I became aware of this awesome integrative health event and knew that it was something that I wanted to share with my tribe.
As the medical field gets more aware and changes it’s ways, it’s to our best advantage to know the absolute best treatments that are available to treat health issues for ourselves and families, so here goes…
Want to hear something crazy?
…without washing their hands!
Good thing the medical community has learned from their mistakes.
Or have they?
Not that long ago ulcers were considered to be “stress related” and treated with a handful of antacids.
Turns out the cause wasn’t stress, it was a bacteria and with the benefit of a simple treatment, the cure rate shot up to over 80 percent.
(Talk about breakthroughs!)
But, there’s a huge problem…
Why the delay?
Because this is the way it works…
For the first time ever, there is a credible source of information where you can find health and medical solutions that work NOW…without the wait.
I also want you to know that the source of this information is coming from laboratories and medical centers like NASA, Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford.
So if you don’t want to be left behind, or suffer from out-of-date treatments and solutions that might be making you sick… I think it’s a no-brainer to give it your complete consideration.
P.S. I have had the honor of being able to peek behind the scenes, and this is definitely something I am going to be benefiting from far into the future.
Why not do the same to ensure you know what’s best concerning your health in the future?
Let me share the mission statement of this project and you will understand why I felt it important to share with you:
The Future of Health Now is focused on the very reasonable goal of helping one million people lead happier, healthier lives this year. We have assembled a generation-defining online summit that features the best and brightest leaders doctors and professionals from the world of medicine, wellness, science and technology.
This is the intersection of alternative and traditional western medicine – not based on any preconceived notions or ideologies other than that science and evidence must guide our choices. We are blazing new trails and providing a new path for consumers.
The Future of Health Now means real, actionable science-based solutions.
We are empowering individuals, families and communities to make bolder and more informed decisions about their minds, bodies and the relationship between the two.
From Ancient Minerals:
Symptoms of poor magnesium intake can include muscle cramps, facial tics, poor sleep, and chronic pain. It pays to ensure that you get adequate magnesium before signs of deficiency occur.
But how can you know whether you’re getting enough?
According to population studies of average magnesium intake, there’s a good chance that you’re not.
Do I get enough magnesium?
One method of assessing your magnesium status is to simply contact your health care provider and request detailed magnesium testing. Yet magnesium assessment is typically done using blood serum testing, and these tests can be misleading. Only 1% of magnesium in the body is actually found in blood, and only .3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not successfully identify magnesium deficiency.
What to do?
Fortunately, it’s possible to get a sense of where your intake may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.
Learn how to read your signs below, and find out what you can do to ensure magnesium balance and good health. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be at risk for low magnesium intake.
1. Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?
Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking soda with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.4 5 6
The average consumption of carbonated beverages today is more than ten times what it was in 1940.7 This skyrocketing increase is responsible for both reduced magnesium and calcium availability in the body.8 9
2. Do you regularly eat pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?
Refined sugar is not only a zero magnesium product but it also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content entirely.
And sugar does not simply serve to reduce magnesium levels. Sweet foods are known by nutritionists as “anti-nutrients”. Anti-nutrients like sweets are foods that replace whole nutritious foods in the diet, yet actually consume nutrients when digested, resulting in a net loss. Because all foods require vitamins and minerals to be consumed in order to power the process of digestion, it’s important to choose foods that “put back” vital nutrients, and then some.
The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.
3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?
Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency.
Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium.4
Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.
4. Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?
Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.
If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.
5. Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?
The effects of certain drugs have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.
6. Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?
The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys. In studies, clinical magnesium deficiency was found in 30% of alcoholics.10
Increased alcohol intake also contributes to decreased efficiency of the digestive system, as well as Vitamin D deficiency, both of which can contribute to low magnesium levels.11
7. Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium or calcium supplements with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio?
Studies have shown that when magnesium intake is low, calcium supplementation may reduce magnesium absorption and retention.12 13 14 And, whereas calcium supplementation can have negative effects on magnesium levels, magnesium supplementation actually improves the body’s use of calcium.7
Though many reports suggest taking calcium to magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, this figure is largely arbitrary. The ideal ratio for any individual will vary depending on current conditions as well as risk factors for deficiency.
However, several researchers now support a 1:1 calcium to magnesium ratio for improved bone support and reduced risk of disease. This is due not only to the increased evidence pointing to widespread magnesium deficiency, but also concerns over the risk of arterial calcification when low magnesium stores are coupled with high calcium intake.
According to noted magnesium researcher Mildred Seelig:
The body tends to retain calcium when in a magnesium-deficient state. Extra calcium intake at such a time could cause an abnormal rise of calcium levels inside the cells, including the cells of the heart and blood vessels… Given the delicate balance necessary between calcium and magnesium in the cells, it is best to be sure magnesium is adequate if you are taking calcium supplements.”8
8. Do you experience any of the following:
- Times of hyperactivity?
- Difficulty getting to sleep?
- Difficulty staying asleep?
The above symptoms may be neurological signs of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Low magnesium is also associated with personality changes and sometimes depression.
9. Do you experience any of the following:
- Painful muscle spasms?
- Muscle cramping?
- Facial tics?
- Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements?
Neuromuscular symptoms such as these are among the classic signs of a potential magnesium deficit.
Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction.
Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation, and without it our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Calcium, on the other hand, signals muscles to contract. As noted in the book The Magnesium Factor, the two minerals are “two sides of a physiological coin; they have actions that oppose one another, yet they function as a team.”8
Chvostek’s Sign and Trousseau’s Sign are both clinical tests for involuntary muscle movements, and both may indicate either calcium or magnesium deficiency, or both. In fact, magnesium deficiency may actually appear as calcium deficiency in testing, and one of the first recommendations upon receiving low calcium test results is magnesium supplementation.
10. Did you answer yes to any of the above questions and are also age 55 or older?
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to low magnesium status. It has been shown that aging, stress and disease all contribute to increasing magnesium needs, yet most older adults actually take in less magnesium from food sources than when they were younger.
In addition, magnesium metabolism may be less efficient as we grow older, as changes the GI tract and kidneys contribute to older adults absorbing less and retaining less magnesium.15
If you are above 55 and also showing lifestyle signs or symptoms related to low magnesium, it’s particularly important that you work to improve your magnesium intake. When body stores of magnesium run low, risks of overt hypomagnesaemia (magnesium deficiency) increase significantly.
How can you know for certain if you have a deficiency?
Magnesium’s impact is so crucial and far reaching that symptoms of its absence reverberate throughout the body’s systems. This makes signs of its absence hard to pin down with absolute precision, even for cutting edge researchers. Doctors Pilar Aranda and Elena Planells noted this difficulty in their report at the International Magnesium Symposium of 2007:
The clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency are difficult to define because depletion of this cation is associated with considerable abnormalities in the metabolism of many elements and enzymes. If prolonged, insufficient magnesium intake may be responsible for symptoms attributed to other causes, or whose causes are unknown.”
Among researchers, magnesium deficiency is known as the silent epidemic of our times, and it is widely acknowledged that definitive testing for deficiency remains elusive. Judy Driskell, Professor, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Nebraska, refers to this “invisible deficiency” as chronic latent magnesium deficiency, and explains:
Normal serum and plasma magnesium concentrations have been found in individuals with low magnesium in [red blood cells] and tissues. Yet efforts to find an indicator of subclinical magnesium status have not yielded a cost-effective one that has been well validated.”16
Yet while the identification of magnesium deficiency may be unclear, its importance is undeniable.
Magnesium activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, translating to thousands of biochemical reactions happening on a constant basis daily. Magnesium is crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation.
Considering these varied and all-encompassing effects, not to mention the cascading effect magnesium levels have on other important minerals such as calcium and potassium, one thing is clear – long term low magnesium intake is something to be avoided.
What can you do to increase magnesium intake?
The longer your intake remains low, the more likelihood your bodily stores will be diminished, leaving you exposed to some of the more troubling side effects of long term deficiency. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., and expert on magnesium therapy, adequate magnesium can improve heart health, prevent stroke and obesity, and improve mood and memory.
If you answered no to all of the above questions, you may be able to rely on high food sources of magnesium.
Yet for many people, especially those with diseases and symptoms associated with low magnesium, active magnesium supplementation may be a crucial element of returning to good health.
In her book, The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Dean notes that achieving adequate magnesium through foods is notoriously difficult, stating:
I’m convinced that to get enough magnesium today, you need to take supplements.”4
One of the most effective ways to improve your magnesium levels is to combine a healthy diet with transdermal magnesium.
Many of the factors which contribute to low magnesium stores are caused by inefficiencies of the GI tract. By delivering magnesium through the skin directly to the cells, topical magnesium products bypass many of the problems associated with low magnesium absorption.
In older adults, reduced gastric acid levels in the digestive system may be a factor in reduced mineral availability. Hydrochloric acid supplements may be combined with magnesium to combat this dilemma; however a simpler and less expensive option is the use of magnesium chloride supplements. Magnesium chloride has been proven to have a high bioavailability, while simultaneously providing the chloride necessary for healthy digestion and vitamin and mineral absorption.
Magnesium researcher Mildred Seelig has called magnesium “the silent guardian of our hearts and arteries” and “necessary for life”. And Dr. Carolyn Dean calls it “the missing link to total health”.
If you haven’t heard much about magnesium and its importance to good health, now is the time to learn. And if it’s something you’ve always meant to look into, now is the time to take action!
Magnesium through the skin? Yes! Learn about topical magnesium products.
Watch health experts’ video interviews — powerful commentary on the why and how of magnesium.
