Healthy Skin

Coconut Oil for Beauty and Health


You might call coconut oil the best beauty oil for inside or outside the body. As a skin oil, coconut oil can be used at any age. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for moisturizing dry skin, or removing make-up and cleansing the face. For infants, coconut oil can be used for moisturizing or diaper rash.

Mix coconut oil with Epsom salts and use as an exfoliating treatment that won’t dry out the skin and may even be beneficial for acne, without drying out blemish-prone skin like harsher acne cleansers.

Added to shakes and smoothies, coconut oil may contribute to weight loss and has even been shown to decrease belly fat and improved blood cholesterol levels, as reported in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Despite the increase in calories participants in the study lowered their body mass and increased metabolism. That means that the rate of calorie usage by the body was improved, making weight loss easier, and increasing energy.

Subject to flus, viral infections or cold sores? Coconut oil is 50% Lauric acid, which converts to Monolaurin in the body, which has powerful anti-viral effects. These days our immune systems need all the help they can get, so coconut oil could be part of your defense system. Children could benefit both from the immune enhancement and from the brain/nervous system support. Ulcers caused by H-pylori bacteria and candida infections have also been helped by the properties of coconut oil.

If you are concerned about Candida over-growth or have gut/intestinal issues, coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which is anti-inflammatory, discourages unhealthy bacteria and fosters the growth of healthy gut flora. We can’t live without the good bugs that line our intestines, so keeping them happy and strong is the best kind of prevention.

You can check your own candida levels by spitting in a tall glass of water first thing in the morning, before brushing your teeth. Allow a few hours and see if the glass begins to look like a science experiment, with long strings and odd lumps forming. That means you need digestive help to restore normal gut function. If the water remains clear, that is a good sign of gut health.

Healthy fats like coconut oil are also vital for helping vitamins and minerals get absorbed. Some vitamins are fat loving, and they need fat to help them pass through the intestinal walls into the blood to be carried to the cells. Fats are a component of cell membranes and form a lipid layer that protects the cells. Fats may protect against neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Natural, unaltered, fats allow the transmission of nerve impulses. Processed fats like corn, canola, soybean oil, and margarine can interfere with nerve transmission.

Adding a good fat like coconut oil to your diet can make you feel more satisfied, so may actually help with appetite and over-eating.

What makes coconut oil so unique? Fats are arranged in chains of fatty acids. Coconut oil is composed of medium-chain fatty-acids (MCFA’s). In the 90’s it was discovered that medium-chain fatty acids helped control seizures in children and now elite athletes have discovered their benefits for endurance.

The beauty of MCFA’s is that they are burned easily for energy and cannot be converted into fat cells in the body. MCFA’s appear to improve mental clarity and provide energy for the heart muscle, so may be protective.

So, if coconut oil sounds like a good thing to you, try incorporating it into your diet for a month and see if you notice a difference.  All you have to lose is belly fat, excess appetite and dry skin or acne.  

One of the best ways to include coconut oil is to add it to a morning protein shake. If you would like a sample of the Standard Process Nutritional Shake, ask us and we will include healthy recipes. Ask us about our flavored Stevia that can turn your shake into a yummy snack or dessert as part of a detox, weight loss, or blood sugar balancing program.



Food Allergies-Hiding in Plain Sight?


How do you know if you have a Food allergy? The classic symptoms of hives, or your throat closing, up are pretty rare. But food sensitivities and intolerances may be making your life miserable and ruining your health, even when you are trying to eat healthy.

Symptoms of food sensitivities and intolerances include difficulty losing weight, brain fog, bloating and digestive issues, depression, anxiety, irritability and mood swings, skin rashes, acne and dark circles under eyes, frequent colds and congestion, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain. See what Dr. Oz has to say

Traditional food allergy testing often suggested a laundry list of 25-30 food issues, or none at all, and did not seem like a workable solution. The new lab test we are using reveals only 2-4 true long-term foods to avoid. As I wrote in my last blog, I found out that I have a sensitivity to egg yolk, something I never suspected. I was eating eggs all the time, while eliminating dairy and wheat. I am not planning to add wheat back into my diet, since these days most wheat is compromised and I do well on a low-carb diet. But at least I know that I am not allergic to it.

Since eliminating egg yolk I do see a difference. It seemed to be causing some inflammation and digestive issues that were subtle but there. Despite appearances I gained weight pretty easily, and that seems to be shifting, too.

Wouldn’t you like to know, once and for all, what foods might be causing some of your symptoms?  Call now and book a free 15 minute consultation to come in and talk about the new lab test. The test takes only a minute to complete and we send the lab work to Europe for the most advanced food sensitivity testing available.

This test could change your life and your health. 818-562-1400.

More on Sunscreens and How to Practice Safe Sun

Thanks to Jeff, who wrote in with a good point about titanium dioxide.  Environmental Working Group give a high score for safety to products containing titanium dioxide, but there are some concerns.

Titanium Dioxide: • If it is absorbed dermally or ingested where does it go? There are concerns about what the body does with an ingredient that it is unequipped to process. Babies are especially at risk because their skin is thinner, they frequently put their hands in their mouth, and they do not have well developed processes of elimination.• Depending on the type of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and how it is processed TiO2 can degrade more quickly when exposed to UV than non nano zinc oxide, generating free radicals. • The American Cancer Society has identified TiO2 as one of the top five potential cancer-causing substances that requires further study.

Jeff also expressed concerns about Zinc Oxide, but it breaks down to Zinc, which is a vital mineral, and oxygen. There is some concern from scientists about the nano-particle zinc oxide, because nano particles may be able to pass into areas of the body where they can store, such as the brain.

