Real Advantage Nutrients

Real Health News from Medicine's Most Notorious Myth-Buster

Psoriasis can be cured with vitamins, minerals, and herbs

The safe and natural way to save your skin!

Q: The excema I’ve had for years on my hands has flared so badly that my doctor says it’s psoriasis. Medications certainly help, but the dryness and cracking continue. Can you make any other suggestions?

GR: If you have psoriasis, you know all too well what those silvery scales and red, raised patches on your hands, arms, and face look and feel like. And if you’re one of the five million people in the U.S. suffering from this painful and unsightly condition, you know just how resistant to treatment it can be.

Conventional medicine generally treats psoriasis with topical cortisone preparations, which can alleviate its symptoms. However, the potential side effects include bruising, changes in skin color, and dilated blood vessels.

In addition, patients commonly become resistant to the cortisone preparation after several months of treatment, which means that their dosages must be consistently increased.

As with any other condition that I treat in my practice, I find it better to address the root cause of it rather than trying to band-aid the symptoms.

The rapid cell division that occurs in psoriasis is attributed to an abnormal ratio of two different cell growth-regulating factors. This ratio can often be normalized with an herbal remedy called Forskolin, which is often used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Forskolin is available in many health food stores, and it does not appear to have any toxic side effects. Most preparations offer 5 mg tablets and capsules, which should be taken two or three times daily for a total dose of 10 to 15 mg per day.

Ultraviolet light therapy is also an option, and it’s one that’s actually offered by the mainstream. UV radiation penetrates the skin and slows the abnormal rate of skin cell growth.

In most cases of psoriasis, food allergies and sensitivities are common. Once allergies have been determined and treated by a physician, there are a number of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that can drastically improve — and even eliminate — psoriasis.

A naturally-occurring metabolite of vitamin D, called 1.25 dihydroxy vitamin D, can be very effective for most cases of psoriasis. However, it’s only available by prescription through compounding pharmacists.

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are also helpful in treating psoriasis. Because the dosages required are fairly large — 1,000 to 3,000 mcg of vitamin B12 daily and 50 mg
of folic acid taken two or three times per day — you may need to get a prescription from a doctor skilled in nutritional medicine.

To achieve the highest level of relief, these nutrients should be taken over the same period of time. Just keep in mind that it can take two to three months to experience results.

Finally, the elements nickel and bromide (in very small quantities) can help cure psoriasis. Yes, CURE! Often, this chronic skin problem disappears completely.

Other times, it’s substantially improved, so it’s worth trying — especially since adverse reactions are few.

Drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com, and I may choose your question to answer next!

Statins don’t help healthy seniors

America’s most-prescribed drug does more harm than good

You’re panting for breath… dripping in cold sweat… and your heart feels like it’s being squeezed to a pulp.

The symptoms of a heart attack are so frightening that you’ll take ANYTHING your doc gives you to avoid that kind of torture to your ticker.

Even if you’re currently HEALTHY!

Once you’re over 65, mainstream docs tell you that because heart risk rises with age, you NEED statins to protect your heart — even when your arteries show no signs of clogging.

And they warn you that you’re going to need these “life-saving” pills for the rest of your life.

Of course, that’s a MAJOR windfall for Big Pharma — but a new study reveals how wrongheaded and downright reckless that logic is!

It turns out that seniors with NO history of heart problems get NO health benefits from statins. The drugs might even INCREASE the risk of death!

The study out of the NYU School of Medicine involved 3,000 adults over 65 with high blood pressure but no plaque buildup in their arteries.

For eight years, half of them took a statin drug, while the other half took a placebo.

By the end of the study, BOTH groups suffered heart attacks and strokes at about the same rate.

The statin did absolutely NOTHING to stave off dreaded cardiovascular disease!

And when the researchers zeroed in on study participants 75 and older, they discovered something even more troubling. They were MORE likely to die than those in the placebo group!

And even though the increased risk of death wasn’t statistically significant, the results square with previous research that shows that statins put you on the fast track to declining health.

They can increase your risk of diabetes by nearly 50 percent and double your risk of Parkinson’s… they’re linked to acute kidney failure… and they can actually make your cells age faster.

All of that while saddling you with crippling side effects like permanent muscle damage, memory loss, fatigue, and even cataracts.

So, if your doc tries to push a statin on you, just say “No.”

This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore cholesterol that’s truly, dangerously high.

But instead of popping a pill, start by making some changes to your diet in order to lower your cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels, reduce high blood pressure, and even help you lose weight.

