Vitamin D deficiency has placed many Americans, particularly African Americans, in the higher risk bracket for developing bone problems and several other kinds of diseases.

Evidence of this increasing problem could be seen in the number of cases popping up of children afflicted with rickets, a vitamin-D-related bone disorder once thought to be a condition of the past. Also, doctors have been experiencing a number of adults who suffered with serious muscle pain and atrophy until they were treated for vitamin D deficiency.

Studies have also suggested that vitamin D deficiency might heavily impact the elderly by making them prone to developing bone-thinning diseases such as osteoporosis and other bone-related problems including fractures.

Some of the other health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency include certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, depression and immune system disorders. Because of these concerns, many scientists have requested official vitamin D recommendations.

Experts who advise more sun exposure as a way to get vitamin D have stirred up many emotions among skin cancer experts who expressed concerns over people ignoring the warnings on protecting their skin while spending time in the sun.

Vitamin D Facts

Skin has the natural ability to produce vitamin D when struck by ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

The amount of vitamin D a person needs depends on factors such as where they live, their skin pigment, age and other factors.

African Americans and other dark-skinned people and those living in northern latitudes make significantly less vitamin D than other groups.

Very few people get their vitamin D requirements through their diet.

Studies showed very low levels of vitamin D among children, the elderly and women.

One nationwide study of women revealed that almost half of the African American women of childbearing age might be vitamin D deficient.
U.S. News evaluated and ranked 20 diets with input from a panel of health experts. They looked at whether or not a diet was easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss, and effective against diabetes and heart disease.

According to U.S. News, the top rated diet was the U.S. government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Other high-ranking diets included the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC diet, Weight Watchers, and the Mayo Clinic diet.

Oddly, however, the Paleo diet ranked lowest of the 20 not because it was a poor diet, but because they didn't believe it was possible to find the appropriate foods in the modern era!

Another recent study supports the notion that when it comes to your weight, the quality of your food is paramount.

In a comprehensive study, researchers determined exactly how much weight gain is associated with the consumption of certain foods. The worst offenders were potato chips, which caused more weight gain per serving than any other food, the study found. The best food was found to be yogurt.

According to Time Magazine:

"It matters, of course, how many total calories you take in each day, but the authors say the age-old advice simply to 'eat less and exercise more' may be naïve. To control weight over the long term -- adults gain about a pound a year on average -- the study suggests that people benefit more by focusing on eating right, rather than less."
Overall I believe The South Beach Diet's success is a powerful influence in several important respects. With sales in the millions, The South Beach Diet has joined the groundbreaking Atkins Diet in prompting deeper inquiry into the value of low-carbohydrate dieting, and has been central to making lower-carb cuisine more widely available. Just as important, it has also helped to destroy the dangerous myth -- a myth that prevailed for thirty years -- that low-fat dieting is safe and effective.

That said -- and as a physician with over two decades of clinical experience who is highly respected for my dietary program, with a New York Times bestseller of my own, and most importantly, who maintains strict adherence to the Hippocratic oath to "first do no harm" -- I would never recommend The South Beach Diet to any of my patients. In fact, I'd like to warn everyone about the dangers of adopting Dr. Agatston's popular diet.

If you know anyone on or considering The South Beach Diet, please forward this article to them forward this article to them so that they can make an informed decision
First, I have great respect for Rodale Press, the book's publisher. They also publish Prevention Magazine, which I used to read regularly back in the 1970s (one of their articles in fact inspired me to select osteopathic medicine as opposed to a traditional M.D. school), and the www.prevention.com website, which is the number two natural health website on the Internet behind only my own, www.Mercola.com. Rodale is also an exceptionally astute and effective marketing company, which leads me to my first point:

"The South Beach Diet must be a worthwhile diet," a widely prevalent logic goes, "or else it wouldn't have sold millions of copies!"

By now Americans ought to know that just because something sells well it doesn't mean that it's worth buying, and yet the flawed logic above prevails. Bottom line is, the major reason for The South Beach Diet's success is that Rodale has spent in excess of one million dollars per month to promote this book. A marketing budget of that size could turn a bicycle repair manual into a major bestseller.

