Research indicates estrogen is a key factor in 60-65% of breast cancer cases.

What a betrayal! It seems that our “special” hormone . . . the one associated with womanhood . . . responsible for steering us through so many of life’s cycles and stages – has turned against us.

But it gets worse . . . If estrogen plays a role in breast cancer, is it safe to consume foods like pomegranate that have plant estrogens or phytoestrogens?

Do these plant forms of estrogen increase our risk for breast cancer?

Well, in the case of the pomegranate –  the answer is clear. No they don’t.

In fact it’s the opposite. Pomegranate can actually help fight off cancer. Over a dozen compounds in pomegranate have been associated with warding off cancer.

But even more intriguingly, these special plant estrogens found in pomegranate may help specifically in fighting estrogen positive cancer.

The Journal of Natural Biochemistry published initial but tantalizing research conducted by a team from The Integrated Cancer Research Program at the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in India.

In this study, the researchers administered pomegranate peel extract to several different breast cancer cell lines in petri dishes. For comparison’s sake they also treated the same cell lines with 17β- estradiol, the form of estrogen produced by your body that’s associated with breast cancer. And they treated the same cell lines with ICI, an anti-estrogen compound often used to treat estrogen positive breast cancer in conventional medicine.

The results were telling:

When the cells were hit with 320 μg/ml of pomegranate peel extract, only about 30% of the cancer cells survived. This is in contrast to the cells treated with the more standard anti-estrogen drug, ICI. One hundred μg/ml of ICI still allowed close to 60% (two times the number!) of breast cancer cells to survive.

But here’s where pomegranate really stands out when it comes to contending with estrogen positive breast cancer. . .

They also applied the pomegranate peel extract to cell lines that had been given a dose of the 17β- estradiol. (Remember? The estrogen in your body associated with promoting breast cancer?)

Pomegranate peel extract cut the number of cancerous cells down by half – even when they were souped up on this powerful form of estrogen, estradiol.

It’s important to note that while research using other pomegranate extracts have shown positive effects in slowing a wide variety of cancers, in this study, the same dramatic results were not observed with cancer cell lines that were not associated with estrogen positive breast cancer.

As the researchers point out, many plant forms of estrogens act as what’s called a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).

Essentially, this means that they fit into the estrogen receptor spot on cells. But unlike strong estrogens like 17β-estradiol, they don’t spark any response from the cell.

And because they occupy this receptor spot, the more powerful estradiol can’t slip in and trigger the receptor.

  • You can learn more about how weaker, plant-based estrogens can help counter the negative effects of stronger estrogens in this article on hormonal balance.

Now of course, this research is preliminary. It hasn’t even made it to the animal testing level yet, let alone a clinical trial.

It’s a big step to move from test tube to human body.

Nonetheless, the results are promising . . . And so comforting as well.

There are plenty of things to fear when it comes to your risk for breast cancer.

Now you know the pomegranate (and its forms of natural estrogen) isn’t one of them.



Sreeja et al. Pomegranate extract demonstrate a selective estrogen receptor modulator profile in human tumor cell lines and in vivo models of estrogen deprivation. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.  August 10, 2011.

Pomegranate Reverses Hardening of the Arteries Naturally

Lots of foods claim to help reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But pomegranate has been shown to go one step further.

That’s right. Pomegranate juice not only appears to prevent hardening of the arteries by reducing blood vessel damage, but the antioxidant-rich juice may actually reverse the disease.

Pomegranate juice reverses atherosclerosis

Hardening of the arteries is the common term for atherosclerosis. Plaque builds up in artery walls and can slow down blood flow, leading to heart attacks and stroke.

In a remarkable 2004 study published in Clinical Nutrition, Israeli scientists followed 19 patients whose carotid arteries were partially blocked by atherosclerosis.[i]  The carotid arteries in the neck carry more than 80% of the blood flow to your brain, and any blockage in these vessels is a major risk factor for stroke.

Patients in the study who took a daily pomegranate juice supplement for one year, reduced the plaque blocking their arteries by up to 30%. Those who were not taking pomegranate juice supplements actually saw the lesions blocking their arteries grow by 9%.

That’s right. The researchers found that pomegranate reversed existing atherosclerosis, which continued to worsen in patients who did not take pomegranate juice.

Another study in 2005 from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California examined the effects of pomegranate juice in patients who already had coronary heart disease or cardiac ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle).[ii]  In the study, which was published in the prestigious American Journal of Cardiology, 45 patients were randomly assigned to drink either eight ounces of pomegranate juice or a placebo beverage every day for three months.

At the beginning of the study, both groups showed the same amount of stress-induced ischemia. At the end of three months, however, the group that drank pomegranate juice saw a significant improvement in blood flow to their heart muscle. By contrast, stress-related ischemia worsened in the placebo group.

And here’s what’s really interesting. The researchers said that the improved blood flow could not be attributed to changes in weight, blood sugar, or cardiac medications. They found that the pomegranate juice alone made the difference.

Pomegranate Juice Reduces High Blood Pressure

In the 2004 Israeli study, researchers also found that pomegranate juice had the additional benefit of reducing systolic blood pressure by an impressive 12% after just one year.

The same Israeli scientists then tested pomegranate juice on patients who already had high blood pressure. They showed that drinking just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for only 2 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by 5%.[iii]

Pomegranate Tops Other Juices for Antioxidant Power

Researchers believe pomegranate benefits heart health largely due to high levels of polyphenols (tannins, anthocyanins and punicalagins) that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

When pomegranate juice was compared to other antioxidant drinks like red wine, blueberry and grape juice, it far outperformed its competition.[iv]

And in the 2004 Israeli study showing a reversal of atherosclerosis, the patients taking pomegranate had more antioxidants circulating in their blood. In fact, pomegranate juice increased antioxidant activity in the blood by a whopping 130%.

Pomegranate Should be Part of Your Heart-Healthy Diet

These studies are exciting because they demonstrate that, even for people already suffering from heart disease, pomegranate offers important health benefits, including:

  • preventing and reversing atherosclerosis,
  • ensuring optimal blood flow to the heart, and
  • supporting healthy blood pressure.

So persuasive is the case for pomegranates, that a team of scientists who reviewed all of the available research on the benefits of pomegranate juice advised that it would be prudent to include pomegranate as part of a heart-healthy diet.[v]

Pomegranate is the best safe and natural way to boost your heart’s health.


[i] Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.

[ii] Sumner MD, Elliott-Eller M, Weidner G, et al. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on myocardial perfusion in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2005 Sep 15;96(6):810-4.

[iii] Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):195-8.

[iv] Ignarro LJ, Byrns RE, Sumi D, de NF, Napoli C. Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide. 2006 Sep;15(2):93-102.

[v] Basu A, Penugonda K., Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice. Nutr Rev. 2009 Jan;67(1):49-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00133.x.

One of my best friends (let’s call her Sophia because she’d kill me if I used her real name) really suffers with menopause but she’s too embarrassed to let even her doctor know.

She wakes up at night and can’t get back to sleep but it’s not the night sweats that bother her.

Bike riding and even just walking can be torture.

Intimacy is dicey but it’s not because of mood swings.

Sophia, like many midlife women, has a bad case of vaginal dryness. It’s the very common result of the changes we go through in menopause but no one really talks about it. Unlike hot flashes and roller coaster mood swings, it’s hard to laugh this symptom off.

Many of us keep silent because it’s all caught up in “sexual problems” that many women can’t bring themselves to discuss even with their gynecologists. It’s true that vaginal dryness can interfere with intimacy and disrupt relationships, but it’s worse than that.

For my friend Sophia, even when she’s not in a romantic relationship, vaginal dryness is a real, every day, constant itching, burning and even pinching that wakes her up out of a sound sleep at night.

Why do we get vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness can often be attributed to fluctuating hormone levels associated with peri-menopause and menopause. Prior to menopause, estrogen stimulates moisture and keeps the vaginal lining thick. But when estrogen drops, the vaginal walls can thin and dry out.

This condition can be exacerbated by:

• adrenal fatigue;
• too much caffeine, alcohol and sugar;
• use of steroids or cortisone;
• some prescription medications for cancer, ulcers and high blood pressure; and
• antihistamines and antidepressants.

Is lubricating jelly the answer?

Some women, coping on their own, try lubricating jellies to relieve their symptoms. It’s true that lubricating jellies relieve vaginal dryness for a short time but they do not thicken the vaginal tissues and prevent them from cracking. And sometimes such lubrication can block pores or cause allergies.

How is vaginal dryness treated?

Whatever the cause, a doctor will usually treat vaginal dryness with topical estrogens applied to the vagina. Estrogen applied to the delicate vaginal tissue, however, quickly makes its way into the blood stream. For many women concerned with breast and ovarian cancer, this option is worrisome.

Is there a natural treatment for vaginal dryness?

The good news for my friend Sophia is that there are effective and natural solutions for her painful itching and burning. In a clinical study conducted at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, Dr. Earl Surwit found that applying an extract of pomegranate to vaginal tissue successfully restored lubrication.

The natural pomegranate extract was as effective as estrogen cream with the additional benefit of not raising estrogen levels. This remarkable pomegranate extract is the main ingredient in MoisturePom Vaginal Ointment. You can learn more about this product at

Almost half of menopausal women will experience vaginal dryness at some point. Why suffer in silence when something as simple as pomegranate can return your vagina to its natural juicy state?

