Tag Archives: Men’s Health

Partners in Hormonal Health- Fall 2009 Catalog

Partners in Hormonal Health:

The Adrenal-Thyroid Dance

By Jessica Bischof

jess b

In our rushed society most of us could use huge does of energy and stamina, topped off with a serving of something to boost our ability to deal with stress. If anyone had such a concoction for sale, they would do quite well–even in our uncertain economy. Unfortunately, no magic pill can provide a boost like this, but the good news is that, with proper care, support and lifestyle choices, you thyroid and adrenal glands can make a magical difference in how you feel.

Eight years ago, I could hardly make it through the day. A new mom in my mid-twenties, my energy levels and stamina were nil. Finally, I woke up one morning and thought dismally, “This must be what it feels like to be old.”

For a long time, I just sucked it up and pushed through, going about my responsibilities as a wife and mom. No one but my husband knew that, after attending church and Bible study three mornings a week, I would spend the rest of my week on the couch, doing only the basics of feeding and caring for my toddler. I tried improving my diet, being more faithful with vitamins, even exercising. Three times a week for a year and a half, I met a friend at the gym at 5am! But, no matter what I did, I couldn’t build up stamina and would often go home from a 45-minute workout and sleep for the next 4 hours. The final straw came when I experienced three miscarriages back-to-back. Although I still didn’t think anything was seriously wrong with me, my mom was wise enough to suggest one day, ‘You should look into thyroid problems. Miscarriage can be related to that.’

I started reading about thyroid dysfunction, and it was like reading out of my diary. I was horrified and thrilled at the same time. My problems weren’t all in my head–and there was a way to fix what was wrong!

The Thyroid — Part 1thyroid

The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland in your throat, just below the Adam’s apple. Place your fingers on either side of your windpipe, gently press as you run them up and down, and you will probably feel this soft, squishy gland.

The thyroid serves two primary purposes. Its foremost job is to produce thyroid hormone which “powers” each and every cell in the body. Think of your thyroid as the power plant, but instead of providing electricity, it “feeds” thyroid hormones with the energy cells need to function correctly. Since all cells have thyroid receptors, a deficiency in this hormone can cause many different symptoms, although the most common are low energy, feeling cold all the time (caused by low body temperature), weight gain, hair loss, tiredness (no matter how much you sleep), and “brain fog” where you feel like you just can’t think and everything is cloudy. I’ve compiled a list of more than 200 symptoms thyroid patients report resolving once they balance thyroid levels.

The second purpose of thyroid hormone is to be a “gatekeeper” to protect us from toxic substances. Radiation and excess iodine are both collected in the thyroid, often with disastrous results. The good news is that if you’re exposed to radiation, it will accumulate in your thyroid and potentially protect the rest of your body from destruction, but the thyroid is often killed in the process. Not only is our thyroid a gathering place for “big bad” toxins, but it is sensitive to chemical and toxin exposure across the board.

Topping the list of chemicals we should avoid for thyroid health are fluoride and chlorine, two toxic substances found in most municipal water supplies. These substances, along with bromine (often use as a preservative in baked goods!), compete for the same receptor site that needs to get plugged with iodine so the body can produce thyroid hormone. Even a little exposure to these substances will crowd out the iodine we need.

Adrenals — Part 2adrenals

We have another hormonal powerhouse in our bodies, the adrenal glands. Even more critical than thyroid hormone–and more far reaching–the adrenals control nearly all the hormonal activities of the body. About the shape and size of a walnut, the adrenals are a pair of glands, one residing on top of each kidney. The health or impairment of these two tiny glands is felt by nearly every system and function of the body–energy levels, memory, immune system, processing sugar, and cardiovascular health.

Adrenals produce a host of significant hormones, among them adrenaline, cortisol, and DHEA. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone. We’ve all experienced the warm rush that makes our hearts pound and palms sweat and can give us a burst of energy to react quickly to a high-stress situation. Adrenaline is supposed to be an occasional hormone triggered only in the face of surprise, danger, or threat. In our modern world, though, we experience more adrenaline rushes than our forefathers. Everything from having to react quickly to the car in front of us slamming on its breaks to conflict in the relationships to being late for one of the many events we put on our schedule activates adrenaline.

Cortisol and DHEA are two hormones released to respond to “long term” stress. These stresses are more subtle but equally prevalent in our lives. Food and environment allergies, chronic illness, acute injuries, long-term financial problems, feeling “trapped” in an unsatisfying job or unhappy home life, environmental toxins, lack of rest, and pregnancy are stressors that our bodies must respond to continually.