What's more, according to various reports that are easily accessible by searching Google, with all they've spent on marketing the book versus all the book's sales, it is my understanding that Rodale has actually taken a loss on the book. They're a clever company, though, and I believe that loss is only temporary, serving more so as an investment in their ever expanding publishing empire. But don't be swayed by the book's phenomenal sales -- there are many reasons for you to avoid jumping on the South Beach bandwagon. I list twelve important ones below that should be enough to help you think twice about this diet that is synonymous with "fad" (in all honesty, I could write an entire book pointing out how misguided Dr. Agatston's diet is, but I am hoping twelve suffice here for you to think twice about this diet):

Reason 1: Gets the "Good" Carbs Wrong -- At the Risk of Many People's Health

Dr. Agatston promotes the concept that I have long recommended and detail in my TOTAL HEALTH Program--there are good carbs that you should be consuming and bad carbs you should avoid. But then, on the simplest levels, he gets the "good" carbs wrong, including promoting both whole grain breads and fruits as good carbs. This advice can seriously impair the health of the millions of people in this country with sub clinical gluten sensitivity. It is also a prescription for disaster for the large number who have high carbohydrate sensitivity and struggle with controlling their insulin. It is best that ALL grains and sugars (fruits, as opposed to vegetables, have high sugar content) be avoided until insulin levels are normalized.

Reason 2: Severely Misguided Advice Can Lead to Dangerous Levels of Mercury and PCBs in You

Dr. Agatston recommends fish, displaying absolutely no understanding that nearly all fish from every type of water source are now contaminated with dangerous levels of mercury and PCBs from generations of water pollution from coal plants and other sources. Mercury and PCBs can lead to all kinds of very serious disease including neurological disorders.

The dangerous levels of toxins in fish is not hearsay but a warning that has been issued by many health practitioners and major health and government agencies--even the very conservative EPA advises pregnant women to avoid fish --and I have witnessed the epidemic with thousands of patients in my own clinic.

Either Agatston is not aware of this important issue or decided not to cover it; no mention is made that, to safely avoid the mercury and PCB issue in fish while still getting proper omega-3 intake, substituting clean sources of bottled or capsule fish oil is by far the wisest option.

Moreover, a USA Today report suggested that it would cost over $90 a week to follow the misguided fish intake recommended by The South Beach Diet anyway.

Reason 3: Advice on Milk May Worsen a Common Allergy

Dr. Agaston freely advocates commercial pasteurized milk. He is obviously unaware of the major problems many people have with pasteurized casein and its prevalence as one of the most common food allergies (further, as he is positioning himself as a dietary expert, he should be aware and note that many people aren't even yet aware they have this allergy).

Though consuming raw (unpasteurized) milk is still a controversial topic, for some people many of the problems they experience with pasteurized milk disappear when they consume clean milk in its raw state (raw milk is becomingly increasingly available again). However, even in a clean, raw state many still are unable to tolerate it. The point is, none of this essential information that impacts many people is covered in The South Beach Diet.

Reason 4: Buys Into the Old Myth of Saturated Fat -- at Your Expense

Dr. Agatston fortunately does not buy into the myth that eggs are bad (eggs can be quite healthy for you, especially organic eggs), but he is still under the delusion that saturated fat is bad for everyone. Like carbohydrates, though, some high quality saturated food is not merely okay but needs to be part of a truly healthy diet. What matters, as with carbs and all macronutrients, is that you are getting your saturated fat from a clean and healthy source such as organic virgin coconut oil. (Search "saturated fat" on Mercola.com for more on this issue.)

Reason 5: Recommends Aspartame ... Widely Recognized as a Health Hazard

Though NutraSweet/aspartame has been shown in many studies to be dangerous, linked to a wide range of diseases such as cancer and diabetes and various emotional disorders (read "Articles on Aspartame" on Mercola.com or input "aspartame" into the Mercola.com search engine), Dr. Agatston actually encourages its use in The South Beach Diet.

Reason 6: Dangerous Misguidance on a Serious Trans-Fat Issue

Perhaps Dr. Agatston's most significant oversight is his lack of understanding of trans fats. Early in the book he states that trans-fats are dangerous and need to be avoided, yet on page 54 he makes the outrageous claim that French fries and potato chips are healthier choices than baked potatoes because of the "fat in which they're cooked." This is extremely dangerous misinformation, as French fries and potato chips tend to be profoundly high in trans fats and are amongst the unhealthiest foods on the planet.

I perceive this statement as irrefutable evidence of his nutritional ignorance. I can't possibly imagine anyone with even a minimum amount of nutritional biochemical education making a recommendation like that. Although Dr. Agatston is a cardiologist as Dr. Atkins was, he was never part of the pioneering group of physicians who understood nutrition as it relates to health (which Atkins was). I have some disagreements with Dr. Atkins' program, but they are relatively minor compared to my objections with The South Beach Diet. Dr. Atkins would never have advocated eating French fries or potato chips. These foods are the toxic equivalent of a cigarette and should be avoided like the plague.

