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Magnesium Deficiency and Lab Tests

Magnesium is needed for more that 350 different enzymes in the body. Deficiency has been related to many health conditions including osteoporosis, asthma, PMS, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Muscle spasms/contractions in the calves and soles of the feet are very common and especially indicative of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is found in foods such as: list and green vegetables, legumes, seeds and chocolate. In fact chocolate cravings is a common sign that you need more magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common. People do not each enough magnesium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables. Disorders of the kidneys or poor digestion can also lead to magnesium deficiency. Stress causes the body to dump magnesium out through the urine. Therefore even if you are eating an ideal diet, you may still be deficient in magnesium.

Standard blood tests:

Blood is made up of the fluid portion (serum) and cells (red blood cells, and white blood cells). Most times doctors test for magnesium they are looking at serum levels. This is in fact a very poor test. Only about 1% of magnesium is stored in blood serum, and this levels is very tightly regulated by the body. In case of magnesium deficiency, levels will fall elsewhere, such as inside the cells (intracellular) long before deficiency shows up in blood serum.

Therefore, it's possible to have a magnesium deficiency, but still have normal blood serum magnesium levels. In fact, only the worst cases of magnesium deficiency will show up in blood serum.

The best way to test magnesium is by a "Red Blood Cell Magnesium." This measures levels of magnesium inside the red blood cells and represents how much magnesium is available to your cells. RBC magnesium is available from standard labs such as Quest or Lab Corp, so all you have to do is ask your doctor to include it on your next lab tests.

Alternatively, specialty lab companies such as Doctors Data or Metametrix offer a Red Blood Cell element test panels. These measure a whole spectrum of intracellular minerals in addition to magnesium. However these tests are generally not covered by insurance, and are only offered by a relatively small number of doctors (mostly who specialize in natural or integrative health). Often naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, integrative doctors or other practitioners in natural health are the best people to go to for this type of advanced functional testing.

Progressive Labs

History

Progressive Lab is a business, which is operated and owned by a family since 1972. Progressive Labs has been providing the finest quality products in the market. It produces the finest quality products that are available for targeted nutrition in therapeutic potencies. Progressive labs is still growing through referrals from satisfied physicians, professionals and consumers. Today, it expansion has reach over 25000 customers.

Progressive has earned a name in the market for both integrity in product labeling as well as for its conscientious service to the customers. It produces natural health care products, which sets them apart from the competition. The mission of progressive laboratories is to move forward progressively in the field of producing natural based health care products.

Vision

The main aim of the progressive Labs is to become a nationally recognized premier provider of natural based nutritional products and the most reliable and innovative suppliers of natural based nutritional products, supplements and aids.

Objectives: The objective of progressive Labs is to become the best industry

1. It plans to improve the already high quality products and high level of services to the customers. The main aim should be to satisfy their customers in every possible way by understanding the needs of the customers.

2. The industry also plans to improve their products as best as they can.

3. The industry will help the customer to grow and succeed and will also treat them with utmost respect. They will also work as a team with co-operations and determination to fulfilled all the needs and requirements of the customers.

For Practitioners and Patients progressive Labs are known for the production of highly effective professional grade nutraceuticals, which includes vitamins and herbal medicines. Apart from this, it also manufactures dietary supplements, which contains various nutrients for professionals that deal with health care and their patients.

Trusted Products Having earned a well deserved name in the field of natural health care products, the Progressive has become synonymous and dependable. The results of its products are reliable and the performances are of high standards with immense effectiveness. It is a highly trusted and committed manufacturer of natural health care products. Progressive Labs produces more than 150 proprietary products with natural ingredients that gives maximum benefits. It works with the belief of the fundamental core philosophy, which states that the Nature works in synergy and that the ingredients of the products should contain co nutrients, and catalysts, which provides maximum benefits to our body.

Stay Healthy by Focusing on Indicators of Good Health

There are a lot of chronic conditions that you can live with and still get by. However, untreated, these conditions can cause a lot of problems down the road. For example, gluten problems can lead to cancer, miscarriage, etc. Under- or over-methylation can lead to problems. Toxicity can lead to cancer. Hypothyroidism has some long-term effects. Chronic vitamin deficiencies can cause a host of problems. Basically anything that's off can cause problems if it's off for a long time as you age.

On the gluten-free forum that I read sometimes, I see so many people who realize later in life that they were gluten intolerant or celiac (which caused many of their problems) or that they had some easily treatable condition, the damage of which has built up over the years.

That's why I think it's important to make sure that you're healthy for the long run, as soon as possible. You want to make sure that if you keep living the way you're living, you'll stay healthy for a long time.

But what can you use as an indicator? How can you tell whether you've caught any of those innumerable hard-to-diagnose but harmful-in-the-long-run conditions? How can you tell that you're healthy enough that you won't have repercussions later in life for something you could have easily corrected?

You can't test it by whether you get cancer or something, because you wouldn't be able to notice that until it actually happened.

Instead, I think there *are* indicators you can use to check that your body is healthy and that you're living a good lifestyle for your body, one that you can take with you into a disease-free future (i.e. if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll have a low chance of preventable disease as you age).

Some potential health indicators are:

-You have enough energy to exercise a regular amount, being able to exercise without too much fatigue.

-You look healthy.

-Your face looks healthy: no circles under eyes, clear skin.

-No crease in ear lobes, which can indicate artery disease and increased risk of heart attack.

-Your facial features look normal. eyebrows are thick for their full duration, don't thin out around 3/4 of the way there.

-I bet Chinese facial reading would have a lot to offer, and indeed Chinese diagnostics in general. I love how Chinese medicine does diagnostics from the body (how it looks, excretions, pulse, colors, temperature, etc.) rather than relying on expensive, time-costing, and largely insensitive lab tests!

-Gums don't bleed.

-Resilient to stress, can deal with problems.

-Emotional control, can be who you want to be (not only does your emotional life effect your health; but emotional processing issues can indicate health problems such as vitamin imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, food sensitivities, and a lot of other things).

-No depression, even without antidepressants or even herbal mood remedies. There are a lot of health issues that can cause depression. For me, my mood is like the canary in the coal mine - it goes anytime things are off with my body. I knew something was wrong a few weeks before I noticed my Lyme disease EM rash. That's why I prefer not to use antidepressants - it is good to have mood as a warning sign if things are wrong in the body.

-Sleeping a normal amount, having a good circadian rhythm.

-Large, well-formed bowel movements. This is a huge one. Mark Konlee goes into a lot of detail about what are healthy bowel movements.

Here's what Konlee counts as indicators of poor health: 1. Lack of Good Appetite, 2. Lack of Good Digestion, 3. Toxic colon - "unhealthy" stools and urine, 4. Low body temperature (below 98.6° F), 5. Lack of deep restful sleep.

So I guess the corollary is that the following are indicators of good health: 1. Good Appetite, 2. Good Digestion, 3. Healthy Stools and Urine, 4. Normal Body Temperature (about 98.6F), 5. Deep, Restful Sleep.

Ideally, I think medicine should be about promoting what keeps us healthy (detoxification, proper nourishment, circulation, etc.) rather than waiting for problems to occur and trying to fix them, when the problems are much more easily prevented than treated.

Focusing on indicators of good health can be even more motivating than merely following a list of things you're supposed to do for "prevention," (such as taking certain amounts of certain vitamins or exercising a certain amount). Looking at health indicators gives you something positive to aim for, rather than just trying to avoid illness.

Moreover, you actually can notice changes in your health indicators (for example, your skin might get softer when you get enough essential fatty acids), whereas it might be hard to stick with a prevention program (eat this vitamin and decrease your risk of heart disease) if you don't notice changes in your body and if the reward is far removed.

Focusing on positive health indicators gives a faster reward, since many of these indicators can be improved on a scale of days to months.

Natural Home Remedies For Toe Nail Fungus and Candida

First, oftentimes nail fungus can be an outward manifesting symptom of candidiasis (overpopulation of candida albicans). Candidiasis is very common, a product of rampant overuse of prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off all bacteria in the gut, the beneficial intestinal microflora included, and this encourages candida to overpopulate. Once candida gets overpopulated, it goes systemic (throughout your body) and behaves like a fungus.

From there, the candida roots itself into the gut lining and/or vascular linings. This forms myriad holes in the gut and bloodstream and further perpetuates the systemic spread of the candida. This leads to a condition called leaky-gut syndrome. You can tell by the name alone that it's a good one to avoid.

Ways to tell if you may have candidiasis are intense sugar cravings, consistent foggy-headedness, white coating on tongue, itchiness in warm and moist parts of your body (jock itch or athletes foot), recurring yeast infection, belly bloat, and constipation. If you have some or all of these symptoms, it is a good likelihood you have candidiasis.

Improvements to diet are usually necessary to rebalance. Massive reduction of refined carbohydrates and refined sugar are the most important steps. I can't stress this enough. American agricultural practices store grains in huge silos and vats. This is a total fungus factory. Bugs, fungus, mold, and rodent feces are present in huge quantities in most commodity grain crops. It doesn't take a degree to figure out that is a recipe for ill health. Refined sugar is pretty much poisonous. I would greatly encourage everyone to massively reduce their intake of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

At the same time you reduce your consumption of refined grains and refined sugars, start eating more high fiber vegetables, cultured foods, and taking a high potency (10 billion organisms or more) probiotic. The fiber will help to flush dead and dying candida from the gut while the probiotics will rebalance the dysbiosis (imbalance of beneficial flora to non-beneficial flora).

I would also encourage you to consume herbs known to reduce candida. Some of my favorite choices are garlic, pau d'arco, and olive leaf. These anti-fungal herbs will help to actively lower the levels of candida while the probiotics and cultured foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kim-chi, natto, miso) increase the beneficial flora. Follow the recommended directions on the product. As always, make sure to get a high quality version of the herbs. Kyolic, New Chapter, and Natural Factors make good garlic, Gaia herbs and Herb Pharm make great pau d'arco, and Seagate and Blue Bonnet make good olive leaf.

If you go with the garlic option, you can also eat fresh garlic. It tastes incredibly strong, but the allicin content in raw garlic is powerful at reducing fungus levels in your body. Roasted garlic tastes better but isn't very potent for fungus.

