Archive | December, 2012

Environmental Pollutants – #3

Environmental pollutants testing is an absolute must if you want to achieve the best body composition and lose fat. This first morning urine test, using dry strip technology is easy to do and does not need overnight shipping. The test results and the ensuing detoxification protocols has done wonders for the many people who have run the test over the years.

The toxins that are tested for using the environmental pollutants panel are the following: benzene, toluene, xylene, trimethylbenzene, styrene, parabens and phthalates. While you may not be familiar with all of them, you should be as they are powerful hormone disruptors and can disrupt energy production causing increased insulin and fat production. In my book, Achieving Victory Over a Toxic World, I devoted a chapter on how these toxins can affect the citric acid cycle (aka Kreb’s cycle). By blocking the entry point to the cycle (lactate and pyruvate) carbohydrate metabolism is greatly affected leading to an inability to create energy and shunting carbohydrates towards fat production.

An important glandular issue that the environmental pollutants can affect is thyroid function. A normal mammalian reaction to being exposed to a toxin is to slow metabolism. The thyroid, being an important organ that regulates metabolism begins to slow down metabolism naturally in the presence of toxins. It is this process that makes me cringe when I see health care practitioners stimulate the thyroid before they deal with any toxicity issues. This is highly detrimental to the long term health of anyone undergoing thyroid hormone therapy. The body is trying to slow down metabolism to protect itself from the detoxification process. During phase I detox, the chemical produced are often times far more toxic than the original substance. If the individual’s phase II detoxification process is impaired, as it is with many people, than you have a more toxic situation than had you left things alone. This is why testing for environmental pollutants is critical along with a urinary organic acid test which I will review next.

I worked with a clinic once that focused primarily on thyroid issues and they ordered quite a number of the environmental pollutants tests but all of a sudden they stopped. I could not find out why until an ex-employee called me to tell me that they stopped the testing was because too many people were no longer hypothyroid. This caused the patients to stop buying their compounded thyroid medication which was a major source of revenue. Money over health in this case.

Another important reason why this test is so important is the testing for the presence of phthalates. This plasticizer, which is found in personal care products, air fresheners and body sprays is a known testosterone disruptor. I once received a call from a large university in the Midwest of the U.S., asking me why they keep seeing so many young men between the ages of 18-25 whose testosterone levels were that of 60 year olds. When we started testing them using the environmental pollutants panel from U.S. Biotek, the results were predictable. Almost every man with low testosterone had high levels of either phthalates or monoethyl phthalates. Detoxfication was able to reverse the low testosterone over a period of time.

One toxin that has to be detoxified carefully is benzene. This petrochemical found in diesel fuel is highly carcenogenic. If you have a dysbiotic gut and you do not deal with that first you run the risk of increasing the toxicity and carcenogenicity of benzene. Using the Lab Assist report will help to avoid that trap and give you carefully researched and safe detoxification protocols.

At my seminars, I carefully go over the nuances of this test as it pertains to achieving optimal health as well as better body composition and fat loss. If you are in Australia, the two classes are in Sydney on February 8-10, and in Melbourne on February 15-17, 2013. The next U.S. seminar will be in Lake Tahoe at the end of April, exact date to be announced soon.

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Hair Elements – #4

A hair elements test is one of the easiest, cost effective and best ways of assessing heavy metal burden if interpreted properly. Toxic metal accumulation is one of the biggest hurdles that people need to overcome to achieve their health goals and accelerate fat loss. Understanding how heavy metals can interfere is complex but important in helping people attain optimal body composition.

Over the 30 years I have been in the health care industry I’ve met quite a number of amazing and brilliant people. One of them is Dr. Andrew Cutler who I believe is one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to heavy metals and hair elements testing. His clear understanding of the chemistry involved is second to none. Dr. Cutler is also the author of two books on the subject, Amalgam Illness and Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities.

His theories on the effect of the heavy metal mercury on health and how it effects the results of a hair elements test is impressive. Here is an excerpt from his book Amalgam Illness on how mercury poisoning can cause critical disruptions to important biochemical processes. “Cytochrome P450 system – the heart of phase 1 metabolic processes, oxidative phosphoylation, and also of steroid biosynthesis. Mercury inhibits the different enzymes in this system to different extents. Cysteine dioxygenase is one of the CYP450 enzymes that makes hypotaurine (which becomes taurine) from cysteine. Mercury inhibition of this enzyme will lead to low taurine which can only be corrected with taurine supplementation, as well as high cysteine which must be controlled by dietary restriction.”

When I talked about plasma amino acid testing, I mentioned how important taurine was in fat metabolism. When a person is mercury toxic, their ability to produce taurine is impaired. It is not enough to take taurine though as this is merely a cover-up of the problem.

