Live in the Now Health. Freedom. Knowledge Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:44:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Study Finds More Benefits of Dark Chocolate — So is it True a “Chocolate Pill” is in the Works? Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:17:36 +0000 Dark chocolateReports and warnings of harmful ingredients tend to flood our newsfeeds and inboxes, don’t they? This abundance of negative news makes reports of positive news seem all the more sweet. And the latest positive health news is sweet, indeed – chocolate can help make your arteries more flexible. While it may seem too good to be true, it’s an absolute reality.

Nutritionists have been saying that a moderate intake of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can enhance health; but research is shedding more light on exactly why it is helpful. Scientists have found dark chocolate can make arteries more flexible, as well as hinder white blood cells from adhering to the walls of blood vessels. These effects are valuable because both arterial stiffness and white blood cell clumping play a major role in atherosclerosis, which is the thickening and hardening of arteries.

In a study published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers evaluated a group of 44 middle-aged overweight men. Throughout two periods of four weeks, the participants were required to eat either 70 grams of dark chocolate every day or 70 grams of a specially made dark chocolate containing high amounts of flavanol — an antioxidant found in several plants, including cocoa. Before and after the intervention, the men’s vascular health was assessed. Both kinds of chocolate produced the same beneficial heart effects. The chocolate with higher flavanol didn’t appear to have more of an impact than the regular one.

What Components of Chocolate are Responsible for its Benefits?

Deductive reasoning would tell us that since the regular dark chocolate and high-flavanol dark chocolate produced the same results, perhaps the properties that make it such a wonder food are due to components other than flavanols. While flavanols are healthful compounds, they may not be responsible for all the benefits attributed to chocolate.

Nutritional expert and author Dr. Mark Mincolla, as seen on Dr. Oz, tells Live in the Now that he couldn’t agree more. Here is his take on the issue:

“A study published in the February 2011 issue of Chemistry Central Journal revealed that dark chocolate contains more cardio-protective antioxidants and flavanols than any fruit juice. The food also is high in fiber and contains the minerals of zinc and selenium, all of which can help keep a heart healthy and happy. But the study’s senior researcher Debra Miller is quick to point out that cacao seeds provide heart smart nutritional values far beyond their mere nutrient composition.

“I believe that the real cardio-protective value of dark chocolate lies in its high concentration of nitric oxide (NO). This component is a powerful vasodilator that bolsters heart health by enhancing circulation. Dark chocolate’s NO content has consistently demonstrated the ability to raises HDL,  known as good cholesterol, while offering arterial plaque protection against LDL, known as bad cholesterol. In addition, the ORAC Factor, a measurement that denotes oxygen radical absorbance capacity, activated by the NO in dark chocolate has been found to disarm the free radicals that lie at the causal root of heart disease. Dark chocolate contains many not-so-obvious nutritional agents that play a significant role in heart smart nutrition.”

Could a Chocolate Pill Be Coming Soon to a Drugstore Near You?

The answer is — quite possibly! “It shouldn’t be surprising to find that the world of science is now busy at work developing heart smart chocolate pills. As long as the NO content isn’t compromised, I’m on board with the idea,” Mincolla says.

A major study involving 18,000 people has been launched that will evaluate the health effects of taking cocoa in the form of a pill. The participants will get either two pills of a placebo or two pills of cocoa for four years. Live in the Now does not know if the pills being tested have the NO content intact.

While Mars, the maker of M&Ms and Snickers, and other companies sell cocoa extract pills, they contain less of the active ingredient than the pills in the research. The purported benefit of taking chocolate in pill form is that it permits consumption of the healthful ingredient without added fat and sugar. Additionally, some of the nutrients are destroyed in the process of manufacturing chocolate candy.


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The Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Cholesterol Imbalance Just Grew Stronger Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:37:20 +0000 6a0134860e42be970c0154358dd345970c-400wiResearchers from the University of California Davis have found another significant factor linking cholesterol ratios and Alzheimer’s disease. Publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, scientists explain how both high levels of HDL cholesterol and low levels of LDL cholesterol — what we should be shooting for — are associated with lower accumulations of the amyloid brain plaque that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The team found that similar cholesterol levels considered to be in the “risky range” by ratio promote the development of Alzheimer’s amyloid plaques found in virtually all diagnosed cases of the memory-robbing illness.

Imbalanced HDL/LDL Cholesterol Levels Significantly Increase Amyloid Brain Plaque Deposits

Following up on long-term evidence showing a correlation between raised levels of cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease incidence, researchers developed a cohort of 74 men and women, aged 70 years or more that included three people with mild dementia, 38 with mild cognitive impairment, and 33 who were cognitively normal. All the participants had fasting blood tests and underwent brain PET scans where amyloid plaques were highlighted using a radioactive tracer that binds to them.

