Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

 

Those with diets high in a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids are not as likely to get the brain shrinkage linked to Alzheimer’s disease than those whose diets aren’t high in these nutrients. According to the research, elderly people with higher amounts of a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids within their blood had much better results on mental acuity tests and also less of the brain shrinkage found in Alzheimer’s disease – whereas “junk food” diets resulted in exactly the opposite.

These omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D are found mainly in fish. The B vitamins as well as antioxidants C and E are found mainly in vegetables and fruit. The research also revealed that those that had diets that were high in trans fats were more prone to have brain shrinkage as well as lower scores with the memory and thinking tests than those that had diets that were low in trans fats. Baked goods, prepackaged food, fast food, fried food and also margarine spreads are the main foods that trans fats are found in.

The research involved 104 individuals with an average age of 87 with very few memory and thinking problem risk factors. Blood tests had been made use of to ascertain the amounts of various nutrients within the blood of each person. Each of the participants also took memory and thinking skill tests. Forty two of the people had MRI scans to determine their brain volume.

On the whole, they had good nutritional status, but 7 % were vitamin B12 deficient and 25 % were vitamin D deficient .

The nutrient levels within the blood accounted for a lot of the variation in both brain volume as well as memory and thinking scores. The levels of nutrients accounted for 17% of the score variations for the memory and thinking tests. Other factors like age, amount of years of education as well as hypertension accounted for 46 % of the variation. The levels of nutrients accounted for 37% of the variation for brain volume. The potential to help stop brain shrinkage just by adjusting diet is exciting.

Everything You Need to Know About Fast Food Infographic

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Health Benefits of Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherries

 

Cherries for gout

100g of cherries has 50 caloriesCherries are especially useful for treating gout.  Gout is a kind of arthritis linked to an unusually high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is made in the liver and sometimes too much uric acid is made. Needle-like crystals form as uric acid levels increase, and these crystals build up in the joints over time, resulting in the pain and inflammation typical of gout.

Bing cherries have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, in particular a compound known as cyanidin, which has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the making of uric acid. Research has revealed that eating the equivalent of a pound of fresh cherries each day is highly effective for lowering uric acid levels.

One study demonstrated that healthy people who ate Bing cherries for 28 days had reduced inflammation markers and they stayed low for days despite discontinuation of cherry consumption.

Another study has also shown that eating cherries may lower risk of gout attacks. Gout sufferers consuming cherries for a 2 day period had a 35 % reduced risk of gout attacks when compared with those not eating cherries. The risk of gout flare continued decreasing with the increase of cherry intake, up to 3 servings over 2 days. It was found that additional cherry intake did not provide any extra benefit.[3]

Nutritional value of cherries (red) per 100g:

  •     How many calories in cherries – 50
  •     How much protein in cherries – 1g
  •     How many carbs in cherries – 12g
  •     What is the fat content of cherries – 0.3g

Nutrients in cherries

Cherries are a very good source of vitamins C and A. They are a good source of copper, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.

 

Cherries and blood pressure

Cherries and blood pressure

Montmorency tart cherry juice lowers blood pressure

Consuming tart cherry juice is as effective for reducing high blood pressure as blood pressure lowering medications. Participants of a 2016 study who had early signs of hypertension experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7% three hours after consuming a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate and water mixture.[4]

The blood pressure readings of the 15 participants was least 130/90 mmHg, which means they had a higher risk of having cardiovascular related problems. They consumed either 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate or 60ml of a commercial fruit-flavored drink.

Blood pressure was taken before consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate and was measured thereafter on an hourly basis. The participants consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7 mmHg in the 3 hours after consumption.

The greatest systolic blood pressure improvement occurred when vanillic and protocatechuic, the cherry concentrate’s phenolic acids, reached peak plasma levels. The reduction in blood pressure from the consumption of the Montmorency cherry concentrate was comparable to the reduction achieved by blood pressure lowering medication.

A 2018 study found that consuming Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced systolic blood pressure in individuals between the ages of 65 and 80. The 34 study participants in this 12-week randomized controlled trial were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups.[5]

The 1st group drank 240ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and 240ml in the evening every day for the 12 weeks. The 2nd group drank the equivalent amount of a cherry flavored placebo drink devoid of tart cherries. Blood pressure as well as blood sugar, insulin, weight and cholesterol were measured when the study began and again when it ended.

The Montmorency tart cherry juice group had a significant reduction (4.1 mmHg) in systolic blood pressure in comparison to the drink placebo drink group.

How much tart cherry juice should you drink a day to lower blood pressure?

The participants in the 2016 study drank 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate, which is estimated to be equivalent to about 500g of whole tart cherries.

The participants in the 2018 study drank 480 ml tart cherry juice, which was prepared from 68ml Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate diluted with 412ml water.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Tart cherry juice for sleep
Melatonin in cherries

Montmorency tart cherries have been found to contain substantial amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Although some other foods also have melatonin, the quantity is too low to be effective, but, according to research, Montmorency cherries have 0.1 to 0.3 milligram of melatonin a serving,[6] and contain about 6 times more melatonin compared to Balaton cherries. At this dosage melatonin has been proven to be an efficient sleep inducer.

