating point than olive oil, making it preferable for frying and baking.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, there are several ways that VCO can add to your enjoyment. The first is with a sweet treat that will be featured with its recipe. The other is with a hot VCO massage that can be shared with your sweetheart. It is also beneficial to give yourself a weekly VCO massage to keep your skin and hair supple and moist. Heat up about 8 to 10 tablespoons of VCO in a small saucepan( half that for one person) until it melts. The best way to use it is to pour it into a glass container that has a pump on top. For couples, spread out a large towel on a bed and begin at the head. If you are standing, spread out a towel on the floor because the oil will spatter and collect on everything around it. Slowly massage the oil through the hair and scalp and face. Proceed downwards all the way to the feet but avoid the bottom of the feet if you will shower afterwards. Vigorous rubbing is good for the extremities where often the skin tends to be dryer and rougher. Use long strokes on the limbs and a circular motion on the joints. One of my daughters, who attends the Ayurvedic Institute, likes to put a small heater in the bathroom and break out into a sweat during the self massage. When finished, you can then shower but only use soap on the areas that need it, avoiding most of the body. The oil running off the body makes for slippery footing so be very careful and either have something you can grab onto or a mat to prevent a fall. After drying off, your skin will be silky smooth. The VCO also helps to prevent razor burn if you are shaving and you can apply some extra to shaven areas after the shower as well. You will be glowing which makes for a nice Valentine’s present. Enjoy!

Tags:  Healthydiet Coconutoil 

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The 10 Best Selling Drugs Are Statistically Ineffectual

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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The assault on our brains

Posted By Walter J. Crinnion ND, Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

Do you ever look around, possibly at the political process in our country, and ask yourself “is everyone brain-dead”?  Contrary to what one would think when looking at the advances in technology our overall  IQ is dropping as the decades go by, not going up! Those alive during the Victorian era actually had higher overall IQ than we do. [i] While that may explain a lot, one still has to ask what the cause could be.

 

During the last few decades our environmental burden has continued to increase. During the same time new illnesses that are clearly associated with environmental overload, like chemical sensitivity, have appeared. Other illness that are strongly associated with environmental overload, such as ADHD, allergies, asthma, autoimmunity, autism, T2DM, obesity and Parkinsonism have begun to increase dramatically.

 

The main body systems affected by environmental burden include the immune, neurological, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Multiple toxicants that we are all commonly exposed to during daily living have been associated with damage to all of these systems.

 

Cognitive decline has been linked to both prenatal exposure and exposure in daily life. The major prenatal exposure that have been directly associated with neuroinflammation and loss of cognition are:

1.      Organophosphate pesticides

2.      Phthalates

3.      Methylmercury

 

In utero exposure to organophosphate pesticides, primarily through diet, has been associated with slower motor speed and worse motor coordination, visuospatial performance and visual memory when the children reached the age of 6-8. [This translated to a developmental delay equivalent to 1.5 - 2 years. [ii] Maternal use of personal care products, especially fragrances and nail polish have higher levels of plasticizers in their blood and urine. Those moms have kids with lower IQs by the age of 7! [iii] Moms eating high mercury fish when they are pregnant, and who then have high blood methyl mercury (levels fairly common for frequent fish eaters - nothing that far out of normal) are FOUR TIMES more likely to have a child with an IQ less than 80! Study The sad thing is that many women consume more fish during pregnancy to make a smarter child (because fish oil does that). [iv]

 

The major “post-natal” or daily life exposures that reduce our cognitive power along with increasing neuroinflammation are primarily:

1.      Vehicular exhaust (urban air pollution)

2.      Lead

 

A group of Spanish researchers led by Lillian Calderón-Garcidueñas have done a number of studies in the metropolitan area of Mexico City regarding cognition and air pollution. They have found that children exposed to higher levels of vehicular exhaust (especially PM2.5) have more problems with memory and attentiveness.[v] Children in Mexico City with no other risk factors for cognitive deficits except living in polluted areas exhibited clear cognitive deficiencies and neuroinflammation.[vi] [vii] The same relationship between vehicular exhaust and cognitive function has been found in men whose average age is 71.[viii] Those men with the highest level of traffic exposure had a mental decline that equaled 1.9 years of aging. Women between the ages of 70 – 81 with higher long-term exposure to PM2.5 and PM 2.5-10 exhibited a cognitive decline equivalent to 2 years of aging.[ix]

 

With indoor and outdoor exposures to vehicular exhaust being the greatest factor in neuroinflammation and cognitive decline, the second greatest factor is lead. Even though the blood lead level is lower in the United States than it has been in decades, lead remains in the environment and is still associated with cognitive decline in children and adults.

 

It has been shown repeatedly that children’s blood lead levels (BLL) below the current CDC level of <5 ug/dl are still capable of reducing children’s IQ levels.[x] [xi] [xii] Italian adolescents with BLL’s above 1.71 ug/dl lose 1 IQ point for each 0.19 ug/dl increase in BLL , with each doubling of the BLL equated to a 2.4 pt. reduction in IQ.[xiii] Not surprisingly lead-associated decline of cognitive function in children has been shown to persist into adulthood[xiv], giving the current state of municipal water lead contamination the potential for grave consequences amongst future adults in those areas.

 

Cumulative lead burden in adults, assessed via bone lead fluoroscopic assessment, has been associated with decreased cognition[xv] while BLLs have been shown no association.[xvi] Increasing levels of tibial lead were inversely related to impaired language, processing speed, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning, verbal memory, verbal learning and visual memory.[xvii] As the tibial lead concentration rose, hand-eye coordination diminished. Women in the Nurses’ Health Study also showed increased cognitive decline with increasing tibial lead levels.[xviii] Every 1-standard deviation jump in tibial lead was associated with a functional decline equivalent to 0.33 years of aging. Computerized neurobehavioral testing, easily done in a clinical setting, show clear cognitive declines associated with bone lead burden[xix], but shows no correlation with BLLs.[xx] Since bone lead measurement is unavailable to clinicians a lead mobilization test should be done in order to gain information on total body lead burden.

 



[i] Woodley MA, te Nijenhuis J, Murphy R, Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time. Intelligence 2013;41(4):843-850.

[ii] Harari R, Julvez J, Murata K, Barr D, Bellinger DC, Debes F, Grandjean P. Neurobehavioral deficits and increased blood pressure in school-age children prenatally exposed to pesticides. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jun;118(6):890-6. PubMed PMID: 20185383.

[iii]  Factor-Litvak P, Insel B, Calafat AM, Liu X, Perera F, Rauh VA, Whyatt RM. Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years. PLoS One. 2014 Dec 10;9(12):e114003. PubMed PMID: 25493564.

[iv] Jacobson JL, Muckle G, Ayotte P, Dewailly É, Jacobson SW. Relation of Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure from Environmental Sources to Childhood IQ. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Aug;123(8):827-33. PubMed PMID:25757069.

[v] Basagaña X, Esnaola M, Rivas I, Amato F, Alvarez-Pedrerol M, Forns J, López-Vicente M, Pujol J, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Querol X, Sunyer J. Neurodevelopmental Deceleration by Urban Fine Particles from Different Emission Sources: A Longitudinal Observational Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Oct;124(10):1630-1636. PubMed PMID: 27128166.

[vi] Calderón-Garcidueñas L, Mora-Tiscareño A, Ontiveros E, Gómez-Garza G,

Barragán-Mejía G, Broadway J, Chapman S, Valencia-Salazar G, Jewells V, Maronpot RR, Henríquez-Roldán C, Pérez-Guillé B, Torres-Jardón R, Herrit L, Brooks D, Osnaya-Brizuela N, Monroy ME, González-Maciel A, Reynoso-Robles R, Villarreal-Calderon R, Solt AC, Engle RW. Air pollution, cognitive deficits and brain abnormalities: a pilot study with children and dogs. Brain Cogn. 2008 Nov;68(2):117-27. PubMed PMID: 18550243.

[vii] Calderón-Garcidueñas L, Villarreal-Calderon R, Valencia-Salazar G, Henríquez-Roldán C, Gutiérrez-Castrellón P, Torres-Jardón R, Osnaya-Brizuela N, Romero L, Torres-Jardón R, Solt A, Reed W. Systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and activation in clinically healthy children exposed to air pollutants. Inhal Toxicol. 2008 Mar;20(5):499-506. PubMed PMID: 18368620.

[viii] Power MC, Weisskopf MG, Alexeeff SE, Coull BA, Spiro A 3rd, Schwartz J. Traffic-related air pollution and cognitive function in a cohort of older men. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 May;119(5):682-7. PubMed PMID: 21172758.

[ix] Weuve J, Puett RC, Schwartz J, Yanosky JD, Laden F, Grodstein F. Exposure to particulate air pollution and cognitive decline in older women. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 13;172(3):219-27. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.683. PubMed PMID: 22332151.

[x] Canfield RL, Henderson CR Jr, Cory-Slechta DA, Cox C, Jusko TA, Lanphear BP. Intellectual impairment in children with blood lead concentrations below 10 microg per deciliter. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(16):1517-26. PubMed PMID:12700371.

[xi] Jusko TA, Henderson CR, Lanphear BP, Cory-Slechta DA, Parsons PJ, Canfield RL. Blood lead concentrations < 10 microg/dL and child intelligence at 6 years of age. Environ Health Perspect. 2008;116(2):243-8. PubMed PMID: 18288325.

[xii] Lanphear BP, Hornung R, Khoury J, Yolton K, Baghurst P, Bellinger DC, Canfield RL, Dietrich KN, Bornschein R, Greene T, Rothenberg SJ, Needleman HL, Schnaas L, Wasserman G, Graziano J, Roberts R. Low-level environmental lead exposure and children's intellectual function: an international pooled analysis. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Jul;113(7):894-9. PubMed PMID: 16002379.

[xiii] Lucchini RG, Zoni S, Guazzetti S, Bontempi E, Micheletti S, Broberg K, Parrinello G, Smith DR. Inverse association of intellectual function with very low blood lead but not with manganese exposure in Italian adolescents. Environ Res. 2012 Oct;118:65-71. PubMed PMID: 22925625.

[xiv] Mazumdar M, Bellinger DC, Gregas M, Abanilla K, Bacic J, Needleman HL. Low-level environmental lead exposure in childhood and adult intellectual function: a follow-up study. Environ Health. 2011 Mar 30;10:24. PubMed PMID: 21450073.

[xv] Shih RA, Glass TA, Bandeen-Roche K, Carlson MC, Bolla KI, Todd AC, Schwartz BS. Environmental lead exposure and cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults. Neurology. 2006;67(9):1556-62. PubMed PMID: 16971698.

[xvi] van Wijngaarden E, Winters PC, Cory-Slechta DA. Blood lead levels in relation to cognitive function in older U.S. adults. Neurotoxicology. 2011;32(1):110-5. PubMed PMID: 21093481.

