It’s true. You have to heal to regain your health and become healthy. But how do we do that? Prescriptions? Supplements? Healthy foods?
My complaint about western medicine is that few doctors ever really help the body heal. Most doctors and their hospitals are in business to keep you coming back. I was once told that doctors affiliated with hospitals have quotas they are supposed to meet with regards to how many services they or their patients use at the hospital … that piece of news came from a doctor … so I am not doubting it!
Advertisements on television about a prescription drug take 30 seconds to tell about their benefits and 90 seconds to talk about the drug’s side effects. My clients tell me of drugs they are taking to ‘prevent’ or ‘manage’ some potential malady. If our medical schools are financed or supported by large drug companies what are the chances of our doctors learning about natural, holistic cures … yes, I said it … cures! Well, below are some things to help you heal, regain or maintain your health, and live a stronger, more active life.
1. For those of you who suffer from constipation, irritability, sleep disorders, panic attacks, migraines, atrial fibrillation or muscle cramping, spasms, or twitching … your problem may be due to a lack of magnesium. This crucial mineral is rarely tested for and will not show up on the traditional blood panel most doctors order. Recent research shows that low levels of magnesium are being linked to migraines, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People who eat a lot of processed or fast foods, people who have been through a highly stressful time or have undergone some invasion procedure performed are likely to be deficient in magnesium.
Cashews, almonds, fresh coconut, shrimp, beans, peas, spinach, bran, whole wheat, brown rice, dried apricots and dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa are all good sources of this mineral. You can also purchase a magnesium supplement, but you will absorb more magnesium from foods than from a supplement. To figure out how much magnesium you need, a good estimate is 2.7 mg per pound of body weight. A person weighing 155 lbs. would require about 420 mg per day.
2. If you find you are tired, fatigued, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, frequent infections or a swollen, glossy tongue, you may be deficient in iron, vitamin D, and/or vitamin B12. Iron deficiency, or anemia, is one of the most common deficiencies throughout the world. Iron is not an easily absorbed mineral and getting too much can cause cardiovascular disease. In a 2005 report from the World Health Organization, it was estimated that as much as 80 percent of the global population may suffer from this deficiency. While women traditionally have lower levels of iron than men, vegans, vegetarians, people who have celiac or Crohn’s disease, a bleeding ulcer or are an athlete all have a higher risk of deficiency.
You can consume iron from animal products like meat, poultry and fish, which is easier to digest than iron from plant sources, like legumes, tofu, spinach and iron-fortified cereals. To get the most out of these foods, pair them up with foods that are high in vitamin C, like sweet potatoes, broccoli,, sweet red peppers, a handful of blueberries or citrus juice made fresh from the whole citrus. Women ages 19-50 required 18 milligrams per day, while women over 50 requires only 8mg.
3. If you are one of those people who haven’t felt quite right for a long time and suffer from fatigue, vitamin D could be your culprit. Vitamin D acts like a hormone because it effects so many areas of the body. People with low levels of this vitamin have a higher risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers, heart attack, hypertension, Parkinson’s and dementia. Getting a minimum of 20 minutes of sun each day in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio will take care of your daily needs, but before you smile and feel confident that you are getting your daily dosage, let me ask … do you put sunscreen on before you go outside? If you do not wear sunscreen and are getting enough exposure to the UVB rays, then go ahead and smile. The goal is to keep enough vitamin D in the blood stream so all of your bodily systems can use it … as they all require support from this all important vitamin source. However, if you are eating processed, sugary foods, vitamin D will leave the blood stream and become stored in your fat cells … and rendered ineffective.
Vitamin D can be found in fortified dairy, canned salmon and other fatty fish, egg yolks, cultured soy and kefir. To figure out how much you need, take 20 IU of vitamin D3 (not D2) per pound of body weight daily, or about 3,000-4,000 IU per day for the average 150 lb. person.
4. If you have ringing of the ears, tingling or loss of sensation in your fingers, mood swings, memory loss, weakness, lethargy, anemia, neurological and/or psychiatric problems … you are probably low in vitamin B12. This is another vitamin that is rarely tested for by doctors, and when it is tested, the range for ‘normal’ is so wide and stretches to a point of being so low that the test is virtually useless. Countries like Japan and Europe have a lower rate of dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss because they treat the lower ranges that we consider ‘normal’. Many doctors consider vitamin B12 deficiency a normal state of aging … when a person’s gut begins to lack the ability to absorb the vitamin. Anemia is the final stages of vitamin B12 deficiency. Stomach acid helps your body absorb B12, so if you take acid blockers you are inhibiting your stomach’s ability to absorb the vitamin. A prolonged deficiency of this important vitamin can lead to degenerative neurological problems.
There are 3 cobalamins generally used as dietary supplements. Hydroxocobalamin is only available through a compounding pharmacy and is preferred in some cases because it prolongs increased serum vitamin B12 levels. Methylcobalamin is considered the BEST choice as it is a ‘coenzyme’ of vitamin B12, and is available in both sublingual preparation and as an injection. Cyanocobalamin is the most commonly used form, however it is considered the WORST choice because it is entirely ineffective for numerous conditions related to B12 deficiencies.
You can get B12 from fish, shellfish, red meat (especially liver), milk and yogurt. If you take acid blockers or if you have any of the above symptoms, you might want to take 500 – 1,000 micrograms per day. For most people, a multivitamin will be sufficient. However, to determine if your multivitamin is a ‘good’ one … check to see which of the above cobalamins is listed as its source for B12.
5. If you said yes to numbers 2, 3 and 4, then you might find yourself here as well! Do you suffer from fatigue, night time insomnia, weight changes, muscle and joint pain, hair and skin changes, constipation, menstrual problems, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, intolerance to cold especially in your extremities, weakness or tingling in the hands, arms, or legs, and/or when you look at your fingernails, are they smooth or full of ridges? Do your fingernails have moons?Over 59 million Americans have thyroid issues … many of whom have not been diagnosed. The thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland residing in your throat below the larnyx, is one of the most important endocrine glands in your body. This gland makes hormones that help control the function of many of your body’s organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. This is another situation where having your doctor run the standard blood panel of tests may not come out accurately, as a blood test is often pretty inconclusive. For one thing, the range for ‘normal’ is, again, pretty wide. You can perform the Basal Body Temperature Test to find out if you have a problem, which will be far more accurate than any blood test. Once you have performed this test, if the results prove you have a thyroid problem, you can take the results of these tests to your doctor and ask for a natural thyroid medicine like Armour, Nature-Throid, or have one prepared at a compounding pharmacy.
6. Other tips and ideas for you to think about: When it comes to calcium, you need an adequate amount of magnesium in order for your body to properly utilize the calcium. In addition, raising your vitamin D levels will affect how much calcium you actually need. Exercise and eating a healthy diet should always be a priority.
With the winter months coming, you may want to begin increasing your daily intake of electrolytes and immune system builders. To boost your immune system, consider taking on a regular basis a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and manganese.
Wondering what is a good food source for manganese? Try these … kale, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, chard, raspberries, pineapple, strawberries, spinach, garlic, turnip greens, grapes, summer squash, eggplant, brown rice, blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, thyme, maple syrup, turmeric, black pepper, and cloves.