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Doctor Michael Murray

Dr. Murray is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine. He has published over 30 books featuring natural approaches to health. His research into the health benefits of proper nutrition is the foundation for a best-selling line of dietary supplements from Natural Factors, where he is Director of Product Science and Innovation. He is a graduate, former faculty member, and serves on the Board of Regents of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.

While nothing can replace meeting with your doctor, here are his dietary and supplementation recommendations:
Visit DoctorMurray.com

Anti-aging

What is Anti-Aging?


The goal of anti-aging strategies is to address the underlying issues that lead to accelerated cellular aging as well as prevention of health conditions associated with aging including mental and physical decline.


What causes Aging?


The consensus among most experts is that aging is the result of both programmed cell life and cellular damage. The latest, and most likely, program theory of aging is the telomere shortening theory. Telomeres, the end cap of our DNA molecules, are the “clocks of aging.” Everytime a body cell replicates, the telomere gets shorter. The shorter the telomere gets, the more it effects gene expression. The result is cellular aging.


Damage theories include the free radical and excessive glycosylation theories. Free radicals may be derived from our environment (sunlight, X-rays, radiation, chemicals), ingested foods or drinks, or produced within our bodies during chemical reactions. Compounds that prevent free radical damage are known as "antioxidants" or free radical "scavengers."


The glycosylation theory involves the continued attachment of blood sugar (glucose) molecules to cellular proteins until finally the protein ceases to function properly. Excessive glycosylation has many adverse effects: inactivation of enzymes, damaging structural and regulatory proteins, impaired immune function, and increased cellular dysfunction.


What dietary factors are important in Anti-Aging?


Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major contributors to a reduced life span, dietary strategies associated with protection against these killers apply to anti-aging as well. Here are the key dietary recommendations:


  1. Eat a “Rainbow” Assortment of Fruits and Vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best bet for preventing virtually every chronic disease as well as fighting the aging process.
  2. Eat to Support Blood Sugar Control. Concentrated sugars, refined grains, and other sources of simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and excessive glycosylation.
  3. Reduce Intake of Meat and Other Animal Foods. Considerable evidence indicates that a high intake of red or processed meat increases the risk of mortality, i.e., people die sooner.
  4. Eat the Right Type of Fats. The goal is to decrease total fat intake (especially intake of saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and omega-6 fats) while increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.
  5. Keep Salt Intake Low, Potassium Intake High. Eat less processed foods and salt while increasing the intake of whole foods.
  6. Avoid Food Additives. Food additives include such substances as preservatives, artificial flavorings, and acidifiers.
  7. Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water Each Day. Water is essential for life. Drink at least 48 ounces of water per day. Even mild dehydration impairs body functions.

What nutritional supplements should I take for Anti-aging?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


Vitamin D3 slows aging by increasing the length of telomeres. Obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity can shorten the telomere length, but researchers found that increasing vitamin D3 levels overcame these effects. Dosage: 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily.


Resveratrol is a plant compound similar to flavonoids found in low levels in the skin of red grapes, red wine, cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, peanuts, and mulberry skin. Most resveratrol supplements use Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) as the source. Resveratrol activates an enzyme known as sirtuin 1 that plays an important role in the regulation of cellular life spans; it also promotes improved insulin sensitivity. Dosage: 500 mg one to three times daily.


PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a novel vitamin-like compound found in plant foods that is showing a wide range of benefits to brain and body function. It exerts a synergistic effect with CoQ10 and it is vital for the function of mitochondria (the energy producing compartments of our cells). Like CoQ10, PQQ protects brain cells from damage. It has been shown to be memory restorative in animal and human studies and its antioxidant activity is completely off the charts (about 5,000 times the effect of vitamin C). Dosage: 10 to 20 mg daily.


DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) primary role is as a precursor for all other steroid hormones in the human body including sex hormones and corticosteroids. Because DHEA levels tend to decline with aging, DHEA through supplementation may offer some protection against the effects of aging. DHEA has shown promise in clinical studies in enhancing memory and improving mental function in the elderly as well increasing muscle strength and lean body mass, improving immune function, and enhance quality of life in aging men and women. Dosage: 15 to 25 mg daily.


Melatonin plays a key role as the biological timekeeper of hormone secretion as well as in promotion of sleep. Inadequate sleep or poor sleep quality accelerate the aging process, especially in the brain. Dosage: 3 to 5 mg at bedtime.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Get a blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP). This compound is a marker for systemic inflammation. There are many factors that trigger silent inflammation including resistance to the hormone insulin, obesity, emotional stress, environmental toxins, low antioxidant intake, and increased exposure to free radicals (e.g., radiation, smoking, etc.) Measuring CRP provides a general assessment of the aging process. Higher levels are associated with accelerated cellular aging as many of the factors that promote inflammation also promote early aging as well.

Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure?


