Dr. Mark Stengler's BestHealth Nutritionals

Nutritional Supplements and natural formulas from Dr. Mark Stengler, NMD

Sleeping pills boost risk of hip breaks

Could you break a bone… in your sleep?

All you want is a little sleep. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask — yet somehow, ordinary sleep has become an extraordinary struggle.

I’ve got a simple, foolproof plan for getting the shuteye you need, and I’ll share the basics in a moment.

But first, new research shows what you SHOULDN’T do — and, unfortunately, it’s exactly what many folks do FIRST.

They turn to meds.

Now, the new study shows why that could be a life-changing mistake, especially if you’re a little older — because it reveals how common sleep drugs can more than DOUBLE your risk of a cracked hip!

The reason is pretty obvious.

These drugs are like a punch in the brain and can leave your feeling hung-over, awkward, and just plain loopy.

It’s bad if you wake up in the middle of the night, when the effects are in full gear, and have to stagger in the dark to the bathroom.

But it can even lead to tipsiness the NEXT DAY!

Some studies have found that people who take sleep meds can actually be too impaired to drive the next morning.

That makes it hardly surprising to learn that older folks are two and a half times more likely to suffer a broken hip within two weeks of starting on a sleep med.

Of course they are.

They’re staggering around like drunks!

The risk drops over time. At 15 days, the odds of a cracked hip are 53 percent higher… and by the one-month mark, it’s at 20 percent (which is still far too high).

It might feel like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place — forced to choose between bad nights or bad meds — but, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve got another option for you.

And it works close to 100 percent of the time.

First, focus on getting to sleep tonight. One of the best options is the “sleep hormone” melatonin.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try the sublingual form, which melts under your tongue and kicks in faster. If you have difficulty staying asleep, look for a time-release capsule so you use the melatonin more slowly, which will help keep you from waking up in the middle of the night.

Even if melatonin works — and it usually does — don’t stop there.

The second step is to find out why you need melatonin in the first place, because sleep problems are often a sign of some other problem in your body.

With older people in particular, it’s often a hormonal imbalance. A holistic medical doctor can test your levels and help make sure you get what you need so you sleep better every night.

Painkillers linked to heart risk

When your ‘safe’ painkiller packs a killer risk

Not too long ago, Vioxx was the biggest thing in medicine. Seemed like EVERYONE with pain was taking it.

You know what happened next.

This ugly drug (a.k.a. rofecoxib) turned out to increase the risk of heart attack so much that it was eventually yanked off the U.S. market.

Well, friend, maybe you never took this stuff. Maybe you did, but got off lucky and didn’t face that risk.

But don’t breathe a sigh or relief just yet.

It turns out other common NSAID painkillers — including over-the-counter meds so popular you’ve almost certainly taken them yourself — can ALSO increase the risk of a heart attack!

These are drugs millions turn to regularly for everything from minor injuries to chronic pain. You’ve heard the names and maybe have them in your home right now.

There’s the naproxen found in Aleve, the ibuprofen used in both Advil and Motrin, and the prescription drug celecoxib, a.k.a. Celebrex.

All of these drugs and more can increase your risk of a heart attack — and while the biggest risk comes with bigger doses, the study also found something truly frightening.

Even CASUAL use of the drugs at low doses could increase your risk of a heart attack!

Any dose at all — even the LOWEST — taken for between a day and a week can boost your odds of a heart attack by between 20 percent and 50 percent.

That’s overall.

But different drugs carry different risks, especially if you take higher doses for longer periods.

That ibuprofen I just mentioned? It could boost the risk by as much as 75 percent at doses of 1,200 mg per day for 30 days.

That’s six standard Advil capsules per day.

Naproxen can increase your risk by about 83 percent by taking 750 mg per day for between a week and a month.

And remember that Vioxx? Let’s hope it doesn’t make its rumored comeback… because the study finds it can double the heart risk

The study finds the risk is highest after about a month on the meds. After that, it doesn’t get higher.

But it doesn’t get lower, either.

So, whether you’re taking pain pills for a week to ease a sprained ankle… or longer to help with chronic pain such as arthritis… you’re putting it all on the line every time you pop those pills.

If you’ve got pain, it’s time to get some real answers.

For short-term problems, try nondrug treatments including topical MSM.

And if you’re having a battle with chronic pain in the knee, back, or anywhere else, consider proven therapies including spinal manipulation and acupuncture.

I’ll have more on acupuncture — and a surprising benefit — coming up later today.

Keep an eye on your inbox!

Asthma eased with acupuncture

Surprising trick to help you overcome asthma

On the one hand, it’s a relief.

That tightness you’ve been feeling in your chest? It wasn’t a heart problem, as you had feared.

But it’s no picnic, either.

Turns out you have asthma, a condition marked by more than just breathing troubles. Many people have to take meds — and suffer the side effects — for the rest of their lives.

And of course, living with this condition means living in fear… because you’re never quite sure when another attack will strike.

Now, the latest research spots a simple, safe, effective, and drug-free way to give yourself a boost and enjoy a better quality of life.

And you’re not going to believe what it is.

It’s acupuncture!

The new study finds that just three months of acupuncture can give you both a physical and mental boost if you have allergic asthma, the most common form of the disease.

That, in turn, will give you a better overall quality of life — and not just when you’re getting treated.

