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The herb that's 42 times better for you than an apple

Are you getting enough salt?

Talk about scare tactics-the high-blood-pressure Gestapo is working to convince us that the slightest shake of salt on our food is going to send us to an early grave. They’re recommending daily intake quantities that are likely to rob every ounce of flavor from the food we enjoy. Don’t stand for it!

Salt, or, more accurately, sodium, is a vital mineral in the human diet. It is the main component of the body’s extracellular fluids and carries nutrients to and from cells. Sodium also causes the body to retain water that is needed to perform numerous chemical processes, maintains blood pH, and helps regulate muscle, nerve, and stomach functions.

Several studies have proven the benefits of dietary salt. In the spring of 1995, a report on the results of a four-year study suggested a link between a low-salt diet and higher risk of heart attack. It was published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Inconclusive results, found by researchers at the University of Toronto (after studying the effect of sodium on blood pressure in 3,505 subjects) suggest that there is a need to reevaluate the entire concept of low-sodium diets. In light of emerging evidence that a low-sodium diet may actually be harmful to some individuals, the researchers said, the objective of universal dietary sodium restrictions should be reevaluated.

The former president of the American Heart Association, Dr. Suzanne Oparil, agrees. Her personal view is that the government may have been too quick to recommend that everyone cut back. “Salt restriction as a solitary recommendation for the population for the prevention or treatment of hypertension is not a powerful weapon and is probably not worth the trouble,” she said.

According to Oparil, the link between high blood pressure and sodium intake first surfaced about 50 years ago–when studies indicated that hypertension was rare in countries with low-salt diets. But salt isn’t the only factor in blood pressure levels. So long as you are getting enough calcium, potassium, and magnesium, there’s no apparent reason to cut back on salt unless, of course, you just don’t like it.

Today, some researchers believe that low-salt diets may actually be dangerous. One theory holds that people with high blood pressure are at greater risk for heart attacks if their kidneys produce excess levels of the enzyme renin. A low-salt diet causes renin levels to increase.

Expect the experts to be duking this out for years to come.

The only salt worthy of your consideration is sea salt from a clean seabed. Don’t be fooled: If the label says “U.S. crude salt” it doesn’t mean the contents are pure. Crude salt is unrefined industrial salt. It may be unrefined, but it has been mined from a source that is most likely heavily contaminated with heavy metals. Sea salt is the only option.

To be a sea salt worthy of your family, it must meet all three of the following criteria:

1) The salt will not be the snow-white variety you’re used to. It should be light gray in color. After sitting for a time, the color at the bottom of the container will be darker. If the salt is crystal white, it may be sea salt but it has been treated and fractionated to rid it of impurities and, at the same time, this rids it of essential minerals. If it is not light gray, it is not a nutritious salt.

2) Legitimate sea salt is not dry to the touch. It should be a little soggy. The moistness is due to the presence of magnesium salts. When kept in cool storage, it doesn’t dry out.

3) The crystals, under magnification, are small and cubic.

Finding pure sea salt can be rather difficult. There are plenty of products out there claiming to be “pure” but, unfortunately, they have almost all been tampered with to some degree. I have only been able to find one source that I trust–The Grain and Salt Society in Ashville, North Carolina. They can be reached at (800) 867-7258 or on the Internet at www.celtic-seasalt.com.

Artificial sweeteners linked to brain tumors

Artificial sweeteners linked to brain tumors

Let me give you fair warning that I’m about to traduce (I think it means “to verbally beat the hell out of”) aspartame. I know I’ve talked about it before, but after reading a 1,000-page book called Aspartame Disease by H.J. Roberts, M.D., I’m more fired up about it now than I’ve ever been. The massive introduction of this neurotoxin into the food supply is nothing less than biological warfare against every single one of us, and the only acceptable solution is to ban it from the food chain.

Dr. Roberts doesn’t waste any time listing some powerful reasons for you to avoid this neurotoxin. I’m going to paraphrase them for lack of space (my apologies to Dr. Roberts), but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

FDA in-house scientists, consultants for the General Accounting Office (one of the few trustworthy bureaus in the U.S. government), and a public board of inquiry all urged that aspartame not be approved for human consumption. Yet despite clear evidence that this neurotoxin induced brain tumors in experimental animals, the FDA head at the time ignored the facts that were right in front of his face and approved the chemical for public consumption.