Author Bio:

Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. To contact Margie, visit

While pomegranates have shown remarkable powers in supporting the health of both men and women, there is one reason that men in particular should love pomegranates. That reason is the power of pomegranate to support prostate health.

By the time they reach age 50, more than half of American men will suffer with some form of prostate problem including:

  • Enlarged Prostate. More than 15 million men suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and its embarrassing symptoms, including low or weak urinary flow, urgency to urinate, frequent need to urinate, leakage and loss of sleep from nighttime bathroom visits.
  • Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, affecting one in six men during their lifetime.
  • Erectile Dysfunction. Over 30 million men in the U.S. have erectile dysfunction or sexual impairment due to prostate disease.

Scientific studies have proven the effectiveness of pomegranate to help relieve symptoms of all these conditions. Here are just three ways that pomegranates support prostate health.

1. Pomegranate Reduces Inflammation Leading to Enlarged Prostate

Chronic inflammation is a key factor in BPH. Pomegranate juice, peel and seed oil all contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds that can combat chronic inflammation. Pomegranate seed oil also contains conjugated fatty acids, including punicic acid, that work just like prescription drugs to control inflammation but without the side effects.

In a study from UCLA, researchers found that the polyphenols in pomegranate juice, specifically total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin stop the signals that turn on inflammation in some cells and help induce the death of abnormal cells.

2. Pomegranate Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers evaluated the ability of pomegranate fruit extract to slow cell growth and encourage the death of abnormal cells in highly aggressive human prostate cancer.

They suggested that pomegranate juice might help prevent, as well as treat, prostate cancer in humans.

In another study conducted at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, researchers asked 46 men with recurrent prostate cancer to drink one 8-ounce glass of pomegranate juice every day. The men who drank the pomegranate juice saw their Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) doubling time slow down from 15 months to an astounding 54 months. PSA growth rates are an indication of abnormal cell growth and recurrence of prostate cancer.

Pomegranate fights cancer through the potent antioxidant capacity of its polyphenols. Pomegranate juice has been found to be a much more potent antioxidant than blueberry juice, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

In fact, as an antioxidant, pomegranate juice was found to be 100 times more powerful than blueberry juice and 300 times more powerful than grape juice, and its antioxidant activity was up to three times greater than that of green tea and red wine.

3. Pomegranate May Improve Erectile Dysfunction

A 2005 study on rabbits published in the Journal of Urology looked at the effect of long-term use of antioxidant drinks including pomegranate juice, blueberry, cranberry, and orange juice, green tea and red wine. The researchers found that pomegranate juice had the greatest power to decrease LDL oxidation and inhibit oxidative stress in cells.

For the rabbits that translated to increased penile blood flow, improved erectile response and smooth muscle response and prevented erectile tissue fibrosis that can lead to permanent damage.

Researchers are very excited about the promising effects of pomegranate for prostate health. These are just a few of the studies attesting to pomegranate’s prostate healing power.


Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, Takada Y, Sand D, Heber D., Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 8;54(3):980-5.

Malik, et al., Pomegranate Fruit Juice For Chemoprevention And Chemotherapy Of Prostate Cancer, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.2005; 102(41).14813-18.

Pantuck AJ, Leppert JT, Zomorodian N, Aronson W, Hong J, Barnard RJ, Seeram N, Liker H, Wang H, Elashoff R, Heber D, Aviram M, Ignarro L, Belldegrun A. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-26.

Ignarro, LJ et. al., Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances biological actions of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide.2006; 15:93-102.

Kazem M. Azadzoi, Risa N. Schulman, Michael Aviram, Mike B. Siroky, Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants, The Journal of Urology, volume 174, issue 1, July 2005, pages 386–393

“Tis a tough season for your health . . . especially heart health.

Rich foods beckon . . . fitness routines fall to the wayside . . . and the stress of shopping, year-end to-do’s and socializing just adds to the mix.

But there are plenty of ways to give your heart that extra support it needs this month. And the beautiful, blood-red pomegranate is one.

A Heart Health Powerhouse

Researchers can’t help but get excited when it comes to pomegranate and heart health. In an article published in Alternative Therapies in 2008, noted herbalist, James Duke pointed out that pomegranate supports your heart in not just one – but ten different ways.

Among these is the way pomegranate helps you maintain a healthy blood flow. This is critical for heart health since the more easily blood moves around inside you, the less work for your heart.

So how does this lovely fruit keep the blood moving?

To find out, let’s go on a little kayak ride through your arteries…

Inside Your Arteries

Ideally, your blood should follow a nice smooth course. Like a river following a strong current. The consistent flow keeps the walls of your arteries smooth, the cells stretched out and relaxed. You can paddle along nicely here.

But in places where a turn in the path or obstruction hampers the flow, the blood gets a little turbulent and slows down. It even pools up a bit. These areas are where stuff tends to accumulate. Just like the silt and debris that build up along the curves and eddies of a river, gunk like cholesterol collects where the blood flow starts to creep.

And it gets worse.

When the cholesterol sitting there gets oxidized, it triggers a chain of events. The oxidized cholesterol signals an inflammation response. Immune cells like macrophages migrate to the trouble spot along with even more cholesterol.

And the cells in the artery wall change themselves. They become bulky and divide more frequently, making the artery wall even thicker.

Adding to the mess, the artery cells in these trouble spots stop producing an important molecule – nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps your artery wall cells to relax and protects them against oxidation.

With time, this area in your arteries thickens and accumulates materials to form a plaque.

Keeping The Blood Moving

Researchers have found pomegranate helps keeps your arteries healthy and blood flowing freely in four ways:

1.  Pomegranate keeps your cholesterol levels healthy.  Truth is, cholesterol has gotten a bad rap. Your body uses it for repair, building hormones, vitamin D and more. But still, you don’t want too much of it in your blood since it can add to the debris accumulation described above. In one study, within 8 weeks pomegranate helped the participants maintain healthy total cholesterol levels and low-density cholesterol levels.

2.  Pomegranate helps artery walls stay healthy and flexible.  The Journal of Clinical Nutrition published one study that tracked 19 people over the course of a year. The ten participants who took pomegranate juice regularly experienced a reduction of artery wall thickness by 30%. The group not taking pomegranate had an increased thickness of 9%.

3.  Pomegranate’s antioxidant power prevents cholesterol oxidation.  In this same study, participants ended up with 90% less oxidized cholesterol than they did when they started taking pomegranate juice a year earlier. Pomegranate offers more antioxidant protection than blueberries, green tea or red wine.

4.  Pomegranate seems to support healthy levels of nitric oxide in your arteries, allowing the arteries to relax.  In preliminary animal studies, researchers at the School of Medicine in Naples, Italy saw a 50% increase in nitric oxide levels in those slow-flow spots after the mice in the experiment had pomegranate juice or extract. Pomegranate seems to both protect nitric oxide from oxidation and increase its production.

While both pomegranate juice and pomegranate extract provided this healthy support, the extract with the polyphenol punicalagin seems to work especially well.

So keep up your healthy habits for this season strewn with heart hazards. Enjoy some treats . . . but in moderation. Try to squeeze in a little exercise. Keep your schedule as simple as possible.

And then add some pomegranate to this mix. It will help keep you and your heart healthy into the New Year.

It’s the stuff of fairy tales and quite a few Harlequin romances. It may even play a treasured role in your own family history. Story after wonderful story tells of how two hearts find each other after a lifetime of travails and separation.

Underlying this story is the understanding that when it comes to matters of the heart . . . with age comes wisdom.

The older heart is the wiser one. It sees through the false glitter that may have interfered with valuing the object of its affection earlier. And it can truly appreciate the important things in life and love.

And more often than not, the older heart has learned to take the bumps and bruises of life in stride. Despite tribulations, it keeps loving. Often more deeply and more strongly than before. It has gained perspective and experience.

Aging Not So Gracefully

Unfortunately that is not reflected in the physical reality of our bodies. The wisdom that life’s challenges bring to us does not translate well to the muscle of our heart. Or the arteries that carry our life force around the body.

Instead, our heart is often tired and weaker than decades ago. It’s had to contract hundreds of millions of times to keep us alive. And with poor diet, stress and a few genetic factors thrown in, our body’s major highways – the arteries – have also suffered. Roadside debris litters our arteries in the form of plaques, threatening to dislodge and cause a fatal accident. And the artery walls themselves have toughened and thickened like a moss-overgrown battlements.

Older Women At Risk

These age-related problems haunt both men and women in their later years. But women have a particular angle on heart health. Before menopause, women lag far behind men when it comes to heart disease risk. We experience a tenth of the risk on average.

As we age, this changes and we start to catch up. By age 60 it becomes the main cause of death for women. In fact 6 times as many women die from heart disease than breast cancer.

Some of this is just the gradual effects of aging that both men and women face. But some seem to be more related to the change in hormones that comes with menopause.

A recent published study revealed just this. It turns out that cholesterol levels, a factor in heart disease risk, could be directly linked to this hormonal shift. Researchers from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) study reported in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, that within a year of their last period, women’s cholesterol levels consistently made a dramatic jump. On average, women’s LDL (or bad cholesterol) rose by about 10.5 points or 9% while average total cholesterol rose by about 6.5%.

In a Health Magazine interview, Dr. Vera Bittner, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the published study, noted that while the change may seem minor, it can be cumulative. And for women with borderline cholesterol health, it can make all the difference.

However, the authors of this study are careful to attribute only cholesterol levels to hormones. Others heart disease risk factors, like systolic blood pressure and insulin resistance, seemed to be more age-related.