[xvii] Bandeen-Roche K, Glass TA, Bolla KI, Todd AC, Schwartz BS. Cumulative lead dose and cognitive function in older adults. Epidemiology. 2009;20(6):831-9. PubMed PMID: 19752734.

[xviii] Power MC, Korrick S, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ, Nie LH, Grodstein F, Hu H, Weuve J, Schwartz J, Weisskopf MG. Lead exposure and rate of change in cognitive function in older women. Environ Res. 2014;129:69-75.PubMed PMID: 24529005.

[xix] Dorsey CD, Lee BK, Bolla KI, Weaver VM, Lee SS, Lee GS, Todd AC, Shi W,Schwartz BS. Comparison of patella lead with blood lead and tibia lead and their associations with neurobehavioral test scores. J Occup Environ Med. 2006;48(5):489-96. PubMed PMID: 16688005.

[xx] Krieg EF Jr, Chrislip DW, Crespo CJ, Brightwell WS, Ehrenberg RL, Otto DA. The relationship between blood lead levels and neurobehavioral test performance in NHANES III and related occupational studies. Public Health Rep. 2005;120(3):240-51. PubMed PMID: 16134563.

Tags:  acammember  Brain  integrativemedicine  waltercrinnion 

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ANH Action AlerT: In Pain? The Feds Don't Care!

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Another key natural medicine to bite the dust? Action Alert!

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is moving against cannabidiol (CBD), a supplement used to control pain and inflammation. The circumstances are extremely suspicious.

Late last year, the DEA published a final rule that classifies marijuana and hemp extracts, including CBD, as Schedule 1 controlled substances—a category that includes heroin, LSD, mescaline, and MDMA. Note that none of the CBD extracts contains significant amounts of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana—only the non-psychoactive painkilling chemicals.

There are thousands of published scientific studies on CBD and its beneficial health effects on pain, inflammation, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. CBD is available as a dietary supplement.


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ANH Action Alert: Is Your Town Leaking Lead?

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Governments and much of the press seem to be covering up that Flint is just the tip of the iceberg. State-based Action Alert!

We reported last month that in Flint, Michigan, tap water in residents’ homes contained astonishing levels of lead, as high as 104 parts per billion (ppb), when the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for lead in drinking water is 15 ppb. We also noted that research has linked lead exposure to violent and criminal behavior.

new report from Reuters shows that lead exposure is not an isolated problem in a few communities. In the investigation, Reuters found about 3,000 areas with lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint at the peak of that city’s crisis.


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ANH Action Alert: Mumps Outbreak - The Real Cause

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Surprise! It wasn’t unvaccinated kids. Action Alert!

recent article in Scientific American upends the conventional wisdom about what caused the recent spike in mumps in the US. In 2016 there were about 4,000 cases across the US; in 2010, there were about 2,000.

If you followed the mainstream press and a number of opportunistic politicians, the answer was clear: unvaccinated kids were the cause. Parents who didn’t vaccinate their kids according to the government’s schedule were vilified and derided in the opinion columns of newspapers and magazines, and state politicians like Sen. Richard Pan of California used the hysteria to enact legislation (SB 277) that eliminated parents’ right to decide whether and how to vaccinate their children.



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ANH Action Alert: Here We Go Again - FDA Defies Congress

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

And hobbles your doctor. Action Alert!

In the waning days of 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ignored the expressed will of Congress. The agency completed a “guidance” document that prohibits traditional compounding pharmacies from stocking doctors’ offices with custom drugs.

In December 2015, Congress included a provision in an end-of-the-year spending bill ordering the FDA to issue a guidance document clarifying how physicians and compounding pharmacists could continue the “office use” of drugs. These are custom drugs that a doctor keeps on hand for immediate treatment use. Congress could not have been clearer: the agency was not to forbid office use. The FDA has now answered—by ignoring it.

 

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ANH VIDEO: The Journey of Glyphosate

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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Homemade Granola Recipe

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

As we know well, good nutrition is incredibly important to a growing child, but it also has to be tasty and appealing. In keeping with that goal, homemade granola is a wonderful food for children. Not only can they have it with milk for breakfast, but it makes for a nutritious portable snack anytime and anyplace. It is a perfect finger food for those independent two year olds, who would rather “do it themselves!” I do hope the little ones in your lives will enjoy this healthy recipe! Enjoy.

 

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup of any other nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

3 to 4 shakes of cardamom

Light sprinkle of nutmeg

Light sprinkle of ground ginger

2 cups of rolled oats

¼ cup of Earth Balance organic vegan buttery spread

½ cup of real maple syrup



DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place the seeds, nuts and spices in a dry frying pan to roast. Stir the mixture and shake the pan frequently until the mixture releases a fragrant aroma, about 7 minutes or until the mixture has turned a golden brown.

Liquify the Earth balance separately and pour over the mixture and work it in well with a spatula. Add the maple syrup and work that in until the mixture is starting to stick together.

Spread the mixture out on a non stick baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn on the bottom. After cooling, break the granola into bite sized chunks and store in a mason jar.  Enjoy!

WARNING: This granola should only be given to children with molars who can chew well. If not, it could be a choking hazard. 

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Hugs and Kisses

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Recently, I had a visit with my step daughter and her beautiful family. Her two boys, ages 5 and 3, are exceedingly comfortable in their own little skins. When I kissed the 3 year old goodbye on his cheek, he responded  by pointing to his lips and saying, “kiss on lips, not cheeks!” Not only did I get a laugh out of it but it struck a deep chord within me and I realized I had a goal to achieve in 2017.

It’s a bit odd to want to teach someone in your life to hug and kiss. I’m talking about a two and a half year old boy and he happens to be my grandson. We’ll call him Blaine. You pretty much can’t get near Blaine without him struggling to bolt away. He does like to interact with others and there are no signs of autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, the signs more closely point to RAD ( reactive attachment disorder) and there’s a very good reason for that. You see, like so many children of substance dependent parents, he has lost his mommy. He’s starting to make memories and one overriding reality right now is that his mommy is gone. He didn’t get to see his mommy at Christmas time but kept asking his grandpa over and over again, “where is mommy?”  There are few things in life more heartbreaking than a child who has lost a parent, in one way or another, and I have been deeply affected by it.

He started off his life as a preemie, weighing in at 3 pounds, 3 ounces. Because of his frailty, his mother never had that skin to skin contact right after birth or the opportunity to start him nursing. He was in NICU for several weeks, more due to his age and weight than any serious medical problem.  During that time his mother and father visited him and held him but it was hard with all the monitor wires. When he came home, he was on oxygen for several more weeks. I remember months later hearing his mother say that she had never really bonded to him. That failure to feel a strong attachment to one’s child is a very foreign, difficult experience for me to relate to, although I know it happens.

Time went on and mommy was now a full time employee while his father pursued his art at home in his art studio, a separate building.  There was a monitor installed in the nursery but I never liked the fact that here was a baby essentially left alone in a house. It got worse. Somehow his mother found out that sometimes daddy was too busy to stop and feed the baby solid food. Instead, he’d run inside to prop up a bottle. I don’t think I ever saw either one of them cuddling him in their laps for a bottle. Breast feeding had gone by the wayside shortly after his birth. As you can imagine, his weight gain was very slow. His mother liked her job, more than her parenting duties, so she never set things straight at home and covertly complied with this horrific neglect. Despite this nutritional compromise, his development seemed to be coming along on schedule. His motor skills were good, he seemed interested in people and everything going on around him and his grammy was able to engage him and coax him into a smile and then a laugh.

When he began to walk, I really started to worry about his safety. Now he was mainly secluded in his play yard while mommy worked and daddy dabbled in his art projects. Sometimes daddy would bring the play yard into the studio with its toxic vapors. Other times the play yard would be dragged outside and he’d be left with the dogs for company. And as the substance abuse progressed, the household became more and more chaotic. There were arguments late at night and the police were called for domestic “disputes.” Dishes were piled high in the sink and you literally had to step over mounds of clothing, toys and other household items to walk across the floor. The police made a referral to CYFD and I was greatly relieved.  His mommy was mandated into outpatient substance abuse treatment but over the ensuing weeks, it was clear she was not serious in her attempts to become sober. Daddy was also doing his fair share of using illicit substances but seemed to be able to wiggle his way around the system.

Finally, mommy left the household, alone, leaving her baby boy behind. A male roommate moved in with daddy. Mommy’s interactions were spotty and irregular. There was no legal jurisdiction as both parents wanted to avoid it. There was a second call to CYFD by a friend because mommy was supposed to have supervised visitation and daddy was leaving him alone with mommy. Another point of neglect was his hair. Daddy had a long pony tail in keeping with the artist mentality and insisted that my grandson also have long hair. As you can well imagine, this became a nightmare, with his little hands constantly trying to brush stray hairs away from his eyes in order to see. Sticky, dirty fingers were getting sections of hair matted. It was more than I could deal with because I thought it was such a selfish act by his father and passive mother. At the risk of infuriating the parents, I plotted to get him a haircut. After all, I was the first person to take him to get his first haircut so why shouldn’t I be the second. I have included that adorable photo right after his first haircut! My goal was to make him more comfortable. The parents were going out of town and the plan was for his other grandmother to care for him for several days, then hand him off to me for several days. I had it all carefully planned but grandpa accidentally spilled the beans and all bets were off. The parents had a total meltdown from afar and refused to allow me to take him. That was almost a year ago and I have not had the opportunity to care for Blaine since. My poor grandbaby is now sporting a man bun, but it’s always a mess and the strays still prevent him from being comfortable.

So my New Year’s resolution is to teach my grandson how to hug, kiss and love himself and others. Unfortunately, I will need the power of the court to do so and his grandpa and I are planning to file a motion to begin grandparent visitation privileges. As I know so well, grandparents have privileges, not rights. No time in my life have I felt so powerless to help someone I love than I have in his short life time, but I am determined to change that and show that precious little boy that even though mommy is gone and daddy is limited, there are those who will put him first. 

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ANH Action Alert: Double Your Impact and Save Our Supplements

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Friday, December 16, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Here we go again. Any moment now, the FDA is likely to complete outrageous, unnecessary, and dangerous anti-supplement policies that will impose burdensome requirements designed to do one thing: make it harder for Americans to access lifesaving healthcare products. Based on our own commissioned study, these policies would likely eliminate tens of thousands of supplements from the market [1].

Don’t let the FDA pull supplements from the shelves.

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An anonymous donor has recognized the importance of this threat to natural health and has generously offered to match every dollar we can raise before the end of the year. We have fought the FDA for over 20 years, but the threats continue to escalate —now is the time to give to ANH and double your impact as a member.

Please make your 100% tax-deductible gift before December 31!

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Our members mean the world to us. Without your support over the years, very little would have stood between the FDA’s blatant power grab for control of your supplements. Thank you, profoundly, for standing up to defend our right to natural health!