Did you know it’s against the law to expose people to a drug found to induce cancer in experimental animals? (It’s called the “Delaney Clause.”) Doing so amounts to genocide and treason, both of which, as I understand it, are illegal.

Anyway, instead of blacklisting the chemical with a “POISON!” sign like they should have, the perps down at the FDA stamped it with their coveted GRAS clearance. In case you’re not familiar with the acronym, it means “generally regarded as safe.” It gets my heart rate up just thinking about applying such a misleading term to something as UNSAFE as aspartame. It’s like impersonating a police officer or slipping razor blades into candy bars.

And let me tell you, that GRAS clearance has been aspartame’s “get-out-of-jail-free card” on more than one occasion. Now, when a complaint comes in about a neurological disease or other serious reaction that appears to be aspartame-induced, the FDA blows it off as anecdotal and not worthy of further comment. After all, aspartame is a GRAS chemical – the FDA said so themselves.

So if everything Roberts says is true, why haven’t you heard about this scandal on the evening news, or read about it in the papers, or even been warned about it by your doctor? I’ll tell you why: Professional organizations and their publications continue to suppress the truth about aspartame because they’ve all been bought off. In most cases, Big Pharma is behind such under-the-table deals, but in this case, the big food corporations are the culprits.

All of the food giants use the inexpensive imposter in huge quantities in their products. How sweet it is – especially for the bottom line. That leaves them plenty of money to buy off anyone who might want to blow the whistle on their deadly little scam – and leaves most doctors as ignorant as their patients about the dangers of aspartame. And it makes even more sense when you find out that most of the studies “proving” the safety of aspartame were financed by – guess who? – the big food industry.

I’ll end with a statistic for you: 66 percent of adults and 40 percent of children consume products containing this toxin. (This statistic is from 2000, so I’m sure these percentages are higher by now – especially considering Bill Clinton’s Diet Coke push in our public schools.)

So is it any wonder that every single neurological disease is on the rise? Roberts doesn’t think so. In the book, he lists hundreds of diseases he believes can be traced back to aspartame – and he explains the basis for his arguments. Obviously, I don’t have the space to get into specifics here, so let’s just look at the big picture.

A toxin like aspartame goes to many different types of cells, but it seems to have a particular liking for the cells of the central and peripheral nervous systems. That means that the damage from aspartame can show up anywhere the nerves are – which, of course, is anywhere in the body. And because it attacks your body at the cellular level, it can cause any number of diseases. The collection of signs and symptoms will vary, but the diseases will still come back to one root cause – aspartame.

The use of aspartame is as detrimental to your health as fluoride, chlorine, and soybean products. It’s not easy to avoid, either. Aspartame is in hundreds of different colas, desserts, candies, and other junk foods. The only way to avoid it is to shop the supermarket periphery for your food – the meat and fish, dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also many fine foods from Europe and the far East that come in cans and jars that don’t contain the poisonous sugar substitute – tuna, meat and fish pates, muscles, clams – you get the idea. Yes, a lot of these foods are expensive, but let me tell you, your food is NOT the place to cut budget costs. It’ll just drive your healthcare costs up in the future.

No sugar is good sugar

Some people argue that regular sugar is just as bad for you as sugar substitutes like NutraSweet and Equal. And in a sense, they’re right. In time, taking in too much sugar can lead to diabetes, which will lead to heart disease, renal disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic retinitis (blindness), diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and the list goes on and on.

But again, let’s look at the big picture. What we’re talking about here is a “lesser of evils.” The best possible thing you could do for your body would be to eliminate any and all sugar from your diet. If you want to live to a healthy old age (key word here being “healthy”), you should extract your sweet tooth ASAP in order to avoid the laundry list of horrors I just mentioned.

But like I said, we’re talking about a lesser of evils here, so if you have a sweet tooth that just won’t take “no” for an answer, consider using a sweetener that doesn’t contain aspartame – like Stevia, cyclamate, or lo-han.