The question I keep getting when I recommend hair elements testing is why not do a urine provocative test instead. There are two important reasons why I don’t use urine. First problem is that there is a potential for serious side effects from a DMSA or DMPS challenge in a small percentage of people. The risk outweighs the information you might get. The other is it is not an accurate method for testing many of the heavy metals that can be picked up in the hair elements test. The interpretation of the results of hair testing is something that I teach at my classes, the first pair coming in February in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Another important issue that comes up post hair elements testing is what to do if you find elevated levels of toxins like mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Each has a particular protocol for chelation that is effective and most importantly safe. My Lab Assist report helps the health practitioner to determine the best method available.

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Amino Acid Testing – #5

Today’s blog is the first in a five part series to uncover what I believe are the best tests to help increase fat loss, improve muscle production and achieve optimal health faster. I’m sure there will be disagreements and differing opinions, but I come at this from experience. Over the past 27 years, I’ve seen over 60,000 lab tests and feel that these tests really make a difference.

Today’s blog is an overview of what I feel is optimal to achieve maximum results. It would be impossible short of a 400-500 page book (it’s in the works) to give you all the information I’ve learned over the years. But, if you come to one of my classes (Sydney and Melbourne, Australia in February, Lake Tahoe at the end of April) I guarantee you will walk out with more immediately usable information than any class you will take.

#5 – Plasma Amino Acids

As many of you know, amino acids are the building blocks of hormones, muscle, collagen, neurotransmitters and so much more. They are every personal trainer’s best friend and are essential to good health. The problem lies in the quality of protein that most of us get in our diet and the co-factors that allow the amino acids we take in to be processed and metabolized properly.

Imbalances in amino acid composition are an issue I see all the time, regardless of the fitness of the individual. Over the years I dealt with world class athletes, weekend warriors, generally fit people and the full spectrum of the chronically ill and I have seen only a handful with truly balanced amino acid profiles. Having a properly balanced amino acid profile is not that hard to achieve but you have to know what it looks like to get maximum benefits.

People trying to get fit or maximize fat loss can gain a lot from a plasma amino acid profile. Here are some examples. In order to improve fat metabolism, you need adequate taurine. To build muscle you need the branch-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), leucine, isoleucine and valine. But there is a problem with branch-chains that I’ve seen over the years especially with highly fit individuals. Many of them have elevated BCAA’s which indicates a lack of proper metabolism.

Without giving away the farm information wise (you’ll have to come to my classes for that) here one issue with high levels of the BCAA’s is that they may cause a blockade at the site of the blood brain barrier and can interfere with the ability of tryptophan to enter into the brain which can cause a problem with serotonin metabolism and other tryptophan related pathways. In my classes, I review case studies with high BCAA’s in plasma and how to get them to metabolize properly. I also make the case why I recommend plasma or bloodspot testing over urinary amino acids.

Other amino acids that can make a huge difference in fat loss and improved health include glycine (a potent detoxifier), arginine (helps improve circulation) and lysine and methionine (helps to create carnitine which is essential in fat metabolism). Deficiencies in any of these can hinder your bodies ability to metabolize fat properly. Excesses can point out nutrient deficiencies in a biochemically individualized manner.

This is just a scratching of the surface of everything you can get out of an amino acid panel. The amount of information available is enormous. Because no one can hope to remember every nuance, I developed the Lab Assist™ Report which provides all the information possible to interpret the results in an easy to understand and easy to use format.

Tomorrow lab test #4.

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Dr. Catherine Willner, MD – Parkinson’s Disease

In this interview from May, 2004, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Catherine Willner about Parkinson’s Disease.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.

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Dr. Mark Schauss, DB – The Need for Metabolic Testing

In this interview from May, 2004, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Mark Schauss about the need for metabolic testing.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.

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When Robert Crayhon contacted me about doing this interview I was, to say the least, excited. He was a person I so looked up to that it was an honor to go into the studio to talk about a subject I am very passionate about, the need to do metabolic testing to achieve optimal health.

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did doing it.

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Bill Sardi – Resveratrol, IP-6, and Hyaluronic Acid

In this interview from May, 2004, Robert Crayhon talks to Bill Sardi about Resveratrol, IP-6, and Hyaluronic Acid.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.

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Cholesterol Theory Takes Another Hit

Cholesterol being the demon fat that causes heart disease is a myth that desperately needs burying. The results of a study was just announced by drug manufacturer Merck claiming that its HDL-raising cholesterol drug Tredaptive was not effective at reducing heart attack risk. It also had unforeseen side effects.

Instead of coming to the realization that cholesterol may not be the cause of heart disease, they continue on their merry way of denial. One researcher commented “This is the death knell for niacin, for sure, but it really raises questions about the whole HDL hypothesis,” said Dr. James A. de Lemos, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Of course, blame the niacin for the failure not the hypothesis. How about maybe the drug attached to niacin was the problem not the B vitamin?

