The Yin and Yang of Female Hormones

Monday, August 22, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark
In traditional Asian medicine, health and well-being are believed to be a balance of two equally important, but opposing, principles—yin and yang. Yin is associated with attributes such as femininity, receptivity, calmness, coolness, and moisture. Yin also regulates the fluids, blood, and tissues of your body, as well as its structural components, including flesh, tendons, and bones.

Yang, on the other hand, is associated with masculinity, aggression, heat, and dryness. It also regulates your body’s energy, which acts as the spark plug to your structural elements.

In younger women, this balance seems to be maintained almost effortlessly. But maintaining an optimal yin-yang balance becomes much more difficult once you reach middle age and menopause and menopause symptoms set in. 

To restore your yin—and, as a result, balance your estrogen levels—you can take a variety of yin-supportive herbs.

One such supplement is royal jelly, which has been used for centuries to balance female hormones. Take 1/4 teaspoon of the liquid form of organic royal jelly twice a day. Royal jelly is available at most health food stores.

Restore Luscious Locks with Lavender

Monday, August 15, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark
One of the unfortunate effects of menopause that seems to happen to many women is thinning hair. When estrogen levels drops and hormones are less balanced, hair tends to fall out faster and grow back slower. Fortunately, an essential oil has been found to help.  

One of the most widely accepted natural treatments for hair loss and promoting healthy scalp circulation is lavender. A study reported in the Archives of Dermatology indicated that 3 drops of lavender (along with 2 drops each of thyme and cedarwood and 3 drops of rosemary in a carrier-oil blend of 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil and 4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil) promoted hair growth and healthy scalp circulation! In fact, 44 percent of the treatment group enjoyed new hair growth, as compared to 15 percent of the control group. And there were none of the adverse side effects frequently found with conventional treatments for hair loss.

If you would like to try this treatment option, you can use lavender three ways:

1. Use a diffuser to disperse micro-particles of the essential oil in the air. 

2. Apply through your skin by bath, compresses, massage, or simple topical application. 

3. Spray infused waters in the air or onto your skin. (Lavender also is a component of some wonderful natural beauty care products.) 

Essential oils can be purchased in health food and beauty stores, but keep in mind that the quality of the oil may vary. For the highest quality, look for oils packaged in small dark blue or brown vials. Also, prices within a particular brand line will vary, as some essential oils are far more expensive than others. A product line with similar pricing throughout may be offering oils of inferior quality. 

Increase Estrogen Levels for a Wrinkle Free Face

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark

Along with providing your skin with important nutrients, proper female hormone balance is essential for healthy, moist, and resilient skin, particularly because of the action of estrogen on the skin. Estrogen is responsible for the deposition of fat under the skin, which gives rise to the soft and fine-textured skin that many women enjoy during their younger years. Estrogen also keeps the skin looking and feeling plump and healthy.

During your active reproductive years, your body produces enough estrogen to properly support the structure and texture of your skin. But when you enter the menopausen, your estrogen levels start dropping, which causes your skin to become drier, and the underlying collagen connective tissue, muscle, and fat tissues that give skin its support also begin to shrink, leading to more apparent creases and wrinkles.

While that all sounds like doom-and-gloom, keep your head up because there are plenty of nutrients you can take to rebalance and restore your hormones levels naturally, resulting in plumped up and moisturized skin. The following nutrients either create estrogen-like activity in your body or help you to produce more of your own estrogen. They also slow down the metabolism and excretion of the estrogen you do produce, thereby raising your own estrogen levels. You can use as many or as few of the following nutrients as you need to achieve your desired level of hormonal support. 