Although our adrenals must “refuel” in order to have more to give, most of us habitually draw and draw and draw on our adrenals and fail to provide them with the nutritional fuel and rest and they need to keep meeting our demands. Some people, for example, who at one point are “super-achievers”, sail through a demanding period only to crash afterward and never regain their previous stamina. Others gradually experience their adrenals slowing down–by not recovering from illnesses or noticing that the adrenaline rush from watching a suspenseful movie last for 30 minutes instead of quickly going away. Either way, the adrenals are depleted to the point where they simply cannot provide the hormonal stress management the body needs.

In the traditional medical world, only complete adrenal failure or severe adrenal “overdrive” is recognized as treatable conditions. Common sense, though, would suggest that most things work poorly before they stop working altogether. You take your car to the mechanic when your brakes are squeaking and don’t expect to be told “brakes problems are only real if the brakes completely fail or it they lock up your tires.” Just as no one wants to wait until their brakes fail to take care of them, so we should not wait until our adrenals fail before nourishing and protecting them.

Partners in Health

The thyroid and adrenal can be thought of as partners in a dance. They each have unique moves, but depend on each other to operate the way they were created to. The adrenals are the lead or male dancer and set the pace. Adrenals influence thyroid hormone indirectly by controlling the organs that control the thyroid. The thyroid controls the “energy” of all cells, including the adrenals. In this way, the two systems are mutually dependent.

It’s rare to find a person with thyroid imbalance who does not also suffer from compromised adrenals. But sadly, many people fortunate enough to have a thyroid problem diagnosed are never told about or tested for adrenal function. Often, the patient with low thyroid will be started on a dose of thyroid replacement medicine, only to feel worse and have new symptoms pop up. This is because, over time, the adrenals have slowed the manufacture of thyroid energy because they’re so burned out they can’t keep up. They’re trying to work less and recover. When you introduce a bunch of thyroid hormone in this scenario, it stresses the adrenals further with unpleasant side effects.

For this reason, wise practitioners will try to determine both a patient’s thyroid and adrenal health. In some people, adrenal healing needs to begin before introducing thyroid hormones. In others, the adrenals are trying to perform their half of the dance, but the thyroid partner is lagging, and the extra energy from a higher supply of thyroid will balance the dance.

By taking steps to fuel and nourish adrenals and to provide the thyroid with nutrients specific to making its powerful hormone, you can reverse adrenal burnout and support thyroid health. If you have been told your thyroid is “low normal,” you may be able to resume balance by strengthening your adrenals and providing supporting nutrients to you thyroid. If you low thyroid is due to adrenals slowing down thyroid production, adding thyroid nutrients is not going to help. Supplementing with thyroid nutrients in appropriate doses is the safe solution for most people (check with your health professional to see if you’re a candidate).

Regardless of which dance problem you have, good health for thyroid and adrenals will help. The top five ways to nourish your thyroid are (for in-depth explanations of each, visit http://www.thyroidadvisor.com):

1.      Drink and cook with fluoride and chlorine free water.

2.      Avoid soy and soy products

3.      Consider supplementing with the amino acid L-tyrosine.

4.      Consider supplementing with the trace mineral selenium.

5.      Eliminate as many chemicals from your life as possible. Makeup, skincare, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and food with additives are all areas to work on. Anything you ingest or rub on skin is especially important.

The top 5 ways to nourish your adrenals are:

1.      Get adequate rest–best if you can be in bed by 10pm.

2.      Be ruthless about avoiding known food allergens–get tested if you suspect allergens are a problem for you.

3.      Maintain blood sugar levels. Eat small meals more often and avoid processed carbs.

4.      Consider supplementing with L-tyrosine.

5.      Take Vitamin C daily, to bowel tolerance.

ThyroVivalWebProPillSTo learn more about physical clues that indicate adrenal and thyroid problems, please visit http://www.thyroidadvisor.com and read about the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and thyroid imbalance. It’s a great step toward getting the adrenal-thyroid dance in rhythm.

Beeyoutiful co-owner, Stephanie Tallent, and I have talked a quite a bit as she has sought to better understand her thyroid and adrenal problems. As a result of some of my suggestions for her health, Beeyoutiful now carries two products specifically designed to provide foundational support and healing of the thyroid and adrenal systems. Thyro-vival, and Selenium Secure can be found on page 24 and page 23 of this catalog.selenium

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols to support their health, using nutrition, diet, and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health – not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, hormonal balancing, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

Pre-Natal Peace of Mind- Fall 2009 Catalog

Pre-Natal Peace of Mind:

And Other Benefits of Folic Acid

By: Nancy Websternancy_small

After massaging countless pairs of names to prepare for the birth of our twins, my husband and I had settled on Grace and Rachel if we were blessed with two girls. Whoever came out first would be Grace. But when Greg held “Twin A,” the name “Rachel” felt more right to him. Within a few days we would realize why “Twin B” would need an extra measure of God’s grace.

