- Created on Wednesday, 26 February 2020 04:29
There seems to be quite a bit of panic being generated by government and media lately over the Corona virus, with trillions shaved off the stock exchanges in the last few days because of it. I realize that people have died, and that’s tragic. I am paying attention to it, but I am not in a panic, and I do not fear that I am going to succumb.
I’d like to remind people that we have been through this before and many times. I recall 1976 with the Swine Flu epidemic. They quickly came up with a vaccine. Millions took it, and many wound up with Gullain-Barre Syndrome- from the vaccine, not from the disease- and tied to iron lungs for the rest of their lives. I didn’t take the Swine flu vaccine. And guess what? I’m not going to take the Corona vaccine either, if they come up with one.
I want you to realize that fear sells. And it’s also good for business, the government business, including the CDC business. I am reminded of the line from V for Vendetta, when the despotic High Chancellor tells his Cabinet, “They (the people) need to be reminded, again and again, why they need us.” And you should also think about the fact that every time there is an outbreak, some people get sick and some people don’t. And that was true even in the worst pandemic of the 20th century, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Back then, there were so many people who were traumatized, depleted, and malnourished from World War 1, that they had no resistance. I have to think that the state of your nutrition, the state of your vitality, and just your overall health has a huge bearing on whether or not you get sick. And frankly, I feel vigorous. So, I am not losing a wink of sleep worrying that I am going to succumb to this virus.
But, let’s talk about the people who are probably going to be more vulnerable than I am, and it consists of millions of people. For instance, there are the millions of people who take drugs every day to destroy their stomach acid. Do you realize that stomach acid is meant to be a sterilizer? That one of its purposes is to kill microbes and to protect your system from infections? So, all these people who take Nexium or Prevacid or other acid-blocking drugs are tampering with a powerful protective mechanism. The truth is that stomach acid is something that you need. I realize that when it rises up into your esophagus and throat that it’s a problem, but it certainly does belong in your stomach, and to solve the problem of acid reflux by destroying your stomach acid is the wrong approach. Doing that has unintended consequences, and increased susceptibility to infections is one of them.
Do you realize how much energy it takes for the body to concentrate acid in the stomach? It takes a lot of energy, and that’s why young people, who are more energetic, have more stomach acid than old people.
You should think of your stomach like a battery. What happens when your car battery runs out of acid? You have to get a new battery; that’s what happens.
Saliva is another protective agent. There are anti-microbials in saliva, and plenty of people take drugs that cause “dry mouth” as a side effect, and that increases their risk of infection too. Taking mucus blockers does the same thing because the mucus that lines the respiratory tract, from top to bottom, is also protective. And then people are taking a lot of other drugs that are immune-suppressive, including steroids, plus all these new “biologics” that are prescribed to treat auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Then there are the cancer chemotherapy drugs that are also immune-suppressive.
So, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there, but I am not one of them. I’m not doing anything to hurt my immune system, and I’m doing plenty to support it, nutritionally and otherwise. I apologize if that sounds cocky, but I am just telling you honestly that I am not worried for myself about the Corona virus. And I am going to be 70 years old on my next birthday.
And, there is a very important point here, and it is that susceptibility arises from weakness, and weakness results from what people do to themselves, and what doctors do to them- with their prescription pads. And there is plenty more of the latter going around than most people realize.
Beware the Benzodiazepines
- Created on Friday, 21 February 2020 17:18
When benzodiazepine tranquilizers came along in the 1960s, they were hailed as a big improvement over the heavy-duty barbiturates that they replaced, such as the ones Marilyn Monroe took. Benzos were easier to take, and they really seemed like kinder, gentler drugs. But, it was a delusion. Benzos are a trap. They are so highly addicting. They are physically addicting as well as psychologically addicting. And getting off of them can be shear hell. And the irony is that they seemed to be less toxic. But, we know now that there are people who, even after a short course on a benzo such as Xanax and Ativan, never get completely over it. They are left with an edge of anxiety or panic that lingers permanently. The cerebral and neurological axis that it affects remains permanently damaged.
