Stethoscope listening to a heartbeat

Is the ketogenic diet safe for the heart?

Stethoscope listening to a heartbeat

I was asked the other day whether or not eating a low carbohydrate, high fat diet such as a ketogenic diet would be safe for the heart. My answer was YES. However, honestly, up until about two years ago this would not have been my answer.

I remember about 15 years ago when the Adkins diet was a popular diet. Some of my family and friends were on this diet and had great results with it. I however, gave them a hard time, ‘yes you will lose weight but you will die from a heart attack’.

The theory was that eating all that saturated fat would increase cholesterol levels, which would increase the risk for atherosclerosis or clogging of the arteries and then heart attacks. We have since learned that this is not true. As I discussed in another blog, it was shown that people who switched from eating saturated fat to vegetable oils, which at the time was thought to be the healthier type of fat, actually had an HIGHER risk of heart attacks and death. (Ramsden 2016) (Ramsden 2013)

Those studies however, just looked at changing the types of fat that were eaten, i.e. stopping saturated fats and start using vegetable oils, not increasing the amount of fats in the diet. So what happens to cardiac risk factors (obesity, specifically waist circumference, hypertension, diabetes, high triglycerides and high systemic inflammatory markers such as CRP) when start eating more fats and fewer carbohydrates as in low carbohydrates diet? Several studies, which were recently published, answered just that question.

The first was a study published in the journal Obesity Reviews in 2012. This study reviewed 23 studies with a total of 1,141 obese patients eating a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss. They found improvement of all major cardiovascular risk factors associated with eating a low carbohydrate diet.   Specifically, the study found a significant decreased in weight, body mass index and abdominal circumference. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were also decreased.   Markers for diabetes were improved including, fasting plasma glucose levels, gylcated hemoglobin (HgA1c) and insulin levels. Cholesterol levels were also improved; with lower levels of triglycerides and increased levels of HDL. Lastly the marker of inflammatory, CRP levels, were also improved (Santos, 2012)

Another study looked at very low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet specifically. This study reviewed a total of 13 studies, in which a total 1577 individuals were randomized to either very low carbohydrate diet or a low fat diet. The very low carbohydrate diet group had significantly greater weight loss, improvement of diastolic blood pressures, lower triglycerides and higher HDL levels. Fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, HgA1c and CRP all showed improvement in favor of the very low carbohydrate group compared to low fat groups. (Bueno, 2013)

The LDL levels in the very low carbohydrate group were increased, as expected from eating more saturated fats. However, as discussed in a prior post, it is not the LDL particle itself that is the problem: instead, it is the size of the particle that matters. There are actually two different types of LDL based on size. There is small and large size LDL. The small LDL particles are the ones that are believed to be harmful, or more prone to cause the clogging of the arteries that is of clinical concern. When LDL is exposed to high carbohydrates and high triglycerides, it is more likely to become oxidized or damaged, making the LDL a small dense particle. Whereas, it has been shown the type of LDL particles that are elevated when the diet contains a higher saturated fat (not the inflammatory vegetable oils) combined with carbohydrate restriction, are the larger sized LDL particles, which are the less artherogenic than the small dense LDL. (Krauss, 2006)

Then lastly, a study published in the journal Circulation, used carotid ultrasound as a way to measure atherosclerosis. The participants were randomized into a low fat diet, a Mediterranean type diet or a low carbohydrate diet. After 2 years of dietary intervention, they found that all 3 groups had a significant regression of the atherosclerosis plaques. This suggested that the low carbohydrate diet is at least as effective as the other diets in showing regression. The study did not have the power to show differences between the groups, but there was a slight trend for the greatest improvement seen in the low carbohydrate diet. (Shai, 2010)   Thus, based on this study eating a low carbohydrate diet does not increase risk of atherosclerosis disease; instead it may actually decrease it.

So yes I have to apologize to my friends and family who were ahead of the game. They were right all along. Based on these studies and others, I now come to realize that going on a low carbohydrate, high fat diet such as ketogenic diet is indeed safe for the heart. Not only may the ketogenic diet help you lose weight, it may also improve your cardiovascular risk factors and does not increase your risk of atherosclerosis.

Need help with a ketogenic diet? First step is filling out this form and then I will be happy to help.

Your Name: *

Email Address: *

What interests you the most about the ketogenic lifestyle?:

Please leave this field empty.

