Testosterone, Saw Palmetto Berries and BPH, What Men Should Know

Back in the 1990’s, I owned a health food store in New York. Many men came into my store complaining of frequent urination. When I suggested a high quality saw palmetto berry supplement, many of them told me that they already tried that and it didn’t work. When I asked them what brand they had used, they always told me some type of low quality discount store brand. When they tried the brand that I suggested, available only at health food stores, they almost always came back and told me it had worked. Let’s explore some of the benefits of a high quality saw palmetto berry supplement.

Saw Palmetto berry extract inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The extract also appears to inhibit DHT from binding to cell receptor sites which increases the breakdown of DHT and encourages its excretion.

Limiting your body’s ability to change testosterone into DHT can be very important for several reasons. DHT is the primary contributing factor in male pattern baldness. [1][2] But more importantly, because DHT plays a role in the development and exacerbation of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). [3][4] This happens because DHT enlarges the prostate gland. When the prostate becomes enlarged, frequent urination is a common symptom.

Numerous clinical trials with saw palmetto berry extract used in the treatment of BPH have found it safe and effective for the treatment of mild-to-moderate BPH compared to placebo. [5][6] Unlike prescription drugs, saw palmetto does not have serious unwanted side effects.

Native Americans of the south eastern United Sates have used saw palmetto berries as a food source and a medicine for hundreds of years with no terrible side effects. They used it in the treatment of both frequent urination and trouble urinating.

Saw palmetto berry extract has been approved for the treatment of prostate problems by the German Commission E, which a scientific advisory board and the German equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In Germany, saw palmetto is often recommended by physicians for the treatment of an enlarged prostate. In fact, in many European countries, a number of prescription and over-the-counter remedies for enlarged prostate contain saw palmetto extract.

On the other hand, the prescription drugs used in the treatment of BPH also lower DHT by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. But the drugs can have terrible side effects that might continue after stopping the treatment. The side effects may include erectile dysfunction, diminished libido and male breast cancer. [7][8] They are also known to have cognitive side effects, including depression, [9] brain fog and memory loss. [8]

If you decide to take saw palmetto berries to treat the symptoms of BHP, make sure you get a quality product. I suggest a product that has been standardized to contain at least 85 percent fatty acids and sterols.  And remember, if you want it to work, you need to take it every day and give it some time to work its magic.  It usually takes up to 45 days to start showing lessening of symptoms and may take as long as 90 days to show some results.

  1. Nordqvist C (2012-02-23).“What Is DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)? What Is DHT’s Role In Baldness?”. Medical News Today.
  2. “Male Pattern Baldness Causes”.Hair Loss Health Center. WebMD, LLC.
  3. “Prostate Enlargement – What Causes The Prostate To Enlarge?”. ehealthMD
  4. Freedland SJ, Isaacs WB, Platz EA, Terris MK, Aronson WJ, Amling CL, Presti JC, Kane CJ (October 2005). “Prostate size and risk of high-grade, advanced prostate cancer and biochemical progression after radical prostatectomy: a search database study”. Clin. Oncol. 23 (30): 7546–54.doi:10.1200/JCO.2005.05.025.PMID 16234520.
  5. Wilt T, Ishani A, Mac Donald R (2002). “Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia”. In Tacklind, James. Cochrane Database Syst Rev(3): CD001423. doi:1002/14651858.CD001423PMID 12137626.
  6. [5] Boyle, P; Robertson C, Lowe F, Roehrborn C (Apr 2004). “Updated meta-analysis of clinical trials of Serenoa repens extract in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia”.BJU Int 93 (6): 751–756.doi:1111/j.1464-410X.2003.04735.xPMID 15049985.
  7. Irwig MS, Kolukula S (June 2011). “Persistent sexual side effects of finasteride for male pattern hair loss”. J Sex Med8(6): 1747–53. doi:1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02255.x.PMID 21418145.
  8. Traish AM, Hassani J, Guay AT, Zitzmann M, Hansen ML (March 2011). “Adverse side effects of 5α-reductase inhibitors therapy: persistent diminished libido and erectile dysfunction and depression in a subset of patients”.J Sex Med 8 (3): 872–84. doi:1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02157.x.PMID 21176115.
  9. Rahimi-Ardabili B, Pourandarjani R, Habibollahi P, Mualeki A (2006). “Finasteride induced depression: a prospective study”BMC Clin Pharmacol 6: 7. doi:1186/1472-6904-6-7.PMC 1622749.PMID 17026771.