Amazingly, the study finds that the benefits of acupuncture can last for six months AFTER the treatment ends or longer!

I know asthma is often dismissed as a kids’ disease. Many adults with milder symptoms don’t even think they have it — and when it can’t be ignored and a doctor hits them with the diagnosis, they’re stunned.

But in reality, this isn’t a kids’ disease at all.

Millions of American adults — including 2 million seniors — are living with asthma right now.

While acupuncture can clearly help, it’s not a cure for allergic asthma.

As the name suggests, it’s triggered by allergens.

So, along with trying out this safe nondrug treatment, focus on taking steps to limit your exposure to the triggers — and while some of them are obvious and easy to avoid, many are not.

Some are even hiding in your food!

Processed meats, for example, are a common trigger. And since many people don’t know it, they keep eating them… and keep suffering after.

One study last year found just four servings of processed meat a week increases the risk of worsening asthma by 76 percent!

The unfortunate reality is that most mainstream docs run only the most basic allergy tests — if they even bother to test at all — and completely miss some of the most common triggers, such as the ingredients in processed meats.

If you have asthma or any other allergic condition and haven’t had thorough testing, seek the advice of an experienced holistic medical doctor.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can run those tests here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. Not in the area? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook!

Gout prevention starts with your diet

Beat gout with this easy-to-follow diet

Gout is like one of those scammy telemarketing services: Once it has your number, it’s going to keep calling back.

Most folks don’t have just one battle with this agonizing condition. They fight it again… and again… and again.

If you’ve had gout, you’ve heard all the hints and tips on avoiding flare-ups. You know how purines in certain foods can lead to excess uric acid, which crystalizes and turns into what feels like a pile of shattered glass deep inside your big toe.

But it’s almost impossible to keep track of it all do’s and don’ts when it comes to eating to prevent gout.

Today, I’m going to make it a whole lot easier.

The latest research shows how you don’t really have to remember this, that, or the other thing if you want to avoid the pain.

You really just need to follow a few easy-to-remember rules, and the easiest one to of all is this: Eat fresh.

The new study finds a diet known as DASH — for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — also can dramatically slash the risk of gout.

It’s a diet remarkably similar to the Mediterranean diet I often recommend. One of the only real differences is that DASH is a little lower in fat; but other than that, they both focus on whole, fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

All that fresh produce will lead to higher levels of vitamin C, which can help flush excess uric acid out of the body. It’s also rich in fiber, which can stop uric acid from crystalizing and cut inflammation at the same time.

And for the hat trick, it’s low in red meat and has zero processed meats, which are often loaded with the purines that can set you down the path to pain.

In the new study, men who followed this basic diet for more than a quarter of a century had a much lower risk of developing gout than guys who stuck to the more typical American diet.

Again, you don’t have to follow DASH closely. While it’s a perfectly healthy diet, many folks find it a little too restrictive and hard to stick to over the long run.

The Mediterranean diet allows for more options, especially a more filling selection of healthy fats; and it packs very similar benefits, including a lower risk of gout.

The only modification I’d make is to avoid whole grains, which are generally allowed on both the DASH and Mediterranean diets. Despite what you’ve heard, they’re not as healthy as many people think and can actually cause inflammation, especially if they’re made from wheat.

Skip it.

Arthroscopic surgery doesn’t work for arthritis

What every arthritis patient needs to know about surgery

If you’ve got knee pain — and, let’s face it, you probably do — there’s a good chance someone’s about to scam you.

Every year, Americans and their insurers cough up $3 billion on a quickie in-and-out job known as arthroscopic surgery, done 15,000 times every week.

Docs claim this operation will take just minutes… cause little to no pain… and leave you feeling so good you just might take up tap dancing afterward.

But a stunning new recommendation from some of the leading voices in mainstream medicine exposes the ugly truth about this common operation.

It doesn’t work!

A team of experts wrote in BMJ that they carefully reviewed years of evidence on this, examining the details from 13 studies.

Just 15 percent of patients in those trials felt better three months after the surgery — and even for those folks, it didn’t last. One year later, they were feeling no better than folks who tried literally anything else.

Physical therapy, knee-strengthening exercises, even a sham surgery in which patients THOUGHT they had the operation were all just as effective as the arthroscopic surgery.

If the surgery didn’t work, it would be bad enough.

But this gets worse.

Every operation comes with risks, and this one’s no exception. The new guidelines note that some patients end up battling surgical complications including dangerous infections and deadly blood clots.

Now, the experts are urging an almost complete shutdown of this entire $3 billion industry. But given the amount of money on the line, I’d say there’s a fat chance of that happening anytime soon.

Slick-talking surgeons will turn up the pressure with a new sales pitch.

They’ll claim the guidelines don’t tell the full story. They’ll promise that you’ll be the exception. They’ll swear up and down that most of the patients they’ve treated have been helped by the operation.

When you’re in pain, you WANT to believe all that.

Don’t let yourself — or anyone you love — fall for those empty promises!

As the new study shows all too well, just about anything else you’d care to try will work at least as well as the surgery. But since, as the study shows, the surgery itself doesn’t do much, you don’t want “just as well.”

You want better… and I’ve got it.

There’s a form of collagen called UC-II that can help support the cartilage in your knees to stop or even reverse the damage. This stuff is so effective that it’s proven to work BETTER than the wildly popular glucosamine and chondroitin supplements so many knee patients depend on.

