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Archive for vitamins

Let’s Talk Antivirals

So, what is a virus anyway? We all know what they do to us. But what are they? According to Wikipedia, “A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea.” They may lay on a table, float in the air, or ride on your vehicle, but they can’t replicate until they have an organic “host”.

Further research on the internet led me to an article that stated that there are already over 50 pharmaceuticals which have been shown in clinical trials to kill viruses. So why are they still an issue? Mutation. Just like bacteria they are clever little critters.

If the neighborhood bully catches up with you every day and takes your lunch money, you start looking for ways to avoid him. Take a different path to school, get a big buddy to walk with you. Carry a big stick. Take a self-defense class. And so on!

Well viruses do that too. If they are constantly wiped out by one drug, they develop an “immunity” to that one and we have to find another one. So, what can we do? Play on its weaknesses. Remember, it needs a host to survive!

  • Find a new drug – we’re hard at that all the time. But it takes time!
  • Know it’s coming and prepare for the season – You can do this by working on strengthening your immune system. There are at least two other blogs here that address ways to do this.
  • Take a two-pronged approach. Look for supplements that set up an environment in your body where viruses cannot thrive, AND look for supplements known to kill viruses in general. I wrote about several of these in our March blog about viruses and bacteria.

In addition to the herbs I mentioned in the March blog, I’ve spoken with a couple of doctors and searched the internet for some other vitamin and mineral supplements that help prepare you to fight viruses in general. And I’m notating the daily dosages recommended by the medical sources that I have found and reported to me by my customers from their doctors. They won’t apply to everyone, so check with your health care provider about your specific needs.

  • Vitamin C – 1,300-3,000mg per day. Most references seemed to think this worked best if the supplement also contained some citrus bioflavonoids.
  • Vitamin D3 – up to about 5,000IU per day.
  • Vitamin E – around 15IU per day. This is a major fat-soluble antioxidant that plays numerous roles in modulating the strength and breadth of your immune system.
  • Zinc – an interesting aside is that my shelf stock the first of this year was 2 bottles because it was normally only taken supplemental to a multivitamin/mineral by a few men. Men generally/normally need about 15mg per day. Now my shelf stock is up to 50 times that amount as customers come in saying their medical doctors are suggesting 50mg per day. We carry several brands and several strengths up to 50mg.

Refer back to the March blog on our website www.thehealthpatch.com under the “resources” tab for the list of some helpful herbal supplements to help manage viruses.

Use sensible precaution. Remember viruses need a host to replicate. Don’t be the host!!! Sanitizers, masks, and managed contact with carriers are all necessary. And a strong immune system is your best defense. Stay healthy.

Back to School – in 2020!

It’s that time of year again. And what a different world we live in this year. “Back to School” means many different things to the kids (and their parents) this year. Some will return to the classroom, some will do on-line training, some will homeschool, and some have joined small community co-ops with diverse curricula. So, the health challenges are just as diverse.

I’m not even going to comment on the viral concerns directly. We get new updates, advice, and regulation almost hourly. But there are still some other health concerns that we need to address – regardless of how or where we’ll learn this year. So, much of this is relooking at advice from years past.

First, a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is still a necessity. The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy. But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task. Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Mental alertness is imperative. It’s tougher than ever to focus on “learning” – but it is certainly necessary! Establish a routine early in the school year. Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, homework, and desired activities. And since many longtime athletic and extracurricular activities have been canceled this year, you may need to get truly creative to ensure your kids don’t become “couch potatoes.” There are some wonderful natural nutritional supplements to help with mental alertness, too. They can aid with focus and concentration. This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.

This year especially, consider adding immune system boosters to your child’s supplement regimen. I’d recommend an echinacea or elderberry supplement. And don’t forget to include good, old fashioned hygiene. To “sanitize” I add “cleanse”. Wash often, bathe regularly using antibacterial soap, brush your teeth after each meal, and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

As if our kids didn’t have enough stress in this year of the pandemic, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress and increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in outdoor activities, and increased emotional anxiety. Each student experiences these on different levels. Watch your students and listen to them. If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This year this “wonderful time of the year” has added burdens for our children. We’ll need to be diligent to put a positive twist on every adventure. Enjoy life and make it full. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

May

May Overview:
Awareness: Arthritis, Asthma/Allergy, Employee Health/Fitness, Fibromyalgia, Healthy Vision, Lupus, Mental Health, Skin Cancer, Stroke, Women’s Health, World No Tobacco
Flower: Hawthorn, Lily of the Valley
Gemstone: Emerald 
Trees: Popular, Chestnut, Ash

May Day

Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures.  In the 16th and 17th century flowers were used in cooking for all manner of dishes and many flowers were credited for their medicinal properties.  Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign. 