The Dark Side of Whey Protein

Whey protein is a by-product of cheese making. The globular protein is left over and becomes a waste product for the cheese industry, Rather than dump the left overs, the industry has invented a way to market and sell it. However, excessive consumption of whey protein has been linked to several unwanted health conditions that most doctors and common people are completely unaware of.

Whey is produced in three different forms, isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate. They have different size protein particles and contain different amounts of protein by volume. All of them have been shown to have the following negative health effects:

Whey protein can have a dangerous effect on our immune system for those of us that have even a mild allergy to milk protein. Many of us unknowingly have a mild dairy allergy and when it enters our blood stream our immune system attacks the whey proteins just like it would attack a pathogen. The result is that we can get a variety of different symptoms. If the affected system is our respiratory system, runny nose and/or mucus in the lungs are two of the many symptoms that may occur. If the allergic reaction in our body occurs in the skin, rashes or puffy skin may occur. Don’t expect a medical doctor to diagnose it. Most MD’s have no training in diagnosing whey protein allergies.

For those of us that have even a mild case of lactose intolerance, which is at least 60% of the population, digestive problems are another dark side. Whey protein concentrate is what remains when liquid whey is dried. It usually contains more than 50% lactose. For the majority of the human race, the enzyme that digests the sugar occurring in cow’s milk called lactase, stops being produced between the ages of two and five years old. Therefore, when the undigested sugars reach the intestine, they undergo bacterial fermentation, producing gas that can cause bloating, cramping, flatulence, nausea, and even diarrhea in some individuals. Other possible symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, and headaches.

Weakened bones are another possible effect of whey protein when consumed day after day for extended periods of time without balancing out the acidity with alkaline food. The acidity of whey protein in our bloodstream can cause the alkaline minerals calcium and magnesium to be leached from our bones and used to buffer the pH of our bloodstream.

There are many choices in hypoallergenic protein powders on the market today. Sunwarrior leads the way in quality protein products. Why not make the investment in yourself and spend a few dollars more to get a quality product instead of a by-product?


Homocysteine, is it causing your symptoms?

Homocysteine is what scientists refer to as a non-protein amino acid. In other words, we cannot build protein from homocysteine. It is a substance found in the blood that can be accurately measured with a simple blood test. Homocysteine is not obtained from the diet but is biosynthesized inside our bodies from the amino acid methionine by the removal of a methyl group.

In 1968 a Harvard researcher discovered that children with elevated homocysteine levels due to a genetic defect had vascular disease similar to middle-aged people with the disease. This ground breaking discovery concluded that excess homocysteine could be a risk factor for heart disease.

It is now known that elevated homocysteine can lead to inflammation of the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels called the endothelium. If the elevated level of homocysteine is not lowered, it may lead to inflammation of the arteries, veins and capillaries which carry blood to all parts of the body. After that happens, artery walls may begin to thicken from the accumulation of calcium and fatty materials. This is known as atherosclerosis. This in turn can result in the restriction of blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose which is needed for cellular metabolism.

Elevated levels of homocysteine have been correlated with the occurrence of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. However, many cardiologists are still not checking homocysteine levels in their patients unless the person specifically asks to be checked. This may be due in part to the fact that testing homocysteine levels is not usually covered by health insurance and that there is no pharmaceutical treatment for elevated homocysteine levels other than natural vitamin supplementation along with a diet high in raw leafy green vegetables.

Blood levels of homocysteine are statistically higher in people who eat a lot of animal protein and don’t consume adequate amounts of fruits and leafy green vegetables. Research also indicates that the more coffee one drinks the higher the homocysteine level becomes. Reducing the consumption of animal protein and coffee can help lower homocysteine levels. The literature shows that levels tend to be higher in men than in women, and increase with age.

Stress has been linked to elevation as well. The neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine are elevated by stress and need to be metabolized in the liver with a process that uses methylated B vitamins. When we use up these methyl groups, we can’t process homocysteine and the level rises in the bloodstream.

