Tuesday, November 2, 2010

De-stressing Through The Holidays

The holidays are coming...eek!  Here are a few ideas on how to breeze through them.

Can Food and Supplements Help You De-stress??

Mental stress is a normal reaction to upheaval, emotional upset or just too many demands on your time. Whether it’s a result from something good, like getting married or a big promotion or from something negative, like a divorce, death in the family or losing a job – stress can wreak havoc on your physical well being.

In the body, chronic stress kicks the hormone cortisol into high gear. Cortisol then triggers a hike in insulin levels. (Wonder why you crave sweets when under stress??) At the same time, blood levels of serotonin drop. Serotonin is the mood regulator manufactured in the brain from tryptophan and those wonderful B vitamins.

The end result? Stress can make you fat and sick. Stress, all by itself, can cause overeating of the not so good foods and exacerbate conditions such as high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic pain and gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome.

SO – What can you do to ease the stress???
The most important thing to do when under stress is remove the stressor from your life. Try to manage stress by adapting or adjusting to the cause of the stress. Some good ideas:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Try meditation or yoga (I just started a yoga class - it's great!)
  • Get the right nutrients in your diet
Taking a good-quality multivitamin/mineral daily just makes sense. Stressed people tend to have poor diets, so a multivitamin/multimineral supplement is a great insurance policy for getting the nutrients you need.

Another great option for stressed out lives is a product from Shaklee aptly called Stress Relief Complex. The primary ingredients are:

  • L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea that helps to promote a relaxed, yet alert mental state;
  • Ashwaganda, an ayurvedic herb that enhances the body’s ability to adapt to stress;
  • L-tyrosine, an amino acid used by the body to make norepinephrine
  • Beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol, helps to blunt the response of cortisol.
My favorite supplement for chronic stress is B-Complex. Remember, B-Vitamins help transport and move nutrients throughout the body. They also help to produce serotonin. I like to call the “Bs” the happy vitamins. Come on – get happy and get yourself a bottle of B-Complex!

Just remember this – reduce your stress and you’ll feel (and look) a whole lot better!  And you will enjoy the holidays a whole lot more, too. 

If you would like further information on a natural approach to stress management, please fill out the information form on the upper right of this page, indicating your areas of interest.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

This is a terrific article that talks about the ghosts and goblins (i.e. toxic chemicals) lurking in our families' food and water; what they can do to our health; and tips to keep your family safer.  Please take the time to read it and then share it with your friends.  I always say "knowledge is power."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Low Fat vs. Low Carb...again

Dr. Chaney takes another look at the Low Carb vs. Low Fat diet debate:

By Dr. Stephen Chaney, Phd

You would think the question of low carb versus low fat diets would be settled by now.  Literally dozens of studies have been published on the subject and they are all in pretty much agreement that initial weight loss (mostly water) is faster on the low carb diets but that weight loss at one or two years is essentially the same on the two diets.

The unique feature of the study just published in Annals of Internal Medicine (153: 147-157, 2010) was that it included an intensive behavior modification program to optimize the weight loss over the two year period of the study.

Here is how the study was conducted:
The low-carbohydrate group was instructed to eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day for 3 months and then to increase the carbohydrate by no more than 5 grams per day each week until they achieved their desired weight.

The low-fat group was instructed to decrease calories and restrict fat intake to no more than 30% of calories.  All of the patients were enrolled in a lifestyle program designed to help them improve their physical
activity and other lifestyle factors.

The program met weekly for 20 weeks, every other week for another 20 weeks, and then monthly for the rest of the 2-year study. In short, this was a very good behavior modification program.  Weight, blood pressure, blood lipid levels and side effects were measured at the beginning of the program and at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months.

Considering the enormous effort put into behavior modification, the results of this study were somewhat
disappointing.  The participants lost an average of only 22 pounds and the end of year one and had gained back 7 of those pounds by the end of year two.  And that only included the ~50% who stayed with the
program for the whole two years. Who knows how much weight was gained by the people who dropped out of the study?

Since the behavior modification program used in this study did not significantly impact either weight loss or weight maintenance, it's perhaps not surprising that the other findings of this study are pretty much the same as the findings from previous studies.  Weight loss was slightly greater in the low carb group at 6 months, but did not differ significantly between the two groups at either 1 year or two years.  Triglyceride levels and blood pressure were lower for the low carb group at 6 and 12 months, but were the same for both groups at 2 years.

The only significant differences between the two groups at 2 years were LDL (bad) cholesterol levels - which
were significantly lower in the low fat group - and HDL (good) cholesterol levels - which were significantly
higher in the low carb group.

Ironically, I've already seen blogs from proponents of the low carb diets trumpeting the increase in HDL levels as "proof" that low carb diets are better for your heart.  But, it's not just HDL or LDL that's important, it's the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol that determines your risk of heart disease.  And at two years the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol was virtually identical on the two diets.

As for side effects, the patients on the low carb diet reported more constipation and more problems with bad
breath. If you've beeen on a low carb diet before, that's probably not news to you.

So what is the take home message from this study?
1) The laws of thermodynamics still work. It's all about calories in versus calories out. Low carb and low fat diets work equally well for weight loss.

2) If you just focus on blood lipid levels and blood pressure there is also no significant difference between the two diets.