- Combs GF, Nielsen FH. Health significance of calcium and magnesium: Examples from human studies. In: World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009. [↵]
- Pao EM, Mickle SJ. Problem nutrients in the United States. Food Technology. 1981:35:58-79. [↵]
- King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition. 2005 Jun;24(3):166-71. Available from: MEDLINE with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 6, 2009. [↵]
- Dean C. The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books; 2007. [↵] [↵] [↵]
- Weiss GH, Sluss PM, Linke CA. Changes in urinary magnesium, citrate and oxalate levels due to cola consumption. Urology 1992;39:331-3. [↵]
- Brink E. J., Beynen A. C., Dekker P. R., Beresteijn E.C.H., Meer R. Interaction of calcium and phosphate decreases ileal magnesium solubility and apparent magnesium absorption. The Journal of Nutrition. 1992; 122:580-586 [↵]
- Vartanian L, Schwartz, M, Brownell, K. Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 2007;97(4):667-675. [↵] [↵]
- Seelig M, Rosanoff A. The Magnesium Factor. New York: Avery Books; 2003. [↵] [↵] [↵]
- Heaney RP, Rafferty K. Carbonated beverages and urinary calcium excretion. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001; 74:343–347. [↵]
- Irwin R, Rippe J. Irwin and Rippe’s Intensive Care Medicine. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2008. [↵]
- Shane SR, Flink EB. Magnesium deficiency in alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Magnesium and trace elements. 1991-1992;10(2-4):263-8. [↵]
- Wester PO. Magnesium. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1987; 45:1305-12. [↵]
- Norman DA, Fordtran JS, Brinkley U, et al. Jejunal and ileal adaptation to alterations in dietary calcium. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1981 ;67: 1599-603. [↵]
- Seelig MS. The requirement of magnesium by the normal adult: Summary and analysis of published data. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1964;14:342-90. [↵]
- Bernstein A, Luggen AS. Nutrition for the Older Adult. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2010. [↵]
- Driskell J. Nutrition and Exercise Concerns of Middle Age. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2009. [↵]
How to Save $400 per Month and What Gyms, Landscapers, Cleaning People, and Nail Salons Have in Common
On a recent evening, I had the pleasure of having dinner at my incredibly-good-friends-they’re-actually-my-family’s home. Both of my parents passed away years ago and truly, when I go there, even though I didn’t grow up there, I’m home. Pamela calls me her “daughter from another mother” and when my son Nicholas was little, he looked up at me once when we were talking about visiting and said, “You belong to each other, right, Mommy?” Out of the mouths of babes. So we’re having one of our typical, can’t get a word in edgewise conversations over some nibbles and a gluten free beer, and the conversational tide turns to gyms and yard work.
I’ve actually never understood gyms. I admire people who are ripped and toned and know exactly how to firm up that little piece of muscle that is on the back of our arms and flaps around in the breeze. However, we didn’t have gyms 100 years ago, unless maybe you were a boxer or an Olympian in training. So why are we compelled to go there? The point was really illustrated when Clifford was describing a conversation he had with someone headed to the gym while he was staying home to rake the leaves. He has 2 acres of leaves to rake. As he is physically demonstrating what we do when we rake, and then the motions of shoveling, and then we threw in toilet scrubbing, window washing and bending down to pick up sticks after a rainstorm, it really did resemble a Zumba class.
So what has conditioned us to believe that we need to leave:
- the yard that needs to be mowed
- the leaves that need to be raked
- the weeds that need to be pulled
- the vegetables and herbs that need to be planted
- the windows that need to be washed
- the toilet that needs to be scrubbed
- the floor that need to be mopped
- the tree that needs to be chopped up for a warm fire
- and so on and so forth
for the gardener-landscaper and the cleaning lady?
Why do we leave our homes where all of this work needs to be done and our kids are on the computer or XBOX waiting for a role model to walk into their lives, go to the gym, pay the monthly dues and the trainer’s fees ch-ching, $100, could be more or less, not really the point, and leave someone else to do our dirty work? And why is it called dirty work? When did we become so elevated on the karmic plane that simple physical work became “dirty” and beneath us? If exercise was what we were after, why didn’t we just stay home and get some? Do we believe the gym gives us better exercise? Well, you should have seen Clifford enacting shoveling, chopping, raking, and Pamela picking up things from the ground and me washing windows and you would know that’s not the truth. When did we get to the place where astronomical gym membership fees seem normal?
And let’s throw in getting out nails done. Do we really not know how to cut our fingernails? And splash some paint on them, which we hopefully mastered in pre-K, remember fingerpainting? My son recently won a manicure certificate at a minigolf tournament (how many things are wrong with that sentence) at our community in Panama, Valle Escondido. It was the grand opening of the new minigolf course, I will tackle minigolf in another post, and I really have no idea why the prize was a manicure. Panama is like kindergarten, you get what you get and you don’t get upset. Anyway, I am not the manicure kind of girl. I am opposed to the fungus that I know lingers in those foot baths and using other people’s clippers that may not have been sanitized (yeah, I know, you bring your own to the salon), and the general concept of putting all of those chemicals on my body and dammit, why on earth do we think that it even looks good? Healthy nails and those glue on build up plastic chemical monstrosities that mask the poor condition of our nail health are two vastly different things. Anyway, my little daughter, Ava, was asking what a pedicure and manicure were like and is it so special and amazing and ooh and aah and I decided that the best experience is a learning experience. So I bought an extra certificate and of we went (me cringing) to get pedicures. Was it fun to be with her doing a mother daughter thing? Sure. But read on.
We picked out our polish, sat down and they proceeded to scrub and buff and trim and cut and soak. I am biting my tongue and imagining what’s really lurking in the foot bath and on the clippers. Ava looks like she’s in heaven. I look like I’m perched on an uncomfortable damp log in the forest. So we leave with our polished nails and I think, maybe it was worth it if she’s happy. And she turns to me and says, “Mommy, you know, my American Girl How to Get Ready for Your Big Day book says not to cut off your cuticles or file down your nail surface and did you see that their hands tremble when they paint and they made a bigger mess than you do when you paint my toenails?” (The Easter Bunny left some “organic” nail polish in her basket.) And I thought, as Pamela always tells me, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And when I took my nail polish off a week later because my pointer toe was suspiciously itchy, low and behold, there was a lovely souvenir nail fungus about to take hold. Tea tree oil and peroxide to the rescue. And Ava and I would rather have our hands in the dirt planting seeds and veggies and herbs as our mother-daughter activity anyway. What can I say?