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Reason 7: Even More Misguidance on Fats

Further displaying his lack of knowledge on fats, Dr. Agatston promotes the use of synthetic margarines like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" (versus the healthier choice, real butter). He is not aware that the process of creating this type of margarine completely distorts the physical structure of its fats, making it nearly as dangerous as margarines that have trans-fats. He is apparently making this recommendation due to his phobia of saturated fat without realizing that, as mentioned above, some saturated fat -- such as healthy saturated fats that are found in raw organic butter and coconut oil -- are necessary for optimal health. Moreover, he classifies all unsaturated fats as healthy, obviously unaware that the high omega-6 unsaturated fat that causes a distortion of the omega 3:6 ratio is one of the major contributing factors to most chronic degenerative diseases.

Reason 8: The Lack of Nutritional Insight Can Be Carcinogenic!

Dr. Agaston continues to display his lack of nutritional awareness by advocating peanut butter on page 49 as a good source of monounsaturated fat and the polyphenolic bioflavanoid, resveratrol. While I am a fan of both of these nutritional items, it is very important to pay attention to the quality of the peanut butter, and the type of peanuts in general. He does advise to avoid peanut butters with added sugar and to use only all-natural peanut butter (though he ought to expand a bit on why -- peanuts are probably the crop most heavily sprayed with pesticides in the world, for instance). But he fails to mention one of the most serious peanut issues of all and make recommendations accordingly: most peanuts are very susceptible to contamination by afflatoxin, a carcinogenic mold spore, and so you should seek to restrict peanut butter (and any type of peanut product) consumption to Valencia peanuts only. This species grows in dry climates, which seriously restricts the growth of afflatoxin. Fortunately, Arrowhead Mills Organic Peanut Butter (which you can find in many stores now) meets both qualifications.

Reason 9: An Effective Diet Can Eliminate Dependency on Statins, but This One Does Not

Dr. Agatston is still absolutely unaware of the power of an optimized diet to normalize cholesterol, as he still takes a statin drug to lower his own cholesterol and is apparently unaware of the many dangers associated with statin drugs. It is quite possible to avoid statin drugs and supplements to normalize cholesterol levels, and my patients have experienced this success by following my own TOTAL HEALTH Program. I encourage Dr. Agatston to give my program a try as well so he can get off the statin drugs and avoid their risks.

Reason 10: Many Will Not Even Temporarily Lose Weight

The South Beach Diet is a one-size-fits-all diet that completely ignores the fact that we have different genetic requirements for optimal health ... one-size-fits-all diets never work for all, or even close to all. Because of their biochemistry, some people actually need a high carb diet (with limited or no grains), while others require the low-carb, high-protein diet that Dr. Atkins advocates.

This is the principle of "nutritional typing," and explains why one person will lose weight on a low-carb diet (though, as covered throughout this article, they may not necessarily improve their health or lose it permanently, unless it is a healthy low-carb diet) while another person will not lose any on the identical diet. To understand this principle in more detail and learn your own nutritional type so you can optimize your efforts at truly effective weight loss and improve your health while you are at it, I urge you to read "Modify Your Diet So You Feel Terrific" on Mercola.com, or type in "nutritional typing" on the Mercola.com search engine. You can also find a basic test to determine your specific type in my TOTAL HEALTH Program.

The South Beach Diet also contains a serious lack of appropriate guidance on the Glycemic Index. Dr. Agatston relies on this index as a tool in weight loss, but I have found it anything besides useful, as it contains far, far too many exceptions to be of any value. A classic example is fructose, which has a very low glycemic index yet has been clearly established as a major reason why many people are overweight. If you follow Dr. Agaston's advice in this regard you will be going down the weight gain path for sure. This is also an issue with some of the low glycemic index foods like chocolate, cherries, and apple juice, which we know should be avoided if you want to lose weight, yet would seem to have nearly unlimited access to if you follow The South Beach Diet.

Reason 11: Too Lax on the Exercise for Most Readers

Exercise is a critical part of any permanent weight loss regime, but Dr. Agatston's advice on exercise is highly debatable. While I absolutely agree with his central thesis that we don't need to train like an Olympic hopeful and that 20 minutes a day is sufficient, this advice is only for people who are already in shape. Most people in this country, and likely even a higher proportion of those reading a weight loss book, have developed a serious exercise deficiency and will need far higher levels of exercise to make a significant influence on up-regulating the body's metabolic machinery to burn fats continuously, especially while one sleeps.

