Dr. Mark Stengler's BestHealth Nutritionals

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

Insulin control is tougher if you sleep with a light on

Better insulin control… in your sleep!

Here’s a simple drug-free way to get your blood sugar under control, boost your body’s insulin response and prevent diabetes – even stop the disease from getting worse.

And when I say “simple,” you won’t believe how easy it is.

When you go to bed… make sure all the lights are off!

I told you this was an easy one.

Before I go any further, don’t assume that you’re covered on this because you already turn out all the lights before bed. You don’t have to be sleeping under Hollywood lights to suffer the damage uncovered by the new study.

Even turning your room lights off might not even enough.

Faint amounts of light – from a night light, a dim lamp in the corner, or just bleeding in from the hallway or through the window – can do the trick!

In a series of experiments, sleepers either snoozed away at night in a dark room or in a room with a very dim light source overhead.

The ones who had the dim light also spent a night in a completely dark room as a baseline.

That dim light made a difference in a way you can’t see or feel.

But it can hurt you.

By morning, they had signs of increased insulin resistance.

That’s when your body’s insulin struggles to pull glucose out of the bloodstream. When this process starts to fail, you suffer prediabetes and eventually diabetes.

The reason is most likely melatonin.

That’s the “sleep hormone” that tells your body when it’s time to knock out. You make it naturally at night. When your body sees light, it gets a little confused and doesn’t generate as much melatonin, which is almost as essential to blood sugar control as it is to sleep.

If you have a nightlight, consider turning it off (keep one out in the hallway or bathroom to help you see if you need to get up during the night).

But that’s not the only way you can end up sleeping in a room with too much light.

There could be another “secret” form of light pollution hurting your hormones – and the culprit might be your shades.

If they’re light-colored shades, consider something darker.

Your room might be nice and dark when you fall asleep… and if you’re a good sleeper, you can keep snoozing even as dawn breaks and your room brightens up through those lighter shades.

But as the new study shows, that extra light bleeding through could be enough to trigger insulin problems in your body.

Replace the shades, and you’ll not only sleep better. You could get better blood sugar control, too.

Acid reflux patients pushed toward aspirin therapy

New reflux ‘treatment’ could turn into a nightmare

Medicine is supposed to make things better.

The sad truth, though, is that meds can often make things worse – but instead of stepping back and taking a new approach, mainstream docs do the opposite.

They double up!

Why take just ONE bad med when you can take TWO?

That might sound insane, but that’s the latest “breakthrough” for people with serious acid reflux problems, especially a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.

That’s often triggered by years of acid problems, which damage the throat and lead to other risks, including a higher risk of cancer.

Common reflux drugs don’t make it better.

Some make it worse.

But now, instead of stepping back, they want you to keep taking the reflux drug AND add gut-ripping aspirin to the mix.

Fix your throat, wreck your stomach!

They claim that this combo can cut the risk of esophageal cancer in folks with Barrett’s esophagus, and they even imply that it might help people who have reflux without that condition.

But here’s the thing: The same PPI drugs they’re pushing as part of this insane approach have been linked to cancer on their own. And the new study did everything it could to pretend that risk isn’t real.

They had FOUR sets of patients… and ALL of them were given PPI drugs.

Some got a high or low dose. Some got aspirin or no aspirin.

And sure, the folks with the PPIs and the aspirin had the lower cancer risk. But you have to wonder why there wasn’t a set of patients who didn’t take PPIs at all and had never taken the drugs.

Maybe they were afraid they’d have the LOWEST risk of cancer of all!

The conclusion from the mainstream is that Barrett’s esophagus patients should take both a PPI drug and an aspirin.

But instead of the risks of one drug, you’re getting double the trouble.

Along with raising the risk of some forms of cancer, PPIs have been linked to nutritional problems (especially with magnesium) and weak bone, among other issues.

Aspirin, of course, will increase your risk of serious bleeding problems including painful and possibly deadly internal bleeding, especially in the gut. The drugs can even cause you to bleed in your brain.

If you have “normal” reflux, a careful diet can help prevent flare-ups. By avoiding those attacks, you can dramatically cut the risk of the condition ever turning into Barrett’s esophagus.

If it’s too late and you already have Barrett’s, you can still often control the condition naturally, ease the reflux, and cut the risk of cancer with similar steps, especially if you get thorough food sensitivity testing from a holistic medical doctor.

For complete testing and treatment in the San Diego area, 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!

Migraine therapies from the mainstream don’t work

Why women REJECT these migraine treatments

I was pretty excited when I heard of a new report urging women to try non-drug treatments before turning to pain pills and other bad drugs.

I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

This report isn’t some natural health breakthrough, and it’s not urging women to try proven non-drug therapies.

It’s essentially an ad for psychological treatments that won’t help the average migraine patient.

It’s enough to give me a headache!

The new study totally ignores highly effective non-drug treatments. It’s as if they don’t even exist.

Instead, it gripes that women aren’t trying the stuff you’d get from a shrink, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapies, biofeedback, and stress management.

Sure, a small group of women with migraines see some benefit from these treatments. In some cases, the improvements are dramatic.

But there’s a reason they have such a bad rap, and it’s not just the notion that migraine patients have a “mental” problem.

It’s that they don’t tackle the real causes of migraines for most women.

How can you get any real relief when you don’t fix the cause?