It often starts casually. The patient sees their doctor complaining of stress, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. So, the doctor suggests they take a low dose of Xanax or Ativan. It’s bad advice. Its bad medicine. It’s bad everything. It is a road you don’t want to go down, and that’s true even if it seems like a godsend at first. What’s likely to happen is that, at first, a tiny dose seems to work wonders. It eases you into sleep at night, and you bask in it for a while. But then, you get so used to it, you have to raise the dose to get the same effect. And then serious psychological dependency sets in, where you can’t wait until it’s time to take it again. It’s as strong as any drug addiction that is out there. Then, at some point, you realize that you need to get off this stuff, and that’s when you discover how trapped you are because even lowering the dose causes in tolerable withdrawal symptoms.
The track record on these drugs is well known. The danger that they pose is well documented. So, why does any medical doctor today prescribe them? Now, to be fair, not all do. There are doctors who won’t give them, who prescribe newer drugs with less dependency. But, there are still plenty of doctors who dispense these “brain candies” as though they are harmless. And I really think that it constitutes malpractice. I think the only ones who should be given benzos are perhaps people who are dying, who are terminal, who are nearing the end of their lives, and the only consideration is to try to make them comfortable. But, anyone who has a prospect for living should not be given these drugs. And there really is no excuse for giving them- with all that we know about their harms and dangers.
And frankly, I’m not enthused about the drugs that followed the benzos, such as the z-drugs (Ambien, Lunesta, etc.) for sleep and BuSpar for anxiety, and I don’t care for SSRIs and the SNRIs either. I like SAM-e for depression. I like some of the stress-relieving herbs, such a lemon balm. I like L-Theanine, which is an amino acid from green tea which makes it relaxing. I like the amino acids glycine and taurine, which act as inhibitory neurotransmitters. These things are all safe. But, whether a person takes them or not, the most important thing is: don’t get started on benzos because you are sure to regret it. It’s like the Pied Piper, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Here are some videos on Youtube by regular people who got caught in the benzodiazepine trap. It’s just a bad decision to start taking them, and I hope you believe that.
Fixing Inguinal Hernias- the right way
- Created on Saturday, 01 February 2020 17:54
I never thought I would get an inguinal hernia. I don’t know why because I have certainly done a lot of strenuous exertion in my life. Is it because I think I’m Superman? Yeah, it could be that. But regardless, I got one, and I immediately started looking into what to do about it.
If it’s mild, as mine was, there is always the option of doing nothing and just living with it. But, that doesn’t make sense because it’s not going to go away, and it’s likely to get worse. Plus, there is the psychological factor of constantly living with the thought, “I have a hernia; I am broken; I am not intact” and it plagues you night and day. So, one should get it fixed, and the sooner the better.
I knew before I started investigating that I did not want mesh. And that’s not only because of what I’ve read and heard about it, including the lawsuits, but from hearing directly from men who had mesh repairs and regretted it. One young man I know went back and had a second operation to have the mesh removed.
So, mine would not be a mesh repair, and I knew that going in. There are several non-mesh repairs that use the body’s own muscles to form a new floor. The two most prominent are Shouldice and Desarda, both named after doctors. Dr. Shouldice was a Canadian surgeon who developed his hernia repair method during WW2. The Shouldice hospital is still located in Ontario and receives patients from all over the world.
Dr. Desarda, who is still living, is an Indian surgeon, from India, and his technique, which he has been doing since the 1990s, involves a simpler method. It consists of dividing the External Oblique muscle and moving part of it “from the ceiling to the floor” i.e. from above the inguinal opening to below it. The Shouldice method involves cutting and overlapping several muscles, and it involves much more cutting and much more suturing. And all that extra trauma results in a slower recovery, and so they keep you at the Shouldice hospital for 5 days after surgery because of the pain and delicacy. With the Desarda method, you can go home the very next day.
I watched both surgeries online before I decided, and from that I knew that I wanted to go with Desarda. In a word, the muscle looks very happy to be put where it is put, and it looks like a solid trampoline of support. It all looks very comfortable when it's done. But, with Shouldice, it really looks tense and uncomfortable the way they reconfigure the muscles.
So, I watched both surgeries, and the Desarda looked much more appealing to my eye.