Blood pressure refers to the resistance produced each time the heart beats and sends blood coursing through the arteries. The peak reading of the pressure exerted by this contraction is the systolic pressure. Between beats the heart relaxes, and blood pressure drops. The lowest reading is referred to as the diastolic pressure. A normal blood pressure reading for an adult is: 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic). Readings above this level are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure readings can be divided into the following levels:


  • Prehypertension (120-139/80-89)
  • Borderline (120-160/90-94)
  • Mild (140-160/95-104)
  • Moderate 140-180/105-114)
  • Severe (160+/115+)

Borderline to moderate high blood pressure is generally without symptoms. Severe hypertension may be associated with increased sleepiness, confusion, headache, nausea, and vomiting.


What causes High Blood Pressure?


High blood pressure is closely related to lifestyle and dietary factors. Important lifestyle factors that may cause high blood pressure include: coffee consumption, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, stress, and smoking. Important dietary factors include: obesity; high sodium-to-potassium ratio; low-fiber, high-sugar diet; high saturated-fat and low essential-fatty-acid intake; and a diet low in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.


What dietary factors are important in High Blood Pressure?


Achieving ideal body weight is the most important recommendation for those with high blood pressure. Even modest amounts of weight loss often produce significant reduction in blood pressure. See Weight Loss for more information.


A diet high in sodium and low in potassium is associated with high blood pressure. The easiest way to lower sodium intake is to avoid prepared foods and table salt. The best ways to boost potassium levels are to increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.


Special foods for people with high blood pressure include celery; garlic and onions; nuts and seeds; cold-water fish, e.g. salmon and mackerel, or fish oil products concentrated for the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA; green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables for their of calcium and magnesium; ground flaxseeds, whole grains, and legumes for their fiber; and foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli and citrus fruits.


What nutritional supplements should I take for High Blood Pressure?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


Magnesium supplementation has been shown to lower blood pressure, particularly in patients who are already on high blood pressure medication. Dosage: 150 to 250 mg three times daily. The best forms are magnesium citrate, malate, glycinate, and aspartate.


WARNING: People with kidney disease or severe heart disease (such as high-grade atrioventricular block) should not take magnesium unless under the direct advice of a physician.


Bonito Peptides (e.g., PeptAce), a purified mixture of small peptides (proteins) derived from fish bonito relaxes the arterial walls and helps to reduce fluid volume. Clinical studies have shown these peptides from bonito are effective in improving blood pressure control. The degree of blood pressure reduction in these studies was quite significant, typically reducing the systolic by at least 10 mm Hg and the diastolic by 7 mm Hg. Dosage: 1,500 mg daily.


Celery Seed Extract (standardized to contain 85% 3-n-butylphthalide [3nB]) has also been shown to help improve blood sugar control. 3nB is a compound that is unique to celery and is responsible for the characteristic flavor and odor of celery. It was discovered as the active component of celery in response to investigations by researchers seeking to explain some of the traditional effects of celery including lowering of blood pressure and relief of joint pain. Dosage: 75 to 150 mg twice daily.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)), can help lower blood pressure in some cases. Dosage: 200 to 400 mg daily.


Garlic preparations can lower pressure. Dosage: should provide a total allicin potential of at least 4,000 mcg daily.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


You will know if the program is working by monitoring your blood pressure. Do not expect an immediate reduction as diet, lifestyle, and supplement strategies often take 4-6 weeks to start showing an effect. As a reminder, high blood pressure must not be taken lightly. By keeping your blood pressure in the normal range, you will not only lengthen your life, but you will improve the quality of your life as well. This is especially true if natural measures, rather than drugs, are used to attain proper blood pressure; the drugs carry significant side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and impotence.


If you have severe hypertension or with the natural approach your blood pressure has not dropped below 140/105, you will need to work with a physician to select the most appropriate medication. The diet, lifestyle, and supplements recommended above are perfectly safe for use with prescription drugs for high blood pressure.

Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?


Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that serves several vital roles. It is a building block for various hormones and bile acids; and it plays a major role in stabilizing cell membranes. While proper cholesterol levels are important to good health, the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated blood cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease.


Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is responsible for transporting fats (primarily triglycerides and cholesterol) from the liver to body cells, and elevations of LDL is associated with an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, the primary cause of heart attack and stroke. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is responsible for returning fats to the liver, and elevations of HDL are associated with a low risk of heart attack.


Currently, experts recommend that your total blood cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dl from a fasting blood sample. The HDL level should be greater than 40 mg/dl. The LDL level limit is based on your current health history and risk factors:


  • Less than 100 mg/dl for people who have coronary heart disease, diabetes, or an elevated 10-year risk estimate, as determined by a physician.
  • Less than 130 mg/dl for people who do not have coronary heart disease or equivalent risk for it, but have two or more risk factors. Risk factors include age, low activity, smoking, and being over weight.
  • Less than 160 mg/dl for people who have no or one risk factor for coronary heart disease.

What causes high cholesterol?


Elevated cholesterol levels are usually reflective of dietary and lifestyle factors, although it can also be due to genetic factors.


What dietary factors are important in lowering high cholesterol?


The key recommendations are to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet. Increase the consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and raw nuts and seeds). When attempting to lower cholesterol through diet it is important to eat a variety of cholesterol-lowering vegetables including celery, beets, eggplant, garlic and onion, peppers and root vegetables.


