One of the most common questions I get is “Do you think protein powders are helpful?”
My answer is, “Sometimes.”
Here’s why I say that—let’s take a crash course on protein powders.
What’s in that scoop?
Protein is a macronutrient found in foods such as meats, dairy products, eggs, nuts and beans.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. The nine essential amino acids that your body can’t produce (and must come from your diet) are Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
A protein is said to be “complete” when it contains all nine if it’s missing one or more it’s “incomplete.”
What are my protein needs?
Recommended daily intake of protein for an average adult male is 56 grams per day, and for females, it’s 46 grams.
It’s easy to get what you need when you consider the protein in many foods. For example, four ounces of chicken has 33.8 grams, four ounces of salmon has 29.1 grams, and four ounces of beef has 32 grams.
But there are circumstances under which your body might need more protein:
1- In the teen years
A teenager may need more protein, especially if he’s participating in sports because his body is still growing and uses more protein in general.
2- When you’re starting or changing an exercise program
If working out is new to you and especially if you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll likely require more protein than you normally would.
Also, if you normally run five miles four times a week, but then you start training for a marathon, your body will definitely need more protein.
3- If you’re going vegan
People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle eliminate a number of protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.
The skinny on powders
Protein powders come in a variety of forms, the most common of which are whey, soy, egg, rice and casein-based products.
Here are some things to consider about each:
Whey protein is the most popular type of protein supplement. Whey is a complete protein created during the process of turning milk into cheese. As such, it may be a concern for people with dairy allergies.
Soy protein is one of the few plant proteins that’s a complete protein, but beware: Soy is becoming increasingly genetically modified. The process of genetically modifying crops creates protein structures that are completely foreign to your body…and time will tell what effects these “Franken-proteins” will have on your health. Soy is also a common allergen.
Egg protein is made by separating out egg yolks and dehydrating egg whites. They’re a great source of complete protein, but they too are a common allergen.
Rice protein is hypoallergenic and easily digested and tolerated by most people. The downside is that rice protein is not a complete protein.
Casein protein is a complete protein that is produced using a separation process applied to milk that can isolate the milk protein. But it’s also an allergen for many.
Do I need a protein powder?
Although some people supplement with protein powders to make sure their protein needs are met, the vast majority are athletes that are looking to build muscle!
As far as grams of protein needed for athletes go, here are some guidelines:
That being said, there are other considerations that you need to be aware of when using protein supplements.
What protein powders don’t tell you
Before muscle grows, your body’s rate of protein synthesis must also increase…and that doesn’t come about automatically by eating more protein. It’s a complex process that involves your cell signaling and DNA to make those amino acids turn into muscle.
Plus protein synthesis is done by your liver. So if your liver isn’t as healthy as it should be, guess what–you might be running low in protein regardless of what you take in.
Lastly, too much of anything is never a good thing, and that includes protein.
Excessive intake of protein can lead to excess acid waste accumulation. Over time this can trigger kidney problems, accelerated bone loss and even osteoporosis!
Get your protein and use it!
Whether or not you choose to use protein powders is up to you. If you feel you have the need, then, by all means, there are a lot of great products out there.
To ensure that your body gets the amino acids you need AND can use them, it’s crucial to have a diet that your body can more easily digest and features a variety of protein sources.
Make sure you have the enzymes too!
If you’ve had a typical modern diet for a while and/or have taken antacids, chances are excellent that you have expended way more digestive enzymes than Nature intended …and you may have diminished your body’s ability to produce enough. This can, in turn, impact your system’s ability to break down protein sources into their amino acids!
If you think enzymes may be a concern for you, an enzyme supplement like Digestizol Max can be just what you need.
Now you are armed with the information you need to not only decide whether protein powders are right for you but also the advice you need to make sure you’re absorbing those precious amino acids!
It’s an interesting phenomenon that two of the most common complaints that people report to their doctors are excessive sleepiness and too little sleep!
