Monday, September 2, 2013

The Hired Guns Who Demonize Nutritious Foods - Don't Be Conned by Angelic Names
This notorious network of nonprofit front groups peddles industry spin for corporate giants (Monsanto and friends)... while they demonize your best food options. Don't be fooled by their angelic names - which are no more than a cover-up...

9 Dodgy Food Practices Banned in Europe but Just Fine Here
If you live in the US, there are more than a handful of questionable chemicals, additives and procedures used on and in your food that Europeans don't have to worry about.

Kidney Stones, Kidney Health

kidney-stones-kidney-health_300By cleaning your blood, your kidneys keep you alive. Most of the time, we pay little attention to this crucial function; the common way most people finally learn about their kidneys is by experiencing kidney stones. That’s a painful way to become aware of an important part of the body.
Nephrolithiasis: Kidney Stones
Kidney stones affect about 9 percent of Americans at some point in their lifetimes. And they occur twice as often in men than women and twice as often in people who are obese. [1]
Fortunately, most kidney stones pass out of the body on their own, but not without inflicting great pain. When a stone is large enough (usually 3 mm diameter), it causes symptoms of severe pain (called renal colic) that can be felt anywhere from the kidney area to the bladder to the urethra. Stones can be large enough to block the flow of urine and dilate the kidney’s emptying ducts. Blood in the urinalysis and a CT scan will almost always confirm the diagnosis.
I had a kidney stone once as a teenager. It lodged in a spot that created waves of nauseating pain deep in my urethral pelvic area. I was at school when it began quite suddenly. Fortunately for me, the pain subsided en route to the doctor. My mother took me to the doctor anyway. He found a substantial clot and blood in my urine. Thankfully, that was my last personal experience with kidney stones.
When Kidneys Act Up
Nobody thinks about kidney stones until their first bout of renal colic. The smart thing to do when the pain comes the first time is to get a clear diagnosis: Go to your doctor or, preferably, your local emergency room. That’s where they’ll give you effective pain control and several liters of IV fluids to help the stone pass. If you can’t seem to pass the stone even then and if it is large and near your kidney (as shown on imaging studies), you can greatly benefit from lithotripsy (using sound waves to break up the stone).
Anyone with recurring kidney stones should ask the doctor to rule out these contributory diseases: familial hypercalciuria, cystic kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperoxaluria, hyperuricosuria and gout. Also, eliminate any kind of medicine that increases calcium or other stone components in the urine.
Naturally Dissolve Small Kidney Stones
If you are suffering kidney stone pain and want a natural way to pass the stone, consider the power of naturally diuretic teas. There are many teas to choose from that have been reported (though not in peer-reviewed scientific literature) to help wash out or “dissolve” a kidney stone safely at home. They include dandelion root, burdock root, uva ursi, stinging nettle, marshmallow root, parsley, poplar, birch, mint, bearberry and buchu teas. (There are others; this is not a complete list.)
There are also some alkaline-forming foods that can help. These include fresh lemonade, lime-aid and even orange juice. These all contain significant levels of citric acid (drink often throughout the day). Apple cider vinegar has a similar benefit (2 tablespoons per cup of water twice daily).
Stone Prevention
Nobody forgets the intense pain of passing a kidney stone, and most people eventually recognize the importance of dietary and other risk factors.
Dietary risk factors include not drinking enough liquid (allowing minerals to precipitate too easily), high animal protein intake [2] (increases urinary calcium excretion), and high intake of other foods such as table salt, [3] refined sugar [4] and phosphorus [5] (high in animal meat and dairy). Foods high in phosphorus are listed here along with low-phosphorus alternatives.
If you consider that 80 percent of kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate and the remaining are uric acid, struvite or, less commonly, calcium phosphate stones, you might think that restriction of foods high in oxalates (like leaf vegetables, rhubarb, soy products and chocolate) would help you lower stone formation. However, recent research has shown that the intake of protein, calcium and water has a bigger influence on the formation of these stones more than intake of oxalate. And foods like black tea with high oxalate content have displayed a preventive effect.
Calcium supplementation, paradoxically, can also help. And supplementation (not restriction) is associated with a lower rate of kidney stones. Previous findings from the Nurses’ Health Study mistakenly suggested supplemental calcium intake increased the risk for kidney stone formation by about 17 percent. [6] That finding has been re-evaluated, and it is now felt that there is no risk for stone formation from calcium supplementation. [7] Additionally, a study reported this year examining 5,270 stones from patients showed the risk of kidney stones is about 20 percent to 25 percent lower in patients who consumed greater amounts of dietary calcium from dairy and non-dairy sources. [8]
The bottom-line, best dietary recommendation for those subject to calcium oxalate stone formation is to restrict animal protein and salt, take in adequate calcium (1,000-1,200mg daily) and increase the intake of alkalizing vegetables counteract the acid load produced from animal protein. [9]Also, increase citrus fruits: lemonade, lime-aid and orange juice.
For uric acid stones, you need to alkalinize the urine with an over-the-counter supplement such as sodium bicarbonate, potassium citrate, magnesium citrate or bicitra (citric acid monohydrate plus sodium citrate dehydrate). Or consider getting a prescription from your doctor for acetazolamide (Diamox), which is pretty safe. If you can get a pH test strip (with color coding) from your doctor, aim for a morning urine pH of 6.5. If you go above a pH of 7, you increase your risk of calcium phosphate stones.
Allopurinol is another one to keep in mind; it effectively lowers urinary uric acid, and therefore, lowers uric acid stone formation. Have your doctor keep your serum uric acid level below 6 mg/100 ml. There are also medications that help prevent kidney stones by lowering urinary calcium excretion. These include the thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), chlorthalidone or indapamide.
In my next article I’ll discuss kidney health and kidney cleansing.
To feeling good for life,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options

