Health Blog

Artificial sweeteners that won’t compromise your health

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 30, 2010
Tags: , ,

With summer approaching, many of us are trying to lose those extra winter-pounds. One of the best ways to do this is to cut sugar from your diet. However, with numerous health risks associated with artificial sweeteners, it’s difficult to find a sugar substitute that won’t harm your health and still adds a bit of taste to your food.

Aspartame, for instance, is an artificial sweetener which, once consumed, breaks down into three components – aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Aspartame has been passed as fit to consume by more than 100 countries around the World, but there is mounting evidence that each of it’s chemical components can have toxic effects on health.

Some researchers believe that it is an addictive neurotoxin that may cause a wide range of neuroendocrine disrupting and carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects. The amino-acid-based compound breaks down to create toxic by-products, namely formaldehyde, formic acid and aspartylphenylalanine diketopiperazine (DKP), the latter being associated with an increased rate of brain tumours in animal studies. Unfortunately, research exposing these truths has been swept aside in the face of corporate pressure – yet another scientific travesty…

(Read more of the shocking saga about Aspartame at

So, what are the healthy, safe and natural alternatives that will leave a sweet taste in your mouth without adding inches to your waistline?

Stevia – the new kid on the block

Stevia, the all natural sweetener, has enjoyed a lot of attention lately and it is said to be 300 times sweeter than cane sugar.

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific panel on additives, the ANS Panel, has assessed the safety of steviol glycosides and established an acceptable daily intake for their safe use.

Steviol glycosides are intense sweeteners extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni). These substances, such as stevioside and rebaudioside, range in sweetness from 40 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.

Toxicological testing by the EFSA showed that stevioside and rebaudioside are not geno-toxic, nor carcinogenic, or linked to any adverse effects on the human reproductive system. They also don’t hold any dangers for the developing child. The ANS Panel set an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 4mg per kg body weight per day for steviol glycosides, a level consistent with that already established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

The ANS Panel points out, however, that this ADI could be exceeded by both adults and children if these sweeteners are used at the maximum levels proposed.

Full regulatory approval for stevia-derived sweeteners throughout Europe is expected from the European Commission some time next year.

(Meanwhile, Stevia is permitted to be sold as a nutritional supplement so it is possible to purchase it on the internet as a powder)

While the jury is still out on Stevia – although initial findings look promising – waiting until next year for it to gain approval, needn’t leave you without a safe and effective sugar substitute in the meantime. Over to…

Xylitol – low-glycaemic sugar alternative that helps prevent tooth-decay

Xylitol is a white crystalline sweetener that occurs naturally in berries, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and birch trees. In fact, in Finland it is known as “birch sugar” because the principal raw ingredient is xylan or wood fibre. It is even found naturally in our bodies, and has been shown to be completely non-toxic and safe to take.

Recently, Xylitol has become very popular as a sugar substitute because it has been shown to help reduce tooth decay and even help reverse it when it is already present.

HSI Panellists have been reviewing exciting new research about Xylitol — present in a number of health products, most notably Orbit sugar-free gum. Their conclusion is that Xylitol provides incredible health benefits, particularly its ability to help maintain good oral hygiene – it prevents both tooth decay and harmful plaque from building up on your teeth, which in turn protects your gums.

Xylitol’s ability to protect gums is due to the fact that unlike most natural sugars, it contains 5 carbon atoms per molecule instead of 6.

“5-carbon sugars are not that common in nature, so when types of oral bacteria try to break down Xylitol they find they are unable to process it. It ‘blocks’ them up and has an inhibiting effect on their activities,” according to Nicholas Dunning, business director of Danisco Sweeteners, a company that makes Xylitol.

It’s well known that consuming large amounts of sugar greatly increases your risk of tooth decay. This is because oral bacteria thrive on sugar. The main culprit is a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans.

This bacterium consumes sugars and excretes acid into your mouth, which is what damages your teeth and causes decay. Fortunately, Xylitol is especially effective against Streptococcus mutans.

