February 7, 2016

Metformin and Diabetes: Trouble in Paradise

Popular Drug Damages Your Cells But Fasting Delivers Energy

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Jessica came to see me because she had been diagnosed with a condition that is becoming more and more common – PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a problem of the adrenal glands that causes:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Obesity
  • Easy fatiguing
  • And even diabetes

Jessica was prescribed a diabetes medication called metformin (tradename Glucophage) that seems to help metabolic problems. It also allows people to burn fat so they stop gaining weight.

This drug is a first-line therapy for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and has been used for many years. It has the effect of making the body more sensitive to insulin and blocking the liver from putting out more sugar. The net effect of this is to lower blood sugar levels.

However, metformin’s specific action reaches deeper into your cells. It blocks the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells of your body, from using sugar efficiently. When cells are unable to use sugar, they must switch to fat-burning mode. With the ability to burn fat, the body has lower sugar levels and can actually lose weight!

The effect of metformin has been trumpeted for many years. Metformin:

  • Decreases blood glucose
  • Increases fat use
  • Prevents kidney problems
  • Improves PCOS in women
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Lowers cancer rates [1]

Because of these effects metformin is now being considered and used for many conditions including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cancers of all types
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome X

Indeed, as one of my professors stated, it seems that metformin should be “included in the drinking water.”  Everyone would supposedly benefit.  Many without diabetes, PCOS, or even pre-diabetes are taking it to prevent diabetes and cancer.

Beware of Treating Disease with Metformin

All of the symptoms and diseases treated by metformin have one thing in common: they are all diseases of metabolism, or energy production.  These conditions actually result when energy is not properly made in the body.  Adding metformin to those cells that need sugar makes them less efficient. They can’t make energy!

This is why people with diabetes develop Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage.  In spite of having lots of sugar, they are unable to metabolize it.

The problem with taking metformin is that it blocks the proper use of sugar.  Some tissues need sugar to function. So when your body is already impaired, withholding cell energy can cause further damage to the liver, kidneys, brain, vision, and muscles.

The list of “side-effects,” or better said, toxic effects, of metformin include:[2]

  • the problem with taking metformin Stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, or constipation
  • Headaches
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Taste problems
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fingernail and/or toenail disease
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart throbbing or pounding
  • Muscle pain
  • Redness of face and neck
  • Increased blood acidity due to high levels of lactic acid
  • Low blood sugar
  • Megaloblastic anemia

These are just the symptoms of the toxic effects of metformin; the underlying cause is the lack of energy production. Basically, cells treated with metformin become energetically inefficient. As a result, your mitochondria, which manage your cell’s energy, become poisoned. Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cyanide, are known to have similar disturbing side effects on your cells.

Not all who take metformin have this unique set of horrible toxic side effects. But it is important to know that there is a risk to taking it. Much of the time, patients with diabetes or other conditions are given the medication without being told about its toxicity.

Metformin and Type 2 Diabetes

The hallmark of T2D is an overload of sugar, which makes it toxic.  Anything we get too much of can poison the systems of our body. Yes, we can get too much of a good thing.  When we eat more than we need for the day, we store the extra as fat and glycogen. Eventually the energy production of the body gets sluggish. The systems designed to regulate and manage your body become inefficient. We feel weak, fatigued, tired and listless. Even though every cell stores millions of calories and many pounds of fat are reserved under the skin, metabolic energy is inaccessible due to overload of sugar.

Many blame their thyroid because low thyroid can cause similar symptoms.  However, these symptoms almost always point to an overload of a sluggish energy system.  This happens because the sugar system is inefficient, and extra insulin blocks the fat system.  We call this “insulin resistance.”

When given metformin, it blocks the cells’ ability to use sugar and stimulates the use of fat.  This allows more sugar into the already bloated cells.  It also prevents the muscles from getting energy from their stored glycogen, which can cause them to die of starvation.  It might seem to make sense to treat the overload of energy by starving the cells. It may work temporarily, but ultimately these cells die of starvation while swimming in energy.  It would be like a person dying of thirst in a swimming pool because he was afraid of drowning.

Metformin and Type 1 Diabetes

A deficiency of insulin does not allow sugar into the cells and they starve of energy.  Before the discovery of insulin, people died of starvation from T1D (type 1 diabetes).  They couldn’t use the sugar so they would switch to fat-burning.  When they ran out of fat, they started burning protein, and when there was no more protein, they died.

Long ago, people with “honey urine” (type 1 diabetes) ate high fat diets to keep them alive. Now we can give them insulin and they can live an almost normal life.  However, some are saying type 1 diabetics should take metformin to block the liver from making sugar and help keep their sugar down.  While this sounds good, it would be a disaster on the cellular level!  With the imminent threat of starving cells, it is unwise to use a chemical that can further disturb energy production.

Studies indicate that metformin side-effects, especially hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), are more likely in T1D, with hardly any blood sugar benefit.[3]

Metformin and PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is primarily a hormone abnormality that is commonly inherited.  The adrenal and other glands have abnormal responses to stimuli that cause either too much or too little of certain hormones.  Cortisol tends to be excessive, as is testosterone. High cortisol and testosterone hormones prohibit other hormones from being produced or used. The net effect on the metabolism is insulin resistance (because of excess cortisol) and even diabetes.

Metformin has been a first-line medication for this problem because it effectively blocks excess cortisol.  However, it is important to note that it works only on the symptoms of cortisol excess, while allowing the disease to progress.

In women with PCOS, high insulin levels can cause the ovaries to make more androgen hormones such as testosterone. Metformin affects the way insulin controls blood glucose and lowers testosterone production. As a result, ovulation can return.

On a side note, the goal to reverse PCOS is to use nutrients to:

  • Decrease sugar cravings
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Improve carbohydrate metabolism
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • And balance hormones

Meditation, mindfulness, gratefulness, journaling, and any other mind-body techniques can be used to lower cortisol levels.

