Friday, September 28, 2007

Low HDL found risky even if LDL is also low ….

Today's post: Friday, 9-28-2007

On Wednesday, a story came out that I found in the Yahoo online health news Thursday that said research was apparently done by Dr. Philip Barter of the Heart Research Institute in Sydney on 9700 people & reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It was thought by many doctors that reducing LDL levels well below 100 would be protective even if the levels of HDL that help clean your arteries is low.

(This is somewhat understandable since those lower levels of LDL do seem protective in the studies done on just LDL.)

Dr Barter was among them.

His data found otherwise.

Low levels of HDL increased heart attack & other cardiovascular risks & did so even in the people he studied with low LDL levels.

Most of the doctors & health experts I’ve read recently have consistently said that their information is that high HDL levels are protective; low levels are quite dangerous; & that your HDL level is much more predictive of heart attack & other cardiovascular risks & your likely longevity than your LDL level.

(For example, high HDL has been found to be predictive of longevity while low LDL has not. And, many doctors already know about the data showing that when a third or more of total cholesterol is HDL the heart attack rate is low, while if it’s a sixth or less, the heart attack rate is high.)

So, it’s nice that the mainstream doctors who tend to not use exercise & supplements in their treatment plans will now see this research.

(FYI: If you haven’t read our previous posts, HDL of 49 or less is low for men & for women before menopause. 39 or less is low for anyone. 60 & above is high.)

Strength training & abundant, vigorous aerobic or cardio exercise raise HDL levels.

Eating junk food including refined grains & a lot of sugar seems to lower HDL. By contrast, eating lots of vegetables & quality protein foods & very little else tends to increase HDL -- & it tends to prevent or reverse being too fat & type II diabetes.

Niacin increases HDL also; but not all doctors know how to use it well. (And, doses of more than 1,000 mg a day of niacin or of 500 mg a day of time-release niacin, can cause liver problems, so they must be monitored with regular blood tests of key liver health indicators by your doctor.)

Quite a large number of supplements raise HDL. (Examples include zinc up to about 50 mg a day though 100 mg or more can lower it; abundant magnesium up to about 600 mg a day from supplements, 200 to 600 micrograms a day of chromium, & the flavonoid containing foods & supplements also do.)

Foods containing high levels of choline raise HDL levels as does the supplement lecithin that contains it. These include wheat germ, liver, & egg yolks. (Since liver from grain fed animals today tends to have high levels of pollutants, it’s not the best source now.)

Extra virgin olive oil helps lower LDL compared with lard, cream, butter, & fatty, grain feed animals. But it leaves your HDL level intact or raises it slightly. By contrast, oils like corn, soy, & safflower oil lower LDL compared with lard, cream, butter, & fatty, grain feed animals but they also LOWER your HDL & tend to increase inflammation which is also a heart risk.

And, one of the most effective ways to raise HDL other than exercise & niacin is by drinking 1 or two drinks a day for men & about half that for most women.

(Drinking more than that actually increases your HDL level more. But it sharply increases the risk of fatal accidents, cancer, & other health problems so much it reliably REDUCES longevity. So stick with the lower amounts !!)

Lastly, smoking & second hand smoke LOWER HDL; & I’ve read they also keep what’s left from being protective. So they lower your effective level of HDL even more than the readings indicate. Ouch !!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lowering Blood Pressure without drugs protects your health best ….

Today's post: Tuesday, 9-25-2007

Today’s good news is not only do many nondrug methods to lower your blood pressure work, if you do the most important ones & several of the most effective ones, the chances are excellent you won’t need to take blood pressure lowering drugs or you can gradually stop taking them if you already take them now.

The even more startling good news is that doing this protects your health BETTER than taking the drugs.

Before I explain why this is the case, two important cautions are in order.

1. If your blood pressure is at or above 150 over 100 or 160 over 90, what doctors call stage II hypertension, you DO need to take the drugs – at least until you get the nondrug methods working enough to take over the job.

Why? Because blood pressure that high begins to damage you & threatens even worse problems – even death. It begins to damage your heart; it may damage your kidneys & cause you to need dialysis to stay alive, & it threatens you with sharply increased risk of strokes, a heart attack, or a burst aortic aneurysm. And, those can kill you quite quickly.

In addition, in about five percent of the cases, there is a specific & possibly treatable medical problem causing blood pressure that high. This means that seeing your doctor to rule those out or treat them & to get drugs makes really good sense for higher level blood pressure that’s this high or higher.