  • Boron is a trace mineral found in apples, grapes, almonds, legumes, and dark-green leafy vegetables. There is some evidence that boron enhances estrogenic activity. In one study, when women on estrogen therapy supplemented their normally low-boron diet with 3 mg of boron, their blood levels of estrogen were significantly elevated. Based on this research, I suggest taking 3 mg of boron per day.
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is a fat-soluble B vitamin necessary for the production of folic acid. It helps to safely and effectively impede the breakdown of estrogen in the liver. I recommend taking 400–500 mg of PABA a day in divided doses.
  • Wheat germ oil is rich in vitamin E, which has mildly estrogenic properties. In fact, wheat germ oil contains the fatty acids and other nutrients that your body needs to support and produce hormones such as estrogen. I recommend taking 2,000–2,400 mg of wheat germ oil in capsule form a day, in divided doses.
  • Cobalt slows down the excretion of estrogen, thus allowing you to better maintain your own production of estrogen. It is able to do this by stimulating the production of heme oxidase. This, in turn, promotes the breakdown of cytochrome p450, a substance that normally metabolizes and detoxifies estrogen. By breaking down this substance, cobalt helps to prevent estrogen metabolism and excretion. I suggest taking 400–500 mcg of cobalt a day. To further improve your cobalt status, you can also take 100–500 mcg of vitamin B12 a day. Research shows that cobalt is supplied in your body by B12. If you have adequate levels of B12, you likely have adequate amounts of cobalt, as well.
  • Black cohosh is an estrogenic herb that was often prescribed in colonial times to treat a variety of menopausal symptoms. I recommend taking 40–80 mg of a standardized extract of black cohosh twice a day. This dose should contain 2–4 mg of the active components (triterpenes, calculated as 27-deoxyacteine). 

Diet for the Estrogen-Deficient Fast Processor

Monday, April 18, 2011 by Susan Lark
Estrogen deficient–fast processors have more acidic body compositions and can’t handle the acidic foods that estrogen deficient–slow processors thrive on. Fast processors often complain of often severe menopause symptoms like night sweats, vaginal dryness, menopause hot flashes, and dry skin and hair. 

Fast processors do best by eliminating all acidic foods, such as red meat, citrus fruits, and hot spices, and even dairy, and instead following a vegetarian-emphasis diet that contains whole grains, beans, salads, and vegetables. I also recommend using "cooler" spices like lemon balm, cilantro, basil, marjoram, and chamomile in your cooking, and forgoing "hot" spices like red pepper and chili powder.

If you are an estrogen deficient–fast processor, here are the foods you should be eating:

• Most vegetables
• Gluten-free whole grains
• Legumes (beans and peas)
• Small amounts of raw seeds and nuts
• Organic eggs
• Wild fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna
• Sea vegetables such as kelp
• Fruits like bananas, melons, and papayas
• Free-range poultry in moderation

Eating a diet rich in these types of foods will help will increase your energy, stamina, and resistance to disease. Plus, you’ll notice a dramatic decrease in troubling menopause symptoms like menopause hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.

Diet for the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Susan Lark
If you are an estrogen deficient–slow processor, you tend to have greater reserves of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc within your cells, tissues, and bones. Slow processors also have the body and hormonal makeup to be able to handle an acidic diet that is rich in red meat and dairy, but these foods lack the essential nutrients that all women need to maintain optimal health. For this reason, estrogen deficient–slow processors are best served by following a diet that is both highly acidic and nutrient-rich. This includes the following foods:

• High-fiber foods such as buckwheat and flaxseed
• Citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit), berries, and pineapple
• All vegetables, especially sauerkraut, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, and broccoli
• Free-range poultry
• Wild fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna
• Free-range beef and lamb, as well as game meats like venison and buffalo
• Soy and soy-based foods
• Vinegar
• Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts)
• Heating spices such as turmeric (curry), ginger, cayenne pepper, chili powder and pepper, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon

By following this diet, slow processors are able to regain their energy and zest for life, reduce joint pain, and stabilize their female hormone levels. Not to mention, eating a healthy diet provides menopause relief from symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Exercises for Estrogen-Deficient Fast Processors

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Susan Lark
I personally follow an exercise program for estrogen deficient–fast processors. Even though my female hormones are healthy and well-balanced, I fall more into this category because I am a petite and slender woman, and I have a fast-paced day-to-day life. To help balance my female hormones, I follow a workout routine that calms me.

