Category Archives: Healthy Tips

The Flu Shot: Asking the Right Questions

By Rosie Steele, Lead Patient Coordinator, Longevity Health Center


When it comes to making a decision for yourself and your family about whether you should get a flu vaccine (or any vaccine for that matter), the first step is asking the right questions.  At Longevity Health Center, we believe that an educated person is an empowered person.  Here are some basic questions and answers that might help you make this decision this year.  As always, our desire for our patients is complete health and vitality!

What is the flu? 

The flu (influenza or grippe) is an infectious virus.  Several types of flu viruses have been identified.  Usually the virus travels through the air over relatively short distances from coughs or sneezes.  A person can spread the virus both before and during the time that they are symptomatic.   Peak flu season in the United States is considered to be November – April.

What are the risks associated with getting the flu?

Symptoms can be mild to severe.  Most commonly, symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing and fatigue.  Symptoms can last from two days to more than two weeks.  The cough may last longer.  Children may also experience nausea and vomiting.  Complications of the flu may include pneumonia, sinus infections and worsening of other, pre-existing health problems (such as asthma or heart failure).  It is difficult to know for sure, but it is generally estimated that there are three to five million cases of the flu around the world, resulting in 250,000 – 500,000 deaths annually (typically occurring in the very young, the very old, or those with other serious health problems).  Larger outbreaks of influenza are called pandemics and they are less frequent.  There were three pandemics in the 20th century, each resulting in over a million deaths.  The most recent pandemic was in 2009 (H1N1).

What is the flu shot?

The flu shot is a vaccination against influenza.  It typically covers three to four specific strains of the influenza virus.  Since the virus evolves rapidly, the vaccine is changed from year to year to include the strains of the flu that are predicted to spread in the coming season.   There is no guarantee that the flu shot will be effective against the strains of the virus that actually do spread in any given year.  The vaccine can be administered in a shot form (usually in the arm) or in a nasal mist.

What are the toxic ingredients that are included in the flu shot?

 There are multiple flu shots made by different manufacturers from year to year.  They all typically contain:

  • Thimerasal (a mercury compound used as a preservative to prevent contamination). Due to concerns about autism, some manufacturers have removed Thimerasal from children’s flu vaccines.
  • Aluminum Salts (adjuvant used to stimulate a response to the antigens)
  • Egg Proteins (used to culture the virus)
  • Formaldehyde (to kill inactivate other toxins during the manufacturing process)
  • Neomycin (an antibiotic to kill bacteria that contaminate during the manufacturing process.

Additional ingredients typically include MSG, sucrose and phosphate buffers, as well as multiple mineral and chemical compounds.

How effective is the flu shot?

 In 2014-2015, the vaccine was considered to be 18% effective (in other words, 82% of people who were vaccinated still had a flu that season).  Nasal Spray form of the vaccine has been found to be generally ineffective for the last three years.  The flu shot has been shown to be most effective in those who have not previously received the vaccine.

What are the risks or potential side effects associated with getting the flu shot?

 The most common side effects include soreness at the sight of the injection, mild fever and flu-like symptoms.  However, more serious vaccine injuries occur every year, including Guillian-Barre Syndrome, Auto-Immune Disease, and Encephalitis (brain inflammation), sometimes leading to death.

Can I decline the flu shot?

Despite the tremendous pressure put on the public by big-pharma funded media, as well as the CDC and health professionals, the flu shot is not mandatory.  Some employers (especially those in the heathcare industry) require employees to receive the flu vaccine each year.  However, exceptions may be allowed, particularly on the basis of medical or religious exemptions.  We encourage you to know your rights when it comes to vaccine choice, and to even consider joining in the ongoing efforts to keep vaccine choice in our state and country!

How is the flu treated medically?

Anti-Viral drugs such as Tamiflu are used to treat influenza.  Their benefits, in both otherwise healthy people, as well as people with other health problems, do not appear to be greater than their risks.   Since the flu is not bacterial, antibiotics have no effect on the virus.

How can I naturally and pro-actively protect myself against the flu?

Your immune system health is the most accurate predictor of whether or not you will get the flu.  The best way to prevent the flu is to strengthen your immune system!

Get your D3!

Studies are showing that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D might be the single most important thing that a person can do to prevent the flu.  Vitamin D produces up to 300 different anti-microbial peptides in the body that work to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.  A 2010 study showed that children taking just 1200 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily were 42% less likely to get the flu.

Work that gut!

About 80% of your immune system actually resides in your GI tract, so having a healthy gut means having an optimal immune system!  One study showed that children who took probiotic supplements twice a day for 6 months reduced antibiotic use by up to 84%!  In addition, limiting sugars and practicing good nutrition is vital to overall health.