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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 28, 2016

By Kalyn’s Kitchen

In addition to creating my own culinary delights, I like to peruse recipes. I found this one from Kalyn’s Kitchen that I thought to be the perfect antidote to the heaviness of holiday mealtime. This lovely and colorful recipe can be a standalone entrée or a side dish. Just follow the link and you will find the step by step recipe along with appetizing pictures. Bon Appetit!

Warm wishes for a joyous holiday season! See you in 2017.

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2013/10/vegetarian-stuffed-peppers-brown-rice-mushrooms-feta.html

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink 

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Alone for the Holidays

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 28, 2016

I never thought, or at least hoped, that I would ever spend a holiday alone. After all, I had a big family and having 16 at Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner was not that unusual. I loved all of it: the chaos and the noise; the food and table preparations; the distractions and the realization that I needed to stop socializing and start focusing on dinner; the varying ages around the table; the dogs and cats meandering around; the laughter and the familiar silliness I had with my daughters.  I clearly remember one moment in time when all of this was going on and I stood still in the kitchen and thought to myself, “it won’t always be this way; I need to enjoy every minute of this.”

Years went by and life shifted both imperceptibly and radically, but shift it did. I was no longer married and had been traded in for a younger woman. I survived that shock and went on to forge a life for myself alone. Children moved away to distant parts of the globe. I moved several times for my career. I could feel the layers of my happiness peeling off, one by one. And then it happened. My one daughter that lived nearby was invited to her in laws in Philadelphia for the Christmas holidays. My granddaughter was only 4 months old and this would be the first of many flights for her in the coming years.

The first blush of realization was quickly swept from my conscious mind. “Of course you should go,” I declared, “I’ll be fine.” The reality started to sink in and I began to wonder, “what will I do alone?” I was feeling afraid, knowing that I would be entering uncharted waters. After a lot of thought, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t change a thing. I still put up the Christmas tree and planned on cooking my usual feast, albeit, quite reduced in size. My daughter and her family left a few days before Christmas so I had a few days to soak in my aloneness. I took the dogs out on the trail, practiced my violin, visited some friends and for the first time in a long time, took a nap. I built fires, watched movies, read books and magazines that I hadn’t had a chance to read and took a few bubble baths in candle light. While a part of me missed the commotion, a new part of me welcomed this opportunity to indulge in some soothing activities. I had the thought, “I’m going to get through this OK!”

On Christmas day, I talked to all four of my daughters and then sat down alone, with candles lit, and ate my delightful, but small dinner. As the lights from the tree mesmerized me, memories flashed by in my mind and eventually, I came back to that moment long ago, when I realized that moments of happiness can be fleeting. I could see myself standing in the kitchen amidst the revelry, understanding that full appreciation was in order. But instead of crying, I smiled and before I knew it, my beautiful baby granddaughter was back in my arms

Would I do anything differently today if I had that challenge again? There’d probably be a few motorcycle rides to places I have wanted to visit, like the wolf sanctuary and the hot springs. Maybe I’d get a massage with warmed coconut oil, have breakfast with old friends at our usual hangout and start a new painting. What I’ve realized is that what I do doesn’t matter as long as I nourish my soul and avoid the temptation of giving in to self pity.  Being alone during the holidays has been stigmatized; it’s as if something surely must be wrong with you if you are alone. Don’t fall into that mind trap because it is myth, not reality. All of us at some point in our lives may find ourselves alone and we must adapt and even prosper from the experience in order to function at our mental and emotional best. We can also serve as an inspiration to others, as I hope I am doing in this holiday blog. 

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Angioprevention and Cancer: Natural Products for Optimal Cancer Control and Prevention

Posted By M. Nathaniel Mead, MSc - ACAM Guest Columnist, Monday, November 28, 2016

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a revolution in our thinking about cancer, how to overcome it, and, when the disease persists, how to control it over the long term.  This revolution stems from the recognition that cancer can’t develop and progress without an adequate blood supply to deliver nutrients and metabolites to the tumor. This means that an expanding vascular network is needed to keep pace with the growing mass of cells. 

The overall process, known as neovascularization, refers to various aspects of blood vessel growth.  The best studied of these aspects is the generation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, a multifaceted process known as angiogenesis.

As one of the so-called hallmarks of cancer, angiogenesis offers a promising angle on slowing tumor progression and preventing relapses after surgery and other treatments.  In some cases, blocking this process could also enhance the effectiveness of mainstream chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

To understand why angiogenesis has garnered so much research attention, it’s helpful to consider cancer at its incipient phases of growth.  Every cancer starts out as a microscopic nest of abnormal cells that’s devoid of any blood supply. This cluster grows to about one or two cubic millimeters in size, roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen.  At this point, oxygen and nutrient diffusion become limited, and the abnormal cells may either die or simply remain in a dormant state.  

In order for the tumor’s diameter to increase further, neovascularization is required.  This occurs with the help of growth factors (angiogenic signals) that may be produced in response to inflammation, such as from surgery or an infection.  Also, the more oxygen-deprived a cluster of cancer cells is at the center of the mass, the more growth factors are produced in that area to stimulate capillary growth.

The sudden surge in vascular growth that takes place in response to angiogenic signals is referred to as the angiogenic switch, the point at which new blood vessels begin to form in and around the microscopic cluster of cells.  The expanding network of capillaries enables the mass of mutated cells to grow into a detectable cancer.  And only after the vascular network forms can the tumor’s growth rate begin to increase exponentially. Like a racecar that has been idling and then accelerates onto a super highway, angiogenesis enables tumor growth to literally take off.

Angiogenesis has been implicated not only in tumor growth, but also the deadly process of metastasis.  Why would this be the case?   Keep in mind that blood vessels not only provide the tumor with nutrients, but also give the cancer access to the entire bloodstream.  This is an open invitation for the spreading of cancer, or metastasis, to take place.  For these reasons, anything that interferes with angiogenesis could be a tremendous boon to cancer therapy.

Ever since Judah Folkman’s pioneering research on tumor angiogenesis in the early 1970s, anti-angiogenic therapy has been regarded as a promising cancer treatment, perhaps best used in tandem with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  And yet, today’s clinically approved anti-angiogenic drugs are only effective for a minority of cancer patients and malignancies.

This fact has dampened much of the early optimism for using anti-angiogenesis as an effective cancer therapy.  More recently, however, hopes for targeting tumor angiogenesis have been renewed with the realization that plant-derived substances and other natural medicines could offer a more comprehensive approach to the problem.

Overcoming the Challenges of Targeting Tumor Angiogenesis
To understand how a natural medicine approach could prove effective, it’s helpful to look more closely at the reasons the drug-based approach has fallen short.  The most serious limitation concerns the fact that tumor cells can mutate sufficiently to circumvent the effects of anti-angiogenic drugs.  Thus, while many people show a good initial response, they later develop resistance to the drugs.

The resistance issue first reared its head with Avastin (generic name: bevacizumab), one of the most widely used of anti-angiogenesis drugs.  Avastin specifically targets VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), which is thought to be of paramount importance for the control of tumor angiogenesis.  Nevertheless, many tumors inevitably develop resistance to Avastin, resulting in a decline in the agent’s effectiveness over time.  Multiple molecular pathways are known to support angiogenesis, and targeting multiple pathways at once may be needed to overcome the problem of treatment resistance.

Another major drawback is that some of these drugs are quite toxic.  For example, common side effects of Avastin include generalized weakness, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, pain (mostly abdominal pain), upper respiratory infection, and low white blood cell count, which can increase the risk of infection.  Less commonly, patients taking Avastin may develop a perforation in the stomach or intestine. Cuts or surgical wounds can be slow to heal or may not fully heal, which is why surgery must be postponed for a few days whenever taking Avastin.

Given these drawbacks and limitations, integrative medicine practitioners have been exploring the use of natural, non-toxic agents that can be taken as supplements on a daily basis.  It is hoped that this approach will be able to overcome the limitations of mainstream therapy. As we saw with the Avastin example, however, finding the most critical molecular targets could prove quite challenging as each tumor and its microenvironment consists of many different cell types, some of which are the host’s own immune cells.   Moreover, tumors are genetically unstable populations of cells, and this instability results in a steady increase in the number of different angiogenic factors produced as the cancer evolves to an advanced stage.

For these reasons, the optimal anti-angiogenic supplement strategy should include a mixture of non-toxic natural compounds that, in turn, impact multiple mechanisms, including those involved in angiogenesis and much more.  Below are three key principles for using natural medicines or supplements supplements (herbal, nutritional, nutraceutical) to block or control angiogenesis:

  1. The supplements should be non-toxic or have a wide margin of safety, enabling daily use in order to have a more frequent or constant protective impact, thus targeting the more sustained angiogenesis that drives cancer’s growth and spread.
  2. To reduce the chances of resistance, the supplements should be capable of modulating as many angiogenic pathways as possible, including, for example, endothelial cell migration, hypoxia, lymphangiogenesis, and tumor-promoting fibroblasts and inflammation.
  3. The supplements should be able to impact multiple cancer-promoting pathways other than the angiogenic pathways, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), epidermal growth factor receptor, the nuclear factor kappa-B transcription factor, the protein kinases, and other pathways.

With these principles in mind, we can now identify biological response modifiers in the natural world that may play a valuable role in cancer control and prevention, as well as possibly serving as adjuncts to mainstream treatment.  It turns out that a large group of natural compounds, also referred to as either nutraceuticals or pharmaconutrients, exhibits antiangiogenic effects as well as other types of anticancer activities. The remainder of this article provides a concise overview of ten of the most promising of these natural products.

Natural Products for Blocking Angiogenesis
Most of the published clinical trials of anti-angiogenic cancer therapy have reported improved response rates and progression-free survival (lowering recurrence rates), but no increase in overall survival compared to standard chemotherapy alone. But what if the anti-angiogenic therapy was non-toxic and could be received on an ongoing basis?  And what if multiple anti-angiogenic agents could be used concurrently and implemented in much earlier stages of the cancer, rather than waiting until the disease had become more advanced and aggressive?

Specific nutritional and botanical supplements are thought to play a role in the prevention and control of cancer by modulating angiogenesis. These natural products include the following: curcumin, resveratrol, green tea catechins, silybin, reishi mushroom, omega-3 fatty acids, scutellaria, ashwagandha, diindolylmethane, and convolvulus.  A number of these substances are capable of inhibiting tumor angiogenesis by blocking VEGF and many other pathways at the same time.  What follows is a brief survey of some of these effects.

1) Curcumin.  The East Indian spice turmeric is a rich source of the polyphenol curcumin.  This supplement has dozens of well-documented anti-cancer effects, mainly attributed to its impact on the immune response, antioxidant response, programmed cell death (apoptosis), cell cycle regulation and tumor progression.  Curcumin inhibits angiogenesis in a huge variety of cancer cells, through the modulation of many cell-signalling pathways.  For example, curcumin was shown to suppress VEGF secretion from tumors while also significantly improving the survival of mice with VEGF-expressing tumors, as reported in the 14 August 2014 issue of Oncotarget.  Although this supplement has extremely poor bioavailability, this problem is readily solved by using either a phytosome or liposome form of curcumin.  Alternatively, combining curcumin with biopiperine (from black pepper) boosts the supplement’s bioavailability by some 2000 percent.