However, I still recommend against high fat (low carb) diets as a long term lifestyle strategy.  We know that high fat diets are much more likely to cause inflammation - which is a risk factor for
multiple diseases.  We also know that long term consumption of high fat diets is associated with increased risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers & diabetes.

To Your Health!

Dr. Stephen G Chaney

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Effectiveness of Statins Called into Question

Who really benefits from taking statins?  There are natural approaches for lowering cholesterol that may be much safer for certain people.  The information revealed in this article is alarming and should be shared with anyone you know who is currently on a statin. 

Effectiveness of statins is called into question - latimes.com

If you are currently taking a statin and have not already had a heart attack, you might want to explore other possibilities.  Always be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Do You Know What You're Drinking?

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Water has become a popular topic these days on many levels; bottled water - is it really pure? What about all the plastic? Tap water - what’s really in it? Should I drink it or not? I am so confused!!

The Water In You:

Water is of major importance to all living things; Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature.

The cells in our bodies are full of water. The excellent ability of water to dissolve so many substances allows our cells to use valuable nutrients, minerals, and chemicals in biological processes. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. No less important is the ability of water to transport waste material out of our bodies.  Every body system depends on water.  We also need it for:

Mental function and clarity
To moisten eyes, mouth, nasal tissue
Temperature regulation
Appetite/hunger management
Joint lubrication
Increase nutrient bioavailability
Promote regularity
Protect body organs

HOW MUCH DO WE NEED? Experts pretty much agree that we can go by the 8 x 8 rule:  8-8 ounce glasses per day.  Plus extra for hot weather and exercise.

So what’s wrong with tap water? We assume it’s safe, but is it? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found more than 300 industrial and agricultural contaminants in the tap water of 45 states. We can’t see them and often can’t taste them, but these are chemicals that can be harmful to our health.

Heavy Metals: (lead, mercury, cadmium) - behavior and learning disabilities

Disinfection By-Products: (ex - chloroform, bromoform) - variety of cancers; also affect liver, kidney & nervous system

Agricultural Pollutants:  (ex - Lindane, atrazine, alachlor) - cancer; also affect eye, liver, kidney, spleen, blood & nervous system

Industrial Pollutants: (ex - benzene, toluene, styrene & many others) - cancer; also affect blood, nervous system, liver, kidneys

According to the EPA our tap water is responsible for up to 20% of lead exposure in humans

And then there’s bottled water. It may not be contaminant free either, and we pay considerably more for it than our tap water! The bottled water industry is not required to publicly disclose the results of any contaminant testing it conducts. The EWG found a total of 38 contaminants in the water of 10 popular brands. In 2007, out of 1.64 million tons of water packaging materials produced, only 34% were recycled.

So what are we supposed to do?  The best way to be sure you are getting the purest water possible is to purify at your tap.  A water-filtration pitcher system is an inexpensive way to accomplish this.  There are several products out there; but Shaklee has just introduced a multipatented system that is worth a look.

Clean Drinking Water is no longer a luxury. It's a matter of health. Cheers!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Creating Healthy Skin

Skin is our largest organ. We should want to take good care of it—wouldn’t you agree?

What chemicals are you wearing?
There are many ways we take in toxins, and one of them is by absorption through our skin. So it’s important to know what ingredients are in the products we use on our skin day-in and day-out. If you are using products that contain questionable ingredients you may be putting yourself at great risk.

Rachel Carson first introduced the possibility that chemicals may have a detrimental effect on human health when she wrote the book, Silent Spring in 1962. Theo Colborn in her book Our Stolen Future furthered the premise that synthetic chemicals that mimic natural hormones (also called hormone disruptors) are upsetting normal reproductive and developmental processes. And then in the year 2000 the book Hormone Deception by D. Lindsey Berkson was called “a wake-up call for the 21st. Century” by Ann Louise Gittleman.

We cannot make the assumption that a product is safe just because it comes from a well known company. Also, with so much information available on the internet, we must be careful that we are dealing with reputable sources when doing our researche. I am going to discuss a few of the many questionable ingredients commonly found in drug store and department store brands, but ultimately, it is up to each of us to due our own due diligence before choosing any products.

Ingredients we should avoid:

  • Formaldehyde: a highly toxic substance. It is a known cancer-causing agent. It damages the neurological connectors in the body. It is an irritant to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
  • Parabens: used primarily as a preservative in skin care. A chemical that can disrupt hormones and possibly a link to breast cancer and heart problems.
  • Triclosan: can disrupt hormones and remain stored in the body and eventually damage the lungs and kidneys. It is used widely in a number of household products. Also causes thyroid concerns.
  • 1,4-dioxane: a contaminant produced during manufacturing, so the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. Found in products that create suds, like shampoo, liquid soap and bubble bath.
Some of the other questionable chemicals that are routinely found in personal care products are:
Polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance...and the list goes on.

To add to the confusion of reading labels - many of these chemicals are listed under other names. For instance you will not find “formaldehyde” on a label, but maybe methylene oxide.

How Does Skin Age?
First of all, there is chronological aging or the natural aging process where skin gets older with the passage of time—Cellular functions simply slow down, skin elasticity declines, pigment becomes irregular. The result is wrinkled and sagging skin with uneven skin coloring.

