Real Advantage Nutrients

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

Pomegranate juice beats back lung cancer

This sweet sip makes cancer go up in smoke

If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while, you know that I’ve made it my mission to discover healing ingredients from all over the world — and to share what I find with you.

And though I frequently travel to new lands, sometimes what I find is more about the natural healing wonders we already know about.

For instance, take the pomegranate — an ancient, seed-filled fruit from the Middle East, where it’s long been a symbol of abundance, fertility, and long life.

In recent years, research has found that the fruit can improve your heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol… protect your brain from Alzheimer’s… and slow down the aging process inside your muscles.

And now, a new study shows that pomegranates can even breathe new life into your lungs — by guarding against lung cancer!

If you’re a smoker… or even if you’ve ever smoked cigarettes but have since quit… you’ll want to keep reading.

In the study out of Lebanon — which is prime pomegranate-growing territory — mice were exposed to cigarette smoke five days a week for five months. Some of them were given pomegranate juice, while others weren’t.

Four months later, the pomegranate group of mice had less lung damage than mice who hadn’t gotten the juice.

More specifically, the pomegranate-drinkers had fewer “nodules,” which are the clumps of irregular cells that form when cigarette smoke inflames your delicate lung tissue, in their lungs.

That’s good news — because over time, those nodules can transform into cancerous tumors.

That means that the mice who drank pomegranate juice also slashed their risk of lung cancer!

The theory is that plant compounds called polyphenols guard against the oxidative stress and DNA damage that smoking wallops your lungs with.

And this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about pomegranates’ anti-cancer potential: Previous studies have shown that the juice can stop cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.

Right now, we’re at the tail end of pomegranate season in North America (it runs from about September until February), but you can find pomegranate juice in most grocery stores year-round. Just make sure it’s 100 percent juice and not loaded with sugars or fillers.

You can also buy whole pomegranates and crack them open to harvest the seeds… or just buy the seeds on their own in the organic aisle of your local grocer or farmer’s market.

Sprinkle some of those little “jewels” onto a salad or into Greek yogurt for a pop of color and a juicy burst of natural sweetness.

And given that fresh pomegranates are still “exotic” in some parts of the country, an alternative is pomegranate supplements in capsule form, which you should be able to find at your local health food store or online.

Diabetes and prediabetes speed up cognitive decline

High blood sugar puts “brain drain” in the fast lane

The Winter Olympics are upon us — and regardless of whether you’re a sports fan, you have to respect the skill and bravery of our nation’s best athletic competitors.

I mean, just imagine hurtling down an icy mountain in a bobsled or with just two sticks strapped to your feet — and at nearly 90 miles an hour!

But you don’t have to rely on your imagination, especially if you’ve been loading up on sugary treats… packing on pounds… and sending your blood sugar soaring.

Because you’re already racing down a course — straight to diabetes.

And unfortunately, according to a new study, those blood sugar woes might not be the end of your struggles.

Beyond that finish line, you could find something even worse: cognitive decline.

Researchers measured the blood sugar and tested the memory and cognitive function of over 5,000 people — none of whom had already been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease — and then followed up with them 10 years later.

Now, after a decade, you’d expect everybody to show SOME degree of cognitive decline — and that’s exactly what happened.

But here’s where it gets interesting: When researchers repeated those same blood sugar and cognitive tests, those with diabetes or prediabetes saw their memories and cognitive function deteriorate at a MUCH FASTER rate than those with normal blood sugar.

And that may be because, as previous studies have shown, excess blood sugar can do PHYSICAL harm to your gray matter.

It can damage delicate cells in the areas of your brain that control everything from memory to speech to movement… and also reduce the ability of your brain’s immune system to tamp down inflammation.

And if your blood sugar stays high over a long period of time, your brain may even form the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a severe form of dementia that some scientists now call “type 3 diabetes”!