So, after that decision was made, the next was where to have it done. And it turns out that there is only one surgeon in all of America who is certified by Dr. Desarda to perform his technique, and that is Dr. Robert Tomas of the UFirst Rejuvenation Center in Ft. Myers, Florida.
And besides watching videos of Dr. Desarda operating, I got to watch videos of Dr. Tomas operating, and I was equally impressed with both of them.
So, I hoped on a plane to Ft. Myers and let Dr. Tomas fix me. It went very well. I don’t remember anything from the surgery. I was told that I was woken up and asked to cough to test the strength of the repair he had made, and I apparently did that, although I don’t remember it.
The thing I feared most was the post-surgical pain. But, here it is the 3rd day after surgery, and I am in very little pain. And what pain I have isn’t constant. It’s mainly getting in and out of bed, and it does hurt a lot when I cough or sneeze. But, I’m not doing that all day, and as I sit here typing, I’m not feeling anything at all. At this moment, I’m as comfortable as you are.
In fact, the pain is so mild that I have already discontinued the pain meds. I took them for a couple days, but I don’t need them anymore. And you know how I am: I don’t like taking drugs.
So, this has been a good experience, and I am very impressed with Dr. Tomas and his whole team. He is very dedicated. He charges a very reasonable price. It was less than $4000, and that’s for everything, including the pain meds. The pre, the post, the anesthesiologist, everything is included. And I say to get abdominal surgery for that little in this day and age is amazing. But, Dr. Tomas told me that he wants to make it accessible to people of ordinary means.
So, to any man who has an inguinal hernia, I would strongly urge you to go to Dr. Tomas. This is not a paid endorsement. I wouldn’t dream of doing that. I am offering this advice because I think it’s valuable, and the fact is that 25% of men will get inguinal hernia in their lives.
So, my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Robert Tomas and his staff, and here is his website:
FDA says that sunscreen chemicals seep into your blood
- Created on Saturday, 25 January 2020 17:44
After applying sunscreen extensively (with 75% coverage of the body) to 24 young adults, they found significant measurable levels of the chemicals in the blood.
The extent of danger or harm from this is unknown. But, I think it is axiomatic that we don’t want sunscreen in our blood.
What I have been doing for a long time is using a zinc-based sunscreen: zinc oxide. If any is absorbed into my blood, I figure it won’t hurt me to get a little more zinc. And I only use it on my face and neck. For my body, I rely on coverage. Even when I’m swimming, if I expect to be in the water for a long time, I will keep a shirt on throughout. I’d rather do that than apply sunscreen.
And be aware that when you eat a lot of green and yellow vegetables, and fruits such as mango and papaya, you get a lot of carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, which builds up in your skin and acts like an internal sunscreen. Realize that the photo-protective effect of carotenoid pigments is the whole basis for having the yellow carotenoid lutein in your retina. It’s there to prevent ultra-violent damage to the macula.
I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and I admit that I look a little bit orange from it. Not terribly so, but a little. And I can live with it.
But, try the zinc oxide sunscreen. There are several different brands of it. The one I am using currently is by Neurtrogena, called Sheer Zinc. It goes on white, which is the color of zinc, but it vanishes as soon as you rub it in. It’s not like the lifeguards with a white nose. It’s absolutely undetectable. Plus, it’s dry; it’s not greasy; not oily. It really is the way to go.
I’m pushing 70 now, and so far, I haven’t had any skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions, despite having spent a lot of time in the sun. And I admit that I love the sun. I would get depressed living somewhere that got little sun. I wouldn’t consider it. I know myself too well.
And realize also that as far as cancer goes, the sun is mostly protective, that except for skin cancer, the incidence of other cancers go down from sun exposure. For instance, there is much less colon cancer among those who have lived in the sun, for example, throughout the Equator, there is less colon cancer. Another correlation exists with multiple sclerosis. There is increasingly more M.S. as you move north or south from the Equator, with the highest levels in the far north and far south.
So, the beneficent rays of the sun should not be shunned. But, it is necessary to control your exposure and always avoid burning. And I am very careful about that, although I will admit that during the filming of My Stretch of Texas Ground in Texas in July 2018, I did get sunburned. But, that’s the only time in decades.