Reason 12: Most Will NOT Lose Weight Permanently with this Diet

The book is subtitled, The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss, but I suspect many people buying the book care much more about the weight loss aspect than the "healthy" aspect. As you can figure out from points above, the diet has very little to do with improving your health anyway, and can lead you in the opposite direction.

Even in terms of losing weight, though, the book might succeed for some in the short-term like many fad diets, but most will not permanently lose weight. Agatston even alludes to this in the chapter entitled "Why Do People Occasionally Fail on This Diet?" though he seems to demonstrate just more lack of insight on the real "why" in that chapter.

By far the main reason most people will fail at losing weight permanently on this diet (and many other popular diets) is because no real solutions have been presented for the emotional challenges that come with dieting ... and those challenges are, far more than knowing what is right and wrong, the biggest challenges of all.

There are solutions to the emotional challenges such as cravings, food addictions, self-image issues and the other self-sabotaging behavior (I encourage you to search Mercola.com for more on this topic), so it is extremely distressing that in Dr. Agatston's program -- and in this day and age in any dietary program -- these weren't covered effectively.

In short, even if The South Beach Diet's nutritional recommendations were solid -- and they are by no means solid -- without covering the emotional component, adherents to the diet are left with a void where some of the most important advice to them should be. Therefore, most who "swear by" the diet because it helped them shed a few pounds in the short-term will ultimately end up where they started before The South Beach Diet ... that is, desperate for real help and a prime target for yet another heavily marketed fad diet book promising the world but delivering
New research adds to the growing body of knowledge about actions women can take to lower their breast cancer risk. The new report is an update of previous research, adding results of 81 new studies to the findings of more than 800 that have followed women in the United States and around the world to see who develops breast cancer and who doesn't.

The study provides good news for women in the form of steps they can take to protect themselves, such as:

Be as lean as possible without being underweight. A healthy body mass index is defined as being above 18.5 but no greater than 25. Women closer to the lower end of the healthy weight range have the most protection from breast cancer.

Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can't do that, at least do some. Some activity is better than none, but the more, the better.

Limit alcohol consumption. If you drink at all, limit your intake to one serving a day.

Breast-feed. New mothers should breast-feed exclusively for up to six months -- the evidence is convincing that mothers who breast-feed reduce their risk for breast cancer.

Further, increased screenings may not be the best option for women, and men.

Separate studies suggest that some cancer tests can result in false positives. Two studies -- one looking at prostate cancer and the other at breast cancer -- show that increased screening brings false positives and the costs of emotional anguish and sometimes unnecessary treatment.

While the prostate cancer study and the breast cancer study looked at two different cancers in two different populations, both studies came to similar conclusions; a lot of patients are receiving unnecessary treatments.

In the breast cancer screening study, women were given a clinical breast exam in addition to mammography. For every additional cancer found there were 55 false positives. According to the prostate cancer study's authors, between the years 1986 and 2005, 1 million men were incorrectly diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Strokes have recently tripled among middle-aged women, a trend that doctors are calling “alarming.”

While only about 0.5 percent of women aged 35 to 54 had a stroke from 1988 to 1994, a federal health survey found that had increased to nearly 2 percent between 1999 and 2004.

Physicians say that the obesity epidemic is to blame for the startling rise in strokes. Women’s waists have grown by nearly two inches in the last 10 years, and women’s average body mass index rose from 27 to 29. Blood sugar levels have also increased.

The increase in strokes came despite the fact that more women are taking drugs to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure, which are both things that should lower stroke risk.

While women’s stroke risk skyrocketed, stroke risk among middle-aged men stayed the same. Researchers say the gender difference could be due to belly fat, a known risk factor for stroke.

Abdominal obesity in women rose from 47 percent to 59 percent, while the change in men was smaller.
“Men-o-pause” may be a funny play on words but it’s no laughing matter to millions of women. When hot flashes, mood swings and memory changes are affecting your life, you want help fast. But where can you find it when the “newest” science says the old science is wrong -- or even harmful?

An understanding of how and why science went astray, plus a simple, strategic plan can get your life back in balance.

What Happens During Midlife’s Pause?

Menopause is nature’s way of signaling the end of child-bearing years. When you stop having your periods naturally -- usually when you’re around 50 years old -- the slow-down tends to be gradual.

But menopause can occur before or after age 50, and it can also be surgically induced.

For instance, if you have your ovaries or uterus removed, you’ll skip the “peri” part and advance straight to full-blown menopause. When that happens, symptoms often intensify because there’s no gradual downshift: estrogen and progesterone production simply stops.

