Healthy Lifestyle Booster

Healthy Lifestyle Booster

You’ll have much more success with your nutrition goals if you think and focus on the foods you can have, and not the ones you can’t have, or the ones you are trying to give up.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Success with nutrition and lifestyle goals is easier for most people if they don’t purchase high-fat and deep-fried snack and dessert items for their home. “Out of sight, out of stomach”, as the saying goes. Try to have healthier snack items in your home, not ones that can sabotage your other wellness efforts.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Beans and peas of all kinds have both cholesterol-lowering and colon-cleaning fiber, as well as some impressive anti-cancer nutrients such as lignans. They also don’t spike blood sugar like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes and thus, are a great low-glycemic alternative to starchy carbohydrates, providing many impressive health benefits and a feeling of post-meal contentment (satiety).

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608274/

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Vitamin A is an often-overlooked essential nutrient for optimal immunity, as sub-optimal vitamin A status is known to increase risk of many infections and impair the body’s immune response to an infectious process. The National Health and Nutrition Exam Surveys indicate that approximately 43% of adults do not meet the daily recommended intake level of vitamin A. You can help ensure adequate vitamin A nutritional status by regularly including healthy foods in your diet, such as orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, along with dark green leafy vegetables, low fat dairy products, fish, and fortified high-fiber breakfast cereals. Keep vitamin A-rich foods on your radar. It’s another key factor for healthy life expectancy.

References:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK230968/

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

If late-night snacking is a challenge for you, many people counter this temptation by keeping their hands and minds busy and focused on other distractions. Pursuing activities like playing or learning a musical instrument, knitting or sewing, working on puzzles, taking dance lessons or practicing dance moves or performances, painting, drawing, sculpting, woodworking, computer games, writing a book, cleaning out or organizing cupboards and drawers, automotive endeavors and other hobbies, engage your hands thus preventing you from easily reaching for food, while at the same time enabling you to derive pleasure or a sense of accomplishment from the distraction.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

It’s so much easier to exercise if you combine it with a pleasurable activity. Many people succeed with their cardio workouts by watching their favorite TV shows or streamed entertainment, or news shows, documentaries etc., while exercising.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Individuals who get adequate rest are shown to have better compliance with their exercise and food selection goals. Most people need 6-8 hours per night. Athletes who train 4 or more hours per day, often need up to 10 hours of sleep in every 24- hour period in order to maintain their training intensity and achieve continued gains in performance. For the rest of us, even a modest exercise routine demands adequate sleep, which many people fail to get, resulting in poor exercise compliance from fatigue, and sub-optimal results. Fatigue also makes us more prone to making bad food choices throughout the day.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

An important indicator of healthy life expectancy and longevity is your Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) fasting blood level. HBA1c is a measure of how much you are sugar-coating the proteins in your blood, which reflects your blood sugar regulation over the past 3-4 months. A high HbA1c occurs in diabetes (a reading over 6.5), whereas a reading below 5.0 (but above 4.0) has been shown to be the best for longevity and healthy life expectancy. This is because sugar-coated proteins (AGE-proteins) cause blood vessel inflammation as well as eye, kidney, and brain damage over time. So, a key wellness strategy is to keep your blood sugar (glucose) and your HBA1c in the ideal range. At your next doctor’s visit, ask your doctor for your HbA1c reading.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Although drinking fruit juice can spike your blood sugar, one juice to consider for daily consumption is pomegranate juice (just 4 ounces), as it contains ellagic acid and other unique constituents shown to have impressive anti-cancer properties, especially regarding breast and prostate cancer.

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5560105/

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Many people don’t realize that artichokes have impressive cholesterol-lowering properties via several biological mechanisms. Adding them regularly to other cholesterol-lowering foods, such as a bean salad or as a vegetable side dish is one more way you can help to keep your blood cholesterol in the ideal range.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22746542

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-015-0503-8

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If you reduce your calorie intake by just 100 calories per day (very easy to do) and you increase your activity by 100 calories (15-minute walk), you lose 24 pounds of fat from your body over the next 12 months.
Reference: Sports and Exercise Nutrition (4th edition) McArdle W, Katch F, Katch V. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Publisher)


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

One mechanism involves vitamin D’s hormone-like action, which stimulates cells that line the intestinal tract to increase synthesis of the protein carrier that shuttles calcium from the gut across the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This process increases the absorption of calcium, thereby enabling it to be incorporated into the mineralization of bone. To help optimize bone health and prevent osteoporosis, a blood vitamin D level of 75 – 150 nmol/L (30-60) ng/ml) should be your target.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278935/


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One pound of body fat contains 3,500 calories. Every time you walk or run 1 km, you burn as many calories as you weigh in kilograms (kg). So, if a person weighs 70 kg and they walk 1 km they burn 70 calories. If they walk 5 km, then they burn 350 calories. If they do it every day, then they burn 3,500 calories (or 1 lb of fat) from their body every 10 days)

Reference: Exercise Physiology – 2nd edition. McArdle W, Katch F, Katch L. Lea & Febiger (Publisher)


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LDL-cholesterol (LDL-c) is the bad cholesterol that clogs arteries leading to heart attacks, strokes and other occlusion problems. The foods that raise blood levels of LDL-c include high fat and dairy products, tropical oils (coconut and palm oil), foods with trans-fats and deep-fried and breaded foods. To reduce risk of heart and vascular disease, aim to follow a diet that gets your fasting LDL-c blood level below 2.0 mmol/L (77 mg/dl) or, more ideally, below 1.5 mmol/L (58 mg/dl).
Reference:
https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/levels-by-age#adults


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To prevent the forward curvature of the spine (hunch back appearance) that often occurs as people get older, ask a fitness instructor or personal trainer how to correctly do Upright Rowing with a barbell. This exercise helps maintain more youthful and upright posture as the years go by. Three sets of 8-12 repetitions, 2-3 times per week is all that’s needed.
Here’s a good video on the technique:
https://www.google.com/search?q=video+on+how+to+perform+uprigth+rowing+with+barbell&rlz=1C1GCEV_enCA860CA860&oq=video+on+how+to+perform+uprigth+rowing+with+barbell&aqs=chrome..69i57j33.15183j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_ESynXouyI4zatQbisruIDg41


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Ground flaxseeds contain cholesterol-lowering and colon cleaning fiber, as well as unique phytonutrients that are shown to block steps in breast and prostate cancer development. Flaxseeds have also helped diabetics lower their blood sugar level.
Many experts suggest adding 1 heaping tablespoon of ground flaxseeds each day to your breakfast cereal, shake mix, juice or other foods to derive the health benefits available from these humble little seeds – one more easy and practical component of your wellness strategy.
References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/
https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/healthy-nutrition-now/foods/flaxseed-prostate-cancer-risk

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Evidence suggests that a vitamin D blood level above 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) and below 140 nmol/L (56 ng/ml) is the best range to help prevent respiratory tract infections. This is because you need enough vitamin D to promote the synthesis within immune cells of molecules that pierce a hole through viruses, bacteria etc., to destroy them. Bear in mind that too high a blood level of vitamin D impairs the function of lymphocytes, which are needed to fight an infection, if it gets started.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686844/


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Ice cream usually contains 10% milk fat or higher, which can add many unwanted calories to the diet, including cholesterol-raising saturated fat. Here are some low-fat and low-calorie alternatives to consider that can minimize the damage in the moment of temptation:

Low-fat fudgesicles – look for 90 calories or less
Low-fat Greek Yogurt – look for 80 calories in a 3.5 oz serving
Gelatos – look for 90 calories in a 3.5 oz serving
Sorbets – look for 100 calories or less in half a cup serving size.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

When it comes to exercise, there are three basic rules that ensure success on any given day:

1. Start Where You Are – don’t focus on the fitness level of other people. Start where you are and begin making progress against your own baseline at your own pace.
2. Do What You Can – do only what you are capable of on any given day, knowing that some days you will feel more energized than others.
3. Use What You Have (available). Use whatever equipment or facilities you have available, even if it’s just power walking outside for 30-40 minutes per day and/or doing resistance training with your own body weight on a mat.



Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Non-fat Greek Yogurt not only contains less lactose and almost double the amount of protein per serving size than regular yogurts (15-20 gm of protein vs 9 gm in non-Greek yogurt), but consumers of low-fat Greek yogurt show impressive results at keeping age-related weight loss in check. It also provides 20-30% of the daily calcium requirement in a single serving (6 oz).