There is also a component of aging called accelerated aging. This occurs in part because of increased exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants, which create free radicals on the skin. Simply put: pollution plus UV radiation equals free radicals. When free radicals reach the skin a chemical reaction occurs that creates inflammation and genetic mutations at the cellular level. It is estimated that 80% of visible aging is from sun and environmental exposures.

Every day 73,000 free radical attacks on each skin cell trigger damaging enzymes...Skin you don’t even see already looks older!

So What’s The Answer?

Scientists have discovered that the same nutrients that keep us healthy on the inside also keep us healthy on the outside. To create a successful skin care line, each and every one of the biochemical reactions involved in the free radical damage process had to be identified and blocked – we are talking about antioxidant protection.

You might be wondering “If I’m taking a lot of antioxidant supplements, wouldn’t that protect my skin?”
Good question. But it doesn’t work like that. Good nutrition is indeed essential for overall health, including the health of the skin. But there are free radical assaults from the outside of our bodies. Scientists know that effective amounts of antioxidants are very difficult to formulate into skin care products. There are plenty of products out there with vitamin C, E and B6 on the label but many of these ingredients are in forms that the skin can’t utilize and they’re often present at very low levels. At best they only address certain parts of the biochemical chain reaction and only the visible problems. They don’t address all of the causes.

There's only one company that I know of who has successfully been able to look at each destructive link in the chain of damage and then block that part of the reaction with the appropriate antioxidant. To do this took a unique complex of 7 ingredients which they called Vital Repair +®. This signature complex now has three patents on it.

It is important to note that extensive research went into the formulation of this anti-aging skin care system, and after the products were developed, the company spent over one million dollars in independent clinical testing to insure safety & effectiveness.

The company who developed these products is Shaklee - recognized as pioneers in the development of nutritional supplements for over 50 years; and the line, introduced in 1998, is called Enfuselle. In all Shaklee has 8 patents on Enfuselle - a rarity in the skin care industry.

Whether you choose Enfuselle or another line of anti-aging skin care, the most important thing is that you are sure the products contain no toxic ingredients and that the vitamins in the products actually penetrate into the skin layers to reverse past damage and prevent against future aging. Your skin will thank you, AND you won’t have to worry about the chemicals you might be wearing.

Here’s to your healthy skin! (And don’t forget your sunscreen).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Do you want 1,4-dioxane in your personal care products?

This is an eye-opening article.  Especially when you read that "concerns about exposures at key points in development (such as pregnancy, infancy and puberty) are cause for concern."  AND, that you won't see 1,4-dioxane on the label.  Does that make you angry?  Please read the entire article and be sure to share it.

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics : 1,4-dioxane

I personally prefer these safe & natural baby products.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

9 Tips for Cancer Prevention

This is an excellent article and one that should be copied and posted on the refrigerator.  It should also be shared with everyone you know.

When you read that "Four of every 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and two of every 10 will die from it"  this should raise some eyebrows and motivate all of us to take action.

 Cancer Prevention Tips Environmental Working Group

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More BPA Woes

Early-life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

ScienceDaily (2010-06-22) -- Exposure to environmental levels of the industrial chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in the womb and early life may cause long-lasting harm to testicular function, according to a new study conducted in animals. ... > read full article

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BPA Blues

This is an excellent review of some of the latest studies on BPA and their results.  Dr. Chaney makes a good case for a preventative appraoch to health management.

By Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD

You've heard the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - and sometimes we don't really know what we are preventing until after the fact.

Toxic chemicals such as BPA are a case in point!  Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical additive that has been added to clear plastic bottles for years, but we are just now starting to learn how toxic it is.

Recent studies have suggested that BPA increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and liver disease...
...and the news keeps getting worse!

One recent study showed that BPA prevents the formation of nerve connections in the portion of the brain that controls formation of memories and control of moods (Leranth et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 105:14187-191, 2008) - in short that BPA may negatively affect brain function.

That had been previously shown in mice, but what makes this study so concerning was that the authors demonstrated the same effect in monkeys - and at doses that the EPA considers to be "safe" for humans.

The second study in the August 14, 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives showed that BPA suppresses a hormone called adiponectin which is responsible for maintaining normal weight and preventing the development of metabolic syndrome - a precursor to diabetes.

Those data suggest that BPA may increase the risk of both obesity and diabetes.

All of these potential health consequences of BPA exposure are especially concerning in light of a recent study showing that 90% of the US population has BPA in their urine.

So does that mean that it is too late - that there is nothing that we can do to prevent the damage caused by an environmental toxin that we were all exposed to but did not know about until recently?

The answer is no.

As I pointed out in a previous "Health Tips From the Professor" (Bad Effects Of Additives In Plastics, archived at: http://www.socialmarketingconnection.com ) those of you who have been taking a preventative approach and making sure that you had plenty of folic acid and genistein (a phytonutrient found in soy protein) in your diet may have protected yourself from the bad effects of BPA.

So, my word of advice to all of you is follow a holistic approach to health that includes weight control, exercise, good diet and supplementation.

It will help protect you from the dangers that you know about and the ones that you don't.

To Your Health!

