Dr. Mark Stengler's BestHealth Nutritionals

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

Probiotics can ease depression

Fight depression… with yogurt!

It could be the tastiest way to fight depression yet… and it’s available in strawberry, blueberry, peach, or honey.

It’s yogurt, as new research reveals how the live bacterial cultures found in this healthy treat could help boost your mood and chase away the blues.

The key is a type of bacteria called Lactobacillus found in yogurt, as well as in many probiotic supplements.

But it’s also found in your gut, where it’s a critical part of the colony of friendly bugs that help with everything from digestion to nutrition to metabolism.

Now, the new study on mice shows how those same Lactobacillus bacteria can influence and alter your mood by balancing out a metabolite in the blood that’s been linked to depression.

When the mice were deliberately stressed, their levels of Lactobacillus plunged.

You’ve heard of “killer stress,” right? In this case, it seems to be true as stress literally killed off those important stomach germs.

Once the Lactobacillus population dropped, levels of that metabolite — called kynurenine — jumped.

The higher the kynurenine levels, the more the mice began to show the signs and symptoms of depression.

Now this is where it gets REALLY interesting: Simply replacing the Lactobacillus by feeding it to the mice had an immediate and dramatic effect.

As the Lactobacillus levels rose, the levels of kynurenine dropped… and the depressive symptoms practically vanished.

Since this is a study on mice, we have to take it with a grain of salt… or at least a sprinkle of granola.

But we do know from HUMAN studies that the bacteria balance in the gut plays a major role in mood — and that boosting the levels of good bugs can help fight depression, beat stress, and ease anxiety.

And it can begin with something as simple as a cup of yogurt.

Whether you’re facing depression or not, those same bacteria can help in so many other ways — but before you hit the supermarket to stock up, let me share two quick tips.

First, make sure your yogurt actually contains “live” or “active” cultures and in helpful amounts.

And second, watch out for yogurts with added sugars or chemical no-cal sweeteners. Some of the worst are the “fruit on the bottom” blends that contain a little bit of fruit sitting in a puddle of sickly sweet syrup.

The best option is to buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit, honey, or granola.

If you don’t like yogurt, don’t worry: You can get the same healthy mood-boosting cultures from a quality probiotic supplement. Look for one with multiple human-tested strains, especially one with multiple strains of Lactobacillus as well as Bifidobacterium longum, another type of probiotic bacteria shown to help enhance mood.

Depression increases heart risk

The heart risk factor your doc will never mention

This just might be the single biggest risk factor for death in heart patients — and it’s not any of the things you’re thinking of right now.

It’s not your age… the form of heart disease you have… or a complicating condition like diabetes.

It’s not even smoking.

As big as those are — and smoking is a HUGE risk factor — there’s something that’s an even bigger indicator of your odds of death.

It’s your mood!

Heart patients are twice as likely to suffer from depression as everyone else.

Maybe it’s from the meds and other treatments. Maybe it’s knowing they’re in poor health. Maybe it’s a little of both.

Whatever the reason, the new study of 24,000 heart patients finds that depression plays a huge role in survival rates.

And if you’re depressed and living with a heart condition, you’re facing DOUBLE the risk of death.

The researchers claim they’re not sure why depression seems to be so deadly in heart patients. They think maybe folks suffering from mood problems are less likely to follow orders and take their meds.

Isn’t that ironic? Some of those meds might actually be causing the depression, yet NOT taking them is getting the blame!

The more likely story here is that depression isn’t simply a “mental” problem as most people assume.

It leads to real inflammation, throughout the body.

Inflammation can have a devastating effect on your health in the best of times. In heart patients, extra inflammation can be deadly, as the new study shows all too well.

The researchers, of course, are calling for the usual mainstream answers.

They want docs to constantly screen heart patients for depression, and quickly “treat” those who show the warning signs.

That would be a terrific idea if doctors actually provided useful treatments.

In most cases, however, all they offer is drugs — a tragedy when you consider that some antidepressants are actually known to INCREASE the risk of heart disease!

Even worse, many of them don’t work or don’t work well, and some are especially ineffective in heart patients.

High-dose fish oil is often a highly effective mood booster AND inflammation-fighter — and it’s not only safe for the heart, it can protect your ticker so well that many mainstream doctors now recommend omega-3 supplements for heart patients.

It’s perfectly safe, even in higher doses; but since fish oil can thin the blood, be sure to speak with a doctor first.

I’ll have another option for depression coming up later today — and it’s a treatment that’s safe, natural and delicious.

Keep an eye on your inbox!

Volunteering can make you years younger

This happy hobby will slow aging

This might be the most rewarding way yet to beat Father Time, slow aging, and add years to your life.

It’s not a drug.

It’s not a supplement.

It’s not even a trendy diet.

It’s a simple step nearly anyone can take that won’t cost you anything other than a few minutes of your time.

Just help others!

A new report confirms what I’ve seen before in other studies, showing how volunteers have better overall health than folks who don’t dedicate a little time in service of those in need.

It’s not a minor difference, either.

Volunteers on average are so much healthier that it’s as if they’re FIVE YEARS younger than folks who don’t volunteer!

Incredible, isn’t it?

But it’s true, as other studies have also shown how helping others can help yourself in real and measureable ways.

One study a few years back found that volunteering twice a month can cut your risk of hypertension by 40 percent.

Other studies have found that volunteer work can reduce inflammation and may help you to keep trim (especially if the work keeps you on your feet).