Edible flowers are a fun and easy way to add color.  You may also be surprised to know that flowers actually taste great.  They will add interesting flavors to all sorts of dishes. Carnations taste like clove, nasturtium flowers are hot and peppery, calendula is citrusy and coriander flower is a more intense version of its foliage.  The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, do not add to many other flavors that will over power the delicate taste of the flower. 

One should keep in mind before consuming any plant or flower that not every flower/plant is edible.  When in doubt if a plant/flower is edible check with a medical/herbal/plant professional.  In fact, sampling some flowers can make you very sick.  One should identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers.

Some other things to keep in mind: Never use pesticides or other chemicals on any part of any plant that produces blossoms you plan to eat.  Harvest only 10% of any one flower type in a given area. Leave some for the pollinators and seeding. Never harvest flowers growing by the roadside.  Always remember to use flowers sparingly in your recipes due to the digestive complications that can occur with a large consumption rate.  Most edible flowers are best eaten raw—simply pick and rinse with water.  Most herb flowers have a taste that’s similar to the leaf, but spicier.  Flowers will taste and look their best right after they have opened, rather than after they have been open for a few days. 

There are many negative beliefs around herbs and edible plants (from coriander to broccoli) going to flower. But by planning ahead and leaving your veggie garden to go to flower, allows you to benefit from the full course of a plant’s life and produces yet another exciting ingredient; the edible flower with intensified flavors of the parent plant.  Edible flowers include those that are ones that grow in flower gardens, wildflowers, and even weeds.  Growing your own edible flowers from seed or bulb is really easy. 

Kentucky Derby Day

I am using this day to highlight the use of holistic treatments for one’s pets-mainly canine, equine, and feline-even though National Holistic Pet Day is in August.  Holistic medicine, by its very nature, is humane to the core. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect.

In treating an animal, a holistic practitioner will determine the best combination of both conventional and alternative therapies for a given individual. It means taking in the whole picture of the patient—the environment, the disease pattern, the relationship of pet with owner—and developing a treatment protocol using a wide range of therapies for healing the patient.  They incorporate therapies like herbal remedies, flower essences, iridology, massage, acupressure/acupuncture, and homeopathy.  The holistic practitioner is interested not only in a medical history, but also genetics, nutrition, environment, family relationships, stress levels, and other factors.

Many patients present in a state of “disease.” A simple appearing symptom may have several layers of causation. When one area of the body is ill, it can manifest in many different ways. Only when the true cause of the ailment has been found is there the possibility for a lasting recovery.  The wholeness inherent in the scope of holistic veterinary medicine nurtures all aspects of an animal’s well-being, resulting in lasting physical, mental, and emotional health.

It is important to keep in mind that each species has different needs.  Cats are pure carnivores, so they are the least set up to digest plant material. They have a short, hot digestive tract that does not do well with starchy plant material. When they can benefit, they do better with liquids, including teas. Dogs are omnivores, and often respond well to plant medicines. Horses are true herbivores, and respond quite readily to herbal remedies.  Doses are the same as human doses, based on the weight of the animal. The official human weighs 150 pounds (the weight recommendations are based on), so a 15-pound animal takes 10% of the human dose, and a 1,500-pound horse gets ten times the human dose.  *(Please refer to my 2019 blogs for June ‘History of Vet Medicine’, July ’History of Iridology’ and August ‘Pet Dental Care’.)

Cinco de Mayo (Battle of Puebla Day)

Mexican folk healing, or curanderismo, is a practice that blends Mayan, Aztec, and Spanish Catholic traditions. Folk healers, known as curanderos, believe that their healing abilities are a spiritual vocation.  From their writings and descendants the Mayan traditional medicine survives today.  The Aztecs were excellent botanists, and their extensive knowledge impressed the Spanish, who borrowed from Mexico’s indigenous herbarium and cataloged the intriguing plants. Consequently, medicine remains one of the few examples of cultural practices and indigenous wisdom that have not been lost to history.  

The Mayan civilization rose to prominence in the swampy lowlands of what we now know as southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador and northern Belize. It dates back at least to about 1500 B.C. and existed until the time the Spanish arrived in the area in the 1500s.  Medicine was only practiced by holy men who had received an extensive education. They acted as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual worlds. Then, there are the ah-men -the ‘disease throwers’.

Mayan medical practice was a complex blend of mind, body, religion, ritual and science. Health was the result of living according to the laws of nature and society, and illness the result of the transgression of those laws. The Maya equated sickness with captivity of the soul by supernatural beings, angered by some perceived misbehavior.