One can fuel the other and cause a vicious poor sleep cycle.
Now, we all occasionally have a night where we’re staring at the ceiling, but usually, by the next night we have an opportunity to “catch up” and things get back to normal.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic insomnia, where being nocturnal is a regular thing.
There’s nothing good about regularly lacking sleep because it can take a serious toll on your health, both physically and mentally.
Let’s take a closer look at the various health effects of insomnia and explore some ways you can help encourage regular, restful sleep.
The health prices of chronic insomnia
1- The grim reaper arrives early
People who lack consistent quality sleep (this especially applies to nighttime shift workers) are more prone to accidents on the job and die younger than those with more stable sleep schedules.
2- It’s all in your rhythm
Your brain is like a “master computer” that coordinates the timing of many of your physiological functions and processes, and just like your PC or notebook, it needs to be “restarted” from time to time.
It is during restful, deep sleep that your brain is “reset” and can properly coordinate your various biological rhythms.
3- REM—not just a singing group
The REM phase of sleep is the phase closest to when you wake up, and this is when dreaming usually occurs. This phase is marked by rapid eye movements (REM) so it’s known as REM sleep.
Studies have shown that people who are deprived of REM sleep are prone to irritability, anxiety, and depression.
4- It’s not all in your head…or your back
Many of the problems for which people seek medical care–mental cloudiness, chronic fatigue, joint and muscle aches and fibromyalgia–are actually caused or exacerbated by poor sleep.
5- RIP, immune system
The most serious consequence of lacking sleep is that it greatly hampers your immune system functioning.
Not only does your immune system protect you from the obvious infections and viruses, but it also protects you from disease–and that includes cancer.
Studies show that the consequences of lacking sleep even for ONE night can be serious.
In one study, healthy male volunteers were deprived of four hours of sleep for a single night. The next day, the activity of certain immune cells (natural killer cells) fell by as much as 30 percent!
So what’s behind YOUR nighttime wide eyeballs?
Here are some of the most common reasons why you stare at the ceiling every night:
How you can revert back to infancy
Want to sleep like a baby at night? Then look into what is causing your insomnia, and do something about it!
Here are seven very safe, effective measures you can try:
1) Counteract stress
Nothing beats regular exercise for relieving stress. Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK first.
You can also try counseling, prayer, meditation, aromatherapy, deep breathing, acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga.
There are a lot of options to help you. Pick the ones that will work for you.
2) Eat real foods
Concentrate on nutritious real foods and skip the sweets, refined carbs, and processed foods.
Also, to help improve your digestion, keep meals simple—pair proteins OR starches (not both together) with vegetables to ease the burden on your GI tract (and to have a much easier time when Nature calls too).
3) Consider enzyme supplementation
Poor digestion can also be the result of inadequate digestive enzymes.
This is common in people who take antacids or acid reducers, the elderly or people who have had a poor diet for years or decades.
If you feel your enzymes need a little helping hand, Digestizol Max can be a big help.
4) Consider bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has been a godsend for many perimenopausal and fully menopausal women.
According to health reports from the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical and Stanford University, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can have long-term health benefits–including relief from menopausal-related sleep problems!
The catch is many mainstream doctors are not familiar with bio-identical HRT because it’s more of a holistic therapy, so you may need to seek out a holistic practitioner to help you.
5) Consider supplemental magnesium and Vitamin E
Many people lose sleep from muscle cramps or restless legs.
If that includes you, magnesium and vitamin E can help—and Super Core multi-vitamin and mineral formula contains health-supporting doses of both, plus a wide range of other nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories.
6) Switch up your night cap
The more you can avoid coffee, soda, and alcohol before bed, the better your chances of a good night’s sleep.
If you want a night cap, try water with lemon or some herbal tea.
7) Get enough Omega-3 EFAs
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in abundance in fatty fish—but unfortunately, that’s not something that most people eat on a daily basis.
That’s why daily supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids is so important for so many people.