There’s even proof that volunteers have significant psychological benefits, including a better mood and overall sense of wellbeing.

And, of course, don’t forget what may be the most important benefit of all for older people.

Volunteering is a way of getting out and engaged with other people and with the world around you.

It’s not just a pleasant experience.

It’s an essential one, because seniors who withdraw and spend more time indoors or alone face a much higher risk of cognitive decline.

That can kick off a vicious cycle: The cognitive decline causes you to stay inside even more, which in turn causes it to get worse, leading to dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking some time to get out and help others can stop that process from happening before it starts.

If you’re interested in volunteering and don’t know where to look, start with your local church.

It could be as simple as being an usher during service or driving hot meals to local seniors in need… or as complex as taking an overseas trip to help those living in poverty.

Your local senior center might also have some opportunities, or just ask around — you might find your friends are willing to take up a cause you can support together, making the experience even more enjoyable for everyone.

Hormone therapy cuts heart and stroke risk in women

Slash your risk of TWO leading killers at ONCE

Ladies, there’s a simple way to protect yourself from not just one but TWO of the nation’s leading causes of death.

Your own doc knows about this treatment. He could even get it for you on your next visit.

But odds are, he won’t even mention it!

New research reveals how simple hormone therapy in older women can help open up the arteries, clear out the junk, and keep them free of the nasty buildups that can cause them to harden and narrow.

It’s better known as atherosclerosis, and it’s the key cause of many heart attacks and about half of all strokes.

Atherosclerosis also leads to all three of the main forms of cardiovascular disease: coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral artery disease.

These are all words you never want to hear in a doctor’s office or ER… and if you’ve ever had estrogen therapy, you might never hear them: Women treated with hormones are much more likely to have clear and healthy arteries.

In some cases, the differences are dramatic.

Older women who’ve had hormone therapy are 20 percent more likely to have a coronary calcium score of zero.

That’s the best possible score, and it means you’ve got the lowest possible risk of a heart attack.

They’re also 36 percent less likely to find themselves on the other end of the spectrum with a score of 399 or higher, which is the “high-risk” category.

But neither number is as impressive as the next one.

A lower risk of today’s leading killer diseases means HIGHER odds of living longer. And if you have estrogen therapy, you’re 30 percent less likely to die early.

Estrogen therapy was once so common that it was hard to find an older woman who hadn’t been treated.

Then a study came out linking it to breast cancer — and even though the overall evidence shows hormone therapy is perfectly safe when delivered responsibly, it’s never quite shaken that reputation.

Don’t let fear keep you away from this treatment.

Along with protecting your arteries, estrogen can help cut the risk of everything from mood problems to bone breaks.

In some cases, you may not even need actual hormone treatments, as some natural therapies can help get your body to produce more estrogen on its own.

If you’re still falling short, the safest option is bioidentical hormones. Unlike Big Pharma’s hormone drugs, these natural estrogens are custom-created by a compounding pharmacist to match what’s in your body.

A mainstream doc probably won’t offer them or even mention them, so seek the advice of an experienced holistic medical doctor.

I’ll have more on the benefits of hormone therapy coming up in the May edition of my Health Revelations newsletter, so keep an eye on your mailbox.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can test your hormone levels here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine to see if estrogen therapy is right for you.

Not in Southern California? 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!

Zika is back, and could be worse than ever

Prepare yourself for the worst part of spring

Get ready for an unwelcome blast from the recent past, because the return of warm weather can only mean one thing.

The mosquitoes are back!

They’re not just bringing painful, itchy bites. They’re packing all the usual diseases — and we already have new warnings over Zika, the rapidly-spreading germ that reached the southernmost portions of the United States last summer.

Cooler weather slowed their advance and kept them out of the headlines. But they’ve never really left: The CDC recorded more than 4,000 new U.S. cases between November and January, although many were in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

Now, however, the warm weather of spring means the mosquitoes could advance deeper into the United States — and the latest research shows how they’re not just a threat to pregnant women and unborn children.

They could also cause serious problems for YOU.

The study out of Venezuela is small and preliminary but also alarming — because it shows how this infection may increase the risk of heart rhythm problems and heart failure even in folks with no prior warning signs of the conditions.

Other emerging studies last year also found that adults infected with Zika could face an immune-system disorder called ADEM that mimics multiple sclerosis.

Meanwhile, a second new report finds Zika mosquitoes might be more common than believed.

Researchers used to think just two types of mosquitos found in the United States can carry Zika. Now, however, they’ve found nearly three DOZEN mosquito types can carry and transmit the virus, including at least seven that travel through the United States.

Scary? You bet — but don’t let mosquitoes stop you from enjoying spring and summer.

There are some steps you can take that’ll minimize your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes — and even if the ones where you live aren’t carrying any Zika, West Nile, or any other illness, these same steps can save from days of miserable itching.

First, take a look around your home and yard. As the bugs breed in stagnant water, flatten or eliminate any place where water can pool and puddle; and, if you have a water feature, make sure there is a pump to keep it flowing.

And second, be sure to have some natural mosquito-fighters around, since the bugs could still come to your home from elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Citronella candles and bug-zapping lights are backyard must-haves in warmer weather, but you’ll also need a little more protection directly on your clothes and body.

Avoid chemical bug repellants, which can cause skin reactions in some people and may pose other risks.