Report on the 2019-20 flu season
- Created on Friday, 17 January 2020 00:27
The CDC is saying that this is the worst flu season in decades, but they are also saying that the percentage of Americans taking the flu shot has never been higher, with over 60% of children vaccinated for it, and nearly 50% of adults. And yet, we are in the midst of an epidemic of flu.
If it were true that it’s mostly unvaccinated people who are being stricken, then surely they would say so. But, they are not saying anything about that, which tells me that vaccinated persons must be succumbing at the same rate as the unvaccinated. And who knows, it could even be worse.
Be aware that flu vaccine is never tested for efficacy. They test it to see if it raises antibody titers, but that’s not an end in itself. There’s no guarantee that having a higher antibody titer is going to keep you from getting the flu. That’s the wishful thinking, but it’s never tested. And it could very easily be tested. Take two groups of one thousand adults each who are comparable in every way except that one got the flu vaccine and the other didn’t. Then, see how many in each group gets the flu.
They could do it easily, and every single year. But, they never do it.
And this year, when it’s clear that people are succumbing despite having been vaccinated, do they step back and question whether the vaccination is really working? No, they don’t. Why? It’s because, as Dr. Robert Mendelson taught us, Modern Medicine is a religion, and vaccination is its sacrament.
Last year, they admitted that the flu vaccine was only 10% effective, meaning presumably, that for every 10 unvaccinated persons getting the flu, 9 vaccinated ones would get it.
Another claim that they make is that if you get vaccinated and still get the flu, that it’ s likely to be milder, lasting a day or two less.
I would tell you that it is entirely possible that the flu vaccine is doing nothing positive at all and only harm. I have not gotten the flu. I feel fine. But, even if I did get it, I would have no regrets about not getting a flu shot. Even if I knew for sure I was going to get the flu, I wouldn’t get it. I am not worried about lasting harm from the flu, but I do worry about it from the shot.
The bottom line is that if the flu vaccine were effective, they would be more than willing to test it. But, they don’t test it, and there is no excuse for that.
A telling sign about the flu vaccine
- Created on Friday, 27 December 2019 20:36
Nuts to You
- Created on Friday, 20 December 2019 03:40
It is the holidays, a time that people traditionally have nuts around. It was always that way when I was a kid. But, as an adult, I became a serious nut-eater, and I can honestly say that I eat nuts every day. I consider them a primordial food for human beings, and the research shows that they are very health-promoting and disease-preventing.
Nutritionally, nuts have some outstanding attributes, and I would like to discuss a few:
Brazil nutss are the highest source of selenium on the planet, providing more than any other food and by a wide margin. There is so much selenium in brazil nuts that it is theoretically possible to get selenium poisoning from them. Yet, I have never seen reported a single case of clinical selenosis from by eating brazil nuts. And it leads me to believe the form that the selenium occurs in brazil nuts just isn’t very toxic. We’re advised not to eat more than 2 or 3 a day because of the high selenium content, and I generally stick to that. But, a good batch of brazil nuts is pretty tempting, it's easy to keep going. But, I’ll tell you a secret: like most nuts, brazil nuts are very high in oil, which can go rancid. So, when I eat brazil nuts, I bite them in half first and before chomping any further, I look at the color of the flesh inside. If it’s white, I know it’s a fresh nut. If it’s brown, I know it’s rancid, and so I spit it out. It’s a very reliable screening process. Brazil nuts have been shown to be cardio-protective, and here’s another interesting thing: they are one of very few wild foods that are marketed commercially. Yes, with brazil nuts, you are eating a wild food.
Pecans are one of the highest sources of zinc, and they are very digestible. And the great Dr. Walter Pierpaoli says that the decline in zinc nutrition plays a major role in causing the decrepitude of old age. Pecans are also high in monounsaturated fat and loaded with polyphenols, much like olive oil, and even though raw pecans have more to offer than olive oil, nutritionally and otherwise, olive oil gets far more attention and praise. And don’t get me wrong: I think there is a place for extra virgin olive oil in a healthy diet. But, if I had to say which is better, it’s the pecans. Pecans become available in November, and you should buy a bunch then and keep them in the freezer. The really dark shelled pecans that you commonly see in supermarkets and chain stores are old and oxidized, and they may even be rancid. A fresh pecan is more blond-colored than brown. So, buy new-crop, light-colored shelled pecans in the fall, and ideally, you should get them directly from growers or from a distributor who accesses growers. Pecans are a wonderful food, but they need to be fresh.
