January 20, 2017

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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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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The Kidneys and How They Work

by Dr. Howard Newman

4 Natural Ways to Filter Metabolic Waste from the Blood


Kidney disease
is on the rise in the United States affecting more than 10% of all adults. That translates to 20 million Americans who are suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) at varying levels of seriousness. –Tragically, over 90 percent of people with CKD don’t even know they have the disease.[1]

This is because those with kidney disease tend not to experience symptoms until the very late stages. By then, the kidneys are failing and there are large amounts of protein in the urine.

That is why CKD is sometimes called a “silent disease.” Many people, including non-diabetics, rarely feel sick until chronic kidney disease is advanced. When symptoms do develop, they may include:

  • cold drink weaken kidneysFatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Ankle swelling
  • Puffy face
  • Back pain
  • Brain fog
  • Any change in urination including frequency, urgency, volume, or color changes

While diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD, other risk factors for developing this disease include: [2]

  • Anyone over 60 years of age
  • Those with a family history of kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Other types of infections

When your kidneys are not working as well as they should, waste and fluid buildup in your body. Over time, the waste and extra fluid can cause heart, bone and other health problems. Sometimes people attribute these physical symptoms of kidney disease to other conditions.

But early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.

No matter how cautiously we live and eat, we are constantly absorbing toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. It is essential to remove these poisons in order to avoid catastrophic illness.

Here are some simple ways to support the kidney’s ability to filter metabolic waste from the blood.

Here are my top 4 natural ways to filter metabolic waste from the blood and protect your precious kidneys from CKD: 

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The Case for Cholesterol

by Amanda Box

I hate to burst your bubble. You’ve likely fallen prey to a hoax, a scam foisted on us by the medical community and Big Pharma. Western society has brainwashed you into believing you’re harboring a merciless killer in your body. I’m here to expose the truth! Cholesterol has been framed!!

Cholesterol, though demonized as the culprit behind heart disease, is not a bad guy. Instead, it is an important and necessary part of keeping you alive and healthy!

I promise you, cholesterol is not out to get you. Its existence in your body does not equal clogged arteries and heart attacks. Cholesterol has been presumed a killer, but it is just doing its job!

Cholesterol’s Role in our Body

Most people know cholesterol’s negative reputation. It is synonymous with heart disease and strokes. But no one talks about cholesterol’s positive aspects. We are led to believe that cholesterol is up to no good. But this perspective is nothing more than a fabrication! Let me begin pleading cholesterol’s case by calling your attention to its actual purpose in the human body.

what's so great about cholesterolCholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance naturally manufactured in our liver. Though many see its fatty composition as a negative aspect, it has very important tasks! Cholesterol is so important to our cells that our lives literally could not exist without it!

Some of cholesterol’s most important roles in the human body include:

  • Manufacturing hormones
  • The formation of cell membranes
  • Vitamin D production
  • Digestion of fats via bile production
  • Forming memories and cognitive function

These important roles are vital to our health and well-being! Cholesterol’s existence is not a byproduct of a poor diet. Our body produces cholesterol in order to survive and function optimally!

The LDL to HDL Ratio

There is more evidence to defend cholesterol’s innocence. Let me debunk the myth that your total cholesterol count determines your risk of heart disease or stroke. Knowing the difference between LDL to HDL cholesterol numbers is important.

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood: LDL and HDL.

  • LDL are low density lipoproteins
  • HDL are high density lipoproteins

Many label these two cholesterol lipoproteins as “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” These labels may sound dramatic, but it important to distinguish between the two types of cholesterol.

  • HDL is considered the “healthycholesterol. HDL’s job is to circulate the blood and take excess LDL cholesterol back to the liver. This keeps cholesterol from building up in your arteries. This lifesaving task is why we refer to HDL as the “good” cholesterol. HDL is also converted in the liver to bile acids, which help the digestion and absorption of fats.
  • LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. However, this isn’t entirely true. LDL has the important job of manufacturing hormones. LDL gets a bad rap because it can potentially build up in the arteries and contribute to atherosclerosis. However, with adequate levels of HDL in the blood, this risk greatly diminishes.

Your total cholesterol number has no value in determining your health risk. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times concerned people have told me their doctor said their cholesterol was too high.

I clearly remember Steve, who approached me in a fit of desperation to get his cholesterol lowered. I asked him how high his cholesterol was. He said his doctor told him it was 240 and that he needed to get his cholesterol under control. If not, he would be at risk for all kinds of health problems.

The very first thing I did was to assure Steve that it takes far more than a high total cholesterol number to put him at risk. Next, I asked what his HDL and LDL numbers were. It was after asking this question that I became frustrated with his doctor. Steve had absolutely no clue…and his doctor never told him!

Steve’s doctor voiced concern about his high total cholesterol count, but neglected to distinguish between his HDL and LDL levels!

Knowing the HDL and LDL ratio is crucial for determining if your cholesterol is too high. Steve had total cholesterol level was 240, but let’s look at his individual lipoproteins:

  • HDL level was 140
  • LDL level was 100

Steve’s “high” number was his HDL level. As I mentioned earlier, HDL does not clog arteries, but rather prevents them from clogging! A high amount of HDL actually lowers the risk of LDL deposits.

The American Heart Association considers Steve’s total 240 cholesterol number to be high. Without knowing the HDL and LDL levels, the total cholesterol number is useless for assessing health risk.

Here is a formula to calculate your health risk from cholesterol levels. Physicians like Dr. Mercola also recommend it.[1] The beauty of this formula is that it acknowledges your HDL levels as a true assessor of potential health risks.

Once you receive your bloodwork printout, you can easily perform this calculation to evaluate your health risk.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

True Cholesterol Risk Formula:

Take your HDL number divided by your total cholesterol and multiply by 100:

  • HDL / Total Cholesterol x 100

If the number is above 24, your cholesterol is just fine! You have plenty of HDL to keep your LDL level from doing any potential damage. Yet, if your number is below 24, it would be wise to take some steps to lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels.

High triglyceride levels are often used as an indicator for heart disease risk, as well. You can use a similar formula can for triglyceride blood work. Take your Triglycerides divided by your HDL and multiply by 100.

  • Triglycerides / HDL x 100

The number should be below 2.

There are two tests that are far better indicators for heart disease than your standard cholesterol count. I recommend you request the following tests along with your standard bloodwork.

C-reactive protein: This measures levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the root of nearly every disease, including heart disease and strokes. Higher levels of inflammation greatly increase the risk of plaque build-up in your arteries.

Lipoprotein a, also known as Lp(a): Lp(a) is carried on the LDL particle, and does its damage in the blood stream bound to LDL. High levels of Lp(a) increase your cardiac and stroke risk, so ask your doctor for it.

Low Cholesterol vs. Ideal Cholesterol

Finally, I am going to expose the truth behind what is an ideal cholesterol level. The medical community pushes striving for abnormally low cholesterol levels. Of course, the only way you can reach these low levels is by taking pharmaceutical drugs. How convenient for the drug companies! People must rely on statin drugs to have so-called healthy cholesterol levels!

Combining statin drugs with low cholesterol levels is not a remedy; it is a recipe for disaster. Statins pack a host of side-effects and low cholesterol levels can cause dangerous health problems!

If your doctor is recommending drugs to lower your cholesterol level as close as possible to 100, then I recommend finding another doctor.

Dramatically low levels of cholesterol are dangerous! Do not ignore this, even if your health history puts you at risk for heart problems. Low cholesterol levels can cause what you’re trying to prevent, including strokes![2]

To lower your stroke risk, aim for cholesterol numbers between 180-200. The further you decline below 180 or above 240, the higher your stroke risk becomes.

