Your Body Never Lies

The Complete Book of Oriental Diagnosis

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Your Body Never Lies
Available
02/20/2006
Square One Publishers

WORLD ***

7.5 X 9.1 in
184 pg



MEDICAL / General

9780757002670
$16.95 Paperback
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Your Body Never Lies

By  Michio Kushi

Description

Too often, conventional medicine fails to detect illness—especially when it first begins and is easiest to cure. But Oriental diagnosis, an ancient holistic system of knowledge, can often discover physical problems even before they arise. Now Your Body Never Lies helps you both understand and use this natural, noninvasive approach to restoring good health.

Your Body Never Lies starts by explaining the principles of Oriental medicine. It then shows you how to detect and understand health problems simply by looking at the mouth, lips, and teeth; eyes; nose, cheeks, and ears; forehead; hair; hands; feet; and skin. Clear diagrams and easy-to-use charts assist you in quickly recognizing signs of illness so that you can begin working toward a state of balanced well-being. Here is a complete guide to Oriental diagnosis, a revolutionary yet centuries-old way to preserve health and harmony.

Reviews

Author Biography

Michio Kushi came to the United States shortly after World War II upon completing studies at Tokyo University. Since then, he has lectured on macrobiotics; the meeting of East and West; traditional Asian medicine, philosphy, and culture; and the realization of world peace and planetary harmony. Mr. Kushi is the founder and president of the East West Foundation, Kushi Institute, Kushi Foundation, and Macrobiotics International. He is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Your Body Never Lies, The Cancer Prevention Diet, and The Book of Macrobiotics. As the leading voice in macrobiotics, Mr. Kushi continues to speak throughout the world on this topic. He currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Table of contents

Acknowledgments,

Foreword,

Preface,

Introduction,

Part 1—The Lipid Panel,

1. Triglycerides,

2. Total Cholesterol,

3. LDL Cholesterol,

4. HDL Cholesterol,

Part 2—The Basic Metabolic Panel,

5. Glucose,

6. Calcium,

7. Potassium,

8. Sodium,

9. Chloride,

10. Carbon Dioxide,

11. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN),

12. Creatinine,

13. BUN/Creatinine Ratio,

14. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR),

Part 3—The Hepatic Function Panel,

15. Total Protein,

16. Albumin,

17. Globulin,

18. Albumin/Globulin (A/G) Ratio,

19. Bilirubin,

20. Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT),

21. Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP),

22. Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST),

23. Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT),

Part 4—Complete Blood Count

24. Red Blood Cells (RBCs),

25. Hemoglobin,

26. Hematocrit,

27. Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV),

28. Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH),

29. Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC),

30. Platelets,

31. White Blood Cells (WBCs),

Part 5—Hormones

32. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA),

33. Cortisol,

34. Estrogen,

35. Thyroid Hormones,

36. Progesterone,

37. Testosterone,

38. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA),

Part 6—Optional Tests

39. Homocysteine,

40. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

41. Vitamin D,

42. Magnesium,

Conclusion,

Resources,

References,

About the Author,

Index,

Introduction or preface

Introduction: A New View of You

If you’re like most people, a blood test is an event that comes once a year along with your annual physical. Ideally, within a week, your doctor calls with the results, assuring you that they are normal. You may even receive a copy of the test in the mail, complete with columns of numbers supposedly confirming your health, but to you are probably meaningless and confusing. So you put the results aside, file them away with your other personal records, and carry on with your life free of concern. After all, the doctor says you are in the “normal range,” so why worry? While this may be the case, blood tests still raise important questions that even the healthiest of patients should be asking: Does “normal” necessarily mean “healthy”? What can the lab values of a blood test tell me about the current state of my health? And, perhaps more importantly, what can these lab values tell me about my health in the future?

