Saturday, September 27, 2014

What about my dental health?

If asked we would all say that we want to be the best person we can be. Nobody intentionally tries to ruin their health. Many people would say that good health is their responsibility; others would say it is the responsibility of whatever health care professional they go to. How many would say that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to keep them healthy? Many items we routinely purchase are advertised as being healthy, when in fact they are having a negative effect on our health. Dental products are a good example.

Many of us think we ought to have mouths that are bacteria free, but that is far from the truth. Our mouths are supposed to carry some good bacteria at all times. There are toothpastes on the market that contain a product called triclosan. It is included in toothpaste so they can claim that the toothpaste fights bacteria. What the label doesn’t say is that triclosan is a known toxin. Its effects on the human body include is to inhibit the growth of children, disrupts the hormones, disrupts thyroid function, causes birth defects, cancer, infertility. Triclosan is very close in chemical structure to Agent Orange. Unfortunately it can sometimes be found in other personal care products as well.

Another dental product ingredient that can be harmful to your health is zinc. We all need some zinc, but when you are using denture creams that contain zinc it is very easy to get enough to put it into the toxic category.

We have probably all heard that fluoride is a poison, but many people still pick up toothpaste that includes fluoride, thinking they are doing something good for their teeth.  They also don’t look at the labels to see if they are free from sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These are put into tooth pastes to make them foam and to hide the flavor.

Don’t even get me started on the health problems caused by the mercury in so called silver fillings. Generations of people have been walking around with this poison in their mouths. Dental mercury converts to methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury known to be hazardous to brain and nervous system function, particularly in fetuses and young children. This not only happens in our mouths, but in our environment as well. Methylmercury can harm your nervous system to differing degrees, depending on how much mercury you've accumulated in your body. At above average doses, brain functions such as reaction time, judgment, and language can be impaired. At very high exposures, mercury can affect your ability to walk, speak, think, and see clearly. A lot of this mercury comes from industrial sources, but some comes from the waste water from dentists offices.
If we are in charge of our own health what can we do to have healthy mouths and teeth? One of the easiest things we can do is to make our own toothpaste. There are lots of different recipes out there. The majority include some type of coconut oil, salt or baking soda, and a healthy sweetener such as xylitol or stevia. Some include essential oils for both flavor and bacteria fighting.

One way of cleaning our teeth and gums is oil pulling. The benefit of doing this is to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria, reduce dental plague, remineralize your teeth, fight gingivitis, and strengthen your gums. There is also evidence that it can rebuild our teeth and ‘heal’ cavities. This is another place that essential oils can be included for added benefits. Oil pulling is easy. Just put up to a tablespoon of oil into your mouth, the favorite here is coconut oil, along with any essential oils you want to add. Then swish the oil around for up to 20 minutes. The key is to spit it out and not swallow it. This rinses away all the bad things on your teeth, between your teeth and under your gums. There are many people that say that it actually pulls bacteria and toxins from throughout the body, but if it only cleans your mouth isn’t that superior to toothpaste that just cleans your teeth?

Some people have said to start with a small amount of both oil and time and work your way up. For those with a strong gag reflex this may be great advice. We just aren’t used to the feel of a mouth full of oil. Others recommend following up with brushing with a natural or homemade toothpaste just to get the remnants of the oil off our teeth.

Where do you stand on who is responsible for the health of your mouth and ultimately the rest of your body?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

If a survey went out I think we would find that almost everyone has some fear of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Those of us that have watched a friend or loved one go through this horrible slipping away of the mind are even more afraid. Modern medicine has no cure, but research is showing that there are things we can do to prevent, slow down, and sometimes even reverse the effects of this horrible disease.

Some people blame the plaques in the brain for causing cell death, other people attribute it to inflammation. Either way there are things we can do for ourselves and our loved ones.
Diet: An anti-inflammatory diet is a must for optimum brain health. This includes eliminating some things, and adding others.
Eliminate: Grains and sugars, smoking and things high in Omega 6 fatty acids, such as processed foods and margarine.

Coconut Oil: This amazing medium chain fatty acid reduces inflammation and feeds the brain. Studies show that four tablespoons per day can slow down or even reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms. These four tablespoons can be eaten, or smoothed on the skin.

Vitamin D: Whether you get it through sunshine or a supplement it helps protect the body from Alzheimer’s, along with a myriad of other problems. The lower your Vitamin D levels the higher your risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Tea, Wine and Chocolate: We have all heard that alcohol kills brain cells, but a glass of wine every day can actually protect them. So can tea and chocolate, as long as the chocolate is a dark one with very little sugar. Adding all three to your diet seems to do the most good. They attribute the success for resveratrol which is found in all three. Resveratrol can also be taken as a supplement or found in raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, and cranberries.

Antioxidants: This is a group that includes Vitamins C and E, but there are many more out there. They can be found in supplement form, or in foods. Antioxidants work to limit and heal the inflammation in the body, and the brain.

Curcumin (Turmeric): is an antioxidant that has been shown to clear those nasty plaques in the brain. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory to the rest of the body, easing those aches and pains we associate with ageing.

B-12: This is a vitamin that has been shown to slow brain shrinkage.  You get them through meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and wild-caught fish. Those who avoid animal proteins are the most likely to be deficient in B-12. As we age it is harder for us to absorb B-12 through our diet, so supplementing with a sublingual (melts in your mouth) form becomes even more important.