When menopause occurs, the primary symptoms you’re likely to experience are:[1]

Hot Flashes

Vaginal Dryness

Menstrual Irregularities (natural)

Depression, Mood Swings

Weight Gain (natural or surgically induced)

Short and long-term strategies can help you control these symptoms. The best approaches are preventive and involve diet and exercise. That’s not surprising because the most obvious manifestations of menopause have emerged in the last 75 years.

With a return to what’s been natural for centuries, it’s possible to minimize even the most frustrating night sweats and weight gain.

Menopause is NOT a Disease

As I mentioned, menopause occurs when you stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and your periods cease. So, it seemed sensible to scientists that replacing those hormones would alleviate menopausal symptoms.

One of the problems with this approach was that it looked at menopause as a disease to be treated with medication, as opposed to another life stage. The other: it turned out that synthetic hormones don’t act like the real thing.

I’ll detail the problems with hormone replacement later, along with information on the “new” science of bioidentical hormones.

For affordable symptom-relief right now, here are the simplest, heart-healthy ideas, followed by longer-term solutions.

Heart-Healthy, Symptom-Ease

We all hope for a quick fix. That’s not what healthy lifestyle changes are all about, but for those who want the short-list, here’s an easy way to determine if you’re in menopause, along with the “to-dos” that put you on the right track fast.

First, ask your physician for a blood test called an FSH test. It determines if your pituitary gland thinks your ovaries aren’t fully functioning, and as a result, is secreting “follicular stimulating hormone” or FSH. There is no need to do this if you have had a surgically induced menopause, as you are menopausal by definition and your FSH will be elevated.

The higher your FSH level, the more likely you’re in menopause. Peri-menopause begins the process a few years in advance; once you haven’t had a period for a year, you’re considered post-menopausal.

Just a few diet and lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect on how you experience menopause -- especially if you start making them at the “peri” stage.

Three Surefire Strategies to Start

Phytoestrogens. Taking Phytoestreogens or plant-estrogens before menopause can moderate day-to-day estrogen levels, so that when menopause comes, the drop won’t be so dramatic. Weak estrogens that block stronger forms, phtyoestrogens are found in licorice and alfalfa.

Royal Maca also seems to be an amazing adaptogenic herbal solution for menopause that has helped many women. Be sure to avoid the inexpensive ones, as they typically don’t work. Get the real deal from Peru.

Omega-3. Take high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. A high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, can be far more effective and beneficial than fish oil. Balance omega-3 and omega-6 by eating foods rich in these oils.

Green tea. Polyphenols are associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, and green tea like Royal Matcha has polyphenols that can be more effective than those in red wine -- plus 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries.

One study shows green tea can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in younger women under 50, and now, certain polyphenols have been shown to have some HRT-like benefits, without the drawbacks. [2]
If you noticed soy isn’t on the list, it’s because non-fermented soy can damage your health.

There are also musts-to-avoid, some of which you may be aware of already. They include refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

What to Follow Up With

Once you’ve covered the three musts to start with, add the following to your lifestage regimen:

Black Cohosh. It may help regulate body temperature and hot flashes.

Locally grown, organic food

Exercise! Start a program that you know you’ll do at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day to start.

Vitamin D. Please review my one-hour video lecture for the latest on this essential vitamin.

The Smartest Long-Term Solutions

If you’ve developed healthy habits that support your lifestage and invested a little time exploring the web links highlighted here, work on these long-term adjustments next:

Add low-to-moderate intensity and variety to your exercise plan

Optimize your health with my easy Nutrition Plan

Avoid These DANGEROUS Solutions

It has been overwhelmingly proven that conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which science once touted, is in fact, dangerous. The following prescriptions now have black box warnings and need to be avoided:

Premarin. Premarin is an estrogen extracted from Pregnant Mare’s Urine. We now know it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Estrogen Therapy. Estrogen, which is extracted from Premarin, was effective in combating some menopausal symptoms but proved to have serious, negative side effects, such as the increased risk of breast cancer and an increase in insulin levels.

Provera. This drug is a progestin or a synthetic form of progesterone, which probably makes it even more toxic than Premarin. Its well-documented, negative side effects include blood clotting.

In addition, long-term usage studies revealed many other negative side effects of HRT, including high blood pressure and vaginal bleeding. A year after millions of women quit taking hormone replacement therapy, incidents of breast cancer fell dramatically -- by 7 percent!

No wonder women now know to avoid dangerous, conventional estrogen replacement.

The “New” Science: Bioidenticals

Recently, there’s been tremendous excitement about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), which was even discussed on the Oprah show in a television breakthrough.