In addition, clinical studies have shown that Xylitol has a long-term protective effect against tooth decay — its effects persist long after you have chewed gum. “It seems that Xylitol modulates the oral bacteria to make them less virulent,” Mr Denning adds.

More added benefits from weight loss to diabetes

The benefits of Xylitol don’t stop at oral hygiene but are much more far-reaching. One of these is the fact that Xylitol is both a low-glycaemic sweetener and alkalizing to the body, making it an ideal sugar substitute for those on weight-loss diets and for those wanting optimum health without the “sugar-blues”. As it is low-glycaemic, it has also become popular with those interested in combating Syndrome X (metabolic syndrome) and diabetes sufferers.

Diabetics can use Xylitol safely, because it is metabolised independently of insulin and doesn’t trigger the pancreas to release insulin into the blood supply. However, it is important to note that Xylitol is not a zero-calorie sweetener and needs to be integrated sensibly into any special diabetic diet — check with your doctor.

Xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar but only 60 per cent of the calories. For this reason, in some countries Xylitol is not only used in chewing gums and toothpastes but also in confectionery.

Products that contain Xylitol include: Boots dental gum and dental mints, a range of Orbit chewing gums, Tesco mouthwashes and Totalcare Fresh Breath Spray from Superdrug.

(Xylitol is available from some supermarkets, health food shops or via the internet.)

Source: HSI Newsletter 30/04/10

Let Food Be Your Medicine

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 29, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’ is believed to have said “Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine…and Thy Medicine Be Thy Food.”

It’s been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish… all before making a human. He made and provided what we’d need before we were born.

God left us a great clue as to what foods help what part of our body! These are best and more powerful when eaten raw.

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye. Science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalising food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocadoes, Aubergines and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female – they look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And it takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit! There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like the body’s cells. Today’s research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.

A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

See what other fruits and vegetables resemble body organs the next time you go to the supermarket!

Source: Dr Christopher’s Herbal Legacy Newsletter

Talc link to raised womb cancer risk: Once a week use increases the threat by 24 per cent

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 28, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Using talcum powder just once a week to keep fresh can raise the risk of womb cancer by up to 24 per cent, a study has claimed.

It warned that powder particles applied to the genital area can travel into a woman’s body and trigger inflammation, which allows cancer cells to flourish.

Around 40 per cent of women are thought to use talc regularly as part of their personal hygiene routine.

Previous studies have linked talcum powder use with ovarian tumours.

However, this is the first research to suggest that it could also cause womb, or endometrial, cancer, a disease that kills around 1,000 women a year in England and Wales.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School in Boston investigated talc’s health risks and found a significant increase in risk in older women who had been through the menopause.

In the U.S. report, which was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, they said older women may be more at risk because they have been exposed to talc’s effects for longer.

‘Studies indicate that women start using talcum powder at an early age and continue using it for decades,’ the report said.

‘Talc is a known inflammatory agent.

‘Regular use, defined as at least once a week, was associated with a 24 per cent increase in risk among post-menopausal women.’

The results, which apply to talcum powder used in the genital area but not the rest of the body, came from 66,000 nurses who signed up to a long-term health and lifestyle study which began in 1982.

Almost 600 went on to develop womb cancer, the scientists said.

Last year, another Harvard team found daily talc use in the genital area raised a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by up to 41 per cent and urged all women to stop using it immediately.

The risks were greatest in the estimated one in ten Caucasian women with a certain genetic profile.

Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop ovarian tumours.

Talcum powder is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate that is found naturally.

It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions of women.

Some experts say it shares chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer called mesothelioma.

Tiny particles have been found to travel up through the genital tract and been found deep inside the pelvis.

They can also last inside the body for years.

It is estimated that one particle of talc in the lungs, for example, would take eight years to dissolve.

But Jessica Harris, of charity Cancer Research UK, said last night: ‘The results of this study are quite weak and could be down to chance.

