Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Are You Eating Anti Freeze?

Is Propylene Glycol a Healthy Additive?

Propylene glycol is a substance commonly used as a food additive or ingredient in many cosmetic and hygiene products.The U.S. and European food authorities have declared it as generally safe for use in foods. However, it has become controversial since it is also an ingredient in antifreeze. This had led to health concerns about possible toxic effects from eating foods that contain it and putting it on your skin.  

Propylene glycol is a synthetic food additive that belongs to the same chemical group as alcohol. It is a colorless, odorless, slightly syrupy liquid that is a bit thicker than water.  In foods, propylene glycol may be used in the following ways:
    •    Anti-caking agent: It helps prevent food components from sticking to one another and forming clumps, such as in dried soups or grated cheese.
    •    Antioxidant: It extends the shelf life of foods by protecting them against deterioration caused by oxygen.
    •    Carrier: It dissolves other food additives or nutrients to be used in processing, such as colors, flavors or antioxidants.
    •    Dough strengthener: It modifies the starches and gluten in dough to make it more stable.
    •    Emulsifier: It prevents food ingredients from separating, such as oil and vinegar in salad dressing.
    •    Moisture preserver: It helps foods maintain a stable level of moisture and stops them from drying out. Examples include marshmallows, coconut flakes and nuts.
    •    Processing aid: It is used to enhance the appeal or the use of a food, for example, to make a liquid clearer.
    •    Stabilizer and thickener: It can be used to hold food components together or thicken them during and after processing.
    •    Texturizer: It can change the appearance or feel of a food.
Propylene glycol is commonly found in many packaged foods, such as drink mixes, dressings, dried soups, cake mix, soft drinks, popcorn, food coloring, fast foods, bread and dairy products 

It is also used in injectable medications, like lorazepam, and in some creams and ointments that are applied to the skin, such as corticosteroids. 

Due to its chemical properties, it is also found in a wide variety of hygiene and cosmetic products. Additionally, it is used in industrial products like paint, antifreeze, artificial smoke and e-cigarettes. 

Propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (reference).  In the US, it can be used as a direct and indirect food additive. In Europe, it is only allowed to be used in food as a solvent for colors, emulsifiers, antioxidants and enzymes, 

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum intake of 11.4 mg of propylene glycol per pound of body weight (25 mg/kg) per day. The estimated exposure to propylene glycol through foods in the US is 15 mg per pound (34 mg/kg) per day. (reference)

When consumed in toxic quantities, the buildup of lactic acid can lead to acidosis and specifically bothers the kidneys. Acidosis occurs when the body cannot get rid of the acid fast enough. It begins to build up in the blood, which interferes with proper functioning. At toxic levels, propylene glycol has been found to cause neurological symptoms. There have also been cases of nausea, vertigo and strange sensations.

The American Contact Dermatitis Society has stated that 0.8 and 3.5% of people are estimated to have a skin allergy to propylene glycol (reference). The most common skin reaction, or dermatitis, is the development of a rash. People who already have sensitive skin are at particular risk of allergy to this additive. For people with allergic dermatitis, it is best to avoid all sources of propylene glycol. 

While propylene glycol is generally considered safe by our government agencies, it makes sense to choose to avoid it as much as possible.  It is found in many different food products and can be identified by checking the ingredients list. The names it may be listed under include:
    •    Propylene glycol
    •    Propylene glycol mono and diester
    •    E1520 or 1520

Common foods include soft drinks, marinades and dressings, cake mix, frosting, popcorn, food coloring, fast foods, bread and dairy products.  Unfortunately, if propylene glycol is used as a carrier or solvent for another additive, such as flavor or color instead of a direct ingredient, it may not be listed on the food label.

However, the majority of foods containing it are highly processed junk foods. By consuming a fresh, healthy, whole foods diet, you can avoid most sources without too much trouble.
You can also check the labels of cosmetic products, though avoiding it may be difficult. There are several helpful websites that can help you identify which products contain it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

8 Health Benefits of Honey

I have been using Manuka honey to boost my immune system at the first sign of feeling sick.  I add bee pollen to my morning smoothie to get the anti-inflammatory benefits that I read about. With recently researching ‘sour honey’ for anticancer properties I stumbled on the work apiculture.  
Apiculture is the science and art of prolonging, sustaining, and retaining health by using products obtained from honeybee hives, such as honey, bee bread, bee venom, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. I feel like just the last couple of years I have seen the growth of bee products in lots of different ways and did more research on what is actually proving to be affective. Here is the info I collected on the benefits of bee products, including honey, propolis, and royal jelly.

Honey is being recognized worldwide due to its high nutritive components that are beneficial for human well-being. It has been traditionally used by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese to heal wounds and diseases of the gut, including gastric ulcers. It has also been used as a remedy for cough, sore throat, and earaches. In India, Lotus honey has been traditionally used to treat eye infections and other diseases. 