After analyzing participant blood tests and scans, researchers found a direct relationship between reduced levels of HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol and development of amyloid brain plaque formation. Lead study author, Dr. Bruce Reed noted, “Unhealthy patterns of cholesterol could be directly causing the higher levels of amyloid known to contribute to Alzheimer’s, in the same way that such patterns promote heart disease.” The scientists found that people can improve their chances of keeping their brains healthy later in life by not only controlling their blood pressure, but also by controlling their cholesterol ratios.

Limit Fatty Fried Foods and Excess Sugar to Limit Amyloid Plaque Development in the Brain

Volumes of current research now clearly demonstrate that Alzheimer’s disease, though influenced to a small degree by genetic predisposition, is largely caused by a confluence of lifestyle indiscretions over the course of one’s early and mid-life years. Prior studies have shown that a diet consisting of hydrogenated fats, processed carbohydrates and sugary treats rapidly accelerate the onset and progression of the disease, especially in those with familial genetic traits. Lack of physical activity, smoking, exposure to environmental and household pollutants as well as nutritional deficiencies all play a role in promoting an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Dr. Reed concluded that “modifying cholesterol levels in the brain early in life can reduce amyloid deposits late in life… we could potentially make a significant difference in reducing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s.” Supporting studies have stressed the importance of lowering oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by drastically limiting hydrogenated and trans fat foods along with sugary treats and processed carbohydrates to improve cholesterol ratios and heart disease risk. Undoubtedly this same strategy supports optimal brain health and can lower Alzheimer’s disease risk.

John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives. Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource

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How the Biggest Medical Error of Our Time Prompted the Overuse of Statins Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:11:42 +0000 Heart shape toast

For the past 40 years, doctors have been advising patients to cut foods with saturated fat from the diet, such as butter, cream and cheese, presuming that these foods lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Now, some experts across the globe are saying this myth may be “the greatest medical error of our time.”

Tragically, this myth has led to the fact that more than 20 million Americans are currently taking statins to “protect” them from high cholesterol. These medications have taken a toll on the general health of those who are on them, as the drugs have been associated with numerous side effects, including diabetes, muscle pain and liver damage as well as cognitive impairment, kidney failure and impotence.

It Is Time to Burst the Myth

Why have millions of Americans been prescribed these harmful drugs when they don’t really need them? Experts say that false interpretation of scientific studies is responsible for this over medication, and they are proclaiming that the time has come to burst the myth that saturated fat causes heart disease.

It turns out that reducing the intake of saturated fat foods may have done more harm than good to heart health. Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist at Croydon University hospital in London, writes on the myth in the British Medical Journal. He says unfounded fears about saturated fat have dominated medical dietary advice for nearly four decades and have “paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks.”

What Are the True Facts?

The impetus to demonize saturated fat began in the 1970s with a landmark study that found an association between coronary heart disease and total cholesterol. This linkage correlated with the percentage of calories contributed by saturated fat. The problem is that “correlation is not causation,” points out Malhotra. Yet because of the presumed cause, the public was advised to reduce total fat as well as saturated fat intake.

However, recent studies fail to support this supposed link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, instead of being found to be the culprit leading to this illness, it has been found to be protective.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that a low-fat diet was worse for health than a low carbohydrate diet. Those on a low-fat diet had the highest drop in energy expenditure in addition to elevated insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to diabetes.

Contributing to the problem is that the food industry has replaced fat with sugar, Malhotra says. He believes this substitution has led to an increase in obesity.

Is Dr. Malhotra a Lone Wolf?

By no means is Dr. Malhotra alone in his beliefs. Other experts are raising their voices in support of his views.

  • Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, a GP and author of The Great Cholesterol Con, reports that Sweden is the first western country to devise dietary guidelines that reject the low-fat myth. “Around the world, the tide is turning, and science is overturning anti-fat dogma,” he says.
  • Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum asserts that modern research does not show saturated fat causes increased fat in the bloodstream. The real cause has proven to be refined carbohydrates, particularly sugar, he notes.
  • Timothy Noakes, professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, agrees with Malhotra and does not mince words. The exclusive focus on high cholesterol as the cause of cardiovascular disease is “unquestionably the worst medical error of our time,” he says. “After reviewing all the scientific evidence I draw just one conclusion – never prescribe a statin drug for a loved one.”

What Is the Solution?

“Doctors need to embrace prevention as well as treatment,” Malhotra says. He advocates following the Mediterranean diet after a heart attack because it is almost three times as effective in lowering death rates as taking a statin. This eating plan is plentiful in oily fish, olive oil and nuts along with fruit and vegetables.

