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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                May 1, 2009 
  • Low Inflammation Important to Heart Health
  • Bacterial Soaps Just Too Risky 
  • Stress and Your Pets
  • Important Help for Osteoporosis

Feel Better... Live Better

Low Inflammation Important to Heart Health 

The Inflammation Process

Until recently, most experts believed that having good cholesterol levels and a normal blood pressure were enough to ensure a healthy heart. But one disturbing fact has continued to confound researchers. Why do 50% of heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels? Clearly, if high cholesterol was the major indicator of heart disease, then these "normal" cholesterol heart attacks should not be occurring.  


Inflammation and Disease
The Inflammation Hypothesis of Disease has been around for many years. It says that all degenerative disease (and aging) is the result of increased levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is first the result of tissue damage from chemicals called "free radicals". Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism; some are used by your body's immune system to neutralize viruses and bacteria. High stress living along with environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also produce free radicals.


Free Radicals Damage
Inflammation is the result of your immune system's response to free radicals damaging tissue in your body. Too many free radicals overload your body's ability to neutralize them resulting in elevated total body inflammation levels. Excess free radicals begin to attack your tissues causing tears and breaks in the cells. In an effort to defend and heal the body, your immune system responds to these attacks by releasing certain inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals create redness and swelling (much like you see on your arm if you cut it) is designed to stimulate the immune system to heal the damage.


Antioxidants and Your Health
Antioxidants are natural compounds designed to neutralize free radicals. Most antioxidants are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Generally, any food with a nice bright color has larger amounts of antioxidants. Common antioxidants that you may have heard about are vitamins A, C, E and lycopene. Daily intake of these antioxidant loaded foods helps reduce total free radical amounts, speeds the healing for damaged cells and slows the aging process. Adults should strive for 7 servings (a serving size is 1/4 cup) of fruits and vegetables daily.   

Testing for Inflammation. C-Reactive Protein

The CRP test is a good way to determine total body inflammation levels. It gives a better assessment of your heart health than just testing cholesterol alone. Recent studies have shown people with increased CRP levels and normal cholesterol have a several-fold higher risk of heart problems. Not only that, at least one study found treating people with normal LDL cholesterol and high CRP levels led to a reduction in their risk of heart attacks.


Lowering Total Body Inflammation
There are many naturally occurring ways to reduce inflammation. A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables is the best place to start. Additionally you'll want to look at adding plant based essential fatty acids, vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D, and adequate water. Finally, don't forget to lower stress levels by participating in daily relaxation techniques and 3 hours of moderate exercise per week. 

Eating the right balance of foods can give you many of the antioxidnats you need
for good health. Contact us to discuss how Fresh Start can help you, in a healthy way,
learn to make better food choices. You will improve energy and stamina while feeling and
looking your best. Call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 to schedule your free Fresh Start
consultation. You can also email to



Bacterial Soaps Just Too Risky 

Super Clean is Not Good

In an effort to fulfill the age old saying "cleanliness is next to Godliness," the use of antibacterial soaps is on the rise. The liberal use of soap is a good thing, but antibacterial soaps present several major risks. As early as 2005, researchers at Virginia Tech found that the active chemical ingredient in antibacterial soaps, triclosan, can cause two major health problems. First, consumers who use the soaps may be exposed to significant quantities of the cancer causing substance chloroform. Also, long term use of these soaps creates an unhealthy balance of antibiotic resistant bacteria on the skin. They found bacteria resistant to some of the more popular antibiotic drugs like chloramphenicol, ampicillin, tetracycline and ciprofloxacin.


Dr. Peter Vikesland, an environmental chemist at Virginia Tech had this to say about antibacterial soaps, "This is the first work that we know of that suggests that consumer products, such as antimicrobial soap, can produce significant quantities of chloroform. There are numerous potential exposure pathways that can be envisioned, such as inhalation and skin exposure, when using antimicrobial soaps to wash dishes or when taking a shower. There is also risk of exposure when using triclosan laden moisturizers as they may also react with chlorine in the water."


What is Triclosan?

Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial agent found in a wide variety of products. Its broad spectrum, bacteria fighting ability has made it popular in an ever increasing number of personal care products, cosmetics, antimicrobial creams, acne treatments, lotions, hand soaps, and dish soaps. Triclosan goes under the trade name Microban®, when used in plastics and clothing and Biofresh® when used in acrylic fibers. Even though Triclosan is effective at killing bacteria, it is registered as a pesticide with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill some type of life form. The EPA considers triclosan a high risk for human health and the environment.


Why is Chloroform so Bad?

When triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps, reacts with the chlorine in the tap water, chloroform is created. Chloroform is a central nervous system depressant and cancer causing compound. The U.S. Department of Labor has strict guidelines when it comes to contact with chloroform. Chronic inhalation of chloroform may cause psychiatric and neurological symptoms, including depression, hallucinations and moodiness. In one study, liver enlargement was demonstrated in 17 of 68 workers exposed to chloroform at low levels for 1 to 4 years. Alcoholics are more at risk from chloroform because ethanol increases chloroform's toxic effects.