Estrogen deficient–fast processors don’t want to heat up their bodies and sweat. It is more important to engage in slower, more expansive and relaxing aerobic activities that are moderately strenuous and can be done in a relaxed and leisurely way. For this reason, the best activities for women in this category include golf, gardening, swimming, and moderately-paced walking and bicycling. You can also try ballroom dancing—in particular, slower dances like the waltz.

In terms of stretching, the best types for this hormonal category include tai chi and hatha yoga, which are slower and more meditative. With these slower-paced exercises, you will tend to breathe more deeply and slowly. Moderate aerobic exercise relaxes, dilates, and expands the network of blood vessels in your body, and enables your heart to work more efficiently. Better circulation and oxygenation, in turn, improve the health of all of your organs, including your ovaries and uterus.

Of course, another benefit to this and all exercise is the reduction of menopause symptoms like  hot flashes and night sweats!

Exercises for Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processors

Friday, April 8, 2011 by Susan Lark
If you are an estrogen deficient–slow processor, I recommend keeping your female hormones balanced with high-intensity activities such as power walking, cycling, running, triathlons, racquetball, tennis, and fast-paced styles of ballroom dance like the tango, foxtrot, and swing.

Women with these hormone profiles tend to be instinctively drawn to strenuous types of exercise that are more contracting and acidifying to counter their natural tendency toward alkalinity. I’ve seen women with these hormonal profiles maintain this level of intense physical activity well into their later years. In fact, it is not unusual to see slow processors participating in triathlons and bodybuilding well into their 70s and beyond!

Stretching and flexibility exercises are also important parts of your workout routine. Stretching keeps you limber and helps your muscles and tendons function well into your older years. The best stretching exercise is Pilates, as it tends to include more intense and faster-paced movements. In addition, yoga is beneficial for these women—particularly the high-energy Bikram (hot), ashtanga, and power yoga.

Another benefit of these exercises? They help reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats!

About the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Susan Lark
I told you earlier this week about the estrogen-deficient fast processor. Today, I'll tell you about the mirror image of this woman--the estrogen-deficient slow processor.

An estrogen deficiency–slow processor woman is also in menopause and may experience menopause symptoms, but she has the opposite body type and temperament. Characteristics include:
• Plumper/difficult time losing weight
• Fluid retention
• Stronger bones and connective tissue
• Thicker skin and hair
• Placid temperament

Often women have characteristics that fall under both categories, but more of the characteristics fall in one over the other. In this case, you should identify yourself with the profile that most closely lines up with your personal characteristics.

Over the next few days, I'll tell you about exercises and foods to eat if you are a fast processor or slow processor.

Are You Fast or Slow?

Monday, April 4, 2011 by Susan Lark
During menopause, things aren’t as simple as just too much or too little of any given hormone. In my practice, I found that patients tended to experience a total shift in their entire physical and chemical makeup that manifested as one of two patterns. Their body and brain chemistry tended toward becoming either too fast or too slow. For this reason, I call the first pattern estrogen deficiency–fast processor. The second is its mirror image: estrogen deficiency–slow processor.

Today I'll give you the characteristics of a woman who is a fast processor.

Characteristics include:
• Anxiety
• Thin, dry skin and tissues
• Menopause hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Insomnia
• Vaginal dryness
• Sore joints
• Increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis

Later this week, I'll tell you about slow processors, then give you information on how to deal with both chemical makeups!

Bust Cancer with Broccoli

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Everyone remembers President Bush’s least favorite vegetable, but little did he know what he bust cancer with broccoliwas missing!

Broccoli has so many accolades, it’s hard to pick just one. It’s a great source of both vitamin C and calcium, is rich in fiber, is low calorie, and can be eaten raw or cooked. But the it’s most impressive benefits come from DIM.

Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a plant-compound found in Brassica veggies like broccoli. When you eat these foods, the chewing process releases plant enzymes, which in turn create a phytochemical known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C). DIM is formed directly from I3C in the acidic environment of the stomach.

