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Protection from Wildfire Air Pollution

Oct 21st 2020

Protection from Wildfire Air Pollution

It was an apocalyptic experience to wake up on the morning of September 9th in San Francisco, California, to a darkened sky with an eerie orange glow. And it became stranger still when by mid-afternoon the sky hadn’t changed, as if the day had never begun.  This was a San Franciscan’s eye view of the effects of the worst fire season the West Coast has experienced ever. The air was darkened for two days by a blanket of smoke that stretched all along the coast and more than 1,000 miles west over the Pacific Ocean as wildfires raged from Washington down to Southern California.  Even those who haven’t been in the direct path of the fires leading to loss of property and life have experienced some of the worst air pollution in the world, comparable, according to a study done in Berkeley, to smoking 25 cigarettes a day.  And it didn’t help to know that the consequent lung irritation and inflammation made us more prone to lung infections, like COVID-19. What c…

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Vitamin E and Immunity

Oct 18th 2020

Vitamin E and Immunity

When you think about immune-building nutrients, vitamin E probably isn’t among the first that come to mind.  But it should be.  Vitamin E is one of the most effective nutrients known for supporting immune function—especially when it comes to fighting off viral infections, and even a marginal deficiency will throw a monkey wrench into your immune system’s response to a challenge. Laboratory, animal and human studies have shown that vitamin E has a variety of effects on immune cell production, differentiation, proliferation and activity; that vitamin E insufficiency diminishes these effects; and that supplementing with vitamin E at higher than government recommended levels enhances them. Yet as we confront the current viral pandemic, approximately 90% of the US population isn’t getting enough vitamin E from their diets to meet even minimal government standards. The average American diet supplies less than half the government’s Recommended Dietary Intake (RD…

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Omega - Deficiency Linked with Anger and Violence

Oct 5th 2020

Omega - Deficiency Linked with Anger and Violence

In our polarized country, anger is common.  Not that there aren’t legitimate reasons why many people are angry or ways that anger can be used constructively to make positive change. But often you can sense in people a kind of aimless anger, an angry mood just looking for a target. What if a lot of this anger had to do with diet?  It probably does.  Just like depression (which is described as anger turned towards the self), anger can be a mood disorder, and the Standard American Diet (SAD) fosters mood disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids—lacking in the SAD—are key to mental health and a feeling of well-being. One of the brain’s major components is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fat, and the association between low DHA brain levels and depression, suicide and violence is well established.  Receptors in the brain for the “reward” and “feel-good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are made from DHA. If DHA isn’t available, the body will use inferio…

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The Omega-3 Index: A Way to Measure Your Tissue Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Sep 30th 2020

The Omega-3 Index: A Way to Measure Your Tissue Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We’ve been writing recently about the importance of a particular family of fatty acids called the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in flaxseeds and flax oil, green leafy vegetables, and non-farmed fatty fish, like salmon, anchovies, herring and sardines. Thousands of studies have shown that having high levels of omega-3s in your blood helps to prevent and reverse all kinds of chronic disease, including heart disease, cognitive decline and dementia, diabetes, cancer, depression and anxiety, eye problems like macular degeneration, arthritis, autoimmune disease, neurological disease and more.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly how much omega-3s you had in your tissues?  Well, now you can! Dr. William Harris is a research professor at the Sanford School of Medicine in South Dakota.  He has been studying fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids since the 1970s. With fifty years of research under his belt and over 80 published papers, he is an expert in the field.…

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Clearing Up Confusion about Fish Oil Studies

Sep 27th 2020

Clearing Up Confusion about Fish Oil Studies

Does fish oil work?  Test results have been inconsistent. So let’s look a little deeper. In the 1970s, scientists noted that Eskimos and other groups that ate a lot of fish, a rich source of key omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), rarely had heart disease. Later, studies using government data confirmed the value of omega-3s to heart health.  This led to an explosion of tens of thousands of studies that found that omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA, were beneficial not only to the heart, but in a whole slew of diseases, from cognitive decline and dementia to diabetes, eye health, cancer, mental health, arthritis, autoimmune disease, neurological disease and more.  It was also discovered that the omega-3s and their partners, the omega-6 fatty acids (found especially in nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, and corn-fed livestock), formed messenger proteins in the body called eicosanoids that control inflammation: omega-6s genera…

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EPA, DHA, and Cytokine Storm

