Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

Question

Is it my imagination or are broken bones more common than ever today?

Answer

Boys are 32 percent and girls 56 percent more likely to break a bone than children 40 years ago. Fractures are also common in older adults.

Soda has replaced milk

Dairy provides 70 percent of calcium in the American diet. However 40 years ago children drank four times more milk than soda; in 2001 they drank two and a half more times soda than milk. Today males ages 12-29 average half a gallon a day of soda. Not only is soda replacing more healthful, bone-building options, but it also contributes to obesity, blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, and other metabolic disorders that lead to poor bone quality.

Chronic inflammation weakens bones

For instance, just the chronic, low-grade inflammation caused by regular soda consumption can lead to weaker bones; inflammation accelerates the breakdown of bone so that it outpaces bone building. Soda consumption is also linked to a rise in obesity, another barrier to good bone health. Studies show obese people have weaker bones as their bone marrow produces more fat cells than bone cells.

When dairy is a poor option

Many people today find dairy is not a viable option for them due to an intolerance to lactose, the sugar in milk, or casein, the milk protein. Consuming dairy when you are dairy intolerant will actually trigger inflammation and work against your bone-strengthening efforts. Many other foods are good sources of calcium, including canned salmon and sardines with the bones, ample homemade bone broth, greens, certain nuts and seeds, nettle and raspberry leaves, and more.

Not all calcium supplements are the same

Calcium supplements are another option, however not all calcium supplements are the same. Some forms are easier to absorb than others. Also, it’s important to take a calcium supplement with the necessary cofactors for appropriate assimilation. These include other minerals, vitamins D3 and K2, and omega-3 fatty acids. Talk with your practitioner to learn the best way to get enough calcium and ensure good bone quality.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Question

What is all the fuss about hydrogenated oils, or trans fats? Aren’t they OK to eat in moderation?

Answer

The hydrogenated fat you eat becomes part of your brain and nervous tissue. Because of its unnatural structure, cells and neurons composed partly of hydrogenated fat do not function properly.

The brain is made up of the fat you eat

If someone calls you a fat head they are not off the mark. The brain is made up mostly of fat, including the fat you eat. While hydrogenated fats are best known for contributing to cardiovascular disease, lesser known is their impact on brain health. Hydrogenated oils have been molecularly restructured for a long shelf life and are found in many processed foods. Heating oils too high while cooking also causes trans fats.

Cell membranes communicate with other cells and determine what is allowed to enter and exit the cell. These membranes incorporate hydrogenated oils into their structure, making them more rigid and less able to function properly. The nerve sheaths that insulate and protect neurons also incorporate trans fats.

Trans fats disrupt brain function

When trans fats become part of the cells and the nerve sheaths they replace vital brain fats, such as DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. As a result cellular communication suffers, the cells degenerate, and the person can experience a wide range of consequences, including diminished mental performance, mood disorders, memory loss, or health problems.

Trans fats slow brain circulation

Trans fats are best known for their contribution to cardiovascular disease by thickening the blood, slowing circulation, and clogging arteries. The brain, too, has a vascular system that delivers nutrients and oxygen and removes toxins throughout the brain. When this vascular system becomes clogged with trans fats, this also impacts brain health and function.

One food that is not ok in moderation

Although conventional wisdom says all things are OK in moderation, hydrogenated fats are a man-made substance closer to plastic than food. When eaten they become a part of your cells and your brain for some time. Therefore it is best to avoid them completely.

Read Full Post »

Question

I learned I have intolerances and allergies to certain foods, and that I need to avoid those foods if I want to lose weight. Isn’t it just a matter of eating fewer calories?

Answer

Some people find they can’t lose weight through calorie restriction alone. When that happens several issues need to be investigated. One of the most important is food intolerances. Eating foods to which you are allergic or intolerant will prevent weight loss.

Food intolerances cause inflammation

Food intolerances and allergies create inflammation, and inflammation prevents weight loss. Every time you eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or some other food that may be a problem for you, you create inflammation in your body.

Leaky gut is a primary culprit

For many people today, a variety of foods trigger inflammation. This is due largely to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” which allows undigested food particles to slip into the bloodstream through damaged and inflamed intestinal walls. Leaky gut is very common today due to poor diets, excessive sweets, chronic stress, and other maladies of modern life. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are also common and cause leaky gut.

