Friday, June 15, 2012

Calcium – bone builder or risky? Travel kitchen tip.

My Digestion TeleSeminar
Learn about digestion from the comfort of your home. My teleseminar is this Tuesday, June 19 at 7 PM. If you are interested but not available at that time, you might sign up anyway because those who are registered will have a brief opportunity to use an archive. Click this link for info and to register: LINK.
 Healthy by Nature radio show this week
I aim to help keep you healthy and active (i.e. avoid degenerative disease) until your number is up. This week, part of that is alerting you to hazards that are all around us. The wide variety of creative ways people can find to suddenly die prematurely is darkly comical. I was amazed by the huge collection of odd death statistics, trivia and vintage illustrations and photos compiled in Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die , by Michael Largo. So, I invited him to be a guest. We also talk with Derek Mellencamp about how to assure that your drinking water is not contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Click here to find pod-casts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide.
 Will the "experts" please make up their darn minds?
Calcium. I remember back in the mid 80’s that no one questioned that women need extra calcium to guard against osteoporosis. The first (and still one of the few) “health claim” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved was one that says calcium builds strong bones. (Health claims are descriptions of benefits approved for use on packages and in advertising.) At that time the FDA proclaimed 1,000 mg as the right daily dose. Oddly, no differentiation in dose was made between forms that were easily absorbed and those that weren’t. Also, no mention was made of the need for any other nutrients to make the calcium effective and safe.
Nutritionists knew that people should at least take a product that also contained magnesium. When the FDA said it was considering increasing the daily intake recommendation to 1,500 mg, that sounded extreme and so I ignored them. Then I learned that the US has the highest intake of dairy products and calcium in the world and yet the highest rate of osteoporosis. Common sense started to seem more reliable than federal guidelines. I began recommending a bone formula like Jarrow’s BoneUp because it is a superior form of calcium and contains many of the other nutrients the body requires to get calcium into the bone rather than into inconvenient places like bone spurs, kidney stones or worse yet, arteries. In most cases I told clients not to take the full dose because they also get calcium in their foods. That is still my position.
Calcium and heart disease. Researchers looking to document a benefit from calcium on heart disease did not find one. Calcium from dairy products didn’t seem to help. Calcium from supplements actually seemed to increase the risk of heart attack. LINK Scientists can’t control for all possible variables such as differentiating between supplements of plain calcium and those that also contained magnesium. Also, surely they didn’t sort out people taking good quality supplements from those taking ones that are more like ground up rocks. Who knows how many of the supplement takers were cautious healthy folks or just trying to compensate for bad habits? The list of possible questions goes on, but in any case, the findings are alarming. Perhaps we can gain some insight by looking at the diet of our primitive ancestors.
Our hunter-gatherer forbearers had a much greater supply of Vitamin K--it helps keep calcium going into the bone rather than the arteries. Vitamin K comes from dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale) which used to be a much greater proportion of the diet. It is also made by beneficial bacteria in the gut. Unfortunately, those good bacteria are depleted by medications, chlorinated water and many other modern inventions.
Both Calcium and Magnesium are important for bone. In the ancient diet, magnesium was plentiful (from greens, nuts, seeds, etc.), so our chemistry did not need to be protective of it. Calcium was rarer and our systems became good at hanging on to it. Today, the supply equation has reversed. Magnesium deficiency is widespread, while at the same time dairy intake is great. Even orange juice has added calcium! Tiny muscles constrict or relax blood vessels. Calcium makes muscles contract while Magnesium relaxes them. Might that be part of the calcium/cardio connection? I think it makes sense to appreciate our natural chemistry and therefore work harder at getting magnesium and back off the hunt for calcium.
Next week: bones part 2-what about FDA approved bone drugs and ideas on improving bone density safely.
Kitchen tip for on the road 
File this one under “slightly wacky”. I was in New Mexico this week for meetings. Other than scrambled eggs, the breakfast buffet was the typical starchfest. A couple days in I decided to make my own breakfast with leftovers from an excellent dinner the night before. I cut the grilled salmon, roasted veggies and onions into bite sized pieces. I spooned them and the rice into the coffee pot and did a little stir-fry. It was hot and yummy. Of course, I didn’t want to leave a mess for the cleaning crew, so washed the pot out thoroughly with shampoo and a clean wash cloth. Fortunately there was a small refrigerator in my room. When there isn’t, I use this trick: fold a bath towel on the bottom of the bath tub. Fill the plastic bag from the ice bucket with ice from the dispenser down the hall. Tie the top of the bag tightly. Put the bag of ice on top of the to-go container of food. Wrap another doubled bath towel around it snugly on top. Usually there is still ice in the morning and the food is safely cold.
Two herbal experts and Dr. Paula Strait joined us to discuss how most common underarm deodorants interfere with one of our body’s important detoxification pathways and possibly increase the risk of cancer.  On the lighter side we investigate another type that actually promotes detoxification.  Even more interesting, these herbalists have discovered how to use the same principles to reduce belly fat…yes from the outside. To purchase, visit: or call toll free 1-866-999-3006.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't be misled about Vitamin E or Selenium