‘The researchers agree that more research is needed before it is known if there’s really a link between talc and endometrial cancer.

‘And even if future research does prove a link, it’s important to remember that very few women who use talcum powder would ever develop endometrial cancer as a result.

‘For women looking to reduce their risk of endometrial cancer, one of the best things they can do is to keep a healthy body weight.’

Source: Daily Mail 28/4/10

If you wish to find a safe alternative to talc, try New Generations Baby Powder by Neways International. It’s made from tapioca starch and is even safe enough to eat! Available from Healthy Choices in the Baby Products section.

The Amazing Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oils

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 26, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Time and again, in study after study, we’ve seen the remarkable power of omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically we’re talking about EPA and DHA–the long-chain omega-3s.

What do they do? What DON’T they do?

They keep your brain healthy and help prevent cognitive decline.

They reduce depression.

They reduce oxidative damage linked to air pollution exposure.

For those of you who have a prostate, consider it protected from inflammation and cancer by generous omega 3 intake.

And last year, here’s how one researcher summed up omega 3 heart defense: “We now have tremendous and compelling evidence from very large studies, some dating back 20 and 30 years, that demonstrate the protective benefits of omega 3 fish oil in multiple aspects of preventive cardiology.”

Other benefits were found by British and Italian researchers when they divided 55 subjects into two groups. For six months, about half received a daily supplement that contained two grams of EPA. The other half received placebo.

In the EPA group, the number of bowel polyps and the size of bowel polyps were significantly reduced. In the placebo group, the number and size of polyps increased.

That’s impressive. But here’s what’s huge: Before the study, all subjects were diagnosed with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). In other words, they were all genetically inclined to produce bowel polyps that frequently develop into cancer.

When a supplement protects healthy people from cancer, that’s significant. But when a supplement protects people who are at high risk of a specific cancer…that’s huge.

But wait–it gets even bigger…

The authors of the study also note that the effectiveness of EPA was similar to COX-2 inhibitors, which also curb polyp growth. In fact, if you’re diagnosed with FAP, your doctor will almost certainly prescribe Celebrex or something similar.

And the difference between the two treatments?

COX-2 inhibitors are prescription, non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that sharply increase risk of internal bleeding and heart attack when regularly used.

EPA, on the other hand…well, just go back a few paragraphs for that “protective benefits…in…preventive cardiology” quote.

“Eicosapentaenoic Acid Reduces Rectal Polyp Number and Size in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis” Gut, Published online ahead of print 3/18/10,
“Omega-3 Review: Half a Gram Needed for Heart Benefits” Stephen Daniells, NutraIngredients-USA, 8/4/09,

Source: Health Sciences Institute, Baltimore – 26/04/10

For a high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplement with DHA and EPA, try Omega 3 EPA, available at Healthy Choices

A Simple Way to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 23, 2010
Tags: , ,

In late March, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled the widely-prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor, after it was found to increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis – a potentially fatal muscle disease. This drug is one of many statins currently being investigated.

All statins hold a risk of muscle injury, called myopathy. However, rhabdomyolysis is the most extreme form and can cause kidney failure and even death.

So where does this leave you if you’re looking to promote heart health and ward off cardiovascular disease?

B vitamins proving to be the key to heart health…

The latest research findings have revealed a simple way to lower homocysteine levels – like raised cholesterol levels they’re another contributing factor that can increase your risk of heart disease.

Japanese researchers, from the Osaka University, found a reduced risk of heart failure in men, and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke in women, whose diets contained high amounts of the B vitamins folate and vitamin B6.

Lead researcher, Dr. Hiroyasu Iso, and his colleagues evaluated data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women, aged 40 to 79, who participated in the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study Group. Dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 levels. Subjects were followed for 14 years, during which 2,087 deaths from cardiovascular disease occurred, including 424 deaths from coronary heart disease and 986 deaths from stroke.

