Building and Maintaining Healthy Blood

Blood CellsSymbolically and poetically, blood represents life. It is made of four basic components:

  1. Red cells – Red cells carry oxygen to the rest of the cells in your body. They should remain flexible, but certain conditions such as sickle cell anemia and diabetes cause the red blood cells to become rigid and damage the lining of your blood vessels.
  2. White cells – White blood cells are a large part of your immune system.
  3. Platelets – Platelets serve to repair damage when you are injured. They form “blood clots” to arrest excessive bleeding.
  4. Plasma – Plasma is the fluid in which each of these cells is carried. Plasma also carries nutrients and hormones to your cells and waste products such as carbon dioxide away from your cells. Plasma is mostly water.

The essentials of healthy blood

  • Plasma
    Low blood plasma is called hypovolemia. To have healthy blood plasma we must first have healthy hydration; we must drink pure water. To calculate how much water your body needs daily, take your body weight in pounds and cut that number in half. That represents the average amount of water in ounces that you should drink daily. I weigh about 190 pounds. Half that number is 95. So, I need about 95 ounces of water daily to help build healthy blood.Blood plasma contains proteins and fats. For healthy plasma, eat healthy proteins and healthy fats.
  • Red blood cells
    Red Blood Cells (RBC) carry oxygen by means of a special molecule called hemoglobin. Low RBC volume or a low volume of hemoglobin is called simple anemia. A more serious, persistent form of anemia is called pernicious anemia. Both simple and pernicious anemias require an abundant supply of folic acid, Vitamin B-12and dietary iron. Chronic anemia also responds to resistance or strength training exercises.Blood derives oxygen from breathing deeply. To support proper oxygen balance in the blood and cells of your body, practice breathing deeply for 10 minutes, 2 or 3 times daily and 20 minutes at bedtime.
  • Platelets
    A deficiency of platelets will cause you to bleed too freely if you are injured. In fact, this type of condition (called thrombocytopenia or ITP) may cause you to bleed even without an injury! Thrombocytopenia may be a sign of a simple infection or a serious disease. However, ITP may also be associated with insomnia and a low-fat diet. For healthy platelets, get your sleep and eat healthy fats.
  • White blood cells
    White Blood Cells (WBC) come in many varieties. WBC fight infection with inflammation. A high WBC count, then, is a sign of infection (the type of WBC can often tell you what kind of infection you have). Bioflavonoids in the quercetin family called “Betalains“can help focus the activity of your WBC and make them more effective.A low WBC count, called leukopenia, is often a sign of low stem cell production in your bone marrow. The common function of your WBC is responding to infection and injury. So, a reduced production of stem cells will yield a low level of WBC and an increased risk of serious infection (also, a reduced healing response).Low WBC count is also associated with various viral infections that target the immune system. It may be caused by a vitamin deficiency (especially Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12), excessive stress, toxicity from various causes and certain cancers.

Building healthy blood cells and delivering those cells to where we need them is dependent on The 10 Essentials for Health and Wellness. Special nutrients can help build elements of our blood. In the end, blood is life; without healthy blood cells and plasma we will simply never have the wellness we desire and deserve!

Take Control of Your Health

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Keeping a Healthy Mouth

Mouth HealthIt is well known in medicine that the health of our whole body is reflected in our dental health. This is especially true of heart and brain health.

If your dental health is less than perfect, your heart health and brain health may also be less than perfect. If you have dental inflammation such as gingivitis, you may also have heart inflammation, brain inflammation and/or infections in other parts of your body. (This is why there is such a strong link between poor dental health and heart disease/dementia!)

There is a nutrient connection as well. Many nutrients are needed for heart and brain health, but the ones most reflected in dental health are Vitamin C and CoEnzyme Q-10.

Vitamin C
Among the greatest deficiencies in the diet of people over 50 is Vitamin C. This is thought to be because of people choosing “convenience foods” over leafy green vegetables (not a favorite at any age!). Signs of Vitamin C deficiency include weakness, weariness, unhealthy gums, nosebleeds, bruising and slow healing.

Vitamin C induces a very important antioxidant in the heart and brain. It is called Glutathione and it is the “Mother of all Antioxidants.” As we age, Vitamin C levels may remain fairly constant, but its ability to induce Glutathione gets weaker and weaker. This means we need more and more Vitamin C to protect our heart and brain. And there is another problem.