Low cholesterol has many other repercussions on your health. Some of the side-effects from low cholesterol include:

  • Imbalanced hormones
  • Low levels of vitamin D
  • Impaired digestion of fats
  • Poor memory
  • Lowered immunity
  • Increased risk for cancer[3]
  • Premature aging
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Depression

What’s more shocking is how low cholesterol is linked to violent behavior! This link between violent behavior and low cholesterol levels has been known for nearly thirty years! Some believe it is due to cholesterol’s connection with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for calming the brain and body. Lower levels of cholesterol can result in lower levels of serotonin. Without adequate serotonin in the brain, unnecessary aggression can be the result. Furthermore, several studies found statin drugs themselves lead to aggression.[4] [5]

Statins are one of the most dangerous prescribed drugs. There have been hundreds of studies proving that their side-effects are real, and quite frankly, all too common. Statins many side-effects include:

  • Lowered immunity
  • Loss of memory
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Nerve damage to hands and feet
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Increased risk of diabetes

In all honesty, I find it less risky to have high cholesterol numbers than take dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Thankfully, there are all-natural, 100% safe and effective ways to help you increase your HDL or lower your LDL levels!

Healthy Cholesterol Promoting Supplements

There are many natural supplements on the market today that claim to lower cholesterol. Finding what works can be difficult with the flashy marketing schemes that many companies use.

Not everything that claims to work, will work. Below is the list of supplements I have personally witnessed changing a person’s cholesterol for the better! Remember, it isn’t about lowering your total cholesterol number, but having enough HDL to keep it balanced.

Fish Oil

health benefits of fish oilI believe fish oil should be part of everyone’s daily regime, from babies all the way to the elderly! It is one of the most superior supplements for not just healthy cholesterol levels, but total body health! Omega-3 fatty acids, like those from fish oil, have many benefits for the body, including:

  • Raising HDL and lowering LDL levels of cholesterol
  • Lowering triglycerides
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Preventing strokes
  • Reducing irregular heartbeat
  • Improving cognitive function (focus, concentration, memory, etc.)
  • Enhancing your mood and preventing depression
  • Lowers inflammation
  • And much much more

The downside is that many fish oils are oxidized or made with poor quality ingredients, and may actually cause health problems instead of solving them.

You cannot expect to buy a cheap fish oil product from your local big box store or pharmacy and reap health-promoting results. Shop at your local healthfood store and make sure that the label states that the oil is tested to be contaminant free. Ask if an independent lab has performed an analysis to measure the ingredients and confirm whether it lives up to the claims made by the manufacturer.

Fish oil can contain toxic chemicals like heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins, which can cause serious disease. A good manufacturing company will insist on a pure product and provide a certificate of analysis (COA).

I’m a big fan of Carlson’s Fish oil. Another excellent company with high quality fish oil products is Nordic Naturals. 

Garlic

Garlic is a fantastic all-natural remedy for healthy cholesterol levels. It contains the natural ability to lower LDL and triglycerides in the blood.

Studies have shown that less than half a clove (900 mg) of raw garlic a day can lower cholesterol by 9-12%.[6],[7] Raw garlic is best and can be added to olive oil salad dressings, or as a garnish on soups and sandwiches.

If you’re not a fan of garlic’s pungent flavor, try taking garlic in pill form.

Kyolic aged garlic is a fantastic choice because it is both odorless and very effective.

Recommended dosage: 2000-3000 mg a day for managing cholesterol.

healthy cholesterol promoting supplementsIndian Gooseberry

Otherwise known as Amla, natural health practitioners sing the praises of Indian Gooseberry for its ability to lower LDL and increase HDL levels in the body.

It is naturally high in vitamin C, giving it many immune boosting properties, as well.

Himalaya makes a quality and reasonably priced Amla supplement available here.

Recommended dosage: 1000 mg a day for lowering cholesterol.

Forget the statins. Consider the power combo to regulate your cholesterol numbers. Natural supplements, combined with healthy diet and exercise, can guarantee to keep you out of health risk.

Why not Red Yeast Rice?

I want to note why I do not recommend red yeast rice as a natural cholesterol-reducing supplement.

When red yeast rice first rose to popularity, I often recommended it as an alternative to statin drugs. There was not a lot of research about how it worked so well. I assumed, like many others, that since it was naturally derived, that it was safe.

However, after researching it’s side-effects and how it works in the body, I have come to the conclusion that it produces some of the same hazards as the statin drugs it mimics, such as muscle pain, liver damage and decreased immunity.[8]

Red yeast rice contains monacolin, a substance also present in several statin drugs. This substance lowers cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in your liver from manufacturing cholesterol. However, artificially suppressing cholesterol produces other side-effects, like stroke, depression and violence.[9]

Even though red yeast extract is naturally derived, I recommend avoiding red yeast rice. It isn’t an alternative to statin drugs; it is a statin drug!

I encourage you to adopt a fresh perspective about cholesterol. If you eat right and exercise regularly, then your cholesterol will do nothing more than its God-given job of keeping you alive and healthy. Your body does not make cholesterol to kill you!

The medical establishment may promote cholesterol’s bad reputation, but remember its important functions in your body! Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D, manufacture hormones, build cell walls, and create bile salts that help you digest fat. I almost forgot, it helps your memory, too.

Your goal should never be to have the lowest level of cholesterol possible. Instead, shoot for a healthy HDL to total cholesterol ratio.

Try incorporating fish oil, garlic, and Indian gooseberry into your regime if cholesterol to balance your ratio.

Cholesterol is your friend, not your enemy. It’s time to release wrongly accused cholesterol from prison.

 

 

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

Sources:
[1] Dr. Mercola, “Total Cholesterol Almost Always Irrelevant to Heart Disease Risk,” January 2, 2008, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/cholesterol-irrelevant-to-heart-disease-risk.aspx.
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299064/
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21899411
[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9411859
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15028853
[6] AJ Adler and BJ Holub. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 65, 445-450, 1997
[7] Stephen Warshafsky, Russell S. Kamer, Steven L. Sivak. Effect of Garlic on Total Serum Cholesterol-A Meta-Analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2004.
[8] http://www.progressivehealth.com/does-it-really-work-better-than-lipitor.htm
[9] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/08/09/what-happens-when-your-cholesterol-goes-too-low.aspx

 

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10 Ways to Keep Your Liver Healthy

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

When I was a medical student at UCLA, I happened to be on the liver transplant team. In those days, there were only a couple of surgeons who could transplant a liver so we would fly all over California to remove livers from bodies on life support. We would then fly back to UCLA and put the livers into needy recipients. It struck me as funny that the wonder of our noble cause was diminished when we wrapped the livers in saline-soaked cloths, and put them on ice in an Igloo ice chest for transportation. They even let me, the lowest man on the team, carry the precious cargo!

Those who received the livers were so grateful for the gift of life. To date, we have no way to replace the function of the liver, so those in failure were slowly dying. It was sad to see so many people who were barely hanging on to life because of liver failure.

Your liver is vital to so many aspects of your health. For example, everything you ingest has to go through the liver before it gets into the body. In this way, the liver is the primary protection for your body from toxins.

The liver is the second largest organ in the body (the skin is the largest). It is the only organ able to regenerate itself. We can lose 50% of our liver and within 2 weeks, we would have another complete liver.

The liver is an amazing organ that is essential for our body to function. Most liver specialists believe there are over 500 different functions of the liver. Besides detoxifying the things we eat, the liver also is necessary for:

  • Storing nutrients
  • Detoxifying and recycling waste
  • Regulating and storing energy
  • Regulating hormones
  • Digestion of fats
  • Making proteins
  • Making cholesterol
  • Regulating blood sugar

Primary detoxification

The primary function of the liver is detoxification. Without this vital organ, we become overloaded with toxins and die.

