Dark Chocolate Helps you Pay Attention

June 25, 2015


Eating dark chocolate may help to boost attention levels and lower blood pressure. Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at North Arizona University, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the acute effects of chocolate on attentional characteristics of the brain. The researchers examined the effect that consuming a 60 % cacao chocolate had on the brain (using electroencephalography [EEG]) and blood pressure. A total of 122 participants aged 18-25 were enrolled on the study. Results showed that eating 60% cacao chocolate made the brain more alert and attentive, but it also increased blood pressure for a short time. However, an immediate drop in blood pressure was recorded in participants who consumed 60% cacao chocolate that also contained L-theanine (an amino acid analogue found in green tea). “Chocolate is indeed a stimulant and it activates the brain in a really special way,” said Professor Stevens. “It’s remarkable. The potential here is for a heart healthy chocolate confection that contains a high level of cacao with L-theanine that is good for your heart, lowers blood pressure and helps you pay attention.”

Reminder! Upcoming Event. Intimate Discussion and Dinner with Dr. Gina ~ Wednesday June 24th 6:30-9:30 PM

June 22, 2015

Please join us!


HealthBridge Medical Center is inviting you to share what our patients are learning about optimal health. It’s a fascinating journey that most people wished they knew about years ago. We are all excited to share with you, your family and friends this amazing insight!

Feel healthy. Be healthy. Your body has the ability to heal itself.

Learning the secrets to optimal health and mental, emotional and physical balance.

Dr. Gina Nick, NMD, PhD is a CA and HI licensed and practicing Naturopathic Physician, President Emeritus of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, an author, mother and entrepreneur, community volunteer and founder of HealthBridge Medical Center in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, CA. Dr. Nick is one of Susan Sommers’ recommended physicians specializing in hormone balance, and is a member of the Forever Health Network. She is a physician spokesperson for the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM), serves on the Board of Directors for numerous medical and non profit associations, and was a featured physician on PBS. She has been in practice for 17 years.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

6:30PM – 9:30 PM

Onotria Wine Country Cuisine, 2831 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 641-5952

$48/person includes 3 course menu (with gluten free options).
Cash or credit card payment upon arrival.
Beverages are not included. “Cash and carry”.

Please RSVP to Julee Nishimi promptly at jnishimi@gmail.com or (714) 307-2991 or contact our office anytime. Seats are limited.

HealthBridge Medical Center
949-715-9321 x2
1401 Avocado Avenue Suite 810 Newport Beach, CA 92660

FDA Essentially Bans Trans Fats

June 18, 2015

small_food_packageNaturopathic Physicians have been educating the public and their patients on the dangers of trans fats (also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) for 30 plus years based on studies from the 1970’s showing a link between these artificial fats and heart disease.

Finally, the FDA, in an effort to prevent heart attacks and deaths, finalized its determination that the main sources of artificial trans fat are not safe. FDA gave food manufacturers until June 2018 to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from their products after concluding that the oils are not so-called GRAS, or generally recognized as safe.

It’s hopeful that our government is finally taking action and acknowledging the SIGNIFICANT impact that our food supply has on the state of health of our citizens, and the major economic burden the US shoulders to manage chronic illnesses that can easily be prevented by removing artificial chemicals, excess sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the like from our food supply.

Research identified a relationship between folic acid deficiencies and birth defects as early as 1965. It was not until 1992 that the United States Public Health Service shared this critical knowledge with the country and recommended that all women of childbearing age, capable of becoming pregnant, consume 400mcg of folic acid per day. It took the scientific community almost 30 years to accept that a nutrient deficiency might cause a gross distortion in human neuronal development and to recommend supplementation. Tens of thousands of children were born during this time with preventable birth defects.

Let’s use common sense, and consider listening to the doctors who pay attention to the research as it comes available rather then waiting 30 years to act on it, and who are tirelessly working to educate the public on the importance of quality food and the power of nutritional medicine to prevent and treat disease.

In health,
Dr. Gina

It’s not all in your head — it’s in your gut, too

June 10, 2015

a new way to heal stress and anxietyA new study finds decreased social anxiety among young adults who eat fermented foods. Further evidence of the connection between the gut and mood disorders, and hope for a better alternative to addictive benzodiazepenes.