Propolis is generally known as the “bee glue”, which is a generic name that refers to the resinous substance accumulated by the bees from different types of plants. Propolis functions in sealing holes and cracks and for the reconstruction of the beehive. It is also used for retaining the hive's internal temperature, preventing weathering and invasion by predators. Propolis has numerous applications in treating various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer, properties. Part of the reason it has such applications is it contains important vitamins, such as B1, B2, B6, C, and E and useful minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.

Royal jelly, a white and viscous jelly-like substance, is a form of hypopharyngeal and mandibular gland secretion from the worker bees. It is also known as a “superfood” that is solely consumed by the queen bee. Royal jelly is also fed to the honeybee larvae upon hatching. This superfood is the main reason for the longevity of the queen bee compared to the other bees. Royal jelly is widely used as a dietary nutritional complex to help combat various chronic health conditions and is seen to be antibacterial, antitumor, antiallergy, and anti-inflammatory. Approximately 185 organic compounds have been detected in royal jelly. Royalactin is the most important protein present in royal jelly. In addition, royal jelly has hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, and estradiol that can be very helpful.

8 Health Benefits of Honey

1. Wound Management
Honey has traditionally been used to treat wounds, insect bites, burns, skin disorders, sores, and boils. Scientific documentation of the wound-healing capabilities of honey validates its efficacy as a promoter of wound repair and an antimicrobial agent.  

Honey has a beneficial effect on child dermatitis caused by excessive use of napkins and diapers, eczema, and psoriasis. The effect of honey mixed with beeswax and olive oil was investigated on patients with psoriasis showed significant improvements (reference)

2. Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorder
Natural honey is composed of enzymes that facilitate the absorption of food.  Honey also provides some nutrients, such as minerals, phytochemicals, and flavonoids, that aid digestive processes in the body Manuka honey has antibacterial properties as well.  Studies have also shown that natural honey contains high amount of prebiotics, hastening the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

3. Oral Health
Honey is useful for the treatment of many oral diseases, including periodontal disease, stomatitis, and halitosis. In addition, it has also been applied for the prevention of dental plaque, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and periodontitis. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey can stimulate the growth of granulation tissue, leading to the repair of damaged cells 

4. Pharyngitis and Coughs
Pharyngitis, commonly known as sore throat, is an acute infection induced by Streptococcus spp. in the nose and throat.  In addition to streptococci, viruses, nonstreptococcal bacteria, fungi, and irritants such as chemical pollutants may also cause sore throat. Manuka honey is effective for treating sore throat with its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Honey coats the inner lining of the throat and destroys the harmful microbes while simultaneously soothing the throat.  The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of honey aided in minimizing persistent cough and ameliorated sleep for both children and adults following honey intake (2.5 ml). A comparative study on children with different natural products reported that honey was found to be the widely used remedy for pneumonia 82.4% [reference].
5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a mucosal infection caused by contents of abnormal gastric reflux into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, inflammation, and acid regurgitation. Consumption of honey helps this condition by coating the esophagus and stomach lining, thus preventing the upward flow of food and gastric juice. Honey can further stimulate the tissues on the sphincter to assist in their regrowth and finally reduce the chances of acid reflux.

6. Bowel Movements
Honey has been known to minimize the duration of viral diarrhea compared to conventional antiviral therapy. Manuka honey on an empty stomach helps with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) experiencing severe diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and stomach discomfort.

7. Liver and Pancreatic Diseases
Honey helps to soothe pain, balance liver systems, and neutralize toxins. Complications in the liver system can be attributed to oxidative damage. Honey exhibits antioxidant activities that have a potential protective effect on the damaged liver. Honey, which has a 1 : 1 ratio of fructose to glucose, may help to promote better blood sugar level, which is useful for those suffering from fatty liver disease since it provides adequate glycogen storage in liver cells. Insufficient glycogen storage in the liver releases stress hormones that impair glucose metabolism over time. Impaired glucose metabolism leads to insulin resistance and is the main factor of fatty liver disease. 

8. Breast Cancer

Imbalance in estrogen plays a role in breast cancer growth. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in nature that when ingested act like estrogen in the body.  Honey has phytoestrogens in it. Very specifically Tualang honey shows highly specific and selective killing effects towards breast cancer cell lines and has a good potential as a chemotherapeutic agent [reference].