And VitalMega-3 fish oil supplements are the perfect way to make sure you’ve got what you need to help reduce inflammation and enjoy better sleep!
Your days of being a night owl can finally be over!
If you have occasional poor sleep or downright chronic insomnia, don’t think that dangerous, addictive sleep drugs are your only answer.
When you instead take a close look at what may be behind YOUR “night owl syndrome” and do something about it, your restless nights can come finally come to an end!
While I can assure you that I enjoy swimming laps in my back yard pool, gold medal-winning swimming abilities are not what I have in common with Mr. Phelps.
Yes, Michael Phelps created quite the stir at the Rio Olympics with the circular purple spots on his back from “cupping”—a healing therapy that has been popular in China since as far back as 3000 BC.
Phelps swears by the technique, having it done before pretty much every meet he competes in.
Here’s the scoop on cupping, and why I’m a big fan now too:
Cupping—ancient Chinese medicine at its finest
Practitioners of the healing technique called cupping place specialized cups (usually made out of glass or plastic) on the skin. Then they use either heat or an air pump to create suction between the cup and the skin, pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles.
The suction can last for anywhere from a few seconds up to several minutes, and causes the capillaries under the skin surface to expand, increasing the amount of fluid entering and leaving the tissues and promoting healing.
Oh, and also creating a large purple circle that is basically a big hickey.
In addition to encouraging healing, cupping therapy provokes a relaxation response in many people, which means it’s useful for lowering stress and its harmful effects.
Cupping has also been shown to be helpful for these health issues:
Many Eastern medicine practitioners use cupping in conjunction with or in addition to acupuncture.
While much of the Western mainstream medical world poo-poo’s cupping (and acupuncture for that matter) because there aren’t loads of modern scientific studies proving its benefits, history speaks for itself. This has been done for CENTURIES, people swear by it, it’s FAR safer than any drug or surgery, and there are virtually no side effects (besides hickeys on your back).
That’s good enough for me.
I have become a fan of cupping and acupuncture because of recent challenges with my back.
Let’s put it this way—I’ve been doing martial arts (including full-contact fighting) for 13 years, I’m currently training for a marathon, running distances of 14 to 18 miles at a time, and I’ll be 54 years old tomorrow—not exactly a spring chicken.
So it’s safe to say I challenge my body pretty rigorously…and it needs a little TLC!
I cannot say enough about how much cupping and acupuncture have helped me. The soreness in my back and shoulders has decreased dramatically, I no longer experience neck pain and stiffness, and I’m even sleeping much more soundly at night.
Embrace natural solutions
If you have health challenges and are sick of what I call the “white coat treadmill”—you go to the doctor, get a pill, that pill stops working or causes side effects, so you go back, get another pill, then that pill stops working or causes side effects, so you get another pill, and so forth—I encourage you to embrace safe, natural solutions.
In addition to acupuncture and cupping, there’s also chiropractic care which does wonders for all kinds of conditions over and above back problems.
Also, check out herbal remedies—for instance, deglycerrhized licorice and ginger have been shown to be tremendously helpful with indigestion and heartburn.
Plus take advantage of the natural power of nutritional supplementation:
While modern medicine certainly has helped many people, there’s a lot to be said for natural solutions, and they should definitely be something you should turn to when faced with health challenges.
If you are an adult living in America chances are good you are or soon will be hosting a sneaky, silent disease that lies dormant, but can eventually rear its ugly head and leave you flat on your back (or on the operating table).
I’m talking about diverticulitis.
Here’s what you need to know about this “silent” condition that is anything BUT silent when it strikes you.
Rates of this “silent” disease are increasing
About one out of 10 people over the age of 40 and half of the population over 60 have diverticulosis—the presence of little pea-sized pouches protruding out of the intestinal wall.
These pouches (called diverticula) are “silent” meaning they usually don’t cause symptoms—that’s why many people with diverticulosis don’t even know they have it.
