Real Advantage Nutrients

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

Halitosis may be caused by a hidden infection

Your “dragon breath” might be a red flag

Q: I’ve been battling bad breath for a while. My teeth were rotten, so I got them all pulled, but I still have halitosis. What can I do or take to remedy this problem?

GR: We all get bad breath every now and then — usually because of something that we’ve put into our mouths. Whether it was garlic and onions, coffee, or tobacco smoke, usually it will pass once you’ve given your mouth a good once-over with a toothbrush, floss, and some mouthwash.

But bad breath that persists — despite all those efforts — could be a sign of something more serious going on. Called halitosis, it might not just be a matter of inadequate dental hygiene.

Whenever one of my patients has got “morning mouth” that lasts all day, I start to investigate whether it could be caused by a hidden infection.

Odor coming from the mouth is associated with anything from sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses to kidney disease. As well, there’s the enigma known as Laryngopharyngeal Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or LERD, for short), which I share with my readers in the upcoming May issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter.

At its core, LERD is rooted in how your body processes, digests, and breaks down food — and when something goes wrong at any of those stages, it can cause a dry mouth, a bad taste in your mouth, and bad breath.

There are some folk remedies that can calm your stomach acid down — like aloe — and that can make your mouth feel a little fresher — like mint or lavender — but treating the symptoms is really just putting a band-aid on the issue.

Once you stop using them… and once you no longer have a mint or a piece of gum in your mouth… the “dragon breath” lingers.

A doctor well-versed in integrative medicine is best-equipped to do a full workup and explore the potential root causes of bad breath.

In the meantime, eating fennel seeds, ginger, and parsley have all shown to tame the fires in your stomach and your mouth.

It’s always a good idea to drink plenty of water — which can help “flush” out any secret infections — and to take a daily probiotic to restore a healthy balance in your gut bacteria.

What would you like to know but have been afraid to ask? Drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com and I may answer your question next.

Yoga eases prostate cancer treatment problems

How yoga can save your manhood… and your dignity

It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

As if dealing with cancer weren’t enough, the harsh treatment that you’ll receive for prostate cancer will almost certainly give you trouble “down there” — in both the bedroom AND the bathroom.

Plus, that “zap” of radiation is likely sapping you of your energy.

Talk about getting hit below the belt.

But according to a new study, you can knock out the side effects of radiation and take your symptoms “to the mat”… with a yoga mat!

The study out of the University of Pennsylvania found that men who were receiving radiation for prostate cancer felt less fatigued… had fewer bathroom problems… and performed better in the bedroom when they took yoga classes.

And they didn’t have to shave their heads or join a monastery or even learn a word of Sanskrit. Because all it took was taking just two yoga classes of 75 minutes each per week!

Over the course of six to nine weeks, in fact, the men taking yoga actually began to GAIN energy as the classes went on. The men who didn’t partake in “downward dog” and other animal-inspired yoga poses, however, just got more and more tired as the radiation ravaged their bodies.

The yoga students also didn’t suffer the incontinence that’s so common with radiation treatments aimed at the prostate.

What’s more, the men taking yoga also reported NO CHANGE in sexual function during radiation therapy — and most men will tell you that being able to keep their manhood while getting treated “down there” is priceless.

Yoga is known to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which may explain why it helps with sexual and urinary problems. And if you’re getting a boost of energy from it too, well, that can only help when you’re in bed but the last thing you want to be doing is sleeping.

If you’ve never done yoga before, don’t fret. You don’t have to be an expert “yogi” to reap the benefits — because the men in the study were all new to yoga.

And you don’t have to twist yourself into a “pretzel” right away. There are special classes for beginners and for seniors that will introduce you to this ancient practice at the right pace.

If you’re a regular eTips reader, you know I’m a big fan of yoga as a natural remedy for everything from depression to back pain to brain health.

But you also know I’m not such a big fan of radiation unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If you’ve been diagnosed with early stage, low-risk prostate cancer, you might want to hold off on this aggressive treatment until you’ve explored other natural alternatives. Make sure you get a second opinion before you allow any radiologist to take aim at your manhood.

