• Gut Health
  • Heart Health
    • Heart Health

      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

  • Skin Health
    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

  • Brain Health
    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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    • Pet Health

      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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Doctors Fail to Inform Patients of Abnormal Test Results

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/30/2009

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at how physicians manage test results, including how often physicians failed to inform patients of negative results.  Most of us have been there at one point or another.  The doctor orders routine (or non-routine) tests and says, “If we don’t contact you, then that means the results were negative.” It’s the old “No-News-is-Good-News” routine.  Well, you might want to consider following up on those test results just in case.

The study found that the failure rate of some doctors’ offices to inform patients of  abnormal results was as high as 26%.  They found that there was no standard method of informing patients.  Each office came up with its own methods.  Even in offices that assured patients that no news was indeed good news, this was found to not always be the case.

The researchers found that the simplest methods used to inform patients were often the most effective.  They also found that if physicians were happy with their office’s methods of informing patients of test results, then patients were more likely to receive their abnormal results. Doctors face malpractice suits if diagnosis is not made due to failure to inform patients of abnormal test results, so this should be a priority for them.  But it still seems to be a problem for some doctors.

So to be on the safe side, the next time your doctor tells you that if you don’t hear from them everything is ok, you might want to take matters into your own hands and follow up with a phone call to be sure.  Or at least request that they call you with the results, negative or positive.  You are ultimately in charge of your health

Playgrounds That Use Recycled Rubber – Too Toxic for little Timmy?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/26/2009

I read an article in USA today the other day about the dangers of rubber play surfaces.  You know – the recycled rubber that you see at outdoor playgrounds.  The stuff that is probably even put into the mouths of some of the more “adventuresome” children.   Apparently, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of recycled rubber in playgrounds back in 1991 as a way of preventing tires from ending up in landfills.

But the EPA says that it can’t assure the safety of this rubber.  The rubber can contain lead and other toxins.  Wait a minute!  Now I understand that dumping rubber into landfills is not environmentally friendly, sure.  But where do we dump it instead?  The place where we find our most precious resources – children!  Surely there has to be a better place to use recycled rubber. The reasoning behind using it in playgrounds is that it provides a safer surface for preventing injuries.  A study published in the Lancet in 1997 found that rubber playground surfaces were safest.  But again I ask, is there not another material that can be used that is as safe with regard to injuries, yet much safer with regard to toxic contamination?

It doesn’t seem like rocket science to me.  With all the latest studies discovering that toxins are much more harmful in children than we ever thought, why are we putting our children at risk? I realize that with all the warnings of toxins everywhere, it can make you not want to leave the house (I won’t get into the toxins found indoors at this point, that’s another topic).  But it is virtually impossible to avoid each and every toxin in our environment these days.

I’d like to recommend a few safety measure when it comes to this recycled rubber.

  • If you can find a playground that doesn’t use recycled rubber, great!
  • Maybe head to a park that doesn’t have a playground, but instead a nature trail, river, or open field.  Put your imagination in full gear and explore nature.  You might be amazed at what you find, and what you and your child learn!
  • If you can’t avoid the rubber playground, don’t beat yourself up.  Just be vigilant.  If you have a toddler, make sure that the rubber pieces stay on the ground.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after playing.
  • Perhaps avoid the playground at the hottest hours of the day, between 10 and 2 pm.

Weight Loss Drug Alli May Cause Liver Damage

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/23/2009

Many of you have probably heard about the over-the-counter weight loss drug Alli.  It is a less potent version of orlistat, which is a pharmaceutical drug used for weight loss.  The way that it works is that it binds to a fat enzyme in the digestive tract, so that about one quarter of fat from the diet is not digested.  It just passes through the digestive tract.

Leaving fat undigested in the intestines can lead to a host of digestive problems.  In fact, side effects of Alli include oily and loose stools, fecal incontinence, frequent or urgent bowel movements or flatulence.  What this does to the balance of microflora in the digestive tract is not healthy.  Fat is not meant to pass through undigested.