Things change dramatically, however, if one or more of the diverticula become infected–known as diverticulitis.
Then you are facing intense abdominal pain along with fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and rectal bleeding, and are quite likely unable to function.
A disturbing trend
Although diverticulosis is common nowadays, that wasn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, prior to 1917, it was unheard of.
“So what changed?” you may ask.
Our DIETS, that’s what.
Diverticulosis started “popping up” a few years after the world was introduced to processed foods in 1915.
As we became increasingly reliant on these “so-called food stuffs” and shifted away from real whole foods, our digestion started going out the window because processed foods are very difficult to digest and lack natural fiber.
Poor digestion + lack of fiber = CONSTIPATION.
Straining to have a bowel movement when you’re constipated is the #1 leading contributing factor to diverticulosis—because having to exert serious pressure whenever Nature calls can eventually blow out the intestinal wall.
Also playing a role are obesity (which now describes one out of three of us), stress and irregular eating habits (skipping meals, then binging or overeating).
Diverticulitis is growing too!
Not only are a good number of us hosts to diverticulosis, but diverticulitis (infections in the pouches) is on the rise too.
The overall incidence of diverticulitis, with or without hospitalization, has increased by 50 percent since the year 2000, according to researcher Dr. Adil E. Bharucha of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Plus the disease is being seen in younger and younger people, which should be no surprise since poor diets and obesity rates in kids are skyrocketing too.
Better ingredients = Better digestion
The good news here is that you can help turn your digestive health around, even if you’re already suffering from diverticulosis or diverticulitis.
It’s never too late to start to feel better!
It’s just a matter of improving your digestion and supporting a healthier intestinal environment.
Here’s how you can make a huge difference:
Eat actual foods & make your body’s job easier
Stay away from processed and fast foods, as well as refined carbohydrates. Foods like these invite constipation and throw off your intestinal flora balance to boot. Stick to real foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, eggs and (occasional) whole grains.
Strive to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and eat a tossed salad every day.
It’s also important to structure your meals so they are less taxing on your GI tract by pairing foods together that your system can break down more efficiently. The simple rule is this:
When you make your body’s digestive job easier, the end result (your BMs) can go along a lot easier too!
If you need more help with food combinations, the Great Taste No Pain health system can guide you.
Give your intestinal tract a healthy boost
The average person who eats a typical modern diet is seriously challenging their friendly gut flora. Poor digestion and a high concentration of refined carbs create an intestinal environment that favors harmful bacteria—and your army of helpful bacteria suffers.
And if you add in the possibilities of stress, medication use, exposure to environmental toxins or past or present use of antibiotics (which all harm your gut flora), chances are great most people have some degree of harmful bacteria overgrowth (dysbiosis).
Not only can this hamper your digestion and immune system functioning, but having a large amount of harmful bacteria festering in your intestinal tract is a great way to invite a diverticulitis attack (if you’ve already got diverticulosis).
That’s why an effective probiotic supplement like Super Shield is so helpful for the vast majority of people.
Super Shield pays attention to both of your intestines–it contains certain species of bacteria that inhabit the small intestine (lactobacillus) and others that live in your colon (Bifidobacteria). So you’re covered from one end of the intestinal tract to the other!
Probiotics also help your intestinal flora rebound from antibiotic use, which is a common treatment for diverticulitis.
A little change can make a huge difference!
It can make a dramatic difference in how you feel when you take just a few simple steps to help your body accomplish what Nature intended it to!
A whole new world of feeling good, having more energy and saying goodbye to digestive problems can soon become your reality!
See what a difference it can make for you—you’ll never regret it.
You can tell that fall is around the corner because all of the local pharmacies have signs that greet you saying, “Get your flu shot.”
But are flu shots all they’re cracked up to be? And are they safe?
Here is what you probably don’t know, but MUST know, about the flu and flu shots.
Will flu shots prevent you from getting the flu?
The answer to that is: Maybe.