Reference: https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Green tea contains the highest amount of EGCG (epigallo-catechin gallate) and other unique polyphenols linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers. Consider drinking 3- 5 cups per day to acquire a meaningful dose of these health-promoting phytonutrients. References: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202078 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4384709/

Beta-carotene is one of many carotenoids found in fruits and vegetables. It is also an orange-red pigment that accounts for the orange color of carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, and red-orange bell peppers, which are high in beta-carotene content; But, so are many dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, etc.) where the high chlorophyll content masks the beta-carotene in these foods, making them green.
Beta-carotene is not only an antioxidant but one-sixth of your beta-carotene consumption can be converted into vitamin A if your body requires it. Studies show that over 40% of the population gets only half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. As such, more beta-carotene intake can help ensure your body achieves optimal vitamin A nutritional status. Unlike preformed vitamin A, if your body doesn’t need more vitamin A your body simply DOES NOT convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, thus preventing vitamin A toxicity.
Beta-carotene also supports immune health and shows various important anti-cancer properties, especially when ingested from foods containing beta-carotene. Keep beta-carotene on your radar and try to have at least one beta-carotene-rich fruit or vegetable each day if possible.

Reference: http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=107&pid=33&gid=000286

Lycopene is the sister compound to beta-carotene (carotenoids) that makes tomatoes red. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant but also demonstrates other impressive properties related to immune health and anti-cancer mechanisms, especially with respect to prostate cancer.
Tomatoes, and especially tomato sauce (processed tomatoes), are the highest in lycopene content. Watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, red bell peppers, and guavas also have respectable amounts. But, as much as possible try to get lycopene from tomatoes and tomato sauce. Make it a priority on your weekly wellness checklist, aiming for at least 3 servings a week.

References:
https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/91/4/317/2543924
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/3/633/htm

The Quadriceps muscle consists of 4 muscles on the front of your thigh that merge together above the kneecap to form the tendon (patellar tendon) that goes over the kneecap to insert on the lower leg bone (the Tibia). The Quadriceps muscle on the innermost aspect of the front of your thigh is known as the Vastus Medialis. Unlike the other Quadriceps muscles, it is not used during normal walking. It only contracts in the last 10 degrees of knee extension. As a result, many people have weak Vastus Medialis muscles from lack of use, which greatly contributes to the risk of knee problems, especially chondromalacia patella, patellofemoral syndrome, or lateral dislocation of the kneecap itself.
An excellent way to maintain Vastus Medialis strength is to incorporate the knee extension machine into your strength training program. Two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, twice or three times a week, can make a big difference in preserving your knee function and preventing various knee inflammatory and degenerative conditions.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6458583/

One of the greatest risks for people with sedentary jobs is the loss of muscle mass in the gluteal muscles as the years go by. The gluteus muscles are the ones that propel you out of your chair as you go from sitting to standing and they are an important muscle group to prevent falls and related fractures as you age.
Many older individuals who are confined to wheelchairs and the use of walkers are in this predicament because they slowly allowed their gluteal muscles to atrophy and deteriorate over time, which leads to a lack of strength, balance and increased instability upon standing and walking.
You need to preserve your gluteal strength if you hope to remain an independent person as you age. The good news is that your glutes are activated when you walk or run up a hill or stairs, do squats, or use the leg press machine at the gym. The bad news is that your glutes are NOT ACTIVE WHEN YOU WALK ON LEVEL GROUND OR DOWN A HILL. So, you must do something other than a walking program to preserve and/or strengthen your gluts in your day-to-day program. It’s an important consideration in your healthy life expectancy plan.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4101852/

When we are under acute or chronic stress, the body over-secretes a hormone called ACTH, which causes the adrenal glands to pump out large amounts of cortisol. High cortisol levels, if left unchecked over a long period of time, can cause inflammation throughout the body, weaken the immune system – increasing the risk of infection and cancer – disturb brain function, contribute to depression and anxiety and other mental health problems and zap your energy.
Three natural herbal agents have shown promise in mitigating the effects of stress on the body by suppressing the over-secretion of stress hormones and exerting positive effects on immune and brain function, include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Schisandra.
As part of stress management, it may be prudent to consult a nutritional medicine expert who can direct you to a product containing these three adaptogen herbs if you feel that stress is having a negative impact on your health, productivity and/or quality of life.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/

As we age, our maximum attainable heart (MAHR) declines. You estimate your MAHR by subtracting your age from the number 220. This represents the fastest your heart can beat under all-out sprint-like conditions, in heartbeats per minute.

Once you calculate your MAHR, know that if you exercise with a heart rate that is between 50% and 75% of your MAHR, you will be in the zone that provides important benefits to your cardiovascular health and also greatly enhances the burning of your body fat. In fact, just exercising at 50% of your MAHR is a great way to burn fat without having to over-exert yourself.

If you intend to lose some weight, then performing this type of aerobic training 5-7 times per week for 30-45 minutes is recommended. If you just want to preserve your cardio health and body weight, then 3-4 times per week is usually adequate.

Reference: https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/how-to-calculate-your-training-heart-rate-zones

Eating fish a couple of times per week is a great way to acquire omega-3 fats from the diet. However, certain fish are known to contain high amounts of mercury and should be avoided or consumed sparingly at best.
These include the larger, older predatory fish such as swordfish, tilefish and mackerel, and the FDA advises women who are nursing or pregnant to avoid these fish completely.
Tuna, red snapper, and orange roughy are lower in mercury, but nursing or pregnant women should still limit their consumption of these fish to 12 ounces per week.

Reference: What we can expect from omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Eric J Chan MD. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19339640/

The omega-3-fat, known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybeans. The body can slowly convert some ALA into the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, which are important for cardiovascular and brain health.

For individuals who avoid consuming fish or fish oil supplements, a respectable alternative is to consider taking flaxseed oil (1200 mg capsules, possibly 2-3 per day) to help your body achieve a more desirable nutritional status of ALA, EPA and DHA omega-3 fats, in addition to consuming soy products and walnuts.

References:
What we can expect from omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Eric J Chan MD. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19339640/

The US FDA approved the use of a fish oil supplement to reduce high triglyceride blood levels (higher than 500 mg/dL or 5.65 mmol/L) along with diet and regular exercise.

The protocol provides 2-4 capsules per day using a 1-gm fish oil supplement containing 375 mg of DHA and 465 mg of EPA.

Fish oil supplements also show promise in helping to reduce inflammation, high blood pressure, the formation of abnormal blood clots and may help prevent the development of dangerous heart arrhythmias.

Reference:
What we can expect from omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Eric J Chan MD. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19339640/

Part A: More Than Double the Protein

Greek yogurt is essentially the same as regular yogurt with the addition of one critical step – straining. At the end of the process, the Greek yogurt is strained to remove the excess watery whey, creating a more protein-dense product.
Thus, Non-Fat Greek yogurt contains up to 24.5 gm of protein per serving (8 oz or 1 cup or 236 ml), which is about the same as the amount of protein found in a typical chicken breast.

Regular Yogurt usually contains only 9 or 10 grams of protein per serving (8 oz or 1 cup or 236 ml)

References:
https://www.liveeatlearn.com/greek-yogurt/


https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/nonfat-greek-yogurt,5811/


https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/yogurt

Part B: Less Lactose

Non-Fat Greek yogurt contains less lactose than regular Non-Fat Yogurts; less than 6.5 gm vs less than 8.5 gm per serving (1 cup or 8 oz or 236 ml).

Up to 75% of people develop some degree of lactose intolerance as they age (due to the decrease in the synthesis of lactase enzyme by the cells that line the small intestine), but most people with lactose intolerance can still tolerate up to 12 gm of lactose per day without any intestinal or other symptoms

References:
https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-lactose-intolerant-eat-yogurt-aged-cheese-6130.html


https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lactose-intolerance-101#section6

Part C: Less Sugar and Superior Nutritional Composition

Because Non-Fat Greek Yogurt has been strained, it contains 40% less sugar, 38% less sodium, and more than twice the protein content of regular non-fat yogurts.

Like other yogurts, it is also high in calcium (264 mg or more per 8 oz serving) and potassium (and low in sodium – which may help to reduce high blood pressure). It also contains respectable amounts of vitamin A, B6, B12, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, folate, choline and betaine.

And, of course, it contains virtually no saturated fat (0.3 gm) or cholesterol (12 mg) and less than 1 gm of total fat.

References:

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/05/05/the-health-benefits-of-greek-yogurt


https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/nonfat-greek-yogurt,5811/


https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/nonfat-greek-yogurt,5811/

Part A: Published Statistics and High Fat Meat Products

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in much of the developed world when you combine statistics for men and women. (Lung cancer is number one). World-wide evidence suggests that 70-90% of colon cancer cases are preventable through more prudent diet and lifestyle factors.
One of these factors appear to be too much high-fat meat consumption, especially beef.
The high-fat content stimulates excess bile secretion into the intestinal tract, which helps to digest the fat. However, bile acids often get converted into colon cancer-causing by-products (secondary sterols) by the gut bacteria. These by-products have been shown to produce cancerous lesions in the cells that line the colon, which can lead to polyp and tumor formation.