You’ll find UC-II available on its own and as part of a quality knee formula.

Chronic fatigue syndrome linked to gut bacteria

Ease chronic fatigue with this all-natural remedy

Run around? Forget running around.

When you have chronic fatigue, some days you can barely even stand up.

But when you visit the doctor, that’s what you’ll get: the runaround.

He doesn’t have answers. How could he? Mainstream medicine hadn’t even admitted the condition was real until recently.

Even now, they don’t know the cause — so, of course they can’t figure out how to treat it.

I do, and I’ll have more on that in a moment.

First, a promising new study reveals a safe and natural therapy that my own patients use — and before you get too excited, let me say right off that bat that this isn’t a cure.

But it IS an effective treatment that can help ease some of the symptoms as you work with a holistic doctor to turn this condition around.

It’s probiotics, or the healthy bacteria that live in your gut and help with digestion, nutrition, and more.

The new study confirms just what I’ve seen in tests on chronic fatigue patients here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine: Folks who have this debilitating condition often have serious imbalances of gut bacteria.

Those imbalances differ based on some of the specifics. Someone who has chronic fatigue with irritable bowel — an extremely common combination — will have a different set of imbalances than someone who has chronic fatigue without irritable bowel.

The research team believes they can use this to get more specific diagnoses so they can use “targeted treatments” tailored to the different forms of the disease.

That’s the right idea.

But given that the mainstream currently has ZERO solid treatments for chronic fatigue in any form, it sounds to me like they’re getting way ahead of themselves here.

Obviously, one immediate answer is to deliver some reinforcements to your gut by taking a probiotic supplement, especially if you have bowel problems along with your chronic fatigue.

But those gut imbalances are a symptom, not a cause, and replenishing your good bacteria can help… but it won’t stop the problems behind it.

Since there’s no single cause, you need a doctor who’s part detective to figure out what’s going on inside your body.

In many cases, chronic fatigue is a sign of problems with your adrenal glands, which can get overworked from pumping out too many stress hormones.

Eventually, they practically wear out… and you’re left with all the classic symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Other common culprits include an undiagnosed chronic infection or hormone imbalances — but since most mainstream docs never even test for these causes, of course they’ll never find them.

That’s why I recommend working with a holistic medical doctor experienced in testing for and treating all the possible causes of chronic fatigue. And if you’re in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook!

Cinnamon can fight damage of fatty foods

Boost your metabolism with this spicy secret

Autumn might be four long and steamy months away, but there’s one part of the season we should keep around all year long.

Cinnamon isn’t just for pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and hot drinks on cool nights.

It also packs a powerful punch when it comes to your health.

Studies show it can keep your brain sharp and your blood sugar under control… and it can even help with cholesterol.

Now, the latest research shows one more way this potent spice can give you a lift — even if you’re among the tens of millions of Americans who’ve struggled to eat a healthy diet over the years.

It can actually help UNDO the damaging effects of too much fat in your food and even STOP it from turning into fat inside your body!

In the new study, rats were given a diet that mimicked the high-fat foods most Americans eat these days.

Some also were given cinnamon, and some weren’t.

After just 12 weeks, the rats that got the cinnamon had healthier blood glucose levels and better control over their insulin. They also saw improvements in their cholesterol levels.

Sound good? Hold onto your cinnamon sticks… because that’s not even the best part of this.

Despite eating a lousy diet, these rats actually weighed LESS than the ones who had the same foods but no cinnamon and fewer of the molecules linked to fat storage.

Even better, they had less of the dangerous abdominal fat that leads to metabolic syndrome, which in turn can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

And to top it all off, they had higher levels of age-fighting, disease-beating antioxidants and lower levels of damaging inflammation.

All from a little cinnamon!

Of course, the lesson here isn’t to eat a lousy high-fat diet and try to offset the damage by sprinkling a little cinnamon on everything.

That won’t get you very far.

But if you haven’t exactly had a perfect diet over the years — and really, who has? — cinnamon can help you get the upper hand and bring it all back under control, especially if you also commit to eating better overall.

In addition to helping undo the damage of oxidative stress and inflammation, cinnamon can help with your blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes or are at risk for the disease.

Cinnamon is available in supplement form, both on its own and as part of glucose control formulas. As always, look for a quality blend from a maker you trust.

New drugs can carry deadly risks

The REAL risks of new drugs

They’re supposed to be the latest and greatest treatments — big breakthroughs to help desperate patients facing dangerous and even deadly health conditions.

But don’t swallow that pill just yet!

A new study reveals the DARK SIDE to the fast and furious rush to bring new meds to market as quickly as possible, showing how many of them have hidden dangers.

And they’re NOT listed on the label!

The new study of 222 new drugs approved by the FDA between 2001 and 2010 finds 32 percent were forced to add major warnings AFTER they were already on the market.

These were risks that didn’t turn up in the clinical studies used to approve them.

Instead, we only found out about them after patients started taking them out in the REAL WORLD.

In at least three cases, the risks were so bad the drugs had to be pulled off the market.

Bextra, anyone?

At least that one’s gone for good. But dozens of others are STILL out there, with at least 61 serious warnings added to 43 of those meds… and I’m not talking about the fine-print disclaimers you need to break out the magnifying glass to read.

