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Arsenic and hypertension

In a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers led by Jiang, et al, revealed that arsenic can increase the risk for developing hypertension (high blood pressure). The study looked at people in Bangladesh whose water supply (wells) has been found to be contaminated with arsenic. You may ask how that would affect people in the rest of the world. Arsenic in the environment is almost universal, contaminating our water supply and our food chain.

Arsenic

Arsenic

One of the main sources of arsenic in our diet is through the consumption of rice. It is estimated that rice will soak in up to 10 times the arsenic that other grains will. Also, a number of strains have been bred to thrive in high arsenic fields. All of this should make people reduce the amount of rice in their diets.

Removing or reducing rice is a difficult dietary change. If that is not an option, there are things you can do to lower the amount of arsenic in rice. The most important thing you can do is select a strain that is grown in low arsenic areas such as California. Rice grown in Asia seems to be much higher in arsenic content. The other thing you need to do is to rinse your rice, dispose of the water and then cook it. While it doesn’t eliminate the heavy metal, it does reduce it by a significant amount.

Children should be the one group that needs to greatly reduce their rice intake as they, along with the elderly are at greatest risk for detrimental health outcomes due to arsenic exposure. Rice milk is to be avoided at all costs as it has higher levels of arsenic than is allowable in drinking water.

If you want to learn more about this go to the Environmental Working Groups page on the subject by clicking here.

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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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Hello world!

Hi, I’m Mark Schauss, MBA, DB and I have been researching health issues since 1983. Many of the early issues had to do with my own personal health journey battling depression, asthma as well as having become a broken down athlete. With the help of my more famous brother Dr. Alexander Schauss, PhD and then my mentor, the late John Kitkoski, I found a better way to approach health than the traditional methods being used today.

In my journey over the past almost 30 years, I’ve had the privilege and honor of meeting some of the giants of the alternative and complementary healthcare world like the late clinical nutritionist and dear friend Robert Crayhon, Parris Kidd, PhD, Dr. Mark Houston, MD, Dr. Ann McCombs, DO, Andrew Cutler, PhD and many, many more. What I have learned from them could fill a multi-volume encyclopedia. Instead, I’ve decided to head back to the blog site world as well as resume my podcast, Let’s Talk Real Health.

Please keep coming back for more news relating to all things health!!!

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