Monday, September 23, 2013

Roundup Pesticide Causing Harm to Cows and Our Health

Monsanto's Roundup pesticide, or glyphosate, has been known to cause harm to the environment, to our family's health, and now to dairy cows!

A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology studied 30 dairy cows in Denmark and found that 100% of all cow urine samples showed cell toxicity, organ damage, and mineral depletion. They found that every cow involved in the study had some level of Roundup in their system and determined that Roundup consumption for these cows is toxic to their health.

So how did these cows get Roundup in their system? Roundup that is sprayed on crops will seep into the ground and bind to important minerals like cobalamin (B12) and manganese as well as being taken up into the plants roots. This means that the mineral content of our soil and crops will be depleted and the pesticide residing in the plant can be fed to humans and other animals that may act as a food source for people around the world. Typically dairy cows in the US get exposed to this from breathing air that is active with pesticide overspray, eating contaminated grass when out to pasture, and from their feed which is typically made from pesticide laden GMO crops. The Danish cows involved in the study however were fed with imported GMO crops from the US since Denmark does not allow farmers to grow GMO crops from Monsanto.

What does this mean for your family's health? Well let's look at the cycle.... Pesticides are being sprayed, soil quality declines, crops grown in this soil are deficient in essential nutrients, cows are getting chronic disease from pesticide exposure and mineral deficiency, and your family is consuming the tainted milk, mineral deficient crops, and eating beef from cow's ridden with chronic diseases.

Can you see where you can run into a problem here?? Well I've got some suggestions for you and your family to help avoid pesticides and improve your health.

1) Buy organic fruits and vegetables when possible or grow your own from organic seeds. Buying organic is a more expensive but the more you can decrease your family's exposure to toxic pesticides, the better able your body will be to detoxify and remove those chemicals from your body. Growing your own is definitely no walk in the park and it does take work to plant, tend, and harvest but the payoff is great because you'll know exactly what goes in to growing them and cooking them too! A great tip would be to team up with local family, friends, and neighbors to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and trading or to join a local co-op to team up and grow fresh goodies at a discount price.

2) Find a local farm that upholds high standards in the treatment and food of their livestock. Check out Local Harvest to find a farm near you. I'd recommend finding an organic farm (that doesn't use pesticides on their crops/grass) that allows their livestock room to graze on grass and possibly even allow you to buy a bulk package of some type that includes cuts of chickens, beef, pork, etc. Some may even have fruits and vegetables shares for purchase too so you can get organic meats and greens!

3) Cleanse your body at least once a year. This can help your body get rid of the toxins and pesticides that have been stored in your body over the past year and allow your energy production, hormones, and metabolism to get back on track! I personally recommend the 10 day AlignLife Ultimate Body Cleanse. There is only one fasting day but the included supplements can get your insulin and blood sugar stable while correcting your gut and getting rid of cravings.

If you've never done a cleanse before I'd highly recommend attending an Ultimate Body Cleanse Workshop in our office which takes place on the second Monday of every month. We will discuss why you'd want to do a cleanse, what the benefits are, and what the Ultimate Body Cleanse entails!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Natural Depression Management without the Dangerous Antidepressant Wellbutrin

Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men during their lifetime and about 20% of women are usually formally diagnosed. Some of these mood changes and depressed feelings can be attributed to hormone changes but many women may be prescribed an antidepressant medication that can set them up for a lifetime of dependence and harmful side effects.

In addition, about 15% of mothers suffer from postpartum depression or the baby blues during the first month after they welcome baby home. For most women small changes in mood after baby can be normal and caused by shifts in hormones due to the fact we no longer have a little one's placenta leaking hormones in our bodies. Many women may turn to their doctor for advice on ways they can ditch the depression and jump back into being a "normal" parent. Depression can be very troublesome and leave mothers feeling frustrated that they may be neglecting their child and even worse that they may be a bad parent.

Well just to set your mind at ease, there is no "right way" to be a parent. I always tell my newly pregnant friends and family members that they'll get tons of advice on how to be a parent and the "right way" to do this or that but ultimately all the advice you get will never work for your child! Every child is different and every family dynamic as well so I usually say that learning how to be a parent is more of a crash course type of experience that you can't explain or really prepare for. Those little ones will flip your life upside down and then grind what's left into the carpet but you'll always have a laugh at a particular thing they did that day or a question that caught you by surprise (and in most cases off guard without any discernable form of an acceptable answer).

