Author: Yvonne Black

Warm Water and Other Immune-Boosting Myths Amid the Pandemic

As scientists continue researching treatments and cures for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, people stuck at home are concocting ways to boost personal immunity. While there are certain things known to boost immunity, like exercise and vitamin D, the suggestions seeping out of self-quarantine and socially distanced households are truly creative. These natural “remedies” have some natural health doctors on edge as homeopathy and natural medicine continue to be pulled into the coronavirus-caused spotlight.  

To help our other natural medicine friends, we wanted to do a bit of myth-busting around some of these COVID-19 claims. Below, you’ll find the top myths about immune busting we’ve seen in the past few weeks. 

Drinking Warm Water 

There are emails and Facebook posts claiming the benefits of drinking warm water to ward off the virus. These viral posts encourage readers to drink warm water, or gargle with water, every 15 minutes. According to the posts, the idea is to “wash” the virus from your throat and into your stomach, where stomach acid will kill the disease. While it is always good to stay hydrated, this is not how viruses move through the body. Drinking water of any temperature will not protect you from the virus. 

Immediate Immune Boosts 

Dietitians around the world are receiving questions regarding the ability for garlic, ginseng, and mushrooms to improve immune systems. While eating healthily is the best way to maintain physical health, nobody should expect to achieve immunity overnight. Beginning to eat these immune-boosting foods is a good start to a healthier lifestyle, but pantry staples will not prevent people from contracting the virus.  

COVID-Killer Supplements 

Any nutritional supplement advertising the ability to kill or treat the novel coronavirus is a scam. While eating a balanced diet can boost a person’s immune system, that ability will not come in the form of a pill. No government has yet approved products to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. In fact, advertising these properties and selling products like this is illegal in most parts of the world.  

While researchers continue searching for valid COVID-19 treatments, the best thing we can do is to stay as healthy as possible. For most people, this means eating a diet with sufficient protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron, healthy fats, and fiber. If you see something on the shelf that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Get outside (while maintaining social distance), get some vitamin D, and continue practicing essential hygiene standards set by the World Health Organization.  

What’s the Deal with Hydroxychloroquine?

Scientists are rushing to find treatment options to stop the spread of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. Recently, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, spoke of the potential for a commonly used anti-malarial drug to work effectively against COVID-19. The drug, hydroxychloroquine, is also known to treat certain auto-immune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, especially when other medications have not worked. Additionally, the drug is used to treat post-Lyme arthritis, and it may have both anti-spirochaete and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why our readers may be familiar with it.  

But what is hydroxychloroquine? Does it have the potential political officials are claiming it does? The drug is on the World Health Organizations List of Essential Medicines, which includes the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system, but why did one man die after self-medicating? This quick guide will walk you through what you need to know about the drug.  

What is hydroxychloroquine? 

Put simply, hydroxychloroquine is a medication used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria, as well as some auto-immune diseases. It is taken by mouth, and common side effects include vomiting, headache, changes in vision, and muscle weakness. Only available with a prescription, the drug has been widely available for years. 

Why It’s in the Headlines 

In mid-February 2020, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were recommended by a South Korean task force in the experimental treatment of COVID-19. In early March, the AIFA Scientific Technical Commission of the Italian Medicines Agency spoke favorably of the medication option. We should note that, as a potential treatment, hydroxychloroquine has only been used experimentally and has not been tested on a large scale.  

In mid-March, President Donald Trump spoke highly of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly through the world, causing thousands of deaths. However, these statements were likely made prematurely, as there has not been enough time to conduct thorough tests on the drug’s side effects in coronavirus treatment. Still, people around America are beginning to stock up and hoard hydroxychloroquine, causing a shortage for people who rely on the drug for everyday bodily functions. 

Why it Matters 

In all likelihood, hydroxychloroquine will not be the coronavirus treatment hundreds of millions of people are going to need. Even if it does positively impact coronavirus prognoses, preliminary results are not yet promising enough to say. When the hype dies down, those of you who use this drug regularly should be able to obtain it again. It’s only a matter of time.  