Bibliography

Bueno, N. B. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition (110), 1178-1187.
Krauss, R. (2006). Seperate effects of reduced carbohydrate intake and weight loss on atherogenic dyslipidemia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (83), 1025-1031.
Ramsden, C. E. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). British Medical Journal, 353, 1-17.
Ramsden, C. E. (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. British Medical Journal, 346, 1-18
Santos, F. (2012). Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity Reviews, 13, 1048-1066.
Shai, I. (2010). Dietary Intervention to Reverse Carotid Atherosclerosis. Circulation, 121, 1200-1208.

Not all fats are created equal

Fat are not the enemy part 2

fatty foods

Our bodies need dietary fats:

Our brain and body needs dietary fat and dietary cholesterol to function. Fats are the building blocks for our cells membranes. Fats are carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Our body’s hormones (testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, estrogens, aldosterone along with others) are produced by dietary cholesterol. Eating healthy fats can decrease hunger by the release of the hormone CCK that signals satiety and decreases the cravings for foods.

Our brain needs dietary fats:

More importantly, our brains require a diet of fat for it to work properly. Our brains are composed of 60 percent fat. The majority of which is made up from the omega 3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The brain relies on fats for communication between nerve cells. Studies have show that a deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids has been associated with increased risk for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Eating high quality fats has been reported to improve cognition, focus and memory. Specifically one study, showed that people who ate the highest levels of fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) had a 44% decreased risk for developing mild cognitive impairment.

Not all fats are not equal:

With that said not all fats are created equal however. Out of these categories there are some that are fats that are better than others.

Fats are broken down into different categories

  1. Saturated (meat, lard, eggs, coconut oil, butter)
  2. Unsaturated
    1. Monounsaturated fats (olive oils, avocados, peanuts, almonds)
    2. Polyunsaturated fats
      1. Omega 3 fatty acids (herring, salmon, flax seed, nuts)
      2. Vegetable oils (corn, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils)
    3. Trans fatty acids (margarine, shortening)

The best fats are the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that contain omega 3 fatty acids. Saturated fats, previously felt to be the ‘bad fat’ has since been shown to actually be beneficial to the body. The unhealthy fats are the trans fatty acids and vegetable oils.

The saturated fats along with omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid have also been shown to decrease inflammation, where as the omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid increase inflammation. In a prior blog post, I discussed that increasing the amount of omega 3 compared omega 6 fatty acids in your diet has been shown to be helpful in migraine patients. The polyunsaturated fatty acid that contain a higher ratio of omega 6 compared omega 3 fatty acids, which should be avoided include corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil

Saturated fats, specifically, have gotten a bad rap in the past for the concern that it could increase the risk of atherosclerosis or clogged arteries in the heart. As discussed in another blog post, actually it was found that people who switched to vegetable oils instead of saturated fats had HIGHER risk of heart attacks and death.

So where are the best sources of these healthy fats?

  • Fatty fish: sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon contain a high level of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts are a great source of healthy unsaturated fats.
  • Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, chia, and flax seeds
  • Avocados
  • Whole eggs
  • Olive oils: preferably extra -virgin
  • Coconut oil
  • Grass feed butter and other animal products

 

Bibliography

Freeman, M. E. (2006). Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Evidence Basis for Treatment and Future Research in Psychriatry. Journal of Clinical Psychriatry, 67, 1954-1967.
Lawrence, G. D. (2013). Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 4, 294-302.
Ramsden, C. E. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). British Medical Journal, 353, 1-17.
Ramsden, C. E. (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. British Medical Journal, 346, 1-18.
Roberts, R. E. (2010). Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Reduced Odds of MCI: The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 21, 853-865.

Hello from Dr. Deb

 

An alternative approach to Neurology

Hello Dr. Deb here. I just wanted to say thanks for liking my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/BrainBodyFitness/. I also wanted to introduce myself to those who do not know me. I am currently 48 years old. I am a wife and a mom of wonderful 2 young girls. I have been practicing neurology for over 18 years. I specialize in headache medicine but still manage all types of neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s dementia, seizures, strokes, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. However pain and migraines are the conditions I see the most.