I recommend going Paleo (a.k.a. following the “Caveman” diet).

High-fiber diets reduce risk of osteoarthritis

Take the “ouch” out of OA with this simple diet trick

Your body is like a classic car: Certain parts break down over time, but you’ve got to keep driving it if you want it to run smoothly.

And your knees are a little like your tires — because you’ve got SO MUCH riding on them!

They’ve led you to victory on the ball field… helped you dazzle on the dance floor… and supported you on every path you’ve walked in life.

But all that “mileage” takes its toll.

As we age, HALF of all adults will develop the pain and stiffness of knee osteoarthritis — a.k.a. the “wear and tear” form of arthritis.

And research shows that getting a “replacement” part is a costly and ineffective solution.

But according to a new study, you can ease the pain in your knee naturally… by eating more fiber!

The study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that eating a fiber-rich diet can not only reduce the “ouch” of knee osteoarthritis, but it can also lower your risk of developing it in the first place.

The researchers pooled the data of two different long-term studies that tracked the dietary fiber intake of thousands of volunteers. The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) followed 5,000 older folks with osteoarthritis or at risk of it for four years, while the Framingham Offspring (FO) study followed 1,200 adults for nine years.

The results were unanimous: Eating a fiber-rich diet was associated with lower odds of osteoarthritis.

And when you reduce your risk of osteoarthritis, you lessen your chance of developing knee pain (or knee pain that worsens, if you’ve already got it).

In the OAI group, those who ate the most fiber slashed their risk by 30 percent — and the effect was DOUBLE for those in the FO group, whose risk lowered by 60 percent.

Now, you’re probably wondering how fiber — found naturally in fruits, veggies, and nuts — works to protect your joints.

Back to the classic car comparison: If your trunk is full of cargo, your tires are going to wear down faster from bearing that extra load.

The same is true of your body. Years of carrying extra pounds can put a lot of pressure on your knees and break down the cushioning cartilage in them more quickly.

Getting ample fiber in your diet holds your blood sugar in check and makes you feel fuller faster, making maintaining a healthy weight that much easier.

What’s more, excess fat tissue actually PRODUCES inflammatory chemicals that further damage your joints… but fiber has been shown to reduce inflammation.

So, if the ache of osteoarthritis is bringing you to your “knees,” it’s time to “fill ‘er up”… with fiber!

Load up at the salad bar before your main course… snack on raw veggies and nuts instead of chips… and replace those cakes and cookies with fiber-packed fruit.

You’ll keep your gut humming along smoothly, and you’ll lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and breast cancers, to boot.

Risks of stroke and dementia go hand in hand

Don’t let a stroke steal your precious memories

Summer is here… the kids are out of school… and with all that free time on their hands, they need to be entertained.

While you may not be able to keep up with them on the ball field or in their world of video games, there’s one thing you’ve really got going for you: your stories.

You’ve had a lifetime of experiences — and to pass all those tales on to the next generation, you’ve got to hang on to your precious memories for as long as you can.

How can you leave a legacy behind if you can’t recall it yourself?

Diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are terrifying — and devastating — because they can sabotage your brain, but researchers have just discovered another way to protect yourself.

And it may surprise you: All you’ve got to do is reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Now, we already know that if you have a stroke, you’re twice as likely to have cognitive decline.

But this new research shows an even stronger correlation between the two: As the rate of strokes go down, so does the rate for dementia.

Researchers found that in a little more than a decade, new strokes among people age 80 and over in Canada had dropped by nearly 40 percent. And, during the same timeframe, the number of dementia diagnoses in that age group ALSO lowered by more than 15 percent.

So, it’s not a 1-to-1 relationship between the two… but while we struggle to figure out the root cause of dementia so we can prevent it, we ALREADY KNOW how to prevent stroke!

As I’ve shared with you right here in eTips, 90 percent of strokes are caused by something that YOU can control.

So, if you can learn how to reduce your risk of stroke, you’re likely to lower your odds of developing dementia, too.

If you’re still smoking cigarettes, you can start by quitting.

And ditching diet sodas will keep both stroke AND dementia at bay.

But here’s the kicker: If you’re eating lots of junk that’s packaged, processed, and high in sugar and refined carbs, and you’re not physically active, you’re STILL at risk for a stroke, even without the smokes and sodas.

I always recommend my patients follow the Paleo diet, because its approach to eating includes a healthy balance of fresh vegetables (and some fruit), alongside animal proteins like lean meats, chicken and fish, as well as beans and nuts.

