Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chemicals in Cigarettes

Ever wonder what chemicals are in cigarettes you are smoking?  There are around 4,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, including many poisons and at least 50 of which are carcinogens (known to cause cancer).  

Did you know that along with tobacco, you are also smoking chemicals used in rocket fuel, paint, nail polish remover, insecticide, lighter fluid, batteries, embalming fluid, rat poison, car exhaust fumes, and toilet cleaner?  The well-known poison called Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man.  Many people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction continue to battle with nicotine addiction, consuming these toxic chemicals well into their sobriety.

Check other articles on this topic such as Quitting Smoking in Recovery and Best Natural Ways to Quit Smoking, which include research for those interested in kicking the nicotine naturally and getting off all those other poisonous chemicals in cigarettes!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Liver Health and Nutrition

Alcohol use affects the health of your liver, as everyone knows.  Both quantity and frequency of alcohol use can have a serious impact on your health, especially the liver - a vital organ.   If you are a recovering alcoholic, perhaps you have wondered how your drinking days have affected your liver.  Whether you were a weekend warrior binge drinker or a daily drinker, your liver had to process your excessive alcohol intake. 

Binge Drinking vs. Daily Drinking Effects on Liver

Obviously, binge drinking is harmful to your liver- in addition to other areas of your body.  Researchers have also investigated the impact of daily drinking on liver health.  A recent study found that long-term daily drinking, rather than weekly binge drinking, is by far the biggest risk factor in serious liver disease. Generally, patients with alcoholic cirrhosis have been drinking heavily for 10 to 20 years.

Alcoholic liver disease is one of the most serious medical consequences of chronic alcohol use.  Chronic alcohol abuse can cause fatty liver, cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis.  Alcohol is a leading cause of liver cancer in the western world.  Among heavy drinkers, up to 100% show evidence of fatty liver, an estimated 10-35% develop alcoholic hepatitis, and 10-20% develop cirrhosis.

For those who have been fortunate enough to escape liver disease, chances are you still did some damage during your active alcoholism/addiction. 

Normal Liver Function

First, consider the fact that normal liver function is essential to life. It filters blood, removes and destroys toxic substances; helps digest and absorb fats; and it is involved in many of the metabolic systems of the body. The liver stores vitamins; synthesizes cholesterol; metabolizes or stores sugars; processes fats; and assembles amino acids into various proteins, some for use within the liver and some for export. The liver controls blood fluidity and regulates blood-clotting mechanisms. It also converts the products of protein metabolism into urea for excretion by the kidneys.

How Exactly Does Alcohol Damage the Liver

There are many mechanisms by which alcohol injures the liver.  The most advanced form of alcoholic liver injury is alcoholic cirrhosis.  Before the 1970's, the cause of alcoholic cirrhosis was believed to be nutritional deficiencies from heavy drinking. Overwhelming evidence subsequently proved that alcohol itself is toxic to the liver. It is now believed that nutritional effects and direct alcohol toxicity interact in such complex ways that the influence of the two cannot be separated.  Other Factors include: genetics, free radicals & acetaldehyde, liver metabolism, gender (women may be more susceptible), and environmental factors (i.e. medications, exposure to pollution).

Other Ways we Damage the Liver

In addition to alcohol use, you may have also used other recreational drugs; perhaps you are currently taking over-the-counter or prescription medication, or have been on medications in the past; currently or previously engaged in unhealthy eating habits, or have been obese.  All of these factors further tax the liver and contribute to your need for a liver cleanse and nutritional supplementation.

Vitamin Deficiencies from Liver Damage

Once liver function is compromised, your body's ability to use vitamins is significantly reduced. The liver is no longer able to process, store or utilize many of the water-soluble vitamins such as thiamin, B6 and folate, and your body is no longer able to use fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E.

Remember also that your liver is also crucial in the transportation of minerals throughout your body.  If it is damaged, the minerals can't get out of the liver. This can result in mineral deficiency throughout your body, as well as a potentially toxic buildup of minerals in the liver. 