After the Friday morning birth, I spent the weekend reveling in the wonder of having delivered the twins that I had prayed for nine months before. My husband spent the weekend secretly studying books and online sources about infant abnormalities. When he first held Twin B, he thought he saw something different about her eyes.

What he saw was Down syndrome. The midwife attending the birth had missed it. Our delivering obstetrician hadn’t noticed and none of the nurses at the hospital detected anything different about Grace. But at the twins’ Monday morning post-natal check-up, our pediatrician confirmed Greg’s suspicion.

Now 13, our twins are a delightful pair, if strikingly different from one another. Rachel rides pony trails and climbs mountains while Grace tours the zoo in a wheelchair, because severely flat feet make her legs and hips ache after much walking. Rachel catches on quickly while simple, often-repeated activities frustrate Grace into blank stares. Rachel’s alto contributes handsomely to classical performances of the local children’s community choir, while Grace can only attend performances.

Of course, Grace would not be Grace if she didn’t have her Down syndrome. Without her, we would miss out on the mysterious, masking-taped presents of a toilet paper tube, a rock, or utensil from the kitchen–accompanied by her standard card, a crayoned picture of a multi-layered cake with candles, signed “GRCE.” And we might take for granted her mastery of reading a new word.

Still, if there was something I could have done to prevent her Down syndrome, I would have done it. There’s no denying life is harder–and maybe burdened with a few more inexpressible disappointments—for Grace.

At the time Grace and Rachel were conceived, I was homeschooling four children, ages two to eight. My oldest daughter needed speech and occupational therapy, which meant hauling the entire crew back and forth to tri-weekly sessions. One son suffered gastrointestinal problems, which entailed specialist visits and many home treatments.

Although by the time I’d learned quite a bit about healthy eating, life was so huge that fish sticks and tater tots made their way onto our table far too often. I knew we should do better with our eating, but Real Life was so overwhelming, it couldn’t happen as I wanted. I didn’t even remember to start taking pre-natal vitamins until four or five months into the twin pregnancy.

The Folic Acid Connectionfolicacid1_1

Researchers have found that nearly 60% of mothers of children with Down syndrome have a genetic mutation that impairs the mother’s ability to metabolize folic acid. “Maternal non-disjunction” occurs before conception and is responsible for 95% of all Down syndrome cases. Mothers of babies with neural tube defects like spina bifada and anencephaly have a similar problem metabolizing folic acid.

Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate, vitamin B9. Found naturally in leafy greens, citrus, liver, tuna, eggs, and legumes, among other foods, folate is necessary for synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins, and for the production and maintenance of all new cells. The body’s requirement for this vitamin increases during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and fetal development. As a result, since 1992, the U. S. Public Health Service recommends that all women who might become pregnant should take a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid supplement per day. Studies suggest that if all women did this, the risk of neural tube defects would be reduced by up to 70%.

Waiting until you’re expecting a baby is not good enough. It takes up to a year to build up reserve of this vitamin, and the lack of folic acid at conception may result in brain and spinal cord damage as the fetus develops. Folic acid supplements taken for at least a year before conceiving is also associated with a 70% reduction in premature births between 20 and 28 weeks and a 50% reduction between 28 and 32 weeks. Another benefit of folic acid is protection against congenital cleft lip (with or without a cleft palate). It is estimated that 1/3 of facial clefts can be avoided with the help of folic acid.

Dads are not off the hook here, either. There’s a connection between folic acid and chromosomal abnormalities in men’s sperm. Men who consume high levels of folate or folic acid tend to have fewer sperm in which a chromosome is lost or gained. Extra or missing chromosomal material causes genetic abnormalities like Down, Turner’s, and Klinefelter’s syndromes. As with moms, future dads should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day for a minimum of three months prior to conception.

You are more at risk of preclampsia, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, or even fetal death if you take medicines for epilepsy, mood disorders, hypertension, or infections because these medications are folic acid “antagonists.” You may require more than the usual recommendation of folic acid to counteract these bad effects.

Folic Acid- Mixed Reviews

In cancer research, there’s good news and bad about folic acid. On the good side: It counteracts cancer by strengthening chromosomes. Folic acid helps prevent colon cancer in men, and a study at Harvard Medical School found it can reduce women’s colon cancer rates by 75 percent.