Malhotra explains that saturated fats found in dairy foods should not be confused with harmful trans fats found in junk foods, baked goods and margarine, which are detrimental to health. He tells his patients that butter and unprocessed cheese are healthier than low-fat spreads. Moreover, dairy products contain nutrients that are beneficial for health, while junk food does not.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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6 Simple Ways To “Spring Clean” Your Health Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:21:12 +0000 Spring is in the air! When I think of the spring season, I think of two things: the growth and rejuvenation of life around me and, of course, the “spring cleaning” of winter’s clutter around the house. Chances are you use the spring season as a trigger to make a clean, fresh start with your surroundings, but — like many — neglect the opportunity to reset your body and boost its ability to clear the plaques, chemicals and fat that accumulated over the winter. Spring is the perfect time to reset and rejuvenate your body’s internal organs and cleansing mechanisms so that you can regain energy, start healthy habits and cleanse the health-harming remnants of winter splurges. But – contrary to what many cleansing regimens lead you to believe — this “spring cleaning” of your body doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here are six simple things you can easily start incorporating into your daily routine that will cleanse your body of toxins, boost your energy levels, strengthen your immune system and improve your overall well-being.

1. Boost your Glutathione Levels

The liver is your body’s hub for all things detoxification, and in today’s world of chemical-laden cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, contaminated water and environmental pollutants, your liver needs all the help it can get. This is where glutathione comes into play; it boosts liver function, which is essential for the body to be able to remove the aforementioned metabolic waste and environmental toxins. Thus, your ability to produce and maintain high levels of glutathione is critical.

Glutathione is one of the most important molecules in the human body, yet many people have never even heard of it. It is often referred to as the “mother of all antioxidants” for its ability to act as an antioxidant independently while also reinforcing the antioxidant system by generating Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), a free-radical defense for nearly every cell in the body. Without adequate stores of glutathione, the body’s ability to recovery from chronic illness and to prevent disease is greatly reduced.

The good news – there are a few things that you can do to increase your glutathione levels:

  • Eat Sulfer-rich Foods and Cruciferous Vegetables: Garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and watercress are some foods that have been found to boost glutathione levels.
  • Increase your Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) levels: ALA has been dubbed the “antioxidant generator” for its ability to recycle and promote glutathione synthesis in the body.
  • Take a Daily Milk Thistle Supplement: Milk Thistle can support a healthy liver by detoxifying the liver and helping to boost glutathione levels.

2. Avoid the “Dirty Dozen Plus”

It is important to eat organically grown produce whenever possible, as these are not exposed to the high doses of pesticides that have been linked to hormone imbalances, brain and nervous system toxicity and cancer. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™, certain foods are exposed to either higher concentrations of pesticide, or hit the grocery store shelves with higher levels of pesticide residues. If you cannot buy organic on a regular basis, you can still lower your pesticide intake by avoiding these 14 most contaminated fruits and vegetables: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale/collards and summer squash. (Thanks to the folks at Suja for whipping up this “pinnable” graphic so we can have the list at our fingertips)


3. Re-establish your Healthy Gut Flora

Stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic use and poor diet can all reduce and/or alter the proper balance of the friendly bacteria that reside in your gastrointestinal tract. It is important to maintain a healthy gut flora in order to maintain optimal health. And since 90 percent of the immune system exists in the gut, your body is likely exhausted from fighting the viruses and infections it encountered all winter.

There are two ways to replenish your healthy gut flora:

  • Eat fermented foods: Foods such as yogurt, kefir, kim chee or natto are all great food souces of probiotics.
  • Take priobiotic supplements: Supplements such as probiotic pills or greenfood powders that contain probiotics are great sources that often contain high bacteria counts of multiple bacteria strains.

4. Maximize your Health with Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in a range of essential nutrients, provide antioxidants and also contain potential anticancer compounds. These nutrient-dense specimens will not only strengthen your immune system, but also provide a variety of health benefits. These include the inhibition of cancer and cancer growth, balanced cholesterol and blood sugar levels, improved cognitive function and improved asthma control and lung health.

5. Rejuvenate your Body with Green Foods

If you have never tried a green food supplement before, you are missing out. These drink powders often contain ingredients like chlorella, spirulina and barley grass which can really give your system a much needed energy and immunity boost. When shopping around for a high-quality green foods, make sure it includes the top three green super foods. The typical American diet rarely finds ways to sneak these health saviors into the diet, so adding them in an easy-to-drink form can take your health to a whole new level.

  • Chlorella:Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll and has the unique ability to eliminate unwanted metals and toxins from the intestinal tract.
  • Spirulina: This nutrient-rich, blue – green algae provides protein, B-complex vitamins, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and numerous minerals. It offers great antioxidant benefits, and has even been shown to be an effective cholesterol-balancing agent.
  • Barley grass: Barley grass is a powdered, dried cereal grass which is rich in vitamins, chlorophyll and protein. Barley grass is particularly beneficial because it acts as a free radical scavenger in the body, which can result in reduced inflammation and pain.

