Posted on

LMU 258 – Endurance Exercise May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s disease via Irisin Release from Muscles

LMU-258

Endurance Exercise May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s disease via Irisin Release from Muscles

Source: Neuroscience News (September 12, 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 15, 2022)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and has an annual incidence rate of approximately 1 in 600 people aged 65 years or older. The cause of PD is currently unknown but is thought to be a consequence of genetic and environmental influences. Certain environmental factors (pesticides, dairy products, and traumatic brain injury) have been linked to increased risk of developing PD, whereas others have been linked to decreased risk (smoking, caffeine, urate, and physical activity).

Regarding exercise, a number of studies have shown that people who engage in regular exercise appear to have decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as they age. But a study reviewed in Neuroscience News in September 2022 has shed light on a key mechanism through which endurance exercise (aerobic exercise) appears to be an important way to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

In short, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have shown that a hormone secreted into the blood during endurance, or aerobic, exercise reduces levels of a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease and halts movement problems in mice. The protein released from muscles during aerobic exercise is called irisin. Irisin can cross the blood-brain barrier and block important steps linked to Parkinson’s disease. The researchers showed that mice that are genetically engineered to be at high risk for Parkinson’s disease development are spared the development of Parkinson’s disease when irisin protein is injected into the area of the mouse brain where Parkinson’s disease develops. This research helps to explain why people who perform aerobic exercise are less prone to Parkinson’s disease development. It also helps to explain one of the ways that exercise helps to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in people who are afflicted.

Biotechnology research companies are busy trying to make an irisin drug that can enter the body and make its way to the brain, or find a way to deliver irisin directly to the human brain. This intervention may reduce the risk of developing PD or become another aspect of PD treatment. But the science and technology to do this are still quite a way down the road. In the meantime, one way to help to prevent Parkinson’s disease (as well as to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn fat) is to perform aerobic exercise regularly (4-7 times per week). This releases irisin into the bloodstream, which can cross into the brain and prevent the clumping together of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The clumping of alpha-synuclein kills dopamine-producing nerve cells, which causes many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Irisin is also shown to speed up the breakdown of synuclein so that it doesn’t accumulate in the brain and clump together. Anyway you look at it, including aerobic exercise in your wellness, longevity, and healthy life expectancy game plan is good preventive medicine, and this appears to also include reducing your risk of Parkinson’s disease as you get older.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Main Reference: Exercise hormone halts Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Neuroscience News. September 12, 2022.https://neurosciencenews.com/irisin-parkinsons-21395/

2. Crotty G.F. Chasing protection in Parkinson’s disease: Does exercise reduce risk and progression. Front Aging Neurosci. 2020; 12: 186https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318912/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 257 – Diabetic Drug Metformin Shows Evidence of Cancer Prevention, Therapy, and Anti-Aging

LMU-257

Diabetic Drug Metformin Shows Evidence of Cancer Prevention, Therapy, and Anti-Aging

Source: J Cancer Management Research (2019)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 7, 2022)

It may interest you to know that natural products, such as plants and herbs, and their derivatives are the source of about 50% of all pharmaceutical drugs used in modern medicine today. (1) One of those drugs is the popular, highly effective, and inexpensive drug known as Metformin, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin was originally discovered and extracted from the herb known as the Galega officinalis or goat’s rue (French lilac, Italian fitch). Dating back to 1918 goat’s rue extract (containing Metformin) was used to treat type 2 diabetes.

The synthetic derivative used today is highly effective in not only reducing high blood sugar (glucose) but also lowers other cardiovascular risk factors (such as lowering HbA1c and insulin levels). Based on animal studies metformin has also shown beneficial therapeutic effects on metabolic syndrome, NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), and hyperlipidemia (high triglyceride levels). The drug is inexpensive and has minimal side effects, and there is evidence of increased survival among patients taking this medication.

