Ask Larry:

Question: I have been using your progesterone cream and other supplements for quite a few years. I really appreciate how helpful everyone is when I come in to the store.

I find that I have a little more anxiety over the past year and I am always looking to keep myself balanced. I just started using fish oil to help with the increase in my cholesterol levels. So far, at age 55 I am on NO medications and want to keep it that way.

I had a visit to my MD last week as I scratched a mole on the back of my neck. They took my blood pressure and it read 120/80. A few days later while applying an ointment I felt a bump near the site. For some reason, this got me VERY nervous. I had to wait a few days to get back in to see the doctor and had time to imagine all kinds of things. Well, the bump turned out to be nothing but my BP jumped that day to 160/83.

The doctor said not to worry as I was just too nervous. Never knew BP could jump that fast. It certainly got me worried.

Anyway, I am all about prevention and a strong supporter of natural remedies. I have increased my intake of dark chocolate, spinach, green tea and bananas as I believe this is good for BP. Outside of the BP incident and the increase in cholesterol levels, all other panels are fine as of my last blood work. I really want to be on a healthy regimen but do not know if there is a formula I should follow to determine what supplements to take. I take many now and do feel good. One trip to the MD each year is enough for me. I also took the saliva test years ago and wondered if that is something you still recommend.

I am interested in getting your book. I know this is long and I appreciate you reading it. You may not be able to answer it and I do understand. If you have any suggestions however, I will welcome them. The doctors really do not want to talk about natural remedies too much.

Larry’s Response: Fish oil is an excellent supplement for many reasons. Personally, I am convinced that everyone pays way too much attention to cholesterol levels and work feverishly to get them lower and lower – all the while feeling poorer and poorer.

You mention that you use progesterone. I hope you are using it according to the cycling plan we publish – especially taking a few days off each month (or cycle).

The top number (systolic) in blood pressure readings is particularly sensitive to change. Emotions, fear, happiness, sitting, running, sleeping, and so on, can make that number rise or fall by several points in just a few seconds. The lower number (diastolic) varies, but not by much.

The top number reflects the pressure when the heart pumps and the veins contract.

The bottom number reflects the pressure between beats when the heart is relaxing.

Most doctors “should” understand that changes in the bottom are more important than changes in the top number. Moving from 120 to 163 isn’t a significant event when you know that something might have triggered it. You report that you were VERY nervous about that bump. That in itself can easily push the top number up – as can merely visiting the doctor. That’s so common they even have a name for it, “white coat anxiety”.

If you are concerned about blood pressure – and I don’t see that 120/80 is anything to be fretful about – get a good blood pressure machine, take a reading in the morning and in the evening every day. Keep a record. Use those numbers instead of anything you might get at a doctors’ office.

Eating well and including anti-inflammatory foods is great. I am a strong advocate of dark chocolate – especially when it is over 50% cocoa solids.

Supplements are good and there are people who offer all sorts of lab testing to help a person discover what they may be lacking. I have concluded the tests are too expensive and don’t actually tell you anything important. Instead, I suggest simple supplementation, clean water, good food, exercise, meditation, and so on. It takes effort – and it is good to use daily multivitamins and minerals.

I used to be a big fan of saliva testing. My excitement has waned as I evaluated hundreds of results. From my perspective, everyone is estrogen dominant. The best approach to better balance is to remove estrogens and estrogen-like chemicals and use progesterone according to the cycling schedule. Of course, clean water, exercise, and regular meditation are also part of the mix. I figure that it is more effort than needed to take a saliva test (and pay for it) just to discover what is already obvious.

My book is available at The Compounder and online. I even think Amazon still sells it (haven’t looked for awhile, though).

Don’t pay much mind to what doctors say about nutrition, supplements, and natural approaches. They don’t offer those things so don’t be disappointed when they don’t seem eager to support your ideas about health. You wouldn’t expect to find fresh vegetables at a tire store, so don’t expect to find support for healthy living at an office that does tests and prescribes drugs.