Metformin Worsens Alzheimer’s Disease

While laboratory studies indicate that making the brain more sensitive to insulin should help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, clinical studies show the cognitive problems actually get worse.[4] It turns out that the ability to use fat actually helps the brain to function better and to repair. However, the toxic effects of metformin on the body’s ability to use sugar lessen this benefit. The brain needs a constant supply of energy from sugar even when the body is burning fat.

The Optimal Alternative to Metformin

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How to Turn Off Weight Gain Hormones

Turning on Metabolic Hormones to Fight Fat 

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

 

The human body secretes thousands of hormones, many of which have multiple functions.  Hormones are signaling molecules found everywhere inside of us.  They affect how the cells and organs function by communicating what is going on in the body. In this article, I’m going to focus on the hormones that affect metabolism, or energy production.  You have surely heard about some of these hormones:

Adrenal hormones

  • how to turn on metabolic hormones to fight fatCortisol
  • Adrenaline
  • DHEA

Pancreatic hormones

  • Insulin
  • Glucagon

Other hormones

  • Thyroid
  • HGH

Adrenal Hormones

Cortisol Hormone

Adrenal hormones come from two little glands situated on top of each kidney, the adrenal glands. Although small, these glands are very important. They give us our sleep-wake cycles, and keep everything in line with the metabolism. They get you started in the morning, and put you down at night. They also have a lot to do with fat storage.

Cortisol is the major metabolic hormone from the adrenal glands. Cortisol affects fat in the following ways:

  • Long-term elevations of cortisol raises insulin and increases fat
  • Rapid, or short spurts of cortisol pair with adrenaline or HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and decreases fat

Stress causes us to make more cortisol. Positive stress can help build muscle and decrease fat by being coupled with HGH (human growth hormone). But negative stress, or long-term stress, coupled with insulin causes a loss of muscle and increase in fat.  If you think about it, the very things people do when they are stressed may worsen their situation.  Cortisol causes us to crave sugar and starch, which increase insulin, causing more fat gain.  So, eating chocolate when stressed is exactly the wrong thing to do – if you don’t want to gain weight.

You can maximize the good effects of cortisol on fat with positive stress through:

  • Exercise
  • Learning
  • Helping others
  • Growing
  • Writing a book
  • Starting a business
  • Raising a family

Whenever we are improving, we are stressed. That’s why life is hard.  However, when we choose our stress, accept it, and love it, we are in positive stress mode. This increases our growth hormones and we actually build our bodies and reduce fat storage.

Negative stress, on the other hand, occurs when we don’t choose. When a choice is forced on us from the outside, we feel loss, depressed, or trapped. This increases the negative effects of cortisol.

Fear and distress are negative stressors that result from:

  • Trauma or injury
  • Car accident
  • Death of a loved-one
  • Divorce
  • Toxins
  • Illness, infections
  • Dead-end job
  • Lack of money

You can make simple lifestyle choices that will reduce stress and lower your cortisol levels. Meditation, prayer, sleep, enjoying a hobby, and maintaining a regular routine all help to manage cortisol and improve the ratios of adrenal hormones.

how interval training turns adrenaline into fat lossAdrenaline Hormone

The hormone that causes your heart to race and your blood pressure to go up when you have a scare is also one that can help you burn fat.

In a dangerous situation, adrenaline mobilizes fat in order to increase the energy supply for the muscles and brain.  You can use this to your advantage to stimulate adrenaline and burn more fat without having to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, ride 3.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu, or go spelunking with a torch.  You can do this in the safety of your own home!

Interval training is a good way to release adrenaline. Engage in interval training in a controlled way to gain all the benefits and avoid any negative stress effects.  An interval training routine looks like this: 

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Osteoarthritis: Taking Care of Degenerative Joints

Repairing Cartilage to Heal Joints

by Scott Saunders

The word “arthritis” conjures up images of gnarled fingers and chronic pain.  But it actually means any joint inflammation.  There are over 200 known causes and types of arthritis.  People can get arthritis from any inflammation in their bodies, such as:

  • Infections
  • Psoriasis
  • Deficiencies
  • Toxins
  • Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Degenerative joints
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Metabolic issues (gout)
  • Allergies
  • And many others

Osteoarthritis Symptoms However, we are going to focus on the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis, or degenerative joints.

Osteoarthritis

Have you ever seen bumps or knobs on people’s finger joints? Those nearest the fingernail are called Heberden’s Nodes. Enlargement of the middle joints are called Bouchard’s Nodes.

These boney swellings are an enlargement of the cartilage in the joint.  It feels like very hard rubber but generally isn’t painful.  Many things damage the cartilage:

  • Injury
  • Inflammation
  • Lack of blood flow

Where there is any kind of injury and the cartilage is unable to repair itself correctly, the cartilage continues to enlarge as it attempts to repair. At this point, this knobby bony deformity is not damaged or inflamed, such as with most other types of arthritis. It is simply unable to repair itself. A very common early sign of osteoarthritis are these types of nodes.
People with osteoarthritis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Enlarged cartilage
  • Pain is often worse after exercise or pressure on the joint
  • Grating or crackling like sand in the joint when moved
  • Morning stiffness

However, these symptoms are usually only noticed later in the development of the disease.  Often there are no early symptoms, even though x-rays can show joint damage.  The reason for this is because the cartilage is degenerating for lack of nutrients, energy, or use. But since there are no pain nerves in cartilage you don’t feel it breaking down. When you do feel pain, it is because the cartilage has completely worn away and the bones are rubbing against each other. Bones have lots of pain nerves. That is when the worst symptoms of osteoarthritis start to manifest: pain, stiffness and swelling.

For this reason it is very important not to wait until you have lots of symptoms to take care of degenerative joints.  If your knee is not working properly, it can be helped early-on, but may require surgical replacement if you wait too long. 

Osteoarthritis Causes 

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8 Ways To Boost Your Lymphatic System

Supporting Your Lymph System to Prevent Disease, Infection and Cancer

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Mary is a spry 78-year-old woman with her left arm significantly larger than her right. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon removed her breast, along with most of the lymph nodes in her right axilla (armpit). Since that time, she has had swelling of the right arm, which bothers her, especially at night.