Almonds are very high in calcium and magnesium, the two “macro” minerals along with potassium. They are also very high in Vitamin E, including the crucial gamma tocopherol form of it. Almonds have the advantage of keeping better than other nuts because the skin of the almond “hermetically” seals it preventing oxidation and rancidity. It’s not fool-proof, and you should definitely keep them refrigerated. But, it’s definitely easier to keep almonds around for a long time than other nuts, and you don’t have to freeze almonds. Refrigeration is enough. With pecans, I would not settle for refrigerating them; I would definitely freeze them, and I do. And keep in mind that they don’t actually freeze because their oil requires a lower temperature to freeze than your freezer gets. So, you can actually eat pecans right out of the freezer. But, almonds are often called the king of nuts because they keep so well and so long, and they are nutritionally a powerhouse.
Walnuts are uniquely high in the plant form of omega 3, which is alpha linolenic acid. And the body can convert it into EPA and DHA to some extent, although it’s limited. But, ALA has beneficial effects of its own, and walnuts have a vast array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The common walnut is often referred to as English walnuts but it would be better to call them Persian walnuts because that’s where they come from. Walnuts have the distinction of being one of the oldest human foods, and they are believed to have changed very little over the last million years. And there has been a lot of research on walnuts demonstrating that they have a cardio-protective effect; they help to prevent heart disease. Some people find the taste of walnuts to be strong, but there is an easy way to overcome that and make them taste lighter: just add a few raisins to them.
Pistachio nuts are also from Iran and Western Asia, and Iran still grows the best pistachio nuts in the world, as far as I’m concerned. Here in the U.S. we only get the California pistachios, which aren’t bad, but unfortunately, they are offered almost exclusively roasted and salted. And they don’t need roasting or salting. A raw pistachio has a taste that is similar to avocado except that it’s richer and more concentrated. But, when fresh they are exquisitely delicious, and they require no processing whatsoever. Again: there is a lot of clinical evidence of cardio-protection from pistachios.
Macadamias are exotically and tropically delicious and are very high in monounsaturated fat- like olive oil. And I would say the same thing that you should always eat them raw and unsalted. They are very expensive, which is a deterrent. But, I hope that occasionally you will treat yourself to some raw macadamias because they have such a distinct flavor that is very satisfying.
Are nuts going to make you fat? Well, they haven’t made me fat. I am 5’6 and I weigh 135 pounds, the same weight I weighed in high school, and I am 69 years old. I don’t know what my body fat composition is, but I’m sure it’s low, in the single digits. And I eat raw nuts every day. And when I say every day, I mean that the only days that I don’t eat raw nuts are days that I happen to be fasting.
So, I am a great believer in the nutritional and health benefits of nuts, and it’s because they have delivered great nutrition and health benefits to me over the years and decades. And I shall eat them for the rest of my life until I die.
Take care of your kidneys
- Created on Friday, 29 November 2019 03:35
There isn’t much you can do for your kidneys, except don’t abuse them; don’t overwork them; and don’t poison them. You are born with about a million nephrons in each kidney, and they do have a natural attrition. You do lose kidney function just from wear and tear. And, the kidneys have very little healing power. Once a nephron is gone, it is never replaced. You have an allotment at birth, and that is it. I wish I could tell you of a supplement that will protect your kidneys, but I don’t know of any, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are just speculating, if they aren’t lying.
So, the main way to help your kidneys is to just don’t hurt them. Here are my top 10 tips for preserving your kidneys.
1 Limit salt. Don’t listen to those who say it’s all a big lie. The fact is that most Americans have very salty urine, and that comes from the body trying to keep up with excreting the excess salt that they consume. It is work. It is irritating. It’s a strain. Try to limit your salt intake to no more than 1500 mgs/day. And that’s if you are healthy. If you’re sick; if you have chronic problems; try to get it below 1000, and especially if you have kidney problems. I know people who don’t consume any refined sodium chloride at all. The only salt they get is from celery, spinach, tomatoes, etc. I do consume some salt, but I am careful about it. I read labels, and I keep track of my daily consumption.