In recent years Metformin has also shown evidence as an anti-cancer agent. In fact, it is proven to block key pathways that lead to cancer development (i.e., mTOR pathway) and has been shown to kill cancer stem cells and decrease the synthesis of important cell receptors linked to increased cancer risk (i.e., Her-2 receptor, IGF-1 receptor). It also helps block the formation of new blood vessels that feed tumor cells with oxygen and nutrients. This effect is known as anti-angiogenesis and is a key aspect of preventing cancers from metastasizing. As reported in the 2019 review paper, “based on recent analyses and studies, Metformin reduces proliferation of cancer cells and possibly malignancies in different types of cancer, including stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, uterine cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, as well as prostate, colon, and breast cancer.” Studies show that since 2005, Metformin has been reported to reduce the risk of cancer by up to 23% worldwide. For example, the results of the Taiwan National Health Insurance Data Survey, which included 12,005 patients taking metformin from 2000 to 2007 and a population of 4,597 patients taking other oral medications for diabetes, indicated that using metformin reduced the chance of developing any type of cancer up to 88%. And, according to the results of Decensi et al (2010), the likelihood of developing cancer in type 2 diabetic patients using metformin is 30% lower than that of patients taking other drugs. Other studies have shown similar findings. Moreover, Metformin has also been used to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for many types of cancer, including, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal and colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoblastic leukemia, non-small lung cancer, and a few other cancers. Details of these results can be found in the 2019 review paper as well. In their concluding comments the researchers state that in addition to being an excellent drug to reduce blood sugar (glucose), insulin and HbA1c, Metformin can be considered an ideal candidate for cancer prevention and improvement in the treatment of cancers. (2) And as reported in the August 2021 review in the journal Frontiers of Endocrinology, they stated, “Based on a systematic review of 53 studies, Campbell et al. concluded that independent of its therapeutic efficacy as an anti-diabetic drug, the use of Metformin results in a reduction of all-cause mortality associated with diseases that accelerate aging, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.” (3)

Given the fact that most people in our society see a rise in their blood sugar (glucose) level as they age, as well as developing other risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, plus the fact that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, some doctors as well as other health and anti-aging experts suggest that beginning around age 45 to 50 years of age, individuals might consider taking 500 mg of Metformin daily, as a preventative and anti-aging agent. More research is required to test the true anti-cancer potential of Metformin in non-diabetic individuals, but many doctors and health experts have begun using it themselves and recommending it to patients as a preventive and anti-aging intervention.

In my view, it should be kept in mind that the natural agents such as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), an important compound found in green tea extract, as well as curcumin, soy isoflavone, and indole-3 carbinol-containing supplements, as an example, have also shown similar anti-cancer properties as Metformin, and EGCG can also help reduce high blood sugar (glucose). These are also important preventive agents, in my view, that deserve to be in any conversation about prevention and longevity.

I have included the Metformin research references in the text below.
References:

1. Pan S, et al. New perspectives on how to discover drugs from herbal medicines: CAM’s outstanding contribution to modern therapeutics. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619623/#B20

2. MAIN REFERENCE: Saraei P et al. The beneficial effects of metformin on cancer prevention and therapy: A comprehensive review of recent advances. Cancer Manag Res. 2019; 11: 3295-3313. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6497052/#:~:text=Based%20on%20recent%20analyses%20and,prostate%2C%20colon%2C%20pancreas%2C%20and

3. Mohammed I et al. A critical review of the evidence that metformin is a putative anti-aging drug that enhances healthspan and extends lifespan. Front. Endocrinol,. August 2021https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.718942/full%20

4. SUPPORTING REFERENCE (METFORMIN AND CANCER) Lei Y et al. Metformin targets multiple signaling pathways in cancer. BMC Cancer Communication. January 2017. https://cancercommun.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40880-017-0184-9

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 256 – 2021 Review Shows that Black Cohosh is Effective for Menopausal Symptoms

LMU-256

2021 Review Shows that Black Cohosh is Effective for Menopausal Symptoms

Source: Climacteric J (2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 31, 2023)

Surprisingly, up to 80% of women who experience menopausal symptoms during the early menopausal years, including hot flushes, use natural supplements to help manage their symptoms. One of the most popular choices is the herb known as Black cohosh (Cimifuga racemose), which contains the active constituent’s triterpene glycosides and isopropanolic CR extract. Preparations of black cohosh are made from its roots and rhizomes (underground stems) and studies show that to be effective Black cohosh should be standardized to yield 2.5% triterpene glycosides.

Black cohosh has been used by Native Americans for many years with literary references for its use dating back to the seventeenth century. It gained widespread acceptance over the years, where it continues to be prescribed by medical doctors in many places in the world for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. In Germany, Black cohosh is a prescription drug, but in many parts of the world, such as the US and Canada, Black cohosh is available as an over-the-counter natural supplement. Usually, 40 mg or 80 mg capsules are taken once or twice per day, depending on the severity symptoms. But the supplement should be standardized to contain 2.5% triterpene glycosides for it to be effective.

In 2011, and again in 2018, the European Medicines Agency issued an official monograph indicating a positive benefit-risk ratio for the use of Black cohosh in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, indicating that it is highly effective and side effects are rare and usually mild (GI upset, skin rash, headache). More recently a review of all available studies using Black cohosh for the treatment of menopausal symptoms was published in the journal Climacteric in 2021 (Vol 24, issue 2 2021). The researcher reviewed 35 clinical studies and one meta-analysis comprising 43,759 women, of which 13,096 were treated with a standardized grade of Black cohosh. They showed that compared to placebo, women taking Black cohosh for menopausal symptom management had a significantly superior reduction in severity and frequency of a variety of menopausal symptoms, including some psychological symptoms. They also showed that compared to low-dose estrogen replacement therapy, women using Black cohosh experienced equal symptomatic relief and had fewer side effects than the women using estrogen hormone replacement. As they indicated, Black cohosh was better tolerated than low-dose estrogen therapy.