The ancient Maya perceived health as “balance”, whereas illness and disease were “imbalance”. Mayan medical texts are devoted to the treatment of symptoms based upon the effects of certain herbal remedies which could be swallowed, smoked, snorted, rubbed on the skin, and even given as enemas.  Herbal remedies were often used according to the color of the originating plant: red for rashes, blood disorders & burns; blue for neural sedatives; yellow (the color of bile) for diseases of the liver & spleen. White was generally avoided since it was seen as a signal of death.  Hot and cold were also key concepts in Mayan medicine: “cold” disorders such as constipation, cramps or paralysis would be treated with hot, spicy foods whilst “hot” disorders such as fever, diarrhea or vomiting would be treated with cold plants or food.  Regularly use of sweat baths, food, and herbs were often combined with massage to alleviate gynecological symptoms such as dysmenorrhea, menopause, premenstrual tension and infertility.

Holy men also employed mind-altering substances such as morning glory, mushrooms, tobacco and other hallucinogens. Self-brewed alcoholic preparations were also used, especially during rituals, to help them to communicate with the spirit world in the hope of re-establishing good health by restoring the correct “balance”.  It often took years to master the right balance of these plant so death would not prevail.

The holy men and ah-men did demonstrate considerable surgical skill. It is known that they sutured wounds with human hair, they were skilled bone-setters and trephined the skull using primitive drills.  They were also accomplished dental surgeons, making prostheses and filing teeth into a variety of shapes, often with perforations to insert decorative pieces of jade, turquoise, hematite, iron pyrites or other organic material; such ornamentation was especially common among women.

The Aztecs (1300’s A.D. to the 1500‘s) came from the ‘Basin of Mexico’.  They shared many things in common with the Mayans and even traded with them.  Much of their fundamental medicinal beliefs were similar.  Soon after the conquest of the Aztecs, the Spanish destroyed thousands of codices (manuscripts) that could have expanded our knowledge of their spiritual/medicine connections.

However, Spanish historians catalogued some fifteen hundred different plants, pastes, potions, and powders that were used by the Aztecs.  They wrapped flower petals around certain medicines to form a type of pill for easy consumption.  Feather quills and cactus spines were included as surgical instruments.   A few plants native to the Americas commonly used in Mexico are achiote, avocado, beans, cacao, chilies, corn, Mexican oregano, nopal, papaya, pineapple, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, and vanilla.  All of these contain medicinal properties.  However, the popular, cilantro, originally grown in Greece, is used to remove heavy metals from the body.

Mother’s Day

When it comes to holistic child care there are many books and websites that can aid mothers.  Here are some uncommonly thought of things one can incorporate into their child’s routine.

Infant massage has the benefits of bonding; releasing feel good bonding hormone oxytocin in women. This is the same hormone which aids in the contraction of the uterus and the production of breast milk.  Babies who experience regular massage sleep deeply and when awake are happy and alert.  Nurturing touch can ease baby’s discomforts and ailments from colic and constipation.

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive type of bodywork that works with attuning to the rhythm of our body’s network of membranes and fluid that surround and support the brain and spinal cord from the bones of the head down to the bones at the base of the spine.  It is a way for one to regain a sense of themselves that connects emotions with the body and mind, so it helps them gain self-confidence and be themselves without fear.  Children from zero to four years respond particularly fast to craniosacral work, because they are sensitive and their mental-emotional-physical patterns are not yet deeply ingrained, while teenagers benefit from this therapy as it can help them resolve emotional and sexual issues that they may experience with their changing bodies in a non-threatening, safe way.  Adults can benefit from it, too.

Chiropractors specialize in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body, which helps to relieve pain, restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments, thus maintaining balance in the nervous system, of which our spinal cord is an essential part.

There are so many stresses going through life-physical, emotional, chemical-that can affect the nervous system. Chiropractic care works to balance the nervous system and in turn facilitate a child to achieve and maintain optimum well-being within themselves. This is simply keeping the pathways between the brain and spinal cord, nerves, cells and organs in balance and open.

While we don’t think of children experiencing stress in the same way as adults, modern life with its fast pace, digital media distractions and higher expectations on children in the way of scholastic and extracurricular success does impact children with stress. Yoga, taught in an age-appropriate way, with visualizations, story-telling, singing and movement, can be a wonderful release and rekindle children’s natural awareness and intuition. It has also been proven to reduce ADHD, increase self-esteem, promote compassion, kindness and focus and helps children to navigate their shifting emotions with ease.

Meditation is a proven technique of easing stress and experiencing more balance in one’s mind and body.  For children as young as five and up to their college years meditation can help one feel more connected to their inner world, to feel a greater peace, relaxed, and focused.  It can also aid in promotion of better brain health, easing pain, fighting illness, and lessening the effects of conflicts with others.