 

A 2014 study concluded that Montmorency tart cherry juice helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep, as well as help in reducing insomnia severity.[7] The 7 study participants who suffered from insomnia that consumed the cherry juice in the morning as well as at night slept over an hour longer each night.

Besides Montmorency tart cherries being a good source of melatonin, tart cherry juice also helps in increasing the availability of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which helps with sleep.  The tart cherry juice inhibits a tryptophan degrading enzyme and degradation of tryptophan is a predictor of insomnia. The researchers suggest the melatonin and tryptophan combination in Montmorency tart cherries is likely contributing to the benefits of tart cherries for sleep.

Cherries for weight loss

The Chemistry of Cherries

A 2008 animal study has suggested that tart cherries have significant potential for reducing belly fat. Obese rats that were given tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet gained less weight than rats that were not given cherries. After 12 weeks, the rats that were given the tart cherry powder had 54% body fat in comparison to 63% for rats that were fed a “Western diet”. The difference in weight gain was particularly pronounced in fat around the waist area, the rats that were given the cherry powder gained less belly fat.

The rats were given either a high fat and moderate carbohydrate diet,  or a low fat and high carbohydrate diet, both of which came either with or without tart cherry powder. The cherry enriched diet rats experienced a total cholesterol level reduction of approximately 11%.The TNF-alpha inflammation marker was reduced by 40% and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was reduced by 31%.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries and cancer

Cherries have quite high levels of anthocyanins (the flavonoids giving cherries their intense red color), which give them anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chemopreventative properties. Tart cherries contain the natural compound perillyl alcohol, which seems to be very effective in reducing the incidence of all kinds of cancer.  Perillyl alcohol has tested well for treating advanced prostate, breast and ovary cancers.[9] Research suggests that substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals (HCAAs) that develop from the charring of meat.

Cherries for colon cancer

Two of the anthocyanidins present in cherries, quercetin and isoquerxitrin, have been found to prevent the growth of colon cancer.

Cherries for breast cancer

Cyandin-3-glucoside, another anthocyanin found in cherries and other fruits, has antioxidative and anti‐inflammatory properties and also induces the death of  breast cancer cells. Cyandin-3-glucoside inhibits the cytokine VEGF, which plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis. Angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) plays a major role in breast cancer progression by providing cancer cells with nutrients, oxygen, and blood vessels for cancer cells to spread.

Delphinidin is another  anthocyanin found in cherries and other brightly colored fruits and veggies, and is also found in certain dietary supplements used as complementary cancer treatment. Delphinidin induces cell death in HER2+ breast cancer cells. Delphinidin also inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells.

Cherries and muscle soreness

Tart cherry juice benefits for exercise

Tart cherry juice improves exercise recovery

Cherries help to alleviate muscle soreness after exercising. A cup of tart cherry juice can help in reducing the soreness and inflammation of the muscles that is experienced after strenuous exercise. Marathon runners consuming tart cherry juice twice a day for 7 days before a race experienced less post race pain compared to runners not consuming cherry juice.

A 2011 study revealed that men who had tart cherry juice after weight training exercises experienced less muscle pain as well as less strength loss.

A 2019 study found that active women consuming tart cherry concentrate twice a day for eight days experienced reduced muscle soreness after exercising.

Tart cherry juice improves exercise performance

A 2019 study concluded that Montmorency cherry supplementation improves cycling performance. Eight trained cyclists supplementing Montmorency tart cherry for 7 days improved cycling time-trial performance. The exercise performance improvement was accompanied by muscle oxygenation enhancement which suggests that the cherry polyphenols’ vasoactive properties could be supporting the performance improvement effects.

Cherries and osteoarthritis

Tart cherry juice for arthritis

Commonly used pain medication for osteoarthritis doesn’t actually reduce inflammation and has  unwanted side effects such as kidney or liver damage. The pain relieving properties of tart cherries have been show to be effective for the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis without the side effects of conventional treatments.

A 2007 study revealed that pain and function improved significantly in osteoarthritis of the knee patients when they were given tart cherries in supplement form for 8 weeks.

Cherry juice for inflammation

In a 2012 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 patients suffering from inflammatory osteoarthritis had significant reductions in inflammation markers after consuming tart cherry juice twice daily for 3 weeks.

The study participants included twenty  40 to 70 year old women experiencing at least moderate osteoarthritis pain. They consumed 10.5-ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for 3 weeks. There was a statistically significant reduction in inflammation among those individuals who consumed the tart cherry juice, which was indicated by reduced C-reactive protein levels. The reduction in inflammation was greatest for individuals who had shown the highest levels of inflammation at the beginning of the study.

Cherry juice for pain relief

Cherries are a natural pain reliever. Researchers have found that anthocyanidins from cherries have the ability to block both COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes considered to cause pain. Of all the fruits which were tested, cherries had the highest amounts of key anthocyanidins. The COX-inhibitory activities of the anthocyanidins in cherries were even found to be comparable to those of naproxen and ibuprofen.