Help Your Liver Recover

Recovering alcoholics & addicts, you have already detoxed off of alcohol & drugs.  Whether it was days or years ago, you should absolutely give your liver its own detoxification cleanse!  Use this simple 7-day system to cleanse your liver.  This particular system not only cleanses and detoxifies the liver but also cleanses the digestive system and colon at the same time. It is recommended to cleanse first, then follow up with a liver support protocol that will be better absorbed and utilized due to cleansing first.

For a superior daily multivitamin/mineral formula that is easily absorbed, click here. *Note: choose the without iron version unless you know you are anemic.

For ongoing support of normal liver detoxification activity and overall liver health, two great supplements are Curcumin and HepatocleanseCurcumin has multiple health benefits in addition to liver support, including promoting neurological health, cognitive health, and a strong immune system to name a few. Hepatocleanse contains milk thistle and other safe natural herbs that help to detoxify the liver and blood, supports a healthy liver and gallbladder, and helps excrete the toxins that accumulate over time. Use the links provided to read more about the research and benefits of the best supplements that support liver health and may be especially beneficial for active and recovering alcoholics.

You can also lower your chance for liver disease with healthy eating habits.  For liver health and overall health, eat foods that are high in fiber and low glycemic.  To get a complete education for life on how to incorporate the healthiest eating plan, check out this great health guide and journal.   With these simple yet advanced strategies, you can take charge of your liver health and nutrition to continue to truly recover in BODY, as well as mind and spirit.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Omega-3 Depression Help

Can Omega 3 help depression?  

New research on the Mediterranean diet provides further evidence that Omega-3 can indeed help fight depression. 

Oct 8, 2009 the New York Times reported:
Eating a Mediterranean-style diet — packed with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is good for your heart, many studies have found. Now scientists are suggesting the diet may be good for your mental health, too.  A study of over 10,000 Spaniards followed for almost four and half years on average found that those who reported eating a healthy Mediterranean diet at the beginning of the study were about half as likely to develop depression.

Why is Mediterranean Diet is Good

This is not surprising news considering that the Mediterranean-style diet is low in Omega 6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory).  Rapidly growing research points to effectiveness of Omega-3 fish oils in the treatment of depression.  Just visit and search “omega 3 depression” to reveal hundreds of clinical studies detailing the effectiveness of Omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of depression.

The Mediterranean-style diet also tends to be low glycemic. Low glycemic foods do not spike blood sugar and insulin and thus help you stay lean, and provide steady energy and brain focus, and prevent mood swings. Recovering alcoholics and addicts can benefit from a low-glycemic eating plan such as the TLS program

Antioxidants are also plentiful in Mediterranean-style diet via the fruits, vegetables, and of course red wine…  Never fear, recovering alcoholics can get far more benefit than wine anyway in a power packed supplement called Resveratrol which has just the concentrated antioxidants without the alcohol!

Help Depression via Omega-3 Supplementation

For those of you who do not eat lots of fish daily, or want to be sure you are getting a beneficial amount of Omega-3, you can supplement with Omega-3 fish oils.  Beware the majority of inferior omegas on the market (you get what you pay for), which tend to contain lower amounts of fish oil in each, and which may contain mercury, lead, PCB and other harmful metals. The highest grade omega 3 are available online.  Enjoy the multitude of benefits from Omega-3 supplementation including help with depression!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Liver Supplements for Recovering Alcoholics

What are the best supplements to support liver health for alcoholics in recovery? It is well known that alcohol is toxic to the liver, and normal liver function is essential to life! Whether you have been a weekend binge drinker or a daily drinker, your liver has been affected by excessive alcohol consumption. In addition to drinking, many alcoholics have also used recreational drugs, and have been or currently take medications which also stress the liver and further contribute to the potential need for nutritional cleanse and supplementation to support liver detoxification and health.

best liver supplements for alcohlics
Click here to read about a recommended 7-day cleanse that is extremely easy to follow and gentle (it should not disturb your normal daily activities!). This particular system not only cleanses and detoxifies the liver but also cleanses the digestive system and colon at the same time. It is recommended to cleanse first, then follow up with a liver support protocol that will be better absorbed and utilized due to cleansing first.

For ongoing support of normal liver detoxification activity and overall liver health, two great supplements are Curcumin and Hepatocleanse

Curcumin has multiple health benefits in addition to liver support, including promoting neurological health, cognitive health, and a strong immune system to name a few. 

