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Everyday Magic for Building Strong Bones

What’s required to build strong bones? Calcium? Boron? Exercise? Let’s look at some of the myths – and the magic – for building strong bones. 

Dairy foods?  Dairy foods build strong bones, right? Wrong!  The United States is a country that consumes dairy foods in excess of most other countries in the world – and also exceeds most countries in the incidence of osteoporosis. In more than 30 worldwide studies, scientists find that a diet high in dairy foods contributes to higher rates of bone loss and fractures at all ages. There are multiple reasons for a causal association. Dairy foods do not build strong bones.

Calcium?  Has a physician, nutrition consultant or well-meaning friend told you to take calcium to build strong bones? Well, shame on them, unless they also told you to take 1-2 times as much magnesium as you do calcium – and/or eat the foods that provide both minerals in a natural balance! Excessive calcium intake, in the absence of sufficient magnesium, can contribute to arthritis, atherosclerosis, gallstones, and other calcification problems – and not yield strong bones.

Balanced minerals!  What foods provide a good balance of magnesium, calcium, and the other minerals required for bone-building? Try nuts and seeds (sprouted, of course); green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, collards, and turnip greens; herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and peppermint; vegetables such as summer squash, green beans, dried beans, mushrooms; and fish and seafood. Real food! Yes, real foods, without excessive processing, contain the natural balance of magnesium and calcium and a complex of trace minerals, supporting the construction of strong bones. You just need to eat enough of these bone-building foods to balance the acidifying and bone-degrading effects of excessive grains, sugars, and inflammatory proteins (from grain-fed – rather than naturally fed – fish, cattle and poultry).

Vibration and electricity!  Two extremely important factors for bone-building and bone strength are vibration and electricity. It won’t work to plug yourself into the nearest wall outlet! You induce vibration in your bones by walking, dancing, tapping your heels on the floor or ground, standing on a vertical vibration device – almost any non-static weight bearing activity. And that vibration induces electrical flow in muscles and bones, strengthening both by stimulating repair and regeneration. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seated and tapping your heels to music, or dancing exuberantly. Vibration is induced, which then induces electrical flow in the body, which then induces bone and muscle regeneration. How easy is that?

Sunshine!  We can’t talk about bone health without mentioning sunshine, which promotes the production of Vitamin D, essential to proper metabolism for bone regeneration. If solar exposure is not your preferred or available option and you take Vitamin D as a supplement, remember that as little as 10-15 minutes of sun weekly will potentiate your Vitamin D supplementation for even better impact.

Positive thinking!  Depression and stress are both detrimental to bone density, by affecting the bone building process. A simple daily gratitude practice helps  build better bones.

The Real Magic    Find what works for you. Of course, walking briskly for 20 minutes will induce stronger vibration and electrical flow than tapping your heels for 10 minutes. Adding light weights around your waist (belt) or shoulders (vest) during any  weight-bearing exercise increases the bone benefit. Walking in sunshine is more beneficial than an indoor treadmill session,  but the treadmill may offer more safety. The choice is yours. Select what you enjoy, and what you will do often. The real magic is finding – and doing – what works for you. 

– Dr M

Remedy Tool-Kit

Homeopathics for a Better Brain

Homeopathics are safe for all ages. You can experiment with a homeopathic remedy with virtually no risk, with most retail-available  dosages and brief use. Try some of these remedies for improving your brain function.

Zinc metallicum 30c– weak memory, lethargic, slow comprehension, indecisive, evening irritability, restless legs

Lycopodium 30c – doesn’t tolerate contradiction especially after intellectual fatigue, using wrong word, forgetful, morning debility, sensitive to noise and odors

Baryta carb 30c – mental weakness, lost confidence in self, grief over trifles, impaired thinking, prone to distended arteries 

Health Bytes

Want to check on your brain?

Use BrainSpan

Brain health is cell health. One of the easiest and most effective ways to check on your brain wellness is with a BrainSpan assessment. With a few drops of blood and a 15 minutes web-based cognitive online assessment, you gain insight into functional brain changes before they become apparent in traditional medical screening.

The BrainSpan assessment examines

  • Nutritional Brain Health
  • Inflammatory Response
  • Brain Cell Toxicity
  • Short Term Memory
  • Sustained Attention 
  • Processing Speed

Two weeks after submitting your dried blood spot and online analysis, you’ll receive a report of your current cell and brain biomarkers and a report of how to improve them.

You can go to the website BrainSpan.com for more information. We have the test kits available at Health InSyncs.

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Have you experienced The Pod?