It’s the liver’s job to cope with chemicals as they travel from the environment via food or drink into your body. The liver acts like a filter through which the blood flows. It removes toxic substances from the bloodstream. Some of these toxins include:

  • Bilirubin from the turnover of red blood cells from the spleen
  • Ammonia from all the proteins in the body
  • Drugs and medications
  • Alcohol
  • Toxins from the intestines such as pesticides, food additives, and bacterial toxins

acetaminophin leads to liver failureThe most common cause of acute liver failure from toxicity is ACETAMINOPHEN (Tylenol). The medication itself is not toxic, but the liver makes it into another chemical, NAPQI, which causes immediate death of liver cells. Thankfully, we don’t collapse and die every time we take Tylenol because the liver has a way to detox the NAPQI by combining it with GLUTATHIONE. Glutathione is one of the most important anti-oxidants in the body. As long as we maintain enough glutathione we will be protected from acetaminophen toxicity, but ingesting more than the liver can handle causes liver damage, and death.

Fatty Liver Disease

Besides acetaminophen, alcohol, and food additives, the liver must break down nutrients from regular food. Some foods are very toxic and damage your liver. In fact, the most common cause of liver damage is not alcohol or acetaminophen, as one of my patients, Daniel, found out.

Daniel came in to my office because his liver enzymes were slightly elevated and his life insurance company refused to give him a policy. Elevated liver enzymes means that inflamed or injured liver cells are leaking certain enzymes, into the bloodstream. Higher enzyme levels indicate more liver cells are dying. Since his disease was mild, Daniel had none of the symptoms of liver disease:

  • Pain
  • Bloating
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Changes in stool
  • Turning yellow (jaundice)

We needed to find out why he had so many dying liver cells. There are several things that can cause elevated enzymes, including toxins and infections. Tests showed Daniel to have “fatty liver,” a condition created by dying liver cells.

Until recently, alcohol was the primary cause of fatty liver disease because every drop of alcohol damages the liver. One drink can cause the enzymes to be elevated on a blood test. However, because liver cells regenerate quickly, limited alcohol intake doesn’t create any permanent damage. Only people that have a slow detoxification system are more likely to get cirrhosis, or scaring of the liver, with alcohol. Less common causes include protein malnutrition, hypertension, cell toxins, and anoxia (lack of oxygen) including sleep apnea. However, now alcohol has been surpassed by a more insidious toxin.

The Worst Liver Toxin

One of the most common substances we eat has become the primary liver toxin. We give it to children, adults, old people, and even sick people. Most people don’t even know they are eating liver toxins, but what was once completely unknown has become an epidemic today. It’s sugar!

Daniel was a victim of this epidemic. Over the years, he didn’t know that sugar was building up in his liver cells. Sugar is naturally stored in the liver for use when there is no food. However, eating it every day causes sugar to fill up the cells until they can contain no more. When the cells are overloaded with sugar, they start to die, and the excess sugar is made into fat. Over time, the liver becomes riddled with fat, which is known as fatty liver disease.

The insurance company didn’t care what caused Daniel’s liver to fill with fat, whatever the toxin is, they know that fatty liver is a sign of damage, which can be deadly, so they wouldn’t insure him.

Viral Hepatitis Infections

Toxins are just one way that the liver can be damaged. When I was on the transplant team, we transplanted livers into people with all sorts of liver disease. Some of these were toxic problems, but many had infectious diseases. There are a number of infections that can damage the liver. Most of these are viruses that will only grow in liver cells.

Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by viruses that attack liver cells. Sometimes these are very mild infections that people hardly even know they have, but other times they can cause a great deal of damage. There are several different viruses that do this, the most common being Hepatitis A, B, and C.

hepatitisHepatitis A – is found in unsanitary water or food. It is a common infection where there are no water treatment facilities. There is a vaccine for Hepatitis A that gives lifetime immunity.

Hepatitis B – is everywhere. But in some places, such as Southeast Asia, it is more common. It is transmitted by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a carrier. About half of the cases have an unknown cause because no risk factors are found. It can cause chronic hepatitis and lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis B also has a vaccine.

Hepatitis C – is the most common blood-born illness in the United States. There is no vaccine against it, and it is transmitted in the same way as hepatitis B. It also leads to liver failure and cancer.

Hope

The most wonderful thing about the liver is that it is very forgiving. If damaged, the liver regenerates itself – that is, until it gets scarred (cirrhosis). For example, people who abuse their livers with alcohol can quit drinking and return to normal, as long as there is no cirrhosis. Those that get infected with a virus can take antibiotics to clear the infection, and often return to normal as well. By decreasing inflammation and improving the immune system, liver damage can be minimal.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

Keeping a healthy liver

10 ways to keep your liver healthyThe best way to keep your liver healthy is to avoid all things that may cause damage. Don’t engage in risky behaviors that may bring on an infection, and avoid toxins that damage the liver. This also includes daily maintenance, and periodic cleansing.

10 Ways to Keep Your Liver Healthy

1. Eat organic food

People who eat organic have a lower body burden of toxins. This includes organic meat, as well as vegetables. Remember, the chicken is what it eats, too! Choose from the organic section of the store. Or, better yet, grow your own and eat your own vegetables fresh from the garden.

2. Avoid alcohol

3. Avoid sugar

Especially avoid added fructose. Fructose found in sugar and juice is made into fat and contributes to inflammation and fatty liver, as well as hypertension.

4. Avoid trans fats

Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which are toxic to the liver, causing fatty liver and inflammation.

5. Eat raw foods

Raw foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds contain the nutrients needed for the liver to detoxify our metabolism.

6. Use natural household products

This includes bug sprays, cleaning solutions, soaps and personal products. The general rule is, if you can’t eat it (safely), then don’t bring it home.

7. Avoid medications

Every medication has an effect on the liver; we talked about some of these earlier. Blood pressure medications, antibiotics, cholesterol medications, and even diabetes medications can damage the liver. They have their place, but limit their use as much as possible.

8. Exercise

While the liver is the second-biggest detoxification organ, the skin is the largest. There is a great deal of benefit with exercise to get the blood moving, to open up the blood vessels, and to sweat out toxins. Many go in to a sauna to sweat, but a workout produces more benefit.

9. Do a liver cleanse

There are many different liver cleanses, such as the Master cleanse, the bone broth cleanse and herbal tea cleanse, which are all modified fasts. Fasting helps get the excess toxins out of the liver since we are not eating anything that puts more toxins in. I have patients who perform liver cleanses monthly, quarterly, or annually. Your frequency depends on your need for detox.

10. Supplements

There are several supplements that help keep your liver detox mechanisms up to par. The liver produces glutathione, and there is no good direct way of supplementing it. But, we can make more of it by taking Cysteine, an amino acid, and making sure we have adequate selenium, a trace mineral.

There are also herbs that help the liver with toxins. These include:

  • Milk thistle extract
  • Turmeric
  • Grape seed extract
  • And green tea

Another useful supplement is Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). ALA helps to regenerate anti-oxidant potential in the liver.

I am not advocating taking these supplements all the time, but everyone could benefit from a periodic (monthly) liver cleanse for a week’s time.

love you liver monthly cleanseDo the following for one week every month:

  • Cysteine – 500 mg twice per day
  • Selenium – 200 mcg daily
  • Milk Thistle extract – twice per day
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid – 300 mg per day

Daniel’s problem was an overload of sugar, especially fructose, as well as trans fats. He lived on Danish Pastries, since his wife loved to bake these tasty treats. It was very difficult for him to give up sugar and fatty foods. But, he was able to do so long enough to lose weight, have a more fit body, and normal liver functions so he could get insurance.

