Archive | December, 2012

Pesticide Exposure and Health

In my blog about about Dr. Oz and his hypocritical statement that eating organic foods are elitist all the while he tells people to eat organic foods to avoid pesticide exposure, I’ve had a couple of comments that claim that pesticide exposure has never been shown to cause illness in people. The person also claimed that the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has no relevant studies showing what I claimed. I guess the person didn’t want to actually go to the journal’s website to verify his claim.

What made me smile this morning when I went to the journal’s website was the fact that the three papers of the year for 2012, per the editors of the journal are all on the subject of pesticide exposure on unborn children. As the editors said (you can see the references by clicking on the link), ” All three studies reported associations between prenatal OP pesticide exposures and adverse effects on cognitive function that continued into early childhood. The fact that three research groups reached such similar conclusions independently adds considerable support to the validity of the findings.”

Understand that association is not the same as causation, but if it smells like a fish, looks like a fish and tastes like a fish, chances are it is a fish. These are not the only studies that have reported associations between pesticide exposure from food and neurodevelopmental issues in children as well as many other health issues, there are hundreds. Does that mean we can stop research and claim that we have all the answers? Of course the answer is no. We need to have a better understanding on the mechanisms of how pesticide exposure affect health.

In this article posted this month by the editors of EHP, you can also read about their comment on the Stanford Study that dismissed the need to eat organic food. One issue they bring up is the epigenetic effect of low dose pesticide exposure on multiple generations. We are still finding new problems with pesticide exposure, not fewer.

Now, we could go on the merry go round of denial, which is something that BigAgra has been doing for years, but I won’t go their. They are using the exact same arguments (along with some of the same scientists) that Big Tobacco used to deny the link between smoking and cancer. We now know that there is a direct relationship. If you chose to deny that, well I guess you don’t need to come to this blog and waste your time. My goal with my blog is to give people information and resources that they can use to help themselves achieve optimal health.


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Laboratory Testing – How Important?

If you listen to some experts, they would tell you that we do too much laboratory testing in Western medicine. To those of you who know me, you might be surprised by my answer as I fully agree. Of course that agreement comes with a caveat. The real reason is that quite often we do the wrong laboratory test and most health care practitioners don’t know how to interpret the results when they get them.

In my classes, one of which I will be doing in Sydney, Australia (February 8-10, 2013), I go over numerous case studies with laboratory test results of people ranging from elite professional athletes, weekend warriors, to people with extreme health disorders to people just wanting to feel better. What I try to bring out is what particular laboratory tests are best suited to different situations as well as how to use one of the most advanced interpretive reports available, Lab Assist.

Here is an example of a case study. A trainer came to me with a high-performance professional athlete in his early 30’s who is losing his edge. The man is having real concentration issues and sustained energy problems. His doctor had run GI tests (don’t know why) and a number of other random laboratory tests with no solution. My suggestion was to run a urinary organic acid test and a plasma amino acid test as well. The results we got back along with the biochemical fix was not surprising to me but was to the trainer.

Urine organic acid testing when done with the right lab, is one of the best functional lab tests out there. It looks at numerous metabolic pathways to determine if there are specific nutrient deficiencies that are making the system inefficient. Recent research has noted that measuring B12 levels in the blood can be misleading and miss functional B12 deficiencies. A metabolite in urine known as methylmalonate is vastly superior and can catch the deficiency before it manifests in a clinical presentation.

Another important area that urine organic acids can see is if the citric acid cycle, the primary way our bodies produce energy, is operating efficiently. With the athlete mentioned previously, his system was a mess. We were able to pinpoint what was wrong and what to do about it nutritionally. When we looked at the results of the amino acid test, we found some important deficiencies but surprisingly, he was high in the branch chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine that he had been supplementing with regularly. The problem was his lack of some essential nutrients to metabolize them properly to help build muscle.

This is just one example of many that I will be presenting. In my next blog about my class in Australia (and the next one in the U.S.) I will go over some other topics I’ll be covering like cognitive function, environmental toxicity, and mineral balancing.

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Dr. Jay Wilson, DC – Treating the Adrenally Exhausted Patient

In this interview from June, 2007, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Jay Wilson about treating the adrenally exhausted patient.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.


NMU-2007-06-Jay Wilson, DC – Treating the adrenally-Exhausted Patient
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I must say I consider myself very lucky to know Dr. Jay Wilson as I feel that he is one of the most gifted healers out there today. If he lived closer to me, I would have my whole family seeing him, he’s that good.

A story comes to mind when the late Robert Crayhon and I did a seminar in Boulder back around 2008 and sitting close to the front was Dr. Jay Wilson. At our first break, Robert leaned over to me and said, ‘We have to be real sharp here and make sure our facts are straight because Jay will catch us right away. He is one smart person. The only one I’ve come across that can actually make me nervous while giving a talk.’

So what is adrenal fatigue? Your adrenal glands produce hormones like norepinephrine, cortisol and DHEA. Norepinephrine aka adrenaline is considered your flight-or-fight hormone. Basically, it is produced when you come about a situation that is threatening. In ancient times it was trying to get away from a predator like a tiger, today it might be trying to avoid other cars while driving or being stressed while in the mall Christmas shopping.