Monday, June 10, 2019

Having a Healthy Relationship with Your Body

Think about when you first wake up in the morning.  What are your first thoughts as you roll out of bed?  Do they have anything to do with how your body feels?  I tend to get a yes to that question only if that person is in pain or is afraid something is wrong with them.  If we are feeling fine we tend to ignore the body and go on with our day. We can’t be bothered by it. In our office we try to change that awareness.  We teach people to be aware of the food they eat, to make healthy choices and also be aware of the chemicals and heavy metal they are using in their daily life.  This change in awareness is about taking their health into their own hands and making those daily choices to create health in the body.  It takes a dedication, a determination and also self love to confront the body and take care of it. It takes courage to really look at ourselves, our body and do something healthy for it. That’s why a lot of people don’t come to the office unless their body is screaming at them. The body screams in the form of a symptom.  It is only with a headache, stomach ache, anxiety, weeks of insomnia, constipation etc. that people make an appointment.  That is, the majority of the people.  That is how we are trained. To actually go to the doctor’s when you are healthy doesn’t cross people’s mind.  Many doctors are trained in disease. They don’t know what to do if you are healthy.  If you don’t have a symptom they don’t have any advice for you.  Yet, as consumers we should have a new goal.  Our goal should be to keep the health we have.  Preventative healthcare is the best healthcare.

When we bring people’s awareness to their lifestyle and want to help them make changes that would improve their health part of that goal is to help them build their intuition with their bodies.  Listening to their body and what the body is trying to tell them is a new skill set for most people.  When listening to the body I don’t want to deepen the mind-body connection.  Instead, I want to get my patients out of their mind and into the body.  In the body is where your true power lies.  Meditation has it correct.  The goal in meditation is to quiet the mind and we do that by concentrating on the breath.  This concentration on breath gets us into the body and it is there that we find our center.  The center that is beyond the mind and beyond the body.  The center is where we are at peace no matter what is happening around us.  The center is our soft voice that is forever loving.  The center is our Spirit, our Higher Self, our love.  Call it what you would like.  Every religion has a different name for it.  It is our center, beyond anything in this physical world.     

The book by Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now talks about how the body loves your attention. It even states that the more consciousness you bring into the body, the stronger the immune system becomes. I find this to be true but let me specify our body loves our positive attention.  It loves to be loved,  not judged so watch your thoughts.  You think loving thoughts towards your body and you believe the body has the power to heal itself and it will.  If you think negative thoughts and put them in your body dis-ease can occur.  The book, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die is great at explaining that concept.  

A clear example of getting into the body to help it heal is how exercise makes us mentally feel better.  I often tell patients to exercise for better stress management.  I used to think that exercise helped get the stress off the body by changing the biochemistry of the brain but now I realize that exercise reduces stress by getting people to stop thinking and instead putting their attention into the body.  This change in attention from whatever is going on in the mind to the body allows feedback from the body to the brain so that exercise encourages the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. Exercise also produces endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain.  In this way exercise is nature’s antidepressant and is really good for helping people with all sorts of things like ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood sugar imbalances, hormone imbalances etc.  You name it and exercise can help because it gets you to pay attention to the body and the body responds by changing the brain chemistry.  

The way to a healthier, happier life is by embracing the body, loving the body.  Start having a positive relationship with your body by checking in with it and listening to it.  If it is hungry, feed it healthy food.  If it is full, step away from eating.  If it is tired, go to bed at a decent hour.  If you know your body doesn’t do well with coffee, skip that afternoon cup.  There are so many choices we make a day to either help or hinder our body.  Be compassionate with yourself  and your body and know your only goal is to make better choices than yesterday and that we are here to help.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Leaky Gut Help

What is Leaky Gut and How to Help it

Unfortunately the medical term 'leaky gut' is exactly what it sounds like. It's when the lining of the gut has holes in it and the waste can spill out into your bloodstream, reaching (and essentially poisoning) your vital organs.

Unfortunately, for a shocking percentage of Americans, this “nightmare scenario” is a reality.

Ask yourself, have you experienced…

A bloated belly that just won’t go away?
Extra pounds that are hard to lose?
Gut discomfort and slow digestion?
Stiff, achy joints?
Energy levels that crash too early in the day?

These could be the early signs of leaky gut.
Also, one of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing an allergic response.
This allergic response doesn’t mean you’ll break out in a rash all over your body, but it can lead to various symptoms:
  • Bloating
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
If left un-repaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
According to the Journal of Diabetes, there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes. 
Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients, including zinc, iron and vitamin B12.

Lectins and Foods that Cause Leaky Gut

Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts, your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins are more problematic. Some of the lectins and foods that cause leaky gut include wheat, rice, spelt and soy.
Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest. GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs. Also, gluten-containing grains may damage your intestinal lining and potentially cause leaky gut syndrome. Once your gut is healthy, you can add back in grains to a point that your body can handle them without causing damage to the intestines. 
Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 casein. Also, the pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying raw dairy and from A2 cows, goats, sheep or buffalo. For more information on A2 milk, read here.  
Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system. Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad bacteria, which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

The good news is there’s a solution to successfully healing leaky gut. There is a four-step process that includes:
  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut
  2. REPLACE with healing foods
  3. REPAIR with specific supplements
  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

Nutrition Response Testing can specify all 4 steps to your specific needs.  No 4-Step plan to heal leaky gut is the same.  Everyone needs different supplements and to remove different foods from their diet while they are healing. There are general steps to take that can help before getting muscle tested. For more details on how to heal Leaky Gut, read here