Greening Your Kitchen

Green-Kitchen

When we think about living a greener, healthier lifestyle, one of the most important places to start is in the kitchen.

In fact, many of the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis are found in the kitchen. These measures will help make your kitchen a healthier place.

Water

Whether it’s chlorine, fluoride or heavy metals in your water, or drug metabolites not removed by the water treatment plant, water from the tap is far from clean.  Drug metabolites have even been found in pristine lakes in the Swiss Alps!

The types of water you should consider drinking:

  1. Carbon-filtered water – removes chlorine and fluoride in water, giving it a cleaner taste.  This is the easiest to implement and with my favorite water filter, the Brita filter.

 

  1. Distilled – can be purchased in plastic containers, but then you have to worry about BPA (bisphenal-A) and other toxins in plastic.  Drinking distilled water may benefit those that are undergoing a heavy metal detox, but not without properly replenishing trace and essential minerals.

 

  1. Reverse Osmosis System – this system removes drug metabolites from water, along with any heavy metal ions and chlorine.  This is a great system to install as a separate waterspout at the kitchen sink, thus providing unlimited water for drinking and cooking.

 

  1. Water Alkalizer – also removes heavy metals and drug metabolites from water, along with the added benefit of alkalinizing the pH.  Alkaline water has anti-cancer properties, by helping our bodies detoxify down to the cellular level.

 

Cookware

Have you given much thought to the cookware you use to prepare food? With non-stick pans, and non-stick cooking utensils our lives were made more convenient, but at what price?

PFOAs (perfluoro-octanoic acid), an ingredient in non-stick surfaces, such as Teflon, have been implicated as a causative environmental toxin in Autism spectrum disorders.[1]

These persistent organic pollutants enter our bodies through the food we eat prepared on these surfaces, which then have no easy way out.  Over time, they slowly poison our cellular machinery, causing diseases that are not easily traced back to the exposure.

So, where do you start?  Clean out your kitchen!  Watch out for PFOA and PTFE  (polytetrafluoroethylene) in non-stick surfaces.

For pots and pans, choose those that are made from:
Ceramic-coated nonstick, such as Bialetti’s aeternum collection
Porcelain-enameled cast iron
Stainless steel (great for making rice and soups)

Use utensils made from:
Bamboo (a renewable non-toxic resource)
Stainless steel

Food Storage

We all appreciate the convenience, environmentally consciousness and waste sparing influence of food storage containers.  However, it is best to avoid plastic and use containers made from glass or Pyrex®

Plastic Wrap

If you are inclined to use plastic wrap, avoid those that use polyvinylidine chloride (such as Saran Wrap) choosing wrap made from polyethylene (less evil), such as Glad Cling Wrap.

Dish Washing Soap

Avoid triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent.  Use plant-based detergents, such as Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, instead.

The Problem with Microwaves

How about Electromagnetic Forces?

Microwave ovens are just that – small-focused microwave generators, which often leak microwaves through the door.

Avoid heating food in microwaves, because it reduces the nutrient value of the food.  Never microwave food in plastic containers, so that the BPA leaches onto the food.

Microwave popcorn is probably the worst.  Use a hot air popcorn popper instead to make a fresh batch of popcorn.  If you do have a microwave oven, never stand in front of it while it is on.

Vincent Pedre, M.D. is an integrative, Holistic General Practitioner and Board-Certified Internist in private practice in New York City. Follow Dr. Pedre on Facebook and Twitter

[1] Harmon, G. New federal data shows autism rates are booming. Local researchers are finding industrial chemicals may play a role, Current Online, published May 2, 2012, at http://sacurrent.com/news/new-federal-data-shows-autism-rates-are-booming-local-researchers-are-finding-industrial-chemicals-may-play-a-role-1.1309009?pgno=1, accessed on June 13, 2012.

 

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Could a Chinese Herbal Remedy Save Ebola-Stricken Africa?

The first time I encountered this unusual Chinese herbal remedy was last winter when a healthcare colleague of mine’s husband was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after having extensive surgery to remove a tumor. Like many post-op courses following complicated procedures, her husband’s condition was tenuous. He deteriorated, and his blood entered a state which is technically referred to as DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation), where the blood clots in certain parts of the circulatory system, but as a result of consuming clotting proteins leads to uncontrolled bleeding in other parts of the circulatory system. This is the one complication that is most dreaded of all in the ICU, since very few therapies can save a patient in DIC. As a result of this, the patient was bleeding out through all his intravenous access points, and even in his gut.

Once a person enters DIC, it is often fatal. You cannot give them blood or coagulation factors fast enough to stabilize the condition. This patient had been given only a few hours to live. Because his situation was almost hopeless, the hospital broke protocol and allowed the family to use a Chinese herbal remedy known as “yunnan baiyao,” which had been recommended by their acupuncturist. The caveat was the hospital staff could not administer it, so it had to be administered by the family members.  It was given as a powder dissolved in water through his feeding tube. Within the first hour of treatment his bleeding stopped, and soon thereafter his vital signs stabilized. He was kept on the remedy for 1 month thereafter, and has since recovered well.

This Chinese herbal remedy – yunnan baiyao (also known under the name yunnan paiyao) – sounded almost too good to be true. Her husband beat the odds, but could it have been a mere coincidence? After all, you cannot make broad-based statements about a remedy’s effectiveness based on one case report. The herbal remedy comes from the Yunnan province in China, where a Chinese herbalist named Qu Huanzhang formulated it in 1902. Yunnan baiyao means “white medicine from Yunnan.” One of its main ingredients is Panax pseudoginseng, which is a first aid medicine that can reduce severe bleeding, swelling, and pain. It was carried by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War in a tiny pill bottle on a chain around their necks in case of a gunshot wound or severe bleeding. However, it has paradoxical effects, as it is designed to reduce bleeding and at the same time improve circulation – both necessary in an emergency situation.

So I started looking into the literature on this herbal mixture. In veterinary medicine, yunnan baiyao has been used quite extensively to prevent hemorrhage in animals. It is a well-known pre-emptive remedy to avoid exercise-induced lung hemorrhage in race horses.  It has been studied as a topical agent for uncontrolled bleeding in adolescents with advanced cancer.[1]

In most cases yunnan baiyao has been used for 2 – 4 days; however, some illnesses may require a longer treatment. It is generally not intended to be used for more than 15 days, but in severe cases of internal bleeding it may be used for up to 30 days. In the case of Ebola, we have no experience with this herbal remedy, nor do I have first-hand experience on how to use it. Ebola’s most life-threatening consequence is uncontrolled internal bleeding and simultaneous blood clotting due to DIC, which may begin within 7 – 11 days of the onset of the illness. This eventually leads to organ failure and death.

Given yunnan baiyao’s ability to help control internal bleeding and improve the circulation at the same time (resolving internal blood clots), it may be a life-saving measure (as seen in the ICU patient) for those afflicted with Ebola in West Africa, where more expensive experimental drugs being used in Europe and the U.S. are not be available.

This is the protocol that may save Ebola-stricken patients:

At the first signs of or confirmation of Ebola infection, the patient should be started on 2 grams twice a day for 10 – 14 days. Since we have no experience with Ebola, it may be possible to treat the patient for 7 days within the most critical period, or it may require the full 14 day course. Given the number of people dying weekly from this virus, I believe there is only upside to testing this Chinese remedy. At worst, it will not save the lives which are being lost on a daily basis in Africa already, but in the best possible scenario it will help stop the massive amounts of deaths resulting from this deadly virus.

Again, I want to be clear that I have no way of knowing whether this Chinese herbal remedy would help Ebola patients. However, knowing and researching its uses in stopping hemorrhage in veterinary and surgical medicine, I can only extrapolate that it may offer hope to Africa and its afflicted.