Diets rich in legumes (beans) are being used to lower cholesterol levels and soy protein has been shown in some studies to be able to lower LDL levels by as much as 35-40%. Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, walnuts, and ground flaxseeds are also quite useful in lowering cholesterol through their fiber, monounsaturated oil, and essential fatty acid content.


What nutritional supplements should I take for high cholesterol?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


Niacin (vitamin B3) is the most well-researched natural cholesterol lowering agent. In fact, several studies have shown niacin to produce better overall results than cholesterol-lowering drugs including statins. For best results, choose intermediate-release forms to help avoid the flushing of the skin caused by niacin. Start with a dose of 500 mg at night before going to bed for one week. Increase the dosage to 1,000 mg the next week and 1,500 mg the following week. Stay at the 1,500 mg dosage for two months before checking the response – dosage can be adjusted up or down depending upon the response.


Citrus extracts. Sytrinol, a special extract of citrus peel, and bergamot extract from a type of citrus fruit have produced clinical results very similar to statin drugs, but without side effects. Dosage: Sytrinol, 150 mg twice daily; bergamot extract, 500 mg two to three times daily.


Garlic preparations can lower total cholesterol by about 10-12%, lower LDL by 12-15%, and raise HDL levels by 10-12%. Dosage: should provide a total allicin potential of at least 4,000 mcg.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Within the first two months, either niacin, Sytrinol, or bergamot extract typically produce reductions in total cholesterol level of 50 to 75 mg/dl in patients with initial total cholesterol levels above 250 mg/dl. In cases in which the initial cholesterol level is above 300 mg/dl, I would recommend using both niacin and either Sytrinol or bergamot extract. It may take four to six months before cholesterol levels begin to reach recommended levels. Once the cholesterol level is reduced below 200 mg/dl, reduce the dosage of the niacin by 50% and recheck levels after two months. If the cholesterol levels creep up above 200 mg/dl, raise the dosage back to the full recommendation. If the cholesterol level remains below 200 mg/dl, then withdraw the niacin completely and check the cholesterol levels in two months. Re-institute supplementation if levels creep up over 200 mg/dl. If they maintain below 200 mg/dl you may be able to discontinue the Sytrinol or bergamot as well.

Immunity

What is Immunity?


Immunity refers to the function of the immune system. Support and enhancement of the immune system is perhaps the most important step in achieving resistance and reducing susceptibility to colds, flus, and other infections. Supporting the immune system involves a health-promoting lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, and the appropriate use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines.


If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it is a sign that your immune system needs support:


  • Do you catch colds easily?
  • Do you get more than two colds a year?
  • Are you suffering chronic infection?
  • Do you get frequent cold sores or have genital herpes?
  • Are your lymph glands sore and swollen at times?
  • Do you have now or have you ever had cancer?

What causes low Immunity?


The health of the immune system is greatly impacted by a person’s emotional state, level of stress, lifestyle, dietary habits and nutritional status. Nutrient deficiency is the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system. An overwhelming number of clinical and experimental studies indicate that any single nutrient deficiency can profoundly impair the immune system.


Stress also lowers immunity. Take steps to manage stress effectively, see Stress.


What dietary factors are important in low immune function?


Optimal immune function requires a healthy diet that is (1) rich in whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, (2) low in fats and refined sugars, and (3) contains adequate, but not excessive, amounts of protein. On top of this, for optimal immune function, an individual should drink five or six 8-ounce glasses of water per day (preferably pure.


One of the more damaging food components to our immune system is sugar. In one study, the ingestion of 100 gram (roughly 3-1/2 ounces) portions of carbohydrate as glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, and pasteurized orange juice all significantly reduced the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to engulf and destroy bacteria.


Some of the most important food components to enhance immune function are the carotenes. Foods high in carotenes include colored vegetables, such as dark greens; yellow and orange squash, carrots, yams, and sweet potatoes; and red peppers and tomatoes.


Other foods useful for proper immune function include cabbage family vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, collards, kale, and greens from mustard, radish and turnip), flavonoid rich berries, garlic and onions, and Jerusalem artichoke.


What nutritional supplements should I take for low immune function?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


A high-potency multiple-vitamin and mineral formula is the first step in supporting the immune system with nutritional supplementation as it will address any underlying nutritional deficiencies.


Vitamin D is especially critical to immune health. Individuals who have vitamin D blood levels lower than 38 ng/ml had twice as many upper respiratory tract infections as those with higher levels. Clinical studies have validated vitamin D’s ability to reduce the risk of colds and flu. To insure optimal vitamin D status, recently most health experts are advocating daily dosages of 2,000 to 5,000 IU.


Echinacea has been shown to exert significant effects on immune function in over 300 scientific investigations, not all of the clinical studies have been positive. Mixed results from clinical studies with Echinacea are most likely due to lack of or insufficient quantity of active compounds. Echinamide® is a patented, clinically proven, product that guarantees high levels of the three key active groups of compounds responsible for echinacea’s actions on the immune system. Follow label instructions.


