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Healthy Summer

May 5, 2016

HEALTHY SUMMER

  • What society accepts as normal aging may actually be premature—we are doing this to ourselves
  • Sun it is not all bad; sunscreen can be bad also
  • We bathe to cleanse yet we can make our bodies more toxic by doing so
  • There are many natural odor eliminators without harmful chemicals
  • There are natural insect repellents
  • Swimming pools can be toxic
  • Grilling presents some health risks
  • Sorry about the chips
  • Exposure to plastics is ubiquitous and plastic acts like an artificial estrogen
  • Green lawns can make us toxic
  • Ever see any GMO cherries?

As we head into summer, I first of all want to wish you a safe and happy season. I also want to leave you with some thoughts about summer activities and your health. This information is to help you enjoy things while still attempting to maintain your health. The first article covers in general what we are doing to ourselves through our environment. Society has defined what is considered “normal aging.” As the perpetual rebel, I will argue that many of the signs and degenerative symptoms associated with aging are premature. Many of the chemicals in daily use cause endocrine disruption, possible increased cancer risk, and brain dysfunction. With this in mind, let us look at how this is related to summer activities. Of course, sunlight is one of the most enjoyable parts of summer. Think about this—God made the world and the sun—and then we are supposed to hide from it? Doesn’t make sense. However, there is a balance. Enjoy and respect the sun. Ultraviolet rays have some health benefits. Ultraviolet type A (UVA) comprises the majority of sunlight. It is involved in Vitamin D conversion and along with other energy types found in sunlight may play a part in regulating hormones. Obviously, you do not want to bake your skin. As it penetrates skin deeply, it causes damage to collagen. Think sun spots, leathery skin, and wrinkles with UVA. Tanning beds (just like processed versus whole food) expose us to high doses of UVA — like 10-12 times the amount in natural sunlight, so just consider that a short course of high dose irradiation. Ultraviolet B (UVB) penetrates the skin even more deeply but is normally filtered out by the ozone layer and clouds. It is the main cause of redness and burning. Think skin cancers with UVB. We absorb more UVB rays at high altitude and areas where the ozone layer is deficient. Reflection off sand, water, and snow increase exposure. Just consider that moderation is okay and avoid artificial sun. There is a simple formula to guide you on sunscreens—multiply the SPF factor by 10. That is the safe number of minutes to be in direct sunlight barring protection lost by sweating or in the swimming pool (like SPF 15 X 10 =150 minutes). Now let us take this a step further—see Article 1 and Article 2. Society tries to sell us sunscreen which contains many potentially toxic chemicals such as parabens. Of course, the FDA says they are safe in small amounts. Consider what happens with repeated exposure over the years. These chemicals are absorbed in your skin and may accumulate in our system and cause toxicity. Remember, the first article outlined some common chemicals in our environment —and one of the more recurring things we see is how many interfere with estrogen and hormone balance. Sunscreen which blocks UVB but not UVA does not make any intuitive sense. Other ingredients can break down with sun exposure and become more toxic. You then breathe in vapors from these chemicals. A natural alternative is coconut oil, which serves as a natural sunscreen and can make the skin a nice brown color. Try it. Also look at the article on diet and tanning. Fernblock, by the way, is an herbal supplement that blocks UV absorption in the skin. All this can make a difference in the personal response to sunlight exposure. We sweat a lot in the summer—see Article. First of all, I mention this is a natural way to detoxify. When bathing or showering, soap removes the skin’s natural protective oils. We may also be exposed to toxins in unfiltered water. Remember, the skin is a two way street—absorbing as well as excreting. It is the largest organ in our body to perform this function. Many antibacterial soaps contain triclosan—BAD! Contact with chlorine in unfiltered shower water converts many of these chemicals to even more potent toxins. Again—exposure to small amounts consistently over a period of time all add up. Think about using soap only in the hygiene areas to preserve natural oils in the skin. Mechanical action and the use of a scrubbing towel not only cleans but helps rid the skin of old cells. This can also help with cellulite—see Article. And please consider filtering the shower water. There are some very good inexpensive shower filter systems available. I’m an old guy and my mother let me play in the dirt. We had a sandbox in the backyard. I shared this with my brother and I would draw the boundary giving me about 80% of the sandbox. He still remembers that. I am not apologizing to my brother. The point I am trying to make is that exposure to some extent to dirt is natural and healthy. Now, after the shower, you reach for the DO. Deodorants can increase our exposure to many chemicals such as parabens (like sunscreen) and the heavy metal aluminum. So if you’re trying to smell good what do you use besides deodorant? Look at the next article. While I prefer au natural, I am not sure my close contacts during the day agree. My first choice is baking soda (just like fighting odors in the refrigerator) and another option is apple cider vinegar. Extend this to your home—see Article. Vinegar helps eliminate many odors and has a natural antibacterial action. Regular vinegar can