There are numerous unhealthy effects that homocysteine can have on the human body in addition to damaging the circulatory system. Some such health conditions include: macular degeneration, spontaneous abortion, migraine headaches, congestive heart failure, hearing loss, high risk of Alzheimer’s disease and many more conditions.

The good news is that homocysteine can be recycled back into methionine or converted into cysteine with the aid of B-vitamins; more specifically, folate (active folate is known as methyltetrahydrofolate)vitamin B6  and the methylated form of vitamin B12 called methylcobalamin. Note that I said folate and not folic acid, also methylcobalamin and not cyanocobalamin. Folic acid and cyancobalamin are synthetic.

It is now known that approximately one out of every five people have some level of a genetic mutation that makes it difficult to convert synthetic B vitamins into usable ones. It is known as the MTHFR-677 mutation. People with this mutation have been found to have high levels of homocysteine when they are not consuming adequate amounts of food derived B vitamins. This is because they have a limited ability to add a methyl group to synthetic vitamins to make them useable. (For more information on the MTHFR mutation, see my article and video on it.)

There are two commonly known ways that homocysteine is converted into usable substances. One requires folate and vitamin B12. This path turns homocysteine back into methionine. The other requires vitamin B6 as a co-factor (pyridoxal phosphate is the active form of vitamin B6). This route converts homocysteine into cysteine, which is then used by the body to make glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant and is very useful in the body.

Other substances have also been shown to lower homocysteine levels in the human body. Betaine hydrochloride (betaine HCL) can be purchased as a dietary supplement or can be obtained from eating or juicing beets. Betaine turns homocysteine into cysteine. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) can also reduce blood plasma homocysteine levels and improve endothelial function. Furthermore, research indicates that vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and magnesium are involved in homocysteine metabolism.

I recommend that everyone check their homocysteine levels every few years as they age and especially if they are less than optimally healthy. I also believe that everyone should carefully follow their nutritional status with annual testing from a reputable lab that does intra-cellular micronutrient testing. And lastly, consume a healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables and a great multiple vitamin that contains food extracted vitamins.


Ear Infection, a Naturopathic Perspective

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons why a child is taken to a doctor. Although children are more likely to get ear infections, it is common for adults to get them also. In recent years there has been an increase in the frequency of ear infections worldwide.

Let’s take a look at some published studies done to determine the efficacy of using natural and nontoxic ear oil that is commonly found in health food stores. Note that this oil can be made easily at home for a fraction of the price.

A double blind study was done on 171 children with middle-ear infections. During the study they found that children who were given naturopathic ear drops alone had a better response than children who were given ear drops together with antibiotics.

During the study “no evidence was found that systemic antibiotics alone improved treatment outcome”. The study went on to say, “these herbal extracts have the potential to meet all of the requirements of appropriate medication that could be routinely used in the pediatric patient, namely in vitro bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal activity against common pathogens, immunostimulation ability, antioxidant activity, and anti-inflammatory effects”. “They are also well-absorbed with good penetration into the tissue surrounding the tympanic membrane (eardrum). They have been found to enhance local immunologic activity. Finally, herbal extracts are well-tolerated, easy to administer, and less expensive than the new antibiotics. There are no documented side effects”.(1)

Another study was done with 103 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. The conclusion was that “an ear drop formula of naturopathic origin is as effective as anaesthetic ear drops and was proven appropriate for the management of AOM-associated ear pain”.(2)

Both of these studies used several herbs in the formula, but the two herbs common in both formulas were garlic (allium sativum) and mullein flowers (verbascum thapsus) in a base of olive oil. The formula is known as Garlic Mullein ear oil and I have seen it work wonders for folks since 1996 when I owned and operated a health food store in New York.

The following video shows how to make ear oil. Note that you don’t need to use fresh mullein flowers and that dried mullein flowers can be purchased online from companies that sell dried herbs. However, with dried flowers you would need to heat the oil/flower blend to extract out the medicinal components of the mullein flowers. There are many ways to make ear oil. This is just one example

(1)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12728112

(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434846


How to Use Ozone at Home for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Many years ago I had a dentist use a microscope to show me what types of bacteria I had living under my gum line. That same dentist suggested that I use a water flosser once per day to flush out the bacteria and spirochetes. After using the water flosser for one year I was retested and found that there were no more visible spirochetes and the amount of bacteria under my gum line was greatly reduced.