How can I naturally treat the flu?

 You can naturally treat the flu using natural immune boosters such as:

  • Probiotics
  • Colostrum
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin C
  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea
  • Astragalus
  • Adaptogenic Mushrooms (Beta Glucans)

Additional anti-mocrobial herbs include:

  • Pelargonium
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary

Other home remedies include:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Bone Broth or Chicken Soup
  • Hot Herbal Teas
  • Elimination of Sugar and Carbs (get calories from protein and vegetables)

Additionally, make sure you get plenty of rest, practice good hygiene (hand washing!!),  and stay well hydrated.

What You Need to Know About Minerals and Bones

By Cindy Bloomfield, Patient Coordinator, Nutritional Consultant

Cindy Headshot

The Calcium Lie

The following is taken almost word-for-word from Dr. Robert Thompson, MD in his book, the Calcium Lie II.  It’s very well done and supported by research and basic biochemistry. I’ve just taken a very small part of the book to post, but the entire book is worth the read.  I think it’s critical to know your mineral status and the ratios in order to address most of our health problems.  For instance, your calcium levels can be too high, but a urine test may show that your calcium is low.  That doesn’t mean you need to take calcium.  It likely means that your body isn’t using the calcium, and is therefore storing it in other bodily tissues other than the bones and teeth.  Now you have to figure out why.  If you then look at the calcium to magnesium ratio and see that calcium is low relative to magnesium, it could be due to adrenal exhaustion due to prolonged stress.  In that case, throwing a bunch of supplements at the problem doesn’t address the underlying issue – you have to address the stress and deal with that in order to correct the imbalance.  Here is what Dr. Thompson has to say (excuse the distracting formatting):

The US is now 46th in men’s mortality with life expectancy of around 76 years 47th in women’s mortality with life expectancy of 80 years, and the US has dropped to 34th in the world in infant mortality, a drop from 23rd ten years ago.  In spite of all our high-risk obstetrics and perinatal care and all the new technology, specialists and perinatal care, the US is the absolute worst in first-day infant mortality.

If our seniors make it to 85 years of age, they have a 50% chance of having dementia and not knowing it.  Even more worrisome, there has been an increase in maternal death in childbirth in the last decade for the first time in 50 years.   We are also among the worst in the world in preterm births with 1 in 8 babies born before full term.

Nearly every disease is increasing:

  • Based on the current rate of increase in autism, there will be no normal male babies born in the US by 2030.
  • The current rate of diabetes increase suggests that the disease will have stricken 95% of our adult population by 2030.
  • Autoimmune disease now affects over 150 million of our citizens and increases every year.
  • The number of children with life-threatening allergies has increased over 1000%.
  • Toxic superbug bacteria are literally eating us alive.
  • Cancer keeps increasing in frequency every decade unabated by our medical profession. Cancer now affects nearly 50% of our population as does heart and vascular disease.

For generations we have been taught that calcium is essential for strong bones.  Nearly all of our doctors and most of us have bought into this idea.  We were all led to believe that unless we get loads of calcium, our bones will break and crumble to powder.  It’s not true. It’s never been true and basic science taught in every university in the world shows us the error of this belief system. Calcium is only one of at least 12 minerals that build strong bones.

Calcium hardens concrete. Imagine what it can harden in your body!  Excess calcium can cause:

  • kidney and gallstones
  • arterial plaque
  • bone spurs
  • calcium deposits in tissues other than bones
  • brain cell dysfunction, brain shrinkage, and dementia
  • osteoarthritis
  • hypertension
  • thyroid hormone resistance
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • cataracts

Taking calcium supplements alone will actually make our mineral imbalances worse. We need minerals.  We need all of them, not just one mineral.

When the refrigerator was invented in 1876, we stopped using sea or rock salt to preserve our meats and other foods. We thereby robbed our bodies of the essential minerals in that salt we need to survive and thrive (sea salt contains perfectly balanced ionic trace minerals).  Since then, generation after generation has experienced declining tissue mineral levels.

72% of your body weight is water.  The remainder of your body weight is minerals.  All 28% of it.  The planet’s oceans and salt beds contain all of the minerals and trace minerals we need to be in perfect health.

True sea salt and rock salt contain all of the minerals in the exact proportion that our bodies require (except sodium).  These minerals are necessary for every single body function to work.

When we stopped preserving our food with naturally occurring sea salts, we became progressively deficient in some, if not all, of those essential minerals.  Because a mineral “fingerprint” is passed from mother to child, each generation has become progressively more deficient in these essential minerals.

At about the same time, we began to severely deplete the soil in which we grow our food. The introduction of chemical fertilizers actually further robbed and depleted the soil of its nutrients.