So now we can respectfully fire the landscaper and the cleaning lady and the nail salon girl, for a total of $300, give or take, please do not write to me with cost details of what you pay, be it more or less. This is merely for fun. So what about the other $100? Well, that’s my fee to coach you in health and nutrition for an hour. Since you’ve now raked your yard, put your hands in the dirt and planted some veggies and healing herbs, cleaned your house with vinegar and baking soda, acted as a role model for your children in taking responsibility for their lives and homesteads, you don’t need me. Come on, you must know that Doritos and Oreos are no good for you, right? Do you not know to eat your veggies, cut down on starchy junk, and have some healthy protein? Of course you know this. No one thinks that an Oreo is equivalent to a salad. We’ve just allowed ourselves to be conditioned to do these things, gyms, Oreos, leaf blowers, God help me-Roundup spray instead of pulling weeds, having someone paint our nails. Who, exactly, do we think we are? Who have we allowed ourselves and our children to become?
So in total, and I am sure, given another hour to write, that I could come up with lots more examples, we have saved $400, gotten in shape, planted a garden from which to eat healthy food, fired me because, let’s face it, you know somewhere deep down about that RingDings aren’t what you should eat for lunch, have a trendy ecogreen cleaned house, and your children are little self sufficient responsible people who get what life’s all about. And to boot, we have probably solved much of our immigration and economic woes by returning to a local and sustainable way of life. One that’s about who you “belong to” and family and all that really good stuff that you don’t find at the gym, nail salon, or snuggled up with the cleaning lady or gardener.
Honestly though, if these concepts sound foreign, or you really have health conditions that you’re struggling with or if the programming runs deep, but these thoughts have struck a chord within you, reach out to me. It could be that you need a little help reaching the cord that unplugs you from the matrix and I’m just the person to help you with that. No holds barred, down to earth, healthy, truthful living. With a lot of laughter! Email me at CynthiaHenrich@HolisticHealthInsider.com to talk.
I’ve had many requests from inspired people looking to change their lives and the lives of others by enrolling at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition for the next scholarship opportunity. Well, here it is and it’s a really great opportunity!
As an IIN Ambassador, I have an exclusive opportunity to give away not one, but two huge gifts:
$1,000 off enrollment costs!
When you enroll in the Health Coach Training Program between Monday, May 21st and Wednesday, May 23rd, you’ll receive up to $1,000 in savings:
- $500 off enrollment costs
- And an additional $500 off depending on the enrollment option you select.
The Super Short Version of my Journey
Eleven years ago I had my life turned upside down with a colon cancer diagnosis. I remember coming home to the upturned faces of 2 little boys, 4 and 2, who had no idea whatsoever of how their lives could potentially change overnight. And my husband, my poor terrified worried husband, who was so strong for me through it all. I was fully engaged in the mainstream at that point in my life, in fact, that is how I remained undiagnosed for 2 years with handfuls of Prozac prescriptions that I didn’t fill. I knew on some deep level that if I was going to be around to balance all of that male energy in my home, I was going to have to figure it out myself.
Five years after that, I ran a 5K and determined to continue with my research and healthy ways, I enrolled at IIN. So many pieces of the puzzle fell into place that year and every day since then for me. The incredible teachers, my fellow students, and then ultimately my own clients and students, all contributed to my healing experience. I clearly remember one day at school telling a fellow student who was a quantum energy healer, that my mother had died suddenly and unexpectedly shortly before I fell ill. She told me that the colon is the seat of unresolved grief. It hit me like an icy blast that despite grief counseling and tears, I had shoved that pain so far down inside myself that it manifested into something else entirely.
The message that made me believe that it would be my mission and passion for the rest of my life to help people who are stuck in the mainstream and know there’s another way, was my daughter. I thought that chemotherapy had taken a toll on my fertility, when the universe clearly had something else in mind. A perfectly healthy slippery silver dream was born into my life with her birth, and it is still the faces of my children and husband that inspire me every day to do whatever I can to change the health paradigm that exists in our world.
That is what inspires me to share Integrative Nutrition with you, the incredible beauty, healing and friendship that it has brought into my life, and through me, into the lives of others. Please let me know if you’d ever like to talk about how it might change your life. And these scholarships are a great chance to create this for yourself or someone you love, today.
Whispers of heart shaped toast, a card found tucked away in the back of the minivan, items being held up in stores with “Mom, do you like this?” being asked; in my life, these are the stirrings of Mother’s Day. It will be the first year that my children are left totally to their own devices, because my husband’s job has kept him in Panama for a while longer than the rest of the family. I think the kids have it covered, the little angels!