A few years later my dental hygienist told me that I had a few small spots where there were pockets beneath my gum line that were not 100% healthy. She suggested a deep cleaning. After understanding that a deep cleaning was a painful, time consuming and expensive process, I decided to do some research for alternatives. I learned about using ozone in a water flosser to kill the bacteria under the gum line that are difficult to access.

I discovered that anyone can purchase an ozone machine made to send ozone gas into a water tank or sauna and as long as you have an air pump to push the ozonated air into the water, it can be used to infuse ozone into a water flosser. Then simply follow the instructions for using a water flosser and send the ozonated water into the gum line.  I made a video on how to do that and you can see it at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F0RBEnGEOw&feature=em-uploademail

Important suggestions for ozone use in a water flosser:

  • Don’t let the sweet taste of ozonated water fool you. High concentrations of ozone can be a potent respiratory hazard and can also damage mucus membranes. I don’t suggest infusing your water flosser for more than 10 seconds with ozone gas.
  • Don’t use this type of ozone generator in a bathroom after a shower where the air is steamy. There are two reasons for this. 1- The moisture in the air will cause the ozone generator to create nitric acid which is corrosive to human skin and turns our skin yellow. 2- The moisture in the air will shorten the life of the corona discharge unit. Only use the machine in a dry room.
  • Don’t turn the pressure on the water flosser up too high. You want to gently clean the gum line, not power wash it. I use my Hydro Floss at 50% power. One Hundred percent power might damage your gums.
  • Check with your dentist. Unless your dentist suggests it, don’t do this every day. I do this two or three times a week at most.
  • Do not swallow the ozonated water. It should be spit it out.

The following bullet points are copied from the National Institutes of Health: 


  • Disinfectant.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Activation of intracellular metabolism of oral mucosa and dental wounds.
  • Improvement of regional circulation.
  • Stimulation of regenerative processes.
  • Hemostasis in capillary bleedings.
  • Painless procedures.


  • Ozone toxicity if the level increases at 0.0007% per application.
  • Instability.
  • Not readily available.


  • Chronic or recurrent infections in the oral cavity.
  • Prophylaxis and prevention of dental caries.
  • Remineralization of pit and fissure caries, root and smooth surface caries.
  • Bleaching of discolored root canal treated teeth.
  • Sterilization of cavities, root canals, periodontal pockets, herpetic lesions.
  • Desensitization of extremely sensitive tooth necks.
  • Pre-washing of surgical sites.
  • Plaque control.
  • Contamination control.

Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)


Link to multipurpose ozone machine below



C-Reactive Protein, a Known Risk Factor

C-reactive protein, abbreviated CRP, is produced in the liver and released into the bloodstream when there is inflammation in the body.[1] It can be measured in the blood, and is a known risk factor for many common diseases. Unfortunately, the blood test does not pinpoint where the inflammation is coming from or what is causing it.

Research shows that people with high CRP concentrations are more likely to develop heart attacks, strokes and severe peripheral vascular disease.[2]   Research also shows that people with elevated levels of CRP are at an increased risk of diabetes.[3][4]

An elevated level of CRP can be observed in people with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.[5]

The normal concentration of CRP in a healthy person’s blood serum is usually lower than 10 mg/L. This number increases slightly with aging. Levels of 10–40 mg/L are found in women during late pregnancy and in people with mild inflammation and viral infections. Active inflammation and bacterial infection bring the level up from 40–200 mg/L. Severe bacterial infections and burns may bring the level to greater than 200 mg/L.[6]

Fortunately for us, it is possible to lower CRP. There are both, natural methods and pharmaceutical drugs that will the job. However, I suggest the natural approach because anti-inflammatory drugs are known to have many unhealthy side effects. The natural approach usually yields positive effects such as increased vitality.

Diet plays a major role in the elevation of CRP. A study was done on over 700 nurses. They split the group into four segments. Those in the group with the highest trans-fat consumption had blood levels of CRP that were 73% higher than those in the group with the lowest trans-fat consumption.[7]  Saturated fats have also been shown to raise CRP.

Hidden food allergies are a common cause of elevated levels of CRP.  Foods to avoid include refined glutinous flour products, refined sugars and processed food.

Bacterial infections, viral infections, obesity, stress, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides [8] and mold spores have also been associated with elevated levels of CRP.