So, even though drugs to lower your blood pressure are NOT the best initial treatment below that level or for long term treatment, for people with blood pressure that high, they can be lifesaving. And, the research backs this up. Giving patients with this sky high blood pressure treatment with drugs does lower mortality rates. (It doesn’t do so at lower blood pressure levels. I suspect that’s because of the health damaging side effects of the drugs cancels out the benefits at lower levels.)

2. If you are taking blood pressure reducing medicine now, it is NOT safe to simply stop taking it. Blood pressure reducing medicine works by pushing down or preventing a process that tends to increase blood pressure. So, your body often is pushing back. And, if you quit instead of gradually reducing the dose, you may well get surging super high blood pressure. And, that can be quite dangerous & even kill you.


Why are the nondrug methods better than drugs in lowering high blood pressure for people with lower levels of high blood pressure & better for long term treatment for everyone?

(Lower includes readings from levels like 127 over 79 to 155 over 95 --though the higher part of the range borders on the danger level.)

The list of reasons is LONG:

1. It’s a LOT easier to keep using the nondrug methods.

People with high blood pressure quite often feel healthy & normal. Then, after they take the drugs, they find themselves feeling spacey, tired, & lacking in energy. Or they almost faint when they stand up. And, many men experience sexual problems including impotence or soft erections. With some of the medicines people develop a hacking, dry cough that continues as long as they take the drug. Side effects like these sharply reduce your quality of life to put it mildly !!

So, it’s no surprise that as many as half the people who start taking these drugs, stop taking them despite the real risks of doing so.

Contrast that with the nondrug methods: One of them increases energy for many people who use it. Another makes people feel mellow & refreshed after it’s used. Yet another has proven to IMPROVE the sex lives of people using it. And, even better, there are hardly any side effects for most of them.

On this factor alone, it’s hardly a contest.

And, there’s lots more….

2. If you use the most important nondrug methods & several of the most effective ones, you can lower your blood pressure as well -- & even better than – you can by taking drugs.

This specifically includes lowering blood pressure to desirable levels when drugs alone cannot for some of the methods.

The reason is simple. The drugs change your internal processes to remove the symptom of high blood pressure but seldom address the causes of it. Most of the nondrug methods work by reducing or eliminating the causes of the high blood pressure.

3. Similarly, while taking hypertension drugs to lower high blood pressure delivers some health protection to you, particularly at higher levels of blood pressure, doing so often causes other health problems.

This sometimes includes dehydration, increased levels of blood glucose or of LDL cholesterol (which both tend to harm your blood vessels & heart), & congestive heart failure.

In contrast to that, not only do the nondrug methods work to lower your blood pressure, virtually every one delivers other health benefits.

Here again, this is usually because the nondrug methods are improving or reversing the causes of the high blood pressure.

4. A corollary of this last point is that, while taking drugs for hypertension for higher levels of hypertension will give you some protection for your health, it is NOT enough by itself to give you strong health protection.

By contrast, if you use the most important nondrug methods well & use several of the most effective ones, you WILL get strong health protection.

This is precisely because the nondrug methods improve or eliminate the causes of high blood pressure & deliver the other health benefits.


For these reasons, we are now writing an eBook & interactive online course on using the nondrug methods to reduce high blood pressure.

The methods we are including it in it have been tested as effective -- including some tested with double blind studies. And, the doctors who are most familiar with them endorse them.

As soon as it’s available, we’ll announce it here.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Alzheimer’s disease is mostly preventable….

Today's post: Friday, 9-21-2007

Some of the things are relatively easy & some are more challenging at least at first.

But if you do all or most of them your chances of Alzheimer’s disease are small & the risks of age related mental decline is close to zero.

We list nine different ways below. Check them all out & do as many as you can.

1. Keep learning new things of value.

(Most blog readers & almost all the readers of this blog tend to do this.) Interestingly, learning new languages or already knowing two or more is extremely valuable.

Research at the University of California at Berkeley found that learning interesting new things triggers the growth of new neurons & interconnections even in elderly people.

And, your brain is like a hologram. The more variety of information, brain cells, & interconnections you already have, the more damage it can sustain & still operate well.

2. Exercise regularly almost every week to every week.

You may lose some brain cells from time to time. Recently, research found that physical exercise also triggers the growth of new neurons. So people who exercise have brains that are continuously being rebuilt. People who do none tend not to.