An alternative to the herbal approach to lowering candida levels is an enzyme-based approach. This would involve taking a product like Candidase from Enzymedica or Candex from Pure Essence Labs. Both are fantastic for quick (although a bit more expensive in the short term), comprehensive results.

For additional benefit, apply a good quality tea tree oil or neem seed oil to the nail bed. After doing so, cover the area with a sock. The warmth will increase the absorption into the skin and nail bed and it will also slow the evaporation. Tea tree oil drys really quickly if left exposed. It'll still work but it will take more frequent application.

Plan on applying the tea tree oil or neem seed oil at least twice a day. Apply with a cotton swab, like a Q-tip, first thing in the morning and last at night. Plan on doing this for 3-6 months. You may get good results sooner, but it is safer to plan for the long haul.

Alternative Health and You - Discover the Benefits of Naturopathy

Naturopathic medicine can treat all sorts of health conditions: from pregnancy symptoms to chronic illness to depression and anxiety. Patients may be looking for alternative treatments to conventional medicine, or wanting to prevent future illness and disease. Different forms of naturopathy have been used in various cultures for thousands of years, and it has since become increasingly popular and widely practiced in the Western world.

Naturopathy is a type of holistic medicine, meaning that practitioners look for the cause of disease rather than just treating the symptoms. Naturopaths strive to understand the body as a whole and emphasize prevention as the best cure for all disease and illness. Naturopaths will work with you to modify your lifestyle and rebuild your health.

Naturopathic treatment encompasses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and utilizes the healing power of nature. There are a number of specialties that fall under the term "naturopath." Some naturopaths may specialize in nutrition, while others have other health science degrees. Some naturopaths may also be homeopaths or massage therapists.

Naturopathic treatment can include diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicines, supplements, topical creams, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and ayurveda, which is a natural healing approach from India. The focus is also on detoxifying the body, which may be done through taking herbal tinctures and vitamins, and giving up substances like caffeine, alcohol and sugar.

Naturopathy can be used to treat any medical condition, either in conjunction with traditional medicine, or as an entirely separate treatment. Some of the common medical problems people seek naturopathic help for include acne, asthma and allergies, headaches, arthritis, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders and menopause symptoms. A naturopath will work with you to develop a customized health and wellness treatment plan that will balance your mind and body.

Many employer health plans now cover visits to the naturopath. A visit to a naturopath will be somewhat similar to a visit to your general family doctor. The naturopath will ask about your medical history, diet and lifestyle, and may perform a physical exam and recommend lab tests. It's important that you always share the details of any naturopathic treatment with your medical doctor, and vice versa, as certain treatments and medications can negatively interact with one another.

Alternative Health Products Vs Modern Medicine

If you had to pick an issue that has been carving out its own corner of the debate market among the medical community in recent years you would have to, at some point or another, address the issue of the renewed interest in alternative health products and the way that interest is changing the face of modern medicine.

Did you know that most M.D.s know very little about the potential benefits of alternative health products when it comes to treating various diseases and disorders that modern medicine has been trying to cure for years?

In fact, the only doctors that regularly prescribe alternative treatment methods for their patients are pediatricians, not because they believe in the value of alternative health products so much as most medicines aren't considered to be safe for children less than a year old.

Shouldn't that tell us something?

Alternative health products are made from the same natural products as the foods we eat. In fact, many of the most popular "superfoods" cutting their way through the commercial market today, such as acai berry and cayenne pepper, have been a regular part of the diet of various civilizations around the world for centuries.

Because they are a natural food source they do not have many of the same dangers and side effects as modern day pharmaceuticals, and although some alternative health products have wreaked havoc in the past it has usually been in individual cases where the person had an allergy, metabolic problem, drug interaction or other isolated unnatural occurrence rather than a dysfunction on a large scale.

People have been using alternative health products to treat their ailments for years, although many of them may not have been aware that was what they were doing. Every time they reached for the aloe vera to soothe a sunburn, a vitamin C drop to stave off a cold or a can of ginger ale to settle their stomach they were using the same alternative health treatments that their ancestors used years ago.

That doesn't mean that we should scrap modern medicine completely and revert back to a homeopathic society, however. Despite intense amounts of research being done in labs around the world, an alternative treatment for cancer other than radiation or chemo has yet to show noteworthy success (although they are working on it).

Antibiotics are a much more efficient method of dealing with a bacterial infection before it becomes septic, and alternative anesthesias...well, try not to think too hard about that one.

The bottom line is that modern medicine and alternative health products need to work side by side in today's medical world, not constantly be fighting for the upper hand.

By integrating many alternative health therapies with traditional medicine you'll soon be able to enjoy the best health possible for your body.

Using Natural Medicine for Health

Having patients live a life full of health and vitality is the goal of practitioners of natural medicine. In a day when going to the doctor seems to be more about treating symptoms and getting a prescription than promoting health, experts in natural medicine work diligently to change this paradigm. These healers understand the intimate relationship between the body, mind, and spirit. They take time to get to know their patients, they treat the whole person, and they empower their patients to implement healthy lifestyle changes.

But who can you trust? Who is qualified and knowledgeable? Having a qualified expert in natural medicine is a great way stay healthy and strong, but it is important to work with the best. The following are a few of the many amazing types of natural medicine available today.

* Chiropractic- Doctors of Chiropractic, or DC's, work closely with the alignment of the vertebrae. By correcting subluxations (misalignments) of the vertebrae, Chiropractors rebalance the flow of energy through the spine and nerves and thereby improve the health of the internal organs and the body as a whole. Chiropractic was founded by DD Palmer in 1895 and has grown steadily since. Nutrition, supplements, exercise, and physical rehabilitation are other areas of focus for chiropractors as they seek to bring optimal health to their patients.

* Naturopathic Medicine - Naturopathic medicine is based on six guiding principles. These principles are: First do no harm, Honor the healing power of nature, The doctor is a teacher, Identify and treat the cause of a disease, Treat the whole person, and Prevention is the best cure. Guided by these principles, Naturopathic doctors are well-trained experts in the field of natural medicine. Naturopathic doctors have many tools to use including, herbal medicine, homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, physical exams, blood and lab work, and stress management. Their approach is holistic and empowering for anyone who wants to take charge of their own health. Qualified Naturopathic doctors, have graduated from accredited four-year post-graduate programs.

* Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - An ancient, but extremely relevant system of healing is Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. For thousands of years the Chinese have recognized the power of nature and the complex interwoven relationship of the amazing human body. By recognizing the interaction between nature and the individual, TCM practitioners employ treatments that seek balance. Specifically they work with the flow of Qi (pronounced Chee) through the body. Qi flows through pathways called meridians and is vital for life. Using acupuncture, herbal remedies, nutrition, and meditation, TCM practitioners balance the flow of Qi and treat a myriad of health concerns.

* Homeopathy - Homeopathy has been widely used in Europe, India, and the US for over 150 years. Based on the idea that "like cures like", homeopathy stimulates the body's innate healing ability with extremely dilute remedies. Practitioners of homeopathy take detailed case histories for each patient and match a remedy to each unique individual. It is a deep and powerful method of healing with beautiful results.

Natural medicine is on the rise and there are many amazing practitioners available. These forms of medicine are about patient empowerment and recognizing the beauty that is all around us. No longer are doctor's visits just about disease and pharmaceutical medication. Instead they can be about evolving, growing, and enjoying optimal wellness. It is an exciting new paradigm for health.

Effects of Nature On Our Mental Health

What is nature and how does it affect our health? Well this is one major question that we are coming across these days in relation to have a proper mental health. If we try to understand the meaning of nature in terms of dictionary definition then it clearly states nature as the natural physical world including plants, animals and landscapes etc. It refers to the phenomena of the physical world. In general terms it is also referred to the method related with inanimate objects and the manner in which the particular kind of things exist and change of their own harmony.

Now looking at the present scenario, today if we try to relate the term nature in relation to health then it won't be wrong. Plants represent a vital element of the original ecological system in which the human species evolved. Perhaps the time has come when we all take a close look at the impact of nature on the health of communities and individuals. Since the evolution of life, the nature has always featured as key components in health promotion models. Our relationship with nature is like a basic component that helps in sustaining good health.

As per the recent study conducted in UK, it was found that more than 75% of people live in urban areas and as a result the detachment with nature has contributed to a drastic rise in mental health problems. Roger Ulrich one of the pioneers of research in this area conducted an experiment to explain that patients suffering and recovering from identical operations were more likely to recover quickly if they had a daily view of nature from their hospital beds.

Studies in this field have also shown that well-being and levels of psychological and physiological stress are significantly influenced by our natural surroundings. These days nature is widely used as an element or modern therapy for people who are suffering from physical and mental health problems. In order to improve your mood, now concepts like hospital therapy gardens, wilderness trips for people bearing from ruthless stress have all shown positive effects on patients. Moreover in past few years, it has also been found that horticultural therapy have a growing body of research data which points to the many mental benefits of engaging with nature.

Research from Netherland and Japan has also revealed that people living close to green ambience live longer and enjoy better and healthy life. A Swedish study concluded that if office personnel could view greenery through their office windows, then it further significantly reduce the stress during their working days.

Latest studies from Germany and Australia have also confirmed the capacity of ecosystem of plants to perform as powerful air purifiers. Virginia Lohr at Washington University performed a computer based test on students, and observed that the systolic blood pressure was lower, and measured the performance level. It was found that the reaction time during the test was higher, if plants were present in the computer lab.

From an economical point of view, it should be of great interest to establish a green surrounding that can benefit your mental health by providing opportunities to be physically active both in terms of physical and mental health.

Homeopathic Medicine Centre - Helps in Best Natural Health

For over thousands of years our ancestors are working and researching hard to find remedy for disorders in body through natural means. They are mainly focused on extracts of plants and herbs. With such extensive work only, a natural science has been evolved in the form of homeopathy. It uses natural substance as its remedy which can generate symptoms in an ill individual to treat symptoms in his body. It works on the 'law of similarity' which considers that like can be treated by like compounds. Samuel Hahnemann is considered as the founder and father of homeopathy.

For homeopathic treatment, all over the world several homeopathic medicinal centers have been established. These centers have experienced practitioners and doctors who provide you proper medication with basic precautions. Homeopathic centers are well equipped with modern instruments and labs for the preparing medicines. Cleanliness and hygiene are the basic focus during their preparation. Besides remedies they suggest you for proper diet and healthy surroundings. They have quick and effective solution for children ailments like cough, colds, fever, vomiting, dysentery, bronchitis, asthma, measles, chicken pox, dentition problems etc. unlike other traditional medication it does not hampers digestion and do not affect immune system negatively. Instead it raises immune power.

