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Electrolytes and Organ Function

The importance of electrolytes, especially their balance and multiple organ functions cannot be overstated.  So which organs are dependent on the balance of our electrolytes? All of them. Today we will go over one of them, the heart.

Some of you might remember the frog’s leg experiments from junior high school. In it, a frog’s leg, in water, would have either sodium (table salt – NaCl) sprinkled on it or potassium (KCl). When sodium is put in, the leg would contract and when potassium is added, the leg would relax. Now think about the actions of the heart muscle. It contracts and relaxes in order to pump blood around the body. The contraction is known as the systolic phase of blood pressure and the diastolic is the relaxing phase.

As I mentioned in the previous blog about electrolyte balance, the Western diet takes in more sodium than necessary but even more troubling is the low potassium intake. If this were just an occasional problem, the effect on blood pressure would be minimal. The problem is, this is a chronic problem that people face over decades. Too many people neglect to get the right balance of electrolytes.

According to an article entitled “Worldwide epidemic of hypertension” published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology in 2006, they write the following “The World Health Report 2002 identified hypertension, or high blood pressure, as the third ranked factor for disability-adjusted life years. Hypertension is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death worldwide. Recent analyses have shown that as of the year 2000, there were 972 million people living with hypertension worldwide, and it is estimated that this number will escalate to more than 1.56 billion by the year 2025.”

Given this problem, what is the solution given our knowledge base? First off, we do need to reduce sodium intake. That is not a difficult thing to do if we’re willing to work on it. The number one method of reducing sodium is stop eating prepackaged, premade fast food. Most fast foods contain amounts of sodium that equal the daily recommended allowance of 2,400 milligrams. Cut that out and you go a long way in reducing systolic hypertension.

Second thing to do is to up your potassium intake. We should get about 4,700 milligrams but the typical Western diet only gets half. Increasing potassium intake means more fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Here is a list of the top ten foods with the highest levels of potassium per 100 grams.

White Beans

White beans are among the best foods that are rich in potassium.

White Beans, dark leafy greens, baked potatoes, dried apricots, baked acorn squash, yogurt (plain), fish like salmon, avocados, white mushrooms and bananas (maybe why the Minions are so relaxed).

Another way to increase potassium while not getting high amounts of sodium are the KTS Revive Electrolytes which have a 2-1 ratio of potassium over sodium.

Whatever you do when it comes to electrolytes, make sure that you follow the concept of balance.

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Electrolytes – Balance is Key – Part 1

One of the most asked questions I am posed with is what supplement(s) would I want to take with me on a desert island and my answer always remains the same, electrolytes. There are others I would bring along depending on how many things I could take like Vitamin C, trace minerals and definitely B-Complex vitamins (wouldn’t want pellagra, beriberi or anemia). Electrolytes though would always be number one.

A better question would be, ‘If you were dropped into a western, developed country, which supplement would you most want to make sure you have available?’ My answer would definitely be electrolytes with a bullet. The balance between two components of electrolytes, sodium and potassium, are as messed up in the Western diet as could be imagined.

Before we go much further, we need to define what electrolytes are. The standard definition is ‘any fluid that conducts, or has the ability to conduct electricity.’ Distilled water does not conduct electricity so would not be considered an electrolyte. Most soft drinks like Cola’s can be called an electrolyte but they are very poor conductors. So what about those sports drinks that are mass marketed? They probably are but they have lots of things in them like sugar and food colorings that are not helpful and for many people, detrimental. Your best choice for good electrolytes contain a balance of salts without sugars, additives or colorings.

Going back to the question of electrolytes and the Western diet, why you might ask, do I feel so strongly about its need? According to research, the average human needs 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day and 2,300 milligrams of sodium. In the typical Western diet, we get about 3,400 milligrams of sodium, slightly above recommendations, but the real kicker is that we only get about 2,400 milligrams of potassium, almost half of what we should be getting.

Today’s health monitors tell us that we need to reduce sodium intake because of its implication in coronary heart disease and in particular, high blood pressure (hypertension). Problem is, most studies done to measure the benefits of sodium reduction come up way short. Frankly, they tell us that reducing sodium intake really doesn’t do anything beneficial unless the amounts ingested are far greater than the average person takes in. Medicine seems to be stumped which astonishes me as they are missing the other side of the equation, potassium deficiency.