Women know that – some have even “been there, done that” – and that’s why the study finds that many migraine patients referred to psychologists don’t even bother making an appointment.

Some say that they don’t have the time, while others are just plain skeptical that a shrink can do anything to help.

Frustrated and maybe even a little annoyed, they ask for meds instead.

But that’s not the way to go here either. The drugs “work” for only a small number of women, and — of course — they come with side effects.

There are much better options, but the best one for you will depend on the cause of your headaches.

Some can be triggered by food allergies, including reactions to additives such as MSG and aspartame. Keeping a food diary and looking for patterns when headaches strike is one option. You can also visit a holistic medical doctor for thorough food sensitivity testing.

Other headaches may be caused by issues with the neurotransmitter serotonin. Natural therapies such as tryptophan can boost serotonin and prevent headaches.

Dehydration, fatigue, nutritional problems (especially low levels of B vitamins), spinal misalignments, hormones, drug side effects, and more can all cause headaches (including migraines).

Even certain scents – including perfumes – can trigger the pain.

A shrink won’t treat any of that.

If you can’t figure out the triggers on your own, seek the guidance of an experienced holistic medical doctor.

Prostate cancer survivors need fewer appointments

Prostate cancer care just got a lot easier

It’s the BIGGEST fear facing cancer patients, one that can haunt you right to the end of your days even if you never hear the “C” word from your doctor again.

What if the disease comes back?

That’s how mainstream docs get you to keep returning for endless tests and treatments.

It’s not that you never need to get checked. It’s that it’s often relentless, with some guys getting screened, poked, scanned, and zapped every three months.

Now, new research shows you can settle down, take a deep breath, and maybe even cancel some of those appointments.

Men who’ve had prostate cancer DON’T need to keep bouncing back again and again for appointment after appointment.

Visiting the doctor just once a year is every bit as good as going every three months!

The new study looked at more than 10,000 cancer survivors and found that the folks who went in four times a year had the same risk of death as those who went more often.

So far so good.

But as you no doubt know, many cases of prostate cancer are never deadly in the first place, which tends to skew the numbers.

The new study takes care of that, as well.

It split the guys up into three groups based on their risk: low, intermediate, and high.

Once again, there were no real differences in risk based on how often they returned for checkups.

Once a year was just as good as every three months.

This isn’t just a matter of avoiding the hassle of too many appointments… or the annoyance of having to plan everything around your follow-up care.

It’s not even the expense, which can add up even when insurance covers most of the cost.

No, the real benefit doesn’t have a price tag.

Those constant screenings can rattle your nerves, keeping the fear of cancer at the front of your mind and leaving you feeling as if you’ll never truly break free from this disease.

There’s an easy way to get that peace of mind. It’s in taking simple steps to ensure that the disease never returns — including boosting your activity, getting more essential omega-3 fatty acids, and avoiding foods that can increase your disease risk.

Some are obvious, like carbs and other junk foods, but one isn’t: dairy.

This stuff isn’t as healthy as you think, and a study earlier this year found high levels can more than double the risk of death in prostate cancer patients.

Common prescription drugs often not needed

WHOOPS! Millions have been given drugs they don’t need

The mainstream just made a stunning confession.

It’s openly admitted that MILLIONS of Americans are taking drugs they don’t need for conditions that they might not have.

The main “tool” mainstream docs rely on to calculate someone’s heart and stroke risk is more of a guess-ti-mator than an estimator.

And it often guesses WAY wrong.

The result?

The tool is off by as much as 20 percent, which means that close to 12 million Americans are on the wrong meds.

That would be bad enough by itself. But “wrong” here doesn’t just mean you should be on one drug but are taking another.

The most common “wrong” drug here is people getting the wrong dose. While some are getting low doses when they “need” high ones, the study finds that the biggest problem isn’t under-prescribing.

It’s OVER-prescribing.

People are getting high doses of statin drugs to lower their cholesterol… beta blockers and ACE inhibitors for blood pressure… and maybe even dangerous drugs like warfarin, supposedly to cut stroke risk.

In reality, many of these 12 million people should be on lower, safer doses.

And many SHOULDN’T be on the meds at all!

It’s all because of a flawed tool that relies on badly outdated data. The mainstream is acting stunned, of course, but this is about as surprising as sun in summer.

Just about all of the tools used by the mainstream to calculate risk come from guidelines developed by expert panels that are rife with ugly conflicts.

Many of those “experts” have worked for or are funded by Big Pharma. It’s often in their financial interest to develop guidelines that put more people onto statins, blood thinners, blood pressure meds, and more.

In other words, it’s not an accident that the guidelines and the tools that rely on them lead to more people on higher doses of drugs.

It’s by design!

Don’t let them design you onto drugs you don’t need.

In many cases, including those of cholesterol and blood pressure, the guidelines are set so low that they almost assure everyone from middle age on up qualifies for meds.

But most don’t need them.

If your levels are high enough to need treatment, drugs still aren’t the best solution.

In many cases, low cholesterol can be worse than high cholesterol.

And those BP meds? Studies show that even when they succeed and bring your levels down, they don’t always cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Stick to common-sense lifestyle changes including a decent diet and some weight loss, along with natural therapies when needed in the care of a holistic medical doctor.

Gluten-free dieters mocked by the mainstream

Mainstream says healthy people are CRAZY!