You can even eat eggs! The omega-3 fatty acids found in your morning scramble (as well as fatty fish like EPA and DHA-loaded wild-caught salmon) have been shown to protect your heart and reduce your risk of stroke.

Next time you’re about to spin a yarn for the youngest members of your family, don’t gather them onto the couch with you — take them on a nice leisurely walk instead!

Because the best way to make sure your blood doesn’t clot… and you don’t suffer a stroke… is to get up and moving.

Your fitness level can protect you from colon cancer

Improve circulation to stay cancer-free

Does the word “cardio” give you the heebie-jeebies?

For most older folks, it tends to evoke images of crowded gyms and sweaty workouts.

But you don’t have to enroll in one of those cardio “boot camps” that make it feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest.

Because according to a new study out of Singapore, there’s a measure of your fitness level that’s even better than cardiovascular — and it’s so good for you, it can even reduce your risk of colon cancer.

It’s called cardiorespiratory, and it’s a biological way of measuring how fit — rather than how active — you are.

With cardiorespiratory fitness, your circulatory, respiratory, and muscular systems are all working together to supply plenty of oxygen to your cells and pump that oxygenated blood through your system.

And there’s nothing more important to the health of your body than good circulation and plenty of oxygen.

For integrative doctors like me who look at your whole body… and how ALL of your body’s systems work together in concert… these new findings come as no surprise.

The researchers found that the higher a person’s level of CRF, the LESS likely they were to have a precancerous polyp of the colon, which can lead to colon cancer. They also found that the people who already had polyps also had lower levels of CRF.

If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that being a “couch potato” can increase your risk of cancer in general — but that’s true ESPECIALLY with cancers of the digestive system, including the colon and rectum.

In fact, obesity is one of the single greatest cancer risks out there, having been linked to nearly a dozen different types of cancer.

So, to protect your colon, you’ve got to manage your weight. And a good way to do that is by working on your fitness level.

And if you suspect your cardiorespiratory fitness isn’t what it could be, ask your doc about a colonoscopy. It’s a screening that can detect the growth of those polyps at their earliest stages — and it absolutely saves lives.

The good news is that you don’t have to become a marathon runner — or even run at all — to get more fit.

Some simple activities that will work your heart and your lung power include taking a simple walk or going for a swim.

And there’s no better time to start up a daily walking or swimming routine than summer.

Go ahead, give it a try! And have fun.

Skipping sugar can protect against macular degeneration

Starve your sweet tooth to protect your eyes

You’ve been holding menus a mile away from your face… mistaking the salt for sugar… and whipping out a pocket flashlight just to settle the bill.

If you’re a little on the older side, it can feel like you need a pair of night vision goggles — and a healthy sense of humor — just to have a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant!

As we age, it’s normal for our vision to not be what it used to be. But if changes to your vision become more serious — like blurry spots appearing in the center of your vision or colors blending together — you could have a more serious condition, called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

It’s a major cause of blindness — and it usually isn’t diagnosed until vision loss has already begun.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for it.

But you don’t have to wonder whether your world will go dark — because according to new research, you can protect your eyes by paying attention to what’s in your mouth!

The study out of Tufts University showed that eating a low-glycemic diet — or switching from a high-glycemic diet to a low-glycemic one — can prevent and even REVERSE damage to eye cells from AMD.

And that means you’ve got to stop feeding your sweet tooth.

“Glycemic” refers to the impact of food on your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, spike your blood sugar quickly, while other carbs — especially those high in fiber like fruit — raise blood sugar more slowly.

The researchers fed about 60 aging mice either a high-glycemic or low-glycemic diet.

By the end of six months, those in the high-glycemic group experienced AMD changes in their eyes, including loss of function both in the pigmented cells in the retina and in the cells that capture light (a.k.a. “photoreceptors”).

The low-glycemic mice, however, didn’t show ANY of these changes!

What’s even more surprising is that when some of the high-glycemic mice were switched to the low-glycemic diet, the damage to the backs of their eyes was REVERSED!

Now, the standard American diet is generally a blood sugar bomb. Just think of all those muffins, pizzas, and pastas we scarf down for every meal, washed down with sodas and other sweet drinks.

One easy way to make sure you’re consistently eating low-glycemic is to embrace your “inner caveman”… by going Paleo!

The Paleo diet includes only the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors would’ve eaten — meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds — while eliminating grains, sugars, and processed foods.