These are the “BLACK BOX” warnings reserved for the most dangerous risks.

This new study shows the utter insanity of the rapid-fire approvals process, which has led to drugs being rushed to pharmacies long before the true dangers are known.

In essence, American patients are being turned into unwitting guinea pigs in MASSIVE drug experiments!

This study also shows precisely why I take the exact opposite approach of most mainstream physicians: Because I refuse to let Big Pharma experiment on my patients.

I do my own homework. I read the studies for myself, and I never trust the slick-talking drug company sales reps, who’ll never tell you the full story.

They’re out to score sales, and your safety just isn’t their priority.

But the problem with many new drugs isn’t just the unknown risks. It’s that even when they “work” as advertised, many of them AREN’T better than the older drugs they’re supposed to replace.

They’re not safer… and they’re not more effective.

If your doc is a little too eager to switch you from a reliable old treatment to something flashy and new, slow him down… ask questions… and don’t touch the stuff unless you’re absolutely certain about his answers.

Better yet, speak to holistic medical doctor who can give you ALL your options, including drug-free alternatives that are often far safer and just as effective as many common mainstream drugs.

Sodium is mostly in prepared foods

Why your “low-salt diet” failed

Don’t toss out your salt shaker just yet!

Your doc will look you in the eye and tell you that it’s time. He’ll say that your blood pressure is not only too high, but that it’s been high for a while.

This is your last chance to bring it down and avoid drugs… or, if you’re already on those meds, he might want to switch you to more powerful new drugs and higher doses.

You know what you have to do. You know you need to cut back on your salt — but while you certainly SHOULD make an effort to bring your sodium intake under control, new research shows how all the salt in your kitchen won’t make much of a difference.

Odds are, the salt that’s in your shaker is only a tiny portion of your daily sodium intake.

The new study finds that most Americans get just 5 percent of their salt from the shaker and another 6 percent from adding it to their meals while cooking, while another 14 percent is the stuff found naturally in many foods.

The rest of it — a whopping 80 PERCENT — comes from prepared foods.

It’s the sodium found in restaurant meals, take-out and fast food, as well as premade dishes you might buy for convenience at the supermarket… whether it’s a rotisserie chicken or a frozen dinner.

Plenty of sodium can also be found in sauces, syrups, marinades, and mixes.

It’s even found in high levels in everything from breads to pancake mix.

Yes, pancake mix!

Put it all together and THAT salt — not the stuff you sprinkle on your foods yourself for a little flavor — is the REAL reason many Americans are getting DOUBLE and even TRIPLE the recommended limit.

The key is obvious: Get back to eating fresh foods. Eat the way grandma did.

She made her foods from scratch, right?

She probably didn’t even use a measuring spoon. A sprinkle of this, a dash of that and she whipped up fresh meals better than anything you’d get at a restaurant.

Cook your own fresh foods from scratch like her and add a little salt to taste
— but don’t stop there. Blood pressure control is about more than rushing from one extreme to the other with your sodium levels.

It’s about balance, especially keeping a good ratio of salt and potassium. As you bring your sodium intake down and boost your potassium, you’ll find your BP levels will often come under control quickly and effectively without the need for meds.

And since you’ll be eating better and healthier foods, you’ll also drop a couple of pounds and cut your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

Dementia risk drops with stroke risk

Cut TWO deadly risks at ONCE

If you like efficiency, you’re going to LOVE the news I’m about to share today.

This one isn’t about an easier airport security line… better mileage on your car… or a quicker checkout at the supermarket.

No, while all of those would be pretty handy, I’m here to bring some efficiency where it matters most: your health.

Turns out the same simple steps you can take to slash your risk of one of the nation’s deadliest conditions can also dramatically cut your odds of one of today’s most devastating diseases.

The first one is stroke, the number three killer in the nation and a top cause of disability.

The second is dementia, a disease that won’t just end your life… it’ll RUIN it first.

But a new study finds that following an easy plan to cut your risk of a stroke will also slash your odds of developing dementia.

And the OLDER you are, the BIGGER the benefit!

What makes this so powerful is that it’s not a study of a new drug with a hefty price tag and unknown side effects.

It’s a series of things you can do right now, and most of them are just plain old common sense.

If you smoke, quit. If your blood pressure is running a little high, get to work on bringing it back under control.

In the new study, older folks — especially those in their 80s — who took those steps saw their stroke risk plunge by nearly 40 percent.

Then, on top of that, their risk of dementia dropped by more than 15 percent!

A stroke, of course, is when the flow of blood to the brain is choked off. When you work to cut that risk, you improve that flow of blood, which means more than a lower risk of stroke.

Better circulation to the brain means your blood can keep delivering oxygen and essential nutrients right where they’re needed most — preserving your memory and protecting your overall cognition even as your risk of a stroke plunges.

That’s TWO major risks, knocked down with ONE simple strategy — and if you want to make this even more effective, I’ve got just the recipe.

The same basic Mediterranean diet you hear me talk so much about is proven to cut the risk of stroke by 47 percent. Not surprisingly, a modified version of this diet called — appropriately — MIND can cut the risk of Alzheimer’s in half.

How’s that for efficient?

You’re going to love these modifications, because they encourage you to INCREASE your intake of foods with the highest levels of brain-friendly nutrients.