The fact is, blood testing generally has one purpose, and that is to check for disorders, dysfunction, and disease. When blood test results point to a certain condition, measures are taken to bring the appropriate number—the abnormal lab value—into the “normal” range. However, when test results are normal, only rarely is a patient told how to stay in this range or, better yet, how to achieve an optimal, or target, level. It becomes a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop, leading up to the day when you walk into the doctor’s office or pick up the phone and are told, “You are diabetic” or “You have a thyroid disorder.” But it does not have to be this way.

A blood test is essentially a blueprint of your health and a glimpse of its future. It tells you so much about what is going on inside your body, and it can speak volumes about what may go on inside of it somewhere down the line. The information obtained from lab results can push you to take the needed steps to put (or keep) your health on the right track. A blood test can motivate you to change your dietary habits, start a fitness regimen, or alter certain aspects of your lifestyle, such as your stress level and sleep patterns. A blood test can also be precautionary, helping you to monitor conditions that may be a running concern in your family or personal medical history. If you are already being treated for a particular condition, a blood test is one of the best ways to ensure that your medication is doing its job. In sum, a blood test is a quantitative way of measuring your health so that you can manage it more effectively and easily. But before you can begin to interpret your test results, you should know a thing or two about the blood testing procedure, as well as certain factors that may influence the outcome.

[B] THE BASICS OF BLOOD TESTING

A blood test is a common medical procedure in which a small amount of blood is drawn from the body using a needle, which is usually inserted into a vein in the arm. The blood sample is then analyzed by a lab technician to check for any sign or risk of disease, organ dysfunction, nutritional deficiency, or other problem. The technician may examine whole blood or separate the blood cells from the fluid in which they are contained, which is known as the serum or plasma. The plasma is used to measure levels of various substances in the blood and determine whether or not they fall into the normal range. This range is based on the average values reported in 95 percent of healthy people of a certain group and, therefore, may vary according to factors such as age, sex, and ethnicity. The reference ranges for normal, high, and low lab values may vary among laboratories depending on the methodology used by the blood analysts. The ranges used in this book reflect the guidelines set by LabCorp, a company that provides testing services to nearly 90 percent of doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other medical institutions. (See the “Resources” section on page 000 for a listing of LabCorp reference ranges.) However, some labs may use slightly different ranges, so you should take this into account when reviewing your blood test results.

Standard blood tests are not always completely accurate. There are a number of factors that may artificially cause your blood levels to fall outside the normal range, resulting in an abnormal reading or false-positive result. Certain foods, physical activity, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and some medications affect metabolism and overall body function, and thus may influence blood test results. Failing to follow pre-testing instructions, such as fasting, can also produce abnormal results. By the same token, standard blood tests can indicate normal blood levels when a disease or other condition is actually present, or a false-negative result. The bottom line is that abnormal results may, but do not always, indicate a health problem. If your results show an abnormality, do not panic. Your physician will probably recommend more specific blood tests, which have a higher rate of accuracy.

In general, a blood test is quick and requires little preparation. If you are unfamiliar with the procedure or if it has been a long time since your last blood test, here is a rundown of what you can expect before, during, and after the test.

[C] Before the Blood Test

One of the most common questions people have about blood tests is whether or not they can eat beforehand. Most healthcare professionals recommend fasting for approximately eight hours prior to a blood test. To “fast” generally means to abstain from food and beverages, especially coffee, tea, and alcohol. These liquids in particular should not be in your system for ten to twelve hours before the test, as they can skew readings. However, fasting does not include water, which you should continue to drink not only to prevent dehydration, but also the lightheaded and dizzy feeling that may accompany the loss of even a small amount of blood. If your doctor or health practitioner does not mention fasting, it is best to ask, as it may be advisable to fast for more than eight hours to ensure the accuracy of certain tests.

Pre-test preparations may also be tailored to a specific health concern, such as triglycerides or blood sugar. If you are worried that your triglycerides level is high, you may want to avoid fatty foods the day before the test, as these can artificially raise the fat content of your blood and cause a high reading. Even a seemingly harmless food such as salad dressing (unless it is fat-free) can inflate your triglycerides level. If you are concerned about high blood sugar, refrain from eating foods rich in carbohydrates the day before the test, since they remain in your system longer than other foods.