As these food particles circulate throughout the body the immune system responds by attacking and destroying them for removal, just as it would respond to a viral or bacterial infection. Unfortunately, if the food is eaten regularly, this keeps the immune system constantly at work, hence creating chronic inflammation. Symptoms can be obvious in the way of joint pain, skin issues, abdominal pain, or even brain fog, memory loss, or moodiness. Sometimes the inflammation is not obvious, yet a person finds she or he can’t lose weight.

Inflammation halts weight loss

Studies show the immune compounds that cause inflammation also make insulin receptors less sensitive, creating insulin resistance. As a result glucose can’t get into cells and blood sugar becomes too high. The body lowers blood sugar by converting it to fat for storage. Insulin resistance also hinders fat burning.

Inflammation also has been shown to cause leptin resistance, which stimulates hunger and promotes fat storage. Furthermore, excess body fat secretes immune messenger cells that trigger inflammation, promoting a vicious cycle that prevents weight loss.

Although moderating caloric intake and exercising are recommended for weight loss, effective and lasting weight loss depends in part on tackling chronic inflammation and food sensitivities.

Read Full Post »

Question

It seems girls go through puberty much earlier these days. Why?

Answer

It’s true many girls reach puberty earlier today. Although the exact cause is not known, researchers suspect estrogen-promoting chemicals in the environment, obesity, and dietary factors to be the culprits.

Earlier than ever

Today it’s common for girls to begin developing breasts at age eight—once considered abnormally young—and to begin menstruation at age 12. Earlier puberty not only may cause emotional pressures, but also may raise the risk of breast and ovarian cancer due to longer exposure to estrogen.

Estrogen-promoting chemicals

Common chemicals in our environment today boost estrogen activity, which can trigger puberty early. These include pesticides, flame retardants, BPA (in tin cans, baby bottles, toys, and other food packaging), phthalates (in cosmetic products, PVC, plastics, food packaging, and numerous products), and parabens (in shampoos and cosmetic products). Phthalates have also been linked with abnormal hormone development in boys, and prenatal exposure to these chemicals has also been identified as a risk factor.

Obesity

Studies also link obesity with early puberty. An ample diet signals to the brain that conditions are safe for reproduction, and body fat produces estrogen. Overweight and obese children often have higher insulin levels—insulin stimulates the production of sex hormones. For this reason, a diet high in starchy carbohydrates (breads, pasta, sweets, sodas, etc.) could raise the risk of early puberty through chronic insulin surges. Researchers also believe that high levels of leptin, a satiety hormone produced by body fat and promoted by a high-carbohydrate diet and excess insulin, may contribute to early breast development.

Soy

One study found that infants fed soy formula had estrogen levels 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than normal, suggesting that it may play a role in early puberty.

Beef and dairy

The conventional beef industry administers sex hormones to cattle to promote production, greatly raising the levels of hormones in the meat. Milk naturally contains ample estrogen, particularly if the cow is pregnant, and some conventional farms treat dairy cows with hormones to stimulate production. Although the link between meat, milk, and early puberty is controversial and not established, going with products from organic, grass-fed animals is ideal.

Read Full Post »

Question

I went to see my natural medicine practitioner for depression and she wants to work on my digestive health. I don’t get the connection.

Answer

Many people would be surprised to learn how greatly gut health affects brain health. A poor diet, inflamed gut, and intestinal permeability definitely can promote depression.

Depression a not-so-obvious symptom of poor digestion

Sometimes digestion issues are obvious; they cause gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain. For others the main symptom is not so obvious—depression. An unhealthy diet and compromised gut health can promote depression in several ways.

Poor nutrition

When one eats a junk food diet laden with processed foods, trans fats, sugars, and artificial chemicals, the brain suffers. The brain needs healthy fats, high-quality protein, abundant vitamins and minerals, and a diet low in starchy foods and sugars.

Gluten

Gluten is directly linked to depression in some. It causes gut inflammation, which can lead to inflammation in areas of the brain that regulate mood. Some people digest gluten into gluteomorphin, an opioid similar to heroin or morphine that can cause depression (not to mention constipation). Gluten can also cause autoimmune attacks in the brain with symptoms of depression.