Obesity & bad blood lipids increase your insulin resistance & impair your circulation. Both of these things damage your brain & keep it from its best operation. Exercise directly decreases & improves insulin resistance. It burns calories directly & grows & maintains muscles so you burn more calories even at rest. So exercise is essential to avoiding or ending obesity.

And, exercise directly increases circulation while you do it; it raises your level of HDL that keeps your arteries clean by removing excess LDL cholesterol; & improves the flexibility & responsiveness of your blood vessels which maximizes your circulation & helps avoid high blood pressure which damages your blood vessels & heart. And, exercise strengthens your heart & usually grows new & extra blood vessels to your heart.

3. Optimize your blood lipids & other measures to avoid damaging your circulation, brain, & heart.

a) Do everything safe you can to keep your HDL as high as possible. (over 40 is essential & over 60 is important & even higher is better. Exercise is essential. And, there are many other foods, drinks & supplements that help keep your HDL high.)

b) Keep your LDL cholesterol lower than 125. (At or lower than 100 may well be better as long as HDL remains high.) Eat right so you avoid excess saturated fat & all transfats. Eat foods like oatmeal & beans with soluble fiber—including lots of vegetables & many fruits each week. And, if you aren’t allergic to them eat unsalted, dry, raw nuts because they have fiber & sterols that lower LDL. Then take sterol supplements &/or niacin if your LDL is still over 125. Most people who do these things can avoid needing statin drugs Because their LDL cholesterol will fall to safe levels. But, after doing ALL of this, if your LDL is still a good bit higher than 125, particularly over 160, or you already have serious circulation problems too, your doctor may well put you on statin drugs to lower your LDL cholesterol. It’s the least desirable option due to cost & side effects; but it may then be advisable. (If you do take statins be sure to also take 100 mg to 200 mg a day of CoQ10. This protects your heart from one of the known problems of statins since they LOWER CoQ10; & doing so tends to prevent the side effects that result from that like feeling de-energized.)

c) Keep your homocysteine level well under 9.0. It directly causes heart & circulation damage & increases your rate of aging at higher levels. Worse, people who have levels of 9.0 & higher are at sharply increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (See our recent post on how to lower it if it’s 9.0 or higher. And, GET your homocysteine level tested. Many doctors don’t yet know to test for it. Worse, even among the more health oriented of our readers, it’s likely to be well over 9.0 in the majority of you over 40 if you aren’t already doing the things that lower it !!)

d) Keep your fasting glucose under 100 & your HBA1C at 5.9 or less. High glucose & insulin levels directly damage capillaries & the rest of your circulation system.

This is ESSENTIAL since there is ALSO evidence the Alzheimer’s plaques that cause the disease may be caused by too high glucose &/or insulin levels.

Avoid sugars, starches, & refined grains at least 95 to 98 % of the time in what you eat & drink. And, NEVER voluntarily eat or drink foods with High fructose corn syrup.

Eat lots of vegetables & health OK protein foods like nuts & beans & nonfat or very lowfat dairy foods & health OK fish like wild caught salmon. Eat some health OK fats & oils like wild caught salmon, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, & avocados. And, eat some but a wide variety of the more nutritious fruits.

And, here also exercise is essential since it burns glucose & lowers or prevents or even reverses insulin resistance.

e) Keep your blood pressure well under 160 over 90 with every nondrug method you can find that works until it tends to run about 115 over 75 or a bit less. And, if it gets to 160 over 90 or higher use every nondrug method you can find that works & keep using them. And, be sure to get drugs to lower it below that level from your doctor & TAKE them until you get your blood pressure down well below that. Then keep taking them if your nondrug measures don’t keep it low. (If you do enough of the nondrug measures well & long enough, taking drugs may well be temporary. But at 160 over 90 & higher you damage your heart & blood vessels & sharply increase your risk of Alzheimers & other mental decline.

4. Eat organic blueberries at least twice a week; eat fish & seafood that’s safe to eat & high in Omega 3 oils at least twice a week like wild caught salmon &/or take purified DHA & Omega 3 supplements; take 100 to 200 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid, & take a good multivitamin plus mineral supplement daily.

Blueberries & foods & supplements with safe Omega 3’s are particularly important as is the alpha lipoic acid. Eating blueberries actually improves the mental function of older people who eat them. And some research showed similar effects for alpha lipoic acid.

And, high omega 3 levels seem to prevent Alzheimers & help to lower blood pressure when it’s high.