2) Resveratrol. Found in grapes, berries, chocolate, and some nuts, resveratrol is a polyphenol known mainly for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to promote cardiovascular health.  Resveratrol has been shown to decrease glucose consumption in cancer cell lines while also inhibiting VEGF expression, as reported in the October 2013 issue of Human & Experimental Toxicology.  Thus, part of the agent’s anti-cancer impact entails a coupling of anti-angiogenesis with a calorie-restricting pathway.  In principle, the latter effect could be further exploited by following a low-calorie diet.  The anti-angiogenic effects have been studied mostly in brain and mammary (breast) tumors.  Because of resveratrol’s low bioavailability, it is best to use the supplement in either phytosome or liposome form.

3) Green tea catechins.  Green tea consumption has been linked with lower rates of cancer and heart disease.  A specific group of green tea polyphenols called catechins are though to account for most of the tea’s anti-cancer impact.  The main compound of interest is EGCG, a major green tea catechin that blocks VEGF and other aspects of tumor angiogenesis.  Research suggests that green tea extract may help prevent tumor recurrences, possibly due to inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-related pathways.  A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (TX) indicates that EGCG inhibits pancreatic tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis, as reported in the January 2008 issue of Frontiers in Bioscience.

4) Silybin.  Silybin, also known as Silibinin, is the primary active component of silymarin, a standardized extract of milk thistle seeds.  In animal studies, silybin’s tumor-killing effects have been shown to be mediated through inhibition of both tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis, as reported in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition and Cancer.  Classified as a flavonolignan, silybin is also known to target various elements of the tumor microenvironment, thus rendering it more effective for preventing, retarding, or reversing the cancer process.  When taken as a phytosome, Silybin shows a nearly five-fold increase in absorption compared to standard milk thistle extracts.

5) ScutellariaScutellaria baicalensis, commonly known as Chinese skullcap (and sometimes called wogonin), is a frequent component of Traditional Chinese Medicine protocols for cancer therapy.  This herb has been shown to inhibit both angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, the formation of lymphatic vessels from pre-existing lymphatic vessels, an angiogenic process that also fuels tumor growth.  The anti-tumor and anti-metastatic actions of scutellaria may be linked with inhibition of VEGF-induced lymphangiogenesis, as reported in the April 2012 issue of PloS One.  Some research suggests that scutellaria may have efficacy against advanced-stage prostate cancer.  Scutellaria contains the anti-inflammatory compounds baicalin and baicalein, which together may account for most of its anti-cancer impact.

6) Reishi.  Reishi mushroom (scientific name: Ganoderma lucidum) has long been regarded as among the most valuable medicines in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Inhibition of angiogenesis is among the anti-tumor mechanisms of reishi, and laboratory studies have demonstrated effects against tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis.  When used in tandem with conventional treatments, improvements in immunity and quality of life have been noted in advanced-stage cancer patients.   The beta-glucan compounds in reishi mushroom are known to activate dendritic cells (DCs), which in turn induce the activation of T cells against cancer.  Most of the anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor effects are attributed to the triterpenoid compounds in reishi, as reported in the August 2013 issue of Expert Opinion in Investigational Drugs.

7) Omega-3s.  Omega-3 fatty acids are highly unsaturated fatty acids found in coldwater fish, algae, flaxseed and various nuts.  The U.S. food supply is largely deficient in these essential fatty acids, and yet there is ample evidence that these nutrients are critical to the control of inflammation and a host of cancer-related processes.  Much research has shown that omega-3s can inhibit the production of VEGF, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and other key angiogenic mediators, as reported in the August 2009 European Journal of Cancer.  The highest quality omega-3 products are processed under oxygen-free conditions and use molecular distillation to remove all impurities.

8) Diindolylmethane.  Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a metabolite of indole–3–carbinol (I3C), and both compounds exist naturally in cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli.  Upon contact with gastric acid in the stomach, I3C is converted to a number of active compounds, mainly DIM.  DIM has been shown to stimulate a number of anti-cancer processes and to increase the urinary excretion of toxic estrogen metabolites.  In laboratory studies, DIM was shown to block tumor angiogenesis in animal models for both breast and prostate cancers.  At least part of DIM’s anti-angiogenic effect may entail inhibition of the VEGF receptor, as reported in the 5 May 2015 issue of Chemico-Biological Interactions.

9) Ashwagandha.  Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a well-known adaptogenic herb that helps counteract the effects of stress and supports cardiovascular, immune, cognitive and joint comfort and functioning.  Research has shown that ashwagandha inhibits inflammatory processes that support the growth and spread of malignant tumors.  A large number of withanolides have been isolated from the roots and leaves of this herb. Amongst these compounds, Withaferin A, a potent VEGF inhibitor and one of the most bioactive constituents of Ashwagandha, has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth, metastasis and angiogenesis.  In one animal study, withaferin A exerted strong anti-angiogenic activity at doses that were 500-fold lower than those previously reported to block tumor growth, as reported in the February 2004 issue of Angiogenesis.   Ashwagandha is widely used as a dietary supplement for reducing stress and bolstering resilience.

10) ConvolvulusConvolvulus arvensis (CA) is a species of bindweed in the morning glory family and is native to Europe and Asia.  Chemical analyses of the extracts from this plant have shown a mixture of polysaccharides and proteins, including proteoglycans that have been shown to inhibit tumor growth and angiogenesis.  In a mouse study of fibrosarcoma, high doses of CA inhibited tumor growth by 70%, and the tumor growth inhibition occurred at non-toxic doses.  In other studies, significant anti-angiogenic activities were observed with CA, as reported in the December 2014 Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine.

CA is the sole active ingredient in a supplement known as C-Statin.  In a small pilot clinical study, C-Statin was combined with another product called Imm-Kine, which contains a beta-1,3-glucan derived from baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and a bacterial cell wall extract from Lactobacillus fermentum.  The combined effect of C-Statin and Imm-Kine on blood plasma VEGF concentrations was examined in 10 people with advanced-stage metastatic cancer.  The study found a statistically significant reduction in VEGF concentrations over time among these patients.  

Although this study was too small to provide meaningful data for an impact on survival, it is among the very few clinical studies to have examined the effects of natural products on tumor angiogenesis.  Moreover, several well-documented case reports have indicated that the C-Statin/Imm-Kine combo may have had a favorable impact on survival in Stage IV cancers of the breast, ovaries, colon, and pancreas.  Of course, well-designed clinical trials will be needed to put such observations to the test.

Supplementing the Anti-Cancer Lifestyle
The anti-angiogenic supplements described in this article have been shown to help prevent tumor growth and spread.  Evidence  for their anti-angiogenic activities stems mainly from animal and cell culture studies.  Nevertheless, these natural products are already in widespread use among humans because they display a wide margin of safety, are readily available as dietary supplements, and tend to be inexpensive when compared to pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Keith Block, medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois, has proposed a multi-agent strategy for cancer management and long-term disease control, using an approach he refers to as multifocal angiostatic therapy (MAT). According to Block and his colleague Mark McCarty, the MAT strategy “seeks to impede cancer-induced angiogenesis by addressing multiple targets that regulate the angiogenic capacity of a cancer and/or the angiogenic responsiveness of endothelial cells, using measures that are preferentially, but not exclusively, nutraceutical.”

The MAT supplement regimen includes a number of supplements (including several addressed in this article), along with a low-fat, high-fiber vegan diet, exercise training, and, where feasible, the drug tetrathiomolybdate and a salicylate. Since angiogenesis is a process relatively restricted to the growing tumor, Dr. Block’s team believes the MAT regimen could provide an attractive, non-toxic approach to the prevention and control of malignant disease.

In conclusion, natural products for blocking tumor angiogenesis have the advantage of a wide margin of safety and relatively low cost, enabling daily supplementation and thus the potential for a more sustained impact on cancer prevention and management.  Supplement strategies for curbing angiogenesis may ultimately prove to be more effective than pharmaceutical strategies, though controlled studies comparing these two vastly different paradigms for cancer control are unlikely in the near future.

M. Nathaniel Mead, MSc, is a nutritional oncology research consultant for several integrative medicine clinics in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.  He can be reached at:  nutriconsult@earthlink.net


References
Wang Z, Dabrosin C, Yin X, Fuster MM, Arreola A, Rathmell WK, Generali D, Nagaraju GP, et al.  Broad targeting of angiogenesis for cancer prevention and therapy.  Semin Cancer Biol. 2015;35 Suppl:S224-43.
Sagar SM, Yance D, Wong RK.  Natural health products that inhibit angiogenesis: a potential source for investigational new agents to treat cancer-Part 2.  Curr Oncol. 2006;13(3):99-107
Granci V, Dupertuis YM, Pichard C. Angiogenesis as a potential target of pharmaconutrients in cancer therapy. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010;13(4):417-22

Curcumin
Kumar G, Mittal S, Sak K, Tuli HS. Molecular mechanisms underlying chemopreventive potential of curcumin: Current challenges and future perspectives. Life Sci. 2016;148:313-28.
Fu Z, Chen X, Guan S,Yan Y5, Lin H, Hua ZC.  Curcumin inhibits angiogenesis and improves defective hematopoiesis induced by tumor-derived VEGF in tumor model through modulating VEGF-VEGFR2 signaling pathway. Oncotarget. 2015;6(23):19469-82.
Bimonte S, Barbieri A, Palma G, Luciano A, Rea D, Arra C.  Curcumin inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis in an orthotopic mouse model of human pancreatic cancer. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:810423.

Resveratrol
Fouad MA, Agha AM, Merzabani MM, Shouman SA.  Resveratrol inhibits proliferation, angiogenesis and induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells: calorie restriction is the force to the cytotoxicity.  Hum Exp Toxicol. 2013;32(10):1067-80.
Chen JC, Chen Y, Lin JH, Wu JM, Tseng SH.  Resveratrol suppresses angiogenesis in gliomas: evaluation by color Doppler ultrasound. Anticancer Res. 2006 Mar-Apr;26(2A):1237-45.
Garvin S, Ollinger K, Dabrosin C.  Resveratrol induces apoptosis and inhibits angiogenesis in human breast cancer xenografts in vivo. Cancer Lett. 2006 Jan 8;231(1):113-22.

Green Tea Catechins
Shankar S, Ganapathy S, Hingorani SR, Srivastava RK.   EGCG inhibits growth, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis of pancreatic cancer. Front Biosci. 2008;13:440-52.
Gu JW, Makey KL, Tucker KB, Chinchar E, Mao X, Pei I, Thomas EY, Miele L.  EGCG, a major green tea catechin suppresses breast tumor angiogenesis and growth via inhibiting the activation of HIF-1α and NFκB, and VEGF expression.  Vasc Cell. 2013;5(1):9. doi: 10.1186/2045-824X-5-9.