Homeopathic medicinal centers have all types of remedies present that help in best natural health. These remedies are prepared from extracts of plants, animals and minerals. Sometimes some harmful and pathogenic compounds are also added which are known as nosodes. There is a special method to prepare these medicines. The process is termed as dynamisation or potentisation. In this compounds are first made fine powder which is then mixed with alcohol and water. This is then shaken vigorously through a process named as succession. With this they are diluted to extend so that substance cannot cause any harm in body but just activate immune system to release antibodies.

Homeopaths in these centers advise you suitable remedies after having long conversation with you regarding your personal and professional life. It is very important for them to know about your physical, mental and emotional status as this will help them to find out the reason for your illness. First visit to them lasts for a long, after that in successive visits they will observe changes in your body with their medication and change the doses accordingly.

These homeopathic medicinal centers also provide their online services in which they have telephonic conversations with you. After listening about your symptoms and problems, they will suggest you proper remedied. They themselves ship them which are delivered to you through their local services. But for an effective result, it is better to visit a local homeopath. Personal visit make it easier for them to understand your problem. They have certain packages from which you can choose which suits your budget. In general, this is very cost effective treatment which you can easily afford.

Thus from above information you can very well conclude that homeopathy helps in best natural health without any side effects and harmful reactions. This has been widely accepted around the world as an effective and assured treatment for various disorders and highly professional doctors are opting for this. It brings every individual to highest level of health be it emotionally, mentally or physically.

Herbal Education at Natural Health Schools

Find Herbal Education in the United States and Canada. Many natural health schools have integrated herbal education into standard curriculums and coursework. Students seeking an internship or practical training in natural medicine will find that an herbal education provides necessary skills and knowledge to become certified herbalists, herbal consultants, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners, and even naturopaths.

Herbal education is comprised of in-depth studies in the practice and art of clinical herbalism. In most herbal education programs, students are taught the roots of herbalism, including classes in therapeutic herbal medicine, medicine making and lab work, anatomy and physiology, herbal formulations, plant identification (botany) and growing of herbs, diet and nutrition, aromatherapy, plant chemistry, and other related subjects of study.

Typically, students who have successfully completed an herbal education will know how to identify, harvest and manufacture herbal medicine from medicinal plants. In addition, an herbal education will have trained students in how to effectively use herbal medicine as a treatment for common ailments, illnesses and other health conditions.

Depending on which natural health school in which you choose to enroll, an herbal education curriculum is often incorporated in naturopathic and Oriental medicine studies. In these courses, students are frequently introduced to natural herbal medicine and aspects pertaining to both Eastern and Western medicine.

A number of herbal education programs will commonly result in certification in the respective course of study; however, some natural health schools do offer herbal education that may result in a degree in herbal sciences.

As the consumer demand for natural healthcare and alternative medicine continues to grow, students who achieve an herbal education can feel confident that this coursework is not only beneficial to personal enrichment, but to professional growth as well.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding herbal education, let career training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs [http://school.holisticjunction.com/clickcount.php?id=6634739&goto=http://www.holisticjunction.com/search.cfm] near you.

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Natural Health & Healing - Chinese Philosophy of Regeneration and How the Body Heals Itself

The Philosophy of Regeneration and its three Principles

The Chinese's study and understanding of thousands of herbs and determining what effect they have on the human body spans over 5,000 years. The Philosophy of Regeneration was formulated to highlight what the body needs to properly restore itself to health.

Instead of concentrating on particular ailments, symptoms, treatments, or cures, the focus of the Chinese Philosophy of Regeneration is on fortifying and protecting the body against the constant barrage of outside influences and contaminants. When the body is strong and balanced it will repel illness and disease and heal itself, as it is meant to do.

Principle 1. Your body has the innate ability to create balance, order, and health when proper nourishment is put into the body and toxins are cleansed from the body.

Principle 2. The proper nourishment should come from a wide variety of whole foods. Most vitamins & minerals on the market today are not whole foods. Though they may have been derived from a plant, by the time they come out of the lab, they're chemical isolates, not whole food. In addition, the popular juices on the market today fall short of this requirement as well.

Principle 3. You must be willing to accept responsibility for your health.

The bottom line is, everyday we're either getting healthier, or sicker heading toward disease. That means we're building health or producing disease in our body. The good news is we get to choose in which direction we want to go.

The cells in our body are constantly being replaced, and based on our daily lifestyle choices and habits, those new cells can be either healthy or unhealthy. There's no in-between.

Therefore, if we're not consuming the proper nourishment and cleansing & detoxifying our body on a regular bases, those new cells will become weaker and weaker until they reach a diseased state. That means our health or lack thereof, is in our hands - not our doctor's or anyone else for that matter!

Benefits of a Healthy Body

So, here's a question for you to consider: Is your body regenerating or degenerating?

If your body is regenerating, you will:

-Feel Alive, Energetic, Strong, Healthy, Have a Sense of Well Being, Naturally Slender, -Be Active, Able to Overcome Addictions, Experience Clear Thinking, Emotionally Stable -Have Good Digestion & Elimination, Good Muscle & Skin Tone, Regular Menstrual Cycles (Females) -Feel Well Rested After a Night's Sleep, Quickly Recuperates from Disease

Benefits of an Unhealthy Body

If your body is degenerating, you will experience the following health problems:

-Feel Tired, Depressed, Exhausted After a Night's Sleep -Have Overweight or Underweight Problems -Experience Emotional Disorders, Premature Aging -Suffer With PMS, Allergies, Infections, Colds, Flu, Digestive Problems (Diarrhea, Bloating, Gas, Constipation), High Cholesterol, Fluid Retention, Hair and Skin Problems, Migraine Headaches -Experience Fertility Problems, Inability to Handle Stress -Have Poor Concentration, Slow Metabolism, Poor Muscle Tone

Which would you like to experience: Whole Body Regeneration or Degeneration? It's your health, your destiny, and your choice!

Health Drink News, Soft Drinks Are Destroying America's Health, Why Natural Health Drinks Are Better

Maybe you have a favorite health drink, but if you know people who still consume soft drinks then you will want to share this news with them. Just look around and you will see the many ways that these bubbly little beverages are destroying America's health, but here are a few specifics.

1. Soft drinks work very much like a diuretic, robbing the body of essential hydration. A considerable amount of water is required just to process the high levels of sugar in sodas. To replace what is stolen, you need to drink 8-12 glasses of water for every soft drink that you consume! Health drinks made with all natural ingredients, on the other hand, help your body absorb water. This makes your water more effective in hydrating and energizing you.

2. The high sugar content in soft drinks can cause your pancreas to produce an over abundance of insulin, leading to a "sugar crash". You have probably felt this after a meal high in simple carbs like bread, pasta and dessert. Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can eventually lead to diabetes. This is particularly problematic for growing children.

  • Kids will consume health drinks if they taste good. Fortunately, there are some excellent choices made with all natural ingredients. We're not talking about those sugary enhanced vitamin waters loaded with isolated vitamins from a lab, but beverage mixes made with whole food ingredients from real plants and fruits.

3. Soft drinks interfere with digestion. Caffeine and high amounts of sugar virtually shut down the digestive process. Your body expends all its energy to process those things while other nutrients go to waste. That means you are essentially taking in NO nutrients from the food you may have just eaten, especially if you are chasing it with a soda.

4. Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illnesses. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame. That's 80% of all complaints about food additives. This is prompting many people to take a closer look at stevia sweetener. Stevia is an herbal product that is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, and has been shown to help people maintain normal blood sugar levels. Stevia sweetener has zero calories, it is all natural and adds quite a bit of flavor to health drinks without causing problems for your pancreas.

5. Soft drinks are so acidic they can leach aluminum from the cans when sitting on the shelf too long. Alzheimer patients who have been autopsied have high levels of aluminum in their brains. Soft drinks can remove rust from a car bumper or other metal surfaces. Imagine what they do to your digestive tract as well as the rest of your body. The Acid forming properties cause your body to work extra hard in order to balance pH. The human body naturally exists at a pH of about 7.4. Many soft drinks have a pH of less than 4! Experts and books such as "The China Study" describe how diseases flourish in an acidic environment. For example, the blood pH of cancer patients and those with other illnesses is almost always low.

For those concerned about pH balance, take the Alkaline Food Test at BestHealthFoodStore.net to find out how the choices you make today influence your pH balance and your well being for life.

It is easy to see how the problems caused by soft drinks are part of the health care crisis in America. It is also quite apparent that this is an easy issue to solve. If everyone in America drank natural health drinks instead of soft drinks, the health of this nation would greatly improve. Obesity rates would go down, diabetes would be slashed and some arthritic problems would virtually vanish. It may sound too good to be true, but just take a look at the ingredients in soft drinks. You will see that the good life is not in one of those well advertised, colorful, bottles of bubbly.

Mainstream Studies on Natural Health Flawed

Recent headlines from an Oregon State University study asserted "Vitamin E trials 'fatally flawed" and the following story detailed how most studies on Vitamin E have been flawed to the point of being essentially worthless. Here are some excerpts:

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Generations of studies on vitamin E may be largely meaningless, scientists say, because new research has demonstrated that the levels of this micronutrient necessary to reduce oxidative stress are far higher than those that have been commonly used in clinical trials. The continuation of this news release can be found in the Eureka Alert publication.

In a new study and commentary in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers concluded that the levels of vitamin E necessary to reduce oxidative stress are four to eight times higher than those used in almost all past clinical trials.

This could help explain the inconsistent results of many vitamin E trials for its value in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and co-author of the new commentary along with Jeffrey Blumberg, at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

'The methodology used in almost all past clinical trials of vitamin E has been fatally flawed,' said Frei, one of the world's leading experts on antioxidants and disease."

Such news comes as no surprise to natural health advocates, but the public announcement of the results is surprising because it spotlights a common failure of testing natural alternatives that has gone on for decades: namely, testing dosage amounts well below the therapeutic level,

Many believe that testing such low dosage amounts, along with other flaws such as testing inferior or incorrect forms of the item being studied, studying only an isolated vitamin, mineral or compound without the supporting compounds found in nature are the result of looking at the minimum RDA amounts recommended to maintain good health instead of the therapeutic amounts needed to address illness and disease - as well as the fact that only synthetic creations, altered natural compounds and uniquely isolated compounds are patentable.