Cherries and heart health

Tart cherries and cholesterol

Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The standard medical approach to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels to a safer range is to prescribe statins to reduce blood lipid levels. However, some patients encounter Statins are however not without side effects such as muscle pain to liver dysfunction.

A 2011 study reported a 26% reduction in cholesterol levels in mice fed tart cherry powder. A  reduction in early death of 65% was also reported, which was believed to be as a result of an improvement in cardiovascular health.

Another 2011 study in humans reported a reduction in of triglycerides levels of more than 17% on average after consuming 8-ounces of tart cherry juice daily for 4 weeks.[21]

A 2018 study reported a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels after participants drank Montmorency tart cherry juice made from concentrate. Study participants drinking 480ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels as well as lower levels of total cholesterol.

How to Freeze Cherries

Benefits of cherries for skin

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress when the body has an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the cells of the body during normal metabolic processes, and free radical neutralizing antioxidants are also produced by the cells. The body usually maintains a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

Oxidative stress plays an important part in the aging process, especially in the skin. Aging results in the thinning of the epidermal (outer) as well as dermal (under) layers of the skin. This leads to fine wrinkles as a result of reduction of elastic fibers, collagen, and hyaluronic acid.

What are antioxidants?

Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause damage in the body, and antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving the free radical an electron. Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body and can also come from food such as fruit and veggies.

Several human studies have shown that sweet as well as tart cherries reduce oxidative stress. Melatonin, carotenoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols,  and vitamins C and E are all contributors to the antioxidant properties of cherries.

Cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, the flavonoid pigment that gives the cherry it’s color, and which has the greatest antioxidant capacity of any of the flavonoids. Tart cherries have more anthocyanins in comparison to sweet cherries. Scientific evidence has suggested that anthocyanins could possibly delay the appearance of signs of skin aging.

Health Benefits of Cherry Juice

Cherry juice and diabetes

There is some evidence to suggest that consumption of cherries could help in promoting healthy glucose regulation and reducing diabetes risk.

The enzymes dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and α glucosidase which are involved in the promotion of diabetes are inhibited by chlorogenic acid, one the main polyphenols of tart cherry juice.

Study results suggest that blood glucose could be reduced from anthocyanins by slowing the production of glucose from complex carbohydrates. The production of glucagon by pancreatic α cells could also be reduced, and hepatic glucose uptake and production of insulin by pancreatic β cells increased.

A 2008 study revealed a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) after diabetic women supplemented 40 mL of concentrated tart cherry juice day for 6 weeks. Fasting blood glucose was also decreased by 8%.

History of cherries

Cherries were named after the ancient Turkish town of Cerasus and go as far back to at least 300 B.C.

Cherries were among the first fruits the early settlers brought to America. The first cherry orchard was planted in northern Michigan in the 1600s. The 1st commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893.

The ultimate celebration of cherries is the National Cherry Festival, which is held each year in July in Traverse City, Michigan.

Cherry trees have played a part in American folklore since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, then couldn’t tell a lie and told his father what he’d done.

Sweet cherries are cultivated throughout North America and Europe. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are cultivated in Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States.

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Article reviewed by Dr Patricia Carrothers, Regenerative and Preventative Medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Brain Games for Seniors

Brain Games for Seniors

 

Games for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Many doctors encourage seniors to use brain fitness games as a means to help deal with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, says SeniorLiving.org.

 

While research remains inconclusive, there appears to be a correlation between brain games and brain health.

The website says brain games that may help seniors include:

  • Memory games, such as Match and Simon.
  • Word games, such as word searches and Scrabble.
  • Electronic games, such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud.
  • Board games, such as Chess and Checkers.
  • Interactive Wii and X-Box games.
  • Trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit.

 

If you need help determining which supplements you should take to prevent dementia, please contact us.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

News Picture: Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Ever hear your joints clicking, creaking or crunching? Now, researchers say a new technique that listens closely to knees may help doctors diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis.

In the new study, researchers attached small microphones to participants’ knees, which allowed them to listen for high-frequency sounds as the person repeatedly stood up and sat down again.

Computer analysis of the sounds then provided information about the health of the knee, the study authors explained.

This study is the first to assess this technique in a large number of people with knee osteoarthritis. It was found to distinguish between healthy knees and those afflicted by this “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis.

The findings move the technique a step closer to use by doctors and in research, according to the report published Oct. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This work is very exciting because it involves scientists and clinicians working together as a team to develop an entirely new approach,” said project leader John Goodacre. He’s an emeritus professor at Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom.

“Potentially, this could transform ways in which knee osteoarthritis is managed. It will enable better diagnosis, and will enable treatments to be tailored more precisely according to individual knee condition. It will also enable faster, bigger and better clinical trials of new treatments,” Goodacre said in a university news release.

The next step for researchers is to develop a non-invasive portable device that health care providers could use to assess whether patients’ knees are changing or are responding to treatment for osteoarthritis.

This technique could provide a quicker, cheaper, more convenient and more accurate assessment than current methods, the study authors said.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

News Picture: Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to 'Flesh-Eating' Genital Infection

Say you have type 2 diabetes and you are taking a newer class of medications to treat your disease — but one day you notice pain, redness and a foul odor in your genital area.