Another key area of women’s health is their hormones.  In this day and age with stress and environmental toxins widespread, hormone imbalances are even more common. Botanical therapies allow the body to come to its own balance, rather than manipulating or adding hormones to one‘s body.  In addition, many of  the ‘hormonal balancing’ herbals work best in formula with other supporting herbs.

As with any health challenge, it is important to pay attention to one’s individual patterns.  Even though one’s symptoms may be similar to someone else’s, their total picture may not be the same.  It’s vital to treat conditions and patterns individually, rather than assuming that what works for one person will do the same for another.

There are a number of root causes of hormonal imbalance.  Symptoms can vary but include PMS, emotional stress, irregular and/or painful menses, infertility, low libido, peri/postmenopausal challenges, and fatigue-just to name a few.  The sex hormones-estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone-are regulated through the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, testes/ovaries, pituitary, pancreas).  The liver is also vital in its role in regulating and normalizing hormone production.

Just a few of the many herbs that can help balance one‘s hormones are:

  • Vitex (aka Chasteberry): This herb acts on the pituitary to increase luteinizing hormone, which stimulates progesterone production.
  • Wild Yam: It benefits the endocrine and liver.  It also aids as a progesterone precursor.
  • Dong Quai: This herb exerts a regulating influence on hormone production (namely estrogen) through its work with the liver and endocrine system.
  • Black Cohosh: It aids in the production of estrogen. Contraindicated with headaches and depression.  For some women, it’s a ‘miracle’ for hot flashes. Not for extended use.
  • Dandelion: Although not known particularly for ‘women’s issues’, it is specific for the liver, and it benefits the reproductive system by helping to regulate hormone production.
  • Licorice: An adaptogenic herb that nurtures the adrenals. It also is a great balancer in formulas. 
  • Maca: Is showing great clinical results as an endocrine modulator; helping with libido and hormone modulating.
  • Rhodiola: An adaptogen that shows promising results for infertility due to minor imbalances/stress for women. 
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb for libido.
  • Schisandra: Tones sexual organs, as an adaptogen.

A couple of nutritional suggestions are eat green, leafy vegetables- incredibly effective in assisting the liver in doing its job of healthy metabolism and detoxification of hormones.  Take borage oil-all essential fatty acid oils are anti-inflammatory and therefore helpful in this area, but borage is specific for those cranky, angry, pre-menstrual flare-ups.  Add probiotics found in supplement form and/or fermented foods-healthy gut flora is a key to hormone balancing.

Memorial Day

This is the day set aside to remember those who have passed away during wars.  Good brain health is important to insure our memories are remain intact as long as possible.  A few tips to achieve this are as follows.  The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat.  Fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine one’s brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs-made up of EPA and DHA) are required for maintenance of optimal health but they cannot synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Clinical observation studies has related imbalance dietary intake of fatty acids to impaired brain performance and diseases. The EFAs, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids, are important for brain development during both the fetal and postnatal period.  Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is needed for the optimum functional maturation of the retina and visual cortex, with visual acuity and mental development seemingly improved by extra DHA. Beyond their important role in building the brain structure, EFAs, as messengers, are involved in the synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters, and in the molecules of the immune system.  The minimum daily requirements are: children (ages 4-12): 2000 mg; adolescents (ages 13-18): 2000-3000 mg; adults (ages 18+): 3000-4000 mg.  Some natural sources of EFAs include: fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines); nuts and seeds (such as flax seed, chia seeds, and walnuts); plant oils (such as flax seed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

The highest antioxidant fruits and vegetables are blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, brussels sprouts, plums, broccoli, beets, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries and kiwis. Five servings a day of fruits and vegetables is recommended (each serving is a half-cup).

Drinking green tea slows the build-up of plaque in brains from amyloid deposits and also prevents strokes. It also helps mental alertness.

Eggs are rich in choline, a fat-like B vitamin. Studies have shown that it increases memory and chases away fatigue.

Exercise provides greater blood circulation means more oxygen to the brain and more production of mood-enhancing endorphins.

Meditation changes brain frequency and function. The frequencies of deep meditation allow a “brain rest” you cannot get anywhere else. Meditation also enhances connection and symmetry between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Alpha lipoic acid (aLa) supplement is a powerful antioxidant and is both fat and water soluble. It can actually get into the brain easily and can pass through to all areas of the cells to “mop up” free radicals and stop their damage.  Acetyl-L-carnitine is a primary contributor to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is required for mental function. Phosphatidyl serine actually stimulates brain cells to make new dendrites and axons. People who take it remember more names, faces, phone numbers and written information.  The herbs sage, turmeric, ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, ginseng, gotu kola, and lemon balm may also help.