Dr. Stephen G Chaney

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Infections, Fractures Linked to Acid Reflux Drugs

It saddens me when I read articles like this one. The first line of action is usually a drug approach. But there are natural remedies that are much safer and often times equally as effective. Taking good quality digestive enzymes and acidophilus (probiotics) have been known to work well and with no negative side effects. It would be great to get people off these nasty medications and onto a program of prevention and better health.

What do you think?

Infections, Fractures Linked to Acid Reflux Drugs

Friday, April 30, 2010

Help! Allergy Season is Here!

Allergic disorders affect an estimated 1 in 5 adults and children (40 to 50 million people) and are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, according to the Allergy Report from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI).

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are the immune system's inappropriate response to a foreign substance, called an allergen. Exposure to what is normally a harmless substance, such as pollen, causes the immune system to react as if the substance were harmful. Being exposed to allergens when the body's defenses are low or weak, may also contribute to the development of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms. Sneezing, congestion, itchy, watery nose and eyes and/or asthma symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing and coughing, are no fun. We’ve all seen the many commercials for various prescription drugs, but is that the only answer?

Factors That Weaken Your Immune System:
Sugar/Alcohol        Over exposure to toxins
Poor diet                Lack of rest
Aging                     Genetics
Stress - emotional, physical (depletes B, C, Zinc)
Nutritional deficiencies (B, C, Zinc)

Are there Natural Solutions to Allergies?
Yes. By strengthening your immune system, you can replenish your body’s own arsenal of defenses.

Factors That Strengthen Your Immune System:

  • Healthy diet … lots of fresh vegetables ( 50% of diet ), fish and poultry and as little sugar, wheat and baked goods as possible
  • 8 hours of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Nutritional Supplementation
Most people who suffer with allergy and sinus problems feel they must resort to using medications that have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. For those who may be interested in safer, more natural alternatives, some of the following premium products by Shaklee may be of interest.  (Or the brand of your choice - but they must be good quality products to be effective)

Premium Garlic Complex
Retaining all the potency of l clove of fresh raw garlic without the odor. Garlic is traditionally used for its
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. People often take it to reduce symptoms of allergy, asthma, colds, flu, sinus infections, yeast infections, diarrhea & flatulence. It also has heart protective properties of lowering elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels.*

Sustained Release Vita C
For continuous antioxidant protection against environmental assaults, this unique all-natural sustained formula
slowly releases Vitamin C into your blood stream over a 5-hour period and provides nutrients from the entire
vitamin C complex including bioflavonoids. Vitamin C has been found to protect against smog, smoke, and poor diet, stress, bruising, varicose and spider veins, chronic infection, allergies, asthma, colds, flu, swollen glands, anemia, colon polyps and slow healing.*

Developed and extensively tested by immunologists in Japan, this proprietary blend of natural plant extracts is
derived from pumpkin seeds, safflower flowers, plantago seeds and Japanese honeysuckle flower buds. Nutriferon supports and stimulates the immune system by increasing the activity of macrophages (white blood cells) and inducing natural interferon production. It optimizes the body’s immune response against environmental irritants and airborne substances (as with allergies and asthma). Completely safe – no adverse reactions to these plant extracts recorded.*

Optiflora:  Two-Product Daily Colon Care System
There appears to be a surprising correlation between symptoms of upper respiratory congestion and sinus discomfort and poor elimination in the lower intestines… often associated with an overgrowth of the Candida yeast organisms.  An increasing number of Americans suffer from Candida when the essential friendly microbes nature intended to reside in our intestines get destroyed by medications such as antibiotics, steroid-based drugs (e.g. asthma medications), oral contraceptives and more. Couple this with a culture so entrenched in sweets, breads, baked goods, chips and snacks that are the favorite foods of the Candida organisms…..Scientists now believe 70% of the immune system is located in the gut … a good place to start to strengthen our immune system against allergic reactions.

Start with just the Optiflora capsule … a patented technology that allows the very fragile probiotics to pass through the highly acidic stomach protected by a triple encapsulation so they arrive exactly at the right location in the lower intestines.*

The Optiflora powder (prebiotic formula) is a specialized food that will enhance the growth of the friendly microbes.*

Zinc Complex—essential for the immune system,, zinc is often deficient in American diets. It is lost with perspiration and stress. Classic zinc deficiency symptoms are loss of taste, smell and appetite ( common after illness or chemotherapy), slow healing, prostate problems, delayed sexual maturity, infertility, cataracts and acne ( one study showed an 85% reduction in acne scars in 4 weeks.*

Alfalfa –With deep roots extending 10 to 20 feet into the soil, this amazing plant is rich in trace minerals, protein and contains 8 digestive enzymes. Recognized as a natural anti-histamine, allergy sufferers report good results from taking 3 or 4 of the little compressed sun-dried leaf tablets … containing no pesticides, fungicides, growth regulators or synthetic hormones. Other popular uses for alfalfa are swelling, pain and stiff joints, ulcers, stomach ailments, hiatal hernia, water retention, gout, body odor, and bad breath.*

Defend & Resist Complex
Contains Echinacea,.. . which activates the immune system, promotes production of white blood cells, enhances resistance to infection, viral and bacterial, anti-inflammatory, promotes wound healing, reduces mucous, relieves boils, gangrene, ulcerations, bites, abscesses, fights candida. Also contains larchtree extract and elderberry to surround viruses and help prevent their reproduction. Best taken at onset of a virus… Can be sucked as a zinc lozenge or made into a tea. Very soothing to sore throats.*

Reduce Exposure to Toxins
In addressing allergy and sinus problems, a two-fold approach is usually recommended: 1) strengthening the immune system (as discussed above), and 2) avoiding products that could aggravate allergy and sinus conditions such as certain foods and cleaning products. Many cleaning products not only irritate the skin, but their odors can aggravate upper respiratory problems.