Hormones and Heart Health: Dangerous Myths and Realities

Their caution comes on the heels of decades of medical misinformation that dumped all the risk factors for cardiovascular disease along with every other sign of female aging into estrogen-deficiency. In an eager push to get every menopausal woman on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), doctors added cardiovascular disease prevention to the list of benefits brought by adding more estrogen to our blood.

Actually, the opposite was true.

Two large-scale studies – The Boston Nurses Questionnaire Study conducted in 1991 and the Framingham Heart Study, conducted in 1985 – found nothing of the sort. In fact, not only did they find that taking synthetic estrogen did nothing to alter the risk of heart disease for women, they found that it actually increased the rate of stroke.

By 50%!

Researchers looking more closely into the hormone-heart disease relationship found that in fact, too much estrogen may actually undermine your cardiovascular health. In fact, it’s progesterone, the hormone that plays an opposite and complementary role in our menstrual cycle, that is more likely the key to post-menopausal heart health.

As Dr. Sherrill Sellman reports in her book, Hormone Heresy, progesterone helps keep cell membranes healthy while estrogen lets water and sodium into cells, contributing to high blood pressure.

Furthermore, progesterone reduces inflammation, one of the primary risk factors in heart disease. It helps with sleep. It reduces stress. And this hormone, which goes down to zero with menopause, actually helps us burn fats for energy.

And when it comes to plaques in our arteries, progesterone actually seems to help stop them from forming. According to the late hormone and cardiovascular disease researcher, Dr. John Lee, progesterone stops the creation of foam cells. Foam cells are immune system cells (macrophages) that take in oxidized bad cholesterol. As these cells gobble up unhealthy cholesterol, they swell up, causing the artery walls to bulge and toughen, shrinking the artery opening.

Progesterone stops this by intervening with the enzyme that allows macrophages to eat up cholesterol.

Beware of False Progesterones!

Back peddling furiously, several pharmaceutical companies added chemicals called progesterone to their therapeutic mixes. However, they are actually progestins, synthesized chemicals that closely resemble progesterone, but have been altered slightly in order to patent them.

These slight alterations can make all the difference in what happens once these progestins hit your body. Progestins interfere with the biological activity of natural progesterone and this production.

What You Can Do To Nourish Your Wise Heart

So take this extra bit of wisdom to heart. As you age, your heart needs a little tender loving care.

Your heart may not be as tough as you may be.

If you are considering HRT or any synthetic form of estrogen or progesterone, reconsider. If you’re using it now, look into tapering off. The costs to your aging heart are high.

Better alternatives are natural progesterone and its precursors found in plant sources like pomegranate leaves, soybeans and wild yam.

Exercise, eat right – all that good stuff. Both diet and activity can have a tremendous effect on cholesterol health. And they can also help us weather hormonal changes.

Make it a love story you write for yourself and those who love you. A promise to keep your heart – and the rest of you – strong and healthy for years to come.

Modern women at midlife have many options when it comes to dealing with those nasty menopausal symptoms like mood swings, depression, bone loss, and fluctuating estrogen levels. But their most surprising source of natural relief may come from an ancient food: the juicy pomegranate.

Pomegranates have been cultivated for over 4,000 years. Our word pomegranate dates back to around 750 B.C. and comes from the Latin “Punicum malum” meaning “Phoenician apple.” Today the fruit is often called a “Chinese apple.”

Despite its frequent comparison to an apple, the pomegranate bears a striking resemblance to the female ovary. It is not too surprising, then, that it served as a symbol of fertility for the Zoroastrians and other ancient cultures.

Fruits in general are defined as “the developed ovary of a seed plant” but in the case of the pomegranate fruit, the physical resemblance to a human female ovary is striking. Looking at a cross section of each reveals how similar are the containers for the pomegranate’s seeds and the ovary’s eggs.

But the pomegranate’s resemblance to the female ovary goes beyond its physical similarities. The fruit also provides the very same estrogens as the female ovary – estradiol, estrone and estriol.

What does this mean for a menopausal woman? It may very well mean relief from depressive moods and a lower risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer and heart disease.

Bone Loss Reversed

In a 2004 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, rats who had their ovaries removed suffered accelerated bone loss, a typical symptom of menopause. When they were fed an extract of pomegranate juice and seeds for just 2 weeks, however, their bone mineral loss reverted to normal rates.

Mood Improvement

The same Japanese researchers in the 2004 study also found that the rats given pomegranate extract measured lower levels of depression indicators. Based on their results the authors found it conceivable that pomegranate would be clinically effective for women exhibiting a depressive state.

Heart Health

The rate of death from coronary heart disease in women after menopause is 2 to 3 times that of women the same age before menopause. Here again, pomegranates provide proven healing benefits:

  • Lowers Cholesterol – A 2000 study found that pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants which prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing and leading to atherosclerosis.
  • Lower blood pressure – A small 2004 clinical study by Israeli researchers concluded that drinking one glass a day of pomegranate juice may lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol oxidation, and reversed the plaque buildup in their carotid arteries by up to 29%.
  • Blood clotting – One study in the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that pomegranate juice slows down platelet aggregation and thins blood, preventing clotting.
  • Improves coronary heart disease – Several different studies have found that cardiovascular health is improved with the use of pomegranate juice since it reduces plaque, increases nitric oxide, and may prevent plaque from building in the arteries in some patients.
  • Increases oxygen flow – A 2007 study showed that drinking eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily for three months increased oxygen flow to the heart muscle in coronary patients.

Breast Cancer

Lab studies have shown pomegranate anthocyanidins (sugarless plant pigments), flavonoids, and oils exert anticancer effects against breast tumors.

Although some women worry that foods with estrogenic properties may increase the risk of breast cancer, that isn’t the case. In fact, pomegranate is a natural adaptogen, increasing levels of estrogen when the body is low but blocking stronger estrogens when levels are too high. This innate intelligence to adapt its function to the body’s needs is an incredible benefit that natural foods have over pharmaceuticals.

In fact, pomegranate extract was compared to the drugs Tamoxifen and Estradiol in a 2011 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The researchers suggested that the pomegranate extract may potentially prevent estrogen dependent breast cancers.

How do pomegranates work their magic?

An 8 ounce glass of pomegranate juice contains about 40% of the RDA of vitamin C, and also is rich in vitamins A and E and folic acid.

The pomegranate fruit contains antioxidants called phytochemicals, which protect plants from harmful elements in the environment. These same phytochemicals, when ingested, protect the cells in our body. The juice has been found to contain higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices, including cranberry or blueberry, and more even than red wine or green tea.

Drink the juice or eat the seeds (yes, they are edible) to reap the benefits of this menopause miracle.

Source: GreenMedInfo, “Amazing Fact: Pomegranate Can Serve as a Backup Ovary”

Author Bio:

Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. To contact Margie, visit


What comes to mind when you think of testosterone? Raging men with rippling muscles? OK, but there’s more to testosterone than that. Women need a little, too, just as men need some estrogen. Now a new study finds that pomegranate, the same fruit that supports your estrogen and progesterone balance, can also safely boost your testosterone levels and that could be good for your love life.

Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, asked 60 healthy men and women between the ages of 21 and 64 to drink a glass of pomegranate juice every day for two weeks. By the end of the short study, testosterone levels of both sexes increased significantly by 16 to 30 percent, and their blood pressure declined.

The benefits of healthy testosterone levels

Testosterone is just one of a group of male hormones known as androgens. When properly balanced with all of the other human hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, androgens can make a big difference in the health and well-being of both men and women.
In men testosterone is associated with facial hair, a deep voice, aggression and greater sexual appetite. For women, androgens provide vitality and sex drive, and increase both the sensitivity of the erogenous zones and the frequency of orgasm.

Another “side effect” of healthy testosterone levels is better mood. In the Edinburgh study, in addition to testosterone and blood pressure levels, researchers measured mood by looking at 11 emotions including fear, sadness, guilt, shyness and self-assurance. Positive emotions went up after drinking the juice and negative feelings declined.

Other benefits of androgens include increased energy, stronger bones and muscles, improved memory and cognitive function, and even stress relief.

Testosterone levels decrease at midlife

Ovaries produce almost half of a woman’s testosterone with the balance coming from the adrenals, liver and body fat. Like estrogen and progesterone, testosterone levels drop as we age and 40 year-old women produce about half the testosterone of their 20 year-old counterparts. Levels may drop even further when menopause hits or if a woman suffers from adrenal fatigue.

Many doctors believe that the low energy, decreased libido and flat mood that many menopausal women report could be related to diminished testosterone levels.

When estrogen replacement therapy fails to restore a woman’s sexual desire in an otherwise healthy relationship, it’s worth examining testosterone levels.

Psychologist Dr. Barbara Sherwin, a professor at McGill University, conducted a study on women who had their ovaries removed and she found that administering a combination of testosterone and estrogen made these women more interested in sex, and more likely to experience pleasure and have orgasms.

Some physicians, however, are reluctant to prescribe androgen therapy, citing the relative lack of safety and efficacy studies on women and testosterone, and the uncertainty of long-term effects.

Symptoms of testosterone overdose

Some unfavorable side effects of too much testosterone in women include:

  • Decreased HDL “good” cholesterol which may negatively impact cardiovascular health
  • Mood disturbances
  • Acne on the face and scalp
  • Facial hair
  • Deepened voice

Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of “The Wisdom of Menopause,” notes that decreased ovarian production of testosterone may correct itself in time as other androgen producing organs take up the slack. If not, natural testosterone may be prescribed by a physician through a formulary pharmacy in capsule form or as a vaginal cream.

