Category Archives: Featured Articles

May 26th, 2014

The Radiation-Proof Diet & Supplement Plan

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Protect yourself from daily toxins, environmental hazards, and even radiation exposure with this antioxidant-based health regimen

Earlier this year, the nuclear crisis in Japan led to a run on potassium iodide (KI) supplements in health food stores and pharmacies across America. This highlights many issues that I have with the American psyche. We’re proactive to a point, but often our actions are misguided and based more upon emotion than logic.

There’s no question that potassium iodide is indicated when someone is exposed to significant amounts of nuclear radiation. But even then, it’s a lot like handing out bulletproof vests during a gunfight. Yes, the vest can protect against a bullet to the chest, but what if the bullet strikes the head? Similarly, potassium iodide prevents radioactive iodine from accumulating in the thyroid gland, but it won’t protect against the damaging effects of other radioactive particles.

And let’s be frank. Even during the height of the crisis in Japan, significant radiation exposure on the US mainland was never very likely, so the run on KI was completely unnecessary. On the other hand, what is likely—and, in fact, very common—is daily exposure to various forms of low-level radiation. From microwave ovens to airport security scanners, there are radiation sources all around us. And that’s why it makes sense to take a proactive, “whole body armor” approach to protect against the cumulative effects of low-to-moderate radiation exposure.

Rational Recommendations

In addition to the basic healthy regimen that most everyone should follow—a high-potency multivitamin/multimineral; a high-quality greens drink; and a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil—I recommend some specific foods and a few supplements to help protect against background radiation. Useful foods include:

  • Good sources of water-soluble fiber such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes.
  • Garlic, onions, eggs, whey protein, and other sulfur-rich foods.
  • Flavonoid-packed fruits including blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries.
  • Soy foods and sea vegetables.
  • Root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams that are bursting with beta-carotene.
  • Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • Artichokes, beets, spinach, dandelion greens, and herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and mustard.

Antioxidant Supplements: What to Take As for supplements, I recommend taking a flavonoid-rich extract such as green tea, grape seed, Pycnogenol, or Ginkgo biloba at a dosage of at least 100 mg daily, but ideally 300 mg. Flavonoids appear to reduce the formation of clastogenic factors that appear in the blood of people exposed to radiation and may persist for over 30 years. These factors are associated with an increased risk for radiation-induced cancers. Chernobyl workers given ginkgo extract for 2 months had clastogenic factors disappear from their blood. The workers were followed for one year, and it was found that the anti-clastogenic effect persisted for 7 months in most cases. I believe that other flavonoid-rich extracts may offer the same sort of benefits and I would recommend their continued, indefinite use in anyone exposed to significant levels of radiation.

Lastly, I think it’s a good idea to take advantage of the adaptogenic and protective effects offered by such herbal tonics as Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Panax ginseng, and rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea). Though any one of these adaptogens would be useful on their own, I prefer combination formulas. Here are the levels of these three adaptogens that I prefer:

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract (root/leaf) 250 mg
  • Minimum 8% withanolides 20 mg
  • Eleuthero extract (Eleutherococcus senticosus) powdered extract (root) 150 mg
  • 0.8% eleutherosides 1.2 mg
  • Rhodiola rosea Powdered Extract (root) 75 mg
  • 3.5% rosavins 2.6 mg

I generally recommend these formulas to help people experiencing chronic stress or adrenal exhaustion, but it is also a valuable every day tonic to a better life. In particular, I love the research on Sensoril, a patented extract of ashwagandha. Sensoril works with the body’s natural biological systems to help restore balance and normalize body functions. Among other things, Sensoril:

* Helps counteract the negative effects of stress. * Increases resistance to fatigue. * Promotes improved sleep quality and higher energy levels. * Helps promote mental clarity and concentration. These are effects most of us could use during these stressful times.

Again, the real key is to be proactive in protecting your health against radiation rather than gulping down potassium iodide during a scare. A more comprehensive, rational approach will provide health benefits that last far longer than today’s headlines.

 

Potassium Pros

There’s no question that potassium iodide (KI) should be used in cases of significant radiation exposure. When used to counteract the effects of large amounts of radiation, the recommended dosage is generally quite high (130 mg), and KI’s benefits are very short lived. Such high dosages in the absence of significant radiation exposure, however, can be harmful. Too much iodine (dosages in excess of 1,000 mcg per day) may inhibit thyroid hormone secretion, especially in individuals with hypothyroidism. Increased dietary intake of iodine is also associated with acne-like skin eruptions and other side effects.