My own mother has been gone for 13 years now, although from time to time, she sits on my shoulder and offers words of encouragement, “You’re doing a great job, they are wonderful children”, or makes a comment if I’m in the dressing room trying something on, “Cynthia, you look like you’re wearing the dining room tablecloth”, or when someone is behaving in a particularly frustrating way, “If you have nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut”. We could frustrate the living hell out of each other, but loved each other to pieces. From her I learned about my roots. At holidays or certain times of year, the big white boards that were used to roll out dough would come up from the basement and the cooking would commence. Peirogi, stuffed cabbage, chrusztiki with powdered sugar, kapusta with butter beans, all the old Irish favorites. Memories of polishing the dining room furniture with that particular childish intensity and lemon Pledge until it was glowing, sitting at her sewing machine while she ironed my school uniform and my dad’s police uniform (I need only plug my iron in to be transported directly home), watching her sit on the front porch with coffee and the neighbors while all of us kids played hide and seek on our dead end street (there weren’t cul-de-sacs back then in Secaucus, NJ). The jars she would help me to put holes in the lids of to give my lightning bugs air to breath while they spent the night next to my bed, the patience she had when I would turn the entire basement into a Barbie wonderland village, and how she didn’t mind that I had pet snakes and dogs, but drew the line at cats for some reason, these little things that make me wonder what my children will recall about me. She is much missed, but remembered with every beautiful sunset, or spring blooming of lilacs, lily of the valley, and the fluffy pink cherry trees. She would motion me over to the window with her finger held up to her lips and hand me a pair of binoculars to see the baby robins that had just hatched in the nest that was sheltered year after year in the big Kwanzan cherry tree in our yard. I still have a beautiful black gown of hers that I wear to weddings and always get tons of compliments on, and I say, thank-you, it was my mom’s. I think I understood a part of her that was hard for her to share with the rest of the world and I will be eternally grateful that she entrusted that with me.
In time, a woman that I had spent a lot of time with, the mother of a close friend from college, began to fill that motherless void in my life. We had spent a lot of time together at what my friends and I referred to as “The Grupe Estate”, escaping from college and crowded apartments in the city to the cool inviting waters of their pool and the relaxed atmosphere that her spirit provided. She says I was the easiest pregnancy she had (which would make me stick my tongue out playfully at Dennis, my adopted brother). And with her in my life, I learned a whole different set of lessons and subtleties about life; always use the china and glassware and fancy everything, it makes life just that much better, life is for living and enjoying those you love, serve classic foods that taste incredible, always keep chocolate kisses in a crystal bowl (my children will remember that one for sure), just make yourself available to the people in your life that you love. She just radiates warm fuzziness in my heart. I can feel her chocolate chip cookie, big hug, now you’re home and safe feeling, from anywhere in the world.
These women are gifts in my life. They’re a part of my heart, they’re my sanctuary. My strength, my rock, my role models. What I hope I am for my children. What I hope I evoke when they look back and define home and love for themselves. The trails of love notes tucked into drawers, black composition notebooks filled with clippings of spelling bees and honor rolls, the cookbooks that offer up dried leaves pressed between pages when you turn to a favorite recipe, all these things mean “mom” to me and they represent that much bigger deeper energy that I connect to when I stick my hands in the dirt to plant, or when I took my little toddlers by the hand to show them all of the plants in the garden that woke up each spring; the crocuses, the snow drops, their tender, delicate-but-strong heads poking out through last autumn’s blanket of leaves.
Nourishing amazing motherhood, recognized on Mother’s Day, but unnecessarily so for me, as my thanks are in hugs, kind words that I hear my children say to others, looks exchanged that are full of meaning between us, the fact that my son would say “I’m glad I went with you to Pamela’s house instead of going out with my friends”; moments that speak of the bond that grows between mother and child from the first moment we have an awareness of their existence in our bellies, hushing them to sleep with the sound of our heart beat.
Happy Mother’s Day, and please check out this special contest from Integrative Nutrition for the mother in your life or yourself. Share a few words about how a mother you know nourishes her world and you might win a scholarship to IIN or SpaFinder certificates that will pamper you for a day or a year. Check it out here: May is for Vitamin M!
I love you Mom and Pamela! xo Cynthia
Today I have a guest blog to address the importance of lifestyle changes to lower your risk of colon and other cancers and colonoscopies. I promise, they are not the end of the world, try to think of it as a spa day that could potentially save your life. Can’t say that about a pedicure! Speak with your gastroenterologist and remind him that you are a human being who needs to be handled with care and concern and respect. I always remind my doctor that we are partners in my health and that I do not want to be aware of anything that involves the actual procedure, until he nudges me awake later to tell me my results. He knows not to even move a sheet until I am out cold. Trust me, I have tried to tough it out and do it without any twilight meds. It’s unpleasant. Not impossible to tolerate, but unnecessary. Don’t do it. Save that for giving birth (ladies), but not for this. Take the drugs and relax. But go and be vigilant, colon cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the US. It doesn’t need to be, it’s highly preventable and highly curable!
Researchers from the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark said after extensive studies that maintaining healthy practices like keeping a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping your weight down and avoiding alcohol and tobacco greatly reduces the likelihood that you will develop colorectal cancer. They published their findings in the British Medical Journal.
Anne Tjonneland, M.D. from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, who was involved in the Danish studies, said that almost 25 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer could have actually prevented the disease by just following these simple health guidelines. Out of all the different types of cancers, said Dr. Tjonneland, colon cancer is one of the cancers for which risk is greatly dependent on a person’s normal, daily habits.
Every year, the National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 50,000 people will suffer from fatal cases of colorectal cancer in the United States. This puts colon cancer just under the number one cancer killer, lung and bronchial cancer. These statistics were taken from studies conducted between 2003 and 2010.