There are several strains of flu in existence each year, and when the flu vaccine is designed for a given season, scientists guess which strains may be more prevalent.
If they guess right, some cases of the flu may be prevented. If not, the shot is useless.
Plus the flu shot’s period of effectiveness varies from person to person, so you can get the flu even after getting a flu shot.
And all vaccines depress your immune system functioning for up to several weeks, which means you are more susceptible to other flu varieties plus viruses and infections.
But don’t lots of people die from the flu?
The answer to that is: No.
First of all, only about 20 percent of all flu-like illnesses that occur are actually influenza. Many types of respiratory illnesses are simply labeled “flu” without any flu testing being done.
Plus in many cases of death, especially in the elderly, “flu” is cited as the cause, when in fact, death was truly caused by pneumonia or a combination of chronic illnesses and flu may be in the mix.
The actual flu death statistics for 2013 (the most recent year on the CDC’s site) show total deaths due to influenza as 3,697.
That means you have about a .00001 percent chance of dying from the flu. You have an eight times greater chance of being struck by lightning.
Flu shots are safe, right?
The answer to that is: No.
All you need to do is read a package insert and you’ll see why.
Here are the ingredients for the popular Fluzone® vaccine:
Thimerosal: This is mercury—the most potent neurotoxin known to man. Flu shots contain 12.5 mcg of mercury in each .25 mL (one-quarter millimeter) dose—which is 25,000 times the EPA safe limit. There have been no studies proving the safety of injecting mercury into the human bloodstream.
Sodium phosphate-buffered isotonic sodium chloride solution: This is a saline solution.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and it can also cause allergic reactions.
Octylphenol ethoxylates: These are used in paints, emulsions, and wetting agents. Although they are classified as “low toxicity,” no studies have been conducted proving the safety of injecting octyl phenol ethoxylates into the human bloodstream.
Gelatin: This is used in foods, cosmetics, and glues and is derived from various animal by-products. There are no studies proving the safety of injecting gelatin into the human bloodstream; it may be a concern for people with animal or meat allergies as well as vegans.
The flu strains: The flu strains are cultivated in animal proteins such as rabbit brain tissue, monkey kidney tissue, pig blood, chicken embryo, embryonic guinea pig cells and calf serum. These may be problematic for people with animal or meat allergies…and vegetarians.
Not only can these proteins taunt your immune system, but heaven helps you if you’re allergic to any of them—the result could range from discomfort to death. Most pharmacies push flu shots, but VERY FEW are equipped to recognize and properly handle an adverse reaction.
Prevention is the key
Getting a flu shot is your choice, but remember that when it comes to the flu as well as all other illnesses, prevention is the key.
When you support your immune system and let it function like it was designed to, it is FAR less likely that you will have to worry about the illness, to begin with.
Here are four ways you can boost your immune system so it can better protect YOU:
Immune Booster #1: Probiotics
Nothing enhances your immune system like a helpful dose of the same beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut and house about 70 percent of that immune system!
The key is taking a probiotic supplement like Super Shield that has a wide variety of bacteria strains since each strain has its own “specialty” in terms of how it supports your health.
Immune Booster #2: Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C boosts your immune system by helping to increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies.
And vitamin E has been shown in studies to significantly increase T cell and B cell activity, thereby helping to make your immune system stronger.
Health supporting doses of both of these immune enhancing nutrients are in Super Core multi-vitamin and mineral formula.
Immune Booster #3: Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is crucial for the formation of white blood cells that comprise your immune system, and red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.
Immune Booster #4: Reduce stress
Stress causes harmful changes to your gut microbes and impairs your immune functioning.
So if chronic stress is an issue for you, it’s time to do what you must to chill out. Ask for help if you need it.
Treat your precious immune system like the gold that it is and it will return the favor and better protect YOU!
As I walked by the pharmacy counter in my local Wegmans yesterday I observed that the line to pick up prescriptions was longer than any of the food check-out lines.