There is no economic incentive for industry to fund expensive studies and trials of something they cannot patent, have a good chance of recovering their study and trial costs, and then going on to reap large profits that can run into the billions of dollars. On a darker side, there are many who suggest that such profits are behind a great number of flawed industry funded studies on vitamins, minerals, & botanicals - in other words, the studies are purposely designed to show poor results in order to ward off natural competition that might be safer, more effective and/or much less expensive.

The public and our doctors have been told over and over again that natural alternative such as vitamins, minerals and botanical compounds provided by nature are inferior to what man creates in our labs and such flawed studies are what are often pointed to for justification. If the studies are flawed, by design or not, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Such suspicions of the motives behind flawed studies are magnified when one looks at the apparent agenda of the FDA and those behind the push for adoption of a North American Union kind of agreement modeled after the European Union model, which limits access to only a select group of natural vitamins, minerals and supplements at dosage levels far below what is effective.

It is this author's opinion that we should never fail to keep in mind that the people behind these studies have a vested stake in a trillion dollar plus annual industry and a track record of taking no prisoners when it comes to competition. These are, after all, the same people who trotted doctors and scientists before congress for four decades to testify that vitamins had no benefit and were even harmful, before finally giving in to a mountain of evidence they could not hide. These are also the same people who assured us of the safety of Vioxx, Bextra, Allieve, Avandia, Gardasil, Fosamax, mercury vaccines, mercury amalgam fillings, and a long, long line of past and present drugs associated with dangerous side effects, including large numbers of deaths.

The same group of vested interest, despite over half a century of abject failure in the war on cancer, still maintain that cutting out, burning out and poisoning out symptoms is superior to addressing the underlying causes and natural prevention. And, when you get down to it, it was pretty much the same group that assured us for generations that cigarettes were harmless.

It was a welcome surprise to many to see a mainstream study point out the failures of how vitamins and other natural therapeutics have been tested. Too bad we don't see such information constantly paraded before the masses on television and in journals, popular magazines and newspapers instead of the barrage of "Ask Your Doctor" ads clearly designed to condition the viewers into entering the wonderful world of managed illness.

Live long, live healthy, live happy!

Coming Full Circle In Texas - Integrating Natural Health Principles Into Everyday Life

The nineteenth century may not have been so kind to natural healers. Western medicine was witnessing the dawn of many fascinating achievements, after all, and commandeering the spotlight: antibiotics, advancement in surgery techniques, and better trauma care were seen throughout Texas and the United States. The love affair was in the lab, not in the garden. Somehow, much of the traditional knowledge has been forgotten in the excitement, but even residents of cities like Dallas and Austin can grow sage, rosemary, and marjoram in their own backyards.

As Western science becomes more mature, more well-rounded, and more self-aware, however, natural remedies are gaining a renewed sense of appreciation. Many individual health insurance plans now even cover treatments like chiropractic care, and Western doctors are more open to recommending natural remedies for at least part of their treatments.

Every day we hear about what wonderful things a single nutrient can do: lycopene (found in tomatoes and other vegetables) can help prevent specific cancers; antioxidants (particularly high in berries, acai and pomegranate) counteract the damaging effects of free radicals; zinc can single-handedly shorten a cold by several days. In fact, with the constant stream of facts from whatever the latest study may be, it can become difficult to know what, and how, to apply principles of natural health into everyday life. Doing so can not only improve immunity, mood, and productivity level, but may also grant access to better individual health insurance premiums by improving overall health.

The truth is, it's really not so difficult. In fact, it's frighteningly easy to utilize at least one natural remedy a day to maintain good health, and you're probably already doing it. Did you have a cup of chamomile, green, or mint tea today? Perhaps you sprinkled some oregano, garlic, or basil into your pasta, ate a dish with hot peppers, or bought a bouquet of aromatic flowers. At any given point, you may be unwittingly participating in very basic herbal, nutritional, or aromatherapy. Here are some common examples.

(1) Spicy food. Many traditional dishes use culinary spices so hot our eyes water just thinking about them. Foods from South and Central America, and East Asia are perhaps the most well known for their heat content, and Texas adapts many of its recipes from the former. But there's a reason for this burning experience: many hot peppers, commonly found in dishes from Dallas, Houston, and across the Southwest, are known for their antibacterial and/or antiparasitic properties, infections with which are more common in tropical climates.

In essence, the tradition of eating spicy foods (like chili) could be seen as an adaptive response to disease; i.e., in this case, medicine created from the local environment to treat a common illness. Many hot peppers also aid in circulation, increase sweat production, and temporarily heighten metabolism. So, the next time you power through that habanera-laced guacamole, just think how many unpleasant things you may be scalding out of your system

(2) Common Culinary Herbs. Many powerful medicinal herbs can be found in the kitchen, passed off as mere spices. Particularly in their freshest (and tastiest) form, they have proven to be dependable allies in the fight against common complaints, such as muscle soreness and insomnia, and common illnesses, such as cold and flu. When taken internally, rosemary displays antibacterial properties; when applied externally (through use in oils, baths, or vaporizers), it can relieve eczema, anxiety, muscular pain and insomnia, and improve peripheral circulation. Oregano oil is believed to be not only antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic, but also a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Parsley acts as an effective diuretic and a mild antihistamine. Everyday, you are probably consuming at least one tasty medicinal herb. The fresh (versus the dried and stored) variety retain more of their therapeutic and nutritional qualities, so go ahead—cook, eat, enjoy! It's good for you!

(3) Tea. Tea is the most popular drink in the world, next to water. Technically, it's just a short-lived infusion—or an extract prepared by steeping or soaking certain parts of (an) herb(s)—and since there are thousands upon thousands of edible herbs, the possibilities are endless. Sweetened, black, iced tea, of course, is popular in Texas and the Southwest, but the United States is really just getting in on the amazing variety this ancient tradition offers. Cities like Houston and Austin house thriving businesses based entirely on the supply, preparation, and consumption of this endless assortment of drinks—from black teas, to green, to red, to white, to herbal. Nearly everyone today has at least heard of chamomile, mint, or green tea, and is probably fairly familiar with others, as well. Chamomile is well-known for its soothing effects, as is rose and lavender, and can ease a mild case of insomnia, muscle cramps, or arthritic joint inflammation. Green tea is fortified with antioxidants, is low in caffeine, and can aid in weight loss. Peppermint or spearmint may calm an upset stomach, and a strong ginger brew helps digestion. Echinacea and sage are commonly steeped for colds; nettle, raspberry leaf, and red clover are traditional tonics for women. While one needs to be careful when choosing an herbal tea—some may be harmful to those who are pregnant, nursing, or have certain health conditions—in general, they are easily-prepared, therapeutic beverages for everyday good health.

(4) Aromatherapy. While learning the extensive details of it is a discipline, the basic premise of aromatherapy is simple: utilize scents for their therapeutic effect. Once passed off as folklore, aromatherapy's popularity is booming—ads for candles, incense, oil burners, detergents, and home products abound. Companies touting the “zesty" and uplifting sensation of their soaps are actually applying the basic principles of aromatherapy. If you've ever felt comforted by the fragrance of home-cooked food, inhaled the scent of your morning coffee to get you going, or lit a candle just to "brighten your mood," you, too, are treating yourself to aromatherapy. Aromatherapy encompasses a wide variety of applications, from massage oil treatments, to soak baths, and overlaps with many herbal remedies. The scent of chamomile, for instance, is part of the soothing experience of drinking the tea. Be conscious of the aromas around you and how they may affect your mood or state of mind. Sleep with lavender under your pillow, don't be afraid to splurge on that soy-based, essential oil candle, and remember that just the smell of coffee can do wonders for you in the morning.

So it would seem we're beginning to come full circle in appreciating the traditional plant knowledge that was humanity's first form of medicine. Much of it is still valid, and easy to integrate on an everyday basis to optimize health. Don't be afraid to smell something pretty, boys, and sip that chamomile tea at night. Sound sleep and increased immunity just may ward off the next round of office flu.

What you put in your body when you’re young will certainly affect your health when you get older. Eventually, it will also affect your wallet. If you're a young individual who tries to maintain a healthy condition, you should take a look at the revolutionary, comprehensive and highly affordable individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for you Visit our website, [http://www.precedent.com], for more information. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled "real time" application and acceptance experience.

Natural Health Care Solutions for Menopause

Are there any natural health solutions for menopause?

The simple answer is a resounding "Yes!" The longer answer involves the nature and nurture of a woman experiencing menopause.

For starters, what is menopause? Just ask any woman typically between the ages of 45 and 55 and she'll tell you she's experiencing one or several of the following symptoms:

  • Changes in the cycle or flow
  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and skin changes
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • Loss of interest in sex

So, what exactly is happening to a woman's body during this time?

Physically speaking, a woman's ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, resulting in the cessation of ovulation and menstruation. More importantly, though, menopause is a natural health process and a necessary transition into another phase of life. Transitions of any kind involve change, sometimes uncomfortable changes, with a transformation resulting upon completion of the transition. Menopause is not meant to be treated like a disease.

Frequently, women are not aware of alternative options. Thus, the they will seek the guidance of their physician who typically will recommend hormone replacement therapy. There are synthetic kinds, namely Premarin, Prempro, and Provera, which are the most commonly used (which are made from horse urine).

There are also bio-identical hormones, which have recently received much buzz from well known celebrities. Bio-identical hormones are manufactured in the lab to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body.

Yet, our bodies are dynamic, ever-changing organisms that require a very individualized approach with natural health solutions. Not every woman will respond to the one-size-fits-all approach of synthetic or bio-identical hormones. And, being that menopause is a transition, a natural health approach that supports a woman through this time will be the most effective and caring approach.

This is where classical homeopathy comes in. A qualified practitioner will find a homeopathic remedy that is individualized to her unique needs. The remedy is made from mostly plants and simple minerals and takes the healing intelligence of nature to stimulate her own unique healing response. In this way, the body will become strengthened to support it's own transition. This is especially important for a woman as her body is so inherently interwoven into the rhythms of nature. Such interweaving is modeled in the very context of her menstrual cycle, which symbolizes a birth and death every month through the release of an egg and shedding of tissue. This typically coincides with the very lunar cycle of the moon's orbit around earth. How much more connected to nature can you get?!