I use Buzz Away, a natural repellent that contains citronella oil and essential oils such as cedarwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass. The blend isn’t just effective at repelling mosquitos, it also smells a heck of a lot better than the chemical sprays that contain DEET.

Pesticides cover strawberries, other fruits

The bitter truth about strawberries

There’s nothing sweeter than a fresh strawberry in early spring.

Some of them are so delicious they can bring tears to your eyes… but maybe it’s not the fruit itself causing you to cry.

An alarming new report finds that one of the chemicals used on non-organic strawberries is the main ingredient in tear gas!

That may not even be the worst of it, either.

The new report from Environmental Working Group finds so many chemicals are used on strawberries that 99 percent of all non-organic samples tested positive for at least one of them.

Many had multiple chemicals, and 29 percent had TEN or more!

Along with chloropicrin, which is the active ingredient in tear gas, some strawberries contained a cancer-linked chemical called 1,3-dichloropropene; and 20 percent contained the hormone-disruptor carbendazim.

All three are so widely recognized as dangerous that they’re banned in Europe.

But not here, where EWG found some 74 chemicals routinely used in different combinations on U.S. strawberries — enough to put them at the top of the group’s annual “Dirty Dozen” list.

That’s not a list you want to be on. It’s a list of the conventional produce with the highest levels of pesticides and other chemicals.

Number two on the list this year is spinach, which has twice as many pesticides by weight than any other crop.

Strawberries and spinach — as well as peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries — contain so many chemicals that nearly every single sample tested contained at least one, and many contained two or more.

Pears, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes rounded out the rest of the “dirty dozen.”

If you’re not buying everything organic, at least make a point of paying extra for those to cut your risk of exposure.

On the flipside, some non-organic fruits and vegetables are so clean that you can safely buy the cheaper conventional versions if you’re looking to save a few bucks.

Ninety-nine percent of avocado and sweet corn were chemical-free, along with 80 percent of the pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbage tested.

Frozen sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melons, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit made up the rest of the “Clean 15” list.

Of course, being “chemical-free” isn’t always the same as being “safe.”

Most papayas from Hawaii, for example, are genetically modified, as are some types of sweet corn.

Since we still don’t have common-sense labeling laws, it’s hard to tell what’s what — so if you’re not sure, or if it doesn’t say “non-GMO,” you might be better off purchasing organics, just to be safe.

Chronic fatigue syndrome drug flunks new study

Chronic fatigue drug FLOPS

The mainstream is admitting defeat.

They’ve been trying to push a dangerous rheumatoid drug as the key to beating chronic fatigue syndrome.

But now, researchers have finally discovered what I could’ve told them from Day One: It’s a BUST!

A new study finds that the injectable drug anakinra (a.k.a. Kineret) couldn’t beat a placebo in women with chronic fatigue.

There were no differences in fatigue levels — and no differences in any other symptom of this condition, either, including pain, distress, and physical function.

That’s probably for the best anyway. The drug targets inflammation — and while inflammation does play a role in chronic fatigue, it’s typically not the cause.

And since it’s not the cause, treating it with a drug would never truly cure the condition.

The best you could hope for is a little relief… which would come at a huge price, given that the drug can cause flu-like symptoms, nasal infections, headaches, sore throats, and more.

It can even cause joint pain, which is ironic when you consider that the main reason people with rheumatoid arthritis take it is to STOP joint pain.

So, the drug won’t help — but I suppose we should be happy to some extent that they even bothered with this study at all.

Not long ago, the mainstream claimed chronic fatigue wasn’t even real!

Many docs still routinely treat the disease with antidepressants, a not-so-subtle way of saying the condition is all in your head.

If you’ve ever had that frustration yourself, I’ve got the news you’ve been waiting for: Your disease isn’t imaginary, you don’t need antidepressants, and you certainly don’t need a rheumatoid drug.

You need answers… and I’ve got them!

The reason the mainstream has repeatedly failed at treating or even identifying chronic fatigue is that it’s not a disease with a single cause.

There are many possible causes behind it, some completely different from the others.

In some cases, it’s a lingering undiagnosed infection.

In others, it’s a hormonal deficiency — often low estrogen in women, or low testosterone in men.

But I’ve found that the single most common cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is worn-out adrenal glands.

Your adrenals are responsible for cranking out stress hormones like cortisol and DHEA, but the toll of modern living can often force them to work so hard for so long that they just can’t keep up anymore.

The good news is that ALL of these causes can be treated, and you can make a complete recovery, even if you’ve battled chronic fatigue for years.

The bad news? You can’t treat what you can’t find, and most mainstream physicians don’t even know where to look.

Seek the advice of a holistic medical doctor instead. Unlike the mainstream, which is only just now coming around, we’ve never doubted that this condition is real.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can test for all the possible causes of chronic fatigue and come up with a personalized treatment plan to help you fight this condition and win.

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

Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery a bust

Don’t sign up for that surgery yet!

Your doc might tell you that you need to go under the knife.

He might even say it’s the ONLY way to ease the pain in your wrists caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

And, if you’re in enough agony, you probably won’t think twice about going through with it.

But TWO new studies show a couple of steps you can take to ease or even end the misery of carpal tunnel syndrome so effectively that you’ll never need that wrist operation.

The first new study focuses on acupuncture, specifically a form called “electro-acupuncture,” in which a light electrical charge is added to help stimulate the nerves.

This treatment has long been dismissed by mainstream medicine because they can’t understand how or why it works.

