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.