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zinc

  • Eyesight is one of the things that is often taken for granted by most people, until it is too late. Just like other body parts like the heart and the stomach, the eyes also deserve proper care and nutrition. Millions of people around the world suffer from various eye disorders like cataracts (blurred vision, due to the eye lens becoming progressively opaque), and macular degeneration (a deterioration of the macula, the small central portion of the retina). Diet plays an important role in every cell in your body and eye cells are no different. A nutrient-poor diet may lead to eye problems later in life, as well as other complications. It is thus essential to eat the right foods in order to ensure the eyes are protected from damage, and vision loss through age.

    Nutrients for eye health
    Your eyes require specific nutrients to keep them in top condition, and to prevent eye disorders. Antioxidants are usually part of the group of nutrients that maintain the eyes, because they prevent toxic molecules called free-radicals from damaging the delicate tissues of the eye.

    Here Are The Top Nutrients Essential For Eye Health:

    1. Vitamin A
    Also known as retinol in its active form, vitamin A is important in maintaining eye health. It helps the body produce the eye pigment retinoid, which play a significant role in the vision mechanism. Specifically, vitamin A maintains good vision in dim light. A deficiency in vitamin A leads to a condition called night blindness, which renders the affected person unable to see clearly in dimly lit areas.1

    Vitamin A can be found in a variety of food sources. It is particularly high in colored (yellow, orange, and green) fruits and vegetables like squash, carrot, cantaloupe, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, and other dark green leafy vegetables.

    Processed foods are often fortified with vitamin A to ensure that the consumer gets the recommended daily intake of 700 mcg (adult females) and 900 mcg (adult males), although this form of vitamin A is almost always synthetic (retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate).

    2. Vitamin C
    Another antioxidant that is important to eye health is vitamin C or ascorbic acid. As an antioxidant, its main function is to prevent free radicals from damaging body tissues. In fact, researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology, at the University of Medical Sciences in Zabjan, Iran, discovered that plasma vitamin C levels is lower in those suffering from cataracts, as opposed to normal individuals.2

    The most common sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Non-citrus sources include papaya, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers (green and red). One can also find vitamin C-fortified products in the supermarket like bottled fruit juices.

    3. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
    Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to a group of molecules called carotenoids. They comprise the majority of the carotenoids found in the human eye. Like vitamins A and C, they function as antioxidants and protect the eye by filtering harmful light and preventing glare. A recent study appearing in the journal Ophthalmology, indicated that people with the highest intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin, can experience a 20 percent reduced risk of early age related macular degeneration.3

    These nutrients are not hard to obtain, as they are found in a variety of foods. A study in 1998 by researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, concluded that corn and egg yolk contain the highest percentage of lutein and zeaxanthin, followed by kiwi, grapes, zucchini, orange juice, and spinach.4 The study further recommends that, in order to increase lutein and zeaxanthin levels, colorful fruits and vegetables should be incorporated into one’s diet.

    4. Zinc
    Zinc is a trace element that plays an important role in many body processes. In the eye, zinc works together with vitamin A to produce a substance called melanin that helps protect the eye from damage.5 High levels of zinc are found in the macula of the eye. Deficiency in zinc has been linked to an increased risk of developing macular degeneration,6 which can be easily prevented through proper nutrition. The recommended daily intake for zinc is 11 milligrams for adult males and 8 milligrams for adult females.

    Foods that are rich in zinc include oysters, pork, beef, dairy products like milk and yogurt, whole grains, chickpeas, and lobster. Zinc-fortified foods are also available in the typical supermarket aisle.

    5. Omega-3 fatty acids
    Also known as the “good fats,” omega-3 fatty (DHA and EPA) acids maintain the fluidity and structural integrity of body cells and tissues, and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are also important in proper visual development in infants. In adults, omega-3 fatty acids are important in preventing macular degeneration and subsequent vision loss.7

    The best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids are coldwater fish like salmon and mackerel. Tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. For vegetarians, algae, flaxseed, hempseed and their oils are the best sources.

    6. Vitamin E
    Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells and tissues from oxidative damage. While more research needs to be done on its importance to eye health, initial studies suggest that vitamin E works together with lutein and zeaxanthin to prevent cataract formation. The American Optometric Association recommends a daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin E to maintain good eye health.

    Dietary sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, vegetable oils, and avocados.