But all that really matters is that it DOES work… and the new study shows it’s highly effective in ways even supporters of acupuncture never could’ve imagined.

It actually works not just in the wrist, but in your BRAIN as well.

I know that sounds wild, but carpal tunnel isn’t limited to damage in your wrist. It also messes with the part of the brain that receives nerve signals from the hand and wrist.

A brain cell that might be responsible for recognizing touch — or pain — in one finger could get activated when ANY finger is touched.

That’s part of what leads to the heightened pain that marks this condition.

But electro-acupuncture changed that, not only easing pain in the wrist but also “remapping” the brain to help restore normal function upstairs, a sure sign that the improvements from acupuncture could lead to long-term relief.

A sham procedure also helped ease the pain a little, but it didn’t cause any brain changes.

So far, so good. But let’s make this even better.

A second new study shows that basic physical therapy is just as good as surgery.

And in some ways, it’s even better.

Surgery, of course, means you have to spend several weeks recovering from the procedure itself.

As a result, the study finds that folks who have physical therapy instead of surgery do better over the first 30 days.

Patients who have surgery eventually catch up. But oddly, they never do BETTER than the folks who get PT. Three months, six months, and even one year later, folks who have PT do just as well as those who’ve had surgery.

So why even bother?

Surgery’s clearly a bust for most people — and if you’re in line for it yourself, make sure you’ve tried all these other options first.

Bone health doesn’t start with milk

Does milk really build better bone?

The old adage is as true in medicine as it is in politics: Follow the money.

If you want to get to the bottom of too-good-to-be-true research, just look at where the cash is coming from.

And in the latest research on bone health, you might say the cash is flowing like milk at a dairy!

The study finds that folks who drink more milk, eat more dairy products and take vitamin D supplements have stronger bones.

Specifically, older folks with the highest overall dairy consumption who also take D supplements have higher bone mineral density in the spine, which is a critical measure of bone health.

They also lose less bone in the hip as they age, cutting the risk of a fracture and the painful disability that often follows.

But while that sounds good, don’t go chugging milk just yet.

Remember what I said about following the money?

The study didn’t make much sense to me, since dairy is actually NOT the great source of calcium it’s been made out to be. Studies even show that folks who consume the highest levels of milk often have WEAKER bone.

So, I followed the money trail, and I found that the lead researcher behind this study is in so tight with Big Dairy that she’s practically milking the cows herself.

Shivani Sahni reported receiving grants from Dairy Management Inc., which is not exactly an institute dedicated to science. According to its official description, it “was created by dairy farmers to help increase demand for dairy products.”

Yes, friend, it’s about marketing… not science.

She’s also a member of another industry-backed group, the National Dairy Council’s Nutrition Research Scientific Advisory Committee.

Trusting a “study” with that kind of cash behind it would be like drinking more beer because Budweiser says it’s good for you!

Sahni’s connections don’t end there, either. She’s even close with dairy’s best friend: cereal. Her disclosures list grants from the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.

Yes… THAT General Mills, the one that makes everything from Cheerios to Lucky Charms.

So, here’s the objective truth behind milk: It’s great… if you’re a baby cow.

For a human, it’s one of the biggest sources of food sensitivities out there. Close to a quarter of all Americans are allergic, and millions more suffer from milder — but still unpleasant — reactions.

All told, some 60 percent of us have at least some problem with dairy!

It’s better to get your calcium from other sources, including greens such as collard greens and kale as well as nondairy milk substitutes, some of which contain more calcium than milk! (For a full rundown on your options, see this month’s issue of my Health Revelations newsletter.)

That said, there’s one thing the new study does have right: Your calcium, no matter where you get it, is practically worthless without vitamin D.

Make sure you’re getting both.

Fish oil can limit pollution damage

Fight pollution… with FISH!

There are plenty of things within your control when it comes to your health.

You can control what you eat. You can control how much movement you get. You can control your nutrition, from both diet and supplements.

But it could all go out the window because of the things you CAN’T control… especially if what’s out your window is polluted air.

Healthy foods in your belly might not matter all that much if your lungs are loaded with damaging particulate matter.

Fortunately, new research shows a simple step you can take to fight back — and you don’t have to hold your breath, wear a mask, or move out into the middle of nowhere.

All you need is some fish oil!

The study on mice finds that omega-3 fatty acids can block the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by toxic pollutants inside your lungs.

Blocking those processes could stop the particulate matter from crossing the pulmonary barrier and entering the rest of your body.

This is critical; once they break in and start traveling around your insides, these common pollutants can speed aging in the arteries by 20 percent, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another recent study linked that same particulate matter to dementia.

And of course pollution can also lead to other diseases, including cancer.

Don’t assume you’re safe from these risks because the skies are blue most of the time.

Odds are, you’re not as safe as you think you are!

One study last year found that more than half of all Americans are breathing air with high levels of particulate matter, most of them people who live in and around cities and the surrounding suburban sprawl.

If that sounds like where you live, maybe it’s time to stock up on fish oil. Sure, the new study was on mice, but there’s no harm in boosting your intake since this stuff is also critical to heart, brain, eyes, and more.

The amounts used in the study were the human equivalent of about 2 grams per day. It’s more than what most people take, but it’s not a “dangerously” high level by any stretch.

Since it can thin the blood, however, speak to a doctor first, especially if you’re already on blood thinners.

Along with boosting your intake of fish oil, be sure to use plenty of olive oil.

It’s not just tasty and healthy.