Because the brain is the most sensitive organ in the body, many experts recommend eliminating foods and environmental irritants that could create brain allergies. (Doris Rapp, M.D. “Is This Your Child’s World?”) Using Shaklee cleaning and personal care products may be helpful as they are based on a philosophy of “Living in Harmony with Nature.”

Get Clean Starter Kit – Step one in reducing toxins in and around our living space is to remove all toxic cleaning products from the home ..and replace them with the non-toxic, earth-friendly Get Clean Product line. These are remarkably effective yet inexpensive cleaners. They can be purchased individually or in the most popular Get Clean Starter Kit.

The kit includes products for the kitchen, the bathroom and the laundry; in particular, fragrance-free dryer sheets made from vegetables and biodegradable… a pint of Basic H2 that makes 48 gallons of all purpose cleaner for about $10 and Scour Off cleanser for pots and pans and stove tops in the kitchen and tile cleaning in the bathroom. Kosher certified.

Basic-G Highly Concentrated Germicide

Disinfectant, no cresol (easily absorbed by the skin, causes digestive disturbances, nervous disorders, mental changes, skin eruptions and jaundice). Kills parvovirus, feline leukemia, distemper virus and the AIDS virus on surfaces. Note: for allergy and sinus relief in the winter when it’s dry, remember to use a humidifier with a few drops of Basic-G to inhibit bacterial growth.*

Enfuselle Nutrition Therapy for the Skin Products 

Combine advanced technology with herbal and botanical extracts and antioxidants …especially formulated for sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic, pH balanced, no artificial colorants or heavy mineral oils, noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores). Plus a comprehensive highly derma-available complex designed to actually break each link in the chain of free radical damage. Literally reverses the accelerated aging of the skin caused by computer screens, fluorescent lights and the sun.*

If you are interested in tackling you allergy issues using a natural approach, please contact me to set up a consultation.

(Special thanks to Lagoni Health Associates who compiled some of this information)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

5 Reasons To Switch to Eco-friendly Cleaners

Earth Day is right around the corner – April 22nd. Every year I like to challenge my friends and followers to make one change toward healthier, eco-friendly living. There are many things we can do: wash the clothes with cold water (I do, and my clothes still get clean!), take shorter showers (it really doesn’t take very long to get the soap on and off), use cloth grocery bags (I love them, they hold a lot!), recycle (all you need is a recycle bin)…and the list goes on.

But one of the changes we can all make that has multiple benefits, is switching to non-toxic cleaning and laundry products. And here are some of the reasons why:

1. They are much SAFER – this is the big one for me. Green cleaners don’t contain harmful, toxic chemicals. Why is that important? Well, it has been discovered that many of the chemicals filling our homes are contributing to the development of asthma, liver damage, cancer and many other health issues that are much more prevalent today compared to 20 years ago. In addition some are endocrine disruptors which are affecting reproduction issues in us and in our children. It has been discovered that pregnant moms can pass these chemicals on to their developing babies through the umbilical cord. That is very scary to me. And, babies and pets live much closer to the floor. Do you want them getting cleaning chemicals on their hands and paws?

2. They are more POWERFUL - Many of the products actually rival or outperform national brands

3. Because they are GREEN – they are biodegradable & don’t contain borates, phosphates, or nitrates that eventually end up polluting our rivers, lakes and streams.

4. They are CONCENTRATED – what’s the big deal about that? Well, the containers are usually recyclable, so there’s less going to the landfills. Also, because they are concentrated there are fewer bottles to recycle and all of that saves energy.

5. They are a SMART investment – again, because they are concentrated, a little goes a long way so you save thousands of dollars versus conventional cleaners. And they are smart because of all of the above.

Have I convinced you yet? Well, if not, let me dangle the carrot just a little more. I am offering a 15% rebate on the Get Clean® Starter Kit – you get all the cleaners you need for household, laundry and dishes plus lots of accessories for an unbelievable price.

I hope you will make the move to keep your home safer, your health healthier, the earth cleaner, and your pocketbook fuller.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Color Them Hyper(active)

By Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD
 Each year between 3 and 10% of school aged children are diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also known as hyperactivity. Most of these children are currently being treated with drugs. And these drugs have side effects - ranging from relatively minor (loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia and mood swings) to major (suicidal thoughts, psychotic behavior and drug abuse).

So it is only natural for parents to ask whether there is a more natural approach that they could follow and, more specifically, whether diet could make a difference.

To answer that question lets start by looking at just one aspects of children's diets - the increasing prevalence of artificial food colors and preservatives in the diet. The average child today is consuming over 10 pounds of food additives every year!

The idea that food additives - specifically artificial colors and preservatives - might be responsible for hyperactivity was first raised by Dr. Ben Feingold over 30 years ago. He devised the Feingold Diet - a diet that was free of artificial food colors, preservatives and other artificial food additives.

