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Health Insurance

One of the blogs I read is this guy, mymoneyblog.com – I read it because my financial counsellor recommended it. Mymoneyblog has some pretty good stuff to read sometimes. Like recently he linked to this article (Young Adults Fastest-Growing Group of Uninsured) which I thought was very interesting. My young, healthy family was in the “uninsured” group for three years. We recently got some high deductible coverage though. Even though I still don’t like the seemingly high premium I do feel a bit more peace knowing that if something bad happens I won’t have to live in a van down by the river.

Anyway, if you happen to be in the boat I was in and you realize you need to find some form of health insurance I know the best place to look – www.zanderins.com. They get the best quotes from several providers. I couldn’t find a better deal.

Check out that article linked above. If you’re like me it will remind you of how ridiculous healthcare is becoming…

Genetics

This is an interesting article about genetic advances. I’ve read a little about this in other places to know it is true. Check it out and then see my notes at the bottom.

Your Genetic Code Is Not Carved in Stone
By Al Sears, MD

New research is revealing how your environment actually changes your genetics – and it’s putting you in the driver’s seat.

In November, the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute released the results of their groundbreaking study. They found that a mother’s diet during pregnancy not only affects her child, but also her child’s offspring.
This means that the lifestyle choices a woman makes can affect several generations of children – a revolutionary idea that flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

For more than 150 years – since the time of Darwin – scientists have believed that any changes to an organism cannot be passed on to the next generation. According to strict Darwinism, if you were to change your diet, lose weight, and become super-fit, your children would not benefit from your efforts. But we now know there is something more at play: the “epigenome.” The epigenome plays a powerful role in your health… and could make the difference between whether or not you “inherit” heart disease or diabetes or something else.

Scientists in an emerging field of research – epigenetics – have discovered that your genes are only 15 percent of the total genetic material you get from your parents. For example, your genes give you many individualizing traits like blue eyes or brown hair. The remaining 85 percent – the epigenome – is a scaffolding of proteins that surround your DNA’s double-helix pattern.

As it turns out, this “scaffolding” functions as an interface that interacts with your environment. Based on the lifestyle choices you make, the epigenome has the power to turn genes on or off, changing the way your body translates your genetic coding into the proteins that make up YOU.

The Children’s Hospital Oakland study, lead by Dr. David Martin, split genetically identical pregnant mice into two groups. The mice had been bred in a way that gave the scientists the ability to monitor a gene that determined both the color of their coats and their tendency to develop chronic disease. So, by tracking coat color, they were able to follow the effects of vitamin supplementation across two generations of offspring.

The first group of mice received a standard diet. The second group received the same diet, with the added benefit of supplemental vitamin B12, folate, choline, and zinc. When the babies were born, the females from both groups were mated and fed identical diets with no supplements. When the offspring gave birth, Dr. Martin’s team discovered that the original mice that had the diet with extra vitamins passed the benefits on to both their children and grandchildren.

Findings like these have powerful implications in both directions. It means that, by making healthy choices, your efforts can have a positive effect not only on your children but on your grandchildren as well. On the other hand, a diet of fast food and sodas will not only wreck your own health, it could predispose future generations to chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

That helps to explain why so many schoolchildren suffer from high blood pressure and low HDL (good cholesterol). The poor dietary choices their parents made are coming home to roost.
This discovery gives us new insight into a long-standing debate between Charles Darwin and a guy you may never have heard of – French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

Darwin‘s theory, which has been shaping the direction of modern science, can be summed up in a few words: Genes cannot be affected by the outside world. In other words, your lifestyle choices have no effect on your genetic code or how those genes are expressed.

But Lamarck believed that if an organism changes during its life in order to adapt to its environment, those changes would be passed on to its offspring – and Dr. Martin’s study is one of several that are proving he was correct.

So, guess what? It looks like you’re no longer a “victim” of your genetic programming. If, for example, if you decide to exercise vigorously to develop new muscle, it now appears that it’s possible for you to pass on a predisposition to build muscle with exercise to your children… and perhaps even further down your line of descendants.

Conscious decisions to improve your health will interact with your epigenome. In turn, the proteins in your epigenome can turn off genes that would have otherwise expressed themselves as disease in your descendents.
Instead of the old model, think of your genetic code as a library. You have thousands of choices, but you never check out all of the books. The epigenome interacts with your environment and your choices to determine which books to “read.”