Probiotics: Your gut health plays an important role in how much nutrition you get from the food you eat. It also plays and important role in your thought process, depression and how you deal with stress. The best ways to feed your gut are through fermented foods, but they can’t contain a lot of sugar. Secondarily we can insure good gut health through supplementation.

Herbs: Some beneficial herbs are well known, such as Ginko Biloba and American Ginseng. Others are lesser known, such as Bacopa. Traditionally (before people starting depending on medications) these were used to enhance memory and focus.

Though it is not something you add to your diet, and many would think is should go in the elimination category, fasting has been shown to be helpful to brain health. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to do a long strict fast to be helpful. Intermittent fasting (or skipping on or two meals) as long as you don’t make up the total calories at your other meals seems to increase the brain’s capacity for stretching and self-repair. 

Other non-diet things you can do include:

Sleeping: It’s not only the quality, but the quantity of sleep that matters. It is during sleep that your brain detoxifies, or cleans house. This includes those nasty plaques. Studies are still pointing to that magic eight hours per night. Some people need more, but very few really thrive on less.

Stress: Cortisol is released whenever you are stressed or anxious. There is evidence this reduces the connections between your brain cells. This makes it harder to think, and to remember. 

Prescription Medications: Many prescription medications mess with your memory functions. Next time you see the doctor see which ones are really necessary, and which ones you could possibly do without. 

Smoking: This includes being around those that smoke. Smoking interferes with the blood supply to your brain. None of the cells in our bodies can live without blood, and the oxygen it brings to them.

Exercise: It doesn’t have to be much, but we need something every day. Not only does it improve blood flow to the brain, but it releases proteins that promote neural health, and directly benefits cognitive functions, including learning.

Boost your immune system: This can be done through diet, exercise and supplementation. A stronger immune system carries a lower “infectious burden”, and therefore a lower risk of cognitive impairment.

Check your thyroid: Even a little bit of sluggishness can lead to memory and concentration problems. This doesn’t mean you have to be on medication, there are natural ways to improve your thyroid function.

Listen to music: Studies are showing that music helps you learn and recall information. Throughout your lifetime music can help you learn new information, and recall it better later. 

Challenge your brain: This can take the form of learning new information or skills, or even working on crafts. The key is to do something that really forces you to think. Going through the motions isn’t going to do any good. Whatever you do needs to be done with intention and determination.

Think positive thoughts: Distrust and paranoia, along with other such negative thoughts, increase your risk of dementia. If certain people keep you on edge distance yourself from them as much as possible. If you find you are constantly thinking negatively get some help. Your brain will thank you.

Magnesium: This could have come under diet, but there are more ways to get magnesium than through our food. Magnesium baths and topical supplements seem to be absorbed better.

Heavy Metals: Heavy metals such as mercury harm your brain as well as the rest of your body. The common sources for mercury are dental work and vaccines. Aluminum is another one commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. You get it from anti-perspirants and cooking with aluminum cookware or aluminum foil.

Prevention is a lifelong endeavor. We can start from wherever we are at today and continue for the rest of our lives. It sounds daunting, but it is a lot easier on us and our loved ones than fighting the effects of the disease.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is Your Hair Causing Cancer

Is your hair giving you cancer? If you use common hair care products the chances are that it is.

Aluminum has been shown to increase the possibility of getting breast cancer. It can be found in most hair coloring.  Unfortunately it is not the only thing in hair dye that causes cancer. When it is put on your hair it comes in contact with your scalp and is immediately drawn into your body and into your blood stream. 87% of breast cancer patients have used hair color long term.  A natural alternative to going darker or coloring grey is tea. Yes, you heard me right; Earl Grey may end up being your best friend. For those with light hair you might try a chamomile tea, or even pure lemon juice.

People instinctively know that formaldehyde is not good for the human body, but do we realize that it is in our hair care products? Usually it is in a form called Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate. This can be listed in the ingredients as Glycine, N- (Hydroxymethyl) - Monosodium Salt; Glycine, N- (Hydroxymethyl) -, Sodium Salt; N-(Hydeoxymethyl) Glycine, or Sodium Salt.

Another chemical to look for in your shampoo or soap is cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). It is considered a known carcinogen. Something is called a carcinogen when it is known to CAUSE cancer. In fact this one is so bad that it has been banned by the state of California.

It doesn’t stop there. Sodium Laureth Sulphate or SLES is a cousin of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or SLS, but this one is a bad cousin. It is used to make shampoos and soaps foam. In addition to its own effects of being potentially toxic or harmful to human health and causing skin and eye irritant it is regularly contaminated with Ethylene Dioxide and/or 1-4 Dioxane, both of which are extremely hazardous. They may cause cancer and reproductive problems and are toxic to most body systems.

DEA/TEA is another chemical that is known to be hazardous to our health. Though they haven’t proven that is causes cancer it has many strong indicators that it does. It is known to lower the immune system and is considered toxic to your organs. In addition it is regularly contaminated with nitrosamines, which is a known carcinogen.

Does your shampoo or conditioner smell really good? That means it probably contains one or more of 38 chemicals that cause hormone disruption that have been linked with cancer. Among them are Phthalates, which is absolutely known to cause cancer as well as decrease sperm counts, increase birth defects and cause liver and kidney damage. The fun part is that don’t have to be listed on the labels. The scary part is that because the fragrance lingers they may affect those you encounter throughout the day.

There are natural shampoos, conditioners, and even hair colors. You just have to know to look for them. We can’t be complacent and follow the crowd when it comes to our health.