Stress Relief

Until we have a problem, we often think more about the maintenance of our cars than our own bodies. We change the oil in the car every 3,000 miles to keep it running smoothly. Plus, we would never put dirty gas in the tank, or re-use our old motor oil.

Why not keep our livers going with daily maintenance?

When we avoid toxins, eat healthy food, perform periodic liver cleanses and take supplements this brings tremendous benefits. Most of all, your stress tolerance will increase. Stress tolerance is not a yes/no question, but rather on a scale as illustrated in the diagram.

Life is hard. It is stressful. Stress is all around us. There is no way to avoid all kinds of stress – it’s an integral part of life. When we try to de-stress, we merely choose a different set of stressors.

In one way or another, all of the stress in our bodies is handled by the liver, including:

  1. Energy production problems
  2. Toxic insults
  3. Emotional stress
  4. Hormonal changes
  5. Infections

For this reason, the healthier the liver, the better we are able to handle stress. If our liver health is very low, stress may cause us to become incapacitated or sick, but when we have a healthy or vigorous liver, we can take whatever life throws at us. This is one reason why the same stressors cause widely differing symptoms in people. A well-maintained car can handle the extra stress of pulling a trailer, for example, and in the same way, we can handle the extra stress of life if we keep our liver healthy and vigorous.

 

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Dr. Scott SaundersDr. Scott D. Saunders, M.D. (Ask-an-MD) is a practicing physician, specializing in preventative health care, who utilizes eclectic health care for the whole family, including conventional, orthomolecular and natural medicine. He is also the medical director of The Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. He went to UCLA medical school and is board certified in family medicine. View natural remedies with Dr. Saunders at: http://drsaundersmd.com

 

 

 

 

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Recipes to Reboot Your Liver

 by Amanda Box, N.D.

Many of you readers are singing the same sad song. You are at your wits’ end. It’s as if your body has turned against you! You’re tired, bloated, unable to lose weight, and experience acne or skin issues that are just as bad as a teenager! You’ve tried everything you can think of: exercising, cutting calories, changing your skincare routine – but nothing works. Nothing yet, at least!

I’m here to offer you a remedy. It may be one you haven’t even thought to consider before. You may have blamed your thyroid for a slow metabolism. You may think mid-life hormonal surges are responsible for your breakouts. But, you’re missing the root cause. Most people are oblivious to what is really responsible for their body’s strange behavior. It is your body’s largest organ, the liver, that is often behind these frustrating symptoms.

what your liver does day in and day outWhen asked what the liver does, most people respond, “It filters your blood.” Yes, this answer is correct. But what your liver does day in and day out, 24/7 is far more complicated than that. Aside from your heart, the liver works harder than any other organ in your body. The liver:

  • Contributes to digestion (primarily fats)
  • Aids in controlling blood sugar
  • Regulates hormones
  • Stores energy
  • Produces proteins
  • Breaks down and filters chemicals and toxins

Every single thing you breathe in, absorb through your skin, and ingest has to go through the checkpoint known as your liver. Your liver is like a customs officer that has to check everything that passes through it. The liver must I.D. everything as either a healthy substance, like vitamins, or unhealthy toxins, like pesticides. It ultimately decides what to allow your body to use and what to throw out in the waste.

This isn’t an easy task, especially when the average diet and lifestyle is full of toxins and chemicals. What you put on your skin, what you eat and drink and the medications you’re on all take their toll on the liver. Many times your liver becomes bombarded with toxins and cannot keep up. It is unable to properly do its job because it has become damaged and overloaded by too many toxins and chemicals. When this happens, your liver doesn’t properly regulate your hormones or process fats. You begin to gain weight and show signs of hormonal imbalances.

The good news is that this isn’t the end! In the case of most of our body’s organs, once they’re compromised, they may never fully repair or work as well as before. However, the liver has the amazing capacity to regenerate, reboot, and repair! Yet, this can only happen by giving your liver a break from the toxic overload.

Giving Your Liver a Break

What’s the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed? Take a break, of course! So, how do you give your liver a break? You can’t just shut your liver off for a while. If you did, you would die! But you can take steps to cut down on the excess work it has to do each day.

For one, you can eat foods that nourish and support the liver and it’s functions. Second, you can take supplements that support detoxification and regeneration.

The results of a healthy functioning liver are weight loss, hormonal balance, and increased energy! Who wouldn’t love all that?!

Everyone could benefit from a liver reboot. Even the healthiest people cannot avoid being exposed to toxins. Toxins are everywhere around us. Many liver compromising toxins hide out in:

  • Plastic containers and metal cans
  • Skincare products
  • Drinking water
  • Cleaning products
  • Smoke (first and second-hand)
  • Non-organic vegetables and fruits

Though it is impossible to avoid toxin exposure, there is no need to live in fear. Our liver is specifically designed to detoxify our bodies. It filters these toxins out of our bloodstream and into our waste. It is only after years of exposure that the liver begins to lose some of its detoxification capacity.

Although we can’t protect our liver from ever being exposed to toxins, we can give it a chance to restore to optimal function. And in doing so, your whole body will experience improved health!

The first step in giving your liver a break is to do your best to avoid excess toxic exposure. Like I mentioned earlier, avoiding all toxins is impossible. However, you can greatly reduce your exposure by following these steps:

  1. Drink only filtered water instead of tap water.
  2. Use only all natural products on your skin (makeup, lotions, soap, etc.)
  3. Avoid canned foods.
  4. Use only BPA-free plastic.
  5. Avoid all artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
  6. Find natural alternatives to pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs.
  7. Avoid foods listed on the Dirty Dozen (or buying organic versions).

Released by the Environmental Working Group, the Dirty Dozen is a list of the top 12 foods with the highest pesticide residues. The Clean 15 is the list of the top 15 foods with the lowest pesticide residues. Buying organic versions of foods on the Dirty Dozen list is a great way to enjoy these foods without the pesticide residues. Below are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for 2014:

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2014

 

It is also important to note that alcohol consumption is one of the greatest contributors to any sort of liver problem. Drinking in moderation is typically fine. But, if you are committed to giving your liver a break, you should abstain from all alcohol for at least a month or two.

Liver-loving Foods

Lowering your toxic exposure is key to giving your liver the break it needs to repair and restore optimal function. To maximize liver detoxification, incorporate liver-supporting foods into your diet. These liver-loving foods are nothing out of the ordinary. They are everyday foods that contain specialized compounds that speed up the liver’s natural ability to repair. Incorporating these liver-loving foods, while eliminating liver-compromising foods from your diet, can give your body the breakthrough it needs to come into balance.

Try to incorporate at least one food from each category into your daily diet for maximum liver support.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Bok Choy, and Kale.

These vegetables contain sulfur and promote neutralization of toxins in the liver. They also help the liver produce enzymes, which aid in detoxification.

2. Leafy Greens: Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Escarole, Cilantro, Parsley, Mustard Greens, and Dandelion leaves.

The more bitter the green, the better it’s ability to stimulate bile production in the liver. Bile is what carries toxins out of the liver. Some of these greens can also neutralize heavy metal toxins. Cilantro, in particular, binds to mercury and other metals and helps remove them from your system.

garlic and allicin3. High Sulfur Foods: Eggs, onion, garlic, and again cruciferous vegetables.

Sulfur aids in detoxification. Garlic, in particular, has high levels of allicin. Allicin is a sulfur compound, which protects the liver and can help detoxify toxic metals and excess estrogen hormone.

4. Antioxidant Rich Foods: Berries (organic), Grapefruit, Apples (organic), carrots, melon, and green tea.

Antioxidants are compounds, which protect the liver from damage while detoxifying the blood. Grapefruit, in particular, contains a substance called naringenin. Naringenin stimulates the liver to burn fat rather than store it. Green tea also contains particular antioxidants called catechins. Catechins prevent fat from accumulating in the liver.