6. Ditch the High Fructose Corn Syrup

Not all sugar is created equal! Fructose, which is naturally found in fruit, can become unhealthy when consumed in large, chemically concentrated quantities far above the levels naturally found in fruit. The problem: the overuse of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by food manufacturers results in unnaturally high consumption of fructose. Eating large quantities of HFCS can overwork the liver, which must metabolize the fructose for it to be used by the body. Once the liver starts getting overloaded, fructose will be metabolized into fat rather than liver glycogen, which can lead to obesity, the collection of fat around vital organs and insulin resistance.

What can you do? Read all food labels carefully and do not eat any foods that contain HFCS. For further insight into the foods to avoid, be sure to check out our recent article “10 Foods You Didn’t Think Had HFCS.”

Carolyn - Spring Clean Infographic


Carolyn Headshot Final 600 WCarolyn has a Master’s of Science degree in Dietetics from D’Youville College and is truly passionate about the science of nutrition. She currently works as a Dietitian in the integrative health industry and is an advocate for natural wellness, nutrition education, and food policy change. She also has advanced expertise in the nutritional care of gastrointestinal disorders and is an expert on the gluten free diet. In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys shopping at her local farmer’s market, traveling with her husband, reading nutrition research, walking her dog, and working on her blog, DC Wellness Scout.

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How to Balance Your Omega-3 and Omega-6 Intake Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:24:16 +0000 omega3It is widely believed in the nutrition field that there was once a time when we consumed a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, in today’s world this is not the case. We now consume 2-3 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and this is a problem. This imbalance in our diets may explain the rise of allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, all of which are believed to stem from increased inflammation and an imbalanced immune system. Balancing daily intake of omega-3 versus omega-6 fatty acids has been shown to be especially important in the overall treatment of allergies.

Why it’s Critical to Balance Your Omegas for Allergies

Omega-3 and omega-6 are both known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and play a major role in our immune system. The hormones constructed from the two classes of essential fatty acids have opposite effects. Those from Omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation, blood clotting and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those same functions.

While it seems like you wouldn’t want to have the former at all, keeping a balance between pro-inflammatory processes and anti-inflammatory processes is actually extremely important for a healthy immune system! An optimally functioning immune system is one that is able to activate to fight off “foreign invaders” and pathogens when needed, but also lay low when not needed. When a microbe enters the body and the immune system needs to kill it, it is the pro-inflammatory cytokines (derived from omega-6s) that are responsible for allowing the body to do so. In contrast, when a benign substance such as pollen enters the body and there are too many pro-inflammatory cytokines and not enough anti-inflammatory cytokines (derived from omega-3s) problems arise and usually in the form of an allergic reaction. Hence, someone suffering from  allergies is an example of a person whose immune system that does not know how to lay low! When omega-3s and omega-6s are consumed in a healthy balance, the immune system can do its job properly.

How Too Much Omega-6 Sneaks Into Your Diet, and How You Eat More Omega-3

The modern diet is abundant with sources of omega-6 fatty acids. They are found in poultry, eggs, whole grain breads, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils. Processed foods contain an extremely high amount of omega-6 fatty acids due to the overuse of refined vegetable oils.

Conversely, there are only a few dietary sources of omega-3s. The two critical types of omega-3 fatty acids that the body needs are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA).  The primary source of EPA and DHA is fat from cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. Walnuts and flaxseeds are another good source of omega-3s as these contain a precursor omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). When ALA is consumed, the body converts it to EPA or DHA. Cutting out processed foods and increasing cold-water fish consumption is a good way to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and protect yourself from developing allergies.

If you already suffer from allergies, supplementing with extra EPA and DHA from fish oil or krill oil can help reset your immune system and reduce allergic reactions.

Need more guidance on certain foods? The chart below is an excellent graphic from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.

n-6 to n-3 ratio in foods2

Dr. Passero completed four years of post-graduate medical education at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado. Dr. Passero has trained with some of the nation’s leading doctors in the field of natural medicine. In his practice, Dr. Passero focuses on restoring harmony to both the body and mind using advanced protocols that incorporate herbal therapy, homeopathy, vitamin therapy and nutritional programs. Through education and guidance patients are able to unlock the natural healing power contained within each one of us. For more information, visit his website, Green Healing Wellness, or follow him on Facebook.

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3 Surprising Ways to Strengthen Your Bones Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:21:53 +0000 bone healthAs people age, their bones become more brittle, a malady that increases the risk of a life-threatening bone fracture in falls. The good news is that you can be proactive in reducing this threat by engaging in bone-strengthening practices. Discover what type of exercising is best, which foods offer the most protection and which oft ignored nutrient may help.

Which Exercises Increase Bone Density?

When it comes to bone health, not all exercise methods are equally beneficial. While all exercise builds muscle and cardiovascular fitness, weight-bearing activities are better for the bones than those that are non-weight-bearing. This involves any endeavor that works against gravity, such as jogging, walking and jumping as well as climbing stairs, tennis and dancing. Surprisingly, weight training is only moderately effective in building bones. Non-weight-bearing exercising includes activities like swimming and bicycling.

