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October 28, 2010

Boost Your Low Thyroid and Metabolism

by Stephanie Carnes
OHN Contributor

Over 30 million women and 15 million men suffer from low thyroid function caused from environmental toxins, heavy metals, stress, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies. There are many factors to consider in treating this hormonal problem. Detoxification and diet are key aspects to be considered when looking to boost low thyroid and metabolism.

Hypothyroidism: A 7-Step Plan to Boost Your Low Thyroid

Do you have low thyroid function? Are you sure? In this week's UltraWellness podcast, Dr. Mark Hyman tells you which tests you need to get a correct diagnosis, and shares his seven-step plan for combating thyroid problems.

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October 22, 2010

Male Hormone Balance

by Stephanie Carnes
OHN Contributor

Male hormone balance is an important aspect necessary for achieving wellness. The Optimal Health Center offers specialized testing to assist in balancing male steroid hormones including the reproductive and adrenal hormones that deal with stress-handling.

Imbalances in male hormones can result in fatigue, irritability, depression, weight gain, erectile disfunction, decreased muscle tone, and hair loss just to name a few. Many hormones are anabolic (body building) and anti-aging (disease preventative) in function, which is why it is so important to address hormone imbalances or disturbances and correct them with diet and lifestyle changes. Finding male steroid hormone balance can be accomplished through a plan that includes nutritional and herbal support. The following are recommended:
  • Routine Colon Cleansing - A weekly to monthly enema series is an excellent foundation for self-care and can assist the body’s ability to detoxify and heal. 
  • Men's Hormonal Support Enema Salt
  • Exercise Regularly - If exercise is difficult for you, you may have hormonal issues that can be identified through a Male Hormone Panel Saliva Test. Exercise also reduces risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in men.
  • Sleep & Relaxation – If you struggle to get a good night's rest or find deep relaxation, you may have adrenal fatigue which can be identified through an Adrenal Stress Index Test
  • Optimize Vitamin D Levels – This will decrease risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. 
  • Therapeutic Diet - Optimal levels of iodine are needed for all of the endocrine glands to function, especially the thyroid, adrenals, and gonads. 
Other levels to consider are ferritin and cholesterol. Ferritin is a intracellular protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled manner. High ferritin levels can cause testicular atrophy, and it is important to note that ferritin increases drastically in the presence of an infection or cancer. Additionally, cholesterol is the precursor for all steroid hormones. If your cholesterol levels are too low (much below 180), you may experience health troubles due to steroid hormone imbalances.

The Optimal Health Center can assist you with each of these tools and help you create a plan that works best for you. Please contact us for support.

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October 15, 2010

Don't Make Soy a Staple

by Stephanie Carnes
OHN Contributor

Those who eat soy often point to its consumption in Asia. Although it is true that soy is part of the Asian diet, traditionally it was eaten in its fermented state, processed to remove the toxins, and eaten with meat. In Japan it is eaten with fish, and in China, with pork. It is not considered a replacement for animal foods and never constitutes more than 1 to 2% of total caloric intake. In Japan, the average consumption of soy is 10 grams—about two teaspoons—per day. The same is true of China. In short, although Asians include soy in their diet, they consider it a condiment and eat it in small amounts—never as a staple.

Soy is a heavily promoted food in the United States. Sally Fallon explains that while she was researching phytic acid for her book Nourishing Traditions, she kept reading about the high levels of phytic acid in soy. She found:
  • Reports written by the soy industry in the 1970s on how they were trying to get phytic acid and also enzyme inhibitors out of the soy by processing and how difficult this was to do.
  • The Rackis studies showing the damage to the pancreas of rats consuming processed soy protein in industry-sponsored studies.
  • A quote on how they were going to market soy as a health product to the upscale market in order to have it accepted by the general public.
Soy is a food of modern commerce. It tends to be highly processed and contains lots of phytoestrogens that have negative hormonal effects. People with thyroid problems need to avoid soy altogether. Soy may be a healthy small part of your diet but not a chief food source.