I started this website and my Facebook page because over the years my approach to the practice of medicine and specifically neurology has changed. I previously believed that my job was just to find the right pill for your symptoms. I since have come to the conclusion that sometimes the best medicine is not a pill that I can give, but a healthy life style that you choose for yourself. I have discovered this both thru my patients but also with my personal experience. I too suffer from migraines and depression but since making some changes with exercise and changes my diet to include ketosis I have had significant improvement in my symptoms.

Over the last couple of years I have been doing more and more research on the powers of exercise, nutrition and most recently the benefits of ketones. I will be making a series of videos over the next several of weeks so that I can share with some of what I have learned.  I hope that you will find some value in these videos.

Sincerely,

Dr. Deb

Closeup of bulletproof coffee with cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and grass fed organic butter on wooden table, part of ketogenic diet

Ketogenic Diet Basics

What is the Ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Yes, I said high fat. Don’t worry: eating fats are no longer the enemy; they are actually our friend if you want a healthy brain and body. (Glucose and carbohydrates are actually the enemy). When you decrease the amount of carbohydrates and increase the amount of fats in your diet, your body goes into the metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is the process by which your body starts the break down fats and turns it into ketones. Ketones are another fuel source for our bodies, which then can be used as a fuel instead of glucose.

What are the potential benefits of eating a Ketogenic diet?

The research on the uses of the ketogenic diet is extensive and is still growing. The ketogenic diet has been used for the treatment of poorly controlled seizures since the 1920s. Research now shows potential benefits for many other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, along with traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ADD, and even autism. Besides the brain benefits, the ketogenic diet has been shown to help many medical issues including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

How do I start the Ketogenic diet?

A standard ketogenic diet consists of having your diet consist of 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fats.

Foods to eat:

  • Meats: Red meats, sausage, bacon, ham, pork, game meat, chicken, etc. Also eat the fat on the meat as well as the skin on the chicken.
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna
  • Eggs: Yes you can eat the whole egg!
  • Oils: Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Butters, creams, and cheese: Use full fat options and all natural grass fed butter
  • Nuts: Walnuts, almond, macadamia nuts, flax seed, and pumpkin seeds
  • Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant and spinach
  • Avocados 

Foods to avoid:

caution-carbs-

Basically any food that are high in carbohydrates should be limited, especially watch for hidden carbs in the so-called ‘low fat foods’.

 

  • Foods high in sugars: soda, fruit juices, smoothies, candies, pasties etc.
  • Grains: wheat, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, and rice
  • High carb vegetables: potatoes, corn, and carrots
  • Beans: kidney beans, chickpeas, and refried beans
  • Artificial sweeteners and processed foods
  • Unhealthy fats: margarines and vegetable oils
  • Alcohol
  • Fruits 

Are there any side effects from the Ketogenic diet?

Often people notice symptoms when first starting a ketogenic diet called “the keto flu”. These symptoms of nausea, digestive discomfort, increased hunger, headaches and fatigue, typically improve after a few days. There are several suggestions that can help.  One is going a little slower with both decreasing off the carbohydrates and increasing the fats. Another suggestion is drinking more water. I also recommend adding some more minerals to your diet such as by adding Himalayan salt to your water along starting a magnesium supplement.

Are there any supplements that I should take?

As discussed above I typically recommend taking magnesium supplement. There are a couple of other ways to increase your ketone levels including adding MCT oils to your coffee or drink. Second there is a ketone salt supplement that I highly recommend which helps to keep you in a state of ketosis even when your diet is not 100% on tract.

Do you want help starting a ketogenic diet? Message me by filling out form below.

Your Name: *

Email Address: *

What interests you the most about the ketogenic lifestyle?:

Please leave this field empty.

fatty foods

Fats are no longer the enemy

Debunking the myth that saturated fats are the cause of heart disease

Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past. You know the storyline that we all have been told over the years: fats make you fat and they are the cause of high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

It all started back in 1961 when the Framingham Heart Study came out showing a correlation between high serum cholesterol and an increase risk for coronary heart disease health and strokes. Since then we all, doctors included, have been convinced that fats, particularly saturated fats should be avoided. This led to a major push by medical, governmental and public health messages to encourage people to switch from eating diets of saturated fats (butter, meats and eggs) to using vegetable oils and low fats foods.

However research in the last decade have challenged that thought process. One such study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This review looked at prior studies that had been preformed on diet of saturated fat and the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.   It actually showed that there was no evidence that dietary saturated fat was associated with an increase risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.