So, if you want to keep your brain sharp as the years pass, stay away from not only the usual sugary suspects (i.e., candy, cookies, and cakes), but also from processed foods — ranging from cereal to yogurt to ketchup –

– that are typically stuffed with added sugar that you may not even know is there.
I recommend switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. “caveman”) diet, which eliminates all processed foods in favor of FRESH meats, produce, nuts, and seeds that hold your blood sugar steady.

If you need a little extra help, both cinnamon and the natural supplement berberine (a.k.a. “Emperor’s Salt”) can rein in your blood sugar effectively and without drugs.

And finally, exercise slashes your risk of diabetes, too. Don’t worry — you don’t have to train to become an Olympian, but once the Winter Games are over, get up off that couch now and then.

NSAID users commonly exceed recommended daily limits

What will maxing out on pain meds do to you?

If you’re prone to pain — whether from headaches, arthritis, or just the slings and arrows of aging — you might have a bottle of ibuprofen within reach at all times.

After all, you never know when it’s going to hit you. (And when it does, it’s usually at the worst possible time.)

Now, the pills may LOOK like those old brown M&Ms… and they may SEEM as harmless as Tic Tacs…but according to a new study, taking extra pills could mean an extra risk of side effects.

In the study out of Boston University, researchers asked 1,300 ibuprofen users to track their intake for one week. It turned out that about 1 in 5 of them took more than the daily maximum dose.

They either took too much at once or they failed to wait long enough between doses — and there were a number of reasons why.

Some simply didn’t read product labels carefully, while others “went rogue” and decided to choose their own dose. Still others were in such pain that they felt they needed to constantly “dose up.”

Any of those sound familiar?!

If so, you could be going overboard — and that’s a big deal! Because even at STANDARD dosages, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs have been linked to kidney and liver damage, platelet issues, and hearing loss.

They can spike your blood pressure, kill your heart cells, and even make it more likely your heart will stop beating.

In fact, about 100,000 people are hospitalized each year… and about 16,000 DIE… from NSAID-related complications!

You should really aim for ditching these pills altogether.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural pain-relief alternatives that are both safe and effective.

Studies have shown that the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture can ease everything from migraines to rheumatoid arthritis.

And for osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” kind), the natural supplement chondroitin can not only soothe joint pain, but it can actually slow the cartilage loss that underlies the ache.

I also recommend a topical cream called T-Relief — a homeopathic remedy with an arnica base — that quickly penetrates right to the spot that aches rather than taking time to travel through your digestive system.

You might also ask your doc about a medical food called Limbrel, which studies have shown is equally as effective in preventing arthritis pain as NSAIDs, but without the deadly side effects.

It turns out that there’s another way that ibuprofen can wreak havoc on your health — and gentlemen, you’re particularly at risk. I’ll have the full story for you in the March issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter, which I’m still putting the finishing touches on. Keep an eye out for it early next month.

Omega-3s from fish are more potent than those from nuts and seeds

One if by land, two if by sea

Q: I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t want to take fish oil supplements. Can I get the omega-3s I need from plant-based sources?

GR: If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that I can’t sing the praises of omega-3s enough.

These inflammation-fighting fatty acids — largely found in fatty fish and other marine life — are “megastars” when it comes to just about every aspect of your health.

But if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just can’t stand all of that fishy flavor, getting enough of the good stuff can be a challenge greater than Captain Ahab’s!

Nuts and seeds (particularly flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and walnuts) provide some of the plant-based omega-3s you’re looking for — but the fatty acids they contain are actually different than the ones you’ll find in fish.

And the latest research shows that they were NOT created equal.

In a recent study out of Canada, researchers took mice who were genetically predisposed to develop an aggressive type of breast cancer and fed them either fish oil, flaxseed, or a control supplement.

After five months, the mice who ate fish oil had 30 percent FEWER cancerous tumors than the controls, and the tumors they did develop were 70 percent SMALLER.

And, as the researchers noted, the omega-3s found in fish are likely also beneficial for other types of cancer.

Now, here’s the rub: Flaxseed oil produced similar results, but it took over THREE TIMES more of it than fish oil to achieve the same benefits!