Hepatocleanse contains milk thistle and other safe natural herbs that help to detoxify the liver and blood, supports a healthy liver and gallbladder, and helps excrete the toxins that accumulate over time. Use the links provided to read more about the research and benefits of the best supplements that support liver health and may be especially beneficial for active and recovering alcoholics.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Probiotics for Alcoholics

Why Alcoholics need Probiotics 

Recent research suggests supplementing with probiotics may restore immune function of white blood cells, improve liver function, and restore gut health, in alcoholics.

Researchers at University College London gave patients with alcoholic cirrhosis probiotic supplements and reported that neutrophil (white blood cell) function was restored after four weeks. (source: Journal of Hepatology, 2008)

The study adds to the existing body of science by reporting that the 'friendly' bacteria from probiotic supplementation may boost immune function in alcoholics.

Furthermore, a study in 2009 by researchers from Russia and the U.S. confirmed that probiotic supplements improved gut health and liver health in alcoholics. (Source: Alcohol Volume 42, Issue 8, Pages 675-682)

Probiotics Benefit Recovering Alcoholics  

Probiotics balance gut bacteria
Probiotics may be defined as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit.” These bacteria act as balancing agents for non-friendly, pathogenic, gut-bacteria such as Candida or E. coli. When there is insufficient good bacteria, a number of bacteria-related health problems can ensue such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, cadidiasis (overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans), and anxiety.

Perhaps the strongest of our probiotic fighters is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which studies show creates a natural form of antibiotics in the body. This probiotic increases our ability to produce antimicrobial action against the pathogens in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and other environmental toxins we encounter.

Stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and most importantly - unhealthy acidic diets - destroy our natural amounts of probiotics. With all this in mind, certainly alcoholics in recovery who desire to address the effects of their previous (and perhaps still current in certain regards) lifestyle, often choose to include probiotics in their supplement regimen.

Alcoholics, Candida, and Probiotics

There is no question that candidiasis sufferers require supplemental use of probiotics to replenish beneficial GI bacteria and rebuild the immune system. Even if you don’t have candidiasis, environmental and food toxins, coupled with high-stress, are good indicators of the widespread need for probiotics.

Alcoholism compromises the immune system and can cause Candida yeast overgrowth. Depression, common in alcoholics, often results from the central nervous system toxins generated by Candida-Related-Complex. (Sources: 1. Larson, J. M., & Parker, R. (1987). Alcoholism treatment with biochemical restoration as a major component. International Journal of Biosocial Research, 9 (1), 92-106. 2. Trowbridge, J. & Walker, M. (1986). The yeast syndrome. New York: Bantam Books.)

Another connection between alcohol and candidiasis has been found in a study of 213 alcoholics at a recovery center in Minneapolis. Results indicated that candidiasis is a common complication of alcoholism due to the combination of high sugar content in alcohol and the inability of alcoholics to assimilate nutrients.

Many symptoms common in alcoholics overlap with symptoms observed with candida overgrowth- such as insomnia, depression, loss of libido, headaches, sinusitis/post-nasal drip, digestion and intestinal issues. Alcohol increases levels of sugar in the body, but other common habits of alcoholics can also contribute to candida problems... such as: if an alcoholic is also a smoker, he/she is at risk for respiratory infections which are treated with antibiotics… antibiotics cause candida overgrowth! Recovering alcoholics who enjoy coffee and cookies at AA meetings are also increasing their potential for candidiosis.

Benefits of Probiotics Supplementation 

The following health benefits are associated with the intake of daily doses of probiotics based on research to date:

* Enhanced immune system response
* Reduces negative effects of taking many types of antibiotics
* Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery
* Helps to prevent eczema in youth
* Increased ability to digest food
* Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall    immune system
* Reduces lactose intolerance
* Reduces incidence of yeast infection, vaginitis and candidiasis
* Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
* Alleviates many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS
* Acts as a treatment for halitosis (bad breath)
* Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B
* Increases ability to absorb calcium
* Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
* May help in prevention of colon cancer
* May lower cholesterol
* May lower blood pressure
* Improves immune function and helps prevent infections
* Helps in treating Helicobacter pylori
* Reduces inflammation
* Improves mineral absorption
* Prevents harmful bacterial growth under stress

In summary, while an increasing number of people in general are choosing to supplement with probiotics for the broad range of proven health benefits, recovering alcoholics should certainly consider use of probiotic supplements for the specific needs associated with their population as well. The road to health is paved with good intestines!

