February 23, 2015

307 Hypochlorhydria [23 Feb 2015]

When we experience indigestion, the first thing we think of reaching for is an ant-acid pill. But in many cases that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Here’s why you may need to take an acid supplement pill instead.

As we age our stomach’s production of acid declines – one source estimated at by age 50 we produce only 15% of what we did at age 25, and that more than one in three people over 65 produce negligible amounts. Symptoms of low stomach acid – called hypochlorhydria – also cause indigestion, although of a different type. Suspect low acid is the problem if:
• you don’t feel well after eating meat
• you frequently experience acid reflux after eating*
• your stomach feels bloated and heavy after eating
• you burp or experience gas 1 or 2 hours after eating.

There are additional disadvantages to low stomach acid in addition to these unpleasant symptoms. Sufficient stomach acid is required for proper digestion of protein, certain minerals (iron, copper, zinc & calcium) and vitamins (B12, folic acid). Also stomach acid is a first line of defense from ingested pathogens; weak acid allows more germs to survive into the intestines.

There is a simple test for suspected low acid. Eat a high protein meal (e.g. a 6 oz. steak) and take 1 tablet of Betaine HCl. If you experience a burning or heavy feeling in your stomach, then you didn’t need it and your acid level is fine; if you felt nothing then the tablet helped digest the protein and your acid level is low. Repeat several times to be sure.

If you determine that your level is low the next step is to determine the optimum dosage. Increase by one Betaine tablet per meal every few days until you experience a warm or burning sensation, then decrease by one. Dr. J. Wright finds a common dosage to be 3,000-5,000 mg per meal. CAUTION: do not use Betaine if you have a gastric ulcer or if are taking anti-inflammatory drugs including corticosteroids, NSAIDS or aspirin, as these damage the stomach wall and the added acid will irritate the damaged tissue.

* The reason low stomach acid causes acid reflux is not completely understood. Steve Wright explains that it contributes to intra-abdominal pressure which pushes the stomach fluids back into the esophagus which can be irritated with even weak acid.

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

February 16, 2015

306 Nascent Iodine [17 Feb 2015]

This is my third article on iodine. The first in August 2011 [#125 Iodine] introduced the nutrient and its functions. The most recent [#282 Iodized Salt] from August of last year mentioned two forms of iodine – the ionic form e.g. potassium iodide, and the I2 molecular form called diatomic iodine. There is a third form called nascent iodine in which the diatomic bonds are broken by exposing the tincture of iodine to a high electromagnetic field leaving single neutral iodine atoms. Alcohol is used as a carrier as nascent iodine does not dissolve in water.

Nascent iodine is the safest and most effective form of iodine for our bodies (unfortunately it is also the most expensive). Functions of nascent iodine include:
• Stimulates and regulates production of T3 and T4 hormones
• Helps balance other endocrine functions
• Critical in pregnancy & breastfeeding for developing brains
• Improves breast health; reduces tenderness and cyst formation
• Improves behavior of children with autism
• Improves mental focus in adults & children
• Increases energy and stamina
• Protects from toxic halides: fluorine, chloride & bromides

To use nascent iodine, place a drop or more in a small glass of water and drink immediately. Diluting the tincture in water activates the iodine for several hours. It is best taken on an empty stomach in divided doses if required. One drop of 1% contains 0.2 mg of iodine (slightly more than the Canadian RDA).

As David Brownstein explains in his book “Iodine – Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It” this amount (the RDA) may prevent a goiter but is far too low for most functions of iodine. For example, several studies have shown that to prevent and control fibrocystic breast disease, a minimum of 5 mg (25 drops) per 50kg (110 lbs) body weight is required. He found 96% of 4,000 Americans tested to be deficient in iodine. I would expect Canadians to be similarly deficient as soils are depleted and few of us eat enough seafood.

Robert Redfern website
Global Healing Centre website
Magnascent website

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

February 9, 2015

305 PQQ – the Newest Vitamin? [9 February 2015]

Lee Know’s book “Life – the Epic Story of our Mitochondria” introduced me to Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) and discussed its role as a possible new vitamin.

Like vitamins, we are unable to produce our own PQQ so must get it from our diet. It is an essential enzyme for the production of collagen, the structural protein found in skin, bone and connective tissue. Animals given a PQQ deficient diet develop brittle skin. PPQ’s role as a vitamin however is contested and has not yet been confirmed.

PQQ is a very stable antioxidant that protects our mitochondria from oxidative damage (see #303 Free Radicals & Aging). Beyond that, PQQ is one of a very few things that actually increase mitochondrial biogenesis (production of new mitochondria) – the others being strenuous aerobic exercise, a severely restricted caloric diet, and a few prescription drugs. This property shows great promise for PQQ as an anti-aging supplement.

PQQ protects heart tissue from damage following heart attacks and ischemia-reperfusion injury (oxidative damage that occurs when oxygen deprived tissue is suddenly resupplied with oxygen following bypass or stent surgery).

PQQ also plays a critical role in protecting brain and nerve tissue immediately after a stroke or spinal cord injury. It also protects the brain from toxins including mercury and excitotoxins. No doubt because of the brain’s high demand for energy and PQQs ability to increase mitochondria, supplementation has been found to improve cognitive function. In a controlled clinical trial done in Japan in 2007, 20mg daily of PQQ improved short-term memory, attention, concentration and mental processing. The addition of CoQ10 significantly enhanced this effect.

PQQ is found in small quantities in a few fruits (kiwi, papaya) and vegetables (green pepper, carrots, cabbage) but the highest food source by far is dark chocolate. It’s possible that much of chocolate’s known health benefits comes from its PQQ content. PQQ is now available in Canada as a supplement, either alone or in combination with CoQ10.

Lee Know “Life – the Epic Story of our Mitochondria
Wikipedia Pyrroloquinoline quinone
Life Extension Magazine Generate Fresh Mitochondria with PQQ

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

February 2, 2015

304 Glutathione [2 Feb 2015]

Last week I mentioned glutathione as an important antioxidant protecting the mitochondrial DNA. It’s worth taking a closer look at its roles and what we can do to promote its production.

The main function of glutathione is to neutralize free radicals and peroxides inside the mitochondria and cell cytoplasma before they can do damage. It also recycles other antioxidants, extending their useful lives, and helps detoxify the cells of the body, especially the liver.

Glutathione is not considered an essential nutrient because it is synthesized in the body – in all cells but mostly in the liver. It is made of three amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine. Cysteine is relatively rare in our food so is a limiting factor in glutathione production. How can we increase our glutathione production?

Glutathione levels cannot be increased by supplementing with glutathione itself as it is broken down in the digestion process. Likewise cysteine, taken as a single amino acid, is destroyed in digestion. There are two ways around this dilemma: NAC and cystine. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and cystine are forms of cysteine that survive the digestive process and are readily converted to glutathione. NAC is available as a supplement in capsule form but needs to be taken several times a day for best results. Possibly the best form of cysteine supplementation is with cystine, available in a specially processed undenatured whey protein isolate.

The trace mineral selenium [see #208] is a cofactor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, one form of glutathione, so is often classed as an antioxidant along with several vitamins. Vitamin D and SAMe both increase glutathione production. ALA [see #89 and #90] has similar antioxidant and detoxification functions to glutathione, and helps protect glutathione. Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, also protects glutathione. Certain foods containing sulfur rich amino acids (asparagus, broccoli, avocado, spinach and garlic) also improve glutathione levels.

So why would you want to increase your glutathione levels? To enhance your immune system, detoxify your cells and liver (for example if you use acetominophen on a regular basis), increase your energy and feeling of well-being, and to slow or even reverse the aging process.

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