You can actually “talk” to your genes to improve your health and prevent disease.

I hope you appreciate the power of that last statement. It means you no longer have to live in fear of disease – even if you have a family history of it.

Vitamins like E, C, and A send messages to your genes that normalize cell division. This alone can aid in preventing many forms of cancer.

For vitamins E and C, I recommend taking more than the U.S. government suggests. Start with 100 IUs of vitamin E and 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily.

Here are four other nutrients that powerfully support detoxification and proper genetic expression:

Vitamin B12: 500 to 1,000 mcg daily

Folic acid: 500 to 1,000 mcg daily

Vitamin B6: 10 to 20 mg daily

Betaine: 200 to 1,000 mg daily

Don’t sit back and allow “bad genes” to ruin your health. Take action and make yourself and future generations healthier.

I know you can get those vitamins in a lot of places, but the ones I take are here. These health articles I post are usually totally unrelated to our online business or the products we offer (I read them from a newsletter with no ties), but the articles are so consistent with the benefits our products offer that I have to share how to get what I consider the best health products on the market.

There is also a couple of genetic tests we offer. One helps you identify whether or not you have problems with specific genes that give you a predisposition for heart disease. Another helps you identify how your body absorbs B-vitamins which greatly affect your health. You can find those tests, Gensona tests, here. These tests aren’t cheap, but they’re worth it if you really want to take action to make your future offspring healthier.

Drinking Alcohol Prevents Heart Attacks

New Study: Alcohol Prevents Heart Attacks
By Al Sears, MD

Most doctors warn their patients that heavy drinking will raise their blood pressure. This is good advice. But a new study shows that a few glasses of wine a day raises your HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health wanted to see if men with high blood pressure – who are generally advised not to drink – might safely enjoy a little wine, beer, or liquor. They looked at data from over 11,000 health professionals who were taking part in a 15-year survey. The men who had one or two drinks a day actually had lower rates of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks. The researchers also found that more than two drinks a day increased the risk of heart disease – findings that agree with those of other studies.

Of course, you can lower your risk of heart attack even if drinking isn’t for you. One reliable supplement you can take is cod liver oil, which ramps up your HDL and lowers triglycerides (blood fat). I recommend that my patients take at least 5 grams a day.

You can also improve your cholesterol by raising HDL and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) with an interval exercise routine, like my PACE program. Interval exercise also expands your heart’s reserve capacity, giving it the power to pump more blood faster during times of stress.

Which Would You Rather Drink?

This is especially interesting to me because my mother-in-law is a serious bottled water drinker and Shawna inherited some of those habits. Also, you can get a state of the art water filtration system here if it’s that important to you. Buy some bottles and fill them up at home – with good water rather than some greedy corporation’s poop water….

Bad News About Bottled Water
By Al Sears, MD

If you think paying high prices for bottled water protects your health, I have bad news. Many brands are full of chemicals and bacteria. Common tap water has stricter purity standards and, in many cases, is better for you.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water, but the FDA oversees the bottled water industry. And, by law, the FDA has the power to selectively follow the EPA’s rules – enforcing some and ignoring others. This gives big business the opportunity to sell you expensive bottled water that is anything but safe. And if you think bottled water isn’t a “big business,” think again. Global sales top $35 billion every year.

Here are some of the surprising results from a recent study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

Over 25 percent of bottled water is actually tap water from municipal water supplies.
A popular brand of “spring water” – with a label depicting a lake and mountains – comes from a well in the parking lot of an industrial facility. (The parking lot is right next door to a hazardous waste dump.)

About 30 percent of bottled water has chemical and bacterial contamination above the levels considered safe by state and industry regulations.
In some cases, levels of arsenic in the bottled water tested by the NRDC were at “a level of potential health concern.”

Your best bet for safe, clean drinking water is to put in an under-sink purifier. The reverse-osmosis type is very reliable. If you don’t want to invest the money to do that, a simple pitcher with a charcoal filter is better than most bottled water.

Boost Metabolism

I’ve gotta get more on the ball with this health stuff myself. I havne’t been working out for two months while I was playing basketball… That’s over now so I’ve gotta get back on track. Here’s some healthy stuff worth sharing…

5 More Ways to Boost Your Metabolism and Start Burning Fat
By Jon Herring

Losing weight does not require you to put yourself through months of self-sacrifice. You simply have to (1) do a few things that will increase your body’s metabolic rate and (2) replace high-calorie, low-nutrient foods with those that promote health.