Originally, researchers looked to I3C for cancer-preventive benefits. However, they found it was unpredictable, reacted erratically during digestion, and was completely ineffectual until it was converted into DIM. Based on this data, researchers then turned their attention to DIM and found that it was highly stable, required no conversion, and promoted beneficial estrogen metabolism.

In fact, research has shown that when DIM is ingested, it not only encourages its own metabolism, but that of estrogen. While it is not an estrogen or even an estrogen-mimic, its metabolic pathway exactly coincides with the metabolic pathway of estrogen.

When these pathways intersect, DIM favorably adjusts the estrogen metabolic pathways by simultaneously increasing the good estrogen metabolites and decreasing the bad estrogen metabolites. And this is bad news for cancer.

In a 2001 study, researchers looked at the dietary habits of postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74. When asked how often, on average, they consumed a wide variety of foods, including 19 different commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, researchers found that those women who ate 1 to 2 servings of Brassica foods a day had a 20 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those women who ate virtually none.

Additionally, a 2002 study from Biochemical Pharmacology found that DIM may have another intriguing benefit. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that DIM not only blocked DNA synthesis in human breast cancer cells, but also stopped the cells from spreading. They discovered that DIM also caused the cancerous cells to die.

In short, get that broccoli! Whether you enjoy raw with hummus, as part of a salad, or steamed with chicken or fish, broccoli is a natural choice.

For more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Green Tea—The World’s Drink of Choice

Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. Clearly the world is green tea: the world's drink of choiceon to something.

Freshly harvested tea leaves contain polyphenols, remarkable compounds with a host of therapeutic actions. The polyphenols in green tea are primarily flavonoids, including catechins and proanthocyanidins. Of these, the most abundant and active substance is epigallocatechin gallate, abbreviated EGCG. These substances have exceptional antioxidant and cancer prevention properties.

Green tea's ability to prevent cancer is well documented. It has been found to be particularly effective against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (including the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon); lung cancer; and estrogen-related cancers, including most breast cancers.

A 1994 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that Chinese men and women who drank green tea enjoyed a 60 percent reduced risk of esophageal cancer. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As modern science studies green tea, it continues to identify the specific ways in which polyphenols fight cancer. The growing list already includes the following impressive actions:
  • They are potent antioxidants. Experimental studies indicate that they confer even greater protection in this respect than vitamins C and E.
  • They directly detoxify certain cancer-causing agents.
  • They block carcinogen activity by binding to tissue receptor sites.

This last point appears to explain green tea's ability to fight breast cancer. Polyphenols bind to receptor sites on breast tissue, preventing carcinogens (tumor promoters, hormones, and growth factors) from binding to and harming the cells. In essence, the polyphenols "seal off" the tissue from invasion by carcinogens.

The superior antioxidant properties of polyphenols also make green tea one of your greatest allies in the fight against heart attacks and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
Japanese researchers have found that tablets of green tea extract providing 254 mg of catechins raised blood levels of antioxidants and reduced plaque-forming oxidation.

Studies suggest that green tea has at least two other cardio-protective actions. Population studies in Japan, where green tea consumption may exceed 10 cups a day, show an association between high green tea consumption and lower blood cholesterol.

Research also indicates that EGCG inhibits platelet accumulation, a driving force behind atherosclerosis. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of HDL (“good”) cholesterol to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

For even more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Spice It Up for Menopause Relief

Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Curcumin, the therapeutic agent in the culinary herb turmeric, has long been known to have amazing health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. And recently, researchers identified a powerful phytoestrogen in curcumin called diarylheptanoid. Studies show that it interacts with estrogen receptors and has estrogen-like benefits that help to reverse, among other symptoms, the perimenopause symptom of vaginal dryness. 

One very easy way you can increase your curcumin intake is to start using turmeric as a culinary spice in your cooking. For example, whisk a teaspoon into a pint of homemade salad dressing, or stir a teaspoon into a pan of risotto or into any savory sauce or gravy. In addition to its earthy flavor and health benefits, turmeric adds a bright yellow color to your food.

However, for consistent therapeutic results, I recommend supplementing with 1,000 mg of curcumin daily, taken with food.