Next, more evidence that saturated fats are not the problem was shown when the data from a couple of randomized studies; the Sydney Diet Heart Study and Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE), were reanalyzed. These studies were designed to test whether replacement of a diet of saturated fats with one using a vegetable oil (linoleic acid) would reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and death by lowering cholesterol. Both studies showed that despite the fact that switching from saturated fats to this vegetable oil resulted in a decreased the cholesterol levels, there was not a decrease the risk heart disease or deaths. Instead the opposite was shown. There was actually an increased risk of death and heart attacks in the vegetable oil group.   Further more in the MCE study, the participants who had the greatest reductions in serum cholesterol had the highest risk of death. Additionally, the MCE study showed that despite lowering the cholesterol levels, there not any improvement in the atherosclerosis at autopsy.

So if eating saturated fats leads to an increase in cholesterol but not an increased risk of heart diseases then what is the cause of atherosclerosis coronary heart disease? To better understand this, let’s take a look of what we mean when talk about cholesterol.

When you get your cholesterol check it will have it broken down into total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides. HDL is typically been considered the good or Healthy type cholesterol, and LDL is the bad or Lousy type of cholesterol. However it is not the LDL itself that is the problem, or cause of atherosclerosis.  It is when the LDL becomes oxidized that it causes atherosclerosis. Oxidation occurs which sugars attach to the LDL molecule making it nonfunctional. When it is dysfunctional it attaches to the lining of the arteries, which then results in an inflammatory response and eventually atherosclerosis plaques formation. So what is the cause of oxidation of the LDL molecules? The very things that we were told to eat to prevent heart disease; carbohydrates i.e. sugar and vegetable oils such as Linoleic acid or corn oil.

So I know it is a hard habit to break but one that is essential to your health. Stop eating those “low fat” foods, ditch the vegetable oils and margarines.   Go ahead use real butter and don’t feel guilty about eating those eggs and bacon.  Your brain and your heart will thank you for it.

Bibliography

Lawrence, G. D. (2013). Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 4, 294-302.
Ramsden, C. E. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). British Medical Journal, 353, 1-17.
Ramsden, C. E. (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. British Medical Journal, 346, 1-18.
Siri-Tarino, P. E. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 535-546.
fuel pump

Benefits of fueling your body with ketones

Why Ketones are a better fuel source than glucose

Where do our bodies get the energy to fuel our activities of daily living? 

Glucose is the main fuel source of our bodies, but there is another type of fuel that is available to our bodies, ketones.  Ketones are a natural by-product of fat metabolism.  When the body has run out of glucose to use as fuel it will switch fuel sources and start converting fat into fatty acids and then into ketones.  Our bodies were designed to use this duel source of energy based on how we lived in the caveman days.  In the summer and spring when food was plentiful, cavemen would eat more food and pack on the extra and store it as fat.  Then in the fall and winter when food was scarce, the cavemen would live off that extra stored fat.   Nowadays, since food supply is plentiful all year around and there is no physiological need or demand to live off the stored fat, thus we may just keep packing it on, all year around.

What are the differences between ketones and glucose as a source of energy?

Research suggests that ketones are a better, cleaner source of energy for the body and actually provide more energy than glucose.  Unlike glucose, ketones do not depend on insulin to get into the cells for use. Ketones produce less carbon dioxide and free radicals than when the body uses glucose as a fuel source thus are less toxic for our body, making it a cleaner fuel source. Unfortunately, ketones are harder energy source for our bodies to tap into since they require your body to be in either a starvation mode or at least be in a state of very low in carbohydrates.  Nowadays, the most common way of getting the body to produce ketones, or be in a state of ketosis, is by being on a very low carb diet i.e. a ketogenic diet.  Typically, a ketogenic diet consists of 5-10% carbohydrates, 20-25% protein and 65-75% fats.  As you can imagine this is not easy to achieve.

For those who do achieve ketosis, the benefits to the body and the brain are impressive.  Here are just a few of the benefits that are suggested by the research:

1) Better Brain Function

As a Neurologist this is the benefit of ketosis I have to list first.  If ketones are available, then they are the preferred fuel for the brain over glucose.  Subjectively, this means improved focus and mental cognition.  Objectively, it has been shown to improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.  A ketogenic diet has been used for over 80 years in the treatment of difficult to control seizures.  It is also being studied in: Parkinson’s disease, ALS, traumatic brain injury, and hypoxic brain injury.  Ketosis has also been shown to be beneficial in patients with migraine headaches, ADD, PTSD and depression.

2) Better Athletic Performance

Forget carb loading, for better athletic performance.  Ketones are a better energy source for your workouts.  Ketones provides  more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) than glucose.  Subjectively, many people who achieve ketosis report feeling of increased energy levels.  Having more ATP means more energy to workout longer and harder. Objectively, several studies on endurance athletes have shown that athletes who are in ketosis are able to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time.

3) Fat Loss

When your body is in ketosis it is now literally a ‘fat burning machine’.  Without having carbohydrates/glucose around for energy, your body starts releasing stored fat, which then will be turned into ketones for energy. Thus, inches drop off faster than with a low-fat high carb diet because you are actively burning up your stored fat.  Additionally, high fat diet have a protein (muscle) sparing effect so if you are calorie restricted, your body will be protected against breakdown of skeletal muscle as a source of fuel.

4) Improved Diabetes

Diabetes is either due to a decreased insulin production (type 1 diabetes) or insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is required to transport glucose into the cells for use.   In type 1 diabetes, there is not enough insulin around for the amount of glucose in the body. In type 2 diabetes, the cells are ‘resistant’ to the insulin that is around, and the cells are not able to process the glucose. Since all carbohydrates we eat break down into glucose, treatment of diabetes is often focused around lowering the glucose level, thus eating a low carb diet is recommended. Studies in individuals with type 2 diabetes using either, a very low carbohydrate or a ketogenic diet have had impressive results. These studies have showed that the participants were able to decrease or completely withdrawal off of the use of insulin, along with having major weight loss in a matter of just a few weeks. Also, it has been reported that eating a high fat, ketogenic diet can also improve insulin sensitivity, meaning the insulin that is around works better.

5) Less Inflammation

One of the ketones produced by the body is beta-hydroxybutyrate, has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Reports show individuals eating a ketogenic diet have some symptomatic improvement from rheumatoid arthritis, polycystic ovary disease, migraine headaches, eczema, and other conditions caused by inflammatory processes.

If ketosis is so good for you then why isn’t everyone doing it?

Well, first of all, most mainstream nutritionists and the USDA still recommend carbohydrates as a main staple of our diet.  Second, we live in a world that is addicted to carbohydrates.  Thus, most people simply cannot adhere to the strict diet that is required to get into and stay in ketosis through nutritional adjustments of eating so few carbohydrates.

So what if there was a supplement of exogenous ketones that could put you in therapeutic ketosis within an hour, despite your diet, and allow you to potentially to tap into the above-mentioned benefits without having to be on a strict ketogenic diet?  Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?   Luckily, such a supplement was developed under US Department of Defense commissioned research for use in Navy Seal divers to prevent seizures that could occur in association with using high-oxygen re-breathers (oxygen toxicity).   A ketone supplement that was inspired based on that research and has been released for sale to the public.  If you would like more information about this new ketone supplement check it out.

If you would like some help starting a ketogenic diet I would be happy to help.

Your Name: *

Email Address: *

How may I help?

Please leave this field empty.

 

Bibliography

Di Lorenzo, C. e. (2015). Migraine improvement during short lasting ketogenesis: a proof-of concept study. European Journal of Neurology (22), 170–177.
D’Agostino, D. P. (2013). Therapeutic ketosis with ketone ester delays central nervous system oxygen toxicity seizures in rats. American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 304, R829–R836.
Paoli, A. E. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (67), 789-796.
Stafstrom, C. R. (2012). The Ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3, 1-8.
Youm, Y. (2015). Ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate blocks the NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nature Medicine, 21 (3), 263–269.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to are not intended to diagnose prevent treat or cure any disease.
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Pomegranate_Image-200

Got Antioxidants?

What are antioxidants and why you need them in your diet

Antioxidants are a needed to protect the body from molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals occur naturally in our bodies. There are also external factors that increase free radical production including: stress, the burning of sugars from an unhealthy diet, along with the break down of medications and toxins. Free radicals cause cell damage by oxidization (much the same way that oxygen in the air rusts exposed metal on a car). Oxidization of cells is common pathway to aging and development of a range of illnesses and diseases including cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Luckily antioxidants are around to neutralize these free radicals.