Two Circulatory Systems

Most people don’t know that they have two separate circulatory systems in the body: the cardiovascular and lymphatic.

The cardiovascular system basically moves blood throughout the body. The blood system is a closed system that keeps the red blood cells and most proteins inside at all times. The blood system allows only the plasma to leak into the tissues and around cells bringing nutrients such as sugar, oxygen, vitamins and minerals – everything a growing cell needs.

Function of Lymph SystemHowever, while most of the fluid is taken up into the veins after it feeds the cells, a significant portion is left behind. This fluid builds up over time and can create a lot of swelling. In order to get that fluid back into circulation, the body has a separate system of vessels – twice as many as the blood vessels – called the lymphatic system.

Rather than blood, the lymph system carries a clear fluid called lymph unidirectionally towards the heart through lymphatic vessels.

Functions of the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system has three functions:

  1. To bring fluid from around the cells back into the blood circulation
  2. To remove bacteria, viruses, other infections, and cancer
  3. To remove waste from the cells
lymph edema in arm

Lymphedema after left mastectomy with removal of lymph nodes.

Mary’s discomfort came because when the surgeon removed the lymph nodes it cut off the lymph vessels. Now her lymph system can no longer bring the excess fluid back to the heart so her arm just gets bigger as the fluid increases.

Thus, the primary function of the lymph system is to act as drainage of excess fluid that accumulates around the cells. This amounts to about 15% of all the fluid that comes out of the blood to bathe the cells. As we move around, this fluid is pushed through the lymph vessels, which have valves that allow the fluid to move only one way, towards the heart. There it enters the veins, and ends up back into the blood circulation. Amazingly, the vessels themselves also have muscles that contract and push the lymph through them.

Mary needs to wear a pressure sleeve to keep her arm from continuously getting larger. The extra pressure squeezes the fluid into the venous system to get back into the circulation. This doesn’t get all of the fluid back, but it keeps her arm from becoming gigantic.

Even health care professionals ignore the lymphatic system; we take for granted the importance of this system – until it doesn’t work. For example, in many areas of the world mosquitoes can inject a parasite that gets into the lymph system and completely blocks it. The area affected continues to get larger over time without stopping. After this happens, there is no way to clear the lymph system, even after killing the parasites. Without constant treatment the limb just continues to grow, causing a disease known as elephantiasis.

lymphedema from mosquitoes that blocks lymph systemAnother function of the lymph system is to aid the immune system in fighting infection. Lymph nodes contain white blood cells that can detect and fight infection locally. They stop infections from spreading through the body by trapping disease-causing germs and destroying them.

Because the lymphatic system extends to the far reaches of the body, it also plays a role in telling the rest of the immune system where there is an infection.

The lymphatic system is like the fire department in a city.  If there is a small fire, the local fire station is well equipped to handle it on their own. However, if the fire is raging out of control, then the local station calls other stations to send more personnel and equipment to put out the fire.  Each lymph node is like a local fire station, taking care of local infections, and getting help when an infection is out of control.

Cancer is another fire that needs to be extinguished.  The lymphatic system is also important in preventing and destroying cancer cells.  We all have cancer cells that travel through the lymph drainage system and into the lymph nodes, where immune cells eat the cancer and destroy it. This probably happens to everyone every day!  When we are diagnosed with cancer, it is because this system didn’t work properly.

Lastly, the lymph system cleans out the excess waste from cells. Lymph is composed of:

  • Water
  • Protein molecules
  • Salts
  • Glucose
  • Urea
  • Lymphocytes (white blood cells)
  • Other substances

Since the blood vessels only take up fluids and salts, the lymph system has to take care of the larger molecules and debris left behind.

The lymph vessels are very porous, allowing proteins, bacteria, viruses, and cell parts to get into the lymph.  Dead tissue and other foreign matter or invaders are removed by the lymph nodes.  Other debris goes into the blood circulation and is removed by the spleen.

By the same token, the lymphatic system absorbs larger nutrients, like fat, from our digestive system.  The lymphatic vessels transport fat to the veins of your chest, and the blood carries fat to be stored in adipose tissue throughout your body.

Detail-of-the-small intestines with lymph vesselTherefore, the lymphatic system deposits fat directly into circulation, without going through the liver. This has incredible implications for toxicity. The fat is not detoxified by the liver before getting access to our cells.

All the blood from the intestines has to go through the liver first, before it can get to the circulation and the rest of the body.  The liver is our primary defense against toxins because it can detoxify almost any molecule.  However, since the lymphatic drainage from the intestines doesn’t go through the liver, some toxins from your food may be able to get direct access to your body, brain, and organs.

The lymphatic system takes up all the constituents of blood, such as proteins and minerals. But by far the most important component is the absorption of fat. Most of the fats from the diet end up in the lymph system and are dumped directly into the blood.

Lymphatic Issues

Now that you know what the lymphatic system is and what it does, you can guess what will happen if it isn’t functioning well. Some of the problems associated with a poorly functioning lymphatic system include:

  • poorly functioning lymphatic system SymptomsEdema, or swelling
  • Regional pain syndromes
  • Toxic overload, including heavy metals
  • Poor digestion
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Rashes and skin problems
  • Frequent infections, colds/flu or skin infections
  • Cancer, especially lymphoma or Hodgkin’s Disease

Caring for Your Lymphatic System



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The Reality of Lyme Disease Infectiousness

Building a Strong Immune System 

by Dr. Scott Saunders

“You’re number 80,” the middle-aged woman said mournfully as she walked in.

“You’re exaggerating.” I stated matter-of-factly.