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: I revisit Vitamin B12 with nurse/author, Sally Pacholok because I still have questions. (I promise to rehearse the pronunciation of her name. Last time I said it 6 different ways.) Instead of writing about it here, to follow up on my discussion last week with Doug Kaufmann about fungus/yeast, I decided to bring on Certified Nutritionist Gayle Pruitt because she gives people practical help with the problem every day. Call the show with questions at 1-800-281-8255. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide.
NOTE: Watch for another email from me either later today or in the morning. It announces an event I think might interest you. The sponsoring firm will widely promote my upcoming webinar on digestion. In return I'm asked to notify my mailing list of their teleseminar on becoming a health coach. There will also be a reminder notice sent next week.
I’m doing columns for small town newspapers and thought I’d share a sample.

Dear Martie, I’ve taken a Vitamin E supplement for years to protect my heart. But, I was alarmed recently to hear that it might increase my risk of prostate cancer. I’m hoping that isn’t true. Bill G. Augusta, GA

Dear Reader, The name “vitamin” means the nutrient is essential—i.e. not optional. Hundreds of studies have shown the preventive value of Vitamin E for heart disease, neurological problems and even cancer. However, in a study and its recent follow up (the SELECT trial) they didn’t use the natural form of Vitamin E. The supplement was just one isolated branch of the Vitamin E family and was in a chemical form (rac-a-tocopheryl acetate) shown to be only ½ as helpful as that isolate as found in food. LINK. Many experts believe that the pill they used in the study blocked the protective effects of the real Vitamin E participants might have gotten from food or in a well-balanced supplement.
Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, peanuts, broccoli, spinach, and, to a lesser extent, in other plant foods. The germ at the center of whole grain wheat is also a rich source, but the germ is removed to make white flour. If possible, select a Vitamin E supplement that contains the whole Vitamin E family—i.e. mixed tocopherols including alpha, beta, delta, gamma forms plus tocotrienols. (Our sponsor Jarrow makes a good one, FamilE.) Also, check your multi-vitamin. The form “dl-alpha tocopherol” is a synthetic that is typically derived from petroleum. At least choose one containing the more natural “d-alpha tocopherol”.
In the SELECT trial (which I think was oddly-constructed) prostate cancer risk was increased by 17%. That is not huge, but it is certainly significant. Interestingly, when Vitamin E was combined with another antioxidant nutrient, the mineral selenium, the increased risk all but disappeared. LINK That is logical because antioxidants work in teams and should be supplemented that way.  I recommend starting with a high quality multiple vitamin/mineral which adds other members of the antioxidant team such as Vitamins A and C.