That is only the beginning.  Recently, the FDA began an investigation of the hepatotoxicity of Alli.  Apparently, Alli (and its pharmaceutical counterpart) may cause liver damage.  So not only does it wreak havoc in the intestines, but it may be getting absorbed and moving into the liver, causing further damage there.

Sure, the idea of taking a pill and eating all the fat we want is certainly attractive.  But the big picture cannot be overlooked here, folks.  Weight management is a commitment.  It is a lifestyle change.  It is not a pill.  And it certainly should not be risky.

If you are tired of yo-yo dieting and taking diet pills that produce more side effects than weight loss, why not make a change?  The Fiber35 Diet was designed to be an easy way for people to lose weight based on the amount of fiber that they eat every day.  Check out the Fiber35diet website (www.fiber35diet.com) for more info on this great plan.

And if you’re looking to jump start your diet, Diet Start Cleanse can help you on your way.  It is a two-part non-stimulant cleanse designed to help boost fat metabolism, while also providing a colon cleanse to support healthy bowel function.

So take charge of your weight loss and choose a plan that makes sense, without all the risks!

The Candida Connection

Filed in Candida | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/20/2009

Proving the Link between Yeast Overgrowth Prevention and Optimal Health

In 1983 internist and allergy specialist Dr. C. Orian Truss compiled years of clinical research into what may be the most revealing analysis ever written about the health hazards of candida overgrowth.

His research gave us a detailed look at the connection between chronic candidiasis (the long-term proliferation in the body of the Candida albicans yeast) and countless physical and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, overweight, gas and bloating, brain fog, depression, irritability and more.

Dr. Truss documented his clinical experience with the yeast organism, describing numerous cases wherein patients were diagnosed with everything from common allergies to psychiatric disorders simply because doctors were unable to pinpoint the origin of the problem. In each case, however, symptoms decreased and overall health improved when the treatment focused on eradicating Candida albicans.

An Ever-present Danger…

Candida albicans is just one of trillions of microscopic organisms present in the human digestive tract throughout the entire life cycle. Candida albicans makes up nearly 75 percent of the body’s immune system and if that delicate balance of beneficial to harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract is disturbed, disease-causing microorganisms may be allowed to thrive and multiply. In the case of Candida albicans, the destructive yeast will invade and damage the surrounding tissues, and in severe situations the overgrowth may spread to the bloodstream.

What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?

Proliferation of the Candida albicans yeast begins with a weakened immune system. Many times the problem can be traced back to individual diet and lifestyle habits. Among the most common causes of a bacterial imbalance in the gut are stress, illness, the misuse or overuse of prescription antibiotics and acid-blocking drugs; the use of cortisone and other steroids; overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates; fluctuating hormone levels (common in women during PMS and pregnancy); and exposure to toxins such as mercury (typically from dental fillings), which kills the good bacteria that keep destructive yeast under control.

Identifying the Problem…

If not eliminated from the body, Candida albicans will continue to thrive and may eventually cause long-term damage to the body’s vital organs and organ systems. In some cases, chronic candidiasis can lead to diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic arthritis, and even bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease. For this reason, identifying the microscopic invaders and eventually eradicating them is essential for reestablishing a state of optimum health.

Because standard medical tests are often inconclusive, doctors and health practitioners must rely on the patient’s “clinical picture” in order to determine whether or not he or she is suffering from an overgrowth of Candida albicans.

Preventing Candida Overgrowth Naturally…

An effective natural yeast prevention program must first begin with necessary diet changes such as eating fewer carbohydrates. This class of foods consists mainly of starchy, sugary foods shown to promote the growth of Candida albicans. It is also best to avoid caffeinated foods and beverages, along with sugar, honey and other sweeteners, processed foods, condiments (including sauces and vinegar products), dried or candied fruits, fruits and fruit juices, cheese and dairy products, mushrooms, wheat and yeast products, peanuts, and fermented foods and beverages (including wine and beer).