In our modern world, stress is so common that it is hard to find those moments to relax. The demands on the adrenal gland is greater than almost anytime in human history. Adrenal glands need support both nutritionally and emotionally. Eating well is key, but many need additional supplementation to keep up with demand. The other important thing to do is to take time out each and every day to relax and de-stress.

Take the time to listen to Dr. Wilson and Robert Crayhon. You won’t be sorry.

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Dr. Bernard Jensen – A 20th Century Pioneer of Nutritional Therapy

In this broadcast from February, 2002, Robert Crayhon replays a June, 1997 interview with Dr. Bernard Jensen, a 20th Century pioneer of nutritional therapy.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.


NMU-2002-02-Dr Bernard Jensen – A 20th Century Pioneer of Nutritional Therapy
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To say that Dr. Bernard Jensen was a pioneer in the field of nutritional medicine is the same as saying that Henry Ford was a pioneer in the automobile industry. He influenced hundreds of people to get into the field of nutritional medicine paving the way for many of the discoveries that have been made since he began practicing in 1929.

Dr. Jensen passed away in 2001 but Robert had done an interview with him when he was a spry 89 years of age. If you want to learn more about him, click here to read about his life and how he got his start.

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Dr. Michael Glade – Inflammation, Central Obesity, and Healthy Eating

In this interview from February, 2007, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Michael Glade about inflammation, central obesity & healthy eating.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.


NMU-2007-02-Michael Glade – Inflammation, Central Obesity, and Healthy Eating
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Dr. Michael Schmidt – Clinical Applications of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

In this interview from October, 2002, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Michael Schmidt about clinical applications of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.


NMU-2002-10-Dr Michael Schmidt – Clinical Applications of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
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Dr. Stefan Siebrecht, PhD & Dr. Salvatore Benvenga, MD – Clinical Applications of L-Carnitine

In this interview from November, 2002, Robert Crayhon talks to Dr. Stefan Siebrecht and Dr. Salvatore Benvenga about the clinical applications of L-Carnitine.  Thanks to Complementary Prescriptions for the use of this recording.


NMU-2002-11-Stefan Siebrecht PhD, Salvatore Benvenga MD – Clinical Applications of L-Carnitine
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In this interview you get to listen to three of the world’s best experts on the many uses of L-Carntine. Robert Crayhon, as many of you might know, was the author of the book The Carnitine Miracle, which in my opinion is a classic. Robert taught me that it is pretty much an essential nutrient that should be in everyone’s cupboard. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, whenever you take fish oils or any other Omega 3 fatty acid supplement, you need to take 250 milligrams of carnitine for every gram of oil you take.

While I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Benvenga, I did have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Siebrecht. He was a mirror image of Robert Crayhon, kind of the European version of Mr. Carnitine. Robert told me that he had long discussions with Dr. Siebrecht about carnitine and would come away each time with a lot of new information that would excite him. Listening to Stefan speak at one of Robert’s Boulderfest’s was an absolute pleasure.

So what really is carnitine? It is a compound that is biologically synthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Its primary use in the body is as a transporter of fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells. One of its important properties is as a powerful antioxidant when it comes to protecting fats from oxidizing and causing damage to the body. While easily produced by the body, many people cannot keep up with demand and need to supplement it. From my conversation with Dr. Siebrecht and Robert Crayhone, max supplementation seems to be 3 grams with little benefit beyond that. My recommendation would be between one to three grams is optimal.

Enjoy the interview!!!

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Toxic Dryer Sheets – What’s in Them?

Toxic chemicals have no place in anyone’s home but they are found in many peoples laundry room. Fabric softener sheets are one of the worst. According to Care2 here is a list of what is toxic chemicals are contained in a number of these fancifully named products:

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
  • Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
  • Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant,
    Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant,
    Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant.
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

Another chemical that supposedly comes out of dryer sheets is toluene which is a dangerous neurotoxin. Thanks to Dr. Peck for that tip.

Pretty scary eh? What purpose does a fabric softener really have? Dryer sheets actually accelerate the deterioration of clothes so why use them. Do you really need the smell and short-term softness? I hope not.

So what side-effects are associated with the chemicals above?

  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
  • Pancreatic cancer

Our society has put too much emphasis on smelling like some unnatural toxic flower which is highly detrimental to our health. Before you comment and tell me that I am an environmental nut, try reading some scientific research over at the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the top peer-reviewed journal on the subject of health and toxicity.

Another toxic product in my opinion is the body spray/deodorant Axe. Marketed to teen males, it is a veritable chemical soup loaded with the testosterone lowering chemical phthalates. There is a large body of evidence to say that phthalates are hormone disruptors like this one. Basically, the teenage boys who use Axe may attract females but when the girls get there, the boys won’t know what to do. Instead of using products like this, go over to the Environmental Working Groups website, and check out their database – Skin Deep and find out what safe products are available in the personal care product market.