Speaking of selenium, an earlier study (the NPC study) showed that selenium not only reduced prostate cancer incidence an amazing 63%, but also cut deaths from all cancers in half! That study used the same form of selenium that is found in broccoli, onions and garlic (Methylselenocysteine). For reasons I cannot fathom, that study was not followed up and in the SELECT study they used different form of selenium that has not been shown to be very beneficial. LINK
National TV personality, author, fungus expert, Doug Kaufmann, talked about fungus. Diana Denholm discussed her book, The Caregiving Wife's Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband--Caring for Yourself. Help organizations from her website - LINK.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yeastie Beasties

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: Oh boy! Widely popular national TV personality, author, fungus expert and long-time friend, Doug Kaufmann will be on the show live this time so that he can answer your questions. Then I speak with author Diana Denholm about her book, The Caregiving Wife's Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband…Caring for Yourself. Call show with questions at 1-800-281-8255. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide.
What do these things have in common: mold in the shower grout; toadstools in the front yard; ring worm on the skin; green fuzz on left overs kept too long in the fridge; the thing that makes bread rise and grape juice become wine; a white coating on a baby’s tongue; and the cause of dandruff and athlete’s foot? They are all forms of fungus—some of them called “yeasts”. Add to that list of physical problems caused at least in part by yeast these conditions: depression, foggy thinking, fatigue, achy joints and perhaps even cancer and diabetes.
Virtually every person is host to a certain amount of yeast like the relatively well-known type, Candida. In small amounts when vastly outnumbered by our beneficial bacteria, they don’t cause much mischief. However, when we upset that balance, for example, by taking an antibiotic, danger awaits. It is relatively easy to understand that an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract might be the cause of many chronic digestive problems. Chronic sinus infections are usually caused by yeasts. (Acute sinus infections are rarely bacterial—90% of the time they are caused by viruses. In spite of the fact that antibiotics don’t kill viruses the drugs are often mistakenly prescribed setting the person up for a chronic yeast-based sinus infection.)
In case you find it hard to imagine that internal yeasts might interfere with your thinking or mood, consider the ramblings of a drunk. Remember that I said that yeasts turn grape juice into wine by making alcohol? Yeasts in your system can also turn the grape juice you drank into wine. People who never took an alcoholic drink but who had serious yeast overgrowths have been arrested for DUI.
Alcohol is just one type of “mycotoxinThe last part of that word, “toxin” gives away that these are poisonous substances. (Alcohol is used to kill bacteria on the skin, right?)  The mycotoxins apparently serve the fungus by weakening the host which makes it easier for the fungus to proliferate. One mycotoxin that has been in the news is aflatoxin. It is released by molds that grow on grain in silos and is a known potent carcinogen. When food has gotten moldy, the danger is not from the mold itself but the poisons that they leave behind. Those are not eliminated by cooking.
Yeast mycotoxins created in our bodies can sabotage the function of all cells, organs and systems—hence the aching joints and much worse. They weaken the lining of the intestinal tract (leaky gut) which contributes to both poor nutrient absorption and food sensitivities…perhaps even worsening auto-immune problems. The fungus also crowds out our good bacteria depriving us of their many benefits. To get an idea if yeast might be a problem for you, take the yeast quiz available from this page: LINK.
Find this topic interesting? Please tune in to hear Doug Kaufmann this week on the May 12 show when we talk about how to avoid and control yeast problems. Maybe I will also continue the discussion next week in this newsletter.
Stuart Tomc of Nordic Naturals discussed “Are fatty foods addictive—like cocaine? What can we do to help?” He had some powerful information about why processed foods so easily hook us and perpetuate the munchies. In case you missed it or want to have someone else listen to the show (someone fighting the battle of the bulge?), here is the archive LINK.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Berry Good Reason to Smile!