Don’t skip breakfast. This is the meal that is most commonly skipped, and many of the people who do it think they are doing themselves a favor by eliminating those calories. Nothing could be further from the truth. Numerous studies have shown that eating a protein-rich, low-glycemic breakfast is essential for healthy weight loss.

Eat healthy fats. One of the biggest weight-loss myths is that “fat makes you fat.” The truth is that healthy fats can help make you thin. These are the fats you find in nuts, fish, fish oil, naturally raised meats, olive oil, and avocados.

Manage your blood sugar levels. Maintaining stable, low blood sugar levels is one of the best things you can do to prevent your body from storing fat. Do it by avoiding sweets, processed foods, and starchy carbohydrates.

Drink green tea or water. These are, by far, your two healthiest beverage options, and they both help to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Alternate between interval exercise and resistance training. By exercising with resistance, you build muscle. Muscle is active tissue, so the greater your muscle mass is, the higher your metabolic rate will be. And by exercising in intervals at high intensity, you not only burn fat and calories during your workout, but for many hours afterward.

Forget the Food Pyramid

Worth sharing…

Forget the Food Pyramid – Here’s My Simple Formula for Getting Lean
By Al Sears, MD

In 2005, the government issued its latest food pyramid. You’ve probably seen it – but if you haven’t, you’ll soon get your chance. Over 2,000 supermarkets in 17 states are planning to promote it in their stores.

The “new” food pyramid – like the old one – suggests that you eat more grains and carbs than anything else. And, not surprisingly, the big food makers are footing the bill for this “public service” campaign. (When you’ve spent that much money lobbying politicians to support your high-carb, highly processed, artificial-food-substitute products, why not cash in?)

But don’t be fooled. Following this unnatural high-carb diet, while ignoring protein and healthy fats, will only make you fat, sick, and tired. Instead, follow my simple formula for getting lean:
High Protein + Low Carbs + the Right Fats + Regular Exercise = Fat Loss

Increase Protein: Quality protein is the key to good nutrition. Protein promotes muscle growth and increases the burning of carbs and fat for energy. Fish, lean meats, eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts are all good sources of protein.

Decrease Carbohydrates: Starches are a main cause of obesity. Limit your consumption of anything made from grains or potatoes. Get your carbs from unprocessed vegetables that grow above the ground.

Eat Natural Fats: Most modern fat is a health nightmare, but getting enough omega-3 fats is essential for good health. Eat unprocessed vegetable fats from avocados, nuts, and virgin olive oil. Avoid corn oil and all hydrogenated oils. Get your animal fat from grass-fed red meat, wild fish, and eggs.

Sex – Health Benefits

Since I’m a big advocate of sex (within marriage of course) I thought I should share this highly educational article. I’ve made lighthearted comments about these points to people before, but it was interesting to read it from a professional MD. After reading this there really aren’t many valid excuses to not have sex.

The Health Benefits of Sex
By Al Sears, MD

The most credible study connecting overall health with sexual frequency comes from Queens University in Belfast. They tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. After 10 years, the British Medical Journal revealed, the men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate 50 percent lower than the others.

Other studies show that having sex a few times a week has a direct link to:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease: In a 2001 follow-up to the Queens University study, researchers looked at cardiovascular health. They found that by having sex three or more times a week, men lowered their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50 percent.
  • Weight loss: Sex is exercise. A vigorous session is about the same as running for 15 minutes or playing a game of tennis. During sex, your pulse rate rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150, similar to what you’d get from a vigorous workout at the gym.
  • Pain relief: Just before orgasm, your level of a hormone called oxytocin surges to five times its normal level. This, in turn, releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of everything from headaches to arthritis – even migraines. (In women, sex stimulates the production of estrogen, which can reduce the pain of PMS.)

I know I’m writing this late but for health’s sake we should probably get some exercise in before we go to sleep…

Don’t Do Drugs

I might sound crazy but I completely agree with any argument against prescription drugs. Look at the side effects. People take drugs that cause side effects they’ll need more drugs for. Take impotence for example – you take one drug to get your blood pressure down, but a side effect of that drug causes impotence which can be treated with another drug like viagra… It’s a vicious cycle… One drug causes depression, but there’s another drug to treat that… And don’t get me started on how much money they’re making – which is why natural remedies or preventative health aren’t promoted. Find a good health and wellness source NOW so you don’t need prescriptions later.