Choose from the following settings: 
Energy
Relaxation 
Skin Care
Sleep

The Pod at Health InSyncs is reported to promote sleep, improve skin tone, increase energy. It uses different colors of LED lighting, suspended above and around you. It looks a little like a space capsule that could take you into outer space – or different inner spaces? 

Allow 45 minutes for a session: 20-30 minutes for the treatment plus 15 to change  clothing (as you want) to maximize skin exposure to the lights.

Call 804.377.2222 to schedule an appointment.

Articles

How Much Omega-3s Do You Really Need?

The balance of omega-3s and omega-6s is what is “critical” in nutrition, The absolute amounts are generally secondary to the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. The more omega-6s you consume, the more omega-3s you need in balance, in principle.  Seems simple!  But it’s only one part of the answer to “How much omega-3s do I really need?”  Like many nutritional questions, the answer depends …  It depends on several factors, and on a bigger picture.
 
What kind of omega-6s are you consuming? 
Natural sources of omega-6s include nuts and seeds, vegetables and leafy greens. These natural omega-6s have different effects in the body than processed omega-6 oils do. Processed oils extracted from seeds, corn, soy, etc. are found in processed foods  purchased from stores and restaurants, and are more pro-inflammatory than natural food sources. So where you get your omega-6s makes a difference as to how it balances with your omega-3s. If you’re eating lots of leafy green vegetables with your omega-3s, you’ll obtain metabolic balance easily. If you’re ingesting lots of processed oils, you’ll need higher amounts of omega-3’s to balance. 

What kind of omega-3s are you consuming? 
There are animal sources and plant sources of omega-3s. In a healthy body environment, plant-based omega-3s are easily converted to the anti-inflammatory forms of EPA and DHA. But if the body is excessively loaded with omega-6s, (particularly processed omega-6s), or is highly inflamed, the enzyme required for that conversion from plant omega-3s to EPA and DHA is depleted. Conversion doesn’t occur, or occurs inefficiently. Inflammation is harder to quell, and continued inflammation derails the enzyme production. Under those circumstances, without the enzyme, animal sources are required to provide adequate anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA.

How do you cook your fish?  If you eat fish to improve your health, to obtain more omega-3s in your diet, check how you cook your fish!  Most of us don’t cook at home with corn, soy, or canola oils, but restaurants and food-product vendors do.  If fish is cooked in high omega-6 oils (such as corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, sesame, canola oils), the high-omega-6 cooking oil may block the oil absorption of the omega-3s into your metabolism. At home be sure to use oils that are higher in omega-3s or high in medium chain fatty acids (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil) to cook your fish. Use olive oil for cooking only at low temperatures; coconut and avocado oils are stable at higher temperatures. (Yes, avocado oil has more omega-6 than omega-3, but other factors prevail!)

What’s the bottom line? No simple formula or ratio is the answer. Eat the best quality food you can with awareness of the nutritional benefits, and minimize your use of processed foods. And above all, enjoy your food – joy is an anti-inflammatory factor!
 

Health Bytes

Ginger is Powerful Medicine

Ginger contains many therapeutic compounds, with well documented responses in the body. Two well recognized ginger compounds in the research include gingerol and zingerone. Cooking transforms gingerol into zingerone so the benefits of ginger will vary somewhat with the form used, whether fresh grated, cooked or powdered.

Ginger is an antioxidant, an analgesic, a blood thinner, and a liver protector. Research on its compound zingerone (most prevalent in cooked ginger or ginger tea) determined that it reduces inflammation, improves blood sugar, eases muscle and joint pain,  speeds fat breakdown and improves immune function. You can easily add it to soups, sautéed vegetables or make tea to make it part of your dietary habit.

What’s not to like about ginger? It tastes good, too! However, some medical cautions are in order. Ginger amplifies the effects of some medications, like tetracycline, some calcium channel blockers and blood thinners. If you’re on these medications, do not suddenly add a lot of ginger to your diet without medical supervision.

“We think of ginger as a flavor agent, but ginger is powerful medicine.”
Suzy Cohen, America’s pharmacist

Remedy Tool-Kit

Your Best Friend for Spring: Arnica Montana

Working in the garden? Starting outdoor activities again? Feeling some aches and pains as those muscles get worked more than usual?

Arnica Montana is a homeopathic remedy of many uses, but is well appreciated  for “early garden enthusiasm” – working more hours, more muscles than you planned! Or for those first games of good weather – muscles you didn’t remember you had, that are now talking to you!