Also, the high content of iron in red meat is reported to promote colon cancer via the generation of free radicals, which can produce mutations in the genetic material of the cells that line the colon.

Thus, exercising caution when it comes to high-fat meat consumption is one way in which we are likely to reduce our lifetime risk of colon cancer.

Primary Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796096/

Part B: Cooking Meats to High Temperatures Strongly Linked to Increased Risk

Cooking meats at high temperatures results in the production of heterocyclic amines (HA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), both of which are believed to have carcinogenic properties and are strongly linked to an increased colon cancer risk (and other cancers). These types of carcinogens are created to an appreciable degree when using high-temperature grilling, barbecuing, pan-frying, deep frying, charring, overcooking meats (well done), and exposing meats to an open flame.

Here is a safer plan to cook meat to reduce HA and PAH content.

1. Trim all visible fat to reduce drippings into the flame. The more smoke that is made, the more PAHs form.

2. Marinate your meat in wine or beer. The antioxidants help the HCAs from forming.

3. Rub fresh or dried herbs on both sides of your meat before grilling such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. The herbs contain antioxidants which help prevent HCAs from forming.

4. Precook your meat in the oven – the less time your meat is on the grill, the less charring will occur.

5. Turn meat over frequently while on the grill.

6. Remove any visible charred portions of meat.

7. Choose fish or chicken rather than red meat, which some studies have shown can increase certain cancers. Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages – there is strong evidence processed red meats may increase cancer risk.

8. Eat plenty of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, which have high amounts of antioxidants. Eating a diet rich in vegetables has been consistently associated with a protective effect against cancer.


References:


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796096/#r22191-33

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12351159/

https://columbiasurgery.org/news/2015/08/05/how-safely-grill-decrease-your-risk-cancer

Diets high in protein, particularly protein from plants such as legumes (peas, beans and lentils), whole grains and nuts, have been linked to lower risks of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, while regular consumption of red meat and high intake of animal proteins have been linked to several health problems.
This was the finding from the May 20, 2020 publication in the British Medical Journal, which analyzed all the available human studies looking at the link between protein intake and risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular and cancer mortality (A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies).
Researchers reviewed the results of 32 studies that reported risk estimates for all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular and cancer mortality, in adults aged 19 or older.
The beneficial effects of plant proteins are considered to be their association with favorable changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which might help to lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.

Reference:
https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m2412

If you choose to be vegan and thus, eating fish or taking fish oil supplements is not for you, then a brilliant way to optimize your omega-3 fat intake includes ingesting an omega-3 fat supplement derived from microalgae.

Microalgae omega-3 fat supplements contain the impressive EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and support brain health as well as brain development during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
.
There are many health reasons to avoid eating fish and animal foods, as most vegans know. In addition, there are environmental benefits to choosing algal oil; overfishing (catching fish at rates higher than fish can reproduce) negatively affects ocean food chains, increases global food insecurity, and destroys coral reefs, contributing to climate change.

Suffice to say, algae-based DHA+EPA supplements are a much more sustainable choice than fish-based supplements.

You can derive omega-3 fats from the consumption of flaxseeds (and flaxseed oil), chia seeds, walnuts, edamame, and certain vegetable oils, which contain the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

The body converts some ALA into DHA and EPA. However, this conversion rate is often slow, making it possible but not likely, that vegans and vegetarians can consume enough ALA to obtain optimal EPA and DHA nutritional status. Algae-based omega-3 fat supplements already contain EPA and DHA in appreciable amounts, making them a strong consideration for vegans.

Click on the link below to see various brands that sell omega-3 fat supplements from microalgae:

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/enewsletter/enews_0917_01.shtml

In a randomized, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that when participants ate a meal high in fat and carbohydrates with six grams of a spice blend added, the participants had lower inflammation markers compared to when they ate a meal with less or no spices. Studies show that inflammation can spike after a person eats a meal high in fat or sugar.

In this study (Journal of Nutrition 2020) researchers used a blend of basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, red pepper, Rosemary, thyme, and turmeric.

Blood results showed that inflammatory cytokines were reduced following the meal containing six grams of spices compared to the meal containing two grams of spices or no spices. Six grams roughly translates to between one teaspoon to one tablespoon, depending on how the spices are dehydrated.

The study involved 12 men, ages of 40 and 65, who were overweight or obese, and had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Reference:
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/150/6/1600/5811497

Tea drinkers have been saying it for years. Water heated in a microwave just isn’t the same.

Typically, when a liquid is being warmed, the heating source — a stove, for example — heats the container from below. By a process called convection, as the liquid toward the bottom of the container warms up, it becomes less dense and moves to the top, allowing a cooler section of the liquid to contact the source. This ultimately results in a uniform temperature throughout the glass.

Inside a microwave, however, the electric field acting as the heating source exists everywhere. Because the entire glass itself is also warming up, the convection process does not occur, and the liquid at the top of the container ends up being much hotter than the liquid at the bottom.

Solids don’t undergo convection, so getting your leftovers to warm up uniformly is a completely different story.

Reference:

Peiyang Zhao, Weiwei Gan, Chuanqi Feng, Zhongxing Qu, Jianlong Liu, Zhe Wu, Yubin Gong, Baoqing Zeng. Multiphysics analysis for unusual heat convection in microwave heating liquid. AIP Advances, 2020; 10 (8): https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0013295

The main problem with overeating is that it adds more stored energy to our bodies (in the form of fat), which can culminate in obesity if you overeat day after day. However, a 2020 study shows that if an otherwise healthy person overindulges occasionally, for example eating a large buffet meal or Christmas lunch, then there are no immediate negative consequences in terms of losing metabolic control or suddenly gaining weight.
Results show that after eating maximally double the amount a person would normally consume at a meal and feeling really stuffed:

Blood sugar (glucose) levels were no higher than after a normal meal.
The amount of insulin in the blood was 50% higher than normal (this hormone is released by the body to control blood sugar levels).
Blood lipids (triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids) were only slightly higher despite having consumed over twice as much fat. This is interesting because previous research had shown that blood lipids increase proportionally when low-to-moderate amounts of fat are consumed.
Hormones that are released by the gut to stimulate insulin secretion and increase feelings of fullness were changed the most by overeating
The study revealed that humans are capable of eating twice as much food as is needed to make us feel ‘full’, but that our bodies are well-adapted to an excessive delivery of dietary nutrients at one huge meal. Specifically, those tested in this study were able to efficiently use or store the nutrients they ingested during the pizza-eating challenge, such that the levels of sugar and fats in their blood were not much higher than when they ate half as much food.
The bottom line is to consume food in a measured and prudent way on a daily basis, but not to beat yourself up mentally or emotionally if you overindulge occasionally. The damage is minimal.

Reference:
Aaron Hengist, Robert M. Edinburgh, Russell G. Davies, Jean-Philippe Walhin, Jariya Buniam, Lewis J. James, Peter J. Rogers, Javier T. Gonzalez, James A. Betts. Physiological responses to maximal eating in men. British Journal of Nutrition, 2020; 124 (4): 407 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/physiological-responses-to-maximal-eating-in-men/25C29D75CB1553B9D3D23E276295A4D8

You have probably heard that avocados, olives and nuts, including peanut butter, contain healthy fats. These foods are high in the monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid, which has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol, improve blood vessel function, and may also improve blood sugar regulation. So, yes these foods contain healthy monounsaturated fat.

Nuts with the highest monounsaturated levels include almonds, cashews, pecans, and macadamias. Nut butters are also a good source, as is extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
But don’t overdo it, as too much fat of any kind can lead to weight gain. So, use small amounts of these oils and moderate servings only of foods rich in monounsaturated fats. For example, a handful of nuts is plenty, or a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a couple of small slices of avocado, or a teaspoon or two of olive oil, canola oil or peanut oil.

References:
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/mufas/faq-20057775
American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats

The consumption of foods high in saturated fat turns on cholesterol production within the liver, which is required to transport these fats through the blood stream. In turn, this raises blood levels of the bad cholesterol linked to heart attacks and stroke.

Here are common foods that contain high amounts of saturated fat:
fatty beef
lamb
pork
poultry with skin
beef fat (tallow)
lard and cream
butter
cheese
other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, are also high in saturated fats.

Lower fat alternatives include:
Low-fat dairy products (1% of non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese no higher than 3% milk fat)
Poultry, fish, nuts, beans, plant-based protein sources such as soybeans (tofu)
Lower fat snacks and desserts in small quantities to also minimize refined sugars

Aim for a total blood cholesterol below 3.9 mmol/L (150 mg/dl) and an LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) below 1.5 mmol/L (58 mg/dl) as an important strategy to reduce risk of heart and vascular disease.