Each time you hit the ground in weight-bearing exercises, the force stimulates your bones, causing their density to increase. These movements produce strong muscular contractions that tug at the attached bones, actions that intensify the stimulating effect of the exercise. Hard pounding isn’t required. Walking may produce a sufficient benefit if it is brisk.

Moving in a direction other than straight ahead can strengthen the hip bone and spine in older people. Standing on a whole-body vibration platform, equipment available at health clubs, may be helpful as well.

Reach for These 8 Foods to Strengthen Bones

Certain foods are rich in nutrients that promote bone health. The Community Voice provides the following recommendations of what to include in your diet:

1. Kale – A source of calcium and vitamin K, this green leafy vegetable would make a tasty addition to your salad.

2. Collard Greens – Since a half cup of this vegetable contains 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, add the raw leaves to your salad or eat it cooked.

3. Dandelions – A great source of boron and calcium, dandelions would be another beneficial ingredient to put in salads.

4. Cabbage – This vegetable is particularly helpful for women because it raises the level of estrogen, an important factor in bone health.

5. Yogurt – While this dairy food is a good source of calcium, it also contains probiotics, which studies show may alleviate an array of health maladies.

6. Cottage Cheese – Containing up to 300 mg of calcium, this food also is a source of probiotics.

7. Broccoli – A rich source of calcium and vitamin K, this vegetable also contains fiber and compounds that help fight cancer.

8. White Beans – This legume contains calcium, potassium and magnesium, nutrients that are all valuable for bone health.

This Nutrient Is Vital for Bone Strength

In a fascinating article on Live in the Now, Dr. Kevin Passero discusses how bisphosphonate drugs, a traditional pharmaceutical approach to strengthening bones, can actually make them more brittle and lead to atypical fractures of the hip. This happens because the medications inhibit the normal building up and breaking down of bones, a process essential for bone strength. Although bisphosphonates increase the mineralization of bones and make them appear dense, they are actually very brittle.

More and more, nutritional therapies are proving superior to drugs for treating disorders. According to Passero, vitamin K2 can play a vital role in strengthening bones properly. The vitamin activates osteocalcin, a protein hormone that binds calcium to the matrix of bones.

Interestingly, vitamin K2 has an added benefit of lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing the formation of plaque in the arteries. Scientists speculate the activation of osteocalcin removes calcium from arterial plaque and deposits it into the bones. Without enough vitamin K2, excess calcium can line the walls of the arteries and be deposited in organs.

Before taking vitamin K2 supplements check with your doctor, as they may reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners. In addition, although the supplements are generally tolerated well, they may not be recommended for those with liver or kidney disease.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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How to Protect Your Pets from Dangerous Spring Bugs Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:43:14 +0000


Did you know that dogs can be bitten by as many as 500 mosquitoes PER DAY in peak season?  Mosquitoes are on the move in the United States. Tropical species of mosquitoes are now being found as far north as Minnesota and as far west as Nevada. So, what does this mean for YOUR pets? First and foremost, we need to come to grips with the fact that mosquitoes are more than just pesky little bugs. Over 70 species of mosquito have been shown capable of transmitting dangerous heartworms to dogs and cats, and only half of owned dogs and a mere 5 percent of cats actually receive preventative heartworm treatment. This is devastating news for the health of our pets!

Many people still believe that heartworm disease is a “Southern Dog Disease.” Perhaps in the early days of research on this disease, this could have been perceived as true. Now, however, it is blatantly obvious that this is a disease spread throughout the United States and is quickly reaching epidemic proportions.

Why is this? For many years, veterinarians have told their clients that in “their” part of the country, or during “this” time of year, heartworm prevention isn’t necessary. We now know better than this. As urban sprawl continues, and shopping centers and parking lots continue to create “heat islands” that are capable of moderating temperatures throughout seasonal changes, we create microcosms for these parasitic vectors to survive. A mosquito larva can survive in any small puddle, even a flowerpot!

This is why heartworm prevention is ESSENTIAL for dogs and cats. No matter where you live, no matter your lifestyle, dogs and cats should be on heartworm prevention. Even if you have an inside only, litter box trained cat or mini-dog, this still means you! Mosquitoes can travel through doors, windows or even on fabrics into your home and infect your pet. When your pet’s health is at stake, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Unfortunately, mosquitoes aren’t the only little buggers that you need to be worrying about, though. Ticks are on the move, too. Ticks that used to only be found along the Gulf Coast are turning up in the Central United States and their parasites and diseases are going along for the ride. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and Ehrlichiosis are being diagnosed all over the United States, both in animals and in people.

Bartonellosis, or Cat Scratch Disease is on the rise as well. The causative agent, Bartonella henselae, is transmitted between cats by fleas and is likely to be terribly under-diagnosed due to emerging symptoms until now unknown as they are not listed among the ‘classic’ symptoms of the disease. Fleas also carry tapeworms, which can cause severe gastrointestinal problems in our household pets.