If this happens, new research suggests you need to see your doctor immediately, because you may be suffering from Fournier gangrene. Also known as a “flesh-eating” disease, this infection attacks your genital or anal region and can quickly kill tissue as it spreads rapidly.

Unfortunately, it has become a rare but still possible safety concern for people taking diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists.

SGLT2 inhibitors are a newer class of diabetes medications, introduced in 2013. Drugs in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

Fournier gangrene occurred in 55 people taking these drugs between March 2013 and January 2019. For comparison, the researchers looked for cases of Fournier gangrene in people taking other diabetes medications from 1984 to 2019. They found only 19 such cases.

Still, the risk for Fournier gangrene remains very low, the researchers stressed.

“In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million patients received a dispensed prescription for an SGLT2 inhibitor,” said study author Dr. Susan Bersoff-Matcha, a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. So, “Fournier gangrene is a rare event,” she said. “While our study shows an association between treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors and Fournier gangrene, we don’t know exactly what the risk is, or if Fournier gangrene can be predicted.”

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue are treatment options, the researchers said.

SGLT2 inhibitors work in the kidneys, allowing excess blood sugar to be removed in the urine, they said.

In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, the drugs may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in some people with type 2 diabetes.

But possible side effects include urinary tract infections and genital infections, such as yeast infections. Kidney problems can also be a concern with this class of medications.

All of the patients with Fournier gangrene identified in this study needed to be hospitalized. Some had several surgeries. Three of the 55 people died from Fournier gangrene.

The average age of the people with Fournier gangrene was 56. Thirty-nine were men. Forty-one cases occurred in the United States. Thirty-one of the 55 cases identified were also taking an additional diabetes medication.

Of those with Fournier gangrene, 21 were using canagliflozin, 16 were using dapagliflozin and 18 were taking empagliflozin, the study said.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said that while the study was well-done, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between the drugs and the disease.

“Infections of the pubic and rectal area are quite common in people with diabetes, they don’t have Fournier’s. Fournier’s is a very aggressive, but extremely rare, disease,” said Zonszein, who wasn’t involved with the study.

When Fournier gangrene does occur, it’s hard to know if it is caused by a medication. He pointed out that a number of clinical trials have been done on SGLT2 inhibitors that have included tens of thousands of people, and there haven’t been any reports of Fournier gangrene.

“I counsel my patients about infections in the genitalia. The main concern is to be aware that they can occur. And, providers need to be more aware of Fournier’s. They have to immediately try to establish the cause of infection and aggressively treat it if they suspect Fournier gangrene,” Zonszein said.

He said a far bigger concern is uncontrolled diabetes and the risk of complications when blood sugar levels aren’t controlled. “The benefits of these medications outweigh the risks,” he said.

In a statement, Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes Jardiance (empagliflozin), said the company actively monitors for side effects related to their medications.

“We remain confident in the positive benefit-risk profile of empagliflozin, and empagliflozin-containing products, as outlined in the prescribing information,” the statement from Boehringer Ingelheim said.

The prescribing information of all SGLT2’s was recently changed to reflect the possible risk of Fournier gangrene, as directed by the FDA.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, maker of Invokana (canagliflozin), and AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga (dapagliflozin), did not respond to requests for comment.

The findings were published May 6 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

News Picture: Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for diabetic eye disease that can lead to vision loss and blindness, researchers report.

Poor control of diabetes can result in damage to tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It’s a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

In some cases, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels and leak fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in an area of the retina that enables clear vision and is called macular edema.

In this study, researchers in Taiwan examined data from 51 patients over eight years at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

They found that patients with diabetic macular edema had a much higher rate (80.6%) of severe sleep apnea than those without the eye condition (45.5%).

The worse the sleep apnea, the more severe the macular edema, according to the study.

The researchers also found that severe sleep apnea was more common patients who required more treatment to control their macular edema. These patients needed at least three medical or laser therapy treatments, according to the study. It was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in San Francisco.

“Based on these results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema,” lead researcher Dr. Juifan Chiang said in an AAO news release.

“This could allow for earlier medical intervention so patients can keep more of their vision and preserve their overall health as much as possible,” Chiang added.

People with sleep apnea repeatedly stop and start breathing through the night, disrupting their sleep and causing blood oxygen levels to fall.

This decline in blood oxygen levels may trigger changes in the body that result in blood vessel damage, putting people with sleep apnea at risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Findings presented at scientific meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

News Picture: Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Excess weight is hard on the heart, but new research shows it may also harm your lungs.

The study found that higher amounts of fat collect in the airways of overweight and obese people, which may help explain why they’re more likely to have wheezing and asthma.

This is quite important to investigate whether or not the patient was overweight as an infant or young child.  Those same fat cells will always remain in your lungs.

Also, you remember from other articles that Asthma is a fourth stage allergen.  This means that at the time you were first diagnosed with Asthma, you had already gone through 3 other stages that no one detected what you had.

In the study, the investigators analyzed lung samples donated by 52 people for research after their death. Of those, 16 died of asthma, 21 had asthma but died of other causes, and 15 had no asthma.

