Monday, August 29, 2011

Our Saliva's Vital Functions

As we had earlier discussed in the two-part article, Hormone Imbalance: Disease Indicator (posted last August 15 and 22, 2011), our saliva is not only used for testing hormone levels but also performs other functions necessary for cellular energy and metabolism.

The secretion of saliva is one such function, often ignored, that can go wrong for most people as age advances. Looking like tiny clusters of grapes, there are six salivary glands, three on each side of the mouth. The parotid, below the ear, is the largest; the sublingual glands are under the tip of the tongue; the remaining two submaxillary glands are under the lower jaw. Together, the glands secrete more than two and a half pints of saliva a day (not much, considering the cow produces about 12 gallons daily).

Because we seldom miss the water until the well runs dry--or we feel thirsty--we take saliva for granted. But saliva does more than wet our tongue: it is important in the digestion of food. While our teeth grind food into the pulp called bolus, digestive juices in the saliva begin the breakdown of carbohydrates.

The reason we are advised to chew our food well is that digestion starts in the mouth. Anything put into the mouth causes a flow of saliva. It not only liquifies and lubricates the food to be swallowed, it activates the taste bud glands which stimulate the release of digestive juices in the stomach. And to keep our mouth healthy, our saliva excretes germ-killing substances that protect our mouth from disease.

The smell, and even sight, of savory food will make the mouth water, while fear, nervousness and depression can cause dry mouth, all demonstrating that our salivary glands are influenced by the nervous system.

Dry mouth is often a symptom of disease, and possibly the most serious is diabetes. The research group at the University of Alabama Department of Oral Medicine, headed by E. Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D., found that a dry mouth is not only a symptom of diabetes or a similar condition of hyperglycemia but actually reflects any disorder of the carbohydrate metabolism that will cause the blood to contain too much or too little sugar.

Physiological disorders can influence the salivary flow. Mumps and other virus infections affect the parotid gland, and such infections are fairly common in people over sixty.

Salivary ducts (tubes) can be blocked by stones (calculi). When this occurs in the submaxillary duct, it is sometimes possible to feel a tender lump in the lower mouth under the tongue. Abscess is a frequent result and surgery is usually required to bring relief.

Hypersecretion can result in up to 10 quarts of saliva in a day. The cause can be ill-fitting dentures, drugs, various poisons, and a long list of organic and emotional disorders. If your flow of saliva has changed and you think it might be more or less normal, see your doctor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hormonal Imbalance:Disease Indicator, Part 2

Hormones which need testing. The major sex hormones to assess, according to Dr. Merced, are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. The main adrenal hormones are DHEA and cortisol. These five hormones will provide crucial information about deficiencies, excesses, and daily patterns, which then result in a specifically tailored treatment approach.

Below is a brief description of each of the five hormones:

  • Estrogen comes in three forms made by the body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estradiol is the form used in past hormone replacement therapies, often in the form of concentrated pregnant mare's urine (premarin). It is a proliferative (causes growth) hormone that grows the lining of the uterus; a known cancer-causing hormone that can induce breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate cancer in men. It can treat menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, insomnia and memory-loss. With the bio-identical formulas, estriol is matched with estradiol (biest) to provide protective effects and additional estrogenic benefits. The other major protector in keeping estradiol from running amok is progesterone.
  • Progesterone is called the anti-estrogen hormone because it balances estradiol's proliferative effects. It is considered preventive for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition, too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH).
  • Testosterone is an anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health, muscle strength, stamina, sex drive and performance, heart function and mental focus.
  • DHEA is an important adrenal gland hormone which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
  • Cortisol is your waking day hormone (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response.
Some of the common imbalances identified through testing include estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency, androgen (testosterone and DHEA) excess or deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction and adrenal fatigue.

Finally, Dr. Merced enumerates the steps in checking if our hormones are balanced:
  • Saliva test for hormone levels.
  • Review the results with your doctor.
  • Determine together the hormone supplementation program best for you.
  • Repeat testing and follow up with your practitioner as advised.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hormonal Imbalance: Disease Indicator, Part 1

Dr. Fe Jocelyn G. Merced, an Alternative and Integrative Medicine practitioner, who operates Lifestream Health Centre, in Pasig City, Philippines, recently discussed with us the health benefits of maintaining the endocrine glands.

The endocrine glands produce hormones that affect bodily processes, such as sleep and emotional well-being. As we age, the endocrine glands may begin to shrink in size, causing hormone production to decline. Melatonin, an antioxidant that affects sleep, declines with age; so does DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a natural hormone produced by the adrenal gland that boosts T-helper lymphocytes to fight infections, increases circulation, and improves memory.

Dr. Merced has more to say about hormones and overall health:

"Hormones are powerful molecules essential for maintaining physical and mental health. We frequently think of estrogen as being a female hormone, and testosterone as being a male hormone. But men and women make both, plus several more that need to be in balance for optimum health. An imbalance of any one hormone can throw your physical and mental health out of balance, causing aggravating and even serious health problems.

"There are several ways to test for hormones (saliva, serum and urine), but the state-of-the-art method is through the saliva test. This is because only the active portions of hormones are measured and it is these portions that determine how individuals feel.

"Symptoms are an indicator that things are not right. If you have any of the following symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss, mood swings, low sex drive, depression, fatigue, irregular periods, breast tenderness, increased skin wrinkling, feeling bloated, weight gain, morning fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies, decreased stamina, headaches, anxiety, sugar cravings, irritability, and dizzy spells--you might have hormonal imbalance. Then you might have to undergo a saliva test.