5. Take Curcumin or Turmeric supplements every day.

(Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric.) Peoples who eat lots of Curcumin in curry spices tend to hardly ever get Alzheimers. Either the antioxidant properties of it prevent the plaques from being formed or they help your immune system clear them. My own guess is that Curcumin does both.

6. Be social & talk to people you like & even some that are just Ok every day & every week.

Social connections keep you interested in life & keep your brain young. And, they also help you relieve stress & avoid high blood pressure.

7. Avoid excessive stress when you can & get regular stress relief.

High levels of unrelieved stress damage your brain’s hippocampus which serves as the cpu or controlling director of your memory acquisition & retrieval. Using the other methods here reduce the damage & help you recover. But avoiding the damage in the first place is well worth doing if you can.

8. Avoid ingesting mercury.

It destroys neurons. Don’t eat fish & seafood known to be high in it. And, if you develop symptoms of mental decline, get your blood level tested. If you test high, there are ways of lowering it.

9. Avoid ingesting aluminum.

This one is controversial as the high levels of aluminum in Alzheimers plaques may be more of a lack of proper cleaning out due to other factors than taking in too much aluminum. But there is no evidence that confirms this for sure that I’ve yet seen.

So avoid eating foods that contain alum or aluminum containing baking powder. (Since the commercial baked goods most likely to have this also contain refined grains, sugar, & all too often transfats, the best thing to do at this time is never to eat them.) The good news is that home bakers can use double acting baking powder that has no aluminum. Rumsford is the brand I’ve seen in stores.

Don’t take over the counter medicines that contain aluminum or take them as short a time as possible & very rarely.

If you possibly can, use under arm deodorants that contain no aluminum. (The long acting ones usually do. Check out the label before you buy.

And, don’t use pure aluminum cookware. (Good quality stainless steel covered aluminum is fine. You just want to be sure there is no direct contact between the aluminum & your food.)

To the best of your ability, do all these things & you are unlikely to get Alzheimers disease & very unlikely to get age related mental decline.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good news soon for sexually active people….

Today's post: Thursday, 9-20-2007

On Tuesday, September 18th, from the CHICAGO part of AFP, I found article on Yahoo health news that, in studies on monkeys, the drug tenofovir that is used to treat HIV was found to be very effective in preventing them from the simian version of HIV they would otherwise have gotten.

This drug is now being tested in humans to see if it will also protect people.

It’s not yet proven. It’s a drug which may well have side effects if you take it. And, it’s probably expensive for most people.

In addition, once it’s approved for use in people, you may not be able to get coverage to take it to prevent AIDS or HIV infection through your health insurance.

For now, you can avoid being sexually active, be in a mutually faithful & exclusive relationship, or be careful & practice safe sex & hope that’s enough.

But even so, it looks like it will protect people & become available.

So, if you are sexually active when that happens, or become so after that, it might be really good news.

And, I like passing on good news.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Exercise prevents & even reverses aging….

Today's post: Tuesday, 9-18-2007

Exercise improves your circulation; helps prevent diseases like type II diabetes & cardiovascular disease that make circulation worse; & releases extra growth hormones including testosterone.

So, if you exercise every week, every part of you functions better; & your body keeps itself in better repair than if you don’t.

In this way, exercise helps prevent aging.

Recent research has found this process works so well, exercise even reverses aging in your muscles. And, other recent research found that exercise triggers the growth of new neurons in your nervous system & brain.

I was reminded of this by an article in today’s Early to Rise by Jon Benson.

It’s well enough done, I include it here.:

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit

“The Unbelievable Anti-Aging Properties of Resistance Exercise By Jon Benson

Of all the studies I have read, this one from the Buck Institute for Age Research seals the deal. The study headline reads: Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle.

Not "slows" or "repairs." Reverses.

As we age, our muscles begin to show what researchers call "mitochondrial dysfunction." (The mitochondria is the energy factory of the human cell.) This is what causes all the bad stuff associated with "sarcopenia," the gradual wasting away of muscle due to age and under-use that most people experience.

The problem? The less muscle you have, the more body fat you will gain - even if you don't eat any more food. Muscle loss is also related to the onset of bone diseases, including osteoporosis and even various forms of arthritis. The muscles that hold the spine in alignment can deteriorate as we age and cause major back problems. The same is true for the muscles and tendons around the knee and hip joints.

Resistance exercise - training with weights or by using your body weight - builds muscle. And it does so at any age. But the real find of the Buck Institute study is that after just six months of resistance training, test subjects (all of them 65 or older) showed a "reversal of most of the genes affected by age" in muscle tissue.