Studies have shown that the Paleo diet naturally keeps blood sugar in check and slashes your diabetes risk.

And research shows that all those brightly colored veggies you’ll be eating — like carrots — can shrink your risk of developing AMD by 40 percent.

Selenium protects against dementia

Scramble up a shield for your brain

You put an army of Post-It notes around the house… set alerts on your phone… maybe even tie a string around your finger.

As we get older and our “senior moments” stack up, we need all the help we can get when it comes to remembering life’s small details!

That’s why I’m glad that the Alzheimer’s Association has named June “Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month” — an excellent “reminder” to pay attention to how frequent those “brain burps” really are.

Though repeated memory lapses could signal the early stages of dementia, awareness is key — because diet and lifestyle changes can really make a big impact on the disease’s progression.

And according to a new study, eating more eggs may protect your noggin against dementia-induced damage.

The study out of Turkey showed that selenium — a trace element and powerful antioxidant found in eggs, Brazil nuts, salmon, shellfish, and meat — can shield your noggin from the kinds of changes that typically happen with dementia.

Now, we don’t know for certain what causes dementia, but we do know that it’s got something to do with inflammation in the brain and the resulting oxidative stress.

In the study, the researchers induced dementia in a group of rats and gave some of them selenium and the others a placebo.

By the end of the study, it turned out that rats treated with selenium showed less inflammation and decreased signs of oxidative stress in their blood when compared to rats who did not receive selenium.

That means selenium was THREE for THREE in its protective power against the disease!

The key seems to be the “master antioxidant” glutathione — because if your levels are depleted, you’re more likely to show signs of oxidative stress.

And guess what else selenium was shown to do in this latest study? Increase levels of glutathione.

Now, I know you’re no lab rat, but given that the brains of animals and humans actually have a lot of similarities, it’s likely that selenium can have the same effect on your body.

This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action is also thought to help prevent certain types of cancer — including liver, breast, prostate, and colon — and it helps the element play a critical role in regulating metabolism and detoxing your body to prevent infection.

You can easily get more selenium in your diet by eating Paleo-friendly foods that are rich in selenium — like those eggs the mainstream has told you to stay away from.

Studies show that blood concentrations of selenium decline with age, so you may need an extra boost. If your multi doesn’t include selenium, though, don’t yet go “hog wild” with a supplement of selenium on its own.

Check with your doc first, since too much selenium can actually be bad for your body.

Shrink varicose veins with this Mediterranean shrub

Ditch the long pants and get your legs ready for summer

Q: Is there anything I can do about the varicose veins on my legs. They’re not painful, but they’re so ugly I don’t want to wear shorts in the summer. What would you recommend that doesn’t involve surgery?

G.R.: If you’re 65 or older, you have a greater than 75 percent chance of developing the bluish, swollen lines in your legs that signal you have varicose veins. Spider veins — the varicose vein’s smaller and more superficial cousin — are equally as common.

Both of these unsightly conditions can occur anywhere from your upper thigh down to your lower leg and ankle.

And that can make wearing anything but long pants — even on hot summer days — a little embarrassing.

As you probably know, varicose veins are a circulation problem. Your heart has to work against gravity to pump blood from your legs back to your upper body. To help it do that, your blood vessels have tiny valves that prevent the backflow of blood.

But, over time, the walls in your veins can weaken… the valves can fail… and the blood can start to pool in your veins.

And that’s when those blue “spider webs” start appearing on your legs.

Varicose veins are rarely dangerous, but for some unlucky women, they can be uncomfortable. The swollen veins can become warm and sore and, in some situations, downright painful.

But there’s an amazing Mediterranean cure you can pick up for a few bucks at any health store: butcher’s broom.

It’s a shrub that grows in the Mediterranean region of Europe and has been used for centuries to battle inflammation and improve circulation to the extremities. Butchers once used twigs from the shrub to sweep their shops.

Butcher’s broom contains compounds called saponins that constrict and tighten those worn-out veins, improve circulation, and make your capillaries less likely to “leak.”

Europeans have understood the healing powers of butcher’s broom for centuries. They used to boil the roots of the plant and drink the concoction to battle pain and inflammation!

Fortunately, butcher’s broom is available in capsule form right now and you don’t need to go through all that trouble. In fact, you can usually pick up a bottle for less than $10. I typically recommend taking 40 mg of it, twice daily.

Any time you can avoid surgery, it’s usually a blessing — especially when there are proven natural cures that could help improve your circulation and get those legs looking and feeling better than ever!