Sep 21st 2020

EPA, DHA, and Cytokine Storm

A recently published Opinion Article suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may have an important role to play in preventing or at least managing the so-called “cytokine storm” that has caused the deaths of many COVID-19 patients. The authors say that supplementing with these two omega-3 fatty acids should be "considered as both a supportive therapy and a prevention strategy" in patients infected with the virus. Cytokines are protein messengers in the body that initiate and regulate the immune system’s response to an attack, including its inflammatory response. Inflammation is used to kill invading pathogens, but if it isn’t well-regulated, it can do serious damage to healthy cells and tissues as well. This is exactly what happens in “cytokine storm.”  Cytokine storm is like an out-of-control hurricane destroying everything in its path. Many COVID-19 patients have died not from the virus itself but from this out…

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Aspirin Alternatives for Thinning the Blood

Sep 16th 2020

Aspirin Alternatives for Thinning the Blood

As we age, our blood tends to become thicker, stickier and more viscous. When your blood is thick and flows more slowly, oxygen and other nutrients aren’t delivered as efficiently. But worse, viscous blood forms deadly clots more readily and has an abrasive quality that damages blood vessel linings, setting the stage for inflammation, plaque formation and eventual atherosclerosis. It also contributes to high blood pressure and is implicated in age-related cognitive decline and dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.  So keeping the blood thin (as in “blood thinners”) is a good idea, and to this end, doctors often recommend aspirin for its blood-thinning abilities. But aspirin has a big downside: by slowing tissue repair it increases the risk of internal bleeding—usually gastrointestinal bleeding, but also the kind of retinal bleeding or leaking that causes macular degeneration. Even the supposedly safer low doses have been found over time to do the same kind of se…

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Reduce Inflammation by Improving Your  Omega-3:Omega-6 Ratio

Sep 13th 2020

Reduce Inflammation by Improving Your Omega-3:Omega-6 Ratio

Inflammation is a major factor in pain and in all kinds of disease from arthritis to allergies, heart disease, obesity, neurodegenerative brain disease and more (see Inflammation: a Common Denominator of Disease).  And one of the primary causes of inflammation is an imbalance in the modern diet between two types of fats called omega-3s and omega-6s. These two fats are sometimes referred to together as the “essential fatty acids.” They are “essential” because our bodies can’t make them, so it’s essential that we get them from either food or supplements.  Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, while most omega-6s are pro-inflammatory. The typical modern diet provides far too few omega-3s and way too many inflammatory omega-6s.  To make matters worse, those omega-6s are usually from toxic, processed vegetable oils.  Processing these omega-6 oils damages them, often converting them into dangerous trans fats, while contaminating them with added toxins.  Om…

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Magnesium and Depression

Aug 31st 2020

Magnesium and Depression

. . . In my experience, depression is relatively easy to cure with diet, supplementation and detoxification. Common causes of depression include deficiencies of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D. Mercury toxicity and food allergies are two other common causes. Antidepressant drugs do not address these causes.  Raymond Francis, Beyond Health News, May-June 2007 Do you need to spend years on a psychiatrist’s couch to overcome anxiety or depression, or could you just pop a few magnesium tablets and save the time and money?  A 2006 paper reported reversing major, long-standing depression in four individuals in less than a week by supplementing with 125-300 milligrams of magnesium at each meal and at bedtime!  One of these subjects, who had been addicted to tobacco, alcohol and cocaine, announced that his cravings for all these substances had disappeared!  George and Karen Eby, the study’s authors, argue for the” ... poss…

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Magnesium and Weight Loss

Aug 26th 2020

Magnesium and Weight Loss

Widespread magnesium deficiency has been implicated in a host of chronic diseases, including obesity.  How would healthy levels of magnesium in our cells help us to attain and maintain a healthy weight, and how does magnesium deficiency sabotage those goals? Fatigue. The number one complaint patients bring to doctors is “feeling tired.” Being unable to lose weight probably ranks a close second.  The two concerns are related: It’s hard to eat less and exercise more when you’re already feeling tired all the time. Fatigue is one of the first signs of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium and the B vitamins are our main energy nutrients, involved in almost every step of energy creation in the cells’ energy factories, the mitochondria. Nutrient Deficiency.  Magnesium and the B's activate enzymes that control digestion, absorption and utilization of all three macronutrients—fats, proteins, and carbohydrates—making the vitamins and minerals they contain available for our…