Pomegranates protect the brain from Alzheimer’s

Keep your brain youthful with this ancient superfruit

Like Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, you’ve lived a life that’s full… and you’ve traveled each and every highway.

And as you age, there are two things become more important than anything else: maintaining your independence and holding onto your precious memories.

That’s why Alzheimer’s disease is so devastating: It robs you of your memory and of your ability to do things YOUR way.

But according to a recent study, you can keep your brain sharp long into your “golden years” — thanks to an antioxidant “goldmine” fruit known as the pomegranate!

We already consider pomegranates “superfruits” — not only because they’re loaded with antioxidants, but also because they can reverse aging in your muscles and may even stop cancer cells from spreading!

And now this latest study out of Australia found that eating pomegranates — an ancient Middle Eastern fruit filled with jewel-like, ruby-red seeds — can protect against many of the abnormal brain changes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s.

We still have a lot to learn about what causes Alzheimer’s, but we do know that the disease is linked to at least three abnormalities in the brain: inflammation, the loss of what’s known as “synaptic structure” (which is important for memory), and the formation of brain “plaques” and “tangles” made of excess proteins called beta amyloid.

After 15 months, the researchers found that supplementing the normal diets of mice with pomegranate extract actually shielded their brains from those three Alzheimer’s-related irregularities.

The pomegranate group saw their brain inflammation reduced… their synaptic structures maintained… and less precursor proteins accumulating to form amyloid plaques.

That’s promising evidence that getting enough pomegranate over a prolonged period of time may protect against brain plaques forming in the first place!

And not just in mice — but in humans, too.

With one in 10 people over 65 living with the disease, you may worry that your “senior moments” of forgetfulness will become full-blown Alzheimer’s down the road.

So, if you or someone you love is having a few too many “brain burps,” it’s time to add some delicious and refreshing pomegranate to your diet.

Fresh pomegranates are in season in North America from late summer through winter, but you can find pomegranate seeds year-round. Sprinkle some onto a salad or Greek yogurt for a pop of color and a juicy burst of natural sweetness.

Or you can drink your pomegranate, too — just make sure it’s 100 percent juice and not loaded with sugars or fillers.

You can also find pomegranate supplements in capsule form at your local health food store.

Massage improves low back pain

“Handy” relief for your aching back

You reach down to tie your shoes, lift your grocery bag, or pick up something you dropped… but each stretch of your back muscles feels like a stab to your spine.

When you’ve got low back pain, every “reach” becomes an “ouch”!

Backaches are one of the most head-scratching complaints to treat because they can be caused by so many complex issues, from muscle pulls to inflammation.

Used to be, the first line of treatment was pain meds — but now conventional and integrative medicine agree that those drugs just don’t work on back pain.

And they carry some pretty hefty risks.

But according to a new study, you don’t need to pop a pill to turn your “ow” into an “ahhhh” — because there’s a natural way to find relief from low back pain without drugs.

All you need are some “helping hands”!

The study out of Indiana University found that a course of massage therapy was effective at improving low back pain.

About 100 patients with low back pain were referred by a physician to a massage therapist, who provided a series of ten massages at no cost to the patients.

Of course, massage doesn’t come free in the “real world” — but, aside from that, the study was the first of its kind to mimic the way people seek massage therapy in an actual clinical treatment environment.

After three months, more than 50 percent of those who received the massages experienced meaningful improvements in their condition — and the benefits largely held true after six months, too, even though they’d stopped receiving treatments.

What’s more is that the older folks in the study — Baby Boomers and beyond — experienced the MOST improvement!

And there was one detail about the study that I found particularly interesting but I would expect the mainstream media to skip rght over: Patients who were taking opioids while they received their massages were TWO TIMES less likely to get relief, compared to those who weren’t taking them.

To me, that’s just further proof that pain meds not only don’t help, but may even INTERFERE with the healing process.

So, before you reach for that prescription bottle, try some massage therapy.

A licensed massage therapist can work with you on the right kind of massages for you.

Now, massage therapy is not widely covered by medical insurance, so if it’s too pricey for you — or just not your cup of tea — the American College of Physicians recommends other natural therapies for back pain, too.

Exercise therapy, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and guided relaxation techniques are all drug-free treatments that will help work out that painful kink.