Silybin
Deep G, Agarwal R. Targeting tumor microenvironment with silibinin: promise and potential for a translational cancer chemopreventive strategy.  Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2013;13(5):486-99
Mateen S, Raina K, Agarwal R. Chemopreventive and anti-cancer efficacy of silibinin against growth and progression of lung cancer.  Nutr Cancer. 2013;65 Suppl 1:3-11.
Deep G, Gangar SC, Rajamanickam S, Raina K, Gu M, Agarwal C, Oberlies NH, Agarwal R.  Angiopreventive efficacy of pure flavonolignans from milk thistle extract against prostate cancer: targeting VEGF-VEGFR signaling. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34630.

Scutellaria
Kimura Y, Sumiyoshi M.  Anti-tumor and anti-metastatic actions of wogonin isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis roots through anti-lymphangiogenesis.  Phytomedicine. 2013;20(3-4):328-36.
Song X, Yao J, Wang F, Zhou M, Zhou Y, Wang H, Wei L, Zhao L, Li Z, Lu N, Guo Q.  Wogonin inhibits tumor angiogenesis via degradation of HIF-1α protein. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013;271(2):144-55.
Liu JJ, Huang TS, Cheng WF, Lu FJ.  Baicalein and baicalin are potent inhibitors of angiogenesis: Inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation, migration and differentiation.  Int J Cancer. 2003;106(4):559-65.

Reishi
Cao QZ, Lin ZB.  Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide inhibits the growth of vascular endothelial cell and the induction of VEGF in human lung cancer cell.  Life Sci. 2006;78(13):1457-63.
Stanley G, Harvey K, Slivova V, Jiang J, Sliva D.  Ganoderma lucidum suppresses angiogenesis through the inhibition of secretion of VEGF and TGF-beta1 from prostate cancer cells.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005;330(1):46-52.
Wu GS, Guo JJ, Bao JL, Li XW, Chen XP, Lu JJ, Wang YT.  Anti-cancer properties of triterpenoids isolated from Ganoderma lucidum - a review. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2013;22(8):981-92

Omega-3s
Wang W, Zhu J, Lyu F, Panigrahy D, Ferrara KW, Hammock B, Zhang G.  ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids-derived lipid metabolites on angiogenesis, inflammation and cancer. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2014 Oct;113-115:13-20
Zhang G, Panigrahy D, Mahakian LM, Yang J, Liu JY, Stephen Lee KS, Wettersten HI, Ulu A, Hu X, Tam S, Hwang SH, Ingham ES, Kieran MW, Weiss RH, Ferrara KW, Hammock BD.  Epoxy metabolites of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) inhibit angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 16;110(16):6530-5.
Spencer L, Mann C, Metcalfe M, Webb M, Pollard C, Spencer D, Berry D, Steward W, Dennison A. The effect of omega-3 FAs on tumour angiogenesis and their therapeutic potential. Eur J Cancer. 2009;45(12):2077-86

Diindolylmethane
Nayak D, Amin H, Rah B, Ur Rasool R, Sharma D, Gupta AP, Kushwaha M, Mukherjee D, Goswami A.  A therapeutically relevant, 3,3'-diindolylmethane derivative NGD16 attenuates angiogenesis by targeting glucose regulated protein, 78kDa (GRP78).  Chem Biol Interact. 2015;232:58-67.
Kong D, Banerjee S, Huang W, Li Y, Wang Z, Kim HR, Sarkar FH.  Mammalian target of rapamycin repression by 3,3'-diindolylmethane inhibits invasion and angiogenesis in platelet-derived growth factor-D-overexpressing PC3 cells. Cancer Res. 2008;68(6):1927-34.
Kong D, Li Y, Wang Z, Banerjee S, Sarkar FH.  Inhibition of angiogenesis and invasion by 3,3'-diindolylmethane is mediated by the nuclear factor-kappaB downstream target genes MMP-9 and uPA that regulated bioavailability of vascular endothelial growth factor in prostate cancer.  Cancer Res. 2007;67(7):3310-9.

Ashwagandha
Saha S, Islam MK, Shilpi JA, Hasan S.  Inhibition of VEGF: a novel mechanism to control angiogenesis by Withania somnifera's key metabolite Withaferin A.  In Silico Pharmacol. 2013;1:11.
Vanden Berghe W, Sabbe L, Kaileh M, Haegeman G, Heyninck K.  Molecular insight in the multifunctional activities of Withaferin A.  Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;84(10):1282-91.
Mohan R, Hammers HJ, Bargagna-Mohan P, Zhan XH, Herbstritt CJ, Ruiz A, Zhang L, Hanson AD, Conner BP, Rougas J, Pribluda VS. Withaferin A is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis.  Angiogenesis. 2004;7(2):115-22.

Convolvulus plus Beta-Glucan
Mahmoudi M, Zamani Taghizadeh Rabe S, Zamani Taghizadeh Rabe S, Emami SA.  A study to investigate the biological activity of proteoglycan mixture extract from Convolvulus arvensis.  J Complement Integr Med. 2014;11(4):265-72.
Meng XL, Riordan NH, Casciari JJ, Zhu Y, Zhong J, González MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Riordan HD. Effects of a high molecular mass Convolvulus arvensis extract on tumor growth and angiogenesis. P R Health Sci J. 2002;21(4):323-8
Torello CO, Souza-Queiroz J, Queiroz ML.  β-1,3-Glucan given orally modulates immunomyelopoietic activity and enhances the resistance of tumour-bearing mice.  Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;39(3):209-17.

Integrative Medicine Strategy
McCarty MF, Block KI.  Multifocal angiostatic therapy: an update. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005;4(4):301-14

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Out with the Old

Posted By Reprinted with permission by Natural Practitioner Magazine, September-October 2016 Issue, Friday, November 25, 2016
by Lisa Schofield

Imagine living every moment in your life - the special and the mundane - carrying around a full, festering trash bag. Gross, right? Except this is exactly what millions of Americans are indeed doing: carrying around chemical debris that piles up and festers inside. This internal offal isn't deadly, but it is a catalyst to a host of symptoms and an exacerbate of numerous health conditions. 

Just about everyone may benefit by incorporating natural detox and cleansing products and routines into their lifestyles. However, if you were to poll the average health-conscious consumer, he or she may shy away from the concept, erroneously believing that performing such a ritual requires being chained to the "throne" or enduring intense effects, such as the appearance of a crop of zits. 

Not exactly so, according to Jared Paulson, MTCM, sales and education manager for Washington-based Ayush Herbs. Although many of the detox kits widely available do have high levels of laxatives that can cause cramping and diarrhea, "the biggest misconception regarding detox and cleansing is that is needs to be uncomfortable," he said. "While you want to avoid constipation, this is not a necessary part of the detoxification process."

Another common misconception Paulson noted is that the most effective cleansing involves fasting, a move that is actually counterproductive. During the cleansing and detoxification process, the body requires the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber provided by a healthy, organic diet that emphasizes consumption of fruits and vegetables. 

Today, the need to detox and cleanse is more a necessity than ever - and is likely relevant for any and all of your clients/patients. 

Michael C. Fessler, vice president and director of research at Herblix Restoratives, Washington, observed that practitioners and the general public are becoming more aware of the increasing contaminants found in air, food, water and everyday products. Some of these contaminants are heavy metals, such as aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel, and these an exceed the WHO(World Health organization) standard for daily accumulation. "There is growing awareness of the increasing accumulation leading the way for the need of heavy metal detoxification," he said. 

Brendan Gaughran, CEO, Connecticut-based Liver Medic, noted that in the past few decades, there has been an exponential increase in the production of endocrine-disrupting toxins, pesticides/herbicides, and in water contaminated by prescription drugs and industrial run-off. Add to this the typically daily use of personal care products heavy in man-made chemicals; the U.S. produces 42 billion pounds of chemicals each day, he cited. 

"This daily bombardment disrupts every system in the body and can only be mediated by actively detoxifying on a regular basis," he asserted. "those who aren't critically inspecting what they eat, understanding and filtering all ingredients consumed, while also enthusiastically incorporating detoxifying foods, must supplement to keep the body from falling into disrepair. This is no longer a choice for us and the evidence can be seen in society's increase in cancers and disease."

Clients or patients may present with certain symptoms that may indicate a need for a cleansing and detox protocol. According to Paulson, the symptoms can include chronic headaches, head fatigue, rashes and other skin issues and digestive issues. If your client or patient recently stopped smoking, is taking long-term pharmaceuticals, is eating a poor diet and is about to change to a healthier diet, detoxification and cleansing will be most appropriate. 

"Detoxification is becoming increasingly important due to the continued spread of synthetic chemicals in our daily lives," said Paulson. "Whether we are talking about the air we breathe, the things we put on our bodies and in our homes, or the food we eat, these chemicals are everywhere. Many of these compounds mimic hormones and other molecules in our body and are readily absorbed. Even those clients who eat an organic diet and use natural products are absorbing toxins in their bodies. The process of boosting the body's natural detoxification system allows us to catch up periodically by increasing the removal of these chemicals."

Consider some recent unnerving news. According to a report from the Environmental Working Group (released on September 21, 2016), approximately 218 million Americans are consuming dangerous levels of chromium-6 that contaminate tap water. The report noted that chromium-6 levels lie at or over 0.03 parts per billion in approximately 75 percent; the researchers arrived at this percentage from samples tested by water utilities from 2013 to 2015. 

The report's co-author, Bill walker, who serves as managing editor of the Environmental Working Group, told CNN. com that typical Americans are exposed to countless carcinogenic chemicals every day not only in water, but in foods and other consumer products. H added that research has shown that the combination of chemicals is more dangerous than any single carcinogenic chemical. 

SOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER

Detoxification does not need to be a complex process, Paulson emphasized. Each respondent pointed to different areas where their detox/cleansing products work. Depending upon the condition of a client or patient, natural practitioners may want to recommend all three avenues in a longer-term or more intensified restorative protocol, if warranted. 

Paulson noted that his clinic has had success using a simple combination of liver and digestive support. The clinic uses Ayush Herbs' Livit-2 formula which is based on a traditional ayurvedic formula, and supports both phase 1 and 2 detoxification in the liver, he said, as well as elimination of toxins through the digestive system and urinary tract. ":we combine this with our Trifal, a certified organic triphala formulation, which supports normal intestinal motility and the detoxification of the intestines. Lastly, we suggest a high fiber diet of fruits and vegetables to absorb the toxins that are passed into the digestive tract."

Clinical Synergy Professional Formulas of California offers two products specifically for detoxification, and for optimal benefits, they are designed to bused together, according to Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, Lac, formulator.