Wellmune is a special beta-glucan preparation from baker’s yeast that has been shown to be effective in several double-blind studies in boosting immunity in preventing colds and the flu. Subjects were treated daily with either 500mg of Wellmune or a placebo for 90 days. In one of these study results, the Wellmune group reported:


  • No missed work or school due to colds, compared with 1.38 days of work/school missed for the placebo group.
  • No incidence of fever, compared with 3.50 incidence in the placebo group.
  • An increase in quality of life, including physical energy and emotional well-being, as measured by a clinically validated health survey questionnaire.

Medicinal mushrooms like maitake, shitake, reishi, and cordyceps possess significant immune enhancing effects. Much of this activity is due to the presence of beta-glucans. Numerous experimental and clinical studies have shown that mushroom beta-glucans activate white blood cells. Follow label instructions.


Probiotics refer to health-promoting bacteria products containing species like Lactobaccilli and Bifidobacter. These preparations can be valuable aids in boosting immunity. Take 6 to 12 billion live colony forming units (CFU) daily.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Fewer colds and other virus infections, shorter bouts of infections, and better overall resistance to infections.

Joints

What is Joint Health?


Joint health reflects the ability of structures like cartilage, tendons, and ligaments to perform their roles in the function of the joint. Preservation of joint structure and function is critical in the battle against arthritis (inflammation of a joint).


Osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage serves an important role in joint function. Its gel-like nature provides protection to the ends of joints by acting as a shock absorber. Without the cartilage in the joint, bone literally rubs against bone leading to pain, deformity, inflammation, and limitation of motion in the joint.

What causes poor joint health?


The primary cause is the combination of the degenerative “wear-and-tear” process of aging. The cumulative effects of decades of use leads to the degenerative changes by stressing the collagen matrix of the cartilage. Stress on the cartilage results in the release of enzymes that destroy cartilage components. With aging, the ability to restore and manufacture normal cartilage structures decreases. Often this inability to restore collagen as a person ages is related to nutritional factors.

What dietary factors are important in Joint Health?


Perhaps the most important dietary recommendation to preserve joint health is maintaining or achieving normal body weight. Being overweight means increased stress on weight-bearing joints. That greatly increases the risk osteoarthritis.


A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to joint health because of their natural plant compounds that can protect against damage to the joints. Foods especially beneficial are flavonoid-rich fruits, such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Also important are sulfur-containing foods, such as garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The sulfur content in fingernails of arthritis sufferers is lower than that of healthy subjects without arthritis.


What nutritional supplements should I take for joint health?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


OsteoMove provides a comprehensive collection of joint specific nutritional support including optimal levels of glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and other key nutrients for cartilage and connective tissues. Dosage: two tablets daily.


Glucosamine sulfate stimulates the manufacture of joint molecules known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are the key structural components of cartilage. More than 30 published clinical trials with glucosamine sulfate have demonstrated an overall success rate of 72-to-95% in improving joint health. Dosage: 1,500 mg per day.


MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) is the major form of sulfur in the human body. Sulfur is especially important nutrient for joint tissue where it functions in the stabilization of the connective tissue matrix of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Clinical studies have validated the benefits of MSM in osteoarthritis. Dosage: 1,200 to 2,000 mg per day.


Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) is a source of glucosamine, collagen, HA, and other connective tissue components. Recent studies show that NEM brings fast relief to people suffering from the pain, stiffness, and impaired mobility of osteoarthritis and other joint health issuess. In one clinical study, after 30 days of use NEM reduced pain by an average of 72% and improves flexibility by 44%, without side effects. Dosage: 500 mg daily.


S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) deficiency in the joint tissue leads to loss of the gel-like nature and shock-absorbing qualities of cartilage. SAMe supplementation appears to be useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In published clinical trials a total of 21,524 patients with osteoarthritis have been treated with reductions in pain scores and clinical symptoms noted. Dosage: 200 to 400 mg two to three times daily.


Curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric that has shown impressive anti-inflammatory effects. Theracurmin is a highly bioavailable form of curcumin that is the only form that has been shown to be effective in improving joint health in a double-blind, placebo controlled study. Patients took either Theracurmin providing 180 mg/day of curcumin or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. Results showed that knee pain scores were significantly lower in the Theracurmin group than in the placebo group in those patients with moderate to severe symptoms. Theracurmin also significantly lowered the use of celecoxib (Celebrex). Dosage: 90 to 180 mg curcumin as Theracurmin daily.


Celadrin® is an all-natural matrix of special cetylated, esterifed fatty acids that reduce inflammation. The unique features of Celadrin® as a natural product include an ability to reduce. Available in cream and capsule form, Celadrin® is clinically proven to produce results. Celadrin® cream can be applied to affected areas on an as needed basis. Dosage: 1,000 mg daily.


Pine bark and grape seed extracts contain beneficial flavonoids improve joint health by acting as antioxidants as well as reinforcing the structure and integrity of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Dosage: 150 to 300 mg daily.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Improvements in joint function, mobility, and less pain or inflammation are indications of positive effects on joint health. Glucosamine sulfate, MSM, and pine bark or grape seed extracts take some time to work, usually 2-4 weeks, but do not forego their use as they still are very important in supporting the manufacture of cartilage and other joint structures. Theracurmin, NEM, and Celadrin are faster acting, especially the Celadrin cream.

Men's Health

What is Prostate Health?