I wanted to write this and get this information out there in the hopes that someone that can make a difference in Africa might pay attention.  I salute all of the brave medical personnel that have volunteered their time to go to West Africa to help save these innocent victims. I can only pray that we find a solution as soon as possible for this frightening virus before it spreads beyond our control at the rate of 10,000 new cases per week by January 2015, as predicted by the World Health Organization.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vincent Pedre

[1] Ladas, EJ, et al. Topical Yunnan Baiyao administration as an adjunctive therapy for bleeding complications in adolescents with advanced cancer.  Support Care Cancer. 2012 Dec;20(12):3379-83.
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The Money Trail between Doctors & Drug Makers

Closeup Money rolled up with pills falling out, high cost, expensive healthcare

My first experiences of the Pharma-Doctor financial relationship were lavish dinners at some of the finest restaurants in NYC, soon after I finished my residency. The dinners were sponsored by a pharmaceutical rep, and a short talk about the featured drug was given by a doctor that also received an honorarium ranging from $750 – 1500 for spending about 20 minutes talking about their drug.

At first, it seemed like a good way to learn in a relaxed environment while getting to sample amazing food.  We would learn about new medications , or even new details about drugs that had been out in the market for some time. What was not said was the soft marketing — the soft manipulation of prescribing patterns by this sense of collegiality with peers. Of course, in order for the speaking physician to make his Honorarium, he or she needed a quota (usually at least 3 doctors) in attendance, so I used to get invited a lot (especially by one particular doctor I knew that had been in practice for many years).

What slowly turned me off to this method of drug marketing was when I had attended several dinners with the same doctor, finding that one night the doctor was speaking about one particular medication and how great it was, then the other night he was speaking about its competitor and how great it was in comparison to the other drugs. It was such a blatant conflict of interests; yet, underlying the talks was a payment arrangement, so did it really matter what medication the doctor was talking about on a given night? This doctor once boasted to me that he made an additional $150,000 per year just by doing 2–3 dinners per week. That is more than most people in this country make yearly.

It wasn’t about what medication was best for a condition, it was really about who was paying for that night. It turned me off to the entire pharmaceutical dinner ploy. Soon thereafter, I stopped going to them. I still met with drug reps on occasion, but within another year or two, I stopped meeting with them in my office, preferring to learn about any medications (which I try to use as little as possible) at medical conferences, where at least the science is presented without bias (as they are required to be free of commercial bias).

I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT I HAVE NEVER GIVEN A PAID TALK FOR A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY.

On September 30, 2014, The New York Times published an article entitled, “Detailing Financial Links of Doctors and Drug Makers.”  The database in this article, a federally run program on CMS.org, can help you find out if your doctor has accepted money from pharmaceutical companies. And know that it influences prescribing behavior. So, when your doctor prescribes something, ask this: Are they doing it because the research shows it is the best medication for your condition? Or is it the next best drug that they were recently marketed to by a pharmaceutical rep or in one of these dinners?

I BELIEVE IN MAKING ANY MEDICATION DECISIONS FREE OF COMMERCIAL PHARMACEUTICAL BIAS.

Studies have shown that doctors that meet frequently with pharmaceutical reps tend to prescribe the most expensive medications on the market, even when equally effective and cheaper alternatives exist. Of course, drug cost and the increasing payment burden placed on patients is another story…

I’LL LEAVE TALKING ABOUT REFORMING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COST FOR ANOTHER POST…to be continued!

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Cold and Flu Season Preparedness

BEAT THE FLU OR COMMON COLD BEFORE IT BEATS YOU!

Cold&Flu

 

With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, I am often asked how I am able to ward off so many colds throughout the season. After all, I am seeing sick patients almost on a daily basis during winter season. You would think that I get sick more often, but I only get one or two brief colds during the entire winter.  I have even managed to get over the flu within 24-48 hours using a supplement trick I learned during my extensive research, looking for natural remedies to treat the swine flu epidemic.

Flu & Cold Prevention
First and foremost, washing of the hands after each contact is of utmost importance. This means washing your hands after you have held on during a subway ride where others most likely have touched and spread their germs. Using a hand sanitizer is also not a bad idea, but overusing a hand sanitizer will dry you hands out too much, so use wisely and when most needed. At our office, if someone has the flu, which is spread by respiratory droplets, we will disinfect the room used to see the patient before seeing the next patient. This is to protect us and the next person. If you live with a loved one that is sick, it’s always best to sleep in a separate room, especially if they are coughing all night (unless you want to get sick as well). Of course, many times it’s hard to avoid people that are sick around us. An atomizer with essential oil of eucalyptus can help sterilize the air of viruses traveling in droplets.

Natural Remedies That Help Block Colds & Flu
But, my most important preventive strategies are the natural remedies I have come to depend on to stay as healthy as possible during the winter months.  I’ve linked my favorite products to this message for your benefit.  Thymucin by Integrative Therapeutics, an immune booster that helps activate killer T cells while boosting energy with an adaptogen, was my first lifesaver.  When I learned about this, it seemed that I became much more resistant overnight to most colds I encountered daily. Adding Vitamin D3 5,000 IU daily by Pure Encapsulations to this mix provides another boost to the immune system. I’ve discussed the many benefits of vitamin D3 over and over. This vitamin is what saved me when I had the flu last winter.

Here’s the Trick I use to BEAT THE FLU:
If you definitely have the flu (high fever, body aches, respiratory symptoms, cough, congestion, runny nose), then take 25,000 IU of Vitamin D3 at the first signs of fever or flu-like symptoms.  Repeat this dose daily for 3 days.  When I had the flu last winter, my fever broke in 12 hours using this with two other natural remedies. Can you imagine beating the flu this quickly with natural remedies? Having my own experience with it, I know these remedies are powerful when used appropriately and sourced from high-quality manufacturers (such as the ones featured here).

The other remedy has been shown to have activity against both Influenza A & B.  Remember, during any given flu season, the circulating Influenza virus could be predominantly one or the other.  In the past, if the flu vaccine missed which strain became the more predominant one during a season, this rendered the vaccine less than 50% effective. With the flu vaccine a toss-up, it’s best to have an arsenal of natural remedies with proven efficacy against the flu. What are these natural remedies?

Well, the first one is Oscillococcinum by Boiron. Taken at the first sign of flu-like symptoms (whether you have the flu or not), this homeopathic remedy can help temper some of the worst symptoms, including the fever and body aches. I add to this Elderberry syrup by Gaia. This high antioxidant fruit extract, has anti-infective properties against the flu virus. It actually prevents it from spreading from cell to cell. In studies that looked at its efficacy against influenza strains A & B, Elderberry was found to shorten the duration of the flu from the typical 7 days to 4 days. That’s 3 days less of flu-like symptoms! In comparison, the medications on the market to treat the flu only shorten its duration by a mere 1 day. Combine it with Vitamin D3, and you’ve got a power combo that will get you well faster than any prescription remedy.

And what about colds and sore throats?
Now for the day to day sore throat that may start after exposure to the common cold, I use products like oregano oil and clove oil by Gaia Herbs.  Oregano has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.  So, it is an all-around great anti-infective. Clove oil also has anti-microbial properties. These oils are basically made by these plants as their natural antibiotics. Clove also offers the added benefit of numbing the throat. You can make it into a spray using a spray bottle and mixing with filtered water. You control the strength by the number of drops you add to the spray bottle. You can also spray clove oil in the air if you’re on an airplane to protect you from germs flying in the air (but that may seem a little paranoid to those around you).

How about winter travel?
For travel (especially in airports and airplanes), I take Immuno-Hep Pro by Gaia to prime my immune system. With astragalus root extract and mushroom (reishi & maitake) extracts, it activates your natural killer cells to get rid of any invaders before they have a chance to take root. Of course, all these remedies work as preventive strategies, or best upon first signs of a cold. If you wait too late, you miss the window of opportunity to fight the cold. Vitamin D3 and Thymucin are also my staple immune boosters for all winter travel. I will take a double dose of Thymucin whenever I travel or I have been in close proximity to a sick person. The most dreaded one, of course, is the coughing person that sits right next to you and assures you that they are not contagious. My advice: DON’T BELIEVE THEM! And spray some Clove oil in the air.  But seriously, if you take these remedies at the very least you will be a few steps ahead.

All these high-quality remedies by only the best manufacturers are available on my online formulary through HealthWave by CLICKING HERE.  As an added bonus, get FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $125 for the month of September.

Here’s to getting through cold and flu season unscathed by the big one!

May you ward off most colds that come your way, and get through any that you succumb to as fast as possible.

Good luck!

All the best,
Dr. Pedre

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Supernutrients That Fight Seasonal Allergies

Allergies

With 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, it is no wonder so much money is spent on OTC antihistamines during allergy season.[1]  A nationwide survey found that 54.6 percent of all US citizens test positive for one or more allergens.[2]  Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications often lead to undesirable side-effects.

When allergies hit, your eyes get itchy and watery, you may sneeze uncontrollably, your nose becomes congested and it starts running.  In the worst of cases, spring allergies will lead to a sinus infection.  However, nature has provided us with Supernutrients that can help you combat the underlying cause of allergies – overstimulated mast cells and excessive histamine secretion.

If you are a parent, you will find this natural approach most desirable for your children.  Imagine this – instead of taking your antihistamine, EAT YOUR ANTIHISTAMINES.  Nature’s allergy-reducing nutrients are found in foods rich in vitamin C, quercetin, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

3 Supernutrients That Reduce Allergy Symptoms:

1. Vitamin C.  Not only is vitamin C a great natural antihistamine, it is a powerful antioxidant and immune booster.  Foods high in this supernutrient include: broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, mango, strawberries, oranges, clementines, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapples, guava and peaches.

2.  Quercetin.  A powerful antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, quercetin, a plant flavonoid, is also responsible for the colors of many fruits and vegetables.  It puts a stop on our allergy superstars – the mast cell.  Mast cells release histamine, which is the major cause of the allergy symptoms.  The best sources of quercetin are apples, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, parsley, tomatoes, legumes, dark berries, green tea, black tea and red wine.

As an aside, one of my favorite natural allergy remedies, Natural D-Hist, very effectively combines vitamin C and quercetin with stinging nettle leaf extract (antihistamine), bromelain (pineapple enzyme), and N-acetyl cysteine (mucous thinner) to dry out a runny allergy-suffering nose and reduce sneezing attacks.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  Omega-3’s are the anti-inflammatory powerhouses of the nutrient world.  They are found in almonds, walnuts, avocado, ground flax and chia seeds, flax seed oil, and grapeseed oil, to name a few.  By promoting a low inflammation environment in our bodies they help reduce allergy symptoms, and are an essential component of any food-based allergy treatment.

If any of these remedies are to be effective, they cannot be treated as medicines you take to overcome the indiscretions in your diet.  In other words, they are part of an overall healthy eating plan.  If you tend to be an allergic individual, eating foods rich in these nutrients year-round will help preempt allergy symptoms.  Make sure to also avoid eating dairy products during the peak of allergy season, since they increase mucous secretion and may lead to a sinus infection.


[1] American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). The Allergy Report: Science Based Findings on the Diagnosis & Treatment of Allergic Disorders, 1996-2001.

[2] Arbes SJ et al. “Prevalences of positive skin test responses to 10 common allergens in the US population: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 116:377-383. 2005

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When the Flu Vaccine Does Not Work

Influenza Word CloudWe are in the midst of one of the worst flu outbreaks in recent years.  For example, Massachusetts General Hospital has already treated more confirmed flu cases than it did by this time during the swine flu “pandemic.”  You don’t need to check the Center for Disease Control’s national flu trend map to know that’s the case.  You probably know two or more people that have caught the flu, or you may have been one of its casualties this year.  Already, the number of cases is much higher than in recent years.

How do you know if you have it?  The typical symptoms are fevers (around 100 degrees F), chills, exhaustion, cough, chest congestion, sinus congestion and pressure, runny nose, sometimes sneezing early on, and body aches that can present with neck stiffness or severe lower back pain.  This one seems to hit with a curious new symptom – pain behind the eyes when moving them or just focusing.  A nasal swab can be done by a doctor to confirm if you have it, but this type of testing is not 100% accurate.