This day also deals with the hollowed remains of soldiers.  Holistically speaking, that is the skeletal system.  Bone health is important at all stages of life.  However, having strong bones is something people tend to take for granted, as symptoms often don’t appear until bone loss is advanced. A few maladies that afflict this area of the body include: fractures/breaks, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rickets, and cavities.   Fortunately, there are many nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help build and maintain strong bones-and it’s never too early to start.

Engaging in specific types of exercise can help one build and maintain strong bones.  One of the best types of activity for bone health is weight-bearing or high-impact exercise, which promotes the formation of new bone.  In addition, it can be extremely beneficial for preventing bone loss in older adults.

Studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation. However, one study found little improvement in bone density among older men who performed the highest level of weight-bearing exercise over nine months.

Strength-training exercise is not only beneficial for increasing muscle mass. It may also help protect against bone loss in younger and older women, including those with osteoporosis, osteopenia or breast cancer. One study in men with low bone mass found that although both resistance training and weight-bearing exercise increased bone density in several areas of the body, only resistance training had this effect in the hip.

In addition to exercising, maintaining a healthy weight can help support bone health.  For example, being underweight increases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.  This is especially the case in postmenopausal women who have lost the bone-protective effects of estrogen.  In fact, low body weight is the main factor contributing to reduced bone density and bone loss in this age group.  On the other hand, some studies suggest that being obese can impair bone quality and increase the risk of fractures due to the stress of excess weight.  While weight loss typically results in some bone loss, it is usually less pronounced in obese individuals than normal-weight individuals.  Overall, repeatedly losing and regaining weight appears particularly detrimental to bone health, as well as losing a large amount of weight in a short time.  One recent study found that bone loss during weight loss was not reversed when weight was regained, which suggests that repeated cycles of losing and gaining weight may lead to significant bone loss over a person’s lifetime.  Maintaining a stable normal or slightly higher than normal weight is your best bet when it comes to protecting your bone health.

Dropping calories too low is never a good idea.  In addition to slowing down your metabolism, creating rebound hunger and causing muscle mass loss, it can also be harmful to bone health.  Studies have shown that diets providing fewer than 1,000 calories per day can lead to lower bone density in normal-weight, overweight or obese individuals. In one study, obese women who consumed 925 calories per day for four months experienced a significant loss of bone density from their hip and upper thigh region, regardless of whether they performed resistance training. To build and maintain strong bones, follow a well-balanced diet that provides at least 1,200 calories per day. It should include plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals that support bone health.

Vegetables are great for the bones.  They’re one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, some studies suggest that vitamin C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage and aid in the production of collagen.  Vegetables also seem to increase bone mineral density, also known as bone density.  A high intake of green and yellow vegetables has been linked to increased bone mineralization during childhood and the maintenance of bone mass in young adults.  Eating lots of vegetables has also been found to benefit older women.  A study in women over 50 found those who consumed onions most frequently had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis, compared to women who rarely ate them. In a three-month study, women who consumed more than nine servings of broccoli, cabbage, parsley or other plants high in bone-protective antioxidants had a decrease in bone turnover.

Getting enough protein is important for healthy bones. In fact, about 50% of bone is made of protein.  Researchers have reported that low protein intake decreases calcium absorption and may also affect rates of bone formation and breakdown. However, concerns have also been raised that high-protein diets leach calcium from bones in order to counteract increased acidity in the blood.  Nevertheless, studies have found that this doesn’t occur in people who consume up to 100 grams of protein daily, as long as this is balanced with plenty of plant foods and adequate calcium intake. In fact, research suggests that older women, in particular, appear to have better bone density when they consume higher amounts of protein. In a large, six-year observational study of over 144,000 postmenopausal women, higher protein intake was linked to a lower risk of forearm fractures and significantly higher bone density in the hip, spine and total body.  What’s more, diets containing a greater percentage of calories from protein may help preserve bone mass during weight loss.  In a one-year study, women who consumed 86 grams of protein daily on a calorie-restricted diet lost less bone mass from their arm, spine, hip and leg areas than women who consumed 60 grams of protein per day.

Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health, and it’s the main mineral found in one’s bones.  Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by new ones, it’s important to consume calcium daily to protect bone structure and strength.  The RDI for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most people, although teens need 1,300 mg and older women require 1,200 mg.  However, the amount of calcium one’s body actually absorbs can vary greatly.

Interestingly, if one eats a meal containing more than 500 mg of calcium, the body will absorb much less of it than if one consumes a lower amount.  Therefore, it’s best to spread calcium intake throughout the day by including one high-calcium food at each meal.  It’s appears that the best way to get calcium is from foods rather than supplements.  A recent 10-year study of 1,567 people found that although high calcium intake from foods decreased the risk of heart disease overall, those who took calcium supplements had a 22% greater risk of heart disease.

Magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption. An observational study of over 73,000 women found that those who consumed 400 mg of magnesium per day tended to have 2–3% higher bone density than women who consumed half this amount daily.  Although magnesium is found in small amounts in most foods, there are only a few excellent food sources. Supplementing with magnesium glycinate, citrate or carbonate may be beneficial.

Zinc is a trace mineral needed in very small amounts. It helps make up the mineral portion of your bones.  In addition, zinc promotes the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone.  Studies have shown that zinc supplements support bone growth in children and the maintenance of bone density in older adults.  Good sources of zinc include beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters and pumpkin seeds.

The minerals boron and strontium appear to be useful to the skeletal system.  Boron helps the body metabolize key vitamins and minerals, plays a key role in bone health, and it also affects estrogen and testosterone levels.  Strontium increases bone mineral density, improves bone micro architecture, and decreases the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Vitamin D is extremely important for building strong bones.  It plays several roles in bone health, including helping your body absorb calcium. Achieving a blood level of at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) is recommended for protecting against osteopenia, osteoporosis and other bone diseases.  Indeed, studies have shown that children and adults with low vitamin D levels tend to have lower bone density and are more at risk for bone loss than people who get enough.  Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common, affecting about one billion people worldwide. One may be able to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many people need to supplement with up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels.

Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation. This modification enables osteocalcin to bind to minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones.  The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 exists in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut and a soybean product called natto contain MK-7.  A small study in healthy young women found that MK-7 supplements raised vitamin K2 blood levels more than MK-4. Nevertheless, other studies have shown that supplementing with either form of vitamin K2 supports osteocalcin modification and increases bone density in children and postmenopausal women.  In a study of women 50–65 years of age, those who took MK-4 maintained bone density, whereas the group that received a placebo showed a significant decrease in bone density after 12 months.  However, another 12-month study found no significant difference in bone loss between women whose diets were supplemented with natto and those who did not take natto.

Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, which help build bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues.  Collagen hydrolysate comes from animal bones and is commonly known as gelatin (main ingredient in ‘Jello’ and film strips).  It has been used to relieve joint pain for many years.  Although most studies have looked at collagen’s effects on joint conditions like arthritis, it appears to have beneficial effects on bone health as well.  A 24-week study found that giving postmenopausal women with osteoporosis a combination of collagen and the hormone calcitonin led to a significant reduction in markers of collagen breakdown.

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects.  They’ve also been shown to help protect against bone loss during the aging process.  In addition to including omega-3 fats in one’s diet, it’s also important to make sure one’s balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats isn’t too high.  In one large study of over 1,500 adults aged 45–90, those who consumed a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids tended to have lower bone density than people with a lower ratio of the two fats. Generally speaking, it’s best to aim for an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 or lower.  In addition, although most studies have looked at the benefits of long-chain omega-3 fats found in fatty fish, one controlled study found that omega-3 plant sources helped decrease bone breakdown and increase bone formation.  Plant sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.

Tissue salts (cell salts) are homeopathic dilutions of the mineral salts that one’s cells need to function properly.  Dr. Schuessler, a 19th century German physician, developed the 12 original tissue salts. (There have since been found to be at least 27 different salts.)  These minerals are available in each cell and are essential to the body’s metabolism. When these vital tissue salts are in the correct ratio or concentration, the body is healthy.  As soon as the tissue salts ratio is disturbed, the proper cell functioning is impaired, resulting in illness. One should get these salts through diet but due to our modern lifestyle we lose every day minerals through stress, bad nutrition and environmental toxins.

The best tissue salts for the bones include: #1 Calcium fluoride, #2 Calcium phosphate and #11 Silica.   Foods containing Calcium fluoride include organically grown oranges, pumpkin grapes, lemons, rye flour, buckwheat and mustard.  Those rich in Calcium phosphate include organically grown cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, oats, alfalfa sprouts, probiotic yogurt and eggs.  And, those that contain Silica include oats, wheat, nettles, dandelion, horsetail, chicory, celery and apricots.