*Not all probiotic supplements are created equal. Learn more here about a recommended: high quality Probiotics supplement recommended by doctors.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Are you an alcoholic in 2 questions

I have never been a huge fan of the 20 question type surveys to determine “Are you an alcoholic?” Alcoholism is a disease that operates on denial, so those types of subjective questions can be tricky… 

To the rational individual, most of these questions seem objective and pretty black and white. But to the active alcoholic, still in denial to any degree, a “No” answer can be easily justified. Especially since many of the questions pertain to consequences of drinking… therefore can be “YETS” (they just haven’t happened to the active alcoholic YET). 

People questioning their drinking habits may look at them and instead use the survey itself to fuel the denial- i.e."I haven’t lost a job, it’s not affecting my family, I don’t drink daily or in the morning… I guess I’m not that bad after all!”

A simpler test for: Am I An Alcoholic?

I like to boil it down to 2 basic questions– or categories of questions related to: 

1. Do you have the obsession? 

2. Do you have the compulsion? 

In the big book Alcoholics Anonymous, in the section called The Doctor’s Opinion, Dr. Silkworth explains that the obsession and compulsion are what define the disease of alcoholism.

Whether someone has the obsession and compulsion can be asked in a number of ways, but perhaps the simplest way could be the following.

Do you have the obsession...

How about asking: Do you ever end up drinking when you plan not to? 
For example, you think “I’m not going to drink tonight”, but then you end up having a drink anyway. 
Or, do you look ahead with anticipation or excitement to the next time you can have a drink? Wwhether it is happy hour, or not until Friday or Saturday night, or that big reunion coming up, are you anxiously looking forward to it?

Do you have the compulsion...

Simply put: do you ever end up drinking more than you planned to (i.e. thinking “I’m only going to have 1 or 2 tonight”, and you end up having several or even blacking out? Or: are you typically the one who closes out the bar or last to leave the party?).

Even if you do NOT: drink alone, drink daily, have lost your job, lost your significant other or family, have blacked out, been arrested, driven drunk, or been hospitalized as a result of your drinking… You may still in fact be an alcoholic!!! 

Check out an AA meeting, start reading the “big book” Alcoholics Anonymous, or contact a drug/alcohol counselor or speak to an addiction recovery coach … and find out if you have an obsession and compulsion related to alcohol/drugs. Once you understand those two components, you can quickly diagnose yourself. If you are indeed an alcoholic, the great news is- recovery is possible! “There is a solution”. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cocaine found in Red Bull

(From AP) May 25, 2009: BERLIN — "Six German states have told retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola energy drinks after a test found a trace amount of cocaine. The bans started Friday after a sample test conducted by authorities found 0.4 micrograms per liter in the drink.”

Okay, so it was only trace amounts (if you are ok with that), but while we’re on the topic...

Guess what else is in Red Bull

Red Bull contains 80.0 milligrams of caffeine which is twice as much as in a can of Coke (40 mg/330 ml can). And 5-6 teaspoons of sugar. A sugar-free Red Bull is sweetened with aspartame (a known neurotoxin, scary stuff– it’s in your Diet Coke too. Beware!).

Other Health Risks of Red Bull

According to the latest research (circa 2008), the popular energy drink Red Bull can increase the risk of heart damage. The participants of the study were university students aged between 20 and 24. Researchers found that just one sugar free can of Red Bull raised the level of stickiness of the blood and could lead to the formation of blood clots.

According to Dr. Scott Willoughby, of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Adelaide University, the results of the study were alarming. "After one can it seemed to turn the young individual into one with more of the type of profile you would expect to see with someone with cardiovascular disease. People who already have existing cardiovascular disease may want to talk to their physician before they drink Red Bull in future," the scientist said.

The 30 students who passed the test were shocked by the results. Previously some of them drank up to 8 cans per night in order to stay awake to study. Most of these students are now refusing to drink Red Bull, saying they will never consume it again.