This new Edinburgh study of pomegranates and testosterone gives women another possibility for restoring libido at midlife.


Author Bio:

Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. To contact Margie, visit

Soy has been touted as a lifesaver for menopausal women, with some claiming that its benefits include heart health, protection against bone loss and fewer episodes of hot flashes. But that may not be the case and in fact soy might make things worse.

Soy can be taken as a whole fresh food in the form of edamame, in a processed form as tofu, in a fermented form such as miso, tempeh and soy sauce, or in the form of supplements.

When it comes to supplements, however, research finds that soy isoflavone tablets do not appear to be associated with a reduction in bone loss or other menopausal symptoms in women within the first five years of menopause.

According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the beginning stages of menopause are often accompanied by rapid bone loss, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances among other symptoms. Estrogen therapy with or without progesterone prevents most of these changes.

However, as a result of the Women’s Health Initiative findings suggesting that the overall risks of estrogen therapy outweigh the benefits, most menopausal women are increasingly seeking other alternatives, such as soy.

The Women’s Health Initiative study was halted early because of higher risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease in women using hormone replacement therapy.

In the University of Miami randomized controlled trial, study participants received either a placebo or a daily soy isoflavone dose of 200 mg, equivalent to approximately two times the amount that even the biggest soy fan would get through food sources in a typical Asian diet. Soy is often credited with the low rates of breast cancer and menopausal symptoms in Asian women.

During two years of follow-up, no significant differences were found between women in the soy isoflavone group and placebo group regarding changes in bone mineral density.

Menopausal symptoms were comparable between the two groups at the beginning and the end of the study, except for one surprising result: a significantly larger proportion of participants in the soy group experienced hot flashes and constipation compared with the control group.

The authors acknowledged that because of concerns regarding the risk of estrogens, a need exists for alternative interventions that could provide the beneficial effects of estrogens in bone and menopausal symptoms without the adverse effects on breast and cardiovascular health.

While there may be a need for some estrogen substitute to help midlife women deal with their symptoms and health risks, the authors concluded that in this study women in the first five years of menopause, on average, had low rates of bone loss, and that 200 mg of soy isoflavone tablets taken once daily does not prevent bone loss or reduce bone turnover or menopausal symptoms.


Silvina Levis, MD; Nancy Strickman-Stein, PhD; Parvin Ganjei-Azar, MD; Ping Xu, MPH; Daniel R. Doerge, PhD; Jeffrey Krischer, PhD Soy Isoflavones in the Prevention of Menopausal Bone Loss and Menopausal Symptoms A Randomized, Double-blind Trial Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(15):1363-1369.

Over the course of the last few decades, estrogen has gone through the same kind of reputation slingshot as . . .well . . .Toyota.

First, estrogen was adored by all. Both health experts and women hailed estrogen-replacement therapy as the fountain of youth. A solution that would restore sanity, comfort and beauty to women entering menopause.

But when several studies came out showing that supplemental estrogen increased women’s risk of endometrial cancer by as much as 800%, along with increasing other health risks, estrogen lost its glamorous appeal . . .

Estrogen has now become the villain. As the latest term for estrogen-related problems, “estrogen dominance” implies, estrogen dominates your body with a vengeance, cracking the whip to get breast cancer cells to proliferate and igniting hot flashes to make you lose your cool.

But like most stereotypes, estrogen is both and neither of these. Because estrogen is not just one estrogen. It is many different compounds.

And the more you understand about the range of estrogenic compounds and how they behave in your body, the more you can gain control over your health and put estrogen in its – I mean, their – rightful place.

The True Identity of Villainous Estrogen Revealed . . .

See, yes indeed estrogen spurs cancer growth. In fact 60-65% of breast cancer is estrogen positive breast cancer, meaning estrogen stimulates the cancerous growth. This is even more predominant in older women with breast cancer.

And – yes, guilty as charged – estrogen is the pyromaniac making your temperature go bonkers at a moment’s notice during menopause.

Yes, it’s estrogen . . . but let’s be specific. The 17 beta-estradiol form is the strongest estrogen produced by the human body. And this form of estrogen seems to be associated with breast cancer and cell proliferation.

Estrone is another potent form of estrogen, but not nearly as strong as 17 beta-estradiol. The estrone form seems to be responsible for your menopausal conflagrations, as well as being associated with breast cancer growth.

The potency of these estrogens as well as the specifics of how they interact with your cells’ chemistry has everything to do with how they affect your body.

Let me explain . . .

Some Estrogens Stimulate And Others Inhibit

Hormones like estrogen take basically two steps before they affect your body.

They’re like an ignition key. First they have to fit into the lock – or hormone receptor – on a cell. And then they have to actually turn the ignition to get things running.

The 17 beta-estradiol form does all of this. It fits into the estrogen receptors on cells and then turns on the ignition to start certain activities like starting DNA transcription to get cells to reproduce and grow.

But there are other estrogens. And unlike the estrogens that turn certain cell functions on, some forms don’t have the wherewithal to turn the ignition.

But before you think that these other estrogens or estrogen-like compounds are duds – understand this: They serve a very specific purpose. When they sit in the ignition, they occupy the receptor, which in turn means the more powerful estrogen – like 17 beta-estradiol – can’t get in there to insert itself in the lock and turn the ignition on. They can’t signal your breast cells to start multiplying.

Instead, the more potent estrogens – without a keyhole to fit in – float around in the blood, powerless.

Better yet, as your body notes the high levels of these estrogens in the bloodstream, it gets the message that there is too much. So your body starts to lower production of these powerful estrogens.

Weaker Estrogens Help Protect Against Cancer

One of these “weaker” estrogens is the hormone estriol. The placenta makes estriol during pregnancy. This form of estrogen is significantly weaker than 17 beta-estradiol.

And interestingly enough, not only does this hormone “lock out” 17 beta-estradiol, but has been shown to correlate with the remission of breast cancer. In fact in one study conducted by researcher H.M. Lemon, women who had high levels of this estrogen were less likely to get breast cancer.

And in another study, when post-menopausal women with spreading breast cancer were given this form of estrogen, 37% of them experienced a remission or complete stop of the tumor’s growth.

The lesson here? All estrogens aren’t bad. In fact even 17 beta-estradiol is made for a reason – it helps your breasts grow during adolescence, for one. But your body has an elaborate system of checks and balances to keep these in potent ones reined in.

However, with stress, environmental pollutants, illness and even other medications, our bodies’ ability to keep this delicate dance of estrogens up can easily be compromised.

And for this nature has another answer – plants.

Pomegranate’s Phytoestrogens: Helpful Not Hazardous

Plants like soy, red clover, black cohosh and (yes, our favorite) pomegranate contain their own estrogens called phyoestrogens (“phyto” means plant) or compounds with estrogenic effects.

In fact pomegranate contains a wider variety of phytoestrogens than any other plant. And one of the phytoestrogens found in pomegranate is another very weak estrogen – 17 alpha-estradiol. This form of estrogen is actually a mirror image of 17 beta-estradiol. But while 17 beta-estradiol is the most potent of estrogens, 17 apha-estradiol is the mildest.

In vitro (laboratory petri dish) studies as well as studies on mice have shown that, indeed, this and other estrogens from pomegranate occupy the ignition switch so stronger estrogens can’t take affect.

And there are other pomegranate compounds that are not estrogens, yet they also compete with estrogens for those ignition spots. Researchers noted that the conjugated fatty acids found in pomegranate, such as punicic acid, shut out other estrogens from binding with receptor sites in a manner similar to the cancer drug tamoxifen. And alpha-eleostearic acid, newly identified in pomegranate, seemed especially potent in inhibiting estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells.

But pomegranate goes even further in keeping your estrogen activity in check.

Other recent research indicates that pomegranate extracts not only block estrogen activity, but block the enzyme that makes estrogen from its precursor androgen. This makes pomegranate a potential aromatase inhibitor (AI), the name of a class of drugs used for the treatment of estrogen-positive breast cancer. And unlike AI drugs, pomegranate has none of the side effects like joint pain, heart problems or bone fractures.

Certainly, the research on breast cancer and pomegranate is still in its early stages. Most of the studies demonstrating pomegranate’s ability to not only block breast cancer development but also kill cancer cells are done in laboratories or on animals. To date, there are no clinical trials.

But the promise is hopeful. As Dr. Sherrill Sellman notes in her book  Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones,

“The ability of the many components found in the pomegranate fruit to help safely modulate and regulate hormones is certainly good news for women of all ages. These weaker and safer forms of estrogens. . . will not contribute to estrogen dominance.”

Women have turned to this fruit for generations to keep them in good health. And with no documented side effects. Quite the opposite, the evidence gives us plenty of indication that we can only benefit from getting more of this most medicinal fruit and its complex array of phytoestrogens and estrogen-like molecules.

We’d like to hear from you! What’s your take on this discussion on estrogens and phytoestrogens – Join the conversation . . .



Berger GS et al. Exogenous estrogens and endometrial carcinoma: review and comments for the clinician. J Reprod Med. 1977 Apr; 18(4): 177-80

Estrogen Receptor Status May Determine Chemotherapy Use.

Tran, HNA et al. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) seed linolenic acid isomers: Concentration-dependent modulation of estrogen receptor activity. Endocrine Research, 2010. 35(1): 1-16.