The prostate is a single, doughnut-shaped gland about the size of a walnut that lies below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The prostate secretes a thin, milky, alkaline fluid that increases sperm motility and lubricates the urethra to prevent infection.


There are two main conditions that affect the prostate. One is prostate enlargement, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Almost every man will develop an enlarged prostate if he lives long enough. BPH is not cancer and is not life threatening. The other condition, prostate cancer, is much more serious. It can cause symptoms similar to those in BPH, but it can also spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal. In men, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer. (Lung cancer is by far the first.)


Symptoms of either BPH or early prostate cancer are due to bladder obstruction, such as increased urinary frequency, nighttime awakening to empty the bladder, and reduced force and flow speed of urine.


Warning: Prostate disorders can only be diagnosed by a physician. Do not self-diagnose. If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with BPH or prostate cancer, see your physician immediately for proper diagnosis.


What determines Prostate Health?


Many issues of poor prostate health are largely the result of hormonal changes associated with aging. These include many changes in both male (androgen), female (estrogen) and pituitary hormone levels in aging men. The ultimate effect of these changes is that there be an increased concentration of testosterone within the prostate gland, and an increased conversion of this testosterone to an even more potent form known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The increase in levels of testosterone and DHT is largely due to a decreased rate of removal combined with an increase in the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT.


Which Dietary Factors are Important in Prostate Health?


Diet appears to play a critical role in the health of the prostate. A diet rich in natural, whole with a focus on legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds is recommended. Eating ¼ cup of raw sunflower seeds, pumpkinseeds, or ground flaxseeds is often recommended for improving prostate health. Also, daily consumption of lycopene-rich vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach, kale, mangos, broccoli and berries, promotes prostate health. It is also important to reduce your intake of alcohol (especially beer), caffeine and sugar, all of which have an adverse effect on the way testosterone is metabolized and cleared from the body.


Which Nutritional Supplements Should I Take for Prostate Health?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day. These supplements go along way in providing general nutritional support for a healthy prostate. In particular, adequate intake of zinc (20-30 mg daily), EPA+DHA, and vitamin D are very important.


Androsense T-Correct is specifically formulated to provide key nutritional support to men to support the maintenance of healthy hormonal balance. It does this primarily by promoting the proper detoxification and elimination of excess estrogen and environmental toxins that can disrupt hormonal balance in men. The formula features diindolylmethane (DIM), indole-3-carbinole (I3C), sulforaphane, and calcium-d-glucarate (CDG), concentrated nutrients found in cabbage-family vegetables that support healthy estrogen metabolism in both men and women. It also a wide range of additional supportive agents that enhance detoxification of estrogen and also offers protection to the important organs of the male sexual system. Dosage: one to two capsules twice daily.


Lycopene is the red carotene found in tomatoes, papaya, pink grapefruit, guava, and watermelon. Harvard researchers discovered a few years back that of all of the different types of carotenes, only lycopene was clearly linked to prostate health. Dosage: 5 to 15 mg of lycopene daily.


Saw palmetto extract has the most well-documented benefits of herbal approach for maintaining prostate health. Dosage: for the clinically-proven extract standardized to contain 85 to 95 percent fatty acids and steroids, 320 to 640 mg daily.


Cernilton, an extract of flower pollen, has been used in Europe to promote prostate health for more than 35 years, and its effects have been confirmed in double-blind clinical studies. Dosage: 63 to 126 mg two to three times per day.


Green tea contains polyphenols that exert significant effects in promoting prostate health. Studies have suggested that prostate health is better in Japan in part because men there typically drink about 3 cups of green tea daily. At this rate they consume about 3 grams of soluble components, which yields a daily dose of roughly 240 to 320 mg of polyphenols. Dosage: for a green tea extract standardized for 80 percent total polyphenol content, 300 to 400 mg.


How do I Know if the Recommendations are Working?


Improved prostate health is usually associated with fewer symptoms of an aging prostate. Decreased nighttime awakenings to empty the bladder are usually the first signs of improvement, followed by a reduced sense of urinary urgency and increased force and flow of urine.


Mood

What is Mood?


Mood refers to the way we feel. The most common mood disorder is depression, which is associated with the following accompanying symptoms:


  1. Poor appetite accompanied by weight loss, or increased appetite accompanied by weight gain
  2. Insomnia or excessive sleep habits (hypersomnia)
  3. Physical hyperactivity or inactivity
  4. Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, or decrease in sexual drive
  5. Loss of energy; feelings of fatigue
  6. Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach, or inappropriate guilt
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

The presence of five of these eight symptoms indicates clinical depression; an individual with four is probably depressed. The symptoms must be present for at least one month to be called clinical depression. For further information, please seek an appropriate health care provider.


What causes a disorder of Mood?


Our mood is the result of interplay between psychological as well as physiological factors. In other words, what determines what we feel is the result of our internal focus (e.g., habitual thoughts, self-talk, degree of optimism, etc.) and various physical factors (e.g., nutritional status, hormones, degree of pain and inflammation, etc.). Stress and poor sleep quality are often big factors that influences mood. Also, many drugs (prescription, illicit, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, etc.) can influence mood.