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: Popular guest Stuart Tomc discusses “Are fatty foods addictive—like cocaine? What can help?” Call the show with questions at 1-800-281-8255. Click here to find pod-casts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide. 
Smiling doesn’t just make people wonder what you’ve been up to. It can also lower your blood pressure. How’s that for a cheap and safe solution? It is widely known that not just mood, but even your facial expression can affect bodily functions like blood pressure. After discussing this effect the other day with nutritionist Gayle Pruitt, I decided to put the factoid in the newsletter. As I usually do, I searched for a study for documentation. I found lots of references to the fact that science "knows" this, but it is apparently such old news that I couldn’t find an actual study. I did find this interesting article which you can also watch as a TED video. LINK.
Berries have been shown to slow mental decline in the elderly by up to 2 ½ years and there is a recent study to back up this one: LINK Berries are great because they are relatively low in sugar but rich in flavonoids and other complex plant nutrients that have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. There are also many super fruits and herbs that have different types of those protective nutrients. Even though I use berries where I can in my diet, I know I don’t get enough. I’m so glad that I have Fruit of the Spirit. It is an effective concentrate equivalent to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables that I can use daily. It is very low in sugar, tastes great and contains: Aloe, Apple, Aronia, Blueberry, Fig, Frankincense (Boswellia), Grape Seed, Hawthorne Berry, Jujube, Lycium Fruit, Myrrh Gum, Plum, Pomegranate, Purple Grape and Sea Buckthorn—plus highly researched Resveratrol and alkalinizing Dead Sea Minerals. Just a shot glass full in water, protein drinks or other juices is all it takes. It is important to prevent later problems, but listeners tell me they do see immediate benefit, e.g. in energy. LINK.1-800-793-8830. (I’ve worked out a discount for you. Just tell them that Martie sent you.)
REMINDER: Ezzilift “Mother’s Day” Special for our listeners only. Tell them I sent you and you can pay for just the Ezzi-lift device ($349) and instead receive the complete kit (value $495).  I put “Mother’s Day” in quotes, because maybe you want this for yourself or your husband. (We won’t tell.) The special price ends at midnight Thursday, May 10th. Ground shipping from Dallas to locations in the US is FREE. Obviously, depending on when you order and where the lovely gift box needs to go, you may have to pay extra for fast delivery to have it arrive before Mother’s Day. This LINK has videos and more information. Call this number to order: 1-855-282-9942
 Last week's show
Dallas area practitioner, Dr. Darcy Brunk, discussed the use of micro-currents to improve the appearance and health of the skin and lift and tighten facial features. Then Valerie Hall, CNHP covered the foods and supplements that contribute to our good looks (and health). She highlighted Hyaluronic Acid and MSM from Doctor’s Best.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Restless legs, magnesium, high blood pressure, cake, events

 Healthy by Nature radio show this week: We talk about looking younger at any age and avoiding dangerous procedures. Dallas area practitioner, Dr. Darcy Brunk, discusses the use of micro-currents to improve the appearance and health of the skin and to lift and tighten facial features. Then Valerie Hall, CNHP covers the foods and supplements that contribute to our good looks (and health). Note: below and from now on, I’ll include in the newsletter the links from the previous week’s show and a link to the archive in case you missed it. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide. Call with questions during the show at 1-800-281-8255.
Restless Legs and Blood Pressure
I recently noticed an article about a study that linked restless legs syndrome and hypertension among middle-aged women. The study included 65,544 women (aged 41-58 years) that participated in the Nurses' Health Study II. (I’m glad to know that the experts think that 58 is still middle aged because it means I could live to be 116!) The article mentioned that iron deficiency is thought to be one cause of restless legs. I looked up the abstract (LINK) to see if perhaps they also mentioned magnesium They did not, but it seems maybe they should have. Magnesium is considered a potential help for restless legs and often is helpful for high blood pressure too. (Magnesium has a looong list of other benefits.) The following linked article lists the many things (mostly drugs) being considered for helping restless legs. LINK

A review of 29 trials indicates that Vitamin C helps lower blood pressure. The typical dose was 500 mg / day. LINK. The vitamin also improves the absorption of iron from food, so C might also be useful for restless legs if it was due to low iron.
Bill and I were elated that our daughter, Laura McMullen married Rob Fuller on Saturday. A few times a year I make an art project type of cake for family events. This groom's cake (photo below) was a bigger deal than usual and I was pretty relieved to have it completed. The basket, bottle, napkin, apple etc. is life size and everything you see is edible, being made of cake and frosting. I just have to show off the picture here because the evidence of that work becomes a pile of crumbs so fast! If you are into that sort of thing, here is a link to a bigger photo and some of my other cakes. (Nothing healthy about them I’m afraid.) LINK.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
10:30 – 1:30 (come and go as you like)Ezzilift Mother’s Day Party Open House