5. Beets and Artichoke

Beets and artichokes are in a category of their own because of their enhanced ability to support the liver. Beets naturally help to purify the blood. They also assist the liver in metabolizing fat rather than storing it. Artichokes stimulate the flow of bile, which in turn speeds up the elimination of toxins out of the liver. Some health professionals estimate that eating an artichoke can increase bile flow by 100%!

These liver-loving foods aren’t out of the ordinary. However, many people are unsure how to prepare these foods in new and tasty ways. Eggs for breakfast every single day can get boring. But adding flavorful vegetables and spices can turn your boring eggs into a delicious quiche. (Quiche also makes a delicious lunch.) You can add all kinds of liver-loving vegetables to your quiche. I like to add artichokes, mustard greens, and garlic to my quiche. This quiche is high in sulfur compounds to support your liver by encouraging detoxification.

Liver-Loving Quiche

Ingredients:

  • detoxing quiche2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mustard greens rinsed and chopped
  • One 14-oz can of artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces pecorino romano or other hard Italian cheese, shredded
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk plus 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Generously grease a deep-dish pie plate with butter or non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic and cook for another minute more. Add the mustard greens and artichoke hearts and cook, stirring frequently until the greens are wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the water, coconut milk, thyme and oregano until well blended. Spread the collard/onion mixture over the bottom of the greased pie plate; sprinkle the cheese evenly over the greens. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the cheese and greens. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Serve with a chunky salsa or warm marinara sauce.

Beets are an uncommon vegetable in the American diet. But the Russians and other eastern Europeans revere beets. Beets are the primary ingredient in a common soup called Borscht. I prefer beets in salad form. This salad incorporates liver-loving beets, arugula, and apples. It is the perfect summer dish and a great way to incorporate beets into your diet.

Liver-Loving Beet Salad

Ingredients:

  • liver loving beet salad3 large beets (or 6 small beets)
  • 3 medium granny smith apples, peeled cored and chopped small
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 3 1/2 packed cups of baby arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 medium orange, juiced and zested
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for baking beets
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, melted
  • Soft goat cheese crumbles
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and dry beets. Trim off the leaves and root tip (leaving the skin on). Drizzle a little olive oil over each beet and sprinkle each with a dash of sea salt. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. If using smaller beets, bake for about 50 minutes. If using larger beets, bake for about 90 minutes or until a fork can pierce the beet easily.

2. Remove the beets from the oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. Unwrap each beet and drain the excess beet juice into a small bowl and set aside. Chop the beets into small bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Place your chopped pecans in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Set the pecans aside.

4. To make the dressing, take the reserved beet juice and add the 2 Tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, orange juice and orange zest. Stir and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add additional orange juice or vinegar to taste. Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and toss to coat. Add the arugula, toasted pecans and apples and toss again.

5. Top with goat cheese crumbles.

Everyone needs a break from stress to recharge, even your liver. Take the time to give your liver some love by eating liver-supporting foods. Avoid excess toxins and chemicals to support your body coming into balance once again. You’ll benefit with weight loss, clear skin, balanced hormones and increased energy. Start this liver-loving regime today and reboot your health!

 

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Recipes adapted from: www.paleocupboard.com

 

 

Liver Cleansing for Optimal Health

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“I can’t eat that! I’m on a detox.” You’ve probably heard this phrase by now. Detoxing and cleansing have become quite the trends lately. As natural health methods and healing become more mainstream, I partly find this exciting, but, I also want to roll my eyes.

I have found, for the most part, that people who are detoxing don’t fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. They blindly jump on the detox bandwagon because they hear it can help them lose weight.

Although detoxing can help you lose weight, there are so many more benefits to a good clean out. But, it is a process that should be carefully considered and taken seriously. Detoxification is far more than an attempt at weight loss. It is a process that can change your life.

Most detoxes and cleanses today focus on: eliminating something (e.g., sugar, gluten, etc.); weight loss (via fasting or juice cleanses); or colon cleansing. Although these are fantastic cleanses, they only scratch the surface of detoxification.

In the deluge of detoxes, one of the most important organs goes unnoticed: the liver. This large and overloaded organ truly deserves its turn at detoxifying.

The word “liver” is derived from the word “life”, and rightly so! Your liver literally gives your body life every single day by performing over 300 functions! Some of the liver’s functions include:

  • Storing iron for hemoglobin production
  • Filtering out bacteria and resisting infections by producing immune factors
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Contributing to digestion
  • Regulating amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood
  • Removing toxic compounds from the blood
  • Removing and inactivating excess hormones

Signs of a Stressed Liver

signs of a stressed liverLiver detoxification is essential for keeping your liver at optimal functioning capacity. Because the liver filters so many toxins day in and day out, it can become sluggish and struggle to work efficiently. You may begin to show signs of liver impairment like:

  • Hormonal imbalance (PMS, Menstrual cramping, PCOS)
  • Acne, rosacea or psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating)

Chinese medicine recognizes some interesting signs when your liver is under stress.

The first symptom is waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 am every night. According to the Chinese medicine’s meridian clock, each organ has a 2-hour time segment in which it is most active. The liver belongs to the 1-3 am time frame.

Secondly, your face can also tell you if you have some liver impairment. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are often referred to as the “liver lines.” I personally saw my liver line fade dramatically after completing a liver cleanse.

Wrinkles aren’t just a part of aging. In Chinese medicine, the lines in our face tell a story of what is happening in our body! Broken capillaries and redness of your left cheek towards the bridge of your nose can be a sign of inflammation or congestion in the liver.

Lastly, your eyes can manifest symptoms of liver dysfunction. Many of you know that if the whites of your eyes change yellow, it is a sign of jaundice. The liver’s inability to properly break down bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

A white ring around your iris can be a sign of fatty buildup in the blood. Since the liver breaks down fat and cholesterol, this can also be an indicator that the liver isn’t working as it should.

Cyour liver is stressed ifhinese medicine also assigns different emotions to different organ systems. Anger, frustration and resentment are emotions associated with the liver. If you often find yourself dealing with these emotions, your liver may need some attention. Beyond the relational, psychological, and spiritual reasons for not holding onto anger and resentment, there are real physical reasons as well. Carrying around these emotions can cause liver problems. Forgiving and letting go of these toxic emotions can keep you healthy physically and in every other respect!

Clean Eating for Liver Health

I believe that every adult could benefit from liver detoxification. We live in a toxic world and no matter how hard we try, we are exposed daily to chemicals and harmful substances. Our liver is the organ responsible for filtering these destructive components out of our body. It bears the brunt of these toxins to save us from being poisoned on a regular basis.

But the liver, being self-sacrificing, can become damaged from toxic exposure. It can also become congested from the massive amount of fat and cholesterol it has to process. Thankfully, the liver is an organ designed to regenerate.

The liver can reconstruct and restore healthy liver cells to optimal function if given the proper attention. This amazing process is the reason why liver detoxification can change your life!

Not every organ in your body can return to normal after being damaged or impaired. Giving the liver a healthy reboot can move you from a diseased state to one of good health.