be used for room odors. Chlorophyll is good and there are so many benefits of chlorophyll as a natural detoxifier. I like tea tree oil. My dogs are on a wellness program with non-processed food and filtered water. Sometimes, I add hydrogen peroxide to the water. I have a friend with dogs on a similar wellness program and they are 26 and 28 years old. Something I do when I take the dogs out in the woods is use tea tree oil as a tick repellent rather than Frontline—thinking in terms of not exposing them to another chemical. Dogs are mammals too. There is the one about coffee and dryer sheets. This reminds me of a trip in the wilderness of Canada where, one year, I actually used dryer sheets to rub on my skin and clothes as a mosquito repellent. I certainly do not recommend that today, but eliminating room odors is different than rubbing chemicals onto your skin. Next, we go to insect repellents. Mosquitoes can be bad in the summer (and during my wilderness trips further north in Canada this included black flies). What can be used to keep these pests away (recall that the mosquito is the unofficial Canadian state bird)? DEET had been the component in many repellents. During the Vietnam War, my brother told me about guys who literally soaked their clothes in DEET until the cloth was stiff. Agent Orange has been implicated in causing some of the health problems seen in these military personnel. I think other chemicals need to be considered and DEET may be a big one. Today fibronil has the reputation as the common active ingredient in many insect repellents, but it may be as toxic as DEET. A good natural repellent is chlorella/citronella. Another is tea tree oil. My camping group also ate tons of garlic one year. Did it work? I do not remember but there were two other guys in my same tent and they certainly did not bother me during the trip. Although I am not a proponent of smoking, I used to smoke a pipe while camping, which also served to keep mosquitoes away. Soon we can smoke Cuban cigars. Swimming is a common summer activity. Chlorine exposure is bad in many ways. Again, remember that the skin serves a dual function of absorption as well as excretion. In the periodic chemical table, chlorine appears in the family of halogens just like iodine and bromine. Chlorine can compete with iodine in the body leading to decreased thyroid function.Some studies indicate that up to 60% of Americans today have suboptimal thyroid function. Now, next to the pool is the grill—perfect for entertaining friends and family. The problem with cooking over coals is the production of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form with high temperatures. The juices coming from the meat are vaporized or superheated and can form potentially carcinogenic compounds. That tasty seared outside and rare center may not be so healthy. Browning or charring forms advanced glycation products (AGEs), which make blood vessels stiff. This includes the browning of vegetables. Shellenberger talks about a recent study comparing differences in blood vessel elasticity in groups grilling and groups not grilling. He said it found no difference between the two groups. The elasticity test was done with the system similar to that used in our office. Unfortunately, the study followed the two groups for a period of time which, in my opinion, was too short for a difference to show. Remember, the body is continuously fighting back and some changes come on slowly. Grilling whole vegetables can also produce heterocyclic amines. Some protection from the heterocyclic amines is provided by antioxidants such as those found in iced tea (unsweetened, of course) and vegetables. This Article supports the fact that processed vegetables and prepared foods—including vegan dishes—expose us to preservatives and chemicals and many times additional sugar or an artificial sweetener. You certainly want to avoid the chips. This Article is from the British press. The chemical acrylamide is produced from frying the chips and high temperatures. It has been shown to be genotoxic as well as carcinogenic. Acrylamides can be present even in organic brands and has been found in some breakfast and baby foods. Finally, there is that favorite beverage or water to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, most are in plastic bottles. This provides an exposure to xenoestrogens—an artificial estrogen that attaches to receptor sites like super glue. Do you compete with your neighbors for a green lawn? Many things we put on our lawn serve as endocrine disruptors. Roundup is a common herbicide—see Article 1 and Article 2. This has been shown to be toxic to testicles. Can this be one reason that testosterone levels today in age-related groups are 35 to 40% lower than those in the 1950s? Even if you do not use it your neighbors do, and you can carry it inside your home on your shoes. Many pesticides and herbicides cause us to grow fat. Again, I just ask you to think about what we are doing to ourselves. So, all that being said, I hope you enjoy the summer. I can keep going and going, but I want to increase your awareness and stimulate some thinking and maybe actions. There is an ideal world and a real-world. Where you fall is your individual choice. I just hope I can give you some direction to help decide what is best for you. Oh, one final comment. I just went to the store and there were fresh cherries (nonorganic) for sale. First, I thought about how those had been sprayed. Then you have heard all the controversy about GMO. I looked at some of the cherries and there were twins and triplets and malformed appendages coming off some of the fruit. I’m sorry, but I really question whether that is good—something is not right here.

Posted in Blog by jbosiljevac

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