Still, many of your blood levels will not change significantly in the short term, especially if your body is functioning normally. Fasting has the greatest impact on blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides, so stay away from foods and liquids that can temporarily raise these levels. Keep in mind, though, that there are many blood tests that may require special preparation, so always inquire ahead of time about pre-testing instructions. Finally, be sure to tell your doctor or health practitioner if you are taking blood thinners, such as heparin and warfarin (Coumadin), or any other medication, whether prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC). Since medications may interfere with test results, your doctor should be aware of this information before the blood test is administered.

[C] During the Blood Test

Although self-testing kits are now available from online retailers, you should have your blood tested at a doctor’s office, lab, or hospital. Drawing blood is not a foolproof procedure and, therefore, should be done by a phlebotomist—a specialist trained in drawing blood samples for medical analysis. A skilled phlebotomist should be able to find a vein and draw the blood in a single attempt without causing a patient to feel significant pain or discomfort. Most people feel only a brief pinch when having their blood drawn. Of course, not all phlebotomists are equally skilled at finding veins or inserting needles, so if a vein cannot be found after two tries, you should ask that another technician take your blood instead.

While blood tests are generally neither complicated nor painful, there are a couple things you can do immediately before the test to ensure the procedure is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. First, increase your water intake about an hour before the test, since water helps to fill up the veins, making them “plumper” and more easily accessible. Second, place a warm towel or heating pad on your arm as you sit in the waiting room. Like water, warmth makes veins less constricted so that the technician taking your blood can easily locate a vein and insert the needle, thereby minimizing discomfort.

You will probably be sitting in a chair or on an examining table for the blood test. Once you are comfortable, the phlebotomist will apply a tourniquet and touch your arm with one or two fingers, feeling for a vein. You may be asked to make a fist to make the veins in your arm more prominent. When the vein is located, the area will be cleaned by applying rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab. Then, it is finally time to draw the blood.

To reduce your anxiety, look away from the needle and focus on another object in the room, or simply close your eyes. Try to relax your arm and make sure you keep it still. Once the needle is in, the hardest part is over—the test will be done in a matter of minutes.

[C] After the Blood Test

Once the needle has been withdrawn from your arm, you will probably be asked to bend your arm and apply pressure to the area while the phlebotomist gets a bandage. Let her know if you are sensitive or allergic to adhesive; you can instead be given a Co-Flex, which is gauze with a rubbery coating. Bandages, which can usually be removed within twenty-four hours, help to minimize bruising, though some people will bruise regardless. This is typically not a concern, but you should speak to your doctor or health practitioner if the bruise lasts for several days. In addition, remember to eat shortly after a blood test to replenish your system and energy. Many people bring a snack, such as a piece of fruit or beverage. At the very least, you should have water or even a glass of juice immediately after your blood is drawn.

It usually does not take long to receive blood test results, especially if the test is administered at a lab. If it is performed at a doctor’s office, you may have to wait three to five days for the results, since the blood sample has to be sent out to a lab for analysis. If your doctor or health practitioner does not contact you within a week, you should call and inquire about your results. Keep in mind, though, that most doctors will call right away if a problem is detected, so “no news” is often a good sign. Even so, it is very important that you are informed of the results and that a copy is mailed to you. This is usually done at the request of the patient, so be sure to ask.

Upon receiving your blood test results, you should carefully review them. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Since “your blood never lies,” you should be able to understand what it is telling you. This book will be your interpreter and guide.

[B] HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Your Blood Never Lies is designed to be a comprehensive health guide that will enable you to not only understand your blood test results, but also how to improve them. But first you should understand how the book is organized, as well as be familiar with some of the information it contains.

