March 30, 2015

312 Adrenal Fatigue Healing Steps [30 March 2015]


Last week we looked at the three stages of adrenal fatigue (AF) as described by Dr. Robin Berzin in an article published on MindBodyGreen.com. This week we’ll look at the 9 step protocol Berzin uses to help her patients overcome adrenal fatigue.

1. Eat plenty of colored vegetables, sufficient lean protein, and gluten free whole grains; avoid foods that cause inflammation and those you are sensitive to.
2. Go to bed before 11 pm to avoid a late night cortisol surge.
3. B vitamins, especially B5, B6 and B12 are essential for energy production.
4. Cool inflammation with vitamin C, curcumin and omega-3 supplements.
5. Other important nutrients for the adrenals include vitamin D, selenium, magnesium & zinc.
6. Drink plenty of pure water, adding trace minerals, lemon juice or sea salt to rehydrate your cells.
7. Use adaptogenic herbs to support the adrenals like licorice root, ashwagandha, and rhodiola.
8. Include relaxation times (not naps) in your day and avoid high intensity workouts [Wilson (see below) encourages “enjoyable” exercise].
9. Reassess your definition of success to reduce stress levels in your life.

Following these 9 steps, Dr Berzin finds that most people with adrenal fatigue can recover without the need for hormone therapy.

Dr. James L. Wilson provides more suggestions in his book “Adrenal Fatigue”. He explains that salt cravings (common with AF) reflect a nutritional need and unless you have high blood pressure (rare with AF) you should salt to taste. Chocolate cravings is another matter – it may indicate a magnesium deficiency but its high caffeine and theobromine content overstimulate the adrenals so is not a good magnesium source. For the same reasons avoid coffee, black tea and soda pop; green tea and most herbal teas are fine. Alcohol also aggravates adrenal fatigue and should be avoided. Wilson’s book is available from my loaning library.

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 26, 2015

311 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue [23 March 2015]


Feel stressed, worn out, or exhausted? Can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Everyday tasks require a huge effort? Rely on coffee to keep you going throughout the day? Absentminded, can’t concentrate? Can’t handle stress (“I have one nerve left and you’re getting on it!”)? People seem more irritating (you have a lower tolerance for idiots)? You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue (AF). In the foreword to Dr. James L. Wilson’s 2001 book “Adrenal Fatigue the 21st Century Stress Syndrome” Dr. Jonathan Wright claims that adrenal fatigue “is one of our most prevalent yet rarely diagnosed conditions”.

In a February 2015 article for MindBodyGreen.com called “9 Steps to Heal Adrenal Fatigue Naturally”, Dr. Robin Berzin, MD defines AF as “a disruption of your adrenal glands’ ability to make cortisol (adrenaline) in the right amounts at the right times…” Normally cortisol starts high on waking and slowly drops throughout the day to a low at night. Berzin then describes the three stages of AF and their corresponding cortisol curve.

1. Wired and Tired – high cortisol levels day and night so can’t sleep; feel jittery and can’t relax. May experience insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain.

2. Stressed & Tired – cortisol peaks early (sometimes the middle of the night so can’t get back to sleep) then drops quickly so have no energy during the day; may have a slight late afternoon or evening rise; rely on coffee to keep going.

3. Burned Out – cortisol level is low day and night; feel exhausted all the time even after sleeping; thyroid and other endocrine hormones may also be low.

Naturopathic doctors use a saliva hormone test to verify adrenal fatigue and identify the stage their patients are in. People often progress over time from Stage 1 through 2 to Stage 3. But Berzin encouragingly claims that with the right lifestyle and diet changes and the right supplements, they can work their way back through the stages to normal again.

Next week we’ll look at the 9 step protocol Berzin developed to help her patients overcome adrenal fatigue.

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 16, 2015

310 No Consensus on GMO Safety [16 March 2015]


A key position of the biotech industry and government regulators in the approval of GMO crops is the “overwhelming consensus” on their safety. A paper published in January in Environmental Sciences Europe refutes this belief. The paper titled “No scientific consensus on GMO safety” was developed and signed by over 300 independent researchers from around the world.

