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How Lack of Sleep Affects the Brain

Ever wondered why you have brain fog especially after a night of bad sleep? By common sense they should be related. But now the scientist are devising cognitive tests to put this notion to bed (pun intended).

The article below (posted here verbatim) by BBC News Medical Correspondent about an online world-wide cognitive tests that Western University in Ontario, Canada is conducting. This is the world’s largest test of its kind and yes, you and I may participate in it. Read on….

Ever wondered why you have brain fog especially after a night of bad sleep? By common sense they should be related. But now the scientist are devising cognitive tests to put this notion to bed (pun intended).

The article below (posted here verbatim) by BBC News Medical Correspondent about an online world-wide cognitive tests that Western University in Ontario, Canada is conducting. This is the world’s largest test of its kind and yes, you and I may participate in it too. Read on….

Source: BBC News, bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news

Woman turning off alarm clockImage by ELENATHEWISE

Scientists in Canada have launched what is set to become the world’s largest study of the effects of lack of sleep on the brain.

A team, at Western University, Ontario, want people from all over the world to sign up online to do cognitive tests.

The specially devised computer games test skills such as reasoning, language comprehension and decision-making.

I joined a group of volunteers trying out the tests and had my brain scanned while doing them.

Why do we sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep?

Trailblazing

Prof Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientist based at the Brain and Mind Institute in London, Ontario, is leading the study.

He told me: “We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep but we know very little about the effects on the brain; we want to see how it affects cognition, memory and your ability to concentrate.”

The team will collate the cognitive scores and see the variations depending on how much sleep people have had.

Everyone’s sleep requirements are different, but if enough people join the study, it may allow scientists to determine the average number of hours needed for optimum brain function.

I joined four volunteers spending the night at Western University, where we road-tested the brain games and were able to demonstrate how lack of sleep affects cognitive performance.


Four volunteers for sleep studyImage by FERGUS WALSH

The volunteers (clockwise from top left): Dr Hooman Ganjavi, Sylvie Salewski, Evan Agnew, Cecilia Kramar

The volunteers

  • Dr Hooman Ganjavi, aged 42. Psychiatrist who is regularly on-call overnight: “Four to five hours sleep a night is typical for me. I know that lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but, like many doctors, I don’t apply it to me.”
  • Sylvie Salewski, aged 31. Mother of two girls under five: “A good night is when they wake me only two or three times; I can’t remember what it is like to sleep through the night undisturbed, and I often feel fuzzy the next day.”
  • Evan Agnew, aged 75. Retired night clerk. “I’ve never needed eight hours’ sleep all at once, and at my age I don’t think I need more than four hours in one go. I will top up my sleep during the day with a nap or two.”
  • Cecilia Kramar, aged 31. Neuroscientist who does cognitive research with nocturnal mice, meaning late nights in the laboratory: “When I don’t get much sleep, I cannot do anything complicated the next day, like reading a scientific paper, because my brain does not function well.”
Two brain games which are part of the sleep and cognition studyImage by OWEN LAB, WESTERN
In Double Trouble, you must click on the word below that matches the colour of the word above. Odd One Out is as simple as it sounds, except that the game gets progressively harder

The tests

The tests can be played on any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Double Trouble: This looks simple but really stretches the grey matter. You have to click on the word below that corresponds to the colour in which the word above is written. So, if the word at the top is “blue”, but is coloured in red, you must click on the word below that is coloured red, even if it is written as “blue”. Fiendish.

Odd One Out: This starts simple but gets increasingly complex as you try to find the one shape that is different from the others.

Brain games part of the sleep and cognition studyImage by OWEN LAB, WESTERN
Two more of the brain games – Grammatical Reasoning looks simple until the statements at the top are negatives. In Spatial Planning, you click on the numbers to move them into the right position

 

Grammatical reasoning: Is the statement about a diagram true or false? Sounds easy, until you begin dealing with negative statements.

Spatial planning: This tests the ability to plan ahead – like all the games, it measures cognitive skills we use repeatedly during the day.


How did we do?

After staying up until 04:00, we were allowed four hours’ sleep.

When we re-did the cognitive tests later in the morning, Evan, Cecilia and I scored significantly worse than we had the night before.

Hooman – who is used to being on-call and responding to patients – did not see much of a dip in his score, while Sylvie’s actually improved.

Sylvie said: “Although I feel a bit fuzzy this morning, maybe I’ve just got used to functioning on very little sleep; I have to be on as soon as my kids wake up, so it’s normal for me.”

I have long known that I don’t function well when sleep deprived, so it was no surprise that my cognitive scores dipped dramatically in the morning.

In order to find out what might be happening in my brain, I repeated the cognitive tests while inside an MRI machine.

I was scanned twice – after a normal night’s sleep and then after the sleep-deprived night.

The functional MRI scanner is able to detect blood flow in the brain – so the areas that are working hardest show increased levels of activity, shown as orange coloured blobs.

brain scansImage by OWEN LAB, WESTERN
The scan on the left shows my brain activity during cognitive tests after a normal night’s sleep, compared with my sleep-deprived brain, on the right

 

The comparison between the scans was stark: after being sleep deprived, my brain was well under par – there was much less going on up there.

Prof Owen gave the scientific explanation: “There is much less activity in the frontal and parietal lobes – areas we know are crucial for decision making, problem solving and memory. ”

We all know that it is dangerous to drive when tired, because our reaction times are impaired and we might fall asleep at the wheel.

But the more subtle effects of sleep deprivation on day-to-day living are far less understood.

Prof Adrian OwenImage by FERGUS WALSH
Prof Adrian Owen, of the Brain and Mind Institute, Western, is leading the sleep cognition study

 

Prof Owen told me: “It may be that lack of sleep is having very profound effects on decision making and perhaps we should avoid making important decisions like buying a house or deciding whether to get married when we are sleep deprived.”


Why it matters

We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, and it is as vital to our wellbeing as the food we eat and the air we breathe.

But our 24-hour culture means we are getting less sleep than ever.

Last month, a paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience said there was “remarkably little understanding” of the consequences on the brain of chronic sleep loss.

It spoke of the “precipitous decline in sleep duration throughout industrialised nations”, adding that more research was urgently needed.

Those who volunteer for the sleep study may help find some of the answers needed by both science and society.