However, too much folic acid can be a problem. While maintenance levels seem to offer protection against prostate cancer, too much folic acid may actually increase chances of prostate cancer. In other mixed news, studies show that people who get sufficient folic acid reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps by 40 to 60 percent. On the other hand, one researcher estimates that ingesting too much folic acid may cause an extra 15,000 cases of colorectal cancer each year in the US and Canada.

Folic Acid intertwines with vitamin B12 in many body processes, including synthesis of DNA, red blood cells, and the myelin sheath which insulates nerve cells and helps conduct signals throughout the nervous system. But, again, too much folic acid in the interaction can worsen a vitamin B12 deficiency. This problem is common in older patients and causes dementia and other complications like depression, apathy, withdrawal, and lack of motivation. Taking a combination of the two vitamins protects against this problem.

Vegetarians, whose diets tend to be especially high in folate-rich green vegetables and folic-acid fortified grains, are prone to vitamin B12 deficiencies. Because the body stores a good amount of B12 in the liver, though, there may be a delay of 5 to 10 years between the start of a vegetarian diet and the onset of deficiency symptoms.

Folic acid supplements offer good news to people over 50 through improved mental performance and memory. A study of adults age 50 to 70 who had low levels of folate were given folic acid supplements for three years with the result that memory, reaction speeds, information processing, and overall thinking tested similar to that of people two to five years younger.

In addition, a folate deficiency elevates homocysteine levels which contribute to heart disease and stroke. Folic acid supplementation is beneficial in preventing these cardiovascular problems. But too much folic acid throws these levels off in the other direction.

Allergy sufferers will likewise want to be sure their folic acid intake is good. Patients consuming higher levels had fewer antibodies that trigger immune responses such as allergies and asthma.

Folic Acid– The Sources

Since 1996, the USDA has required cereals and grains to be fortified with folic acid to ensure folks get an adequate amount of this vital nutrient. Although this has show a reduced incidence of babies born with neural tube defects, it’s wise for prospective parents to supplement with folic acid as extra insurance– especially mothers who already have a child or two (or more!) and may be depleted.

So how much should you take? Because folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, it is hard to overdose. The ideal dosage is between 400-800 micrograms per day for all populations. This will be safe for you unless your favorite daily snack is liver, which contains 170-190 micrograms for every three ounces!

Healthy bodies seem only able to process a maximum of 1000 mcg/day. Above this, some people report itchiness and rarely, gastrointestinal discomfort or insomnia. Sometimes doctors prescribe up to 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid supplementation for special cases, like a jump-start in healing certain anemias, or for mothers planning another pregnancy when they’ve borne a child with a neural tube defect. The folks at Beeyoutiful urge medical supervision before consuming mega-doses.

The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends getting the necessary pre-natal nutrition (also good for people of any age!) from properly prepared, nutrient-dense foods. This includes organic liver and other organ meats, seafood, eggs, and the best quality butter, cream and fermented (preferably raw) milk products you can find. Organic meats, vegetables, grains, and legumes should round out the diet, with a special emphasis on leafy green vegetables. (For more about the ideal way to prepare and eat foods, I’ll recommend yet again the excellent book by Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, available from Beeyoutiful.)

Healthy meal preparation too often collides with Real Life making a thoroughly healthy diet difficult to achieve regularly–which is where the importance of using the right supplements come in. For those in their child-bearing years, the elderly, allergy sufferers, heart patients, and people taking medicine for epilepsy and mood disorders, supplemental folic acid intake is essential. You can get it through Beeyoutiful’s SuperMom and SuperDad vitamins as well as Beeyoutiful’s separate Folic Acid tablets which contain an ample 800 mcg. of folic acid, plus 25 mg. of B12. Whatever your stage of life, knowing you’re getting the rewards of proper folic acid intake will add to your peace of mind.supermom_superdad

Nancy Webster is a free-lance writer, homeschool mother of eight, and an avid researcher on health and nutrition. She lives with her family on their partially working farm in Tennessee. Nancy and her husband Greg’s sixth child Grace (smiling atop their old Belgian horse) is a big sister to a brother and sister who do not have Down syndrome or neural tube defects. The Websters believe siblings are the best gift you can give your child with Down syndrome. Nancy has recently started the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (see Nourishing Traditions in the Beeyoutiful book section for more about the WAP Foundation.)

