May 29, 2019

32 Ways To Stay Healthy That Cost Next To Nothing

Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 32 affordable ways to take better care of yourself, starting now!

  1. Sleep: Trying to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep may be frustrating. Modern humans are going to sleep two hours later than the daylight-darkness cycle. Prior to electric lighting, people slept for about 6 hours, awoke for about two hours, and then went back for a second sleep. Blue light emitted from electronic devices, even smart phones, or computer monitors fouls up melatonin secretion, the sleep hormone. Be aware. Blue light filters are available for computer monitors and eyeglass lenses. However, no one is mentioning that blue light filtering in the AM is counter-productive and impairs the dissipation of melatonin and could theoretically induce daytime sleepiness. Best to get some direct sunlight early in the AM to awaken fully refreshed and alert.

    The focusing lens of the eyes loses about 1% of its transparency every year. By age 80 maybe 20% of ambient or artificial light reaches the retina and this alters the light/dark cycle and affects melatonin levels. Replacement of the cloudy natural lens with a clear plastic lens implant is recently reported to help restore the natural sleep-wake cycle.

  2. Sun: There are vitamin D pills that can make up for the lack of sunlight in winter months; but a few minutes of full-body sun exposure is superior. I say this because studies show it is vitamin D produced by direct exposure of the skin to the breast that prevents breast cancer. I advise women to find a private place and sun for a few minutes with skin exposed.
    I supplement my diet with 25 milligrams of beta carotene so I won’t develop sun burn, or sun-induced wrinkles. Beta carotene converts to vitamin A in the liver, but excess beta carotene is shuttled to the skin where it protects from blistering sun rays. Same goes for high-dose lutein and astaxanthin. (I developed a multivitamin that provides 25 mg/beta carotene + 10 mg lutein.)
  3. Water: Clean water is the foundation for any healthy human population. Water in the U.S. is chlorinated. Chlorine is a very toxic chemical. Yet it has eradicated typhoid, dysentery and cholera. However, lifetime consumption of chlorinated water is associated with colon cancer. Furthermore, tap water is also fluoridated. This is a sedating mineral that breeds passivity. The IQ declines the more fluoride people consume. Various bottled waters are available that are not rich in natural fluorides. Bottled waters are often free of chlorine and fluoride but present a problem with their plastic bottles that contain phthalates and bisphenol A as a plasticizer. These are gender-bending molecules. Best to buy bottled water in glass bottles. Fiji water is an exception (no bisphenol A). It took till 2017 for bottled water to become the most consumed beverage over coffee, tea or soda in the US. I buy water in glass bottles. Gerolsteiner is my preferred brand due to its magnesium bicarbonate content.
  4. Sore throat: I actually have people email me to ask what they should do now that they woke up in the morning with a sore throat. They are clueless as to what to do. Home remedies have been completely forgotten. Gargle with salt water. The reason for its morning occurrence is likely consumption of sugary foods the night before. The involved bacterium is Streptococcus, an acid secreting bacterium that causes dental decay by virtue of its acid erosion of tooth enamel. Sugar indirectly causes cavities. But let’s get back to that sore throat. Sodium is alkaline. It counters Strep. So, gargle with some salt water and most sore throats vanish within minutes. Watch out for eating candies and sugary snacks right before bedtime. Strep loves sugar. Sugar restriction reduces the count of Strep bacteria in the oral cavity.
  5. Teeth: Dental enamel is hardened by vitamin D. Cavities develop in the winter when your dental enamel is soft due to lack of sun exposure combined with eating sweets. You won’t hear of a single dentist who recommends vitamin D for his patients. Water fluoridation is reported to reduce the number of decayed teeth by 35%. But that is of modest effect. Kids are still getting plenty of cavities over time. Direct topical application of fluoride appears to be more effective.
    Magnesium deficiency is associated with poor dental health. For already eroded teeth, you might think of brushing your teeth with magnesium. One thing your dentist may not tell you (he/she is probably clueless about this) is that without magnesium, only soft enamel can be formed. Magnesium may even heal already decayed teeth. Liquid magnesium chloride (preferred form of mag) is available to apply to a toothbrush.
  6. High blood pressure: Think zinc. A recent report reveals zinc deficiency promotes reabsorption of salt in the kidneys which then results in retained water and elevated blood pressure. Diuretics remedy this but don’t address the cause and threaten loss of electrolyte minerals (potassium, magnesium) that the heart requires. Modern medicine has to throw this discovery under the rug. There goes $23 billion (projected 2023) of anti-hypertension drugs up in smoke.
  7. Frequent cure-all: If someone emailed me and asked what dietary supplement does the published science suggest for a migraine headache I would probably reply: magnesium. For high blood pressure: magnesium. For anxiety: magnesium. For back pain: magnesium. For diabetes: magnesium; after cardiac stent: magnesium; for tension headache (feels like band around head): magnesium; for pre-menstrual syndrome: magnesium; bipolar (up and down mood): magnesium; for Alzheimer’s: magnesium; for mental depression: magnesium; Infant with constipation: try magnesium; hope you are getting the idea here. Magnesium malate and taurate are superior to magnesium oxide or citrate.