Media Fergus Walsh tried out the tests as he got more and more tired

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Top 10 Natural Remedies For Disaster Relief

So, the question  I ask myself at a time like this is – Am I prepared for the disaster that could unfold for me and my family? How about you? Are you prepared? Do you have a small essential list of items that you keep at hand just for an occasion such as this? Even when there is no imminent danger at hand, one should have an emergency first-aid kit ready and handy.

I would like to offer below a brief and condensed list of items that we personal have at hand at all times that can become life-safer when it is needed:

As I pen this blog, my outside window is howling with strong wind and the rain has been coming down non-stop over the last 6 hours. Hurricane Harvey’s news and reports are being blasted on every local and national TV channels I tune in to.

Yes, even in Austin, TX where I live, we are bracing ourselves for the CAT4 hurricane Harvey which just did its landfall about 7 hours or so ago near the Port Aransas area. Unlike other hurricanes, Harvey is going to stall out and linger inland for a couple of days and then go back out to the Gulf of Mexico and then possibly make a second landfall around Houston area. The amount of the rain estimated by the Weather Channel is expected to bring devastation to many communities across the Gulf region of Texas and Louisiana. In fact, severe flash flood warnings have been issued across all over the Central Texas region in the next several days.

So, the question  I ask myself at a time like this is – Am I prepared for the disaster that could unfold for me and my family? How about you? Are you prepared? Do you have a small essential list of items that you keep at hand just for an occasion such as this? Even when there is no imminent danger at hand, one should have an emergency first-aid kit ready and handy.

I would like to offer below a brief and condensed list of items that we personal have at hand at all times that can become life-safer when it is needed:

  1. Ionic/Colloidal Silver Liquid – wash wounds, pour 1 oz into 1 gallon of drinking water to disinfect it, overcome throat irritation/infection by swishing, gargling, and swallowing
  2. Ionic/Collidal Silver Gel – address wounds, hand disinfectant lotion, natural tooth paste
  3. Food Enzymes – protect yourself from questionable source of foods that you may have to eat under stressful situations
  4. Curcumin Extra Strength – fights joint and muscle inflammation and pain. Also a great agent for immune boosting
  5. Protein bars – healthy snack bars for at least 3 day survival for energy and strength. This may be particularly helpful to diabetics who do not do well without food for prolonged period of time.
  6. Activated Charcoal – absorbs and removes toxins and irritants from the digestive tract such as heavy metals, parasites, food poisoning, and other toxins ingested inadvertently from bad food sources. Great for diarrhea or other commonly known digestive related issues.
  7. Lavender Essential Oil – reliefs skin burns, nerve calming, sleep aid
  8. Tei-fu Essential oil and lotion – headaches, muscle pains/sprains, hot/cold topical treatment, bug bites
  9. Probiotics – room temperature Bacillus Coagulans to balance gut microbiome and help with immune function
  10. Pure Water – when running water is contaminated, either boil water to drink or stock up with filtered ionized water. Get a trustworthy portable water purifier for campers will also work.

Hope this short list is of help to your disaster preparations. My wife and I believe this list so much so that we have this entire list with us on every single travel event. Have never gotten sick on any of our travels for the last 20 years!

What are your favorite natural disaster relief items?

Be prepared!

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Arsenics in Rice, Mushrooms, and Wine

Here is a video by Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.org to further substantiate existence of Arsenic heavy metal in our regular daily food and drinks such as rice, mushrooms, and wine.

In our last blog we viewed a video by Dr. Wright who spoke of importance of avoiding different kind of heavy metals in our body for they can trigger cardiovascular anomalies.

You may not see how prevalent are heavy metals in our daily life? Let me share a small sample of our daily exposure to heavy metals:

  • Dental amalgan, some vaccines, batteries – contain some Mercury.
  • Cookwares and Deodorants – contain Aluminum.
  • Soil and Water – Arsenic.
  • Old paint, batteries, solder, toys, artist paints, fuels, water – Lead.
  • Many food and drinks contain some amount of Tin, Nickel, Cadmium, etc…

Here is a video by Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.org to further substantiate existence of Arsenic heavy metal in our regular daily food and drinks such as rice, mushrooms, and wine.

What are we to do?

Obviously we want to avoid the heavy metal exposure as much as we can. However given in the world we live in today, this is practically impossible. So the next best thing is to give yourself a chelation treatment on a regular basis. Simplistically, chelation is a process of removing the heavy metal toxins from within our body. Many herbs can do that rather effectively. You are welcome to call us for chelation programs that we have for heavy metals.

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Untold Causes of Hypertension

Here is a video that you may find interesting regarding high blood pressure. The points Dr. Wright making here are not generally discussed by medical doctors but they may be highly relevant to your heart health and particularly high blood pressure condition. You don’t have to take my words for it. Watch this video (16 minutes) and see for yourself.

Here is a video that you may find interesting regarding high blood pressure. The points Dr. Wright making here are not generally discussed by medical doctors but they may be highly relevant to your heart health and particularly high blood pressure condition. You don’t have to take my words for it. Watch this video (16 minutes) and see for yourself.

What do you think? If you like what you saw here and would like more information on high blood pressure, here is an excellent book for you to read and dig further into this subject. The title is “The High Blood Pressure Hoax,” by Dr. Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., Prestige Publishing, 2005.

Also, if you are interested in quality Magnesium, Vitamin D3, Berberine, oral chelation program and other heart health related supplements, we have got them all. Give us a call or stop by.

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In Defense of Coconut Oil: Rebuttal to USA Today

Found an insightful and well researched article on the recent Coconut Oil controversy introduced by FDA and other health organizations. The media frenzy has ensued since that publication including the USA Today. I enjoy reading both sides of discussion and look for the evidence based analysis and conclusions drawn based on the inductive logic (versus the deductive method).

Found an insightful and well researched article on the recent Coconut Oil controversy introduced by FDA and other health organizations. The media frenzy has ensued since that publication including the USA Today. I enjoy reading both sides of discussion and look for the evidence based analysis and conclusions drawn based on the inductive logic (versus the deductive method).

Enjoy the post below written by Ali Le Vere as it is published here verbatim and acknowledgement to Ali’s work and reference given below.

 

Posted on: Tuesday, June 20th 2017 at 6:15 am

Written By: Ali Le Vere, B.S., B.S.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the USA Today article entitled, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy“. Fear-mongering, attention-grabbing headlines certainly sell copy, but do not make for evidence-informed, high quality science reporting.

As I expressed in my recent post on social media,

“The internet is full of erroneous claims. Science writers who forgo the nuances of empirical findings in the interest of sensational headlines.