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Magnesium and Diarrhea

Aug 23rd 2020

Magnesium and Diarrhea

Getting enough magnesium is a problem for most people in industrial societies, where soil depletion and food processing have stripped minerals, especially magnesium, from our food; and magnesium deficiency is showing up in all kinds of health problems, from heart disease to neurological and emotional problems, from chronic fatigue to diabetes, and more. But taking too much magnesium—or more specifically, taking more magnesium than you can absorb—can be a problem too. Magnesium that the body can’t absorb causes an osmotic pressure in the bowel that stimulates bowel movement, decreasing “transit time” (the time it takes food to travel from the mouth out through the anus) and causing loose stools and/or diarrhea. When food is rushed through the gut in this way, there isn’t enough time for the intestines to absorb nutrients adequately.  Such was the case for a chemistry professor who consulted renowned alternative health doctor Dr. Jonathan V. Wright due to low energy…

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Magnesium, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes

Aug 17th 2020

Magnesium, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes

Insulin resistance has become a major problem in our overweight, sedentary, stressed out, sleep-deprived, refined sugar-eating society, and is a probable co-morbid complication in COVID-19. What is insulin resistance, and how does it lead to diabetes?  Excessive sugar in the blood is a dangerous, inflammatory situation.  It is the hormone insulin’s job to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high by escorting sugar into the cells where it can be either burned to make energy or stored.  However when cells are constantly asked to take on excessive amounts of sugar they become “insulin resistant.”    The body responds by making more insulin, forcing more sugar into the unwilling cells. But over time, the cells become increasingly resistant. Eventually sugar builds up to unhealthy levels, a condition called pre-diabetes.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1/3 of our population has prediabetes. …

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Assessing Magnesium Deficiency

Aug 12th 2020

Assessing Magnesium Deficiency

Do you have any of these health issues?  Allergies or Asthma Autoimmune Illness Heart Disease Irregular or rapid heartbeat  High blood pressure  Blood clots Congestive heart failure Chronic excessive muscle tension  Muscle spasms, tics, cramps or tremors (especially in hands, legs, feet or face) Clumsiness, lack of coordination  ADD/ADHD Alzheimer’s disease Autism Parkinson’s disease  Irritability, nervousness, anxiety, easily upset  Extreme sensitivity to noise and/or pain  Candida yeast infection Gut Disorders, including peptic ulcer, Crohn’s disease, and colitis Chronic constipation  Eating disorder; cravings for sugar and/or chocolate Poor appetite  Depression, apathy  Confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory problems  No energy, weakness, exhaustion Chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia  Insomnia/restless sleep  Insul…

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The Magnesium Deficiency Crisis

Aug 9th 2020

The Magnesium Deficiency Crisis

While the world’s attention is riveted by COVID-19, pervasive magnesium deficiency has been an ongoing health crisis for at least sixty years, causing death, disease, and reduced quality of life. Magnesium plays many important roles in heart health, and a deficiency of this important mineral is a major risk factor for having a sudden, fatal heart attack! As one of the body’s most significant anti-inflammatory compounds, magnesium also helps to prevent the chronic diseases that plague our time, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other “co-morbidities” that increase chances of being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19. In fact, virtually every known illness can be associated with magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium plays many essential roles in the immune system. It contributes significantly to anti-viral immunity, and has other properties that may make it especially useful for COVID-19. Meanwhile, low magnesium levels can seri…

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Certain Groups Need More Vitamin D!

Aug 3rd 2020

Certain Groups Need More Vitamin D!

Certain populations have borne the brunt of COVID-19 illness and deaths; and they all are especially likely to be deficiency in vitamin D.  Older folks don’t fare well with the virus. Adults over 65 years of age represent 80% of hospitalizations & have a 23-fold greater risk of death than younger people. The elderly are likely to be vitamin D deficient due to inadequate diet and also because as we age we become less able to manufacture vitamin D in our skin from sunshine. Almost everyone who has died of COVID disease had co-morbidities, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, high blood pressure, cancer, lung disease, neurological disease, kidney disease or obesity. Scientific studies have associated all of these conditions with vitamin D deficiency.  Now it has become apparent that significantly more people of color are contracting and dying from COVID-19 than their white counterparts.  Although black Americans repre…

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Raising Your Vitamin D Levels

Jul 29th 2020

Raising Your Vitamin D Levels

While many factors determine whether or not you will get a coronavirus infection, how bad the infection will be, and how long it will take to recover, there is one all-important factor—the state of your immunity.  Beyond Health’s protocol for building and maintaining a strong immune system includes having your vitamin D blood levels tested with a 25(OH)D test, and getting them up to 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L) or more depending on your medical situation. Your immune system requires adequate amounts of vitamin D to function the way it’s supposed to. If you’re low on D, it’s like fighting the coronavirus with one hand tied behind your back. You can raise your vitamin D levels with sun, food and supplements. SUN Sunlight is an inexhaustible source of free vitamin D! The sun’s UVB rays convert cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D. However, since these same UVB rays cause sunburn, light-skinned people need to build up a protective tan gradually. The best approach is…