Thus, as the menstrual cycle changes during menopause, it indicates she is ready to move on to the next phase of her life. This is a beautiful process that is honored in a woman through classical homeopathy.

Classical homeopathy cannot regenerate an endocrine gland that may not be working anymore, thus necessitating a synthetic or bio-identical hormone replacement. This is best discussed between a woman and her doctor. However, in most cases, classical homeopathy will aid a woman through her transition and help support her in adapting to the change.

Additional to the use of homeopathic remedies, women are advised to be involved in adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as proper nutrition, adequate exercise, and effective stress management. There is no replacement for healthy lifestyle habits!

There are hundreds of homeopathic remedies to choose from to help a woman experiencing menopausal symptoms. She is best advised to consult with a qualified homeopathic practitioner who will individualize the remedy to her unique needs, and who will also advise her on healthy lifestyle habits.

Natural Health - Defeat The Challenge

What is Natural Health?

The definition of Natural Health is somewhat ambiguous, but it is generally understood as taking care of Health challenges without resorting to pharmaceuticals, but using natural means instead. That includes Food, Herbs and Alternative Medicine, such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and the likes. A Doctor that practices Natural Medicine are called ND or NMD in the US, or simply Naturopath. But the price for this ambiguity is lack of respect: Naturopathic Doctors are still fighting for National acceptance, while their title is only accepted in a few States in the US, and, not surprising, people are pretty much in the dark on how a NMD can restore Health. Unlike conventional medical schools that train MD's, accredited Naturopathic Colleges teach Nutrition and its function on the Human Body.

What Sustains Health?

Since the vast majority of Illness come as a result of poor Nutrition, apart from other Lifestyle issues (smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, eating late, etc.), our innate behavior is first searching for healthy Food, as soon as there is evidence of an unwanted symptom. We know that there is Food to sustain overall Health and then there is Food to heal specific conditions. But what about access to such Foods when we need it?

Herein lies the problem: Natural Health requires Natural Food, but what is Natural Food? Produce in industrialized countries is inundated with Pesticides and may have lost most of the Nutrients to food miles. Unlike processed Foods, Produce carries no Nutrition Labels, so how is the consumer to know how long ago it was harvested and how much Nutrition is still left? The answer is, we don't know to begin with, and we are deliberately deceived by visual appearance of produce, that is supported by chemical treatments to last at least beyond the cash register.

Produce in America is - often genetically engineered - grown entirely for Profit and not at all with the Consumers Health in mind. That trend has led to produce hugely oversized fruits and vegetables devoid of flavor and nutrients. For example, a peach in the US has been reduced in Vitamins that one would have to eat 54 of them, in order to get the same Health benefit that one peach delivered 50 years ago (Dr. Bob Marshall, Premier Research Labs). Clearly, today's produce is grown for transportation and not for consumption, it is engineered and chemicalized to withstand the harshest conditions during weeks of transportation. To begin with, fruits are harvested long before they reach maturity and before they have developed their nutritional value. Once they reach their point of sales, they are treated with specially developed gases and chemicals to instantly induce ripeness appearance. One familiar and pathetic example is the Banana that after purchase, perishes before it ripens, or looks ripe yellow but can't be peeled and is inedible.

So it follows that we have to buy Organic! But what does that mean, no Pesticides, harvested when ripe? Unfortunately, the USDA Organics standard is weak to begin with and then rarely enforced. But even if a Produce has been grown "Certified Organic", doesn't mean it is pesticides free and there is no guarantee of higher nutrition, because it may have been sourced in China, delivered to a Distribution Warehouse in the Midwest, and then Trucked 1,000 miles to the destination. And how does the Produce withstand such abuse/ By being sprayed and fumigated several times.

Then, of course, there is the problem of ridding the Produce of its numerous unlabeled chemicals before consumption. The USDA lists 42 pesticides for Apples and 54 for Strawberries. Obviously, it should be crystal clear that rinsing the Produce under tap water is a futile attempt to flush away the harmful bacteria, let alone the toxic chemicals that are sealed under a coat of water resistant wax. Failing to remove these chemicals means they are being consumed, with potentially dire Health consequences.

How to navigate the toxic Food mess

You can find out what chemicals lurk on your Produce by searching the Pesticides Action Network database, then you can decide how to rid the Produce from the specific toxins. If you have a water Ionizer - Alkalizer machine, you can first soak the Produce in high pH water, followed by rinsing under the resulting Acid water. Otherwise you can buy bottled "Fruit & Vegetable Wash" formulas at large supermarkets. You can also make your own using a mixture of vinegar and water, lemon juice and baking soda; there are "how to do's" on the web. But under no circumstances shortcut the procedures, even though you can't see the contamination until you look at the solvents after soaking.

Finally, let's not forget the Meat! We know that US Beef from Feedlots comes to you loaded with Antibiotics, synthetic Hormones and Transfat, because the American Consumer is unwilling to pay a little more for Grass Fed Beef that is healthier. The atrocious treatment of Chickens and Pigs in CAFO's has received infamous publicity. It really doesn't need a lot of brain work to realize that an Egg from a factory where Hens are kept under extreme and chronic distress, yields little nutritional value, compared to an Egg from a free roaming Hen.

Staying Naturally Healthy has become a challenging feat like never before in history. It will take a lot more time to shop and get informed and it may cost more money to buy from the Farmers Market. But we need to remember that there is no cheap Food, if it costs little at the store, we'll pay later a much higher price for restoring our Health.

Natural Supplements - The Difference Between Synthetic and Natural Products

In today's world of health, a lot of concerned people have questions about many of the natural medications and health products they often read about. They have a lot of questions concerning the differences between synthetic drugs and natural drugs. They also have a lot of questions regarding the effectiveness of natural treatments versus synthetic treatments. The reason that there is so much confusion is because it can be very difficult at times to get some good objective information.

The truth is that most people who are offering information about health products have certain motives. In other words, they want to sell you their products. When this is the case, you are going to get a lot of conflicting information. You are going to get some commentators who will tell you that natural supplements are far superior to synthetic supplements. On the other hand, you have many writers claim that synthetic drugs and supplements offer far greater advantages.

Who are you to believe? When it comes to natural supplements, what you are looking at are products that are derived from plants and animals. This is what makes them natural. Synthetic products are those made of unnatural chemicals. They are created in a lab and are designed to mimic certain chemicals and substances that exist in nature. This is the basic difference.

It should be noted, however, that many natural substances are developed in labs by scientists. This is because there is much science that is required to develop these supplements. There are often fermentation techniques that are used to get the most from an herb, plant, or animal.

So which is better? Much of this depends on your preferences and what kind of information you have. The truth, however, is that natural supplements are safer. There is not much mystery when it comes to these supplements. They are substances that are found in nature.

In some cases, the nutrients and substances in the supplements are the same exact ones that are found in your body. With chemicals and synthetic drugs, you have to worry about negative side effects and chemical dependency. When you use natural products, you only have to take the prescribed or recommended dosages and keep a healthy diet.

If you are interested in learning more about natural supplements, you should find a trustworthy, professional website that not only sells these products, but will also inform you about the best way to use them and the latest trends in natural health. The choice is yours when you are deciding how you want to maintain good health. Just remember that the benefits of synthetic supplements often come with a cost.

A Review of the Amigo Health Income Opportunity

Amigo Health Labs, Inc. is a company partnered with supplement manufacturers that specializes in providing natural supplements for the healthcare industry. Using their own manufacturer, the company maintains a consistent product and believes in stern Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The Amigo Health mission is to provide all natural, superior quality, and "life-changing" supplements to its customers by employing distributors to sell their products on behalf of the company.

Amigo Health offers a variety of health supplements. Their signature product, Amigo Juice contains the natural ingredients, acai berry, mangosteen, and goji berry. This is a powdered drink mix that requires water to activate the health benefits found in the three fruits. Amigo Cleanse is a supplement designed to help detoxify the colon.

Amigo Health's Trim Weight Loss Shakes are rich in protein and only 100 calories. They come in chocolate and vanilla flavors. Their Thermogenic Weight Loss Capsules contain 20 active ingredients which help increase metabolism, boost energy, decreases appetite, blocks sugar, and improves stamina. Alternatives to Amigo Juice are available in capsules and whole foods.

Amigo Health Labs also has a large selection of nutrition supplements. These include MultiZyme Enzymes, ProBiotic, Joint Care, Goji Berry, Hoodia Gordonii, Mind Matrix, Ladies EnhanceHer, Blue Green Algae, Mangosteen, NeuroCare, Acai Berry, Pro IGF-1, Cholesterol Control, NONI, Whole Food Vitamin, rHGH Spray, and Mega Antioxidant Formula.

There are many income opportunities through commissions with Amigo Health. As a representative (Rep), members receive a free website with their preferred sub domain. A Rep may choose from wholesale prices or monthly auto-ship prices. In order to receive commissions, a valid Social Security number or Tax ID must be provided to the company.

A 1 Star Director with Amigo Health is a Rep who has personally sponsored one Rep that makes a $49.95 minimum order monthly. One Associate also must be signed up to receive their own monthly $49.95 minimum order. As a 1 Star Director you are qualified to receive 9% commissions on level one.

A 2 Star Director is a Rep who has personally sponsored two Reps meeting the monthly minimum order requirement. One Associate must also meet the minimum as well. As a 2 Star Director you are qualified to earn 9% commissions on levels one and two.

A 3 Star Director is a Rep who has personally sponsored three Reps meeting the monthly $49.95 minimum. One Director must also be signed up that meets their minimum monthly order requirement. As a 3 Star Director you are qualified to receive 9% commissions on levels one, two, three and 3% on levels four through nine.

To become an Executive with Amigo Health, a Rep must sponsor six Reps meeting the monthly $49.95 quota. Executives have to be signed up for their own monthly order as well. As an Executive you are qualified to earn 9% commissions on levels one through six and 3% on levels seven through nine.

A Rep becomes Presidential as soon as they have sponsored nine Reps meeting the $49.95 minimum monthly order. A Presidential has to also meet the monthly requirement order. As a Presidential member you will receive 9% commissions on all nine levels.