The Drug You Shouldn’t Take If You Exercise

the-drug-you-shouldnt-take-if-you-exercise_300If you exercise to improve your health and fitness, researchers have identified a commonly prescribed drug that negates your exercise benefits. This drug, taken by 25 percent of people over the age of 45, interferes with muscle development and actually blocks your ability to become more physically fit.
University of Missouri researchers found that statins, prescription drugs that are supposed to lower cholesterol and protect against heart problems, impedes the positive effects of exercise.
“Fitness has proven to be the most significant predictor of longevity and health because it protects people from a variety of chronic diseases,” says researcher John Thyfault. “Daily physical activity is needed to maintain or improve fitness, and thus improve health outcomes. However, if patients start exercising and taking statins at the same time, it seems that statins block the ability of exercise to improve their fitness levels.”
In this study, people who took statins and exercised could increase their cardio-fitness by only about 1.5 percent compared to 10 percent in a non-statin group. The researchers also found that the statins decreased the mitochondria in their muscles by more than 4 percent. Mitochondria are the cellular structures that create energy for muscle movement.

Gluten Can Shrink Your Brain

gluten-can-shrink-your-brain_300The long list of possible harm that gluten can cause just keeps getting longer. Two studies, one in the United Kingdom and the other in Turkey,both show that gluten, proteins found in wheat, rye and barley, can shrink your brain.
In one of the studies, when researchers examined more than 30 people with celiac, an autoimmune disease linked to gluten consumption, they found that the section of their brains that organizes the activity of their muscles had shrunk.
According to Vikki Petersen, co-founder of the HealthNow Medical Center, for anyone suffering from “headaches, imbalance problems, sensory problems or any sort of nervous system imbalance, including seizures and depression, a thorough work-up for gluten sensitivity is an excellent idea.”
She adds: “Early brain degeneration is a scary prospect. Anything that can be done to avoid perception and acuity loss is well worth it, especially when the solution is as simple as changing your diet (by avoiding gluten).”
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Supplements That Melt Fat Add these nutrients to your diet to accelerate weight loss by up to 70 percent. Read more here »