When diet and lifestyle changes are not enough, bioidentical hormones may be able to help.

However, the FDA has recently attacked BHRT, specifically estriol, effectively banning it. Ironically, the FDA is simultaneously attempting to create natural-substance knock-offs. Here’s what’s happening:

Bioidenticals, unlike synthetic hormones or natural ones from animals, are natural hormones that are bioidentical to your own.

The bioidentical that is prescribed 80 percent of the time is estriol. It’s natural, not a drug, and you get it at compounding pharmacies. The FDA is trying to require physicians who write prescriptions for it to fill out an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. It’s no simple form; it’s 40-pages long and expensive to file. And, the FDA admits it’s unaware of any adverse effects of bioidentical hormones.

The inside scoop: Estriol has been used safely for decades, and I believe it’s particularly useful when your ovaries have been removed or you’ve had a hysterectomy. Dr. Johathan Wright, who I’ve interviewed many times for my Expert Inner Circle program, is a pioneer in bioidenticals, and you can see what he has to say about their value in this short video.

The attack on bioidenticals comes just as the FDA is advancing drugs that are synthetic knock-offs of natural estriol. Talk about an upside down world!

Note on Bioidentical Delivery Methods

As for administering bioidentical hormones, you need to know that some delivery methods are clearly superior to others.

Oral supplementation is perhaps your worst option, as your liver processes everything in your digestive tract first, before it enters your blood stream. Any method that bypasses your liver will therefore be more effective.

Hormone creams are one common alternative that achieves this. However, since progesterone is fat soluble, it can build up in your fatty tissues and lead to having too much progesterone in your body. This in turn can disrupt other hormones. It’s also near impossible to accurately determine the dose when using a cream.

Sublingual drops offer the best of both worlds, as it enters your blood stream directly and will not build up in your tissues like the cream can. It’s also much easier to determine the dose you’re taking, as each drop is about one milligram.

So you know exactly how much you’re taking. The direct delivery system also means you can oftentimes take a lower dose than you would need if you were taking it in pill form.

Knock-Off Naturals: Don’t Be Fooled

Natural estriol can’t be patented, so there are no huge profits to be made on it.

I’m not surprised its availability is being threatened. In fact fake, profit-generating versions of the real thing are mushrooming.

Omacor (an FDA-approved, Omega-3 fat fish oil), Trimesta (a knock-off of natural estriol, now Lovaza) and already FDA-approved Prestara, a pharma version of the natural hormone DHEA, will all soon be competing against what you can get cheaper. Some believe these natural knock-offs could even be dangerous.

For instance, Trimesta is taken orally, even though this is known to be a greater risk factor for endometrial cancer than taking hormones transdermally (through the skin). Prestara is taken in doses of 200 mg daily, which is too high for women -- even 50 mg daily may cause women to experience undesirable side effects, including facial hair.

To support physicians’ rights to freely prescribe bioidenticals and your right to have access to them, go to the Health Freedom Foundation’s website. You’ll find updated information and a letter you can send to Congress and the President.

One Small Step Toward Lifelong Serenity

Menopause is one of those instances where what’s easiest and natural is also best. Because prevention is always the smartest medicine, start making changes in your diet and lifestyle during peri-menopause.

Sticking to the perimeter supermarket aisles, where vegetables and fruits dominate, puts you on the right path.

By the time menopause comes, you’ll have developed healthy nutritional habits that you can build on for every life stage.
If you find yourself coveting the gorgeous skin of fashion models in most of today’s magazines, first think CLEAN, then think GREEN.

Clean

Companies that produce skin care products would like you to believe that a beautiful complexion can be purchased in a jar. But truly radiant, moist and blemish-free skin is a result of being clean, not just skin deep, but from deep within.

Create clean blood that continuously supplies wonderful nutrients right to the doorway of each and every cell in your body and you’re well on your way to having beautiful skin.

Today, keeping toxins out of your blood and organs is difficult because we live in a "sea" of chemicals and drugs, and eat mostly refined foods. If your goal is healthy skin, you have to make a conscious effort to cleanse these dangerous substances out of your body while putting in the finest nutrients. The good news is that your body is constantly in a cleansing mode and was created with the ability to push out toxins as long as you supply it with the energy to do so.

Cleansing energy is more abundant when you provide your body with the foods mentioned below. (Each food and its nutrients will be discussed in later articles.)

Six Organs That Keep Your Skin Healthy

The six organs responsible for providing you with beautiful skin include your:

Liver
Kidneys
Adrenals
Thyroid
Large intestines
Small intestines
But you are accountable to them as well. Keep them clean at all times and beautiful skin will result from your daily efforts.