Unfortunately, our bodies do not have enough antioxidants to fight all the free radicals, thus we must make sure our diet includes them. To get enough antioxidants it is recommended that we eat 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Not an easy thing to do for most people, but luckily I get my daily allotment in one glass of Shakeology. Shakeology has 12 different super foods which are considered to be antioxidants including: Cacao, Acerola Cherry, Pomegranate, Camu-Camu, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Blueberry, Açai, Green Tea, Rose Hips, Cinnamon, and Luo Han Guo.

The most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits is the Pomegranate.

Punicalagin is a compound found only in pomegranates that is responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. Some health benefits that have been reported from punicalagin include:

  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • Lowering of cholesterol
  • Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation to help prevent strokes and heart attacks
  • Promotes the reversal of atherosclerotic plaques
  • Inhibit cancers including breast, prostate, colon and leukemia
  • Improves depression symptoms
  • Protects against osteoporosis

So instead of going to the doctor to get on medications to decrease your blood pressure, consider discussing with your doctor a trial of just drinking a glass of Shakeology on a daily basis. A glass a Shakeology a day may just be the thing to keep the doctor away!

get fit 4 your brain

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Shakeology is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or been evaluated by theFood and Drug Administration.

stress 450

Got Stress?!?

Got Stress?!?

Here something you can do to help!

Now days, who doesn’t? So many things in life can cause stress including work, traffic, kids, family, bills, taxes and watching the news just to name a few. Stress is often sited as a cause of many medical illnesses such as migraine headaches, stomach problems, depression, suppressed immune system, hypertension and heart disease.

It is how you deal with that stress is the important thing. Many people deal with stress by drinking, smoking and overeating thus also increasing the risk of alcohol abuse, lung cancer and obesity. As a physician I encourage my patients to find ways to deal with stress in a non-destructive way. Personally I use exercise to help me deal with my stress. Recently I discovered I had been drinking some natural stress reducers in my health shake, Shakeology.

Shakeology is all natural whole food shake. It contains 70 different super foods, some of which are considered to be adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs or compounds found in nature that naturally helps your body cope with stress. These adaptogens help maintain balance in your body. For example if you are wired from stress, adaptogens will calm you down. If you are too depleted and lack energy, an adaptogen will lift you back up. Adaptogens also promote a strong immune function by modulating or stabilizing your immune system. If you are sick it will improve your immune response, if you have an autoimmune problem they may help decrease that response. Last but not least, adaptogens naturally help increase your energy.

There are nine different adaptogens blended in Shakeology including; Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Ginkgo, Maca Root, Maitake, Reishe, Schisandra, and Holy Basil.

Here is some more information on a couple of the adaptogens that are found in Shakeology.

Astragalus root is one of the most potent adaptogen. It is an ancient Chinese herb that has been used for thousands of years for natural therapeutic healing. As an adaptogen, Astragalus root protects the body against physical, mental, emotional stress and promotes a healthy immune system. It is felt to help fight viral & bacteria infections, inflammation, and may even fight cancer. Astragalus is good for people with diabetes since it has also been shown to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Because it contains high amounts of antioxidants, Astragalus can protect cells against free radical damage. Astragalus also boosts metabolism, endurance and increase energy, which ultimately can lead to weight loss.

Maca Root has been used for centuries to help combat stress and fatigue and increase stamina. As an adaptogen, it may also help support a healthy immune system. Maca root is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, minerals (including calcium, magnesium, and iron), as well as 19 of the 22 essential amino acids. Maca Root has a higher amount of calcium than is in milk. The omega acids found in Maca root helps support brain function. Maca root has even been reported to boost libido, improve fertility and decrease menopause symptoms- BONUS!!

So if you also have a life full of stress, put down that margarita and give Shakeology a try. I challenge you to try for a month and find out just how well your body can feel when it is fueled with what it truly needs.

Shakeology-Button-300x95-300x95

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Shakeology is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or been evaluated by theFood and Drug Administration.

hydration for health

Hydration for Health

Are you drinking enough water?

The body is composed of 75% water, thus for optimal health it is important to keep your body hydratied. Hydration can help prevent premature aging. It helps decrease pain, headaches and blood pressures. Hydration decreases cravings, increases energy and promotes weight loss.  It is recommended that you should be drinking about half of you body weight in water ounces on a daily basis.  That is if you weight 160 pounds you should drink 80 ounces of water a day.