What dietary factors are important in supporting a positive Mood?


A deficiency of any single nutrient can alter brain function and lead to a depressed mood, anxiety, and other mental disorders, especially deficiencies of vitamin B12, folic acid, other B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, since the brain requires a constant supply of blood sugar to function properly, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) must be avoided. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can range from mild to severe and include depression, anxiety, irritability, and other psychological disturbances; fatigue; headache; blurred vision; excessive sweating; and mental confusion. Simply eliminating refined carbohydrates and caffeine (which can aggravate hypoglycemia) from the diet is sometimes all that is needed for improving mood in many subjects that suffer from hypoglycemia.


What nutritional supplements should I take for improving Mood?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


Fish oil is especially important in supporting any brain issue including our mood. The long chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are critical to the health of the brain cell membrane. Low levels of EPA and DHA lead to altered brain cell structure and function that can also affect mood and behavior. Dosage: 3,000 mg of EPA+DHA.


5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is extracted from the seed of an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia) and is the direct precursor to serotonin – a key brain chemical that regulates our mood. In addition to increasing serotonin levels, 5-HTP causes an increase in levels of endorphin and other neurotransmitters that boost our mood. Numerous double-blind studies have confirmed this mood boosting effect. The typical recommendation is 50 to 100 mg three times daily (best taken before meals, preferably use an “enteric-coated” product to prevent gastroinstestinal upset).


St. John’s wort extract (Hypericum perforatum) is now a well-known natural mood elevator. The dosage for St. John’s wort extract (0.3% hypericin content) is 900 to 1800 mg daily. Since St. John’s wort extract activates enzymes in the liver and gut that detoxify certain drugs, do not use SJW if you are taking cyclosporine; indinavir; oral contraceptives; and anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin®) without consulting a physician first.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels typically drop as people age and may lower mood. The dosage recommendation for gentle support for men 45+ is 15 to 25 mg daily; for women 45+ the dosage is 5 to 15 mg daily.


S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is utilized in the manufacture of many brain compounds including serotonin and other neurotransmitters. SAMe supplementation has been shown to be useful in improving mood in published clinical trials. Dosage: 200 to 400 mg three times daily.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Feelings related to mood are mostly subjective. The natural products described above generally take a bit of time, e.g., 2-6 weeks, to demonstrate an effect on improving mood. One of the first improvements noted by many is in improved sleep quality.

Stress

What is Stress?


Stress is defined as any disturbance—e.g., heat or cold, chemical toxin, microorganisms, physical trauma, strong emotional reaction—that can trigger the “stress response.” The stress response is composed of three phases: alarm (fight or flight), resistance, and exhaustion. These phases are largely controlled and regulated by the adrenal glands. If stress is extreme, unusual, or long lasting, the stress response can be overwhelming and becomes quite harmful to virtually any body system.


What causes Stress?


Stress is part of life. According to Selye, the father of stress research, stress in itself should not be viewed in a negative context. It is not the stressor that determines the response; instead it is the individual’s internal reaction, which then triggers the response. This internal reaction is highly individualized. What one person may experience as stress, the next person may view entirely differently.


What dietary factors are important in Stress?


One of the key culprits for many people who are stressed out is caffeine. The average American consumes 150 to 225 mg of caffeine daily, or roughly the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee. Although most people can handle this amount, people prone to feeling stressed or anxious tend to be especially sensitive to caffeine. During times of stress it is important to cut back or eliminate caffeine. In addition, here are some other very important guidelines for supporting the body’s stress response:


  • Eliminate or restrict the intake of alcohol.
  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates from the diet, especially sources of white sugar and white flour.
  • Increase the potassium-to-sodium ratio by focusing on whole, natural foods.
  • Eat regular planned meals in a relaxed environment.

What nutritional supplements should I take for Stress?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


B vitamins, C, zinc, magnesium are key nutrients critical in helping the body deal with stress. Dosage: at least the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) should be provided in a high potency multiple.


Magnesium exerts many important anti-stress and calming effects. Dosage: take 150 to 250 mg of magnesium (as citrate) before going to bed.


Fish oils concentrated for EPA and DHA have been shown to have positive effects for people dealing with stress. Dosage: 3,000 mg EPA+DHA.


Herbs for Adrenal Support. Several herbal products support adrenal function. Most notable are Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), rhodiola (Rhodiola rosacea), and ashwaganda (Withania somnifera). All of these plants exert beneficial effects on adrenal function and enhance resistance to stress, and are often referred to as “adaptogens” because they help us adapt to (cope with) stress. These plants have historically been used to:


  • Restore vitality in debilitated and feeble individuals.
  • Increase feelings of energy.
  • Improve mental and physical performance.
  • Prevent the negative effects of stress and enhance the body’s response to stress. These herbs can be used individually or in combination. Dosage: follow label instructions. Note: sometimes combination formulas seem to produce the best results, e.g., Serenity Formula from Natural Factors.

Sensoril is a patented extract of Withania somnifera (ashwaganda) that has been shown to have stress-relieving and anti-anxiety effects. It deserves special mention because it is unique in that it produces a relaxing effect while increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. Take 125 to 250 mg twice daily.