So here’s the bottom line:  talk to your veterinarian about having your pet on monthly parasite preventatives. Many preventatives on the market are “cross-pollinators,” meaning that a flea and tick preventative can prevent mosquitoes, or a heartworm preventative can prevent intestinal parasite infestation. If you can protect yourself, your family and your pet with a once monthly dosage of a proven-safe medication to your pet, why wouldn’t you? Call your veterinarian today.

MZX_6893-Edit (2)Dr. Katy Nelson is the mother of five – two human and three animal – kids, an avid nutrition and fitness enthusiast, and an admittedly rabid Louisiana sports fan. She is an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, VA., as well as the host and executive producer of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8. A Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVJ) accredited by the American Society of Veterinary Journalists (ASVJ), Dr. Katy is the Animal Health Reporter for ABC7 News, and serves as “Dr. Pawz” on WTOP Radio. Dr. Katy is also a founding partner of, a national health and fitness initiative aimed at getting people healthy alongside their dogs, and serves as a media and marketing consultant for numerous pet-related companies and media outlets.

A lover of all animals, Dr. Katy carves out time for many charitable organizations in the DC area and beyond. In early 2012, Dr. Katy teamed with Emmy-Award winning producer Judy Plavnick to form Sit. Good Girl Productions, LLC, their first production is the documentary Tell Them I Am Kind, the story of the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

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The 30-Minute Stress Solution Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:29:24 +0000 are natural solutions to stress. ]]> Woman lying in living room

Do you know what the #1 most overlooked risk factor is when it comes to your heart, brain and longevity? It’s stress.

Unfortunately, too many of us are under constant stress these days — plagued with everything from long commutes and pressure at work to family difficulties and financial strain. And it’s making us sick and tired.

It’s easy to imagine how stress can contribute to psychological conditions like anxiety and mood swings, but did you know that chronic stress can also ravage your body? Studies have concretely linked stress to a wide range of serious health problems[1] including:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Poor digestion
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Cognitive decline
  • Sleep disorders
  • Impaired immunity
  • Low sex drive

And of course, the disastrous effects of chronic stress extend well beyond your physical health. Research has shown that stress can negatively impact your relationships, productivity and overall quality of life.[2]

While it may not be possible to avoid stressful situations, there is a simple, safe and effective way to increase your ability to handle stress and mitigate the harmful effects it has on your body, while boosting your mood, brainpower and energy.

It’s True: Stress Can Kill You

Your body is programmed to respond beautifully to short, intense periods of stress. This is known as the fight-or-flight response. When your brain perceives a threat to your survival, your adrenal glands flood your body with stress hormones that increase your strength, speed and ability to think quickly.

The trouble is, when you’re under the kind of chronic stress that so many of us face in this day and age, stress hormones circulate throughout your body constantly. Your adrenal glands eventually lose the ability to function properly, leading to a cascade of health problems. You begin to feel sick, tired, depressed and irritable.

Leading experts have cited chronic stress as the #1 most overlooked health risk facing Americans today. And recent research has shown that stress upsets hormonal balance in a manner that can kill your sex drive and actually accelerate the aging process.[3] In fact, one breakthrough study showed that chronic stress could shorten your lifespan by up to six years![4]

Other research has also shown that stress impairs your immune system, making you vulnerable to infections, autoimmune conditions and other serious health concerns.[5] Stress also increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, contributes to cognitive decline and upsets blood sugar balance, which can lead to weight gain.[6,7]

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from chronic stress, it’s imperative that you take action now to keep it from destroying your health, taking years off your life — and sucking the life out of your years.

The Natural Stress Fighter That Works in 30 Minutes

As part of my work researching the world’s vast array of natural remedies, I’ve recently come across mind-blowing new studies on a plant-based stress fighter that also has incredibly powerful mood boosting effects. You won’t hear about it from your doctor, and Big Pharma is doing all they can to keep it under wraps.

But you deserve to know about it.

Emerging research is showing that an extract of a plant indigenous to South Africa, called Sceletium tortuosum has amazing potential to mitigate the effects of stress, while boosting your mood, brainpower and energy. Sceletium has shocked researchers with its remarkable ability to brighten mood, dissolve tension and enhance cognitive function — all within as little as 30 minutes![8,9]

What I like most about sceletium is that it is not a stimulant. It has virtually no known side effects or interactions, is not habit forming — and you can get all the benefits with just one small capsule per day.

Renowned medicine hunter, Chris Kilham, described the effects of sceletium with this simple metaphor:

“Think of your mind as a reasonably well-tuned four-cylinder engine. About half an hour after consuming sceletium, your mind is more like a twelve cylinder, turbo-charged racing engine. Soon your mind is overcome with startling clarity, a feeling that anything is possible, and a seemingly endless capacity for ideas and mental work. If coffee is a pick-me-up, sceletium is a jet ride to mental brilliance.”