False extrapolations made by people unequipped to interpret the research. Speculations by bloggers who missed the correlation-does-not-equal-causation lesson in epidemiology.

Over-generalizations from poorly designed, low quality in vitro and animal studies and studies that failed the test of statistical significance. Industry-funded, conflict-of-interest ridden rhetoric.

From eating for your blood type, to saturated fat causing heart disease, to heart-healthy whole wheat, to coffee causing gluten cross reactivity—in the natural and mainstream health communities alike, people take an idea and run with it without once going back to the primary and secondary literature to verify its scientific veracity.

The lack of scientific rigor that abounds in many corners of natural medicine is part of the reason that alternative medicine is marginalized by mainstream medicine. However, conventional medicine is equally culpable when it comes to its standards of care lacking a firm evidence-base.

I hope to fill this void, apply a scientific eye, and impart credence to therapeutic nutrition and holistic medicine by substantiating all my claims with high quality scientific data—instead of pulling statements out of thin air, which sadly is commonplace with headline-grabbing, yet substantive discussion-lacking online articles.”

The USA Today article, written in response to an American Heart Association (AHA) statement advising Americans to replace saturated fat with omega-6 rich polyunsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils, exemplifies the lack of journalistic integrity, rushing to conclusions, and flagrant misrepresentation of the data to which I was referring.

The Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio Determines Inflammatory Potential

Contrary to the implications of this USA Today piece, the evidence has elucidated that omega-6 fatty acids, which occur in the corn, cottonseed, canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil that the AHA was recommending, promote carcinogenesis, whereas omega-3 fatty acids inhibit cancer development (Seaman, 2002). Hence, the Standard American Diet, rich in omega-6 fatty acid consumption, generates the pro-inflammatory state that facilitates tumorigenesis (Rose, 1997).

The detrimental effects of omega-6s are articulated by Fernandes and Venkatraman (1993), with,

“The increased consumption of many vegetable oils particularly of the n-6 series is…viewed as pro-inflammatory and is suspected as one of the possible causes for the rise in certain malignant tumors, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases primarily due to the increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines” (p. S19).

In contrast, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from wild-caught fatty seafood, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can modify dynamics of the lipid bilayer, including elastic compressability and membrane permeability, promote membrane fluidity, and favorably modify membrane-bound protein activity (Stillwell & Wassall, 2003).

Thus, DHA is preventive in many inflammatory disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disease (Stillwell & Wassal, 2003). Specifically, DHA mitigates neuro-inflammation as it facilitates more efficient nerve cell communication (Crawford et al., 2013). The brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are deficient in DHA, and loss of structural and functional integrity of the brain correlates with loss of DHA concentrations in cell membranes in these patients (Seaman, 2002).

DHA and its long chain omega-3 precursor, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are likewise involved in modulation of immune responses. In one study, supplementation of these fatty acids prolonged remission of systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) (Das, 1994). In another autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, omega-3 supplementation was found to suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids involved in the pathogenesis of the disease (Morin, Blier, & Fortin, 2015). Mechanistically, long chain omega-3 fatty acids suppress proliferation of pathogenic T cells and inhibit synthesis of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interleukin-2 (IL-2) (Das, 1994).

The dietary balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which compete for incorporation into the phospholipid bilayer of cellular membranes, is integral for restoration of immune health and for prevention of long-latency, chronic, and degenerative diseases.

In order to generate optimal ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, ditch the toxic industrialized vegetable oils, and moderate consumption of grains and seeds as well, since they contain linoleic acid, the precursor to the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid.

As I illustrated above, arachidonic acid is processed by the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) to produce pro-inflammatory signaling molecules called eicosanoids, including leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and thromboxanes. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, promote the production of less inflammatory mediators. Therefore, USA Today’s recommendation to increase consumption of pro-inflammatory vegetable oils, amidst an epidemic of inflammatory chronic diseases, is negligent and irresponsible.

Applying an Ethnographic and Evolutionary Biology Lens

Of all the diets, an ancestral paleolithic diet reminiscent of ancient foragers has the most optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, of 1:1 (Simopoulos, 1991). Traditional hunter-gatherer cultures whose diets are composed of grass-fed game, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, wild-caught seafood, organic, local fruits and vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts and seeds are virtually free of the long-latency, degenerative diseases that plague Westerners.

Eskimos, for instance, who eat a high fish-based diet replete in omega-3s and very low in omega-6s, do not suffer from any of the diseases of modernity, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis, appendicitis, gallstones, or autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or ulcerative colitis (Sinclair, 1981; Nettleton, 1995; Calder, 1998).

In contrast, the Standard American Diet, customary in Western cultures where non-communicable chronic diseases reach epidemic levels, has an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio ranging from 10:1 to 25:1 (Simopoulos, 1991). This is largely due to the inclusion of pro-inflammatory, high-heat processed vegetable oils, which are subject to chemically-laden processes such as caustic refining, bleaching, and degumming, and then have to be chemically deodorized to negate rancidity.

In addition to minimizing vegetable oil intake, incorporating plenty of wild-caught, cold-water fatty fish, including mackerel, salmon, herring, caviar, and sardines, can enhance omega-3 levels. Crawford (1968) also demonstrated that wild animals eating their native diets have significantly more omega-3s compared to domesticated livestock. Grass-fed meat, for example, is replete in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin E compared to its conventional corn-fed counterparts, so incorporating grass-fed meat into your diet can restore balance in your fatty acid ratio (Daley et al., 2010).

Busting the Cholesterol Myth

Of note, is that the USA Today article vilified coconut oil on the basis that it raises LDL cholesterol. However, the most recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) removed dietary cholesterol as a nutrient of concern, given that there is “no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol or clinical cardiovascular events in general populations,” so cholesterol content should not deter you from consumption of saturated fat (Mozaffarian & Ludwig, 2015, p. 2421).

Low total cholesterol, formerly believed to be protective against cardiovascular disease, has been demonstrated to have a litany of ill effects. In particular, women with a total cholesterol below 195 mg/dL have a higher risk of mortality compared to women with cholesterol above this cut-off (Petrusson, Sigurdsson, Bengtsson, Nilsen, & Getz, 2012).

Low cholesterol has been correlated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, suicide, homicide, accidental deaths, and morbid depression (Boscarino, Erlich, & Hoffman, 2009; Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, & Wingard, 1993, Mielke et al., 2005; Seneff, Wainwright, & Mascitelli, 2011).