They’re some of your favorites: ripe berries, which are packed with antioxidants, as well as delicious fatty fish, which are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.

Connect with me on Facebook to tell me about all the new recipes you discover!

Prostate cancer family risk doesn’t mean surgery

What every prostate patient needs to know

You can only do so much, right?

You do what you can to cut your risk of prostate cancer, but sometimes it doesn’t matter much.

If your father or brother has had the disease, you’re at risk, too.

Time to panic?

Not yet, my friend, because even if you’ve lost the genetic lottery and have a higher risk of the disease, the latest research shows how you don’t have a whole lot to worry about!

The new report looks at men who chose NOT to have their low-risk tumors treated — an option that’s often the best approach, since most of those cancers are harmless and will never pose a threat.

They instead chose surveillance — getting regular tests to take a peek at that tumor to make sure it remains small, harmless, and not about to turn into an ugly old killer.

That rarely happens with low-risk tumors anyway, and the new study finds that it’s just as uncommon in men with a family history of the disease.

In fact, even if you have MULTIPLE relatives who’ve had prostate cancer, you could expect the same exact success rate with surveillance as someone with no family history of the disease at all.

How’s that for a little relief?

That means you could consider skipping the drugs… avoiding the surgery… and never having to put up with radiation.

Even when those treatments “work” and wipe out the tumor, they can leave you in worse shape than you were before, with lasting problems including incontinence and impotence.

Of course, in an ideal world, you’d rather not face this disease at all.

Even a low-risk prostate tumor that doesn’t need treatment can give you stress and anxiety.

I’ve got you covered there, too — because there are simple steps you can take to cut your risk of prostate cancer even if you have a family history of the disease.

It doesn’t take much effort, just the same basic steps that will also help give you better health overall: a good diet, a little movement each day, and a cancer-fighting trace mineral called selenium, which can cut your risk of potentially deadly stage III and stage IV tumors by as much as 63 percent.

Most men’s multivitamins have selenium these days. If yours doesn’t, it might be time to shop around for an upgrade or talk to your doctor about ways to make sure you have the right levels of this mineral.

Vitamin D shortage linked to sunscreen

Summer advice you SHOULDN’T follow

Officially, summer’s still a month off. Unofficially, it’s supposed to start next weekend, as Memorial Day arrives.

Here in sunny San Diego, it feels like summer kicked in WEEKS ago!

Whenever summer begins for you, there’s something that almost always comes hand-in-hand with it — and that’s the alarmist fear-mongering about the supposed danger of the sun.

Of course you don’t want a sunburn. And of course too much sun too often can boost your long-term risk of skin cancer.

But if you listen to these people, you’ll be afraid to step outside without a moonsuit.

Now, the latest research shows how all that fear is taking a toll on your health — because while sunscreen can block the UV rays that can lead to those painful sunburns, your body uses those same rays to produce vitamin D.

If you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, however, the ability goes dark.

Those creams can block 99 percent of your body’s production of the sunshine vitamin, according to the new study.

That, in turn, is helping to drive a crisis in D levels, with people around the world suffering from low levels of this nutrient.

And that’s already having disastrous consequences.

Low D levels can lead to weaker bone, especially in older folks. It can cripple your immune system, exposing you to infection and other risk. It can even increase your risk of heart problems, dementia, cancer, and more.

The researchers behind the new study say folks should aim for getting outside twice a week for 30 minutes without sunscreen.

But that doesn’t make much sense, either.

How much time you can handle out under the sun depends on your skin. If you burn easily, you might need to seek cover in as little as 10 minutes. If your complexion isn’t quite as light, you can go 20 minutes or maybe even the full 30.

If you’re going to be out longer than what your skin can handle, use sun protection — but be careful about what you choose. Avoid sunscreens that contain parabens and a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate, both of which have been linked to cancer.

Look instead for a natural cream that uses titanium and/or zinc oxide.

Then, just to make sure you’re getting what you need, take a quality vitamin D supplement each day. If you’re active and spend some time outdoors, you might need as little as 2,000 IUs.

If you’re not, you could need double that level or more.

Your doc can help you sort it all out.

I’ll have more for you on summer health boosters coming up just in time for the warm weather in the June edition of Health Revelations, so keep an eye on your mailbox!

Ginkgo biloba protects brain from metals

The natural way to protect your brain

When I got started in medicine, the idea of metals in the brain causing dementia and other conditions was laughed at by the mainstream.

I didn’t care.

I’d seen the science. I did the work. I treated people with detoxifying therapies.

Who’s laughing now? My patients often get BETTER, while the ones on mainstream drugs only get WORSE.

Now, the latest research backs one of the simplest, safest and most inexpensive ways to protect the brain from exposure to a dangerous metal.

It’s a form of aluminum called aluminum chloride.

Odds are, you have at least some of this stuff building up inside your own noggin right now, which is alarming when you consider that high levels have been linked to cognitive problems up to and including Alzheimer’s disease.

But you can arm your brain against this metal with a natural therapy that already has a solid reputation as a potent brain-booster: Ginkgo biloba.

In the study, rats were exposed to aluminum chloride. Then, some were given Ginkgo biloba extract. After three months, their brains were examined.

The ones that didn’t get the extract had exactly the kind of damage you’d expect from aluminum exposure. They had higher levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), a major marker of oxidative stress no doubt caused by the metal going to work on the brain.