General Health Problems - Blind Faith and Health Misconceptions

Today's understanding of health revolves around the "fact" that the human body is born with problems and deficiencies. It is because of these problems that people get sick as they grow. It is also generally accepted that this is a problem that will continue to affect people for the rest of their lives.

Lets say you go to the Doctor when you are sick and he tells you your sickness or illness is floating around and you caught it. He also tells you that it is normal to get sick because your immune system will eventually kill the pathogen invading your body and will make become immune to it in the future.

Well that sounds like a "And They Lived Happily Ever After" ending but consider this. Pathogens which are bacteria's that cause sickness and disease evolve time after time and each time they evolve like the common cold, people have to face an upgraded version of the same cold.

It doesn't make sense that it is "natural to get sick" because if the problem you face continues to evolve and you still get sick what's the point of continuing this endless cycle? Your immune system will get stronger but you will still get sick year after year by another evolved disease.

Let me bring you back to the theory that people are born with problems and deficiencies. It is because we lack something in our organism that we are weaker and more susceptible to diseases. But how is it possible that people are born with this problem?

I believe this is because this day in age we try and substitute our deficiencies with drugs and processed foods that we believe are healthy and will solve our problems. Because we are embedded with theory that our body is imperfect and needs drugs, we believe that this is normal. But this is a misconception.

WHY?

The same drugs and foods we eat are in fact the cause of our health problems! Drugs do not correctly substitute what our body CRAVES and processed foods lack nutritional value and poison our body because they are full of chemicals and growth hormones which are put into them to preserve them longer in order to meet the growing population demand (The longer goods last the less of them companies have to make, and it is because of this that they are injected with chemicals to preserve their state that alter them and make them unhealthy).

Lets not disregard the fact that this lifestyle has been going on for decades since drugs invaded our lives which brings me to point out that the past generations who began this lifestyle passed it on to the next generation which would genetically be unhealthy at birth due to their parents consumption of unhealthy products before them.

Perhaps that is where the theory of people being born unhealthy originated from.

Consuming these products has become so "normal" that mass quantities of people aren't even noticing how they are poisoning themselves. It is difficult for us to acknowledge this fact because we just don't notice this around us. This is because our bodies have an uncanny ability to heal and adapt to new changes. But if we continue to poison it with these products, then sooner of later the body will no longer be able to take it and will breakdown.

Most drugs on the market do not work. In fact a government study found that only 30% of drugs on the market today do actually work. What about the other 70%?

Its outrageous at how many drugs are being advertised today and how the narrator of and ad mentions 10 different side effects quietly. Have you ever seen a drug ad? Have you seen the deadly number of side effects a drug has?

Drugs mention side effects such as heart problems, high cholesterol, kidney failure, and much more. Next time you see a drug ad listen carefully to what they are saying. When the narrator explains how the drug works you will most likely hear something like:

Treats the causes

Treats the symptoms

So it does nothing but baby-sits your health problem. And it will still continue to occur because it isn't being dealt with correctly. Also read drug labels and you will see "Temporarily reduces symptoms". Look carefully and you will see that they basically don't do anything. Oh and let's not forget the nasty side effects.

So what basically happens? You take a drug hoping that it will solve your problems and in the process you encounter many more health problems not to mention the damage they cause your kidney when ingested. People we are being led to believe that taking drugs is a trend and that everyone does it.

And once we feel the side effects we assume its due to natural causes when in fact the drugs are to blame. We also believe that drugs are beneficial for us backed up by claims from Doctors who are paid to say that they work.

Did you know many decades ago, Doctors were actually paid to say Cigarette smoking was good for you? Do not think this trend has died with cigarettes? Doctors are being paid a lot of money to say something works, and for what reason?

To SELL. Selling a product is primary for companies like pharmaceuticals and the quality of the product is secondary.

Do you remember how many people Vioxx killed? And this was a drug that was allowed to sell by the FDA. Then after it killed a quarter of a million people it was finally taken off the market. Here is my question.

Didn't the FDA, or the drug companies know this would happen? Didn't tests confirm a risk for heart attacks? OF COURSE THEY DID but they sold it anyway to make money.

This still continues to happen. Do you honestly believe the drugs advertised are actually worth it? Have you ever seen a commercial for "Restless leg syndrome?". How ridiculous does that sound? Now they are making up the most farfetched conditions just to make a drug and sell it, and all at your expense since once again drugs have side effects.

I used to feel like a lab rat when I would go to my doctor and ask him what my problem was. He would often give me complex answers and tell me to take a drug. These drugs never worked for me. Not to mention the fact that some of these drugs I'd never even heard off which made think like I they were being tested.

The whole procedure of going to the doctor sounded like "Ok well here is your problem! We don't know where it comes from. There isn't anything you can do about it. There isn't anything we want you to do about it so let us do our jobs, make money off you while you suffer. So take this drug and shut up".

If there is no explanation for a health problem how come there are drugs already being made to make money off diseases and conditions? Well its simple many drugs are being tested and sold before they can pass the proper procedures of safety and that is why again I say I feel like a lab rat.

My friend's father was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He felt optimistic because he had high hopes for the health system in the United States. When he came home from his visit with the Doctor he suddenly felt hopeless. I asked my friend what the Doctor said and he told me that the Doctor reviewed a list of procedures his father would have to go through.

With ever procedure the Doctor explained what percentage of success there was and by the end of the entire session, my friend's father had lost hope. I asked him if he questioned the Doctor about any alternate routes (hinting at holistic health) and the father said yes but the Doctor interrupted him rudely and said there is no other way!

Isn't that just wonderful? You claim to look out for the health of your patients, claim that there is no cure for cancer, decide to run them through several experiments whilst making money off them and then the patient will eventually die since very few cases of chemotherapy actually work, not to mention their painful side effects.

So what ends up happening? The "doctor" recommends standard procedure for cancer. This is of course chemotherapy. With very few cases of success in this area what ends up happening is that the patient is put into a box (Meaning that he has no other say in the matter), is slowly dieing while he is being made money of, and then when they eventually die the doctors state that it was inevitable.

Isn't that sad? Its sad but its true and this is a trend that is continuing. And although I sound biased towards doctors, I am in fact not. There are many good doctors out there who truly want to help their patients. But the problem is that most of these doctors are schooled to think the same as well as suggesting the same procedures.

The reason I write all this is to give people a different outlook. Sometimes its necessary to step out of line and tell your Doctor "NO!". Sometimes its necessary to pursue different roads, and personally I recommend the uncommon ones such as natural health.

Times have changed the perception of a doctor being good, helpful, all knowing and kind that has been embedded into us from our early years passed from generation to generation has changed. There are many things happening now that completely twist that perception around and although it is happening all around us, many of us still have blind faith in doctors.

I wrote an article on "How to be your Own Doctor", and in it I mention how there is always a reason for your health problem. There is no such thing as "it just happens and there is nothing you can do about it". There is a reason and there is an answer. You can find it. And although I am not a huge fan of doctors it is sometimes necessary to see them to get their opinion on the matter.

If you are unsure about a health condition you have or are worried, it is always smart to see a doctor. HOWEVER it is also important to avoid a drug as well as an incorrect suggestion from the doctor. If you feel he may be trying to make money off you, stop seeing that doctor of get a second opinion. Consider holistic doctors but also be wary of their suggestions.

The health industry (at least in the US) is a private business and in every business profit is primary. Be careful.

Health Rangers Mike Adams' Thoughts on Nutritional Cancer Cures and Best Products on the Market

In this article Mike Adams shares on nutritional cancer cures and the best products on the market. Mike Adams is known as the "Health Ranger." Mike cured himself of disease through nutrition and he is the founder and editor of Natural News.

Kevin:: Let's turn the tide. You spend a lot of time reviewing products. What are some of the best ones out there?

Mike: Well Healthforce, a company by Jameth Sheridan, those are some of the best products. I'm a big advocate of Sunfood, David Wolfe's company, and their product line. There are many, many superfood products on the market. There's Beaucoup superfood that I recommend.. There's Emerald balance. There's a company called Sprout Living that has a new Sproutein product. It's a protein made from sprouts. It's amazing. In fact I just got a sample of it last night and I just tasted it this morning in my smoothie. It's fantastic. If you go out and you actively try to find superfood products, it's very easy.

Kevin:: Right.

Mike: Go to any health food store. Look for the superfood products, get the ones that are really green, and that have berries in them. We live in a time of great abundance now. You can cure cancer now using stuff off the shelf at the store, literally, that's not an exaggeration at all.

There are books written about anti-cancer foods. Some of the most powerful anti-cancer nutrients are berries, resveratrol, turmeric, which is the root that's used to make curry, and I'll tell you a fact about that that's fascinating, chocolate is also anti-cancer, and the cruciferous vegetables. If you drink even one ounce of broccoli juice every day and you combine that with some green tea, some vitamin D, a little bit of zinc, some turmeric and black pepper, berries from time to time, you will never get cancer, ever, because it cannot grow in that environment.

The way that you get cancer is if you are vitamin D deficient for a long period of time, like during the winter when people aren't getting sunlight, or if they're using sunscreen products. And you're not bathing yourselves in the anti-cancer nutrients from cruciferous vegetables, you know onions, garlic, as well, in addition to cruciferous cauliflower, broccoli those kinds of things. That's how you get cancer. If you want to grow cancer in lab rats in the lab, the recipe's very simple.. Vitamin D deficiency, nutrient deficiency, processed food, chemicals in the food; you'll get cancer like that. If you want to reverse cancer, you just turn all that around, get lots of vitamin D, lots of nutrients, eliminate the toxic chemicals, the cancer's gone. This is not complicated; cancer is not complicated.

Kevin:: When you're looking at products, what are you looking for in the company? What are some of the criteria? Because you put your seal, the Natural News seal on things, what does it take to have that seal?

Mike: Well, I want you to know that that seal, we don't make money on the seal. We don't charge people. It's an award seal, like editors choice award, on certain products that we give that to. Well, I'm looking for a couple of things. Not only what's in the product itself, because I look very carefully at the ingredients but then I meet the founder of the company. And I'm looking for personal integrity. I'm looking for whether that person lives a natural health lifestyle. People like Jameth Sheridan, very healthy individual, really into healthy living. That counts a lot as far as I'm concerned.