The researchers concluded that as benefits clearly outweigh risks, the standardized grade of Black cohosh (which can be used in conjunction with St John’s wort) should be recommended as an evidence-based treatment option for natural climacteric (menopausal) symptoms. I personally like the combination of Black cohosh with Soy Isoflavones and Gamma-oryzanol as a 3-in-1 combination supplement to help manage menopausal symptoms. I have seen this combination supplement help about 80% of women who have used it to control menopausal symptoms. As we see from the 2021 review paper in the journal Climacteric, a large body of evidence supports the use of Black cohosh supplementation as a treatment option for a host of menopausal symptoms, from hot flashes, to insomnia, to night sweats, as well as providing in some cases improvement in psychological outlook and other quality of life parameters.

I have included the references for this information in the text below


References:

1. Castelo-Branco C et al. Review & meta-analysis: isopropanolic black cohosh extract iCR for menopausal symptoms – an update on the evidence. Climacteric, 2021; 24 (2) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13697137.2020.1820477

2. National Institutes of Health (office of dietary supplements): Black Cohosh https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/

3. Mehrpooya M et al. A comparative study on the effect of “black cohosh” and “evening primrose oil” on menopausal hot flashes. J Educ Health Promot. 2018, 7 (36) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868221/


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 255 – Diet to Prevent Kidney Stones and Their Recurrence

LMU-255

Diet to Prevent Kidney Stones and Their Recurrence

Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings (August 1, 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 24, 2022)

What is the right diet to prevent kidney stones and to prevent the recurrence of kidney stones? These are important questions because in 30% of cases people who have had one kidney stone will have a recurrence. I’m sure you are aware of how painful a kidney stone can be. According to the 2018 report in the journal Advances in Urology, kidney stones are an increasing urological disorder of human health, affecting 12% of the World’s population and is associated with an increased risk of end-stage renal (kidney) failure.

Although the cause of kidney stones can involve many factors, with calcium oxalate stones being the predominant type of kidney stone, the 2022 review by Mayo Clinic researchers has shed light on what should be considered the most prudent dietary pattern to prevent kidney stones and their recurrence. They arrived at these recommendations by using data from questionnaires completed by kidney stone patients between 2009 and 2018. They compared the diets of 411 people who had already had their first kidney stone and a control group of 384 individuals (who had no history or evidence of kidney stones). During an average follow-up period of just over four years, 73 patients in the study had recurrent kidney stones.

The key finding was that a low intake of calcium and potassium increased the risk of recurring stone formation to a significant degree. This is contrary to what many health experts have said in the past, that too much calcium intake, including calcium supplements, causes kidney stones. But that appears to be incorrect according to the data we have available at this time. Not enough calcium intake is actually shown to increase the risk of kidney stone development.  In fact, the researchers recommend ingesting 1200 mg per day of calcium to prevent kidney stones, which happens to also be within the range that reduces the risk of osteoporosis. They suggest that you get as much of it as possible from healthy food, like non-fat or 1% yogurt. But ingesting 1200 mg per day should be the target and in many cases that may require getting 500 mg or more from a dietary supplement.

As for acquiring sufficient potassium, they had a hard time nailing down a specific number, but health authorities recommend about 3500-4700 mg per day, which you can easily acquire from potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, oranges, grapefruits, apricots, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew. Fruits and vegetables contain other nutrients that may also reduce the risk of kidney stones, according to the Mayo Clinic research team. They also showed that fluid intake below 3,400 ml per day (about nine, 12 oz glasses of fluids) is associated with first-time stone formation. But some of your fluid intake can also come from water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. As well, caffeine intake can help to prevent kidney stones by creating a diuretic effect, thus diluting minerals in the urine so they are less inclined to bond with oxalic acid and form a stone. But surprisingly low calcium and potassium intake were a stronger predictor of kidney stone development than low fluid intake in the Mayo Clinic Database study.

The bottom line is that one of your wellness objectives should be to avoid kidney stones or their recurrence. The evidence I am citing today indicates that paying attention to adequate calcium intake, getting ample amount of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet (to acquire potassium), ensuring adequate fluid intake, including some caffeinated beverages if you like, such as coffee and tea, are key strategies to help ward off kidney stone development.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Alelign T and Petros B. Kidney stone disease: An update on current concepts. Adv Urol. 2018: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5817324/#:~:text=It%20is%20an%20increasing%20urological,of%20kidney%20stone%20is%20multifactorial.