The findings showed, for the first time, that fatty tissue accumulates in the walls of airways and that the amount of fat in airways increases with body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on weight and height).

The researchers also found that higher levels of fat change the normal structure of airways, resulting in lung inflammation, according to the report published Oct. 17 in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Being overweight or obese has already been linked to having asthma or having worse asthma symptoms. Researchers have suggested that the link might be explained by the direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or by a general increase in inflammation created by excess weight,” explained study co-author Peter Noble. He’s an associate professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

“This study suggests that another mechanism is also at play. We’ve found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs,” Noble said in a journal news release.

“We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms,” Noble added.

Thierry Troosters, president of the European Respiratory Society, said, “This is an important finding on the relationship between body weight and respiratory disease because it shows how being overweight or obese might be making symptoms worse for people with asthma.”

Troosters, who was not involved in the study, added, “We need to investigate this finding in more detail and particularly whether this phenomenon can be reversed with weight loss. In the meantime, we should support asthma patients to help them achieve or maintain a healthy weight.”

Asthma can be cured and maintained with food intake, and environmental conditions,

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

 

Eggs benedict recipe - Dr. Axe

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (16 pieces)
  • 1–2 teaspoons coconut or avocado oil
  • ¼ tomato, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • hollandaise sauce  ( recipe below)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-size frying pan over medium heat, add coconut or avocado oil.
  2. Add the asparagus to the frying pan and pan fry until for tender, about 8–10 minutes.
  3. In a small pot, bring 2–3 cups of water to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, gently lower the eggs into the water and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs once finished and set them aside for assembly.
  5. Divide the asparagus on two separate plates and add sliced tomato and avocado on top.
  6. Add the eggs and drizzle on the hollandaise.
  7. Top with chives.

Eggs Benedict is one of those items that you’ll always see on a breakfast or brunch menu. It’s a breakfast classic. But, when prepared with the traditional ingredients, it can be hard on your waistline, heart, brain and digestion.

In my eggs Benedict recipe, I use immune-boosting, heart healthy, anti-inflammatory foods like avocado, asparagus and tomato. This low-carb breakfast is also high in healthy fats that are key for maintaining optimal health. So give this eggs Benedict recipe a try — you’ll never go back to the traditional dish again.

5-Minute Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Hollandaise sauce recipe - Dr. Axe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter or ghee over medium-low heat.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a high-powered blender until well combined.

 

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Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit

Cardiovascular Health

 

Vitamin K2 - Dr. Axe

 

Full-fat cheeses, eggs and beef liver might not be the types of foods that come to mind when you think about eating a heart-healthy diet. But, you’d probably be surprised to know that in recent years, one of the most researched nutrients in the field of cardiovascular health has been vitamin K2, found in these very foods.

What are the benefits of vitamin K2? While vitamin K1 has the important role of preventing blood clots and bleeding disorders, K2 works differently.

According to a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, K2 benefits include helping with nutrient assimilation, growth in infants and children, fertility, brain function, and bone and dental health. Unfortunately many people don’t get enough of this type from their diets.

Something that makes vitamin K unique (both types: K1 and K2) is that it’s not usually taken in supplement form. K2 seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from vitamin K foods.

Unlike vitamin K1, which is mostly found in plant foods like leafy greens, you get K2 from animal-derived foods, like grass-fed meats, raw/fermented cheeses and eggs. It’s also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome.

What Is Vitamin K2?

While we hear the most about vitamin K1 and K2, there are actually a bunch of different compounds that fall into the “vitamin K” category. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone, while K2 is known as menaquinone.

Compared to many other vitamins, the roles and health benefits of vitamin K2 were only recently discovered. What does vitamin K2 help with? It has many functions in the body, but the most important is helping the body to use calcium and preventing calcification of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Emerging studies show a lack of this vitamin is also associated with diseases including osteoporosis.

If there’s one thing that we need K2 for, it’s preventing calcium from building up in the wrong locations, specifically in soft tissues. Low intake of vitamin K2 can contribute to plaque building in the arteries, tartar forming on the teeth, and hardening of tissues that causes arthritis symptoms, bursitis, reduced flexibility, stiffness and pain.

Some evidence also suggests that K2 has anti-inflammatory properties and may offer some protection against cancer, including research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

What the difference between vitamin K2 and MK7? K2 is a group of menaquinones compounds, which are abbreviated as “MK.” MK7 is one type of menaquinones that is responsible for many of the benefits attributed to vitamin K2. MK4 has been the focus of many vitamin K2 studies, but other types like MK7 and MK8 also have unique abilities.

Vitamin K2 vs. Vitamin K1

  • There’s some evidence that people tend to get about 10 times more vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) from their diets than vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 deficiency is very rare, even said to be “almost nonexistent,” while K2 deficiency is much more common.
  • A growing body of research now demonstrates that vitamins K1 and K2 are not only different forms of the same vitamin, but basically operate like different vitamins all together.
  • Vitamin K1 is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K2. 
  • Vitamin K2 from animal foods is more active in humans. This doesn’t mean that plant foods that provide K1 are unhealthy, just that they are not the best dietary sources of bioavailable vitamin K2.
  • When we eat foods with K1, vitamin K1 mostly makes it to the liver and then the bloodstream once converted. K2, on the other hand, gets distributed to bones and other tissues more easily.
  • Vitamin K1 is very important for supporting blood clotting, but not as good at protecting the bones and teeth as K2.