Recipes

Flea/Tick Wash Solution:  Mix up 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 quart warm water, and 1 ounce of castille soap. Add 2-3 drops of lavender or cedar essential oil.  Add 2 ounces of aloe vera gel to the mix as well. If your pet has sensitive skin, change the ration to one part apple cider vinegar, three parts water. 
Directions: (If you’re dealing with live fleas and ticks, it’s best to work outside. If it’s too cold to be outside, use your bathtub.)  Completely saturate your pet with the apple cider vinegar wash solution, making sure to cover every part of the fur. (Make sure you don’t get the solution into the eyes.) Use your fingers to work the solution all the way to the skin. The castille soap should lather some at this point, so rub the suds into the skin as well. Let the solution sit for ten minutes. (If you’re dealing with a bad infestation, have a second batch or two of the solution mixed up for a double treatment.)  Take a flea comb and work section by section.  Each time you comb through the fur, dip your comb in a bowl of soapy water to get rid of the fleas on the comb. The fleas should come off your pet’s fur easily, since they are repelled by the taste of the vinegar. Once you finish combing your pet, rinse the wash out with warm water. You’ll have to keep giving your pet the ACV treatment every few days until you no longer see any signs of fleas. Once the fleas are gone, repeat it once every week to ensure your pet doesn’t get a new case of fleas.

Flea/Tick Room Spray:  Combine a gallon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 gallon of water, 16 ounces of lemon juice, and 8 ounces (230 g) of witch hazel in a large tub. Fill a large spray bottle with the solution. Spray every portion of your house, including carpets, wood floors, crevices and corners, windowsills, and furniture in a thick coating of the spray. You may need to repeat this method for 2-7 days depending on how bad your flea infestation is.  If you are just trying to prevent infestation, you can do this once a month.  Let the spray dry before you return objects to the wet areas.

Flea/Tick Treats:  1 & 1/8 cups coconut oil, melted, 1/2 cup brewer’s yeast, slightly rounded, 2 silicone candy molds
Directions: Combine melted coconut oil and brewer’s yeast together in a blender. Blend for roughly 10 seconds until smooth. Transfer blended mixture into a plastic condiment bottle (trim tip to 1/4 inch opening) and use to fill the 2 silicone molds.  Chill in the refrigerator or freezer until set and solid.  Remove from the pan and store in refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.  Give up to 1 treat per 10 pounds of body weight daily.  For pets under 10 pounds, give 1 treat every other day.

Itchy Skin Treats: 1 cup plain kefir or yogurt,  16 ounces pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup brewer’s yeast, 1/2 cup salmon oil, 2 silicone candy molds
Directions:  Use a blender to combine ingredients, blend until completely smooth. Transfer your blended mixture to a plastic bottle (cut the tip to roughly a 1/4 inch diameter opening).  Fill silicone molds.  Freeze 3 hours or until solid. Transfer treats into to a container or plastic zip top bag and store in the freezer, serve frozen.  For around 5-15 lbs. give 1 treat (roughly 1 tablespoon), 15-40 lbs. give 2 treats,  40-70 lbs. 3 small treats, over 70 lbs. 4-5 small treats per day.
Note: for large pets make bigger treats by using larger candy molds–large size treats=1 a day.

Ensalada de Nopales:  3-4 medium cactus leaves, cleaned of spines; 2-3 fresh medium tomatoes, diced; 2-3 green onions, chopped; 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped; juice from 1 lime; salt and pepper, to taste; 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; 1/4 cup crumbled cheese
Directions: Clean the cactus leaves of spines and wash them very well. Slice the nopales thin and put them in a pot with water to cover them. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook the leaves on medium high heat until tender, for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the green onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Set them aside. When nopales are cooked, remove them from the stove, drain the water and place the vegetables in cold icy water. When cool, use them for the salad. In a salad bowl, place the cactus leaves, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and dried Mexican oregano. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the salad. Add oil. Add salt and pepper and mix everything together. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over and serve.

Homemade Baby Formula: Yield: 72 ounces
Ingredients: 1 ⅞ cups of filtered water; 2 tsp beef gelatin; 4 tbsp lactose; 2 cups raw milk; 1/4 cup liquid whey; 2 tbsp cream; ¼ teaspoon acerola powder (vitamin C); ¼ teaspoon of bifidobacterium infantis; 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes; ½ teaspoon of cod liver oil; 1 teaspoon sunflower oil; 1 teaspoon olive oil; 2 teaspoons coconut oil; ¼ teaspoon ghee (optional)
Directions: Take 2 cups of filtered water and remove 2 tablespoons, (which will give you 1 ⅞ cups of water.)  Pour about half the water into a pan and turn heat on medium. Add 2 teaspoons of gelatin and 4 tablespoons lactose to the warming water and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.  While the gelatin and lactose are dissolving, place 2 cups of raw milk in a clean, glass blender and add the remaining ingredients: liquid whey, cream, acerola powder, bifidobacterium infantis, nutritional yeast flakes, cod liver oil, sunflower oil, olive oil.  Then remove the pan from the heat and pour in the remaining half of the water to cool. Next, add 2 teaspoons coconut oil and ghee to the water to melt.  Add the water mixture to the blender ingredients and blend for about 3 seconds.  Pour the blended ingredients into glass jars and refrigerate.