[C] Understanding the Format

Your Blood Never Lies is divided into six parts. The first five parts concentrate on specific groups of blood tests, including four traditional blood panels—the lipid panel, the basic metabolic panel, the hepatic function panel, and the complete blood count—as well as commonly administered hormone tests for both men and women. The last part of the book covers tests that, though optional, provide a more complete picture of health. In case you are unfamiliar with blood tests, here is a brief explanation of the labs discussed in this book: 

·   Part One—The Lipid Panel. Used to evaluate heart health, this panel is comprised of four biological markers representing the four types of fat (lipids) found in the blood—triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Two additional measures of cardiovascular health, homocysteine and c-reactive protein (CRP), may also be measured as part of a more comprehensive profile. These two labs are discussed in Part Six, “Optional Tests” (see below).

·   Part Two—The Basic Metabolic Panel. The labs used to evaluate metabolism represent blood sugar regulation, electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function. Biomarkers included in this panel are glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine.

·   Part Three—The Hepatic Function Panel. This panel determines how well your liver is functioning by measuring levels of different proteins produced and processed by the liver, like albumin and globulin, as well as liver enzymes.

·   Part Four—The Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel. The lab values measured in the complete blood count (CBC) panel include red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. Maintaining healthy levels of these biomarkers affect your vitality and energy, immune system, and cardiovascular health.

·   Part Five—Hormones. Although they are not always included in a routine blood test, hormones should be periodically tested, especially in aging adults. Hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) play an integral role in reproductive wellness and affect other aspects of health. Maintaining balanced levels can slow down the aging process, for instance. Hormones involved in metabolism, like the thyroid hormones and the stress hormone cortisol, are also discussed in this section.

·   Part Six—Optional Tests. This final part of the book highlights four tests—homocysteine, c-reactive protein (CRP), vitamin D, and magnesium—that are not typically measured unless requested, or if a standard blood test shows an abnormality that requires a more in-depth analysis. These tests can provide a more complete picture of heart health, immunity, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, and a number of other vital processes.

The chapters in each part cover the various labs included in the panel or test group. Along with reference ranges for the lab value, there is a “target,” or optimal range. While the optimal range may vary slightly for some individuals, this is the general range to which most people should strive. You will also find descriptions of the causes and symptoms of high and low levels, as well as the medical problems that may result from untreated abnormalities.

Additionally, each chapter contains a comprehensive treatment section outlining the various pharmaceutical and natural approaches to correcting abnormal lab values and achieving optimal levels. Treatment options may include medications, doctor-administered therapies, dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments such as exercise and stress reduction, and nutritional supplements. Although lists of drugs are presented in several chapters, it’s critical that you follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to pharmaceuticals. As supplements do not require a prescription, it’s of the utmost importance that you know how to choose and use supplements wisely. The next section covers this topic in more detail.

[C] Choosing and Using Supplements

It’s important to point out that in some chapters, the same supplement is recommended to treat both high and low levels of a given lab value. There are two main reasons for this. First, some supplements have normalizing effects, which means they can be used to balance levels that are either elevated or reduced. A substance like magnesium, for example, supports homeostasis, or internal balance of the body’s chemical system, particularly when it comes to calcium utilization. Therefore, magnesium supplements can be taken to increase the body’s absorption of calcium (thereby raising levels), as well as prevent the mineral from accumulating in the kidneys, arteries, and joint cartilage (thereby helping to reduce high levels). The second reason why the same supplement can be used to treat opposing problems has to do with the cause of the abnormal level rather than the chemical properties of the supplement itself. For example, both high and low levels of carbon dioxide (see page 000) can be caused by an adrenal disorder, which is often due to high stress. Thus, “calming” supplements like B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium may be effective against both high and low CO2.

While supplements do not require a prescription, you should not begin a regimen without first speaking to your doctor, as many medical conditions contraindicate the use of certain substances. Furthermore, choosing quality supplements on your own can be an overwhelming task, especially since the touted advice is often conflicting and filled with misinformation. Even though you are urged to have a discussion with your doctor about this subject, below are some general guidelines for buying supplements to help ensure you purchase the best products.