But anyways back to the point.... for those women and mothers that are dealing with depression, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant to help get your mood back on track. I highly caution you to do your research on the medication before you begin any regiment especially if you are breastfeeding as many of these medications can pass into breast milk. One popular medication recommended by doctors today is called Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that was first approved for use in the United States by the FDA in December 1985. Wellbutrin manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline promised that it would make patients "happy, horny and skinny" and even claimed it could help quit smoking. However due to the large number of seizures that were reported the drug was quickly taken off the market in 1986. It was reintroduced in 1989 and since then has been climbing the charts as the go to antidepressant that acts on increasing brain activity.  Nowadays, Wellbutrin is recommended for not just depression but also Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), abnormal moods, difficulty focusing, and off-label uses such as getting high, weight loss, bipolar depression, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), pathological gambling, and even sexual dysfunction.

In 2012, the United States Justice Department announced that GlaxoSmithKline was required to pay a $3 billion dollar fine after pleading guilty for misrepresenting and promoting unapproved uses of Wellbutrin for weight loss and sexual dysfunction, and paying kickbacks to doctors such as media physiologist and sex advice guru, Dr. Drew Pinsky of the "Loveline" show. There are also many other lawsuits pending against the manufacturer but with the monetary benefits from the sales of Wellbutrin, it doesn't look like any changes will be made soon.

In this respect, I feel it is my duty to inform pregnant women or those trying to conceive that Wellbutrin has an increased risk for serious birth defects such as heart defects, club feet, reduced testicals, and possibly even retard fetal growth. Even though the Mayo Clinic still recommends Wellbutrin for depression during pregnancy, regulatory agencies from many countries are warning of other side effects such as heart and lung malformations, preterm birth, and other physical defects. In those under 25, there is also an increased risk for suicide.

Some other side effects include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • rash or blisters
  • itching
  • hives
  • weight loss
  • drowsiness
  • excitement
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • constipation
  • excessive sweating
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • irrational fears
  • fever
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • chest pain
  • muscle or joint pain
  • rapid, pounding or irregular heartbeat
  • seizure
So what can you do to ditch the depression naturally?

1) Get your adrenal gland checked for dysfunction. Due to the chronic stress associated with the traditional American lifestyle, our adrenal gland steals resources that are needed for the correct production of stress adaptive hormones and this can exhibit symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, depression, decreased libido, and mood changes.

2) Make sure you're getting enough sleep. If you're not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night (possibly more depending on your age) then your body is not able to recooperate from the demands of the day. This can lead to a lack of nutrients necessary to upkeep your energy production and support the hormones that dictate your mood.

3) Make sure you're getting enough Vitamin D. During the fall and winter months, we get much less time outside and much less sun exposure which can decrease the body's natural production of Vitamin D. In order to make Vitamin D, your body needs cholesterol to convert the inactive D3 form to the active form which helps with bone growth and repair, muscle function, digestion, and mood. If you're currently taking a cholesterol medication, I can guarantee that you're Vitamin D deficient because most cholesterol medications turn off your body's natural cholesterol production which is needed to make Vitamin D active and if you're taking a cheap Vitamin D supplement I can almost guarantee its Vitamin D3 which your body can't convert. A great way to make sure you're getting enough is to take about 800 IU of an active form of Vitamin D daily. Check out AlignLife's Active D.

4) Take a supplement designed to increase your body's natural production of Serotonin. Serotonin is the "happy hormone" your brain produces to keep your mood elevated, keep you focused, help you sleep, and even relieve anxiety. AlignLife's 5-HTP has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, insomnia, help relieve chronic migraines and ADHD symptoms. I have helped many of my patients reduce and discontinue their antidepressant medications with the use of this supplement.

1. Hensley S "Glaxo To Plead Guilty to 3 Charges in Sweeping Health Settlement." July 2012
2. Information about bupropion [Wellbutrin] National Institutes of Health
3. Stretch K "Antidepressants Get FDA's Black Box Warning" Dynamic Chiropractic Nov 2004
4. Peterson DM. "Crime Does Pay - Big: GlaxoSMithKline Fined $3 Billion; Stock Rises" Dynamic Chiropractic Sept 2012
5 Whalen J "Dr. Drew Was Paid BY Glaxo; Radio Host Extolled Virtures of Antidepressant After Attending Events for Firm" The Wall Street Journal July 2012
6. Steel S " Side Effects from Big Pharma: Wellbutrin-Dangerous for You and Your Baby"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Everyone should Get Crackin with Pistachios

Everyone has heard about pistachios from those snappy "Get Crackin' " commercials that have been all over the radio and TV. These little guys are great for helping to keep a healthy heart with lower lipids and more antioxidants and according to new research they are also great for digestion too!