    References

    1. Sarubin Fragaakis A, Thomson C. The Health Professional's Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements Amer Dietetic Assn; 3 edition (November 30, 2006).
    2. Jalal D, et al. Comparative study of plasma ascorbic acid levels in senile cataract patients and in normal individuals. Current Eye Research. 2009 Feb;34(2):118–22.
    3. Wang JJ, et al. Genetic susceptibility, dietary antioxidants, and long-term incidence of age-related macular degeneration in two populations. Ophthalmology. 2014 Mar;121(3):667–75.
    4. Sommerburg O, et al. Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes. Br J Ophthalmol. 1998 Aug;82(8):907–10.
    5. Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravating Macular Degeneration American Macular Degeneration Foundation. https://www.macular.org/ultra-violetand-blue-light.
    6. Smailhodzic D, et al. Zinc supplementation inhibits complement activation in age-related macular degeneration. PLoS One.2014 Nov 13;9(11):e112682.
    7. Lawrenson JG, Evans JR. Omega 3 fatty acids for preventing or slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database System Review. 2015 Apr 9;4:CD010015. [Epub ahead of print]
    8. Head KA. Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma. Alternative Medical Reviews. 2001 Apr;6(2):141–66.
  • Dental health is something that is often neglected in favor of more pressing health concerns like weight loss and fat loss. Dental health, however, is just as important as overall physical health. Believe it or not, poor dental health has just as much effect on a person as their overall physical health.

    Importance of diet in dental health
    Diet plays a very important role in dental health. A healthy, balanced diet should contain the essential vitamins and minerals that keep the teeth and gums in optimum condition for a long time.

    A diet rich in vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and lowglycemic carbohydrates (e.g., fibrous vegetables and fruit) and low in simple sugars (e.g., bread, cakes and candies) go a long way in preventing tooth decay.

    Link between dental health and disease
    Researchers have discovered a correlation between gum (periodontal) disease and cardiovascular disease. While a concrete scientific relationship has yet to be established, the researchers reported two interesting findings.

    First, the type of bacteria present in gum disease is also present in the blood vessels undergoing atherosclerosis (the prelude to heart disease). Second, inflammation of the gums increases the levels of a body protein called CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is also one of the indicators used by doctors to evaluate a person’s risk of having heart disease, and interestingly enough, CRP levels are also higher in those suffering from obesity (another well-known risk factor for heart disease).

    Cancer is another health condition that has correlation with oral health. A study by Harvard researchers showed a link between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer. While the study has not yet been verified by laboratory experiments, it is the initial speculation of the researchers that gum inflammation is a significant factor, as it also causes inflammation in other parts of the body.

    Nutrients for optimum tooth and gum health

    Just like the rest of the body, the gums and the teeth also require specific nutrients to keep them in optimum shape and prevent infection, inflammation, and damage. The following nutrients are essential for dental health:

    1. Calcium
    Calcium is a trace element that is the main component of the physical structure of teeth and bones. Normal calcium levels help keep the tooth enamel healthy and resistant to erosion caused by bacteria. Calcium deficiency leads to tooth decay brought about by the weakening of tooth enamel.

    The US National Institutes of Health recommends the following daily intake for calcium: 1200 milligrams for men and women over the age of seventy, 1000 milligrams for men and women aged nineteen to seventy, 1300 milligrams for children who are between the ages of nine and eighteen, 1000 milligrams for children between four and eight years old, and 700 milligrams for children between one and three years old.

    Calcium is readily available in dairy products (e.g., milk and yogurt), turnip and collard greens, and kale. It can also be found in its most bioavailable form within humic acid (i.e. Leaf- Source).

    2. Zinc
    Zinc is another important trace element that is also involved in many body processes. While not as abundant as calcium, it plays an important role in maintaining dental health by preventing gum infection and plaque build-up. Deficiency in zinc can lead to mouth sores and gingivitis.

    Aside from preventing infections, zinc has also been proven to significantly reduce bad breath. Researchers have conducted studies on the effect of zinc-fortified mouthwashes and chewing gum on bad breath. They discovered that the zinc in the oral products reduced the real cause of bad breath—sulphurcontaining compounds.

    The recommended daily intake for zinc is eight milligrams for adult females and eleven milligrams for adult males. Zinc can be easily incorporated into one’s diet, as its sources are readily available to everyone. Oysters are said to contain the highest amount of readily available zinc, followed by liver and beef. Other sources include wild rice, cheese, and humic acid (i.e. LeafSource).

    3. Iron
    This trace mineral functions mainly as a carrier of oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream. Lack of iron in the diet causes anemia, which in turn reduces oxygen flow in the various body cells and tissues. Lack of oxygen flow has been linked to infections and sores. In the mouth, this is manifested by bleeding gums and painful canker sores that often take a long time to heal.

    Just like zinc, dietary sources of iron are plentiful and inexpensive. Good sources are liver and other meat products. Iron-fortified foods like breakfast cereals can also help a person meet the recommended daily iron intake of eight milligrams (for adult males) and 18 milligrams (for adult females), however in my opinion, most are way too high in sugar, which negates any of their fortification.