2. John Lieske, MD, director, O’Brien Urology Research Center and consultant, division of nephrology & hypertension, department of internal medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Gary Curhan, MD, professor, Harvard Medical School and member, Channing Laboratory and Renal Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Aug. 1, 2022, online https://consumer.healthday.com/8-2-had-a-kidney-stone-this-diet-may-help-prevent-another-2657772530/was-this-page-helpful

3. Diets higher in calcium and potassium may help prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones. Science Daily August 1, 2022 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/08/220801102923.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 254 – Added Dietary Fiber Improves Gut Microbiome and Health Status in Just One Week

LMU-254

Added Dietary Fiber Improves Gut Microbiome and Health Status in Just One Week

Source: Journal Microbiome (2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 17, 2022)

We’ve all heard that dietary fiber is good for us, but two studies in 2022 have highlighted the importance of consistently getting a desirable amount of fiber each day from food and/or supplements. Essentially these two studies showed that adding more fiber to the diet of people who typically eat insufficient fiber (which is most people), significantly increased the number and diversity of gut-friendly bacteria after just one week.

This is an important finding because friendly gut bacteria metabolize certain types of fiber (soluble fiber) into a chemical called butyrate (short-chain fatty acid) that friendly gut bacteria use as a fuel, enabling them to thrive and crowd out unfriendly bacteria and potential other disease-promoting bacteria, yeast, and viruses. In the words of researcher Dr. Zach Holmes, “butyrate has been shown to improve the gut’s resistance to pathogens, lower inflammation, and create happier, healthier cells lining the host’s intestines”. As he also stated, “when your gut bugs (friendly bacteria) are happily munching on a high-fiber diet, they produce more of the short-chain fatty acids that protect you from diseases of the gut, colorectal cancers, and even obesity.

And in particular, they produce more of a fatty acid called butyrate, which is fuel for your intestinal cells themselves. Butyrate has been shown to improve the gut’s resistance to pathogens, lower inflammation, and create happier, healthier cells lining the host’s intestines. ”He went on to explain that the average American adult only consumes 20 to 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which is believed to be a root cause behind a lot of our common health maladies, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and colon cancer (the second leading cause of cancer death in our society).In their experiments with human subjects, they showed that increasing fiber from a variety of sources improved the gut microbiome or gut flora, which means that you can choose from a wide variety of beans, peas, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to acquire more fiber to your diet.

 I personally also recommend the use of 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to many patients because it contains both cholesterol-lowering and colon cleaning fiber, and it contains phytonutrients shown to possess other cancer prevention properties. Psyllium husk fiber (Metamucil) is also a fiber source to consider, as are many fiber-enriched low-fat, low sugar, breakfast cereals and bread products (whole wheat bread, flax bread, etc.). Some people also show improved gut health and reduced intestinal complaints when they take a daily combination supplement containing digestive enzymes and prebiotics. Prebiotics include such things as inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), which are the types of dietary fiber that gut-friendly bacteria use to thrive and generate more health-promoting butyrate. These recent studies showed that people who routinely eat the least fiber from day to day saw the greatest benefit to their gut microbiome after just one week of added fiber. So, if your fiber intake has not been ideal up to now, the good news is that your gut microbiome and health status can be greatly improved within one week if you begin eating more fiber-rich foods today.

I have included the references for these studies in the text below.

References:

1. Zachary C. Holmes, Max M. Villa, Heather K. Durand, Sharon Jiang, Eric P. Dallow, Brianna L. Petrone, Justin D. Silverman, Pao-Hwa Lin, Lawrence A. David. Microbiota responses to different prebiotics are conserved within individuals and associated with habitual fiber intake. Microbiome, 2022; 10 (1).  https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-022-01307-x

2. Jeffrey Letourneau, Zachary C. Holmes, Eric P. Dallow, Heather K. Durand, Sharon Jiang, Verónica M. Carrion, Savita K. Gupta, Adam C. Mincey, Michael J. Muehlbauer, James R. Bain, Lawrence A. David. Ecological memory of prior nutrient exposure in the human gut microbiome. The ISME Journal, July 2022.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41396-022-01292-x

3. Science Daily: It doesn’t matter which fiber you choose – just get more! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/07/220729173202.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 253 – Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplements Shown to Reverse Fatty Liver Problems (NASH)

LMU-253

Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplements Shown to Reverse Fatty Liver Problems (NASH)

Source: Journal of Hepatology (July 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 11, 2022)

Twenty-five percent of the world’s population is currently afflicted with fatty liver disease that is not caused by alcohol consumption. Excess alcohol consumption can certainly cause fatty liver problems and life-threatening cirrhosis, but people who don’t drink alcohol or drink very little alcohol can still develop a serious fatty liver problem known as Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which has become a global problem in recent years.