How to Read a Label for Soy

Effective January 1, 2006, foods covered by the FDA labeling laws that contain soy must be labeled in plain English to declare that it “contains soy.” However, there are many foods and products that are not covered by FDA allergen labeling laws, so it is still important to know how to read a label for soy ingredients. The following is a list from Kids With Food Allergies to help you understand the hidden ingredient names for soy protein.

Contains Soy:

Edamame (soybeans in pods)
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Kinnoko flour
Kyodofu (freeze dried tofu)
Miso Natto Okara (soy pulp)
Shoyu sauce
Soy albumin
Soy bran
Soy concentrate
Soy fiber
Soy flour
Soy formula
Soy grits
Soy milk
Soy miso
Soy nuts
Soy nut butter
Soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate

Soy sauce
Soy sprouts
Soya Flour
Soybean granules
Soybean curd
Soybean flour
Soy lecithin*
Soybean paste
Teriyaki sauce
Textured soy flour (TSF)
Textured soy protein (TSP)
Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Yuba (bean curd)

*Products that are covered by the FDA labeling laws and contain soy lecithin must be labeled "contains soy".

If you are taking part in the OHC Cleansing Plan (Optimal Health Center), it is recommend that you avoid soy altogether. This will give your body a chance to clear out any soy sensitivity. After this plan, you may or may not want to add soy back into your diet as a fermented food in small amounts.

SOURCE: Ten Days to Optimal Health (Amelong 2006)

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October 7, 2010

The Truth About Whole Grains

by Stephanie Carnes
OHN Contributor
Our modern farming and preparation techniques no longer allow grains to germinate before we eat them. Are whole grains indeed the good guys?

Many people find that grains cause health problems. The following is a small list of what can happen, over time, due to eating grains ill prepared (without first soaking and sprouting them).

1) The high phytic acid content of whole grains tends to interfere with mineral metabolism. It can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. According to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions:

"This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid."

2) There are substances in grains that have the potential to interact with the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system that can cause what is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, a condition in which the intestinal wall becomes permeable. A permeable gut lets toxins, food particles and yeast organisms into the peripheral circulation, where they wreak havoc.

3) Grains are high in carbohydrates, which can cause your pancreas to overwork. The pancreas is a large gland located underneath the stomach. In addition to its all-important job of producing insulin to control your blood sugar levels, the pancreas produces a bicarbonate solution that neutralizes chyme acid delivered from the stomach. When the pancreas is overworked, and not kept slightly alkaline, the following can result: emotional imbalance, elevated cholesterol, weight gain and disturbed sleep.

4) Grains tend to cause unhealthy organisms in your digestive tract, such as yeast, to overgrow. Having an overgrowth state of unhealthy organisms in the digestive tract can lead to very serious complications with a wide variety of symptoms including: gas, bloating, cramping, pain, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, in addition to other bodily problems not typically associated with the colon, such as heart irregularities, numbness, tingling, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, sinus and respiratory problems, chemical sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, headaches and even vision problems.

The Optimal Health Center Plan is allows you to test how you feel when you eat or do not eat different foods. You must let your body tell you what works best! We recommend following the ways of the traditional cultures and soak or ferment your grains if you decide to incorporate them into your regular diet.

How to Sprout Grains & Seeds

Almost all seeds and grains can be sprouted—wheat, rye, barley, dried beans, almonds, lentils, pumpkin or melon seeds, sunflower seeds, chia, onion, radish or poppy seeds and chick peas.

Allow the seeds to soak overnight in a glass mason jar then pour off the water. Rinse them well. Invert the jar, and let it sit at an angle so it can drain and allow air to circulate. Rinse them at least twice a day, and in 1-4 days the sprouts will be ready. Rinse again, shake out excess moisture and store in the refrigerator.

Sprouting your grains adds nutritional value that would not have been able to be utilized by the body prior to germination. This process increases the vitamin and enzyme content substantially and neutralizes the phytic acid that hinders digestion. They can be used lightly steamed in salads, sandwiches, soups, vegetable dishes, or ground up for breads and baked goods.

  • Amelong, Kristina. Ten Days to Optimal Health. Madison: Prosperity Publishing House, 2006.
  • Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. Washington: New Trends Publishing, Inc, 1999.

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