March 26, 2012

158 Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia [26 March 2012]

This week’s topic will be of interest mainly to us older men. As we progress past our 40s, our prostate glands tend to enlarge, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Nodules growing within the prostate can block the urethra, interfering with urination resulting in incomplete emptying of the bladder, feelings of urgency to urinate, and frequent trips to the bathroom at night.

Several pharmaceutical drugs are effective at both relieving symptoms and reducing the size of the prostate, but are slow acting and not without significant side effects (which may include erectile dysfunction and loss of libido). If drug therapy fails, surgery may be considered, which is not without risk or side effects either (and doesn’t sound like fun to me!).

There are many natural herbals used for BPH like saw palmetto, pygeum, stinging nettle, and pumpkin seed. The active ingredient in these appears to be a compound called beta-sitosterol. While they do a fair job of relieving the symptoms of BPH, there is no evidence that they actually reduce the size of the prostate which is the underlying cause of the problem.

One exception among natural prostate products is defined pollen extract. Developed in Sweden and long popular in Europe, it is now available in Canada. The pollen extract is made from specific pollens – mostly rye and some other grasses – and should not be confused with bee pollen. In clinical trials defined pollen extract not only improved symptoms of BPH as well or better than the herbals but also reduced prostate size. And it acts relatively quickly with improvements noticed in just a few weeks.

The pollen extract is safe for long term use. It has been shown to lower PSA levels and shows promise in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Trials have also shown that the pollen extract is helpful with chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia (while saw palmetto and the other herbals are not).

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

March 19, 2012

157 Sierra Mineral Discovery [19 March 2012]

A gold prospector in the 1970s discovered a patch of shiny mineralized clay high in the Sierra Mountains. When he fed some to his dog who had a lame paw, the paw healed quickly. He then ate some himself and experienced relief from pain he had suffered for years. He shared his discovery with several businessmen who had similar results. Together they decided to bring this miraculous mineral to market so others could benefit too.

Research showed this mineral complex to be very safe for long-term use. The LD50 test, which determines how high of a dose is required to kill half of the test animals, was stopped at 70 times the normal dose because the rats were continuing to improve in health with no sign of toxicity.

Further research showed that this unique blend of minerals greatly reduces or eliminates inflammation which destroys the joint cartilage in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. It does this by inhibiting the inflammatory factor interleukin-1beta (IL-1B) and by reducing the production of nitric oxide and glycosaminoglycan (GOG) responsible for cartilage degeneration. The mineral complex reduces inflammation not only in every joint but in other areas of the body as well. Other supplements commonly used for joint health like glucosamine and chondroitin only provide the nutrients for rebuilding cartilage; they do nothing to reduce the inflammation.

Controlled human trials with this mineral complex found significant pain relief within two weeks, faster than for any other supplement. Along with the reduced pain, the researchers also observed reduced stiffness and increased activity in the group taking the mineral.

This formula has been available in Canada for a few years and is rapidly growing in popularity as people try it and tell their friends and neighbors. If you haven’t tried it yet, talk to your neighbors – they probably have – or know someone who has. If you are taking prescription drugs for joint pain, talk to your doctor about the possibility of adding this mineral complex to your program.

The information in this column is from the book Mineral Miracle - Stopping Cartilage Loss & Inflammation Naturally by Shari Lieberman PhD and Alan Xenakis, MD, ScD, 2006. For more information on this product see

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

March 12, 2012

156 Diaphragmatic Breathing [12 March 2012]

We have two ways to breathe – with our neck and shoulders and with our diaphragm. With the first method we use our neck and shoulder muscles to raise our ribcage allowing the lungs to expand and air to flow in; with the second we contract the diaphragm – an up-domed flat muscle across the bottom of the ribcage – allowing the lungs to expand downwards. When under stress or exertion we use both to maximize oxygen intake.

Diaphragm breathing has several advantages: it is very energy efficient and uses more of your lung capacity; it helps blood and lymph circulation; and it is relaxing. Neck and shoulder breathing can become a habit with some undesirable consequences: neck and shoulder muscles become tight causing pain and headaches; the head is pulled forward leading to jaw tension and TMJ problems; and tension on the neck vertebrae can cause nerve compression with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

How do you breathe? Chances are you unconsciously breathe with the neck and shoulders. To find out, lie on the floor and place one hand on your chest, the other on your belly. If your chest hand moves you are breathing with your neck and shoulders. Practice breathing so your belly hand moves out with your in-breath and in with the out-breath. If you tire quickly, you need to strengthen your diaphragm.

To strengthen your diaphragm, lie on the floor and place a sandbag or other soft weight on your belly between your belly button and lower ribs. A one pound bag of rice works well. Practice breathing to lift the bag softly and slowly with the in-breath. Keep your other hand on the chest and stop the breath when it starts to move. As you exhale let the bag assist you as it sinks in towards your spine. Take 10 bag-assisted breaths, then remove the bag and follow with 10 relaxed normal breaths. Start slowly and increase the repetitions as your diaphragm strength improves until you can comfortably repeat 3 cycles each morning and bedtime.

By re-learning to breathe with your diaphragm you will give your neck, shoulder and jaw muscles a much needed rest. You may be surprised at what symptoms disappear and how much better you feel.

I learned this breathing technique at a recent massage therapy course by Doug Alexander who taught the treatment of jaw pain and TMJ dysfunction with massage.

March 5, 2012

155 Coconut Oil Safety [5 March 2012]

Last week I discussed the coconut oil diet which has been shown to benefit people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neuropathies. Some of you may be thinking “I remember hearing that coconut oil is a saturated fat which will clog my arteries”. So, how healthy and safe is coconut oil?

There are important differences between virgin coconut oil and other saturated fats. Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride, much healthier than: the long chain saturated fatty acids found in lard; the hydrogenated vegetable oils in shortening and hard margarines; and even the highly-refined poly-unsaturated oils found on grocery store shelves. The “virgin” form is important because commercially produced coconut oil may be hydrogenated, creating trans fatty acids. It was hydrogenated coconut oil used by researchers to raise cholesterol levels in rabbits that started coconut oil’s bad reputation back in the 1990s.

Studies have now shown that coconut oil helps prevent heart disease, lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and helps with fat loss. Here are some other beneficial uses of coconut oil:
• stable at medium heat, it’s perfect for sautéing and stir-frying
• eaten by breastfeeding moms, it increases the lauric acid and capric acid levels of her milk, protecting the baby from virus and bacterial infections
• MCT oil, derived from coconut oil, has been used by athletes to help reduce fat and build muscle
• applied topically on burns, cuts and bruises, it speeds healing and protects from infection.

A good way to use coconut oil is in a blend with flax oil as an alternative to butter or margarine. A delicious recipe was created by Johanna Budwig, the German scientist who did much of the early nutritional research on fats and oils. Go to, click on Volume 9 and scroll down to page 5. The Eye-Opener magazine, published by Siegfried Gursche, is a good source of information on coconut oil. Stop in to my store for a free copy or read them online.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.