References:

American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats

New York Time Interview with Dr William Castelli (Medical Director of the Framingham Heart Study) https://www.nytimes.com/1985/01/08/science/heart-disease-big-study-produces-new-data.html

Two quarts of blood travels through your liver each minute of your life. One of the functions of liver cells is to cleanse the blood of impurities that get absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut, which have entered the body from food and beverages we consume or have been synthesized by gut bacteria (i.e. endotoxins).

Liver detoxification is a complicated two-step process involving many different detoxification enzymes and non-enzyme constituents that work together in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes. The major function of these processes is to detoxify pesticides, herbicides, old hormones, environmental toxins and other xenobiotics, drugs, supplements, bacterial endotoxins, alcohol and other substances that can be damaging to the cells of our body.

Various vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients are required for liver detoxification to be maintained at an optimal state each day, which means that nutrition plays an important role.

Sub-optimal detoxification function can lead to liver damage (especially from the use of certain drugs like acetaminophen) and paves the way for certain cancer-causing chemicals to escape detoxification and remain in the bloodstream. It also can contribute to complexion problems and speed up the effects and appearance of aging.

In the next number of Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, I will share with you the key nutrients required to optimize detoxification daily and how they support detoxification function.

As a starting point, I would encourage you to consume at least one serving of a cruciferous vegetable each day (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, turnips). These vegetables contain the indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphanes shown to support both Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes in the liver. Broccoli seems to be especially important in this regard.

Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488002/

In the previous Healthy Lifestyle Booster, I indicated that two quarts of blood pass through the liver each minute of your life, and that liver cells possess specialized detoxification enzymes and other constituents that perform 75% of the body’s detoxification processes.

For most substances that need to be detoxified, such as environmental contaminants, pollutants, old hormones, drugs, alcohol, etc., the Phase 1 detoxification enzymes are the first to metabolize these compounds. The Phase 1 enzymes – for which there are over 100 different ones – metabolize these substances into an intermediate compound, which often is even more damaging than the original substance. Luckily, the Phase 1 enzymes then hand off the intermediate compound (the more dangerous one they created, as a rule) to the Phase 2 Detoxification enzymes, which combine with (conjugate) these compounds and convert them into safe end-products that the body can easily excrete via the urine or the fecal route.

As such, Phase 1 and Phase 2 Detoxification are designed to work hand in glove to systematically detoxify agents that can otherwise damage body cells, induce cancer or trigger immune inflammatory responses that can worsen complexion or aggravate skin and other conditions.

To help optimize Phase 1 Detoxification, here is a list of vitamins and minerals that support the action of these enzymes or participate in the process in other ways:

B-Vitamins: B2, B3, B6, B12, Folic Acid
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Selenium
Copper
Zinc
Manganese

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can help ensure you are getting a good daily intake of these nutrients. One-third of American adults augment that approach by also taking a Daily Multiple Vitamin and Mineral supplement each day. Twenty-three percent of Canadian adults consume a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral Daily.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488002/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional/

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2017001/article/14831-eng.htm

Grapefruits and especially Grapefruit Juice contain the flavonoid naringenin and furanocoumarins, which can slow Phase I detoxification processes, especially by the intestinal cells in the gut, by up to 30-50%. In fact, it can take the body up to 72 hours after grapefruit or grapefruit juice consumption to reconstitute these impaired detoxification enzymes and return to normal detoxification function.

This can impair the elimination of undesirable compounds from the body and slow the metabolism of certain medications, which increases the likelihood of drug side effects. Researchers indicate that over 85 drugs can be affected by the consumption of grapefruit and grapefruit juice, creating potentially dangerous drug-nutrient interactions.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, from 2008 to 2012, the number of drugs known to potentially interact with grapefruit, with risk of harmful or diagnosed effects, including intestinal bleeding, kidney toxicity and kidney damage, increased from 17% to 43%. As such, it is thought to be unwise to consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice if a person is on a medication. To avoid potential adverse health effects, always ask your doctor if grapefruit is allowed, if a drug has been prescribed for you.

Main Reference:

Baily D et al. Grapefruit-mediated interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 185(4):309-316. 2013 https://www.cmaj.ca/content/185/4/309

Recall that 2 quarts of blood pass through the liver each minute of your life and within liver cells there are Phase I and Phase II detoxification enzymes that work hand in hand to detoxify potentially dangerous compounds from the bloodstream, including cancer-causing agents.

There are 7 separate Phase II Detoxification Enzymes that specifically conjugate (attach to) unstable intermediate compounds handed to them by the Phase I Detoxification Enzymes. For instance, excess estrogens (formed by the body or entering the body as xenoestrogens found in plastics, pesticides, food, water, etc.) are safely eliminated from the body after specific Phase II detoxification enzymes attach them to a methyl group (methylation) or, to a lesser degree, glucuronic acid (glucuronidation), or a sulfate group (sulfated estrogen).

All Phase II Methylation reactions, which are very critical in preventing the buildup of dangerous estrogens and their intermediates, especially with respect to reproductive organ cancers, require daily nutritional support of the B-vitamins, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12, and to a lesser degree, Vitamin B6.

Many people fall short of their Folic Acid needs each day, according to population studies, which can compromise Phase II Detoxification Enzyme Function. Vegans must be careful not to run into a vitamin B12 deficiency state, as most people know.

More about how to support Phase II Detoxification in the next Healthy Lifestyle Booster

References:

https://invivohealthcare.com/education/articles/oestrogen-detoxification/

Journal of the National Cancer Institute: https://academic.oup.com/jncimono/article/2000/27/113/934445

Since the end of World War II, more than 85,000 chemicals have been created by humans (drugs, food additives, by-products of manufacturing, mining etc.). The Phase II enzyme systems that the human body uses to detoxify most of these foreign substances involves attaching these substances (or their metabolites) to:
Glucuronic acid
Sulfuric acid
or
Glutathione

The body has no trouble synthesizing glucuronic acid. However, sulfuric acid detoxification (sulfation pathway) is supported by sufficient intake of vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin B6 and the mineral molybdenum. These are common components of most multiple vitamin and mineral supplements.

To support glutathione synthesis in the body you can consider using a whey protein drink, or supplementing with N-acetylcysteine. Some studies suggest that consuming alcohol-free beer raises glutathione as does the consumption of almonds. One study showed that meditation increases glutathione levels in the body. Experimentally, other substances have also been shown to support glutathione levels, which include vitamin C, vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.

Glutathione detoxification (conjugation) is particularly important in protecting the body against heavy metal accumulation and toxicity (mercury, cadmium) as well as persistent organic pollutants (DDT, PCB’s, chlorinated phenols, endocrine disrupting chemicals).

References
Integrative Medicine 2014: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/

https://www.talkingaboutthescience.com/studies/Donohue-Sulfoxidation.pdf

The herb known as Milk thistle contains unique flavonoids, which have been shown to help protect liver cells and support liver function in various human studies and in many experimental studies.

Milk thistle has been shown to act as an antioxidant, toxin blockade, and enhancer of liver protein synthesis required for liver cell repair. It decreases fibrosis and possibly reduces liver inflammation and modulates immune function.

Some reports indicate that Milk thistle can help repair liver damage in chronic alcoholic liver disease, fatty liver degeneration, and in certain cases of chronic hepatitis or early stage cirrhosis.

Some people take a Milk thistle supplement each day, or as part of a nutrient mixture to help support liver health and the liver’s detoxification pathways. Most experts agree that a Milk thistle supplement should be standardized to at least 80% flavonoid content.

References
Lancet Oncology: 2013; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4116427/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11896/

Apples contain soluble fiber (cholesterol-cruncher fiber) and polyphenols (which may also lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation).

In a controlled study presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in 2011, researchers showed that women (ages 45-65 years old) assigned to the daily apple consumption group (75 gm per day of dried apples) saw a 23% drop in their bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) reading within six months and a 4% rise in their good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) reading.

The apple consumption group also saw a decline in inflammation markers in their blood at 6 months. (i.e. C-Reactive Protein).
Although the apple consumption added 240 calories to their diet each day, the women did not gain weight – in fact, they lost some excess weight (on average of 3.3 pounds). This is because apples are high in fiber, which makes you feel full and, thus, you eat less food overall.

This is one of several studies that back up the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Dr. Arjmandi, one of the researchers, is convinced that we all can benefit from consuming apples. He says that “two a day” might be even better.

Reference
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/222422#1

Human observational studies have suggested that regular apple consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cancer at various sites within the body, such as lung, colon, and breast.