    4. Magnesium
    Together with calcium, magnesium helps strengthen the tooth enamel and prevents the formation of cavities and the onset of tooth decay. The recommended daily requirement for magnesium is 400 milligrams.

    One of the best supplemental sources of magnesium is magnesium bisglycinate (magnesium bound to the amino acid glycine). The bisglycinate form is believed to be many times more absorbable than the citrate form. Dietary magnesium can be found in a wide variety of sources—fish, dark green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, and bananas.

    Visit: www.AbundantHealthSystems.com

    References:

    1. Slade GD, et al. Relationship between periodontal disease and Creactive protein among adults in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 May 26;163(10):1172–9.
    2. Michaud DS, et al. A prospective study of periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer in US male health professionals. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Jan 17;99(2):171–5.
    3. Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health. American Academy of Periodontology. (Accessed May 21, 2015).
    4. NIH Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter11/articles/winter11pg12.html.
    5. Fedorowicz Z, et al. “Mouthrinses for the treatment of halitosis.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (4): CD006701. Oct 8, 2008.
    6. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/.

    Brad King, MS, MFS is a highly sought after authority on nutrition, obesity, longevity and one’s health and he has been touted as one of the most influential health mentors of our time. Brad can be heard live every week on Wednesday at noon Pacific/3 P.M. Eastern as he hosts the talk radio program “Transforming Health with Brad King” on Blog Talk Radio. https://www.facebook.com/TransformingHealth and www.Twitter.com/HealthyKingBrad.

  • Fat Flushing has always defied conventional wisdom.
    Its novel approach to weight loss first made waves in the Fat Flush Plan when I suggested there are “hidden” weight gain factors, beyond diet, exercise, and your own willpower, that are making you fat. Research now confirms weight loss is also about an array of newly uncovered concerns that are contributing to the unrestrained obesity epidemic. When you address and correct seemingly unrelated factors like microbes, fish oil, iodine deficiency, and copper overload, you can drop those pounds for good. You’ll restore the body’s natural ability to regulate metabolism and detoxify. Controlling what is really weighing you down might just change your total outlook and your outfit.

    So let’s take a more careful look at the new research that has enhanced many of the fundamental Fat Flush protocols.

    Gut Bacteria Tied to Weight Loss
    Counting on supplemental probiotics (beneficial bacteria or friendly flora) may be the real deal when it comes to losing weight. A newly introduced probiotic, which can also be used as a natural sweetener, is the Fat Flushing response to the research published in Nature (December 2006), which suggested there is a strong connection between obesity and the levels of certain types of bacteria in the gut. The researchers basically found that without the right amounts of friendly bacteria, animals got “twice as fat” and utilized more calories from the same amount of food than those with the more normal bacteria ratio.

    For years, beneficial bacteria (or friendly flora) have been well known to fight yeast, combat disease-causing bacteria, help clean out parasites, and break down toxins. A lack of the beneficial bacteria has been connected to ulcers, digestive difficulties, bad breath, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, menopausal discomforts, acne, eczema and psoriasis, arthritis, persistent aches and pains, as well as asthma, sinusitis, and kidney stones. And now there is a connection to weight.

    Probiotics, which means “for life,” play an important role in the digestion of foods and help to produce B vitamins, vitamin K, as well as digesting fiber—the short-chain fatty acids upon which your colon desperately relies. These friendly flora assist your system in the production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid while helping to transport nutrients.

    In the right balance of power, a ratio of 85:15 in favor of the “good guy” bacteria, probiotics are so vital to good health they are considered an “organ” by many experts. In reality these friendly flora also make up most of your immune system because 60 percent of your immune system’s receptor cells are in your large intestine while another 15 percent reside in the small intestine.

    Probiotics represent the next wave of health and healing and are intimately involved with every organ, tissue, and health concern of the body. It should come as no surprise that researchers made a link between weight and gut bacteria in two studies published in the journal Nature.

    This groundbreaking research, conducted at Washington University’s Center for Genome Sciences, initiated a whole science called “infectobesity” that looks at obesity from the microbial and viral standpoint. Simply put: viruses and bacteria may impact the absorption of food and influence gut hormones that regulate appetite and metabolic rate.

    The lead author of the study, Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., stated, “Our studies imply that differences in our gut microbial ecology may determine how many calories we are able to extract and absorb from our diet and deposit in our fat cells.” Gordon’s studies showed a significant difference in the bacterial balance in the guts of animals and humans, noting decreased microflora in the gut of those who were obese. While it is still unclear whether this imbalance is a cause or consequence, the potential implications for obese humans to reduce weight by balancing gut bacteria is downright fascinating.

