The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Supplementing With THIS Hormone Can Lead to Tumors and Insomnia

By Dr. Mercola

DHEA DrugsBefore I begin this article I want to state very clearly that hormones are not my primary specialty. I have used them clinically but I found the science quite controversial, so this is a summary as I best understand it.

If you are a clinician with considerable experience in this area I invite you to present your views to update the information on DHEA.

DHEA is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands and in your brain, which was first discovered by scientists in the 1930's.

Your body's natural production of DHEA varies widely with age, with very low levels produced before puberty, peak production in your late 20's or early 30's, followed by a steady decline in production with advancing age.

This age-related pattern of production has lead many to believe that DHEA production may actually be linked to the aging process itself. DHEA supplementation (if you're deficient) may help turn back the clock, as it were, as it can help:

  • Lower fat storage through improved thyroid response
  • Stimulate bone deposition
  • Increase muscle tone
  • Improve mood (including fighting depression)
  • Fight cancer

Sub-optimal levels of DHEA have also been associated with many age-related degenerative conditions, including:

Chronic inflammation Low libido
Immune dysfunction Cognitive decline
Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoporosis
Increased risk for certain cancers Some complications of type II diabetes.[i]

Can supplementing DHEA really help you with these conditions?

What We Know About DHEA

DHEA, or more precisely DHEA sulfate (your body naturally converts DHEA-S to the DHEA that it uses) is the most abundant precursor hormone in the human body, meaning that it is the largest raw material your body uses to produce other vital hormones, including testosterone in men and estrogen in women.

One thing we know for certain about human adrenals -- besides making DHEA -- they also manufacture cortisol, which is in direct competition with DHEA for production. In other words, when cortisol production is high, especially for prolonged periods of time, your adrenals can actually wear out, and DHEA production will necessarily suffer.

So a natural question follows: what is cortisol and what causes an increase in its production?

The Stress Connection

Cortisol is the hormone your body produces in response to stress, real or imagined, which is why it's commonly referred to as "the stress hormone".

Adrenal exhaustion from coping with chronic stress means your adrenal glands are overworked from manufacturing cortisol, and they simply can't produce enough DHEA to support a healthy hormonal balance.

The result?

You feel exhausted, often depressed, and your muscle tone decreases while body fat increases (cortisol tells your body to store fat).

Symptoms of chronically elevated cortisol levels include:

Increased abdominal fat Stomach ulcers
Suppressed immune response Mild memory loss (words, names and numbers)
Accelerated aging Suppressed thyroid function
Inflammation

You hear all the time about how bad stress is for your body. Well now you're looking at the actual hormone responsible for much of the damage. Clearly it pays healthy dividends to reduce stress in your life, not only to reduce cortisol production, but also to ensure that your body has adequate adrenal strength to keep your DHEA levels optimal.

When DHEA Supplementation Makes Sense

First, let me start by saying that bioidentical DHEA should ideally ONLY be supplemented under the guidance of a holistic doctor who can test your body's DHEA levels to ensure you need supplementation. I prefer to test levels using a 24-hour urine test.

Hormonal testing is a controversial area as you can also do blood and saliva test. I tend to follow Dr. Jonathon Wright's recommendation, as he's really the person who introduced bioidentical hormone therapy into the United Sates. You can review his book Stay Young and Sexy for further details.

Properly testing your levels is very important, because people who have normal hormone levels in their bodies who supplement DHEA are likely to experience side effects, such as:

  • Acne
  • Tumor formation
  • Hair loss
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Insomnia

If you've been living long stretches of your life on a poor diet, not getting adequate sleep, and overwhelmed by the daily grind -- chances are you're a good candidate for DHEA supplementation.

However, please understand that only a test will tell you for certain what your body's DHEA levels are, but if you're feeling tired and overwhelmed, have low libido, and find your mood suffering or even experience depression regularly, there is a strong chance that your body is not producing enough DHEA.

Maintaining optimal DHEA levels may also be useful for:

Athletes looking to improve performance Increasing sex drive
Improving recovery time from stress and physical training Increasing sense of well being
Weight loss Improving sleep
Muscle gain Improving mood

Too Much DHEA is NOT a Good Thing

The conventional thinking is that if a little is good, then a lot must be better. Not so with DHEA.