Candida: The Silent Epidemic

candida-the-silent-epidemic_300Many people are calling Candida “The Silent Epidemic” because the infection is believed to affect so many people (some say up to one-third of the population), yet most go undiagnosed.
Candida yeast overgrowth in the colon and other areas of the body still sparks controversy in the Western, mainstream medical community. However, the integrative medical community has long recognized that this “ecological imbalance,” which originates in the digestive tract, is a contributing factor to numerous chronic health problems: fatigue, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, skin conditions, allergies and sensitivities, brain fog, memory loss, poor focus and concentration, insomnia, joint pain, chronic sinusitis, headaches… the list goes on.
Candida is a pathogenic yeast organism that is normally present in low numbers in the colon and in the vagina. It is considered an “opportunistic infection” in the sense that it takes advantage of imbalances in the body to overgrow and dominate the gut. Most women are familiar with symptoms of a yeast infection occurring in the vagina, which happens when the sensitive balance of beneficial bacteria is disrupted, usually by medications or by unhealthy dietary patterns. Antibiotics are the leading offender, along with steroids and birth control pills. The predominance of sugar, white flour and other processed grains and foods in the standard American diet provide plenty of food for the yeast to thrive.
As Candida overgrowth becomes chronic, a domino effect occurs. Inflammation in the digestive tract leads to disruption of digestion and causes the intestinal wall to become more permeable, allowing larger food particles to move into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. These larger-than-usual molecules trigger an immune system reaction, causing more inflammation in an attempt to rid the body of a potential offender. And that’s when you can start to experience sensitivity to certain foods.
In addition, Candida organisms produce toxic chemicals of their own, including aldehydes (similar to formaldehyde), that travel into the bloodstream and affect multiple body systems, including the brain. This toxic process causes brain fog, inability to concentrate, etc. If the pattern is allowed to continue, the symptoms can intensify and the entire body is affected by the imbalance that originated in the digestive tract.
Candida stubbornly resists treatment. However, the latest research has given us an important clue that may explain this, as well as offer solutions. Candida is a biofilm-producing organism. Biofilm is a protective matrix excreted by certain organisms to protect their community from harm, and it works very effectively to keep antifungal herbs and medications from penetrating and killing the Candida. Special enzyme formulations that break up biofilm are now available to add to an anti-Candida regimen, greatly increasing the effectiveness of treatments.
There are a few different tests to detect an overgrowth of Candida in the gut. In my clinical practice, we often recommend a stool test that includes detection of yeast as well as levels of both beneficial and harmful bacteria. It also includes a sensitivity test that cultures any yeast or bacteria discovered, and uses both pharmaceuticals and herbal substances to see which are most effective in killing the yeast. This test can be very useful in guiding treatment.
Treatment for Candida overgrowth involves a multilayered approach:
  • Reduce the concentration of yeast to normal levels using dietary changes; herbal and, if needed, pharmaceutical antifungals; along with specific enzymes to address biofilm.
  • Replenish beneficial intestinal bacteria using high-dose probiotics.
  • Support healthy digestion and assimilation using digestive enzymes, herbs and amino acids that support healthy digestive function.
  • Support immune function using vitamins, minerals, herbs and medicinal mushrooms.
  • Heavy metal testing and detoxification.
There are many anti-Candida diets, and some are stricter than others. The basic goal of the diet is to reduce or eliminate simple carbohydrates that provide food for the yeast. Avoidance of all processed grains, white rice, dairy, fruits (except lemons, limes and unsweetened cranberry) and any foods over 55 on the glycemic index is optimal. Because most people experience food sensitivities due to long-standing Candida overgrowth, it can also help to try an elimination diet, which involves two weeks of avoiding any potentially offending foods, adding each back one at a time every two days and monitoring symptoms.
Organic fruits, vegetables and meats are always preferred; they do not contain the pesticides, hormones, growth factors and genetic modifications often found in non-organic products.
Yeast Reduction
It’s important to follow a supplement program that includes natural antifungals. Natural antifungals include black walnut extract, olive leaf extract, burdock root, oregano oil, garlic, garlic extract, honokiol, coconut oil and neem. But, depending on the severity of symptoms, a pharmaceutical antifungal may also be necessary.
Commonly, a die-off reaction is experienced in which symptoms become temporarily exacerbated when the burden of toxins from yeast that are dying off are eliminated by the body. In these cases, it’s important to slow down the process and reduce antifungals if this reaction causes too much discomfort. For this reason, it is also recommended to start one antifungal agent at a time and slowly build up to the maximum dose before adding another. It is extremely important that the body’s detoxification systems are working efficiently for an anti-Candida program. Drink plenty of pure water and herbal teas during this time to aid in elimination of toxins.
Replenishing Beneficial Bacteria
Restoring the dynamic healthy balance of bacteria in the intestine is a pivotal part of any anti-Candida treatment plan. Look for a high-quality probiotic as well as prebiotic formula, which helps provide nutrients for good bacteria to flourish. A high-fiber diet also provides a foundation for healthy bacteria.
Digestive And Immune Support
A supplement program to support digestion, nutrient assimilation and immune function is also important. In my practice, I recommend a comprehensive digestion formula that includes herbs, mushrooms, nutrients and enzymes to help heal and optimize digestive function. Essential fatty acids, omega 3s, L-Glutamine, curcumin and other digestive and immune supplements are also helpful.
Toxic Metal Testing And Detoxification
Toxic metals are everywhere in our environment. We are all exposed to some degree, however cautious we try to be. The chronic inflammation and immune suppression caused by the presence of these metals in the body can make successful treatment of Candida very difficult. For those with chronic Candida, it’s important to test for the presence of these metals and provide treatment with a targeted natural chelation program.
Once balance has been restored, it’s important to stay on a maintenance program that helps keep your system strong. For prevention and maintenance, a low-glycemic diet has a much broader range of choices than the anti-Candida diet, but with same general principle: Keep blood sugar from spiking and dropping. A high-fiber diet, with healthy oils and protein with each meal, help stabilize blood sugar and provide nutrients to maintain healthy digestive flora.
Avoidance of antibiotics as much as possible is a must for prevention of Candida overgrowth. We have become accustomed to the overuse of antibiotics, but this trend is contributing to a deadly, worldwide spread of drug-resistant organisms. But as we learn to sustain long-term wellness by adopting healthy diets and lifestyle patterns, we can reap the benefits on every level. A primary factor is paying attention to our inner ecology and living in ecological balance both “inside” and “outside” — this is the best way for us to care for ourselves and our planet.