For other tips of how to reduce the bothersome effects of menopause, visit my Web site.

Beneficial Bioidentical DHEA

Friday, February 11, 2011 by Kimberly Day
There are various preparations of DHEA on the market, as well as yam extracts, which are beneficial bioidentical DHEAsometimes purported to be a substitute for DHEA. It is important to understand the differences between these products.

The conversion of the extract to DHEA can be achieved only in the laboratory, not in the human body. Therefore, natural yam extract, while it does have some of its own health benefits, does not increase blood levels of DHEA. This was confirmed in a study published in Life Science.

Seven men and women, aged 65 to 82, were given yam extract for three weeks with no change in their DHEA level. In contrast, when the same group received 85 mg of DHEA a day, their blood levels of DHEA doubled.

Supplementing With DHEA

DHEA is most often taken in the form of capsules, which come in 5 mg, 10 mg, 25 mg, and 50 mg dosages. Once absorbed, the DHEA travels to the liver, where much of it is converted into androgens and estrogen. Because of this, not all the DHEA ingested enters the general circulation.

Micronized DHEA (the hormone broken into tiny particles) is more efficiently absorbed by the body because the small size of the particles allows them to enter first the lymphatic system and then the general circulation, initially bypassing the liver. Since DHEA is a fat-soluble hormone, it is better absorbed when taken with food. DHEA taken orally is quickly absorbed, and blood levels rise within one hour.

However, much still needs to be learned about optimal dosage, timing, and how the hormone is best administered. There is a question of whether it is appropriate to raise DHEA to youthful levels or simply to a level that is adequate, given a person’s age. Clinical trials are under way; in the meantime, clinicians who regularly prescribe DHEA generally agree on a certain range of starting dosages and recommend a gradual increase if needed.

Dr. Lark has found that DHEA supplementation may be most beneficial for women after menopause. Beginning dosages should range from 5–15 mg a day, then be increased by 5–10 mg a day, as needed. DHEA dosages in women should not exceed 25 mg per day.

Conversely, there is no reason for women who have not reached menopause or perimenopause to consider taking DHEA replacement therapy. Women with normal menstrual cycles have no need for supplementing with DHEA, since their bodies are making sufficient amounts of this hormone.

Some physicians recommend taking DHEA in the morning to reflect the body’s own production of the hormone by the adrenal glands. Taken later in the day, DHEA can have a stimulating effect and sometimes causes insomnia; however, for a person suffering from a condition such as chronic-fatigue syndrome, this energizing effect could be of benefit.

Note: Women should have a mammogram and Pap smear test done before beginning DHEA supplementation to avoid the risk of stimulating a preexisting cancer of the reproductive tract, since DHEA will increase the levels of the major sex hormones.

If you elect to use DHEA without a physician’s guidance, buy the lowest-dose products available in your health food store or pharmacy, begin to use it cautiously, and do not go above 25 mg on your own. Let your physician recommend dosages at higher levels, and be sure to carefully monitor the effects on your body.

Note: DHEA is generally considered safe when taken in recommended dosages of 25 mg or less. While some sensitive people may experience side effects with dosages as low as 5 mg, side effects usually occur only when DHEA is taken in much higher amounts.

Anyone taking over 50 mg a day of DHEA should be under a physician’s supervision. Elevated doses of DHEA can actually prevent the adrenal glands from making the quantity of DHEA they normally produce.

For more information on all female hormones, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

DHEA: The Unsung Hormone Hero

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by Kimberly Day
DHEA is the abbreviation for a long and complicated-sounding hormoneDHEA: The Unsung Hormone Hero—dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA is very important to your health, since it is one of the primary steroid female hormones from which your body produces testosterone and estrogen.

Until about 10 years ago, scientists thought that DHEA had little use beyond its role as a precursor for other hormones. Only recently have studies begun to reveal its many physiological activities that benefit both performance and health.