PectaSol Metal Detox is a blend of PectaSol-C Professional Modified Citrus Pectin, which has been clinically proven in multiple published studies to safely remove heavy metals from the body, he said, without affecting essential minerals. PectaSol Metal Detox also contains sodium alginates, which help remove heavy metals and environmental toxins from the GI (gastrointestinal) tract, thus preventing reabsorption into the circulation. Detox Complete contains a number of botanical extracts and nutrients that help remove toxins by stimulating the body's natural detox systems and supporting organs of elimination including the liver, kidneys, and skin. It also helps to support healthy methylation activity, promotes free radical scavenging, and helps maintain the body's vital energy levels during detox. 

"These gentle yet highly effective products can e used for a period of three weeks to three months or longer, depending on the patient's health coals and toxic body burden," Dr. Eliaz said. 

Herbalix Restorative's products work by detoxing through the skin. According to Fessler, the skin is known to accumulate and store sodium, heavy metals and other impurities from environmental factors, gene types and age. The imbalance of sodium storage in the skin's integumentary pathways may impeded the ability of internal organs to excrete cellular waste and reduce organ function, which can lead to metabolic syndrome. 

Although many people turn to methods of accelerating skin excretion such as infrared, saunas, or baths, these are time limited and not always convenient. Further, he explained, cold climates or lack of healthy sun exposure (eg, a brisk walk outdoors) can impede excretion of heavy metals, which can lead to accumulation in the adiopose tissue. 

"Herbalix Restorative lymphatic skin purging products topically target organs, such as liver, thyroid, breasts, testes, brain and lymph nodes and are proven clinically to disassociate metals via the skin's sodium channels, " Fessler described. "Verification and traceability can be measured by utilizing mass spectrometry, thermography, optical spectrophotometry and palpation."

He added that through the actions of cleansing the lymphatic system, Herbalix topical skin purging products may also help reduce stiffness (congestion) in liver and edema, increase lymph flow in breasts and blood flow in visceral fat, and help demineralized the thyroid of aluminum. 

As its name implies, LiverMedic believes in supporting health yu function of the liver through detoxification is central to overall health. Gaughran explained, "The main access for toxins entering the body is through a compromised intestinal wall referred to as 'leaky gut.' This toxin-increase overloads the normal cleansing metabolic pathways of the liver. Our products combine the leading gut repairing and liver detoxifying ingredients in ways that enhance their natural synergies to more effectively remove harmful organisms, while reducing future toxin transmission. We do this through a 'clean' holistic approach without the use of questionable chemicals or excipients. Additionally, we are GMO (genetically modified organism) and gluten free."

For instance, Hepatiben, the company's main liver cleanse, has four ingredients of gut repair and four dedicated to detoxifying the liver. Silybin, MSM, SAMs and NAC, said Gaughran, all work to enhance the phase II detoxification cycle in the liver. Ingredients such as phosphatidylcholine, which helps repair the gut wall, have also been shown to increase silybin's effectiveness by two to three times. Hepatiben's gut repair blend also includes berberine, glutathione and alpha lipoic acid all of which aid in reducing soft tissue inflammation and also provide the building blocks for rebuilding of epithelial cells lining the gut. 

When clients or patients may present with symptoms of yeasts, such as candida, or parasites, Hepatiben combined with Liver MEdic's Candida Complex may reduce these organisms that often compromise gut health. A third product may also be considered to remove biofilm. "Removing biofilm without Serrapeptase further exposes the few hiding places these invaders utilize that the body can't access by enzymatically breaking double bo\nds and exposing them for removal," Gaughran explained. Health practitioners, he added, may employ this three-part system most often when approaching guy dysbiosis, IBS, candida overgrowth or just providing a comprehensive gut and liver cleanse. 

A word of caution, he added, the use of Serrapeptase may expose the body to dormant organisms like Lyme borrelia, so ensure there is no previous history of Lyme's before recommending this in the detox program. 

Chemicals and the results of poor lifestyles are not going to go the way of the dinosaur any time soon. And, even the healthiest of health-oriented people are still vulnerable to toxic accumulation that can dampen well-being. Recommending some form of detox and cleansing should always be part of any health-promoting protocol. 

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Supplementing Sales with Social Media

Posted By Reprinted with permission by Vitamin Retailer Magazine - November 2016 Issue, , Friday, November 25, 2016

by Terry Lemerond

When that familiar tone chimes on your phone, it's probably an alert from a social media account, rather than an actual call or text. Social communication has quickly shifted from face-to-face interactions, to Facebook-to-Facebook exchanges. According to Facebook's website, the networking giant has more than one billion people that log in on a daily basis, and this upward trend has not slowed since its inception in 2004. Nipping at its heels are other platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. While each of these sites has its own niche, the synergy created when using multiple platforms can have tremendous benefits, as the saying goes "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Gone are the days when an online presence solely consisted of constructing a website with your unique URL. While websites are still a necessity, they have shifted from the only source of information to the structural framework that provides housing for social media newsfeeds. Websites are a tremendous resource, but updating them as often as a Facebook or Twitter account is cumbersome and time consuming .Use your website to highlight important information (store location, phone number, driving direction_, showcase your different social media outlets, and make it very user friendly. If possible, generate a mobile version of your website that makes your content more compatible to people on the go, since the majority of web browsing now takes place on smart phones rather than computers. To help understand the role your website is playing, it's important to monitor your website's traffic. This can be done with free tools like Google Analytics that can give you tangible feedback on how many views your website has on a daily basis, which pages people are viewing the most, how long the average person stays on your website, and many other pieces of valuable information. 

PAY TO PLAY
Social media is all about engaging with customers outside of your store. But getting them to like your Facebook page, or follow you on Instagram, can take a little effort on your end. There are two approaches to generating more traffic, you can pay to play, or try a more grassroots campaign. By monetarily investing in your social media channels, you can boost posts or run ads with Facebook and Twitter to target a specific audience, and increase your followers. Or you can run a contest for a free product or store gift certificate. There are also many ways to increase your reach without investing money. You can use top trending hashtags in your Twitter posts, share Facebook posts from pages with a large following, join groups that are aligned with your store's mission, add social sharing buttons to your website or newsletter, and  creating posts with media (pictures or videos) are a great way to capture your audience's attention. 

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Nothing drives followers away faster than morphing your social media accounts into an online sales pitch. While it's OK to promote upcoming deals and sales, pushing too hard can leave you with more unfollowers than followers. A great rule of thumb for posting on your social networks is the 80/20 principle - 80 percent of the information should be beneficial for your followers, and 20 percent or less should be brand or sales promoting. Learn what your customers are interested in or want more information on. Do they want more recipes? Then post recipes that can be made with items found in your health food store. Do they want more fitness information? Then see if you can partner with a local health club or fitness expert for a how-to video, weekly blog post or inspirational message. 

While we may wish that every person that walks into our store is not only greeted, but engaged in a meaningful conversation, we know that doesn't always happen. Short videos introducing your staff are a great way for your customers (and potential customers) to meet and develop a relationship with your staff members before they even walk in the door. Maybe one of your staff members is open to discussing products or ingredients they used to support a specific health system. Did you recently bring in a new product line? Make short video discussing why you brought that line in, do they use sustainable sourcing, is there something unique about the product? Any additional information you can give to the customer adds more transparency to the customer-store relationship and strengthens the trust between the two. 

Choose a particular day of the week or month to dedicate to a recurring theme or topic. Maybe it's "What if Wednesday?" and you post a "would your rather" question (i.e.: would you rather drink coffee or espresso?) and see what kind of feedback you get. The question itself isn't necessarily the main focus, but rather engaging your followers so your content stays more relevant in their newsfeeds. You could also do a "Trivia Thursday" where you post trivia questions about people or things in your store. You could even off a reward to the first person that comments on the post or comes into the store with the correct answer. 

SHARING IS CARING
Managing several social media accounts can be a full-time job in itself. However, you don't always have to reinvent the wheel, occasionally you just need to borrow it. Many of your customers are health experts in their own right, so share their posts, videos or ideas, as long as you receive their permission. Some of your followers may already have a large network of their own, and blending your circle with their circle helps to reinforce existing relationship s and sparks the potential for new ones. 

We all have that family member or friend that shares everything, and we know how irritating that can be. While you want to stay active in your customer's newsfeeds, you don't want to run the risk of having them unfollow you due to information overload. Finding that balance will take time and also analysis of the data available for your social media accounts. Keep track of your top performing and underachieving posts, note their similarities or differences (theme, time of day, account), are they videos, blog posts or pictures? Data crunching will be a key that unlocks the door to the right frequency, topic, and time of day to post. 

MANAGING MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
There are a lot of free programs that allow you to control the posting schedule for multiple social media accounts. This can make life a lot easier and allows you to plan posts well in advance. Change up the time of day you post and see if that has an impact of the reach.

Be careful of sharing the same information on every platform, as your followers will notice. If it's a really important topic try sharing it on Facebook and Twitter first, then maybe next week re-share on Pinterest or Instagram. Each of your channels should align with your mission and values, but that doesn't mean they have to be carbon copies of each other. Maybe you post more recipes and DIY projects on Pinterest, or staff selfies and daily store pictures on Instagram. The feedback you receive will help tailor each specific social media site to its target audience, but first you need to identify who that target audience is.

With Millennials now accounting for a large percentage of the population, and purchasing power, conveying important shopping information regarding products, services, and upcoming events is amplified with social media. Most Millennials grew up with computers and learned the inner workings of Facebook while the rest of use were busy trying to figure out how to text. Maybe you can employ someone forma  local college or recent graduate to help manage your social media accounts, or act as a consultant.

If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all. Not all the feedback you receive on your social media sites will be positive. Some will warrant a response, but other times it's best to say nothing and avoid a war of words. Serious criticism can be treated with respect and kindness, but should also be resolved or mediated away from the social media account, "I'm so sorry you did not like {insert products, service, or issue here| We would love to discuss this matter with you further, please send us a private message or email." This is a great way to diffuse a volatile situation, without airing the dirty laundry on social media for everyone to see.

ONE STOP SHOP
You want to be the one-stop-show for not just health products, but also health information. However, this involves a time commitment and diving into market research. Finding the content that is meaningful to your customers and followers will take some experimenting. This also means you need to stay current in market trends, legislation, regulations, and policies, and other important health information. Subscribe to other social media accounts from reputable natural health organizations or websites, but try to avoid posting controversial materials, as this can be a very slippery slope. Positive and uplifting pictures or messages will resonate much better with the majority of your followers. The want for information is there, now capitalize on the demand, and supply the content your customers are searching for. 

ABOUT TERRY LEMEROND
A highly regarded leader in the natural products industry, Terry Lemerond is founder and president of EuroPharma, Inc. He also founded Enzymatic Therapy, In. and PhytoPharmica, In. and is currently co-owner of the Terry Naturally Health Food Store in Green Bay, WI, which recently won its sixth consecutive consumer choice award as "Best of the Bay."

With more than 40 years in the natural products industry, Lemerond has researched and developed more than 400 nutritional botanical formulations that continue to be top-selling products int he market. 