Dairy or other foods may also cause depression, depending on sensitivity.

Leaky gut

Leaky gut happens when the lining of the intestines becomes overly permeable. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, creating inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the brain may cause depression.

Inflammation in the gut also inhibits absorption of nutrients necessary for good brain function. An example of such a nutrient is tryptophan, an amino acid found in proteins. The brain synthesizes tryptophan into serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes feelings of well-being and joy.

Always consider gut health

Depression is a complex, multi-faceted condition that can have its roots in various causes. However the role of diet and digestive health should always be included in a functional approach to depression.

Read Full Post »

Question

It seems ever since I took antibiotics I haven’t been the same. I’m sick more frequently, my digestion is messed up, and I have chronic yeast infections. Why?

Answer

Antibiotics are one of modern medicine’s life-saving miracles. However if preventive care isn’t taken, their use, and especially their abuse, can lead to chronic health problems.

Good bacteria serve us

The digestive tract contains an estimated 2–4 pounds of beneficial bacteria that are an integral part of our immune system. They resist bad bacteria, and they aid in the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the synthesis of B vitamins and vitamin K.

These beneficial bacteria coat the lining of the intestines, providing a protective barrier against toxins. They also nourish the gut lining and ensure appropriate production of immune cells, helping to maintain balance in the immune system and prevent autoimmune disease.

Antibiotics wipe out good bacteria

While antibiotics eradicate disease-causing bacteria, unfortunately they wipe out the good bacteria too. This leaves the digestive tract defenseless, and it compromises both nutrient status and immune balance.

Antibiotic use makes it easy for bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi to over multiply, wreaking havoc on digestive and immune health. The overgrowth of yeast, or Candida, is especially common. This can produce a wide range of troubling symptoms, including yeast infections, sugar cravings, skin rashes, brain fog, and more.

Overgrowth of bad bacteria produces toxins and antibiotic-resistant strains

Also, pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi produce toxic substances that make their way into the bloodstream and the rest of the body. These toxins have been linked to allergies, and health ailments in the digestive, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems.

Research also shows that antibiotic use develops long-lasting strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Restoring beneficial bacteria vital

This explains why antibiotics can contribute to myriad health problems, even though they may have successfully treated a condition. Unnecessary antibiotic use should be avoided. If they are necessary, one should work with a practitioner to learn the best way to restore the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

Read Full Post »

Question

My practitioner diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and celiac disease, two autoimmune diseases. It seems many of my friends have an autoimmune disease too, including eczema, arthritis, Type I diabetes, and even multiple sclerosis. Why is it so common now?

Answer

Incidences of autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, have skyrocketed and continue to climb, affecting as many as one in nine Americans.

Hygiene hypothesis incomplete

The media darling for an explanation is the hygiene hypothesis—that lack of early childhood exposure to sufficient filth improperly prepares the immune system for later battles.

While likely valid, it too neatly dismisses more significant factors linked with triggering autoimmune disease:

Environmental pollutants

We live in a sea of more than 80,000 chemicals. The few that have been studied have been shown to play a role in triggering autoimmune reactions. People who work with toxic compounds, such as pesticides or solvents, are significantly more likely to die from autoimmune disease. One study also showed that infant fetal-cord blood contains 287 pollutants.

GM foods

Although the impact of genetically modified (GM) foods on humans has not been studied, multiple animal studies link them with immune dysregulation, inflammation, and an increase in allergies—factors that trigger autoimmune disease.

Poor diets

Many people today eat a diet that sets the stage for autoimmune disease. This includes foods full of artificial chemicals, sugar and starchy carbohydrates, and trans fats. Gluten in particular has been linked to autoimmune disease.

Leaky gut

In leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, the lining of the intestines becomes too porous, allowing undigested food and pathogens to slip into the bloodstream. This triggers inflammation and leads to immune dysregulation.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress from diet, poor health, lack of sleep, and excess sugar and caffeine also leads to inflammation and immune dysregulation, setting the stage for autoimmune disease.

What can you do?

The best medicine is prevention. To help your body cope with the burdens of modern life, eat an anti-inflammatory diet and work with a practitioner to address the health imbalances that make you more vulnerable to autoimmune disease.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »