Detox Your Halloween: Heavy metals contaminate Halloween Makeup

Detox Your Halloween: Heavy metals contaminate Halloween Makeup

I'm really happy to have found a few sources for safe Halloween face paint. It quite literally makes me cringe knowing that the vast majority of face paints used on children contain harmful heavy metals that are readily absorbed into their skin. 

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Products We Love: Baby Jack & Co Sensory Educational Lovey

Products We Love: Baby Jack & Co Sensory Educational Lovey

As we grow our assortment, one of the things we want to do is share information with you on the products we have on the site.  So when we can, we are going to have the founders/manufacturers of the products share with you why they love the product.

The first product we are featuring is the Baby Jack & Co Sensory Educational Lovey.  These are beautiful learning and sensory tools for your baby; we have eight different designs available including sports, cute animals and a prayer lovey that would be perfect for a baptism gift.  Kelly Legler is the owner of the company are shared this with us:

As a mom and designer, I strive to create products that have value beyond a comfort object. Our Baby Jack sensory loveys provide a sense of comfort to a child but also can give an educational and developmental benefit. Each and every print is designed with a learning appeal to grow with a child. We take basic shapes and construct a fabric that is trendy, whimsical and fun for all ages to learn. 
The Learning Lovey Collection first began when I was rocking a baby and saw how much they adored our ribbon tags. I came up with the idea to place educational printed ribbons along the edges so when you two are rocking, you can teach as well! Our Primary colors learning lovey was the first print debuted and a customer favorite. Red, Yellow and Blue are the first colors a baby sees after black and white so it was an easy decision which color palette to choose! Today, it serves as a fun mobile in hospitals for babies in the NICU and PICU and a security blanket for kids at home or while away from mom and dad during work hours! 
Baby Jack and Co Lovey Available in 8 styles

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Simon Rodrigue September 28, 2016 Add a comment 3 tags (show)

Detox your Body: Change of Season 10-day Detox

Detox your Body: Change of Season 10-day Detox

The change of seasons is the perfect time of year to give your body a reset with a detox. A detox can be as easy as eating a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, lots of water and green tea while cutting out sugar and processed foods and common allergens. Follow these 10 steps for the next 10 days and start your seasonal detox.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND September 19, 2016 Add a comment 2 tags (show)

Detox Your Diet: Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Detox Your Diet: Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Fruit and veggie blueberry banana smoothie. Perfect for an afterschool, midafternoon snack. Our toddler loves them too!

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Do you get sick easily? 13 Signs Your Zinc is Low

Do you get sick easily? 13 Signs Your Zinc is Low

If you get sick easily, check your zinc levels. Use these 13 signs to assess if your zinc levels are low.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND September 18, 2016 Add a comment 2 tags (show)

Together, we can change the world one home at a time. Detox Your Life.

Together, we can change the world one home at a time. Back in 2012 I asked everyone to share this with one friend.  Today you should be sharing it as much as possible. 

This is a great video on the risk in our homes and lives that our children face today.  A great wake up call from Healthy Child Healthy World.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND August 16, 2016 Add a comment

How Dangerous is your Couch? Detox Your House.

How Dangerous is your Couch? Detox Your House.

Most upholstered furniture, including couches, chairs, mattresses contain polyurethane foam that has been treated with a variety of chemical flame retardants.

Flame retardants are added to products to reduce the flammability to an open flame, however the benefit of chemical flame retardants does not justify the known and unknown harm caused to our children. According to the Green Science Policy Institute, Flame retardants have been linked with: 

  • Reduced IQ
  • Learning Disorders
  • Reduced Fertility
  • Thyroid disruption
  • Cancer
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Autism
  • Decreased birth weight
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Memory Loss
  • Undescended testicles
  • Lowered levels of male hormone

Dr.Arlene Blum is on a crusade to educate and remove dangerous flame retardants out of everyday products. The New York Times article How Dangerous is your Couch?  really put the flame retardant problem into perspective. 