Better Alternatives to Red Bull

Yet again, better off sticking with your good ol' B Vitamins for energy. Take your B Complex vitamins in an activated and isotonic form for maximum absorption, or have some in a healthier natural "energy drink" like Awake energy shots

Remember "H.A.L.T." -- if you are Tired, get some rest! Skip the Red Bull as you would cocaine, and don't forget to take your vitamins (Bill W. did!).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bill Wilson supports B Vitamins for Alcoholism Treatment

Many people are not aware that AA founder, Bill Wilson, was trying to educate doctors on the importance of vitamin supplementation in the treatment of alcoholism. Check out Dr. Abram Hoffer sharing about his experience with Bill W. and Bill's passion for research on Niacin (vitamin B3) for alcoholics and his desire to educate doctors on this:

For those in search of a high quality complete B Complex, be aware that not all supplements are created equally! The best supplements are those that are high quality and best absorbed. Good nutrition is not what you eat, but what you absorb.

For that reason, I personally only take this Isotonix activated B Complex.
Scroll down on that product page to read more about the benefits, science and uniqueness of this B Complex to help you determine if it may be right for you in your recovery from alcoholism or for your wellness needs in general.

Natural Flu Prevention Tips

With flu fear all over the media, more than ever people are looking for natural ways to prevent getting the flu. The best way to prevent flu or any other viral infection is to boost your immune system. First, don't let the news set you in to a panic...

Stress will only weaken your immune function. And for those who understand and believe in the Law of Attraction, it goes without saying that you should not be obsessively worrying about getting sick! You may be setting yourself up for self-fulfilling prophecy in that respect. 

Use whatever stress reduction techniques you desire. Check out this favorite – Emotional Freedom Technique to quickly easily relax your stress response. 

Get plenty of rest to optimize your immune function. 

Avoid sugar, it weakens your immunity. 

Stay hydrated! Don't underestimate the importance of water for all aspects of your health. Also, see this brief post on nutritional support during stress

Nutritional Supplements to Support Flu Prevention

The best quick nutritional tips for helping your immune system prevent the flu include taking supplements to support healthy immune function so that it can fend off any potential viral attacks. There are so many different vitamins and herbs touted to aid in this battle, so I will just outline the possible top three here…

1. Most people know that Vitamin C boosts immune function. It is also considered an antiviral by blocking the enzyme neuraminidase which viruses need to reproduce. There are anecdotal stories of people taking large amounts of Vitamin C and surviving the Spanish Flu. Research shows that Vitamin C may reduce the production of cytokines TNF-a and IL-6. A study on 470 people involved giving the test group 1000 mg hourly for 6 hours and then 1000 mg 3 times daily after reporting flu symptoms. Symptoms decreased by 85% with Vitamin C use. (Pubmed PMID 10543583, 634178, 16169205, 12876306). Read more about this exceptional form of Vitamin C.

2. Resveratrol, probably most recognized as a “miracle anti-aging supplement” since Barbara Walters 20/20 special last year, is also a proven antiviral supplement. Found naturally in red wine, in addition to inhibiting neuraminidase, studies have revealed that resveratrol inhibits the growth of viruses such as herpes and influenza. Resveratrol supplements are relatively inexpensive, are more stable than wine, with no toxic effects (Pubmed PMID 1583880, 12817628, 15985724). Learn more about this exceptional form of Resveratrol.

3. Many doctors are finally catching up with the research on Vitamin D and starting to test their patients’ vitamin D levels. In the popular newsletter by Dr. Mercola, a recent article included vitamin D as a crucial component in the flu battle. “Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself. This [supplementing with Vitamin D] is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take.” Click here to read more about this excellent form of vitamin D with K2.

Most importantly, please note that not all supplements are created equally. The best supplements are those that are high quality and best absorbed. Good nutrition is not what you eat, but what you absorb. Take advantage of the links above to read more about the most absorbable potent forms of these supplements taken orally (i.e. you can only get better absorption intravenously!).

It is worth being proactive in your self-care via stress management, hydration, rest, healthy eating, and smart supplementation to support your immune health so you don't have to suffer this flu season.