Marcia Zimmerman, CN, is one of the natural product industry's foremost authorities on nutrition, wellness and human health. Take advantage of Marcia's expertise and counsel in the monthly posting of THE ZIMMERMAN FILES.
Over the span of her illustrious 30-year career, Marcia has worked as an educator, product formulator, chemist and Stanford University Medical School researcher. She's also authored several books, including The Anti-Aging Solution, Eat Your Colors, The A.D.D. Solution, 7-Syndrome Healing and 7-Color Cuisine.
Over the past ten years, Marcia has served as a consultant to some of the most respected companies in the industry, and has worked closely with several manufacturers in developing their formulations. We're pleased that she's joined our efforts to support our mission . . . empowering people to lead healthier lives. You can learn more about Marcia and her work when you visit her website at www.marciazimmerman.com.
Listen to FREE Lectures on a variety of topics ranging from pre-conceptual nutrition to menopause or the truth about belly fat. Don't miss these outstanding presentations in the NOW University Lectures section!
Several online education courses based on Marcia's books are available at www.now-university.com/register.
06.01.13 - Your Inner Ecosystem - Part I
Microbes in the body mean only one thing to most people. They can make you very sick. But researchers have recently begun to unravel the many beneficial roles microbes play in fostering health. These are the so-called “friendly” microbes that exist in a symbiotic relationship with humans.
05.01.13 - Alimentary Zones
The gastrointestinal tract is basically a long tube, it has many “zones” or specialized areas for masticating, digesting, absorbing, processing, and eliminating food. What goes on in each of these zones is nothing short of remarkable.
04.01.13 - Good Manufacturing Practices - What Do They Mean, Why are They Important?
The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) seal on supplemnt bottles identifies supplements that adhere to a high set of manufacturing standards.
03.01.13 - Antioxidant Savvy
The ever-expanding list of antioxidant nutrients can be overwhelming, and it can quickly become difficult to ascertain which of these antioxidants are best to supplement.
02.01.13 - A Pain in The Head!
Headaches, extremely common among Americans, affect an estimated 80 percent of the population and cost a staggering ten billion dollars per year. Moreover, severe disabling headaches may affect up to 20 percent of men and 32 percent of women, and account for 20 million doctor visits each year.
01.01.13 - Nutritional Oils: The Omega-9,7,5 Fatty Acids
Some of our most effective nutritional oils belong to the omega-9 family and a few others belong to the omega-5 and omega-7 families. None of these fatty acids are considered essential because the human body can synthesize them. We must remember however, that non-essential does not equate with non-important. The omega 5s, 7s and 9s have unique biological properties that closely parallel those of omega-6s and omega-3s.
11.01.12 - Nutritional Oils - The Omega-6 Family
You may have the impression that omega-6s are bad and omega-3s are good. Far from it! Omega-6s are just as essential for optimum health as omega-3s. We just need the proper balance between the two families of fatty acids.
10.01.12 - Nutritional Oils in Traditional and Modern Diets
Relative amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids that we get from our diet have shifted dramatically over the centuries. Scientists point out that our genome is the product of millions of years of evolution in which the genome slowly adapted to the environmental pressures imposed upon the human species.
09.01.12 - Liver and Gall Bladder Metabolism
The liver is the organ responsible for processing all that you eat, drink and breathe. It is the major location of Phase I and Phase II detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes process nutrients and drugs in stepwise fashion to turn them into active metabolites or prepare them for elimination from the body.
08.01.12 - Memory and Brain Metabolism
Much progress has been made in uncovering the complexity of brain function, particularly in how brain cells (neurons) communicate. Certain amino acids and other nutrients play key roles in neuronal communication.
07.01.12 - Amino Acids Series – Immune System
Many responses of the immune system initiate the destruction and elimination of invading organisms and any toxic molecules produced by them. The ability of immune cells to distinguish foreign molecules from self is a fundamental feature of the immune system. Where do these immune cells originate and who are the key players?
06.01.12 - Amino Acids for Enzymatic Detoxification
A diet that is missing key amino acids, which are components of the various detoxifying enzymes, cannot adequately rid the body of harmful substances. We will take a closer look at the primary detoxifying amino acids, namely, cysteine, N-acetyl-cysteine, and glutathione.
05.01.12 - The Amino Acid Series - Amino Acids with Anabolic Properties
Detoxification enzymes are constantly working to rid your body of harmful substances from the food you eat, meds you take, water you drink, and the air you breathe. Even the cells themselves create toxins as natural byproducts of metabolism. To handle this, each cell has a built-in detoxification enzyme system that processes toxins and readies them from elimination.
04.01.12 - The Amino Acid Series - Muscle Metabolism
Amino acids (AA) are defined as organic substances containing both amino and acid groups. This is a simple description that belies the diversity of their biochemical properties and functions. The way AA function and the properties they have are based on unique differences in their molecular shape. Consequently, no two amino acids have precisely the same properties or functions.