Some Bacteria are Good for You

The bacteria on your skin serve as a part of your skin's natural defense mechanism. Your skin uses healthy bacteria to keep colonies of unhealthy bacteria at bay. Without the healthy bacteria, the unhealthy ones can take over and create infections and other skin problems. Destroy all the healthy bacteria with antibacterial soap and you set yourself up for big problems. The constant use of antibacterial soaps is similar to using antibiotics for every little cold or sneeze. All antibacterial products should be used sparingly so that resistant strains of bacteria do not develop. Using antibiotics only when necessary ensures they will remain effective when the need arises.


Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

When bacteria are exposed to long term, low doses of antibiotics, some of them can develop antibiotic resistance. Resistant bacteria must be treated with other, sometimes stronger antibiotics. In rare instances, there is no known medication that will kill the bacteria. It is wiser to use antibiotics sparingly and for shorter duration. The constant use of antimicrobials, as in the antibacterial soaps, creates a real long term health hazard; one that is easily avoidable with regular soap.

A strong immune system is the key to excellent health. Building a strong immunity is
just one of 8 healthy lifestyle habits we teach. We provide the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best.
For a free consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to    

Pets and People  


Stress and Your Pets

Challenging Times
You live in challenging times and external stressors abound.  The economy, the swine flu and the news in general all present a source of stress.  It's been long proven that owning a pet has beneficial effects on your health.  Studies have shown that even a few minutes of petting a cat or dog can lower your blood pressure and release endorphins that put you in a better mood.  Pets are the greatest source of stress relief and masters at showing us not only how to relax, but how to live in the moment without worrying about the future.
Stress Affects Your Pets
So we know that pets can help you be less stressed.  But did you know that your stress can make your pets sick? Unfortunately stress has the same detrimental effect on your pet's body at it does on yours.  Since pets are so sensitive to your emotions, they can become sick as a result of your stress. People and pets often mirror each others' physical and emotional states.  Animals are natural healers and sometimes take on your health problems, often in an attempt to help you. This happens because of the deep bond shared between you and your pet.  In such a close relationship, energy is shared and energetic imbalances are shared as well.   
Stress Changes Behaviors
Dr. Fern Crist, of The Cat Hospital of Fairfax, says: "As a veterinarian, I frequently see cats who are urinating outside the litterbox.  While this undesirable behavior may be caused by a variety of medical problems, it can also be caused or exacerbated by stress.  It may be the cat's stress, such as having a new cat to adjust to in the house; but it can just as easily be the owner's stress.  The emotional turmoil brought on by such difficulties as household financial problems, frequent job travel, marital differences, new babies, and home remodeling can affect our cats in very tangible ways." 

She went on to say, "Our stress can induce undesirable behaviors in our cats, such as inappropriate urination. More importantly, our stress can also influence the development of actual physical illness in our cats as well as in ourselves.  As responsible owners, we sometimes need to take a good look at ourselves when we ask why our pets are having problems.  Stress relief for pet owners won't solve every pet health problem, but can go a long way toward alleviating many of them."

Stress Relief for You and Your Pet
This highlights the importance of stress relief not only for your own health and well-being but also for your pet. Reiki can help relieve stress in people and pets. Getting a Reiki treatment for yourself helps you and ultimately prevents your stress from affecting your pet.  If your pet is already affected by your stress, joint treatments for you and your pet can often be very beneficial.

Ingrid King is a writer, Reiki Master Practitioner and owner of Healing Hands. She publishes a FREE E-zine with topics ranging from conscious living for you and your pets to holistic and alternative health topics.  Healing Hands provides Reiki for pets and people.  Ingrid also hosts a popular blog, "The Conscious Cat".  She is the author of "Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher", to be published later this year.  For more information about Ingrid and Healing Hands, please visit


Help for Brittle Bones... Be Bone Strong!

"Healthy Bones Come From a Healthy Body" Woody McMahon

We have just introduced a new Fresh Start program called Be Bone Strong! Another
in our series of healthy lifestyle programs, Be Bone Strong! is the only complete osteoporosis prevention and repair program. Unlike other programs that just
focus on medications, calcium and vitamin D to increase bone density, Be Bone Strong! works to modify ALL the lifestyle factors that lead to poor bone quality.
Included in the program are:

The "Big 5 for Healthy Bones"

1. Dietary changes that balance protein with fruit and vegetable intake.
Fruits and veggies contain greater amounts of water, minerals and antioxidants with generally lesser amounts of animal protein to reduce total body inflammation.
2. Calculate optimum water intake for maximum hydration. Water is very important
in helping the kidneys regulate pH and detoxify the body.
3. Increase daily stress reduction activities. This helps lower cortisol and homocystein
levels while reducing calcium loss.
4. Establish year round vitamin D3 levels in the 50-80 ng/mL (or 125-200 nM/L).
This should be confirmed by regular 25-hydroxyvitamin D testing.
5. Safe and sufficient weight bearing exercise to stimulate muscle growth and balance. This is essential for increasing bone quality and preventing falls.


Test your bone knowledge and take our Strong Bones Healthy Body Quiz at


To learn more about Be Bone Strong! or to schedule a Free consultation, please go to and click on Be Bone Strong!.

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon

The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Dive
Herndon, VA 20170  

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis,
treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. 

Copyright (c) 2006-2009 by Sequoia Health and Fitness
, Inc.

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