There are healthy nutritional supplements that have been shown to lower CRP. Omega 3 fats are highly anti-inflammatory. The cleanest source of omega 3 is DHA from algae oil.

You can also add turmeric to your diet. In Italy, there was a three-month trial with 50 people. A team of researchers were investigating the effect of treating people who had arthritis with an oral turmeric extract called curcumin.  After 90 days, blood tests showed a 16-fold decline in C-reactive protein levels.[9]

To sum it up, I suggest the consumption of a plant based diet composed primarily of unprocessed whole food, avoiding the unhealthy fats and the common allergenic foods, gentle but regular exercise and the practice of stress reduction techniques.

Regardless of how you feel, studies show that it is important for everyone to be sure that their CRP level is not elevated. Many researchers now believe that knowing your CRP level is more important than knowing your cholesterol level.

[1] Pepys MB, Hirschfield GM (June 2003). "C-reactive protein: a critical update". J. Clin. Invest. 111 (12): 1805–12. doi:10.1172/JCI18921.PMC 161431PMID 12813013.

[2]- Clearfield MB (September 2005). "C-reactive protein: a new risk assessment tool for cardiovascular disease". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 105 (9): 409–16. PMID 16239491.

[3] Pradhan AD, Manson JE, Rifai N, Buring JE, Ridker PM (July 2001). "C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus".JAMA 286 (3): 327–34. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.327. PMID 11466099.

[4] Dehghan A, Kardys I, de Maat MP, Uitterlinden AG, Sijbrands EJ, Bootsma AH, Stijnen T, Hofman A, Schram MT, Witteman JC (March 2007). "Genetic variation, C-reactive protein levels, and incidence of diabetes". Diabetes 56(3): 872–8. doi:10.2337/db06-0922. PMID 17327459.

 [5]-Liu S, Ren J, Xia Q, Wu X, Han G, Ren H, Yan D, Wang G, Gu G, Li J (May 2013). "Preliminary Case-control Study to Evaluate Diagnostic Values of C-Reactive Protein and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate in Differentiating Active Crohn's Disease From Intestinal Lymphoma, Intestinal Tuberculosis and Behcet's Syndrome". Am. J. Med. Sci. 346 (6): 467–72.doi:10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3182959a18.PMID 23689052

[6] Clyne B, Olshaker JS (1999). "The C-reactive protein". J Emerg Med 17 (6): 1019–25. doi:10.1016/S0736-4679(99)00135-3. PMID 10595891.

[7]  Lopez-Garcia E, Schulze MB, Meigs JB, Manson JE, Rifai N, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB (March 2005). "Consumption of trans fatty acids is related to plasma biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction". J. Nutr.135 (3): 562–6. PMID 15735094.

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22509446

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20657536



Acid Reflux, Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms

Stomach acid is essential for good digestion and absorption of nutrients from your diet. Suppressing stomach acid only treats the symptoms, it does not treat the cause of the disease. In fact, it can actually make things worse. Taking acid blocking drugs long enough will cause numerous nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin, mineral, and especially vitamin B12 and amino acid deficiencies.

Studies have shown that people who take acid blocking drugs long term, may end up with a variety of illnesses including osteoporosis, hip fracture, IBS, fatigue, nerve damage and eventually dementia. Long term use can also lead to an overgrowth of clostridia in the small intestine that can be life threatening.

Stomach acid, also called hydrochloric acid (HCL) is needed for both, separating vitamin B12 from food to make it absorbable and also for breaking down protein rich food so that the amino acids can be absorbed. Not enough amino acids can lead to depression, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, trouble building and maintaining muscles and more. Amino acids are precursors for essential neurotransmitters which are needed for proper brain function.

Stomach acid is essential for killing bacteria and other pathogenic organisms that might be ingested while eating or drinking. If the stomach acid is too low, these pathogens can colonize in your intestines and cause many health problems.

When pathogenic organisms take up residence in your digestive tract, they can create gas and bloating while feeding on the food you have eaten. The pressure from the gas and bloating can push up through the stomach and then through the upper stomach valve (esophageal sphincter) causing acid reflux.

A urine test or breath test for small bowel bacterial overgrowth can diagnose the presence of certain strains of bacteria.