Some small scale clinical studies suggested that the diet might be successful and millions of parents used the diet for their hyperactive children with great success. But the medical authorities pooh-poohed the Feingold Diet. They pointed out that when parents are putting their child on a special diet they are also giving that child more attention - and it might be the parent's increased attention that decreased the child's hyperactive behavior.

They also pointed out when you eliminate food additives from the diet you are decreasing the "junk" food and increasing fresh fruits and vegetables - in short the child's diet is much healthier. So eventually the Feingold Diet lost popularity - but the idea that artificial food colors & preservatives might trigger hyperactivity has refused to go away. In fact, a couple of recent studies have substantially strengthened the link between artificial ingredients and hyperactivity.

The first study was a meta-analysis of 15 previous studies looking at the effect of artificial food colors and preservatives on hyperactivity (Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 25: 423-434, 2004). This meta-analysis concluded that artificial food colors & preservatives caused an increase in hyperactivity in 28% of the children tested. Almost all of the children in those previous studies were selected for the study because they had been diagnosed as hyperactive (ADHD).

However, a more recent study looked at 297 children from Southampton England who had not been diagnosed as hyperactive (Lancet, 370: 1560-1567, 2007). After an 8 week elimination phase in which artificial food colors and preservatives were removed from their diets, they were given a one week challenge consisting of fruit juice containing one of two different mixtures of four artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate or a placebo.

The amount of artificial food colors and sodium benzoate in the fruit juice drinks was designed to match the average amount found in the English diet (which isn't all that different from the American diet).

Once again, the results were clear. The amount of artificial food colors and preservatives found in the typical child's diet is enough to trigger hyperactivity in many children.

So what does that mean to you if you have a hyperactive child?

Could the simple act of eliminating artificial colors, flavors & preservatives from your child's diet eliminate hyperactivity and give you back that calm, sweet child that you love?

The available data suggest that removing artificial food additives from your child's diet can make a difference in their behavior, but I tend to side with experts who suggest that a holistic approach is best.

Eliminating food additives from your child's diet is important, but also make sure the diet is a healthy one, that your child is getting all of the nutrients that they need and that they are getting all of the attention and support that they need.

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney

Marti’s note: If you would like my free information on a natural approach to ADD/ADHD please fill out the form at the right. Thanks!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Vitamin Scam

In the Reader’s Digest April 2010 issue an article appeared which implied that vitamins are a scam. (The Vitamin Scam). I have reprinted a response to that article from Dr. Stephen G. Chaney

Steve Chaney PhD Dr. Chaney holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCLA.

Currently he’s a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina where he teaches first year medical students and has headed an active cancer research program for 30 years.

Dr. Chaney has published over 95 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, plus 12 reviews and two chapters on nutrition for one of the leading biochemistry textbooks for medical students today. He’s also been named “Teacher of the Year” several times by the first year medical students and currently holds a Medical Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professorship.

Lots of you have asked me to comment on the recent Reader's Digest article called "The Vitamin Scam". If you believed that article you'd think that, except for vitamin D, all supplements were worthless - and they might even kill you.

The sad thing is that I've written about this many times before...yet the myths keep resurfacing. It's sort of like "Whack a Mole". You whack one and another pops up somewhere else!

But let me start at the beginning: The author is a journalist - not a dietitian, a scientist or a doctor! And the role of journalists is to sell magazines, papers or TV ads. The more controversial the article the better. If it draws attention, it sells.

Some critics have said that journalists "never let the truth get in the way of a good story". But that is, perhaps, not entirely fair. It's just that journalists seldom have the time or inclination to write about the subtleties of the science or point out that there are two sides to the story.

So let me make a few comments about each of the so-called myths that were "exposed" by the Reader’s Digest article.

Myth #1: A multivitamin can make up for a bad diet:

The author quotes one study that suggests that multivitamin use did not decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke. There are several other studies that have come to the opposite conclusion, but the author failed to mention those. However, none of the studies are definitive by themselves, so I think that it is fair to say that the jury is still out on this one.

I also think that it is asking a lot of a multivitamin tablet to believe that it could significantly reduce the risk of disease by itself. For example, in the Landmark study the multivitamin user group had the same or higher risk of disease than the non-supplement user group. It was only the Shaklee group, who were taking a more comprehensive approach to supplementation, that had a significantly decreased incidence of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Myth #2: Vitamin C is a cold fighter.

The author says that vitamin C is ineffective in preventing the common cold, but does decrease the severity of the common cold. That is actually correct, but the author worded the findings in such a negative light that you might think "Why bother?"

Vitamin C is actually often fairly effective at decreasing the symptoms of the common cold. If the cold symptoms are mild enough that you hardly know you have it, that's good enough for me.

Myth #3: Vitamin pills can prevent heart disease:

The author quoted several studies in concluding that vitamin E and B vitamins were ineffective at decreasing the risk of heart disease. But the bottom line is that supplementation makes little or no difference in cardiovascular disease or deaths if you are at low risk of heart disease – but makes a significant difference if you are at high risk.

I'm not sure that we really needed a lot of high powered clinical studies to prove that. It's just common sense! By the way, are you really sure that you are at low risk of heart disease? The first symptom is often sudden death!