Is Conventional Dietary Advice Wrong?

In the past few decades, we have been told by the nutritional establishment to eat more carbohydrates and less fats. The FDA has the designed the “food pyramid” that recommends a diet that is low in meat, fish and poultry, and high in breads and cereals. 

Following the government’s advice, fat consumption has gone down by 17.5%! Are we any healthier? The surprising answer is NO! 

More people are overweight than ever before. A third of Americans are now obese, which is up from one quarter just ten years ago. Young adults are on average 10 pounds heavier. More people are dying from heart disease than ever before. Heart disease is the biggest killer in America, killing on average 1 person every 64 seconds. Cancer is on the rise with more people getting cancer than ever before. Breast cancer is up over 60%, colon cancer is up 60% and prostate cancer is up over 100%. Lung cancer is up an amazing 262%! Unfortunately, the chances of surviving these diseases in no better than they were over a decade ago. 

Even stranger is new health problems that seemed to have begun to appear out of nowhere. Some of these include food sensitivities, chronic fatigue, candida, and much more. Because these diseases are related to what people eat, where they live and what they do they are referred to as ” lifestyle diseases.”  What is interesting is that prior to the 20th century people in America rarely got these diseases. In other cultures, these diseases don’t exist at all. The truth is that these conditions can be traced directly to our lifestyle and modern diet. 

The Cause of Modern Illnesses 

In cultures where obesity, cancer and heart disease are virtually nonexistent, the factor that they all have in common is their eating habits. A diet of fowl, fish and large amounts of meat and virtually no refined carbohydrates seem to be the common link. In those cultures where the diet has changed in the past few decades these diseases are increasing dramatically. Previously, the Yemenite Jews and the people of Iceland, ate very little starches or sugars and had no cases of arteriosclerosis or diabetes. Today their rate of these illnesses is the same as those of the US. 

The truth is that our bodies were not meant to eat cereals, breads, and refined carbohydrates. We should be eating fruits, nuts, berries and vegetables as well as poultry meats and fish. These are the foods that have been eaten for thousands of years. It is no wonder our systems go haywire when we ingest these foods. 

Why Eating Carbohydrates Can Make You Fat 

To your body the chemical makeup of pastas, breads, and starches is not different (chemically) than pure sugar. Unlike fruits and vegetables, which our bodies metabolize slowly, refined carbohydrate such as pastas give a rush of sugar into the bloodstream. When this happens, your pancreas produces more of the hormone insulin. This is used to convert the excess sugar into glycogen and from that into fat for storage. 

But eating refined carbohydrates is not the only problem. When insulin stores sugar as fat, it stores it in the form of triglycerides–which just happen to be one of the biggest causes of heart disease. So now the real problem starts. As you eat more carbohydrates, your pancreas makes more insulin and a vicious cycle begins again. This roller-coaster causes serious problems with your bodies energy systems.  If you are suffering from chronic fatigue or sometimes you experience “brain fog”, there is a good chance it is caused by too much sugars and starches in your diet. If this condition is left unchecked, it can lead to a serious condition termed “insulin resistance.” With insulin resistance, your body stops responding normally to insulin amounts. Your pancreas beings producing more insulin until it becomes exhausted until it can no longer function properly, the extreme results being diabetes. 

Sugar and Your Immune System 

From here the news gets worse! It has been known for a long time that sugar weakens the immune system. It also increases free radicals, and creates an ideal environment for pathogens, including yeast infections (Candida), E. coli… and the list goes on. Otto Warburg, a Nobel-prize-winning scientist has shown that cancer cells feed on sugar. He also showed that sugar also weakens the capillary wall.  When your capillary walls are weak the body must create new ones. This cycle provides a vehicle for cancers to start and spread to various parts of your system. What does all this mean?  It means that to achieve the healthy bodies we are seeking one of the best things we can do is to cut down on starches and sugars in our diet. But is reducing the amount of intake of these things in your diet enough? 