Hiatal hernia can also cause acid reflux. This can be diagnosed with an x-ray. Extra fat around the midline can also contribute. Stress is another contributing factor.

Food allergies to gluten and dairy products may also contribute to acid reflux. I suggest completely eliminating these two foods for a month or so and see if it makes a difference. Other food allergies may also be a factor.

Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to acid reflux. If you are on a low sodium diet you might become deficient in the minerals sodium and chloride. Zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and B vitamins are also needed to have a properly functioning stomach.

Helicobacter pylori, is another common cause of acid reflux. However, unless you go to a holistic or functional medicine doctor, you most likely will not get tested for it unless you have an ulcer. H-pylori can be diagnosed with a simple stool test.

Numerous holistic and functional medicine doctors have been testing their clients who have acid reflux and finding that most of them have low stomach acid levels. Not high levels!

The following is an example of how low stomach acid can lead to acid reflux.

When the acid level in the stomach is too low, the upper stomach valve might not stay closed and the acid from the stomach can leak up into the throat. Our body needs to sense enough HCL in the stomach in order for the upper valve to stay closed properly. Note that in this case, acid reflux is caused by low stomach acid and not by high stomach acid. It is very often the case that people identify acid reflux as having too much stomach acid while most of the time it is caused by not enough stomach acid.


Traditional medical doctors are trained to prescribe acid blocking drugs to treat the symptoms and seem to overlook the dangers of using these drugs. Instead they should be testing the person’s stomach acid level, testing for microbial overgrowth or looking for other causes.

The gastric analysis by radio telemetry test is the most accurate way to measure stomach acid. One just needs to swallow a small capsule with a radio transmitter that measures the pH of the stomach. The result of this test provides you with a graph showing your pH levels at regular intervals over time. If the test shows the HCL level to be low, a betaine HCL supplement can be taken with meals to raise the acid which may keep the upper valve closed when food is present.

There are also two other tests. These can be done at home but are not very accurate. The baking soda test is performed by drinking ¼ teaspoon of baking soda mixed into 5 ounces of water first thing in the morning after waking up. Because the baking soda is very alkaline and your stomach should be very acidic, it will produce carbon dioxide gas that causes burping. You need to measure the exact amount of time that passes from the time you drink the solution until the time that the burping starts. The result gives you an idea of the amount of HCL in the stomach. If it takes more than five minutes to start burping, in may mean that you have low stomach acid. Please note that this test is not always accurate because there are many variables that can give false results.

The betaine HCL test for low stomach acid is the most reliable at home test you can perform. The test is done by taking a betaine HCL pill in the middle of a protein rich meal. If there is no burning sensation after the meal, then do the same thing at your next protein rich meal. If you do this several times and there is no burning sensation, most likely you have low stomach acid.

You may then take 2 pills in the middle of your next protein rich meal and wait to see if there is a burning sensation. Again, if there is no sensation, do the same thing at your next protein rich meal. You can raise the amount of pills by one after every few protein rich meals and see how many pills it takes to feel the burning sensation. When you finally get to the point that you feel the burning, you should then take one less pill during the next meal.

Now that you have determined how many pills your body needs, continue to supplement the HCL with protein rich meals. Over time, your body should need less and less of the HCL supplements as your stomach acid levels normalize. Eventually, you should be able to go off the supplement and not have reflux if the reflux was caused by low stomach acid.

If you have acid reflux, no matter what the cause, it is important to avoid overeating. You will also need to avoid acidic food items such as tomato sauce, fried food, soda, coffee, alcoholic beverages, spicy food and citrus. It is also very important to not eat for a few hours before lying down.

I suggest working with a qualified practitioner who can help you find the cause of the reflux and then slowly wean you off acid blocking drugs. Quitting acid blocking drugs can be dangerous if not supervised by an experienced doctor.

And last thing I would like to share is that there are nutritional supplements that can help. Probiotics are essential to colonize the intestines with good bacteria. DGL (deglycerized licorice) can help with the symptoms. Magnesium is an important nutrient for the proper function of the valves at the top and bottom of the stomach. These valves are actually muscles and muscles need magnesium. And a high quality multivitamin and protein supplement will help replenish nutritional deficiencies that were caused by the acid blocking drugs.