The mice given the extract, however, had just the opposite.

They had LOWER levels of that oxidative stress marker, and HIGHER levels of glutathione, the powerful “mother of all antioxidants” known to protect against the damage of age as well as chronic diseases including dementia.

This isn’t surprising — that’s exactly how Ginkgo biloba works. It’s a free radical scavenger, blocking the damage of oxidative stress.

Of course, the best way to fight aluminum is to limit your exposure in the first place.

The most common source of this specific form of aluminum — aluminum chloride — is in something you might be using every morning: antiperspirant.

Along with giving you aluminum that’s absorbed by your skin, antiperspirants block a basic function. Sweat isn’t a nuisance; it’s actually a way your body forces out toxins.

Instead of plugging up those pores, try a natural deodorant instead.

Other forms of aluminum are in your food, water, and even in the air, so a naturally detoxifying diet and supplements such as gingko might be worth your effort even if you don’t use an antiperspirant.

If you suspect you might have higher levels of exposure to aluminum and other metals, get tested by a holistic medical doctor.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can run those tests right here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. Not in the area? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook!

Caffeine isn’t needed for energy boost

BETTER than a cup of coffee!

Quitting caffeine isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve had a long-term habit.

It’s not just addictive — many folks miss the quick pick-me-up they get from a little java.

Unfortunately, that energy boost comes with a downside in the form of jitters, anxiety, and restlessness. In some cases, a late-afternoon cuppa can even cause sleep problems at night!

You might know you’re a little sensitive to the effects of caffeine, but can’t quit because you don’t want to feel tired and slow, especially in the morning.

If that’s your battle, go ahead and toss the coffee. I’ve got something better for you today, as new research reveals another way to boost your energy that works as well as caffeine.

And you’re not going to believe how simple it is.

This little trick can be done in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee, and it won’t cost you a penny.

Just find a staircase, and walk on up!

Really, that’s all you have to do. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re the type who normally avoids stairs.

But new research shows how if you find a staircase and walk for about 10 minutes, you can charge your internal batteries so effectively that you’ll feel as if you’ve had a little coffee.

Volunteers who were getting an average of 6.5 hours of sleep per night or less were given either 50 mg of caffeine — about what you’ll find in a can of soda, or a little less than what’s in a small cup of coffee — or a placebo.

Then, they were sent to the staircase for 10 minutes.

When the time was up, the volunteers who did the stair walk with the placebo actually had a little MORE energy, according to the study.

The effect does wear off. Then again, the same is true of coffee.

What’s great about this is that you don’t have to act like Rocky running up the steps in Philadelphia. You don’t even have to go exclusively up.

The study finds that 10 minutes of going both up AND down the stairs at a comfortable pace will do the trick.

Obviously, don’t try this if you have a condition where you might fall or if you take medications that make you dizzy. But if you’re otherwise healthy and can handle it, a trip up and down the stairs will kill two birds with one stone.

Along with boosting energy, it will also get you on your feet and moving — and that’s one of the keys to avoiding chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.

Stomach cancer surgery improves with omega-3s

The ONE PILL every cancer patient needs

There’s nothing more frightening than going in for major surgery for cancer.

You’re not just facing one deadly risk. You’re getting two at the same time — because if the cancer itself doesn’t kill you, the surgery can help finish the job.

And even when the operation “succeeds,” you can be left feeling like it didn’t!

But if you’re going in for cancer surgery yourself, there’s one natural remedy that can help you fight the effects of the procedure, limit the damage, and speed your recovery.

And it’s something I hope you’re already taking — because the latest science reveals how ordinary fish oil supplements can help you before, during, and after your surgery.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help fight many forms of cancer, but this study looked specifically at one especially deadly form of the disease: stomach cancers, which kill more than 900 Americans every single day.

In the new review of nine clinical trials, patients with stomach cancer who were given omega-3 fatty acids before and after surgery had lower levels of key inflammation markers and better immune system function after the procedure.

Those are two key problems for ANY cancer patient.

The disease itself often feeds off inflammation. And since the tumor itself can trigger an immune response that leads to more inflammation, it becomes an endless cycle that allows the cancer to grow and spread.

It’s not just the tumor messing you up, either. Many cancer drugs also damage the immune system, which weakens the natural defenses that are trying to fight the tumor.

But fish oil can cut inflammation and boost immune system function at the same time, and the new study shows how that can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a nightmare battle with complications.

It’s so effective for cancer patients that folks given omega-3 supplements before the stomach surgery had shorter hospital stays after it.

And that’s not all omega-3 fatty acids can do for you.

It can help speed recovery and fight complications related to other cancers. Fish oil can also help fight breast cancer, and work to ease side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

The researchers behind the new study say patients going in for surgery due to stomach cancer should boost their omega-3 intake starting from about a week before the procedure.

But why wait?

Even if you DON’T have cancer, omega-3 supplements might help protect you from the disease so you never get it in the first place.

Statins can cause spinal problems

Could this be causing your back pain?

Well, that didn’t take long at all.

Just last week, I warned of disastrous consequences if the mainstream gets its way and puts 9 million new patients on cholesterol meds.

Now, the latest research finds that many of them would suffer with a severe — possibly even crippling — side effect that no one ever counted on.