Side Effect Of Hot Flashes

side-effect-of-hot-flashes_300The hot flashes that accompany menopause aren’t just discomforts characterized by a sudden feeling of heat. Researchers have found they can also affect your brain.
Scientists at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University in Chicago have discovered that hot flashes may erase or blur your memory. A study of more than five dozen women, age 44 to 62, who were suffering 35 or more hot flashes weekly, revealed that increases in hot flashes increase memory problems. Negative emotions also made memory more unreliable in these tests.

Vitamin C May Kill Drug-Resistant TB

vitamin-c-may-kill-drug-resistant-tb_300While poking around in the laboratory to see what might help cure cases of tuberculosis that are resistant to drug treatment, researchers, almost by accident, have found that adding vitamin C to a drug regimen may be the key.
The discovery at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute indicates that putting vitamin C into TB treatments may also abbreviate the amount of time TB patients have to take drugs. Currently, many TB victims have to endure a six-month round of pharmaceuticals.
Yearly, almost 9 million people around the world get TB, and more than 1 million people die of the disease. More than 600,000 people develop TB that resists the standard drug treatment.
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Eight out of 10 people experience some form of chronic back pain on a regular basis. But, here's good news: you don't need dangerous drugs to treat this condition. Find out how you can eliminate back pain naturally - plus a few pointers on how to decrease your risk of pain or injury.
50 Years of Brain Stats Suggest You Should Pay Attention to This, Yet Doctors Deny the Risks   Vaccine Risk Denialism
It used to be 1 in 2000, now it's 1 in 50. But doctors are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge this despite overwhelming statistics. Instead, they're playing the "blame game," and labeling anyone who doesn't acknowledge their "intellectual superiority" as stupid and irrational...

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out on the Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food
A former pro-GMO research scientist could no longer ignore the mounting evidence showing serious health risks of genetically modified foods.
Green conundrum
Dear Reader,

So much nutrition and health gospel spreads through word of mouth. Often, these truths are simply based on conjecture and "common" knowledge.

Which means that, in fact, they may not actually be true at all.