A human study found it can block the damage of particulate matter in the arteries even more effectively that fish oil.

Why choose one over the other? For maximum protection, get both.

Vitamin C kills cancer stem cells

Kill cancer stem cells and end chemo resistance!

It’s another BIG win for natural medicine against one of today’s leading killers.

And it’s found in one of the most basic nutrients of all!

New research backs plain old vitamin C against cancer, and what makes this study so stunning is that it doesn’t just show how this nutrient can kill off cancer cells.

We already know it can do that.

This one goes much further, revealing how ordinary vitamin C may be one of the best weapons yet against the very thing that makes cancer so tough to treat and even harder to beat.

It attacks the cancer’s stem cells!

As any cancer survivor would tell you, the disease has a habit of storming back… just when you think you have it beat.

That’s often the work of those stem cells, which can make each battle with cancer tougher than the last and may even be a prime cause of “chemo resistance.”

But the new lab-dish study finds vitamin C can go right to the heart of the cancer where it can target, attack, and KILL those critical stem cells.

Vitamin C was tested against six other treatments that have shown promise in targeting stem cells, including powerful and experimental cancer drugs.

As it turned out, vitamin C was one of the most effective of them all — TEN TIMES more powerful than one of the experimental drugs!

Of course, this was a test in a lab and not on humans.

Clearly, we need to see more research before we can say for certain whether vitamin C can kill cancer stem cells inside the body as well as it does in a lab.

But we DON’T need more research to know vitamin C can attack this disease in a number of ways.

When blood levels of vitamin C are high enough, it converts to hydrogen peroxide, which can wipe out many types of cancer cells while leaving your healthy tissue untouched.

Those same high levels of C can protect against the side effects of toxic mainstream cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

The only challenge is relatively minor: You simply can’t get the levels needed to fight cancer from oral supplements.

You need to inject it directly into the blood intravenously.

It’s safe, effective, inexpensive and backed by so many human studies that even the mainstream is starting to catch on.

It might not be long before it’s a routine part of mainstream cancer therapies.

But for now, the best place to get it is from a skilled holistic medical doctor experienced in natural cancer care.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I offer IVC 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!

Heart attack? Don’t forget to do this

Always do THIS after a heart attack

There’s nothing like a good scare to put the fear of God into you.

Docs see it all the time.

There’s usually no one in the world with better, healthier habits than folks who’ve just had a heart attack.

They swear they had a wakeup call in the back of that ambulance. They promise to give up junk food (and THIS time, they insist, they REALLY mean it). They even vow to get a little daily exercise.

They NEVER want to end up in the ER again.

They even make good on that promise, too… for a little while, anyway. But before long, old habits creep back in.

So, I’m not surprised in the least by a new study that finds most heart attack patients don’t follow through and keep the good habits they need to stay out of the emergency room.

The study looked at patients who suffered acute coronary syndrome, which is a heart attack or a heart problem so close to a heart attack that you’re at high risk of having one.

After being sent home, these folks are told by their doctors to get out and move for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

They’re not told to take up racquetball or leg wrestling. They don’t have to train for a marathon or go mountain climbing.

They don’t even have to buy an exercise bike or join a gym.

All they’re asked to do is half an hour of “moderate aerobic activity,” a category that includes really simple stuff like a brisk walk.

Just about everyone — even a heart attack survivor — is capable of doing that. And if you commit to following this simple program, your risk of a second heart attack plunges.

But the study finds that five weeks after a heart attack, almost NO ONE was getting that level of activity.

Some 84 percent fell short!

If you’ve had a heart attack, this stuff isn’t optional anymore.

It’s not something to do when you have the time, when you feel like it, or when it’s convenient.

It’s literally a matter of life or death.

You were lucky enough to survive one heart attack. Next time around, your luck could run out — so take matters into your own hands here. Seize control and turn it around before it’s too late.

Along with getting a little light movement each day, be sure to make the switch to sensible heart-friendly diet.

I recommend the Mediterranean diet because it’s proven to slash the risk of heart attack, stroke, and more. And if that protection isn’t enough of a reason to give it a shot, I’ll have another one coming up later today.

Keep an eye on your inbox!

Breast cancer risk slashed by Mediterranean diet

A diet so good it can scare off breast cancer

My friends know I’m more than a little obsessive about what I eat.

I don’t just follow the Mediterranean diet. I stick to it the way peanut butter (which is allowed, by the way) sticks to the roof of your mouth.

It’s not just me. This diet is catching on in a big way in places thousands of miles away from the Mediterranean, like here in San Diego — and if you haven’t tried it yourself, I say it’s high time to see what the fuss is all about.

And ladies, the latest research shows why you really want to join me on this one. The study finds this healthy lifestyle — already proven to slash the risk of heart attack and stroke — can cut your risk of one of the nation’s leading killers of women.

The closer you follow a Mediterranean diet, the lower your risk of breast cancer!

Of course, there are many kinds of breast cancer including some common forms that you don’t need to worry about too much.

A “stage zero” cancer, for example, often won’t hurt you and may not even need treatment.

But that’s not what we’re taking about here.

The new study finds this diet can specifically cut your risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

That’s an aggressive form of the disease that often turns up after menopause.

It’s tough to treat, and tough to beat.

But if you follow a Mediterranean lifestyle, your risk of this deadly form of breast cancer drops by 40 percent.

That’s an incredible benefit. Heck, if a drug could make that promise it would be a blockbuster.