But the Danish study suggests that just exercising for half an hour every day, refraining from drinking 14 drinks per week (7 per week if you’re female), not smoking and keeping your waist 40 inches or smaller (35 inches or smaller if you’re female) can substantially lower the risk of colon cancer being fatal. Even conservative steps to change your lifestyle habits for the better may pay off.
Scientists at the Danish Cancer Society observed more than 55,000 patients over a period of 10 years, collecting data. After the test period almost 700 had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Next, researchers cross referenced the data with descriptions of how well these patients had stuck to the recommended lifestyle changes. Not surprisingly, 23 percent of the colon cancer cases could have been avoided if the individuals had kept to all 5 standards. Even if they’d just tried to maintain 1 of the guidelines, 13 percent of cases could have been avoided.
While news that a healthy lifestyle practices prevent cancer is nothing new, Boston-based colon cancer specialist Jeffrey Meyerhardt, M.D. said that it’s an important message nonetheless. The Danish study showed that these 5 lifestyle factors effectively worked together to promote cancer prevention. The Danish study has been replicated and confirmed by others released by the Harvard School of Public Health and Colorectal Disease, a medical journal.
Representatives from the American Cancer Society noted, however, that these studies do not account for individuals with a history of polyps or a family history of colon cancer. Those genetically pre-disposed to getting diagnosed with colon cancer may not benefit as much as these test subjects did, although maintaining lifestyle habits couldn’t hurt. In addition to making the necessary lifestyle adjustments, these individuals should be extra careful to get screened for colorectal disease at the recommended intervals, starting at age 50 or earlier.
Nader is a guest author from Colonoscopy.com, a site that seeks to reduce colon cancer rates by increasing awareness.
Do you remember Eddie Murphy’s word of the day on Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood on Saturday Night Live? Classic. So, boys and girls, our word for the day is: nephrolithiasis (nef-ro-le-thi-a-sis) or kidney stones. As per the Cleveland Clinic, kidney stones form when the urine is too rich in:
- calcium oxalate
- calcium phosphate
- magnesium ammonium phosphate
- uric acid
- cysteine (due to a genetic disorder of 4 amino acids)
You can either view the urine as being too rich in these compounds or not dilute enough, meaning you need more urine output (which means you need to drink more water). Kidney stones are merely the end product of a process that takes some time to occur. It’s best to be proactive, and keep your kidneys healthy and sludge free; as kidney disease, beyond kidney stones, is very silent and can often only exhibit symptoms when the kidneys have lost 70-80% of their function.
I recently noticed a report in The Journal of Urology, Impact of Nutritional Factors on Incident Kidney Stone Formation, concerning the risk factors for kidney stones. I felt that some key aspects needed to be addressed and expounded upon.
Here are the basic findings:
In the study of 78,293 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, 2.5% reported an incidence of kidney stone formation. Among these women the risk of kidney stones:
- was decreased by 5 – 28% with higher DIETARY calcium intake
- was decreased by 13 – 31% with higher water intake
- was increased by 11 – 61% with higher dietary sodium intake, with the most pronounced effect in women with the highest intake
- was increased with higher body mass index, BMI
- animal protein intake was not associated with nephrolithiasis
An article from 1983 entitled Nutrition Research, Urolithiasis – Nutritional Aspects, associated the increase in the incidence of kidney stones with “affluence”.
Increased ingestion of animal protein produces a significant increase in the urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate and uric acid…Oral carbohydrate loading increases urinary calcium and magnesium excretion…A rational, though not of proven efficacy, dietary approach to urolithiasis therapy includes restriction of animal protein, avoidance of excess oxalate ingestion, a normal calcium intake, and water intake sufficient to generate 2 liters of urine per day.
So it seems that protein ingestion and carbohydrate ingestion and foods rich in oxalate all contribute to kidney stones. How could this be, because it covers such a broad range of foods, many of them staples of a healthy diet?
Foods that are high in oxalates are:
- Cola drinks
- Soy products
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
What to do? It’s definitely advisable to reduce your sodium levels, but I don’t necessarily mean mineral rich sea or unrefined salts, like Himalayan pink salt. I definitely mean the refined salt that is added to processed foods and regular table salt which contains anti-caking agents and in some countries, fluoride and sugar. The average intake of sodium in America is 3.7 to 5 grams per day, considerably higher than the recommended maximum of 2.3 grams. And the more excess salt consumed, the higher the risk. Try using herbs, fresh if possible, and spices, which can be of tremendous nutritional and health benefit, instead of all the salt.
Maintain a healthy weight, thereby avoiding another risk factor: high Body Mass Index (BMI). Uric acid stones, specifically, have been tied to the increase of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can ward off a majority of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
It’s absolutely imperative to maintain the correct hydration levels, as keeping your urine dilute will avoid supersaturation of the compounds that can potentially precipitate into kidney stones. Drinking fluids such as coconut water will help to maintain electrolyte balance due to their rich content of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Now what about dietary calcium, oxalates and minerals? It seems intuitive to me that the excess of compounds in our urine is actually because of deficiencies in our diets. Let me explain. Our bodies are best able to utilize vitamins and minerals in foods due to the synergy of the compounds in the whole food. This has been proven in many instances, such as the greater bioavailability of Vitamin C in kiwi than in supplements. For example, to build strong bones and teeth, we don’t just need calcium, we need a spectrum of minerals such as silica, boron, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D and K, etc. If we do not have all of the “ingredients” available to create bone, the calcium will not work alone. Additionally, these compounds can prevent the crystallization of calcium into stones.