Sellman, Sherrill. Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones. Bridger House Publishers, Hayden, ID, 2009.

Watson et al. Nongenomic actions of estradiol compared with estrone and estriol in pituitary tumor cell signaling and proliferation. FASEB Journal, September 2008, 22.

Midlife women have been led to believe that hormone replacement therapy is an either or proposition: either you take it or you suffer the symptoms of menopause.

In reality, however, women do not have to be plagued by hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, depression and weight gain as they go through menopause. A healthy whole foods diet can go a long way in alleviating those discomforts without the need for hormone replacement therapy, whether natural or otherwise.

The menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, and in the U.S., the average age of menopause is 51 years.

However, peri-menopause, the years gradually leading up to complete menstrual cessation, can begin as early as 35 and stretch for 10 or 15 years.

During this time the ovaries slow down production of two hormones in particular, estrogen and progesterone. The imbalance in these hormones leads to the commonly experienced discomforts of mid-life for women.

Here are 5 basic and very simple diet tweaks that are easy to adopt. In no time at all, these small but nutritious habits could help you gently transition into the sisterhood of wise women.

1. Cut back on added sugar and refined carbohydrates. These can raise insulin levels, promote weight gain and lead to more fat stores, especially around the belly. Those fat stores in turn can promote higher levels of circulating estrogen, driving your estrogen/progesterone balance further out of kilter.

2. Add more fruits and vegetables. Phytoestrogens are weak plant estrogens found in over 300 plants including blueberries, cherries, cranberries, carrots, bananas, beets, oranges, onions, peppers, oats, plums, olives and potatoes. Phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors and balance estrogen levels by having an estrogenic effect if your estrogen levels are too low, and by blocking stronger estrogens if your levels are too high.

3. Increase fiber, especially flax seeds. Our bodies dispose of excess estrogen by way of the bowel, and if not excreted, the estrogen will be reabsorbed and continue to circulate. A high fiber diet will support that process. Flax seeds are a great source of fiber but they are also rich in lignans (particularly strong phytoestrogens). Flax seeds and their lignans and have been shown in studies to help in both reducing the risk of breast cancer and slowing the growth of breast cancer tumors. Lignans not only have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties but they also help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

4. Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol. These are all heat producing substances and will contribute to hot flashes. Instead, try cooling foods like melon, bean sprouts, celery, apples, asparagus and grapes.

5. Only eat organic animal protein and dairy products. Most animal protein and dairy has been treated with growth hormones which may compound the estrogen imbalance in your body. Stick with organic meat and dairy that has been labeled “no added hormones” or “no hormones administered.”

Is your world completely unbearable until you’ve had that first cup of coffee in the morning? Do you need a java jolt just to deal with your day?

You may actually need that caffeine to ward off the blues. Researchers from Harvard University are now acknowledging that the risk of depression appears to decrease for women who drink more caffeinated coffee.

According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, caffeine is the most frequently used central nervous system stimulant in the world, and approximately 80 percent of consumption is in the form of coffee.

Depression is a chronic and recurrent condition that affects twice as many women as men, including approximately one of every five U.S. women during their lifetime.

Previous research, including one prospective study among men, has suggested an association between coffee consumption and depression risk.

Michel Lucas, Ph.D., R.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his colleagues were curious about whether consumption of caffeine in coffee or other caffeinated beverages is associated with the risk of depression in women. They studied 50,739 U.S. women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Participants, who had an average age of 63 and no depression at the start of the study, were followed for 10 years.

Researchers examined how frequently the women consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee, non-herbal tea, caffeinated soft drinks (sugared or low-calorie colas), caffeine-free soft drinks (sugared or low-calorie caffeine-free colas or other carbonated beverages) and chocolate.

How much coffee should you drink?

When compared with women who consumed one cup of caffeinated coffee or less per week, those who consumed two to three cups per day had a 15 percent decrease in relative risk for depression, and those consuming four cups or more per day had a 20 percent decrease in relative risk. Compared with women in the lowest categories of caffeine consumption (less than 100 milligrams per day), those in the highest category (550 mg per day or more) had a 20 percent decrease in relative risk of depression.

No association was found between intake of decaffeinated coffee and depression risk.

The authors concluded that the risk of depression decreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee. They noted that this study “cannot prove that caffeine or caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of depression but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect.”

Coffee and caffeine have also been shown to have possible benefits in decreasing the risks or symptoms of other medical conditions, including:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Skin cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stroke

What’s your take on caffeine? Many health conscious people avoid it altogether. Others believe in using it in moderation. Some people are very sensitive to it, others not all.

Are you caffeine-free or a complete addict? Please leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


Let me tell you a story . . .

In fact it’s a story told by Kate, retold by Dr. Sherrill Sellman in her book Hormone Heresy and finally retold again here.

As our body goes through changes with our changing hormones, we often seek help to correct the imbalance. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is conventional medicine’s prescription of choice. But unlike what the glossy brochures say, it’s more likely to wreak havoc than bring balance.

In fact, the very people we depend on to guide us to good options – our doctors – have been failing women over and over again. Kate’s story tells this dramatically . . .

It was a terrifying time in her life . . .

After just a few months on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Kate struggled against a mixture of anxiety attacks, mood swings and aggressiveness that made her feel close to insane. “I was spiraling down a black hole that swallowed me by degrees every day. And what I feared most was the loss of my loved ones as my growing madness was mirrored in their eyes.”

It all started when at age 38, Kate acted on changes she had noticed over the past two years that hinted she may be hitting early menopause, symptoms such as infrequent periods and hot flashes. Kate consulted with a doctor at a local menopause clinic. And following the doctor’s advice, she decided to boost her estrogen levels with Premarin.

When Premarin failed to raise her blood estrogen to the level that satisfied her doctor, she tried a patch and then eventually had surgery for an estrogen implant.

Kate explains that her fears about being at a greater risk for heart disease and osteoporosis as she hit menopause spurred her onward in using these treatments. “Without question, pharmaceutical-driven propaganda had successfully convinced me that menopause was indeed a disease and that I could not survive my life cycles without medical intervention.”

However, instead of the youthful vibrancy promised with HRT, Kate found misery. Not only did she feel like she was losing her mind, but her doctors were constantly checking her for signs of breast, uterine and cervical cancer. And she was hospitalized to investigate excessive vaginal bleeding.

One day she mixed up her HRT drugs and took even more estrogen than initially prescribed. “What followed,” says Kate, “made a miscarriage look rather tame.” She began to seriously consider getting a hysterectomy.

Promising To Correct Imbalance, Hormone Replacement Therapy Brings Misery Instead

Kate is like thousands of women who have gone for a simple doctor’s appointment to find out about their options as their hormones start to change. Instead of getting advice that supports good health, based on a real understanding of hormones, she was given a recommendation taken straight out of a pharmaceutical company brochure.

Advice that made her life a living hell and could have even killed her.

Despite the convincing evidence about the dangers of HRT and other synthetic hormones, like the pill, women are still being advised to use them by their doctors.

While some doctors have taken a stand against these dangerous drugs, too many still accept the information put out by the drug manufacturers and pass it on to their patients.

It’s up to us women to get the information that can make all the difference in our lives.

“The much publicized HRT debate is not about what the doctors or pharmaceutical companies claim will or should work in my body,” emphasizes Kate. “It’s about making an informed choice and having access to ALL the facts and remedies, both orthodox and complementary.”

Information is key to good health!

My mother recently suffered a stroke. It was quite a shock to us even though she had been on blood pressure medication for years.

She’s not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 3 U.S. adults—an estimated 68 million—has high blood pressure. And that means they’re at higher risk not just for stroke but also for heart disease and kidney disease.

My mother gets that. For years she’s been watching her sodium just as the doctor orders. She’s never been a junk food eater, and she’s learned to pass up ham and canned soups, and rinse her canned beans. But she’s pretty attached to bread, bagels and pasta which can be sneaky sources of hidden sodium.

But in watching her salt, my mother may have only gotten it half right. Because lower blood pressure is not just about lower sodium, it’s also about higher potassium. As with so many things in our bodies, balance is everything.

What’s the vitality ratio?

The balance between sodium and potassium is so critical to our wellbeing that it’s been dubbed the “vitality ratio.”

Here’s why. Potassium and sodium work together to maintain your body’s optimal fluid levels. When your sodium levels drift up, your body retains fluid putting pressure on your blood vessels. Potassium operates to help excrete the excess sodium in your urine.

Potassium also relaxes blood vessel walls helping to relieve blood pressure.

A Netherlands study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at potassium consumption in 21 countries and concluded that increasing potassium in your diet could contribute significantly to improving blood pressure.

But most of us don’t get enough potassium. The Netherlands study found that average potassium intake varies between 1.7 and 3.7 grams a day. That’s significantly less than the recommended 4.7 grams.

At the same time, it’s estimated that 98% of Americans take in twice the recommended amount of sodium. You can see how your vitality ratio could get way out of whack.

The researchers in the study claim that increasing our potassium to 4.7 grams per day would have the same effect on blood pressure as decreasing daily salt consumption by 4 grams. That’s huge.

How do you get more potassium into your diet?

Potassium is widely available in our food supply and can be found in whole grains, dairy products, meat and fish.

Fresh fruits are excellent sources of potassium. The highest levels are found in melons (cantaloupe, casaba and honeydew) which have almost 500 mg in a cup. Pomegranates are also a good choice with about 533 mg in a cup of the juice. Other excellent sources include apricots, bananas, nectarines, oranges, prunes and papayas.