“No,” she replied, “I’m counting!”

doctor healed lyme disease v2For the previous seven years Jane had been to 79 doctors for an illness that nobody could figure out.  She was having chest pain and difficulty breathing, but nobody could find anything wrong with her heart or lungs.  Nothing turned up on blood tests, x-rays, and other investigations.  She continued to get worse over time, including fatigue, weakness, and joint pains. We finally determined that she was suffering from a very elusive infection – Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Discovery

The story of how Lyme disease was discovered is fascinating.  Lyme disease was unknown until 1973 when a group of people became ill with a mysterious disease in Lyme, Connecticut.  Due to the persistence of mothers of several sick children, an investigation was conducted. The disease was named “Lyme disease.” At the time, it was considered a tick-borne disease. However, the exact cause was unknown until 1981 when the spirochete organism was found in ticks in Colorado.  Dr. Willy Burgdorf was studying another illness caused by ticks when the bacteria for Lyme, called spirochetes, were found.

Spirochetes are not like other types of bacteria or viruses.  They have unique characteristics that allow them to infect any cell or tissue in the body.  They can also evade the immune system, both by hiding inside cells and by producing a protective coating.  For this reason, they can cause any type of problem and disguise as many illnesses. This is why syphilis, another spirochete-like Borrelia, was called “The Great Imitator.”  It could imitate any disease because it can infect any tissue. Its symptoms are like those of many other diseases, from rashes to schizophrenia.  One researcher on syphilis noted:

Spirochetes“In two-thirds of untreated people, spirochetes and host will live amicably together until the patient dies of other causes, in about a third, however, the organism will continue to act upon the host to cause a variety of mischief.”[1]

These exact words could be used to describe Lyme disease today. The “variety of mischief” means it could infect any organ or tissue, causing any sort of problem. Indeed, Lyme disease could be “The Great Imitator” of the 21st Century!

A Stealthy Disease

Even though Lyme disease was only recognized 40 years ago, new discoveries found the Lyme bacteria in a fossilized tick from the Dominican Republic, indicating that it existed before humans walked the Earth.[2] The oldest known human to have Lyme disease was a mummified body found in a glacier in the Italian Alps that may be as old as 5300 years![3]

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease bullseye rashThe symptoms of Lyme disease are as variable as the people who have it.  It is a slippery condition to diagnose because nothing defines it, except a known tick bite. Subsequently, the tick bite produces a rash known as erythema chronicum migrans (EM) days to weeks later.

These rashes typically look like a “target,” but are actually highly variable. The CDC states that up to a third of people with Lyme disease never get, or see, a rash. In some cases rashes may spread beyond the original bite, and persist for years.

Other common symptoms include:

(3 to 30 days after tick bite)

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Later Signs and Symptoms

later signs and symptoms of lyme disease(Weeks to years after tick bite)

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Severe fatigue
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme myocarditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Problems with short-term memory[4]

Lyme Disease Testing

Jane had visited so many doctors who weren’t able to find a diagnosis because there is no accurate way to know if she had Lyme disease. The tests for Lyme look for antibodies, but the organism doesn’t always produce antibodies. Many people have little or no immune response to the presence of the spirochete. If you test positive, there is a good chance you have it. However, if you test negative, that doesn’t rule it out. Twenty years ago doctors were told that in order to have Lyme disease four criteria had to be met:

  1. The patient had to be in the Northeastern United States
  2. The tick had to be attached for more than 36 hours
  3. There had to be an EM rash
  4. There had to be a positive blood test

It turns out that as more research is done, some people with Lyme disease may have only two, one, or even none of these. Unfortunately, most doctors still only know these four criteria, and fail to recognize many cases of Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease is Increasing in Numbers

In January 2014 Lymedisease.org reported,

“Last summer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That makes Lyme disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.”[5]

We’re not sure that there are that many black-legged tick bites every year! In spite of this, the CDC continues to assert that the disease can only be acquired by ticks. Clearly, these numbers are much greater than can be explained by only tick bites.

Lyme Disease Transmission

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What It Is Like to Live With Anxiety

How to Remain Calm in Life

By Dr. Saunders, M.D.

Sheri can hardly function in life because of a gripping fear of everything.  She lives in an apartment above the businesses in the center of town, but hasn’t left her apartment in over five years.  Everything is brought to her.  She shops online and on the Home Shopping Network.

A trip to her house is a trip indeed!  Boxes she has purchased remain unopened, stacked four feet high around the whole apartment.  There is a trail only six inches wide leading from the front door to the bed and from the bed to the bathroom and kitchen.  She tried to leave her apartment a year ago. But only made it to the front steps before she got a panic attack and had to run back inside.

When anxiety becomes a problemPanic is a type of severe anxiety from a sudden release of adrenal (stress) hormones.  Short or long-term stress produces large amounts of these hormones, causing severe anxiety. When this surge of stress hormones hit the body, people feel like they are going to die.

In a typical hospital emergency department, patients with severe anxiety often display symptoms of: chest pain, palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and a fear of imminent death.  They get blood tests, EKGs, X-rays, and even cardiac catheters to determine if they are having a heart attack.  The symptoms of anxiety often mimic a heart attack.  But more than 80% of the time there is no sign of heart trouble. Many people are told, “It’s just a panic attack.”

Living with Anxiety

While panic attacks are the extreme, and happen to some people, anxiety is very common. In fact everyone feels anxiety at some point, like fear or trepidation.

  • Needles often provoke anxiety, such as before a vaccination or blood draw.
  • Others feel anxiety before a test, interview, or court case.
  • Most get anxious at the thought of public speaking. They get a dry mouth, sweaty palms, cold hands and feet, and palpitations of the heart.
  • Even professional speakers, businessmen, or giving speeches or presentations experience anxiety.

The worst effect of an anxiety attack is on the brain. It causes disorganized thinking and poor memory, making it harder to present material.  One speaker noted after many years of public speaking that the “butterflies” in his stomach didn’t go away; they just flew in formation.[1]

Anxiety with a threat of loss is normal. Situations that cause anxiety are common to all people.

The purpose of anxiety is to warn us of danger. A message of fear sends a signal to the adrenal glands that there is an emergency. We then release hormones from the adrenal glands such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol (cortisone) to help us get out of danger.

These stress hormones:

  • Increase our blood sugar and heart rate for quick energy.
  • Suppress our immune system and other “unnecessary” functions to protect our body.
  • Create a multitude of effects on the brain, including a sense of fear, danger, imminent death or foreboding, as well as loss of memory.