  8. Wrinkles: Have you got more wrinkles than you deserve? You may have been a smoker or drank too much alcohol at one point in your life. Or just too much sun. Regardless, you can do something about this short of taking a trip to the plastic surgeon. The water-holding molecule in the body is hyaluronic acid (HA). It is a gel-like molecule that serves as a space filler. If you consume oral HA supplements your fibroblast cells will make youthful levels of HA again. Oral HA supplements are available at vitamin shops. Taken with quercetin to inhibit the enzyme (hyaluronidase) that breaks down HA is superior.
    Also, if you consume 25 mg beta carotene you will not only not sunburn, this will protect from wrinkles. Lutein and astaxanthin do the same. No, mega-dose beta carotene will not produce excess vitamin A and develop into liver toxicity. Excess beta carotene is shuttled to the skin to provide internal sun protection. Some avid beta carotene users may develop the beta-carotene-tan. Their skin looks orange. Your doctor will mistakenly think you are jaundiced. Why look old?
  9. Sunglasses: I’ve worn UV-blue-blocking sun goggles for decades now. When I went to the eye doctor recently I had no cholesterol-like deposits (called drusen) in the back of my eyes; 91% of adults in my age group have undesirable drusen deposits. I’ve also taken lutein supplements since they were first introduced in the early 1990s. Except for a little astigmatism (droopy corneas), I have no eye pathology. No cataract formation either. I like sun goggles because they fit over Rx eyeglasses and you don’t need prescription sun glasses. Furthermore, the wrap-around feature reduces squinting In the bright sun which fatigues the eyes.
  10. Toenail fungus: Countless numbers of people have called or written over the years about yellow toenails. You’ve got a fungus underneath the nail. Check you shower stall and spray with an anti-fungal or it will return after eradication. Internally, zinc and resveratrol help to clear out fungi. Externally, cut the toenail back as far as possible and apply a fresh cut garlic clove to the area.
  11. Candida overgrowth: Eat refined sugars and you will be a sugar craver by virtue of overgrowth of a sugar-craving fungus called Candida. Taking antibiotics can also lead to candida overgrowth. Alcohol, oral contraceptives, diabetes, stress, all contribute to the problem. Symptoms are fatigue, urinary tract infections, digestive problems, sinus infections, nail infections, joint pain. Oil of oregano is strongest antidote. Beats back Candida demonstrably without germ resistance.
  12. Shoes: As we age we need more cushioning. We lose hyaluronic acid that cushions our feet. Think of taking oral HA supplements. Our feet spread out so you may be crowding your foot if you size a shoe for what you wore when you were younger. Try a half-size larger. Forget about telling women they shouldn’t be wearing high-heel shoes. They like it. It’s their world. The pressure on the toes induces bunions. Podiatrists make a good living off stilettos.
  13. Mattress: A sagging old mattress is responsible for a lot of back problems. Did you ever notice a back problem arises as soon as you travel and sleep on a hotel mattress? Some people with back problems sleep on the floor and find their back problem vanishes. I’ve had to do that at various hotels. You need a firm mattress that is cushioned on top.
  14. Don’t reach for acetaminophen (Tylenol): This seemingly innocuous pain remedy is one of the worst liver toxins. Its chronic use induces liver failure and organ transplant surgery. Acetaminophen use during pregnancy or after vaccination is associated with autism. There are lots of reasons to avoid aspirin and acetaminophen. If acetaminophen is in your medicine cabinet, best to throw it away. Try resveratrol and ginger capsules for pain.
  15. Pain: nerve pain (sciatica, leg pain):Resveratrol; orthopedic (joint) pain: resveratrol. Resveratrol may be the best pain reliever, ever.
  16. Addiction, compulsive behavior (skin picking, nail biting, drug addiction or withdrawal; even gambling): N acetyl cysteine 500 mg is the antidote.
  17. Former smoker alert: Smokers often exhibit small-to-large bulges in their arteries called aneurysms. These aneurysms may rupture and result in death. Smokers have a 5-fold, former smokers a 2-fold increased risk for aneurysms. 70-80% of people with aneurysms are or were smokers. Small aneurysms may rupture in the brain of smokers. Tobacco depletes vitamin C which in turns weakens connective tissue. All current and former smokers should presume they have undetected aneurysms and supplement with vitamin C.
  18. Aversion to acidic foods accompanied by gastric reflux (stomach acid backs up into esophagus resulting in heartburn): In some cases of hiatal hernia the stomach pushes up into esophagus, resulting in chronic heartburn. These patients have been found to be vitamin C-deficient. Correction with alkaline-buffered vitamin C may be beneficial over time.
  19. Calcium: Calcium supplements are NOT appropriate for post-menopausal women as they have a hormone deficiency, not a mineral deficiency. Activation of a single gene, Sirtuin1, prevents bone loss (osteoporosis). Replace estrogen. Or use a surrogate molecule: resveratrol. Combined with Pueraria, an herbal source of estrogen, improves bone mineral density (kept solid bones from becoming honey combed in lab animals).
  20. Bronchitis: You wake up in the morning and find you have a cough and are continually having to clear your throat. You may have phlegm and mucus stuck on the side of your bronchus, the hose between your throat and lung. In that case, turn on the hottest water in the shower and, without letting the hot water touch your skin, deep breathe in the steam. A few minutes after your breathing treatment, you will cough up that mucus.