Chicory keeps diabetes in check

Tame blood sugar spikes with this wild weed

You feel hungry, even though you’ve eaten plenty… thirsty, even though you’ve had enough to drink… and tired, even though you’ve slept through the night.

When your blood sugar is soaring — because either you’re diabetic or you’re headed that way — it feels like you can never eat, drink, or sleep enough!

Of course, your body isn’t ACTUALLY insatiable. That’s just its way of telling you that your blood sugar levels are out of whack.

You might feel like reaching for a candy bar for a quick pick-me-up… or wetting your whistle with a soda… but that would only set you up for more sugar spikes and subsequent crashes, not to mention diabetic complications down the line.

It’s a vicious cycle.

But according to a new study, you can satisfy your rumbling tummy AND keep blood sugar in check — with fiber!

The study out of the UK found that special fibers in the wild-growing chicory root can keep your blood sugar from spiking… even AFTER you eat a sugary snack.

You might know chicory by its nickname, “coffeeweed” — because it was brewed as a coffee-like substitute when the real deal was scarce during the Second World War.

But more recently, chicory’s been prized for its high content of fibers that make you feel full yet don’t elevate your blood sugar.

In the “gold standard” trial, replacing sucrose with two of those fibers — either oligofructose or inulin — lowered the glycemic index of “sweet” snacks that participants had eaten (specifically, a sweetened yogurt drink and a jelly).

Glycemic index measures how quickly the food raises your blood sugar — so, a “lower” score means blood sugar will rise more slowly and steadily. That means the fibers in chicory can tame blood sugar spikes that happen after you eat a meal or snack (a.k.a. “postprandial”).

At the same time, the study showed that those chicory fibers also lowered the participants’ insulin response to sugary foods — because with less of a blood sugar jump, your body needs less insulin to deal with it.

Now, Big Food of course has tried to jump on the fructans bandwagon by adding inulin and oligofructose to their processed ice creams, chocolate bars, and other junk — but that doesn’t mean they’re OK to eat.

Instead, you might want to try having your coffee “New Orleans style”: mixed with chicory, like they’ve been doing at the famous CafĂ© du Monde since the 1800s. Just skip the sugary beignets!

Aside from chicory inulin’s blood sugar benefits, it’s also a prebiotic that feeds the “good” bacteria in your gut and supports healthy digestion. You can get it by taking prebiotic supplements that you’ll find at your local health food store.

Just be careful to add it into your diet slowly, since some people have difficulty tolerating inulin. Considered a FODMAP — short for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols — it can set off irritable bowel symptoms in those who can’t stomach certain kinds of carbohydrates.

Moderate drinking protects your heart

Raise a glass today to keep the cardiologist away

Who would’ve thought that enjoying a cold beer on a hot day… relaxing with a nice glass of wine… or even enjoying a little nightcap could be the secret to a healthy heart?

Because the latest research confirms what I’ve been sharing with you here in eTips for a while now: An occasional cocktail, glass of wine, or beer could lower your risk of heart disease.

A new study just published in the BMJ reveals that drinking in moderation reduces your risk of several life-threatening heart conditions — especially when compared to not drinking alcohol at all.

Over the course of six years, British researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly two million people around the UK, all of whom were at least 30 years old at the start of the study, and none of whom had prior heart problems.

To the cheers of every Englishman who’s ever had a pint in a pub, the results showed that when compared with teetotalers, it was the moderate drinkers who were less likely to be diagnosed with several conditions — including chest pain, heart failure, stroke, and peripheral artery disease (which reduces the circulation to your arms and legs).

These findings echo what I’ve shared with you in the past, particularly as it relates to heart health and drinking. We’ve known that some alcoholic beverages, like red wine, are loaded with antioxidants like resveratrol that are great for your heart; and we’ve also learned that beer can boost your levels of “good” cholesterol and prevent you from having a heart attack.

But don’t start knocking ’em back just yet, because it was the heavy drinkers who were most likely to be diagnosed with these heart conditions as well as with cardiac arrest.

Now, if you’ve already quit drinking completely, there’s no reason to start again. According to the study, drinking again after you’ve already quit won’t improve your heart’s health.