In a group of men 50 years and older, researchers found depression to be three times more common in the group with low plasma cholesterol (Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, & Wingard, 1993). Shockingly, men with total cholesterol below 165 m/dL were also found to be seven times more likely to die prematurely from unnatural causes, including suicide and accidents (Boscarino, Erlich, & Hoffman, 2009).

In fact, Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, and Winged (1993) articulate this with, “In several clinical trials of interventions designed to lower plasma cholesterol, reductions in coronary heart disease mortality have been offset by an unexplained rise in suicides and other violent deaths” (p. 75).

In essence, in progressive circles, the cholesterol-demonizing, artery-clogging model of heart disease has been redacted in favor of one where inflammation leads to endothelial and vascular smooth muscle dysfunction as well as oxidative stress. Like firefighters at a fire, cholesterol is present at the scene of the crime, but it is not the perpetrator—rather, it is a protective antioxidant element that repairs damage to arteries.

Moreover, cholesterol is an important precursor to our steroid hormones and bile acids, a membrane constituent that helps maintain structural integrity and fluidity, and an essential component for transmembrane transport, cell signaling, and nerve conduction.

Saturated Fat is Not Bad For You

Further, the recommendations of the AHA are especially surprising in light of the results of the Minnesota Coronary Experiment performed forty years ago, where the saturated fat in the diets of 9000 institutionalized mental patients was replaced with polyunsaturated fats in the form of corn oil. A 2010 re-evaluation of the data from this experiment was published in the British Medical Journal (Ramsden et al., 2016).

According to this re-analysis, these patients experienced a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL reduction in serum cholesterol (Ramsden et al., 2016). Thus, although substituting saturated fat for omega-6 fats led to reductions in cholesterol, these patients suffered poorer health outcomes, highlighting that cholesterol is not the villain it was formerly construed to be.

What’s more, although the USA Today article declares the dangers of saturated fat, a recent meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which compiled data from 21 studies including 347,747 people that were followed for an average of 14 years, concluded that there is no appreciable relationship between saturated fat consumption and incidence of cardiovascular disease or stroke (Siri-Tarino, Sun, Hu, & Krauss, 2010).

Another meta-analysis published in 2015 in the British Journal of Medicine concluded that there is no association between saturated fat and risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, or all-cause mortality (the risk of death from any cause) (de Souza et al., 2015).

Along similar lines, a trial published in the American Journal of Nutrition in 2016 showed that eating a high fat diet, and deriving a large proportion of calories from saturated fat, improved biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk and insulin resistance, such as insulin, HDL, triglycerides, C-peptide, and glycated hemoglobin (Veum et al., 2016). The researchers conclude, “Our data do not support the idea that dietary fat per se promotes ectopic adiposity and cardiometabolic syndrome in humans” (Veum et al., 2016).

In actuality, saturated fat has been demonstrated to exert beneficial effects on levels of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), the latter of which has been characterized as the “good cholesterol” that scavenges or transports cholesterol deposited in the bloodstream back to the liver (Mensink, Zock, Kester, & Katan, 2003). Saturated fat has also been shown to elicit minimal effects on apolipoprotein B, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, relative to carbohydrates (Mensink, Zock, Kester, & Katan, 2003).

In addition, in a recent article in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, an expert panel held jointly between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the relationship between saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) (FAO/WHO, 2009).

From their examination of epidemiological studies, they found that saturated fatty acid intake was not significantly correlated with coronary heart disease events or mortality (FAO/WHO, 2009). Similarly, from their investigation of intervention studies, which are more powerful in that they can prove causality, they found that incidence of fatal coronary heart disease was not reduced by low-fat diets (FAO/WHO, 2009).

According to Mozaffarian and Ludwig (2015), “The 2015 DGAC report tacitly acknowledges the lack of convincing evidence to recommend low-fat–high-carbohydrate diets for the general public in the prevention or treatment of any major health outcome, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, or obesity” (p. 2422).

Part of this reversal in guidelines is based on the fact that replacing protein or carbohydrates with healthy fats in excess of the current 35% of the daily caloric fat limit reduces risk of cardiovascular disease (Appel et al., 2005; Estruch et al., 2013).

In a similar vein, “The 2015 DGAC report specifies that, ‘Consumption of ‘low-fat’ or ‘nonfat’ products with high amounts of refined grains and added sugars should be discouraged’” (Mozaffarian & Ludwig, 2015, p.2422). Despite new guidelines, the Nutrition Facts Panel still employs the outdated 30% limit on dietary fat, which Mozaffarian and Ludwig (2015) remark has been “obsolete for more than a decade” (p.2422).

Coconut Oil Doesn’t Negate Health—It Engenders It

Not only do these meta-analyses put the nail in the coffin as far as saturated fat causing heart disease, but a plethora of health benefits have been elucidated in the scientific literature regarding coconut oil consumption. For instance, the following studies, as catalogued in the GreenMedInfo database, have revealed metabolic, immunomodulatory, and cognitive benefits of the dietary inclusion of coconut oil.

For instance, extra virgin coconut oil consumption has been demonstrated to significantly reduce body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) and produce significant increases in concentrations of HDL cholesterol in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) (Cardoso et al., 2015). Another study by Liau in colleagues (2011) concluded that virgin coconut oil is efficacious for the reduction of waist circumference, especially in a male cohort. Likewise, a study by Assunção and colleagues (2009) demonstrated that dietary coconut oil reduces visceral adiposity and elevates HDL cholesterol in women, thus improving both anthropometric and biochemical risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

In rodent models, dietary virgin coconut oil improves glycemic control in high fructose fed rats, and is postulated to be “an efficient nutraceutical in preventing the development of diet induced insulin resistance and associated complications possibly through its antioxidant efficacy” (Narayanankutty et al., 2016). Research supports the use of coconut oil for obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, and pathologically elevated LDL, all of which constitute risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s, the last of which is being re-conceptualized as type 3 diabetes (Fernando et al., 2015).