Kevin:: Yeah.

Mike: Because I don't think that you can sell health products if you're an individual running a company who isn't healthy. Like there's... I'm at the trade shows all the time. And there's this one company that I'm not going to name, but they have these super-fruit juices. You know it says A├žai juice on the front and you look at the ingredients and it's 95% fructose and water.

Kevin:: Yeah.

Mike: There's a little bit of juice in it. You taste it and you're like, "What is this citric acid and water?" You can't even taste the fruit. And a lot of consumers don't know what these fruits are supposed to taste like. So they don't know if they're drinking the real thing. But the guy running that company is this like obese grumpy New Yorker with bad skin and smoking cigarettes outside the show. I'm not going to recommend that.

Kevin:: Yeah.

Mike: There are products on the market today that are junk. There are a lot of bad vitamins that I would not recommend. Mainstream brands, made with synthetic chemicals just like pharmaceuticals. But there's a lot of great stuff on the market as well. That's what I recommend on Natural News. So I do product recommendations on a regular basis, product reviews all the time, and I'm always trying to give people the latest and greatest products that are out there. And you know, you want real vitamins, North American Urban Spice.

Kevin:: Yeah.

Mike: Purely C. It's a food-based vitamin C product. They have a food-based vitamin E product. There's so many companies out there that have so many great products, if you just look, just spend a few minutes looking.

Slim Fast Recall - A Reminder That Health Drinks and Natural Foods Are Best For Weight Loss

What harm can come from supplementing your natural weight loss program with Slim Fast or other so-called diet "health drinks"? One answer became clear last week when 10 million cans of Slim Fast were recalled by the manufacturer for possible bacterial contamination. On December 2nd, 2009, Slim Fast manufacturer Unilever notified the FDA of possible contamination; and a complete recall has been issued. Consumers are encouraged to contact the company at 1-800-896-9479 for a refund.

It's not hard to see this scare as a reminder of the importance of natural weight loss, rather than relying on a magical elixir created in a lab to help us curb our appetites. True health drinks are those that contain natural foods for ingredients. These natural foods restore a body's balance by supplying the right blend of nutrients and energy to keep up a strong metabolism and an activity level that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Unlike manufactured diet drinks like Slim Fast, true health drinks contain a variety of natural foods that work with the body instead of against it. For example, many people who pursue natural weight loss have discovered the wonders of Stevia. This sugar substitute is derived from the Stevia plant, and while it adds a sweetness to health drinks, it doesn't affect blood sugar levels. Compare this to aspartame, an artificial sweetener that has been linked to more than 90 different health concerns and is in a variety of diet products.

Natural weight loss plans also implement the use of teas, either on their own or as a component of other health drinks. Again, the natural foods used to make the teas are naturally occurring, and the overall benefits can be incredibly important for both natural weight loss and overall health. Consider the fact that green tea in some health drinks is loaded with powerful antioxidants that help remove free radicals from within the body. Removing free radicals from the system gives the body more energy to focus on other important functions and reduces the risk of overall illness.

Because our bodies readily recognize the ingredients in natural foods and health drinks, they are well-equipped to absorb and use the nutrients they find there. Rather than finding new and creative ways to digest foods that were never really intended for human consumption, the body can simply get to work transforming these natural foods into energy. The result, of course, is an increase in energy, which results directly in the ability to burn more calories on a natural weight loss plan.

For those who have thought twice since hearing about the Slim Fast recall, there are a lot of great health drinks to consider for natural weight loss. Rather than filling our bodies with highly processed and chemically engineered diet gimmicks like Slim Fast, it is time to start considering natural health drinks as a safer and smarter alternative. These are the kinds of natural weight loss products that can deliver safe results.

Pharmaceuticals Don't Work - Natural Vitamins-Minerals, Superfoods and Healthy Living Do!

America is undergoing a massive experiment to determine whether pharmaceuticals really work -- basically... a large percentage of our population are just lab rats. Hopefully, every rational thinking person is coming to the conclusion that pharmaceutical drugs really don't improve the health of those who take them and that the use of super foods, natural vitamins and minerals and a good healthy lifestyle are the answer to our nation's health problems.

The sad fact of the matter is that the more pharmaceuticals you take, the sicker you will eventually be. That's because pharmaceutical drugs create imbalances in our bodies that eventually lead to even more and worse side effects that we originally took the drug for. It is pretty ironic that many of the drugs people take actually cause the very things they claim to prevent. Osteoporosis drugs cause hip fractures. Cancer drugs cause cancer. Antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts. Steroids, etc.cause more problems to those with auto-immune diseases such as arthritis and more obscure diseases such as itp (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura). The list goes on ad infinitum.

It is really difficult to comprehend that nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis as documented by the Center for Disease Control in a report just recently released. (1) More than one in ten Americans use five or more prescription drugs regularly and amazingly almost a third of the citizens of the US consistently use two or more drugs. No wonder we are such a sick nation!

In the same CDC report, it was revealed that nine out of ten seniors are on drugs....and the most sickening news is that one in five children are regular users of prescription drugs. The total combined cost of our "drug" habit is over $234 billion in 2008. Honestly, what is our country doing? The most commonly used drugs were:

• Statin drugs for older people

• Asthma drugs for children

• Antidepressants for middle-aged people

• Amphetamine stimulants for children

America as a nation has become one big drug addict! Senior citizens are being drugged for nearly every symptom a doctor can locate, children are being doped up with (legalized) speed, and men and women are popping anti-depressants at an alarming rate.

Prescription drug addictions are on the rise, as well. And it's getting worse all the time. But just wait til the new health reform insurance regulations come into effect. Most of the bill was designed to give favor to the pharmaceutical industry, so that more people can be put on medications.

This mass drugging of America has virtually reached the point of no return where the future of the US is in grave danger. Pharmaceutical drugs are known to cause cognitive decline, and when most of the nation gets to the point that their thinking is disrupted...our country will fall apart.

And what about the financial cost of America's drug addiction: The more drugs you take, the more added sickness and symptoms you have, the more drugs you take and so on until it eventually kills you. Just about one out of every five dollars out of the entire U.S. economy now being spent on sickness and disease. America is stuck on the vicious hamster wheel of sickness and high priced drugs that actually cure no one... stuck in a cycle of high-cost drug treatments and eventual destruction of the health.

No one ever gets healthier from taking prescription drugs. They don't cure and they don't prevent disease, only hide symptoms. Pharmaceuticals only maintain patients in a kind of "pre-death state" where they're alive just enough to keep buying more drugs. Pharmaceutical companies don't want you dead because that would reduce their profits. And they certainly don't want you to be healthy either, because then they wouldn't have any customers.

It is a known fact that people manage to get the best nutrition and natural supplements are the ones who live a healthy and drug free life. Why do you think they keep lobbying congress to introduce horrible bills that control the natural health industry. It is certainly not for the good of the people, only so that they can control the population and increase profits. Pharmaceutical drugs are designed with one thing in mind....to keep you in a continual diseased state without curing your condition but also without killing you outright so that you will remain a sick and dependent drug user to increase their bottom line.

You just barely chemically exist, spending massive amounts of hard earned money while your memory fades, and your health declines. Pharmaceuticals don't work! Don't you think it's obvious? If they really did work to improve health, then wouldn't it be logical to conclude that over half of the US that uses pharmaceutical drugs should be the healthiest half? And that those people living naturally and consuming natural vitamins and minerals would be the unhealthiest? Hmmm? Something is not adding up!

Modern medicine and specifically the Pharmaceutical industry, is ravaging our country at record speed. The obvious "cure" for this problem is to get rid of what is not working (ie: pharmaceuticals) and start re-building our nation's health with the things that are working to keep us healthy...Precisely, nutrition, natural vitamins minerals, super foods and a natural lifestyle.

Additional sources:

(1) National Center for Health Statistics: "NCHS Data Brief No. 42, September 2010."

Natural Skin Care - More Than Skin Deep

Does Natural in Skin Care naturally mean Good?

Although Webster defines "natural" as "not artificial, synthetic, [or] acquired by external means," it is the rare cosmetic ingredient that fits that description. Even water used in cosmetics is generally distilled, deionized, or otherwise purified. All along the continuum of "natural" products, choices have been made to emulsify, stabilize and preserve--to make the products smooth and creamy, keep them fresh, and give them an acceptable shelf life. Even if consumers want products that need to be refrigerated, distributors and retailers will not order them because of the added costs of shipping, storing and greater liability. A growing number of consumers who seek that kind of freshness have been firing up their blenders and following recipes for homemade treatments.1[1] Even these, however, call for essential oils, alcohol, glycerin, lanolin, etc., which are a long way from their natural origins. As reported in Strong Voices, the newsletter of the Breast Cancer Fund, "Approximately one-third of cosmetics and bodycare companies position their products as natural in one way or another . . . But, as you might expect, some companies are more natural than others" (Volume 7, Summer 2005).

Most people who seek out "natural" products are looking for ingredients whose sources they recognize, and that is why many companies now list the source along with the scientific name of the ingredient, as in sodium laurel sulfate (from coconut), or lanolin (from wool). Turpentine comes from pine trees. My grandmother, born in 1901, swore that turpentine helped her arthritic hands, and she may have rubbed them with lard (from bacon) afterwards to keep them as soft as I remember. Perhaps lard and turpentine are "natural," but are they good for the skin, and along with that, what is the definition of "good?" Again, there are no simple answers. If you have found this article through the Eco-Mall, it is safe to assume that you seek out skin care that:

(1)     is friendly to the environment ("eco-friendly"); (2)     does no harm to animals (commonly referred to as "cruelty-free"); and (3)     does no harm to the human body and ideally does good (is "body-friendly").

Let us examine "natural" skin care in light of each of these issues.

Eco-Friendly An issue rarely addressed by the cosmetic industry is whether products are environmentally friendly. The LA Times2[2] has reported that consumer products, including cosmetics, pump 100 tons of pollutants daily into southern California's air, second only to auto emissions. These pollutants come not just from the propellants in sprays and aerosols, but also from fluorocarbons, ethanol, butane, acetone, phenols and xylene. Here's how it works: These chemicals evaporate, and when the sun shines they combine with other pollutants to form ozone, a primary component of smog that can cause headaches, chest pain and loss of lung function. This happens outdoors and indoors, which can severely compromise the air quality in our homes and offices.