But if you don’t drink at all… if you always abstain and find yourself toasting with a glass of water… now may be a good time to try a little tipple.

Just don’t go overboard by making up for all those toga parties you never went to in college.

According to the experts, moderate drinking means no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. That translates into about five to seven glasses of beer or wine in a seven-day period… and less if you’re drinking hard alcohol like whiskey or vodka.

Vitamin B3 slows down aging

How eating turkey can slow the hands of time

Whether it’s the buckle in your knees when you get up from a chair… or that strange pull in your lower back when you bend down to tie your shoes… you can only ignore getting older for so long.

Even if you look “good for your age” — and FEEL pretty good too — there are changes happening inside your body that you can’t see.

But don’t despair, because a new study shows that you may be able to slow down the aging process — just by eating turkey!

In a study published in a recent issue of Nature Communications, scientists from Spain treated mice with a condition known as “mitochondrial myopathy” — which causes damage to the nerve cells in your brain and muscles, and can lead to everything from muscle weakness to heart failure and dementia.

The theory was that these signs of aging were associated with declining levels of an enzyme called NADPH, which tends to plummet as you get older — and that slowing down that decline would likewise slow down the aging process.

So, the researchers genetically altered the mice to be able to produce large amounts of NADPH, and the results were amazing.

The genetically-altered rodents remained quick and well-coordinated as they aged… and the females lived 14 percent longer than their NADPH-deficient counterparts.

Considering the short lifespan of a mouse, that’s a pretty long time.

And you know what’s been shown to increase your levels of NADPH (or, at least, keep it from taking a nose-dive)?

Vitamin B3, a.k.a. niacin.

None of this comes as a surprise to me, knowing how this miracle vitamin can protect your nerves from damage related to chemotherapy drugs that destroy ALL cells — cancerous and non-cancerous — in their wake.

Since you’re not a mouse… and you’re not going to get genetically engineered in a lab… you don’t need help from a team of researchers to boost your B3 and keep the signs of old age at bay.

If you’re a fan of the Paleo diet as I am — and as you should be — you may ALREADY be on your way to getting the amounts you need to live better and longer.

Your body converts the amino acid tryptophan into B3, so you can bolster your B3 levels — and keep your NADPH levels from dropping — by enjoying Paleo-friendly, tryptophan-rich foods like turkey and other poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy.

Feel free to add more B3-rich foods like peas, mushrooms, and avocado to your diet as well. And don’t forget the nuts and seeds — like peanuts and sunflower seeds — which are bursting with it, too.

You can also get B3 as part of a B complex vitamin supplement — but beware of the “niacin flush” that may occur. It’s generally harmless, but it can be a little uncomfortable for some people.

Restless leg syndrome could be just a side effect

Kick RLS to the curb — naturally!

Q: I am on my second medication for RLS relief. Its effectiveness is diminishing, as did the first one. What do you recommend?

GR: I know how frustrating it can be to lose precious sleep night after night.

Fortunately, I’ve treated many patients with restless leg syndrome, and the first thing I always do is look at the prescription drugs they take.

Many types of drugs — from antidepressants to sedatives — cause RLS as a side effect.

Beyond that, RLS can be caused by a variety of factors, including kidney problems and low levels of parathyroid hormone. That’s why some doctors will order parathyroid ultrasound to rule that out.

Since the condition can be caused by something more common — like a deficiency of iron, potassium, or vitamin E — it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about having your levels checked.

As well, anyone suffering from RLS is more likely to have a condition known as Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (a.k.a. SIBO). It’s the culprit behind a number of different conditions, including RLS, as well as a HUGE number of digestive disorders.

Probiotics can help create and keep the balance of gut bacteria you need to fight disease and maintain good health.

A little movement can go a long way in helping your gut, too. For an activity that’s gentle and actually quite relaxing, I recommend yoga — which has been shown to help other mobility issues, including Parkinson’s disease.

My all-time favorite remedy for restless leg syndrome, though, is to drink 2 to 4 ounces of tonic water before bedtime.

The active ingredient in tonic water, quinine, used to be prescribed for RLS… but it was taken off the market (probably because it’s natural and it works!).