That may be because your body has to convert the alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA for short) found in nuts and seeds into forms of omega-3 fatty acids it can actually use — which, as I’ve shared with you in the past, are EPA and DHA.

Because of this, and depending on the quantity of nuts and greens you’re eating, relying on plant-based sources means that you’re potentially getting less than optimal levels of the strongest omega-3s.

But when you bite into a piece of fish… or take a fish oil supplement… you’re cutting out the middleman and getting the EPA and DHA you need directly.

Still, though, if you’re determined to stay away from anything that looks remotely fishy, getting your omega-3s from nuts and seeds is still better than getting none at all.

And in that case, I recommend supplementing with flaxseed or flaxseed oil. But I should note that because ALA itself has been linked to higher risk of issues like cataracts and prostate cancer (though not all research agrees), be sure to consult a nutritionally minded physician about what quantity is right for you.

However, I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t point out that all it takes is two to three servings of omega-3-rich fish each week to get about the same amount of omega-3s as used in the study — and beat back the risk of cancer.

Cold-water, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are the best choices… and wild-caught varieties also pack in more of these fatty acids than farmed ones.

Something else got you reeling? Cast me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com, and I may choose your question to answer next.

Hysterectomy ups the risk of cardiovascular disease

Try natural therapies before going under the knife

Ladies, if you’re living with a condition like fibroids or endometriosis, you know how excruciating it can be.

And when you’re doubled over in pain, having your uterus removed may sound like the relief you’ve been waiting for.

Take my uterus… PLEASE!

But according to a new study, you should think twice before having a hysterectomy — because it could put your heart in danger down the line.

In a study out of the Mayo Clinic, researchers compared the medical histories of over 2,000 women who had undergone a hysterectomy for benign conditions (but still had their ovaries intact) with the same number of women who hadn’t had a hysterectomy or ovarian removal at all.

Compared to the women who didn’t go under the knife, the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) shot up by a THIRD for the hysterectomy group.

The risks were especially dire for women under 35 who’d had a hysterectomy. Their risk of congestive heart failure was FIVE TIMES that of the control group… and their risk of CAD was nearly TRIPLE that of the controls.

Now, the study didn’t explain WHY the loss of your uterus can threaten your ticker — but we know from previous studies that when your uterus is removed, blood flow to your ovaries (assuming they’re left intact) is greatly reduced.

And that could cause your ovaries to produce less estrogen, a hormone that’s known to protect your heart by helping to keep blood vessels flexible… raising your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels… and decreasing your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.

So, it stands to reason that if your estrogen levels drop after a hysterectomy, your heart disease risk can shoot up — just as it does after menopause.

And that dip in estrogen can be especially devastating for women under 35, who are years away from the “change of life.”

Plus, let’s not forget that ANY surgery can harm your heart.

Previous studies have shown that even minor non-heart-related surgeries can lead to heart damage called “perioperative myocardial injury,” which raises your risk of death for up to a year following the procedure.

And getting your uterus taken out isn’t exactly minor!

So, before going under the knife, try some natural therapies that are effective for fibroids and endometriosis — and a whole lot safer.

Studies have shown that curcumin, the herb black cohosh, and the green tea extract ECGC can shrink the average fibroid by at least 30 percent.

Vitamin D has been shown to slash the risk of fibroids by 40 percent — and spending an hour in the sun each day can boost your body’s stores of this “sunshine vitamin.”

Finally, if you’re still in pain, both the “sleep hormone” melatonin and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) have been proven to help ease the pain of endometriosis.

Saunas as good as exercise for heart health

Sweat your way to better heart health

Here we are in the dead of winter — and whether the skies are clear or stormy in your neck of the woods, it’s downright chilly pretty much everywhere.

And when you’re chilled to the bone, there’s nothing like sitting in a hot sauna.

It doesn’t just warm you up and get you sweating… it’s the “Finnish secret” to good health!