The simplest way to slash your risk of heart attack in half (or more)

The simplest way to slash your risk of heart attack in half (or more)

By now, I’m sure you’re well aware of the health benefits of eating fish. I hesitate to bring it up again, since you’ve been beaten over the head with it so many times by the media. Studies show remarkable results in heart attack and sudden death prevention from eating fish and taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Boston doctors reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that men with a history of heart disease were 81 percent less likely to experience sudden death when they had high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood “regardless of their age or smoking habits.” (Please note that smoking habits played no part in the results. I make a point of it here just to get you used to it, since occasionally I will be referring to the amazing American anti-tobacco campaign and the scientific evidence that a certain amount of tobacco smoke is actually good for you. I have to take any opportunity I get to point this out, because most of you aren’t going to be easy to convince.)

But back to the subject at hand-fish and your heart.

Lead researcher Dr. Christine Albert and her colleagues didn’t rely on diet confessions of patients, which, as I have pointed out to you before in these pages, are unreliable to the point of being downright asinine. People don’t remember what they ate yesterday, much less last month. And besides, wouldn’t you rather tell the doctor what he wants to hear anyway? The team of researchers collected its data by analyzing blood samples taken from 94 men who died suddenly from heart disease and 184 healthy men “matched for age and smoking.”

The men were put into one of four categories, called quartiles. Each quartile corresponded to the level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. The first quartile was very low in omega-3 fatty acids; the second quartile was higher in omega-3s, etc. The researchers found that the men in the second-lowest quartile had a 45 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death compared with those in the lowest quartile, and those in the second highest quartile had a 72 percent lower risk of death. So the results show that the risk of sudden death increases as the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood decreases. Those are convincing figures, based on cold, hard numbers, not “patient interviews” done by phone or e-mail.

Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted on the opposite sex. In this report, women who consumed at least five servings of fish a week lowered their risk of coronary heart disease by more than one-third and cut their risk of fatal heart attack in half over a 16-year period.

Action to take:

Eat fish twice a week-especially mackerel and salmon. If you don’t like fish, you can buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements from any health food store.

The All-American tradition that could save your heart

The All-American tradition that could save your heart

One of the most maligned foods on the planet is the All-American hot dog. Sausages, under many names, are eaten all over the world. Anywhere you go, they will tell you their sausages are better than our American hot dogs, and I tend to agree with them. But that doesn’t mean they deserve the bad rap they’ve been given. In fact, a few months ago, the Associated Press reported a highly significant finding on these ballpark staples: Hot dogs are actually good for you.

As it turns out, sodium nitrite, the chemical used to color and preserve hot dogs and other meats, has remarkable effects on the cardiovascular system. In fact, it appears that nitrite salts may have a beneficial effect on all of the body’s organs: heart, brain, lungs-everywhere the blood flows. Dr. Mark Gladwin and an NIH cardiologist, Dr. Richard Cannon III, discovered that even very small doses of nitrate almost tripled blood flow. This translates to prevention and/or cure of heart attacks, pulmonary hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and strokes-and that’s just the short list.

They also proved that when people exercised, nitrite levels dropped dramatically in the muscles being exercised. This indicates that by some mechanism, the body was using the nitrite in exercise. Oxygen deprivation, for whatever reason, is what eventually does us in. If this deprivation can be avoided, you will live longer and healthier.

Sodium nitrite seems to have the ability to guard your cells against hypoxia (lack of oxygen). The researchers were amazed at the finding because they had been taught that nitrites had little medical relevance.

Yet despite these findings, people still have it in for the little dogs. Although the Associated Press (AP) reported the findings, it clearly didn’t believe them: The AP reporter, not wanting us to get any funny ideas, warns: “It doesn’t mean artery-clogging hot dogs are healthy.”

Who has ever offered any proof that hot dogs clog your arteries? Aren’t hot dogs a little big to clog most arteries? Maybe the reporter means that after the dog is eaten, it forms “toxins,”-demon fat, demon cholesterol-and then clogs the arteries. Who am I to doubt the AP? But a little scientific proof would be nice.

It just burns me up when a reporter with no scientific biological training makes sweeping pronouncements about nutrition, usually gleaned from other reporters or other so-called “experts” like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Concession stands caught in the crossfire

The state of Maine has gone whole-hog in the war on obesity. The Food Service Office is excited about the new crusade against fat people and is determined to do something about it. So what are they going to do? They’re going to eliminate the nutrient-dense hot dog from school lunch programs.

While I agree that it’s important to do something to combat childhood obesity, taking action in any endeavor based on a false paradigm (“fat makes you fat”) is doomed to failure.