What’s confusing is that even though experts continue to encourage the flu shot, claiming that it is well-matched to the predominant circulating H3N2 strain of this flu virus, I have observed in my practice a preponderance of patients getting the flu that received the flu vaccine.  So I ask, “If the flu vaccine was so well-matched, why is this one of the worst flu seasons in years?”

Well, part of the answer is that not all individuals respond well to the flu vaccine.  In the elderly or chronically sick adults, the flu vaccine may not create high enough titers of protective antibodies to the flu.[1] [2]  This leaves these individuals still at risk for getting the flu.  In addition, even though the flu vaccine may generate protective antibodies in others, it often does not exactly match all the circulating strains of the flu virus, which is compounded by their ability to mutate even in the midst of a flu season.

Yet, do you ever ask yourself why there is no flu in the summer?  In my book response to the swine flu pandemic, “The Ultimate Swine Flu Survival Guide,” I explain how a British scientist theorized that the missing factor was vitamin D.[3]  Vitamin D levels drop dramatically by late fall, and since vitamin D regulates over 2,000 genes, many of which are involved in not only regulating the immune system but also promoting the formation of antimicrobial peptides that can attack microbial invaders directly, it is no wonder that low vitamin D may be a big factor in our susceptibility to the flu and one’s ability to recover quickly.

With the majority of U.S. adults vitamin D deficient, susceptibility is high.  For these reasons, Vitamin D is an important part of my natural flu treatment protocol which helps patients recover from the worst symptoms – fevers, chills and body aches – within 48 hours.

Dr. Pedre’s Natural Flu Treatment Protocol:

Oscillococcinum®:  At the first sign of symptoms, this homeopathic remedy can help activate your immune system to eliminate the flu and flu-like symptoms.  Start with 1 vial of sublingual pellets every 6 hours. It is safe for children ages 2 and above.

Sambucol® (Elderberry Extract): Several studies have shown the efficacy of Sambucol against the flu virus. [4] [5]   At the earliest sign of symptoms, start taking 15 mL every 4 hours while awake.  As a preventive (if you’re surrounded by sick people with the flu), take 15 mL (about 1 tablespoon) daily.  It is also safe for children to take, but only use 5 – 10 mL for each dose.

Vitamin D3: Everyone who lives north of the 35 degree latitude (approximately Raleigh, NC) is likely vitamin D deficient by December.  All adults should be taking between 2,000 – 5,000 IU daily during the winter months.[6] [7]

At the first sign of flu symptoms, take 50,000 IU’s all at once.  This seems particularly protective of the worst consequences of the flu, including pneumonia that may lead to hospitalization.

A Note on Fevers:

Even with these natural remedies, you may still get a fever, but as long as it is not dangerously high over 101oF, remember that fever is the body’s natural protective mechanism against viruses.  The flu virus simply cannot replicate well at these higher temperatures, whereas the body’s own processes speed up with a fever.  It basically helps you fight off the virus even faster.

Caution with Fevers:  Always consult with your doctor if you have had low-grade fevers for more than 24 hours, or a fever higher than 100.5oF.

Epsom salt:  Once your fever has subsided, you may still have body aches.  I have found that soaking in a bath with Epsom salt really helps alleviate sore muscles from the flu.

Here’s my Ultimate Muscle Relief Bath Recipe:

2 cups     Epsom salt

½ cup      Baking soda

10 drops  Lavender Essential Oil

If you can add 1-2 cups of Bentonite clay to the bath even better.

Soak for 20 minutes.

Good luck in warding off the flu, and I hope this advice helps you if you do manage to come down with influenza.

Sincerely,

Dr. Pedre


[1] Simonsen L, Reichert TA, Viboud C, et al.  Impact of influenza vaccination on seasonal mortality in the US elderly population.  Arch Intern Med 2005;165:265-272.