Your liver and kidneys are the two filtering organs that constantly provide ongoing housecleaning services. Today they are seriously overworked and underpaid. Why overload them with outside challenges? Shield them from outside harm, feed them well, and they’ll keep you and your skin healthy.

Sitting on top of your kidneys are your walnut-sized adrenals. Often called the "workhorses" of the body, they make many essential hormones including pregnenolone, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Healthy hormones are an essential ingredient when seeking energy and beautiful skin.

A well-nourished, energetic thyroid also provides hormones and works closely with your adrenals to create energy. Dry, flaky, sluggish skin is evidence of a weak thyroid.

The well-being of one’s liver, kidneys, adrenals and thyroid is dependent on the condition of your small and large intestines. These two organs not only provide nutrients to other organs, but they are also responsible for the removal of waste products from your body. When waste meant for elimination remains in your intestines your skin becomes thick, oily and blemished. Pure, flawless skin is a reflection of clean intestines.

Drugs, alcohol, chemicals and heavy metals (mercury, lead) do daily damage to millions of Americans. Your liver is damaged from refined oils containing trans-fatty acids. Your kidneys are damaged by common table salt devoid of natural minerals. Trans-fats and refined salt are found in thousands of processed foods consumed by most Americans every day. Pasteurized and homogenized dairy products also clog your kidneys. They are to be avoided, but to reach your goal of good-looking skin you also need to add foods into your diet that nourish your six organs of beauty.

Think Green

Spring is here and in Chinese medicine spring is the season when the liver naturally cleanses and heals by pushing out dangerous toxins. Green foods including chlorella are excellent for the liver. Dark green leafy veggies including kale, spinach, dandelion greens and broccoli are especially wonderful foods. Have them cooked, raw, juiced and even cultured.

More Foods to Nourish Your Body and Skin

Green super-food formulas provide a combination of nutrients including cereal grasses, algae and green veggies. Look for one that has organic ingredients and was designed to heal and nourish your intestines. They are great in the morning because they help alkalize your blood, are more pleasant to take than a handful of supplements, and provide protein, minerals and fatty acids.

Other foods known to contribute to healthy skin include raw and virgin fats and oils. Coconut oil is especially good for your thyroid. Mineral-rich foods (dark green leafy veggies, ocean veggies and seafood) and antioxidant-rich foods (black currant and blueberry juice, and green tea) are a daily must.

One group of foods worth mentioning here are fermented (or cultured) foods. An article in the April 2004 issue of Natural Health Magazine (p.35) states, "Tangy, tasty and teeming with health benefits, fermented foods are the new stars of a wholesome diet." Cultured dairy is the rising star of the milk industry, according to Dairy Foods magazine. Fermented foods are found in every traditional culture around the world, says Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. (We’ll have an entire article dedicated to fermented foods in a later issue.)

Think Clean and Green, and have beautiful skin. By the way, you’ll also discover new levels of energy blossom even as the blemishes fade.
The more I study health, the more I have come to appreciate how crucially important the bacteria in your gut are to your health. The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics.

The conditions include:

Irritable bowel syndrome
Atopic Dermatitis
Diarrhea
Allergic Rhinitis
And even the common cold!
According to just one of the many studies linked on the site:

"The ability of the gut microbiota and oral probiotics to influence systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid content and even mood itself, may have important implications ..."

Eating sugar actually nourishes the bad or pathogenic bacteria yeast and fungi in your gut, which may actually harm you more than its impact on insulin resistance. One of the major results of eating a healthy diet is that you cause your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish, and they secondarily perform the real "magic" of restoring your health. You may have noticed that probiotics are now featuring in articles relating to all sorts of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease.

As explained by Russian neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a woman's gut flora can also influence the health of her child, and if your child's gut flora is compromised from birth, he may be at an increased risk of vaccine damage. In fact, this imbalanced gut flora may be the primary factor that contributes to children having an adverse reaction to a vaccine! Fortunately, you can easily screen for this imbalance and if it is found, all immunizations should be avoided until it is corrected with strategies that are comprehensively described in Dr. McBride's book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, which is in my opinion essential reading for all parents and parent-to-be. The simple and inexpensive screening she suggests could prevent a lifetime of suffering...