Good Sources of Selenium- Fall 2009 Catalog

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Food                                                       Selenium Content (Micrograms)*

Brazil Nuts (3-4, 1/2 oz.)**………………………………………………………..272

Tuna, light, canned in water (3 oz.)…………………………………………….68

Flounder or sole, cooked (3 oz.)…………………………………………………50

Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil (3 oz)………………………………………. 45

Halibut, cooked (3 oz.)……………………………………………………………..40

Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked (1 cup)…………………………………….. 36

Salmon, sockeye, cooked (3 oz.)………………………………………………. 32

Turkey, roasted (3 oz.)…………………………………………………………….. 31

Cream of Wheat, cooked (1 cup) ………………………………………………   31

Beef, cooked (3 oz.)………………………………………………………………… 30

Salmon, pink, canned (3 oz.)……………………………………………………. 28

Ground turkey (3 oz.)………………………………………………………………32

Macaroni, enriched, cooked (1 cup)………………………………………….. 30

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted (1 oz.)…………………………………………… 23

Chicken, cooked (3 oz.)…………………………………………………………… 21

Cottage cheese, 1% (1 cup)………………………………………………………. 20

Brown rice, long-grain, cooked (1 cup)……………………………………… 19

Oats, cooked (1 cup)……………………………………………………………….. 19

Egg (1 large) …………………………………………………………………………. 16

Whole-wheat bread (1 slice)…………………………………………………….. 10

*Average values (values vary, depending on where the plant grew, or what the animal ate.)

** Limit Brazil nuts to two a day to avoid getting too much selenium

The Selenium Difference- Fall 2009 Catalog

The Selenium Difference:

This Trace Mineral Packs a Punch

By Jessica Bischof

selenium

You’d think it would be big news if someone discovered a substance that could

  • Protect from certain types of cancer;
  • Keep viral influenza “mild” and reduce the chance of lung damage;
  • Guard against heart disease;
  • Provide strong anti-oxidation protection;
  • Increase energy by balancing the thyroid;
  • Build a stronger immune system.

You might think that, but something as “ordinary” as a trace mineral isn’t as exciting as a new miracle drug. Nevertheless, selenium is a highly researched mineral, and we know a great deal about its significant contribution to our physical well-being.

A Very Busy Mineral

Selenium works in connection with vitamin E to deliver its benefits. Although our bodies need only a small amount of selenium to receive the protection and health support it offers, we must make it a point to ingest it through food or supplements.

Selenium studies have shown that it protects against stomach, breast, esophageal, prostate, liver, and bladder cancers. It also supports the body undergoing radiation– especially the kidneys, which can otherwise be ravaged by such treatment.

Selenium-deficient patients are known to experience mutations of the influenza virus, often resulting in severe lung damage and a worsened case of the flu. Conversely, adequate selenium in the diet protects against the dreaded “cytokine storm” many researchers think is responsible for the severe respiratory tract damage and many of the deaths in the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Avian and SARS flus, and the current H1N1 Swine Flu.

In addition, selenium plays a key role in the body’s critical conversion of the thyroid hormone T4–the “storage” hormone–into T3, the “usable” form we need for energy and proper metabolism.

Selenium Abounds–If You Can Find It

Selenium is plentiful in the soil in many parts of the world although some areas are more notably deficient. The best source of selenium is always food raised in selenium-rich soil. In the US, for instance, farmlands in the Dakotas and Nebraska abound with selenium and folks there who eat a lot of locally grown foods probably don’t need to take selenium supplements. On the other hand, certain areas of China are known to be particularly selenium-deficient and it is no coincidence that some of the worst flu viruses have come from these parts of China.

The accompanying sidebar lists a number of selenium-rich foods to help guide your selections. However, the levels of selenium are not “guaranteed.” The presence of selenium is always dependent on the soil in which the product is grown or, in the case of animal products, the soil that grew the grass the livestock ate. As a result, the chart shows averages. As far as I can determine, no one has yet compiled selenium charts based on geographical regions that food comes from.

How Much is Enough?

The National Library of Medicine states, “No pregnancy category has been established for supplemental selenium intake although it is generally believed to be safe during pregnancy when consumed in amounts normally found in foods.” It also notes that selenium passes through breast milk to a nursing infant.

The FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance for selenium is 55mcg. This suggestion is based on studies done in China during the 1970’s concluding that individuals that took in 800 mcg daily were not receiving too much. To be conservative, the FDA then halved the maximum safe recommended amount to 400 mcg daily, in order to allow a “safety net” to make sure people don’t get too much. As with many other nutrients, excessive intake can be harmful.

Another factor to consider when evaluating selenium intake for your family is that food-based selenium is always more usable to the body and is retained better. Also, different forms of supplemental selenium offer varying levels of usability. The form Beeyoutiful sells9, seleonomethionine, is highly usable by the body. In fact, studies show that it transfers more readily to breast milk, probably because the body is able to absorb it more easily than other forms.