Maintaining a diet high in DIETARY calcium is one of the risk reduction strategies in the study. Calcium taken in the majority of supplements is not absorbed as efficiently as calcium found in food. Calcium must be properly balanced with other nutrients necessary for calcium absorption and re-absorption into the bones. If not properly balanced, calcium ends up being deposited in the soft tissues. Pathologists have reported that over 85% of all autopsies done on people over 65 demonstrate calcification of soft tissue within the body. So it seems the population does not suffer from calcium deficiency, but rather a condition whereby calcium is being deposited in the soft tissues due to nutrient imbalance. Taking supplements and not having sufficient minerals to metabolize it, can also cause the calcium to form into stones in the kidneys.
In the case of oxalate rich food, in order to utilize what we eat, our body will either require sufficient dietary calcium, will leach calcium from our bones or will precipitate the oxalates that could not be metabolized into kidney stones. The way to address this is not to necessarily remove green leafy vegetables from your diet, but to eat a variety of them and to make sure that you consume them in conjunction with calcium rich foods that will allow them to be metabolized in a balanced way. For example, collard greens have been found to be proportionately higher in calcium than milk, making them a good choice of greens. Don’t stick to a strict high oxalate “spinach as my greens” diet. Try one of the many kale varieties, or bitter greens which clear congestion in our livers. Organic yogurt, sardines, almonds, sesame seeds or tahini, raw cheese, or almonds are all good sources of dietary calcium that contain the additional nutrients that we require for proper assimilation. Additionally, I love this study showing that calcium rich marine hydro-colloids efficiently inhibit calcium oxalate crystal growth and have the capacity to bind oxalate. This is exactly what my intuition had been telling me, as these marine colloids are seaweed, which, surprise, is incredibly high in mineral content. Apparently, this remains a mystery to the doctors who were still focused on a drug solution that would mimic seaweed. I don’t know, to me that study should have been splashed all over the place with the title of “Seaweed found to reduce kidney stone formation”.
There are many high protein diets that are popular currently, from Paleo to GAPS to Atkins. What about the idea that protein metabolism creates stress on the kidneys and greater excretion of calcium and oxalates and uric acid into the urine? It has been found that calcium excretion increases, but there is a minimal effect on oxalate excretion with a higher protein diet. For people who have kidney damage, compromised kidney function or blood work that indicates any kidney issues, a high protein diet can create problems. For people with normal kidney function, the kidneys adapt to the protein intake with alterations in renal size and function without indications of adverse effects.
So it boils down to:
- drink more water
- consume less salt
- eat some seaweed
- eat a varied, whole foods based, calcium and mineral rich diet
- achieve and maintain a healthy weight and BMI
- maintain optimal Vitamin D levels
From Healing with Whole Foods, one of my favorite references, find the following nutritional remedies:
Parsley: Promotes urination and dries watery mucoid condition; good for the treatment of obesity, mucus in the bladder, swollen glands and breasts, and stones in the bladder, kidney, or gall bladder.
Radish: A traditional Western remedy for gallstones and kidney and bladder stones consists of a tablespoon of grated radish taken daily for several weeks.
Traditional Chinese medicine describes the kidneys as the “palace of Fire and Water” (heart spirit and kidneys – water element), and the person with healthy, vital kidneys is active yet calm, courageous but gentle, accomplishes a great deal without stress, and balances assertive action with nurture.
From Prescription for Herbal Healing, another incredible resource:
Aloe juice, 1/2 cup daily for no more than 2 weeks slows the rate of crystal formation. Use aloe with caution, as it can be laxative, so although it can potentially be great for the digestive system, if you suffer from inflammation it can also exacerbate it. It may also affect the rate of absorption of medications, due to its laxative properties. It is also passed into the milk of nursing mothers and should be avoided by them. Watch your reaction, and try one new healing concept at a time, to discern what works and what doesn’t work for your body.
Chanca piedra tincture dissolves calcium stones.
Marshmallow root tea helps cleanse the kidneys and expel stones.
A great juice to make to help your body maintain kidney health is cucumber, dandelion greens, lemon, fennel, small amount parsley, and carrots for sweetness, if you like. Ginger root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and can be juiced or made into tea by boiling slices of the fresh root in water. Absolutely delicious!
Cancer is an opportunistic disease. It uses the opportunity that it recognizes in a toxically burdened, nutritionally and emotionally deficient body to overrun your normal defense system. Cancer, which seems like such an overwhelming and complicated disease, truly has the potential to be vastly simplified when you break it down to its most basic issues: deficiency and toxicity. Figure out the reasons behind the deficiency and clean up the toxic burden, and your body is enabled to carry on the healing processes of which it is intrinsically capable. This actually applies to virtually all disease, both physical and emotional.