“When it was baby pajamas, you could toss them out and get cotton pajamas,” Blum says. “But what can you do about your couch? How do you replace it?”

Heather Stapleton, a Duke University chemist who conducted many of the best-known studies of flame retardants, notes that foam is full of air. “So every time somebody sits on it,” she says, “all the air that’s in the foam gets expelled into the environment.” Studies have found that young children, who often play on the floor and put toys in their mouths, can have three times the levels of flame retardants in their blood as their parents. Flame retardants can also pass from mother to child through the placenta and through breast milk.

Is your couch killing you?

The various chemical flame retardants would not be a problem if they stayed IN the upholstered furniture. The flame retardants end up migrating out of the furniture as dust, this dust then easily makes it into our bodies and our children's bodies. 

High concentrations have been found in the bodies of creatures as geographically diverse as salmon, peregrine falcons, cats, whales, polar bears and Tasmanian devils. 

EWG... conducted the first investigation of toxic fire retardants in parents and their children, showing that toddlers and preschoolers typically had three times as much of these hormone-disrupting chemicals in their blood as their mothers. In all, the study found 11 flame retardants in the children tested.

Dr. Arlene Blum and the Green Science Policy Institute recommends:

  1. Keep dust levels down by wet mopping and vacuuming with a HEPA filter.
  2. Wash your hands and those of your children often, as handto mouth contact exposes us to flame retardants in dust.
  3. Purchase baby products and furniture filled with cotton, polyester, or wool instead of polyurethane foam.
  4. Avoid products that use polyurethane foam and have a TB117 label which likely contain chemical flame retardants.
  5. Contact manufacturers to inquire whether retardants were added to products.

6. In my opinion (which I also have in my house) using a good quality air filter will also reduce dust.  IQ Air or a Blu Air filters are great investments in your health. We have 2 IQ Air Multi gas filters in our house one in our bedroom, and one in our main living space.

Additionally in the EWG's guide on Reducing Your Exposure to PBDE's* in Your Home: they also recommend:

  • Be careful when removing old carpet. (The underpadding may contain flame retardants)
  • Inspect foam items. Replace anything with a ripped cover or foam that is misshapen and breaking down.
  • Do not reupholster foam furniture. 

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND September 11, 2014 Add a comment

Would you like some lead and arsenic with your apple juice? Detox Your Diet

Detox Your Diet: Would you like some lead and arsenic with your juice? Consumer reports lists the amount of lead and arsenic in US apple juices. 

"Five samples of apple juice and four of grape juice had total arsenic levels exceeding the 10 ppb federal limit for bottled and drinking water. Levels in the apple juices ranged from 1.1 to 13.9 ppb, and grape-juice levels were even higher, 5.9 to 24.7 ppb. Most of the total arsenic in our samples was inorganic, our tests showed.
As for lead, about one fourth of all juice samples had levels at or above the 5-ppb limit for bottled water. The top lead level for apple juice was 13.6 ppb; for grape juice, 15.9 ppb."

We just bought 2 gallons of organic apple juice that I'm not feeling too friendly towards! If you read through the article at the end they give some tips. I was hoping that the organic brands would have non-detectable limits, they are low however. 

I think think that by choosing organic, having it as part of what your kids drink, and diluting with water are all good options. I don't know the status of other juices but can tell you that both grapes and apples are among the most sprayed crops. It is the soil contamination that is affecting the organic trees. 

Choosing juices from fruits that are on the "EWG's Clean fifteen" may be a good option. These are the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide residue: pineapple, kiwi, mango to name a few. The organic varieties of these will even better. 

Buying organic can be more expensive, however joining a Co-op can greatly reduce the prices and sometimes they even deliver to your door! There are also Co-op's that do dry goods & frozen. In Ontario you can contact the Ontario Natural Food Co-op to see if there is one in your area. If there isn't it is easy to start one and you only need one or two other families involved. 