Liver detoxification starts with what you eat. You cannot expect your liver to repair itself if it continues to be bombarded with toxic substances from the food you eat. Perhaps you have heard of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is a style of eating that truly encompasses its name. “Clean” means free from contaminates or unwanted matter. Eating a clean diet is one of the best ways to repair and rejuvenate the liver. To engage in a clean diet:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

  • Eliminate processed foods: This includes packaged, canned, and frozen meals. Also, avoid white flour, white sugar, and artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Adding two to three servings of veggies to each meal can boost your intake and fill you up. For a healthy snack between meals, choose fruit.
  • Cut out unhealthy fats: This includes hydrogenated oils, most vegetable oils, and fried foods. You can, however, use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in moderation.
  • Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: A glass a day of red wine is typically okay. However, alcohol puts stress on the liver and should be completely eliminated while detoxing.
  • Exclude sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use other sweeteners like honey and stevia sparingly.
  • Reduce your grain intake by at least half and cut out gluten completely. Instead of wheat, incorporate a little quinoa, rice, or oatmeal into your daily diet. Grains should be a small part of your daily food intake.
  • Limit your dairy intake and only use organic or rBgh-free dairy products. Raw dairy from a local farmer is best. Using grass-fed butter is also fine. But while liver detoxing, lowering your intake of healthy fat can be helpful in giving the liver a rest.
  • Consume only healthy sourced meats: Feedlot meats contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention, the conditions are dreadful and unsanitary. Find a local farmer, or quality meat at a local health food market. Farmer’s markets often have locally raised beef and chicken. Also, be wary of high mercury fish like salmon and tuna.

Herbs for Liver Detoxification

Eating a clean diet can dramatically benefit your liver by decreasing its toxic load. But, detoxifying herbs and supplements can take your liver from being exhausted, to rejuvenated! There are specific herbs that stimulate liver cells to regenerate, neutralize toxins, cleanse and unclog the liver.

I must note that you should never begin a liver detox before first cleansing the colon. If your colon is not cleansed, toxins on their way out of the body from your liver get stuck in your waste. When this happens, your system reabsorbs these toxins and you lose the progress you’ve made. Having a clean, functioning colon helps facilitate these toxins out of the body where they belong!

I recommend beginning your clean diet a week before starting a liver cleansing supplement regime. During this week, you can take supplements, which stimulate bowel movements and help clear the colon, readying it for the liver cleanse. One great supplement is Renew Life’s Cleansemore or Bowel Cleanse. You can continue colon-cleansing supplements after you begin to add the liver cleansing herbs. This will keep toxins moving efficiently out of the body.

There are 5 specific herbs that I recommend for liver detoxification.

5 herbs for liver detoxDandelion

This pesky weed is a very effective herb for your liver! It not only helps cleanse the liver, but also contributes to regenerating liver cells! Dandelion removes excess water from the body and increases bile production. Increasing bile boosts detoxification of toxic substances out of the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb is by far the #1 used natural remedy for the liver. In Europe, doctors prescribe milk thistle to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol-induced liver damage. It has the remarkable ability to both protect the liver, as well as stimulate regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radical damage. Silymarin is the active component in milk thistle. For optimum results, look for milk thistle containing at least 80% silymarin.

Burdock root

Primarily known as a blood purifier; burdock is also a fantastic liver cleanser. It stimulates bile flow and protects liver cells with its many natural antioxidant compounds.

Artichoke

Artichoke contains compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which have liver restorative properties. They both protect liver cells and prevent further damage. Artichoke also stimulates the flow of bile, thereby helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats.

Turmeric

This bright orange spice is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It not only protects the liver, but also stimulates the restoration of healthy liver cells. Turmeric aids in liver detoxification and reduces inflammation. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric that contains at least 90% curcuminoids produces the greatest results.

Most quality liver cleansing supplements will contain at least three of these five powerful herbs. My personal favorite is by Enzymatic Therapy. I have used it several times and often recommend it to others. It contains all five herbs and is a two-week regimen that can be repeated, as necessary. Taking the time to cleanse and detoxify your liver can bring new life to your whole body!

Give your liver the restoration it needs by eating a clean diet and using liver cleansing supplements. Your skin will clear, your energy levels increase, and your digestion will be strengthened. Many also see their cholesterol and blood pressure drop to healthy levels after a liver cleanse. Don’t ignore your liver any longer! Begin your journey today towards a cleaner, happier, and healthier life!

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

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7 Things You Need to Know About Your Liver

by Sarah Stanley

When we think of our health, we don’t tend to think of our health in separate parts.  We usually eat with our eyes. “Look, a pretty donut!” But, we fail to realize how a donut will affect our heart, cholesterol, blood, and yes, even our liver.

Each of the health choices we make is a drop in the bucket that adds up over time. The thoughts we think, the food we eat, the beverages we drink and how we move our body is all connected together either for disease prevention and good health, or for disease and poor health.

  • If we don’t have a good immune system, then we’ll be more susceptible to diseases and get sick often.
  • If we have lung problems, then it will be challenging to walk up stairs or a small hill.
  • When a part of our body isn’t functioning properly, other parts have to work extra hard to compensate. They become drained and fatigued as a result.

Everything works together. This is why it’s important that we live a life that supports holistic wellness. God designed our bodies with intricate detail and it’s up to us to treat our bodies the way he intended: with great care and thought.

7 things you need to know about your liverWhich brings us to a part of our body that does so much for us: our liver! You might think about your legs, arms, brain, and beating heart frequently. But, when was the last time you thought about your liver? Our liver plays a vital role in keeping us well. What makes our liver so special? Here are 7 important things you need to know about your liver!

#1. Key to life

Without a healthy liver, a person cannot survive! The liver might only weigh about 3 pounds, but this organ is essential to our life and well-being. The liver plays a crucial role in helping our body fight disease, get rid of toxins (i.e., detox), and support our immune system.

Because we live in a toxic world, our liver is constantly working to keep us healthy. From the food we eat, the air we breathe and even the water we drink, the liver is one of the most important organs in our body’s natural detoxification system.

Thankfully, the liver regenerates itself so we can keep on living our lives. But, if we don’t take care of it and abuse this wonderful part of our body, our liver will slowly start to deteriorate.

#2. Key to metabolism

Everyone wants a better metabolism, right? Did you know your liver could help with that? It’s true!

Our liver has hepatocyte cells, which perform most of the liver’s functions. These cells metabolize carbs, protein and lipids (fats and fat-soluble vitamins) into energy.

This is why eating real foods is so important. When we consume things that aren’t healthy, the liver has to work extra hard at processing these toxins. Over time, the liver breaks down from processing prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and junk food.

Oreos are an example of junk food. I’m sure we can all agree they are an unhealthy “food.” Organic vegetables would be an example of a good, or real food that gives us energy. We keep our liver alive with real foods, so the liver can keep us alive.

What our liver does with cholesterol is interesting for our metabolism.  Generally speaking, most people fear cholesterol. This is due in part to misleading information from Big Food. Products claiming to be cholesterol free are, in fact, filled with additives, coloring dyes and other toxic ingredients. Sorry, but Fruit Loops will never be a healthy item. Don’t be fooled by marketing!  People need to know that man-made cholesterol is never a good thing.

But we do need God designed-cholesterol for health and vitality. Cholesterol is essential because the liver uses it to produce bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder. Why is this important? Because the body needs bile to digest fatty foods. How Stuff Works describes bile as an emulsifier.(1)

The liver produces and metabolizes cholesterol. When we eat real, organic sources of cholesterol (like eggs, for example), the liver produces less cholesterol, which makes for a happy organ!(2) As you can see, our liver is really an amazing part of our body!

#3. Key to digestion

You may not have thought about how your liver helps digestion, but the liver plays an important role! Although the digestive system has many parts (mouth, stomach, small intestine, and pancreas to name a few) the liver helps process what you consume. Your liver digests fat, minerals and vitamins for your body to use. It contributes to good eyesight, clear thinking and a healthy heart. So the next time you take a bite, thank your liver for giving you life.