In addition, in a prospective study of patients with Alzheimer’s, improvements in cognitive function were observed for patients administered extra virgin coconut oil, since “medium chain triglycerides are a direct source of cellular energy and can be a nonpharmacological alternative to the neuronal death for lack of it, that occurs in Alzheimer patients” (Yang et al., 2015). Notably, the hormones, or cytokinins, and phenolic compounds found in coconut may prevent aggregation of amyloid-β peptide into plaques, thus arresting a critical step in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s (Fernando et al., 2015). Research also suggests that coconut oil may directly stimulate ketogenesis in astrocytes and provide fuel to neighboring neurons as a consequence, thus improving brain health (Nonaka et al., 2016). On a different note, coconut oil mitigates amyloid beta toxicity in cortical neurons by up-regulating signaling of cell survival pathways (Nafar, Clarke, & Mearow, 2017).

Lastly, studies have illuminated anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-pyretic properties of virgin coconut oil (Intahphuak, Khonsung, & Panthong, 2010; Ogbolu et al., 2007). Thus, unless you are part of the minority of the population that carries the APOE4 allele, a polymorphism that confers increased risk with saturated fat consumption, there is no reason to avoid coconut oil or saturated fat (Barberger-Gateau et al., 2011). Thus, instead of trashing your coconut oil, do yourself a favor and eat an extra helping—your body will thank you.

For evidence-based reseach on coconut oil, visit the GreenMedInfo.com Research Dashboard.

References

Appel, L.J., Sacks, F.M., Carey, V.J., Obarzanek, E. Swain, J.F., Miller, E.R. 3rd,…OmniHeart Collaborative Research Group. (2005). Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(19):2455-2464.

Assunção, M.L., Ferreira, H.S., dos Santos, A.F., Cabral, C.R., & Florêncio, T.M.M.T. (2009). Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids, 44(7), 593-601.

Barberger-Gateua, P., Samieri, C., Feart, C., & Plourde, M. (2012). Dietary omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and Alzheimer’s disease: interaction with apolipoprotein E genotype. Current Alzheimer’s Research, 8(5), 479-491.

Calder, P.C. (1998). Dietary fatty acids and the immune system. Nutritional Reviews, II, S70-S83.

Cardoso et al. (2015). A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients. Nutrition Hospitals, 32(5), 2144-2152. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9642.

Crawford, M.A., Broadhurst, C.L., Guest, M., Nagar, A., Wang, Y., Ghebremeskel, K., & Schmidt, W. (2013). A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signaling throughout evolution. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 88(1), 5-13.

Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9(1), 10.

Das, U.N. (1994). Beneficial effect of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in the management of systemic lupus erythematosus and its relationship to the cytokine network. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 51(3), 207-213.

de Souza et al. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-anlaysis of observational studies. British Medical Journal, 351.

Estruch, R., Ros, E., Salas-Salvado, J., Covas, M.I., Corella, D., Aros, F.,…PREDIMED Study Investigators. (2013). Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(14), 1279-1290. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

FAO/WHO. (2009). Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Proceedings of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. November 10-14, 2008. Geneva, Switzerland. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 55, 1-3.

Fernando, W.M.A.D.B., Martins, I.J., Goozee, K.G., Brennan, C.S., Jayasena, V., & Martins, R.N. (2015). The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-14.
Intahphuak, S., Khonsung, P., & Panthong, A. (2010). Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharmacological Biology, 48(2), 151-157.

Kalmijn, S., Feskens, E.J.M., & Kromhout, D. (1997). Polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and cognitive function in very old men. American journal of Epidemiology, 145, 33-41.

Liau, K.M., Lee, Y.Y., Chen, C.K., & Rasool, A.H.G. (2011). An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacology. doi: 10.5402/2011/949686

Mensink, R.P., Zock, P.L., Kester, A.D., & Katan, M.B. (2003). Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(5), 1146-1155.

Mielke, M.M., Zandi, P.P., Sjogren, M., Gustafson, D., Ostling, S., Steen, B., & Skoog, I. (2005). High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Neurology, 64(10), 1689-1695.

Mozaffarian, D., & Ludwig, D.S. (2015). The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines: Lifting the Ban on Total Dietary Fat. Journal of the American Medical Association, 313(24), 2421-2422.

Morin, C., Blier, P.U., & Fortin, S. (2015). Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid monoglycerides are more potent than docosahexaenoic acid monoglyceride to resolve inflammation in a rheumatoid arthritis model. Arthritis Research Therapies, 17, 142. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0653-y.

Morgan, R.E., Palinkas, L.A., Barrett-Connor, E.L., & Wingard, D.L. (1993). Plasma cholesterol and depressive symptoms in older men. The Lancet, 341(8837), 75-79. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(93)92556-9

Nafar, F., Clarke, J.P., & Mearow, K.M. (2017). Coconut oil protects cortical neurons from amyloid beta toxicity by enhancing signaling of cell survival pathways. Neurochemical International, 105, 64-79. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2017.01.008.

Narayanankutty, A., Mukesh, R.K., Ayoob, S.K., Ramavarma, S.K., Suseela, I.M., Manalil, J.J.,…Raghavamenon, A.C. (2016). Virgin coconut oil maintains redox status and improves glycemic conditions in high fructose fed rats. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(1), 895-901.

Nettleton, J. (1995). omega-3 fatty acids and health. New York Chapman & Hall. p. 67-73.

Nonaka, Y., Takagi, T., Inai, M., Nishimura, S., Urashima, S., Honda, K.,…Terada, S. (2016). Lauric acid stimulates ketone body production in the KT-5 astrocyte cell line. Journal of Oleo Science, 65(8), 693-699.

Ogbolu, D.O., Oni, A.A., Daini, O.A., & Oloko, A.P. (2007). In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Journal of Medical Foods, 10(2), 384-387.

Petrusson, H., Sigurdsson, J.A., Bengtsson, C., Nilsen, T.I., & Getz, L. (2012). Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study. Journal of the Evaluation of Clinical Practice, 18(1), 159-168.

Ramsden et al. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-1973). British Medical Journal, 353.Simopoulos, A.P., & Salem Jr., N. (1992). Egg yolk as a source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant feeding. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 55, 411-414.

Rose, D.P. (1997). Dietary fatty acids and cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(suppl), 998S-1003S.

Seaman, D.R. (2002). The diet-induced pro-inflammatory state: a cause of chronic pain and other degenerative diseases? Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 25(3), 168-179.

Seneff, S., Wainwright, G., & Mascitelli, L. (2011). Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 1-7.

Simopoulos, A.P. (1991). Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54, 483-463.

Sinclair, H. (1981). The relative importance of essential fatty acids of the linoleum and linolenic families: studies with an Eskimo diet. Progress in Lipid Research, 20, 897-899.

Siri-Tarino, P.W., Sun, Q., Hu, F.B., & Krauss, R.M. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3), 535-546.