The DASH study is supposedly the be all reason why reducing sodium works so well but when you look at the diet, it dramatically increased potassium and magnesium, two of the minerals most deficient in the Western diet. While sodium reduction was the focus, I propose that it was the improved diets (vegetables, legumes and fruits) that helped the most as well of increasing the minerals we needed.

Every food we eat contains potassium so our bodies do not store this essential mineral very well. We don’t need to. Sodium on the other hand, is found in far fewer foods so we have evolved to retain this mineral. For millenium, salt, which is known as sodium chloride or NaCl, was an expensive commodity and not available to everyone. Today, it is loaded into almost every processed food and is a cheap condiment. Because of the West’s reliance on fast food for its convenience and easy availability, we are getting all the sodium we need. Potassium? Not so much.

Fruits, legumes and vegetables are abundant in potassium but that is what we tend to leave out of our diets. And we don’t do this for a few days a week, we do this year in and year out. Continuing to be deficient in potassium should be one of the main concerns in today’s Western diet but unfortunately it isn’t.

Next time, I will continue showing how important electrolyte balance is and what systems within the human body are most affected by imbalances.

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Sleep to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

A Normal Brain and an Alzheimer's One

A Normal Brain and an Alzheimer’s One

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disorder, not just to the person with it but the entire family of the afflicted. There is some good news on how to possibly prevent it and a new understanding of how sleep can affect it may lead to new treatments. So how does sleep affect Alzheimer’s? Turns out that sleep may help flush out toxins from the brain.

A recent paper published in Science magazine (October 18, 2013) suggested that one of the reasons sleep is so important is that during sleep, the brain and spinal cord fluid flushes the space between brain cells. The toxins and waste material is then sent to the liver for processing. The study, done on mice revealed this operation of what is known as the glymphatic system. The leader of the study, Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of Rochester Medical Center in New York said, “it was almost like you opened a faucet” when explaining what the researchers saw.

While awake, glial cells expand which reduces the space between brain cells and they contract during sleep to allow the fluid to rush in. This swelling and contraction changes the space about 60% between sleep and being awake. Numerous compounds build up in the brain during waking hours including amyloid-beta which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. When you sleep, amyloid-beta decreases but no one understood what the mechanism was. It was thought that enzymes might have been the way amyloid-beta was decreased but now that may need to be reexamined.

Researchers like Dr. Randall Bateman at Washington University in St. Louis said, “I’d be a fool not to pay attention to this.” As was mentioned in an article in Science News (November 16, 2013), “Increasing the brain’s ability to rinse itself off may also prevent or combat Alzheimer’s and similar diseases…”

Whatever your preferred method of getting to sleep, it seems to be critical in preventing any number of neurological disorders as well as allowing you to achieve optimal health.

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The Plague and Heavy Metals

Talking about the plague and heavy metals may seem like a kind of odd subject to talk about but bear with me, it will be worth it. Just this past weekend I was a speaker at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) annual international conference where I heard a talk from the controversial doctor, Andrew Wakefield. He was the guest of honor and he made a very impassioned speech but there was one comment he made where I had an “ah ha” moment.

As some of you might know, Dr. Wakefield is the British gastroenterologist who made the claim that autistic children had inflamed guts, more so than the average child, and that there seems to be a correlation with the MMR vaccine. He has been vilified by the media and his own professional organizations despite having solid evidence to back his position. His talk at WAPF was passionate and information. Then he made a comment about the plague and heavy metals in the Siberian steppe. This picked my interest despite him only briefly commenting on it.

So why would this three second snippet get my attention? Simple, what he said was that researchers found the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, in marmots on the Russian steppe but only those who foraged on heavy metal laced grasses died of the disease. All of these members of the rodent family had the bacterium but only those with higher levels of heavy metals died of the plague.

This got me to thinking, how many diseases are dormant in our bodies waiting for a trigger to turn them virulent? And I’m not just talking about viruses, bacterium like the plague or parasites like toxoplasma gondii, but chronic diseases like type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer. We get a load of toxins building up, like heavy metals or petrochemicals and when a critical mass is reached, bang, a disease begins to ravage us. This phenomenon can explain a lot of sudden onset disorders which come out of the blue.