In health,
Dr. Gina

Antibiotic Use in Infants Causes Disease Later in Life

May 21, 2015

Interesting new datahappy_baby is linking antibiotic use in infants (a common practice) to allergies, infectious disease and autoimmune disease later in life.  Limiting overprescribing of antibiotics, paired with appropriate probiotic use in infants will help to prevent unnecessary suffering as children mature.  Fortunately today there are simple and effective lab tests available to look at the gut ecology in children and adults, to determine if there is an unhealthy alteration of gut bacteria, and what probiotics (if any) to use.

In health,

Dr. Gina

The Brain Gut Connection

May 12, 2015
Sickness Syndrome is becoming more mainstream! I have been speaking, publishing and applying this knowledge with  patients at HealthBridge Medical Center for years with great success.
Read below as a Johns Hopkins expert discusses one of the key underlying causes of anxiety and depression.  Excellent news for people challenged with these issues as it means real, long term treatment with less side effects and more focus on true healing of the body.
Anxiety and depression have been thought to contribute to gastro conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A Johns Hopkins expert explains how what’s going on in your gut could be affecting your brain. Click here to read more…
In health,

Toxic Feminine Hygiene Products

November 28, 2014

Here is an informative post about a report released by the Women’s Voices for the Environment called “Chem Fatale” that examined the toxicity of various feminine hygiene products. They found that tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products contain unwanted chemicals and pesticides, and can be detrimental to women’s health.

Below is the full discussion. Products applied vaginally can enter the circulation quickly, making it especially important for women to be aware of this.

In health,

Dr. Gina


The Dirty Secrets of Feminine Hygiene Products

The Gerson Institute

I know menstruation—and the vagina, generally—is a conversational topic that often prompts expressions of disgust, mockery, gross-out jokes or pleas for ignorance, particularly from men. But let’s all agree to be mature adults here, and talk seriously about a health issue that affects nearly every woman on the planet, and is too often ignored out of misguided politeness or squeamishness.

The average woman will have about 350 menses in her lifetime, which, given an estimated average period length of 6 days, means she will spend a total of nearly 6 years of her life menstruating. It’s estimated that the average woman uses up to 11,800 tampons in her lifetime. So that’s a lot of sustained exposure to menstrual products. And in addition to menstrual products, an estimated 10-40% of women use other feminine hygiene products such as douches, wipes, deodorants and creams

The female genitalia is the home to a very delicate balance of bacteria and yeast. If that balance is disturbed, one can end up with painful conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and yeast infections. Some of these infections, particularly UTIs, can become quite acutely severe.

The best way to safeguard against these common, but potentially serious, infections is to prevent them altogether, and to keep the bacteria and yeast levels in balance. While there are many things you can do to avoid UTIs, yeast infections and other problems—such as urinating before and after sexual intercourse, avoiding over-washing the area with harsh soaps, wiping front-to-back, avoiding bubble baths, and wearing cotton underwear—another is to be very cautious about what types of materials and items you put “down there.”

6 Nasty Substances Found in Feminine Hygiene Products

  • Chlorine: Used to bleach cotton menstrual products, particularly tampons and menstrual pads
  • Dioxins and furans: Known carcinogens that can cause reproductive, developmental and hormonal problems, and can have a detrimental effect on the immune system. These are by-products of the chlorine used for the bleaching process.
  • Pesticide residue: Most cotton used for tampons and pads is made from conventionally-grown cotton, which is treated with heavy pesticides. While the FDA “recommends” that tampons be free of pesticide residue, testing on the popular brand o.b. detects the presence of pesticides like pyrethrum, procymidone, mecarbam and fensulfothion—which are possible carcinogens and linked to endocrine disruption. And, while the Chem Fatale report does not mention this specifically, I would also like to mention that some brands use genetically-modified cotton. If you’re avoiding eating GMO foods, you’ll probably want to reconsider putting GMO products in other parts of your body as well.
  • Fragrance: This one simple word can contain multitudes of harmful chemicals—none of which are required to be listed or disclosed on labels. “Fragrances” can include chemicals known to be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, irritants and allergens. While these fragrances are most commonly found in douches and sanitary wipes (more on that topic later), it’s also common for pads and tampons to come with “scented” versions. Feminine deodorants and perfumes are also well-known to cause irritation and allergic reactions, in large part due to the fragrances used.
  • Parabens: Found in vaginal anti-itch creams, feminine wipes and feminine washes, typically as a preservative. Parabens are skin irritants and allergens, and may have damaging estrogenic properties.
  • Synthetic materials: Most tampons and pads are not 100% cotton these days, they are made from synthetic fabrics like rayon, or Super Absorbent Powders (SAPs). Some of these substances, along with the other chemicals and fragrances, can cause rashes and skin irritation, particularly when used in menstrual pads.