Nursing Mother’s Tea: 1/2 cup fennel seeds; 1/2 cup red raspberry leaves; 1/4 cup nettle leaf; 1/4 cup milk thistle; 1/4 cup fenugreek; 1/4 cup anise seed; 1/4 cup dried blessed thistle; 1/4 cup dandelion leaf, optional
Directions:  Gently combine the herbs together. Store in a glass jar. To make, add 1 tbsp. of herb mix per 2 cups of almost-boiling water. Let the herb mix steep in your water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and Serve.
Notes: You could also make a gallon of tea with a 1/2 cup of the herb mix. Then simply refrigerate the leftover tea and drink it during the week.  You could mix half tea with half full-fat milk and have a tasty (caffeine free) latte-type drink.

Nursing Mother’s Milkshake: Serves 1
Ingredients: Nursing mother’s tea, frozen into ice cubes; 2 tablespoons of oats; half a banana; a handful of strawberries; 1 tablespoon of almond butter; 1 tablespoon of coconut cream; 1 cup of almond milk
To make ice cubes:  Make the tea according to the above instructions. Let steep for about 5 minutes, preferably with a lid or in a teapot to retain all those essential aromas and goodness from the herbs. Pour into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.
To make the milkshake: Place all the ingredients into a blender. Combine until completely smooth. Pour into a glass.
Variations: Top with whipped cream for a little indulgence.  Add a handful of spinach for extra green goodness.

Women’s Vitality Tea: 3 parts raspberry leaf; 1 part vitex; 2 parts nettle leaf; 1 part  astragalus root; 1 part oat straw; 1 part blessed thistle; 2 parts peppermint
Directions: Mix in a large bowl until well combined.  Store in a tightly sealed container.
To prepare: Add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup of hot water and steep for 3-5 minutes. One may find that it benefits from the addition of a bit of milk (one’s choice) and/or raw honey to smooth out the flavor.  Take a cup first thing in the morning and one around noon.
Note: One could also use this blend to make a tincture.  This blend will keep stored in a cool, dark place for approximately 6 months.  Not suitable for pregnant or nursing mothers.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The Need for Vitamins and Minerals

This is a little illustration I use every day at the store.  You see, every day, without exception, I have two or three customers who come in with the same question -–”What have you got for energy?”  It seems that in our hectic-paced lives, we find less and less energy to keep us going.  But I find that about four out of every five of my customers report a marked increase in their energy levels after only one week by taking a good, balanced multiple vitamin and mineral supplement.

And, yes, I do have a special one that I like to recommend.  It’s a “Super Supplemental” containing a good blend of all your common (and necessary) vitamins and minerals plus a few of the more important phytonutrients like choline, lycopene, lutein, inositol, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).  Unlike most other products on the market, these ingredients are mainly derived from herbs and other natural sources.  This base of herb and vegetable powders increases absorption and assimilation of the necessary nutrients and provides additional antioxidant and nutritional benefits.

Here’s the illustration.  Consider that every cell in your body is an island (actually, it is).  The “river” in which those islands sit is called interstitial fluid.  From the river, the islands draw nutrients, water, and oxygen.  Then what they do is use these as building materials to produce a substance abbreviated to ATP.  ATP is the form of energy that the body needs to carry out most of its actions and reactions.  This ATP is then placed back into the “river” along with waste byproducts and carbon dioxide.  So, here’s the key: IF THE BODY DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT NUTRIENTS, IT CAN’T PRODUCE ENERGY!

Of course, there are other factors to consider.  Are you getting enough deep, uninterrupted sleep?  Do you set aside times for rest and relaxation away from work and the daily grind?  Are you drinking enough water (take your body weight, divide it by two – that’s how many ounces of water you need to consume in a day)?  Are you overweight?  How much do you exercise (this affects your body’s ability to get enough oxygen to the cells)?

And what happens if the “river” (the interstitial fluid) gets too congested?  Not only is energy flow impeded, but also communication between the cells is inhibited.  With this breakdown of intercellular communication, our tissues begin to break down.  Tissues make up our organs, and our organs constitute body systems.  With these breakdowns come diseases.

Another problem with our hectic lifestyles is the way we eat.  How often do you sit down with your family for a relaxed, unhurried, home-cooked (from nutritional foods), nutritionally well-balanced meal?  Actually, do ANY of those characteristics describe your meals?  Stress affects digestion! So what are the chances that you’re able to get even minimal nutrients from your meals?

Yes, you need to schedule more rest and relaxation.  Yes, you need to reduce stress and get better sleep.  Yes, you need to exercise more, lose some weight, and drink more water.  But doesn’t it just make sense to add the vital nutrition of a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement to your daily intake?  It’s the best supplement money you can spend.

Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!