Stillwell, W., & Wassall, S.R. (2003). Docosahexaenoic acid: membrane properties of a unique fatty acid. Chemistry and Physical Lipids, 126(1), 1-27.

Veum et al. (2016). Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.115.123463

Yang, H.Y., de la Rubia Orti, J.E., Sabater, P.S., Castillo, S.S., Rochina, M.J., Ramon, N.M., & Montoya-Castilla, I. (2015). Coconut oil: Non-alternative drug treatment against Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrition in Hospitals, 32(6), 2822-2877.

Ali Le Vere holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

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Are Diet Drinks Better Than Regular Soda?

Summer is upon us with vengeance. The heat (and the humidity) is almost intolerable. That soft drink in the fridge by the checkout counter of any store is just the right thing to quench that miserable feeling. But do you choose the regular or diet soda? What’s the difference?

The following article by www.fooducate.com compares the contents of the Pepsi Next diet drink against its regular soda cousins. Warning – the truth may sting a little!

Summer is upon us with vengeance. The heat (and the humidity) is almost intolerable. That soft drink in the fridge by the checkout counter of any store is just the right thing to quench that miserable feeling. But do you choose the regular or diet soda? What’s the difference?

The following article by www.fooducate.com compares the contents of the Pepsi Next diet drink against its regular soda cousins. Warning – the truth may sting a little!

April 4th, 2012

Pepsi Next

 

When we joked about the big cola companies removing 30% of the sugar from their soft drinks as an April Fool’s prank, some people responded in all seriousness, having spotted such a cola from Pepsi out in the wild. And indeed, Pepsi Next boasts a 60% reduction in sugar!

Could it be that we are on the cusp of a soft drink revolution?

What you need to know:

Here is Pepsi Next’s ingredient list:

CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, NATURAL FLAVOR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, CAFFEINE, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASPARTAME, CITRIC ACID, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE.

Note that while sugar content has been reduced, it is still the second ingredient after water (in the form of high fructose corn syrup). There are still 4 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce can!

True, about 6 teaspoons worth were removed. But unfortunately, Pepsi Next has simply replaced the missing sugar with artificial sweeteners, same as those used in its diet drink. And not just one or two, but a thoroughly sickening triumvirate including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

Each of the three has its related health concerns, and artificial sweeteners in general mess with the body’s capability to deal with sweet. The dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed artificial sweeteners actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose. For more, read Three Reasons to Rethink that Diet Coke You’re About to Drink.

Pepsi Next Ingredients

Here’s what the Fooducate grading and analysis for Pepsi Next looks like (web version):

Pepsi Next rated on Fooducate's web appPepsi Next rated on Fooducate’s web app

What to do at the supermarket:

Don’t look for health when it comes to soft drinks, whether fully loaded with sugar, artificially sweetened, or this hybrid Next product. Switch to soda water infused with some fruit juice, then work your way to regular water. If you can make it, you’ll save your family $500 a year by switching to tap water…

Pepsi Next claims to have 60 percent less sugar without sacrificing taste. The secret to keeping its sweet taste comes from the use of THREE artificial sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.
Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.
Acesulfame potassium (Acesulfame-K) has been linked to kidney problems, and sucralose (Splenda) has been found to reduce the amount of beneficial microflora in your gut by 50 percent—in addition to being associated with many of the same adverse reactions as aspartame.
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite; increase carbohydrate cravings; stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

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Bone Broth For Joint Inflammations

Scientists at Harvard studied the effects of UC-II® (undenatured form of Collagen Type-II) on human patients with rheumatoid arthritis, long established as an autoimmune disorder. In a randomized, double-blind trial of 60 patients, type II chicken collagen produced a significant decrease in the number of swollen and painful joints within 3 months, compared to the placebo group. In fact, 14% of patients achieved complete remission. No side effects were found

 

More than 52 million Americans today suffer one form or another of arthritis. The pain and sensitivity in the joints caused by the inflammation can be quite limiting to one’s every day routine. Chances are you or someone you know is living in pain because of a joint inflammation.

By combining the opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and gamma-aminobutyric acid analogs into the pain and inflammation category, the record shows that it is the second-highest spending category of all drugs (immediately below the diabetic drugs) according to a 2015 report [1].

But there are some very effective and natural means to deal of inflammation and its secondary effects on our joints. One of them is to take a consistent amount of bone broth. That’s right. The soup that your mom or grandma have made for you when you were sick. Bone broth of all kinds (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, etc…) is rich in nutrients, easy on the digestive system, and deliciously flavorful. And now scientists have found some concrete evidence that your grandma’s bone broth is truly nature’s effective ways of combating joint inflammation as well.

A team of scientists at the University of Nebraska was surprised to find that chicken soup prevented the mobilization of immune system cells to sites of inflammation [2]. Upon further analysis, it was not vegetables but a soluble component of the chicken broth itself that exerted this anti-inflammatory activity.

The researchers believe that it was likely the collagen from chicken bones in the broth that was the source of this beneficial anti-inflammatory effect.

Scientists at Harvard studied the effects of UC-II® (undenatured form of Collagen Type-II) on human patients with rheumatoid arthritis, long established as an autoimmune disorder. In a randomized, double-blind trial of 60 patients, type II chicken collagen produced a significant decrease in the number of swollen and painful joints within 3 months, compared to the placebo group. In fact, 14% of patients achieved complete remission. No side effects were found [3].

Later, a much larger study of 274 rheumatoid arthritis patients confirmed this finding, as did a study on patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a particularly aggressive form of this disease [4].

If you are interested in giving the bone broth a try. I highly recommend making it at home by yourself using organic, free-range, antibiotic free, green fed chicken, pork, beef, and lamb with lots of organic vegetables and natural spices. However, if you are a busy-body and don’t have the time, there are already made and ready to go powdered form of bone broths available on the market today. We carry the purest form of animal source bone broths as pictured above. They come in different flavors and varieties, but always pure, gut-friendly, and ready to go.

Call us at 512-310-8880 to find out more about this amazing product line that is not just good for your immune system but also great for your healthy joints!

  1. http://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/top-10-drug-spending-categories-by-traditional-therapeutic-class?p=2
  2. Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro.Chest.2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7.
  3. Trentham DE, Dynesius-Trentham RA, Orav EJ, et al. Effects of oral administration of type II collagen on rheumatoid arthritis. Science. 1993 Sep 24;261(5129):1727-30.
  4. Barnett ML, Kremer JM, St Clair EW, et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with oral type II collagen. Results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb;41(2):290-7.
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The Role of Mucus in Digestion

Mucus plays a hugely important role in digestion, in addition to helping establish the overall health of other areas of your body.