Persons requiring a saliva test:
  • Men and women with decreasing hormone levels because of age.
  • Women experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) related to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Peri and postmenopausal women concerned with their estradiol and progesterone levels for replacement considerations.
  • Those wishing to monitor their hormone levels following replacement therapy (oral, sublingual or topical), and subsequently regulate their supplement levels.
  • Anyone with symptoms involving fatigue, insomnia, stress, , immunity problems, blood sugar problems, and overweight should be tested for cortisol levels as well as 'sex' hormones.
  • Men and women of any age who have symptoms of hormone imbalances should test for all hormones that may be associated with their symptoms.
  • Men and women over the age of forty who may want to do a baseline test. Frequent imbalances will be detectable for a time period before symptoms gain attention."
(Part 2 will be posted next week)

(Dr. Merced's clinic is at Units 1507-1508, One San Miguel Avenue Bldg., No. 1 San Miguel Ave. cor. Shaw Blvd., Pasig City 1608, Philippines. E-mail:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dr. Estuita's Free Radical Scavenger Diet

"To live longer, healthier and have a better quality of life, build your nutritional fortress around these diet guidelines. This is an anti-aging diet, anti-atherosclerosis, anti-cancer, anti-arthritis and other degenerative diseases, " explains Dr. Arturo Estuita (who was featured in an earlier article, "Cardiovascular Chelation," of our June 20, 2011 posting).

The following food selections comprise Dr. Estuita's Free Radical Scavenger Diet:

  • Eat raw, fresh fruits and vegetables (5-6 servings: 1 serving is equivalent to 1 cup).
  • Eat meat substitutes (vegemeat, gluten, raw assorted nuts, Japanese tofu, miso, beans).
  • Eat whole grains (unpolished rice, brown wheat bread, and oatmeal).
  • No chlorinated drinking and bathing water.
  • Drink vegetable and fruit juices (suggested combinations for juicing vegetables and fruits: carrots, cabbage, celery, apple, pears; carrots, broccoli, raw potato, apple, pears; carrots, cucumber, apple, any favorite fruit; carrots, cauliflower, string beans).
Dr. Estuita also advises us to avoid eating junk foods, such as pastry, candy, chocolate bars, soft drinks, ice cream (commercial), sauces, gravies, canned soup, processed cereals, white rice, doughnuts, fried potatoes, white flour-baked foods, meat, hamburgers, hotdogs, luncheon meat, corned beef, etc.

In addition to his Free Radical Scavenger Diet, Dr. Estuita suggests that we take mega-vitamins and minerals as an effective preventive and maintenance program. This will serve as a therapeutic diet for those with chronic degenerative diseases being chelated. There is no way that an artery will be declogged, arthritis reversed, and other degenerative conditions improved, if junk foods are eaten, he emphasized.

Diseases that are related to junk foods and malnutrition are:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Mental Illness
(Our profound thanks to Dr. Estuita for sharing with us the above health "gems."--J.P.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cholesterol, Fats & Oil: Healthy Or Harmful?

Cholesterol is synonymous with fats and oil that are believed to be the major cause of cardiovascular disease and clogged arteries.

But this is not exactly true because cholesterol is vital to health and long life. It is a major component in the production of cell membranes, giving them energy.

There are good and bad types of cholesterol: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the good type that protects against heart attack, stroke, angina, and other cardiovascular complications; LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the bad type that contributes to atherosclerosis (plaque development and hardening of the arteries).

As there are HDL and LDL types of cholesterol, there are also good and bad fats in foods. The good fats in foods are: virgin coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and walnuts (these actually improve cholesterol levels in the blood, significantly reducing the risk that the heart will suddenly stop).

As to bad fats, there are now two villains instead of just one: saturated fats (meat, butter and ice cream--all champion artery-cloggers) and trans fats (found primarily in processed foods, such as margarine, whole milk, cooking oil, and many commercially baked or fried foods).

Cardiologist and chelation specialist, Dr. Arturo Estuita, tells us that " medicine, fats and oil are the same: fats are solid; oil is liquid at room temperature." He emphasizes the importance of remembering the following:

  • Avoid margarine. This oil, derived from plants, is transformed to semi-solid fat by the process of hydrogenation, and the product--hydrogenated fat--may cause atherosclerosis, allergy and cancer.
  • Use coconut oil in cooking. It is heat-resistant and can be used a few times for cooking without the danger of turning into trans fat.
  • Use olive oil liberally in salads. If used in cooking, do not re-use as it may easily form trans fat.
  • Avoid fried foods from fast food restaurants because of the possibility of having trans fat from re-used cooking oil.
  • Avoid animal fat. It contains arachedonic acid which is converted to prostaglandin A2, the cause of artery obstruction. Prostaglandin A2 is a potent constrictor of arteries that thickens the blood and may cause inflammation, contributing to the narrowing of the opening (lumen) of the arteries.
  • Avoid cholesterol lowering medicine (ref: Newman, et al, JAMA 1996. "Carcinogenocity of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs"). It is best to neutralize by orthomolecular therapy the bad cholesterol which are HDL3 and oxidized LDL. It is not good to lower numerically total cholesterol. The cells need cholesterol--the higher the good cholesterol, the better.
  • Avoid rancid oil or fried food. It contains oxidized oil which is unhealthy. Rancid oil is formed when oil (especially polyunsaturated oil, like olive oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil) is exposed to air for a prolonged period.