Their overall effect is an increase in circulation and energy to certain body systems and a downshift of less important ones into maintenance mode. In this way, the fight or flight response prepares the body for extreme action.

When there is danger our body doesn’t need to function at capacity. We just need to get out of danger!

However, even when there is no danger present, the adrenal glands release the stress hormones causing all the same symptoms.  This emergency response causes physical symptoms that many people misinterpret as a heart attack or other serious physical conditions. Misinterpreting these symptoms can cause anxiety and the fear response to continue.

Sheri would feel panic just from walking outside her door.  She had no control over the release of hormones or how she felt; it just happened.  She tried taking medications of all kinds, and received counseling, but nothing seemed to help at all.  She was stuck.

The ways we categorize anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is constant worry or fear.
  • Panic Disorder refers to those who get sudden panic attacks, feel out of control, or sense impending doom.
  • Social Phobia feels like continually being embarrassed in public.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is when fearful thoughts take control of one’s actions. People then “have to” do things to relieve the anxiety.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) refers to those who have had major trauma that brings on chronic anxiety.

Anxiety becomes a problem when:

  • You feel anxious most/all of the time for more than 6 months
  • Your level of anxiety is excessive and intense
  • Your anxiety is uncontrollable and disrupts your job, relationships, sleep and social life
  • Your behavior changes due to your level of anxiety – this could be anything from drinking lots of tea, finding it hard to breathe, not being able to leave the house, or performing repetitive rituals, such as counting to 10 before you do something

Generally, anxiety is not considered abnormal unless it affects the normal functioning of the person, such as their ability to work, play, interact with others, or sleep, and has been present more than six months. And, of course, there are levels of anxiety – mild to severe.

Symptoms of anxiety may include one or more of the following:

  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Shortness of breath, or unable to fill the lungs completely
  • Jumpiness and feeling on edge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swallowing problems, like a lump in the throat
  • Stomach problems and difficulty digesting food
  • Headaches of all types
  • Sleep problems of all types
  • Palpitations of the heart
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cold sweats
  • Frequent urination
  • Bad moods
  • Eating, drinking or smoking more than usual

Mainstream Medical Treatment for Anxiety

Since the beginning of time people have used alcohol to relieve anxiety.  Doctors call it “the drug of choice” for all types of anxiety and panic because people who have anxiety drink it. And those who have more anxiety, drink more.

  • For some, it works so well they become “addicted” to alcohol. If they stop drinking, then they feel lots of anxiety.
  • Others only use alcohol for occasional anxiety, or in the evening to relax after a stressful day at work.
  • Some try to use it to sleep, but it disturbs sleep.

While it’s effective for anxiety, the side effects of alcohol can be devastating, as most of us know.

Standard medical treatment to relieve anxiety includes medications that stimulate the receptors in the brain that induce calm.

Most anxiety drugs, such as the benzodiazepines, work on the GABA receptors.  Stimulating these receptors in the brain suppresses anxiety. Because GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, it slows down the brain function in certain areas. It works immediately, but for only a few hours. However, tolerance to its effects is easily developed. These medications, like Valium and similar drugs, work in much the same way as alcohol to numb anxiety.

Valium was a godsend for many.  In the 1960s they called it “mother’s little helper.” Valium allowed moms to be calm and relaxed with the children – without alcohol!  Doctors originally believed it was not addictive, and only caused some drowsiness. However, this is not the case.  Over time, people become tolerant to the level of stimulation provided by the drug and needed more.

When benzodiazepine treatment is stopped abruptly, patients may develop withdrawal symptoms.  Some benzodiazepines, like Valium, can even cause seizures from withdrawal.

Now, the benzodiazepines have become standard fare for all types of anxiety. I had a patient who found that a benzodiazepine worked so well she carried one pill around for over a year, “just in case” she got a panic attack. It helped her to relax, knowing that relief was available if she absolutely had to use it. She never did, and now doesn’t need it at all.

Other medical treatments that might help include antidepressants for anxiety. Most of these work on the serotonin receptors, which have a relaxing effect.  This makes sense on a chemical level. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter that has an effect on multiple brain functions, including anxiety.

Others work on dopamine or norepinephrine receptors as well, such as the “major tranquilizers” or antipsychotic drugs.  The use of these for anxiety is becoming much more common.  Some people with anxiety prefer opiates like morphine, codeine, and the like.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety. People have different reasons for being anxious and display different anxiety symptoms, and therefore need different types of medications to relieve anxiety.

The primary problem with most of the medications used for anxiety is the same as with alcohol – they suppress all feeling and create numbness.  Using drugs to resolve feelings is always a gamble. This is especially true when people have anxiety because they report they “don’t feel anything.”   Some, of course, prefer to live this way. But many would like to try another way.

Determine the Cause of Anxiety

Medications may relieve anxiety symptoms for a short time. But they don’t take care of the problem, or address the cause of anxiety. The key to successfully treating anxiety is to find the cause(s) and remove them. There are many causes of anxiety:

  • many faces of anxietyExcessive stress, or change
  • Adrenal tumors
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Hypothalamic tumors
  • Hormone imbalances (such as low progesterone)
  • Ectopic adrenal production
  • Medication side-effects
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Toxins such as heavy metals and pesticides
  • Nutrient deficiencies like B-vitamins, minerals, or amino acids
  • Thought disorders
  • Loss of foundation, or shock such as a sudden illness, loss of a loved-one, or accident

Once you find the cause of the problem, you can begin to change it at the roots, not just for temporary relief of anxiety symptoms. In looking at the list, it becomes apparent that this is no simple task. Some may require the help of a professional.

To end anxiety, follow the general recommendations and try each of the specific supplement and herb recommendations one at a time. 