Candida-eliminating Herbal Cleanse…

To help eliminate Candida albicans from the body and reestablish a healthy microbial environment in the intestines, look for an herbal internal cleansing formula developed specifically to help rid the body of the invading yeast organisms. Such a formula should consist of herbs, amino acids and other beneficial natural ingredients working synergistically to assist the body with the cleansing of yeast and promote a healthy balance of intestinal florae. This blend of multiple ingredients is important because the yeast organisms can mutate rapidly and become resistant to single-ingredient remedies.

Ongoing Nutritional Supplementation…

In addition to healthy diet and lifestyle changes and herbal cleansing, daily supplementation with probiotics, fiber and enzymes is essential when it comes to preventing yeast overgrowth. Taking digestive enzymes between meals can help break down Candida albicans by attacking its cell walls. On an empty stomach right before bed, take a multi-strain enzyme supplement that contains protease, cellulase, amylase, lipase, lactase and other plant-derived enzymes.

A daily probiotic supplement will help restore and maintain a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria by crowding out harmful yeast organisms. Look for a high-Bifido, critical care formula with at least 50 billion active cultures per capsule and added Lactobacilli and Lactococcus cultures to support the health of the small intestine. Enteric-coated capsules will ensure targeted delivery of the beneficial probiotics directly to the intestines.

Finally, daily supplementation with a natural fiber supplement that includes the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide (FOS) will help nourish healthy gut bacteria. Look for a flax-based formula with added herbal ingredients and amino acids to support overall intestinal tract health.

March of Dimes Recommends DHA Supplementation

Filed in Digestive Health, General, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/19/2009

The March of Dimes is a not-for-profit organization whose mission it is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  Through research, community services, education and advocacy, they strive to carry out this mission.  March of Dimes might be best known for their recommendations that women of childbearing age to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.  Because of their far reaching efforts, most women are now aware of the importance of taking this vital nutrient for a healthy pregnancy.

Recently, the March of Dimes has made a new recommendation for pregnant women – the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.  Specifically, they are recommending that women should get at least 200 mg of DHA daily.  For women concerned about the presence of mercury in fish, or who do not eat fish, they recommend obtaining the DHA from a supplement containing at least 200 mg.

The March of Dimes has added this important nutrient to its recommendations only after careful examination of the existing science.  That science is hard to ignore when it comes to DHA and infant brain development.  Kudos to March of Dimes for their recognition of this essential nutrient. Not only is DHA important for baby, but it is also important for mother.  The baby takes what nutrients she needs from her mother, often depleting the mother’s own stores.  So during pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding, nutrients are funneled to the baby first.  Mom gets whatever is leftover.  Proper diet and supplementation of pregnant and breastfeeding women is crucial for the health of both mom and baby.

Renew Life’s Norwegian Gold Critical Omega contains a balance of EPA and DHA, with 240 mg of DHA.  For those looking for more DHA, Critical DHA contains 500 mg.  Ultimate Fish Oils are third-party tested and certified by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) for freshness, purity and potency.  The IFOS program is a world leader in Omega-3 testing, ensuring Norwegian Gold oils meet or surpass all world pharmaceutical standards – including the Norwegian Medicinal Standard.

So if you’re considering pregnancy, consider taking a DHA supplement – healthy oils have great benefits.

Protect Your Family with Probiotics and Enzymes

Filed in Enzymes, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/16/2009

If you are in the United States and you eat anything at all purchased from a supermarket you are most likely aware of current food scares.  These scares involve food contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.  We have had many in the past year involving foods such as ground beef, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, peanuts, pistachios and white pepper.

These are frightening events seeing as in 2008 an estimated 325,000 Americans were hospitalized and more than 5,000 people died from tainted food.  Unfortunately the Food and Drug Administration currently has the resources to only inspect less than one percent of the food imported into the United States.  No wonder consumer confidence is falling. There is hope on the horizon for food safety.  A bill is currently in the House of Representatives that will give the FDA more power and funding to implement better safety standards, establish a better inspection program, and allow easier tracking of tainted food products.

In the meantime one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from pathogenic bacteria on food is to take a daily probiotic supplement.  Probiotics, or your good bacteria, found in the digestive tract have the ability to produce substances that kill bad bacteria eaten on food.  These probiotics also crowd out the digestive tract and consume all the food source that bad bacteria would need in order to survive – ReNew Life’s Ultimate Flora Adult Formula Probiotic Supplement can help.