  21. Sleepy during the day?: If you find you are sleepy during the day this may be caused by a dry eye condition. The eyes become dryer throughout the day until they are so dry we have to fight to keep them open and by the end of the day we close our eyelids and go to sleep. If a person has a dry eye condition they are often forced to take naps throughout the day. If your eyes are red, itchy, burning or even watery (compensates for dryness), you may have dry eyes. Best to try borage oil orally to provide oil to the glands in your eyelids that prevents evaporation of your tear film. Dry eyes are often accompanied by cracked fingernails and dry skin.
  22. Angina: Anginal chest pain may occur at inconvenient times when you can’t easily run to the emergency room. Often chest pains are nothing more than indigestion caused by a backup of bile into the esophagus (aka heartburn). But if true angina, caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, and let’s say you are on vacation or this symptom occurs in the middle of the night, what can you reach for? Aspirin (not a baby aspirin) would break up a blood clot in a coronary artery, but that is not always the problem. What’s needed is to widen (dilate) the coronary arteries. Oh, for the want of a nitroglycerin pill! However, in a pinch, cayenne pepper is a potent vasodilator. If you are a truck driver and you experience angina, stop at a roadside diner and ask for the hot sauce. Or go to a 24-hour market and purchase some cayenne pepper from the spice rack. There was a guy, Dick Quinn, who experienced recurrent angina and his doctors told him there was nothing they could do for him. A neighbor lady brought him some cayenne pepper pills. He wrote a book about it entitled Left For Dead. It’s an old ignored book written in 1991 and is available at Amazon as a used book, if you want to read it.
  23. Cloves for dental pain: You have a tooth abscess. It is the middle of the night. Go to the kitchen spice rack and see if you have some cloves or clove powder. Cloves were used for dental anesthesia before the era of the caine topical anesthetics. Cloves are also a strong germ-killer and antioxidant.
  24. Salt craver?: Sign of zinc deficiency
  25. Gut bacteria and the mind: We hear more and more about gut bacteria. Not only does gut bacteria influence our health, but “bad” bacteria can also induce mental issues like anxiety. Probiotics were recently found to alleviate mental depression. What are the psychiatric drug makers going to do when they find out it isn’t “all in the mind” but rather the gut?
  26. Want to reduce effects of pesticides?: Lactobacillus acid-forming bacteria, used in production of sauerkraut and pickles, degrade pesticides. Detox with sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), a good source of friendly bacteria.
  27. Antibiotic resistance: Antibiotics may sterilize your digestive tract but leave the nastiest of all pathogens behind, Clostridium difficile, a deadly bacterium that kills older adults. Co-use of oil of oregano (main ingredient carvacrol) may halt bacterial virulence without inhibiting normal bacteria or inducing germ resistance. Keep handy.
  28. Auto-immune disorders: A major university study says baking soda cure for auto-immune disorders should be tried. Auto-immune disorders include: rheumatoid arthritis (stiff joints in AM), lupus, psoriasis, type I diabetes (usually child onset), Graves disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Sjogren’s’ syndrome. Full list. Baking soda cure link.
  29. Diabetes: The end game of diabetes is blindness, heart and kidney failure and nerve destruction in the legs (retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy). A single vitamin halts all four – – > vitamin B1. Your diabetologist won’t likely prescribe it. You just learned about it. Benfotiamine is the recommended fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 (thiamin).
  30. Brainspan: How long is your brain going to last? Answer: only as long as your dopamine. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme secreted in the brain that gets too frisky as we age. MAO is normally secreted to keep a lid on brain chemicals, particularly dopamine. But excessive breakdown of dopamine can lead to memory loss, slowed speech, slow movement, inability to focus, mental depression, muscle cramps, anxiety, low sex drive, and poor memory. Up to about age 40 dopamine levels remain fairly stable, then decline about 13% per decade due to iron accumulation. When dopamine levels decline to ~10% of normal, death is imminent. When you run out of dopamine you run out of life. With advancing age, MAO enzyme inhibition is called for. Natural MAO inhibitors such as quercetin, resveratrol and rice bran IP6, by virtue of their ability to chelate (attach to) iron and copper, serve to maintain more youthful levels of dopamine. Vitamin D also protects dopamine-secreting cells.
  31. Diarrhea: From time to time I receive inquiries about what to do for recurrent diarrhea. This would be expulsive diarrhea, not loose stool. First, if it is generated by food poisoning, then you need Pepto Bismol which will keep the bacterium from sticking to your gut wall. Keep Pepto Bismol handy at all times in the household medicine chest. Don’t forget Pepto-Bismol when traveling overseas as ~35% of vacationers come down with diarrhea. Second, a deficiency of vitamin B1 can induce loose stool, which can be induced by excessive use of alcohol, sugar, or even polyphenols in tea and coffee, that impede absorption of vitamin B1. You need fat-soluble B1 (benfotiamine) to solve the problem. Zinc supplements also quell chronic diarrhea, especially in children.
  32. Bowel movements: Here is a short course on constipation, an often neglected but prevalent topic of dry humor among older adults. The following information may be of acute interest to those individuals who take care of their elderly feeble loved ones. There is help for incontinence beyond adult diapers.