Maine’s Kennebec Journal reported that “booster clubs traditionally have relied on hot dogs, candy bars and soda as concession stand staples. Under the amended Chapter 51, those staples would have to go.”

Do you see the injustice in comparing one of our most beloved and nutritious foods with the REAL enemies-candy bars and soda? And I can’t help but wonder if any of these pseudo-scientists ever thought that maybe, just maybe, it’s not the hot dog causing the problems, but the white-flour-laden bun that it’s almost always nestled into? No amount of mustard or relish can save you from the havoc that will wreak in your body.

The REAL nutritional science on “franks”

All hot dogs are cured and cooked sausages that consist of mainly pork, beef, chicken, and turkey or a combination of meat and poultry. (They generally contain 150 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 5 to 7 grams of protein.)

Ingredients, other than the meat, include water, curing agents and spices, such as garlic, salt, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander, and white pepper. Contrary to popular belief, there are no “secret ingredients” like chicken beaks, ground hoofs, claws, or entrails in American hot dogs.

If variety meats such as liver and hearts are used in processed meats like hotdogs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires the manufacturer to declare those ingredients on the package with the statement “with variety meats” or “with meat by-products.” The manufacturer must then specify which variety meat is included. In the U.S., companies are required to list ingredients in order, from the main ingredient, to the least ingredient. This is the law for all processed foods in the U.S., so you can rest assured that hot dogs only contain meat and other animal products that you eat in your regular diet.

Here’s what to do:
They may not be quite as tasty as bratwurst or kielbasa, but hot dogs are an American tradition, and a healthy one at that. So next time you need a quick lunch, bypass the salad bar and head to the nearest hot dog vendor. Use the bun as a handy way to hold the frank, but toss it when you’re done-your heart, your waistline, and the neighborhood pigeons will all thank you.

Prevent Parkinson’s disease with 2 all-natural wonder drugs…

 

Prevent Parkinson’s disease with 2 all-natural wonder drugs

Despite the plethora of research on Parkinson’s disease, progress toward finding a cure has been painfully slow. In its classic form, Parkinson’s is easily recognizable: Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never mistake its characteristic symptoms-a blank stare, a nearly constant tremor, rigidity of the extremities, and an affected gait with a leaning forward of the trunk. In many cases, however, the patient is much more mentally alert than he looks, making the disease that much more tragic, since the patient must live in constant awareness of symptoms that he has no control over.

Treatment often involves brain surgery. But a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry contains breakthrough information that may eliminate the need for such barbaric surgery on Parkinson’s patients. Researchers have found a link between Parkinson’s disease and high levels of homocysteine, something that can be easily corrected by supplementing with a simple nutrient.

The dark history of Parkinson’s treatments

Parkinson’s disease is quite common in varying degrees in many people over 75. One survey indicates that 15 percent of people between 65 and 74 years old and more than half of everyone over 85 have abnormalities consistent with the presence of some level of Parkinson’s. But it’s not unusual for it to start in middle age (or earlier)-think of Janet Reno and Michael J. Fox-and for the disability to progress over time.

We know a considerable amount about what happens to a person’s brain after he has Parkinson’s, most notably a loss of brain cells. The big problem is that no one knows why those brain cells die to begin with-or how to keep them alive. As with most neurological diseases, finding an effective treatment lags far behind our anatomical and biochemical knowledge.

Theories on the cause have implicated environmental toxins and iron. I, for one, have always suspected that immunizations play a role in Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases-including multiple sclerosis and ALS. Unfortunately, since there’s no conclusive research to back these ideas up, treating patients has remained a challenge.

There are drugs that effectively improve the symptomsfor a while. But they have a tendency to wear off quickly and have potential side effects that can worsen the condition. Levodopa has become the drug of choice in most Parkinson’s cases, but as with all drug treatments, it only works for a short period of time.

Surprisingly, some forms of surgery, which can only be described as ghoulish, are dramatically successful, but with a price.

“Destructive neurosurgical procedures,” as they have been called, were used decades ago. Believe it or not, doctors actually used a treatment that involved digging out part of the person’s brain. (Lobotomy, anyone?) Ninety percent of the patients reported a positive response to the surgery, but in exchange for what?