Another means of protection against food-bourne illness is a digestive enzyme formula containing hydrochloric acid, like Renew Life’s ParaZyme.  This acid is what is normally found in a healthy stomach when we eat.  Unfortunately lots of people, as they age and for other reasons, are lacking in this very important substance.  One of the most notable functions of our stomach acid is the natural sterilization for our food.  Without proper stomach acid you are more susceptible to bacteria and parasitic infections.

So protect your family and always have a probiotic and enzyme formula available.

Natural Health Industry Standards and Testing

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/12/2009

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In this video blog I discuss a recent article on MSNBC titled “Contaminants lurk in many ‘natural’ products.” This article does not give the full picture of the natural health industry and I think it is important to give all of the information about this great industry. Be an educated consumer of natural products and watch this video.

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Filed in General, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/05/2009

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In this video blog I discuss Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. For years now I have been trying to educate on the relationship between intestinal health and bacteria and the development of this disease The new issue of Hepatology gives new insight into this condition and echos my thoughts. Watch and find out more about this condition and what you can do to address it…

The Gut-Brain Connection

Filed in Adults, Conditions, Digestive Health, Enzymes, General, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/02/2009

My assistant recently returned from the latest Institute for Functional Medicine conference in southern Florida. For those not familiar with Functional Medicine it is a personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for serious chronic disease. In other words, they teach Medical Doctors as well as all other specialties how to evaluate a person to get to the route of a problem or disease and treating the cause verses just treating the symptoms.

A big part of Functional Medicine includes the use of nutraceuticals in treatment.

This year’s conference centered on Mood Disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder as well as touching base on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Amazingly, one of the focuses of the lectures was the gut-brain connection in relation to mood disorders. More specifically, how reactions of our immune system and gut inflammation can directly affect our brain.

Remember that most of our immune system is in our gut.

Without getting too technical, the same type of cells and neurotransmitters found in our brain are also located within the digestive system. The development of an infection or inflammation anywhere in the body will set the immune system in action. Again, most of this reaction takes place first within the immune system of the digestive tract. Our immune system responds by the reaction of proteins called cytokines. These cytokines tell our body what type of reaction to have, such as swelling, stiffness, pain etc…It has now been shown that these cytokines will travel a very unique pathway and arrive at the brain, setting into motion a chemical reaction that results in the breakdown of the neurotransmitters involved in mood stability and inflammation within the brain itself.

Once this brain inflammation develops, it can remain for months even though the initial problem in the other part of our body gets resolved. This brain reaction can result in symptoms such as brain fog, memory problems, depression and anxiety. In addition, the influx of these cytokines to the brain can disrupt the lining of the brain called the blood-brain-barrier, causing what they now call “Leaky Brain” syndrome, making the brain more susceptible to other agents that do not normally pass this barrier. This is very similar indeed to what we know as Leaky Gut syndrome.

The more inflammation and irritation of the gut lining, as in Leaky Gut, will in turn send more of the cytokines to the brain, resulting in more inflammation and irritation there. In reverse, they are now seeing that healing the gut, reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system with the proper nutraceuticals can in turn reduce depression, anxiety and even reduce some symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

All the more reason to take precautionary measures by supporting your immune system with probiotics, as well as your vitamins and minerals. Taking a glutamine supplement such as IntestiNew will help keep your intestinal tract healthy, reduce inflammation and defer the development of leaky gut.

It is funny that years ago scientists and doctors treated the brain and mood disorders as a total separate entity from the rest of the body. It is nice to see that they now realize the brain is connected to the body, through something called the neck!

Our Universities Should Offer Lessons of Health

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/01/2009

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In this video blog I discuss an article that I read recently about the University of South Florida offering a class in Lessons of Happiness. It made me think how great it would be if universities would offer a class in Lessons of Health. Why is this important? What kind of information should the class cover? Watch and find out. Please let me know what you think.