    For years, probiotics have been an integral part of my dietary protocols in books like Guess What Came to Dinner, The Fast Track Detox Diet and The Gut Flush Plan. For the basic weight loss and cleansing purposes of Fat Flush for Life, I am recommending a powdered probiotic supplement that I have been using in private practice for over a decade, Flora-Key. It can do double-duty as an immune booster and natural sweetener since we are cutting out sugar, sugar alcohols, and even artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda®. My one exception is the legal cheat Stevia.

    In Fat Flush for Life, Flora-Key is a key dietary ingredient in no-heat foods like frappes, fruits and the Green Life Cocktail (more about that in a moment). It contains a basic combination of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) from complex sugars that function as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a food that feeds the beneficial bacteria while discouraging pathogens. FOS is a naturally occurring sweetener in fruits and some vegetables, which provides the taste buds with the sweetness of sugar but the molecules are too big to be digested by the body as sugar. Since FOS is digested, this sweetener doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. It also can’t be utilized by Candida albicans, other yeasts and some bacteria. The best news about FOS though is that it provides a benefit that none of the other sweeteners do: It nourishes and promotes the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria such as bifidobacteria in your large intestine without feeding pathogenic bacteria.

    This makes it a potentially good-for-you sweetener for people struggling with weight, yeast infections, and other GI disorders. With Flora-Key, you get the best of both worlds: a probiotic fed by a prebiotic. You can take two to three teaspoons per day.

    For heavy-duty immune enhancement, I stand by Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic 12 Plus™, found in health food stores all over the country. It contains all the beneficial lactic acid bacteria found in humans. Perhaps its major claim to fame is its patented TH10 strain that neutralizes the smart bugs (like salmonella and E. coli ) that spread food borne disease and are resistant to antibiotics. More than a probiotic, this product represents a flora-balancing system. It improves gut pH for the benefit of other friendly flora while requiring no refrigeration and is dairy, soy, and gluten-free. Best yet, the product is backed by nearly 15 years of university backed scientific research.

    Aiding the probiotic process, are even more potent fat-flushing elements like chia seeds and the Green Life Cocktail, a green superfood drink. Chia seeds are the richest known source of omega-3s and blood sugar controlling soluble fiber which act as a fuel that probiotics ferment into healing compounds strengthening the GI tract and boost immunity. The Green Life Cocktail provides purifying chlorophyll that also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria to assist in longer lasting weight loss while tamping down inflammation. Chlorophyll carries significant amounts of oxygen that zaps disease-promoting anaerobic bacteria in the gut.

    Fish Oils Linked To Tummy Fat Reduction
    While mainstream media and mainstream products are thankfully taking a more reasonable approach to fat in the diet, gaining an awareness of bad and good fats is critical to maintaining health and achieving weight goals. Along with high lignan flaxseed oil, fish oil is another option. This is because of the reams of research demonstrating how fish oil can make you thinner, soothe arthritis, improve focus, protect the eyes, lower cholesterol, balance out blood sugar, prevent heart disease and boost brainpower. An earlier weight loss study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 suggested the EPA and DHA essential fatty acid components of fish oil were responsible for the increased oxidation of fat, the activation of genes that break down fat in the mitochondria, a reduced number of fat cells especially in the tummy region, and an improvement in insulin response.

    In terms of weight loss alone, in another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who consumed fish oil and walked 45 minutes three times a week, lost up to five more pounds than the control group! Researchers noted the combination of fish oil and exercise significantly reduced body fat, which indicates the potential benefit of a combined treatment strategy for optimizing body composition in overweight or obese subjects. Fat Flush for Life reflects this research with the addition of a fish oil option to the original protocol.

    Iodine Deficiency and Hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism (under activity of the thyroid gland, your body’s energy burner and thermostat) is epidemic. I hear from women of all ages, starting in their late 20s, how the doctor has put them on thyroid meds like Synthyroid® and Armour®. Although the latest statistics suggest that four out of ten Americans have hypothyroidism, I think the number may even be higher due to subclinical thyroid conditions. Next to diabetes, hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder in the country these days. A low-functioning thyroid will slow down your body’s metabolism as well as influence your heart and muscle strength.

    Besides the inability to lose weight, hypothyroidism is linked to depression, hair loss, poor eyebrow growth (especially the outer third of the brow), dry skin, irritability, aching wrists, fluid retention, constipation, a coarse voice, decreased blood pressure and premature graying of the hair.

    The connection between thyroid function and iodine levels became clear about 60 years ago. The thyroid gland depends upon iodine to make its hormones. T4 has four iodine molecules attached to it and T3 has three iodine molecules. If your body lacks adequate levels of iodine, your thyroid gland can’t produce those all-important T3 and T4 hormones. Why are they important? T4 is a hormone that regulates energy metabolism; it determines how fast your body burns food for energy. T4 is converted to T3. T3 is the active, intracellular thyroid hormone that stimulates energy burning within a cell. And you need 20 times as much T4 as T3 to operate normally. The bottom-line is that iodine is able to restore balance to thyroid hormones whether they are high or low.