If you’re health conscious… if you’re trying to eat better… and if you’re trying to avoid common sources of food allergies… members of the mainstream have got a new name for you.

And you’re not going to like it.

They’re calling you a “nutrichondriac,” a name that comes with the demeaning implication that a choice to eat healthier and live better is a form of mental illness.

They’re using that childish bit of name-calling on folks who avoid unhealthy foods, especially if they believe that they may be allergic or sensitive but haven’t been tested.

For the most part, they’re using this name on people who go gluten-free when they don’t have celiac disease and people who avoid dairy when they’re not lactose intolerant.

This ignores that fact that millions struggle with non-celiac gluten sensitivities. The mainstream still claims these problems are “fake” despite studies that prove people without celiac can have reactions to gluten.

It also ignores the tens of millions of people with dairy problems that aren’t considered lactose intolerance.

Yet it’s real — very real, as dairy problems have quietly become the single most common food sensitivity in the country.

But if you avoid these foods, they’re tagging you with an ugly label: nutrichondriac.

This is obviously a play on “hypochondriac,” which is, of course, a very real condition that can cause genuine suffering.

Some people read about an illness and not only THINK they have it, but they also become so convinced that they can actually suffer from many of the symptoms of the disease.

But many – maybe even most – of the people dismissed by the mainstream as hypochondriacs really are sick.

They have something wrong, but their doctors can’t figure it out.

The doctor thinks he’s tried everything… run every test… and found nothing. He concludes that the problem isn’t the doctor.

It’s the patient!

In reality, many have illnesses that doctors either don’t test for or only test superficially.

Ready for the great irony here?

In many cases, those “mystery” ailments are CAUSED or WORSENED by undiagnosed allergies and/or sensitivities, especially problems with gluten and dairy!

Yes, you can cure your “hypochondria” – which isn’t hypochondria at all – only to be dismissed as a nutrichondriac.

Don’t let the name-calling get you down, and don’t give in to the bullies.

They can SAY what they want.

But you can BE healthy – if you’re willing to tune them out.

Diabetes patients get new metformin push

Old diabetes drug in ugly new comeback

The mainstream is just plumb out of ideas for diabetes.

If you have this disease yourself, it’s practically giving up on you.

After YEARS of promising newer, better, safer, and more effective treatments for people battling this life-robbing condition, members of the mainstream are going back to square one.

Metformin, the cheap, old standard drug, is now being recommended again for people with diabetes who also have kidney disease.

Seriously? THIS is the BEST that they can do???

Diabetes patients DESPERATELY need help not only beating the disease, but protecting the kidneys from the pounding they take when blood sugar levels jump.

Instead of answers, they’re getting garbage, as researchers have “discovered” that maybe metformin won’t hurt the kidneys so much after all, as some had feared.

Supposedly, the risk of lactic acidosis – when the kidneys choke and can no longer filter out acid – only applies to people with the most severe forms of kidney disease.Everyone else can stay on (or switch back to) metformin.

On the one hand, at least it’s a cheap drug that’s easy to find and a whole lot safer than many of the expensive new meds being shoved at patients.

On the other, simply not causing a deadly complication isn’t exactly worth celebrating.

Diabetes is the single biggest cause of kidney disease. Roughly 1 in 4 people with diabetes have kidney disease, and up to 40 percent of all people with diabetes eventually suffer from kidney failure.

Most of the drugs don’t help, but the damage itself is caused by the disease, which slams the blood vessels in the kidneys until they just can’t take it anymore.

Kidney function drops, and… eventually… you have kidney disease (often without even knowing it, especially in the early stages).

If metformin doesn’t make it worse, all I can say is whoop-de-doo. It’s not making it BETTER, either, which is what you really need.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.

The best way cut the risks of diabetes – from declining kidney function to the notorious heart problems – is to reverse the advance of the disease itself.

Impossible?

That’s what “they” say as they push drugs to control the symptoms.

Here’s what they won’t tell you: There’s a simple, science-backed, drug-free way to control EVERY major marker of diabetes.

You can stop the damage and even reverse it, protecting your entire body, by eliminating the toxins that are often the REAL cause of this disease and all that comes with it.

I’ve developed a groundbreaking protocol to detoxify so swiftly and completely that you’ll see results in as little as 30 days.

I call it Diabetes Detox, and you can learn all about it – or try this system risk-free – right here.

Most breast cancer cases don’t need chemotherapy

The worst part of your cancer treatment… GONE!

Ladies, it’s often the worst part of your cancer treatment.

A therapy that can make you sick… tired… weak… and bald.

Chemo is often added to other forms of cancer treatment as a “just in case” extra step to boost your chances of wiping out the tumor.

But a new report exposes the dirtiest secret of chemo: You might not need it!

A new study finds a simple genetic test on your tumor can tell who’s able to skip chemo… and it’s almost everyone.

Some 70 percent of all early-stage breast cancer cases — up to 100,000 women per year now routinely given chemo — WON’T need it as a result of the new study.

Right now, women with a very low risk of the breast cancer returning already don’t get chemo, while women with a high risk of a cancer return do.

The new study focused on the women somewhere in the middle, who are often give chemo “just in case.”

Turns out, most don’t need it.

Women with an intermediate risk were given either surgery and hormone therapy or surgery and hormone therapy with chemo.

