THANKS FOR ASKING
Virginia Responds to Reader Questions
Can Zeolites Detox Lead?
Q: Thanks for your informative article on lead poisoning and lead testing [Get the Lead Out]. I’ve been hearing a lot about liquid zeolites and how great they are for detoxifying. I’d be interested in your opinion on them and whether you think they could get rid of lead.
A: Zeolites are porous minerals associated with volcanic rock that easily absorb and release other minerals. There are at least 150 different types of zeolites, and dozens of industrial uses for them, from strengthening concrete, to making laundry detergents more effective, to water purification. The zeolite being promoted as a detoxifying agent and immune system booster, clinoptilolite, has been “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA. So, it probably won’t hurt you, but as far as its detoxifying effects on the body, it’s all theory. I can find no direct evidence of its ability to detoxify or boost the human immune system. There is research that indirectly points to this as a possible effect, but nothing even remotely definitive.
Zeolites may be the best thing since antibiotics, and I hope they are. But I’ve seen so many of these “miracle waters” come and go over the years that I’m not holding my breath. If Zeolites are so amazing, why haven’t even the simplest tests been conducted and published that relate directly to the claims being made? For example, take 10 people, do a blood or hair test for heavy metals, give them liquid zeolites for 3 months, and test them again. But nothing of this sort has been done. Why not? Zeolite promoters claim there are over 150 studies proving their claims, but in truth there isn’t even one human clinical trial that I could find. All the research they point to is about the properties of zeolites. It sounds good, but that proves nothing.
Until we have some definitive tests directly related to the claims being made for detoxification and immune system boosting in humans, I wouldn’t spend the money—$179.95 for a 4-pack of tiny bottles.
One of the best ways I know of to get rid of toxic metals in the body, short of doing chelation therapy, is to work up a good sweat. Go outside and ride a bike, walk the dog, rake some leaves, get some sunshine. Exercise, fresh air and sunshine—now there’s a proven miracle cure, and it’s free!
Everyone Processes Vitamin D Differently so Do Your Own Research
Q: In your Health Watch Vol 3 Issue 8 you state, “It just takes 15 to 20 minutes in the mid-day sun, three to four times a week, to provide you with adequate vitamin D.” This appears to be a common rule of thumb that's been kicked around for years. I'm not convinced of its accuracy and it fails to account for variables such as location.
Last spring my wife and I tested for Vitamin D. We found both of us had dangerously low blood levels of vitamin D. She sat out in the sun in an attempt to raise vitamin D levels. We live in Minnesota, so that may be a factor. The sunshine wasn't doing the trick. So far our testing has shown that for both of us it took roughly nine months of supplementing with 4,000 IU per day to raise our blood levels to the low end of “healthy.”
A: Yes, how much vitamin D you can get from the sun depends a great deal on where you live and your lifestyle, which is why I recommended in the article, “For those who live in colder, cloudier, northern climates or who just can’t get out in the sun enough, it’s probably a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement.” Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that some 83% of patients tested were deficient in vitamin D.
The numbers you quote are a general guideline based on solid research. If you want to take other factors into account, there are charts, graphs and calculations one can employ to figure out, based on geography and weather, how much sun and supplementation is needed to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. But that’s too complicated for most of us, and besides there are a host of other factors involved in how individuals process both sun and vitamin D supplements ranging from skin color to liver function, so it’s impossible to make a rule that fits everyone. The best way to find out what works for you is to test your vitamin D levels and if you’re low, start taking supplements and spending time in the sun, keep track of what you’re doing, test again in a few months and adjust your doses accordingly—just as you have done..
For those who are deficient in vitamin D, supplementing with 4,000 to 10,000 IU daily for six to nine months seems to be the range that most thoughtful health care professionals are using—with testing. And remember, vitamin D3 is the best form to use.
By Any Other Name, a Soybean is Still a Soybean
Q: I have been researching the many natural progesterone creams out on the market, and their ingredients, and even though I know you don’t recommend any one cream, there is one ingredient in particular that I would like to know if you could give me any insights on. That ingredient is listed on the tube as: “Glycine Soja Germ Extract.” I would really love to hear any pros and cons that you can offer on this ingredient and am looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and for all you do!
A: You’re welcome! It’s interesting to observe the various forms of marketing that get attached to health products. Glycine is the genus name for soybean, and glycine soja is known as “wild” soybean. Glycine Soja Germ Extract is a fancy name for soy proteins. My inside source tells me it contains antioxidants and that it’s also slightly irritating and therefore causes the skin to puff a bit, which gives the illusion of making wrinkles go away. Its ability to irritate the skin and cause puffiness is presumably why you’ll find it in lipsticks. The various forms of glycerin found in almost all skin care products do the same thing—they’re slightly irritating so they make the skin just a little puffy and voila! We have magic de-wrinkle cream! Glycerin also gives skin creams that nice smooth feeling, but be aware that its irritant properties give many people dry eyes. But back to your question—bottom line, glycine soja germ extract is soybean protein. Here’s where to find my List of Natural Progesterone Creams.