What Your Body Really Needs 

Another essential part of a healthy nutritional program is to add vitamins minerals and other food supplements to your diet. Many people assume they can get all the nutrition from eating proper foods. Some so-called experts have suggested that supplements are not necessary if you follow proper eating habits. Perhaps this was sound advice at one time, but our food supplies have changed drastically in the past few decades. Much of our food is now grown in nutrient depleted soil because of over-farming and the use of artificial fertilizers. Previously farmers used biologically active composting techniques to provide the essential nutrients that plants need for proper growth. The result has been to weaken the plants immune system and decrease the nutritional value of the plant. This has also created a situation which makes the plants more susceptible to disease and pests resulting in the increased use of pesticides. 

Pesticides have been implicated in cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and many other diseases. Another important factor is how the produce is harvested. In times past much of the food was home grown and harvested when it was ripe. Now most commercial produce is harvested while it is green and treated with sulfites to help it ripen by the time it reaches the supermarket shelves.  This severely effects the nutritional content of the fruits and vegetables. 

How Processed Foods Rob Your Body 

Besides eating food that provides your system with empty calories, refined foods can deplete your system of vital nutrients! It works like this: There are certain amounts of vitamins and minerals your body needs to metabolize the food you eat. If the food you are ingesting is lacking those essential vitamins and minerals, your body must find another source for them. Where does it find this source? From its own internal stores! It is interesting that all-natural foods have the essential nutrients required for its digestion and absorption. But through the modern growing and refining processes many of our foods are now lacking these vital nutrients. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that over 90% of Americans have a chromium deficiency. This is the mineral your body relies on most to metabolize carbohydrates. The food and drug administration have not made a distinction between eating whole grains and refined flours. (Which nutritionally, are a disaster) The result is that most people are eating more processed carbohydrates like, white bread, crackers, and pasta that is severely affecting their health.  So, what is the answer to this serious problem? 

The answer is to get proper nutrition. Let’s face it, you can’t really expect the government to look out for you, so you will have to look out for yourself. What is the best way to accomplish this if you can’t get it from the foods you eat?  The best way is through nutritional supplements. What supplements you need depends on what your body needs most. For this reason, we have provided a basic chart that describes what each vitamin and mineral does for your body. What symptoms you might experience if you are lacking in any area, and what that supplement needs to be combined with to make it most effective for optimum absorption into your system. 

Supplement Guide

Acidophiles Aids in digestion and regularity. Key to intestinal health. 
Alfalfa Rich in vitamin K and calcium. It contains high potencies of almost all other vitamins and minerals. It has aided in providing resistance to disease. 
Bone Meal with D A good source of calcium and Vitamin D. It also contains phosphorus, and trace mineral such as copper and manganese. 
Brewer’s Yeast An excellent source of B vitamins and minerals. It contains large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. I can be used to prevent constipation, and taken daily with wheat germ, it may aid in preventing heart problems. It also increases energy. 
Desiccated Liver Rich in vitamins A, C, D. Also rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, and copper. It has been used for stamina by athletes. 
Kelp One of the best natural sources of iodine, also rich in B-Complex vitamins, vitamins D,E,K, calcium, and magnesium. 
Lecithin High in phosphorus. Along with iron, iodine, and calcium, it aids in the digestion and absorption of fats. It may aid in breaking up cholesterol, and therefore, helps in preventing atherosclerosis. It is important in maintaining a healthy nervous system and aids in cleaning the liver and purifying the kidneys. It has also been found to guard against virus infections and prevent the formation of gallstones. 
Oat Bran Helps to balance and reduce cholesterol levels. 
Protein Needed for peak efficiency of the body. Is necessary for growth and development. Deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, and loss of appetite. Can be found in meat, fish eggs, milk, and soybeans. 
Wheat Germ Oil High in unsaturated fatty acids and rich in vitamin E. It has been found to be invaluable in building energy and overcoming fatigue. 