    According to David Brownstein, M.D., over the past three decades, iodine intake decreased fifty percent while thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and thyroid cancer) increased significantly. Brownstein tested more than 1,000 people at his Michigan clinic and discovered that 95 percent had low, inadequate iodine levels. His findings mirror results found by a national laboratory that tested more than 4,000 individuals.

    So how can you tell if your thyroid level is low? Other than the symptoms I describe above, the best way to know for sure is to get tested. You can test and effectively treat your iodine levels by doing a special, iodine loading test pioneered by Guy Abraham, M.D. the visionary endocrinologist. Dr. Abraham’s 24-hour urine test found that most individuals need about 50 mg of iodine per day — far more than the RDA’s recommendation of 150 mcgs.

    In higher amounts, iodine acts as an adaptogen and plays a significant role in disorders like polycystic ovary disease, fibrocystic breast disease, sleep apnea, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, and hormone imbalances. As my friend and colleague Nan Fuchs, Ph.D. points out, while 150 mcg of iodine per day is adequate in preventing goiter there are many benefits to taking more— especially for women. Since women have larger breasts than men and iodine is concentrated in the breast tissue, women simply need more iodine to protect against disease and possibly cancer.

    It is important to also note that a low hydrochloric acid level (HCL), healthy stomach acid, can be triggered by an iodine insufficiency because we need iodine to enable chloride to enter the stomach cells. Without enough HCL, the body won’t digest protein or use iron or calcium and magnesium. As we hit the age of 60, our HCL levels decrease by almost half. Increasing your iodine is one good way to increase HCL production naturally, thereby improving digestion.

    In light of the importance of iodine to so many bodily functions, you will be shoring up your iodine levels with iodine-rich sea vegetables (hijiki, wakame, kombu, agar, and nori) at least twice a week on the Fat Flush for Life menu plans and incorporating an iodine-rich seasoning (Seaweed Gomasio) for flavor and health.

    Copper Overload and Hypothyroidism
    Besides being affected by iodine, your thyroid can be suppressed by an elevated copper level. Copper, like iodine, can also inhibit the conversion of the thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) resulting in a slow down of metabolism on the cellular level. In my experience with Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) over the past two decades, I have observed that an elevated tissue level of copper is frequently linked with hypothyroidism, especially when the zinc/copper ratio is higher than ten to one (ideal is eight to one in favor of zinc). In fact, women with low zinc levels also tend to have high copper, a connection that I’ve found in 70 to 80 percent of women. Zinc is typically very deficient in vegetarians, individuals under stress, and those who don’t eat zinc-rich sources of foods like red meat, eggs, and pumpkin seeds.

    A copper/zinc imbalance also affects the liver’s ability to detoxify. Copper and zinc are both needed to activate key liver enzymes, so if they are out of balance then your liver is out of balance. This leaves the liver less able to eliminate toxins, including excess copper. The result is high copper and poor liver function.

    Copper levels seem to rise and fall in tandem with estrogen levels. So if you are deficient in zinc, the balancing mineral to copper, and/or lacking in progesterone, the hormone which balances estrogen, copper levels tend to rise. Weight gain as well as frontal headaches, menstrual irregularities, food cravings, mood swings, fatigue, depression, and yeast are all common symptoms of copper overload.

    Lowered adrenal gland activity is another key reason behind high copper levels. Interestingly, TMA results from my clinical experience show that seven out of ten women have weak adrenal glands. Adrenal gland activity is required to stimulate production of ceruloplasmin, the leading copper binding protein. With diminished adrenal activity, the liver makes less ceruloplasmin and unbound copper starts to gather in various tissues, organs, and glands—like the thyroid.

    There are a myriad of external sources for copper exposure. Drinking water (occurs naturally in drinking water in some areas and in some areas it is actually added to municipal water sources as copper sulfate), copper water pipes, copper cookware, birth control pills, copper IUDs, dental fillings, and crowns, put you at risk for copper overload. But the interesting thing is that the typical vegetarian menu contains a high copper and low zinc assortment of foods. Add to this a diet high in phytate-rich grains (like whole grains) known to lower zinc levels and the trouble becomes two-fold.

    The truth is we need just a pinch of copper in our bodies. The average person ingests 2.5 to 5.0 milligrams of copper per day; those who eat vegetarian diets typically take in more. The range that is considered safe and adequate to meet our needs is 1.5 to 3.0 milligrams per day; the recommended dietary intake for adults is 2.0. In light of the copper overload from the environment, controlling dietary copper is paramount.