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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND December 12, 2013 Add a comment 4 tags (show)

Probiotics: A Primer

1. What kinds of probiotics are recommended to be most beneficial and in what quantities?

- Lactobacillus, which is naturally predominant in the small intestine (strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus salivarius, etc.)

- Bifidobacterium, which is naturally predominant in the large intestine (strains: Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium animalis, etc.)

- Quantities of probiotics should be in the billions! Good quality probiotics can range from 2.5 billion to 100 billion per dose. The amount per dose will vary depending on reason for supplementation and severity of condition

2. Are refrigerated probiotics still preferred or are the capsules just as effective?

- Probiotics are live "friendly" bacteria found in the intestinal tract, working to keep a healthy intestinal balance, reducing the amount of harmful bacteria while replenishing and maintaining beneficial strains. Maintaining this balance is critical for overall good health

- Since probiotics are LIVE - they MUST be refrigerated to be effective and to get the therapeutic effect you are trying to achieve

- Refrigerated capsules or powder form supplements are best

- There is only one strain, Lactobacillus sporogenes, which is shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated. This strain comes in capsule form and is great to bring with you when you are travelling

3. What brand names are recommended?

- As a naturopathic doctor, I professionally recommend three professional companies: NFH, Genestra brand or Cytomatrix

- These brands can found with your local Naturopathic Doctor or any higher end Health Food store (i.e. Big Carrot, Whole Foods, Smith's Pharmacy, Noah's, Healthy Planet, etc.)

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Avoid Vinyl Flooring: Detox Your House

Renovating? Avoid vinyl flooring. Older vinyl flooring should also be removed. The older vinyl get the more toxic dust (estrogen mimicking phthalates - which will bind to house dust) it will shed. This is really critical for preconception, pregnancy and young children.

All vinyl should be avoided, other sources include: conventional black out window coverings, vinyl blinds, and children's "play mats", vinyl rain jackets & boots, faux leather vinyl clothing, shoes, etc...

The Type of Flooring You Want to Seriously Think About Before Installing - Dr. Mercola

Serious Risks from PVC Flooring Revealed

If your home contains soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as vinyl or those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens, too), there’s a good chance it is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). One of the main problems with PVC is that it contains phthalates, or "plasticizers," which are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like PVC more flexible and resilient.

They're also one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters so far discovered. A new study conducted by Swedish researchers found levels of certain phthalates were higher in the urine of babies that had PVC flooring on their bedroom floor.1


Researchers concluded:

“The findings indicate that the use of soft PVC as flooring material may increase the human uptake of phthalates in infants. Urinary levels of phthalate metabolites during early life are associated with the use of PVC flooring in the bedroom, body area, and the use of infant formula.This study shows that the uptake of phthalates is not only related to oral uptake from, for example, food but also to environmental factors such as building materials. This new information should be considered when designing indoor environments, especially for children.”

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND August 27, 2012 Add a comment 3 tags (show)

Soda and Energy Drinks contain BVO : Detox Your Diet

It's not just the sugar that you have to worry about in soda's and energy drinks. 

Did you know that BVO (Brominated Vegetable Oil) is an ingredient in 10% of sodas and energy drinks? BVO has been found to have health effect including skin lesions, memory loss, nerve disorders and thyroid disruption.

Read more from Environmental Health News

Brominated battle: Soda chemical has cloudy health historyPatented as a flame retardant for plastics, and banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, a brominated chemical called BVO has been added to sodas for decades in North America. Now some scientists have a renewed interest in this little-known ingredient, found in 10 percent of sodas in the United States. Research on its toxicity dates back to the 1970s, and some experts now urge a reassessment. After a few extreme soda binges – not too far from what many video gamers regularly consume – a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine. Other studies suggest that BVO could be building up in human tissues. In mouse studies, big doses caused reproductive and behavioral problems.