Like most good things in life, too much DHEA can lead to problems.

Supplementing hormones over a long period of time can trick your body into suspending its own DHEA production, and possibly even shut down your adrenal glands, which can lead to disastrous health consequences.

Many doctors strongly advise taking "hormone holidays", meaning practice a supplementation schedule that features a few weeks on DHEA followed by a few weeks off.

Also, DHEA supplements come in doses ranging from 5 mg to 200 mg. The scientific jury is still out on the subject, but it appears normal daily DHEA production for an average person in their 20's is between 10-25 mg.

Supplementing beyond the normal peak production range of DHEA might be advisable for short periods of time to restore the effects of a badly depleted adrenal system, but maintaining mega doses of DHEA for any sustained period of time will probably lead to unwanted side effects.

Remember your body's hormone balance is a delicate mechanism that should only be supplemented after consulting a holistic doctor and testing your body's natural DHEA level to determine the appropriate level of supplementation you might need. I would advise against supplementing with this hormone without some professional guidance.

Another important co-factor when considering DHEA supplementation is that your body naturally produces DHEA in the morning and then either uses the hormone or excretes it by the end of the day. So if supplementation is undertaken, it appears that an early morning dose of DHEA is the way to go.

Why You Should AVOID All Oral Hormone Preparations

There are many ways to "naturally" address bioidentical hormone replacement but one of the most common mistakes is to use oral hormones.

But if you swallow steroid hormones you seriously distort their natural metabolism. Swallowed hormones encounter potent stomach acids, and the hormones that survive this assault then move to your liver where they will be further broken down. Your liver screens all molecules that enter your blood stream, passing some onward, modifying or detoxifying others, and rejecting a few.

This routing of orally swallowed hormones is in sharp contrast to the way nature intended them to be distributed to your tissues.

If you swallow hormones, only 10-15 percent will eventually reach the target tissues and you will need to take an oral dose that is 500 percent higher than you need.

Many different metabolites are created in your liver when you swallow a DHEA supplement and any of these can produce unwanted side effects.

So if you or anyone you know currently use an oral DHEA supplement or any other oral hormone, I encourage you to strongly consider phasing them out and instead using a DHEA cream preparation that you administer trans mucosally.

Best Way to Use DHEA Cream

The key mistake that many well-intentioned and knowledgeable doctors -- including myself -- have made is to advise using DHEA cream on your skin. While this certainly provides better results than swallowing the hormones, the method of delivery can still be improved.

The primary problem with topical skin application of the cream is that it's very difficult to determine the dose. Hormones also accumulate in fat tissue, so you may end up with far more than you need.

There is a relatively minor tweak you can make using the cream that avoids nearly all of the side effects of applying the cream on your skin.

If you apply the cream to your mucous epithelial membranes that line your vagina, you are able to obtain a virtually ideal administration system. Not only is absorption through these membranes more complete than through your skin, but hormones absorbed through your vaginal membranes also eliminate the production of unwanted metabolites of DHEA.

Men also require hormones and I myself take DHEA. Obviously men don't have a vagina to administer the cream, but we do have a rectum that has a similar mucosal epithelial surface. So for men, the ideal delivery system for DHEA is in cream form, through the rectum.

Final Thoughts on DHEA

Is DHEA the "fountain of youth" it was touted to be in the 1990's?

Perhaps it is, but with an asterisk.

Your body is designed to maintain a delicate hormonal balance that usually self-regulates naturally according to your age and the stresses you face in life. The fact is, most people do just fine with DHEA production in the prime of their life.

Progressively increasing number of people today complain of a lack of energy, unexplained weight gain, poor mood, depression and insomnia. Some of the contributing factors can be a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress that goes unchecked and adrenal glands functioning sub-optimally.

Prolonged adrenal imbalance can actually be the cause of many of the symptoms associated with a lack of optimal health -- weight gain, depression and a lack of energy that you just can't seem to shake no matter what other healthy changes you make to your lifestyle. And if you're not getting enough quality sleep (another symptom of DHEA imbalance) all of the other healthy changes you make to your lifestyle will not produce dividends you can feel.

So if you are under constant stress, or constantly feel tired, weak, depressed or have a low sex drive, please find yourself a holistic doctor and have him/her perform a 24-hour urine test to determine your DHEA levels.