Any one of those treatments can leave you feeling sick, weak, and just plain wrecked.

But all three at once?

You could be left so dazed that you’ll barely know your own name!

Now, it looks like many women can skip that last third. After nine years, 94 percent of women were alive regardless of whether they had chemo… and 84 percent were cancer-free, again, regardless of whether they had chemo.

The study finds that some women under 50 might still benefit from chemo.

But other than that, most women – especially older women – don’t need it, and that’s good news for anyone hoping to avoid this toxic treatment.

Many early-stage tumors can often be taken care of with localized surgery and nothing else. No chemo. No drugs.

It’s not just breast cancer.

Chemo is often tacked on to treatment plans for any number of cancers as a “just in case” measure when it’s often unneeded.

And when you DO need chemo, there are steps you can take to detoxify and cut both short-term side effects such as fatigue and notorious long-term problems such as “chemo brain.”

When you’re facing cancer – whether it’s in the breast or any other part of the body – add a holistic doctor to your team who can help you decide what treatments are truly needed and the best ways to limit the side effects.

For complete natural cancer care in the San Diego area, make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

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!

Vitamins under attack in ugly new study

Are your vitamins working?

Happy Father’s Day! I hope that you get a chance to kick back and enjoy whatever it is you like best today. Soak in the final days of spring, watch the game, and spend some time with those who love you best.

It’s your day!

And if you’re lucky enough that your own dad is still with us, make sure he’s in the picture too – and if he’s too far away, pick up the phone and let him know what he means to you.

If you want to make sure you stick around a long time to be there for your own kids and grandkids, I’m here to set the record straight on the latest attack on something that can save your life.

It’s vitamins – something the mainstream just loves to hate.

A new study claims that only two supplements offer real heart protection, with a B complex that includes folic acid and folic acid by itself cutting your risk of heart disease and stroke.

But beyond those two, the study claims nothing else out there will help cut the risk of, well, anything and everything related to cardiovascular health.

And sure, when you slap enough numbers together, you can probably cook up any conclusion you want. The Earth is flat… the moon’s made of cheese… and Tide Pods taste like candy.

But that doesn’t mean it’s true!

Researchers sure make it sound convincing, though, when they claim that they’ve reviewed 179 studies published over the past five years.

That’s how they do it – they overwhelm you with big numbers and hope you’re too impressed to check the actual details.

Guess what?

I always check the details. I’m practically obsessed with them.After all, if something DOESN’T work – even if it’s a natural therapy – I want to know about it and make sure my patients don’t count on it.

All I can say is this: I’m not changing a single one of my recommendations based on this study, because the details aren’t convincing at all.

As a Tufts University analyst has already pointed out, an earlier study that used much of the same data found the vitamins DO help.

So, what was added to change the results so dramatically?

The speculation from Tufts is on the length of time. The new studies added to the analysis appear to include longer periods which can skew the data.

Over a longer period of time, the same number of people might ultimately develop heart disease. If it takes some people longer to get there thanks to vitamins, that’s a real benefit for them… but it’s one that won’t show up in the study.

Neat trick, right?

But let’s face it: You don’t just take vitamins for heart health alone. You take them for a little bit of everything… and to cover the bases when you can’t get what you need from diet.

And that’s where they really shine – in real life and in research.

In 2013, for example, a study put multivitamins up against a placebo in women. The ladies who got the real vitamins had major improvements in mood, including reductions in stress, anxiety, fatigue, and confusion.

Other vitamins have proven in studies to strengthen bone, prevent cancer, ease arthritis, and help you sleep.

If someone’s out there claiming that they don’t work, I just can’t help but wonder what their REAL agenda is.

It’s certainly not your health.

If it were, they’d tell you to take your vitamins!

Sleep struggles common in older Americans

Is THIS the real cause of your sleep struggles?

Can’t sleep?

You’ve got plenty of company!

America is suffering from a nationwide sleep disorder of epidemic proportions. From coast to coast, we’re getting less sleep than ever, and the latest research shows how there’s one part of the population that’s more bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived than everyone else.

If you’re a little older… if you’re in your 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond… odds are you’re NOT getting the shuteye you need each night.

Yale University researchers say that 43 percent of older Americans struggle to get the right amount of rest.

It’s not that they WANT to miss out on sleep. It’s that they just CAN’T get it no matter how hard they try.

In some cases, it’s because of a mood disorder, with depression increasing the risk of sleep problems by more than eight times.

The study also finds that restless leg syndrome can more than double the risk of insomnia.

The good news is that these conditions often have simple cures. In fact, in some cases, all three problems – insomnia, depression, and restless leg syndrome – have the SAME simple cure!

They could be a sign of a deficiency in B vitamins, especially vitamin B12.

That’s not always the cause, of course. In some cases, it might be just one of several reasons for the problem.

But a quality B complex can often lead to real improvements or even a cure for depression, sleep struggles, and restless leg.

Other nutrients — including vitamin D and magnesium — can also play a role in these conditions as well, so a doctor who can diagnose nutritional deficiencies can help you figure out which nutrients you need and how to get them.

If there’s an upside to the new study, it’s that despite the widespread sleep problems faced by millions of older Americans, many say that they’re not suffering from major day-to-day issues because of it.

Most of the folks with insomnia described it as “mild.”

But why live with even mild insomnia when you don’t have to?