Just as an FYI, if that didn't scare you enough... BVO is banned from the European Union, hasn't been used in India since 1988 and is a chemical that is also used as flame retardant. Yup, a Flame retardant.... so why then is it allowed to be used as an additive to soft drinks, soda, and energy drinks in North America?

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND January 06, 2012 Add a comment 3 tags (show)

Cold & Flu: Steam Inhalation for Nasal Congestion

Steam Inhalation is a great treatment for sinus and nasal congestion.

You will need

  • boiling water
  • glass bowl
  • towel
  • Essential oil of your choice. I really like eucalyptus, as it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, decongestant. 


  • Pour boiling water into glass bowl.  
  • Add 1-3 drops of essential oil.
  • Hold your face over rising steam and cover head with a towel.  Be very careful!  Steam can burn.  Remove head if steam becomes to hot.
  • Cover your head and the bowl with a towel to trap in the heat and steam.
  • You may only be able to take a few deep breaths before you need to get fresh air.
  • Try this for 5 to 20 minutes.

Other Simple Treatments for Congestion:

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND December 03, 2011 Add a comment 3 tags (show)

Detox your Life: BPA Officially Considered “Toxic” in Canada

Some healthy, fantastic news from Environmental Defence that is positive for all Canadians. Effective October 12th 2010, BPA has been designated as a toxic substance in Canada! This is the first step (of many) to banning it in Canada. 

Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, says that in working with the federal government " The next important step (is) banning BPA from all metal food and beverage cans since these can leach it into our food.”

BPA, or Bisphenol-A is an endocrine disruptor and has no business being in anything we consume, be that what we eat (food packaging), drink (pop-cans, food can lining, plastic bottles, plastic coffee drink lids) or use on our skin or hair. The Environmental Defense Canada has done an amazing job in educating the public and officials in the hazards of this chemical! Let's continue to support their work and tell our MP's and MPP's that as Canadians we must have zero tolerance when it comes to allowing toxic chemicals into our food and water supply!

What can you do today:

  • Contact your MP and MPP and tell them that you support the banning of BPA from all metal food and beverage cans.

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Detox Your Life: Babies are being born pre-polluted. Awareness is the first part of change.

Babies are being born pre-polluted... Awareness is the first part of change.  

It's shocking, but it's true. EWG's research has found hundreds of chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborns.

Through public awareness we can influence change! 

For more info on how babies are being polluted view the EWG's video "10 Americans"

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND October 30, 2011 Add a comment 4 tags (show)

Detox Your Diet: More Reasons to Eat your nuts!

Eating just one brazil nut a day supplies 100% RDA of selenium. Selenium plays a vital role in boosting the immune system and promoting the synthesis of glutathione, minimizing free radical damage. If you're wondering about your nutrient status you can assess your levels through a Hair Mineral Analysis or Red Blood Cell Elements.  These tests screen for up to 60 essential elements and toxic metals and can be ordered through your naturopathic doctor.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND September 25, 2011 Add a comment 1 tags (show)

Detox Your Diet: What's On your Food?

I've been encouraging my reader and patients to avoid the dirty dozen and to freely consume the clean fifteen ( Thanks to the EWG for providing this invaluable resource!

I've just come across another great tool, thanks to the Pesticide Action Network, that helps inform on why choosing organics and being aware of where your food comes from is a must!

Do you know what's on your food?

I just did a quick scan of butter (conventional vs organic). The conventional butter, when analyzed, had the residue of 10 different pesticides. Now if these pesticides are supposed to be toxic (most of them neurotoxins) to insects, exactly what effects are are then having on infants and young developing children?

What pesticides are in your food

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What is a BIA (Bioimpedance Analysis)? And Why Do you Need One?

What is a BIA (Bioimpedance Analysis)? And Why Do you Need One?

Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) is a method of assessing your “body composition”— the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment.

Why Is Body Composition Important to My Health?