Too many people suffer unnecessarily from high stress and low DHEA production, so make sure you are not one of these people.



http://articles.mercola.com

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Agribusiness Juggernaut: Assault on Nature, Threat to Human Survival


"Burning Orchids" by Richard William Posne
Richard William Posner

Organic food has become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. In all probability, however, it will be virtually impossible to obtain any real organic food in the not-too-distant future.

Monsanto, a giant in agricultural biogenetics and holder of patents on several genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is working to corner the global market on Life. Their genetically modified (GM) crops -- some complete with suicide genes which render their seeds infertile and others genetically resistant to herbicides -- are intended to ultimately overrun all natural crops, making Monsanto quite literally the sole owner of all food crops on Earth.

These GM crops will ultimately be the only game in town and, therefore, every vegetable, fruit or grain you eat will be a genetically modified organism (GMO). The same will apply to every form of feed used for livestock, poultry and any creature whatsoever that is raised as a source of food for humans. It's even quite certain that food animals themselves will be subjected to the same sort of genetic manipulation that is now being used on crops. In fact, genetically modified salmon could be available at a supermarket near you sooner than you think.

Report: Drug Prices Hit 10-Year High

Drug prices rose 6.9 percent on average in 2010, according to Barclays Capital, the largest increase since it began compiling data in 2000, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The previous high was 6.8 percent in 2008. The study surveys list prices for the 130 top-selling drugs.

Blood-pressure medicine Benicar topped the list, with its price soaring 29.3 percent. Leukemia therapy drug Gleevec registered a 20.9 percent increase, and attention-deficit-disorder drug Concerta 19.7 percent.


3 Ways To Protect Yourself From Radiation NATURALLY

Wikimedia Commons image
Mary Hickcox, R.N.
Activist Post

Radiation is something that we all come into contact with on a daily basis. It generally comes in two forms: terrestrial and cosmic.

Terrestrial radiation elements are found all over; in soil, water, air, and even in the food that we eat, particularly if it is grown in the ground. The largest contributor to radiation in the natural world, though, is radon which is a decaying product of Uranium, released from rocks and soil. This gets into our air, as well as our water supply, and we are usually completely unaware of its presence. Cosmic rays of radiation are another source that we get everyday. Most of it is blocked by our atmosphere, but not completely.

Then of course there are the ways in which humans are creating more radiation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Potassium Iodide Works: Rare Agreement Between Alternative Health and the FDA


Brandon Turbeville

With the tragedy in Japan continuing to unfold as we speak, most news coverage has focused on the death toll resulting from the earthquake and tsunami. Some coverage has also been given to the meltdown of the Japanese nuclear reactors. However, there has been very little discussion in the mainstream media of the attempted cover-up of problems at seventeen reactors that malfunctioned in 2003, or that the radioactive particles from the latest full-blown catastrophe could soon be reaching the western United States as early as March 25th.

Much of the independent media, on the other hand, has been covering the wider issues and, as a result, a discussion has been generated about the means by which we can protect ourselves against such radiation. In this regard, there has been much conjecture as to whether KI (Potassium Iodide) can protect against radiation poisoning, as well as whether or not KI poses enough significant health risks as to preclude its usage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Expert Warns of Health Risks Associated With New Light Bulb Technology

(CNSNews.com) – A lighting expert who has overseen lighting projects including the Statue of Liberty and the Petronas Towers, expressed concerns on Capitol Hill Thursday about the safety of certain types of new light bulbs.

Appearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Howard M. Branston spoke in favor of the "Better Use of Light Bulbs Act" – a measure which would overturn elements of a 2007 law mandating that traditional incandescent light bulbs be phased out over the next few years.

In his testimony, Branston claimed that parts of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act serve as a “de-facto ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs” and that compact florescent light bulbs, or CFLs -- the most popular alternative to incandescent bulbs (ordinary light bulbs) -- pose a risk to public health and safety.

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Gates Foundation and Monsanto

Many have long suspected that U.S. policy on genetically modified (GM) organisms was being influenced by the multinational corporations that profit from genetic engineering and the export-oriented agribusiness. However, recently released Wikileaks cables document just how close that relationship has become.

The U.S. Department of State has virtually become an agency for promoting the private interests of the Monsanto Corporation.