Arnica is useful for speeding the healing of bruises, for helping the body recover from any shock or trauma – physical, mental, or chemical, for reducing bleeding from injuries, for reducing hemorrhoids, for sore gums after dental work, for muscular pain in general, but especially for sprains or strains. Arnica is sometimes used by plastic surgeons after facial surgery, to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising, especially around the eyes.  Used after any surgery, it can help the body heal faster.

Topically use Arnica for bee stings, sore or bruised muscles, for sprains and strains. Use the oral forms, usually perles or tablets, to deal with lacerations or any bleeding injury, shock and trauma, hemorrhoids, gum soreness, and eye injury. 

Cautions

Homeopathic remedies are generally safe for all ages. Consider these exceptions with Arnica Montana (mountain daisy):

  • If you have an allergy to the daisy flower family, you might not benefit from Arnica, and might have an allergic response to the homeopathic form.
  • Never apply topical arnica to an open wound.

Articles

Cholesterol: Friend, Foe or SuperHero?

I am still amazed – and concerned – when a patient walks in with blood test results and says “(another) physician  says my cholesterol is too high and I need to be on statins.” Typically the “high” cholesterol is between 200-250 mg/dl.

Multiple studies report that the following effects are associated with higher, rather then lower Total Cholesterol levels :

  • better mental health
  • increased hospitalization survival
  • faster sports injury recovery
  • better coronary heart disease survival

 In the case of coronary heart disease, for which high cholesterol is considered a “high risk” factor, better survival is associated with Total Cholesterol greater than 240. This research, from multiple studies and meta-analyses (studies of multiple studies) started gaining momentum in the late 1990’s – and continues to be replicated in the current scientific press. We have “forgotten” that healthy Total Cholesterol was up to 300 mg/dl before statins were designed and marketed.

Total Cholesterol is not even a meaningful parameter, except as an indicator to examine the subunits of the cholesterol panel. Let’s look at the typical “cholesterol panel/lipid profile” blood test. The value of Total Cholesterol is obtained by a formula of adding 2 different kinds of lipoproteins (fat-proteins) and a lipid (fat) to obtain an estimate of a different kind of substance, neither lipoprotein nor lipid, but cholesterol. That’s somewhat comparable to adding up the orange sections, strawberries, and blue berries in a fruit salad to estimate the number of melon balls. 

Are cholesterol test results useful?  Yes!  Those test results can point to underlying mechanisms or suggest the need for further subunit testing.  How to get useful information for  your health from your lipid profile is another topic.

So who or what is cholesterol and why do relatively “high” levels (by current lab standards) contribute to better health, recovery, and mental and physical survival? Here are some of the reasons why some physicians, myself included, consider cholesterol one of the most important molecules in the body:

  • Cholesterol is produced in the brain, by the brain, for the brain, in the amount of 20-25% of the total amount of cholesterol produced in the body.
  • Cholesterol is the most produced molecule in your body, produced primarily in the liver for distribution throughout the body.
  • Cholesterol is a substance found in every living cell in your body:
    • 1) in the membrane or “skin” that surrounds every cell and defines its function; and
    • 2) internally, in the working of the cells.
  • Cholesterol is the required base to construct every steroid hormone your body produces. Steroid hormones include the reproductive hormones that help define us as male or female, the hormones that regulate the immune response and metabolic activity, that stabilize our blood sugar and mineral concentrations, and that regulate our blood pressure. 
  • Cholesterol is embedded in the protective myelin sheath that surrounds every nerve in your body, and the axons of your brain’s neurons.

I’m not in support of casually depleting such an essential component for brain, hormonal, and immune function and cellular integrity without examining the underlying mechanisms.

The body requires healthy levels of cholesterol. We don’t know precisely what the healthy level of cholesterol is for any particular person, except in the context of the rest of their physiology, function and history.  Decreased cholesterol levels are associated with practically every degenerative human condition including cancers, Alzheimer’s, HIV, death from pneumonia and flu, as well as infertility and erectile dysfunction, and violent crime and suicide. The well-known side effects of statins, including  memory loss, dementia, and muscle pain suggest that lowering cholesterol is not addressing the underlying problems. Proper cholesterol balance, and proper understanding of the roles of its associated lipids and lipoproteins, is central to your physiology and health.

Be mindful that extremely high levels of cholesterol, or any natural body substance, indicates a problem. (Not that it necessarily is the problem, but it indicates a problem.) 

I hope the next time you get test results, you’ll have more questions to ask your physicians.  

There’s lots more to learn. But have you reconsidered your casting of cholesterol as friend, foe or superhero?

Dr M