• 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).

  • About Brenda
  • Pet Health
    • 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!

  • Blog
  • Shop

Love Antiques and Second-hand Treasures? Better Check ‘Em for Lead…

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/30/2011


 

Do you love shopping for antiques? Is your cupboard filled with thrift store trinkets? Do you serve food out of a pewter dish that was passed down from generation to generation? Did you ever think that it might contain lead? Read on…

Not long ago, it was reported that lead and cadmium were found in children’s drinking cups given out by a fast food restaurant. Even more recently, lead was found in reusable shopping bags. Now, another report has found that many items purchased from second-hand or antique shops contain dangerous amounts of lead.

Surface lead concentrations of more than 700 times the federal limit were found on items such as toys, home décor, kitchen utensils, and jewelry. Researchers purchased items from stores in Virginia, New York and Oregon, and were able to purchase an item that contained lead from every store they visited!

Nineteen out of 27 products exceeded the federal standard for lead, which is currently 600 parts per million. One salt shaker lid contained 714 times the federal limit! Regulation of the sale of second-hand and antique items would be both difficult and expensive, so a national public health education campaign will be launched to inform consumers of the dangers of these products.

Children are especially at risk for exposure to dangerous levels of lead and should not come into contact with antiques or use products that may contain lead. Used dishes and kitchen utensils, as well as construction debris and salvage items should be avoided until tested.

Avoiding all toxins is impossible, I know, but we can all take a few steps to lessen our toxic burden. Remember to support your body’s natural detoxification processes by eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of exercise, and cleansing regularly.

Accelerated Aging and Damaged Blood Vessels—Here’s What Not to Do

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 09/29/2011


Would you be surprised to know that eating a high-fat meal and/or high-sugar meal causes your arteries to not work in a normal manner? Let’s say we start the day with either coffee with cream/sugar and donuts, or same coffee/sugar with eggs and toast with butter/jam. And then for lunch or supper, we eat meals with high-fat meat, bread and butter, a baked potato with sour cream and butter along with an alcoholic drink (or even ice tea with sugar). Then we finish the meal with a nice dessert.

Each of these meals can cause your arteries not to function properly by the end of the meal which could last for several hours!1 If you tend to eat this way, most of the day your arteries are constricted and not dilating normally in response to routine activities. The result, at the very least, is high blood pressure. This problem can be eliminated simply by cutting out the excess saturated fat and sugar, and adding probiotics or cultured foods high in bifidobacteria, in addition to eating plenty of vegetables throughout the day.

The above illustration of the diet-artery connection illustrates just one of the many ways to create a problem known as endothelial dysfunction, a condition that occurs when the cells lining the arteries, veins, and lymphatics don’t work properly.2 There are a multitude of ways to cause the vessels to not dilate or constrict normally, and to cause the lining to leak (let’s call it leaky vessel syndrome). Endothelial dysfunction is a precursor to atherosclerosis.3 Here is a short list of endothelial dysfunction triggers:

1. Smoking, polluted air,4 food, and water5 – All of these create excess free radicals which are a major cause of endothelial dysfunction.

2. High blood sugar and/or high insulin levels – High blood sugar results in glycosylation (think of it like a sticky sugar coating) of the insulin receptor substrate, which eventually leads to an inability of protein kinase B (Akt) to increase endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) enzyme activity, resulting in low nitric oxide (NO) and poor blood vessel function.6

3. Microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), parts of microbes, and toxins made by microbes migrating from inside the intestinal lumen into the arterial, venous and lymphatic circulation – Microbes and their toxins activate white blood cells and they release bullets (anti-microbial peptides) named alpha-defensins that not only damage the microbes but the endothelial lining as well.

4. Stress – Stress increases cortisol, which can elevate blood sugar and insulin, again sugar coating receptors to result in low NO, and thus, endothelial dysfunction.

5 Aging – Aging decreases stem cells that help with repair processes, increases blood cortisol levels (see number 4), and decreases bifidobacteria levels in the colon. All of this leads to endothelial dysfunction.