When it comes to vegetables, the best sources are avocados, artichokes and leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens. Other sources include beans, beets, bok choi, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes (skin on), squash, tomatoes and yams.
Add more of these potassium-rich foods to your diet for a better vitality ratio.

Reference: Wageningen University and Research Centre (2010, September 13). Consumption of ‘good salt’ can reduce population blood pressure levels, research finds. ScienceDaily.

Author Bio:

Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. To contact Margie, visit

According to an Irish proverb, a good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. As far as sleep goes, that may just be true according to three studies concluding that good sleeping habits may promote weight loss, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and increase longevity.

In the first study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that although dieters lost the same amount of weight whether they had adequate sleep or not, those who got a full night’s sleep lost 55% more body fat than those who cut back on sleep.

The small study followed 10 overweight volunteers on a carefully controlled diet of 1,450 calories for one month. Each participant slept for an average of 7 hours and 25 minutes for two weeks and then 5 hours and 14 minutes for two weeks.

When the dieters got two to three hours less sleep, they felt hungrier and produced higher levels of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin triggers hunger, increases fat retention and reduces energy expenditures. The result was that they lost more lean body mass than fat.

The researchers believe that had they not been on a strict calorie regimen, the participants would likely have lost less weight, as well as less body fat, during the time they slept less.

Your sleep predicts diabetes, stroke and heart attacks

In another study published in the Annals of Epidemiology, researchers looked at six years of data from 1,455 people and concluded that those who sleep less than six hours a night may be three times more likely to develop symptoms of pre-diabetes, compared to those who sleep six to eight hours.

The authors believe their study confirms that sleep quantity and quality are strong predictors of type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

How much sleep is linked to a long life?

Finally, a third study published in Sleep Medicine suggests that the secret to a long life may come with more than five hours of sleep per night but less than eight hours. Looking at data from 459 women from the Women’s Health Initiative, researchers found that the best survival rates were enjoyed by women who slept 5 to 6.5 hours.

The message from these studies is clear. The quantity and quality of your sleep can powerfully affect your weight and your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as your lifespan.

7 Natural Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

To insure that you’re getting enough good quality sleep, here are seven natural tips for a restful night without prescription sleep aids:

1. Be in bed by 9:30 pm and lights out by 10:30 pm at the latest.

2. Don’t drink or eat anything after 7:30 pm so that your sleep is not disturbed by bathroom visits.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

4. Make your bedroom a sanctuary with no television, computer or briefcase allowed.

5. Keep your bedroom dark to get a better, deeper sleep.

6. Don’t overheat your room and open a window if possible.

7. Relax for an hour or two before bed without work or watching TV.

Now it’s your turn. How much sleep do you get? What’s your biggest obstacle to a good night’s sleep? Leave a comment and let us know.


Strawberries are a delightful breakfast, snack or dessert but did you know that they are also a powerful force against the oxidative stress associated with many chronic diseases?

A study carried out by Italian and Spanish researchers had a group of volunteers eat half a kilo (about a pound) of strawberries every day for two weeks. They found that strawberries improve the antioxidant capacity of blood and that means better heart health.

The way the strawberries work is by boosting red blood cell response to oxidative stress – the kind that comes from environmental toxins or aging and other factors.

The research was carried out at Marche Polytechnic University in Italy and the University of Granada in Spain and published in the journal Food Chemistry.

Each day, the scientists fed 12 healthy volunteers 500 grams of strawberries over the course of the day. They took blood samples from them after four, eight, 12 and 16 days, and also a month later. The results show that regular consumption of strawberries can improve the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma and also the resistance of red blood cells to oxidative damage.

The same team is now analyzing the effects of eating smaller quantities since the average serving size tends to be a 150g or 200g per day. The researchers pointed out that the important thing is that strawberries should form a part of a healthy and balanced diet, as one of your five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

Strawberries are ranked third among common foods high in antioxidant capacity after just blackberries and walnuts. They have also been shown to improve blood sugar regulation thanks to their high levels of polyphenols, making them a good choice of fruit for diabetics.

Another great benefit of strawberries that is receiving more attention is its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Eating one cup of strawberries (about 8 large berries) several times per week has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) a marker for heart disease.

Research has also associated strawberries with the prevention of certain cancer types including breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer.

Rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and folate, a one cup serving also gives you 12% of your daily fiber needs.

Here is an easy way to get some extra strawberries into your diet. Enjoy them in this lovely, refreshing salad.

Spinach, Strawberry and Sesame Salad

2 bags of pre-washed baby spinach
4 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup sesame seeds
Coarse unrefined sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

Whisk together the mustard, olive oil and vinegar. Add sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over spinach and strawberries and toss until well coated.

Reference:  Sara Tulipani, Josè M. Alvarez-Suarez, Franco Busco, Stefano Bompadre, Josè L. Quiles, Bruno Mezzetti, Maurizio Battino. Strawberry consumption improves plasma antioxidant status and erythrocyte resistance to oxidative haemolysis in humans. Food Chemistry, 2011; 128 (1): 180

More and more people, especially mid-life women, are being prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins. Some doctors are even recommending the drugs be added to the water supply or dispensed at the McDonald’s drive-thru windows. I’m not kidding.

That was the absurd suggestion by a researcher at the Imperial College of London in a study published by the prestigious The American Journal of Cardiology.

However, postmenopausal women using statins may be increasing their risk of diabetes according to a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Annie L. Culver, B. Pharm, Rochester Methodist Hospital, Mayo Clinic, and her colleagues analyzed data from the national, multiyear Women’s Health Initiative, the same study that brought down synthetic hormone replacement therapy.

In this study, researchers used WHI data through 2005 and included 153,840 women without diabetes and with an average age of 63.2 years. At the beginning of the study 7.04 percent of the women reported taking a statin. After three years there were 10,242 new cases of diabetes.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, an expert in functional, integrative and nutritional medicine, women taking statins had a 71% increased risk of diabetes compared to women not taking the drugs. Even after adjusting for other potential variables, including age, race/ethnicity and body mass index, women were found to have a 48% increased risk.

Statins Ineffective for Heart Disease

Statins are prescribed to reduce cholesterol and coronary heart disease. The science behind statins, however, is suspect. According to Dr. Hyman, studies have only found statins effective to prevent second heart attacks but not first heart attacks.

Although they have been prescribed to lower cholesterol, there are also serious questions as to whether cholesterol is even related to coronary heart disease and heart attacks. In fact, in older patients, lower cholesterol levels are associated with higher rates of death from all causes.

In 99 out of 100 men, says Dr. Hyman, the drugs have no therapeutic effect. They do, however, have significant side effects. In 15% of patients, reported side effects include muscle damage, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, sexual dysfunction, and liver and nerve damage.

Natural Alternatives to Statins

Safe and natural alternatives to statins are abundant including dietary choices. Here are 5 foods to include in your diet to help reduce cholesterol and risk of coronary heart disease:

  1. Apples. One study from Florida State University showed that postmenopausal women who eat an apple every day lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol, raise their HDL (good) cholesterol and lose weight.
  2. Beans. One cup of beans per day can lower LDL by 24% and ½ cup can lower it by 8%.
  3. Oatmeal. Whole grains are a good source of soluble fiber (as are apples and beans) and can significantly reduce cholesterol.
  4. Salmon. Fatty fish containing Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. Other good sources are mackerel, halibut, lake trout, herring, Albacore tuna and sardines.
  5. Walnuts. Walnuts are highest among nuts in antioxidants and the Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and stroke.


Annie L. Culver, BPharm, et al, Statin Use and Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative, Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(2):144-152.

Why Women Should Stop Their Cholesterol Lowering Medication.

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2011, May 3). ‘Apple a day’ advice rooted in science. ScienceDaily.

It’s hard to believe but, not that many years ago, nutrition experts were telling people to save their calories and skip the blueberries because they had no nutritional value.

Fast forward a few decades and blueberries are now widely revered as a superfood. In fact, investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studying the link between disease and nutrition, believe that eating just one cup of blueberries every day prevents cell damage linked to cancer.

Uniquely American, blueberries are native to North America and are rarely found in Europe. They grow naturally in the woods and mountainous regions of the United States and Canada.

Blueberries are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that help prevent cell damage. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals – atoms that contain an odd number of electrons and are highly unstable. Free radicals can cause the type of cellular damage that is a big factor in cancer development.

Blueberries are rich in one particular type of flavonoid called anthocyanins. These compounds are water soluble pigments that are red, violet or blue depending on their pH level. Apples and blueberries both get their beautiful colors from anthocyanins.

In plants, anthocyanins act as antioxidants and protect the plant from oxidative damage. In cells, they perform a similar function. Many studies suggest that antioxidants like anthocyanins may help prevent the free-radical damage associated with cancer.

But blueberries do even more. They are also rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system and can help the body to absorb iron. That’s an important consideration for cancer patients because vitamin C also helps to keep blood vessels firm.

As with any fruit, blueberry juice and other processed products may contain some nutritional value but are often missing the soluble and insoluble fiber that blueberries provide. They may also have added sugars or high fructose corn syrup, which actually feeds cancer and defeats the health benefits of the fruit.

Fresh, raw blueberries provide the most health benefits. An average serving size of raw blueberries is one cup and contains about 80 calories. They are also great frozen. Try them in this easy 5-minute sorbet recipe.