Consistent with these findings, researchers at Cornell University discovered that certain phytonutrients in apples show impressive anti-cancer properties when tested on human cancer cells.
A combination of plant chemicals, such as flavonoids and polyphenols – collectively known as phytochemicals, found both within the flesh of apple and particularly in the skin – provide the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits, say Cornell food scientists.

Using colon cancer cells treated with apple extract, the scientists found that cell proliferation was inhibited. Colon cancer cells treated with 50 milligrams of apple extract (from the skins) were inhibited by 43 percent. The apple flesh extract inhibited the colon cancer cells by 29 percent.

The researchers also tested the apple extract against human liver cancer cells. At 50 milligrams, the extract derived from the apple with the skin on inhibited those cancer cells by 57 percent, and the apple extract derived from the fruit’s fleshy part inhibited cancer cells by 40 percent.

“Another reason to consider having one or two apples per day.”

References

Public Health Nutrition Journal 2016: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27000627/

Journal of Food and Drug Analysis: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816301788

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070601181005.htm

Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20041018/apple-day-for-cancer-prevention#1

Although drinking fruit juices can have the undesirable effect of spiking blood sugar and adding unwanted calories to the diet, the one juice that may be worth considering is Pomegranate Juice.

Over the years Pomegranate Juice has shown impressive anti-cancer properties in experimental studies. In recent years these properties have also emerged in some small human studies.

Prostate Cancer: Pure Pomegranate juice has shown the ability to slow the increase of PSA, a blood protein that is a marker of the progression of prostate cancer as well as an indicator of response to treatment.
One study evaluated the effect of pomegranate juice on PSA levels in men after they had been treated for prostate cancer.
All patients had rising levels of PSA prior to intervention, an indication that their cancer was very likely progressing. But following supplementation with pomegranate, the rate of PSA increase was slower.
This suggests that pomegranate slowed cancer growth.
A subsequent study confirmed the finding that pomegranate extract slowed the rate at which PSA levels increased.

Pomegranate and Breast Cancer: Animal studies using pomegranate have demonstrated that pomegranate can prevent breast cancer cell growth, induce cancer cell death, block inflammation, and reduce the potential for breast cancer cells to spread. Pomegranate may also prevent the initial formation of breast cancer. In one study, researchers administered a cancer-causing toxin to rats to induce breast cancer. They found that supplementation with pomegranate blocked many of the harmful effects of the toxin.

An extract of pomegranate was also found to prevent the migration of breast cancer cells and to induce cancer cell death.
You may want to consider drinking 4-6 ounces per day of pure pomegranate juice, as one more lifelong wellness strategy

Reference
Urology of Virginia: https://www.urologyofva.net/articles/category/longevity/3108752/effect-of-pomegranate-on-cancer-formation-and-growth

Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive have been advised over the years to avoid caffeine or ingest it in small amounts because studies have shown it to be linked to negative pregnancy outcomes. In some countries pregnant women have been advised that consuming a small amount of caffeine daily will not harm their baby.

In the year 2020 researchers reviewed all available published observational studies on this subject and showed that there is a substantial cumulative effect of an association between maternal caffeine consumption and risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, childhood leukemia, and childhood overweight and obesity, but not preterm birth. They state that, specifically, the cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine completely.

Reference
British Medical Journal 2020: https://ebm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/09/01/bmjebm-2020-111432

With so much hype about many different health foods, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, but green tea is the real deal.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) was discovered in China in 3000 BC or earlier. It was brought to Japan from China by Buddhist priests over a thousand years ago. Black tea is also derived from the same plant as green tea, but when harvested black tea is processed differently from green tea in that it is oxidized, which changes its composition to a significant degree.

A big difference between green tea and black tea is that green tea contains much more polyphenols or catechin constituents, including the highly medicinal EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). EGCG has been investigated for its anti-cancer, anti-obesity, anti-atherosclerotic (plaque build-up in the arteries), anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-dental caries effects.
Unlike many other natural substances and supplements, many human clinical trials using green tea extract (high in EGCG) have been carried out and, for the most part, they show impressive and consistent positive health effects, especially with respect to anti-cancer properties, enhancing weight loss, improving diabetic management and possibly helping to ward off age-related memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases.

In a series of upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters on green tea, I will highlight some of the most impressive studies where green tea extract has been used to prevent or better manage important health conditions or health risk factors.

As a starting point, green tea EGCG constituents are linked to reduced risk of memory loss with aging (age-related cognitive impairment). Various experimental studies show that EGCG can do a number of remarkable things to prevent memory loss problems in aging, and in 2019 a landmark study showed that EGCG supplementation given to adults (ages 18-55 years) who have Fragile X Syndrome, showed significantly improved cognition, including memory and improved functional competence in everyday life.

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder whereby the brain cannot make a key protein (FMR1 gene) needed for normal brain development, and thus, these individuals exhibit major developmental delays (not sitting or walking at predictable times in development), learning disabilities, social and behavioral problems (not making eye contact, attention problems, anxiety, hand flapping, acting and speaking without thinking and being very active). EGCG supplementation at 5-7 mg per kg of body weight per day in these subjects resulted in significant improvement in memory and daily function after just 3 months (Reference 2). I’ll explain what we know about EGCG’s impact on the brain in upcoming editions.

References
1. Main Reference: Suzuki Y et al. Health-promoting effects of green tea. Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2012;88(3):88-101 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365247/

2. de la Torre et al. A phase 1, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate safety and efficacy of epigallocatechin-3-gallate and cognitive training in adults with Fragile X syndrome. Clinical Nutrition. 2020; 39(2):P378-387 https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(19)30082-2/abstractWith so much hype about many different health foods, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, but green tea is the real deal.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) was discovered in China in 3000 BC or earlier. It was brought to Japan from China by Buddhist priests over a thousand years ago. Black tea is also derived from the same plant as green tea, but when harvested black tea is processed differently from green tea in that it is oxidized, which changes its composition to a significant degree.

A big difference between green tea and black tea is that green tea contains much more polyphenols or catechin constituents, including the highly medicinal EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). EGCG has been investigated for its anti-cancer, anti-obesity, anti-atherosclerotic (plaque build-up in the arteries), anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-dental caries effects.
Unlike many other natural substances and supplements, many human clinical trials using green tea extract (high in EGCG) have been carried out and, for the most part, they show impressive and consistent positive health effects, especially with respect to anti-cancer properties, enhancing weight loss, improving diabetic management and possibly helping to ward off age-related memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases.

In a series of upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters on green tea, I will highlight some of the most impressive studies where green tea extract has been used to prevent or better manage important health conditions or health risk factors.

As a starting point, green tea EGCG constituents are linked to reduced risk of memory loss with aging (age-related cognitive impairment). Various experimental studies show that EGCG can do a number of remarkable things to prevent memory loss problems in aging, and in 2019 a landmark study showed that EGCG supplementation given to adults (ages 18-55 years) who have Fragile X Syndrome, showed significantly improved cognition, including memory and improved functional competence in everyday life.

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder whereby the brain cannot make a key protein (FMR1 gene) needed for normal brain development, and thus, these individuals exhibit major developmental delays (not sitting or walking at predictable times in development), learning disabilities, social and behavioral problems (not making eye contact, attention problems, anxiety, hand flapping, acting and speaking without thinking and being very active). EGCG supplementation at 5-7 mg per kg of body weight per day in these subjects resulted in significant improvement in memory and daily function after just 3 months (Reference 2). I’ll explain what we know about EGCG’s impact on the brain in upcoming editions.

References
1. Main Reference: Suzuki Y et al. Health-promoting effects of green tea. Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2012;88(3):88-101 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365247/

2. de la Torre et al. A phase 1, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate safety and efficacy of epigallocatechin-3-gallate and cognitive training in adults with Fragile X syndrome. Clinical Nutrition. 2020; 39(2):P378-387 https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(19)30082-2/abstract

Studies show that Asian men who are green tea drinkers have the lowest incidence of prostate cancer in the world, according Dr N.B. Kumar at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Cancer Epidemiology, Tampa, Florida.

A 2006 study (J. Cancer Research) was the first human study to show that green tea catechins (GTCs) were highly effective in stabilizing and reversing precancerous prostate lesions (high grade prostate intra-epithelial neoplasia); an established precursor to prostate cancer. In this study the treatment group ingested daily GTCs supplements, consisting of three GTCs capsules – 200 mg each (total 600 mg/d). After 1 year, only one tumor was diagnosed among the 30 GTCs-treated men, whereas nine cancers were found among the 30 placebo-treated men (3% vs 30% prostate cancer incidence).

Not all green tea studies have been as promising, but experimental studies suggest that green tea catechins (especially EGCG) may inhibit the development of prostate cancer in various ways. Experimental studies suggest that green tea catechins may also inhibit the development of other cancers, some of which include, breast, bladder, esophageal and lung cancer.