 

 

Uses

What is vitamin k2 used for? Here are some of the major benefits and uses associated with this vitamin:

1. Helps Regulate Use of Calcium

One of the most important jobs that vitamin K2 has is controlling where calcium accumulates in the body. Vitamin K2 benefits the skeleton, heart, teeth and nervous system by helping regulate use of calcium, especially in the bones, arteries and teeth.

The “calcium paradox” is a common term for the realization by medical professionals that supplementing with calcium can somewhat reduce the risk of osteoporosis but then increases the risk of heart disease. Why does this happen? Vitamin K2 deficiency!

K2 works closely with vitamin D3 to helps inhibit osteoclasts, which are cells responsible for bone resorption.

The Vitamin D and calcium relationship is important, as vitamin D helps transport calcium from the intestines as it digests into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, vitamin D’s job is done at that point. Next, vitamin K2 must activate one of its dependent proteins, osteocalcin. Research shows it then takes calcium out of the bloodstream and deposits it into bones and teeth.

For the best overall health benefits, it’s important to get enough calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K. Depending on your age, health and diet, you may need to take a vitamin D3 supplement, and possibly other supplements, too.

Vitamin K2 is essential for the function of several proteins in addition to osteocalcin, which is why it helps with growth and development. For example, it’s involved in the maintenance of structures of the arterial walls, osteoarticular system, teeth and the regulation of cell growth.

2. Protects the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin K2 is one of the best vitamins for men because it offers protection against heart-related problems, including atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), which are the leading causes of death in many developed countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than half of deaths due to heart disease are in men.

A 2015 report published in the Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Journal explains that

Vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls.

The Rotterdam Study, a very large study done in the Netherlands that followed more than 4,800 adult men, found that the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with the lowest chances of suffering from aortic calcification. Men who consumed the most K2 were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification and a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The men in the study with the highest K2 intake also benefited from a 51 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 26 percent lower risk of dying from any cause (total mortality).

A 2017 study found that this vitamin was associated with a 12 percent increase in maximal cardiac output and that supplementation seemed to improve cardiovascular function in diseased patients. It seems to do this by restoring mitochondrial function and playing a “key role in production of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate” (ATP).

3. Supports Bone and Dental Health

For decades, vitamin K was known to be important for blood coagulation — but only recently human studies have uncovered how it support bone health and protect against vascular diseases, too.

According to a 2017 article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, “K2 may be a useful adjunct for the treatment of osteoporosis, along with vitamin D and calcium.”

Another 2015 meta-analysis supports the hypothesis that “vitamin K2 plays kind of a role in the maintenance and improvement of vertebral bone mineral density and the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.”

K2 benefits the skeletal system by taking calcium and helping usher it into bones and teeth to make them solid and strong. A number of animal and human studies have investigated whether or not vitamin K2 can be useful for helping prevent or treat fractures, osteoporosis and bone loss.

Certain clinical studies have found that K2 slows the rate of bone loss in adults and even helps increase bone mass, plus it may reduce risk of hip fractures and vertebral fractures in older women.

K2 can enhance osteocalcin accumulation in the extracellular matrix of osteoblasts inside bones, meaning it promotes bone mineralization. A 2018 review reports that there is also evidence to support the effects of vitamin k2 on differentiation of other mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts.

Additionally, it helps maintain the structure of the teeth and jaws. Many traditional cultures included K2 foods in their diets because they believed it could help prevent cavities, tooth decay and plaque formation. This impact was observed in the 1930s by dentist Weston A. Price, who found that the primitive cultures with K2-rich diets had strong, healthy teeth although they’d never been exposed to western dental hygiene.

It turns out that getting plenty of K2 during pregnancy is also important for fetal growth and bone health. During fetal development, having limited osteocalcin proteins activated (which require vitamin K2) equates to undergrowth of the lower third of the facial bone and jaw structure. Some experts believe this is the reason so many children in modern society need braces.

4. May Protect From Cancer

Some research shows that those who have high amounts of K2 in their diet are at lower risk of developing some types of cancers. For example, vitamin K2 may help to protect specifically from leukemia, prostate, lung, and liver cancers.

5. Defends From Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementing with vitamin K2 has been shown to result in a slowdown of bone mineral density loss and to decrease the amount of RANKL, an inflammatory compound, in the blood of subjects.

This suggests that K2 might be a useful supplement to a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

6. Improves Hormonal Balance

Inside our bones, K2 can be used to produce osteocalcin hormone, which has positive metabolic and hormonal effects.

Fat-soluble vitamins are important for the production of reproductive/sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of its hormonal-balancing effects, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and postmenopausal women can benefit from getting more K2 in their diets, according to recent studies.

K2 can also helps promote blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk for metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity. Some research suggests that K2 helps regulate glucose metabolism by modulating osteocalcin and/or proinflammatory pathways.