After the subjects engaged in resistance training (in this case, simple weight training), their strength increased by over 20 percent. And their genes literally "reverted back" to the same markers as "younger" genes after only six months of exercise.

Maintaining muscle as we age is good. Gaining muscle is even better. But literally reverting our genes to a "younger version" within the muscle - after only six months - is mind boggling.

Add resistance training to your exercise regimen. You'll look better and feel better than you ever have.

[Ed. Note: Jon Benson, a lifecoach and nutrition counselor who specializes in helping individuals discover a life-altering mind/body connection, offers practical advice for becoming stronger, healthier, and more energetic in the articles he writes for ETR's FREE natural health e-letter. His work in the field of post-40 fitness and mental empowerment has helped countless thousands. Learn how you can do the same at or]”
Our added comments.:

Similar research has shown that regular exercise triggers the growth of new neurons in your brain & nervous system.

This effect when combined with the better circulation exercise causes & the things exercise does to help prevent your circulation from getting worse means that exercise helps prevent & can help reverse age related or vascular mental decline.

And, there is reason to believe this effect also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

(Since Friday, 9-21 this week is a national day to focus on Alzheimer’s disease as an issue, our post will be the long list of other things you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease & age related or vascular mental decline.

Some of these methods will surprise you. But they all work.)

The other notable point Jon makes is that:

“As we age, our muscles begin to show what researchers call "mitochondrial dysfunction." (The mitochondria is the energy factory of the human cell.) This is what causes all the bad stuff associated with "sarcopenia," the gradual wasting away of muscle due to age and under-use that most people experience.”

Guess what? There is another method to prevent or reverse this "mitochondrial dysfunction." AND prevent having it get worse.

One of the other causes of "mitochondrial dysfunction." is that one of the ways our bodies power our mitochondria is by using CoQ10. As people age their blood levels of CoQ10 decrease -- apparently because our bodies become less able to make it well from the nutrients we consume.

But you can now supplement with CoQ10. Depending on your age & other factors you may increase the level of functioning of your mitochondria quite a bit by taking 100 mg a day of CoQ10 each morning or by doing that & also taking a second 100 mg each day about mid-day. If you are over 40, try out 100 mg a day. Or if you are over 50 or have high blood pressure or any heart disease, try 200 mg a day.

And, taking CoQ10 has other benefits besides reinvigorating all your mitochondria. In people with high blood pressure it has lowered their numbers by 16 & 9 or 15 & 10 in various studies. That’s as good or better than taking drugs that reduce high blood pressure often do.

CoQ10 also strengthens your heart. Unfortunately, despite their proven benefits, statin drugs LOWER CoQ10. So, if you take statin drugs it will pay you to take 200 mg a day of CoQ10. Mercifully, many doctors now know this. But if your doctor doesn’t, it’s still wise to take CoQ10. You’ll feel better & your heart will benefit.

In summary, if you’d like to remain more youthful, slow aging, stay mentally competent & remain in good health, exercise regularly each week; be sure to include strength training; & take CoQ10.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

How to cut high homocysteine before it kills you….

Today's post: Friday, 9-14-2007

Dr Al Sears, in one of his health information emails, said that high homocysteine blood levels are more predictive of a greater chance of dying than the other blood tests doctors now tend to rely on such as total cholesterol. In fact, he says it’s the most accurate predictor.

Why is a too high blood level of homocysteine so deadly?

If it’s 9.0 or over it causes or helps cause all cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, peripheral artery disease, erectile dysfunction, & kidney failure; makes it more likely you’ll get age related mental decline, apparently including Alzheimers; & INCREASES your rate of aging.

The bad news is that many doctors do not yet know to test for it every time or at all in some cases. They don’t know that 9.0 to 12.0 readings are dangerous because they have been typical of people in seeming good health. And, very few know how to lower the levels of homocysteine since the agents involved are vitamins & supplements & health enhancing lifestyle changes – NOT drugs. And, some of the research some of them have seen did NOT measure effective methods; started with people too sick to help; & did not continue until the homocysteine was low enough to be protective & were low long enough to show an effect. NOT good science.

15 on Homocysteine is like over 400 cholesterol or blood pressure high enough to send you to the ER. Double Ouch !! And, even readings of 9.0 to 12.0 that have been typical & which you may well have now yourself are NOT safe.The good news is that there are effective ways to lower homocysteine levels that may well put you into the safe zone of 8.9 or less even if you start a good bit higher than that.