•    Demos of the micro-current facelift device
•    Special Savings (buy a kit for the price of just the device)
•    Gift bag (a gift for just watching the demo, more gifts with purchase)
•    Refreshments
Location: HealthWorks Center (On the back side of the shopping center on the SW Corner of Parker & Independence in Plano, TX. Street address: 3221 Independence, 75075. For more information call 1-877-262-7843.)
Saturday, April 28, 2012 -- 10th Annual, Integrative Oncology Conference
   Hilton Dallas / Southlake Town Square
   100 Plaza Place, Southlake, Texas, United States 76092
   To register: email or Call 512-342-8181. Experts from around the world will lecture on the many diet, lifestyle, emotional and even spiritual issues involved in causing and curing this dreaded disease. They will also talk about cutting edge therapies. Doctors and other health professionals can earn continuing education credits (LINK).  There are also lectures for the public on Saturday. Click here for speaker list and cost: LINK 
 Information about last week's show:
Dr. Jeffrey Burke (naturopath and herbalist) talked about which forms of minerals are best absorbed and about a way to take vitamins in fizzy form with Oxylent. Then, producer Andy Hopkins turns things around and interviews me about Aloe vera and my book on the subject. We discussed the science that shows why Lily of the Desert brand is so much more potent than other brands. ARCHIVED SHOW.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Funny stuff about stairs vs escalator. Important invitation

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: We’ll talk with nutrition educator, Stuart Tomc, about the 4 nutritional advances most likely to end heart disease in America. Call with questions during the show at 1-800-281-8255. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide.
We all know that, given the choice, we should take the stairs rather than the escalator. Taking the stairs burns calories and is an aerobic activity that is good for the heart. However, most of us take the easy way out. Above is a picture that tells a funny if slightly sad story.
WOW. Acting on their belief that more people would use the stairs if it was fun, Volkswagen had creative engineers convert the stairway at the Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, Sweden into functioning piano keys. They were right! 66% more people used the stairs after that. Watch this wonderful video to see how it works.
INVITATION. No matter where you live, please attend our life-changing event Saturday, March 31st. We do have hotel bargains. See details and a gallery of last year's photos on the event’s own website, Natural HealthFest. Here is why I’m sooo excited about our 3rd annual consumer event:Our 12 top-notch speakers combine the best of nutrition / natural medicine with the best of mainstream science. They are patient-centered and results-driven. Among the topics: managing diabetes without drugs, energy medicine, autism, hyperbaric oxygen, fibromyalgia, as well as nutrition and immune support for cancer. A fabulous panel of experts will answer your health questions. Here is the schedule. Note: there are a limited number of seats for the Keynote addresses—the proceeds of that portion will be donated to charities for homeless children and pets.Our 80 exhibitors showcase cutting-edge natural health products, services and equipment. You can test equipment, get free health evaluations and sample natural foods. There are lots of freebies, money-saving coupons and thousands of dollars in door prizes.You can also adopt a pet, join live radio broadcasts and even meet a movie celebrity!
Burton Gilliam, lovable star of movies and TV will make a special guest appearance (10am-3pm) and be available for photos and autographs. Burton has appeared in dozens of films (like Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, Fletch, Honeymoon in Vegas and Back to the Future Part III) and on TV (e.g. Evening Shade, Walker, Texas Ranger, The A-team, Knight Rider, The Waltons, Charlie’s Angels and The Dukes of Hazzard.)I look forward to meeting him, but I’m more excited that I get to see you!
DETAILS:Saturday, March 31, 2012, 9 AM to 5 PM (doors open at 8 AM for ticket sales and radio broadcast)Location: Plano Centre, 2000 Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano TX 75074—Just east of US-75 (Central EXPWY) at Exit #31. Food: The snack bar will sell natural foods snacks / lunch.
Admission: Buy tickets online and receive bonus prize entries or at the door. BUY NOW.
Questions? Call toll free 1-877-262-7843
Thanks to our corporate sponsors: KWRD, KSKY, KLTY, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics and
History: For over 13 years I have been frequently asked by listeners for more in-depth information than was possible in an hour on the air and for the names of practitioners I trust. My mission is to provide consumers with reliable science-based information and responsible choices they can make to improve their health and avoid the slippery slope to crisis medicine. So, in 2010, to bring together integrative practitioners, show sponsors and listeners, we sponsored what was expected to be a small event at a North Dallas hotel. The response was so overwhelming that in 2011 Natural HealthFest moved to a portion of the Plano Centre. Because of an amazing turnout and great enthusiasm, this year Natural HealthFest will occupy the entire Plano Centre facility.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You can detect your own food sensitivities.