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How to Reverse Multiple Sclerosis

Natural Protocols to Beat MS

by Dr. Scott Saunders

We often use the word “disease” to denote a “syndrome” or collection of symptoms. To define a disease requires that we know the cause of the symptoms. Thus, correctly stated, multiple sclerosis is not a disease, but rather a syndrome. The causes are not one, but many, making it difficult to find a single cause for all the symptoms that we call Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Because MS affects the nervous system it can have effects anywhere in the body on any function of the body. Some people have terrible pain, others get numbness. Some have weakness of certain muscles, while others have brain dysfunction and memory impairment. Commonly, people with classical MS get visual disturbances such as blindness or double vision.

Reverse MS and eliminate symptoms naturally 2Four disease courses have been identified in multiple sclerosis:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
  • Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
  • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS)
  • Progressive-relapsing MS

Each of these disease courses might be mild, moderate or severe.[1]

Neurological problems that resolve in a matter of days to months, but then recur in other areas characterize relapsing-remitting. Thus, for example, a person with RRMS may have weakness in the left leg for months which then resolves, and later get double vision, only later to get pain in the other leg. These MS patients usually go on to develop a progressive form.

Progressive MS is exactly as it sounds. The disabilities don’t resolve, but rather continue as new ones are added. This usually leads to paralysis, pain, and even mental dysfunction.

Multiple Sclerosis Causes

There seem to be multiple factors involved in the cause of the symptoms of MS. These may include:

  • Genetic – Generally, close family members have a higher risk of MS that may not be due to environmental factors. For instance, an identical twin of someone with MS has a 1 in 4 chance of developing MS. However, fraternal twins have about a 1 in 40 risk, the same as other family members. The general population has about a 1 in 1000 risk.
  • Autoimmune – The debate over MS as an autoimmune disease rages. There is definitely inflammation in the brain, but specific antibodies are hard to consistently find.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – The fact that MS attacks happen more in the winter may indicate a vitamin D deficiency, but no causal relationship has been shown. Vitamin D is also an important immune system activator and may prevent viral illnesses.
  • Infectious diseases – Viral antigens have been found in the spinal fluid of people with MS, but not consistently enough to assure a causal relationship.

Mainstream Medical Treatments for MS

There are several MS drugs on the market that are approved by the FDA for treatment of MS.

Disease-modifying drugs that have been shown to reduce exacerbations and slow the progression of MS include:

  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
  • Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
  • Betaseron and Extavia (interferon beta-1b)
  • Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
  • Novantrone (mitoxantrone)
  • Tysabri (natalizumab)
  • Aubagio (teriflunomide)
  • Gilenya (fingolimod)
  • Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)
  • Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a)
  • Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate or DMF)
  • Ampyra (dalfampridine)[2]

These MS drugs clearly state that although they may decrease the number of relapses, they don’t cure the disease. Some people have good results from using them, but eventually progress with more MS complications anyway. Plus, many of the drugs have side-effects that are more harmful than the disease. I recommend people use drugs for symptomatic relief, if needed, while they are working on reversing the illness.

Alternative Medical Treatments for MS

I’m not going to discuss each alternative MS treatment here, because my purpose is to reverse the disease, and not to put a Band-Aid on it. The use of these protocols should be in consultation with a doctor who can prescribe it.

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Do Adult Vaccines Protect From Illness?

Sixteen Adult Vaccines Risk vs. Benefits

by Dr. Scott Saunders

There is nothing on Earth more controversial than vaccines. Ever since that historic day in May 1796 when Edward Jenner gave a young girl the first vaccine, the cowpox virus that prevented her from getting smallpox, entire populations have been polarized over the use of vaccines. Few have not taken sides. Some say vaccines are the cause of illnesses of all types: autism, neuropathy, asthma, and so forth. While others say they do no harm at all and only help prevent disease. The debate is even more heated when the government forces people to get vaccines they don’t want.

The use of vaccines to prevent illness got a slow start. Louis Pasteur was born about the time Edward Jenner died. It wasn’t until 1885 that Pasteur vaccinated a 9 year old boy bitten by a rabid dog with the first rabies vaccination. Since that time, many new vaccines have been developed to protect people from multiple illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends 49 doses of 14 different vaccines before the age of six. This does not include other vaccinations that are available for travel to other countries.

At this time, the medical evidence should tilt the balance of the debate towards the government allowing parents and individuals to make their own decisions and those for their children.

The fact is there are risks to vaccinations. It’s important to be informed of these in order to make a decision. The big question on everybody’s lips is: “Which vaccines should I get, and when?”

It’s hard to know whom to trust when manufacturers use government to force vaccines on the entire population. Today, it seems that the public health establishment is obsessed with developing vaccines against every conceivable microorganism, and these government programs are bent to include everyone, every child, and every infant in the immunization loop.

Herd Immunity

In California, and now all over the United States, representatives of those who sell vaccines are talking about a concept called “herd immunity.” This is the theory that if a certain percentage of the population has vaccinations, then they won’t spread the illness, and the whole society is protected.

Literature from those who market vaccines to the public often state that if most of a population are immune to a disease, then it protects those who aren’t vaccinated. This causes peer-pressure to get vaccinated. As a result, schools, friends, and neighbors may not allow unvaccinated children around, believing that they could pass diseases. This theory, however, has been disproved. Russell Blaylock, MD, a neurosurgeon, explains the situation.[1]

“When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50% or more of the population was unprotected for decades.

If we listen to present-day wisdom, we are all at risk of resurgent massive epidemics should the vaccination rate fall below 95%. Yet, we have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred. Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.”

Herd immunity is a myth that won’t go away because it is the only way to justify forced vaccination for an entire population.

Natural Vaccination

The creation of a vaccine may also induce the need for it. The chickenpox vaccine nicely illustrates the difference between natural immunity and vaccine immunity.

When I was a child, my friend Tony down the street got the chickenpox and my mom brought us over to play with him. We didn’t usually play at Tony’s house. I thought it was funny that other children of the neighborhood came over as well. It was like a party! That was the only time I went inside his house. Within a few days, I also had red spots, and itching. I remember crying because my mom told me not to scratch. Obviously, I wasn’t very obedient because I still have a scar on my face.