    An often-quoted study shows that “normal” stool frequency ranges from 3 times a week to 3 times per day. How such a wide range is considered healthy is beyond comprehension. Normal is not necessarily healthy. People eating plant-based diets have bowel movements 2-3 times a day.

    Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life. About a third of senior Americans report this chronic problem. The Medicare-age crowd is on so many drugs that may make things worse. And younger adults taking OxyContin pain reliever are often constipated as well.
    Dietary supplements can also produce constipation. For example, iron pills and calcium pills. Magnesium (like in milk of magnesia) or magnesium citrate supplements serve to loosen stool and counter the binding of calcium. Magnesium chloride helps to eliminate the odor of decomposing stool.

    The longer that stool remains in the digestive tract the more water is absorbed away and stool hardens. Some elderly patients develop impactions that require a doctor to literally dig them out by hand, or a stone-hard mass of stool called a fecalith may get lodged in the colon that has to be surgically removed in an emergency operation.

    Laxatives may or may not be helpful. This is because humans teach their brain to evacuate stool as the signal to poop is trainable. For example, when driving a car we suppress the urge to urinate and defecate.

    The old semi-reliable advice is to add more fiber to the diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean psyllium. Bran is worth trying and is often overlooked. Prunes also soften stool. In a crisis, polyethylene glycol (Miralax) can be taken. But we don’t want to become over-reliant on a drug. The brain control may be lost.

    Bran also often remedies irritable bowel where both constipation and watery diarrhea occur. Also refer to topic #33 in this report about vitamin B1 as a remedy for chronic loose stool (diarrhea is forceful expulsion of stool due to infection whereas loose stool is just loss of control). Individuals who consume B1 blockers such as refined sugar, alcohol, tea or coffee, may develop loose stool and have no clue as to why. Vitamin B1 taken in its fat-soluble form as benfotiamine will correct the problem. Be aware, B1 supplementation requires adequate magnesium intake to be effective. Don’t take B1 supplements at the same time you drink coffee, tea, alcohol or sugary food.

    Coffee, independent of its caffeine content, spurs on contraction of the small bowel and therefore movement of stool.

    Supplementation with probiotics (Bifidobacter) often improves bowel frequency. Probiotics also improve stool consistency among patients with chronic constipation. Another interesting finding is the relationship between infection and constipation. Only recently investigated is the relationship between Helicobacter pylori, an undesirable bacterium that commonly infects the stomach of a third of the American population, and bowel frequency. This bacterium can induce gastric ulcers and shut off acid secretion that is required for nutrient absorption. Stomach acid also kills pathogenic bacteria that enters with meals as humans don’t consume sterile food. Eradication of H. pylori allays chronic constipation but requires problematic antibiotics. Daily supplementation with zinc carnosine (Polaprezinc) helps reduce inflammation and naturally kills off H. Pylori.

    Pay attention to constipation. Stool that sits in the colon too long may develop putrefaction, a toxic effect.