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: Our topic will be Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses which is also the title of a book by our guest, Sally Pacholok, RN. Sally has gathered some powerful information about the signs of B12 deficiency and how routine testing misleads us. (I suspect I’ll be taking notes.) Call with questions during the show at 1-800-281-8255. Click here to find podcasts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide.


There are many ways we can experience negative reactions to foods.

Food intolerances such “lactose intolerance” are common. That is when someone lacks the enzymes to digest the sugar in milk and experiences various kinds of digestive distress.

True food allergies are when our immune systems perceive something like peanuts, strawberries or shellfish as a serious threat and creates symptoms that you can’t possibly miss, such as difficulty breathing or instantly breaking out in hives head to toe. You are likely born with those allergies.

Acquired food sensitivities are usually the result of “leaky gut”. Sensitivities can affect various systems but often are delayed so that we don’t make the connection or they are so subtle that we overlook them. If the reaction is in the nervous system, we might feel tired or moody or get a headache the next day. Who knows, maybe the particular food you are eating when you bite your cheek or start to choke is one that caused the nerves to send an incorrect message to a muscle. When the circulatory system is affected, capillaries might dilate making ears turn red or the face flush. Or, your heart rate might increase and that is something you can measure. In the 1950's Dr. Arthur Coca discovered and publicized the connection. Basically, you establish a base line pulse before you eat. At little while after a meal you check your pulse again. If it has jumped let’s say from 65 beats a minute to 85, that is a sign you are reacting to something in that meal. You may have to eat the meal’s components separately at a later time to identify the exact ingredient that caused the reaction and it can turn out to be quite specific. For example, I react to white sugar from sugarcane, but not white sugar from beets. There are no false positives. If every time you eat a certain food your pulse jumps, you know that you have a problem. However, the converse is not true because there are false negatives. By that I mean even without an increase in your pulse you may be reacting to a food but just with another sign. By Friday there should be a link on this page to more complete instructions.

Here is where the smart phone comes in. There are a couple of free apps that use the camera light to measure your pulse. (Hmm, what will they think of next? I reckon the phone is too bulky to use for doing a colonoscopy…) To get such an app, go to your phone's app store and search for “heart rate”. (Sometimes I wonder how “smart” my phone is when its autocorrect substitutes something lewd, insulting or just plain wacky for the text I've typed.)

Delayed sensitivity. The best way to catch one of these is with paper and pencil—a food diary. Patterns will become apparent over time.

Overcoming food sensitivities is possible. It requires avoiding the offending food for a while and fixing a “leaky gut”. That’s a condition where the cells lining the gut aren’t properly doing what we need them to—absorb nutrients and keep bad stuff from being absorbed. The lining of the small intestine is kind of like a shag rug with tiny projections (villi ) that promote absorption. If the beneficial intestinal bacteria are insufficient, bad bacteria and yeasts can flatten those villi and loosen the junctions between cells allowing bad bugs and fragments of food to get into circulation where they annoy the immune system. Probiotics are an important part of the solution. Another nutrient I mention in my book on digestion is Zinc Carnosine. Studies show that this special form of the mineral helps heal damage to the gastro-intestinal tract. Because it seems to work mainly in the gut, I don’t consider it as a zinc nutritional supplement. One of our sponsors, Doctor’s Best, makes it as a supplement. One of our other sponsors sells it. LINK.
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