EPISODE 39
Weird Dreams & Fluorinated Water?

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Ileen asks:

I live in Chicago, we have fluorinated water. I use a carbon filter attached to the cold water line to my refrigerator. Is it safe enough to drink the water now?

Fluoride is relatively difficult to get out of water, so a carbon filter is somewhat effective. You might be able to get about half of it out with most carbon filters. A carbon filter, if you don’t know what that is, like a Brita brand. Brita is one of the biggest brands in the world for at-home carbon filters, but they make all kinds of different carbon filters. They’re bone char carbon.

The other things that are more effective would be a reverse osmosis system, which is often referred to as RO, RO water reverse osmosis. There’s some challenges with that, too, because it takes out a lot of things from your water. And then activated alumina is another type of filter that’s much more effective than a carbon filter for getting rid of fluoride.

So the deal with fluoride is, fluoride is fantastic for your teeth and has tons and tons and tons of research, and as far as dental care, it’s like a breakthrough revolution, in terms of strengthening and preserving your tooth enamel, it’s really fantastic. But all of these tests, all of this research, is all for topical use. So that would be used in things like mouth washes, toothpastes that are not ingested, gels and things that are put on your teeth. Those can be used pretty safely.

Now, there’s very little, if any, evidence to suggest that actually drinking fluoride is helpful for your teeth, and there’s a lot of suggestion that perhaps it weakens your bones, causes brittle bones and things like this. But all of the evidence, even if you’re super pro-fluoride, which I am, you never want to ingest it. It’s just a wrong use for it. You want to use it topically on your teeth, with toothpaste, with mouthwashes and with gels, but you don’t want to drink this stuff. It’s toxic, and it’s not something you want in your body.

But how do you get it out of your water? Well, in the U.S., a lot of water supplies do have it, and so a carbon filter is better than nothing and you’re doing a whole lot better by getting 50, 60 percent out. But if you know you live in an area that has a lot of fluoride in the water, you might think about getting a more complete filtration system.

Water filtration is complex and controversial and there’s no one size fits all answer. It depends on where you live, it depends on your specific water supply and you have to explore all of the options. A reverse osmosis system, for example, will remove most of that fluoride, but it also removes most of the other minerals as well, so you end up with a real weird, lifeless water, which a lot of people think is bad for you. Again, I’m not really sure, there’s good’s and bad’s to both sides of the argument.

So you’ve got to look at your water supply. You might consider getting it tested, it’s not that expensive, and then from there you could make a decision.

Susanna asks:

I bought the YOGABODY Flexibility Kit. I stopped drinking coffee 2 days ago. I’ve been doing Bikram yoga and functional exercise, TRX and kettle bell training. (If you’re not familiar with those, those are different forms of body weight, resistance training and really healthy, functional exercises that build a balanced body.) Yoga 3 times a week and gym once a week. The past two days I feel stiffer than ever. Could quitting coffee be a probable reason?

No, Susanna, you’re doing a whole bunch of new stuff, especially kettle bell, TRX, those are strength building, and then even a new yoga practice, doing yoga all the time, you’re going to feel sore. And soreness and stiffness go hand in hand. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting stiffer. In fact, you’re probably not, but it’s totally normal to feel stiff and to feel soreness, especially if you’re doing all these different training regimes. That’s a lot of stuff. It’s really, really normal. You’re going to wake up and you’re going to feel sore.

My flexibility has become less during the years. Maybe this is something we have to accept as part of the natural aging process. I would like to stretch and be able to do the asanas as I used to. Is there a way to improve and enjoy yoga more as you get old? Do you have any tips?

Susanna, youth and flexibility generally go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. Strength, for sure, diminishes as you get older, there’s no question about it. Bone density, for sure, diminishes. But in terms of the flexibility of your connective tissues, those can stay consistent all the way until later in your life.

What happens is, we get less and less active and we tend to put on more and more weight, and because of those two things combined, we become more sedentary. A lot of our bodies just start to atrophy. But one of the beautiful things about yoga is it can be done until very, very late stages of life and can be maintained.

So I wouldn’t let the age thing get you down. I’ve seen people make really miraculous transformations in their body, well into their 60s and 70s. So it’s really not an age-specific thing.

Jenna asks:

My sleep feels “flat,” and I don’t recall dreams the way I always have and I miss them. I’ve been taking antidepressant medication for several years. Any connection to medications could be causing this?

Jenna, I would say almost certainly. It depends on what you’re taking. There’s all kinds of different antidepressants. There’s a whole different class of antidepressants, we don’t need to get into that here, but the effects of them are very, very poorly known. Meaning, most antidepressants work based on a series of assumptions, and neurologists, they don’t really know much of what’s going on.

When I was in my late teens, I took a number of different things, including Prozac and I took St. John’s Wart, which is a natural serotonin herb as well, so I’m very, very familiar with this. I would say for sure, you’ve got to talk to your doctor, but to be on antidepressants for a very long time is not a good idea, in my opinion. They have all kinds of subtle affects that who knows how those will play out. Everything from memory loss to sexual dysfunction to kind of a blasé attitude, all kinds of different things.

Now all that being said, don’t ever do anything without talking with your doctor, because in some cases these medications and medicines save peoples’ lives and they help people to be balanced in a world where they never would be. But if there’s any chance that you think you could switch to a lighter dose or switch medications or remove your medication, talk to your doctor and see if that’s an option, because if you feel your sleeping effected, chances are a whole bunch of other things are being effected as well. Even very bizarre things, like the coordination of your gait, your walking gait, short-term memory, inability to find words when you’re trying to do a quick recall. Very, very subtle things, but they add up to a peculiar and disturbing set of side effects that I don’t think we should be comfortable with.

Louise asks:

Is an 80 cm doorway high enough to hang the trapeze for a 5′ 5″ person? Also, if you use an existing beam, how much clearance does it need above it? I would mostly be doing it for backbends and foot to head poses.

Okay, so 80 cm is not a doorway. I’m not sure, Louise, what kind of doorway you have that’s 80 cm. I’m guessing that’s supposed to say 80 inches, because 80 cm is not even a high enough doorway to walk through. So I’m guessing it’s supposed to say 80 inches, in which case, that might be enough. It’s a low doorway, but it depends, since you’re 5’5”, realistically, that’s kind of a low doorway. You’d like to have something higher, if you could, assuming that’s 80 inches, which would be just over 7 feet.

If you do have a beam, that works even better. You said if you had an existing beam. So how much clearance does it need above it? You don’t really need any clearance above the beam if you’re hanging the yoga trapeze. You just need to be able to slip a rope through there so you can hang from the beam itself, or some people I’ve seen have exposed beams in the ceiling of their house and they’ll drill a massive hole right near the top of the beam and they’ll use that as well, if your beam is not full exposed all the way around. Can’t Sleep?