Detox For Your Health!

X is for detox. Detoxification is a basic principle of natural health. Any program of restoring the health and balance of the body includes getting toxins out of the body.
You may wonder why detoxification is so important. A few toxins here and there are not the issue. It is the accumulation of them over time because they tend to store in our fatty tissue because the body cannot eliminate them without some help. The fatty tissue we are talking about is not just that roll around the middle – it also a form of fat known as phospholipids that are found in significant quantities in our brain and nerves. This accumulation of toxins over time can cause serious degenerative problems.
How can you tell if you need to detoxify? I think if you are living in this day and age and eat conventional American food, you need to detoxify. The symptoms and signs of toxicity include fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, high blood pressure, allergies and sensitivities, excessive mucus production, sinus problems, and bronchitis. They can also include mood changes, joint aches, arthritis, autoimmune issues, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, forgetfulness and foggy thinking along with just not feeling good. If you have any of these symptoms, it may be time to clean up.
Many people ask where the toxins come from. They are everywhere – not to be paranoid or anything, but think about it. Much of our food is conventionally grown, meaning that they use chemical pesticides and fertilizers. To top that off, if they are processed in any way, they are treated with chemical additives to preserve texture, taste and shelf life. Our animals are also raised on conventionally grown crops and are fed hormones and sometimes highly processed food that is completely unnatural to their systems. These animals have the same trouble we do in eliminating unnatural chemicals – they store them in fatty tissues. The toxins you get from conventional meat may be the same ones that end up in your brain, prostate and breasts.
Transfats are another major source of toxins in the body. Transfats are unnaturally saturated fats that include shortening and margarine and are found in baked goods, snack foods, and fried foods. These transfats are used by the body for any kind of fatty tissue. Now again, we are not talking about the roll around the middle. There is a cellular membrane for each cell in the body that is made up of fat. If transfats are all that is available, then that is what the body uses. Cell membranes made from transfats are brittle and stiff and basically cause deterioration of the body at a cellular level – this is not good – it is a major source of problems associated with aging. It is also a huge issue with skin conditions. Most skin cancers have some relation to these transfats.
Other ways toxins enter our bodies are through our lungs, and through our skin. Breathing any kind of chemical fumes allows toxins into the body. One commonly overlooked source of inhalant toxins is our cleaning products and air fresheners.              We also forget about the absorbability of our skin. Whatever we put on our skin goes into our bloodstream without being processed by our liver first. Many of our cosmetics and lotions have horrible chemicals in them and we don’t even think twice about the toxicity of them. Think about even Vaseline – also known as petroleum jelly. Yuck! Or baby oil – also petroleum based. How about nice substitutes made from olive oil and beeswax, coconut oil or sweet almond oil?
Detoxification is a way to help the body process out these stored chemicals and it helps lead to health and balance in the long run.

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Gallbladder – Clean it!

G is for gallbladder – a storage organ for the bile produced by the liver. Bile is important because it emulsifies fats that we eat and aids in elimination of cholesterol from the body. Bile increases the normal action of the intestines and helps prevent parasitic infection. Bile also carries the toxins gathered by the liver out of the body.
Gallbladder function can become impaired for a variety of reasons. One common reason is ingesting food and drink that causes the bile to congeal. Normal consistency of bile is that of a light oil. Coffee and chocolate contain substances that make the bile turn into thick sludge, leading to problems with digestion. Diets high in sugar and white flour also cause problems with the gallbladder. And last, but definitely not least, parasitic infections can clog the gallbladder.
When the gallbladder function is less than optimal, certain problems can occur. Symptoms of gallbladder problems include an inability to digest fats, gas or belching, nausea, vomiting, foul smelling stools, pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen that may radiate to the right shoulder or the back, constipation, high cholesterol, and deficiency of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Note that food supplements that contain fat such as fish oil supplements or the fat soluble vitamins could cause burping or other digestive discomfort if there is a gallbladder (or liver) problem.
Gallstones are a well known gallbladder problem. Gallstones are very common and occur in one in five women by the age of 60. They are half as common in men. Gallstones are more common in older people, particularly those that are overweight or those who lose weight suddenly. Women exposed to more estrogen through pregnancies, birth control pills, or estrogen replacement therapies have more tendencies towards gallstones. Eighty percent of people with gallstones have no symptoms. Symptoms occur an average of 8 years after the formation of stones begins.
Natural remedies for gallbladder problems include dietary changes, herbs and other food supplements. High carbohydrate diets with plenty of sweets increase the chances of developing gallstones – so to prevent gallstones, it is best to eat a low carbohydrate diet with no refined sugar. High fiber diets help prevent gallstones too – so eat plenty of high fiber vegetables and/or take a fiber supplement.
As for herbs, turmeric, red beet root, Oregon grape root, artichoke and gold coin grass help clean the liver and gallbladder along with thinning the bile and helping to dissolve existing stones. Enteric coated peppermint oil helps clean the gallbladder and is used throughout Europe. Lecithin is an emulsifier which helps clean the liver and gallbladder. There are many proprietary herbal formulas designed to clean the gallbladder.
Gallbladder flushes can also be helpful. There are many recipes using olive oil and either grapefruit juice or tomato juice. There is even a recipe that uses Coke – although I think the more natural juice with some acid content would be better. I recommend using mini-flushes on a regular basis to help rejuvenate the liver and gall bladder.
If you have had your gallbladder taken out and are still having digestive problems, consider using a supplement containing bile salts to normalize your digestion. Check out natural remedies for your gallbladder issues and see how good you can feel.