As European social movements pressure their governments for an ongoing moratorium on GM seeds and foods, Monsanto and other biotech corporations have been pushing to find new market footholds, using hybrids even in impoverished Haiti following the January 12, 2010 earthquake. They have been pursuing such goals in collaboration with USAID, the U.S. State Department and the Gates Foundation Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

According to Netline:

"The collusion of the Gates Foundation with Monsanto corporation is no accident, as high level officials leading AGRA are former Monsanto executives. The recent purchase by AGRA of $500,000 worth in Monsanto stocks was vivid proof of that close relationship. Despite many words by Gates officials since the inception of the AGRA agenda denying that GMO seeds would be used as part of AGRA, their close relationship with Monsanto has now been revealed to be a key element in their agronomic 'new green revolution' strategy."


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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mediterranean Diet Cuts Heart Risk

Eating a Mediterranean diet may prevent or even reverse metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study.

The Mediterranean diet includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, olive oil, poultry, and fish, with very little red meat. Scientists believe that eating this way has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

"This study reinforces guidelines over the past 10 years, stressing the need to reduce consumption of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats" from meat and dairy products, Dr. Robert S. Rosenson of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York told Reuters Health. He was not involved in the work.

7-YEAR ITCH CUT TO 3 AS LOVE FADES EVER FASTER

FORGET the seven-year itch – most couples feel the romance has gone out of their relationship after just three years.

The pressures of modern life means more than ever we take each other for granted, argue and lose our sexual appetite.

And many couples are increasingly giving each other a “pass” to pursue their own ­interests or take solo holidays.

Relationship expert Judi James said: “Traits and habits that are often endearing when we first start to see someone can often blow up into major irritations around the three-year mark. How you deal with these niggles will play a key part in whether a relationship ­survives.”

Judi, who oversaw the research to publicise new film Hall Pass opening on Friday, added: “Often something that may appear ­trivial such as snoring can become a major stress point but if you can get past these niggles and communicate openly then there is no reason why a couple should not go the distance.”


Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/233212/7-year-itch-cut-to-3-as-love-fades-ever-faster7-year-itch-cut-to-3-as-love-fades-ever-faster#ixzz1G9LDMBZD

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World

A FEW years ago I noticed something odd at the health food store. There, rubbing elbows with the extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed canola oil was virtually the last fat I expected to see in such esteemed company: coconut oil.

The last time I checked, coconut oil was supposed to be the devil himself in liquid form, with more poisonous artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising, heart-attack-causing saturated fat than butter, lard or beef tallow.

Its bad reputation caused a panic at the concession stands back in 1994, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest put out a study claiming that a large movie-theater popcorn, hold the butter, delivered as much saturated fat as six Big Macs. “Theater popcorn ought to be the Snow White of snack foods, but it’s been turned into Godzilla by being popped in highly saturated coconut oil,” Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the center, a consumer group that focuses on food and nutrition, said at the time.

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10 Reasons Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat

1. The ingredients simmering in a Japanese kitchen are a simple variety of foods eaten on a consistent and daily basis:
Fish
Sea Vegetables
Land Vegetables
Soy
Rice
Fruit
Green Tea


2. The Japanese enjoy home cooked meals on a daily basis. A traditional meal consists of grilled fish, a bowl of rice, simmered vegetables, miso soup, sliced fruit for dessert and green tea. The Japanese consume almost 10 percent of the world’s fish, although they make up about 2 percent of the world’s population. That’s 150 pounds per year, per person compared to the world average of 35 pounds. And this daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids may well explain why they live long and healthy lives. That, and the fact they consume 5 times the amount of cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, that Americans do.



3. The emphasis of Japanese cooking is to use what is fresh and in season. According to author Moriyama, “Japanese supermarkets are cathedrals of freshness. Food is not only dated, it’s timed—Japanese women buy fish, meat, vegetables, or prepared meals that are timed by the half hour they were packed that day.”


4. The Japanese eat small portions of a variety of courses at a meal. According to Moriyama, from childhood they are taught to eat slowly, savoring every bite. And the food is served on plates at least a third the size of American tableware. Moriyama includes the basic foundations of Japanese home-cooked food presentation:


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Many Grocery Carts Infected With E-coli

A University of Arizona researcher says you may want to grab one of those disinfectant wipes right before you grab a grocery cart.