Blueberry Mango Sorbet
From The Institute for Integrative Nutrition

1 bag frozen mango
1 bag frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup apple juice

1.    Put all ingredients into a blender or Vita-Mix.
2.    Blend until creamy, about one minute. You may have to scrape down the sides of the machine a few times if using a regular blender.
3.    Serve immediately.
4.    Store any leftovers in the freezer to enjoy later.


Thank you all who joined our teleseminar last week!

We received many great questions, but did not have time to answer them all during the teleseminar. As promised, we are posting these questions right here:

Do you have a Chinese herb company that you would recommend for repairing kidney yen deficiency? (Sue, Texas)

You will need to consult with me to get the special formula. It is not available as a retail product. See my website below.

Do you recommend taking a supplement for adrenal exhaustion? (Cindi – Tallahassee)

Absolutely! I like Gaia Herbs Adrenal Support, Enzymatic Therapies Stress End or Dr. Wilson’s Dynamite Adrenals.

Will pomegranate help MEN who have adrenal exhaustion? (Sue, Texas)

Pomegranate does not support adrenals…men need adrenal support as well.

Do you feel soy is too strong an estrogen to take? (Debbie – Orlando)

I only recommend eating fermented soy product, i.e. miso, tempeh…not tofu. As for supplements, I prefer the Pomegranate Health products.

If my progesterone level is low, how can I increase it without the use of bioidential hormones? I’m taking bioidentical hormones now that include progesterone and a little estrogen. (Cindi – Tallahassee)

Yes…try using Maca and BalancePom. Always address the adrenals. I prefer to use homeopathic hormones which I use with my patients. Be sure to read my book Hormone Heresy. Remember, estrogen is usually what women need but you cannot stop it cold turkey.

What do you recommend for vaginal dryness? (Tempest – Herlong)

MoisturePom from  And then address kidney yin deficiency long term. You will need to get the Chinese herbal tincture from me directly. It is not available as a retail product.

I am a holistic health counselor and help women to enjoy their bodies by eating whole, fresh foods. I have lost weight, practice yoga, eliminated gluten and dairy and other food sensitivities, been on a candida diet…still have IBS and migraines. Any thoughts?  (Sheryl  – Fall River)

Start by using the probiotic Theralac – one a day for a month and then 2 a week as a maintenance program.

Dr. Sellman, Can you give us the name of the Endocrinologist in Vancouver? (Carol – San Francisco)

Jerilynn Prior

I have been using bio-identical HRT for about 13 years and just this year I have started to see my skin look as though I am 70/80 years of age. 🙁  Is this a symptom of estrogen? Is there any way to help restore my skin health elasticity? I am 58 years old.  (Carol – Palm Coast, Florida)

Yes…but to really help you, it is best to arrange a consultation to address the underlying health issues. Skin is an inside process primarily. Having said that, I do recommend a very special skin rejuvenation program. Contact me at my website below for details. Also use AgelessPom from

Is hCG ( human chorionic gonadotropin) effective for weight loss using a vegetarian diet? (Helen – Seattle)


Tuned in late to the teleseminar but what I heard was extremely informative (I’m from the NY area and will be looking into Dr. Sellman’s visit on May 8). You might have addressed this in the earlier part, but as a 56 year old in the throws of menopause, my only major complaint is that I would be so happy if I could get a good nights sleep! I’ve done maca, ashwaghandi (sp), rodiola, you name it. And if you can help with thinning hair, I would love it, but the sleeplessness is of most concern. Thank you so much. (Teri)

Sleep issues are related to a various things…low levels of melatonin, exhausted adrenal glands, stress, blood sugar imbalances, parasites etc etc. Sleep in total darkness with a sleep mask, take all electrical devices away from your head at night, and use adrenal support.

Please listen to my recent teleseminar, read Hormone Heresy and subscribe to my website – the link is at the bottom of this post. There are many insights there to understand the root cause issues.

I need to say that unfortunately for me this description of misery; “anxiety attacks, mood swings and aggressiveness that made her feel close to insane…I was spiraling down a black hole that swallowed me by degrees every day.”  was how going through menopause naturally was. I tried a short course of the so called Bio-identical hormones, and they only made the nightmare worse! I have been suffering from menopausal symptoms for almost 14 years, and am now postmenopausal, but have yet to find anything that makes me feel a whole lot better. I took Pomegranate Health BalancePom for two months, but I am still flashing regularly and have bouts of anxiety, apathy and feelings of aversion and aggression toward my loved ones. I am too frightened to try HRT again, but I am wondering why the (BalancePom) is not really working for me. I also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and I’m thinking that perhaps it’s not just my reproductive hormones that are causing my distress. If anyone has any suggestions or advice, I would so appreciate it. (Darlene)

Your health issues seem to be more chronic than one supplement can resolve. My website and book will be truly enlightening to you since it explains exactly the cause of your health issues. It has many free articles and special reports that will help you understand what is going on with you.

What is the cost of the saliva testing? (Andrea – NYC)

The Adrenal Stress panel provides a reliable stress marker, revealing adrenal imbalances. Changes in circulating levels of cortisol and DHEA indicate shifts in adrenal function that can affect an individual’s energy, disease resistance, and emotional state. The adrenal hormones, cortisol and DHEA-SO4, are directly involved in the body’s growth, immune response, and cardiovascular function. Cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, depression, and osteoporosis are some of the conditions that result from adrenal hormone imbalance. They affect carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism, act as anti-inflammatory agents, modulate thyroid function, and help in stress related conditions. This innovative saliva test employs cutting edge twenty-first century technology with the ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine.

The following 11 saliva tests are performed in this Comprehensive 24 hour Circadian Endocrine Profile: 5 Cortisol Tests, DHEA, Progesterone, Estradiol, Testosterone, Food Intolerance Tests, and Gliaden (Gluten Intolerance). The cost is $199.

I will need to arrange to get the test sent to you. The results are sent to me and we will follow up with a one hour consultation to design a protocol. My one hour consultation is $145. Please contact me at the website below.

And post your additional questions and comments right here.  I’ll be sure to answer them on the blog!

Peace be with you,

Dr. Sherrill Sellman


It’s Neal Holtzman from Pomegranate Health. I’m sitting here, drinking in the cool of the morning after so many days of unbearable heat.

And these high temps got me thinking some deep thoughts . . .

See, as you may know, Kim and I also spend a lot of time in Israel. Our pomegranate products were developed in Israel by a leading research scientist. And there I’ve seen how even in the hottest, driest, craggiest spot, green plants take root. They scrounge every drop of water. They just about thumb their noses at the desert sun and thrive under seemingly impossible circumstances.

One of these tough, resilient desert denizens is the beautiful pomegranate.

Now, there are literally hundreds of studies on this plant (last time I checked there were 569 peer-reviewed articles published.) I spend a lot of time digging into this undeniable wealth of evidence about how pomegranate can help with heart health, aging, memory, skin care, hormonal health, and more . . .

But sometimes you need to step back from the laboratory reports and simply let that ancient and wise part of you observe and appreciate the wonders of nature.

Here’s this incredible tree, unlike any other plant on the planet. And it survives in places few plants can.

Not only that, it produces this brilliant, juicy red fruit!

No wonder, so many traditional healers have held it in such esteem. No wonder we’re finding its unique chemistry can help us contend with the tough stuff life throws at us.

Remember, our products contain 100% pomegranate extracts. These extracts are carefully sourced to give you the best support the pomegranate offers.

We tap into all the different resources this fruit offers – the seeds and the rind, as well as the pulp and juice. And we use research to assess which parts of the pomegranate work best for which health concerns.

And where pomegranate is mixed with other ingredients, we continue to use only the best nature offers.

So enjoy some of the good stuff such heat can produce. Go get yourself some of the desert’s secret for survival.

Yours in good health,

Neal Holtzman
Co-Founder, Pomegranate Health

We’re all used to the idea that a drug may have some side effects. And sometimes we’re willing to trade off some risks for the potential results.

But when a drug’s “side effects” actually causes the exact harm that the drug is supposed to protect against – we need to take this issue seriously.

Just last week (October 13), 2 years after research indicated that this was a concern, the FDA finally required the makers of osteoporosis drugs Boniva, Actonel and Fosamax to place a warning that these drugs have been linked to an increase risk for hip fractures among the listed side effects.

Granted, the numbers are not overwhelming – but they are significant. Women taking these drugs have experienced femur bone fractures just below the hip joint in disproportionate numbers. . . from just walking around!

The fact of the matter is . . . this is just a smidgen of the larger misperceptions surrounding bone health and aging. We’re warned to take our calcium, get on these drugs . . . or face the consequences in the form of osteoporosis.

But really for most women this is not necessarily the case. For over 2 decades, I’ve studied bone health across cultures and made some very interesting discoveries. Discoveries that contradict much of what we’re told to do to build and keep healthy bones.

Did you know . . .

  • Osteoporosis is not the result of aging.
  • Osteoporosis is not a disorder of the elderly.
  • Women are not more physiologically predisposed to osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis is not caused by low estrogen or low calcium intake.
  • Osteoporosis is not common around the world.
  • Osteoporosis is not caused by faulty bone metabolism.
  • Osteoporotic fractures do not occur because of low bone density.
  • It is always possible to rebuild bone.
  • Osteoporosis is not an isolated condition.

Get the facts about osteoporosis.