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Amino Acids – We Need A Balance of Them

Amino acids are the building blocks of life. It is what also makes up proteins. Many plants that we eat contain amino acids but our main sources of complete proteins (containing all the essential amino acids) come from meat and fish along with eggs and some dairy. Each food has a different amino acid make up. Because of this, we need to eat a wide variety of foods so we can get a balance of the essential amino acids we need to maintain good health. Why this is so will become apparent as you read on.

Science has shown us that there are nine essential amino acids that we cannot make so we must get them from our diets. They are – Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine. Children though have a few more essential amino acids as their systems don’t make them efficiently yet. These are – Arginine, Cysteine, Taurine and Tyrosine. Having enough of each of these amino acids makes it possible to build other amino acids and more complex proteins like collagen.

Collagen is abundant in bones giving it flexibility. It is also found in skin, muscle, tendons, eyes, blood vessels, the gut and between your disks in your spine. All your hormones and neurotransmitters require proteins. For proper thyroid function you need tyrosine, your brain needs glutamic acid and GABA in proper balance, and the list goes on and on. Of course, your DNA and RNA, the genetic instructions that allow for life are made of specific amino acids. As you can see, you need amino acids to survive.

One of the most disturbing aspects of today’s Western diets is how few foods we tend to eat. The typical American for instance only eats about 8 to 10 foods. What does this have to do with amino acids? Plenty! The old adage that we are what we eat should be apparent here. If we eat just a few different foods we will be getting a narrow band of amino acids. Some will be more than we need and some we won’t get enough of. If we continue this way year in and year out, we won’t be able to make some hormones or neurotransmitters or we’ll make less of them than we need to stay healthy.

To top things off, the foods we eat today, are different than what we’ve been eating for millennium. Cattle, chickens and pigs eat grains that they never ate before and that changes their amino acid make up. Grass fed beef for instance has a very different amino acid makeup than what you would find in grain feed beef. I believe that many of the health issues we face today are because of the changes in the amino acid makeup of our foods.

So how do we reverse this trend? Supplementation with a balanced amino acid blend. There are a few ways to go. One would be a cold processed whey protein shake like the one Dr. John Young has. Or you can try the amino acid complex I developed called Synerplex. Synerplex uses a collagen based blend derived from chicken bone marrow. But neither can overcome a bad and narrow diet. You need to eat more naturally fed or organically grown foods to stay healthy.

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Anorexia – Things to Think About

Anorexia is a serious disorder that needs to be dealt with early on if possible and very carefully if it is a long-term issue. How a person becomes an anorexic is multi-faceted. Sometimes it is due to the pressure society places on women through the unreal skinny models who don the covers of fashion magazines or the rail thin actresses who look like they’ve missed every other meal. Other reasons include just plain malnutrition or over exercise without enough caloric intake. That last one is an issue I had to deal with personally back in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s.

When I ran competitively, I assummed that being thin was the way to get faster. It was also the era of carbohydrate loading and an aversion to protein. The outcome? When I finished the 1979 NYC Marathon, with a broken knee cap, I weighed 129 pounds. Now if I was 5’2″, that might have been acceptable except I am 6 feet tall. I was anorexic but I didn’t know it.

As I look back on my life at that time and saw pictures of myself I was stunned that I didn’t realize how skinny I was. Remembering what my self image was I knew that I was thin, but not that bad. Years later it hit me, anorexics don’t see themselves as being that thin either and the reason may be a lack of potassium. Now, you must be thinking, ‘wow what a stretch’ to claim that potassium is a possible cause of an inability to properly view ones own body shape, but follow me on this line of thinking.

Two main electrolytes are key to the proper functioning of our nervous system and the way we perceive ourselves, sodium and potassium. Humans are quite good at retaining sodium as it wasn’t in many of the foods our ancestors ate and we evolved to retain sodium. That is why salt became such an important commodity in the past. We don’t retain potassium very well as it is in all the foods we eat and therein lies the problem. Someone with anorexia does not eat enough so they do not get an adequate amount of potassium to allow their nervous systems to operate properly. Here is a study that showed a decrease in potassium in people with anorexia.

Anorexia patients muscles become taught as potassium is necessary for the relaxation of tissue. If you remember back to junior high school and the frog’s leg experiment when you put sodium on the leg, it contracts, if you put potassium on it, it relaxes. But how do you get potassium into someone with anorexia who does not want to eat? One way is to get them to drink no calorie electrolytes. Another is to stimulate their appetite using zinc. A study on zinc supplementation from the journal Eating and Weight Disorders showed that adding zinc to people with anorexia can increase their BMI dramatically. Unfortunately, as stated in the study, it is infrequently used. It should be a standard of care.

Depression is another serious issue that comes with anorexia and something that needs attention as well. Potassium levels below 4.0 mEq/L (found on a standard blood chemistry) always makes me ask whether a person is suffering from depression. So where can we find no calorie electrolytes as most of the ones on the market are filled with sugar or other sweeteners? Here are two sources, one from Charles Poliquin and one from my company, Knowledge Through Solutions. Either one will help add needed potassium to someone with anorexia but should not be considered a cure by any stretch.

Anorexia is a very complex disorder which needs a team to help the individual recover including psychological support. Family and close friends need to support the anorexic as well. Just know that there are ways to help recover people with anorexia.

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