#4. Key to detox

When you hear the word “detox,” your mind probably thinks of going on a 7-day juice binge because you are going to the beach next weekend. And you’re dreading being hungry all the time! But, don’t think of detox this way. Instead, detox should be something we think about on a daily basis, not just in swimsuit panic mode!

If a person eats an unhealthy diet, then the liver cannot possibly “detox” all that junk in a short period of time. It’s already been working overtime to keep the person alive! Drinking alcohol, taking over the counter drugs and prescription drugs are all heavy toxins to the liver and body.

If you ask a person why they are detoxing, usually it is to lose weight. But weight isn’t gained in 3 days, so it is unrealistic to think it will come off in 3 days! (Note: people will lose weight on a detox, but it’s mainly water weight as opposed to true weight loss.)

A proper detox focuses on cleansing the liver, blood, brain (via the second brain, the gut), kidneys and colon. Plus, the time frame is longer than just 3 or 5 days.

This is why I am a proponent of living a detox life. What does this mean? It’s simple. Whatever you put in your mouth, ask yourself if this is serving your body well. Does this have to make my liver work harder or is it happy that you are nourishing it?

If you routinely rely on short detoxes throughout the year as a quick fix for the problem, then switch to a detox lifestyle. A detox lifestyle means:

  • Eating real organic foods
  • Limiting alcohol consumption (try a kombucha instead!)
  • Avoiding OTC drugs
  • Making lifestyle choices that enable you to stop the use of prescription drugs

Your liver is begging you to make wise, healthy and natural detoxing choices!

If there’s one thing that most people understand about the liver, it’s that it serves as the body’s liquor control board. Alcohol is the one thing that bypasses the normal digestion process when consumed and goes straight to the liver. If you continue to drink excessively, you’re making your liver work overtime.

While the liver is working diligently to process the sugar and carbs from the alcohol, it will have consequences on your health.  Because the liver has to process other environmental toxins, the liver dreads when alcohol is consumed! So when the liver starts to shut down, health problems begin to happen: food intolerance, trouble falling asleep, allergies, acne, exhaustion and hormonal imbalance.

To embrace a detox lifestyle, I recommend incorporating these organic real foods on a daily basis, or at least 4 times a week:

  • detox the liver withParsley
  • Avocado
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Lemons (squeeze fresh lemon juice into filtered water)
  • Turmeric
  • Seaweed (One of my absolute favorite snacks is Sea Snax. Try it and you’ll see what I mean!)
  • Filtered water (Check out these awesome water purification sticks for your reusable water bottle!)

Detoxing shouldn’t be a crunch time decision. Be kind to your liver on a daily basis and, in turn, your health will be rewarded!

#5. Key to immunity

Remember how everything is linked together? Although 80% of the immune system lives in our gut, our liver helps process what is in the GI tract.(3) When the liver isn’t working right, foreign invaders bypass the liver, enter the bloodstream, and overtax the immune system. Cleaning out the liver with a good liver detox program improves your liver’s ability to produce immune factors and remove bacteria from the blood.

So if your liver isn’t strong and healthy, then your immune system is compromised and your gut health will suffer, too. See how everything is connected?!

#6. Key to storage

What happens to the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you are eating? The liver is storing what it needs and also getting rid of what doesn’t serve it. The liver delivers (say that 10 times fast!) the vitamins and minerals such as A, D, E, K to the tissues of the body that need it. When you eat for health it means you are eating to nourish each part of your body and your liver helps keep your body healthy.

#7. Key to health

The liver also produces several important vital proteins in blood plasma that keep the body from infections and blood disorders. These proteins help form blood clots. They also work to keep the body in perfect balance by making sure the cells of the body don’t gain or lose water in essential body fluids.

Another thing your liver does is to balance your hormones. And as mentioned before, the liver helps to burn fat, keeps libido functioning, and can either speed up or slow down aging. So, if you experience things such as mood swings, low sex drive, or are aging more quickly than you should, then you might want to eat some liver-nourishing real organic foods!

As you can see, the liver is a VIP! After reading this, I hope you won’t take your liver for granted again. I also hope you took some sips of filtered H2O and began to think of how you can change your lifestyle to support a healthy, happy liver to live a healthy and happy life!

 

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SarahStanleySarah Stanley is a wellness educator, endurance athlete, speaker, author, and founder of #wellnesschat & {wellprint}. Passionate about healthy living Sarah lives what she speaks about, practicing a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle that fuels her ultrarunning adventures. Her goal is to empower others to be knowledgeable about what they put in & on their body so they can live healthy, disease-free and happy life. She’s been featured in SELF, SHAPE, Ladies’ Home Journal and Washingtonian. Find Sarah on Twitter (@SarahStanley)G+ (+SarahStanley) and visit SarahStanleyInspired.com to start your wellness journey today.

 

(1)http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/cardiovascular/cholesterol/how-the-body-uses-cholesterol.htm
(2) http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/
(3) Campbell-McBride, 2010

 

 

 

Food Sensitivities: A Hidden Epidemic

by Amanda Box, N.D.

Your body is trying to tell you something. It is screaming out in pain or discomfort, but you continue to misinterpret its cries for help. You blame your body as being dysfunctional and run-down. Perhaps you sought help and your doctor diagnosed you with one of these ailments:

  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • Colitis
  • IBS
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • ADD/ADHD

Unfortunately, you and your doctor may be blind to the association between what you’re eating and what you are feeling. You may have the manifestations of your doctor’s diagnosis, but underneath these manifestations lies the real culprit: a food sensitivity that is wreaking havoc on your body and your health.

Food sensitivities are nothing short of a silent epidemic. Both their elusiveness in manifestations and the fact that mainstream medicine rarely acknowledges their existence, leave many people without a remedy. Food sensitivities differ from food allergies and, unfortunately, there is no foolproof diagnostic tool available.

Identifying a food sensitivity is based primarily on symptoms, with a bit of trial and error. The plus side is that unlike food allergies, treatment is much more effective and far less harmful than pharmaceutical drugs that are designed to suppress symptoms. Food sensitivities can be CURED! Yes, that is right! If you’re suffering from manifestations caused by hidden food sensitivity, you can get your life back!

Food Sensitivities vs. Food Allergies

Often the terms food sensitivity and food allergy get interchanged. It is important to know that these are two separate conditions and although they may share some similarities, they are not interchangeable. Distinguishing between a food sensitivity (also referred to as a food intolerance) and a food allergy is important in determining both the cause and treatment.

Food allergies are far less common than food sensitivities, but are typically much more serious. A food allergy can often be diagnosed via blood tests or a skin prick test.  Diagnosis is important as many food allergies can be life threatening. If anaphylactic shock is triggered, then it can cause death in a matter of minutes without medical intervention.

In the case of food allergies, it often only takes a miniscule amount of the offending food in order to trigger the immune system. Symptoms are often immediate, although some less severe food allergies can have a delayed response. Severe diarrhea, vomiting, hives, swelling, and tingling inside the mouth are typical signs of a food allergy.

Food allergies are caused by a direct response by the immune system. Food sensitivities, on the other hand, can be either immune mediated or triggered by other means. For example, lactose intolerance is not a food allergy. It is an intolerance, or sensitivity, caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase in the body.

Food sensitivities are often not as volatile as food allergies. Sometimes a small amount of the offending food can be eaten without any manifestation of symptoms. However, most foods that cause food sensitivities are common foods that we eat daily, if not several times a day. Symptoms of food sensitivities are far more ambiguous than food allergies. This is because you cannot truly determine what part of your body is going to fall victim to a food sensitivity reaction.

Food Sensitivity Symptoms

The reason I call food sensitivities a hidden epidemic is because their manifestations can often look like other disorders. Food sensitivities, like food allergies, can cause severe digestive issues like bloating and diarrhea. However, food sensitivities have many other manifestations that you wouldn’t typically attribute to food consumption.