Experimental studies demonstrate the ability of green tea catechins to encourage emerging cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis), slow the division rate of existing cancer cells and healthy cells (decreased proliferation) and decrease the ability of tumor cells to spread to other sites in the body (metastasis and angiogenesis). These mechanisms are known to be key factors in cancer prevention.

As we await large clinical trials to be conducted and completed, using green tea catechins in cancer prevention and adjunctive cancer treatment, it may be prudent to drink 3-5 cups of green tea per day, as many health experts suggest, and/or ingest a supplement containing 200-400 mg of green tea extract. Note that high doses of green tea catechins can damage the liver in some cases, so speak to your health care professional before using a green tea extract supplement.

References
2006 Prostate Cancer Human Study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16424063/

Dr. N.B. Kumar: https://www.urologytimes.com/view/green-tea-may-suppress-prostate-cancer-high-risk-men

Bladder Cancer Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164790/

Lung and Esophageal Cancer Research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21538848/

Prostate Cancer Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6337309/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28415774/

Breast Cancer Research: https://academic.oup.com/carcin/article/27/12/2424/2476057

Various Mechanisms of Cancer Prevention from Green Tea Catechins: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/12/1679/htm

Although human clinical studies, thus far, have used small numbers of men with precancerous prostate cancer lesions, early evidence is promising that green tea catechins (especially EGCG) may help to prevent prostate cancer and/or inhibit the progression of precancerous prostate lesions into full blown prostate cancer in some cases.

Experimental studies show that one mechanism by which green tea catechins many exert anti-cancer effects is by “turning on genes” in emerging prostate cancer cells that produce a peptide (Bax) that encourages these cells to commit suicide (apoptosis) by breaking apart the energy factory of the cell (the mitochondria).

Without adequate energy, cells die off (apoptosis). As well, green tea extract has been shown to inhibit a peptide that many cancer cells make called the Bcl-2 peptide that normally blocks the ability of cancer cells to commit suicide via the Bax signaling pathway. So, by “turning on” synthesis of the Bax peptide and “turning off” the synthesis of the Bcl-2 peptide, green tea catechins have shown an ability, experimentally, to encourage emerging (and possibly existing) prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis).

Many researchers feel that these are important mechanisms in the prevention of prostate cancer, which may extend to other types of cancer as well. Further study is needed to draw definite conclusions, but green tea is something to consider including in your daily wellness plan, according to many health experts.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6337309/

Another way that green tea catechins (especially EGCG) have been shown to inhibit prostate cancer promotion and progression is by inhibiting the stimulation of c-Met receptors on prostate cancer cells (and colon cancer cells).

In many cases of prostate cancer, as normal cells become transformed into cancer cells, they over-express receptors (little antennas) on the surface of the cell called c-Met receptors.

When stimulated by a protein called the HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) these receptors trigger the cell to divide quickly, invade adjacent tissue and metastasize, creating a dangerous and life-threatening version of the disease.

Experimental studies show that green tea extract, along with two other natural agents (resveratrol and curcumin) inhibit HGF from stimulating c-Met receptors, helping to reduce the invasiveness and aggressiveness of these cancer cells.

This mechanism may be one more way in which the regular consumption of green tea and green tea extract (EGCG) may help to ward off prostate and other cancers. As we await large human clinical trials to confirm these findings, it is encouraging to see that many observational studies show that green tea drinkers around the world have decreased incidence of prostate, breast and stomach cancers.

References

Cancer Research Journal: https://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/64/7_Supplement/425.1
National Cancer Control Policy -Australia: https://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy/Position_statement_-_Tea_and_cancer_prevention

In recent Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, we have been exploring some of the proposed mechanisms by which green tea catechins (especially EGCG) have been shown in experimental studies to inhibit cancer development and progression.

One further piece of evidence comes from lung and prostate cancer animal research models, which shows the ability of green tea catechins to inhibit metastasis (spread) of cancer by blocking cancer cells from secreting an important compound known as VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor).

When solid tumors (i.e. lung or prostate) reach a tumor mass size of 1-2 mm (to the power of 3) in diameter the tumor cells can no longer keep dividing, as the existing tumor cells are using all the available nutrients supplied to them by the local blood vessels to keep themselves alive.

Once the tumor mass has reached 1-2 mm to the power of 3 (in diameter) the tumor cells begin secreting VEGF, which stimulates the growth of new blood vessel tributaries into the tumor mass. This provides more oxygen and nutrients enabling these cancer cells to keep dividing, enlarging the tumor, and providing new blood vessels for tumor cells to squeeze into so they can travel to distal sites within the body (i.e. bones, liver) where they can start new tumors to develop (metastasis).

This process of forming new blood vessels to feed tumors is known as angiogenesis. In animal and experimental models green tea catechins have shown an ability to block the secretion of VEGF from tumor cells, inhibiting their ability to stimulate growth of new blood vessels to feed the tumor (anti-angiogenesis) and thus, slow tumor growth and help prevent tumor metastasis to other tissues and organ sites.

The publishers of Healthline suggest that consuming 3-5 cups of green tea per day is a good target for most healthy adults.

References
Green Tea Catechins Inhibit VEGF in Prostate and Colon Cancer Models: Various Mechanisms of Cancer Prevention from Green Tea Catechins: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/12/1679/htm

Angiogenesis, Tumor Growth and Metastasis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1993983/

Healthline Recommendations on Green Tea Consumption: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-green-tea-per-day#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

Another way that green tea catechins may help to prevent certain cancers is by inhibiting a key signaling pathway within emerging cancer cells, known as the TK Pathway (tyrosine kinase).

TK is a receptor found in the outer skin of cells. When a normal cell morphs into a cancer cell, the TK receptors very often become dysfunctional and overactive. This overactivity sends signals to other switches within the cell (signal transduction) that turn on genes instructing the cell to divide out of control (that’s what cancer really is – uncontrolled growth of dysfunctional cells), and can trigger other signaling mechanisms that stimulate these tumor cells to metastasize to other tissues and organs and start new tumor colonies.

Experimental and animal studies show that green tea catechins block the dysfunctional behavior of TK (tyrosine kinase) in many different types of cancer cells and cancer models, making them less aggressive, slowing their cell division rate and metastatic potential.

This may be another reason to consider drinking 3-5 cups of green tea each day.

References
Green Tea Catechins Inhibit Tyrosine Kinase (TK): Various Mechanisms of Cancer Prevention from Green Tea Catechins: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/12/1679/htm

Tyrosine Kinase in Cancer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1074718/#:~:text=Tyrosine%20kinases%20are%20important%20mediators,in%20the%20pathophysiology%20of%20cancer.
Another way that green tea catechins may help to prevent certain cancers is by inhibiting a key signaling pathway within emerging cancer cells, known as the TK Pathway (tyrosine kinase).

TK is a receptor found in the outer skin of cells. When a normal cell morphs into a cancer cell, the TK receptors very often become dysfunctional and overactive. This overactivity sends signals to other switches within the cell (signal transduction) that turn on genes instructing the cell to divide out of control (that’s what cancer really is – uncontrolled growth of dysfunctional cells), and can trigger other signaling mechanisms that stimulate these tumor cells to metastasize to other tissues and organs and start new tumor colonies.

Experimental and animal studies show that green tea catechins block the dysfunctional behavior of TK (tyrosine kinase) in many different types of cancer cells and cancer models, making them less aggressive, slowing their cell division rate and metastatic potential.

This may be another reason to consider drinking 3-5 cups of green tea each day.

References
Green Tea Catechins Inhibit Tyrosine Kinase (TK): Various Mechanisms of Cancer Prevention from Green Tea Catechins: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/12/1679/htm

Tyrosine Kinase in Cancer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1074718/#:~:text=Tyrosine%20kinases%20are%20important%20mediators,in%20the%20pathophysiology%20of%20cancer.

In recent Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, I have presented some of the evidence, derived from experimental and animal models, that demonstrate key mechanisms by which green tea catechins have been shown to prevent certain cancers and/or control cancer growth.

I referred to a year-long human trial showing that green tea catechin supplementation was able to inhibit the progression of precancerous prostate lesions into full-blown prostate cancer, compared to the placebo.

In 2013 an important phase 2 clinical trial involving 42 patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) was undertaken, which provided early stage CLL patients with green tea catechins (2,000 mg EGCG, twice daily) for up to 6 months.

The results showed that 31% of the patients demonstrated sustained reduction in the absolute leukocyte count (ALC – the white blood cell count) of 20% or greater, which is a key indicator of survival in this form of cancer. As well, 69% of patients with palpable enlarged lymph nodes (adenopathy) experienced at least a 58% reduction in the sum of the products of all lymph node areas. Side effects were rare and not serious (transient abdominal pain and fatigue).