Body composition is directly related to health. A normal balance of body fat is associated with good health and longevity. Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, known as altered body composition, can greatly increase your risks to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. BIA fosters early detection of an improper balance in your body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention.

BIA provides a measurement of fluid and body mass that can be a critical assessment tool for your current state of health. BIA also measures your progress as you improve your health. Improving your BIA measurement, or maintaining a healthy BIA measurement, can help keep your body functioning properly for healthy aging. Your BIA results can help guide us in creating a personalized dietary plan, including nutritional supplements when appropriate, and exercise to help you maintain optimal health and well-being for a lifetime.

How Does a BIA Work?

BIA is much more sophisticated than your bathroom scale, but just as simple — and almost as quick. BIA is performed in your Naturopathic Doctor's office with the help of a sophisticated, computerized analysis. This analyzer “calculates” and estimates your tissue and fluid compartments—using an imperceptible electrical current passed through pads placed on your hand and foot as you lie comfortably clothed on an exam table. In just minutes, you’ll have detailed measurements to help your Naturopathic Doctor or Health Care Practioner create an effective, personalized program for you.

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Detox your House: Top 5 plants for cleaning your air in your home

Detox your House: Top 5 plants for cleaning your air in your home

Dennis Wolverton at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has done studies over the past two decades to find out which plants could remove toxic chemicals from the air for use in space stations.

The plants that topped his list are:

  - Mass cane (dracaena massangeana)

  - Pot mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)

  - Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

  - Warnecki (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckei”)

  - Ficus (Ficus benjamina)

These five plants were particularly effective at clearing the air of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. Common household sources of these toxins include new carpets, new furniture and mattresses, and press board furniture.

Dr. Crinnion ND,  an expert in environmental medicine and author of Clean, Green and Lean,  refers to these plants as "Nature's Air Purifiers" and recommends putting LOTS of them in your home or workplace. By using a variety of these plants and "making your home a jungle" you'll have dramatically improved the air quality of your home.

Other Plants that are effective at air purification:

  - English Ivy (Hederix helix)

  - Marginata (Dracaena marginata)

  - Mother-in-laws tongue (Sansevieria laurentii)

  - Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Mauna Loa)

  - Banana (Musa oriana)

  - Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

  - Heart Leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)

  - Green Spider Plant (Chlorophytum elatum)

  - Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis)

Researcher Kamal Meattle, has also done work on air quality and show how three of these common household plants can drastically improve air quality.

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Detox your Diet: Organic Apple Slices with Cashew Vanilla dip

Detox your Diet: Organic Apple Slices with Cashew Vanilla dip

Cashew Vanilla Dip. A super tasty after school snack. Cashews are an excellent source of Copper, Magnesium, Zinc, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND April 18, 2010 Add a comment 3 tags (show)

Detox your Body: Bisphenol, Phthalates and Reproductive Health

This afternoon I watched the CBC Documentary "The Disappearing Male". and Homo-Toxicus


The Disappearing Male from Life in Pierce County on Vimeo.



I was deeply disturbed and troubled as it reinforced the amount of chemicals we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Among these thousands of chemicals (85% of which are untested on humans) are bisphenol-A and Phthalates. Although many products containing bisphenol-A have been pulled from the shelves (baby bottles, water bottles), there are many more products that we use every day that contains this endocrine disrupting chemical including the lining in canned food and canned soft drinks. Health Canada Reports that Phthalates “are hazardous to reproduction and development." Phthalates are in soft plastics and cosmetics in everything from bugs sprays, children's glow sticks, dentures, clothing, automobiles (part of the odour of new cars) and polyvinyl chloride products, the plastic often used in building materials such as pipes.