The study showed an association between increased dietary folate and vitamin B6 intake and a reduction in mortality from coronary heart disease, stroke and total cardiovascular disease in women.

For men, folate and vitamin B6 appeared to be protective against heart failure mortality. No associations with cardiovascular mortality were found for vitamin B12.

The researchers said that folate and vitamin B6 showed the ability to lower homocysteine – an amino acid which, when elevated, has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin B6 is present in potatoes, fish, eggs, spinach, bananas, beans, seeds, red meat, nuts and fortified cereals. Good sources of folate include liver, dried beans and other legumes, green leafy vegetables and asparagus.

Hydrogenated fats and your heart

Whilst we’re on the subject of diet and heart health – one of the best things you can do for your heart is avoid hydrogenated or trans fats.

Trans fats are produced during ‘hydrogenation’, a food manufacturing process where oils are changed from liquid to solid at high temperatures.

We all know that avoiding saturated fats is an important step forward in protecting your heart. Trans fats are like saturated fats in that they raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in our blood, but they also lower HDL (good) cholesterol and increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart attacks even more. Latest research shows that cutting trans fats in the English diet by just 1 per cent could prevent 11,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

Avoiding trans fats in your diet can be a challenge because they aren’t always listed on food labels. Common foods that contain trans fats are: processed and cured meat, processed cheese and other processed dairy products, cakes, biscuits, pastries, tortilla chips and wraps, chicken nuggets, bought pies and some margarines. These foods are often high in calories and saturated fat, so cutting down on them will not only be a positive step for your arteries but also for your waistline.

Other culprits laden with trans fats and saturated fats are takeaways and ready meals. So instead of eating out, prepare a healthier, low-fat version of your favourite takeaway at home instead. This way you can take control of the type and amount of fat you eat. You can also play around with new ideas and ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy cooking techniques like grilling or steaming.

If you are looking for a tasty food that can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and protect against heart disease and stroke, reach for an avocado: It’s a good source of vitamin K, dietary fibre, potassium and folate and can be used in everything from guacamole to soup.

Source: HSI Daily Health 23/4/10

A high level of homocysteine is one of the causes of heart diesease. Get your homocysteine checked at . It could save your life

Vitamins reduce the risk of breast cancer

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 22, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Vitamins and calcium supplements can dramatically reduce the risk of breast cancer – even when you take them at the standard daily dose.

Vitamin supplements reduce the risk by around 30 per cent, and calcium supplements do even better, and lower the risk by 40 per cent. But it’s all about developing good habits, and taking the supplements every day, and for a while. “It is not an immediate effect. You don’t take a vitamin today and your breast cancer risk is reduced tomorrow,” said Jaime Matta, one of the researchers from Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico.

The research team discovered the effectiveness of vitamins when they compared a group of 268 women with breast cancer with457 healthy women. They discovered that the supplements helped repair DNA, a complex biological process involving more than 200 proteins that, if disrupted, can lead to cancer.

(Source: American Association for Cancer Research, 101st annual meeting, 2010).

For high quality multivitamins and calcium supplements, visit Healthy Choices

Avoid Toxic Overload and Organ Failure with This All-Natural Liver Saver

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on April 21, 2010
Tags: , ,

This article by Dr. Michael Cutler gives helpful information about the nutrients that you can take to protect your liver.

The key to overall health … is your liver? Absolutely. This amazing 4-pound organ — located beneath your lower ribs and on the right side of your stomach — performs more than 500 bodily functions and chemical reactions each day to keep you in tip top shape. In fact, your liver: ↓↓↓

* Eliminates toxins … Your liver filters harmful toxins from foods … alcohol … and medicines from nearly 100 gallons of blood every day. Then it allows healthy nutrients to pass to your cells.

* Breaks down fat … Thanks to your liver’s ability to manufacture a full quart of bile daily. Bile is that yellowish-green fluid that breaks down fat. Think of it as the soap detergent you use to get rid of grease from your dirty dishes.