What You Should Know About Chondroitin Complex with Glucosamine

Chondroitin Sulfates are long chains of repeating sugars. They attract fluid into the proteoglycan molecules, which acts as a spongy shock absorber for the joints. They also bring nutrients into the cartilage for nourishment and lubrication. Taken with Glucosamine, Glucosamine helps to form the proteoglycans that sit within the spaces in the netting of the cartilage holding natural fluids in place within the joint. Therefore, Chondroitin and Glucosamine work so well together. One attracts the natural fluids needed and the other holds them in place. 

Used together with Glucosamine, it provides a new alternative therapy for osteoarthritis. This product is cheaper than traditional prescription therapy and is available over the counter. 

Osteoarthritis accounts for about half of all arthritis cases, with the main symptoms including joint pain concentrated in the knees and hips. If left untreated, many osteoarthritis patients eventually face total joint replacement or disability. 

Chondroitin is especially beneficial in the prevention and recovery of joint related injuries and in eliminating the pain of arthritis. An additional benefit of Chondroitin is that it can also protect existing cartilage from a premature breakdown. It does this by inhibiting certain enzymes that destroy cartilage and enzymes that prevent the transport of necessary nutrients. Since these are substances we already consume and produce in much smaller quantities in our bodies naturally, they have no known significant side effects. 

Learn the Basics of a Successful Low Cholesterol Diet

If you’ve just found out that you have high cholesterol and need to go on a low cholesterol diet, then here is an outline on what you should and should not eat in order to help you lower your cholesterol levels. 
Alternatively, you might have just decided that you should eat more healthily in order to prevent yourself from getting high cholesterol. Either way, this is a recommended healthy diet strategy to follow. 
Understanding What a Low Cholesterol Diet is 
Basically, in order to lower your cholesterol, you will have to follow a diet that is 
• low in saturated fat and 
• low in cholesterol 
This is absolutely essential in helping you to lower your cholesterol. You must understand that although cholesterol lowering medications can be prescribed by your doctor, you will still need to follow a controlled diet specifically to help reduce your high blood cholesterol levels. 
Cholesterol is found in eggs, dairy products, fish, meat and poultry. Be aware that many foods contain both high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as diary products (especially egg yolks) and red meats. Therefore, it is important to limit the amount of such high-fat foods. It is also recommended to opt for the ‘low fat’ versions of any type of food, especially dairy products (low fat yogurts, cheeses, etc.) 
Basic Foods of a Low Cholesterol Diet 
Foods to eat: 
• lean meats 
• skinless poultry 
• fish 
• low fat dairy products 
• complex carbohydrates: pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables 
• low calorie fizzy drinks (limit to one a day) 
• drink plenty of water 
How to cook: 
• grill or roast meats 
• steam or boil vegetables 
• steam fish 
• microwave 
• use low fat oils 
Foods to avoid: 
• crisps, biscuits, chocolate, sweets 
• don’t add whole milk, butter, rich sauces or cream to pasta dishes or any other meal 
• try avoiding white bread 
• alcohol 
• fizzy drinks 
Tip: If you love pasta dishes with sauces, try low fat versions such as adding a tin of tomatoes with a dash of garlic and Worcester sauce as a tomato-based sauce, low-fat cream for a cream-based sauce or a cheese sauce packet-mix made with skimmed milk for a cheese-based sauce. Get used to experimenting with herbs and spices to add different and exotic flavors to your meals. 

Can Flaxseed Cure Heart Diseases?

One of the EFAs in flaxseed oil–alpha-linolenic acid–is known as an omega-3 fatty acid. Like the omega-3s found in fish, it appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and numerous other ailments. 

Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of omega-3s: Just 1 teaspoon contains about 2.5 grams, equivalent to more than twice the amount most Americans get through their diets. Flaxseeds also contain omega-6 fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid; omega-6s are the same healthy fats found in vegetable oils. 

According to the American Heart Association, about 62 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, which can include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (heart attack and chest pain), stroke, birth defects of the heart and blood vessels, and congestive heart failure, and close to a million die from such conditions every year. 

Heart disease is by far the #1 killer in the U. S., although 1/3 of those deaths could be prevented if people exercised more and followed better diets, the American Heart Association said in an annual report. 

Cardiovascular disease kills more Americans than the next 7 causes of death combined – including cancer – the AHA report states. Overall, slightly more females than males have cardiovascular disease. Heart disease accounted for 40% of all deaths in the U. S. in 1999. 

Perhaps the greatest evil connected with the problem of heart disease is that certain powerful drug interests deliberately suppress the truth – these are the groups which stand to benefit the most from your illness from heart disease. There is nothing as profitable to a drug company as a patient who is forced to take some drug for the rest of his life – heart medications fit in that category. 

The truth is that although the odds of surviving bypass surgery have improved since the operation was introduced, bypass surgery kills anywhere from 2% to 4% of the patients on the operating table, and more within a few months. The truth is that even respectable medical journals are now carrying articles that say that life expectancy does not increase after bypass surgery. 

Congenital Heart Disease – A Conundrum

To reduce your chances of heart disease, you can eat a low-fat diet high in Omega 3, take regular exercise, lose weight and do all those other things the doctors tell us. That said, consider this family:  

Paternal Grandfather – first heart attack in his fifties, eventually died of a stroke at the unripe age of 67. 
Maternal Grandfather – first heart attack in his forties and died of a heart attack again aged 67. 
Father – died very suddenly at the tender age of 65 – you guessed it – from a massive heart attack having never shown any sign of heart trouble until that point. 
Mother – suffered from acute angina since her late forties. She is now 60 and takes a cocktail of drugs daily to control the symptoms 
Maternal Uncle – suffered a heart attack at the age of forty and has been effectively disabled ever since. 
There is nothing we can do about any of these factors. and yet hereditary factors are thought to play a significant part in the development of the disease. After the death of the father in 2002, this person really began to question their lifestyle and turned into a health-obsessed individual. The stress of this took their blood pressure to 140 over 90 and they was doing more harm to my body than good. They had to re-examine the whole situation. 
The big question is this: Should we eat ultra-sensibly, exercise rigorously, cut out the alcohol, and eat our way through a forest of plant sterols and generally be miserable? Or should we bow to the inevitable and enjoy whatever time we have left before our hearts pack in? 
Most doctors say we should be sensible and do the former, but many of us are more inclined to live our lives to the fullest. The trick is to strike a balance with what you’re comfortable with and what your doctor recommends.  
Take heart! Be sensible not obsessive. Get checked regularly. 

Another Nutrient You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Of

We all know we don’t get enough of some key nutrients. From vitamin B-12 to Potassium, Calcium to Iron, most of us have some work to do when it comes to eating a wholesome diet. Unfortunately, new research has added yet another nutrient to that list. In this case, it’s one you may not have heard of. 

It’s called choline, and we’re apparently pretty bad at consuming it. 

Choline was recognized by the Institute of Medicine as an essential nutrient in 1998. The nutrient is present in eggs, dairy, and meat. For the past 12 years, the Institute of Medicine has left the recommended daily choline intake at 550mg per day for men and 425mg per day for women. That amount of choline isn’t too difficult to achieve – one egg has around 115mg of choline, and it is abundant in other animal products.  

However, recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that around 90 percent of children, pregnant women, and adults are not getting enough. Go figure.  

What is Choline Good For? 

Choline is essential to brain and nervous system function, as it helps regulate essential functions like memory, mood, and muscle control. The nutrient is also needed to form membranes in the body’s cells. Human bodies naturally produce choline, specifically in the liver, but most choline we need comes from the food we eat. 