More and more research supports the optimization of our Vitamin D levels as an extremely important step in the quest for a cancer free, long, healthy life. In fact, a recent study in The American Journal of Cardiology found that Vitamin D deficiency (serum levels below 30 ng/ml or 75 nmol/L) was a strong independent predictor of all causes of death. More than 70% of the people in the study were below the status of 30 ng/ml required for “sufficiency”, but many clinicians believe that the number for sufficiency should be closer to 50 ng/ml, putting about 95% of the people in a state of deficiency.
Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is what our bodies produce when our skin is exposed to the sun or UV-B light. Everyone should know their Vitamin D status, simply ask your doctor to run a 25(OH)D test (not a 1,25(OH)D test) the next time you get your blood drawn. It’s as important as knowing your address or phone number, and it’s virtually guaranteed that you are not at optimal levels. But since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which your body will store, it’s important to check your baseline, and also a good way to gauge, over time, how much sun and supplementation is required to get you and keep you sufficient.
The importance of becoming sufficient in regards to your Vit D levels cannot be overstated when it comes to cancer, but the incredible benefits extend much further. Having optimized Vit D levels enables our immune system to function correctly, both in it’s ability to ward off disease and to effectively modulate itself so as not to create autoimmune conditions. Vit D has been shown to clear the brain of the plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease, shrink uterine fibroids, and prevent cavities in your teeth. Is there nothing this sunshine jewel cannot conquer?
From Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology: “Some nontraditional roles ascribed to vitamin D include anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects. These effects have led to possible implications in the pathophysiology of immune-mediated diseases including multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In addition, vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to higher rates of cancers including colon, prostate and breast cancers.”
- deficient < 50 ng/ml
- optimal 50-70 ng/ml
- to address cancer, disease and calcium absorption 70-100 ng/ml
- pregnancy outcomes 120 ng/ml
Most adults will require between 1,000-5,000 IU per day to maintain sufficiency, and up to 8,000 IU per day to get sufficient, in addition to the sun and what little is derived from foods. What about toxicity? Not a problem indicates the study, which found no toxicity with up to 10,000 IU per day and up to 200 ng/ml serum levels.
Take advantage of the energy of the sun by getting as much Vitamin D as possible by going outside, without sunscreen, for 10-15 minutes, or until you notice a faint pink tinge to your skin. Of course, adjust for the fairness of your skin according to what you know your limits may be, but you need to expose your arms, at least, and NO sunscreen or the magic will not happen!
Our human ancestors did not have sunscreen and their bodies were capable of handling daily sun exposure; farmers have been out in the sun for years without massive waves of death and skin cancer. Our issue is that we do not consume the proper nutrition to support the health and protection of our skin, such as the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and another source of ultraprotection, astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a super-antioxidant found in krill and other sea creatures that consume a microalgae rich diet of this incredible super fat-soluble carotenoid. Supplementing with 4 mg of high quality astaxanthin can be extremely protective against sun damage and supportive of your overall immune function and is definitely high on the list of things to add to your regimen for optimal health. It’s also the perfect compliment in your quest for optimal Vitamin D from sunshine!
Shield Your Kidneys from Celiac Disease: Part 2
Guest blog by Brian Dean, RD of Celiact.com
As with any health issue stemming from CD – whether it be osteoporosis or heart disease – your first order of business is to stick to a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet limits the levels of antibodies that attack and destroy healthy kidney cells. In fact, a case-study from the journal NDT Plus discovered that removing gluten from a patient with celiac disease completely cured her symptoms.
A strict gluten-free diet also reduces inflammation – an immune system process that’s often high in CD folks. Certain pro-inflammatory cells are commonly elevated in both CD patients and individuals with kidney disease.
Chronically high blood sugar levels makes your kidney’s filtering machinery work harder. Over time, they can burn out, resulting in kidney disease. If you have type 1 diabetes, stick to the diet and medication advice given to you by your doctor. If not, eat to a healthy diet that’s low in sugary foods and soft drinks.
Obesity is the single greatest cause of kidney disease in the world. Why? Because obesity causes type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure: two conditions that wreak havoc on your kidney cells.
If you think celiac disease is all weight loss and wasting, think again. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (among other places) has found that individuals that switch to a gluten-free diet are at high risk of becoming obese. Once your intestine heals and starts absorbing nutrients again, it’s important to monitor your weight and make sure your BMI doesn’t creep above 25.
We’ve discussed the benefits of fish oil for celiac disease in a previous blog post. It turns out that the benefits of omega-3 fats extend to your kidneys as well. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that fish oil helped preserve kidney function in a group of adults with kidney damage.
Although the news that your kidneys are in danger may be stressful, the good news is that it doesn’t change a whole lot. Simply by eating a healthy gluten-free diet and keeping your weight and blood sugar in check (things anyone with CD should be doing anyway), you’ll be doing all that you can to keep kidney disease at bay.
- Koivuviita, N., Tertti, R., Heiro, M., Metsarinne, K. (2009). A case report: a patient with IgA nephropathy and coeliac disease. Complete clinical remission following gluten-free diet. NDT Plus 2: 161-163.
- Valleta E, Fornaro M, Cipolli M, Conte S, Bissolo F, Danchielli C. Celiac Disease and Obesity: Need for Nutritional Follow-up After Diagnosis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010; 64: 1371-1372. doi: 10.1038.
- Donadio JV Jr, Berkstralh EJ, Offord KP et al. Mayo Nephrology Collaborative Group. A controlled trial of fish oil in IgA nephropathy. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 1194–9.