Complications included destruction of brain tissue from a blood clot that hemorrhages in the brain (cerebral infarction), an inability to speak (dysarthria), an inability to talk (hypophonia), an inability to think, and a partial inability to see.

That price is a bit high, so brain stimulation surgery is replacing the procedure. For this procedure, the surgeon uses an implanted electrode and a stimulator to shock selected areas of the patient’s brain. This treatment, called thalamic stimulation, has proven very effective in relieving tremors. It also increases periods of consciousness in advanced Parkinson’s disease. Brain stimulation surgery has a lower complication rate than destructive surgery, but it still seems barbaric.

Others are turning to transplanting fetal cells into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease. There is strong evidence that the fetal cells are “taking.” In other words, they’re surviving in their new brains. Problem is, no one really knows the benefits of such procedures at this point. And of course, there’s the ethical arguments to consider. A lot of people are dead-set against it, but, in our secular society, I predict the research will continue-one way or another.

All of these treatments occur “after the fact,” so to speak-once the patient is already suffering from the maddening symptoms of Parkinson’s. Obviously, prevention is always 100 times better than an attempted cure (especially one that involves cutting your skull open and fiddling with your brain), but until recently no one knew of anything that could work that sort of miracle.

How to reduce your risk of Parkinson’s by 71 percent

Ever since a bunch of angry, overtaxed citizens dumped crates of the stuff into Boston Harbor a couple centuries back, tea has been a distant second to coffee in America. But new research just might help tea- specifically black tea-gain some ground on coffee. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, drinking three quarters of a cup of black tea 23 times a month may decrease the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by-hang on to your tea cozies-71 percent.

This stunning finding comes from Singapore, where researchers studied over 60,000 Chinese men and women. As you probably know, it’s green tea that’s currently lauded as the hero beverage of choice because of its high antioxidant content. In fact, other studies have even reported that green tea helps to battle Parkinson’s. But this new study actually found no Parkinson’s-fighting benefits to green tea.

The difference between green tea and black tea is time. Very simply, black tea is older-it’s just green tea that’s been fermented. The study found nothing to link the higher caffeine content of black tea to these benefits. In fact, the researchers aren’t exactly sure why black tea has these anti-Parkinson’s properties.

“The key difference between black and green tea lies in the types and amounts of flavonoids,” says Dr. Ann Walker of England’s Tea Advisory Panel, noting that black tea has more complex varieties of flavonoids, called “thearubigins and theaflavins.”

While no one knows exactly why black tea is so beneficial, it seems apparent that the benefits are indeed real. As for me, I’m not shocked by this latest revelation. I’ve told you before about the health boost you can get from all kinds of tea. Flavonoids are good for your heart, and the caffeine and antioxidants can ward off cancer.

What’s more, these dramatic benefits can actually be measured by blood tests after only three weeks of a black-tea-drinking regimen.

Even if this study is only half right, we’re STILL talking about a 35 percent decrease in your risk of getting Parkinson’s-and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
But drinking tea isn’t the only way to fight Parkinson’s

Fight Parkinson’s with folic acid

Researchers at the National Institute on Aging have found evidence that a lack of folic acid in the body may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

In the study, the researchers injected two groups of mice with a substance called MPTP (something that induces a Parkinson’s-like disease in animals). Then they included folic acid in the diet of one group of mice and compared those mice with ones that weren’t given folic acid. They found that the mice fed folic acid only developed mild illness, whereas those who didn’t receive the vitamin suffered severe symptoms.

Folic acid is essential in the conversion of homocysteine to cystathionine, a harmless substance that occurs naturally in the body and can be excreted in the urine.

A lack of adequate folic acid will cause a chain reaction in your brain. First, low levels allow homocysteine to build up in your brain. (One of the ways homocysteine is formed is from digesting “well-done” meat.) Too much homocysteine can damage brain cells in the substantia nigra, the area of the brain that produces dopamine. Dopamine levels are consistently low in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

But there are steps you can take to keep those homocysteine levels under control.

Here’s what to do:

1. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, whole wheat bread, poultry, and egg yolks. These foods contain significant amounts of folic acid.

2. If you prefer to take folic acid supplements, you can buy them in most health food stores and pharmacies. Take 5,000 micrograms per day. (I should mention that you’ll need a lot of pills since the FDA doesn’t let manufacturers put more than 800 mcg in one pill.)