6. Increased body fat, especially in abdomen – Even a modest gain of about 8 pounds (which can happen over a vacation) will cause endothelial dysfunction. “In normal-weight healthy young subjects, modest fat gain results in impaired endothelial function, even in the absence of changes in blood pressure. Endothelial function recovers after weight loss. Increased visceral (belly) rather than subcutaneous fat predicts endothelial dysfunction.”4

One of the mechanisms by which fat hurts the arteries is by releasing a cytokine known as resistin. Resistin has been shown to cause oxidative stress and decrease endothelial nitric oxide synthetase (eNOS) which is essential for nitric oxide (NO) production, itself essential for arterial health and function.

7. Physical inactivity – Merely by doing nothing, the process of ongoing free radical activity due to diet, stress and environment, will decrease nitric oxide (our natural vasodilator), superoxide dismutase (our own natural anti-oxidant) and citrate synthetase (the enzyme in our mitochondria involved energy production—essential to a healthy heart / blood vessel function). These natural sources of blood vessel protection return merely by walking briskly on a regular basis.5

8. Diabetes types 1 and 2 – Again, elevated blood sugar and either high or low insulin levels, as are seen in diabetes, will lead to endothelial dysfunction as described above.

9. Drugs which elevate or lower blood sugar and insulin – Many diabetic drugs can cause endothelial dysfunction by not maintaining steady levels of blood sugar and insulin. Insulin itself is one of the worst offenders.

10. Even children receiving second-hand smoke in a household with smokers, begin developing endothelial dysfunction at an early age.

References

  1. Rudolph TK, et al., “Acute effects of various fast-food meals on vascular function and cardiovascular disease risk markers: The Hamburg Burger Trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Aug;86(2):334-40.
  2. Endemann DH and Schiffrin EL, “Endothelial dysfunction.” J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004 Aug;15(8):1983-92.
  3. Davignon J and Ganz P, Role of endothelial dysfunction in atherosclerosis.” Circulation. 2004 Jun 15;109(23 Suppl 1):III27-32.
  4. Romero-Corral A, et al., “Modest visceral fat gain causes endothelial dysfunction in healthy humans.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Aug 17;56(8):662-6.
  5. Suvorava T et al., “Physical activity causes endothelial dysfunction in healthy young mice.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Sep 15;44(6):1320-7.
  6. Wautier JL and Schmidt AM, “Protein glycation: a firm link to endothelial dysfunction.” Circ Res. 2004 Aug 6;95(3):233-8.

Belly Fat and Liver Fat Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/26/2011


 

Belly fat is usually detectible—people generally have a good idea if they tend to accumulate fat in their midsection, as opposed to their hips and bottom. But how do you know if your liver is fat? Well, abdominal fat and liver fat often go hand in hand. In fact, fat from the liver can be sent to the belly, and vice versa. Often, an underlying feature of both of these is inflammation, which may come from the gut. Nutrients and other substances—including fat, toxins and inflammatory compounds—are absorbed from the small intestine and travel straight to the liver via the portal vein.

A recent study found that obese individuals with high amounts of abdominal fat and liver fat are at increased risk for heart disease. The researchers found that liver fat is strongly associated with increased secretion of very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which contain the highest amounts of triglycerides, known to increase heart disease risk.

It has long been known that abdominal fat can be dangerous. The increasing knowledge about the dangers of liver fat adds to the story, as these two go hand in hand, each setting the body up to be more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Together, belly and liver fat mean trouble.

Both liver and abdominal fat can be reduced with exercise and weight loss. These steps, in addition to addressing any underlying gut dysfunction that may be contributing inflammation to the liver, can help reverse these metabolic precursors to heart disease.

Probiotics + Prebiotics and Infant Eczema/Asthma

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/23/2011


 

The atopic diseases of childhood—Eczema, asthma and rhinitis (nasal allergies)—are increasingly more common, especially in developed countries like the US. One of the main explanations for this increase is known as the Hygiene Hypothesis (I’ve mentioned it before.) The Hygiene Hypothesis states that children who grow up in ultra-clean environments lack the immune-building contact with everyday microbes. This lack of microbial interaction results in underdeveloped immune systems that lead to immune dysfunction.

Eczema, asthma and rhinitis all involve immune dysfunction. If an infant has one of these conditions, she is more likely to develop another one later in life. For example, many children with Eczema during infancy go on to develop asthma in later childhood. Further, if a parent has an atopic disease then the child is more likely to also be affected by an atopic disease.