Beat the “Silent Killer” Without Drugs
By Al Sears, MD

High blood pressure – the “silent killer” – strikes without warning. And at least 20 percent of Americans with this condition don’t even know they have it.

Once patients are diagnosed with high blood pressure, U.S. doctors are the most aggressive in the world at treating it, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They prescribe drugs earlier than doctors in other countries and are the quickest to prescribe more than one drug at a time. A remarkable 64 percent of American patients are on two or more blood-pressure drugs. And those medications have side effects, including:

Impotence
Fatigue
Congestive heart failure
Memory loss
Weakness
Depression
Persistent cough

Most patients don’t need dangerous drugs. One of the most powerful ways to combat this epidemic is completely natural and without serious side effects. I’m talking about taking CoQ10.
My Wellness Research Foundation found that a vast majority of people with high blood pressure have very low levels of CoQ10. So I’ve used this supplement to wean hundreds of patients off drugs. Treated with 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, their blood pressure returned to normal.

Here are two other natural supplements to help you lower your blood pressure:
Garlic naturally widens your blood vessels and lowers your systolic pressure (the top number) by 20 to 30 mm Hg and your diastolic pressure (the bottom number) by 10 to 20 mm Hg. A German study revealed that garlic also lowers your cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fat). Look for a supplement that contains at least 3,600 micrograms of allicin (the active ingredient in garlic) per dose.

Vitamin C is another proven way to lower your blood pressure. One 10-year study showed that the lower your levels of vitamin C, the higher your blood pressure and risk of stroke. Another study found that taking as little as 250 mg a day cut the risk of high blood pressure by almost half – and it’s very safe to take much more. I usually recommend starting with 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily.

Chocolate

I LOVE chocolate – especially dark chocolate. I think this article explains why I sometimes crave it. This article was also quite interesting to me because our good friends Lenny & Tathie have an adopted son who is Kuna Indian. Hey Christian – let’s have some chocolate!!

A “Prescription” for Chocolate
By Jon Herring

Several years ago, I went to visit my brother who was serving in the Peace Corps in the mountains of Panama. Every morning, we began our day with a rich cup of some of Central America‘s finest coffee. That is, until we reached the San Blas Islands.

The San Blas are inhabited by the Kuna, a strongly knit tribe of Native Americans. Instead of coffee, the Kuna drink a beverage made with cocoa. And though they’re probably not aware of it, the cocoa is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. I was reminded of this when I read a recent study showing that the Kuna Indians who live on the mainland have a high incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure, while those who still live in the Islands (and consume this beverage daily) have an extraordinarily low incidence of those conditions.

Certainly there can be other dietary reasons why the Kuna living in cities have health concerns that the islanders do not. But this study strongly supports the results of other recent studies, including one published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition which showed that the consumption of cocoa caused a “striking blood flow response” to the brain and improved brain function.

The Journal of Clinical Nutrition study was sponsored by Mars Inc., the company that makes M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix. I have no problem with their research – but don’t get the idea that a Snickers bar is going to do the trick. Besides being full of sugar, milk chocolate has very little cocoa. Instead, choose a high-quality dark chocolate – the more bitter, the better. Or buy a container of organic, unsweetened cocoa powder (NOW Foods makes the brand I buy). Mix it with water or milk and drink it several times a week. If you prefer it sweetened, add a few drops of stevia.

Cardio – From Your Heart’s Perspective

I love these articles because I have personally felt the difference when doing this and completely believe and agree that it is very important – DON’T WEAKEN YOUR HEART….

A Look at “Cardio” From Your Heart’s Perspective

By Al Sears, MD

Look at any rack of fitness magazines and you’ll see dozens of covers telling you that you need “cardio.” Go to any gym and the trainer will insist on devoting some of your time to “cardio.” You probably don’t like doing it, yet you feel compelled to comply. After all, who doesn’t want a healthy heart?

Common parlance has even accepted the term “cardio” (short for cardiovascular endurance training) as synonymous with exercise for your heart. But shouldn’t exercise make the targeted body part stronger?

When you study the heart’s changes as a result of cardiovascular endurance training, you find it getting weaker in some critical capacities that simulate the changes caused by stress and aging.
Routinely forcing your body to perform the same continuous cardiovascular challenge by repeating the same movement, at the same rate, thousands of times – without variation, without rest – is unnatural. By that, I mean our ancestors didn’t regularly stress their cardiovascular systems in this manner. They may have put this type of demand on their hearts – but rarely, and not in the context of the daily environment of a native society in balance with its surroundings.

