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Tag: Dr. Mercola

Coconut oil as hair conditioner

I love cooking with coconut oil for it’s healthful benefits, but I never thought of using it as a hair moisturizer until I read Dr. Mercola‘s suggestion to do so. He recommends applying the coconut oil on dry hair as a pre-wash treatment. When the hair gets wet, it expands and absorbs the saturated fat, retaining moisture for longer.20120423-143427.jpg

Dry, fly-away hair has plagued me for most of my life. In high school some called me “Frizzy Lizzie,” and it was for good reason. In an attempt to control the frizzies, I’ve long been a fan of oil treatments and have used almond oil, rosemary oil, avocado oil, and even hot olive oil on my hair, not to mention commercial products like Alberto VO5 Hot Oil Treatment. I decided to give the coconut oil a try. I used enough coconut oil — emulsified between my palms in small batches — to saturate my dry hair, and rubbed it into my scalp as well, then rinsed it out in the shower and finished with my regular conditioner.

I got a lot of compliments on my hair that day, even though I did not style it at all. It did feel like the hair held onto the coconut oil longer than it does with other oils, and I liked the silky effect on my curls. The hair did feel weightier, which is a desirable effect for me — maybe that was from the hair shaft absorbing the oil? My curls also stayed intact well throughout the day and my hair felt soft rather than stiff and crunchy, like with some hair products.

You can also use coconut oil as a styling lotion for setting hair.

Avoid the flu… and flu shots!

I was pleased today to see Dr. Mercola’s advice for avoiding the flu… and the flu vaccination. I’ve been agonizing over whether to get a flu shot this year.

He suggests that the flu may be caused by a vitamin D deficiency since “flu season” comes during the winter months when sunlight is scarce. He recommends taking vitamin D supplements of levels up to

Here are the other “secrets” Dr. Mercola uses to keep the flu (and other illnesses) at bay:

Another useful supplement you could try, should you come down with a case of the flu, is olive leaf extract, which you can find in most any health food store.

Olive leaf extract has been found to be a potent broad-spectrum antiviral agent, active against all viruses tested, including numerous strains of influenza and para-influenza viruses.

Personally, I have found homeopathic Oscillococcinum to be quite effective against flu symptoms, and always keep some in my supplement drawer.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I’ve been appalled recently to see some tv ads touting the nutritional benefits of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The ads claim that there is no difference between HFCS and sugar and are blatant attempts to change the public’s perception of what we know to be true.

These ads are put out by Sweet Surprise, a billion-dollar lobbying campaign run by the Corn Refiners Association. The corn industry is, should we say, freaking out over the fact that consumption of high fructose corn syrup dropped by almost 3 pounds/person/year from 1995-2005. Great news for the health of America, not so good news for people who make billions from the sale of corn byproducts.

Don’t be fooled: high fructose corn syrup does NOT metabolize the same way that sugar does. Found in most sodas, the effects of drinking HFCS are more like freebasing sugar than eating a comparable amount.

According to Dr. Mercola: “Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.”

Medical research has long confirmed the detrimental effects that high fructose corn syrup has on the body. Knowledge is power. Don’t let the slick advertisements fool you into undermining your health. You know better. Read the labels and try to steer clear of high fructose corn syrup wherever it sneaks into your diet.

Steamed about Sunscreen

Am I the only one who feels like every time I turn around I learn about some new threat to my health from a product I’ve felt safe with for years?

Right now I feel this way about sunscreen.

I already knew that the massive campaign to wear sunscreen has been so successful that many of us are no longer getting enough vitamin D, as sunscreen interferes with the absorption of sunlight through the skin, which our bodies turn into vitamin D. We need vitamin D for everything from calcium absorption to digestion and immune system function. According to Dr. Mercola, sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by as much as 97.5 to 99.9 percent. Vitamin D deficiencies can be implicated in diseases from multiple sclerosis to rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

Besides this, most commercially available sunscreens from the familiar leading manufacturers are chemically-based and don’t provide a physical barrier to the more damaging UVA rays. This means that while you might not look burned when you use that Coppertone because it blocks UVB rays, you might still be sustaining significant damage to the skin below the surface that could translate to skin cancers.

This means that the first test of worthiness for a sunscreen is to ensure it contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide since either provides a safe physical barrier to both UVA and UVB rays.

OK, got this part. Our household has been aware of this for years and has always chosen sunscreens based on the presence of these ingredients.

But now there’s more to worry about.

If the titanium or zinc has ben nanoized (pulverized into nanoparticles, which are smaller than micronized particles), it can be absorbed by the skin. Natural Solutions July/Aug 2008 issue notes that studies show when these become very small and are exposed to sunlight titanium dioxide can generate free radicals that are linked to cell problems and heart disease and zinc can cause cell mutations. Of course, manufacturers like to pulverize these so that they smooth on more transparantly.

Wait, there’s more.

Other common sunscreen ingredients include Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate), which has been linked to thyroid, hormone, and nervous system problems, and Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), which can cause hormone disruption and cancer.

Our skin is our largest organ and a quick route to the bloodstream. Every time we slather these on we believe we’re doing the right thing, but in reality we’re toxifying ourselves.

So what’s still safe? Thicker solutions of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that don’t contain the bad stuff. Beware: even some of the sunscreens at the health food store contain Oxybenzone et al.

The sunscreen I trust? California Baby – SUNSCREEN,SPF30,FRAG FREE. It has micronized titanium dioxide and other natural ingredients without any of the chemicals I’ve mentioned. A good list of safe sunscreens is offered by the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide.

The more I know, the more dangerous this world becomes. Let’s try to keep each other safe, ok?