So while it makes sense to have potassium iodide on hand in case of a nuclear catastrophe, regularly taking massive dosages is likely to do more harm than good. If you want to take KI preventatively, try a dosage of 150—300 mcg daily. Intake at these levels will likely saturate iodine stores in a much safer manner.

Stress Button

April 1st, 2014

Feeling Stressed? Try Ginseng

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Nature provides us with several plants that can help our body fight the effects of stress. These beneficial botanicals are often referred to as “adaptogens,” because they help us adapt to, or cope with, stress. For many years, these plants have been used to:

  • Restore vitality in debilitated and feeble individuals.
  • Increase feelings of energy.
  • Improve mental and physical performance.
  • Prevent the negative effects of stress and enhance the body’s response to stress.


Some of the most effective adaptogens are ginseng, rhodiola, lavender, and ashwaganda. This article focuses on ginseng.

Both Siberian and Chinese ginseng have been shown to enhance our ability to cope with various stressors, both physical and mental. Presumably this anti-stress action is mediated by mechanisms that control the adrenal glands. Ginseng delays the onset and reduces the severity of the “alarm phase” of the body’s short- and long-term response to stress (also known as the general adaptation syndrome).

People taking either of the ginsengs typically report an increased sense of well-being. Clinical studies have confirmed that both Siberian and Chinese ginsengs significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. For example, in one double-blind clinical study, nurses who had switched from day to night duty rated themselves for competence, mood, and general well-being, and were given a test for mental and physical performance along with blood cell counts and blood chemistry evaluation. The group that was given Chinese ginseng demonstrated higher scores in competence, mood parameters, and mental and physical performance compared with those receiving placebos. The nurses taking the ginseng felt more alert, yet more tranquil, and were able to perform better than the nurses who were not taking the ginseng.

In addition to these human studies, animal studies have shown the ginsengs to exert significant anti-anxiety effects. In several of these studies, the stress-relieving effects were comparable to those of diazepam (Valium); however, diazepam has side effects that include behavioral changes, sedative effects, and impaired motor activity, while ginseng has none of these negative effects.

On the basis of the clinical and animal studies, ginseng appears to offer significant benefit to people suffering from stress and anxiety. Chinese ginseng is generally regarded as being more potent than Siberian ginseng, and is probably better for the person who has experienced a great deal of stress, is recovering from a long-standing illness, or has taken corticosteroids such as prednisone for a long time. For the person who is under mild to moderate stress and is experiencing less obvious impairment of adrenal function, Siberian ginseng may be the better choice.

Dosages are as follows:

Chinese or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng):

High-quality crude ginseng root: 1.5-2 g, 1-3 times daily
Fluid extract: 2-4 ml (½-1 tsp), 1-3 times daily
Dried powdered extract standardized to contain 5% ginsenosides: 250-500 mg, 1-3 times daily

 

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus):

Dried root: 2-4 g, 1-3 times daily
Fluid extract (1:1): 2-4 ml (½-1 tsp), 1-3 times daily
Solid (dry powdered) extract (20:1 or standardized to contain more than 1% eleutheroside E): 100-200 mg, 1-3 times daily

If you suffer from stress-related symptoms, it’s a good idea to try a natural remedy such as ginseng, which is easier on the body than pharmaceutical drugs and doesn’t have the harmful side effects.

March 25th, 2014

3 Fresh Juices for Arthritis Pain

Many of us, especially as we get older, experience the aches and pains of arthritis. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to help reduce the symptoms.

Achieving an ideal body weight can help reduce stress on joints, and in turn ease pain. You can also try eliminating nightshade-family vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, tobacco), as these foods can often aggravate arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, try glucosamine sulfate, which has been shown to be very effective at a dosage of 1,500 mg per day.

The three fresh juice recipes below contain key ingredients to lessen arthritis pain.

Ginger: A Great Food for Arthritis Sufferers

 

Go Away Pain
Here is a powerful anti-inflammatory recipe.

1-inch slice of fresh turmeric or ginger
1 cup blueberries
1/4 pineapple with skin, sliced
4 celery ribs
Juice the turmeric, followed by the blueberries, pineapple, and celery.

Ginger Hopper
A classic drink to promote good health. It may also help to lower cholesterol.

1-inch slice of ginger
1 apple, cut into wedges
3 carrots
Juice the ginger, followed by the apple and carrots.

Pineapple-Ginger Ale
This drink is absolutely delicious and packed full of therapeutic nutrients.

1-inch slice of ginger
1/2 pineapple with skin, sliced
Juice the ginger, then the pineapple.