Our metabolism declines rapidly after age 50. As the metabolism slows down we need more Vitamin C because our ability to digest it is reduced. It is imperative that we eat leafy green vegetables and other sources of Vitamin C. Also, take a teaspoon of Vital C™ Crystal Powder in the morning and a Vital C™ Crystal Tablet at bedtime for optimum antioxidant protection.

CoEnzyme Q-10
The other serious nutrient deficiency that shows up in gum health is Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10). CoQ-10 is critical for gum health, brain health, heart health, lung health and reproductive system health. It is the key sign of life in every cell. When it is present in abundance, the cell – and the person! – is healthy. As it drains from your cells you begin to age. The faster the CoQ-10 levels drop, the faster you age. This is seen primarily in your gums. So, gum health (dental health) is the most obvious sign of how fast you are aging.

A key issue in brain health for those over 50 years of age is depression. It seems that the lower your brain antioxidants, the higher your risk of depression, and the more profound the depression may be. CoQ-10 takes its place as an antioxidant alongside Glutathione in brain, heart and dental health. But, whereas Glutathione can be induced by Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc and other antioxidants, CoQ-10 must be manufactured inside the cell or taken directly as a supplement.

Humans were designed to eat fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. It is important to take antioxidants throughout the day as this is the pattern that best fits our metabolism. However, because of the potential for low-oxygen states during sleep, it is most important to take antioxidants at bedtime as we age. If our oxygen levels drop during sleep, our brain, heart and gums will show it. Take CoQ-10 at bedtime for the best antioxidant protection.

Other important nutrients
Your gums and teeth are living tissues. Everything needed for dental health is found in a diet containing robust servings of fruits and vegetables as well as other nutrient-dense foods. As we age, the need for supplementation can be seen in the decline of our dental health. Using supplements such as VitaCal-Mag D™ and Bone Growth Factor® can help nourish the bones. Using anti-inflammatory supplements such as Nopalea™ can help the body reduce the inflammation common to gums, heart and brain.

Learn from the lesson taught by dental health. And remember, you can’t see your heart or your brain, but you can see your teeth!

Take Control of Your Health

  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid candy
  • Treat the “root” of poor dental health:
    • Take CoQ-10 daily – more is better!
    • Take a maximum amount of Vital C daily
  • Treat the whole body, not just the teeth:
  • Seek professional help for poor dental health:
    • Get frequent dental check-ups
    • Follow your hygienist’s advice on brushing/flossing
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Man Talk: What You Need To Know

ManopauseBy Dr. Samuel N. Grief

Expert advice for men’s health month

As men age, they face certain medical conditions and general wellness issues. Fortunately, most men’s health threats are largely preventable. The key to lessening risk and enjoying a vibrant and healthful existence is to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a diet rich in variety, fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoke and quitting smoking, moderating alcohol consumption and including physical activity in the daily routine.

The #1 issue affecting men is cardiovascular disease and its prevention. One-third of all men will develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) by age 65; 60% will develop CVD by age 75. Preventing this seemingly inevitable outcome is easier said than done, but can be achieved through these lifestyle changes that add up to a healthier heart and vascular system:

  1. Eat a low-fat, calorie-conscious diet
    Low-fat diets, especially low-saturated fat diets, have been shown to lower risk for almost all Western world diseases, including heart disease and cancers. Foods of animal origin, including red meats and high-fat dairy products, are known contributors to excess saturated fat in the diet. Eat less of these foods and more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Exercise and stay active
    Physical activity on a daily basis, whether walking 30 minutes or doing more intense types of activity, is what your body and muscles need to stay “young at heart.”
  3. Keep your cholesterol down
    Please note that eggs, although they contain cholesterol, are not the primary source of cholesterol in the diet. High-fat meats and dairy products are the typical culprits.
  4. Pay attention to your risk for diabetes
    People with a family history of diabetes are more likely to develop this condition. If you do have diabetes, check your blood sugars after meals and any time your doctor advises. Take all of your diabetes medicines on time, as needed.
  5. Watch your weight
    A staggering 60% of all American adults are either overweight or obese. Losing weight, even only 10% of your weight, will bring dramatic benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol, stabilized blood sugar and a reduced workload on your heart.