DHEA works at many levels in your body, supporting physical as well as mental and emotional functions. It has been shown to lessen menopause symptoms; increase stamina, improve mood, mental outlook, and your ability to handle stress; reduce body fat; and treat diabetes. It also enhances mental clarity and acuity, promotes confidence and assertiveness, and may even improve libido!

Plus, DHEA may help to decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer; promote healthy bones; strengthen your immune system; ease autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ulcerative colitis; and treat conditions as varied as multiple sclerosis, asthma, and burns.

That's quite a long and positive list of benefits that this awesome hormone provides!

For more information on female hormones, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Menopause Hot Flashes and Breast Cancer Risk

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 by Susan Lark

A recent study published in the online edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention has tied hot flashes with a reduced risk of breast cancer.

Researchers questioned 1,437 postmenopausal women between 55 and 74 years old, 988 of whom had had breast cancer at some point. They were asked about the severity of their menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and anxiety. They found that the women who had the most hot flashes had a very low risk of developing breast cancer.

It is known that high estrogen levels increase the risk of breast cancer. What this study shows is that, yes, drastically reduced levels of estrogen can lead to miserable menopause symptoms, but can also significantly protect you against breast cancer.

Of course, if you have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms, you can reduce them by using nonhormonal methods. I talk about many of these options throughout this blog. And for more information on natural hormone support, visit my Web site.

The Feminine Benefits of Testosterone

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Kimberly Day
If you are like most women, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your testosterone levels. While testosterone is typically thought of as a “male hormone,” it is just as critical to your health as the more common female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. You simply produce testosterone in much smaller amounts. the feminine benefits of testosterone

Testosterone plays an important role in normal female sexual development. The initiation of menstruation and puberty is, in part, triggered by testosterone production. Additionally, testosterone stimulates libido. Levels of the hormone rise and decline during the menstrual cycle to insure that sexual desire increases just before ovulation, when a woman is fertile and chances are greatest for conception.

Testosterone also restores vitality and energy levels, helps reduce depression, balances mood and, in part, engenders attributes such as optimism, assertiveness, and aggressiveness that are usually associated with male behavior.

Finally, testosterone benefits female health by helping to relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, nervousness, vaginal dryness, and the strength of vaginal tissues. It can also help to prevent osteoporosis.

Do You Have Testosterone Deficiency?

Even the small amount of testosterone you produce can have a significant effect on your quality of life. If levels are below normal, you can experience a wide range of emotional symptoms, including decreased energy, depression, and anxiety. You’ll also notice a few physical effects as well, such as loss of libido, osteoporosis, and insomnia.

The following checklist will give you an idea of whether you are experiencing the effects of inadequate testosterone production.
  • I am over the age of 50.
  • I experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
  • I lack interest in sex.
  • I have a tendency toward depression.
  • I often feel withdrawn.
  • I have experienced a decline in the frequency of my sexual activity and orgasms.
  • I suffer from persistent fatigue.
  • I have osteoporosis and suffer from frequent bone fractures.
  • I have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • I lack stamina.
  • I have experienced a decline in my level of assertiveness.
  • I typically have little desire to take risks.
  • I have poor muscle tone or weak muscles.

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you very likely have low testosterone levels. If this is the case, you may want to get your hormone levels tested.

For more information about ALL female hormones, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Starbucks Supporting America’s Sugar Addiction

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by Kimberly Day
I admit it…I like my Starbucks. My go-to is a grande decaf or a grande tea (I mix up the flavor).Starbucks supporting America's sugar addiction

But this wasn’t always my way. Years ago, I used to crave their flavored lattes and mochas…until I realized how much sugar there is in a tall, let alone a grande (or, God forbid, their venti size).

And now Starbucks seems to be joining the American bandwagon of both sugar addiction and the “more is better” motto.

On Monday, January 17, 2011, Starbucks announced that they will be introducing an even larger size—trenta. I wonder if that is Italian for “you must be joking.”

The trenta is 31 ounces. That’s just one ounce shy of a quart. With a straw.

To start, the trenta size will only be available for iced drinks…iced coffee, iced tea, and lemonade. While they do offer both coffee and tea in unsweetened version, the lemonade is sugared.