·   Supplements should be GMP-certified. With the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, dietary supplements were placed under FDA regulation, and manufacturers were required to follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs). In order to be considered a GMP-certified manufacturer, a company must be regularly inspected by two third-party organizations, such as the Natural Products Association and NSF International.

·   Do not be fooled by the term “pharmaceutical-grade.” It’s commonly believed that supplements labeled pharmaceutical-grade are of higher quality than other products. Although manufacturers may opt to follow drug-level GMPs—which are stricter than supplement GMPs—there is no official pharmaceutical-grade designation. There is, however, a USP designation available for supplement manufacturers. USP, or United States Pharmacopeial Convention, is a voluntary program that involves random inspections of manufacturing plants, as well as testing of products for purity, solubility, and potency. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that certifications do not necessarily guarantee the quality of a product. Product quality also depends on factors such as the form of nutrients used, the consistency of ingredients from one batch to another, the types of additives and fillers contained in the product, and the various methods employed to ensure proper absorption of the ingredients. As a consumer, it’s important that you research supplement manufacturers to find out how they make their products, rather than simply buy products according to certifications or misleading labels like “pharmaceutical-grade.”

·   Food-based supplements are not necessarily superior to other supplements. While the thought of obtaining nutrients from a food base is appealing, there are a large number of studies showing the effectiveness of non-food-based supplements. More evidence of the superiority of food-based supplements is needed before this assumption can be considered a fact.

·   Look for multivitamins that contain all essential nutrients in optimal amounts. When choosing a multivitamin or mineral formula, it’s important to look for products that contain most or all of the nutrients your body requires. A list of essential daily nutrients and corresponding ranges for optimal intake for men and women is provided on page 000. Keep in mind that you can also purchase lower-strength multivitamins and mineral supplements and follow the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI); however, this dosage will only prevent nutritional deficiency and will not necessarily boost your health.

The bottom line is that you should do your research before purchasing any supplement, and know how well certain products are absorbed and the raw material they contain. Most importantly, though, you should ask your doctor about safe, reliable supplements that will enable you to achieve your health goals.

@Table Head: Essential Daily Nutrients

Nutrient

Recommended Daily Dosage for Adult Men

Recommended Daily Dosage for Adult Women (Menstruating)

Recommended Daily Dosage for Adult Women (Menopausal)

Boron

1 to 3 mg

1 to 3 mg

1 to 3 mg

Calcium

800 to 1,200 mg

1,200 to 1,500 mg

1,200 to 1,500 mg

Chromium

600 to 1,500 mcg

600 to 1,500 mcg

600 to 1,500 mcg

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

50 to 300 mg

50 to 300 mg

50 to 300 mg

Copper

1 to 2 mg

1 to 2 mg

1 to 2 mg

Iron

 

15 to 30 mg (menstruation increases the body’s need for iron)

 

Magnesium

400 to 1,000 mg

400 to 800 mg

400 to 800 mg

Manganese

3 to 6 mg

3 to 6 mg

3 to 6 mg

Molybdenum

100 to 150 mcg

100 to 150 mcg

100 to 150 mcg

Selenium

100 to 200 mcg

100 to 200 mcg

100 to 200 mcg

Vanadium

100 to 500 mcg

100 to 500 mcg

100 to 500 mcg

Vitamin A

2,500 to 5,000 IU

2,500 IU

2,500 to 5,000 IU

Natural mixed carotenoids (form of vitamin A)

5,000 to 10,000 IU

5,000 to 10,000 IU

5,000 to 10,000 IU

Vitamin B1 (thiamine HCl)

10 to 50 mg

10 to 50 mg

10 to 50 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin-5-phosphate, riboflavin HCl)

10 to 25 mg

10 to 25 mg

10 to 25 mg

Vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinimide)

25 to 50 mg

25 to 50 mg

25 to 50 mg

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

100 to 500 mg

100 to 500 mg

100 to 500 mg

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine-5-phosphate, pyridoxine HCl)

5 to 25 mg

5 to 25 mg

25 to 50 mg

Vitamin B9 (folic acid, folinic acid, methyltetrahydrofolate)