Myth #4: Vitamin pills can protect against cancer:

Again the author would have you believe that supplements were worthless in reducing cancer risk. Once again supplementation had little benefit in women at low risk of breast cancer, but made a big difference in women at high risk.

Myth #5: Hey, It Can't Hurt:

Here the author dredges up those old reports that claim that vitamin E, beta-carotene or folic acid might even do more harm than good.

I've covered this topic in some past articles like"What Can We Believe About Vitamin E?", "Folic Acid: Friend Or Foe?" and "Folic Acid Recommendations – Who Decides?"

There are several take home points here:

1. Most of those reports were single studies and were outweighed by many other studies showing no detrimental effects of those supplements.

2. Even if we take the supposed risks at face value, they are far outweighed by the other beneficial effects of those supplements.

3. Finally, if there are any detrimental effects they were probably due to use of high purity individual nutrients such as alpha-tocopherol alone, beta-carotene alone or folic acid alone.

In theory that can be a problem because they could interfere with the absorption of related nutrients like gamma-tocopherol or alpha-carotene - which have health benefits of their own.

Those risks would not apply to supplements that contained all of the vitamin E family, all of the carotenoids or all of the B vitamins in balance.

It is unfortunate that articles like this come out from time to time because they confuse and worry those people who might really benefit from supplementation. Of course, it's not just the anti-supplement group that writes misleading articles. There are just as many articles in the magazines hyping the latest "snake-oil" remedies.

The truth, as always, is hard to find.

To Your Health!

Dr. Stephen G Chaney

Thank you, Dr. Cheney for your wonderful incites.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by filling out the request form on the right side bar.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water Is Just Water

Here is Dr. Stephen Cheney's enlightening discussion about the bogus claims of "super" bottled waters:

It's bad enough that some people are paying a premium price for bottled water that isn't required to be any better than tap water...
...but the latest fad appears to be things like "alkaline" water and "ionized" water...
...and these "super" waters come with a really hefty price tag.

If you believed the hype behind these products you would think that they were revolutionary advances that will cure all sorts of ills.  But the truth is that those enticing claims are completely bogus.  They contradict the basic laws of chemistry and biochemistry.  More importantly, there are no good quality clinical studies showing that they work!

Let's start with alkaline water - but first a bit of background information.

Pure water has a pH of around 7, which is neutral.  However, if the water is exposed to air for any length of time it picks up CO2 from the atmosphere. The CO2 dissolves in the water and is converted to carbonic acid making most sources of pure water slightly acidic.

On the other hand, if metal salts are dissolved in the water it generally becomes slightly alkaline.

Now the questions that we might ask are:

1) Does alkalinizing the body have any health benefits?

In the 1930s Otto Warburg, one of the founders of modern biochemistry, showed that cancer cells were much more dependent on glucose (blood sugar) as an energy source than were most other cells in the body and that cancer cells metabolized that glucose in a way that made the cancer cells very acidic.

That information languished for many years, but interest in the "Warburg Hypothesis" has been revived in recent years by studies showing that cancer cells can be selectively killed by limiting their source of glucose.

In theory, making the body more alkaline would also slow the growth of the cancer cells. There is some evidence to support that hypothesis, but the evidence is still relatively weak.

It is the same with the other proposed health benefits of alkalinizing the body. There is some evidence out there, but it is not yet convincing.

As a scientist I'm keeping on open mind, but I'm not ready to "bet the farm" on it.

2) Can alkaline water alkalinize the body?

Here the answer is a clear cut NO!

The body has a very strong buffer system and some elaborate metabolic controls to maintain a near- constant neutral pH.  Water is such a weak buffer that it has almost no effect on body pH!

If you really want to alkalinize your body you can do that by eating more of the alkaline foods (most fruits (including citrus fruits) and most vegetables (except the starchy vegetables), peas, beans, lentils, seeds & nuts) and less of the acidic foods (grains (especially refined grains), meat (especially red meat), fish, poultry and eggs).

I've seen some experts recommend 60% alkaline foods and 40% acidic foods.  I can't vouch for the validity of that recommendation in terms of the benefits of alkalinizing the body, but there are lots of other good reasons to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less red meat and refined carbohydrates.

Ionized water is an even sillier concept from a chemical point of view.  It is very difficult to ionize pure water and the ions that you do create quickly recombine to give you pure water again without any change in pH or physical properties.

If you add sodium chloride (table salt) to the water you can get electrolysis that creates a slightly alkaline pH at one electrode and a slightly acidic pH at the other electrode.

However, as soon as you turn off the current these pH changes rapidly disappear. And even if you were somehow able to capture some of the alkaline or acidic water remember that water alone has almost no effect on body pH.

But, what about all of those glowing testimonials that you heard?  You need to remember that the placebo effect is near 50% when it comes to pain or a feeling of well being.

You can't repeal the laws of chemistry and biochemistry.  Water is, after all, just water!

Good science trumps good testimonials any day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Marti Gilchrist, Mother and Health Coach

Read my story about why I am a proponent of toxic chemical reform.

Marti Gilchrist, Mother and Health Coach

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Savin' O' The Green

In honor of St. Paddy’s Day I have a special gift for you.
I will give you a FREE Shaklee membership with a 50 point order.
This offer is good from now until March 31, 2010.