Even if your sleep problems aren’t the result of conditions such as depression or restless leg, there’s usually a reason – and it’s one that can be found and fixed.

Sleep problems are sometimes a result of bad habits, like too much nighttime TV. But in older folks, it’s often either a drug side effect, a hormonal imbalance, or a nutritional issue.

A holistic medical doctor can test you for the possible causes and begin treatment so you can get the rest you need tonight and every night.

For complete testing and treatment in the San Diego area, 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!

Defeat dementia… by playing card games!

The dollar store item that could SAVE your BRAIN!

You can do a lot with a deck of cards.

There are the tricks and games like “Go Fish” when the grandkids come over… Poker Night with your buddies… and let’s not forget solitaire (quite possibly the most popular game in the world).

You can build a house of cards on a rainy weekend while watching House of Cards.

But that deck of cards, which you can pick up in any dollar store, can do something else for you.

It can PROTECT your brain and SLOW the drain that comes with aging.

New research finds that keeping your brain stimulated with games and activities including – perhaps, especially – your deck of cards can ward off cognitive decline and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

That might be the greatest card trick of all!

The new study tracked more than 14,000 people who were healthy at the start for up to seven years to see if researchers could spot who was more likely to slide into decline and who was more likely to avoid it.

One key factor?

Intellectual stimulation – specifically, keeping the brain engaged with board games, books, newspapers, magazines, and more, including those card games.

The more you enjoy these stimulating activities, the bigger the benefit.

And if you can challenge your mind with reading or games every day, your risk of developing dementia will drop by 30 percent!

The study confirms something else about dementia we’ve seen in other research.

Keeping yourself engaged and connected in other ways can also help.

For example, staying socially active – visiting with friends and family and spending time talking with others – can also cut your risk of dementia.

But amazingly, the benefit of friends isn’t nearly as big as the benefit of reading and playing cards.

Maybe because socializing is a little TOO easy.

Sure, you can talk to your pals and enjoy each other’s company, and that’ll certainly stimulate your mind.

But there’s nothing quite like putting your gray matter through the mental paces required to solve a solitaire game or the brainpower needed to read and understand a book.

Of course, you’re not limited to those two activities. You don’t HAVE to play cards if you don’t like it (and definitely don’t take up gambling). It’s almost certainly the case that puzzles — including crosswords, Sudoku, and word searches — and chess and other games will have a similar benefit.

Essentially, anything that forces you to think, remember, recognize, and learn is a good exercise for your mind.

But like any other exercise, it only works if you do it often – so be sure to challenge yourself a little every day.

Blood sugar not affected by diet soda? Not so fast

The summer drink you MUST avoid at all costs

You hear the pop of the can… the fizz of the cola… the clink of the ice cubes… and the soothing glug, glug, glug… AHHHHHHHH.

Yes, those soda commercials sure are tempting, especially on warm June days as summer gets under way.

You know to avoid sugar. You’ve probably heard that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas aren’t very good for you, either.

But a new study is here to tempt you by claiming that it’s OK to drink diet cola, saying the no-cal sweeteners commonly used in “diet” soft drinks WON’T cause blood sugar spikes.

That means that if you have diabetes… are at risk for the disease… or just want to make sure you’re never at risk for it… you can safely pop the top and knock back a cold diet soda on a hot day.

But don’t take that sip just yet.

It’s not that simple.

In most cases, the damage caused by artificial sweeteners isn’t immediate. A diet soft drink, for example, generally won’t cause a quick jump in blood sugar the way a sugary soda will.

In that regard, these sweeteners look great, and they’ll ace a study like this one.

And that’s what makes them so dangerous!

They cause much slower forms of damage in your body, including tricking your brain into altering how it sends out “hunger” and “satisfied” signals, altering gut bacteria and – over a longer period of time – potentially leading to insulin resistance and blood sugar problems.

Since the problem took years to develop, it doesn’t get linked to the drink.

But it was certainly at least part of the problem… and why you shouldn’t feel reassured by this study.

There’s also another issue that has to be taken into consideration.

The new report supposedly offers reassurance if you have or are at risk for diabetes, since the sweeteners don’t cause a quick spike in glucose, but only 69 of the combined 741 people in the study had the disease.

The rest were healthy… and healthy people have lower risks to begin with.

In less-healthy people, including people with prediabetes and diabetes, artificial sweeteners can cause bigger changes inside the body — yet these folks were largely ignored by the study.

And let’s not even get into the other possible risks linked to “diet” sweeteners, from weight gain to migraines and more. In other words, don’t start sipping those soft drinks just yet… no matter how tempting the ads are.

Thyroid cancer survivors face heart risk

A battle with cancer could turn into a fight for your heart

It’s not the cancer that’ll kill you.

Many common cancers now have high survival rates – and one of the highest of all belongs to thyroid cancer.

If you have this disease, the good news is that you have a 98 percent chance of surviving it.

But a new study reveals the bad news.

You might survive the cancer… but the TREATMENT could leave behind something that could cut your life tragically short.

Both men and women alike face a higher risk of heart disease and other heart problems after winning a battle with this cancer. They’re also more than four times more likely to die of it than folks who manage to completely avoid thyroid cancer.

But guys, you’re facing the much bigger risk here.

Compared to women who survive this cancer, men have a 47 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer, far deadlier than thyroid cancer or any other form of cancer.

