Critical Health News

Is Your Thyroid Working? Try A Self Test!

Thyroid

One of the easiest and most effective ways to check for thyroid health is the ‘Basal Thermometer Test’ developed by Dr. Broda Barnes, one of the first physicians to recognize the importance of thyroid health when it comes to overall wellness. He wrote the classic book on hypothyroidism called “Hypothyroidism, The Unsuspected Illness” in the 1970’s, and he was of the opinion that numerous health issues including heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, frequent colds or infections, tonsillitis, ear infections, PMS and other female health issues as well as skin disorders, were all caused by a poorly functioning thyroid. Barnes thought that hypothyroidism affected more than 40% of the American population, which was much higher than most doctors at the time. However, perspectives are changing as hypothyroidism is becoming more and more recognized as a health problem.

The test, which is sometimes called the ‘Barnes Basal Thermometer Test’ is done by placing a thermometer in the armpit for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning. This is important. If you move around and start your day before testing, your results won’t be accurate, so you want to do the test as soon as you wake up, while you’re still in bed. Because temperature for women is a bit lower on the first day of menstruation, Barnes advised women on their periods to avoid testing themselves until their second or third day.

Personally, I would suggest women wait until they’re done with their periods entirely just to be sure. You want to test your armpit temperature for three consecutive days and then determine the average. According to Barnes, if you’re below normal body temperature, which is 97.8 degrees, this can be indicative of hypothyroidism, especially if you have other symptoms. On the other hand, a reading over 97.8 degrees, according to Barnes, could indicate hyperthyroidism, again, especially if there are other symptoms present.

If it turns out you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, and nearly 10 percent of Americans are, it’s unlikely that using iodine supplements will make much of a difference. I’m not saying that iodine is not an important mineral; iodine is important, particularly for glandular health and for the production of thyroid hormone. If you are blatantly deficient, you may notice some benefits, but most hypothyroid patients are not suffering from a lack of iodine. The same goes for thyroid hormone drugs (levothyroxine), which may or may not provide the hypothyroid body with a little hormone activity, but will not do anything to correct the condition.

Hypothyroidism is typically the result of digestive health issues, blood sugar problems and chronic stress (adrenal) gland activity. That means the best strategy for dealing with hypothyroidism is the same strategy used when dealing with any other health challenge:

#1 Work on digestive health (using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with meals, eating fermented foods, using probiotics and eliminating problem foods).

#2 Stabilize blood sugar by eating less starchy and processed carbs (like cereal, as well as sweets and desserts), using supplements like selenium and sulfur chromium, vanadium and the B-vitamins (among many others) and enjoying fiber-rich veggies with all meals.

#3 Focus on adrenal health with relaxation strategies and deep breathing, reduce sugar intake, and use nutritional supplementation including zinc, Vitamin C, the B-complex and magnesium. Progesterone cream may help, likewise pregnenolone and DHEA.

Activated Charcoal for Intestinal Detox, Food Poisoning, and Hangovers

Charcoal

So what exactly is activated charcoal, the ancient healing substance that has become all the rage in the beauty and skin care business? Simply put, it’s burnt wood that has been magically transformed into a powerful poison filter that can reduce the absorption of drugs, chemicals and other toxins by up to 60%.

To make activated charcoal, wood is burnt in the absence of oxygen at extremely high temperatures, up to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit, to create a black substance called char. The net result is a type of material sometimes referred to as vegetable carbon, that is tremendously porous, with a remarkable surface area; two teaspoons full of activated charcoal has the surface area of an entire football field.

This amplification of porosity and surface area gives activated charcoal its amazing ability to ‘adsorb’ toxins. Adsorption (with an “AD”) is a phenomenon whereby chemicals stick to a surface via chemical attraction. This distinguishes it from absorption (with an “AB”), which can be defined as the complete assimilation of one material into another, as water is into a sponge. Because of the tremendous increase in surface area created by the activation process, activated charcoal can adsorb many times its weight in toxins. This makes the fine black powder incredibly valuable as an antidote for poisons, which readily adhere to the large surface area of the pores like paper clips to a magnet.

That’s why activated charcoal is considered a must have in pharmacies, first aid kits and medicine cabinets around the world. And, it’s considered first line treatment for accidental poisoning in most emergency rooms. Perhaps the most famous example of activated charcoal’s astounding anti-poison properties was the case of Professor Touery, who in 1831 drank 15 grams of strychnine (that is ten times the lethal dose) in front of his medical associates without issue simply because he mixed the deadly substance with activated charcoal.

According to a 2001 study published in the journal “Pediatrics”, activated charcoal can be an effective home treatment for accidental poisonings. In the study, researchers from the Kentucky Regional Poison Center found that poisoned patients who used activated charcoal at home before they got to an emergency room had significantly improved outcomes. The researchers concluded that intestinal detoxification “… at home using activated charcoal, in appropriate circumstances, may reduce the number of cases that require treatment in a health care facility”.

Personally, I keep a bottle of activated charcoal capsules in my medicine cabinet at home, and I had a ten-pound jar of it at my pharmacy for years. I’ve used it for food poisoning, to reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms like gas and bloating and for dealing with the stomach flu. It has also been recommended for accelerating recovery from a hangover after a night of too much celebration, although recent literature suggests it may not be effective. Externally, you can make a paste with it – blend it with olive oil and perhaps a bit of bentonite and apply it to the affected area – and it can draw out infection or even spider venom.