Sceletium Rewires Your Brain for Happiness

Could sceletium be the natural “happy pill” we’ve all been searching for? Researchers are saying that sceletium’s mechanism of action is unlike anything they’ve seen before. It essentially works by quickly boosting your levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the “happy chemical.”[10]

At the same time, sceletium increases levels of an important messenger substance called cAMP, and this has been shown to produce beneficial effects on mood and cognitive function in stressful situations.[10,11]

Most people report that after taking sceletium, they feel a sense of relief and comfort and notice a lift in their mood and mental clarity within as little as 30 minutes.

The Incredible Benefits of Sceletium

  • Quickly elevates mood
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves focus and memory
  • Lowers stress hormone levels
  • Enhances cognitive function
  • Protects heart health
  • Boosts energy and motivation
  • Supports immunity
  • Eases everyday anxiety
  • Fights food cravings
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Increases libido
  • Non-habit forming
  • Will not make you drowsy

How to Make Sceletium Work for You

There is currently only one patented, standardized sceletium extract available. It’s called Zembrin®, and it’s actually the only legal source of sceletium. So I highly recommend that if you plan to give sceletium a try, you stick with the Zembrin brand. Additionally, Zembrin is what was used in all of the research studies demonstrating sceletium’s remarkable benefits.

Zembrin can be difficult to gain access to because production is limited, so watch out for imposter products out there. I’ve seen a few companies using the Zembrin name without authorization, and who knows what they’re using instead!

Research has shown that the most effective dose is 25 mg per day, and this amount should only require one small pill per day. If the formula requires you to take more than this, it’s a sure sign it contains a Zembrin knock-off or lots of needless fillers.

The Sceletium Supplement I Recommend

The science behind sceletium is rock solid. The problem is, finding a high-quality sceletium supplement can be difficult. I’ve been dismayed by the sheer number of cheap knock-offs. And the few supplements I’ve found that are actually made with the Zembrin brand are absurdly expensive.

That’s why I worked with the Scientific Advisory Board at my nutritional supplement company Stop Aging Now to develop an effective AND affordable sceletium supplement that I call CalmTrex. Because of our nearly 20-year track record in developing high quality dietary supplements, Stop Aging Now is one of the few companies licensed to use the Zembrin brand of sceletium.

I’ve been taking CalmTrex for over a year now, and I honestly don’t think I could keep pace with my busy schedule without it. CalmTrex helps me stay relaxed, focused and energized all day long, and then I sleep like a baby at night. I wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.

I encourage you to do your own research to make sure I’m not just shamelessly promoting my own product. But here is why I’m confident that CalmTrex is simply your best option for mood enhancement, stress relief and cognitive health support:

  • Made with Zembrin: CalmTrex features Zembrin, which is the only patented extract and legal source of sceletium, and production is limited, so it’s extremely hard to get ahold of.
  • The Right Dose: CalmTrex provides the optimal 25 mg dose of Zembrin, which is what the research has shown to provide the most benefits.
  • Enhanced with Synergistic Ingredients: CalmTrex is the only sceletium supplement that features vitamin B12 and lemon balm extract for enhanced mood and energy support, stress relief and cognitive protection.
  • Only 1 Small Pill Per Day: CalmTrex is so concentrated that you only need to take one small capsule per day, making it incredibly convenient, especially for those who don’t like taking pills.
  • Safe, Effective and Made in the USA: CalmTrex is made in the USA in an FDA inspected facility. It’s a non-habit forming and non-drowsy formula, and its safety and effectiveness are fully guaranteed.
  • Affordable and Risk-Free: This amazing formula is available for as low as $16.50 per bottle for a one-month supply. Plus it ships to you for free, is tax-free and comes with an “any reason” 365-day guarantee.

For a limited time, Live in the Now readers can get CalmTrex for as low as $16.50 a bottle — plus FREE SHIPPING. I encourage you to take advantage of this great deal.

Click here to take advantage of this special offer


Scientific References:
1. Stress in America: Our Health at Risk. American Psychology Association. 1/11/12. Retrieved 9/3/13.
2. Metab Clin Exper. 2002 Jun;51(6B):40-45.
3. Psychol Bull. 2007;133:25-45.
4. J Immunol. 2007;179(6):4249-4254.
6. Lancet. 2012 Oct;380(9852):1491-1497.
7. American Psychological Association (2007, August 20). How Chronic Stress Worsens Neurodegenerative Disease Course.
8. J Ethnopharmocol. 2008 Oct;119(3)653-663.
9. J Ethnopharmocol. 2009 Jan;121(1):86-91.
10. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013; 1-9. Epub ahead of print 8/21/13. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.183.
11. J Alt Comp Med. Epub ahead of print 2/26/13. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0185.

Josh CornJoshua Corn - Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.