Recent research out of Finland — where saunas were invented — has shown that regularly “bathing” in saunas (as the Finnish have done for a couple thousand years) can slash your risk of everything from coronary diseases to cardiac death to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

And now, a new pair of studies shows WHY — because the changes that saunas make to your body are a lot like the benefits you get from a brisk workout.

In the studies out of Finland (where else?), about 100 folks who were at risk for cardiovascular disease sat in a hot sauna for half an hour.

Researchers measured their blood pressure, heart rate, and the function of their arteries before, during, and 30 minutes after the sauna.

After they crunched the numbers, it turned out that the participants reduced their systolic (top number) blood pressure by about 7 mmHg — and it remained even lower 30 minutes after they left the sauna.

That’s about the SAME drop you’d expect after exercise!

And that makes sense, because participant heart rate also increased during the sauna to roughly the same level we see with medium-intensity exercise.

What’s more, something else also improved with sauna bathing: their “vascular compliance,” or the measure of how well the arteries expand and contract.

And that squares with previous evidence that saunas’ high temperatures increase your body’s production of nitric oxide, a chemical compound that dilates your arteries.

With more flexible arteries and more blood flowing to every nook and cranny, you’re wiping out some of the key risk factors for cardiovascular disease AND dementia.

What’s more, saunas help you sweat out toxins through your pores… so less of each wind up in your blood vessels and your brain!

And as the studies showed, saunas are safe even for those who may already be on a path toward heart disease.

Just don’t go alone — and don’t stay in there too long. Saunas are set to a very hot, dry temperature (between 180 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit), and you may need to build up your “heat tolerance” before you can sit for a 30-minute stretch.

Luckily, you don’t have to shove off to Scandinavia to reap the benefits of saunas. You can find public ones right here in the States at many spas, gyms (especially ones with a pool), and even hotel fitness centers.

If you prefer some privacy, you can also get a small sauna that you can buy and install at home, usually found wherever hot tubs and jacuzzis are sold.

Since Valentine’s Day was yesterday and February is American Heart Month, I’ve got some more news related to cardiovascular health later this afternoon. Stay tuned.

Control Parkinson’s disease by avoiding toxins

You don’t have to stop the music for Parkinson’s

For half a century, singer-songwriter Neil Diamond has been giving the world smash hits like “Sweet Caroline” and “America.”

And in recent months, he’s been celebrating his “golden” anniversary of making toe-tapping tunes by touring all over the globe.

But now, it’s all come to a screeching halt — for a devastating reason.

Diamond, 77, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It’s prompted him to not only cancel the last of his remaining concert dates… but also announce that he’s stepping off of the stage FOR GOOD.

Now, as someone who’s lived with Parkinson’s disease for over a dozen years, I know how frightening it can be when you’re first diagnosed.

It feels like you’re going to have to give up doing the things you love.

But Parkinson’s hasn’t sidelined me from my career — and whether you’re a rock star or just like to sing in the shower, a Parkinson’s diagnosis doesn’t have to keep you or someone you love from living a full life, either.

That’s because you can actually keep Parkinson’s under control, just like I have, by using natural therapies and avoiding toxins!

You won’t hear this from the mainstream, but I consider Parkinson’s to be more than just a “neurodegenerative” disease — because it’s also a “neurotoxic” disorder!

We know that everything from chemical pesticides like paraquat… to heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum… and even prescription drugs like statins can put you at risk for it.

These toxic substances are practically everywhere — in our cookware, food, polluted air, and medicine cabinets — and not even celebrities are immune to them!

And when toxins build up in your delicate gray matter, it can cause the death of key neurons AND ongoing inflammation, which leaves you with none other than the disease’s signature tremors… stiffness… and speech troubles.

I wish I’d known this information earlier in my life so that I could’ve made changes that might’ve prevented the onset of Parkinson’s in the first place. But I thank my lucky stars that I was able to pinpoint the sources of my exposure to toxins when I did.