It doesn’t need any help killing people, but it’s getting it – because once thyroid cancer enters the picture, not only does your risk of heart disease jump, but your risk of dying of it jumps right along with it.

The study doesn’t show the reason for the risk, but the researchers believe that it may come down to thyroid hormones.

That’s part of it.

But in reality, it’s a lot more complicated.

The real reason for the risk may not be the hormones themselves, but the hormone drugs most people take – and have to take for the rest of their lives – after surgically removing the thyroid.

The drug Synthroid makes it incredibly difficult to maintain the right levels of thyroid hormone, which is why people who take it often have to go in for regular tests to make sure hormone levels don’t jump too high or drop too low.

One way to cut that risk is to get off the synthetic version of thyroid hormone, which contains only thyroxine, a.k.a. T4. Your body has to convert that T4 into T3, which is the form you can put to use, but not everyone can do it very effectively.

Armour, a natural form of the hormones made from pig thyroid glands, contains both T3 and T4 (as well as T1 and T2), so your body gets everything it needs without the effort, and it’s easier to maintain consistent levels.

Don’t make the switch on your own, though. Work closely with your doctor.

Natural food labels are meaningless

Are you getting TRICKED into doing something unnatural?

It’s the most meaningless label in the supermarket – but it’s one that’s used to trick consumers into buying unhealthy foods every day.

You may have even been conned by this one yourself!

It’s the word “natural,” which sure makes it sound like it’s healthy… or at the very least… lacking in anything, well, unnatural.

Makes sense, right?

OF COURSE it makes sense to you. You don’t work for the FDA!

The ones who do – the people in charge who make the decisions – recently decided yet again that they just can’t be bothered to figure out what the word “natural” really means.

The result?

It was… is… remains… and the foreseeable future will continue to be… MEANINGLESS!

“We recognize that consumers are trusting in products labeled as ‘natural’ without clarity around the term,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in March. “Just like other claims made on products regulated by FDA, we believe the ‘natural’ claim must be true and based in science.”

However, he said that the agency’s not ready to actually decide on what’s “true or based in science” yet.

He promised it will have more to say “soon,” but the FDA has long said it would regulate the word “natural” soon for more than three years now.

But it’s done NOTHING.

That means it’s a marketing buzzword on a package label with no actual legal definition… so it can be twisted, manipulated, overused, and outright abused.

Shoppers will THINK that they’re getting chemical-free foods, and many consumers even think it’s a way of getting foods that are “almost” organic… but without the hefty organic price tag.

And food companies are happy to operate in that gray zone, cranking out an increasing number of products with the word “natural” screaming at you from the label.

So, what can you do?

For starters, ignore the word “natural.”

If you REALLY want to make sure you’re getting truly natural foods with no chemicals or other additives, grow your own. The next-best option is to buy it right from a farm.

If neither of those are realistic, and you’re getting most of your food from the supermarket, stick to the fresh foods on the perimeter of the store – produce and meats – and skip the packaged foods in the middle.

Buy organic meats and produce as much as possible, since the word “organic” really is regulated, and it means that the foods are truly natural and chemical-free and haven’t been genetically modified.

Just watch out for that other little trick, especially if you sneak into the center aisles and buy some packaged foods. There’s a label out there that says “made with organic ingredients,” which really means that not everything inside is actually organic.

Shop smart!

Minor heart attacks often ignored

Did you have a SECRET heart attack?

You’d think that having a heart attack might be the kind of thing your doc would let you know about.

You’d think that… but you’d be wrong!

There’s a hidden form of heart attack that doctors can see on a scan.

They KNOW you’ve had it… but they consider this one to be so minor that they might not even MENTION it to you.

What’s a little heart attack between friends?

Now, new research shows how this “secret” heart attack isn’t nearly as minor as most doctors have assumed.

And if you’ve had one yourself, you could be facing a higher risk of a much bigger heart attack – and even death — over the coming year.

The condition is called myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries, and since that’s a mouthful, we can also call it MINOCA.

It’s so common that roughly 6 percent of the people studied had one over a 12-year period. But because it’s “non-obstructive” – meaning the arteries don’t get plugged up – docs have always believed that it’s not that big a deal.

The study finds that 60 percent of patients who suffer from MINOCA aren’t given any type of treatment or advice.

Don’t worry about it, they’ll tell you… and that’s if they say anything at all!

Maybe it’s time to worry at least enough to make a couple of changes to bring that risk down, since the study finds that it’s not the big nothing doctors have assumed.

Over the course of a year, 1 in 20 MINOCA patients will either have another heart attack or die of a heart attack.

That’s not quite as big as the risk after a “real” heart attack, which is closer to 1 in 10.

But it’s still a big risk, and it lingers well beyond that first year.

By the five-year mark, 11 percent of MINOCA patients either have another heart attack or die, compared to 16 percent of patients who’ve had the kind of heart attack that comes with a blockage.

And while “normal” heart attacks often affect men more than women, MINOCA is an equal opportunity offender, striking men and women alike in similar numbers.

So, what can you do about it?

Plenty!

The new study identifies several risk factors, including small amounts of coronary plaque that might not be visible on normal heart scans. You can knock those out with natural therapies such as vitamin K2, fish oil, and even garlic.