The National Library of Medicine suggests that 50 to 75 mcg of selenium should be “adequate” for adults and lactating mothers. This is certainly a conservative number, and it is sometimes helpful to remember that when the FDA uses the term “adequate,” it is referring to the smallest amount needed to avoid specific symptoms of deficiency. It is not a suggestion of an optimal dose for health. Most researchers suggest a supplement between 150 to 250 mcg daily for adults. Children require less.

As the selenium chart suggests, Brazil nuts offer one of the highest concentrations of selenium. So for my children (who are too young to swallow supplements) I give them one Brazil nut each day as a “treat.” Of course, I never remember every day, so I determine how many nuts to hand out based on how often I’ve remembered that particular week. Toxicity from selenium is unlikely from getting a little too much on any given day. Rather, it is from the result of continuously and exclusively eating foods that come from a selenium-rich environment or by supplementing too aggressively.

So even though you don’t need a lot, many rewards of good health can be traced to this little mineral.

jess b

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols to support their health, using nutrition, diet, and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health – not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, hormonal balancing, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

A Hill (not) to Die On – Fall 2008 Catalog

by Greg Webster

Greg webster

Easy Prevention for a Difficult Men’s Problem

Two years ago, I turned half a century old. Our family celebration was thoroughly Cajun style: Blackened everything-streamers and balloons, over-the-hill signs, even a cake noir. My son presented me a pair of “old man” Velcro shoes while my sisters provided rotten false teeth and a cane. One especially caring card announced that the time had come for regular colonoscopies.

The significance of my age milestone was not lost on my wife. As I’ve come to realize about most loving wives and their husbands, she worries more about my health than I do. Not long after the party, she and I enjoyed some quiet moments one evening on our deck, reminiscing about backpacking trips through the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park two decades earlier. “You know,” Nancy spoke into the darkness, “your birthday cards joked about old man diseases, but you need to take good care of yourself so we’ll still be healthy enough for backpacking when we get the chance again.” Naturally, my first reaction was to point out that I’m still in much better shape than she is, so I’m not the one to worry about. But to leave it there only ignores a small part of me-and every aging male-that can cause big problems if not managed correctly.

GLAND AWARENESS

While men have carried a prostate gland around all their lives, most have little idea what it does for them-and arguably for their wives too. A walnut-sized gland situated just below the bladder, it wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body. You may have seen it diagrammed at some point as part of the male reproductive system, but as a back-stage player, its function is much less exciting than some other components in the array. It produces a fluid that is a major ingredient in semen while defending the genital and urinary tract against infection.

Great. So, the prostate is an unsung hero of things male. What’s that got to do with turning 50? When a man reaches middle age, his hormones change, causing the prostate gland to grow. And its proximity to the urethra can cause problems-kind of like a python causes problems for small animals. The expanding gland can constrict the urethra and make bad things happen like:

  • Frequent urge to urinate or the opposite-difficulty in doing so
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Dribbling of urine
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

These problems can be caused by prostate inflammation or infection (prostatitis), enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and/or cancer. Health-gloom-wise, prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer is to women. The second leading cause of cancer death in men, 90% of cases go undetected until it is untreatable and has spread to the lymph system (men don’t worry about their health, remember?).

This disaster is just waiting to happen in most grown males. By age 50, 35% have developed some cancer cells in the prostate. The result is that 97% of all men will be affected with some manner of prostate problem at some point in life. The typical solution is surgery. Yet even in successful cases the outcome can be, shall we say, unhappy.

The two big “I” words: Incontinence and Impotence happen every year to a strong contingent of the 400,000 American men who undergo prostate surgery. Unfortunately, the drugs most popular for treating the ailments are similarly ripe with dangerous side effects. But then, the alternative to treatment is pretty dangerous, too-lethal, in fact.

NEW TWIST ON AN OLD PRESCRIPTION

The discouraging facts about my future health compared to my wife’s could make a man my age wonder if thoughts of backpacking adventures to come are nothing more than pipe dreams. But taking care of the inner piping is possible.

While the prescription for good health is familiar-maintain an active lifestyle, eat a nutrient-rich diet, and take high quality supplements- there are a number of elements in this typical health recommendation that especially benefit prostate functioning.

Exercise

Sedentary men are 30% more likely to get prostate cancer and 40% more likely to have the non-cancerous condition, BPH. The same stats apply to highly stressed men. Both experience low levels of glutathione (an antioxidant produced inside the body and induced by exercise) in their cells, a situation that lessens resistance to cell and DNA damage.d3

Sitting for long periods also pinches nerves in the vertebrae that transmit messages from the brain to the prostate. This reduces the flow of fresh blood to the gland, allowing toxins to build up. Prostate- specific exercise can free up nerves and blood flow. And routine outdoor exercise adds a winning touch. Vitamin D, essential to prostate well-being, is manufactured naturally by the body when exposed to sunlight.