200 to 1,000 mcg

800 to 1,000 mcg

200 to 800 mcg

Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin)

100 to 1,000 mcg

100 to 1,000 mcg

100 to 1,000 mcg

Vitamin C (ascorbate)

500 to 1,000 mg

500 to 1,000 mg

500 to 1,000 mg

Vitamin D3

2,000 to 5,000 IU

2,000 to 5,000 IU

2,000 to 5,000 IU

Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)

200 to 400 IU

200 to 400 IU

200 to 400 IU

Vitamin K1

75 to 100 mcg

75 to 100 mg

75 to 100 mcg

Vitamin K2

90 mcg

90 mcg

90 mcg

Zinc

15 to 50 mg

15 to 30 mg

15 to 30 mg

Reading and Planning Your Blood Test

In addition to the information contained in the chapters, the book offers a number of helpful resources. First, on page 000, you will find a sample blood test to use as a reference when reading your test results. This sample reflects the standard test format used by LabCorp and most laboratories, but not all labs present the information in same order and format. You should compare your personal blood test with the sample to ensure you read it correctly.

The lab values represented on the sample test, which are listed below the appropriate panel heading, are each labeled with a number that corresponds to their chapter number in the book. To the right of the list of tests are a series of columns. On actual tests, lab values are listed in the first column labeled “Result.” If a value is out of range, the word “High” or “Low” appears in the column labeled “Flag.” The “Units” column lists the standard unit of measurement for each lab value, and the final column, “Reference Interval,” provides the generally accepted normal ranges for each blood value so that you can easily compare and understand your results.Keep in mind, though, that a normal lab is not necessarily an optimal one. As noted above, while it’s important to fall into the “normal” category, it’s even more important to achieve the “target” range.

 Let’s use sodium as an example. The normal range for adults is 134 to 143 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Therefore, if your sodium level is 133, you are considered out of range. In this case, you will work with your health practitioner to raise this number in a healthy way. But let’s say instead that your sodium level is 136, a number at the lower end of the normal range. While such numbers may technically fall into the “normal” category, they warrant a discussion with your doctor or health practitioner. Depending on the test, as well as your medical history and genetics, numbers that are on the low or high end of the normal range may be completely typical for you—and completely healthy. Nevertheless, it may be worthwhile to talk to a healthcare professional about how to prevent that number from creeping into the “low normal” or “high normal” ends of the normal range, or worse, from falling outside the normal range altogether.

Finally, the book provides helpful supplementary material in the appendix (see page 000), including a full reference guide to LabCorp lab value ranges, a list of testing laboratories and their areas of specialization, and a chart for recording the results of your blood test.This book is designed to be a guide, offering advice based on the results of your blood test. It is important that you look for trends in your lab values and take the necessary steps to correct or prevent health problems. At the same time, this book is not intended to replace the professional guidance of a health practitioner, whom you should consult before trying to alter your blood chemistry. Dietary modifications and supplement regimens are significant changes that you should certainly discuss with a healthcare professional, such as a licensed nutritionist, before implementing. Moreover, the information presented in Your Blood Never Lies is for educational purposes only, and not meant to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

CONCLUSION

A crucial step towards better health is becoming proactive, and having your blood tested regularly is one of the easiest and most practical ways to do this. Periodic blood tests keep you and your doctor “in the know” about the inner workings of your body so that major health problems can be avoided or curtailed. Having a blood test can be likened to watching the needle on your car’s gas gauge—you want to be sure the car has enough fuel to operate properly in order to prevent the warning light from coming on and being stranded on the side of a highway. Blood tests are essentially gauges, and keeping a watchful eye on your blood levels is a way to take control of your health. Unlike a car, however, neither the body nor blood tests come with a manual—but this book can fulfill that role. The pages that follow will give you the insight and practical knowledge you need to become not only an informed patient, but also a responsible and self-advocating individual. Your blood never lies, so it’s time to understand what it’s saying.