Where is Choline Found? 

Choline occurs naturally in egg yolks, fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), most meats, and dairy. Eggs are often cited as the best source of the nutrient, as one large egg can provide around 25 percent of the daily recommended dose of it in adults. 

So, What’s the Problem? 

In the recently published data, the rise of plant-based diets has worsened the choline deficiency, especially in children and pregnant women. Choline is transported to the fetus in utero, and it aids in the development of the brain and spinal cord. Without it, the cognitive development of a fetus may be affected. The body does not produce enough choline on its own to supplement the growing child. This is kind of a big deal; recent research finds that less than 9 percent of pregnant women meet the minimum daily choline requirement.  

What to Do 

If you’re reading this as a vegan or vegetarian, you’re probably freaking out. Don’t worry – there are other ways to get choline besides animal products. Cruciferous vegetables, like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, as well as wheat germ, peanuts, and many types of beans, include choline. Half a cup of broccoli has just over 30mg of the nutrient. It’s not great, but it’s something.  

There are also nutritional supplements on the market to aid in achieving your daily recommended dose. If you are a vegan, be sure to find a supplement that is plant-based. However, it is not a very common ingredient in multi-vitamins, so double-check to ensure it’s present. 

Everything You Need to Know About Milky Oats

If you spend any time in the natural health space, you’ve probably heard the term “milky oats.” If you’ve spent any time in the Instagram natural health community, the term is likely accompanied by a picture of bright green and white wild oats. This plant, Aneva sativa, is known to have many benefits in the natural health world, but how much stock should you place in this trendy remedy?  

As it turns out, quite a bit. 

To introduce you, we’ve put together this “milky oats guide” to answer any and all questions you may have. The plant makes an excellent salve for itchy skin and can help with anxiety. However, if you experience any of these conditions chronically, we recommend seeking out a health professional to better control symptoms.  

What Makes Milky Oats So Special? 

The entire plant is rich in silica, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, iron, alkaloids, protein, iron, several vitamin Bs, vitamin A, and vitamin C. If this sounds like a plant designed to calm nerves and aid in sleep and digestion, you’re right! Oats are considered to be one of the best remedies for “feeding” the nervous system when experiencing anxiety and general exhaustion. Milky oats help mellow your mood, ease anxiety, and resolve sleeplessness. It’s almost like a better-researched CBD alternative. 

However, milky oats are for more than ingestion. The white sap inside is an excellent relief for itchy skin conditions, like poison ivy and chicken pox. That said, if you have a more intense skin condition, like eczema, this might not be strong enough.  

Milky oats and oatstraw, the green stem oats grow from, are safe for almost everyone, including babies, expecting parents, and the elderly. However, if you have celiac disease, this might not be the natural medicine for you. 

How to Identify Genuine Milky Oats 

Milky oats are the oat tops harvested while in their “milky” stage, or when the oat tops release a white, milky sap when squeezed. The stage lasts only about one week and often occurs after the oat begins to flower but before the seed hardens into the grain we know so well – the one that goes into breads and oatmeal.  

While milky oats are only harvestable for a week out of the year, tincturing the plant while fresh will preserve its potency. The oats can also be dried and used in tonics and tea blends. 

Growing and Harvesting Oats 

One of the best things about milky oats is the ease with which you can grow them at home. Spring is the best time to sow the plant; oats planed in the spring do well for a mid-to-late summer harvest. Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide to getting your little oat plot up and running. 

  1. Rake the soil to loosen the dirt. 
  2. Plant the oat seeds by hand. Keep the seeds very close together to suppress weed germination. 
  3. Rake the seeds into the soil and/or cover them with one inch of soil. This will protect them from birds. 
  4. Water regularly. 

When seed heads begin to appear, squeeze their tops daily to ensure you don’t miss the milky stage. To harvest, simply pinch the stem between two fingers and slide up; the grains will pop off one at a time.