Activated charcoal, as many cosmetic companies are discovering, can also be used cosmetically to great effect. A quick Google search for “activated charcoal in beauty products” reveals at least 26 different topical products that feature the fine black powder. It’s also found in shampoos, bath salts, deodorant and anti-fungal creams for athlete’s foot.

You can buy activated charcoal in most drug stores or online. It comes in capsule and tablet forms. You can also buy the straight powder, which is much more cost effective, at around 20 -25 dollars a pound (100 capsules = around ¼ pound) although a little less convenient to use. A typical anti-poison dose is around 12 tablespoons of the power (15-30 capsules) dissolved into or taken with 3 or 4 glasses of water.

Did you know…

-Activated charcoal also makes a great tooth whitener. Simply sprinkle some on a wet toothbrush and scrub teeth for 2 to 3 minute. Make sure you rinse well, otherwise your tooth whitener will leave your teeth pretty black!

-You can add a teaspoonful of activated charcoal to some bentonite clay, mix in a cup or so of apple cider vinegar or aloe vera gel and water to make a paste and apply to blemishes as a spot treatment or to the entire face as an anti-acne mask.

-You can make a great detox cleanser by melting some coconut oil and adding in some activated charcoal and baking powder. Stir powders in gently as the coconut oil cools and use as a skin softener and purifier. Use a drop or two of lavender or tea tree oil to boost the anti-bacterial properties and add some aromatherapy benefits to your homemade coconut charcoal scrub.

Too Much Estrogen Linked To Cancer And Weight Gain

Molecule

Estrogen can be dangerous stuff. Sure, it’s an important hormone, responsible for the development of the fetus in the womb, the growth of connective tissue and the development of female sexual characteristics. Though it's the most ancient of all of our hormones (it’s been around for 450 million years), it’s also associated with a wide range of health problems including fibroids, weight gain and cancers. It is pro-inflammatory, initiates the production of stress chemicals, and it’s linked to various particularly dangerous cancers including breast, uterine, colon and prostate cancer.

Even worse, there are certain chemicals, natural and synthetic, that, while not exactly estrogen, can act like it, throwing off the delicate balance of the body’s endogenous hormones. These so called ‘estrogen mimics’ or non-biological estrogen-like substances called xeno-estrogens (xeno meaning “foreign”) include birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as well as fertilizers and pesticides, all of which all have estrogen or estrogen-like activity. The levels of these xeno-estrogens have increased dramatically in our environment over the last 60 or 70 years.

One of the most significant causes of xeno-estrogen exposure occurs through foods. Over the past 60 or so years, the FDA has approved xeno-estrogenic substances for use in livestock. As a growth substance, estrogen is used to fatten farm animals. It increases the animals’ growth rate and the efficiency by which they convert the feed they eat into meat.

Traditionally, this has typically been a problem associated with livestock such as cattle and poultry. Recently, however, a new source of food xeno-estrogens has entered the marketplace: farmed fish. These fish are not only exposed to the hormone via toxic water, which has been saturated with the potent biochemical from agricultural runoff, but they have also been intentionally dosed with the hormone. For years, this chemical manipulation was restricted to countries in Asia known for their lax regulations. However, in the past few years even European and Scandinavian countries have become participants in the chemical control of aquaculture.

One of the main reasons for this hormonal manipulation is deliberate gender reversal; scientists are intentionally turning male fish into females by dosing them with estrogens. This practice which scientists call “Controlled Reproductive Biotechnology”, is a common practice because, in certain species, one gender or another tends to be larger. According to foodforbreastcancer.com , tilapia and halibut are especially subject to this kind of hormonal treatment.

Animal waste is also a significant source of xeno-estrogens. Animal waste may contribute an estimated 90% of total estrogens in the environment. Five gallons of runoff water contaminated with chicken manure may contain a birth control pill’s worth of estrogen.

Estrogen levels in poultry litter are so high that, when farmers feed chicken manure to their animals to save on feed costs, it may trigger premature development. Poultry manure has among the highest hormone content, quadruple the total estrogens, and nine times more 17-beta estradiol, the most potent estrogen and a “complete” carcinogen, as it exerts both tumor initiating and tumor promoting effects.

If you’re concerned about exposure to xeno-estrogens here are 5 ways to reduce toxicity:

5 Ways to Prevent Xeno-estrogen Toxicity

Use bentonite clay - 1 or 2 teaspoonsful in water. Bentonite clay has a large surface area for mopping up xeno-estrogens, and lots of others toxins as well.

Probiotics can help - Estrogen is metabolized, broken down and eliminated through the bowels. Probiotics and good bacteria are critical for facilitating this detoxification process.

Use Vitamins A and E - both nutrients may have estrogen balancing effects.

Don’t forget selenium – the most important estrogen balancing mineral.

Progesterone and Pregnenolone- the quintessential estrogen balancing hormones. Progesterone is best used in a cream. Pregnenolone is readily available in health food stores or on the internet.

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