It would also cost an arm and a leg and come with big risks — so forget drugs and commit to this lifestyle instead.

Just keep two things in mind.

First, if you want the cancer-beating benefit, you can’t wait until you have the disease to make the switch.

That’s much too late.

In the study, many of the women had been on this diet for two decades or more — so the time to act is right now.

And second, if you’ve ever been in a Mediterranean home, you’ll probably notice that a bottle of wine is always on the table.

Many people consider wine, in moderation, to be part of this diet.

But alcohol can actually increase the risk of some forms of cancer, including breast cancer. The risk is so well-known that the researchers excluded drinkers, focusing instead on women on the Mediterranean diet who didn’t drink.

So if you want that 40 percent cut in cancer risk, you’re going to have to give up booze… or at least save it for special occasions such as holidays and celebrations.

Broken hip linked to common meds

‘Sharing’ meds can lead to a broken hip

People mean well — they really do — but some folks go around sharing their meds the way others offer Tic Tacs.

You probably know someone like that.

If you’ve got the sniffles, they’ve got some leftover antibiotics. If you’re nervous about something, they just happen to have some Xanax. And if you’re in pain, they might even have a selection of both over-the-counter and prescription meds available.

There are dozens of reasons why this is a terrible idea, but that hasn’t stopped up to 1 in 5 older Americans from sharing their meds anyway.

And now, the latest research shows just one of the unexpected risks you could face from taking meds you were given by a friend or relative playing pharmacist.

You could end up with a broken hip!

The new study finds a surprising number of people with hip fractures had been taking antidepressants or antianxiety meds beforehand.

The surprising part isn’t the fact that they had taken the drugs. They’re common enough, especially among older folks, and they’re known to increase the risk of a fall.

No, the true surprise is that blood tests revealed many of these hip fracture patients were on the meds… despite the fact that they had NO PRESCRIPTION on file for them!

It’s a sure sign of drug-swapping, or getting the meds from friends or family members who THINK they’re helping.

They’re not.

They might swear by those drugs themselves, but not everyone has the same reaction or tolerance.

Age, metabolism, nutrition, diet, other meds, and even genetics can all cause problems with how your body handles a drug — so while your friend might feel like a million bucks after popping anti-anxiety meds, YOU could feel like you just downed three quick shots of bourbon.

And that could set the stage for a fall and a potentially devastating injury.

So, when your friend hands you that pill, he might really be handing you a ticket to the ER.

That’s why it’s absolutely critical to make sure there’s a doctor and pharmacist reviewing any med you take… and to not simply trust a “mystery pill” from a friend or loved one.

Better yet, make those drugs an absolute last resort — even when a real doctor is offering them — because, in many cases, these conditions can be defeated by natural therapies such as herbal relaxants and homeopathic remedies.

If you need a little more help, speak to holistic medical doctor who knows when you need meds… and when you don’t.

I’ll have another reason to avoid these and any other meds that can increase the risk of a fall coming up later today.

Keep an eye on your inbox!

Hip fracture linked to death risk

A deadly risk where you least expect it

One moment, you’re vibrant, independent, and feeling like nothing can slow you down — not even old age.

The next, you’re on the floor in agony… and life will never be the same again.

A broken hip isn’t just an injury. It’s the kind of thing that can literally change your life forever.

There’s surgery. Lingering mobility problems. And some folks never walk right again.

Now, the latest research uncovers a new risk… and it might be the most frightening one of all.

A hip fracture could literally KILL you!

We’re not just talking right after you suffer the damage, when you might expect there to be some death risk either from the injury itself or a complication during emergency treatment.

The new study finds that breaking a hip will raise your death risk for YEARS afterward.

In the first year after the injury, your death risk triples.

It drops after that, but it’s still far higher than it should be. In fact, a full EIGHT YEARS after breaking your hip, you’ll still face DOUBLE the risk of death.

The reason is simple: Many seniors are never the same again. They’re less active and less mobile, which leads into a cycle of disability, functional decline and… sadly… death.

Obviously, the best way to cut that risk is to make sure you don’t suffer a hip injury in the fist place, and you can do that with my two-step plan.

Step One is to limit or eliminate anything that can lead to a fall.

If you’ve got a drug that makes you dizzy — especially blood pressure meds, allergy meds, antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs — speak to your doctor about alternatives.

But meds aren’t the only reason for a fall.

Take a look around your home and make some adjustments. Loose carpet may need to be fixed, handrails installed, and furniture moved around to better accommodate your lifestyle. (Ask for help with the heavy lifting; the last thing you want to do is injure yourself while trying to prevent an injury).

Step Two is to make sure your body can bounce back after a fall.

That means regular activity — even a daily brisk walk — to help maintain balance and strength so you’re steadier on your feet, as well as a diet and/or supplements that will give your bones what they need to stay strong.

Look for a formula that contains essential bone-building nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K. All four work together, so don’t settle for anything less.

As well, oleuropein — a compound found in olives — can help increase the activity of bone-building stem cells.

Reflux drugs linked to kidney problems

Stop SILENT kidney damage

Somewhere in your body, something could be going wrong… maybe even BADLY wrong… and you may not notice a thing until it’s too late.

Don’t worry; I’m not here to alarm you.

I’m here to STOP that silent damage BEFORE it turns deadly — and the latest research shows one important step you can take right now to protect your kidneys from this hidden threat.

It’s not something you SHOULD do.

