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July Issue of Natural Alternatives
July 02, 2013

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

July 2013

Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates






By Emily Kennedy, MSc, RHN

How fats and sugars can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Heart disease, diabetes, cancer; we’re constantly hearing about these obesity-related diseases. However, the obesity epidemic is fuelling another dangerous condition that we rarely hear about. It’s called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and it affects an estimated 1.4 million Canadians—too many to ignore. Liver disease used to be associated with alcoholism, but a wide range of liver disorders affect teetotallers too.

Poor Eating Habits

The fatty liver that occurs in non-drinkers often starts with the overconsumption of fats and sugars. Prolonged poor eating habits may eventually lead to insulin resistance, a prediabetic state, which may also trigger a breakdown of the fat surrounding the liver so that it infiltrates the organ. Insulin resistance also causes the liver to produce more fat in the form of triglycerides, which it then must store. When the fat content of the liver exceeds 5 to 10 percent of the liver’s weight, it is officially called NAFLD.

The stages of NAFLD

The initial stage of NAFLD is termed steatosis, in which fat simply builds up in the liver but doesn’t do much harm. If a high fat and sugar intake or exposure to other toxic substances continues to push the limits of the liver’s ability to function properly, obesity will start to manifest itself both externally and internally. The waistline expands while fat continues to accumulate in the liver.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Eventually, the excess fat and toxins trigger inflammation in the liver, a condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). An inflamed fatty liver is considered a red flag, as 20 percent of people with NASH develop cirrhosis of the liver.

The most serious progression of NAFLD, cirrhosis is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis). Unfortunately, this is irreversible, permanently compromising liver function.

What does the liver do?

The liver is a stalwart workhorse. It will continue to process everything we put in our mouths or on our skin even if many of its cells are damaged. It is also the only internal organ that can regenerate itself if it is partly severed.

In addition to dealing with all the toxins that enter our bloodstream, the liver is also our “director of metabolism,” regulating over 500 hormonal reactions involved in the storage and breakdown of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Herein lies the complex connection between common metabolic disorders such as diabetes and liver health.

A liver’s efforts to properly regulate blood levels of fat (triglycerides), blood sugar (glucose), and certain amino acids are thwarted by fat and toxic buildup, like a car spinning its wheels in a muddy ditch. And if NAFLD progresses to NASH then cirrhosis, scar tissue will block blood flow in the liver, further slowing important detoxification processes, and fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

It’s no coincidence that people with high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or type 2 diabetes often have fatty livers. Indeed, a new study has concluded that fatty liver may be an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Researchers have also found a strong association between NAFLD and heart disease. Like some heart disease risk factors, it is often a silent condition with no obvious symptoms.


NAFLD is diagnosed by performing a blood test to identify elevated liver enzymes, an ultrasound examination, or a liver biopsy.

Respect Your Liver

As you may have guessed, a lifestyle that prevents development of a fatty liver is very similar to one that prevents heart disease and diabetes.

Make these basic lifestyle choices for a healthy liver:

~Eat vegetables and fruits that provide fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
~Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats in processed foods. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as sugar and processed “white” foods.
~Drink alcohol moderately (one to two drinks per day at most), if at all.
~Exercise regularly.
~Maintain a healthy weight.

Even people who aren’t overweight may develop a fatty liver from poor diet, making this one of the most important preventive strategies. Feed your liver the nutrients it needs without burdening it with excess fat and sugar.

(In the popular 2004 docudrama Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s prolonged excessive intake of fat and refined carbs from fast food resulted in the preliminary stages of NAFLD even though clinically he was still considered a healthy weight.)

Despite the benefits provided by some substances, use medications and supplements judiciously. Natural or not, everything has to be processed by your liver, so take medications and supplements under the supervision of a health care practitioner.

Curb Your Anger

Both Chinese and Ayurvedic medical traditions view the liver as “the seat of anger.” An excess of this emotion is associated with fatty liver disease and other liver ailments.

Supplement Your Liver

In addition to a healthy diet, you can also care for your liver with the following supplements:

Milk thistle
The active component of this Mediterranean weed, silymarin, is thought to help liver cells repair themselves after exposure to toxins. In animal studies milk thistle was found to reduce liver damage from acetaminophen use, iron overload, and alcohol consumption. Available as a capsule or tincture, milk thistle should be taken under professional supervision to avoid adverse effects.

Another weed traditionally used to treat the liver and kidneys, dandelion root has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as a detoxifying agent and diuretic. Modern studies suggest that dandelion reverses hepatitis-induced symptoms by reducing inflammation so that the liver can heal itself.

Get the benefits of red wine without the toxic effects of alcohol. Promising animal studies show that this potent antioxidant can decrease the inflammatory response and reduce fat deposits in the liver.

Beets or beetroot juice
Beets are among the most detoxifying foods you can eat, so reduce the load on your liver by enjoying them regularly. There’s evidence that the betaine compounds in beets can protect the liver when it is under duress.

About the Author: Emily Kennedy, MSc, RHN, is a registered nutritionist with a background in research on metabolic syndrome. She practises in Markham, Ontario,

By Cathy Wong,

If you're seeking a natural insect repellent, several types of essential oils may be useful in keeping bugs away and preventing bites and stings. These natural insect repellents can serve as an alternative to synthetic-chemical-based repellents, which may have toxic effects on human health and on the environment.