How to Grow Strong Healthy Nails

Our nails can reflect our general state of health. No one wants to have weak brittle nails. Yet having brittle nails, also known as onychorrhexis, is a very common condition affecting approximately 20 percent of the population and is more common in women.[1]

Human fingernails and toenails are primarily composed of a protein called keratin and also contain an array of minerals. Keratin is an extremely strong protein.

Like other proteins, keratin is composed of amino acids. Keratin has large amounts of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. Cysteine is required for giving nails their strength and rigidity.[2]

The mineral composition of a human nail includes: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium, sulphur and zinc. A deficiency in any one of these minerals can affect the health and growth of our nails.[3]

Aside from having a deficiency in the building blocks of nails, brittle nails can be caused by a variety of different things some of which include: chronic dehydration, a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids and a biotin deficiency. [4]

Several chronic health conditions can also cause brittle nails, including: anorexia, bulimia, iron deficiency anemia, and underactive thyroid.[5] Furthermore, psoriasis has been linked to brittle nails. Brittle nails can even be a side effect of certain pharmaceutical medications.

And let’s not overlook the fact that nails which are excessively exposed to water, soap or solvents can also become brittle.

If you are wondering why some of your nails grow slower than the rest, there is no need to worry. In humans, the nail of the index finger may grow faster than that of the little finger and fingernails may grow up to four times faster than toenails.[6]

Provided you do not have a medical condition, keeping well-nourished with all the building blocks that nails need can result in strong healthy nails. A balanced diet composed primarily of a variety of unprocessed whole food is a great start.

To take your nails to the next level try supplementing your diet with a high quality protein powder, a good multi mineral complex, biotin and omega-3 fatty acids.

[1] Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0

[2] http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-keratin.htm

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20620759  

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477615

[5[ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0

[6]  Ravosa, Matthew J.; Dagosto, Marian (2007). Primate origins: adaptations and evolution. Springer. pp. 389–90. ISBN 0-387-30335-9

The Power of Pine Pollen

For at least two thousand years people in China have been consuming pine pollen for its nutritional and medicinal properties. In ancient China it was used for many things including increasing physical energy and boosting the immune system.  Now modern scientific studies have revealed the science behind the magical yellow powder’s many uses.

Perhaps the best known fact about pine pollen is that it raises human testosterone levels because it actually contains testosterone. The pollen comes from the male spores of the pine tree. This accounts for its anabolic and male aphrodisiac properties.

To achieve anabolic effects, it is suggested to take a pine pollen tincture. In liquid form more of the male hormones are absorbed then when taking the pollen powder. Broken cell wall pine pollen is absorbed better than unprocessed pollen.

Pine pollen may potentially retard aging and reduce age-related diseases in humans.[1] Studies also show that pine pollen has antioxidant activity.[2]

Many studies have concluded that pine pollen has anti-inflammatory activity in both humans and animals.[3]  Pine pollen has also been shown to have anti-arthritic properties due to its anti-inflammatory effects.[4]

Pine pollen has quite an impressive nutritional profile. It is a complete protein with a full amino acid profile, a good source of minerals including selenium and contains numerous vitamins including vitamin D.[5]

The following list reveals the many other elements contained in pine pollen:[6]

  • Oleic Acid
  • Alpha Linolenic Acid
  • Lignans
  • MSM
  • Fiber
  • Enzymes
  • Coenzymes
  • Flavonoids
  • Monosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Nucleic Acid
  • Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
  • Inositol
  • Polyphenols
  • Quercitin
  • Rutin
  • Phytosterols
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Resveratrol

Pine pollen is great for men over 30 years old. But it is not recommended for everyday use by children. Men in their 20s that produce normal amounts of testosterone should not take it on a daily basis either. If taken regularly it could lower a young man’s natural testosterone production.

For those who choose to consume pine pollen, it is recommended to take the pollen sporadically and not consistently at the same time every day. In a random manner skipping a few days a week one’s body will not get used to it always being there and better results are achieved.

Although very rare, allergic reactions are possible. As with any new food one should only take a small amount the first time to test for possible allergic reactions.

There are over 100 types of pine trees currently living on planet earth. To date, few varieties are being harvested for their pollen.  It seems that the best quality pollen comes from high altitude regions of China.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22577492

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19107823

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17273982

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19148883

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3671475

[6] https://supermanherbs.com/pine-pollen/