    As mentioned earlier, these newly uncovered concerns that are contributing to the unrestrained obesity epidemic. When you address and correct seemingly unrelated factors like microbes, fish oil and iodine deficiency, and copper overload, you can drop those pounds for good. You’ll restore the body’s natural ability to regulate metabolism and detoxify.

  • Progesterone

    The sex hormone Progesterone is also balanced by estrogen's sexy Smart Fats:

    • High lignan flax seeds and flax oil
    • Chia
    • Walnuts

    If there was ever a "magic bullet" hormone therapy on the planet, natural progesterone comes really close. Many women's bodies are simply not producing enough. Either because they are not ovulating regularly—although many are still menstruating—so there is no corpus luteum to create progesterone, or because their bodies are converting progesterone into other hormones like cortisol, estrogen or testosterone.

    It is deficient in practically EVERY female I test from 18 to 80. Whether you decide to use a topical progesterone cream or nutrient precursors, like zinc, vitamin C and vitamin B6, or herbs like chaste berry or wild yam, you owe it to your brain to make sure your progesterone is in place.

    Progesterone is well recognized as the "feel good" hormone because we have 20 times more of it in the brain than in the bloodstream. As a natural anti-depressant and diuretic, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, control mood swings and can prevent those whiskers on your chin.

    If you do have an excess of facial hair, chances are you do not have enough progesterone. When your levels are raised, the facial hair can start to disappear. Without sufficient progesterone, the adrenal cortex can secrete the androgen hormone androstenedione as an alternative chemical precursor for the manufacture of progesterone. This steroid is associated with some male characteristics, one of which is male pattern baldness. But when your progesterone level is raised with natural progesterone cream, your androstenedione level will gradually decline and the excess facial hair will become finer and begin to disappear.

    Progesterone also contributes to activating osteoblasts, the bone builders critical for a strong stature and graceful appearance.

    Smart Tips: Progesterone

    How do you build up your progesterone levels?

    1. Jump on the flax bandwagon. Whatever you do to modulate estrogen will have an equalizing effect on progesterone too.
    2. Think zinc! Eating zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef can help shore up progesterone levels while the vitamin B6 in non-gluten grains and beans and vitamin C in citrus, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes can also help.
    3. Avoid stress. Easier said than done, I know. Coping with stress successfully will negate the possibility that precious progesterone will be used to make stress-managing cortisol. That's why I don't leave home without my Bach Flower Rescue Remedy!

    Testosterone

    The sex hormone testosterone can be reset with more sexy Smart Fats:

    • Saturated fats
    • Monounsaturated fats
    • Saw Palmetto Oil, Even though "low T" is generally thought of as a male issue, both men and women need the hormone of desire for many reasons. This potent sex regulator governs sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength, and red blood cell production. And it starts to drop by about two percent each year, beginning at age 30, for both sexes.

    In men, low-T is characterized by erectile dysfunction, libido drop, hair loss, and weight gain. In women, flabby muscles, as well as low sex drive and even osteoporosis, can rear its ugly head. Regardless of gender, excess fat turns muscle-generating testosterone into estrogen, which only causes a nasty cycle of more fat to be stored, usually in your abdomen. Since overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, it is crucial to increase hormone levels for maximum weight loss results.

    Too Much Testosterone

    Elevated testosterone may signal insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and/or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so I suggest that you follow a well-balanced diet to keep blood sugar levels steady and allow passion to return to the bedroom. Traditional testosterone replacement therapy is laden with alarming side effects, which include prostate cancer, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and liver toxicity. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Smart Tips: Testosterone

    Here is a better way to keep your testosterone levels at an even keel.

    1. Consume saturated and mono-unsaturated fats. Research shows that in order to have healthy testosterone levels, men need a diet of at least 40 percent fat, and saturated fats, as well as monounsaturated fats, are the best sources. Since I have already covered many of the benefits and sources of these Smart Fats in other articles, I am simply including a list of the best ones to boost testosterone levels: pastured butter and ghee, coconut and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, raw nuts such as almonds or pecans, grass-fed meats.

    2. Saw Palmetto Oil. Saw palmetto is a remarkable supplement best known to support prostate health, but it can also even out testosterone. As a thyroid balancer, it stimulates metabolism. And, it has been shown to both decrease estrogen and increase testosterone. Saw Palmetto is filled with beneficial fatty acids and contains chlorophyll, lutein, and lycopene. With this power charged supplement, you will receive the lipophilic benefits of oleic acid and lauric acid with beta-sitosterol as the base ingredient.

    3. Do note that excess progesterone (which is not the norm, but does occur) can be converted into testosterone. If you are using a topical bio-identical progesterone cream or taking herbs such as wild yam or chaste berry, you will need to temporarily discontinue use to bring your progesterone and testosterone levels into balance together.