And, each of the methods have separate & worthwhile health benefits.

1. Take the right B vitamins; eat foods that contain folate; & discontinue excess meat consumption by eating less overall & substituting plant proteins like beans & nuts for part of your protein intake.

There are 3 of the B vitamins that lower homocysteine; but you will get more of them; get added health benefits; & give your body a more balanced supply of B & other vitamins your body needs to make the most effective use of the 3 that do the job, if you ALSO take a good multivitamin & mineral supplement AND a good B balanced Complex like Solgar’s B Complex with C Stress formula.

One supplement knowledgeable doctor I know said, if you wish to lower your homocysteine levels that it's really important to get 1,000 units of B12 & 2,000 or more each day of folic acid.

B6 is also very important; but 100 mg or more can cause problems so a total of 50 to 90 mg a day is best. I take 70 mg a day. I get 10 each from my multi & my B complex & then add 50 mg.

The wonderful news is that folic acid & B6 are really cheap.

If your reading is above 12 consider taking 3,000 or more of the folic acid. It seems to lower homocysteine best & is also the cheapest one.

(These vitamins in the multi & the B complex vitamins also have a LONG list of other health benefits.)

Also, organic salad greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, & kale are high in folic acid AND also have the more natural & potentially effective version, folate. Orange juice & beans are also high in folate. (So are most fruits at vegetables at least to some degree.) Be sure to eat two or three or more of these foods every day. And, larger servings are a good idea.

I realize you may need or want to not overdo beans. And, too much OJ has too much sugar. But the greens are all OK. In fact, any green & nonstarchy vegetable tends to be high in folate. And, organic produce has more folate than pesticide raised produce.

Eating beans in salads or bean only chili with extra virgin olive oil instead of meat dishes for part of your protein will help.

Beans don't have the amino acid methionine that turns into homocysteine that meat does. So eating beans instead of meat works two ways, you generate less homocysteine & the folate in the beans helps process the homocysteine you do have. Similarly, cutting back on meat intake overall is a good idea.

For example, get organic beef fed only grass once a week instead of grain fed hamburger with pesticide residues in its fat five or more times a week. Then eat all bean chili or hummus or refried beans with guacamole three times a week; & wild caught salmon once for the other four days. The cost is close the same. The health effects are NOT.

2. For homocysteine levels of 12.0 or higher or if the B vitamins alone don’t lower you into the safe zone, I think it's also very important to take one or two 500 mg capsules of NAC, n-aceytl Cysteine, daily. (One a day helped me lower my homocysteine; but mine started out much lower than 12.)

Two of the best & most supplement knowledgeable doctors I read suggest that much NAC for homocysteine levels of 12.0 or high or if the B vitamins don’t quite get you to safe level. If you do take two a day, I think it's likely best to take one in the am & one about lunch time.

NAC also sharply increases your body’s supply of the powerful antioxidant glutathione. And, that antioxidant not only protects you from harm, one doctor reports effectively reversing harm by using large amounts of glutathione.

3. Do NOT smoke. Ever. And, if you do smoke quit ASAP. (Doctors now have a new drug, Varenicline, that makes it dramatically easier to do. So much so, it something like triples the percentage of people who quit & stay off cigarettes.)

And, be sure to be very consistent in staying away from second hand smoke !! THE most powerful way smoking kills smokers is by raising their homocysteine enough to reliably produce heart disease. (And very few of the poor bastards know it.)

And, second hand smoke has exactly the same effect.

4. And, you can do more !! These first few steps are not all you can do.

TMG also works. And, it breaks down into DMG which has a body building & strengthening effect.

Wikipedia says this: "Trimethylglycine...(TMG)... donates a methyl group to convert homocysteine to methionine in a reaction catalysed by BHMT (Betaine Homocysteine Methyltransferase, E.C., a zinc metalloenzyme). Methionine is then converted to SAMe by Methionine Adenosyl Transferase (MAT) using magnesium and adenosine triphosphate as co-factors."

So, TMG directly changes homocysteine back into the amino acid methionine that your body uses. And, SAMe has an antidepressant effect.

& I found this online:

"Dosage and Use: (for TMG)Take two tablets (500 mg) in the morning with or without food, or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.

TMG should be taken with co-factors vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid."

That source also said TMG gives some people headaches; but I've not heard that before elsewhere.I have also read that TMG works better than Betaine HCL & for sure the Hydrochloric acid, HCL, part makes that version of TMG harder on your digestive tract.Jarrow makes a reasonably priced TMG available in health food stores.