My take on this is to not only be on the constant outlook for toxic exposure but to make it a lifestyle choice to always look to detoxify yourself regularly. Whether you follow the protocols of Dr. Andrew Cutler for heavy metal detox or use glycine and other amino acids for petrochemical removal, just do it and do it all the time.

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Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt

In this interview from October 15, 2008, Mark Schauss talks to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt.

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TahoeFest 2013 Price Lowered

We’ve listened to you and decided to lower the price for TahoeFest 2013 to $495. Also, we are offering scholarships and discounts to anyone who needs them just as my mentor Robert Crayhon had done with his Boulderfest conferences. It is my sincere wish that everyone has the opportunity to come to this conference and learn from the phenomenal speakers we have lined up for you. I also don’t want cost to hold anyone back.

The tools that will be taught to the attendees are the kind that will have a large impact on the health and well being of countless people which is why I so want to get as many people to TahoeFest as possible. Not only that, but the venue is one of the most beautiful in the world. To sign up, call 775-851-3337 or go to the Knowledge Through Solutions website.

 

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TahoeFest 2013 – Practical Tools For Your Practice

 

Lake Tahoe Hyatt

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

TahoeFest 2013, to be held to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Incline Village, Nevada on the shores of Lake Tahoe is shaping up as the go to seminar of the year. Hosted by yours truly, Mark Schauss, it will provide the attendees practical tools to help improve their practice. The prestigious group of speakers includes Luke Bucci, PhD, Ryan Bentley, DC, John Young, MD, Karen Hotchkiss, MD, and Mark Newman, MS. When the TahoeFest 2013 conference is over, you will be able to put all of the information presented into use the first day you are back at your practice.

Here is a run down on some of the topics and speakers that will be presenting at TahoeFest 2013:

Dr. Ryan Bentley, DC – Sex, Lies and Cholesterol and  Hitting the Target in Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid and Carbohydrate Metabolism Dysfunction

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD – Joint and Arthritis Supplements and the Real Facts Behind Them

Mark Newman, MS – A New Paradigm in Hormone Testing: Diurnal Urine Testing

Mark Schauss, DBA – Advanced Ways to Utilize Laboratory Testing to Get Maximum Results,  Elite Athlete Case Studies, and  Safe and Effective Heavy Metal Detoxification Protocols

Karen Hotchkiss, MD – Reversing Rheumatoid Arthritis – A Case Study

John Young, MD – Reversing Type II Diabetes in 6 weeks

To sign up for TahoeFest 2013 just click this link.

For reservations and special room rates of $159 per room (this is an incredible deal for this world class resort), please use the link below or call the Hyatt at 888-421-1442 and say that you are attending the Lab Interpretation Informational Talk. Hyatt Room Reservations

The conference location is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Come and spend some time relaxing in their indoor-outdoor pool or just take in the incredible scenery that is sure to make the trip a memorable one.

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Dr. Andrew Cutler, PhD – Mercury Detox

In this interview from September, 2008, Dr. Mark Schauss talks to Dr. Andrew Cutler about mercury detoxification.

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For a PDF transcript of this interview, please CLICK HERE.

Mercury toxicity is a growing problem in today’s toxic environment. Sources vary from amalgams in your mouth, in the fish you eat and from the smoke coming from coal fired power plants. But if you think that this is a modern problem, you would be wrong. Mercury has been found in Greenland ice flows that date back to the time of the Roman Empire. It was a by-product of their weapons production through the smelting of many of the metals they used in their war machine.

I’ve known Dr. Cutler for a number of years and highly respect his science, especially when it comes to mercury and the proper way to detoxify it. So many in the traditional medical field either deny the problem with mercury or just flat out refuse to acknowledge it. Conversely, many in the alternative and complimentary field try to detoxify this ubiquitous heavy metal with no regard to safety. In this interview between Dr. Cutler and I we talk about the safe and effective ways to remove mercury from the system.

Not only is this interview available in audio, thanks to Michael Ross, it is also available here in a PDF transcript.

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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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