All in all, the research into probiotics indicates that supplementing with probiotics is probably more important than taking a multi-vitamin and its true importance for your health is likely right up there with vitamin D.
It is normal that you are little scared with the idea of anal sex because you have never done it. It is totally up to you to decide whether you want to do it. Don’t let anyone influence your decision or to pressure you in doing it. For women, the physical pleasure in the anal region can be very enjoyable during sex. There is always the excitement of trying something new in a safe relationship, and the exploration of new feelings. The anus is surrounded by thousands of nerve endings, which interconnect with the nerves of the vagina and clitoris or the penis and prostate. This is why the anus can play a role in sexual arousal and excitement. It's unlikely a woman would orgasm through anal sex stimulation. However, she could certainly feel pleasure from the erotic sensations of anal stimulation, and the excitement of being penetrated. The wall of muscle between the rectum and the vagina is thin. This way, pressure sensations from a finger or penis can be transmitted through into the vaginal canal. I hope that I was clear enough with my answer.
Thought about anal sex but not sure whether to go ahead with it? Dorothy Black loses her virginity to the m-arse-terful Mr Muscle



I mulled this over for a bit. It was such a good, leading question. In answer to this one, I’d usually just wriggle my way out of position, literally and figuratively. But, what the hey, I thought.

‘My arsehole. I’m not a fan.’

And I wasn’t. Apart from the review on some sex toys I’d done a while back and that time with the Don after a drunken evening’s misguided missile launch and wildly failing gestures of ‘oh go’an then’ – no lube, no prep – I’ve not had much experience. In fact, this one experience began and ended with a shocked yelp. It was the last time I let my behind welcome sexual advances. Luckily, I guess, the men I’ve been with since (it was quite a while back), haven’t been all that keen on the bottom.

Until now.

Mr Muscle (as I shall call him since he is very well built), instead of steering a wide berth around the topic as I had expected him to, took up the dedicated position of setting a course for territory unexplored by myself.

I pride myself on being sexually brave and as Mr Muscle was proving himself to be an adept lover, I decided it was time to go where no Dot this side of Dotland had gone before: rimming and Really Real Proper Anal For Proper This Time.

Over the course of a few days Mr Muscle explained to me how he would first lead me through the pleasures of rimming (using your tongue around the anal rim to stimulate your partner) and then, when I was comfortable enough, onwards to the unknown town of bum lovin’.

It was a kind of aural lubing that got me familiar with the process and made me very thankful for the fact that he was really, really, REALLY keen to get a piece of arse. I asked him what about it excited him so: ‘It’s seriously hot when a woman is comfortable and turned on enough to let you take all of her.’

Thems fighting words.

But a small part of me bucked against this.

Maybe rimming would be cool, but I couldn’t understand where the pleasure from anal penetration would come in for a woman. We don’t have a prostate gland. Yes I know many women get off on it, but surely a vagina was good enough for all manner of orgasm? What pleasure, if any, could my bottom provide me? Exit, not an entry etc etc. Also, I didn’t want an arsehole like a D Grade pornstar.

And I still figured anal as some sort of ‘man’ thing in a one-sided act of near-misogyny. Yes the butt plugs were nice, but this was an actual penis and not a small one, I might add. And what about smells and, uh, debris? What about all the fuss to clean and prep and lube up… what a freaking schlep. He’s the one with a p-spot, shouldn’t I be pegging him?

Alas.

I had signed up and no amount of protestation from my panicked Mother Grundy side was going to subdue my curiosity. Besides, Mr Muscle had procured a healthy quantity of watermelon lube and with me freshly waxed and washed (don’t eat before, just a little tip from me to you), the room appropriately candle-lit and incensed, we were set for an evening of exploration.

To be honest, the rimming was a lot less of a thing than I expected it to be. Lying on my back, it felt more familiar and comfortable, like an extended eating out of the pussy. It seemed such an obvious place to go. I found sensitive areas on my inner thighs that I didn’t know existed and boy did he know how to work the bum grab. Most delicious. Primal. In fact I’m not sure normal cunnilingus will feel totally complete again. So, tick tick, rimming done and dusted.

Then it was onto the main show.

The sphincter is a crazy tight muscle so a LOT of prep work needs to go into relaxing you completely. Mr Muscle was adamant that I be in control of the entire experience and it was far easier to do so sitting in cowgirl. Like first time vaginal sex – probably even more so – lube, lube and more lube is the magic key. Also going slow. And you know what? It was awesome. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience, hell, I was surprised it was mine. But the pressure and some clit-loving makes for a volatile mix of awesome.

But there you go. Mr Muscle the Marster had successfully initiated me into the ways of bum love and I am a happy convert. If only my introduction to vaginal sex had been as considered, slow and skillful. Bring on the watermelon lube.
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