Nano particles help with the white pasty look of zinc oxide sunscreen. Mixing the zinc-based sunscreen with some make-up may dilute its effectiveness, don’t forget. I like to layer my sun protection, so adding a mineral powder on top, gives a little extra protection.

Skin cancer is a real risk with sun exposure. The question is why, since the sun is obviously vital for life on Earth? Skin cancer rates are much lower in Mediterranean countries. I suggest that it is the quality of the olive oil in the diet.

Early Nutritionists from the 1900’s called whole food, unprocessed fats, Vitamin F, and considered that these healthy fats were a balance to the over-production of Vitamin D from sun exposure. Nature loves balance and will usually provide her own. When processed corn oil, margarines and other refined oils entered the American diet, skin cancer rates soared.

So, enjoying plenty of good fats, vegetables and fruits, may be as beneficial as sunscreen, and give you that extra protection, on the inside.

Sunbathing has only been around for the past 100 years. Before that, a suntan was a sign that one worked outdoors and did not have the luxury of leisure time. Coco Chanel, who inspired women to wear trousers and aspire to elegant but casual fashion, was an advocate of a suntanned look. As a Mediterranean woman, she had the advantage of her French diet.

Advances in medicine and technology brought new interest in health and more leisure time for a rising Middle Class. Holidays by the sea became popular as healthy retreats.

There are no hard and fast rules about the sun, except one that rule that is universal. Don’t Burn. Know your skin, know your dietary habits, and know your skincare and sunscreen products. If you want to keep your skin looking young, I do recommend avoiding sun exposure.

If you are concerned about Vitamin D, take a very high quality fish oil every day, and ask me about other safe Vitamin D supplements.

Hope you are enjoying your summer, and staying cool and hydrated.  I just returned from Florida, where staying indoors was a no-brainer, given the degree of humidity. By the way, ever wonder what the number means when we talk about humidity? It is the amount of moisture the air will hold at a given time. Dew point is how much moisture there is in the air and humidity is how much moisture there is relative to how much the air can hold.  The higher the temperature, the more water the air can hold. And when the air can’t hold any more water, you get snow or rain.

There is more to it than that, but you get the idea. Regardless of where you are, if it is summer-time warm, you need to be drinking lots of water and eating veggies and fruits so you have the minerals your body needs to replace what you are losing by sweating.




Shedding Some Light on Sunscreens

Should you be exposing yourself to the sun for the sake of Vitamin D or covering up to prevent wrinkles? Is the sun safe or is it cancer causing? Since too much sun causes a burn, how should you protect yourself?

The answers are not easy.  The sun is safe and healthy, in the appropriate doses, depending on your skin type. The sun also gives off radiation, which may cause skin cancer and photo-aging. Remember that sun damage may not be obvious, especially if you are young. But UV light may reveal what is lurking beneath the surface.

Early morning and late afternoon sun is safest for exposure to avoid burning, as you probably know. Light skinned people absorb more of the wavelength that produces Vitamin D, but they are also more susceptible to burning and photo-ageing. Mid-day sun is more effective for Vitamin D synthesis. Human skin can make its own Vitamin D, when exposed to the UV spectrum of light.

Since part of the planet sees very little sunlight most of the year, Nature has provided Vitamin D from nutritional sources such as fatty fish and fish oil. Note that in Nature Vitamin D is always paired with Vitamin A, which is why I think that fatty fish and fish oil are your best dietary sources. Cataplex D from Standard Process can also be used, and is safer than high dose synthetic D. Synthetic Vitamin D has been associated with a higher risk for kidney stones and I have seen stones in 2-3 of my patients on high dose liquid D. The safe dose for Vitamin D supplementation is no more than 800 IU’s per day.

One of the ways to protect your skin from cancer due to sun exposure is to make sure that you are eating plenty of healthy fats. Traditionally skin cancer rates have been low in Mediterranean countries where olive oil is a dietary staple. Organic butter contains Vitamin A, and may also be protective.

When it comes to sunscreen, Nature also provides some answers. The best sun protection is physical barrier. Any clothing is protective. Special shirts are not needed. Any cloth that is woven tightly enough will do. Hats help, but if you are around water, or exposed to intense sunlight, wear sunscreen also.

Zinc and titanium oxide are mineral barriers to the sun’s damaging rays, and are not toxic to the body. Remember that skin is a two-way street, so any chemical you put on your skin is going to get absorbed. For a guide to the difference see here.

Being light-skinned, from Irish/English descent, I have always burned badly, so finding safe, non-toxic sunscreen has been a lifetime challenge. In my twenties I met a woman who had incredibly gorgeous skin in her 40’s, after spending her life on the Isle of Mann, located between England and Ireland.  She had rarely being exposed to sunlight and the difference in her face was dramatic. So, I abandoned all attempts at sun bathing and I attribute that as a major factor in how my skin looks today.

Physical barrier/mineral sunscreens have the great disadvantage of being mainly white, which can give you the fresh Geisha look when applied to your face. I counter that by either mixing in a little foundation to cut the white, or I apply powdered mineral make-up on top of the sunscreen. The sunscreen can act as a primer, so that the mineral make-up does not sink into the wrinkles. There are tinted physical barrier sunscreens that also fill the bill.

The Environmental Working Group has a complete guide to various types of sunscreens for all your needs. Check it out here.

I suggest avoiding chemical sunscreens. I doubt we know enough about the long-term effects. We already have so many chemicals in our environment that we cannot control, so it is a wise idea to control the ones that you can. And there are so many choices in physical barrier sunscreens today, that there is no reason to choose chemical products. The Mineral/physical barriers may withstand sweat and water games better than the chemical screens.

Let me know your experiences and your favorite sunscreens and I will share with others.