In 1936, the US Senate actually warned the population that our soil was seriously depleted of minerals.  Dr. Linus Pauling, the winner of two Nobel prizes, is credited with saying “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”

In 1999, a Rutgers University study revealed the mineral content of commercial fruits and vegetables was less than 16% of normal compared to vine-ripened organic produce and the trace elements necessary for vitamin production were completely absent. Since the mineral content determines the vitamin content, our commercial produce has almost no nutritional value!

Organic foods may have lower levels of pesticides and herbicides, but no increased nutritional value unless they are vine-ripened.

Bromine has been implicated in thyroid disease and cancer, breast cysts, fibrous changes, prostate inflammation and cancer, pancreatic dysfunction and cancer, and ovarian hormonal dysfunction, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and ovarian cancer.  Bromine interferes with iodine functions, which most severely affects the endocrine gland system.

Bromine has been added to our flour for over 30 years (except King Arthur brand flour and a few others).  It’s also sprayed on fruits to stop mold from growing, especially on berries, and it cannot be washed off.  It’s added to many canned foods, bottled foods, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, and bakery products.

Animal studies have shown that hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is a result of eating foods containing bromine.

Bromine has been shown to cause apathy, decreased concentration, depression, headaches, irritability, delirium, schizophrenia, psychomotor retardation and hallucinations as well as the endocrine cancers as suggested above.

The only antidote for bromine is increased iodine intake and increased intake of chloride as sodium chloride (salt).  The kidneys have a difficult time in eliminating bromine when the body is deficient in sodium chloride.

All of us would benefit from supplementing with balanced ionic trace minerals since most of us consume entirely too much calcium (in the form of calcium-rich foods and foods that have had calcium added to it, or from calcium supplements), which leads to excess calcium, more mineral imbalances and a host of health problems.  We would also benefit from taking whole-food vitamin C (not ascorbic acid, which is the form of most Vitamin C supplements on the market today – it actually depletes vitamin C).

Okinawa has 50 centenarians (those who live to be over 100 years old) for every 100,000 islanders, the highest ratio in the world.  They have the longest life expectancy in the world.  They don’t just live longer, the live better.  They habitually eat large quantities of sea salt rich in all minerals.  It is the overall trace mineral intake they consume that contributes to their long lives plus their diets rich in locally grown fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of whole-food vitamins C and E.

These cultures also engage in hard physical labor, eat a comparatively low-calorie diet and walk many miles every day, all of which certainly contribute to their longevity.

The World Health Organization ranks the US an embarrassing 33rd in the world in longevity out of 193 countries.  This US life expectancy statistic has consistently fallen in comparison to other developed countries in nearly every decade for the last 50 years.

Everyone should probably consume at least 3 grams of sea salt-derived trace minerals per day, because bones aren’t made of calcium. Here’s what bones are made of:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Silica
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Boron
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulfur
  • Chromium
  • And traces of 64 other minerals

If we want strong bones, we need to keep all of these minerals in our bones and in balance.  We deplete our stores on a daily basis, and we need to replace them all every day.  Replacing just one mineral (calcium) creates and imbalance that has a cascading negative health effect.

The Use of Statin Drugs to Lower Cholesterol

Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., senior research scientist at MIT, has concluded, “Statin drugs will go down in history as a worse disaster than (synthetic) hormone replacement therapy, Vioxx, and thalidomide combined.”

The health consequences of statin drug use are staggering especially in view of the easy, cheap and safe alternatives.  These include:

  • The combination of soluble fiber (the Weight Control Formula marketed by Life Extension, which has been shown to be equal to Lipitor in lowering bad cholesterol)
  • Stabilized rice bran, marketed by Bob’s Red Mill and a handful of other companies (high in B-3, the real niacin)
  • The insulin-resistance reducing product called ChromeMate (chromium polynicotinate) which lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol

The Calcium Cascade

Excess calcium in the body begins a cascade of negative health effects that have enormous adverse consequences to our health.

If you have excess calcium in your body that leads to:

  • Calcium seeking and needing more magnesium to try to keep the body’s calcium and magnesium in balance

This will lead to:

  • A magnesium deficiency in proportion to calcium that leads to increased muscle tension, nerve endings firing erratically, and other “electrical” malfunctions in the body
  • In its need for more magnesium, the body has to suppress adrenal function to retain more magnesium.

This adrenal suppression causes a loss of sodium and potassium and immune compromise.  This will lead to:

  • Continued depletion of sodium and potassium stored inside the trillions of cells in the body.

This will lead to:

  • A loss of sodium and chloride needed to produce the stomach acid you need to digest protein.