Another study on statins claims that they may not work on fully 40% of patients because they are resistant to the cholesterol lowering benefits of the drug. They lay blame on the protein resistin. Problem is, around 40-50% of people who suffer heart attacks have low or normal cholesterol levels. The benefits from taking statins for people without heart disease is minimal. As Dr. Jim L. Wright states,  “There’s no lifesaving benefit to statins for people without heart disease when you look at deaths from all causes in the less biased trials.”

Bias, that is the key word. Health care should not be driven by profit. It is why the health care costs in the United State have sky rocketed over the past three decades. In 2010, cholesterol lowering drugs accounted for $35 billion in sales worldwide. According to Dr. Navid Malik of Matrix Partners, “Statins have been the fairy tale story in the industry. But heart disease is still the number one killer in the western world, so one could argue how much value for money have we really got out of their use,” Studies that continue to come out from the manufacturers of cholesterol lowering drugs are fraught with bias but they go largely unchallenged by mass media.

Drug advertising amounts to a large portion of television and magazine income. So it should come as no surprise that they rarely if ever announce negative trials even though there are many out there. If you want to get the low down on why cholesterol isn’t the problem, you must get the book from Drs. Sinatra and Bowden called The Great Cholesterol Myth.

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Dr. Joseph Brasco,MD, & Dr. C. Armitage Harper III – Digestive Function and Eye Health

In this interview from May, 2004, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Joseph Brasco & Dr. C. Armitage Harper III about digestive function and eye health.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.

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If there is anyone who knows about digestive function, it’s Dr. Joseph Brasco. A trained gastroenterologist, Dr. Brasco merges nutritional medicine with traditional, something that is sorely needed in today’s health care system.

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Dr. Dean Raffelock DC, CCN, DIPL, AC, DIBAK – Nutrition for Pregnancy, Neurotransmitter and Adrenal Hormone Balance

In this interview from September, 2002, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Dean Raffelock about nutrition for pregnancy, neurotransmitter and adrenal hormone balance.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.

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Depression – A Serious Worldwide Issue

Depression is a silent epidemic striking millions of people worldwide. I know about this issue personally as I suffered from depression when I was in my twenties. It wasn’t until I met my mentor John Kitkoski that I found out why I was suffering from depression and what I needed to do to get over it.

What compounded my problem was my exercise induced anorexia which I have blogged about earlier. That and the nutrition worlds mindset that fat and protein were bad and complex carbohydrates were good. The days of carbohydrate loading was a disaster for many of us. What we know today is that our old concepts were way off track and was the fore bearer of an age of obesity, chronic disease and yes, depression.

The reason I decided to blog about the topic of depression should be obvious after the horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. People all over the world were shocked and likely depressed because of the tragedy. Many will need counseling and many more will need much more help than you can imagine. That is why I want to talk about this and give some simple advice. Understand that my blog cannot answer all the issues surrounding depression, just a few basic tips. Also, depression is a major problem during the holidays especially if we are away from our loved ones.

First off, potassium is a critical electrolyte/mineral that needs constant replenishing to keep the nervous system and brain healthy. It is something that can be easily measured in a blood test, typically found in a standard chemistry screen. The typical reference range is 3.5 to 5.5 mEq/L but I get concerned with any reading below 4.0. Raising potassium levels with foods like avocados and bananas as well as potassium rich electrolytes are very helpful. But there is a caveat and that is you can overdose potassium and cause a heart arrhythmia if you don’t balance it with enough sodium and magnesium.

The second tip to remember is the use of amino acids and fatty acids in depression. When I was a runner back in the 1970’s and 80’s, protein and fat were bad and complex carbohydrates like whole wheat were good. The problem is, amino acids and fats are critical to keeping mood up and balanced. Amino acids have been used by functional doctors for years in treating depression. Tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin and tyrosine which is precursor to norepinephrine are key amino acids but not the only ones. A balance is necessary to achieve success.

As for fats, the brain is built with fats and keeping them out of your diet is a sure way to cause mental issues. Cholesterol, a fat that circulates within all of us has long been vilified as being somehow bad for you. Wrong. According to an editorial in Circulation magazine in September of 1999 that low cholesterol, under 160 (4.1 in countries other than the U.S)  increases the risk of depression, suicide, accidents and some forms of cancer. Now, I’m not advocating loading up on lard (which really isn’t bad for you), but getting a good amount of Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids from fish and meats is a good idea for optimal brain health.

Another tip concerning fats is how helpful Omega 3 fatty acids are in treating depression. I typically recommend 3-5 grams per day with 250 milligrams of l-carnitine for each gram of fish or flax oil.

Above all, in order to have the best outcome for people with depression is to maximize their nutritional intake by eating the cleanest foods (organic when possible) and to take supplements to fill in deficiencies and not to overcome bad habits.

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