There is no doubt that this problem is tied to many global lifestyle trends such as the obesity epidemic, high consumption of fatty foods, and high consumption of sugary foods, accompanied by reduced physical activity and exercise. NASH is serious business for those who have it because it can progress to liver dysfunction, cirrhosis (a life-threatening condition), and it increases the risk of primary liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma, which is also on the increase worldwide and tied to the increased incidence of NASH. Eating less high fat animal fat foods and other fatty and fried foods is a good start to help to prevent and reverse NASH in its early stages. The same applies to watching your sugar intake and getting more endurance/aerobic exercise. Some supplements have also been shown to be helpful in reversing NASH, such as vitamin E (400-8000 IU per day) and other supplements that help to remove fat from the liver such as lecithin (high in choline) and trimethylglycine, which is also known as betaine).

But in July 2022, a study published in the Journal of Hepatology provided another piece of the puzzle that appears to be important in preventing and treating early-stage NASH. These researchers discovered that people with a progressive form of NASH often have high blood levels of homocysteine. In turn, the homocysteine damages certain enzymes and structures within liver cells, which facilitates the progression of NASH to more serious liver dysfunction and cirrhosis. But researchers found that Vitamin B12 and Folic acid (another B-vitamin) supplements lowered homocysteine levels and greatly improved liver function in mice who had homocysteine-induced NASH. The researchers used Vitamin B12 and Folic acid because in normal human metabolism these two vitamins recycle homocysteine back to methionine in our cells, including liver cells, which results in lower homocysteine levels, and in the case of these mice, it restored normal liver cell function. The researchers conclude that Vitamin B12 and Folic acid supplantation may be considered first-line therapy in the treatment of NASH, especially in patients with high homocysteine blood levels.

My advice is that everyone should have their liver enzymes checked annually by their doctor, as part of the standard blood profile, to see if they have NASH. There are no symptoms in the early stages, but elevated liver enzymes show up on blood tests. If your liver enzymes are high and indicate that NASH is present, then follow-up blood work should include a blood homocysteine test. If homocysteine is also elevated, then part of the treatment should include Vitamin B12 and Folic acid supplementation to lower homocysteine levels into the normal range. Elevated homocysteine is also a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, and it can make some mental health conditions worse, so it is worth knowing your homocysteine blood level for a number of reasons. The good news is that Vitamin B12 and Folic acid can often return homocysteine to the normal range if it is found to be high initially. Studies indicate that between 5 -30% of the population have homocysteine levels above 14 umol/L, which is considered high or elevated.  An excellent review of elevated homocysteine and its ties to cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality appeared in 2015, which I have included in the references below. Typically, the dosages used to lower homocysteine include Vitamin B12 1,000 – 5,000 mcg per day, Folic acid – 1,000 mcg per day, as well as vitamin B6 – 50-100 mg per day.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


References:

1. Tripathi M et al. Vitamin B12 and folate decrease inflammation and fibrosis in NASH by preventing syntaxin 17 homocyteinylation. Journal of Hepatology. July 8, 2022 https://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(22)02932-4/fulltext

2. Science Daily: B vitamins can potentially be used to treat advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. August 5, 2022. https://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(22)02932-4/fulltext

3. Peng H et al. Elevated homocysteine levels and risk of cardiovascular and all-cause-mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2015; 16(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288948/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 252 – High LDL-Cholesterol Shown to be an Independent Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: Large Meta-analysis Study

LMU-252

High LDL-Cholesterol Shown to be an Independent Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: Large Meta-analysis Study

Source: Brain Science Journal (June 2020)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 3, 2022)

As reported in Science on July 21, 2022, drugs created thus far to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaque have proven to be very unsuccessful in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease. After commenting on the failed clinical trials using these drugs in the publication Neuroscience News (on August 1, 2022),  Dr. Henry Paulson MD, PhD., a professor of neurology who directs the Michigan Alzheimer’s Center stated, “there’s plenty of evidence that middle-aged and older adults who want to reduce their risk of dementia or slow its onset, should focus on healthy habits like sleep, nutrition, exercise, social engagement, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

The role of lifelong education and learning—whether informal or formal—is also clear”. He was making the point that we are caught up in trying to find a drug to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s, which still looks like it is many years down the road, and we often neglect the clearcut evidence showing that a person’s day-to-day diet and lifestyle are critically important in determining risk for Alzheimer’s disease in many cases. To that end, a large 2020 meta-analysis study, published in the journal Brain Science, showed that when you combine all the available evidence you see that people who have high total cholesterol and especially high LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) blood levels are at much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. As they indicated, high LDL cholesterol should be considered an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease development. Presumably, high LDL cholesterol increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease by clogging arteries in the brain, as well as the carotid arteries, and may have brain inflammatory properties.