02.01.12 - The Amino Acid Series – Fighting Pain, Mood Swings and Stress
We have swung into 2012, with a desire have a fulfilling, prosperous and healthy year. If issues with persistent pain, mood swings and constant stress are some of the things you need to resolve there is a surprising nutrition solution. Enter phenylalanine and tyrosine the amino acid precursors of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.
01.01.12 - The Amino Acid Series: Beating the Winter Blahs
We begin the New Year with anticipation, but soon inclement weather and too little sunlight take a toll. We have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even though nights are longer. Wintertime blues affect some while cold weather may increase joint pain for others. Daily exercise may become a chore that’s easy to dismiss and we have difficulty losing the pounds gained over the holidays. L-tryptophan, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and melatonin, offer promise to lift us out of our mid-winter slump and address other health issues.
12.01.11 - No Roller Coaster Ride for Me – Keeping Balance During the Holidays
Keeping stress under control is more important as we head into the end-of-the-year festivities – and it’s more difficult to achieve. Seven simple tips can help keep you focused and stress-free during the holidays.
11.01.11 - Brain Wellness - Non-Essential Nutrients to Keep You Sharp - Part Two
Who doesn’t want to maximize brain power and stave off cognitive decline? You’ll be surprised to find that you have considerable control over how your brain functions.
10.01.11 - Mental Tune-Up – Simple Steps to Brain Wellness – Part One
Many people experience some decline in cognitive function as they age. Areas such as attention, perception, memory, and language, that came so easily when we were younger, are now more difficult. Fortunately, we have considerable control over cognitive ability as we grow older. Let’s get the details.
09.01.11 - Flu Right By Me! Seasonal Preparedness
September is a good time to plan how you will breeze through the fall and winter months in optimum health and what you can do to bypass the flu.
Love carbs and sweets? Do you readily gain weight and have trouble losing it? You may be one of a growing number of people who have insulin resistance.
Scientists have learned about the cell-protective effects of phytochemicals in food.
It’s not only how many breaths you take during a lifetime, but the quality of those breaths. How you “respire” can literally add to – or subtract from – your lifespan.
Over a 70-year lifespan, the heart beats more than 2.5 billion times and pumps approximately 1 million barrels of blood. It pays to tune up your heart and make sure its tubular circulation is sound.
Many women are unaware they are pregnant in the first weeks of embryonic life and thus miss the changes that occur during the very early prenatal period. It is imperative, therefore, that couples prepare for pregnancy by adopting a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition before attempting to conceive.
Considering the “food” most Americans eat, is it any wonder we are seeing unprecedented numbers of chronic diseases including autism? There is a consensus among scientists that dietary modification offers the best approach to reducing chronic disease. It should come as no surprise then, that nutrition intervention is considered a first step in the bio-medical approach to treating those on the autism spectrum.
Most people think the way one detoxifies is through colon cleansing. While this is true, an inability of the body’s internal liver detoxification system to clear heavy metals and xenobiotics (foreign chemicals) from the system is of even greater concern in autism. Heavy metals and most xenobiotics are neurotoxins that dramatically alter the health of the child. In addition, an inefficient liver detoxification system leads to oxidative stress, gut dysbiosis, and immune dysfunction.
10.01.10 - Biomarker Testing in Autism
Autism has been difficult to diagnose, particularly in its very early stages and this is when it can most easily be treated. Consequently scientific focus has shifted toward identifying metabolic abnormalities through biomarker testing.
Last month, we explored the role environmental toxins play in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Epidemiological studies – many just beginning – support the link between autism and the environment. While this important work is ongoing, many scientists are focusing on the specific metabolic pathways that are dysregulated by environmental toxins and the role genes play in autism.
Environmental contributors in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are being increasingly investigated with the recognition that children with ASD are exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of toxic exposure. Environmental triggers for ASD may actually begin in utero as the embryonic brain, nervous system, and other body systems are developing.
Today ASD affects an estimated 1 in 110 children in the United States. Adding to this are thousands of adults who may not have been previously diagnosed. Roughly translated, this means as many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism. It is a lifelong condition that impacts families and is a huge societal cost, not only for children, but in adult disability and health care costs.
During a normal lifetime, 60 tons of food passes through the gastrointestinal tract – a tube that measures about 30 feet in length from mouth to anus. In previous Zimmerman Files, we have focused on digestion and the interaction between the G.I. tract and the immune, endocrine and nervous systems. Now we are at the ending chapter of the story.
The latest poll of 1,007 adults across the country found that people sleep almost two hours less than they did 40 years ago.1 Our bodies require 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night during the teen years and twenties. Thereafter, we need about 8 hours of sleep. Few people are really well rested with fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night.2 The costs of sleep deprivation are staggering.