Lemerond shares his wealth of experience and knowledge in health and nutrition through is educational programs, including the Terry Talks Nutrition website, newsletters, podcasts, webinars, and personal speaking engagements. He is the author of two books:
Seven Keys to Vibrant Health and the recently updated Seven Keys to Unlimited Personal Achievement. 

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Anxiety: Friend or Foe? Sometimes Both!

Posted By Reprinted with permission by Vitamin Retailer Magazine - November 2016 Issue, Friday, November 18, 2016

by Cheryl Myers - Contributing Writer, Vitamin Retailer

We all have a definition of what anxiety means to us personally. Maybe it is that tight feeling when you are late for work and you hit all red lights, or the butterflies you feel before having a serious medical test. The textbook definition is that anxiety is the sense of worry, apprehension and unease we feel about an upcoming event with an uncertain outcome. Psychologists view extreme anxiety as a nervous disorder. In fact, it is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in the United States. 

At its heart, anxiety is an emotion, and, believe it or not, it is a good thing. It may not be a pleasant experience, but it has kept us alive for countless generations. Anxiety ticks off the warning that the night is too dark to venture into the forest, that you should lock your doors after a string of robberies hits your neighborhood, or that you shouldn't let your small children cross the busy highway alone. Without the distress that anxiety fuels, our ancestors might have made many disastrous decisions and we might not be here today. 

Unfortunately, anxiety can become problematic when it i elicited by common everyday occurrences, or even by nothing at all. There is an impending sense of doom that bad things are about to happen. The neighbor's knock at the door starts the heart pounding, or driving over a bridge causes headaches and sweaty palms. Suddenly, you may have trouble catching your breath. Sometimes anxiety and panic attacks are so severe they are mistaken for heart attacks. In these instances, the physiological response of anxiety has become somewhat disconnected from the actual trigger. And that can cause everything from minor discomfort to paralyzing fear. 

The causes of excessive anxiety are not yet well defined. There may be some brain chemical imbalances that play a role, and there is always the influence of traumatic events not yet reconciled. There are definitely some issues with inflammation and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. But regardless of cause, high levels of anxiety call for relief. High levels of anxiety can cause other health conditions, or make existing health conditions worse. A study published recently in Current Psychiatry Reports found that anxiety disorders are associated with the onset and progression of cardiac disease, including mortality. By restoring better mental balance, all health improves.

THE ADRENAL CONNECTION
The adrenal glands release hormones in stressful situations that stimulate the fight or flight response. These hormones give use that strange feeling in the stomach and rapid heartbeat we associate with fear. Sometimes the adrenal glands over-respond, or respond without our awareness. One useful way to address one of the underlying causes of anxiety is to restore adrenal health. 

There are many elements that support healthy adrenal function, but there are two adaptogenic herbs that stand out: ashwagandha and rhodiola.

ASHWAGANDHA
Adaptogens are rare and precious botanicals that neither systemically increase nor decrease functions in our body - they push toward normal. If a person has low adrenal function and they are feeling overwhelmed and fatigued, ashwagandha will boost adrenal function. But if a person is highly stressed and jittery, it will gently pull this excessive adrenal function back to normal. This herb has also been shown to play a role in modulating GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid), which elicits a sense of calm. In a review of human trial results on using ashwagandha for anxiety, it was found that on average, anxiety measures decreased between 44 and 56 percent.

RHODIOLA
Rhodiola is another adaptogeneic herb that can have profound effects on mood and health. While research is ongoing, early results indicate that phyotnutrients in rhodiola can bind to the GABAA-benzodiazepine site of the GABAAA receptor. These technical results mean that rhodiola can improve mood and create calm without drowsiness or changes in judgment. 

People living in he harshest regions of China and Russia often add a snip of rhodiola root to a bottle of vodka. Over time, the liquid turns a brilliant rosy red. People venturing out in extremes of weather often fortify themselves with a sip of the rhodiola alcohol, or upon returning, and they feel it is highly restorative. I think of both rhodiola and ashwagandha as empowering herbs that can help people feel stronger and more in control, despite stressful situations.

KAVA
An important, clinically studied her that consistently performs well in reducing anxiety is kava. To date, in the electronic database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed.gov, there are 176 studies specifically on kava and anxiety. However, reports of liver toxicity threw a monkey wrench into kava utilization, as the extract was banned in Europe, where it had enjoyed much popularity. Those bans are now being lifted as the original evidence is more closely examined and found faulty. What a disservice this has been to people for whom this might have been a useful intervention. Kava is slowly rebuilding its reputation and studies are resuming on this interesting plant.

LAVENDER
Lavender scent has a demonstrated calming effect. There are many published studies demonstrating the benefits of using lavender as aromatherapy. Adding lavender to situations that provoke anxiety can be very beneficial. For example, keeping a small clay scent diffuser on your desk and adding drop of lavender oil each day can be helpful . You can add lavender to the bath or to your pillowcase. 

While the majority of studies examined lavender as aromatherapy, there is strong evidence that internal use of lavender oil can promote sleep and relaxation. One recent study found it very useful for agitation and restlessness. This area of research is quite promising.

ECHINACEA
Echinacea may be a surprise to be included in this list, because the vast majority of the science on echinacea has been about boosting the immune system. However, the Hungarian Academy of Science has been conducting research on a unique echinacea extract of specific compounds found plentifully only in the root of one species (Echinacea angustifolia) grown under specific conditions. This single echinocoside extraction, called EP107, has the ability to partially bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This binding causes a sensation to calm and relaxation without drowsiness or interference with thinking and judgement. 

In an experimental model of anxiety, small doses of this singular extract worked as well as the drug chlordiazepoxide, known by its brand name Librium. This is a drug in the Valium family of compounds and is both sedating and mind altering. It also has high addiction potential, so finding an herbal intervention that shows promise that works as well as this drug, but without the severe adverse effects, is a major step forward in natural therapies for anxiety. 

In a clinical study using the same extract, people with diagnosed anxiety issues were given 20 mg twice daily of this extract. The herbal product reduced anxiety significantly the first day of use, and even more so after one week of use. There were also no reports of drowsiness or confusion, or other adverse effects. 

Practitioners have anecdotally used this extract at slightly higher dosages, 20 mg up to four times daily, and have reported excellent benefits for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), without serious adverse effects. Since this is a single compound and not the whole herb, it won't help prevent the common cold, but it will help reduce anxiety. 

CONCLUSION
There are many natural interventions to help address problematic anxiety levels, and this list is not all inclusive. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids from salmon is my personal favorite for delivering much needed EPA and DHA to the brain. Curcumin with turmeric essential oil can play a tremendous role in reducing inflammation. Lemon balm has a proven track record for reducing nervousness and promoting relaxation. Chamomile tea and supplements also promote relaxation. There are many tools in the retailer's tool chest when offering to help customers with this very unpleasant experience: anxiety. 

Cheryl Myers, RN is an integrative health practitioner, author, and an expert on natural medicine. She has degrees in both psychology and nursing, and more than 10 years of experience in psychiatric care. She is a nationally recognized speaker who has been interviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Prevention magazine. Her research on botanicals for menopause has been presented at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the North American Menopause Society. Myers is the head of Scientific Affairs and Education for EuroPharma, Inc. 

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Assessment of Oxidative Damage to DNA - Cancer, Metals, and Cardiovascular Disease

Posted By David Quig, Phd - VP Scientific Support, Doctor's Data, Inc., Thursday, November 17, 2016
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), both radical and non-radical, are formed continuously in all cells and they are indeed part of physiological and metabolic processes. Under normal physiological conditions there is a balance between the generation of ROS and the body’s ability to appropriately quench them.  When the capacity to quench is exceeded, varying degrees of oxidative stress can ensue.  When sustained major oxidative stress occurs, radical oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical can cause oxidative damage to important macromolecules such as DNA.  The hydroxyl radical (.OH) readily oxidizes guanosine nucleobases and most of the resultant 8-OH-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) is excised and excreted in urine. 8-OH-dG is the most heavily studied biomarker of excessive intracellular oxidative stress (over 6,200 articles). The level of 8-OH-dG in urine is an important clinical biomarker of oxidative damage to DNA, degenerative diseases, accelerated aging processes, excessive exposure to metals, and cancer. 

We are all subjected to at least low level exposure to environmental and food derived toxicants, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that the epidemic of epidemics of CVD, neurological diseases, and immunological diseases is likely associated with environmental toxicants. Based upon published biomedical literature it is likely that we can add cancers to that list as well.  A primary common effect of environment toxicants, and their partially metabolized toxins, is that they induce oxidative stress in the form of electrophiles and ROS. ROS are formed continuously in all cells and are absolutely essential for life as they participate in cell signaling pathways, and both radical and non-radical ROS are deployed by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms (systemically and in the gastrointestinal tract).  Physiological levels of non-radical oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide can be readily neutralized by glutathione peroxidase and catalase enzymes.  Likewise even the radical superoxide anion can be neutralized by innate superoxide dismutases. However, when hydrogen peroxide and/or the superoxide radical are produced in excess of the body’s capacity to neutralize the ROS, the .OH is generated from hydrogen peroxide in the Fenton (Fe+) and Haber-Weis (superoxide anion) reactions, respectively. Unlike hydrogen peroxide and the superoxide radical, the extremely reactive .OH has a half-life of only 10-9 seconds and cannot be eliminated by an enzymatic reaction. There aren’t clinically applicable ways to directly measure the .OH, but the damage that it causes to proteins, lipids and DNA can be assessed in various biological matrices.

Oxidative damage to DNA can result in base and sugar modifications, covalent crosslinks, and single- and double-stranded breaks. However with respect to cancer, nucleobase oxidation has been subject of the most research. The C8 position of the 2-deoxyguanosine nucleoside base is extremely vulnerable to oxidation by the .OH resulting in 8-OH-dG. The 8-OH-dG is a radical in and of it-self and is involved in the initiation and promotion of carcinogenesis when not quantitatively removed by DNA repair mechanisms (e.g. the OGG1 protein). 8-OH-dG has a major role in spontaneous mutagenesis. It induces C- to- T transversions which are among the most frequent somatic mutations found in human cancers. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG in urine have been associated with prostate, bladder, and lung cancer. In recent years numerous studies have identified the importance of urinary levels of 8-OH-dG in human lung cancer, and this association has been linked with exposure to tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust particles (metals and polycyclic hydrocarbons), oil fly ash (vanadium, manganese, nickel and lead), and urban air pollution.  Other research has focused on the effects of occupational exposures to known carcinogens such as benzene, styrene, and inorganic arsenic and urine 8-OH-dG. Therein a dose response relationship has consistently been found.