“Overall, 29 patients (69%) fulfilled the criteria for a biologic response with either a sustained decline ≥ 20% in the ALC and/or a reduction ≥ 30% in the sum of the products of all lymph node areas at some point during the 6 months of active treatment.”

These are indeed encouraging findings and hopefully further studies will be conducted to confirm these findings so that green tea catechins may one day be included as an adjunct to standard medical treatment of CLL to help improve management and long-term survival in patients with this condition.

Studies like these prompt various health authorities to encourage the drinking of 3-5 cups of green tea per day for health promotion purposes.

References
Shanafelt TD. Phase 2 trial of daily, oral Polyphenon E in patients with asymptomatic, Rai stage 0 to II chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Clinical Trial Cancer 2013, 119(2):363-70 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22760587/

Healthline Recommendations on Green Tea Consumption: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-green-tea-per-day#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

These results seem to support the hypothesis that green tea intake might reduce the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or cognitive impairment. ”

Experimental studies show that green tea catechins (i.e., EGCG) protect brain cells from undergoing degeneration and death during the aging process from insults such as free radical attack, the inflammatory process and the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque – a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease. These experimental studies show that green tea catechins act as antioxidants in the brain, inhibit brain inflammation, block steps in brain cell death and inhibit the synthesis of beta-amyloid plaque.

Protecting your brain cells and supporting memory function are other reasons to consider drinking 3-5 cups of green tea each day.

Reference
Kakutani S et al. Green tea intake and risks of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive impairment: A systematic review. Nutrients 2019;11(5):1165

A 2018 study showed that supplementing women ages 50-63 years old with a single dosage of 5.4 grams of green tea extract significantly improved their working memory within the next 24 hours. In this study working memory was measured by reading span and N-back task paradigm.

The researchers concluded that green tea extract supplementation significantly improved working memory in women in this age group, compared to the placebo group. Younger women, ages 21-29, did not show the same benefit.

The researchers go on to imply that green tea catechins (especially EGCG) may be beneficial in preserving and enhancing memory in women over the age of 50.

Reference
Liu et al. The effects of green tea extract on working memory in healthy women. Nutr Health Aging 2018; 22(3):446-450 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29484360/

A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology in 2014 showed that providing young males (average age 24.1 years) with 27.5 gm of green tea extract (in four randomized sessions) improved their working memory, and on functional MRI evaluation, it improved the connectivity between two regions of the brain involved in memory; the parietal and frontal lobes.

The study involved 12 young, healthy, right-handed males, who ingested the green tea extract (rich in catechins, such as EGCG). Compared to the placebo group, the green tea group showed improved working memory and evidence on functional MRI of improved nerve connections in the parts of the brain involved in memory consolidation. The increased connectivity seen on functional MRI was strongly correlated with the positive effects seen on task performance by the participants in the green tea group.

The researchers stated, “these studies together indicate that green tea extract might modulate working memory processing by increasing prefrontal brain activity as a result of enhanced bottom-up connectivity from the parietal cortex.

Many studies have suggested that the catechins in green tea and green tea extract protect the brain from processes linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and, more recently, we have seen that green tea extract supplementation has enhanced memory performance in healthy human subjects.

Many experts suggest 3-5 cups of green tea per day as a consideration in an overall health-promotion game plan.

Reference
Schmidt A et al. Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing. Psychopharmacology 2014; 231:3879-3888. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-014-3526-1

An increasing body of evidence shows that the polyphenol known as EGCG found in green tea and green tea extract turns on the body’s brown fat machinery.

Brown fat is the type of fat we have in our body that burns excess calories we consume and gives them off to the environment as heat. This is known as thermogenesis.
Whereas white fat stores excess calories as fat, brown fat helps to burn off excess calories and releases it as heat to the environment.

The result is that green tea and green tea extract have shown promise in helping to prevent and reverse overweight problems.

This is one more reason to consider drinking 3-5 cups of green tea per day, and/or ingesting a supplement each day that provides 300-600 mg of green tea extract with a high EGCG content (epigallocatechin-3 gallate).

Reference
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5475335/
.

In addition to “turning on” brown fat activity, which helps burn excess calories releasing them as heat to the environment, the ingestion of EGCG from green tea (and/or green tea extract high in EGCG), has also been shown to increase the number and size of the cell’s energy factories, called mitochondria.

Increasing mitochondria number (and size) is known as mitochondria biogenesis, and it enables cells to burn more calories per second, which can increase metabolism and help prevent and reverse unhealthy weight gain.

Experimental studies show that consumption of adequate green tea and/or green tea catechins (especially EGCG) helps to prevent and reverse unhealthy weight gain, even in the presence of a high-fat diet, compared to the control group. These studies are quite remarkable.

Human studies have supported the contention that green tea supplements (high in EGCG content) can help reverse weight gain and improve other health parameters, which I will review in upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters.

Reference
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5475335/

A number of human clinical trials have shown that the equivalent of 4-5 cups of green tea per day (or approximately 600 – 800 mg of EGCG from green tea extract supplements) can improve weight loss results in overweight subjects.

Green tea should not be the only intervention used to help reduce excess body fat, but studies suggest that by helping to block the absorption of some carbohydrates and fats from the intestinal tract and increasing thermogenesis (speeding up metabolism), the addition of green tea to a weight management program may be used to enhance results in many cases.

Reference
https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2014143

Some studies have shown that consuming 4-6 cups of green tea per day (or 600 – 800 mg of EGCG from green tea extract) can help to lower high blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients.
The active ingredients in green tea (especially EGCG) have been shown to help reduce and slow carbohydrate absorption from the intestinal tract, which helps to prevent a blood sugar spike after a meal, and improve long-term blood sugar (glucose management) to some degree.

Green tea is not a magic bullet to treat or reverse type 2 diabetes, but it can be used as a nutritional adjunct in type 2 diabetes, especially because it may also help to reduce the bad cholesterol – LDL-cholesterol, and excess body fat – two other risk factors often seen in type 2 diabetes.

Reference
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689013/

According to a 2017 review of vitamin C and immune function, epidemiological studies have indicated that sub-optimal vitamin C levels (hypovitaminosis C identified as a plasma vitamin C less than 23 mmol/L) is relatively common in Western populations, and vitamin C deficiency (less than 11 mmol/L) is the fourth leading nutrient deficiency in the U.S.

The 2007-2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of approximately 16,000 children and adults found that almost 40% had low levels of vitamin C, while 88% of the U.S. population did not meet the daily requirement for vitamin E (noted to enhance the effects of vitamin C).

Eating fruit on a regular basis can help boost vitamin C intake and blood levels, as well as eating certain vegetables, especially green peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

References

https://www.medpagetoday.com/casestudies/infectiousdisease/87976

http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data4i.html

Various immune cells are highly dependent on vitamin C for their ability to fight viruses and other infectious pathogens.

For example, vitamin C helps neutrophils (the most abundant immune cells in the bloodstream) generate respiratory bursts that essentially blow-up viruses on contact.
Vitamin C also protects neutrophils from free radical damage that would otherwise destroy them during a respiratory burst assault against a virus.

Vitamin C helps minimize the secretion of NET’s (neutrophil extravascular nets), which often trigger a life-threatening cytokine storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by certain viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Vitamin C also helps immune cells migrate to the site where viruses are present in the body, enabling them to mount an attack.

So, ensuring that your intake of vitamin C is optimal each day is one more proactive step you can take to preserve your immune function and your overall wellbeing.

Reference

Bozonet SM and Carr AC. The role of physiological vitamin C concentrations on key functions of neutrophils isolated from healthy individuals. Nutrients June 2019. 11,1363.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=vc3LDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT149&lpg=PT149&dq=NETs+vitamin+C+and+neutrophils&source=bl&ots=HLGF1c86g_&sig=ACfU3U3eSCG30ickkzlMeGmd87bIfECJ6g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJgqPZ0c_pAhVVZ80KHUhzBDgQ6AEwD3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=NETs%20vitamin%20C%20and%20neutrophils&f=false

Here is a direct quote from the 2017 published review on Vitamin C and Immunity, “Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system”.

The innate immune system includes immune cells that require no prompting to kill offending viruses and other disease-promoting bacteria and microbes (germs). Over millions of years of evolution these immune cells, such as Natural Killer Cells, Macrophages, Neutrophils and Dendritic cells, have evolved to seek out and destroy disease-promoting germs (viruses etc.) on contact.

The adaptive immune system involves certain immune cells that ingest the virus (or other disease-promoting germs) and display the germ’s spiky antigens on their own outer surface, which they then present to a group of T-lymphocytes called, T-Helper Cells (or CD4) cells.