Exercise is key
Apart from the obvious benefits to one’s heart, exercise can also do the following:

  • Improve your mood and fight depression
  • Lower risk for osteoporosis – yes, men are at risk, too!
  • Keep weight in check
  • Enhance energy levels
  • Promote better sleep (but don’t exercise too close to bedtime as this may jazz you up!)
  • Improve intimacy, allowing for more pleasurable romantic activity
  • Make life more fun

Health conditions unique to men
Low testosterone, also known as “manopause,” affects many men as they enter the latter half of their lives. Some men get this condition for no apparent reason, but most men suffer from low testosterone due to unhealthy lifestyle. Symptoms of low testosterone may include fatigue, moodiness, low energy, low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Treatment can be as simple as improving the diet, eating whole grains and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, and weight loss, if needed. Administration of male hormones is sometimes required.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is also a men’s health issue and usually begins to afflict men over the age of 40. For the most part, physical causes such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and the medications used for these conditions are the direct causes of ED. Psychological causes tend to afflict younger men more often. ED is a harbinger of more severe cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary artery disease. If you know someone who has ED, encourage a full evaluation by a trusted health care provider.

Prostate disease is increasingly discussed among men and their physicians. The risk of an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, increases about four percent a year after age 55. By age 60, half of men will have BPH. That number jumps to 95 percent by age 85. Symptoms of BPH include decreased urinary flow, hesitancy of urinary stream, inability to fully empty the bladder, increased frequency of urination and night-time awakening to urinate.

These lifestyle factors are associated with a lower risk of BPH: High level of physical activity and no “belly fat”, a low-fat diet, five or more servings of vegetables a day and two glasses or less of alcohol a day. Increasing vitamin C from vegetables in the diet also lowers risk for prostate enlargement and symptomatic BPH.

Finally, maintaining health for life is enjoyable if the brain stays healthy, too. Unfortunately, men are at higher risk for strokes and the consequences of poor circulation, including dementia and brain dysfunction. Certain brain diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s Chorea, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Lou Gehrig’s disease, are genetic and are inevitable in some unfortunate few.

Additionally, deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as Vitamin B-12, folic acid, and B-6, may lead to a neurochemical imbalance and less than optimal brain function. But for most men who have some control over their brain’s health, these steps can all contribute to alertness and brain function:

  • Watch your diet, and be sure to get sufficient vitamins and minerals
  • Mentally challenge yourself daily with crossword puzzles, brain teasers and the like
  • Exercise

Enjoy your health and wellness!

Samuel N. Grief, M.D., CCFP, FCFP, a member of TriVita’s Medical Advisory Board, is the Medical Director for Campus Care at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and is a Continuing Medical Education instructor.

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Test Your Skin Health

Skin HealthSkin is made of several layers, each requiring their own specific nutrition to remain healthy. For example, in past reports we have discussed how the essential fatty acids in OmegaPrime® work with sunshine receptors in the skin to create Vitamin D. And many people know the simple truth that we cannot have healthy collagen in our skin without adequate Vitamin C.

There is an emerging body of science that confirms the observation that our skin reflects our inner health and wellness.

  • Thin skin consistency is often equated with elevated levels of homocysteine and thinning bones.
  • Skin that bruises easily is related to fragile blood vessels in the eyes and inner ear.
  • Blotches of benign pigment on the skin, frequently called “liver spots”, are often made of lipofuscin, a fatty-pigment that may also form in the brain.

Testing the health of your skin
There is an old way to determine the health of your skin and, therefore, the internal age it reflects. (Note: chronological age is determined by the calendar; biological age is determined by how well we care for ourselves, our nutritional status, our stress load and toxins, etc.) Simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand with the thumb and forefinger and hold it for five seconds. Let go and time how long it takes for the skin to flatten back out. The shorter the time, the younger the functional age of the skin.

Compare your results to the table below:

Time (seconds) Functional Age (years)
1-2 Under 30
3-4 30-44
5-9 45-50
10-15 60
35-55 70
56 or more Over 70

Slowing the skin’s aging process
Interestingly, many of the things we should be taking as supplements to slow the aging process work internally and externally at the same time. The bilberry fruit in VisionGuard that is so useful for the eyes, ears and brain is also useful in protecting against bruising of the skin. Gingko, again useful for the eyes, ears and brain is equally beneficial in protecting against wrinkles.

Poisons that are bad for the brain are also bad for the skin. For example, toxic levels of glucose (sugar) caramelize in the bloodstream and damage the eyes, brain and kidneys, as well as rapidly age the skin.