I try to answer at least one question every week here in eTips. Drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com to send me yours!

Exercise slows Parkinson’s progression

Do you have 30 minutes for this today?

Your hands are trembling… your movement is like molasses… and your muscles are stiff as a board.

When you’ve got Parkinson’s disease, it feels like something out of that 1950’s flick Invasion of the Body Snatchers — like your body is no longer your own!

As someone who’s lived with a Parkinson’s diagnosis for a dozen years, I know how “alien” it can be to have a disease that threatens to claim control over your movement.

With no drug that “cures” Parkinson’s, it can feel like there’s no hope.

But according to a new study, you can “snatch” your body back from Parkinson’s grip — because there’s a way to slow the disease’s progression naturally.

And it involves regaining your ease of movement… by getting moving!

The study, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, followed 3,400 Parkinson’s patients in North America, the Netherlands, and Israel for two years, keeping track of how frequently they exercised.

It turns out that people with the most advanced Parkinson’s saw the GREATEST benefit from exercise.

At the end of the study, those who maintained an exercise routine of two and a half hours each week — or the equivalent of a half hour, five days a week — had the SMALLEST decline in mobility and quality of life, compared to those who didn’t exercise as much or at all.

In fact, non-exercisers actually WORSENED over the course of the study.

And what’s more, it didn’t matter what type of exercise the participants did to reap the benefits, as long as they were getting some form of movement under their belts for those two and a half hours per week.

This may come as a relief, if you find some of the more “unorthodox” physical activities I’ve shared with you a bit intimidating.

And whether it’s for weight loss, your heart health, detoxifying, or reducing pain and inflammation, it’s never too late to start turning things around with some physical activity.

Just find something you love to do for exercise and stick with it. Even gentle forms of movement like walking, gardening, playing with your grandkids at the park, or taking a senior-friendly yoga class will fit the bill.

Being active also boosts your mood along with your strength and motor control, which is important because Parkinson’s can saddle you with anxiety and depression as it advances.

Cherry juice improves dementia

Perk up your mind with this summer stone fruit

You struggle to find the right words… to remember where you left your glasses… and even to recall favorite old-time memories.

Those “senior moments” make you feel like everything is at the tip of your tongue — yet just out of reach.

Everyone has days where they’re a little slow on the uptake, but if those “brain burps” are getting in the way of your everyday activities, they could be the start of something more serious.

But according to a new study, you can put the brakes on dementia without drugs — because there’s a natural way to keep your mind as quick as can be.

And it just so happens to be tart, tasty, and refreshing!

The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found that drinking cherry juice — which gets its deep red color from nutrients called anthocyanins — improved memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia.

That’s a big deal, since the conventional medical world will tell you there’s no cure for dementia and that it will only get worse.

Researchers randomly gave participants either cherry juice or, as a control, red juice that didn’t contain anthocyanins.

By the end of the study, the cherry group was able to produce the right words more quickly (a skill we call “verbal fluency”), compared to the control group.

They also significantly improved both their short-AND long-term memories, compared to controls.

That’s promising evidence that the anthocyanins in cherry juice might REVERSE cognitive decline!

Plus, the cherry on top of this sundae is that those in the cherry juice group also had significant reductions in their systolic blood pressure — a finding that squares with previous studies.

So, if you’re struggling with dementia or its beginning stages, try adding cherry juice to your diet for a brain “pick-me-up” — and, if you have hypertension, maybe even a bonus BP drop.

Tart cherries are also a great “pick” for your health in a number of other ways.

They’re high in vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, as well as phenolic acids, which can reduce stiffness in your arteries that paves the way for heart disease.

Plus, cherries’ anti-inflammatory properties help fight gout flare-ups, and the melatonin they contain can help you get a good night’s sleep.

The season for fresh tart cherries isn’t until summertime (from May to July, depending on where you live), but you can find cherry juice at your local health food store. Just make sure to get the “tart” kind so you don’t overload on added sugar.

And no, you won’t get the same effect from Cherry Coke or cherry-flavored Kool-Aid, neither of which contains a single cherry.

If the tart juice makes you “pucker” too much, you can find tart cherry as a supplement in capsule form at your local health food store.