The newsletter is late this month and my excuse is the most unrelenting heat and humidity, the likes of which I don’t remember ever experiencing before in the dry part of the country. Hopefully the humidity in the air means there is also rain in the air and one day,.. some day, it will fall. Amazing that the Eastern Cape has been declared a disaster area due to the drought and farmers in our neighbouring province, the Free State, are applying for flood relief! When I see the devastation caused by the rain up north I’m not sure what’s worse. Anyway that’s enough about the strange ways of the weather; we need to focus on our health now. If you are reading this then you most definitely fall into the "health-conscious" category and are not likely to be taking even the occasional puff from a cigarette. However many of you will have family members or friends who are hopelessly addicted to nicotine and have had several warnings from their doctors that they should quit because of the serious toll it has already taken on their health. So the first part of this newsletter is for them and I hope you will pass it on.
Why Quit Smoking?
Last month millions of smokers worldwide would have made a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking for the umpteenth time. I wonder how many have actually given up for good. Smoking is a habit and an addiction and undisputedly detrimental to your health. To understand how smoking will affect every organ in your body and as such your health, we need to take a big picture look at how interconnected all of your body parts are. Let’s begin at your small intestine and follow the basic pathway of blood through your body. As your blood courses through the vessels that line your small intestine, it picks up nutrients from your most recent meal (hope it was a nutritious one?) and flows to your liver. From your liver, your blood, packed with nutrients (from that last nutritious meal) needed by all the cells of your body, travels upward to the right chambers of your heart. From here it travels to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen from the air that you breathe. Also at your lungs, your blood releases carbon dioxide (a waste product that it picks up from all of your cells), to be exhaled. From your lungs, your blood travels to the left chambers of your heart, from where it is pumped out to the rest of your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells. Since every organ in your body requires oxygen and nutrients, your blood travels through every organ. And when it passes through your kidneys, your blood is cleansed of waste products by special filters. As your blood unloads oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells, it picks up carbon dioxide and other waste products from your cells, eventually completing the circle by returning to your small intestine and liver. To give you an idea of how much ground we're talking about, consider that: 1. If strung together, all of the blood vessels that make up the pathway described above could circle the earth two and a half times. 2. Over the course of one day, your blood travels about 19,000 kilometres . Now let's re-visit your heart and lungs. Remember that before your heart pumps blood to the far ends of your body, it first sends the blood to your lungs to pick up oxygen. If your lungs develop chronic disease through exposure to cigarette smoke, asbestos or other environmental pollutants it experiences repeated bouts of inflammation. To try to heal damaged areas, the lungs can develop scar tissue. If your lungs develop significant scar tissue, it becomes harder for your lung tissues to allow fresh oxygen to enter your blood, and for carbon dioxide to leave your blood. The result is that your heart has to work harder because your body's need for oxygenated blood and clearance of carbon dioxide remains the same, regardless of how healthy your lungs are. In order to keep up with your body's demand for oxygen and nutrients, the right side of your heart has to pump harder, and possibly faster, to compensate for reduced efficiency in your lungs. Your heart will eventually become fatigued and won't be able to sustain the effort needed to keep blood flowing through your system fast enough to ensure optimal delivery of oxygen. If the right side of your heart is significantly weakened from years of compensating for diseased lungs, your liver may experience signs of congestion, since your liver is constantly sending blood directly to the right chambers of your heart. So lung or heart disease is a potential cause of liver disease. Another potential consequence of fatigue and weakness in the right side of your heart is congestion in the blood vessels in your lower extremities, since these vessels are continuously sending blood back to your heart. This is how lung or heart disease can cause problems related to circulation like varicose veins and hemorrhoids. See the connection? And all this just from a starting point of lungs filled with smoke. Fact is, if one of your organs isn't doing well, in this case the lungs, it's only a matter of time before other organs will experience declining function. Should you have loved ones or know of anyone desperate to kick this nasty habit please direct them to http://www.quitsmokingnaturally.co.za/ to learn about the latest 100% natural supplement that I have imported from Canada, which boasts a 99% success rate in that country. You could be saving a life.