A recent study found that a combination of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and prebiotics (soluble fibers that feed probiotics) reduced asthma-like symptoms in infants with Eczema. In this study, 90 infants under 7 months of age received infant formula either with the synbiotic (pre- and probiotic) or just infant formula for 12 weeks. One year later, the infants in the group receiving the pre- and probiotics had a 20 to 28 percent lower risk of asthma symptoms.

Researchers are still trying to determine just how this works, but it is known that gut microbial balance works to “educate” the immune system, over 70 percent of which resides in the gut. A proper gut microbial balance plays a big role in early immune development. Truly, optimal gut health is the foundation of total body health.

Genetically Modified Sugar Beets Prematurely Permitted

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/21/2011


 

Genetically modified foods are responsible, in part, for the widespread use of chemical herbicides. RoundUp-ready GM crops are being planted across the country, allowing for the liberal use of the toxic chemical herbicide RoundUp. 

Sugar beets were genetically modified in this way, but were originally taken out of production by a court order issued by district court judge Jeffrey S. White, who said a full environmental impact statement (EIS) needed to be done first. Well, a recent study that suggests a shortage of sugar beet seeds this spring has catalyzed a reaction by food companies to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to lift the ban. 

The result? Genetically modified sugar beets are being partially deregulated, and will be planted this spring.  The USDA is permitting farmers to plant the GM sugar beets in line with rules designed to prevent the plant’s wind-blown pollen from reaching organic fields, where it could contaminate the organic crops with its own GM traits. Whether these rules will actually be followed (if they are even effective!) is another story.

This is a perfect example of the HUGE influence that the food industry has on government regulation. Alfalfa crops have already been deregulated in this way. The Organic Consumers Association said this about the deregulation of alfalfa: “[It is] guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, RoundUp; and guaranteed to produce RoundUp-resistant superweeds….”

Too bad the Organic Consumers Association doesn’t have the same pull as the food industry!

Acid-Suppressing Drugs Damage the Gut

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/19/2011


Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us!

Many people who have arthritis take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain. NSAIDs can wreak havoc on the stomach lining, however, so acid-suppressing drugs are often prescribed along with the NSAIDs to help protect the stomach (note the Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid method of medicine here).

The acid-suppressing drugs, or more specifically, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), have been found to protect the stomach of people on long-term NSAIDs, yes. But from the results of a new study, it appears that the damage is only displaced further down the digestive tract—to the intestines. So instead of stomach ulcers, intestinal damage occurs, increasing the risk of developing intestinal ulcers, which can be more dangerous and difficult to treat.

The dangers of acid-suppressing medications are many. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before. I’ve even video-blogged about it. So many people are taking these medications long term when they aren’t designed for such use. If your doctor has given you acid-suppressing medications, be sure to inform yourself about the side effects of taking these drugs long term.

This week, if you know someone on acid suppressors for heartburn, open up the dialogue about how dietary and lifestyle factors may be at the root cause of upper digestive symptoms. If you pay attention to what you eat and how you eat, for example, you may be able to make changes that relieve your heartburn. If you know someone on these medications to protect against NSAID damage, they may want to think twice, based on this recent study.

Register For My Webinar and Receive Bonus Gift!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/16/2011


[youtube 7f9CEU6Or9w 560 315]

Because of the tremendous response to our first-ever LIVE webinar, I got authorization for another freebie for our attendees. Don’t you love it?

Attendees are already getting TWO FREE GIFTS – my H.O.P.E. Formula book for all of your comprehensive digestive health needs, and a bottle of one of ReNew Life’s best-selling probiotics, Ultimate Flora Adult Formula 15 Billion.

Now, because of the strong response, the event moderator, Roy, is letting me throw in the following free DVD: The H.O.P.E. Formula – The Ultimate Health Secret. So not only will you be getting the companion book for free, now you can watch and learn from the popular PBS television special that’s helped millions change their lives for the better.

If you want to join, seats are limited. I’ve been told we have roughly 20 left. In fact, by the time you view this email, they might be all reserved. But please try to register here. If there are still a few seats available, you’re in!