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Liver – Is yours healthy?

The liver is the body’s largest gland.  It is the only internal organ that will regenerate itself if part of it is damaged.  Up to 25 percent of the liver can be removed and within a short period of time, it will grow back to its original shape and size.

The liver is the body’s most important organ, functioning as a living filter to clean the system of toxins, metabolize proteins, control hormonal balance, and produce immune-boosting factors.

Bile is the fluid produced by the liver.  Your body produces about a quart of bile per day.  Bile is essential for digestion of fats.  It aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, helps convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, helps with calcium assimilation and promotes peristalsis which is the action of the colon that helps prevent constipation.

Bile does not function properly when the liver is congested, if the bile ducts are clogged, or if there is a lack of the nutrients necessary to make bile.  Without enough bile, the liver begins to store fat rather than break it down.  A sign of this is a roll of fat around the waistline.

One of the liver’s most important jobs is to detoxify our bodies.  Ordinary digestion of even the best food creates byproducts that the liver must process and help eliminate.  Add to that the substances we consume by choice that make the liver work even harder.  These include alcohol, caffeine, sugar, synthetic vitamins and prescription drugs.  Then add to that the thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to in our everyday environment.  These include pesticides, automobile exhaust, second-hand smoke, chemical food additives, and indoor pollutants from paints, carpet, and cleaners.  It is no wonder that many of us have livers that are overworked.

Under ordinary circumstances, your body will handle these toxins by converting them into less toxic substances to be eliminated by the kidneys and colon.  This means that for the liver to function properly, you must also have proper kidney and colon function.

When the liver becomes overwhelmed, it can no longer function optimally.  Signs of liver imbalance include weight gain around the abdomen, cellulite, abdominal bloating, indigestion, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint stiffness, arthritis, knee problems, fatigue, hormonal imbalances including hypothyroidism, mood swings, depression, allergies and skin rashes such as eczema and dermatitis.

Certain nutritional supplements can help restore health to the liver.  In general I recommend a good liver cleanse.  However, it is essential to have good kidney and colon function first.  Sometimes it is necessary to work in stages by using a general cleanse first that addresses all of the body’s channels of elimination before working specifically on the liver.

There are many products that are helpful for balancing the liver.  These include red beet root, dandelion, n-acetyl Cysteine, Sam-e, lecithin, alpha lipoic acid.  There are many good combinations available.  One of my favorite “deep” cleanses is a rotation through a beet root formula, a dandelion formula and a milk thistle formula.

Good liver function is important to your health – clean yours and see how much better you feel.

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Flu Season – Are you ready?

Now is a good time to start building your immune system for flu season. Whether you are concerned about colds or flu, there are some great natural strategies for you to use to build your immune system.

Let’s review a bit about viruses and immune function. Viruses are opportunistic and function like scavengers. If the host is healthy and there is nothing to scavenge, the virus will not be successful.

An average body is somewhat easy to bring into balance and keep well. You want to make sure you are eating well balanced meals, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. If you are concerned about decreased immunity due to stress and what I call fast living (which we all do from time to time), my typical immune recommendations will work well for you.

I love a product called Elderberry Defense. It is a combination of Elderberry, Vitamin D, Echinacea and Olive Leaf. This is what I give my son. He doesn’t get sick enough to miss school unless he doesn’t take it. This comes in a chewable gummy form for kids and in capsule form for those who can swallow. Both work well and are a repeat favorite among mothers.

I am also a big fan of Olive Leaf Extract and Grapefruit Seed Extract. One of our bestsellers is a product called Defense Plus. It is a blend of Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin C, Echinacea and several Mushrooms. Defense Plus is my “go to” remedy for almost anything infectious if you can swallow big pills. Some people take one per day of either Defense Plus or high quality Olive Leaf to stay well.

I personally take Olive Leaf – I have for years. The last time I got really sick was when I ran out of my favorite brand of olive leaf and took another one that I no longer sell.

There are other products worth mentioning that work. Colostrum, Thymus Extract, Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, Astragalus, and Probiotics are all good immune builders. On the average body, any of these, or any combination will work.

It’s the “not” average bodies that will have trouble. These tend to be out of balance to begin with. They tend to be overrun with problems of congestion, inflammation and excess acidity. They are hard to balance as they tend to be a disease waiting to happen.

Bringing these bodies into balance is more of a challenge. I would recommend a whole body cleanse along with some diet changes for these types of bodies. The 2 key problems I see are yeast/fungus and eating too many refined foods – mainly white flour and white sugar. Balancing the diet and getting rid of yeast /fungus will give a virus less to scavenge. With some balance restored, this kind of body will respond well to typical immune builders, but may have to double or triple the average dose to get results.

I can usually predict the first outbreak of a cold or flu virus in the school. It will be after our first bout of cold rainy weather and it is usually after Thanksgiving. It seems to be the combination of rich food, virus exchange with cousins, and cold weather that keeps us inside (Vitamin D deficiency) that yields the first wave.

Cold and flus outbreaks also come from “fast living”. This is when we really need to be prepared. This is when we get run down from things like following the football team to all of their games while continuing all of our “normal” activities.
Watch for times of decreased immunity and boost yours naturally so you can stay well and enjoy life.

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