PharmaGABA is the natural form of GABA – an important brain chemical. Supplementation with PharmaGABA has been shown to promote feelings of calmness, but with greater mental focus and clarity. It is a fantastic immediate stress buster and also improves sleep quality with daily use. Studies have shown PharmaGABA is able to promote brain wave changes reflective of feelings of calmness within 5 minutes after taking it. Dosage: 100 to 200 mg up to three times daily


L-theanine, like GABA, is a relaxing amino acid. It is found in green tea and also available as a supplement. Clinical studies have also shown L-theanine gently induces a sense of calmness and improves sleep quality. It is suitable for children. Dosage: 100 to 200 mg up to three times daily.


Natural Sleep Aids. There are a number of effective natural products that can help to improve sleep quality. If needed, I recommend trying Tranquil Sleep from Natural Factors. This formula provides the combination of melatonin (3 mg), 5-HTP (30 mg), and L-theanine (200 mg) in a great tasting chewable tablet or soft-gelatin capsule. These three ingredients work together to decrease the time required to get to sleep and to decrease the number of nighttime awakenings. Dosage: two tablets or capsules prior to bedtime.


PGX is a dietary fiber matrix that helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In people who have stress or trouble maintaining sleep throughout the night, faulty blood sugar control is an important cause because it causes the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These compounds stimulate the brain and cause feelings of stress. Dosage: 2.5 to 5 grams of PGX granules before meals.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


Increased energy and greater sense of calmness are clear signs that stress is being dealt with effectively.

Weight Loss

What is Weight Loss?


There are literally hundreds of diets and products that claim to be the answer to weight loss. However, the basic equation for losing weight never changes. In order for an individual to lose weight, energy intake must be less than energy expenditure. This goal can be achieved by decreasing caloric intake (dieting), and/or by increasing the rate at which calories are burned (exercising). Most individuals will begin to lose weight if they decrease their caloric intake below 1,500 calories per day and do aerobic exercise for 15-to-20 minutes 3-to-4 times per week.


What causes Weight Gain?


Weight gain is often tied to resistance to the hormone insulin. As fat cells in the abdomen grow in size or number, they secrete a number of biologic products (e.g., resistin) that dampen the effect of insulin, impair glucose utilization in skeletal muscle, and promote glucose (blood sugar) production by the liver. Also important is that as the number and size of fat cells increase, they lead to a reduction in the secretion of compounds that promote insulin action.


What dietary factors are important in Weight Loss?


Dietary carbohydrates play a central role in any weight loss program through their effect on insulin sensitivity. In is important to avoid refined sugars, white flour products, and other sources of simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar, severely stressing blood sugar control.


Increasing the intake of dietary fiber, especially the soluble form, is very important. Soluble fiber is capable of slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. These fibers are also associated with increasing the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and improving the uptake of glucose by the muscles, liver, and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar.


Particularly good sources of soluble fiber are legumes, oat bran, nuts, seeds, pears, apples, and most vegetables. Large amounts of plant foods must be consumed to obtain enough dietary fiber, although beans, peas, and legumes are overall the best sources for high fiber intake in relatively easy amounts to ingest.


For people with definite insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control, I would also recommend taking a dietary fiber supplement known as PolyGlycopleX or PGX (discussed below). This unique, patented fiber matrix exerts the greatest degree of viscosity and gel-forming properties making it many times more effective than any other fiber in improving insulin sensitivity and activating AMPk.


What nutritional supplements should I take for Obesity?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day. Particularly important is sufficient levels of chromium, i.e., 200 to 400 mcg daily.


PolyGlycoplex (PGX®) is a revolutionary dietary fiber matrix that is backed by over 15 years of research and development along with extensive pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. PGX is 100% natural and non-addictive and safe for consumption, with no serious side effects. Detailed clinical studies have shown PGX to exert the following benefits:


  • Reduces appetite and promotes effective weight loss
  • Stabilizes blood sugar control
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces the glycemic index of any food, beverage, or meal by 35-50%.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides

PGX is available in a variety of different forms such as granules, capsules, and part of drink mixes for satiety or meal replacement. Dosage: 2.5 to 5 grams before meals.


Mulberry leaf extract has shown an ability to help to improve blood sugar control and promote weight loss. Dosage: generally equivalent to 3,000 mg of dried mulberry leaves per day. The dosage for a 10:1 extract is 100 mg three times daily before meals. Also, can be taken with PGX.


Green coffee bean extract is rich in chlorogenic acid, a compound that has been shown to improve glucose metabolism, inhibit the accumulation of fat, and decrease the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Only raw green coffee beans contain a significant amount of this health-promoting compound. Dosage: 400 mg three times daily.


5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is converted in the brain to serotonin. Low serotonin levels trigger appetite especially sugar cravings. A series of four human clinical studies of overweight women have shown that 5-HTP is an effective weight loss aid. Dosage: 50 to 100 mg twenty minutes before meals.