    4. If levels are too high, drink spearmint tea. One to two cups a day should suffice.

    5. Testing, testing, testing. Consider a salivary hormone test to keep tabs on your T levels.

    6. Consume plenty of zinc if you have lower than normal T levels. This mineral is just as important for testosterone production as it is for progesterone. In studies, it has been shown that taking zinc supplementation for as little as six weeks will cause a great improvement in testosterone among men whose levels were previously low. Zinc, of course, is also crucial to proper immunity and reproductive health in both men and women.

      What you need to know about zinc is, it is associated with both progesterone and testosterone as a precursor. Zinc is related to these hormones the way copper is connected to estrogen levels. In tissue mineral analysis, we like to see an eight-to-one ratio in favor of zinc.

      Elevated copper levels and a zinc deficiency have been associated with hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, violence, and depression. Lack of zinc can also produce acne, eczema, sensitive skin, sunburn, headaches and white spots on the fingernails.

      Enjoy plenty of these protein-packed foods to get more zinc in addition to the zinc-rich eggs, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, oysters, lamb, kelp, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, raw cheese, poultry, seafood, beans, yogurt or kefir.

    7. Increase Your Vitamin D. This steroid hormone (yes, you read that right) increases levels of testosterone. According to one study, overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements for one year had a significant increase in testosterone levels.

      The best way to optimize your vitamin D levels is to get a healthy amount of sun exposure. If getting out and playing in the sunlight is not an option, then vitamin D3 should be taken as a supplement. Research shows that you will need to take about 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day in order to increase testosterone.

    What’s the Next Step?
    Now that you can better appreciate the way food and environmental toxins evoke a hormonal response, it’s time to maximize your weight loss results. In the upcoming articles, you will find some helpful tips and recipes for integrating Smart Fats, powerful proteins, friendly carbs, fiber-rich seeds, and Smart Sweeteners, Sips and Seasonings into your daily meals, or adapting your current regimen to the Eat Fat Lose Weight approach and philosophy.

    All of this is designed to help you accomplish basic nurturing of your body for painless weight control and lasting hormonal balance. Give yourself permission to enjoy the full gamut of self-care, from stress relief to proper sleep and targeted exercise, as well as satisfying food. As my grandfather Aaron liked to say, “May you live and thrive ‘til 120—but only in the very best of health.”

  • Thanks to a combination of new advances into natural remedies and a veritable treasure trove of time-tested information, it is more possible than ever to preserve and improve your health through holistic means. The growing popularity of such products can be witnessed both in the proliferation of the specialty stores that carry them and their emergence on the shelves of more traditional retailers. More importantly, this isn’t due to any hidden financial agenda, as these products lack the backing of the big pharmaceutical corporations that have made so many pills and powders household names. Instead, a handful of the natural remedies are gaining steam for one simple reason: they work. When taken properly, natural supplements can offer all the benefits of their synthetic counterparts without the considerable drawbacks of side effects, making them an essential part of one’s day-to-day wellness regiment.

    While there are all-natural supplements and nutrients suggested for the treatment of every ailment from the flu to foot fungus, here are a few that are particularly relevant to those going through the male aging syndrome—associated with declining testosterone levels—known as Andropause (Male Menopause) or what I like to call; the Beer Belly Blues.

    Testosterone-Supporting Nutrients

    Just in case you haven’t heard (or read any of my books), testosterone is good—very good in fact. It helps regulate a number of our vital functions and its natural tendency to diminish along with aging is what ushers in the Beer Belly Blues. Therefore, maintenance of testosterone levels is absolutely a priority, especially when it can be done through healthy, natural and research-proven means. Following are some of my favorite nutrients to help support optimal testosterone levels.

    Peruvian Maca—Found high in the Andes mountain range in Peru, Lepidium meyenii is a perennial root vegetable with a number of medicinal properties.1 Similar to a radish or turnip, maca has seen over 2,000 years of use dating back to the indigenous people of the area, who employed it as a foodstuff, a form of currency, and an aphrodisiac.2 While still used for the first purpose (much less so for the second), maca remains even more relevant to the third, especially in terms of this article.

    While maca has yet to be tied directly to the increased production of testosterone, its unique combination of nutrients are thought to have an overall salutary effect on the endocrine system, thus allowing for the optimization of its functions.3 Maca seems to work by enhancing the overall message of the body’s hormones—yes, including testosterone —through a better binding of the hormone to its receptor4, thus causing an amplification of the overall hormonal response (kind of like turning up the volume on your headphones).