Bone loss is not a “mistake” made by your body. It is, in fact, the long-term end result of a protective mechanism developed to maintain balance in the short term. Bones only become fragile if they haven’t been given the nutrients and support they need.

If you eat an imbalanced diet and live an imbalanced lifestyle, you’ll get imbalance in your body, and osteoporosis will develop as your body looks to your bones to supply the minerals and other nutrients it needs to sustain life.

And the opposite is true as well: the more balanced your diet and lifestyle, the more balanced your body will be, resulting in a decreased need to sacrifice bone for the maintenance of critical chemical homeostasis.

Please leave your comments and questions below. Your input is what helps me create the resources we need to develop stronger bones through the right information.

About Dr. Susan E. Brown, Ph.D.

Susan E. Brown, PhD, is a medical anthropologist, a New York State Certified Nutritionist, and the author of Better Bones, Better Body — the first comprehensive look at natural bone health. To find more information about her alternative approach to fighting osteoporosis, go to her website:

Dr. Brown is one of 7 natural health experts who are participating in a special FREE hormone health teleseminar series produced by Pomegranate Health and WomanWise International.

History is written by the winners. When it comes to the history of women’s health issues, hindsight has revealed that economic interests and unfounded medical biases have encouraged women to use dangerous and unproven treatments. As a result, drug companies and the medical profession have reaped great financial rewards. W omen, however, have suffered and even died as a result.

We so easily forget history as it fades into the mists of time. The history of treating women with unproven and dangerous drugs and procedures is rarely remembered these days. But the wounds remain.

The anti-morning sickness drug, thalidomide, still conjures up images of deformed children. The first synthetic estrogen called DES used from 1940-1970 to prevent miscarriage was used on 10, million American women without adequate testing. It was discovered to cause breast cancer in the women and aggressive cancers and reproductive abnormalities their offspring. Sadly, it never prevented miscarriage. (It was known in 1938 that DES could cause breast cancer.)

HRT, the supposed salvation of menopausal women, is a more recent historical footnote of medical mistakes. We’ll never know how many women died of HRT- induce breast cancer. However, the latest report has shown that the incidence of breast cancer has fallen dramatically is the past 4 years. This directly coincides to the decline in HRT use after a major study, the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002, found direct correlation with breast cancer and HRT use.

It seems that there is long history of women becoming unwitting guinea pigs for the medical/pharmaceutical interests.

More recently, a great deal of media attention is being focused on the development of the new MERCK vaccine, Gardasil, to prevent cervical cancer. Through Merck’s extensive and expensive national lobbying campaign, many states are being persuaded to mandate this vaccine to all 6th grade girls. T he vaccine addresses four viruses. Two of them are for genital warts that are not associated with cervical cancer. The other virus strains are causative factors for an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancer cases

The cost of the vaccine is $360 and delivered in three injections. It is the most expensive vaccine in history.

Prepubescent girls are the recipients of this vaccine because it is most effective when given to girls before they have been sexually active and exposed to the sexually transmitted virus, the human papillomavirus (HPV)

A vaccine that supposedly prevents cervical cancer evokes a tremendous amount of emotion. After all, who wouldn’t want to prevent their daughters from getting cervical cancer?

As with most “miracle” cures, however, there is more going on than meets the eye.

First, lets look at cervical cancer statistics. Cervical cancer has been declining in the last decade. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006 there were only be 9,710 new cases of cervical cancer, and only 3,700 deaths.

The prevailing theory is that the HPV virus causes cervical caner. There are over 100 strains of HPV. Fifteen of those strains have been associated with cervical cancer. Ninety percent of women will spontaneously clear HPV within 2 years.

With a total female population of just over 147,000,000, that translates to only about one in 2,500,000 women dying of cervical cancer.

How deadly is cervical cancer? The vast majority of cervical cancer deaths are in women who have never had a pap test. Not ever. Even one lifetime pap reduces the already very small chance of dying of cervical cancer from tiny to ridiculously miniscule. Those who die are those who do not get screened (for whatever reason, be it financial, cultural, socioeconomic, or other access issues.)

Even ignoring the limited incidence of cervical cancer, the facts are worrying. The vaccine is very new with only 3 1/2 years of testing, a very small sample of only 1,184 preteen girls was studied and there is a disturbingly short guarantee of immunity.

The vaccine has been on the market for only eight months, not nearly enough time to discover the range of adverse effects before administering it to millions of little girls.

Not surprisingly, Merck cannot guarantee there will be no long term health consequences, as have occurred with other vaccines. They also cannot guarantee long term protection (a “booster” shot may be required after five years).

Since it’s approval 8 months ago, there have already been 82 adverse effects reported including asthma, arthritis and auto-immune diseases

Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center is very concerned. “That’s a thin base of testing upon which to make a vaccine mandatory,”

All of these questions should be considered against the backdrop of Merck’s financial position. The Wall Street Journal says mandatory vaccination would be an “automatic blockbuster” for the pharmaceutical company, at a time when its patents on other bestselling drugs are expiring. . If Gardasil is mandated throughout the U.S, Merck could expect a windfall of over a billion or more in profits.

By the way, because Gardasil is a CDC “blessed” vaccine, you can’t sue Merck for injuries sustained because of Gardasil. They’re given immunity

Considering all the facts, do you really want your 11 and 12 year old daughters to be the next generation of guinea pigs?

Dr. Sherrill Sellman, a naturopathic doctor, psychotherapist, best-selling author, and international lecturer, can be contacted though her website:

Hormones often confound us. They seem confusing . . . mysterious . . . even malevolent at times.

These powerful chemicals ride our bloodstream. They rule many of our cells’ activities. And imbalanced hormones certainly make us feel out of whack.

Unfortunately there’s plenty of misinformation about these chemicals. At times these myths have had tragic consequences like the wave of endometrial cancer that followed estrogen replacement therapy.

As women who are taking control of our health, we need information that helps us make good decisions. And Dr. Sellman’s excellent new edition of her passionate, insightful and well-researched book, Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones provides this.

As Dr. Sellman explains, menopause doesn’t have to hit us like a Mack truck. And there are gentler and healthier ways to manage this transition that beat treatments like Hormone Replacement Therapy by a million miles.

In fact as a Pomegranate Health customer, you have a lot more insight into satisfying approaches to menopause than most women facing this challenge. And because you’ve chosen a way to work with your body’s natural transition . . . you’re actually a hormone heretic like Dr. Sellman!

So we’d like to ask you to help us spread the word about menopause management alternatives and Pomegranate Health.

And in exchange, we’d love to give you a free copy of Dr. Sellman’s new book.

Here’s how you can help (You’ve got at least five different ways to do this):

  1. Make a YouTube video;
  2. Write on your Facebook page;
  3. Create a post for your blog;
  4. Tweet 7 times;
  5. Start a discussion thread on your favorite women’s health forum.

All we ask is that you do the following:

I. Make the topic: The Hormonal Imbalance of Menopause: How (I’m Mastering/I Mastered) It Successfully

II. Include a reference to Pomegranate Health and a link to our home page (

III. When you’ve done this – send us the links to where we can find your menopause-maven heresy-spreading activities – and then we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Sellman’s book ($19.95 value) in our appreciation for your efforts.

Let’s get the word out!

Just so you know, we’re only giving out 10 copies of her book with this event. So let us know asap once you’ve helped us spread the word.

Is sugar your drug of choice? For many Americans, especially children, the sad answer is yes.

Excess sugar doesn’t just lead to diabetes. Even though we’ve been told that saturated fat leads to obesity and heart disease, it’s really our addiction to sugar that’s fueling both of those chronic conditions.

You don’t have to be a slave to a sugar addiction if you practice a few commonsense habits. Here’s how to escape sugar’s grip.

1. Have a good breakfast. Start your day off right with a breakfast low in sugar and high in complex carbohydrates and protein.

If you grab a donut or a bagel or a soft pretzel in the morning, you’re setting yourself up for a spike in sugar followed by a sugar crash mid-morning. Once that cycle starts, it just keeps going the rest of the day.

Instead, try a bowl of whole grain oatmeal and fruit and you should have a good even energy level all morning that takes you comfortably to lunchtime. Another good choice is toasted sprouted grain bread with some organic peanut butter or almond butter.

2. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes when you think you’re craving something sweet, you are actually dehydrated. Before you grab for a sugary snack, try drinking a glass of water and then waiting a few minutes. The urge for something sweet may well subside.

And make sure it’s plain old water. Diet sodas definitely won’t work. Nor will anything with caffeine since the highs and lows will just contribute to blood sugar fluctuations and make things worse.

3. Eat whole fruit and sweet vegetables. Before there were cookies and processed foods made with white flour, the human taste for sweet things had to be satisfied through the subtle sweetness of whole grains, sweet vegetables like yams, onions and carrots, and whole fruits and berries.

These all have the added benefit of being full of fiber, vitamins and minerals and will satisfy sugar cravings for hours.

4. Use natural sweeteners. Rather than using artificial sweeteners and white refined sugar, try using natural sweeteners that also have some nutrients still intact.

Good choices are raw honey, maple syrup, dried fruit and brown rice syrup. Remember that even these should be used sparingly but just a little will go a long way in taming cravings.

5. Get enough sleep. Sugar cravings are often a signal from your body that it needs energy and when you are overly tired or stressed your body will give you the sugar signal more often.

These few habits can go a long way in freeing you of a sugar addiction.

Now it’s your turn. Is sugar your drug of choice? How do you deal with sugar cravings? Leave a comment and let us know what works for you.