Turns out statins could cause debilitating back pain!

The new study finds that over an average of 3.7 years, statin users are 27 percent more likely to suffer from back problems than folks not taking one of those cholesterol drugs.

How big is that 27 percent?

Let me put that into perspective… because given how common back problems are even without the drugs, it’s huge.

It’s a number that means if you take a statin, your odds of suffering from back pain aren’t one in a million. They’re not even 1 in 100.

They’re 1 in 17!

Amazingly, the experts are lining up to denounce the study. One even told MedPageToday that he doesn’t see HOW statins could cause back pain… therefore statins couldn’t POSSIBLY cause back pain.

Ready for a laugh?

Another expert — one who actually supports statins — told the same website that this makes perfect sense, since statins are already known to cause muscular issues, even in the back.

Forget the experts. They’re clearly not as “expert” as they think they are.

I’m more concerned with YOU and what’s going on inside your back — because while some forms of pain come and go and can be treated easily and effectively, the link to statins here is pretty ominous.

Some of the folks in this study didn’t just suffer from a little ache in the back. They battled conditions that included spondylosis, a.k.a. spinal disc degeneration.

It’s basically a form of arthritis inside your spine.

Scary? You bet it is, especially since in most cases this condition doesn’t get better — so it’s not clear if stopping the meds will stop the degeneration.

The study also looked at intervertebral disc disorders and other common forms of back pain… and found that statins increase the risk of all of them.

And all that risk is for a drug you probably never needed in the first place.

As I’ve shared with you before, LDL alone isn’t the biggest risk factor in heart disease, and so any doc who’s drugging you based solely on that number isn’t doing his job.

Particle size, oxidation, and more are every bit as important.

If it turns you DO need to bring those levels down, you still don’t need statins and all their muscle-aching, back-breaking side effects.

A few tweaks to the diet and, in some cases, natural therapies such as red yeast rice will often help get you to exactly where you need to be.

Urinary tract infection tests are often wrong

Your doc could MISS the signs of this infection

Ladies, you know when there’s something wrong “down there.”

When you feel that constant urge to go… but you absolutely dread it because it burns when you do… you can be pretty darn sure you’ve got a urinary tract infection.

But then you head to the doctor… you take the test… and get a call telling you there’s nothing wrong.

It’s not just you.

Up to 30 percent of women with all the classic symptoms of a UTI are told the test results are negative.

Docs have even given it a name. They call it “urethral syndrome,” and it’s a polite way of saying it’s all in your head.

Now, new research shows it’s not all in your head. It’s “down there,” just as you were telling the doctor — because it turns out nearly ALL women with UTI symptoms actually DO have infections, even when those test results are NEGATIVE.

In the new study, women with negative results on the standard tests were given two additional tests.

Once the results were combined, 98.2 percent of the women actually HAD infections, based on those extra tests.

These additional tests aren’t a standard part of the battery yet, and it’s probably unlikely that most docs will start offering them anytime soon. But the researchers behind the new study say they’re pretty much not needed anyway.

Trust the symptoms — because as these results show, women who have them pretty much always have UTIs.

I don’t know if this is good news or bad news. Probably a little of both.

The good news is that this could help more women get better diagnoses. The bad news? As a result, most of them will end up on antibiotics — drugs many of them don’t need.

If you have a UTI yourself — even one confirmed by lab tests — you might not need those meds, either.

Natural therapies including probiotics and cranberry can be as effective as antibiotics… but without the side effects. These same natural therapies can also help you avoid an infection if you’re prone to them.

In one study, 500mg of cranberry extract daily was just as effective as the antibiotic trimethoprim, one of the most common antibiotics given to women with recurring urinary infections.

Ocean Spray won’t cut it here; most of those drinks contain little actual cranberry and plenty of other juices and even added sugars.

Look for a supplement made of pure cranberry extract instead.

Brain shrink linked to death risk

This test reveals how much longer you have

If you could see your own brain, you just might get a glimpse into your future.

It’s like having a crystal ball that’s with you wherever you go!

Your brain is often the first part of the body to suffer from the oxidative stress of aging, and it can show wear and tear long before any other area.

And new research shows that if you can keep your brain “younger” than the rest of your body, you could live a longer… healthier… and better life.

The only problem is the obvious one: There hasn’t really been a way to check in on it and measure just what it means for your risk.

There hasn’t been, that is… until now.

The new study used a simple MRI test to detect subtle changes in brain volume over time. These scans can tell if your brain is shrinking and how much you’ve lost over the years.

The more gray and white matter you lose, the “older” your brain is — and that “brain age” could be different from the number of candles on your birthday cake.

Know someone who’s whip-sharp despite being in his 90s? That’s an old person with a YOUNG brain, most likely with less shrinkage and more volume on the inside.

The reverse is also true: Someone in his 50s or 60s battling through brain fog and memory problems might be relatively young on the outside, but getting much older on the inside.

That’s a link we’ve already known about. But the new study goes further, showing how brain volume isn’t just a risk factor for cognitive problems.

It’s a risk factor for DEATH.

Every year “older” your brain is from the rest of your body increases your risk of death before the age of 80 by 6 percent. In other words, a 74-year-old with a 77-year-old brain is nearly 20 percent more likely to die before 80 than someone with a younger brain.