In their concluding remarks the researchers stated, “cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor, so if (health) professionals know the relationship between cholesterol and AD (Alzheimer’s disease), they could try to modify cholesterol levels to help to reduce AD risk. This study provides empirical evidence for the reduction of LDL-C levels through the promotion of healthy lifestyles (such as diet, weight control or physical activity) and/or the prescription of different medical treatments.”  My recommendation is first to know your blood LDL-cholesterol level. If it is above 2.0 mmol/L (77 mg/dl) then you should work harder to keep cholesterol-raising foods out of your diet, which are foods high in saturated fat, trans-fats, deep-fried foods, and breaded foods, for the most part. In fact, even if your cholesterol levels are good, avoiding these foods has other benefits to your health, such that everyone should strive to avoid or minimize their intake.

I have included the scientific references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Science: https://www.science.org/content/article/potential-fabrication-research-images-threatens-key-theory-alzheimers-disease

2. Neuroscience News: https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-wrong-ab-21156/

3. Saiz-Vazquez O, et al. Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: A Meta-Meta-Analysis. Brain Sci. 2020; 10(6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349210/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 251 – Higher Potassium Intake Lower High Blood Pressure and Reduces Cardiovascular Deaths, Especially in Women

LMU-251

Higher Potassium Intake Lower High Blood Pressure and Reduces Cardiovascular Deaths, Especially in Women

Source: European Heart Journal (July 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 27, 2022)

A truly groundbreaking study was published on July 21, 2022, in the European Heart Journal. The study showed that even in the presence of moderately high salt (sodium) diet individuals who routinely consumed ideal amounts of potassium from food each day showed a reduction in high blood pressure and a significant reduction in death from all cardiovascular causes during a 20-year follow-up period. The blood pressure lowering effect of potassium was especially evident for women and women consuming ideal amounts of potassium each day also had a lower risk of cardiovascular events (11% lower risk) than did men (7% lower risk).

The study included 24,963 participants (11,267 men and 13,696 women) of the EPIC-Norfolk study, which recruited 40-to-79-year-old patients from general practices in Norfolk, UK, between 1993 and 1997. The average age was 59 years for men and 58 years for women. Participants completed a questionnaire on lifestyle habits, blood pressure was measured, and a urine sample was collected. Urinary sodium and potassium were used to estimate dietary intake.

The results showed that for women, as potassium consumption increased blood pressure went down. When the association was analyzed according to sodium intake, the relationship between potassium and blood pressure was only observed in women with high sodium intake, where every 1-gram (1,000 mg) increase in daily potassium was associated with a 2.4 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure. In men, there was no association between potassium and blood pressure. So, men consuming a high salt diet do not seem to benefit from higher potassium intake in terms of a blood pressure lowering effect, whereas women appear to get this benefit for some reason, which no one can yet explain. However, higher potassium intake appears to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease over and above any blood pressure lowering effect. Thus, both women and men appear to benefit from adequate intake of potassium regarding the prevention of dying from cardiovascular disease or having a serious cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke. More specifically, during the median follow-up of 19.5 years, 13,596 (55%) participants were hospitalized or died due to cardiovascular disease. The researchers analyzed the association between potassium intake and cardiovascular events after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, sodium intake, use of lipid-lowering drugs, smoking, alcohol intake, diabetes, and prior heart attack or stroke.

After controlling for all these factors, the results showed that men and women with the highest potassium intake had a 13% lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to those in the lowest intake category. When men and women were analyzed separately, the results showed that women had an 11% lower risk of having a serious cardiovascular event (i.e., heart attack, stroke) and men had a 7% reduction in having a serious cardiovascular event. And the amount of salt in the diet did not influence the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events in men or women. Professor Vogt, a lead researcher on this study, said: “The results suggest that potassium helps preserve heart health, but that women benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart on top of increasing sodium excretion. “The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume at least 3.5 grams (3500 mg) of potassium and less than 2 grams (2,000 mg) of sodium (5 grams or 5,000 mg of salt – sodium-chloride) per day. High potassium foods include vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, low-fat dairy products, and fish. For example, a 115-gram banana has 375 mg of potassium, 154 grams of cooked salmon has 780 mg, a 136-gram potato has 500 mg, and 1 cup of 1% milk has 375 mg. I have included a potassium food chart below, which features healthy potassium-containing foods.