The human skeleton is utterly remarkable. We share the same major biological division (vertebrates) with other animals such as fish, birds and other mammals. Yet, we are one of the only species that is bipedal, meaning we walk upright on two legs. This makes our skeleton vulnerable to injury and dependent on muscle strength and flexibility. How smart are you with regard to your skeleton? Let’s bone up on skeletal health.
Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Since he died due to an arrow shot into his heel, the “Achilles heel” has come to mean a person's principal weakness. Your Achilles heel is your risk factor or factors for disease – something that could ultimately lead to your demise.
Love, the color red, chocolate, and the month of February come easily to mind when thinking of the heart. More important when it comes to heart “matters” is nutrition and lifestyle. Let’s look at love, red fruits and chocolate from the perspective of heart health.
Winter months are prime time for joint, muscle and tendon flare-ups. It’s hard enough to get out of bed when it’s cold and dark – even harder when aches and pains make it hurt to move. Before deciding that the discomfort is here to stay, take stock of exactly where you are hurting, your lifestyle, past injuries and surgeries, and finally, your family history.
The remarkable gut is so complex, scientists call it the gut microbiome. It is an “organ” in the truest sense of the word, weighing in at approximately 5 pounds.2 The gut microbiome has an intimate symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with your body.3 It helps the body maintain homeostasis, a state of balanced metabolism under varying environmental conditions. The body provides a warm environment and food for the microbiome. How does this cozy arrangement play out? Let’s take a closer look.
Sugar indeed helps the “medicine” go down, but what effect does it have on white blood cells, the warriors of the immune system? An interesting study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed how much the neutrophils (a kind of white blood cell) drawn from test subjects were unable to engulf and digest (phagocytosis) the bacterium Staphylococcus. At the beginning of the test, each neutrophil was able to ingest and destroy an average of fourteen bacteria. After the folks drank a sugar containing beverage, each person’s phagocytes were able to gobble up on average only one bacterium before dying. Amazingly, the dampening effect lasted for up to 5 hours! Obviously, sugar in any form is one of the worst things to take with your “medicine.” So what should you drink and eat when you have a cold or flu?
The term “sandwich generation” describes Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 – most are baby boomers. – at least half are menopausal to boot. According to a 2001 survey prepared for the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), boomers are a unique generation that find themselves sandwiched between parenting children born late in life and providing for parents who are living longer. This month I will focus on natural remedies for the three classes of menopausal concerns: menopausal complaints, physical changes, and aging conditions.
Menopause is a normal, natural event – defined as the “last” menstrual period. So how do you figure out which one is the last? Although hopeful each month that this is indeed the last period, women won’t know for sure until twelve months without periods have passed. This is assuming natural menopause as opposed to that induced by hysterectomy, chemotherapy, or reproductive pathology. Despite the seeming abruptness of menopause, it doesn’t happen overnight – just as the first period didn’t magically appear out of the blue. The first clue that things are about to change in a woman’s reproductive life is something called perimenopause.
According to medical authorities, pain is the most common complaint that sends patients to health practitioners. Approximately 35% of Americans have some element of chronic pain, and approximately 50 million are disabled, at least partially, because of it. Chronic pain is reported more often in women.1 As we shall see, there is a strong connection between hormone levels and pain.
Allergies and Asthma are chronic hyper-immune responses that inflame the airways and lungs. The aroused immune system recruits an array of cells and other fighters to eliminate the antigen (offending substance). Swelling, itching, burning and reduced ability to breathe are natural by products of this process. Allergies can be triggered by seasonal pollens, inhaled irritants, weather changes, foods, and some environmental contaminants. Allergic symptoms involve primarily the nose, but often include sinuses, ears, eyes, throat and skin. Gut inflammation is present in most cases.
Asthma is a more severe inflammatory airway condition that is closely related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Long term inflammation in asthma and COPD damages lung tissue causing irreversible loss of function. Let’s consider three factors in airway inflammation, namely stress, immunity, and free radicals.
Inflammation has often been described as the fire within because it’s usually not visible on the surface. Swollen sinuses, mucous membranes, bronchial, and alveolar tissues in your lungs may be irritated but not obviously inflamed. Arterial linings that are inflamed cause no pain initially, yet this is the first phase of cardiovascular disease and stroke.1 By contrast, swollen red joints that are painful, hot to the touch, and obviously “fiery,” cue us they are inflamed. To overcome these and many other chronic conditions, we must first tame the fire of inflammation.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a common ingredient in “junk” foods, has gotten a bad rap for ballooning waistbands, jittery nerves, and bad behavior. Now it seems there may be an even greater risk from consuming foods that list HFCS as a first or second ingredient on the label. Researchers at the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, found mercury in nearly half of fifty-five brand-name products purchased from grocery shelves.
Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is one of three omega-3 fatty acids with important health benefits. DHA is particularly abundant in the retina, brain and nerves. Omega-3 fatty acids are neither stored in appreciable amounts in fat tissue, nor produced within the body from other fatty acids. Thus they are a dietary essential.