According to the most recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition and the newest research from the Institute of Food Research in the UK, nearly ALL of the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant that helps to lower inflammation that can contribute to heart disease) in pistachios are released during digestion. These same antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetable but due to many factors (including the scary though of figuring out a recipe that will taste good and include all of our family's vegetable servings for the day) prevent Americans from eating their daily recommended intake of 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Previous studies from the University of Pennsylvania have also linked pistachio intake to lowering cholesterol levels and raising the antioxidants in the blood to help us keep healthier cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation (process responsible for making cholesterol sticky so it can gum up our arteries) of the cholesterol in our blood. According to Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at University of Penn, "our results [from previous studies on pistachios] suggest that a heart-healthy diet including pistachios contributes to a decrease in serum oxidized-LDL levels, in part through cholesterol lowering, and also due to an added benefit of the antioxidants in the pistachios."

So for those of you who don't have some pistachios in your snack drawer,  GET CRACKING!!!

PS: Make sure the ones you have at home aren't on the recalled list of pistachio products that are contaminated with Salmonella. Here's the link to find out if they are >



Friday, September 6, 2013

9 Essential Home Remedies for Summer

Summer ailments are such a bother but the great news is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to keep the family safe and healthy! I've got a few home remedies to share that you probably already have lying around the house!

1.) OUCH! I got a sunburn.
White vinegar is an essential for the kitchen, cleaning, and now your medicine cabinet too! It can help to ease the pain, ditch the itch, and prevent blisters from forming on areas of sunburn. I recommend applying with cotton ball or paper towel and soaking for about 10-15 minutes. You can also dab on some olive oil after the alcohol treatment to help that skin heal and bounce back faster with the Omega-3s that are essential for skin healing!

2.) My skin just looks OLD with all these sun or age spots!
Before you go to bed I recommend scrubbing with a lemon and loofah. (Don't do this in the morning because one of the extra compounds in lemon can darken when exposed to light.) The lemon's citric acid can help to exfoliate as it dissolves the darkened and dead skin cells. Lemons also have a healthy dose of Vitamin C to help prevent further skin damage and restore that baby soft skin.

3.) AHH! We itch all over from mosquitos!
Grab a banana and split it up with the family but save that peel! The inside of the banana peel can be rubbed and held down with a band-aid to help moisturize the skin and calm irritation. Lavender oil can also be used to counteract the mosquito venom so I'd dab a drop or two of that on there too.

4.) Swelling  injury or small cut?
Grab a green tea bag to reduce inflammation and stop the bleeding. Try freezing used tea bags for small and successful ice packs on the go!

5.) Poison Ivy in the Yard?
Prepare a spray of water and rubbing alcohol to spray on your skin before you head out into poison ivy infested areas. Rubbing alcohol can help prevent the oil from poison ivy from spreading over large areas and can help reduce exposure afterwards too. (I recommend a 1:2 ratio of rubbing alcohol to water)

6.) Yellowing Nails?
Soak those nails or dab them with a cotton ball that has been soaked in a peroxide/baking soda mixture. Used over time, this can reduce the yellow color of your nails, freshen your laundry, and whiten your teeth! (I recommend using 1 tbsp peroxide mixed with 2 tbsp of baking soda for a paste.)

7.) Unsightly Dry and Cracked Heels?
Soothe your tootsies with some crushed papaya by soaking them in a tub of papaya for 30 minutes. The enzymes can help soothe and remove the cracked or rough skin.

8.) Dry Lips and Dehydration?
Most of the time when you're lips are dry its a huge sign that you're dehydrated, however in the summer months it may also be partially due to sun exposure that is drying out those supple tissues. Try smoothing on olive oil a few times a day to hydrate and heal those lips.

9.) Dry and Sun Damaged Hair?
Rejuvinate it with the healthy fats in avocado. Use as a pre-wash treatment by applying smashed avocado for 30 minutes before your shower.