Essential Oils as Natural Insect Repellents

Often used in aromatherapy, an essential oil is a concentrated oil containing aromatic compounds from a plant. Here's a look at several essential oils shown to act as natural insect repellents:

1) Eucalyptus
Several studies suggest that essential oil of eucalyptus may help fend off insects, especially mosquitoes. In fact, one species of eucalyptus—known as lemon eucalyptus or Eucalyptus citriodora—may provide protection comparable to low concentrations of DEET (a pesticide widely used as a mosquito repellent).
2) Citronella
Essential oil of citronella contains compounds with high repellent activity, according to a research review published in 2010. What's more, a 2008 study shows that burning citronella-based candles can help ward off mosquitoes and sand flies.
3) Clove
In a 2005 study that compared the repellent activity of 38 different essential oils, researchers discovered that clove oil offered the longest duration of protection against all mosquito species involved in the lab experiments. The same study found that citronella and patchouli oils also provided two hours of complete repellency.

How to Use Natural Insect Repellents

Since essential oils are extremely potent, it's critical to take caution when using any kind of essential oil as a natural insect repellent. For instance, it's important to blend your essential oil of choice with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado) rather than applying the essential oil directly to your skin.

More Ways to Repel Insects

In addition to using natural insect repellents, you can take these steps to keep bugs away when spending time outdoors:

~eliminate standing water around your home
~wear protective clothing and accessories (such as long pants and a full-brimmed hat)
~take caution when eating outside, since food attracts insects
~It's possible that attracting birds and mammals that feed on mosquitoes (such as purple martins and bats) may also be helpful. However, science has yet to confirm this approach's effectiveness as a natural insect repellent.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

Bad breath plagues everyone at some time or another. If you are aware of it, hopefully you try to get rid of it, or at least try to hide it. If you are not aware of it, you may be wondering why people keep their distance. Regardless, everyone needs to be aware that it’s a potential reality and understand the causes of bad breath to better defend against it, gain confidence, and enjoy more pleasant conversations. Here are ten primary causes of bad breath.

1. Food
Foods like garlic and onions can leave potent, lingering odors. These odors can last for days until the food has worked its way through your system! Alcohol and coffee increase the body’s acidity and can dehydrate. This can lead to dry mouth, a state which creates atrocious odors. This often goes hand in hand with…
2. Poor Oral Care
Inadequate brushing and flossing can leave foods residues. These residues lead to plaque development on your teeth. Plaque is an ideal food for the bacteria that make your breath smell awful! That’s because the bacteria that feed on the food sugars and plaque expel sulfuric smelling compounds. Enough bacteria can lead to cavities and periodontal disease, which leads to more bacteria and a circular problem that leaves you with an even stinkier mouth.
3. Tongue (or Mouth) Piercings
That’s right, that really cool and enjoyable tongue piercing can bring about noxious breath by providing a haven for harmful organisms that cause it. Research has indicated higher incidences of Candida albicans (yeast) infections in persons with tongue-piercings.
4. Dry Mouth (aka Xerostamia)
This is the rough, cottony feeling you get when your saliva flow slows. If you feel that, check your breath. You are a prime candidate for bad breath. Some causes of dry mouth can be mouth breathing, alcohol or coffee consumption, and medications (more on that in a moment).
5. Medicines
Helfpul as they are intended to be, the medicines you take may cause your breath to reak. Many medications create side effects that dehydrate and lead to dry mouth. Some of these medicines include antihistamines, antidepressants, anticholinergics, anorexiants, antihypertensives, antipsychotics, anti-Parkinson agents, diuretics and sedatives.
6. Smoking
Smoking, especially cigarette smoking, creates a chronic ‘smoker’s breath’. In the best cases, this odor smells of the tobacco and chemicals… and that’s not very good. The longterm effects are much worse. Researchers found the chemicals and compounds released from smoking lead to dry mouth and reduced salivary flow. Both of these lead to a build-up of bad bacteria which can result in bad breath. Smoking can also lead to periodontal disease and cancers of the mouth. [3] Bad breath would be the least of your problems once these develop.
7. Uncleaned Dentures or Dental Appliances
Retainers, braces, etc can harbor the development of bacterial colonies, yeast infections and mold. Once in the mouth, these can quickly and make every day a battle against bad breath. There are many simple, natural and affordable ways to keep dentures and other removable dental appliances clean. For example, a Hydrogen Peroxide rinse can help kill germs and is the primary ingredient in many name brand denture cleaners.
8. Congestion or Sinus Problems
Illnesses, especially of the sinuses and nose, can create atrociously bad breath. Congestion in the form of nasal mucus or a continuous nasal drip creates a continual food source and breeding ground for unfriendly germs and bacteria. The solution when confronted with illnesses like these is regular brushing, flossing and a good mouth cleanser. This will help kill the unwanted germs and stimulate the flow of saliva.
9. Acid Reflux
Occasional acid reflux can cause stomach acids, rotten food and gastro-intestinal bacteria to enter the throat and mouth. In a best case scenario, you may simply need to rinse the mouth. In other cases, those gut bacteria can infect the mouth cavity. Some, like H. pylori, can create a more complex medical situation. Research has found halitosis reported among those who suffer from chronic acid reflux.
10. More Serious Health Problems
Persistent bad breath may reflect a more serious health condition such as diabetes, chronic acid reflux, liver or kidney disorders, and others. Dry mouth is a symptom of many medical conditions. Chronic medical conditions also destabilize your body’s natural balance, leading to an environment ripe for unfriendly bacteria and germs. Some conditions may actually release bad odors through the lungs, and therefore the breath.

Fighting Bad Breath
Whatever the cause of bad breath – don’t despair. Everyone deals with bad breath or halitosis at some time. The important thing is to regularly practice proper oral and body hygiene:

~Brush regularly
~Floss daily
~Keep a beneficial mouth cleansing product handy
~Periodically cleanse your body of toxins
~If your bad breath is chronic, it might be time to seek the advice of your dentist or healthcare provider to rule out the possibility of a more condition.



Thank you for reading.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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