That should tell you something.
While medications are necessary at times, when it gets to the point where the majority of us are medicated every single day, something is seriously wrong.
And a big force behind this trend is…
Pharmaceutical company advertising
Did you know that in most all other countries, prescription drugs can only be advertised to physicians?
But in the US, pharmaceutical companies can market their products directly to consumers—and they do it VERY well.
You can’t open a magazine, watch TV or look up anything on most “health” (aka drug company-sponsored) websites without being barraged by invitations to “Ask your doctor if XYZ drug is right for you.”
And if you don’t think advertising like this has an impact on our prescription drug use, then there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
Although the US comprises only 5 percent of the world’s population, we consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs!
That’s just downright sick.
Plus remember, most doctors don’t have time to do extensive research on these drugs—they typically rely on what the pharmaceutical company sales rep tells them…and you can rest assured that the side effects and adverse reactions are seriously downplayed.
A dangerous trend
What’s really disturbing is that the class of drugs that has shown the greatest increase is mind-altering, body-numbing drugs—ADHD drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers, and antidepressants.
Let’s take a closer look at these:
According to the CDC, one in seven US children is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by the time they turn 18, and 70 percent are prescribed ADHD drugs.
Plus ADHD drugs have become “cognition enhancers” among college students and young professionals.
If you think these drugs are “mild,” you couldn’t be more wrong–they’re Class 2 narcotics with side effects including:
Let me remind you that at the same time these drugs are being taken in record numbers, we’re also seeing more shootings in our schools, and that’s no coincidence.
Benzodiazepines–including Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan–are used to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia.
Side effects from benzodiazepines include suicidal thoughts,hallucinations, drowsiness, dizziness, change in sex drive/ability, slurred speech and memory problems.
Frighteningly, their use by children aged 10‐19 increased by almost 50 percent from 2001 to 2010!
Our use of painkillers has increased 600 percent from 1997-2007!
By the year 2010, the US, with only 5 percent of the world’s population, was consuming 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone, 80 percent of the oxycodone, and 65 percent of the hydromorphone.
Unfortunately, overdoses have increased as well. From 1999-2010, deaths from prescription painkiller overdose shot up 400 percent among women and 265 percent in men.
The list of antidepressant side effects is staggering and includes nausea, nervousness, headaches, sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, digestive problems and weight gain.
Plus studies continue to show that antidepressants do not work as advertised. Most disturbingly, they cause suicidal and homicidal tendencies.
And if you don’t think that there’s even a remote connection between these “side effects” and the increasing acts of violence in this country, think again. I’d be willing to bet that most if not all of the “mass shooters” in the last 20 years has these in their medicine cabinet.
What you can do
The good news is there’s plenty you can do to help create a state of health, safely and naturally, so that you are less likely to need prescription drugs to begin with!
Have a diet of nourishing REAL foods
Nutrient deficiencies are behind most illnesses.
For example, kids with ADHD have been shown to be deficient in magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.
Many people with depression are lacking B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium.
Cancer has even been shown to be linked to diet—specifically lacking Omega-3 essential fatty acids, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, D, and E.
If you think your diet may be falling short or want to get a good overview of nutrients, a top-notch multi like Super Core can help ensure you have all bases covered.
Support your immune system
Your immune system not only protects you against infections and viruses but also cancer and heart disease!
You can pamper your immune system by having a healthy diet, limiting refined carbs and sugars, and supplementing with a high-quality probiotic like Super Shield.
Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
A deficiency in Omega-3 essential fatty acids is a leading factor behind inflammation and pain, as well as high blood pressure and depression.
So it’s crucial to make sure your Omega-3 supply is what is should be with an outstanding fish oil formula like VitalMega-3.
Medications do have a place in our society, and sometimes they are necessary.
But we’ve gone WAY overboard and it’s getting worse.
So DO YOUR PART to make sure your body and mind function like they are supposed to!