Diet

Foods rich in antioxidants-the cancer-fighting wonders found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables-are crucial. In addition, oysters and other shellfish, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast contain zinc, an important mineral for prostate health and replacement of seminal fluid.

The Weston A. Price Foundation (an organization committed to education about natural, healthful eating) encourages the use of raw milk from grass-fed cows. It’s high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) for powerful protection against cancer of all types. If raw milk is not available, whole (not low-fat) organic milk is a good second choice.

Excessive caffeine or alcohol should be avoided since these are immune suppressors. And contrary to politically correct dietitians, processed soy products have been linked to increased prostate cancer risk and should be avoided. Although soy manufacturers often brag that Asian men (who eat a lot of soy) demonstrate a low incidence of prostate cancer, they don’t point out that soy mostly consumed by Asians is fermented into healthful tempeh or miso-very different from the processed Americanized form. Regular consumption of meat substitutes, energy bars, and protein shakes made with soy can mean a person ingests 100 times the level of soy intake considered safe.

Supplements

A few supplements directly improve and maintain prostate functioning, but none better than Beeyoutiful’s Clinical Strength Prostate Health. As men age, the body’s ratio of estrogen (yes, the woman hormone!) to testosterone increases, but Prostate Health contains stinging nettle root extract to counter the effects of excess estrogen production. Many cheaper health products use only the stems and leaves, not the root of this herb, which renders it significantly less effective.clinical_strength_ph

Yet that’s only the beginning. The complete rundown on what Prostate Health delivers is impressive.

Saw palmetto supports normal urinary flow and calms inflammation. Berries from the saw palmetto plant, which grows in the southeastern U.S., are used to inhibit production of an unwanted form of testosterone suspected of contributing to enlargement of the prostate. “Bargain brands” use a powdered form of the plant which does not perform as well as berry-based formulations like Beeyoutiful’s. Prostate Health, in fact, contains an especially high percentage of healthful fatty acids in the form of serenoa repens. And while there is a downside effect of any saw palmetto-blocking the enzyme responsible for prostate enlargement causes another enzyme to kick into high gear and make estrogen-the stinging nettle root in Prostate Health counter-balances this tendency.

Pygeum, made from the bark of the pygeum tree-an evergreen found in the higher elevations of Africa and used by the natives for centuries for what they call “old man’s disease”-enhances the saw palmetto/stinging nettle combo, facilitating urination and helping the bladder empty completely.

Pumpkin seed oil is high in four free fatty acids and is now considered as vital to prostate health as lycopene.

Lycopene-the natural pigment that makes tomatoes red-has been shown to slow or even halt the growth of BPH.

Zinc offers an anti-bacterial effect to help stave off genito-urinary infections. (In prostatitis, zinc levels are only one-tenth of those in a normal prostate.) Men are more vulnerable than women to having low zinc because they lose that particular mineral in every ejaculation.

Vitamin B6 supplements the zinc and stinging nettle in regulating the enzyme which makes “bad testosterone.” B6 helps control inflammation of the bladder and counteracts the development of prostate tumors. Prostate Health offers all-in-one prostate protection. If someone you know isn’t taking it by the time he turns 50, add a bottle to the gag gift pile. The name will fit with one of the “kind” cards he’s certain to get, and the pills are just the color you’d want-basic black. This is one over-the-hill gift to keep on giving- and taking-so men can enjoy celebrating not only 50, but 60, 70, and beyond.

Greg Webster is a freelance writer, homeschool father of eight, and owner of The Gregory Group advertising, marketing, and design firm. He and his family enjoy “natural, country living” just south of Columbia, Tennessee.

PROSTATE EXERCISE

Stand and take a few deep breaths. Exhale until all the air is gone from your lungs. Without breathing in, suck in your stomach, pulling it up as high as possible into your chest. Use hands to help lift it and squeeze your sides as well. This reverses the negative effects of gravity, which is constantly pulling down on your organs, with the prostate gland at the bottom of the heap. Feel the muscles in the lower back and side tighten. Then relax and inhale. After a minute or two, repeat.

If you notice any pain (very possibly your prostate), do this exercise 10 times throughout the day. You’re likely to feel some soreness after the first few sessions because toxic blood trapped in the prostate area is now moving out, irritating the surrounding tissues. Stick with it, and within days there should be only a feeling of relief and refreshment after exercising. Three to four sessions a day is good enough as a maintenance routine.