In this article we’ll focus just on how mucus helps in mechanical digestion, and why you need to make sure that your body has a suitable amount.

Mucus plays a hugely important role in digestion, in addition to helping establish the overall health of other areas of your body.

In this article we’ll focus just on how mucus helps in mechanical digestion, and why you need to make sure that your body has a suitable amount.

Why does mucus help?

Your body makes about a liter of mucus every day, and some of it may be for the benefit of your bowels. The first question to answer regarding mucus and its role in digestion is why mucus is a helpful substance. Mucus, though it doesn’t look like it, helps destroy bacteria and viruses, in addition to trapping particles, preventing water loss, lubricating the movement of materials through your body, and protects all the surfaces it touches from damage.

You have mucus in your mouth, in the form of saliva, and even in your eyes. The viscosity of the mucus depends on where it’s located in your body. In your nose, for examples, it’s thicker in order to fight against the potential viruses, dirt, and other irritants which can easily enter the nose. With your digestive tract, however, mucus is a bit different.

How does mucus help digestion?

Your stomach is lined by a protective layer of mucus, which is responsible for creating the enzymes that help your body digest proteins. Additionally, the mucus lining your stomach helps prevent your stomach lining from the negative effects of excessive exposure to acid or pepsin.

Now, as for your digestive tract specifically – mucus helps there as well. Since mucus works to lubricate items in your body for easy movement from one area of the body to another, it’s important to have enough in your intestinal tract.

The intestines can easily be perforated or otherwise harmed by sharp objects you’ve eaten that haven’t been completely ground down yet (potato chips, crackers, etc.). Mucus coats these objects so they flow through your intestines at a much more productive rate, ensuring that your body is able to process the food you eat as efficiently as possible.

According to a 2013 study published in Science, mucus may hold the key to understanding digestive health and help explain inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — more so, it may even be a treatment for it.

“We all live with trillions of bacteria inside our digestive system,” said Andrea Cerutti, MD, PhD, a professor in the department of medicine at the Immunology Institute at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. “We have more bacteria than we have cells in our body. Some of these bacteria would kill us if they were free in another part of our body. We wanted to know what role mucus plays in allowing us to live in peace with all these bacteria.”

Mucus from beginning to end:

Now that you can see how mucus is important in many different aspects of your health, let’s look at the process it plays from beginning to end in your digestive system.

First, the saliva in your mouth (a form of mucus) breaks down your food, fights bacteria in your mouth, and removes plaque from your teeth. Then the mucus lining your throat lubricates the food as it enters your stomach.

There, the protective mucus membrane on the lining of your stomach protects it from acid exposure. Once it’s done in your stomach, the food moves to your intestines where it’s once again coated in mucus to move freely through your entire digestive tract.

It may not be outwardly apparent, but without mucus it’s easy to see that our bodies wouldn’t function as well as they could.

Mucus: Intestinal Inflammation Fighter

There are dendritic cells that line the intestines and allow the immune system to tolerate bacteria and allergens without causing inflammatory response.

The new research shows that a component of mucus called mucin type 2, or MUC2, is picked up by dendritic cells. MUC2 then signals the dendritic cells to tolerate bacteria or antigens. In other words, mucus is not just a protective coating; it also plays an important role in regulating digestive inflammation.

The researchers used mice, pigs, and human intestinal cells to demonstrate that MUC2 is the protein that communicates with dendritic cells, Cerutti said.

Mice that were genetically engineered to have less mucus, less tolerance, and more inflammation were given mucus from healthy mice. “When we used reconstituted healthy mucus,” he said, “we were able to restore tolerance in the mice with inflammation.”

Treatment for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect about 1.4 million Americans. Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis occurs only in the colon. Both can cause symptoms like fever, diarrhea, pain, and weight loss.

The researchers believe that if something lessens the quality of intestinal mucus, the immune system may then not be able to endure bacteria without an inflammatory reaction, which could then lead to Irritable Bowel Syndromes or IBS.

So if altered mucus contributes to the cause of IBS, could healthy mucus help treat it? Cerutti and his colleagues think there’s a good chance it can. Cerruti also points to the potential that healthy mucus may have in curbing food allergies.

We all have heard of probiotics and how good they are in combating the “bad bacteria” in our intestinal microbiome so that it may bring back the balance of healthy flora population in our intestines. Many of the well known probiotics for the intestines are of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. As a result, probiotic products have become more popular than ever and they mostly deals with intestinal health.

Oral Treatment with Probiotic S. Salivarius?

However, as we mentioned before, digestion begins in the mouth and probiotics are there in the saliva mucus as well. Specifically, streptococcus salivarius K12 has been isolated and found to be of particular benefit to our oral and overall health.

For example, S. salivarius has been shown in vitro to have inhibitory activity against S. pyogenes, the principal causative agent of streptococcal pharyngitis. A study showed that children who frequently experienced clinically confirmed sore throats were significantly less likely to have BLIS-producing S. salivarius than children who had not experienced sore throats in the past 3 years. Recent, as yet unpublished, studies have also demonstrated that the use of one lozenge a day containing 1 billion viable cfu of strain K12, is sufficient to achieve oral cavity colonization in the majority of subjects [WESCOMBE PA ET AL., UNPUBLISHED DATA]. Further evidence for the protection afforded by strain K12 against streptococcal pharyngitis was gathered during a small preliminary trial in which 24 children with a history of recurrent tonsillitis (0.33 episodes per month) received daily doses of either strain K12 or a placebo.

 

Future research may involve learning about what goes wrong with mucus in IBD and how to reconstitute healthy mucus into a form of treatment. Studying, reconstituting, or artificially creating mucus to be used as medicine is complicated, though. MUC2 is a complex molecule — “a big protein decorated with lots of sugars,” Cerutti said. “So we have a lot to learn.”

Source: Nature’s Sunshine Products Posts and www.everydayhealth.com

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Are Adults over 50 Able to Absorb B-12?

As you age, your body can become less capable of absorbing adequate amounts of some nutrients, including vitamin B-12. Studies indicate that about 40% of the U.S. population suffers from some sort of Vitamin B-12 deficiency, either because they are not eating the types of foods that provide B-12 or because they are unable to absorb enough of the vitamin through their intestines.