7. Helps Promote Kidney Health

K2 may benefit the kidneys by helping prevent the formation of calcium accumulation in the wrong places, the underlying cause of kidney stones. It may also do the same for other organs, too, including the gallbladder.

In addition, a lack of K2 and vitamin D has been associated in studies with a higher occurrence of kidney disease.

Foods

What foods are high in vitamin k2? Vitamin K1 is found in mostly vegetables, while K2 is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.

K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s present in animal foods that also contain fat, specifically saturated fat and cholesterol.

Animals help transform vitamin K1 into K2, while humans do not have the necessary enzyme to do this efficiently. This is why we benefit from getting K2 directly from animal-derived foods — and why sticking to grass-fed animal products provides the most K2.

The 20 best vitamin K2 foods include (percentages based on daily value requirement of 120 micrograms):

  1. Natto: 1 ounce: 313 micrograms (261 percent DV)
  2. Beef liver: 1 slice: 72 micrograms (60 percent DV)
  3. Chicken, especially dark meat: 3 ounces: 51 mcg (43 percent DV)
  4. Goose liver pate: 1 tablespoon: 48 micrograms (40 percent DV)
  5. Hard cheeses (such as Gouda, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere, etc.): 1 ounce: 25 micrograms (20 percent DV)
  6. Jarlsberg cheese: 1 slice: 22 micrograms (19 percent DV)
  7. Soft cheeses: 1 ounce: 17 mcg (14 percent DV)
  8. Blue cheese: 1 ounce: 10 micrograms (9 percent DV)
  9. Ground beef: 3 ounces: 8 micrograms (7 percent DV)
  10. Goose meat: 1 cup: 7 micrograms (6 percent DV)
  11. Egg yolk, specifically from grass-fed chickens: 5.8 micrograms (5 percent DV)
  12. Beef kidneys/organ meat: 3 ounces: 5 mcg (4 percent DV)
  13. Duck breast: 3 ounces: 4.7 micrograms (4 percent DV)
  14. Sharp cheddar cheese: 1 ounce: 3.7 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  15. Chicken liver (raw or pan-fried): 1 ounce: 3.6 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  16. Whole milk: 1 cup: 3.2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  17. Canadian bacon/cured ham: 3 ounces: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  18. Grass-fed butter: 1 tablespoon: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  19. Sour cream: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  20. Cream cheese: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)

The more vitamin K1 an animal consumes from its diet, the higher the level of K2 that will be stored in the tissues. This is the reason that “grass-fed” and “pastured-raised” animal products are superior to products that come from factory farm raised animals.

Going back to the fact that vitamin K2 comes in several forms, MK7 is found in the highest concentration in animal foods, while the other types are found in mostly fermented foods. MK4 is the synthetic form of K2.

For those following a vegan diet, K2 can be hard to come by — unless you love natto! This “stinky sock” fermented soy food is an acquired taste and is also the only vegan source of K2. Fortunately, it’s also the richest source (and the food used to make the type of K2 supplement I recommend).

 

Dosage

How much vitamin k2 do you need each day?

The minimum daily requirement of K2 in adults is between 90–120 micrograms per day.

  • Some experts recommend getting about 150 to 400 micrograms daily, ideally from K2 foods as opposed to dietary supplements.
  • Overall it’s recommended to tailor your dosage depending on your current health.  People with a higher risk of heart disease or bone loss (such as older women) may benefit from getting a dose on the higher end of the spectrum (200 micrograms or more).
  • Those looking to maintain their health can get a bit less, especially from supplements, such as around 100 micrograms.

Is it beneficial to take vitamin K dietary supplements?

If you take a supplement that contains vitamin K, the chances are very likely that it’s vitamin K1 but not K2.

While some newer K2 supplements are now available, the type of supplement matters greatly.

  • MK4, the form of K2 found in many vitamin K supplements, is a synthetic K2 with a short half-life. This means that to get the full benefit of it, you have to take it multiple times throughout the day.
  • Often, an MK4 serving size is thousands of micrograms to counteract the half-life of the compound. However, MK7 derived from natto has a much longer half-life and can be taken in more reasonable doses like those listed above.

Remember that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, so the best way to obtain these nutrients is to eat foods that provide many different vitamins — like eggs and raw, full-fat dairy products.

Particularly for those at risk of osteoporosis, calcium should also be a nutrient you aim to eat a lot of while increasing your K2 intake.

Deficiency Symptoms

What happens if you get too little vitamin K?

Symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency can include:

  • Blood vessel and heart-related problems, like arterial calcification and high blood pressure
  • Poor bone metabolism and possibly higher risk for bone loss and hip fractures
  • Kidney and gallstones
  • Cavities and other dental issues tied to tooth decay
  • Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, like bloody stool, indigestion and diarrhea
  • Poor blood sugar balance and higher risk for blood sugar issues and diabetes
  • Metabolic problems
  • Higher chance of having morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Spider veins/varicose veins

Among adults living in industrialized nations, deficiency in this vitamin is considered to be rare. However, newborn babies and infants are much more susceptible to deficiency due to how their digestive systems lack the ability to produce K2.