The researchers say that in the near future, a doc can order up an MRI and let you know how old your brain is — but you don’t need to wait for the “near future.”

You can get clued in right now.

Folks in the new study with older brains also had weaker grip strength, less capacity in the lungs, and slower walking speeds — all warning signs of health risks in older folks.

And, of course, those frustrating “senior moments” can also be a signal of brain shrink.

Don’t worry, it’s not too late to take action to slow the shrink and save your life. Switch to a Mediterranean diet, which is proven to slow “brain shrink” by up to a third.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to finally give this lifestyle a shot, there you have it: a longer life. There’s no better reason than that!

New drugs target fatty liver

Chase fat out of your liver — without Big Pharma!

It’s the biggest disease no one’s heard of… yet.

But that’s about to change in a major way.

One in four adults have some degree of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and a number like that can’t stay under the radar for long.

Right now, Big Pharma is cooking up new drugs aimed at this potentially lucrative market, with a slew of meds in the pipeline of what’s expected to become a $35 billion industry in the very near future.

For now, those meds are aimed at the most severe form of the disease. But since they work to pump fat out of the liver, you can bet the next phase will be to give them to EVERYONE with ANY degree of fatty liver.

If you’re among the estimated 60 million Americans with fatty liver disease, you can’t wait for them to get their act together… and you certainly don’t want to face whatever risks and side effects come along for the ride.

You need help NOW, because that excess fat in the liver can cause scars to form, a.k.a. fibrosis. Those scarred parts become damaged and can’t function right — and when you have too may of those dangerous scars, you have cirrhosis.

Fatty liver can also cause inflammation and even liver cancer.

But what makes this condition so dangerous is that there’s no warning sign at all early on.

You could have fat accumulating inside your liver right now and not even know it — and by the time it’s advanced enough to get your doctor’s attention, you just might be part of that up-and-coming $35 billion market I mentioned earlier.

But here’s your chance to head Big Pharma off at the pass. You can protect your liver and push out that fat even if it’s already building up in there.

And you can do it starting today… without a single drug… in three simple steps:

1) Eat more protein: In a study released last year, folks who boosted their protein intake by 30 percent saw their levels of fat in the liver drop by 30 percent. Just be sure to stick to lean proteins; fatty proteins and protein from unhealthy meals will hurt, not help.

2) Go organic: Long-term exposure to glyphosate, a dangerous chemical weed killer used on genetically-modified crops, can cause fatty liver disease, according to a rodent study. Since organics legally can’t be genetically modified, they will be free of this and other poisons.

3) Eat more broccoli: This humble veggie can reduce the amounts of fat pulled into the liver, according to a study on mice. That, in turn, stops it from accumulating, and can stop the disease from forming.

Of course, none of these steps will matter much if you’re eating a lot of junk food — so make sure they’re part of an overall healthy lifestyle. I recommend a Mediterranean diet.

If you have or are at risk for fatty liver, I can create a natural plan customized to your needs. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the San Diego area? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

Homeopathy attacked by dark money funders

New sneak attack on natural medicine

If you want to get to the truth about something, don’t just look at HOW it’s attacked.

Look at WHO’S attacking it.

Case in point: homeopathy.

A new article making the rounds online claims it’s based on “insane principles” and attempts to discredit this entire branch of natural medicine.

As the article from the American Council on Science and Health says, “It completely defies logic how anyone with a halfway functional brain could buy into this.”

Yet for a group with “science” right in the name, they don’t cite a SINGLE study.

So much for science!

That’s HOW homeopathy is being attacked. Now for the WHO, because you’re really not going to believe this one.

The American Council on Science and Health bills itself as a “pro-science consumer advocacy organization,” but I did some digging and uncovered the ugly truth.

It doesn’t ADVOCATE for consumers. It’s not RUN by or for consumers.

It’s a shady organization funded by “dark money” from unknown sources — and it routinely supports major industry while attacking the legitimate concerns of consumers.

It’s fought tooth and nail AGAINST labels for genetically modified foods… downplayed concerns over dangerous pesticides and herbicides… and actually DEFENDED asbestos and Agent Orange, according to SourceWatch.

This group has attempted to keep its funding secret, but leaked documents have exposed just who’s paying for these attacks on everything from homeopathy to honest food labels.

It’s not “consumers.”

It’s BIG INDUSTRY, including drug companies!

Mother Jones got a look at the organization’s 2013 financial statement and found that its donors — and the folks who it would LIKE to donate — are comprised of “a who’s-who of energy, agriculture, cosmetics, food, soda, chemical, pharmaceutical, and tobacco corporations.”

So, when this group attacks homeopathy, it’s doing so with the support of the very industries that profit of illness and poor health.

Don’t fall for these baseless attacks.

There’s a simple reason this group didn’t cite the research when they made this attack: They’re afraid readers will look into the studies for themselves and uncover the truth!

There are more than 100 published studies that back homeopathy as a safe, fast, and effective means of getting relief from dozens of common conditions including pain, depression, allergies, and more.

The one “catch” with homeopathy is that it doesn’t work like drugs. These treatments attack the causes, not just the symptoms — so instead of one possible headache remedy, for example, there are more than a dozen options.

You may have to engage in a little trial-and-error to find the best remedy for you.

If you need a little more specific help, seek the advice of a holistic medical doctor experienced in homeopathy.