It will be fun, life-changing… and LIVE! So please, register now if you would like to attend.

I hope to see you there. Here’s the details:

WHEN? Tuesday, September 27th
WHERE? At home or wherever you have Internet!
(your login and telephone instructions will be sent two day prior )
WHAT TIME? Two in-depth sessions: 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. (EST)

FDA Trying to Take Away IV Vitamin C—Let’s Take Action!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/16/2011


 

I was recently informed that the FDA is targeting intravenous (IV) vitamin C by notifying small pharmacies that they will no longer be allowed to manufacture or distribute injectable vitamin C. IV vitamin C is only available to physicians, and must be administered by a physician. It has been used successfully, and safely, for many years. So why the FDA attack now?

First of all, vitamin C cannot be patented. It is a natural vitamin, of course. So Big Pharma cannot make much money from it. The FDA wants to put IV vitamin C through the new drug approval process, but because National Institutes of Health (NIH) refuses to fund IV vitamin C studies, this could mean that it never makes it that far. New Drug Approval, and Investigational New Drug approval are expensive processes, costing millions of dollars in research.

This has struck a nerve with me because I, myself, have used IV vitamin C many times. In fact, after I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, IV vitamin C played a big role in my healing. At the same time, this therapy also helped to lower my hepatitis C viral load. It is truly an amazing, holistic treatment.

People use IV vitamin C for many health conditions. Infections particularly benefit from this therapy. Cancer is another illness in which people utilize IV vitamin C as part of treatment. IV vitamin C can also be found as part of the Myer’s Cocktail—a combination of injectable magnesium chloride, vitamin B complex, and vitamin C. This therapy is used for a wide range of conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome and other infectious diseases.

Check out this video that I found on the Vitamin C Foundation’s website. It highlights the story of a man on his deathbed who was brought back to health with IV vitamin C, even after his doctors gave up on him.

The Alliance for Natural Health has done a great job by providing an online form that you can fill out to be sent to an FDA representative asking that the sale and manufacture of IV vitamin C, along with the other ingredients in the Myer’s Cocktail, continue to be allowed.  Please take a moment to click here to fill out the form!

For more information, as provided on the Alliance for Natural Health website, click here.

Together, we can make a difference. Please, help me spread the word about this. It’s an important issue for all of us to take action on. Thank you!

Yours in health,

Brenda Watson

Antibiotics are Altering our Guts—Likely Permanently

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 09/14/2011


 

Antibiotics are overused for conditions they do not treat, such as viral infections like cold or flu. Antibiotic overuse is leading to antibiotic resistance, one of the major challenges facing medicine today. But antibiotic resistance is not the only consequence of the average 10 – 20 courses of antibiotics children receive by the age of 18. An under-appreciated negative effect of too many antibiotics is the killing of beneficial bacteria, as highlighted in the recent Nature journal article, “Antibiotic Overuse: Stop the Killing of Beneficial Bacteria.”1

From the article, written by Martin M. Blaser, head of the department of medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center:

“Early evidence from my lab and others hints that, sometimes, our friendly flora never fully recover [after antibiotics]. These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease. Overuse of antibiotics could be fueling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations.”

This gut microbiota alteration is likely a contributing factor to the increase in antibiotic resistance seen in such “superbugs” as Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Blaser further explained.

Studies by Les Dethlefsen, David Relman, et al, have also found permanent alterations in gut microbiota after antibiotic treatment. These researchers investigated the effects of ciprofloxacin on gut microbiota changes over a period of 8 to 10 months in two studies—one with two courses of antibiotic treatment, the other with one.2,3 Each study involved extensive stool sample analysis by 16S pyrosequencing (one rDNA, one rRNA) in three subjects over many months.

In one study, gut composition closely resembled its pretreatment state four weeks after antibiotic treatment. However, several bacterial groups did not recover even six months later. In the second study, gut composition stabilized by the end of 10 months, but it differed from its original state. The study concluded, “Antibiotic perturbation may cause a shift to an alternative stable state, the full consequences of which remain unknown.”

Blaser recommends reducing antibiotic use during pregnancy and childhood, citing that between one-third and one-half of pregnant women receive antibiotics during pregnancy in the U.S. and developing countries. “Each generation could be beginning life with a smaller endowment of ancient microbes than the last,” he stated, “Particularly the 30 percent or so of infants born via Cesarean.”