* Regulates blood sugar levels … Helps prevent unhealthy spikes and dips that can throw your body out of whack — and trigger scores of health problems.

* Keeps your hormones in balance … Your liver produces more than 13,000 hormones and essential chemicals — including testosterone, estrogen and cholesterol — for optimum body function! Plus, it oversees the function of an additional 50,000 enzymes you need every day.

However, most people today do virtually nothing to protect this all-essential, but often overused, organ. You could be open to possible liver and kidney damage if you are over 40 … regularly take over-the-counter medicines … use prescription drugs … drink 2 or more glasses of beer, wine or hard liquor each week … or drink less than 6 to 8 glasses of distilled or purified water each day.

Just look at the tremendous amount of harmful chemicals we absorb that accumulate in our tissues when the liver, digestive system and skin cannot eliminate them:

==> Crop poisoning with pesticides and herbicides
==> 5,500 chemical food additives
==> Foods which are genetically altered, refined, frozen, fried,
irradiated, hormone-filled, etc.
==> Auto exhaust, lawn sprays, household cleaning products,
cosmetics, etc.

The main two organs of detoxification of these chemicals are the intestinal tract and the liver. The intestinal tract is the first line of defense against harmful chemicals. When its lining becomes easily permeable (leaky gut syndrome) then harmful chemicals are allowed into the body.

The liver has two stages of detoxification of chemicals: they become water-soluble and get excreted via the kidney, or else they become inert to go out with the bile via the intestines. It is in the intestines where these toxic chemical by-products or acid body wastes could get reabsorbed via the intestines.

The body can deal with toxic chemicals in 3 general ways: remove them from the body, bury the toxins in body fat or deposit them in organ tissues.

Here is a list of symptoms that may correspond to organ toxicity:

* Poor digestion
* Constipation
* Overweight
* Skin conditions/allergies
* Dark circles under eyes/puffiness
* Recurring headaches
* Food allergies
* Fluctuating blood sugar
* Poor sleep

One main nutrient shown to help improve your liver function and flush toxins from your body is milk thistle. This flowering plant, native to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, may aid in preventing and repairing the liver from toxic chemical damage … help lower your cholesterol levels … and reduce your insulin resistance.

In studies reported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), milk thistle has been associated with speeding up liver detoxification and bile production. Plus, this all-natural plant can aid in the treatment of liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and cholangitis (inflammation of the bile ducts).

Some other excellent nutrients available to defend your ailing liver include:

==> Soy Lecithin — to remove excess fat and cholesterol that can clog
your liver
==> Turmeric Root — helps remove toxins from the liver and stimulates
bile production
==> Dandelion Root — to gently filter toxins from your liver and kidneys.

These healing nutrients are just some of the safe and natural substances you can use to help clean, improve and maintain peak liver performance.

Another important way to fight liver, kidney or colon issues is with nutrition. I recommend you consume whole, natural foods, with as little uncooked vegetables as possible. This is the secret that combats the whole range of digestive issues.

Eat whole grains, eat your broccoli, spinach, leafy vegetables raw, eat your fruits daily, and make sure that you are not touching the fast foods or microwavable kinds of food. Eat foods that look like they came out of the garden, and let your taste buds adapt to this better tasting lifestyle. It takes time to get used to it, but the prevention and positive medicinal effects on your digestive system will show the benefits very quickly.

The fact is, your body is fighting a constant battle when it comes to detoxification. Without optimum liver, kidney and intestinal function you could be open to developing life-threatening conditions or find yourself at the mercy of donation after organ failure. It’s important to seriously consider the outside food and nutrition you put into your body, in order to reap the benefits of an inner healthy detox and excretory system.

= = = = = = = = = =

Michael Cutler, M.D., is a board-certified family physician with more than 17 years of clinical experience. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Tulane Medical School. Dr. Cutler’s practice focuses on integrative solutions to health problems, and behavioral and nutritional medicine. For more information, visit

Milk Thistle Formula is available from