But some precautionary comments are also required here.Some people have to be careful about consuming too much potassium because they may already have a medical condition where their blood potassium level is too high – a condition called hyperkalemia. If blood potassium levels go to too high it can speed up the decline in kidney function, trigger a heart attack or lead to heart fibrillation and sudden death. So, these are serious and life-threatening outcomes. If you have high blood potassium your doctor has already told you to limit high potassium-containing foods in all likelihood. But some people are walking around with high blood potassium levels, which are very dangerous, and they don’t know it. So, at your next annual physical exam make sure your doctor orders a blood potassium test (which is pretty standard in a routine blood analysis). It is estimated that about 2-3% of the population has high blood potassium levels. People who are most prone to this condition include those with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)– more than half of predialysis CKD patients develop hyperkalemia
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • And those taking Renin-blocker or ARB-blood pressure lowering drugs, and a few other drugs

But for most of us, more potassium in our diet would be a good thing In our society, adult women consume about 2300 mg per day of potassium, on average, and adult men consume about 3,000 mg per day, on average. This is a bit too low.  According to the National Institutes of Health (U.S.), adult men and women should aim for a daily potassium intake of 4700 mg per day. In most cases, there is no need to take potassium supplements to accomplish this. Consuming more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and low-fat dairy products will allow you to easily achieve an intake of 4700 mg of potassium per day. Doing so will likely help to keep your blood pressure down and help to reduce your risk of serious cardiovascular events over your lifetime. In addition to providing the reference for this groundbreaking study and other references on potassium, in the text below I have included a list of healthy potassium-containing foods, showing the amount of potassium contained in a standard serving size:

Healthy Potassium-Containing Foods:

  • 1 Banana – 375 mg (up to 425 mg in a medium size banana)
  • ½ cup Cantaloupe – 215 mg
  • Half an Avocado – 345 mg
  • 1 raw kiwi – 240 mg
  • 1 raw mango – 325 mg
  • 1 raw nectarine – 275 mg
  • 1 Orange – 240 mg
  • I whole Pomegranate – 400 mg
  • ¼ cup Raisins – 270 mg
  • I medium Artichoke- 345 mg
  • ½ cup Bok choy – 316 mg
  • ½ cup Broccoli – 230 mg
  • ½ cup Beets – 655 mg
  • ½ cup Spinach – 420 mg
  • 1 Sweet Potato (with skin) – 450 mg
  • I medium Tomato – 290 mg
  • 1 Baked White Potato (with skin) – 925 mg
  • White boiled or Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup) – 255-330 mg
  • ½ Squash – 250 mg
  • ½ cup zucchini – 220 mg
  • 1 oz of Nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, Brazil, cashews, mixed) – 200mg
  • 1 oz Pistachio Nuts – 295 mg
  • 1 cup Raisin Bran breakfast Cereal – 238 mg
  • Salt Substitute (i.e., Morton’s Salt or Potassium Salts) – ¼ teaspoon – 610 mg
  • 1 oz Seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) – 240 mg
  • I cup soy milk – 300 mg
  • Other fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain a respectable amount of potassium. To see the full list, click on this link: https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/Nutrition/PotassiumHandout.pdf

 

References:

1. Main Reference: Rosa D Wouda, S Matthijs Boekholdt, Kay Tee Khaw, Nicholas J Wareham, Martin H de Borst, Ewout J Hoorn, Joris I Rotmans, Liffert Vogt. Sex-specific associations between potassium intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular outcomes: the EPIC-Norfolk study. European Heart Journal, 2022;  https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehac313/6612684

2. Facts About High Potassium in Patients with Kidney Disease (National Kidney Foundation) https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/hyperkalemia/facts#:~:text=High%20levels%20of%20potassium%20in,heart%20problems%20and%20sudden%20death.&text=There%20are%20often%20no%20warning,high%20potassium%20without%20knowing%20it

3. National Institutes of Health – Potassium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/#h4

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 250 – Vitamin B6 Supplementation Shown to Help Treat Anxiety Disorders: Large Clinical Trial

blog video image-250

Vitamin B6 Supplementation Shown to Help Treat Anxiety Disorders: Large Clinical Trial

Source: Journal of Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental (July 19, 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 20, 2022)

A research study published in the journal of Human Psychopharmacology in July 2022 has shown that providing patients with a 100 mg supplement of vitamin B6 each day can help improve symptoms in those who suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems, which are estimated to affect one in 10 Canadians. People who suffer from anxiety disorders have long periods of intense feelings of fear or distress that is out of proportion to real events.

Their brains interpret real or imagined events to be much more risky or dangerous than they really are. As a result, their lives are often full of unease and fear, which interferes with their personal and professional relationships and productivity. Studies show that people often suffer from more than one anxiety disorder, which can involve any combination of:

  • Panic disorder – (accompanied by chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, etc)
  • Social Phobia (fear of social situations)
  • Specific Phobia (i.e., flying, snakes, heights, open spaces, etc)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (with flashbacks, nightmares, depression, feeling of anger or irrationality, etc)

Treatment of anxiety disorders usually involves the use of drug therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In the July 2022 study, more than 300 patients were randomly assigned either vitamin B6 supplements (100 mg per day) or vitamin B12 supplements (1,000 mcg per day) or a placebo, taking one of these supplements each day for one month with food. The study showed that vitamin B12 had a minimal effect on improving anxiety compared to the placebo, but those taking the vitamin B6 supplement showed significant improvement in their self-reported anxiety symptoms that was statistically significant and reliable. The researchers suggested that vitamin B6 supplementation (100 mg per day) helped to increase the synthesis of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that has a natural calming effect on emotions and activity in certain regions of the brain. The researchers demonstrated that those taking the vitamin B6 supplement had elevated levels of GABA, which was confirmed by visual tests carried out at the end of the trial, supporting the hypothesis that B6 was responsible for the reduction in anxiety.