Immunity wanes over time, whether you get the chickenpox or you get the vaccine. However, when children get chickenpox, the adults around them get “vaccinated” by exposure, giving them a natural booster. These periodic “re-vaccinations” throughout life from children and grandchildren keep up the immunity of most of the population. So, a single childhood illness provides “lifetime immunity.”

Now, however, children are vaccinated against chickenpox. Thus, the adults around them don’t have any natural booster for their own immunity. As a result, the rate of shingles, a secondary type of chickenpox, has skyrocketed in recent years.

The vaccine manufacturer has conveniently created the need for a shingles vaccine, which is the exact same thing as the chickenpox vaccine, only 100 times stronger.

Achieving Herd Immunity

Early Illness Decline NOT with vaccinesThe ability for a vaccine to provide protection against an illness depends on how it stimulates the immune system to react. We look at antibody levels, but now know that most viral illnesses are intracellular – they infect inside the cells. So, viruses are controlled through the innate, or cellular immune system, including macrophages and NK (natural killer) cells. This is why antibodies may not be protective. Thus, a vaccine that stimulates the body to produce antibodies against a virus may not actually be effective at preventing disease.

Besides this, there are really several reasons for outbreaks of diseases in populations that have been “fully vaccinated” against them.

  • Many don’t respond to the vaccine
  • Antibodies decline rapidly in some
  • “Booster” vaccinations don’t always cause more antibodies

All these factors combined, approximately 50% of people are protected following a vaccine, depending on the illness. This explains why nobody has ever achieved the 95% threshold that is theoretically needed to achieve “herd immunity” that prevents outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccine Effectiveness

There has always been a question of the effect vaccines have had on the rates of disease. We are told that vaccines have been the cause of a drop in rates of infections in the world population. Actually, there is probably a modest effect at best, as illustrated by the following graph, which gives us the big picture of multiple infectious diseases.

Vaccine Effectivenss

We can see that these common illnesses were declining throughout the early part of the 20th century, whether they had a vaccine or not. This is attributable to multiple factors including:

Thus, an effective vaccine in 1900 meant a lot more to a population than it does since 1950.

Adult Vaccine Risks vs. Benefits

Now, with all of this information, are you ready to make decisions on which vaccines to get, and when? Probably not. Does this mean that vaccines are not useful? Not at all!

In my office we have a travel clinic where we carry most vaccines, even ones that other doctors never see such as Japanese Encephalitis and Yellow Fever. Because of this, I need to know which vaccines are appropriate for each person and pass this information to inform my patients on which they desire.

Here I will provide you the significant risk of complications – and benefits if present – of each adult vaccine. You should have a choice in what substances are injected into your body – at any age. And, to be perfectly clear, it should be the government’s job to protect that choice – not take it away! Don’t let a physician push any immunization on you to comply with the CDC’s recommendation for adult vaccination before you know the risks! Here is what to expect.

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The Incredible Brain – And How to Keep Yours Working

Your Brain Repair Program

by Dr. Scott Saunders

The brain is arguably your most important organ. Primarily because it controls everything else. Compared to all the other tissues of the body, it uses the most energy and circulation by far. What’s more, a hard shell protects the brain, which sits in water for added shock-absorption.

It is important to protect your brain in other ways, as well. The “blood-brain barrier” prevents unwanted material, like viruses and bacteria in the blood, from crossing over into the brain tissue. The brain even requires a very specific protein to transport glucose to itself from the blood. Clearly it is important to protect your brain!

brain repair program However, in spite of all this protection, so many of us have brain dysfunctions, such as:

  • Loss of memory
  • Dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Strokes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Gradual brain shrinkage

In fact, half of all Americans who reach the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. [1] How can all this happen if the brain is so well-protected?

Even though the array of factors that can cause brain dysfunction is vast, I want to provide you with the most potent brain-protecting information.

The most important issues for the brain are:

  • Nutrition
  • Energy production
  • Free-radicals
  • Toxins
  • Exercise

Nutrition for the Brain

The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and sugar for energy. In fact, every essential nutrient is used to fuel the brain. Amino acids that come from the protein you eat are the building blocks of your brain’s network. They help make your neurotransmitters.

If your brain is lacking amino acids, then the deficiency reflects in emotional and behavioral dysfunction. Click to Tweet.

If your brain becomes malnourished from low oxygen, lack of nutrients, or toxins, then it atrophies and you lose brainpower. Some of the brain cells may die, but they can also go into an unconscious state, called “senescence.”

The brain functions that are lost first are the non-essential ones, such as memory. The essential functions of muscle control, and sensory input are the last to be affected. Thus, a loss of memory may be an early sign of a lack of energy to the brain. Just as our brain influences our health, so our health influences our brain.

What Causes the Brain to Atrophy

1. Lack of oxygen

  1. Smoking
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  4. Vascular disease
  5. Strokes

2. Lack of nutrients

  1. Proteins due to diet or poor digestion
  2. Good fats
  3. B-vitamins (especially folate and B12)
  4. Anti-oxidants
  5. Magnesium, zinc, and trace minerals

3. Toxins

  • Alcohol
  • Aspartame (and other sweeteners)
  • MSG
  • Caffeine
  • Stimulants
  • Sugar
  • Heavy metals:
    – Mercury
    – Lead
    – Arsenic
    – Aluminum
  • Drugs/medications
    – Sleeping pills
    – Allergy medications
    – Cholesterol medication
    – Pain medications
    – Depression medications

 4. Inflammation

The above factors (such as cigarette smoking, medications, obesity, disrupted sleep patterns and poor dietary habits) compromise the integrity of your brain. These irritants stimulate inflammation.

The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of cells. Too much energy for the brain causes oxidation, damage, or “rust.”

For example, when you have a nice car, you wash and wax it regularly so the paint doesn’t oxidize. Oxidation occurs when energy from the sun and oxygen combine and break down the molecular structure of the paint.

There is no way for the car paint to protect itself. So we keep the car in the garage, put a cover on it, or wax it regularly. The wax absorbs the energy, oxidizes, and comes off – then we replace it. You may not like to wax your car, but it’s better than replacing the paint!