Health Canada is proposing regulations to prevent the use of six phthalates (DEHP, DINP, DBP, BBP, DNOP, and DIDP) in soft vinyl children's toys and child-care articles. Which will bring Canada's regulation closer to that of the European Union. This past week, however, the Globe and Mail reported that:

Health Canada's proposed regulation doesn't go far enough because exposures to chemicals that disrupt hormones are most dangerous during fetal development. Pregnant women were not covered by Health Canada's proposed measurers. The federal agency was not immediately able to respond to questions on why it didn't include restrictions on products used by adults.

What can you do?

The Environmental Defense has a campaign to ban bisphenol A in drink cans, please go to their site to send an email to your MP and to learn more!

From the Documentary:

Factsheet: Male Infertility

  • There are more than 20 heavily industrialized nations where the birth of baby boys has declined every year for the past 30 years - amounting to 3 million fewer baby boys.
  • The number of boys born with penis abnormalities and genital defects has increased by 200% in the past two decades.
  • Boys have a higher incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, Tourett's syndrome, cerebral palsy and dyslexia.
  • Boys are four times as likely to be autistic.
  • The average sperm count of a North American college student today is less than half of what it was 50 years ago.
  • The quality of sperm is declining. Eighty-five per cent of the sperm produced by a healthy male is DNA-damaged.
  • Damaged sperm have been linked to a 300% increase in testicular cancer - a form of cancer that affects young men in their 20s and 30s.
  • The chemical industry has developed more than 90,000 man-made chemicals in the last sixty years. Eighty-five percent of them have never undergone testing for their impact on the human body.

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Detox your Body: Babies are born pre-polluted. Detox before pregnancy

The Earth is more toxic now than any other time in human history. We are a part of the Earth and anything that happens to the air, water, plants, and animals also happens to us. I believe that achieving optimal health begins with clean air, clean water, and clean food. What happens to one body of water happens to all, we are inseparable from our environment.

I became intimately aware of this connection as I embarked on my own environmental testing in the Fall of 2009. I expected to find some heavy metals, as I have been exposed to mercury through dental amalgam fillings, and through the consumption of mercury-containing fish. However, I was not prepared for what everything I was about to discover:

My testing for Heavy Metals revealed (Doctors Data urine toxic metals) high levels of six metals: Thallium, Arsenic, Nickel, Cadmium,  Lead, and Mercury. These are all highly toxic metals that are detrimental to health. There are no safe levels of mercury in the body - it is always neurotoxic.

My testing for Chlorinated Pesticides in my blood (Metametrix Accuchem pannel) found levels of:

  • DDE (breakdown product of the pesticide DDT, banned from use in Canada in early 1970's)
  • Trans-Nonachlor (used widely as an agricultural pesticide from 1953 to 1974, and as a termiticide until 1988)

My testing for Volatile solvents in my blood (Metametrix Accuchem pannel) revealed some highly neurotoxic compounds:

  • Ethylbenzene (found in gasoline paints and inks)
  • m,p-Xylene found in gasoline)
  • Hexane, 2-Methylpentane, and 3-Methylpentane (solvent used in glues, adhesives and paints, also found in gasoline exhaust)

For me uncovering these toxins has started a year-long environmental detox, I'll write more about that in an upcoming post. I was expecting to find some toxins and am going to do the work to decrease my exposure, and decrease my body burden. But what about in my nieces and nephews, what about your children? The younger you are shouldn't your body burden of these toxic chemicals be zero to none? NO! Alarming work done by the EWG in testing 10 Americans has shown otherwise. These chemical are bio-accumulative, this means that they accumulate up the food chain. As Adult humans we are near the top of the food chain, and babies are on the very top and get the most concentrated toxin exposure.

With increased awareness, comes increased power for change. We can make a positive impact on the environment and our health. Please follow this link and watch the video below "10 Americans" from From EWG:

Babies are born pre-polluted. Let’s change that.

The human race is now polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals – with little or no understanding of the consequences. Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world.

"Ten Americans": We all know pollution and toxins are bad for you. But the Environmental Working Group has conducted perhaps the deepest analysis of this issue on the most vulnerable demographic on the planet.