3. Since vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 are also important in the metabolism of homocysteine, be sure to take these nutrients along with folic acid. If there is a history of Parkinson’s in your family, take extra doses: I suggest 500 milligrams of B6 daily and an injection of 1,000 micrograms of B12 at least once a month. You can purchase B vitamin supplements in capsule form in any health food store or pharmacy. For injections, however, you should consult a physician trained in nutritional medicine. For a referral to one in your area, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800)532-3688 or visit them on-line at www.acam.org.

Why women can't live without testosterone

Why women can’t live without testosterone

Breast cancer is cited as women’s primary health concern: One in nine women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. But there is an even bigger threat to women’s health, one that is often overlooked, misdiagnosed, or thought of as a primarily male problem. Myocardial infarctions-heart attacks-kill one of every two women. That’s more than all cancers combined!

When this information hit the news, the “experts” began treating heart disease in women with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). What they didn’t realize is that standard HRT doesn’t prevent heart attacksit can actually double your risk! Standard HRT for women is based entirely on the use of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. These man-made hormones are not the same as the ones that occur naturally in women’s bodies. And in addition to increasing the risk of heart attack, there is also strong evidence that they increase the risk of breast cancer.

While all of the synthetic estrogen HRT experimentation was going on, researchers virtually ignored another hormone essential to good health in both women and men-testosterone.

Ample research now indicates that testosterone is perhaps the most overlooked hormone. While women need a smaller proportion of testosterone than men, it is just as important to female health as it is to male. Testosterone improves blood flow to the heart in both sexes, reducing the risk of heart attack. The benefits don’t stop there.

Testosterone has anticoagulant properties, which protect against stroke. It also helps to regulate blood sugar, making it a potential treatment for diabetes. In addition, testosterone has been used effectively in treating osteoporosis and signs of aging.

And, as if all of this weren’t enough, testosterone has also shown remarkable results in treating the most dreaded of female health concerns: breast cancer. In a study performed at the Baton Rouge Menopause Clinic, researchers treated 4,000 patients with a combination of estrogen and testosterone. Only one patient in every 1,000 was diagnosed with cancer by the end of the study: That’s less than half the national average!

Testosterone won’t keep you living forever, and it isn’t a cure-all, but it may drastically improve the quality of your health. The first step is to have your levels tested. To find a doctor skilled in the use of natural hormones who can help you with testing and any necessary therapy, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine online at www.acam.org.

One important note: Make sure your doctor does not use methyl-testosterone-it has been shown to be harmful to the liver.

Two simple steps to keeping your balance at any age

4 keys to halting osteoarthritis pain in as little as 24 hours

By the time people hit the 70-year-old mark, most of them have some degree of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative joint disease that affects the small joints in the fingers, knees, hips, and back. The neck may also be affected, which can be severely debilitating. This form of arthritis is characterized by much less inflammation and swelling of the joints than rheumatoid arthritis but with more calcification. It is often worse than it appears on examination, but rarely as bad as rheumatoid arthritis.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the pain. I’d like to share with you four natural treatments for arthritis that can not only relieve the pain, but can also reverse the damage.

A fishy solution for arthritis pain

I’ve recommended cod liver oil for 30 years. I’ve always said that if it was good enough for my great grandmother Bell then it’s good enough for you and me. Great grandma Bell just happened to be “Dr. Lucy” Bell-and much of her advice is what’s gotten me here today.

But back to the issue at hand: cod liver oil.

Cardiff University in Great Britain recently conducted a study on the beneficial effects of cod liver oil on degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis). It’s been known for years that cod liver oil is good for rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammatory type. But these new findings by the Cardiff researchers show that not only does cod liver oil relieve the symptoms-primarily pain and stiffness-of both types of arthritis, but it can also reverse the destruction of joint cartilage, which is characteristic of osteoarthritis. The cartilage is the cushioning factor that keeps the joints of the bones from rubbing together.

Professor Bruce Caterson, head of the Cardiff study, immersed tissue samples in a test solution of cod liver oil. He found that the solution could completely stop-or even reverse-the action of the destructive enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue after just 24 hours. Amazing!

“This is where,” Dr. Caterson added, “science and old wives’ tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease.”