As you age, your body can become less capable of absorbing adequate amounts of some nutrients, including vitamin B-12. Studies indicate that about 40% of the U.S. population suffers from some sort of Vitamin B-12 deficiency, either because they are not eating the types of foods that provide B-12 or because they are unable to absorb enough of the vitamin through their intestines.

vitamin B12 held in hand

Like all of the B vitamins, Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin, and that means that the body does not manufacture any of it on its own. The only way to get the vitamin is through the foods you eat. Unfortunately, as men and women get older, years of poor diet, consumption of alcohol, smoking, and diseases or illnesses might prevent the body from being able to absorb sufficient B-12.

What Does Vitamin B-12 Do in Your Body?

All of the B vitamins are crucial to the mechanisms of your body on a cellular level. If you are low on one or multiple B vitamins, chances are you will feel run down and tired (at the very least) as the B vitamins directly activate metabolic processes that allow you to gain energy from the foods you eat.

Vitamin B-12, in particular, acts like a key for a number of very important processes to take place that play vital roles in your energy levels, including red blood cell formation, proper nervous system function, DNA synthesis, and more.

There are four types of Vitamin B-12—three of which are critical to health maintenance:

  1. Methylcobalamin is the most active form of Vitamin B-12, the main key for cellular and metabolic processes. Methylcobalamin is the form of B-12 that you find naturally occurring in the foods you eat, and it is the most easily absorbed and utilized by your body.
  2. Hydroxocobalamin is another naturally occurring form of B12 that is found in the foods you eat. This form of B-12 easily converts into methylcobalamin in the body. If you have a serious B-12 deficiency that requires B-12 injections, it will be hydroxocobalamin in the syringe. Fun fact: hydroxocobalamin is also used to counteract cyanide poisoning.
  3. Adenosylcobalamin is the least stable form of B-12 and occurs naturally in foods that have B-12.

Dietary Sources of B-12

Vitamin B-12 is available only through animal sources like beef, fowl, fish, dairy, and eggs. For this reason, vegans and vegetarians are more susceptible to B-12 deficiency and need to supplement with B-12—preferably with products that contain methylcobalamin. For those who have gut health problems and cannot easily digest animal products, B-12 deficiencies are also common.

How Is Vitamin B-12 Absorbed?

B-12 is absorbed through the intestines after your stomach produces a protein called intrinsic factor. If you don’t produce enough intrinsic factor, you may end up with a B-12 deficiency. Gut health, therefore, is crucial to your absorption rates of B-12. Antibiotics; chemical food additives like MSG; mercury poisoning from dental fillings, farmed fish and shellfish, and water; a diet high in refined flours, sugars, and fats; high alcohol consumption; smoking; and certain diseases or illnesses can all harm your gut health and reduce or prevent B-12 absorption.

Are You Low on Vitamin B-12?

With 40% of the population suffering from some degree of B-12 deficiency, chances are you or someone you know needs a B-12 boost. The National Health and Nutritional Health Examination Survey estimates that 3.2% of people over 50 suffer from a seriously low level of B-12, while 20% of people 50 and older are borderline deficient!

Deficiency symptoms can range from fatigue and weakness to serious depression, memory loss, loss of smell or taste, pins and needles in the arms and legs, and more.

Supplementing with Vitamin B-12

As we’ve discussed above, the preferred form of Vitamin B-12 is methylcobalamin. For those over 50—and especially for those 50 or older who are vegetarian or vegan—a liquid methylcobalamin supplement that you drop under the tongue is the most effective. Remember that the B vitamins work most effectively when they work together, so you need to be getting all your B vitamins every day.

Remember also that any good quality supplements only benefit you if you are also eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding sugar and junk foods.

Source: http://blog.naturessunshine.com/en

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Nutritional Beverages Gaining Popularity

In a recent research released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and IRI, U.S. sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG), in 2016, showed growth of American consumers for convenient nutrition but also for apparently contradictory not-so-healthy treats such as confections and alcohol.

First of all, Happy Independence Day to everyone! I, like many, am celebrating the amazing freedom we have which often we take it for granted.

Summer is in full swing and we all should be hydrating ourselves more. Appropriately, I have been writing about water the last couple of blogs. Here is an interesting coverage on the new trend in the market place about nutritional and hyper-functional beverages.

In a recent research released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and IRI, U.S. sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG), in 2016, showed growth of American consumers for convenient nutrition but also for apparently contradictory not-so-healthy treats such as confections and alcohol.

“Our research shows that the growing popularity of convenient nutrition and wellness remains one of the most powerful trends in the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry,” said Jim Brennan, a BCG partner and co-author of the study. “But this does not mean that American consumers’ craving for indulgences has diminished.”

“Sales growth in these product categories is projected to remain strong,” said Krishnakumar (KK) Davey, president of IRI Strategic Analytics. “As long as the products are used for human consumption, we expect these bifurcated trends—demand for health and wellness products as well as for indulgence products—to continue, irrespective of whether they are bought in traditional stores or via an intelligent personal digital assistant like Alexa on Amazon.”

IRI and BCG generated three lists of growth leaders: small companies ($100 million to $1 billion in IRI-measured retail sales), midsize companies ($1 billion to $5.5 billion), and large companies (more than $5.5 billion).

The research found that health and beauty aids that convey “wellness” were one of the strong CPG growth categories in 2016.

“Hyper-functional beverages”—drinks with health and wellness in mind, such as improving health, boosting energy, or managing weight—was one of the hottest categories of 2016. For example, some key ingredients may included almond and macadamia milk, ginger, turmeric, ginseng, and other adaptogenic herbs sourced by direct trade.

Whether to have a hyper-functional drink or an indulging drink, the choice is clearly yours. But as for me, I go for healthy drinks 100% of the time!

I will be holding a workshop on Hydration & Hyper-Functional Beverages on July 11th, 2017, Tuesday. If you are within driving distance to our Wellness Center, consider this an invitation to come and join us on this FREE event. Please click here for more details.

For some of our own powerful hyper-functional beverage products, feel free to check the following blogs:

Ready for Some 4ward Thinking Drinks – http://www.healthyindeed.com/ready-for-some-4ward-thinking/

Thai-Go – https://www.naturessunshine.com/us/product/thai-go-two-25-fl-oz-bottles/4195/

 

Source: https://www.bcg.com/ and https://www.iriworldwide.com/

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