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Is it True That Too Much Kale Causes Kidney Stones? Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:38:52 +0000 kaleOne second kale is the best thing you can eat, and the next you’re reading stories that kale can actually hurt you! Recent articles indicating that eating too much kale can lead to kidney stones and thyroid problems have people worried. But we never want to turn you away from such an amazing vegetable, so here’s the whole truth about how much kale is too much.

First, a word about the health benefits of kale. The average American eats a diet much too high in fat, animal protein and starch and not enough produce! In fact, some studies suggest that adults should specifically aim to eat cruciferous vegetables like kale five times a week. Kale has numerous benefits that can’t be overlooked.

Thyroid Function:

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale contain glucosinulates. In turn these glucosinulates yield goitrin, which has been linked to hypothyroidism. It’s important to note this has only happened with very high intakes and the study subjects were not human. The only human based case reported occurred when an elderly woman consumed 1.0-1.5 kg of raw bok choy every day for several consecutive months! Talk about extremes! A human based study found that eating 5 oz a day of cooked Brussels sprouts for four weeks had absolutely no adverse effects on the function of the thyroid. It looks like unless you’re eating several kilograms of cruciferous vegetables daily, you can keep on eating those vegetables!

Kidney Stones:

Kale and other leafy greens contain oxalates, which have been linked to kidney stones. In fact, many documents from hospitals related to treatment of kidney stones state that oxalates should be avoided or at least restricted. Oxalates are something found in many fruits and vegetables. Limiting the amount of foods containing oxalate you eat may help prevent a specific type of kidney stone, calcium oxalate stones, from forming. The calcium oxalate kidney stone occurs in about 80 percent of kidney stone cases. For calcium oxalate stone prevention, drinking adequate fluids is the number one most important thing that can be done, followed by reducing meat and sodium consumption. Other sources say that adding dietary calcium may also help. So how much is too much? A half cup of boiled kale is labeled as ‘moderate oxalate content’ in a range of 2-10 mg oxalate/serving while a 1/2 cup of raw mustard greens or celery is considered high oxalate content with between 10-50 mg oxalate/serving. If you’re one of the 8.8 percent of the US population with a kidney stone and of that population one of the 80 percent with a calcium oxalate specific kidney stone, the best bet is to moderate the amount of high oxalate foods you eat.

Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.

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An Open Letter to the Busy American Family: It’s Time to Rediscover the Family Dinner Table Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:28:49 +0000 H

Dear Busy American Family,

You’re busy. We get it. But, sometimes it seems that the traditional family meal at home has gone the way of the horse-and-buggy, despite the  abundance of research indicating that family meals have multiple, physiological  and mental advantages.

It is undeniable that today’s fast-paced lifestyles make it difficult for a family to find the time to eat together. Between the demand for longer hours in the workplace, after-school activities and long commutes, dinner often consists of takeout food, grabbing a quick sandwich or putting a frozen pizza in the oven. Not only are most of these options are high in calories and fat while low in fiber and nutrients, they are often eaten quickly, a practice that can lead to overeating and poor digestion. Moreover, rather than eating such meals together at the table they are often eaten separately or in front of the TV.

The Positive Effects of Family Dinner are Far-Reaching

Eating dinner together at the table can lend to closer relationships, and enhanced emotional and social wellbeing and improved health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, family meals tend to include more fruits and vegetables along with less fried food, characteristics that lead to better health and less obesity. Yet beyond the nutrition aspect, they are a time to talk and build relationships, the positive effects of which are far-reaching, as we’re sure you know.

Studies indicates that children from homes that have frequent family dinners are more likely to have better grades and less likely to smoke, drink and use illicit drugs. The togetherness leads to less stress and tension in the home and promotes a sense of belonging. Furthermore, it develops communication skills as well as provides natural opportunities for parents to teach social skills and table manners.

Think You’re Just Too Busy? Here are Some Tips for Adding Family Dinners to Your Routine

  • Start slowly, setting an easy-to-reach goal such as two family dinners per week. Gradually increase your goal.
  • Make it more of an event, creating a mood with candles, colored napkins and attractive dishes.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off phones and the TV. If you wish, play soothing background music at a low volume.
  • Talk together, sharing ideas and experiences. Keep the conversation on positive topics.
  • Be prepared by keeping fruits, vegetables and other healthful meal ingredients on hand.
  • Plan menus together, allowing each family member to pick a favorite item.
  • Preparing a meal in a crock-pot in the morning is a great way to come home to a wonderful meal.
  • Everyone can take part in the preparation. The children can help cook and set the table.

So perhaps it’s time for Americans to rediscover the family dinner table, and enjoy its immeasurable benefits. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed! The investment of time and effort involved in eating a family dinner together at home can pay off in big dividends. It creates a supportive environment that fosters bonding and many other benefits. These meals are also a great way to slow down and relax, a nightly tryst that all members of the family can look forward to during their busy day.

In good health,

The Live in the Now team


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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