A solution that won’t go away!
Many years ago, scientists began to notice that certain cultures had low levels of heart disease even though they ate high levels of fatty foods. This was common in France. So, a careful search was made to explain this “French paradox.” As it turns out, resveratrol (a nutrient found in red and purple grapes, red grape skins and seeds, and red wine) provides significant protection from toxic “oxidized” fat.

Resveratrol is also excellent for helping protect against rapidly aging skin. This may explain some of the skin-health benefits people report after taking Nopalea: One of the supporting ingredients we included is an antioxidant complex based in the skins and seeds of red grapes. Likewise, Adaptogen 10 Plus® and Super Antioxidant Complex both contain concentrated antioxidants from the skins and seeds of grapes.

One more use for B-12…
The homocysteine-reducing effects of HCY Guard® are also good for your skin. Homocysteine shatters the collagen matrix in the blood vessels, lungs, brain and bones. It is also implicated in certain skin disorders associated with rapid skin aging. Using HCY Guard may reduce your blood levels of homocysteine by as much as 35% in six weeks.

Healthy skin reflects a healthy, balanced body. Beauty on the outside begins with wellness on the inside. Learn and live the 10 Essentials for Health and Wellness, which includes adding the appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins to your diet. Take the time to correctly assess your nutrient needs and supplement your diet accordingly.

Take Control of Your Health

For healthy skin:

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Reversing Bone Loss

OsteoporosisThe shocking statistics – according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

  • 10 million people in North America have osteoporosis.
  • 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women.
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture as they age.
  • Following a hip fracture from osteoporosis, 1 in 4 people will die within a year (the death rate is twice as high for men as for women). Also, 1 in 4 will become complete invalids requiring long-term care.
  • Only one-third of the people suffering an osteoporosis-related hip fracture will heal and return to a normal life.

A childhood disease?
To understand the process of premature bone loss we must first understand the nature of bone. Your bones are alive. But every cell in your skeleton has a lifespan. It is “born” from stem cells, it lives for many years and then it dies. When it reaches the end of its lifespan, a new bone cell replaces it.

During our youth, there are more new bone cells being born than there are old bone cells dying. As a result, our bones get longer, bigger, denser and healthier. By our teen years our bones reach PMD (peak mineral density). Therefore, the healthier our bones are as children, the longer they will last as we age. Good nutrition during childhood is so important because we are building a healthy bone foundation for our senior years.

At about age 30 the rates of bone cells being born and those dying are about equal. By age 40 the pendulum definitely swings to the other side and the amount of bone cells dying every day exceeds the amount being born. Over time, your bones become thinner, less active and are more challenged to support your body.

Bones that thin too fast are called osteopenic. About 45 million people in North America suffer from bones that are too thin. When thinning continues to the point where a bone resembles Swiss cheese (full of holes and pores), the condition is said to be osteoporosis. The bone at this stage is diseased and can fracture with the slightest stress.

Reversing premature bone loss
The best way to reverse a problem is to help prevent it in the first place.

Children and adults up to age 30 should:

  • Take a calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D supplement every day.
  • Focus on leafy green vegetables as a dietary source of calcium and magnesium.
  • Get at least 20 minutes of direct sunshine on 40% of their body every day as a natural source of Vitamin D.
  • Perform weight-bearing exercises most days of the week.

Adults over 30 should do the same things. However, bone-building requirements for adults (including supplements) need to be more rigorous. This is especially true if they have any risk factors for osteoporosis.

Growing new bone
Regardless of your age or bone density, you can help slow or stop the process of bone loss and you can start producing new, healthy bone cells. All it requires is a little time every day for exercise and sunshine, plus the right nutrients. The nutrition you need is found in whole foods – especially leafy green vegetables. Supplements can also play a critical role by providing the intense, specific nutrients needed for restoring healthy bones.

  • TriVita’s VitaCal-Mag D is designed for people under age 30 as well as those over that age who have no risk factors for bone loss.
  • TriVita’s Bone Growth Factor is designed for people over 30 who have risk factors for osteoporosis. This disease is characterized by the decrease in bone mass and density; i.e., the bones thin and become more porous. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are many different risk factors for this disease, including genetics, age, gender, menopause, certain medications and others. (For a full list of risk factors, see the National Osteoporosis Foundation link listed under the Learn More! section below). Because Bone Growth Factor has been clinically proven to re-grow bone, it is an ideal supplement for those that have Osteopathic risks.

The good news is that you can add more new, healthy bone mass every year you follow these steps – no matter how old you are or how thin your bones are. Help turn back the clock on bone loss with proper lifestyle choices and intense nutrition.