If you take all these steps, your homocysteine WILL be lower. My hope is that it is closer to the 8.6 my supplements got me to – or even less, 7.0 is ideal -- instead of the well over 9.0 reading it likely is now.

At the very least, get tested soon so you know what your current reading is.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

How to fight stress with supplements….

Today's post: Monday, 9-10-2007

The base article comes from a new weekly free email on health:

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul.

For a complimentary subscription,
visit "

“Treat Heart Disease With Antidepressants? Let’s Get Real

By James LaValle

There is a significant correlation between chronic stress and heart disease. Low serotonin, a side effect of chronic stress, is seen in pre-heart disease conditions.

What does the medical community offer as a potential solution for low serotonin as a contributor to heart disease? A category of antidepressant drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s.)

The problem with SSRI’s is two-fold:

1. They do not increase brain levels of serotonin, but only attempt to get more activity from existing serotonin.

2. The side effects of SSRI’s could themselves contribute to heart disease. Insomnia, weight gain and sexual dysfunction are some of the side effects of SSRI’s. Insomnia and weight gain both can contribute to progression of heart disease.

Survey results have determined that 1 in 2 people are concerned about the level of stress in their lives. Some of the commonly felt effects of chronic stress and/or low seretonin are intense food cravings, mental fog, inability to concentrate, insomnia, headaches, tooth grinding and weight gain.

Reducing life stress can be difficult. A comprehensive approach to stress should not only help increase serotonin, but would also look at correcting other imbalances. The nutritional supplements listed below offer safe symptomatic relief, and can reduce the negative impact of stress on our health.

* Relora® -- an extract from magnolia and phellodendron that balances cortisol and stress hormone output, leading to more relaxed, less anxious responses to stressors. It also reduces stress-related food cravings.

* Theanine -- an amino acid from tea that reduces nervousness, helps calm the mind, improves immunity and has been reported to lower blood pressure.

* Rhodiola -- a well-studied plant extract that dampens the effects of norepinephrine on cardiovascular tissue and helps support adrenal function.

* 5 HTP -- an activated form of tryptophan, the amino acid that converts to serotonin, that shows effectiveness in treating depression and may improve sleep and reduce food cravings.

[Ed. Note: Jim LaValle is an educator, clinician and industry consultant in the field of integrative healthcare. He is a licensed pharmacist, board certified clinical nutritionist and doctor of naturopathic medicine with more than 20 years clinical practice experience in the field of natural therapeutics and functional medicine. Named one of the "50 Most Influential Druggists" by American Druggist for his work in natural medicine….]


Comments by Focus on Your Health:

1. There are many other ways to protect your heart, to deal well with the stress we are all under, & to fight depression -- that also do NOT require these drugs & their side-effects.

It pay may you to find & do these also, not just take these few supplements alone.

2. His supplement list IS very interesting however.

The supplements he lists all have some antidepressive effects & help to lessen the impact on you of any stress you are under.

Theanine is an ingredient in green tea that calms you without sedating you. So, I’ve read you can take it, perhaps along with some green tea, when you need to stay awake & alert.

Rhodiola is also has energy boosting effects, according to Dr Andrew Weill. At worst, it too does NOT sedate you. So you can very likely take it also when you need to stay awake & alert.

Relora is new to me but is listed online as having good stress response softening effects.
I’m not familiar with whether it’s best taken at bedtime or OK during the day.

5HTP is a precursor & a building block of serotonin. But serotonin does tend to mellow you out enough, its best use may be to help you unwind just before bed.

In fact, all of these are likely to be OK when taken just before bedtime.

This can help ensure you sleep better when you are stressed. That way you will have more energy the following day.

(Vigorous strength training also has this effect.)

3. Stress relief & managing stress well in other ways is also essential. The good news is that there are now some new & more effective ways to do this besides supplements.

And, there are proven methods to do these things most overstressed people don’t know about or forget to do.

We are now working on an eBook to bring these to you.

When it’s ready we will announce it & list it here.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How to afford to eat right….

Today's post: Wednesday, 9-5-2007

Health OK foods like beef fed only grass; organic nonfat & 1 % lowfat milk; & pasture raised poultry are a good bit more expensive than the grain fed and now more common varieties.

1. But some of the foods that are the best for you are LESS expensive than the really bad foods.

By making those foods your staples, you can either eat right for very little or include some of the more expensive health OK foods without spending more.