In the introduction it reads:
Irrespective of contradictory evidence in the refereed literature…the claim that there is now a consensus on the safety of GMOs continues to be widely and often uncritically aired [by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators and journalists].
In [this] statement, the claimed consensus is shown to be an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated...
The paper discusses the following seven points (read full paper here):

1. There is no consensus on GM food safety. [The evidence is far from conclusive; many scientists have serious concerns.]
2. There are no [zero!] epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health.
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate.
4. The EU research project [cited widely by proponents as evidence of safety] does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety.
5. A list of several hundred studies [frequently cited as evidence of safety] does not show GM food safety [most do not address safety, some provide evidence of lack of safety, and most are too short to examine long-term effects].
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops.
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops.

The conclusion reads in part:
In a time when there is major pressure on the science community from corporate and political interests, it is of utmost importance that scientists working for the public interest take a stand against attempts to reduce and compromise the rigour of examination of new applications in favor of rapid commercialization of new and emerging technologies that are expected to generate profit and economic growth
Decisions on the future of our food and agriculture should not be based on misleading and misrepresentative claims by an internal circle of likeminded stakeholders that a scientific consensus exists on GMO safety.
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 9, 2015

309 The Tryptophan Story [9 March 2015]


I’ve been rereading a 2003 book by Jeffrey M. Smith: “Seeds of Deception – Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating”. Smith devotes Chapter 4 to the story of tryptophan (read it here).

It is well known by genetic scientists, though rarely if ever acknowledged by the industry, that a common hazard of genetic engineering is the creation of new toxins or increased levels of known toxins. The tryptophan story is a good example of this phenomena.

The story begins in 1989 with an epidemic in the United States of a never before seen syndrome which included severe muscle pain, swelling, and a marked increase of a white blood cell called eosinophils. The CDC named it Eosinophelia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). The cases of EMS were linked to a tryptophan supplement manufactured by a Japanese pharmaceutical company, Showa Denko. Tryptophan is commonly extracted from fermented bacteria cultures. In December 1988 Showa Denko had started using a new genetically altered bacterium strain which greatly increased the production of tryptophan. No tryptophan by any other manufacturer was linked to EMS. Showa Denko eventually destroyed this bacteria strain and paid over $2 billion to more than 2,000 victims of EMS.

Michael Osterholm, one of the authors of an EMS study published in the New England J. Med., pointed out the obvious connection between the new strain of bacterium and EMS in an August 1990 Newsday article. The FDA immediately jumped to the defense of genetic engineering, blasting Osterholm for “propagating hysteria”. Instead of investigating the possibility of contamination by Showa Denko’s new bacterium, the FDA used the situation to attack the supplement industry, calling it “health fraud schemes”. The FDA successfully called for a ban of all tryptophan supplements except by subscription. Health Canada followed suit making tryptophan available in Canada by subscription only. This ban was not lifted until 2001 in the USA and 2011 in Canada. I wonder: if a contaminated batch of Aspirin killed 40 people, would all ASA products be banned for 10 or 20 years?

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 2, 2015

308 Excess Stomach Acid [2 March 2015]


Last week I wrote that heartburn or indigestion is more often caused by low stomach acid than by excess acid. This time let’s look at what to do if you are producing too much stomach acid.

First, to explain a paradox I touched on last week. How can having low stomach acid produce heartburn symptoms that are relieved by taking an antacid? Steve Wright explains it this way: low stomach acid leads to bacterial overgrowth and maldigested carbohydrates, which increase intra-abdominal pressure, pushing on the stomach and forcing the stomach juices up into the esophagus. Even weak acid will irritate the unprotected lining of the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Before treating yourself for excess acid, be sure that that is the problem. The Heidelberg Test is more accurate than the betaine challenge test described last week, but is expensive and your doctor may be reluctant to order it. It involves swallowing a pH meter which measures the pH of your stomach as you drink a solution of sodium bicarbonate.

Once you have determined that your problem is excess acid, are taking ant-acids or proton pump inhibitors the answer? Not necessarily so. Remember that sufficient stomach acid is still required for proper digestion and protection from food borne pathogens. There are other more natural ways to prevent heartburn.

• Avoid becoming overstressed (easier said than done!)
• Don’t lie down for 2 hours following a meal
• Eat smaller meals, chew thoroughly, and drink a glass of water with meals
• Avoid spicy foods, carbonated drinks, coffee & alcohol
• Replace processed foods with whole foods, especially vegetables
• Include sufficient protein in every meal
• Supplement with probiotics and fermented foods to ensure healthy gut flora
• Take alkalizing supplements or eat a high alkaline diet (a subject for a future column) to lower systemic pH without compromising digestion
• For occasional severe pain use ant-acids or 1 tsp baking soda in a glass of water

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