To reduce your own exposure to toxins AND lessen their impact on your body, these items should be at the top of your “To Do” list:

  • Go organic: Spare yourself from swallowing toxic pesticides and herbicides that have been linked to Parkinson’s.
  • Avoid heavy metals: Use nontoxic cookware, avoid antiperspirants with aluminum, and filter the air and water at home to limit your heavy metal exposure.
  • Step up your supplements: Take probiotics to fortify your gut against toxins… the potent amino acid NAC (a well-known glutathione producer) to naturally detoxify your system… and omega-3s (found in fish oil) to reduce inflammation and ease Parkinson’s symptoms.
  • Get moving: Sweat out the toxins with vigorous exercise, which has also been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms.
  • Play detective: Since the side effects of many meds can mimic Parkinson’s, consult with a doc who is well-versed in integrative medicine to see if stopping one of your prescription pills could reverse your symptoms.

And I sure hope Neil Diamond knows that singing has been proven in studies to help ease Parkinson’s symptoms!

Paleo diet helps post-menopausal women keep weight off

How to fight fat… with FAT!

Valentine’s Day is here already — and with each passing year, it can seem like there’s “more” of you to love.

Hey, it happens.

Your metabolism plunges… you’re less active than you used to be… and soon enough, you’re shopping exclusively for clothes with a stretchy waistband.

And when those extra pounds park themselves around your middle, you’re at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

And ladies, that’s especially true for you after you’ve gone through “the change of life.”

But you don’t need to eat like a bird to get those stubborn love handles to melt — because according to a new study, you can eat as MUCH you want.

Well, as long as you’re following the Paleo diet, that is.

Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while, you know that the Paleo diet includes only what our ancient ancestors would have hunted and gathered — meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds — while eliminating all of the grains, sugars, and processed foods that too many of us graze on in modern life.

In the study out of Sweden, 70 overweight postmenopausal women were divided into two groups: Half followed the Paleo diet, while the other half followed a Nordic diet that contained half the protein, less fat, and considerably more carbs.

Both groups were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted — as long as they stuck to the types of foods that fit each of their distinct dietary approaches.

After six months, those on the Paleo diet lost more weight than those on the Nordic diet — about 20 pounds on average compared to 13 pounds.

That’s pretty good.

But here’s the real kicker: Those following the Paleo diet KEPT that weight off!

“The results are remarkable,” lead author Caroline Blomquist said. “Despite giving the women free reigns [sic] to an unlimited intake, the weight loss was stable after two years.”

The theory is that the higher protein levels and lower carb counts in the Paleo diet helped hold blood sugar steady so that the pounds fell off… and stayed off.

What’s more, the women who went Paleo significantly reduced their stores of abdominal fat, meaning that their muffin tops started disappearing.

And when that happened, their markers of inflammation — a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease — plummeted.

That’s likely because the higher amounts of essential (“good”) fats in the Paleo diet helped tamp down the flames.

So, if you find yourself fighting the battle of the belly bulge… and you find yourself on the other side of “the change”… it’s time to channel your inner cavewoman!

And while chocolate IS a Paleo food if it’s unsweetened cacao, if you’re looking for a sweet treat from your valentine, ask for some juicy red strawberries.

Some teas contain enough fluoride to damage bones

Is your teabag full of toxins?

It’s relaxing… refreshing… and in these dog days of winter, it can really warm you up.

I’m talking about a steaming cup of tea.

And whether you prefer black, green, or herbal tea varieties, this ancient beverage is not only tasty — it’s practically “boiling over” with benefits for your body.

Time and again, studies have shown that regularly drinking tea can stave off diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia… and it can shave off pounds, too.

It’s even been shown to help keep your bones strong and healthy!

But according to a new study, there may be one caveat to tea’s bone benefits.

Some teas are high in fluoride — the same neurotoxin that’s put into tap water and toothpaste to supposedly prevent your teeth from decaying.

And if you drink a lot of tea, all of that excess fluoride could deposit in your bones and cause a painful condition in your bones and joints called “skeletal fluorosis.”

In the study, published in Environmental Pollution, researchers brewed up 47 different teas, including both traditional (black/green) and herbal varieties.