2. Another key is to stop buying the worst foods. Why pay more for foods & drinks that will make you sick if you eat or drink them at all often?

1. Here are some of the best for you foods that are inexpensive.

a) Unless you are allergic to them, beans & lentils are very good for you AND very cheap.

This is particularly true if you buy them dry in packages or in bulk & cook them yourself.

My wife & I cook up a batch every weekend that’s just enough to eat for a week. Then we put them in smaller containers to cool in the refrigerator which helps them say good & cool more quickly. That way they are virtually instant food the rest of the week.

They are high in protein. They are high in soluble fiber. And, I just found out recently, they are high in antioxidants. By eating them as staple foods you can eat well on very little.

You can flavor them with onions which are good for you and also inexpensive.

And, since you will do better with some health OK oils, you can flavor them with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil does cost more than beans and lentils; but it usually costs less than butter or meat or cheese. And, it is MUCH better for you.

Lastly, beans & lentils are much better for you than fatty and grain-fed meats. And, they cost far less. If you eat eggs, nonfat & 1% lowfat milk, wild caught fish, nuts, and other more health OK protein foods along with them, beans & lentils can do a great job supplying your protein needs.

I usually eat mine with extra virgin olive oil & tomato sauce flavored with garlic. It tastes good & both the tomato sauce & the garlic are good for you.

b). Wild caught canned salmon is surprisingly inexpensive. It’s high in the omega 3 oils that promote good health and that grain feed meats tend to be very short in. And, it has very little of the excessive omega 6 oils that grain fed meats are high in.

Wild caught canned salmon does have some salt. But if you eat very few other salted foods & unless you are salt sensitive and fighting high blood pressure; & if you don’t over do the amount of salmon you eat, you can balance the salt with the next really inexpensive kind of food. That kind of food is very high in potassium which tends to lower blood pressure & counterbalance the salt.

c) Frozen green and nonstarchy vegetables are quite inexpensive; convenient; & extremely good for you.

Broccoli has many, many health benefits. So I cook up a batch of frozen broccoli every two weeks and have a serving almost every day for dinner.

I expected that adding this to my dinner most days would help me lose 10 pounds. I did. Then I lost 20 pounds more. To be fair, I was also exercising regularly & also cut back a bit on beer and wine. But the very low caloric density of any green nonstarchy vegetable is so low & the filling fiber is so high, any of them is a superb choice to help you get & stay trim.

Frozen green peas, green beans, chopped spinach, brussels spouts, & cauliflower all work as well for this.

d) Oatmeal; eggs; and nonfat and 1% lowfat milk are a bit less good for you than the first three kinds of foods. But they are more health OK than most foods and only moderate in price.

2. The other key is to stop buying the worst foods. Why pay more for foods & drinks that will make you sick if you eat or drink them at all often?

I’ve seen other shoppers in grocery stores where 90 percent of the foods in their basket are these kinds of foods. That’s a LOT of wasted money.

a) These snack foods, packaged foods, & refined grain baked goods are low in nutrition and fiber so they don’t make you feel full or feed you well.

And, to make them taste good, they tend to have ingredients like excessive sugar, high fructose corn syrup, excessive salt, and often today are made with transfat loaded partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

If you eat them more than about once a month, you’ll make yourself fat & sick. Why pay money to do that?

NOT buying them frees up money to spend on good quality health OK foods.

b) This is gradually changing, and there are some exceptions, but fast food tends to be similar with similar ingredients. French fries are one of the worst foods of all for your health.

For many people, the bad for you fast foods are half their food intake each week. Ouch.

You can do better.

Either bring your food from home; get health OK foods at the fast food places; or eat at a restaurant that serves health OK foods.

You can save your money by NOT buying the bad for you fast foods.

c) Research has found that both regular & diet soft drinks are even worse for you. They tend to cause disease and both help make people fat. And, many young people and less well to do people drink LOTS of them.

The good news is that most fast food places do offer plain water also.

And, at home, green tea & black tea & sparkling waters are usually good choices besides plain water.

Coffee without creamer & black or with 1% lowfat milk or even a very small amount of half and half is even MUCH better for you than caffeinated soft drinks.

Adding spices, more expensive health OK foods and more variety can help you enjoy eating healthy besides taking these two steps.

But these two steps can save you more than enough to pay for those foods. And, in a pinch, eating this way plus taking vitamins can keep you healthy on very little money.

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