[2] Osterholm, M, PhD, et al.  Efficacy and Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccines: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.  The Lancet Infectious Disease, Early Online Publication, 26 October 2011; doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70295-X

[3] Cannell, et al: Epidemic influenza and vitamin D.  Review Article. Epidemiology and Infection (2006), 134 : 1129-1140. Cambridge University Press.

[4] Zakay-Rones et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.

[5] Zakay-Rones et al. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.

[6] Smith SM. Vitamin D supplementation during Antartic Winter. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1092-8. Epub 2009 Feb 18.

[7] Weaver CM. Vitamin D requirements: current and future. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6 Suppl):1735S-9S

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Dr. Pedre’s Holiday Wellness Gift Basket

As the holidays approach, and you’re thinking of gifts to get your loved ones and friends, I have put together a wellness gift basket full of ideas to help keep you healthy and well during the coming year.  Holiday pampering is about treating yourself to something that makes you feel good, so why not also invest in something that will enhance your sense of well-being?  I scoured the internet for my favorite wellness gift ideas this holiday season.  These products are environmentally-friendly and will help you stay healthy in the coming year.

Love Nature NYC Tea Tree Mint Hand & Body WashTEA TREE MINT HAND & BODY WASH

For personal care, one of my favorite natural product makers, Love Nature NYCTM, makes products for your health and home using natural and organic ingredients.  All the products are free of harsh chemicals, including “fragrance,” an ingredient in many products that is actually derived from petroleum.  Only natural and organic oils, emollients and botanicals are used.

A refreshing recommendation from this eco-conscious company, the 100% natural Tea Tree Mint Hand & Body Wash, offers innate anti-bacterial properties from its infusion of tea tree essential oil and a mind-clearing, revitalizing effect from a touch of peppermint essential oil.  It will leave you feeling uplifted, clean and moisturized.

INFRARED HEATING PADS

Everyone suffers from tension, aches or pains in a muscle or joint at some point.  Regular heating pads may expose your body to dangerous electromagnetic radiation with poorly-penetrating, superficial heat, but the infrared rays from the Infrared Heating Pads by TherasageTM penetrate deeply, up to 2-3 inches, to provide optimal relaxation and relief to achy muscles with minimal exposure to EMFs.

Far-infrared is one my favorite ways to ease body pain.  It also provides the following benefits: improved blood circulation, stimulating the dilation of blood vessels to bring more oxygen to joints and extremities to speed healing of sprains and strains, and relief of stress and tension.

As an added plus, the infrared material increases the rate of negative ions in your nearby vicinity, exposing you to their calming effect by increasing alpha brain waves.  Research has shown that negative ions, such as the ones found at the seashore or by a waterfall, help balance the nervous system.  Everyone can benefit from the dual pain and anxiety relief offered by Therasage’s infrared heating pads.

A BLUE LIGHT

Re-energize yourself and beat the winter blues with the Philips goLITE BLU, a portable light that shines blue like a clear, cloudless sky.  Many of us, including myself, experience a dip in energy levels and mood by mid-winter.  But, a blue light in the spectrum most favorable to your eyes’ retinal receptors without the dangerous UV rays, is a great way to restore your summer vitality.  A study[1] showed an improvement in mood scores in people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a low mood believed to be caused by the dark winter days.

Use regularly during winter mornings, starting with 15 min daily, and progressively adding 5 min every few days as tolerated to a maximum of 45 minutes.

A GPS RUNNING WATCH

Get healthy in 2013 by starting a jogging/running program!  A GPS running watch can become a potent motivating companion by tracking your results, and letting you know when personal bests are surpassed.

Make every mile count with Garmin’s Forerunner® 10, a GPS-enabled watch that keeps track of your speed/pace, distance and calories-burned.  The watch provides motivating feedback with current time/distance run, an alert when you complete each mile, and even notifies you of personal records, like fastest mile run.

Using Garmin ConnectTM, you can get useful details, see your run on a map, and share with friends.  Get inspired, and start tracking your workouts!


[1] Anderson, J. et al. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2009 120: 203-12

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