As the researchers indicated, the effect of vitamin B6 supplementation is small compared to that attainable with medication, but it has fewer unpleasant side effects than anti-anxiety drugs. But combining vitamin B6 supplementation with anti-anxiety drugs may enable doctors to lower the dosage of medication required or eliminate it altogether, which many patients would welcome. However, the use of vitamin B6 supplements to treat anxiety must be supervised and monitored by a physician, who can adjust anti-anxiety medication dosage to suit the needs of the individual patient. Of course, adding cognitive behavioral therapy to the treatment plan is also very prudent in many cases, and some early research suggests that medical marijuana may be helpful in some cases of PTSD. But each case is different, and a well-informed physician should be guiding the assessment and treatment process and the integration of each of these interventions. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder and your doctor is not aware of the vitamin B6 research, I suggest that you provide them with a link to the study, which I have provided in the text below.

Reference:

David T. Field, Rebekah O. Cracknell, Jessica R. Eastwood, Peter Scarfe, Claire M. Williams, Ying Zheng, Teresa Tavassoli. High-dose Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 2022.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hup.2852

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

Posted on

LMU 249 – Daily Glucosamine Supplement Shown to Reduce Mortality from Many Causes, even in Smokers

LMU-249

Daily Glucosamine Supplement Shown to Reduce Mortality from Many Causes, even in Smokers

Source: Annals of Rheumatic Disease (June 2020)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 12, 2022)

Many people take glucosamine supplements to help prevent or treat arthritis problems and several clinical studies have shown that glucosamine can help to slow or prevent joint cartilage erosion and reduce joint inflammation in this regard. But the benefits of glucosamine supplementation may go beyond just supporting joint health. Several previous studies have suggested that glucosamine may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and some other common health problems.

In 2020, a very large study examining glucosamine use was published in the journal, Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. As part of the large UK Biobank study, researchers followed 495,077 men and women, an average age of 56.6 years, from 2006 (2010) to 2018. The results showed that compared to individuals who were not taking glucosamine supplements each day, those who used daily glucosamine supplements experienced:

  • A decreased risk of dying from all causes by 15%
  • A decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 18%
  • A decreased risk of dying from cancer by 6%
  • A decreased risk of dying from respiratory diseases by 27% and,
  • A decreased risk of dying from digestive or intestinal tract disease by 26%

As the researchers stated, “Our results are consistent with findings from several previous studies, which indicated an inverse association between glucosamine use and mortality.” This means that individuals using glucosamine supplements had a lower risk of death from all causes compared to individuals not using glucosamine supplements. In the UK Biobank Study, I am reporting on today, about 19% of the population were using glucosamine supplements. This study showed that even smokers who used glucosamine had a lower risk of death from all causes than did smokers who were not using glucosamine supplements. The researchers explain their overall findings by evidence showing that glucosamine supplements reduce the release of various inflammatory chemicals and signaling agents, such as nuclear factor kappa-beta (NF-kb), and C-reactive protein (CRP) that are instrumental not only in arthritis development, but also in the development and/or promotion of cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and diseases of the intestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large bowel. Glucosamine supplementation has also been shown to decrease the use of glucose (blood sugar) as a fuel, mimicking the effects of a low carbohydrate diet that has been shown to be helpful in preventing mortality in many studies. At the end of this published study, the researchers stated, “We observed that regular use of glucosamine supplements is associated with lower mortality due to all causes, CVD, cancer, respiratory disease, and digestive disease.”

Of course, more studies are required before definitive recommendations can be made by government bodies about using glucosamine supplements to extend life span and reduce death from these causes, but this paper reviewed all the previous studies that have shown promise in this regard and provide further supporting evidence from following nearly half a million people for a minimum of 8 years. My personal feeling is that most people would benefit from taking a glucosamine supplement after the age of 40 to help prevent joint arthritic problems (osteoarthritis). And studies like this one suggest that glucosamine supplements may also help to prevent death from a number of common causes. I think it is best to take a glucosamine supplement that also contains other natural anti-inflammatory agents such as MSM, Quercetin, and Bromelain Enzymes that work synergistically to enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of glucosamine. That is what I do, personally.

I have provided the research reference for this study in the text below

Reference:

 Li Z-H et al. Associations of regular glucosamine use with all-cause and specific mortality: a large prospective cohort study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020; 79(6): 829-863. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7286049/

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.