Not all waters however are created equal. Many people believe that bottled water is the best way to get their daily water intake. Believe it or not but federal standards regulation for tap water is actually higher than that for bottle water and thus drinking tap water is actually better than bottle water. Also think of the plastic that bottles that can be saved by not drinking bottle water.

Distilled water is actually the purest water available. Unlike bottled and tap water, distilled water is stripped of everything except for its oxygen and hydrogen molecules. In order to get the minerals you need just add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your distilled water to supply you with the essential minerals and electrolytes your body needs for optimum health.

What? add salt to your water?!?! Yes you heard me, but Himalayan salt is not the same is the salt that most people have on the table. Table salt (sodium chloride), which is found in most homes, restaurants and in processed foods, contains none of the trace minerals that make salt good for us. Himalayan salt contains pure crystal salt that is minimally processed and contains up to 84 natural minerals and elements. These are the elements that the body needs to  regulate water content through the body and help support cellular function. I typically add half a teaspoon of Himalayan salt per gallon of distilled water, or a pinch (0.8 grams) to each 12 to 32 oz. glass of distilled water.

So to recap; for the best sources of water to drink:

  • First choice: distilled water with Himalayan salt added.
  • Second choice: tap water filtered through a reliable reverse osmosis or carbon filtration system.
  • Last choice: bottled water
gluten.foods 300

Gluten Sensitivity

What is gluten sensitivity and how do I know if I have it?

I routinely recommend to my patients who have frequent migraines to try going gluten free.  Often the first response is that they have been tested and they do not have Celiac disease. Well that may be true but, unfortunately, that does not exclude the possibility that their frequent migraines are not from underlying gluten sensitivity.

So what is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in grains (wheat, barley and rye). It is the component of wheat that makes it doughy. It is often added to foods to help foods maintain their shape. It is found in many foods but also in some other unexpected places.  For a list of where gluten is found, check out a recent post SOURCES OF GLUTEN.

What is Celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is seen in a small amount of people who have an inherited susceptibility. When people who have celiac disease eat gluten, their body mounts an antigen specific immune response to their body’s own tissue. This response, in turn causes damage to the small intestine so that their body has a hard time absorbing nutrients. If left untreated celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems.

What then is gluten sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity is much more common than celiac disease. Research estimates that 18 million Americans or 1 out 20 may have gluten sensitivity. People who have gluten sensitivity often report the same symptoms as those with celiac disease but lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity is a normal response to the abnormal appearance of gluten in the body. It is not a true food allergy nor is it an antigen specific immune response like celiac disease. It, instead, is a response of the innate immune system, i.e., it is nonspecific and does not have immunological memory to invading organisms.

What are some signs that you might have sensitivity to Gluten?

  • Frequent migraine headache
  • Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Brain fog or lack of focus
  • Fatigue or lack of energy despite getting a good night sleep
  • Mood swings, anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis or Scleroderma
  • Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in joints
  • Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation

How can I find out if I have Gluten sensitivity?

There are blood tests that shows the antibodies that are specific in celiac disease including; anti-gliadin, anti-tissue transglutaminase, and endomysial antibody.  However, since gluten sensitivity is not antigen specific these test are often negative in gluten sensitivity.  Also, since it mediated by the innate immune system, it is not mediated by IgE; thus, most laboratory or skin tests, will miss it. The test that I use in my office is the Mediator Release Test. It looks at the endpoint of the innate immune response or the hypersensitivity reactions, thus catching the food/gluten sensitivities that are not medicated by IgE.  This test is expensive, thou it is cheaper through a physician’s office, but not widely available.

How do you treat Gluten sensitivity?

The best way is just completely eliminating it from your diet.  For best results I would recommend doing this in conjunction with a clinically proven safe detox such as the Ultimate Reset, to remove other toxins as well. Of note, gluten is a very large protein, meaning that it may take months to get it out of your system and, therefore, it may be months before you see any benefits with your headaches or other symptoms. I typically recommend being off of it for at least 2 months before you reintroduce it back into your diet.

So if you have frequent migraines or any of the symptoms listed above I would recommend a trial of several months of going gluten free to see how you feel. What harm can it do and it just might help. You might be surprised just how great your body can once again feel and that’s worth any sacrifice you are making in giving up certain foods.

If you would like me to help you get off Gluten contact me I will be happy to help.

This information is for education only, it is not intended to replace the advice of your physician .