Another risk factor is inflammation, and it’s fish oil to the rescue once again. It’s one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories out there (and not coincidentally, it’s great for the heart).

Finally, you know the drill by now. When it comes to protecting your heart, preventing plaque, and cutting the risk of an attack, there’s nothing better out there than the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Give it a shot.

Protein in high levels could boost your heart risk

New warning over your summer grilling favorites

Summer means BBQ season, and everyone loves a meal hot off the grill.

But this summer, there’s one tweak you want to make.

Banish the burgers… and set the hot dogs free.

If you want to grill up something that’s both good and good for you, stick to salmon and chicken – because new research shows again how some forms of protein are worse you for than others.

And as you might guess just from looking around, the most popular proteins of all – especially the ones at summer cookouts – are also the most damaging, especially for men.

Eat too much of them, and you’re not just facing a bigger risk of an expanding waistline.

You could end up battling one of the deadliest conditions of all.

Your burger habit could lead directly to heart failure!

The new study again links high levels of certain proteins to big-time risks, with the biggest risks of all going to men who eat too much meat and dairy.

Overall, guys who eat (and drink) the most dairy protein have a 49 percent jump in the risk of heart failure, while that risk climbs by 43 percent in men who have the most animal protein.

A burger is bad… and a cheeseburger is worse.

If you’re one of the folks still following the low-carb, high-protein diets that were all the rage a few years back, I hate to burst your bubble.

Those diets are good in the sense that they restrict carbs, especially sugars, which are the worst of the lot. The downside is that the meat – all of that animal protein, especially – is just a little excessive.

But it’s not just meat.

Even guys who eat the highest levels of plant protein face a 17 percent higher risk of heart failure.

So much for that bean-burger substitute!

The good news?

The risks in the study aren’t from protein alone. You won’t eat a steak and suffer heart failure there at the table.

It’s all from eating too much of those proteins.

Keep it moderate or occasional and as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and you really won’t have to worry.

But for maximum taste and no risk at all, there’s one delicious protein you can put at the heart of your diet: fish!

The study finds NO RISK at all from seafood. It also found no risk from eggs.

The study didn’t separate chicken and turkey from other forms of meat, but my guess is that those would be healthy options as well (especially skinless white meat).

Sounds to me like breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all taken care of, and you can get the proteins you love without the risks.

Testosterone imbalance could lead to death

The hormone you WON’T be tested for

It’s a job so simple… so basic… and almost impossible to mess up. Yet doctors botch this critical part of the gig nearly every single day!

It happens so often that I shouldn’t be amazed anymore.

Yet here I am, stunned to see the latest evidence of just how badly they get hormone testing wrong. The new study shows how women are paying a HUGE price for that incompetence: heart disease… heart failure… and stroke.

Those are three of today’s top causes of death.

And doctors are MISSING them because they don’t know how to test for hormones!

Here’s what they get wrong: When they test for hormones (which isn’t often enough), they don’t run a complete panel.

They look at only one small part of the picture.

They test men for male hormones and women for female hormones… despite the fact that everyone has both.

Of course, men have more testosterone, while women have more estrogen. That’s just how we’re designed.

But guys also have some estrogen, and women have a little testosterone.

We all NEED both, which is why I prefer to speak of hormone “balance” rather than hormone “levels.”

When you fall out of balance, you face big risks, as the new study so clearly shows. It finds that when the ratio in women shifts too far toward testosterone, the odds of heart problems jump.

For every unit increase of testosterone in that ratio, the risk of coronary heart disease absolutely skyrockets, rising by 45 percent.

That’s a single unit, mind you.

Two units means the risk almost doubles!

The overall risk of cardiovascular disease leaps by 19 percent for every unit increase in male hormones.

That’s still not all.

I’ve saved the worst for last: When the ratio falls out of whack, ladies, you could also face heart failure, a condition so deadly that half of the people who have it die within just five years.

And for every single unit increase in testosterone compared to estrogen – which could happen as your “female” sex hormones plummet during and after menopause — your chances of facing heart failure jump by almost a third.

That might sound like bad news.

But I’m an optimist. This is GOOD news. It shows the importance of not only testing for hormones… but testing for ALL hormones.

And if you haven’t had your own levels checked yet, it’s time to get started.

If you’re out of balance, there are some fairly easy ways to bring your hormones back into line and cut these and other risks, starting with complete testing under the care of a skilled holistic medical doctor.

If you’re in the San Diego area, 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!

Testosterone can save your life

Missing out on THIS can boost guys’ death risk by 500%

It’s one of the most common conditions in older men… and one of the easiest to fix.

Taking care of this single issue can improve your health, protect your heart, restore your strength, and help you lose some weight.

Now, new research shows that it will also help by the one measure you care about most.

You’ll LIVE longer!

It’s testosterone – and it’s CLEARLY important, yet most mainstream doctors STILL don’t routinely test guys for it.

As the new study shows, that’s not just a mistake. It’s an error that can have tragic consequences.

And if you haven’t been tested yet, it might be time to make an appointment and get yourself checked out.

The new study focused on guys who started out with testosterone levels of 350 ng/dL or less and slightly elevated blood pressure levels of at least 130/85 mmHg.

Some of them were given testosterone injections every three months (which is not a good way to do it — weekly or every two weeks is best) to boost their hormone levels. ​

The others got nothing at all beyond any usual treatments they may have been receiving for conditions such as high blood pressure.