Take Control of Your Health

  • Get 20 minutes of morning and/or evening sunshine every day
  • Do weight-bearing exercises most days of the week
  • Eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables daily:
    • Children: 5 servings (include 2 or 3 servings of leafy green vegetables)
    • Women: 7 servings (include 4 or 5 servings of leafy green vegetables)
    • Men: 9 servings (include 6 or 7 servings of leafy green vegetables)
  • Sleep 7 1/2 to 9 hours every night
  • Supplement your diet with calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D every day:
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Sugar-Frosted Cells

GlycosylationFor more than a generation the breakfast-cereal industry has given us sugar, sugar and more sugar. One family of products even coats the outside of the flakes, puffs and biscuits with sugar. As one comedian observed, “Only sugar has more sugar than these cereals!” But this idea of “frosting” a cereal with sugar gives us an opportunity to talk about your physical examination and blood tests.

Inside your body
Did you know that your red blood cells can become sugar-frosted, just like certain breakfast cereals? Yes, it’s true! As a function of carrying energy from the food you eat to your muscles and brain, your red blood cells must absorb sugar. Some of the sugar in your red blood cells will crystallize and “sugar coat” the cell. This cell becomes very damaging to your brain, your eyes, nerves, blood vessels and kidneys.

The process is called “glycosylation” (gly’ – kos – ill – a’ – shun). It is represented on your blood test as glycosylated Hemoglobin A-1-C (Hgb A1C). Your A1C reading represents the total amount or percent of your blood that is sugar-coated. It should be a very small amount if any. The normal amount of A1C in a healthy person’s blood is between 4% and 5%. If your A1C goes over 6% you will begin to damage the delicate tissues of your heart, brain, nerves and organs.

So, on your next medical examination be sure to have your Hgb A1C tested.

A closer look
Have you ever seen caramelized sugar? Most of us are not familiar with that term, but we do know one example of caramelized sugar: peanut brittle! When you make peanut brittle you must heat the sugar mixture until it crystallizes. When you try to bite off a piece (not recommended!) it can damage your teeth, lips and gums. If you drop it, the peanut brittle shatters – it is called “brittle” after all!

Now, imagine forcing peanut brittle through delicate tissue paper. This is what happens when sugar-coated blood cells are forced through your bloodstream, your brain, heart, nerves, lungs, kidneys, etc. The high A1C rips, shreds and tears your delicate tissues until they can no longer function.

Lowering A1C
Of course, the way to keep A1C levels low is to avoid refined sugars. Is there anything that lowers A1C once it is high? Yes! Many of the answers are found in the 10 Essentials of Health and Wellness.

  • Deep breathing lowers stress, which in turn helps lower A1C.
  • Weight-bearing exercise burns sugar and dramatically lowers A1C.
  • Also, foods high in fiber will reduce the amount of sugar entering your bloodstream.

Most importantly, to bring down a high A1C you must avoid refined sugar like poison! Dietary supplements may also help.

  • Vitamin C can help your body reduce blood sugar for a short time. Continued use of Vital C can protect against your blood sugar forming excessive A1C.
  • Essential fatty acids like those found in OmegaPrime® can help your body reduce triglycerides – a step toward reducing A1C.
  • Still, I can think of no better dietary supplement for helping lower A1C levels than GlucoManage®. The nutrients and herbs found in GlucoManage are absolutely essential to properly process sugar from your diet. Without these nutrients you can be sure that your A1C levels will continue to climb a little every year.

Learn to listen
If your blood sugar has started to rise and your A1C is above 5% you need to start a program to balance your blood glucose immediately! But, be patient – a blood cell lives for four months. Even though your blood sugar will change from day to day, your Hgb A1C will not. Test it three times per year. Hemoglobin A1C does not come down quickly. But for every point you lower your A1C, you lower your risk of disability related to glycosylation: heart attack, dementia, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

Take Control of Your Health

  • Test your blood sugar:
    • Fasting glucose
    • Hemoglobin A1C
    • Triglycerides
  • Select healthy energy:
    • Drink pure water
    • Sleep peacefully
    • Eat nutritiously
    • Enjoy activity
  • Avoid sugar-laden drinks and foods
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine
  • Avoid irritants like alcohol and nicotine
  • Eat high-fiber foods like legumes and vegetables
  • Select supplements that can help your body reduce your A1C:
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