In addition to the toxicity of these various chemicals found in feminine hygiene products, I would also like to note that there are also certain types of products that are harmful to vaginal health not only due to their ingredients, but because their actual functions and purposes are inherently problematic.

Why “Douchebag” Deserves to be a Bad Word

There’s a good reason that the words “douche” and “douchebag” have become popular pejorative insults. Douches are well-deserving of the negative publicity its common usage in the modern lexicon has granted it. Douches are linked to a host of problems: vaginitis, chronic yeast infections, pregnancy complications, infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Studies have shown a correlation between regular douching and cervical cancer. They may also cause women to be more vulnerable to sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). So, why are they so harmful? And why do they remain so popular?

The reason douches cause so many problems is that they disrupt the natural self-cleaning function of the vagina, wiping out the beneficial bacteria in the vagina and leaving it vulnerable to yeast overgrowth and “bad” bacteria. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ; the mucous that lubricates it also eliminates any harmful substances that enter it, such as bad bacteria or viruses than can cause infections. A healthy vagina needs no cleansing agents; it does just fine on its own, thanks. It certainly doesn’t need the host of disinfectants, “fragrances” or other chemicals that douches, wipes and washes contain. Yet there is still a great deal of stigma and shame regarding the vagina in regards to perceived uncleanliness, or fear of odors, so some women feel compelled to clean it or “freshen” it. And yet, because douching can disrupt the all-important flora-yeast balance in the vagina, douches can actually cause the very odor issues they purported to eliminate.

Teen girls are particularly susceptible to these fears, given the multitude of anxieties surrounding puberty and the onset of menstruation, but douches are also all-too-commonly—and somewhat disproportionately—used by low-income and minority women.

Despite the near-universal condemnation of the practice by the medical and gynecological communities, the belief that douching is “an expected and necessary part of feminine hygiene” likely persists due to advertisements that perpetuate these beliefs by preying on women’s insecurities, but also by well-intentioned but poorly-informed friends and family members.

In the 1950s, a now-notorious series of manipulative ad campaigns aimed at housewives informed them that their vaginas were dirty and smelly, and made them repulsive to their husbands. The solution to their marital woes? To “freshen up” by douching with Lysol (shudder!).

Lysol ad

There’s also the persistent myth that douching prevents pregnancy. This is because archaic contraceptive methods involving douching date back practically to prehistory, and remained popular through much of the 20th century, thanks to the aforementioned Lysol ad campaigns, which were subtly angled at selling Lysol douches as a contraceptive. You may notice that, in the ad above, the tag-line refers to Lysol as a “germ-killer,” which just happens to rhyme with “sperm-killer,” and others described Lysol as a “germicide.” Lysol was, frighteningly, the most popular contraceptive in America from the 1920s until the early 1960s. Of course, it didn’t really work; a 1933 study showed that half the women surveyed who used Lysol as a contraceptive became pregnant. In some cases, douching can increase risk of pregnancy by pushing sperm up into the cervix, rather than washing it out!

So please, if you spot a bottle of Summer’s Eve under your friend, wife, daughter or partner’s bathroom sink, share this information with them, and help stop the—if you’ll pardon the bad pun—“flow” of bad information about women’s health. And, use this information to make conscious and informed choices about the products you choose to put in your body—especially in such a sensitive area!

Check back here next week, we’ll list the top natural, chemical-free alternatives to Tampax and common drugstore menstrual products!

About the Author: Ally Bacaj is the Gerson Institute’s Communications Specialist. She joined the Institute after graduating from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2010. Ally manages the design and content of our website and our blog. She also shares news from the Gerson Institute on our Facebook page, Pinterest and Twitter.

In her spare time, you can find Ally unearthing vintage treasures at the swap meet, with her nose stuck in a book or snuggling with her pet bunny, Dennis Hopper.

Photo credits: Whispered Between Women, Smithsonian Magazine


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