Beeyoutiful Products Listed In This Article:

Taking a Shine to Your Hair- Summer 2007 Catalog

by Nancy Websternancy_small

I always assumed I’d have a baby girl first. It seemed the natural thing because I didn’t have much background in boys. My only sibling was a sister. I went to an all-girls’ high school, and all of my dolls were female (never had a Ken). But as standard baby-having procedure dictates, I didn’t get to choose. My first two were boys-all boys, I might add. From their early books, I learned what to call any piece of construction equipment ever invented and the names of every dinosaur yet discovered. I controlled my inclination to heart failure when the boys climbed too high in a tree or picked up a snake. And it was actually fun. Still, I hoped for a girl to dress in ribbons and bows, someone to be a cooking soul mate and a baby lover. So when our third bundle of joy came along and the doctor proclaimed, “It’s a girl!” I literally did not believe him at first.

Precious Anna wore the mandated pink ruffles but ripped out every hair barrette or bow until she was four years old. I became well-practiced in daughter maintenance, though, since she was the first of five girls in a row! The bathroom drawers bulged with brushes and ribbons, and dollies joined the army men on our toy shelves.

Letting (Hair) Go

What I’m going to tell you next is a True Confession of a tired mommy. Because our babies came close together and some had special needs, many nights-no, as long as we’re confessing I should honestly say: most nights-I bedded them down after a quick toothbrushing and a wishful promise to brush their hair the next morning. If hair happened to be in braids, the promise might be made several nights in a row while wispy hairs wrapped more and more intricately around their rubber bands.

When beauty parlor time finally came, my only hope of getting out their tangles was to spray my girls’ hair with a mélange of water, behentrimonium methosulfate, sodium benzoate, dimethicone, hydroxyethyl behenamidopropyl dimonium chloride, polysorbate 20, cetearyl alcohol, trisiloxane, citric acid, fragrance, ceteth-10, and laureth-4. And because tired mommy moments still happen, this threatening sounding broth (a name brand hair detangler and conditioner) has been my only resource-until now.

Taking a Shine to Your Hair

hairshinewebThese days, when Grace, our eleven-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, comes to me with a rubber band stuck in her self-styled pigtails, I grab Hair Shine by Beeyoutiful. This organic blend of aloe and the essential oils of lavender, rosemary, and citrus is all I need! I can pronounce the names of each ingredient and could even eat them safely if I wanted to. And the detangling ability of Hair Shine is just as good as the name brand alternative but with the added bonus that it doesn’t make the girls’ hair greasy. There’s also a value-added olfactory benefit. We smell fresh, clean and pretty thanks to the softly aromatic essential oils.

Ingredients for Many Uses

The aloe in Hair Shine comes from a plant much like the one I manage to keep alive to apply in case someone gets burned on our wood stove. It soothes and conditions your skin (and hair) while it adds shine.

The lavender is an especially hard worker in the mixture. It enhances body in your hair and is a major contributor to Hair Shine’s detangling and softening qualities. Like aloe, lavender is known for its use on burns, so putting the two together makes Hair Shine a cooling, healthy alternative to standard sunburn sprays. (Just make sure you don’t use it before you hit the sun-the sweet orange essential oil may actually increase photosensitivity in some people.)

Another use for Hair Shine is as a refreshing body spray, even on your face (close your eyes, of course). Here, the rosemary oil acts as an astringent and skin rejuvenator. And because Hair Shine can be sprayed on either wet or dry hair, you can get trigger happy from head to toe right out of the shower. There’s enough in the four-fluid-ounce bottle to give you hundreds of spritzes, so indulge yourself!

While I’m at it: there’s one other unsung benefit of Hair Shine I discovered once warm weather set in. Ticks-those disgusting arachnids only good for guinea hen food-and other biting bugs leave irritating itchy spots that Hair Shine soothes wonderfully.

But back to hair basics. My five girls and I represent examples of all hair types-fine, straight, curly, course, thick, and thin. Hair Shine helps keep straight hair from looking stringy (plus, the nice smell inspires you to spritz and brush more frequently), and it tones down the frizz of curly hair without the stiffness sometimes caused by other sculpting, frizz-control products. Not only that, Hair Shine costs much less than most alternatives sold through salons.

By the way, girls aren’t the only benefactors of Hair Shine. My 17-year-old son has fine, blond, curly hair. Even though he keeps it very short, the curls on the front can get a little out of hand, and while my mother’s heart loves those curls-remnants of his cherished toddlerhood- David’s not so thrilled with them. He’s accustomed to using water or even a little mousse to tame the twirls, but after allowing me to experiment on him with Hair Shine, he’s sold on the softness and taming for his hair, too. So, Hair Shine is right for pretty much everybody in your family. I wonder about the dog…

Beeyoutiful’s Products Mentioned in this Article:

Hair Shine Spray-In Conditioner

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