Q. My sister’s immune system has been ravaged by multiple rounds of chemotherapy. I heard that garlic can help fight infections. Is this true?
A. Garlic is a powerful natural medicine in addition to being one of the most popular seasonings for food. Research has indicated that it has the ability to lower cholesterol, reduce clotting of the blood, lower blood pressure, and act as a potent antibiotic, especially against fungal infections.
Unfortunately, harsh medical treatments like chemotherapy can leave you vulnerable to opportunistic fungal infections. Garlic, along with a very clean diet free of pesticides and additives, and other supportive supplementation could help your sister avoid any more pharmaceuticals.
While chowing down on raw garlic doesn’t appeal to everyone, it is the only form that seems to provide the medicinal effects. Cooking or drying garlic significantly, if not completely, destroys the antibiotic qualities of the whole fresh bulb. You don’t have to actually chew the raw garlic, but can swallow chunks whole as you would pills and receive the same benefits.
The active ingredient that makes garlic a medicinal plant is called allicin. This is also what gives garlic its very distinctive, and very strong, aroma. Some products are marketed as “odorless” by aging the garlic, but this process can also make the garlic much less effective.
One or two cloves of garlic a day are recommended for people who suffer from chronic or recurrent infections, frequent yeast infections, or low resistance to infection.
Q. My doctor recently did a full blood workup and said that I was severely deficient in vitamin D, and recommended supplements. How does this happen?
A. This is a case of good advice taken too far and creating another problem. Surprisingly, most adults in the United States are not getting anywhere near enough vitamin D, which we need for bone health, and protection against a number of serious diseases, including cancer.
The primary method of vitamin D production is from the sun. Our bodies synthesize the hormone with exposure to sunlight. The combination of long winters in the northern hemisphere (really anywhere north of Atlanta), and the widespread use of sunscreen has left millions of people in a vitamin D deficient situation. The advice to stay out of the sun, and if we must go out, to use layers of sunscreen has backfired. Our bodies were meant to see the sun.
You can get vitamin D from your diet, but the best source is in the sky. I’m not recommending you roast yourself by the pool for hours every afternoon, fifteen minutes a day is plenty to get vitamin D’s benefits. The best dietary sources are fortified milk and cereals, eggs, salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
Q. I’ve always been told I should limit the red meat and fat in my diet. Shouldn’t I be eating a diet low in saturated fats?
A. Animal products themselves are not causing our modern health woes, it’s the type of animal products we’re eating that are contributing to disease. Meat and dairy products from grain-fed, factory farmed animals are chock full of hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, herbicides and pesticides, which many believe contribute to heart disease and cancer. Even if the FDA doesn’t take a stand on the health effects of these chemicals, do you really want them in your body? On the other hand, meat and dairy from healthy, grass-fed and naturally raised animals is health-promoting, and contains the high-quality saturated fat and cholesterol necessary for proper cellular function and regeneration. Grass-fed animal products also contain loads of vitamin K2, which remains a massive deficiency in this country because most Americans eat exclusively grain-fed animal foods which do not contain enough K2 to impact health. Switching from grain-fed to grass-fed meat and dairy products is one of the most important things you can do to immediately begin improving your health.
Q. Why am I always chilly? Even in the middle of summer!
A. People can feel cold all the time for several different reasons. Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) could be responsible. If you haven’t had your thyroid function tested recently, it would be worth your while to ask your physician to test you – all that’s required is drawing some blood. In addition, be sure to get your complete blood count done, because you could be anemic.
If you’ve established that you have an imbalance, the next question to ask is why. The Cellular Health Institute works with many patients to establish the “why’s” of disease and disorder and lead you back to health rather than just prescribing a pill to treat the symptom.