In short, forgo the trenta.. Even forgo the venti. Stick with a tall or grande and go unsweetened. Your waistline, your estrogen levels, and even your skin will thank you.

For more nutrition advice, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Oatmeal for Detox

Friday, January 7, 2011 by Kimberly Day
One of the keys to effective detoxification is to facilitate elimination. And, in addition to water, oatmeal for detoxfiber in another critical component of elimination facilitation.

I’ve found that making oatmeal a part of the daily diet is a delicious answer to this dilemma. Not only does the fiber help with the detox process, it also helps with appetite control, lowers cholesterol levels, reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, balances estrogen levels, and enhances immune responses.

Baked Oatmeal
(Serves 6)

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup Truvia, stevia, or xylitol
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/2–1 cup berries
olive oil spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  3. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together and add the berries.
  4. Spread in a 9×9 pan that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil.
  5. Bake 20–30 minutes and enjoy warm.
For more delicious recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Supplements for Detox

Saturday, January 1, 2011 by Kimberly Day
In addition to following a cleansing diet, there are targeted supplements that can help to gently detoxifying your system. They include:supplements for detox
  • B-Complex vitamins help deactivate excess estrogen levels, degrade alcohol to non-toxic components, and protect the integrity of the liver tissue. Aim for 25–100 mg vitamin B-complex per day.
  • Lecithin is one of the most important nutrients for the liver. Composed of two of the B-complex vitamins, choline and inositol, it comprises 65 percent of the membranes of liver cells, where metabolism of various pollutants, alcohol, viruses, drugs, and other toxins occur. Research has shown that lecithin can also help remove fats from liver tissue. Take 2 tablespoons of lecithin granules stirred into 4 ounces of water, once a day.
  • N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) boosts detoxification ability. Aim for 300–600 mg once or twice a day.
  • A healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is necessary to protect the liver against inflammatory disease. Take 2,000 mg of fish oil (as EPA and DHA) per day.
  • Silymarin (milk thistle) is well known for its ability to protect the liver from environmental pollutants, radiation damage, and other toxic insults, and to specifically protect as-yet-undamaged cells, so they can act as regenerative centers. Try 525 mg of milk thistle (containing 80 percent silymarin) once per day.

For more information about detoxification, check out Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Detox Away the Holidays

Friday, December 31, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Okay, admit it. You drank too much wine, ate too many sweets, and allowed that brother-in-law detox away the holidaysto tug at your last nerve. In other words, the holidays are nearly over and you’ve overindulged. Don’t worry…I’m right there with you.

The reality is it can be very difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and a cheery disposition when continually faced with seasonal delicacies and family turmoil. Fortunately, committing to a detox program during the month of January is one resolution you can keep.

In case you aren’t familiar with detoxing, it’s a great way to gradually cleanse your body of its harmful accumulated toxins (physical as well as emotional) and get you back on track. You see, detoxification is one of your liver’s most important and vital functions. And it has a myriad of benefits, including:
  • eliminating toxins from your body;
  • cleansing and invigorating your cells and tissues;
  • improving your ability to lose weight and gain appetite control;
  • promoting radiant skin and lustrous hair;
  • protecting your nervous system and brain from unmetabolized toxins;
  • reducing your risk of heart disease, PMS, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and breast cancer;
  • enhancing libido;
  • fighting fatigue; and
  • balancing estrogen levels by supporting estrogen metabolism.

The process of detoxification pulls stashed toxins out of hiding and brings them into the blood and lymph circulation where they can be properly eliminated. During this process, their brief presence in your circulation can make you temporarily more toxic, though this will last only until your detox program successfully eliminates the toxins.

Once they have been expelled, you will experience a significant improvement in the way you look and feel, which will escalate as your liver repairs and regenerates itself.

I will outline a program over the next two days so that, come the 1st or 2nd of January, you will have the tools you need to undo the damage of holiday festivities and ring in the New Year in health and radiance.

If you want even more information about detoxification, check out Dr. Lark’s Web site.