Adults are at a greater risk of developing vitamin K2 deficiency if they suffer from any of these health conditions:

  • Diseases that affect the digestive tract, including types of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease
  • Malnutrition, due to calorie restriction or poverty
  • Excessive alcohol consumption/alcoholism
  • Use of drugs that block K2 absorption, which can include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, cancer treatment drugs, seizure medication and high cholesterol drugs — cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and certain osteoporosis drugs inhibit the conversion of K2, which can greatly lower levels
  • Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea

Risks and Side Effects

Is too much vitamin K2 bad for you? While it’s rare to experience side effects or vitamin k2 toxicity from getting high amounts from food alone, you might develop symptoms if you take high doses of vitamin K supplements.

However, for most people even high doses of this vitamin, such as 15 milligrams three times a day, have been shown to generally be safe.

Are there potential drug interactions to worry about? If you’re someone who takes the drug Coumadin, a potential side effect associated with taking too much vitamin K is increasing your risk for heart-related problems.

Too much vitamin K can also also contribute to complications in people with blood clotting disorders.

Look for a supplement that specifically lists menaquinone if you plan to supplement. Because vitamin K supplements can interact with many medications, talk to your doctor if you plan to take a vitamin K supplement and are taking any daily medications.

Final Thoughts

  • Vitamin K2 (also called menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium metabolism, bone and dental health, heart health, and hormone balance.
  • Vitamin K1 is found in mostly green vegetables, while vitamin K2 (the more bioavailable form) is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.
  • Benefits of getting more vitamin K2 from your diet include: helping to reduce your risk for calcification of the arteries, atherosclerosis, cavities, tooth decay, kidney problems, and hormonal imbalances.
  • This vitamin seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from foods high in vitamin K2, rather than supplements. Consuming raw, fermented cheeses and other full-fat dairy products is the best way to get adequate amounts. Eggs, liver and dark meats are other good sources.

 

Remember we are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Subtle Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

How common are clogged arteries?

 

coronary artery angiography ,Coronary artery disease , left coronary angiographyEach year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 735,000 people suffer a heart attack and 610,000 people die of coronary heart disease (CHD). That’s one in four deaths. Preventing heart disease in patients is a physician’s main goal, but early detection is the next best thing. This can lead to changes in lifestyle and medical therapies that can delay or deny the onset of a heart attack; almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. Many of my patients are shocked to learn about the following clues to underlying clogged arteries and heart disease.

 

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

 

Closeup shot of male waist with hand in pocket dressed in black pants, belt, grey shirt, black tie and watch with brown watch strap. Formal wear.

 

Men have a built-in warning system for silent CHD. When achieving an erection is difficult or impossible, it can be a sign of clogged arteries in the pelvis that presents before a heart attack hits. There are, on average, three to five years between the onset of ED and the finding of CHD, which is plenty of time to detect and work on preventing heart issues. If you and your partner are worried about sexual performance, it’s smart to look for and treat the root causes of diseased arteries before automatically turning to a blue pill.

 

Calf pain when you walk

 

7 Silent Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

This is known as claudication (from the Latin for “to limp”). Atherosclerosis can block leg arteries, particularly in smokers, before CHD is diagnosed. This symptom requires an evaluation without delay. Your doctor will examine the pulses in your legs and perform simple measurements of leg blood pressure and blood flow to confirm a diagnosis of poor circulation. It is crucial that heart disease be diagnosed as early as possible because there are many dietary and medical treatments that can help reverse the problem. I advise my patients to eat more plant-based foods and fewer animal products and to start a walking program. Their calf pain completely resolved within weeks and has not recurred for years. Anyone with any of the above signs of silent CHD should know his or her numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting glucose). Ask your doctor if you should be checked for heart disease with an EKG, a coronary calcium CT imaging, or an exercise stress testing.

Tight jaw

 

woman with cheek pain or chin pain.Acute pain in a woman Salivary gland . Female holding hand to spot of nape-aches. Concept photo with read spot indicating location of the pain.

This symptom of clogged arteries occurs more often in women, but men should be aware of it, too. According to the Harvard Medical School, aches and pains in the jaw and neck are common symptoms of angina, which is the discomfort that results from poor blood flow to part of the heart. The pain occurs because the vagus nerve (the main nerve that carries pain signals from the heart) is in constant contact with the neck, jaw, head, and left arm. Visit your doctor to find out if your jaw pain is the result of something benign, such are teeth grinding, or if it’s something you’ll want to monitor with caution.

 

Lower back pain

 

Pain in back. Cropped image of young African man touching his back

Your lower back pain might not be a simple sign of aging muscles. According to the Physicians Community for Responsible Medicine, the lower back is also often one of the first parts of the body to accumulate plaque. You’ll feel pain because the reduced blood flow to the area can weaken the disks that cushion the vertebrae.

 

Smoking habit

 

7 Silent Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

The chemicals in tobacco damage the structure and function of your blood vessels and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis, according to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. One of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of CHD is to quit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers help for quitting smoking.

 

Joel K. Kahn, MD.

 

Remember, We are in this Together!

 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/