Professor Charles Gerba, the lead researcher, swabbed the handles of 85 carts in four states for bacterial contamination.

Gerba says 72 percent of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.

Researchers say they actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles than you would typically find in a bathroom, mainly because bathrooms are disinfected more often than shopping carts.

Genital Measurement Tied to Fertility

When it comes to male fertility, it turns out that size does matter.

The dimension in question is not penis or testicle size, but a measurement known as anogenital distance, or AGD.

Men whose AGD is shorter than the median length - around 2 inches (52 mm) - have seven times the chance of being sub-fertile as those with a longer AGD, according to a study published on Friday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Was Henry VIII to blame for his wives’ miscarriages? Monarch had rare blood disease that also sent him mad

A rare blood disorder could be the reason why King Henry VIII had so few children, despite marrying six times.

The condition could also be behind the King’s transformation from a witty and athletic youth to an overweight and unstable tyrant by the time he was in his forties.

Henry, King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547, was desperate for a male heir to continue the Tudor line.

He did in fact produce three children, one from each of his first three wives – but many others were stillborn or lost through miscarriages.

Researchers say there is compelling evidence that he was ‘Kell positive’, a rare blood type which can cause serious health and fertility problems.

Those with Kell positive blood can pass it down to future generations.

If a man with the disorder conceives a child with a Kell negative partner, each child has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the condition. When a baby is conceived with the same rare blood group as its father, then the mother will have difficulties with further pregnancies.

The antibodies she produces during that first pregnancy will attack future Kell positive babies she carries – triggering miscarriages.

Dr Catrina Banks Whitley and Kyra Kramer, of the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, believe that Henry’s first two wives Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn suffered this fate.

Catherine apparently had six pregnancies. All but the fifth child, Mary, were stillborn or died shortly after birth. Anne also produced just one child, Elizabeth, and also had at least two miscarriages. Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour provided a male heir, Edward, but died soon after a difficult labour. None of his other wives are known to have had children by him.

More...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1363108/Researchers-suggest-rare-blood-disorder-responsible-Henry-VIIIs-rapid-decline-failure-father-children.html#ixzz1FppqqcKs

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Regulatory Protein Lowers Blood Sugar

Researchers at the Children's Hospital in Boston, led by Umut Ozcan, MD, have found a regulatory protein that lowers blood sugar when it is high due to either lack of insulin or a decreased sensitivity to insulin.

The functioning of the regulatory protein, called XBP-1s, is impaired in the presence of obesity and insulin resistance. When it was artificially activated in the livers of obese mice with type 2 diabetes, their blood sugar came down sharply.

XBP-1s also regulates blood sugar in another way, by causing the degradation of FoxO1. FoxO1 increases glucose output from the liver and stimulates feeding behavior in the brain. Therefore, degrading FoxO1 reduces blood glucose levels and increases glucose tolerance (faster clearance of glucose from the blood).

"Activating XBP-1s could be another approach to type 2 diabetes and could be very beneficial for type 1 diabetes, too," said Ozcan in a press release. "Even in mice with no insulin, increased expression of XBP-1s lowered the blood glucose level significantly. This suggests that approaches that activate XBP-1s in the liver of type 1 diabetics could control blood glucose levels, with potentially much less requirement for insulin."

Ozcan is now looking for ways to activate XBP-1s that might lead to development of a medicine for diabetes.

***

Source:

Children's Hospital Boston press release

FDA Approves Edarbi to Treat High Blood Pressure

(PharmPro.com.com) — The FDA has approved Edarbi tablets (azilsartan medoxomil) to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults.

Data from clinical studies showed Edarbi to be more effective in lowering 24-hour blood pressure compared with two other FDA-approved hypertension drugs, Diovan (valsartan) and Benicar (olmesartan).

“High blood pressure is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no symptoms until it causes damage to the body,” said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Drug Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “High blood pressure remains inadequately controlled in many people diagnosed with the condition, so having a variety of treatment options is important.”

Edarbi will be available in 80 milligram and 40 mg doses, with the recommended dose set at 80 mg once daily. The 40 mg dose will be available for patients who are treated with high-dose diuretics taken to reduce salt in the body.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. If blood pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which increases the risks of stroke, heart failure, heart attack, kidney failure, and death.

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