Likewise energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of brain cells. Too much energy causes oxidative damage by “oxygen free-radicals.” These are high-energy molecules that damage everything they touch – like the sun. They are especially dangerous to DNA because the damage may cause entire loss of the cell. Losing brain cells is not good for memory! Research has shown that simply eating too many calories can increase the amount of damaging molecules like free radicals that can build up in the brain.[2] When these dangerous little free radical particles become too numerous for the brain to remove, they can lead to problems in cognitive function, death of neurons, premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

All aging is caused by damage to DNA in different cell types of the body. But the brain is especially sensitive to damage because brain cells don’t divide or regenerate. That decay is evident in brain tissue with selective loss of brain cells in areas associated with mobility, learning and memory. This is why those functions deteriorate most rapidly with aging.

We can prevent the “aging” of the brain the same way we can prevent the “aging” of the paint on our car. We just need to know how to do this so hundreds of thousands of Americans like you aren’t robbed of joy and satisfaction in life each year.

We need energy to survive, but energy causes damage! Click to Tweet

The brain’s appetite for energy is great. Thus, we need enough, but not too much energy. How do we walk this fine line?

While there is still a lot to learn about our brain’s metabolism, I have worked out a few ways to help keep your thinking organ in shape, now and as you age.

The Principles of Preventing Cellular Brain Damage

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How to Naturally Protect Your Kidneys

Innovative Strategies for Kidney Health

Ray was 56 years old and facing dialysis. A recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes had him in a downward spiral of blood sugar issues, pain in his feet, and now kidney failure! Leading up to this, Ray’s prediabetes and nearly “normal” blood sugar allowed his kidney damage to go unrecognized.

Even when diabetes is not full blown, high sugar levels in prediabetes can cause problems throughout the body.

One of the main organs damaged by high blood sugar is the kidney. Over time, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the millions of tiny filtering units within each kidney. This eventually leads to kidney failure.

The heart, and nerve cells are also sensitive to fluctuations in blood sugar because they don’t store any form of energy. Diabetes cannot turn the sugars you eat into useful energy. The consistently high levels of sugar cause a constant supply of oxygen free-radicals that result in gradual damage to the nerves and blood vessels. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly.

Most of the time, those who experience kidney failure already have signs of it before they are even diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, the most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes).

Since Ray already had signs of renal failure, we immediately started him on intravenous alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoid acid is a super nutrient and turns “used” antioxidants into “available” antioxidants for your body to use for making energy.

At the same time, we recommended dietary changes such as eating fewer carbohydrates, and drinking water instead of soda. He also needed to give up beer and ice cream.

How Your Kidneys Work

Saunders Kidney diagramProtecting your kidneys is so important. Our kidneys are the constant filter of the body. Healthy kidneys maintain all the things our cells need to function in the blood, while letting go of waste and toxins. The design is amazing!

  • Blood runs through a filter (5)
  • Filtered water goes down the tube (4)
  • Blood, protein stay in vessels (3)
  • Water and nutrients leak out into the kidney tissue (2)
  • Nutrients that the body wants are re-absorbed into blood vessels (1)
  • Waste is sent to the bladder (6)

First, there are millions of filters called the glomeruli. These tiny filters let fluid out of the blood, but keep cells and proteins. The glomeruli function very much like a coffee filter. Whatever is dissolved in the water of your blood goes through the filter, but particles stay in the blood. Then, the fluid goes through tubes where sodium, potassium, amino acids, water, and so forth, are re-absorbed into the blood. Your kidneys will release them to return to the body when the need arises.

All that is left is a little water and filtered wastes, which then move down to the bladder and are released into the toilet (or wherever☺) as urine.

Essentially, each of your glomeruli acts like a sieve that helps keep normal proteins and cells in your bloodstream and allows wastes, excess fluid and other substances to pass. In this way, your kidneys regulate your body’s level of these substances.

The remarkable nature of this system is that it allows the body to keep all the nutrients it needs, while allowing any sort of waste or toxin to be washed out of the body. The kidneys don’t have to know what is bad, only what is good – waste is whatever is not wanted.

It is essential that we consider the health of our kidneys. According to CDC data, since 1999, the age-adjusted death rate for kidney disease has increased by 11.5 percent, compared to downward trends for heart attacks and strokes.[1] Of course, most of these are due to the increasing rate of diabetes, but there are many with renal failure who don’t have diabetes.

Another Cause of Kidney Failure

Sometimes the filters (glomeruli) don’t work for other reasons. Josie came in with swelling of the legs and feet. She had been to several doctors and was told she had Nephrotic Syndrome: damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood.

This damage allows protein normally kept in the blood to leak into the urine in large amounts, which reduces the amount of protein in your blood. Since the protein in the blood helps keep fluid in the bloodstream, some of this fluid leaks out of the bloodstream into your tissues, causing swelling.

Imagine using coffee filters that had little pinholes in them so you keep finding sediment in your coffee. The “pinholes” in the glomeruli of the kidneys are generally caused by what we think are “immune complexes” or autoimmune disease. Antibodies against either the kidneys or other cells can “poke holes” in the filters, causing them to leak.

The problem with kidney failure is that there are no symptoms until about 80% of normal kidney function is lost. This means that, unfortunately, many people never realize they have a kidney problem until a symptom such as back pain or blood in the urine appears. By then, it’s usually too late to restore normal function.

Thus, the key to avoiding kidney disease is PREVENTION!

We had to work with Josie to calm down her immune system and stop the leaks. Then, we restored kidney function just enough so she no longer has swelling. She still loses a little protein in the urine, but the liver can make enough to keep up with it.

The glomeruli are the most important part of the kidney to protect. Like Ray and Josie, most kidney problems are from the waste filters. Protection of your kidneys is not hard, and doesn’t take a great deal of time. You don’t have to think about it, just follow good health practices.

How to Naturally Protect your Kidneys

Low salt diet leads to early deathTwo of the most important functions of your kidneys are:

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