There is a class of chemicals called PPCPs (pharmaceutical and personal care products) that until recently have received relatively little attention as potential environmental pollutants. PPCPs comprise all drugs (prescription and over-the-counter), diagnostic agents (e.g., X-ray contrast media), nutraceuticals, and other chemicals, including fragrances, sunscreen agents, and skin anti-aging preparations. When phthalates, for example, get into rivers and lakes, they are known to affect the reproduction of aquatic species; and musk fragrances are known to bioaccumulate.3[3] Skincare products may contain botanical ingredients grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are not friendly to the environment, and some may use genetically modified plants in their botanical ingredients.

Cruelty-Free "Cruelty-free" is generally understood to mean that the products are not tested on animals; sometimes also that there are no animal-derived ingredients in the products. Taken literally, this would imply the absence of lanolin (from wool), beeswax or honey, dairy products, etc. Some labels specifically state there are no animal ingredients.

Body-Friendly We suggest four criteria for evaluating "body-friendly" skin care products:

·         Toxicity ·         Occlusiveness ·         Comedogenicity ·         Effectiveness

1.Toxicity

In our July article we discussed several ingredients which we prefer to avoid in skin care products. To recap, we listed mineral oils, petrolatum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, SLS and SLES. We also called sunscreens into question.

Toxicity (to humans) of skin care ingredients may be divided into three distinct categories:4[4]

a.        Carcinogenic, referring to ingredients contributing to cancer b.       Endocrine-disrupting, which refers to chemicals that disturb the body's hormonal balance, and may interfere with its ability to grow, develop, or function normally. Endocrine disruptors may also be carcinogenic. c.        Allergenic, irritating or sensitizing, meaning consumers may have allergic reactions or contact dermatitis (itching, redness, rash, etc.). Individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities may become very ill when exposed to certain of these chemicals.

There are many "natural" skincare companies who include parabens, SLES, and other of these ingredients in their products.

A general note about preservatives: By their very nature preservatives are toxic. They must be toxic to bacteria, molds and yeast to keep the products from spoiling. Another preservative that is gaining use as an alternative to parabens is diazolidinyl urea. This preservative has not been banned from use in Europe, although some authors claim it is carcinogenic because it is a formaldehyde donor. Although formaldehyde is a chemical which occurs naturally in the human body, formaldehyde in the gaseous state is a known carcinogen. From all studies we have read, diazolidinyl urea, when it forms formaldehyde, does not form formaldehyde gas. Nonetheless, when used in high enough concentrations, or even in low concentrations by persons who are especially sensitive to it, diazolidinyl urea-along with almost every other preservative-has been shown to cause contact dermatitis. There are also "natural" products who claim to use no preservative. Most of these contain grapefruit--or other citrus--seed oil extract. As mentioned in Part I of this series, cosmetic chemists I have spoken to insist that these citrus seeds would turn rancid if they were not sprayed with preservative; that that preservative is concentrated in the oil when it is extracted; that this preservative in the extract is what is actually preserving the skincare product; and that the preservative used is generally a paraben.

There are also skincare products that are sold in sealed containers with airless pumps or sprayers. Although it can add significantly to the cost of a product, this type of packaging and delivery is highly desirable, as it keeps air and airborne contaminants out of the product and makes it possible to significantly decrease or even eliminate the use of preservative.

Of the large list of possible cosmetic ingredients, a relative few individually pose high risk, but many people use an array of products every day. It may be that these risks are adding up, or that single ingredients react with others to create toxic combinations, known as synergistic toxicity.

2.Occlusivity The skin is the body's largest organ. The lungs breathe, and so does the skin, so to speak: The "breathing" skin provides an exit for toxins and chemicals--respiration in the form of perspiration. Lotions and salves that occlude this exit may initially soften the skin by keeping moisture from escaping, but may actually inhibit the overall health of the individual, besides weighing down the skin and causing it to sag and age. Nutrients applied to the skin that improve the skin's health may have a positive effect on the whole body, because they are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. When we choose body-friendly skin care, two important criteria come into play: that the products not be toxic to our skin or our bodies, and that they not be occlusive-allowing nutrients in and toxins out.5[5] The bonus comes when the ingredients that are allowed in also bring the skin into balance and nourish it. This is the topic of Part III of our series of articles: What Nutrients and Ingredients are Important for Healthy Skin? (late September 2005). Here we address ingredients common to "natural" skin care that may be occlusive and/or comedogenic.

Look up "occlusivity" on the web and you will find hundreds of references to occlusivity and its benefits. The reason companies tout the benefits of occlusivity is that it holds water in the skin. When water can't escape, the skin stays soft and moist, and that sounds like a good thing. Imagine wrapping your skin with plastic wrap and wearing it around all day-an extreme example of occlusivity. Pretty soon it would start to stink in there as the toxins that usually escape with perspiration and generally evaporate into the air get trapped between the skin and the plastic. Now imagine that those same toxins can't leave the bloodstream because the skin's normal respiration is blocked. Where will they go? In some cases, they fester under the skin and form deep-down blemishes; in extreme cases, where occlusive lotions are used all over the body for extended periods, they may deposit in the liver and add to the body's toxic load.

Sometimes it may be beneficial to use occlusive salves for a limited time. If you want to climb Mt. Everest, for example, or ski at high altitude where the air is thin and dry and you are close to the sun, it's a good idea to wear a lotion that holds the water in the skin. For babies with diaper rash, it's good to use a salve that keeps the water away from the skin! For most of us, these are not constant conditions, and treatments that hold water in over time are undesirable. Standard cosmetics experts may disagree with this reasoning. Paula Begoun in Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me (5th ed., 2001) states: "According to many 'natural' cosmetics companies, mineral oil (and petrolatum) comes from crude oil (petroleum), is used in industry as a metal-cutting fluid, and therefore can harm the skin by forming an oil film and suffocating it. . . . This foolish, recurring misinformation about mineral oil and petrolatum is maddening. After all, crude oil is as natural as any other earth-derived substance. . . Mineral oil and petrolatum . . . can keep air off the skin to some extent, but . . . it doesn't suffocate the skin!" (pp. 11-13). She also states that antiperspirants "cannot absorb into the skin . . ." (p. 14). I maintain that anything rubbed onto the skin will be absorbed, as long as the molecules are small enough to pass through the skin membrane; this is how patches work to deliver medication. Although Begoun makes a good point that crude oil is "natural," I believe in making educated choices of which earth-derived substances we apply to the skin, and crude oil is not on my list.

It should be noted that there are degrees of occlusivity: If an ingredient is occlusive when used by itself, it will be less so when used in combination with non-occlusive ingredients. A small amount of beeswax used to emulsify jojoba and water will be far less occlusive than rubbing beeswax alone onto the skin. With that in mind, besides mineral oil and petrolatum, here are some of the more common occlusive ingredients found in "natural" skin care:

a.        beeswax and other waxes b.       castor oil c.        cocoa butter d.       dimethicone e.        honey f.         lanolin g.       sunflower oil and other vegetable oils

3.        Comedogenicity Unlike occlusive oils like mineral and sunflower oil, which do not penetrate, comedogenicity refers to the tendency of a substance to get into the skin's pores and clog them. This is especially bothersome in face care products, where clogged pores may lead to acne and blackheads. The word comedo is the medical term for blackhead, so comedo+genic means "friendly to blackheads." Some cosmetic-ingredient glossaries equate "non-comedogenic" with "non-occlusive," but that is a misunderstanding; while beeswax, mineral oil and zinc oxide (among others) are known to be occlusive, they are non-comedogenic. This is because they lie on top of the skin and do not penetrate. Others, like sunflower oil, may be both occlusive and (somewhat) comedogenic. Below is a list of the relative comedogenicity of some common "natural" cosmetic ingredients6[6] (source: http://www.geocities.com):

Very Comedogenic Somewhat Comedogenic Not Comedogenic

Capric/caprylic triglyceride Anhydrous lanolin Allantoin Cocoa butter Avocado oil Beeswax Lanolic acid Capric & caprylic acid Cyclomethicone & Dimethicone Linseed oil Castor oil Ethanol Olive oil Coconut oil Glycerin Peach kernal oil Corn oil Jojoba Sweet almond oil Grape seed oil Kaolin (clay) Glyceryl stearate Mineral oil (USP) Hexylene glycol Oxybenzone Lanolin alcohol & oil Panthenol Mineral oil, cosmetic grade Petrolatum (USP) Mink oil Polysorbates Peanut oil Propylene glycol Safflower oil SD alcohol Sesame oil Sodium hyaluronate Sunflower oil Sodium PCA Tocopherol (vitamin E) Sorbitol Squalane Titanium dioxide Waxes   "Note: Even somewhat or very comedogenic ingredients can be present in non-comedogenic formulas when used at percentages low enough that the end formula won't clog pores" (ibid.). The important point is to look at their relative position in the ingredients list. If a comedogenic ingredient is toward the top, then it is probably present in a quantity large enough to clog pores. Unfortunately it is impossible from the ingredients list to know whether for example ingredient #5 represents 20% of the formula or 2%. Thus we need to be able to trust the manufacturer when the label states "non-comedogenic."

4.        Effectiveness Let us assume that every skincare company's raison d'etre (before or after the profit motive) is to create products that make the skin feel and look good, and that probably means it's soft and not dry. Add some additional goals--anti-aging, anti-acne, skin-smoothing--and you've covered most of the bases. Most skincare products, "natural" or otherwise, achieve these goals by using occlusive ingredients that hold moisture in and keep the skin soft and "plump." If, however, we are looking for the beauty of overall glowing good health in the skin, we need to ask for more than this from our skin care.

We agree with Charles DePrince, president of GoForLife Labs, who states: "The idea of 'natural' could mean a product containing all natural ingredients; however, I believe there should be a more significant meaning to the idea. I think the natural course to attaining beauty is a healthier and potentially more lasting one than with the use of harsh or radical treatments such as Botox, face lifts and peeling. The 'natural' idea would be to support the living and natural cells of our skin with nutrients that could support such things as the body's natural ability to retain moisture, to support natural collagen development, or to reduce hyperpigmentation. This way, by supporting the natural health of the skin, I believe the cumulative effect would be to develop healthier skin as both the path to and result of beauty."7[7]