At the end of the day, it can be tough to distinguish facts from beliefs in this business. That's why I want to tell you about an interesting article that I came across recently.

It deals with the widely held opinion that plant-based diets are more earth-friendly. And as it turns out, this may not be true after all. At least, not according to the results of a new study from France.

Researchers analyzed the eating habits of more than 2,000 French adults, based on food diaries the subjects kept for seven days.

They identified the most frequently eaten foods and evaluated the carbon footprints of each choice. (That is, the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during production, measured in grams of carbon dioxide per 100 grams of food.)

In generating these values, researchers addressed every move from farm to table, including how the food was cooked. With one exception--they didn't factor in transportation from the market to a consumer's home.

If you ask me, this is a pretty important omission. Surely, walking to the Farmer's Market isn't the same as driving several miles or more through rush-hour traffic to get to a major supermarket chain. (And that's after the cross-country trek that most supermarket produce already takes.)

The EPA estimates that driving your average car generates 423 grams worth of carbon dioxide emissions per mile. You do the math.

Anyway, this study found that meat production generated 1,600 grams of greenhouse gas for every 100 grams. That's way higher than the amount of carbon dioxide that came from fruit, vegetable, or starch production--more than 14 times higher, in fact. And it's more than double the carbon footprint of fish, pork, poultry, or egg production.

But, when the researchers parsed these emissions calorie for calorie, they found that this seemingly huge gap wasn't really so wide after all.

In fact, every 100 calories of meat only produces about three times the emissions of the same amount of fruit and veggies. Greens in particular emit as much carbon dioxide per calorie as pork, poultry, or eggs--and even more than starches, sweet and salty snacks, dairy, or fats.

When it came down to practical results--that is, how much of any of these foods people actually ate to get their energy every day--this study revealed a surprising conclusion.

Namely that diets rich in fruit, vegetables, and fish aren't more earth-friendly than junky diets packed with sugar and salt. And, in fact, high-nutritional quality diets have a significantly larger carbon footprint than their low-quality counterparts... by as much as 22 percent.

Obviously, there are plenty of potential flaws in this research. For one thing, food diaries aren't particularly reliable. And then there's the obvious problem with comparing animal products to produce, calorie for calorie.

Still, it's hard to ignore a finding like this.

I'm always hearing people say that vegetarianism is the most ecologically responsible way to eat. These findings certainly fly in the face of that common claim. And as someone who believes firmly in the health benefits of animal protein, I'm happy to hear it.

But it's a bittersweet victory for omnivores, because the results of this study shed light on a much larger problem. And that's the carbon footprint that comes with bringing any form of real food, plant-based or otherwise, to consumers.

And I would hardly call forsaking leafy greens a viable solution to this issue. I think everyone can agree on that.

Ultimately, sustainable eating appears to be a much more confusing topic than we thought. Especially as we look more closely into how our food is produced.

But I do know of one guaranteed way that you can make your meals better for your health and the earth: Buy local whenever you can.