The search for effective alternatives to traditional antibiotics is on, as researchers from all over the world are testing new possibilities in the hopes of heading off the antibiotic-resistance disaster at the pass. One recent study highlighted the use of a commensal E. coli strain which was re-engineered  by adding fragments of DNA to the bacterium that allows it to sense the presence of the pathogenic bacteria known as, Psuedomonas aerugenosa. Pseudomonas is a superbug responsible for infections in the lungs, urinary tract, blood, and on wounds and burns. Upon sensing the Pseudomonas pathogen, the E coli released a potent toxin which killed up to 90% of the pathogen.4 It will be exciting to see if this technology holds up in forthcoming animal and human trials.

I believe the future will likely include widespread use of large amounts of commensal bacteria, probiotic bacteria and prebiotics, as well as genetically altered bacteria, to manage bacterial infections. We may even have a whole armamentarium of slightly altered commensal/probiotic bacteria on hand for certain infections. Antibiotics are already assuming a lesser role, and the CDC has a major program to remind physicians to be more discriminating in antibiotic use.5 So perhaps the future of pharmaceutical antibiotics will be their judicious use, in combination with various bacterial therapies, and this will become the standard of care. It will be very interesting to watch the unfolding of all the new research.

References

  1.  Blaser M, “Antibiotic overuse: Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria.” Nature. 2011 Aug 24;476(7361):393-4.
  2. Dethlefsen L, et al., “The pervasive effects of an antibiotic on the human gut microbiota, as revealed by deep 16S rRNA sequencing.” PLoS Biol. 2008 Nov 18;6(11):e280.
  3. Dethlefsen L and Relman DA, “Incomplete recovery and individualized responses of the human distal gut microbiota to repeated antibiotic perturbation.” PNAS. 2011 Mar 15;108 (Suppl 1):4554-4561.
  4. Saedi N, et al., “Engineering microbes to sense and eradicate Psuedomonas aeruginosa, a human pathogen.” Mol Sys Biol. 2011 Aug 16;7, no 521. Online ahead of print.
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6034a1.htm

Sick and Tired of the Health System Runaround?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/13/2011


Talk LIVE With Brenda
WHEN?
Tuesday, September 27th
WHERE?
Wherever there’s Internet!
WHAT TIME?
2 sessions: 4 PM, 8 PM (EST)
HOW?
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Brenda

[youtube x5GF-TdWh9M 375 240]

Do you or someone you know suffer from any of these seemingly unrelated health issues?

  • Fatigue
  • IBS or Constipation
  • Skin Problems
  • Heartburn or GERD
  • Ulcers
  • Unexplained Weight Gain
  • Depression
  • Even Allergies?

Are you sick and tired of getting the runaround? “We just can’t seem to figure out what’s bothering you…”  Yet, you know something is out of whack!

Your digestive tract is that complex, yet it’s largely ignored during routine check-ups. Your health professional may ask you a quick question about your diet or nutrition habits and then it’s on to other topics.

Your gut is vital to the health of every single organ in your body.

Did Your Doctor Tell You?

  • Your essential stores of “good” bacteria may be dwindling
  • Many Americans are not absorbing nutrients properly
  • A toxic outer environment becomes an internal problem

There is H.O.P.E! – Your Personalized Health Consultation

I’m offering a one-day-only H.O.P.E. Webinar that goes in-depth into one of my most popular PBS television specials to really tackle the health issues that are plaguing so many of us. Don’t miss your chance to:

  • Unravel common health “mysteries” and the digestive system’s health secrets
  • Learn why what you don’t know could be sabotaging your health
  • And for the first time ever, ask me your specific health questions and get live answers in my extended 40-minute Q&A session!
  • Connect the dots and discover the extraordinary benefits of powerful and nourishing digestive nutrients – High Fiber, Omega Oils, Probiotics, and Enzymes

Register for my H.O.P.E. Webinar for only $79 and get answers to YOUR health concerns. Plus, I’ll even throw in some free gifts! Participation is limited, so act quickly.

Looking forward to talking with you!