I should note that if you’re carrying around some extra pounds… or if you smoke cigarettes… you’re at a higher risk for varicose veins.

Got a health question you’d like me to answer in a future eTips Q&A? Send it along to askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com.

Avocado reduces risk of metabolic syndrome

Beat the odds with this ‘forbidden’ summer snack

Well, another summer is upon us. School’s out… the sun’s out… and patio tables are full of all your favorite picnic treats.

This is a great time of year to load up on all the great produce that’s in season, whether it’s strawberries, summer squash, watermelon, or corn on the cob.

Go ahead, fill your plate! And make sure you don’t skip out on one of the summer’s most misunderstood snacks: guacamole.

Because according to the latest research, avocados are a lot healthier than what the mainstream has let on.

You may have been told to avoid them because they’re too high in fat — but, in fact, studies show that they can reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome!

Now, metabolic syndrome is not a stand-alone disease. Instead, it’s a cluster of risk factors — like obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — that can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

And avocado seems to zero in on one risk factor in particular: cholesterol.

In their analysis of a number of studies that have documented the benefits of avocado, researchers in Iran focused on one in which avocados were given to participants with either “healthy” or “high” cholesterol levels.

After one week, BOTH groups showed significant reductions in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

In their review of these studies, the researchers also discovered that eating avocados helped overweight and obese adults lose both weight AND body mass!

And those folks in the study who had “a little more to love” didn’t skimp out on their portion sizes, either. They ate one WHOLE avocado… every day… for six weeks!

Now, you probably can’t eat that much guacamole. But fortunately, that’s only one way to enjoy this creamy treat.

You can also sprinkle avocado into salads… slice up it for sandwiches… spread it on toast… drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice… and even throw it on the grill!

And for a preparation that’s particularly Paleo-friendly, slice one in half and fill it with a protein — like tuna — or scramble some with your eggs.

Going Paleo is also a great way to send metabolic syndrome packing.

You may think of avocado as a vegetable, but it’s actually a fruit. And it’s the ONLY fruit that delivers a substantial amount of healthy fat AND nearly 20 vitamins and minerals — including calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and E — in a single serving.

And while eating avocado can’t offset poor eating habits on its own, it can be a recipe for success when you combine it with daily exercise and an all-around healthy diet.

Carbs cause IBD flare-ups

Heal your gut with Paleo

Go with your gut.

If you ask me, that’s some of the best advice out there. Your health begins and ends with your gut — and we could all use a good “gut check” every now and then.

And that’s especially true if you have one of the painful conditions associated with inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

When I see a new patient with IBD, I’m not surprised if they tell me they’ve been suffering from symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea for years.

I might not be able to get rid of their conditions entirely, but new research confirms what I’ve been practicing all along: Getting to the root cause of the symptoms can mean the difference between having more good days than bad.

And when it comes to IBD, you can bet that the food you eat is the root cause of your flare-ups.

In the new study, Canadian researchers asked patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or an unspecified type of IBD to fill out a food diary.

At the time, 40 percent of them were actively having symptoms of an IBD flare-up — and those were the same folks who ate more carbohydrates.

That makes sense to me, since IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation. And you know what triggers inflammation?

CARBS.

Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that I advocate the low- to no-carb dietary approach known as the Paleo diet. But, in truth, it’s really difficult to eliminate ALL carbohydrates from your diet.

So, when I recommend that you cut the carbs, what I really mean is obvious starchy foods and refined carbohydrates like white potatoes, pasta, crackers, and bread.

Those are known as “fermentable” carbohydrates — and they’re the same ones that trigger flare-ups of IBS.

And that means that going Paleo is a good first step in beating back your IBD symptoms, but it may not be enough.

The list of OTHER foods that contain those fermentable carbohydrates may surprise you — because it includes all dairy, as well as cherries, plums, prunes, mangos, apples, bananas, and avocados.

Mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions, beans, lentils, and soybeans all make the list, too.

Many of those sources of (what I would consider “healthy”) carbohydrates are part of the perfectly wonderful array of Paleo-friendly foods — unless you’ve got IBD.

Not all folks with IBD will have to eliminate all of these sources of carbs — and what triggers your flare-up may not trigger the next guy’s. So, experiment with eliminating some of these to see if you feel better.

Be sure to take probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and CFUs that are in the billions.

If the store-bought kind aren’t enough, ask your doctor about a “medical food”-grade probiotic called VSL#3 — it’s 100 times MORE potent than the average probiotic (which is why you need a prescription for it).