In this case, it’s just the opposite: It’s something you SHOULDN’T do!

Millions of Americans are popping pills to get through dinner. They’re taking proton pump inhibitors to block reflux and heartburn.

But the new study shows how that acid protection comes with a terrible price, wrecking your kidneys so slowly that you won’t even have a hint that something’s wrong.

Not at first.

One day, you’re enjoying dinner and maybe even bragging about how your once-terrible reflux is now completely under control.

The next, your doc is using a frightening series of words.

Kidney damage. Kidney disease. Kidney FAILURE.

And neither of you spotted any of the warning signs… because the new study shows there weren’t any! HALF of all cases of chronic kidney damage and end-stage kidney disease in PPI users come with zero symptoms, according to the study.

The study also confirms that these drugs can cause other damage to the kidneys, with 1 in 5 long-term users facing at least some form of kidney injury.

But at least you can usually recover from that.

Chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease are another story. It’s one of the nation’s Top 10 killers — and even if it doesn’t END your life, it could very well RUIN it.

You could end up on dialysis, and may even need a kidney transplant… if you’re lucky enough to get one.

That’s not the only risk of these drugs, either. A study just last year found they can age your arteries, making it easier for blockages to form.

They’re also known to interfere with digestion, block the absorption of essential nutrients such as magnesium and kill off the good bacteria in your gut — allowing bad ones, including nasty germs like C. diff, to take hold and make you sick.

There’s a much better solution. It’s not as quick as popping a pill, but it’s far more effective and much safer… and that’s to learn the triggers behind your reflux.

Sometimes it’s obvious and you need the discipline to give up something like
— for example — wine, which is a common trigger.

Others aren’t as obvious and could be caused by chemical additives hidden in food.

If you keep a food diary, you can spot the patterns and learn to avoid your triggers. Or, you can ask a holistic medical doctor to run some tests that will help identify your food sensitivities.

Bogus omega-3 supplements headed to shelves

New scam takes the “fish” out of “fish oil”

Watch out, folks!

Always read EVERY ingredient panel carefully, and not just when it comes to your food.

Keep an eye on your vitamins, too!

Omega-3 fatty acids are now among the best-selling supplements in the country and in many places around the world… and it’s great that so many people are taking such an active interest in their health.

But it’s about to become a victim of its own success.

An alarming new report finds that there are literally not enough fish in the sea to meet the expected demand for fish oil supplements — so they’re going to start cooking up omega-3 supplements from OTHER sources.

And they’re turning to a terrifying “FRANKEN-FOOD.”

Farmers are right now being paid big money to plant millions of acres of a special form of canola that’s genetically modified to have high omega-3 content.

And if all goes to plan, this bogus fatty acid with unknown consequences could soon dominate the market.

Reuters reports that industrial agricultural conglomerate Cargill is paying Montana farmers to convert half a million acres over to this GMO canola.

That’s EIGHT TIMES the amount of canola currently produced in the state!

It’s so much canola that the company believes the coming Montana supply alone could produce 159,000 tons of oil — or the equivalent of one-fifth of the entire global fish oil market right now.

And that’s just one company.

Dow Chemical is also creating its own canola for omega-3 fatty acids, which it plans to grow in Canada.

You can bet others will want on in this act, too, and it’s going to transform the supplement aisle in ways that may not be obvious.

Will shoppers really notice if more omega-3 supplements DON’T have the words “fish oil” listed on the front?

Probably not.

The key here is to be a smart consumer and read those labels carefully to make sure your omega-3s are coming from honest-to-goodness fish and not some genetically modified monstrosity.

And since you already have your reading glasses out, check the labels for something else, too… because while you want your omega-3s to come from fish oil, not all fish oil is omega-3.

Some of them promise “1,000 MG OF FISH OIL” on the front — but if you flip it over to the back, you’ll see very low levels of the omega-3 fatty acids you’re looking for.

So, read the labels closely, and make sure it contains high levels specifically of DHA and EPA.

And be sure to check the serving size, as some will require that you swallow more than one capsule to get the amounts on the label.

Osteoporosis drugs could weaken bone

Scary new warning for folks on bone meds

You’ve heard the horror stories. You might even know someone who’s suffered a painful bone break while taking a drug to supposedly protect those bones.

But ask your doc about that risk, and he won’t give you the truth.

He’ll give you the runaround!

The mainstream acts as if the risk is rare… overblown by the media… and more freakish bad luck than anything to do with the drugs they’re pushing.

But new research exposes the ugly truth about some of the world’s top-selling bone drugs.

The risk isn’t overblown… and has nothing to do with luck.

It’s the meds!

The new study finds that bisphosphonate drugs can actually weaken the very bones they’re supposed to strengthen, causing tiny “micro-fractures” to form that could undermine the entire structure.

Researchers at the highly-respected Imperial College London examined the bones of older women with osteoporosis with a level of detail never seen before.

They didn’t just run a scan or a simple X-ray.

They used X-rays combined with a particle accelerator to study deep inside the microstructure of bones that had been removed from women who had hip replacement surgeries.

And what they saw was shocking.

Women who had been on bisphosphonate drugs had weaker bones lined with tiny “micro-cracks” that can’t be seen on the conventional imaging tests your doctor uses.

One of the researchers compared it to what you might see if you repeatedly bent a plastic ruler. Long before the ruler breaks, you’ll start to notice tiny cracks forming.

Women with osteoporosis who had been taking the drugs had 24 percent more of those tiny cracks than women with the disease who weren’t on the meds.