Exposures to inorganic arsenic, chromium, and mercury have also been found to be associated with elevated levels of urine 8-OH-dG.  Evaluation of the urine levels of arsenic, chromium, and 8-OH-dG for children (n=142, 10-12 years old) in multiple schools in China were determined. One school was adjacent to and downwind of 8 coal-fired power plants (effluent smoke and dust) and the other two schools were upwind in a more suburban area. Urine 8-OH-dG levels were correlated with urine chromium and arsenic levels, and the highest levels of 8-OH-dG were exhibited in the children with high levels of both chromium and arsenic.  The data were analyzed by co-variate analysis of variance and smoking in the home was not a significant co-variate.  In a more recent study, low level exposure to inorganic arsenic in utero and during early childhood was associated with higher levels of urine 8-OH-dG than for non-exposed children.  As methylation reactions are essential for innate detoxification and elimination of inorganic arsenic it is not surprising that those with higher levels of urine arsenic and 8-OH-dG had lower methylation indices (e.g. low plasma SAM : SAH ratios).  Consistent with the mechanism for the appearance of 8-OH-dG in urine, arsenic exposed children that had lower expression of the DNA base excision repair protein (OGG1) also had lower levels of 8-OH-dG in urine.

Exposure to inorganic mercury with compromised serum redox status has also been associated with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. First morning urine levels of mercury and 8-OH-dG, fasted serum glutathione and total thiols were measured in mercury-exposed (active occupational, n=35) and non-exposed control adults in China.  Serum mercury, urine mercury and urine 8-OH-dG levels were markedly higher for the mercury-exposed group, and the biomarkers of redox status were significantly lower for the mercury-exposed group. It should be noted the serum and urine mercury levels in the exposed subjects were about 40-times greater than the non-exposed subjects.

Urine 8-OH-dG also appears to be an emerging risk factor for cardiac events. Urine 8-OH-dG is derived from both cellular and mitochondrial DNA.  In a 1.8 year prospective study of 186 CVD patients the odds ratio for cardiac events was 4-times higher for patients with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG have also been detected in atherosclerotic plaque from humans. Further, in a very recently published meta-analysis (14 studies) it was found that CVD patients had significantly higher urine and serum levels of 8-OH-dG than control subjects. Other conditions associated with elevated levels of urinary 8-OH-dG include mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammatory conditions (NF-ҡB mediated), and diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy (correlated with HbA1c).

Urine levels of 8-OH-dG have in fact been shown to represent levels of oxidative damage to DNA in cells.  The levels in urine and extracted lymphocytes from subjects were highly correlated when 8-OH-dG was measured by three independent methodologies.  Further, a study of human volunteers that were fed highly oxidized N15-labelled DNA clearly demonstrated that diet does not directly contribute to urinary levels of 8-OH-dG, and studies have indicated that normal cell death does not contribute significant levels of 8-OH-dG.  We and others have validated that levels of 8-OH-dG are highly correlated in 24 hour and first AM urine collections, and levels in urine are inherently higher in young children compared to adolescents/adults; age-appropriate reference ranges should be applied.  Urine 8-OH-dG levels can be conveniently assessed in a first morning urine specimen and provide an excellent, non-invasive indication of excessive intracellular oxidative stress and direct oxidative damage to cellular and mitochondrial DNA.

Select References
Gedik MC et al. Oxidative stress in humans: validation of biomarkers of DNA damage. Carninogenesis (2002)23(9):1441-46.  http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/9/1441.full 
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Valavanidis A et al. 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): A critical biomarker of oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. J Environ Sci Hlth (2009) 27 Part C:120- 39.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/1059050090288568
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Wong R-H et al.  Increased levels of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine attributable to carcinogenic metal exposure among schoolchildren. Env Hlth Perspect (2005)113(10):1386-90.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281285/
 Accessed 5 September

Hinhumpatch P et al. Oxidative DNA damage and repair in children exposed to low levels of arsenic in utero and during early childhood: application of salivary and urinary biomarkers. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol (2013)273(3):569-79.
Doi:10.1016/j.taap.213.10.003  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X1300433X
  Accessed 30 October 2016
Chen C et al.  Increased oxidative DNA damage, as assessed by urinary 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine concentrations, and serum redox status in persons exposed to mercury. Clin Chem (2005)51(4):759-67.  http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/51/4/759.long
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Roseelo-Lleti E et al.  Impact of cardiovascular risk-factors and inflammatory status on urinary 8-OHdG in essential hypertension. Am J Hypertens (2012)25:236-42.  http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/2/236.abstract
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Di Minno A et al. 8-Hydroxy-2-Deoxyguanosine Levels and CardiovascularDisease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Literature. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (2016)24(10).
DOI: 10.1089/ars.2015.6508  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827317/
  Accessed 13 November 2016 

Feruson LR et al.  Oxidative DNA damage and repair: Significance and biomarkers. J Nutr (2006)136:2687S-89S. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/10/2687S.long
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Jomova K et al.  Metals, oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. Mol Cell Biochem (2010)345:91-104.  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11010-010-0563-x
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Pilger A and Rudiger HW.  8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine as a marker of oxidative DNA damage related to occupational and environmental exposures. Int Arch Occup Environ Hlth (2006)80(1):1-15.  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00420-006-0106-7
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Tags:  cancer  cardiovascular disease  DNA  heavy metals  oxidative medicine 

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Vegan Lemon Cake

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Dr. Vasant Lad and his wife Usha, in their cookbook, entitled "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing", describe sour foods: “when used in moderation, they are refreshing and delicious to the taste, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, energize the body, nourish the heart, enlighten the mind, and cause salivation.” For my birthday cake this past month, my daughter baked me a lemon vegan cake that was all of the above and more. Vegan cakes are not for everyone, not that it is so much a taste issue as one of texture. Vegan cakes are more compact and dense, lacking the usual airiness of a typical cake. If that is a concern and you want to give it fluffiness and don’t mind adding in some animal protein, you can mix in eggs into the liquid ingredients. Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups of white unbleached organic flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• zest of a lemon (organic unwaxed)
• ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
• 1 ½ tbsp almond milk (add more if needed for perfect consistency of batter)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 2 eggs (optional)
Lemon Glaze
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven at 350F. Grease a bread form pan and line the inside with a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
3. Add maple syrup, almond milk, safflower or coconut oil, lemon juice and (beaten eggs) and quickly combine all the ingredients to a smooth batter (be careful not to overmix).
4. Pour the batter in the bread form and bake in the oven for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Carefully remove the cake from the form and let cool completely.
5. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to a creamy mixture, spread over the cake and let it firm before slicing the cake. Decorate with lemon slices.

ENJOY!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink  recipe  vegan 

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Emotional Intelligence: Do you have it?

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Coping with emotions is a must for a healthy lifestyle, combined with all the rest: healthy diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, fellowship and socialization and mental stimulation. Unfortunately, far too many attempt to dismiss and ignore the emotions of others along with their own. The sad result is multifold, from perfunctory existence to downright impairment; from the walking wounded to the psychiatrically hospitalized; from the irritable and lonely to the depressed catatonic.

I take issue with the idea that EI is actually a construct of intelligence; I don’t think it is, nor should it be. Unfortunately the term emotional “intelligence” has muddied the waters of our thinking but I do understand the parallel to cognitive intelligence. What Dr. Daniel Goleman seemed to be saying in his book, Emotional Intelligence, is that there are levels and layers of emotional achievement just as there are with IQs. But emotions are quite different from intellect and arise from different areas of the brain, so let’s separate them for the sake of the discussion.

My definition is short and perhaps too brief but I believe it is the source and therefore holds the most importance. Emotional intelligence is the courage to pursue self inquiry. From that critical examination of self, you can extrapolate to the outer world in growing concentric circles and include family and social relationships, work and school environments and basically anywhere one person interacts with another. The heart and soul of emotional intelligence is personal communion with self and interaction with others and how that proceeds. Such discussions inevitably get into the nurture vs nature argument or in this case, trait vs ability. Perhaps those who do the best job of exhibiting this quality are those with both, a genetic endowment, if you will, which then may facilitate the development of the ability. I believe it is part gift and part achievement, but I do believe anyone can learn how to accomplish it if they set their mind to it and are willing to take that hard look.

Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. My personal experience supports the “trait” theory because as a young child, I was acutely aware of other people’s feelings and had no such role modeling in my own family. If there was a negative in my early experience, it was that I focused too much on the feeling of others to the exclusion of my own. As an only child, I did have the alone time in my tree house to make up for it and spent a lot of time in introspection. It probably didn’t help to constantly have my grandmother remind me that “children are to be seen but not heard!” That message assigned me to be the proverbial “fly on the wall,” observing the world as it went by without giving back much input. I struggled with insecurity as a teenager and never felt my own voice was wanted or needed in the crowd, even though I enjoyed formulating my own opinions. I lacked the confidence to speak up around others and maybe by default became a really good listener.

It wasn’t until I went to nursing school that the empathic me blossomed into the person who not only felt the struggles of others but also was able to actively care for them. As you can well imagine, this filled me with immense satisfaction and I began to use my voice to influence and guide the emotionally challenged. I can easily see how the topic of leadership enters this sphere of discussion. It is just common sense that those who can fully engage with the emotions of other people will ultimately make the best leaders. First comes the awareness which requires a close scrutiny, utilizing those techniques we learn in school like keying into facial expressions, body language and tone of voice as well as signs of anxiety and discomfort. Next comes the interpretation and formulation of the problem, followed by the execution of the plan to assist.

But before you can help others, you must help yourself. It may sound like an easy task but it’s not and for many, it is simply too scary to peer into their own souls. Everyone has one degree or another of emotional pain and all we have to do is look around to see how people fail to cope, drowning their perceptions in alcohol and drugs or violent outbursts towards others like road rage. On the flip side are those who choose to ignore emotions altogether and they manifest it by affective flatness and avoidance of closeness with others. On either side of this spectrum, the person becomes absorbed with self and that preoccupation with self to the exclusion of others is the death knell for emotional intelligence. Is this a terminal condition? I don’t believe it is but those with narcissistic traits and other personality dysfunctions will have to work much harder than those who are naturally empathic to improve their ability to relate to others. Professional assistance is highly recommended.

This is a fascinating topic to be sure and a critical one in relationships that require maintenance and repair just like your vehicle. I have often read that couples that can argue ultimately do much better than those who are avoidant but cordial. The word “argue” conjures up visions of loss of control and throwing lamps across the room but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. A couple can have a civil argument to discuss differences or problems without doing something they regret. We all say things we regret; it’s just part of the human experience and hence, the importance of the phrase “I’m sorry.” In my experience, the single greatest factor preventing such open discussion is the fear of loss of control. One simple remedy for this fear is acceptance of one’s frailties as a human, giving yourself permission to feel and experience the full range of emotions, including anger. As my therapist states so beautifully in my paraphrase, one must be willing to welcome, examine, undress, lay bare, and do battle with our emotions, both positive and negative. Without doing so, we will never experience the richness and the joy that life has to offer. Nor will we be able to get truly close to another human being.

Now, go look in the mirror and continue your journey of becoming an emotionally intelligent person. You will reap great rewards for yourself and those that you love.

Tags:  Carol Hunter  Emotional intelligence  integrative medicine 

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