    Chrysin (with Bioperine)—Unfortunately, as men age they become very efficient—too efficient in fact—at converting their testosterone to estrogen. This happens when belly fat increases, as belly fat manufactures a nasty enzyme called aromatase, which is responsible for synthesizing estrogen from testosterone (think “man boobs”). Yes, aromatase is a very, very bad thing (at least when left unchecked). Fortunately, chrysin is around to help prevent a future in which we need to choose a t-shirt based on how well it accentuates our cleavage. It is a naturally-occurring flavoring agent found in both blue passion flower and honeycomb, and is popular with those undergoing rigorous strength training (such as athletes or bodybuilders) for its renowned ability to keep aromatase levels (as well as our cup sizes) in check.5

    While research has found that there may be difficulty in absorbing chrysin into the bloodstream, it has also found a natural way to improve results. Bioperine, a component of black pepper and long pepper, is thought to help the body in deriving the maximum benefit possible from chrysin when the two are taken together. It does so by slowing down the process of metabolism, thereby enhancing the bioavailability of certain substances, including the active agents in chrysin.6

    Stinging Nettle Root—The medicinal use of stinging nettle root can be traced all the way back to the 10th century, when it was included in a pagan manual called the Nine Herbs Charm. Since then, stinging nettle root (and leaf) has been used as a folk remedy for a maladies such as rheumatism, arthritis7, and dandruff. It has also been researched as a potential tool in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)8, the overgrowth of the prostate gland which leads to uncomfortable experiences like getting up way too many times in the middle of the night to pee (on the seat of course).

    Stinging nettle root is also taken by those wishing to increase their levels of free testosterone. It works by preemptively occupying the binding sites of a protein that binds to testosterone called sex hormone binding globulin or SHBG.9

    Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C)—I3C is the by-product of the breakdown of glucosinolate glucobrassicin, a nutrient found in high concentrations in the leafy green cruciferous plants such as cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli. It has been noted for its ability to convert estrogens from a form particularly problematic to those in the midst of the Beer Belly Blues (16-alpha hydroxyestrone)10 into other harmless ones.11 By this virtue it also helps protect our valuable testosterone levels.

    Bioavailable Zinc—According to the Journal of Nutrition, zinc is considered a nutrient of “exceptional biologic and public health importance.” An essential mineral, zinc deficiency affects an estimated two billion people worldwide, especially those in developing nations, and can result in stunted growth and fertility problems.12 While it can also be fatally poisonous in excess, zinc taken in the proper amount can prove vital in ensuring both testosterone and prostate health.

    Studies show that zinc is essential for the maintenance of healthy testosterone levels and men who have low levels of this master mineral usually find their testosterone lowering along with it.13 Aside from this, it is currently being researched for its astounding ability to target and kill prostate cancer cells.

    Conclusion—Although the nutrients listed above have been validated both through studies and anecdotal reports, it is important to understand that not all products on the market contain the right extracts or dosages of each one. Aside from this, dosages may vary depending on each individual case, so speaking to a naturally trained health professional can help determine which ones and what dosages are best for you. Having said this, there are also products available that contain synergistic blends of these nutrients, which could end up saving you big money in the long run—please visit www.UltimateMaleSolution.com for more info on these. Finally, properly designed libido-enhancing supplements take time to work—sometimes up to one month—so be patient and enjoy the results!

    Referencess:
    1. Kilham C. Tales from the Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Health Secrets of Shamans, Herbalists, Mystics, Yogis, and Other Healers. [Emmaus PA]: Rodale Press (2000).
    2. Gonzales GF, et al. “Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru—from tradition to science.” Forsch Komplementmed 16 (6):373–80.
    3. Gonzales GF, et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men.” Andrologia (2002) 34 (6): 367–72.
    4. Gonzales GF, et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men.” J Endocrinol. (Jan 2003) 176 (1): 163–8.
    5. Kellis JT Jr, Vickery LE. “Inhibition of human estrogen synthetase (aromatase) by flavones.” Science (1984) 225 (4666): 1032–4.
    6. Majeed, M. Use of piperine as a bioavailability enhancer. US Patent 5744161
    7. Teucher T, et al. Cytokine secretion in whole blood of healthy subjects following oral administration of Urtica dioica L. plant extract. Arzneimittelforschung 1996 Sep;46(9):906–10
    8. Afarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(4):1-11.
    9. Schöttner M, et al. Interaction of lignans with human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Z Naturforsch [C]. 1997 Nov/Dec;52(11–12):834–43
    10. Lila M.A., Raskin I. 2005. Health related interactions of phytochemicals. J. Food Sci. 70: 20-37.
    11. Rogan E.G. 2006. The natural chemopreventive compound indole-3-carbinol: state of science. In vivo 20: 221–228. PMID: 16634522
    12. Zinc deficiency: Has been known of for 40 years but ignored by global health organisations.” British Medical Journal 326 (7386): 409–10.
    13. Ambridge, K. M. and Krebs, N. F. “Zinc deficiency: a special challenge.” J. Nutr. (2007) 137 (4): 1101–5