2 Limit protein. Obviously, you have to get enough, but when people go on high-protein diets, most of that protein gets broken down. The liver breaks it down, but the kidneys have to excrete the waste. I wouldn’t like it if I had a blood level of urea say in the 20s. But, high protein eaters can have blood urea over 30. I wouldn’t like that. Getting rid of nitrogenous waste is one of the biggest burdens the kidneys have, so why make it harder than it has to be?
3 Avoid alcohol. That’s because alcohol is toxic to the kidneys. This is from the National Kidney Foundation. Alcohol causes changes in the function of the kidneys and makes them less able to filter the blood. Alcohol also affects the ability to regulate fluid and electrolytes in the body. When alcohol dehydrates (dries out) the body, the drying effect can affect the normal function of cells and organs, including the kidneys.
I do not drink. Call me a teetotaler; call me a party-pooper; call me whatever you want. But, I do not drink.
4 Don’t smoke. And I mean don’t smoke anything. Smoke, of any kind, contains toxic substances which irritate the kidneys and cause damage. Smoking reduces blood flow to your kidneys, and it raises blood pressure, which hurts your kidneys. It also leads to atherosclerosis which hurts your kidneys. Don’t smoke. Anything.
5 Eat an alkalinizing diet. Your blood as a ph of 7.4 where 7.0 is neutral. That may sound like it’s only slightly alkaline, but it’s logarithmic scale, where 8 is 10x more alkaline than 7. So, 7. 4 is pretty darn alkaline, and it means that we should be eating an alkaline diet. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat any acid-forming foods because you need them too. But, you need to buffer them by eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
6 Exercise, but not to extremes. Your kidneys, like the rest of your body, benefit from you exercising. However, while you are exercising, your kidneys are relatively deprived of blood, and if someone exercises to an extreme, it might actually tax your kidneys. Of course, there are other harms from excessive exercise as well. What it comes down to, in my opinion, is that if you are exercising for health, than moderation is the watchword. If you go for a vigorous 3 mile walk, that’s going to deliver all the health benefits. Beyond that, you are doing more than you have to. And that’s just an example that pertains to walking, but it applies to everything. Be diligent about exercise, and be regular about it. But, don’t be excessive.
7 Get sufficient sleep. More blood goes to your kidneys when you are sleeping. And it’s when you are sleeping that your kidneys have the easiest time of doing the balancing and normalizing of your blood chemistry on which your life depends. So, do your kidneys a favor and get plenty of sleep.
8 Be wary of drugs because many of them, and most of them, are nephro-toxic. Your kidneys have to eliminate the drugs that you take, and many drugs are renowned for damaging the kidneys. A good example are pain-killers. All the NSAID painkillers like Aleve and Ibuprofen damage the kidneys. You don’t feel lt. You don’t sense it. But, they do. And I have known people who wound up with destroyed kidneys, where it was time to go on dialysis, whose doctors told them that all the years of taking painkillers is what destroyed their kidneys. And again: it is irreversible; completely and totally irreversible. And even diuretics, which are given to increase urine output, are damaging to the kidneys. Most of the time, it’s just not worth it to take them. It really isn’t.
9 Watch your blood pressure and keep it low naturally. I have written before that I HATE blood pressure drugs. I hate them all. Every single one of them, and there are all kinds, are like throwing a monkey wrench in your machinery. But, at the same time, I recognize the value of having lower blood pressure. High blood pressure alone can lead to heart disease. I don’t doubt it. And it can also damage your kidneys. So, through diet and exercise and even supplements, there is a lot you can do to keep your blood pressure down without drugs, and you should.
10 Get an annual blood test to see how your kidneys are doing. It’s part of the serum chemistry panel that they do, and it will typically include urea, uric acid, and creatinine. The flagship is creatinine. Basically, you want it at 1 or less. Even if rose to 1.5, it would be cause for concern, and the need to see what is going. On. And as long as it stays nice and low, you can be confident that your kidneys are holding up.
So, love your kidneys because you’re not getting any more, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Dialysis is no picnic, nor is getting a kidney transplant. And I intend to go my whole life without ever experiencing either one.