It turned out that about 20 percent of these brewed teas contained levels of fluoride that are nearly DOUBLE the maximum amount that is supposedly “safe” for you to have on a daily basis.

The feds over at the EPA have capped the amount of fluoride allowed in water at 4 mg per liter. And some of the teas in the study contained nearly as much as 7 mg per liter!

So, even if you’ve already switched to a fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash… and you’ve installed a reverse osmosis filtration system at the source of your water supply… you could STILL be getting exposed to this toxin at levels that exceed even what the notoriously permissive feds will allow!

At high levels, fluoride can threaten your bones, heart, liver, and kidneys, as well as your endocrine and nervous systems.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you quit drinking tea entirely — because the potential benefits of tea are so numerous.

But there are some simple things that you can do to lower your risk of toxicity.

First off, people who get fluorosis from tea drink an awful lot of it — we’re talking 1 to 2 gallons a day for decades. So, use common sense… enjoy your tea in moderation!

Fortunately, not all teas contain fluoride — or, at least, not as much as the teas in the study. The study found that the teas with the highest amounts of fluoride were also those of the lowest quality… and the oldest leaves.

So, you can dodge the toxic bullet by choosing younger tea leaves, like those found in so-called “white teas,” from a high-quality brand. You may spend a little more, but the teas with the lowest amounts of fluoride also tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants.

You can also take your tea with a spot of fruit, because studies have also shown that lycopene — an antioxidant found in red-hued fruits like tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon — can reduce the damage from excess fluoride in your system.

P.S. If you’re looking to get perfect sleep — on demand — then keep an eye on your inbox for a special message about a breakthrough discovery that can help reset your inner “sleep” clock. It’s not a pill… and it keeps working straight through the night. Stay tuned!

Melatonin is safe to take without a doc’s approval

This is keeping the good folks in Europe up at night

When you’re tossing and turning all night… night after night… you know that counting sheep just won’t cut it.

On the other hand, neither do those “sledgehammer” sleep meds that drug the daylights out of you, leaving you dazed and confused the next day.

Fortunately, there IS something you can do for insomnia that’s not only effective… but also as gentle as those leaping sheep!

I’m talking about melatonin, the “sleep hormone” that regulates your body’s internal clock (a.k.a. circadian rhythms).

It’s safe… it’s natural… it’s effective… and it’s widely available at pretty much any health food store right here in the U.S. of A.

And you can thank your lucky stars for that — because melatonin is actually ILLEGAL without a prescription in the UK and many other European countries.

And we’d better hope that the U.S. isn’t next.

You see, across the Atlantic, they’ve classified melatonin as a “medicine” rather than a nutritional supplement — claiming that it’s too dangerous for regular folks to try to use it on their own.

And that’s a real head-scratcher… because how could something that’s produced by your own body be in the same category as a synthetic drug concocted in a laboratory?!

Now, it’s possible to take a little too much melatonin and wind up with a headache, nausea, or even drowsiness. But at standard dosages, melatonin side effects are pretty rare.

What’s more, as we age, our bodies’ levels of melatonin actually decline, making it tougher to sleep through the night as the years pass.

That also means that it becomes less and less likely that supplementing with melatonin will send your levels too high.

And we know from previous studies that melatonin won’t just help you get more shuteye — it’s also been found to fight cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, stroke, and even eczema.

Makes you wonder why they’re putting this miracle hormone under lock and key?

Here in the U.S., you can buy melatonin supplements for just pennies a day right now. But if the feds decide to follow in Europe’s footsteps… and make sure it’s sold only from behind the pharmacy counter… you can bet that the price will increase.

That’s just another reason why you shouldn’t let them take this safe supplement away from you!

Now, if you do happen to travel to Europe, don’t fret. You can still pass through customs with your bottle of melatonin. And thank goodness — because it can even help ease your jet lag.

You can also boost your supply by eating Paleo-friendly foods like pineapples, bananas, oranges, sweet corn, and tomatoes — and by drinking tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin and can help you get a better night’s rest, too.