Here’s what to do

Great grandma Bell’s advice? Take four cod-liver oil capsules twice a day. My advice? Always listen to Great grandma Bell.

The dynamite duo that can reverse arthritis damage

“Scarce currency has been given to the notion that progression of osteoarthritis could be retarded pharmacologically, let alone by a nutritional product. This reportmay radically change this situation.”

This stunning pronouncement was from Boston University Medical Center arthritis expert Tim McAlindon, M.D., in response to a report by Belgian scientists, published in the January 25, 2001 issue of the Lancet.

The studies were done at the University of Liege, Belgium. The truly momentous finding was that the combination of perfectly safe over-the-counter nutritional products, glucosamine sulfate (a synthetic version of one of the body’s natural cartilage-builders) and chondroitin, not only relieved the pain of the condition, but, on X-ray, revealed healing, that is, a reversal of the calcification of the joints.
“This provides reasonably compelling evidence that [glucosamine] improves the disease,” said Dr. Jack Klippel, medical director of the American Arthritis Foundation. “This will lead to greater acceptance of glucosamine as a reasonable and safe treatment for osteoarthritis.”

According to Dr. Klippel, more arthritics take glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, unbeknownst to their doctors, than take traditional painkillers and anti-inflammatories. This is a stunning admission and justifies my remarks made over the years that rheumatologists may do more harm than good with their constant drugging of their patients.

It has always been an unspoken mantra in medicine that “there will never be a drug that reverses calcification to a significant degree.” I believed it myself and now, an herbal type preparation has shown us the way? It’s enough to give a doctor humility.
We’ll see if the rheumatologists get the message.

Herbal arthritis relief as effective as prescription drugs

It seems there’s always something new emerging for arthritis treatment, especially some sort of expensive pharmaceutical drug with potentially dangerous side effects. So when a cheap, safe, traditional herbal therapy makes the news, it’s worth taking a closer look.
In a double-blind study, researchers examined the effects of the herb devil’s claw on osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. In the study, 122 people with osteoarthritis were given either devil’s claw supplements or diacerhein, a prescription “super drug,” for four months. Researchers found that both were equally effective in relieving arthritis pain. Furthermore, significantly fewer people in the devil’s claw group needed to take additional pain relieving drugs.

Although this doesn’t seem to be headline news, it is significant that the herbal remedy held its own in symptom relief and exceeded the long-term relief of an expensive drug.

Here’s what to do

Take 2 grams of devil’s claw each day. Devil’s claw supplements are available from health food stores and even from some pharmacies. While no major side effects appear to be associated with devil’s claw, it may interfere with the action of blood thinning drugs like Coumadin. If you are currently taking such medications, you should not begin treatment with devil’s claw.

Relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, naturally

Relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, naturally

The history of using plant extracts to treat BPH dates back to descriptions written on an Egyptian papyrus 15 centuries before Christ. The American Indians have been using saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) to treat urinary-tract problems for centuries. And in Europe, it has been held in high regard for years as a treatment for prostate trouble.

Several studies about saw palmetto have been published in the last few years, and more research is cropping up all the time. All of them tout the 5-alpha-reductase-inhibiting properties of the free fatty acids in saw palmetto.

Research has shown that saw palmetto can actually inhibit as much as 90 percent of the transformation of testosterone into DHT, that powerful hormone thought to be responsible for the prostate enlargement.

In fact, saw palmetto extract seems to produce results comparable to those achieved by finasteride but without the dangerous emasculating side effects. A 1996 study published in the medical journal Prostate compared the effects of saw palmetto with those of finasteride (Proscar) and found that the two had nearly equal effects on symptoms and urine flow. In another comparison of finasteride and saw palmetto, finasteride produced a miserly 16 percent increase in flow in only three months.

All the benefits, none of the side effects

In a trial reported in an issue of Current Therapeutic Research, 505 patients with mild to moderate symptoms of BPH were treated with an oral preparation of saw palmetto, taking 160 milligrams twice daily. Using no less than five means of comparison (the International Prostate Symptom Score, a quality-of-life score, urinary-flow rates, residual urinary volume, and patient prostate size), the researchers showed that saw palmetto produced significant improvement after only 45 days of treatment.

After 90 days, 88 percent of the patients considered the therapy successful. Side effects were reported in only 5 percent of the patients in the three-month study.