Age of Autism
A report issued in December 2009 by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) rang alarm bells in my ears, although it shouldn’t really have surprised me because at the AGM for the SA Assoc for Nutrional Therapy in October last year we heard far more alarming statistics from presenter Carin Smit, clinical metal toxicologist and founder of Defeat Autism Now. (http://carinsmit.co.za) The following facts from the report spell out the magnitude of this frightening increase:
Autism has increased by 57% in just 4 yrs!
Two decades ago we were looking at a prevalence of one in 5,000 children. Now we're looking at one in 100!
By the end of 2006, one in 110 U.S. kids had an autism disorder diagnosed by age 8: one in 70 boys and one in 315 girls, reflecting a nearly fivefold higher risk for males!
From 2002 to 2006, the rate of autism spectrum disorders among 8-year-olds jumped 40%, from one in 154 to one in 110
The question is: Are today's kids really more likely to have autism, or are doctors and parents just getting better at recognizing this family of developmental disorders? A major finding from the CDC study was that 70% of parents of children with an autism disorder expressed concern over their child's development when the child was younger than 3 years old. Most expressed concern by the time the child was 2. Yet children were, on average, four and a half years old before they were diagnosed with an autism disorder.
This underscores the need for routine screening of children for autism at ages 18 and 24 months and the need for pediatricians to be more cognizant of parents who express a concern.
Omega-3 Fish Oil and Mental Health
We already know that omega-3 fatty acids / polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) help protect people against cardiovascular disease. We also know they can play a role in preventing diabetes and cancer and the link between omega-3 and cognitive function and behaviour is not new. But this latest study conducted at the Medical University in Vienna concluding that Omega-3 -rich fish oil may reduce the likelihood of developing psychotic disorders in high-risk people, is the first study of its kind.
The study involved 81 help-seeking people deemed to be at high risk for psychosis. The randomized, placebo-controlled study provided fish oil supplements to half the study subjects for just 12 weeks. The other half received placebo supplements. The results: While 11 people in the placebo group developed a psychotic disorder, only 2 in the fish oil group did.
If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems like weight gain, blood sugar disorders, diabetes and sexual dysfunction. Some psychiatric drugs have also been linked to school shootings, suicides and violent outbursts. They also pose an environmental hazard, since many of the chemicals used in those drugs pass right through the body and end up in waters downstream.
Fish oils are a remarkable solution to replace antipsychotic drugs. They have no negative side-effects and are actually beneficial to the general state of health. But of course the drug companies are terrified that people might learn this truth so they wage an entire war against nutrition and supplements to protect their own turf by destroying the competition. They want to keep patients on expensive, patented antipsychotic drugs and certainly don’t want us to know that for virtually every popular pharmaceutical on the market, there's a nutritional supplement that works better and is also safer and more affordable. Fish oils can provide astonishing health benefits. If the medical industry were truly honest about researching what works for patients rather than what makes money for drug companies, they would have openly prescribed fish oils long ago.
Of course, when it comes to fish oils, don't settle for just any cheap fish oil supplement. Make sure your supplements are free from heavy metals, pesticides and other residues, harvested in a truly sustainable way and that you can trust the source to provide consistent quality. Look for IFOS 5 Star rated fish oils and if it doesn’t say so on the label then you know it isn’t! Our See Yourself Well and Life Support Omega-3s are and the IFOS logo is proudly displayed!
Well that’s my say for today but I'd like to end off with some excellent advice from Mike (alias The Health Ranger) which I nicked off one of his webpages:
Invoke the power of positive affirmations as part of your healing process. Why do these work? Because your subconscious mind is always listening to what your conscious mind speaks, and it tends to believe that what you say is true. So when you say, "I am a self-healing being who is experiencing improved health each and every day," your mind takes that in. With enough repetition, your mind makes it real in your physiology. Your mind really is a powerful healer for your body. Till next month take good care of yourselves during this summer that will surely be recorded in history for its extreme temperatures and humidity!