Green tea extracts concentrated for catechins (polyphenol flavonoids) safely enhance the metabolic rate and promote weight loss. However, these compounds are often difficult for humans to absorb efficiently. Green Tea Phytosome® provides a high-quality decaffeinated green tea extract complexed to phosphatidylcholine that is three to five times better absorbed than other green tea products. Dosage: 150 mg twice daily.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


When you jump on the scales, you are looking at your total weight, not the relationship of fat to muscle or body composition. While being overweight is a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes, it is not the critical risk factor. Correctly stated it is increased body fat that is associated with these diseases, not increased body weight. To more accurately determine body composition I recommend using a scale that can measure body fat percentage. Ideally, women should strive to keep their body fat percentage below 25% and men 20%.

Women's Health

What is Bone Health?


The biggest concern regarding bone health is avoidance of osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bone.” Osteoporosis involves both the mineral (inorganic) and nonmineral (organic matrix, composed primarily of protein) components of bone. Bone is dynamic living tissue that is constantly being broken down and rebuilt, even in adults. Bone health is best determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) a technique that measures bone density.


What causes Bone Health?


Normal bone metabolism is dependent on an intricate interplay of many nutritional, lifestyle, and hormonal factors. Many dietary factors have been suggested as a cause of osteoporosis including: low-calcium-high-phosphorus intake, high-protein diet, high-acid-ash diet, high salt intake, and trace-mineral deficiencies, to name a few. Poor bone health is most common in postmenopausal Asian and white women. Other risk factors for include: family history of osteoporosis; physical inactivity; short stature, low body mass, and/or small bones; and never having been pregnant.


Although nutritional factors are important, physical exercise, consisting of one hour of moderate activity (e.g., walking, weight lifting, dancing, etc.) three times a week, has been shown to prevent bone loss and actually increase bone mass in postmenopausal women.

What dietary factors are important in Bone Health?


A high-protein diet is associated with increased excretion of calcium in the urine and increased risk for osteoporosis, too. Raising daily protein intake from 47 to 142 grams doubles the excretion of calcium in the urine. However, too little protein is also associated with poor bone health.


A diet high in salt or acid ash also causes calcium removal from bones and increases calcium loss in the urine. Therefore, it is important to avoid salt and eat an alkaline based diet. Basically, an alkaline diet is one that focuses on vegetables, fruit, nuts, and legumes while avoiding overconsumption of meat and dairy. Soft drinks containing phosphates (phosphoric acid) are definitely important to avoid.


Refined sugar intake also increases the loss of calcium from the bone. Regular consumption of refined sugar increases loss of calcium from the blood through the urine. Calcium is then pulled from the bones to maintain blood calcium levels as foods containing refined sugar generally do not contain calcium.


Green leafy vegetables including broccoli, kale, collards, and mustard greens, as well as green tea offer significant benefits to bone health. These foods are a rich source of a broad range of vitamins and minerals that are important to maintaining healthy bones, including calcium, vitamin K1, and boron.


What about milk? When reviewing the data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a study involving 77,761 women, researchers found no evidence that higher intakes of milk improved bone health. In fact, women who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day had an increased relative risk of 45% for hip fracture compared to women consuming 1 glass or less per week. In other words, the more milk a woman consumed, the more likely she was to experience a hip fracture.


What nutritional supplements should I take for Bone Health?


Foundation Supplements. High potency multiple; Vitamin D3 2,000-5,000 IU/day; Fish oil, EPA+DHA 1,000 to 3,000 mg/day.


Calcium supplementation alone has shown little benefit in treating or preventing osteoporosis. But, combined with vitamin D, calcium supplementation can slow the rate of bone loss by as much as thirty percent and it offers significant protection against hip fractures. The recommended dosage for calcium is 1,000 mg daily.


Vitamin D3 supplementation is associated with increased bone density and studies that combined vitamin D with calcium produced better results than either nutrient alone. Vitamin D supplementation is especially helpful for elderly people who don’t get sufficient exposure to sunlight (which stimulates the body’s manufacture of vitamin D)-those who live in nursing homes or farther away from the equator, or those who do not regularly get outside. Dosage: 2,000-5,000 IU daily.


Magnesium supplementation is thought by some experts to be as important as calcium supplementation for bone health. The recommended dosage is 250 to 500 mg daily.


Biosil is a highly bioavailable from of silica that has shown clinical effects in improving bone density and the collagen content of the bone. By increasing the collagen content of the bone by 22% within one year of use, BioSil increases the number of bone mineral binding sites. Supplementing at a dosage of 6 mg per day increased bone mineral density by 2% within one year – safely and without side effect.


Vitamin K2 effectively activates osteocalcin, a protein that anchors calcium into the bone matrix. Supplementing with 180 mcg per day has been shown to significantly improve bone health and density.


Healthy Bones Plus from Natural Factors is a comprehensive formula based on the latest research to promote bone health. It provides: 1,000 mg of highly absorbable forms of calcium and 500 mg of magnesium; 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3, 6 mg of BioSil, and other nutrients critical to both the collagen and mineral matrix of bone including vitamin K2, B vitamins, and trace minerals.


How do I know if the recommendations are working?


If you are female, attention to bone health must be a lifetime goal. I recommend getting a baseline bone density assessment such as a DEXA scan. It can provide valuable information on your bone density and can also be used as a long-term monitor.