Some of the most common symptoms of food sensitivities include:

  • food sensitivities symptoms_5Tachycardia and other heart irregularities
  • Skin issues (such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, or rashes)
  • Sinusitis
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Candida
  • Arthritis
  • Constipation
  • Post nasal drip or excess mucus
  • Chronic headaches

This list goes on and it would literally take several pages if I listed all the possible symptoms of food sensitivities. This being said, you should never rule out a food sensitivity as the underlying root cause of an ailment. Before enduring invasive treatments, tests, and pharmaceutical drugs, take a good long look at what you eat. The remedy to your ailment could be as simple as eliminating a food from your diet!

So, how does a food sensitivity cause symptoms outside the confines of the gut?  The majority of people with food sensitivities have something called “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” Leaky gut syndrome can result from overuse of antibiotics, consumption of GMO foods, chronic stress, or inflammation.

When someone has leaky gut syndrome their intestinal wall has been damaged and become permeable, allowing food particles to pass through into the bloodstream.  Therefore, with food sensitivities, the reaction you have isn’t necessarily manifested in the gut as it is in intestinal diseases like Celiac, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis. Leaky gut allows tiny food particles to float around in your body until they reach your brain or are detected by the immune system. Once your immune system is alerted, it causes an inflammatory response in your joints or elsewhere. Gliadin peptides from gluten are an example of how food outside the confines of the intestinal tract can affect our body. If gliadin peptides pass through the mucosal wall, then they can cause a variety of reactions throughout the body including:

  • Thyroiditis
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Arthritis

Gliadin peptides can also stimulate opiate receptors in the brain stimulating an actual craving for more. Does this sound familiar? Most people with food sensitivities actually crave the food they are sensitive to and this is one of the reasons why!

At-Home Sensitivity Tests

Although there are companies that offer saliva or blood work for food sensitivity testing, these tests aren’t always very accurate. They can often show a negative result when a food sensitivity is in fact present. However, there is another method for testing sensitivity at home that is quite simple and will cost you absolutely nothing.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

The Elimination Diet

Virtually any food can cause a sensitivity; however, there are several foods that are much more common food intolerances. It is best to begin by eliminating these foods all at once and introduce them back one at a time when testing for sensitivity.

Elimination Diet Foods_2Eliminate these foods for a minimum of 7-15 days:

  1. All grains (exception is rice)
  2. Dairy
  3. Corn products
  4. Legumes (soy, peanuts, all beans and lentils)
  5. Eggs
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Fats (exception is olive oil)
  8. Sweeteners and sugars (exception is stevia)
  9. Nuts
  10. Caffeine
  11. All processed foods (including processed meats like deli meat and bacon)

Your diet will primarily consist of vegetables, lean meats and fruit (no citrus). Planning ahead will be very important. However, following this diet is absolutely crucial in identifying possible food intolerances.

Testing:

  • After 7-15 days on the elimination diet, eat a moderate amount of 1 of the foods on an empty stomach.
  • Take your pulse before eating the food and begin monitoring your pulse a couple minutes after consuming the food. Monitor your pulse over the next hour noting any increases that are more than just a couple beats per minute.

A noticeable rise in pulse is a sign of either a food sensitivity or allergy to this food! If you get a reaction, then wait 2 full days before testing another food. If no reaction occurs, then you can proceed with another food the following day.

Also, take note of any:

  • Digestive disturbances (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion)
  • Pain (joints, muscles, back, neck, etc.)
  • Declines in energy or alertness
  • Changes in sleep patterns

These can be manifestations from a food sensitivity, too.

Reversing Food Sensitivities

Once you have identified any food intolerances, eliminate them completely from your diet. Although it may be difficult, the change in well-being will make it a rewarding sacrifice!

There are special diets designed to help heal the gut and eliminate food sensitivities. Following these diets allows healing and a sort of resetting of your body so that you can eat these foods again in the future! The most popular and I believe most effective diet is the GAPS protocol.

The GAPS diet consists of 3 principles, which are designed to heal a leaky gut lining preventing health issues from food sensitivities. This sealing of the gut allows food to stay in the intestinal tract where it belongs, not circulating out in the blood causing inflammation, pain, and discomfort.

The GAPS diet principles include:

  1. Avoiding high sensitivity foods that can cause further damage to the gut and increase inflammatory responses throughout the body.
  2. Repopulating the gut with friendly beneficial bacteria, including probiotics and cultured foods that aid digestion and provide the proper balance for health and healing.
  3. Consuming gut healing foods and supplements like bone broth, gelatin, healthy fats, and probiotics which help put out the fires of inflammation and promote proper digestion.

People who adhere to the GAPS protocol can often resume eating foods that once caused problems within 6-18 months. This may seem like a long time to follow a restricted diet. However, it is important to remind yourself that you have much more life to live; living it free of pain and discomfort will be worth the months of hard work and diligence.

With a bit of internet searching, you will find a plethora of websites and blogs that are brimming with GAPS-friendly recipes and tips. I recommend beginning your GAPS journey by purchasing Dr. Natasha McBride’s book so that you have an understanding of the science behind what you are embarking on. Knowing the “why” behind the “what” always helps when beginning something new. It can help to give you the courage and willpower it takes to achieve true healing.

Supplements for Food Sensitivities

Although diet is the only way to heal the intestinal tract and eliminate food sensitivities, there are supplements that can encourage healing and aid in digestion. These supplements are encouraged during the GAPS diet, but can also be taken outside a special diet plan to help with digestion and minimize discomfort.

Digestive Enzymes

Those with food sensitivities often lack the enzymes needed to break down food in the gut. Supplementing with enzymes during meals helps to replace these essential components to digestion. Taking an enzyme that contains HCl (Hydrochloric Acid) can be beneficial for those who are suffer from low stomach acid.

Inadequate stomach acid also contributes to poor digestion. Twinlab Super Enzymes contain both digestive enzymes and HCl and are available here. Ox bile combined with digestive enzymes is very helpful for people who either have impaired liver function or gallbladder function. People who have had their gallbladder removed, in particular, can see great improvements in digestion with the addition of Ox bile. NOW’s Super Enzymes contain both digestive enzymes and Ox bile and can be purchased here.

L-Glutamine

The amino acid L-glutamine is important for soothing inflammation in the intestinal tract. It is also essential for rebuilding the mucosal lining that it typically damaged during leaky gut syndrome and other digestive disorders like Celiac disease.

The dosage of L-Glutamine is around 3 grams per day. It is most economical to buy glutamine powder and mix with water. Take on an empty stomach.

Probiotics

Probiotics, otherwise known as friendly bacteria, are necessary for digestion and combatting the overgrowth of damaging bacteria in the gut. Many times food sensitivities arise out of a lack of friendly bacteria. Antibiotics tend to be the cause behind imbalances of bacteria. This is because they kill off friendly bacteria in the gut, allowing the overgrowth of toxic microbes. Eating a cup of yogurt a day is far from adequate when treating food sensitivities and leaky gut.  Only a powerful probiotic will be able to combat toxic bacteria and repopulate the digestive tract. I personally recommend the Essential Formula’s probiotic or Renew Life’s 50 billion probiotic.

You may have been misunderstanding your body’s signs and cry for help; but it is definitely not too late. By following a healing diet and supporting supplements, you can watch your symptoms dissolve before your eyes. The return is worth the effort. You’ll feel years younger with better digestion, concentration, reduction of pain, increased energy, and a more positive mood. Don’t let food intolerance hide any longer behind your health issues!  Take the time to identify any potential food sensitivities, eliminate them from your diet and watch your entire life transform.

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

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