What are some of the benefits of membership?
  • 15% discount off retail on all products
  • Newsletters and emails on health related topics
  • Easy ordering on line or toll-free
  • Order whenever you want - no minimum requirements
  • Products delivered right to your door
  • A toxin-free home
  • Quality products from a 54-year-old company rated the #1 natural nutrition company 
Here are a few product suggestions that would qualify for the free membership:


 A daily vitamin strip that supplies 80 nutrients clinically proven to create a foundation for a longer, healthier life.* Comes in men's, women's and over-50 formulations

        Vivix ™ Cellular Anti-Aging Tonic -  resveratrol and a unique blend of polyphenols that is 10x more powerful than resveratrol alone and exclusive to Shaklee.*

Enfuselle®   Anti-Aging Skin Care products: The same nutrients that help keep you healthy on the inside also play a huge roll in how you look on the outside. Everything you need for healthy skin with none of the harmful ingredients.*

One package option:  Cleansing Product + Toner + Time Repair AM w/ SPF 15 (normal/oily or normal/dry formulations)

Get Clean® Starter Kit -  the equivalent of $3400 in conventional products without the toxic chemicals.

Always safe - always works - always green

 You can browse the catalog on the right side of this page, check out my web site or contact me to help you put together a qualifying order suited to your specific needs.

 Please also note - you will receive a rebate check for the price of the membership ($20) after your order has been placed.

“May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.”

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prenatal exposure to phthalates could affect infant behaviour

Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and durable.  They are the most abundant man-made environmental pollutants and have been found to disrupt the endocrine system.

Where will you find phthalates?  Everywhere!  Upholstery material, shower curtains, children's toys, metal foils (like those found on yogurt containers), aluminum foil, cosmetics, perfumes, hairspray, nail polish, and food packaging material.  And this is just the short list.

Phthalates have long been suspected in connection with rising infertility rates, particularly among men. These substances are considered highly hazardous to human health because they disrupt the hormonal balance and impair reproduction and development.  New research has found significantly high levels of phthalates in almost 70 percent of girls with early onset of puberty.

Prenatal exposure to phthalates could affect infant behaviour

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Survey Data on Lead in Women's and Children's Vitamins

When I talk to people about supplements, one of the things I mention is the importance of knowing who makes them.  For one thing, you want to be sure that they are using quality ingredients.  If you click on the link below, you will see a long list of supplements that contain lead.  If yours is on that list, you may want to consider trying something else.  My vitamins are from a 54 year-old company with a stellar reputation in the industry, and I can assure you,  they do not contain lead.

Survey Data on Lead in Women's and Children's Vitamins

I hope you will share this information with your friends too.  No one needs extra lead in their bodies!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Natural Approach to ADD/ADHD

There is increasing concern about the growing number of children on Ritalin and similar drugs, and many parents are looking for more natural alternatives. The following is a summary of some of the nutrients and herbs that many parents are using with good results to offer nutritional support for learning and brain function.

To give a good nutritional foundation to the brain and nervous system and to the whole child, a good program should always begin with a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral. The B vitamins are really important for the brain…parents have reported that they makes children not only smart, but pleasant!

Calcium-magnesium: These essential minerals are often referred to as natural nerve tranquilizers and muscle relaxants. Pediatric Allergist Dr. Doris Rapp and other authorities feel many learning and behavioral problems are related to allergies and brain sensitivities. Therefore, many recommend limiting milk and dairy products as well as artificial dyes, flavorings, preservatives, etc.

Zinc: In addition to its reputation for improving our immune systems, especially viruses and sore throats, zinc is essential for the brain and helps protect the eyes from aging.

Bifidus and Acidophilus (Probiotics): Essential friendly bacteria that ideally live in our lower intestines. These good bacteria help prevent over growth of bad bacteria and Candida yeast – often associated with attention deficit disorder.

Probiotics are especially important for a child who has ever been on an antibiotic or steroid-based medications (common with asthma). These medications kill off much of these essential “friendly microbes” that live in the lower intestine. Without adequate amounts of these microbes, research now shows the body is more susceptible to infection (especially sinus and upper respiratory) because 70% of the immune system resides in the intestines.

It is very difficult to find an acidophilus/bifidus product that guarantees live delivery of microflora to the intestine. Tests show that many of them do not make it live to your door, much less to your colon. 90% of the microflora alive in these products at the time of manufacture are killed off long before they reach the intestine. So please choose wisely—I know of only one product that guarantees delivery of 500,000 live microorganisms to the intestines without being destroyed by the highly acidic environment of the stomach.

In addition to the above recommendations, for hyper activity, allergies or asthma consider replacing your cleaning and laundry products with non-toxic alternatives. Here’s an excerpt from a powerful testimony: “In your homes, laundry soap stays in the fabric, cleaning chemicals under the sink give off fumes in the air (remember the smell of the cleaning isle in the store!!)…. I wanted to get "as much as possible" out of my son's environment...so we went completely Shaklee!! BIG difference !!!! After we cleared out the chemicals and started to clean and do laundry with Shaklee, his rash on his face cleared, all of our sinus infections cleared up, my husband now comments on the smell of homemade bread, and best of all my son has calmed down a great deal !!!”

The best and most affordable health insurance is a diet based on 6 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and a basic supplementation program combined with regular exercise… and lots of love and laughter.

Feel free to contact me to request information on nutritional programs for ADD/ADHD.