This will lead to:

  • An increase in incidence of heartburn and other digestive disorders
  • The body gradually loses the ability to digest protein and absorb the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein and neurotransmitters
  • Sodium depletion leads to failure of amino acids and glucose to get into our cells – except for fat cells which keep absorbing glucose without sodium while the rest of our body’s cells are starving
  • The potassium depletion causes increasing degrees of thyroid hormone resistance with all the symptoms of hypothyroidism and slowed metabolism even with what are thought to be “normal” blood test results for thyroid problems.
  • All cells except fat cells become starved for amino acids and glucose.

This results in:

  • Increased cravings for glucose and increased food intake. The loss of minerals also leads to more food cravings
  • Intracellular deficiencies of sodium, potassium and essential amino acids, and more cravings

The end result is: multiple metabolic malfunctions including obesity, heart disease, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, migraines, depression, dementia, hypertension, dementia, and the list goes on and on!

We are turning into a fat nation (Generation XL) because we are quite literally starving. That’s right: In a time of unparalleled food wealth, we cannot get the nutrients from our food that our bodies need to function normally.  Quite literally, our mineral deficiencies and imbalances, especially calcium excess, is leading us to metabolic failures of unprecedented proportions.

John’s Health Transformation

At Longevity, we believe that while detoxification and supplementation are important, good nutrition is crucial to optimal health.  To demonstrate the impact of switching to a nutrient-dense whole foods diet, we interviewed John S., a Longevity client who transformed his diet in 2016 by doing the Whole 30 Program, and has already seen life-changing results.  If you’re thinking about overhauling your diet this year, feel free to ask one of our staff members for recommendations and programs to help you get started.  
Describe your health history and how you’ve felt the last few years.  
After starting my career, I began to struggle with my weight and overall health.  It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but a snowball effect impacted primarily by 15 years of poor eating, added stress and minimal exercise.  At 40, my weight pushed the 240 lb mark, my triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose levels were elevated, and my energy levels were way down.  I started to watch portions a little and ran for a couple of months.  My weight came down some, but by blood work was still an issue.  My doctors had seen enough and were ready for me to get the numbers under control or get on medications.
Why did you decide to do the Whole 30 Program?  
My wife had heard of the program and was going to start it at the new year.  What better time to try something?  I read up on the program and just made up my mind.  I decided to go all in and really do it right.
What was the hardest part about doing the program?  
The first 10 days.  I ended up reading every single label on salad dressings, condiments, and other packaged foods, looking for options that would be considered approved.  Very few are available, which made decision making even easier to some extent.   My first 10 days included a business trip to Las Vegas.  The first obstacle I ran across was that there were no approved options on airplanes.  For the flight back, I planned ahead and had some approved snacks and fruit with me.  Dining out was another very interesting experience.  I’m not a picky eater, so I usually order what is on the menu without any changes or special requests, but not during Whole 30.  Veggies steamed, no butter…salad with no cheese, croutons, dressing (because you know based on reading all those labels the odds of an approved dressing being available are slim to none), no breads etc.  I also asked for slices of fruit to be added to salads to add some additional flavor without dressings.   I ate all the time on Whole 30, but stopped grabbing easy grab-and-go snacks like chips and crackers, and started eating carrots, nuts and fruits to get through hunger spells.
When did you first start noticing changes in how you looked and felt on the program?
It didn’t take long before my clothes started to get a little baggy.  Coworkers were taking notice as well.  I didn’t weigh myself, so I had no clue what kind of results I was getting, but I knew my weight was coming down.  I didn’t add exercise during my Whole 30 until after the first 30 days, so my results are strictly from eating better and smarter.
Describe your current health picture.  
During the program my weight dropped to 209 lbs.  I started at 221 lbs after losing some weight the previous year, but a 12 lb drop in one month is astonishing.   I lost 3 inches in my chest, 4 inches in my belly and over 2 inches in my waist.  I loosened up with the diet and added exercise the second month and have lost another 4 lbs.  I had my blood work redone and was shocked!  Years of having bad numbers were erased with one month of healthy eating.  My levels were not just barely within the range, but had come down to below the halfway point of the range in every category that was elevated in prior test.  This was the best part for me.  I validated this as more than just a weight loss program, which I want to be clear…it is not.  It’s a lifestyle change.  It’s changing how you look at food.  
What supplements are you currently taking to maintain your healthy lifestyle?  What healthy habits are you maintaining?  
Today, I would say I am still eating the Whole 30 85-90% of the time.  I take fish oil, adrenal support, a probiotic and a multivitamin daily.
What have you learned about the importance of a whole foods diet when it comes to your overall health and well-being?  
More than anything, I’ve learned what a healthy lifestyle truly looks like.  The 10-15% of the eating I do now that is not Whole 30 approved is a decision I make every time I decide to go off plan.  I say no to the “bad” choices way more than I ever thought I could or would.