Saw palmetto definitely works-shrinking prostates and naturally relieving the symptoms of BPH, with little or no serious side effects or adverse reactions, and certainly none of the horrible, and usually permanent, side effects of prostate surgery!

Saw palmetto is just the beginning

Saw palmetto isn’t the only natural, plant-derived chemical that has proven effective in reducing the troublesome symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Other extracts are commonly taken from the pygeum Africanum (African plum) and radix Urtica (stinging nettle) plants. The positive effects of these extracts are attributed to their phytosterols, steroid-like properties with a mild hormonal effect. Of the phytosterols, sitosterol is believed to be the most potent.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the British medical journal Lancet, patients treated with beta-sitosterol showed significant improvements in their symptoms and flow.

Another study used a combination of saw palmetto extract and Urtica (nettle) root on more than over 2,000 patients. At a daily dosage of 230 milligrams of Urtica root for 12 weeks, there was a 29 percent increase in average urinary flow, a 44.7 percent reduction in residual urine, and a 50.4 percent reduction in nocturia (which is scientific jargon for “the need to get up in the middle of the night to urinate”). There was also a noted 53.6 percent reduction in “post-voiding dribbling” (gotta love that science-speak).

Even that old standby ginseng gets into the prostate act. It’s an “adaptogen” (capable of many different functions). It adapts to the situation as needed. You’re probably already familiar with the energizing and immune-boosting properties of ginseng. Well, ginseng has also demonstrated an ability to safely increase your testosterone levels while shrinking your prostate!

Two simple steps to keeping your balance at any age

Two simple steps to keeping your balance at any age

I’ve been critical of the weight-lifting and exercise crazes for a long time. The “body shops” are, for the most part, a sociological phenomenon. It’s a great place for the boys to check out female body parts as they really are and not as they appear to be when fully dressed. And for the girls,
it’s a place to meet the boys. Of course, many of them also suffer under the delusion that they are also going to lose a little weight in the process.

But the people who actually need a little weightlifting and some mild exercise are hardly ever found at such places. A nationwide survey shows that only about 11 percent of people age 65 and older regularly perform any sort of strength exercises.

You don’t necessarily need a gym membership, though. I have always maintained that all those
over 65 need are a long walk once daily-a half-mile out and a half-mile back-and a few
simple weight exercises.

The thigh muscles are probably the most important ones to concentrate on, since they’re the ones that can help you keep your balance to avoid a disastrous fall. So in addition to taking a daily walk, I also recommend doing squats while holding about 2 pounds of weight in each hand. Just be careful to hold your spine straight or you may injure your back.

If you are unsure about what to do, you can go to a gym and tell one of the “trainers” that you
want to strengthen your leg muscles. Tell him you are only interested in thigh strength and you
do not want a comprehensive muscle-building program. If he asks why you don’t want the full
program, tell him that is all your doctor recommended. He will probably try to sell you a lot of
bodybuilding capsules and pills.

Don’t waste your money.

Halt the pain and damage of osteoarthritis in just 24 hours

Halt the pain and damage of osteoarthritis in just 24 hours

I have recommended cod liver oil for 30 years. I always said that if it was good enough for my great grandmother Bell then it is good enough for you and me. Great grandma Bell just happened to be “Dr. Lucy” Bell-and much of her advice is what’s gotten me here today.

But back to the issue at hand: cod liver oil.

Cardiff University in Great Britain recently finished a study on the beneficial effects of cod liver oil on degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis). It’s been known for years that cod liver oil is good for rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammatory type. But these new findings by the Cardiff researchers show that not only does cod liver oil relieve the symptoms-primarily pain and stiffness-of both types of arthritis, but it can also reverse the destruction of joint cartilage, which is characteristic of osteoarthritis. The cartilage is the cushioning factor that keeps the joints of the bones from rubbing together.

Professor Bruce Caterson, head of the Cardiff study, immersed tissue samples in a test solution of cod liver oil. He found that the solution could completely stop-or even reverse-the action of the destructive enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue after just 24 hours. Amazing!

“This is where,” Dr. Caterson added, “science and old wives’ tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease.”

Here’s what to do:

Great grandma Bell’s advice? Take four cod-liver oil capsules twice a day. My advice? Always listen to Great grandma Bell.