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CNN Raises Concern Over Vitamin D Overdosing

Jul 26th 2020

CNN Raises Concern Over Vitamin D Overdosing

Scientists from China to Great Britain are investigating the likelihood that vitamin D supplementation can dramatically reduce the severity of COVID-19 as well as its number of fatalities. We already know that adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential to immune function, and many Americans have begun proactively taking substantial doses.  In response, CNN is warning the public that taking too much of this essential nutrient can be dangerous.  But while the danger of getting too much vitamin D is negligible, the danger that we’re taking too little is huge! Too much of anything isn’t good for you—even water.  In a contest in which the contestants tried to drink as much water as they could as fast as they could, the “winner” reportedly died! In contrast, no one has ever died of a vitamin overdose, including vitamin D.  In enormous doses—many times more than the most enthusiastic vitamin D advocate would ever recommend—vitamin D can be harmful.  …

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Roberto Assagioli’s Exercise for Evoking Serenity

Jul 20th 2020

Roberto Assagioli’s Exercise for Evoking Serenity

Roberto Assagioli MD was an Italian psychoanalysis who was a contemporary and student of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.  But he was also deeply influenced by his mother, a serious student of Eastern religion.  He wound up combining Western science with Eastern spirituality in a new type of psychotherapy called psychosynthesis.  But more than his credentials, Roberto, as he was known, exhibited a calm sense of joyfulness and kindness that was quite independent of external events.  People reported feeling happy just being around him. So he can be considered an expert on the subject of serenity. In this anxious COVID-19 time, we might benefit from the following exercise he advocated for cultivating serenity, copied from his book, Psychosynthesis: EXERCISE FOR EVOKING SERENITY Assume a physical attitude of serenity: relax all muscular and nervous tension; breathe slowly and rhythmically; express serenity on your face with a smile.  (You can hel…

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Dealing with Anxiety with Mental Imagery

Jul 15th 2020

Dealing with Anxiety with Mental Imagery

Mental imagery—the practice of allowing images (sometimes pictures, sometimes just a “felt sense”) to emerge from the subconscious mind—has been used throughout human history to seek insight and wisdom for healing and for solving problems. I would like to share a recent experience of it with you as an invitation to try it for yourself as a way to deal with our anxiety-filled COVID-19 world. It requires some investment of time to learn, but in my experience it offers rich rewards.  To get a clearer picture of an underlying feeling of anxiety that had been with me since the beginning of the pandemic I set a timer for 20 minutes and began by sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor in my living room, with my eyes closed.  I then paid attention to my breath, letting it help me become more quiet and settle into the present moment.    As I tried to get a mental image for my feeling of anxiety I sensed I was in a forest and that a wild animal was hiding in…

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Self-Soothing:  Body, Feelings and Mind

Jul 12th 2020

Self-Soothing: Body, Feelings and Mind

The new COVID-19 world is a world beset by fear. Unseen viral particles can be lurking anywhere. Should one find us, we don’t know for sure how we would respond. And with social patterns dramatically altered and the economy collapsing, we are losing our sense of comfort, safety and being in control, leading to a stressful sense of chronic uncertainty and anxiety. We know from many scientific studies that stress negatively affects health. But although there may be little we can do to avoid stress in a COVID-19 world, we can use self-care to decrease and minimize the negative effects of stressful feelings. For example, you can pray or meditate.  Or you can simply bring calm and non-judgmental attention to how you’re feeling.      We’ve talked before about a helpful exercise called Body-Feelings-Mind. In this exercise, you find a comfortable position in a quiet place and, with eyes closed, check in with how you’re feeling, first physically, t…

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The Pause That Refreshes

Jul 6th 2020

The Pause That Refreshes

Doing nothing is better than wasting time – Viktoras Kulvinskas Feelings of anxiety and stress have become an unavoidable aspect of life in this new COVID-19 era. Yet stress reduction is something we are advised to include in our antiviral lifestyle—a real Catch-22! But there are simple ways to reduce our stress overload, and they’re free and close at hand.  It just means making the time to include them in our lives.  What exactly is the problem with stress?  Well, for one thing it promotes the release of adrenal hormones that knock out immunity!  A good example of this is the increase in the number of colds college students get during exam time.  Stress can also activate latent viruses we usually carry around with us without a problem, as someone who experiences Herpes I and II outbreaks can attest.  Stress can also interfere with sleep—so important for strong immunity, and it can nudge us into unhealthy habits like overeating, eating the…

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Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.