Yet nature designed your body to adapt to whatever environment it encounters. If you ask it to perform an activity repeatedly and routinely, it will gradually change the systems involved to meet the challenge more effectively.

But what adaptive changes does continuous cardiovascular activity cause?

Continuous-duration exercise that taxes your endurance produces some unique challenges your body must overcome. It must not run out of fuel, overheat, or be overwhelmed by metabolic wastes. Its primary adaptation will be to become more efficient at light, long, continuous, low-energy output. One of the ways your body does that is by gradually rebuilding your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles to be as small as possible, while maintaining the minimum “horsepower” required to perform the activity.

You waste fuel and raw material with a Ferrari-sized engine going 20 miles per hour. Forced, continuous-endurance exercise induces your heart and lungs to “downsize,” because smaller allows you to go further … more efficiently … with less rest … and less fuel.

The Danger of “Downsizing” Your Heart’s Capacity

So what’s wrong with increasing durational capacity through downsizing? Instead of building heart strength, it robs your heart of its vital reserve capacity. Your heart’s reserve capacity is that portion of its maximal output that you don’t use during ordinary activity.
Let’s go back to the car analogy. Say you normally drive at a speed of 40 miles per hour, but your car has the ability to reach a top speed of 140 miles per hour. If you think of your heart as the engine, your reserve capacity is the difference between your normal cruising speed and that top speed.

So if you downsize your heart and lungs, you have traded reserve capacity for efficiency at continuous duration. That forces those organs to operate dangerously close to their maximal output when circumstances challenge them. This is a problem you don’t need … especially for your heart.

Heart attacks don’t occur because of a lack of endurance. They occur when there is a sudden increase in cardiac demand that exceeds the heart’s capacity. Giving up your heart’s reserve capacity to adapt to unnatural bouts of continuous prolonged-duration output only increases your risk of sudden cardiac death.

A ground-breaking study of long-distance runners showed that, after a workout, their blood levels and the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides increased. (High triglycerides dramatically increase your risk of heart disease.) The researchers also found thatprolonged running disrupted the balance of blood thinners and thickeners, elevating inflammatory factors and clotting levels – both signs of heart distress.

These changes do not indicate a heart that’s becoming stronger with long-duration exercise.
Exercising for long periods makes your heart adept at handling a 60-minute jog, but it accomplishes this feat by trading in its ability to provide you with big bursts when circumstances might demand. The real key to preventing heart disease and protecting and strengthening your heart is to induce the opposite adaptive response produced by continuous cardio and increase your heart’s reserve capacity. Bigger, fastercardiac output that’s readily available is what you really need.

Recent clinical studies show us the benefit of avoiding long-duration routines and exercising in shorter bursts. Researchers from the University of Missouri found that short bouts of exercise were more effective for lowering fat and triglyceride levels in the blood. Another study revealed that the duration of exercise routines predicts the risk of heart disease in men. They found that several shorter sessions of physical activity were more effective for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.

The Secret to a “100-Year Heart” Is Millions of Years Old

Our ancestors lived in a world where their food fought back. Predators attacked without notice. Humans had to run or fight – fast and hard. These short bursts of high-output activity fine-tuned their bodies and kept them fit.

We still have the same physiology.

How do you recreate that kind of physical challenge? The key is to create an “oxygen debt.”

Simply exercise at a pace you can’t sustain for more than a short period. Ask your lungs for more oxygen than they can provide. The difference between the oxygen you need and the oxygen you get is your oxygen debt. This will cause you to pant and continue to breathe hard even after you’ve stopped the exertion. (Until you replace the oxygen you’re lacking.)

Here’s an example: Pedal a bike as fast as you can for 15 seconds. When you stop, you’ll continue to pant. This is the kind of high-output challenge you can’t sustain for very long. You will have reached a supra-aerobic zone. This is very different from doing an aerobic workout for 45 minutes.

Another example: Do one-minute intervals – either running or riding a bike. Work yourself up to a speed that you cannot sustain for very long. After one minute, rest. You can rest by slowing down to a very slow speed or (if you need to) you can stop altogether. Do this 3 or 4 times.

With these types of interval exercises, you’ll quickly start to build up reserve capacity in your heart. This is exactly what you need to prevent heart attacks and heart disease.