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Type 2 Diabetic? Prevent Neuropathy by Taking B12

In my practice Vitamin B12 is the most common vitamin deficiency I see. Low stomach acid, stress, and irritation/inflammation all contribute to decreased B12 levels.  You may be at greater risk of not only low levels of B12, but also Folate if you are a Type 2 Diabetic on Metformin.

A  study published, in the Journal of Internal Medicine, demonstrated a 16-week use of Metformin a 14% decrease in Vitamin B12 and a 7% decrease in Folate. The individuals who took the metformin also had higher levels of homocysteine and methylmalonic acid (markers of B12 deficiency which also correlate with increased cardiovascular risk) and significantly worse scores on standardized assessments of the severity of neuropathy.

Effects of short-term treatment with metformin on serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

M. G. Wulffelé 1 , A. Kooy 1 , P. Lehert 2 , D. Bets 3 , J. C. Ogterop 4 , B. Borger van der    Burg 5 , A. J. M. Donker 6 & C. D. A. Stehouwer 6

Volume 254 Issue 5, Pages 455 - 463

Both Folate and Vitamin B12 are critical nutrients for the production of cellular energy, are major co-factors in many biochemical pathways and are extremely important for neurotransmitter production and mood. Among the many side effects of B12 deficiency is peripheral neuropathy, which is also a major complication of Type 2 Diabetes.

To correct both deficiencies I recommend starting with series of inter-muscular injections of a combination of B12 and Folic acid, followed by monthly injections or a daily sub-lingual B12 tablet (a tablet that dissolves under the tongue). I prefer the methylcobalamin form of B12 and the L-methlyfoloate form of Folate as these forms are more readily used by the body. B12 is a bit of a problem nutrient as it needs a carrier called intrinsic factor, it is only absorbed if you are producing enough stomach acid, and is only absorbed in a very small portion of your small intestine, for these reasons an injection or sub-lingual tablet is preferred over a capsule that you would swallow.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND February 27, 2010 Add a comment 6 tags (show)

Detox your Diet: Drinking two soft drinks a week doubles the risk of pancreatic cancer

If you're still a pop drinker and weren't convinced by my earlier post on how both regular and diet pop both contribute to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, hopefully, this study will sway you to stop this sugary habit that leads nowhere but ill-health.

Regular consumption of soft drinks may play an independent role in the development of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 19(2); 447–55

The study goes on to report an almost 2x increased rate of pancreatic cancer for those individuals consuming ≥2 soft drinks/wk experienced a statistically significant increased risk of pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio, 1.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-3.15) compared with individuals who did not consume soft drinks.

CTV News reported "The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," lead researcher Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota said in a statement. Insulin helps the body metabolize sugar, and is produced in the pancreas.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND February 10, 2010 Add a comment 2 tags (show)

Could your insomnia be caused by a mineral deficiency?

Magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies and is a huge contributor to insomnia in many individuals. Other signs of Magnesium deficiency include muscle cramping, twitching or restlessness, anxiety, fatigue, constipation and depression, one or all of these of varying severity can be present. This mineral is also a great remedy for sore muscles and is one of the key ingredients in Epsom Salt Baths.

Lab testing, which is not always necessary,  involves a simple blood draw which will assess blood magnesium levels.

My preferred form of Magnesium is Glycinate which gets readily absorbed by the body. I also like this form as the glycinate molecule makes it sweet! Other forms of Magnesium include citrate and oxide which must be taken in lower doses as they will increase water absorption into the large colon and cause the stool to become loose, very helpful if you are constipated.

Food Sources include: Almonds (1 oz = 80mg of Magnesium), Spinach (1/2 cup cooked = 75mg), and soybeans (1/2 cup cooked = 75mg)

For a Typical adult I generally recommend Magnesium Glycinate 200mg to 250mg once or twice a day.

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Dr. Sharleen Hawco ND February 10, 2010 Add a comment 2 tags (show)