Until next time,

Dr. Fred 

Kidney Health And Cleansing

kidney-health-and-cleansing_300Although your kidneys provide lifesaving functions, you probably don’t give them much thought. But taking some easy steps to improve kidney health and occasionally using a cleanse can help these important organs.
Kidney Function
Your kidneys are much like your other detoxification organ, the liver. Both of these parts of the body filter your blood and detoxify it from metabolic wastes. Your kidneys, however, are even more crucial to sustaining your life minute by minute than your liver is. Kidneys filter about 50 gallons of blood every day, out of which about two quarts of urine are produced and eliminated. If it weren’t for this urine being produced, the minerals and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.) that drive many body functions, influence your pH and maintain your fluid status would be in serious jeopardy… fast. Ask any dialysis patient, and you’ll discover why they go three times weekly — rain or shine — to the dialysis unit for life-preserving functions.
There’s more your kidneys do for you, but these functions are not needed so acutely. They secrete renin, the initiating hormone of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system for blood pressure control, and erythropoietin to stimulate red blood cell production; and they convert vitamin D to its active form.
Do you ever think about the health of your kidneys? Probably not, unless you have a comorbid disease, such as diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, heart disease, gout, anemia or high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Most patients (86 percent) with advanced chronic kidney disease have at least one accompanying illness[1]. Other risk factors for chronic kidney disease include smoking, drinking alcohol often, taking prescription medications, eating a lot of salt, routinely consuming junk foods, rarely exercising or being over the age of 65. If you are reading this, now you’ve been warned.
Discover How Well Your Kidneys Are Working
Your doctor can give you a good idea of your kidney function by checking a urinalysis and these basic serum tests: blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine and albumin. However, the simplest measurement of kidney function is your glomelular filtration rate (GFR). It is a formula widely accepted since 2002[2] that gives a very accurate measurement of the GFR using only four variables: serum creatinine, age, race and gender. If you learn your serum creatinine level (call your doctor if needed), you can quickly find out your GFR at this link:
Kidney-Friendly Food
The first thing you can do to care for your kidneys would be to eliminate the causes and risk factors for kidney disease that I listed above (like diabetes).
Next, take a look at your dietary habits and consider how to consume predominantly alkaline foods. It just so happens that the best foods for a healthy kidney are also the best foods for health in general:
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables in high amounts, mostly raw if possible.
  • Fresh fruit juices and fresh lime-aid (water, lime juice, stevia).
  • Omega-3 oil sources: cold water fish (e.g., salmon), seeds/nuts (e.g., flaxseed, butternuts, hempseed, walnuts, pecans, hazel nuts), and oils (from kiwi, flax chia seed).
  • Eggs. (Put one in your daily smoothie.)
  • Sprouted grains. (Breads are not alkaline, but sprouts are.)
As you turn to alkaline, high-fiber, nutrient-dense food, you’ll need to minimize:
  • Processed foods, carbonated drinks and bottled fruit juices.
  • Refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white sugar foods).
  • Animal meat.
If you have kidney disease already, be sure to learn from a renal dietitian the foods that are low in sodium and low in potassium. Here’s a great list of these:
Along with an alkaline, high fiber, nutrient-rich diets, remember that table salt (99.9 percent sodium chloride) is not what you want in your food. Sea salt may be slightly better because it contains some minerals (depending on which brand), including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, bromide, iodine, zinc, potassium and iron. I read many health claims on the Internet about sea salt, but I cannot find peer-reviewed science for or against it. Better to limit your salt intake to 1,500 mg daily (1/2 to 3/4 tsp.) and increase other seasonings to make your food dishes taste good. Consider these: bay leaf, cardamom, basil, dill, ginger, curry, marjoram, sage, tarragon or thyme.
Kidney Cleansing
Finally, you can use a liquid cleanse (with emphasis on “cleansing” your kidneys) with herbal teas and supplements. Refer to the lemonade cleanse (aka the Master Cleanse, described online at, plus you should also drink a lot of tea. I believe a cleanse benefits anyone with kidney disease and anyone who has a comorbid illness or other risk factors for kidney disease.
A cleanse begins with at least a week-long modified dietary “pre-phase.” This simply gets you prepared to lower the burden on the kidneys during the cleanse. As you might have guessed, it means to clean up your diet by eliminating processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sweets and meats. Your diet during this week ideally will consist of seeds, nuts and vegetables (raw and in soups). Include brown rice, lentils or beans, vegetables and lots of onions, ginger and garlic.
During your three- to 14-day liquid “kidney” cleanse, in addition to the lemonade drink, consume as much tea as you can (at least two cups daily). The tea should contain herbs in combination known to be cleansing to the kidneys. These include: marjoram, burdock root, cat’s claw, comfrey root, chicory root, fennel seed, uva ursi, gravel root, hydrangea root, marshmallow root, golden rod herb, holy basil, juniper berries and red clover.
Be prepared for some detoxification symptoms such as an acidic body odor, irritability, tiredness or even a depressed mood. It will take your constant effort to feed your mind and spirit with higher vibrational energy (great music, meditation, prayer, laughter, loving service and friendship, etc.).
One additional supplement known to help clean up debris in your blood and decrease inflammation is known as proteolytic enzymes. I’ll address this and its usefulness in kidney health in my next article.
To feeling good for life,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options