Sure, there were fewer holes in the bone — which is something that your doctor might notice on the scans he uses and that might make him think the drugs are working.

But those tiny cracks he can’t see can undermine the entire bone structure.

As a result, in the study, women on bisphosphonate meds had bones 33 percent WEAKER than women who weren’t taking the drugs.

That’s exactly what you don’t want — at ANY age. But it’s especially dangerous in older women already facing osteoporosis.

The scientists say this might only affect a small number of patients, but that’s hardly reassuring. Unless your doctor happens to have access to a particle accelerator, you’ll never know if you’re one of them.

Fortunately, you have a better way to protect your bone, starting with the basics.

Calcium, of course, is part of the formula. But calcium can’t work alone, which is why women who gnaw on vitamin chews and practically drown themselves in milk see almost no change in bone health.

You also need vitamin D and magnesium, so make sure your bone formula contains all three as well as oleuropein, a natural compound found in olives that can increase the number of stem cells that form bone instead of fat.

Diabetes reversed with fasting diet

The FAST way to beat diabetes

There’s NO hope… and NO cure.

That’s what your doctor will claim, anyway.

If you’ve got diabetes, he’ll tell you this is your life now — that you’ve got no choice but to commit to his regimen of drugs, finger pricks, more drugs, insulin shots and… you guessed it… STILL more drugs.

Well, friend, if you’re tired of his gloom-and-doom routine, I’ve got a new act for you today.

There IS hope!

You can REVERSE this disease, and the latest research shows how.

It’s a simple trick that involves no drugs at all, and the study on mice shows it can reset your body’s metabolism and kick-start your pancreas.

It’s called a “fasting mimicking diet,” and it’s designed to mimic more than fasting.

It actually mimics starvation.

Don’t panic — no mice (or people) actually starve on these diets. It involves cutting calories just enough so the body THINKS it might starve, which triggers a whole series of protective processes.

In the experiments on mice, it caused the pancreas to start cranking out new beta cells, or the cells you need to produce insulin. It was effective for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

But you know the score on that.

It’s one thing to help mice; it’s quite another to make a difference in human lives.

The researchers behind the new study have also tested the diet in people at risk for diabetes and found that just five days on a diet with a 75 percent cut in calories led to lasting improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormones.

Other studies have found similar results in humans, and versions of this diet have even been shown to actually REVERSE diabetes.

I know the whole idea of fasting sounds pretty difficult, especially if your day seems to revolve around food. Five days on a diet of just 700 to 1,000 calories per day might even seem downright impossible.

But it’s not quite as tough as it appears.

I know, because I’ve seen the results firsthand in my own patients!

Sure, the first day or two can be a little hard. After that, the body adjusts — and many people tell me they enjoy a little extra clarity and focus while they’re on the diet.

Along with a carefully chosen fasting diet, my approach also involves close monitoring, supplements to ensure proper nutrition, and injections of human chorionic gonadotropin.

In other words, don’t try this at home!

But by working closely with a holistic medical doctor on a regimen that alternates periods of very low calorie diets with healthy eating can stop the damage, reverse the disease and help you reduce or eliminate your meds.

Looking for more? If you’re in the San Diego area, make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

If you’re not here in Southern California, I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

Cancer linked to obesity

Cut your risk of 11 forms of cancer today!

The arrival of spring next week is a good time to give your home the once-over to look for trouble spots, especially if you live someplace where the winter was rough.

The windows might need some caulk… the back door may have taken a beating… and who knows what may have moved into your shed to avoid the cold.

Any homeowner knows what happens if you neglect those minor repairs.

They can turn into MAJOR problems.

Your body’s the same way, yet there’s one trouble spot we all notice… and most of us neglect.

Well, friend, if you’ve been trying to ignore an expanding waistline, it’s time to get busy with some repairs.

It’s not just healthier to be slimmer.

New research shows how being overweight or obese could lead to one of the deadliest health problems of all: cancer.

Which one?

Take your pick — because the new study doesn’t just find a link to one or two forms of the disease.

It finds obesity is linked to at least ELEVEN types of cancer, including some of the nation’s deadliest.

Men who are obese face a higher risk of colorectal cancers, the nation’s second-deadliest cancer.

Women, you’re not in the clear, either — because obesity will boost your risk of the number three killer cancer, breast cancer.

Obese men and women alike also face a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, the number four deadliest form of the disease.

And if that’s not enough risk, the study links obesity to cancers of the kidneys, ovaries, endometrium, biliary tract, esophagus, and bone marrow as well as multiple myeloma.

Those are diseases you want nothing to do with — and you can dramatically slash your risk of getting any and all of them simply by doing what you already know you need to do.

You need to lose some weight.

I promise you, it’s not as tough as it sounds, even if you’ve tried and failed so often that you’ve just plain given up.

Don’t give up.

Most people fail because they try to make radical changes that simply can’t last over the long-term.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Mediterranean lifestyle: You can keep eating many of your favorite foods. You can enjoy fresh fish, plenty of poultry and even treat yourself to a little red meat (just limit it to smaller servings of lean cuts once or twice a week).

I recommend modifying it to remove grains, even whole grains, since they’re not as healthy as most people think.

That can be an adjustment for folks used to a loaf of bread on the table. But after a few days, you won’t notice it’s gone — and you’ll find the diet is easy enough to follow that you’ll be able to stick to it for life.