What makes this study so incredible is that it didn’t just track the guys through a few of those injections. It continued to follow them for up to a full decade, and over that time, the guys who didn’t get the treatments were FIVE TIMES more likely to die.

If that were the ONLY benefit, I’d urge you to RUN to a doctor’s office to get tested.

But it wasn’t.

These guys weren’t put on a diet, yet they lost as much as 20 percent of their body weight. Want more?

The guys who got the treatment saw their systolic (“top number”) blood pressure plunge by 23 points — from a level considered “hypertensive” right down into the normal range – while guys who didn’t get the testosterone saw their blood pressure levels jump.

There were also improvements in heart rate, pulse, and more.

But you don’t have to wait a decade to see those results for yourself.

Most men who are low and get treated can “feel” the difference almost immediately, from improved energy and increased strength and muscle to… well… you know what this stuff can do for you in the bedroom.

Even the guys in the new study had benefits much sooner than the 10-year mark.

When they were checked at four years as part of a 2012 study, they were already healthier and losing weight when compared to the men with low testosterone who weren’t treated.

If your own doctor has never tested your hormone levels, get yourself checked out.

And if you’re in the San Diego area, I can test you here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine and begin this life-changing treatment immediately if you need it.

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 failure patients can die of loneliness

A life-or-death difference for heart failure patients

It’s one of the single biggest factors in heart failure.

If this complication gets to you during your battle, your risk of hospitalization and death will jump.

On the flip side, if you can keep it away, your chance of living will surge – making this condition more important to your recovery and survival than any drug, treatment, or operation.

The answer is in keeping yourself socially active.

No one wants to be lonely, but it happens.

It happens too often — and in the case of heart failure, the disease itself can leave you feeling delicate, afraid, and downright exhausted.

You could end up feeling like an iceberg, breaking off from the continent and floating away alone.

Many people with heart failure – even folks who were previously social and active – start to withdraw and stay inside.

Some won’t even go out to a restaurant!

It’s bad for the spirit, and as the new study shows that it can be even worse for the heart.

People with heart failure who feel socially isolated are 3.5 times more likely to die over the following eight months, according to the study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

That’s not the only risk, either.

They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s not the case here.

Being lonely and isolated will increase your risk of an emergency room visit by 60 percent and hospitalization by 70 percent.

Call that a big motivation to get out and stay engaged with friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

If you’re home from a major heart operation and aren’t quite ready to get out just yet, burn up the phone lines. Talk to people, and don’t be shy about asking for a visit.

Once you’re able to get up, go for walks around the neighborhood and — whether it’s a trip the mall or a dinner with your friends and family — get out and active again.

If you’re at the stage in life when you’ve lost some friends and loved ones and now have a smaller circle, don’t accept it.

You don’t want to be next to go!

There are other ways to get socially active.

One option is to join your local community center, which will almost certainly have activities geared toward seniors.

And for an even stronger sense of community – including a circle of people who will come visit you at home and drive you if you’re unable to do so on your own – contact your local church.

Atrial fibrillation surgery doesn’t save lives

Popular heart surgery FLUNKS major study

It’s an expensive and invasive operation that’s supposed to FIX your heart and SAVE your life.

But a new study finds that this procedure, which is already on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry, DOESN’T WORK!

The operation is called a catheter ablation, and it’s aimed at the 6 million Americans with atrial fibrillation, or when your heart starts skipping around like the needle on a scratched-up record. (Remember those?)

If you have a-fib yourself, your doctor may have already given you the sales pitch.

In short, a surgeon uses a catheter to destroy or scar up the damaged heart tissue that sends out the signals that cause your heartbeat to fly off track.

This operation has taken off, despite no major studies prove any lasting benefits.

Some in the mainstream have even called it an a-fib “cure.”

Now, the first real look at the procedure is here… and it doesn’t look like a cure at all.

The study put catheter ablation up against drugs such as blood thinners. Over the long term, there were no differences by any outcomes you’d care about.

The folks who had the operation DIDN’T live longer.

They DIDN’T have a lower risk of dangerous heart conditions such as cardiac arrest.

They DIDN’T have a lower risk of major bleeding problems.

And, amazingly, the operation DIDN’T cut the biggest atrial fibrillation risk of all: stroke.

That’s a long list of “DIDN’Ts” for an operation that so many surgeons across the country continue to “DO.”

They’re in no hurry to stop, because each time they “DO,” they earn $20,000 — and industry execs say that they believe catheter ablation can expand into a multibillion-dollar market in the coming years.

A study like this one could undermine those plans.

The industry claims that the operation might still be better, even without those improved outcomes, since blood thinners are also dangerous.

And those drugs certainly ARE risky… there’s no disputing that.

But this procedure is no cakewalk either, as it can lead to infection, heart damage, and clots.

Some people suffer a heart attack or stroke during or after the operation.

And in some cases, it can lead to death.

Even when it works, it might need to be repeated. Some folks need several operations, and many have to continue taking blood thinners anyway.

Meds might not be the ideal here, but they’re still better than this procedure. And in some cases, with careful lifestyle changes including quitting alcohol and being more active, you can bring a-fib under control and work with a doctor to reduce or maybe even eliminate medication.

I’ll have more on caring for your heart coming up later today.

Keep an eye on your email!