Once presented to the T-Helper cells, the T-Helper cells recruit many other immune cells into the fight against the virus or infectious agent. The newly-recruited immune cells, such as the B-lymphocytes and plasma cells, replicate quickly to form a larger army of immune cells to fight the infection. This is why your white blood cell count increases during an infection, as your white blood cells are all-important cells of your body’s immune system.

During an infection, both the innate and adaptive immune system consume vitamin C at a much faster rate, and thus, increasing vitamin C intake at the first sign of a cold or respiratory tract infection has been shown to improve outcomes.
We will look at more applications of vitamin C on immunity in the next few Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, along with preventive and therapeutic vitamin C doses that have been reported from various published studies.

Reference
2017 Review: Vitamin C and Immune Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/

In addition to the effects of vitamin C on immunity mentioned in previous Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, here are several other ways that our immune system depends on adequate vitamin C status to protect us from serious infections:


Vitamin C is required to form the materials that are part of the body’s physical barrier to viruses and other hostile germs, preventing them from penetrating through our skin, our respiratory passageways, our intestinal tract, etc.
Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic immune cells, such as neutrophils (the most numerous white blood cells in the bloodstream) that ingest, blow up and destroy viruses (and other germs) on contact. Vitamin C enhances the neutrophil’s ability to move to the location of the virus (or germ), engulf the virus (or germ) and generate free radicals to blow up the virus (or germ), while also acting as an antioxidant to protect neutrophils from the free radicals they generate to destroy the virus (or germ).
Vitamin C is also needed to encourage damaged neutrophils to commit suicide (apoptosis) so they don’t linger in a dysfunctional state and secrete dangerous NETs (Neutrophil Extravascular Traps), which are known to create the life-threatening cytokine storm in the lungs and other organs.
The role of vitamin C in lymphocytes (another type of white blood cell) is less clear, but it has been shown to enhance maturation and replication of B- and T-cells, likely due to its gene-regulating effects.

As stated in the previous Healthy Lifestyle Booster, we will look at preventive and therapeutic vitamin C doses that have been reported from various published studies, in an upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Booster issue.

Reference
2017 Review: Vitamin C and Immune Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/

In the previous Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, I explained the various and critically important ways that vitamin C works to help optimize immune function.

In the abstract of their 2017 review paper, regarding vitamin C and immunity, the researchers conclude, “vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact on vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements.

Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Prophylactic prevention of infection requires dietary vitamin C intakes that provide at least adequate, if not saturating plasma levels (i.e., 100–200 mg/day), which optimize cell and tissue levels. In contrast, treatment of established infections requires significantly higher (gram) doses of the vitamin to compensate for the increased inflammatory response and metabolic demand.”

Their review paper also cites studies where vitamin C was administered to elderly hospitalized patients with pneumonia, showing that the group given vitamin C had a hospital stay that was 36% shorter with objective signs of improvement including normalization of chest X-ray, temperature, and ESR (a blood test for inflammation). The dosage was 500 – 1600 mg of vitamin C per day (not really that high a dosage).

Reference
2017 Review: Vitamin C and Immune Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/

Many people take extra vitamin C each day to boost the function of their immune system. But, how much should you take?

Studies show that 100% of ingested vitamin C is absorbed at doses of up to 200 mg at a time. Ingesting more than 500 mg of vitamin C is somewhat of a waste, as the absorption of vitamin C is highly limited to 500 mg or less from a single dose.

Blood levels of vitamin C peak when taking doses of 200-400 mg at a time. Taking higher doses than this at one time does not increase blood vitamin C levels appreciably. The peak vitamin C blood level from oral intake is 60-80 umol/L.

Keeping your vitamin C blood level above 50 umol/L is considered desirable to help optimize immune function. This can be done by spreading out 500 mg doses of vitamin C throughout the day. For example, taking 500 mg doses of vitamin C, every 4 waking hours. This approach helps to keep blood vitamin C maintained within the optimal range throughout the entire day and is much more effective than taking 1,000 or 2,000 mg of vitamin C as a single dose.

Reference: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C

We have seen that desirable vitamin C nutritional intake and status is very important to maintaining a highly functional immune system. But, studies show that low vitamin C status (plasma vitamin C < 23 μmol/L) is relatively common in Western populations, and vitamin C deficiency (<11 μmol/L) is the fourth leading nutrient deficiency in the United States.

There are several reasons why vitamin C dietary recommendations are not met, even in countries where food availability and supply is expected to be sufficient. These include poor dietary habits, life-stages and/or lifestyles either limiting intakes or increasing micronutrient requirements (e.g., smoking and alcohol or drug abuse), various diseases, exposure to pollutants and smoke (both active and passive), and economic reasons (poor socioeconomic status and limited access to nutritious food). Even otherwise ‘healthy’ individuals in industrialized countries can be at risk due to lifestyle-related factors, such as those on a diet or eating an unbalanced diet, and people facing periods of excessive physical or psychological stress.

Studies continue to suggest that otherwise healthy individuals should ingest at least 200 mg per day of vitamin C. As this amount of vitamin C is difficult to achieve from food alone, vitamin C supplementation should be considered to make up the shortfall. Thus, taking 100-200 mg a day of vitamin C from supplementation is a strong consideration for many individuals. Higher amounts may be even more desirable in certain situations.

2017 Review: Vitamin C and Immune Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/

Erectile dysfunction occurs when a man has trouble getting or sustaining an erection during sexual activity. Some men claim that drinking beet juice helps improve their erections and avoid erectile dysfunction problems.
There are no major clinical trials to support this claim, but there is reason to believe that beet juice can be helpful for this purpose.

How Might Beet Juice Improve Erections?

Beet juice is high in natural nitrates, which help the arteries make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide stimulates arteries to open up, enabling blood to engorge the corpus cavernosum of the penis. The corpus cavernosum is a sponge-like tissue that becomes engorged with blood during an erection. There must be enough pressure in the tissue to keep the blood trapped and to maintain an erection. Nitric oxide helps open up the arteries and sustain this pressure.

Beet juice consumption may also increase the amount of cGMP in the arteries, which is also a key factor in getting and sustaining an erection.
There are studies showing that beet juice consumption can help reduce high blood pressure via these same mechanisms and; thus, it is very plausible that beet juice can also help to enhance erections. For example, studies show that drinking 8 oz (250 ml) of beet juice per day can reduce high blood pressure to a significant degree. This occurs primarily due to increased nitric oxide production within arteries.

Reference:
Medical News Today January 21. 2018: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320675

In the previous Healthy Lifestyle Booster, I mentioned that beet juice may help to improve male erections and that some studies have shown that it can help to reduce high blood pressure.

The studies on high blood pressure are quite convincing, as the consumption of 8 oz (250 ml) of beet juice daily has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure (the higher reading) by 8mmHg, and diastolic pressure (the lower reading) by 4mmHg. This is a similar reduction seen with single blood pressure lowering drugs.

Remember that for every 2-point increase in blood pressure, the risk of heart disease increases by 7% and the risk of stroke increases by 10%. So, an 8mmHg drop in systolic pressure and a 4mmHg drop in diastolic pressure is very meaningful if your blood pressure has been high or is above 125/75. It is also a comfort to know that beet juice can be ingested concurrently with blood pressure-lowering medications to enhance their efficacy.

Reference:
Siervo M et al. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: A systematic review and Meta-analysis. The Journal of Nutrition 2012, 143;6:818826. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/143/6/818/4571708

Beet Juice or Beetroot juice contains nitrates, which the body ultimately converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide opens-up or dilates blood vessels, which is needed to provide oxygen and nutrients to exercising muscles, as one important aspect of nitric oxide’s many functions in the body.

A review of all the available studies (published in 2017) showed that by ingesting beet juice 90 minutes before athletic effort (especially aerobic or endurance-type events like a 10 km run, bike race or time trial) that performance improves, as well as time to exhaustion. Even a small increase in aerobic performance can make a big difference in competitive events, such that many endurance athletes now ingest anywhere from 3oz to 17oz (70-500 mL) of beet juice 90 minutes before competition.

You may want to do the same thing to see if your aerobic performance increases with your own workout routine or competitive endurance endeavors. There is also some evidence that it may even increase anaerobic performance in all-out sprint or strength training events and related work outs.

Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/

In recent Healthy Lifestyle Boosters I have outlined the research showing that daily consumption of beet juice (or beetroot juice as it also known) can help to reduce high blood pressure, improve male erectile function, and enhance athletic performance and time to exhaustion in aerobic events (and possibly improve aerobic performance as well).

But other benefits from regular beetroot juice have also been purported including, improved energy production in muscles during exercise, along with enhanced uptake of blood sugar by exercising muscles, enhanced muscle contraction and relaxation, enhanced immune system function and stimulation of new mitochondria synthesis (mitochondria are the energy factories in our cells).

These outcomes are related to the fact that the high level of nitrates in beetroot juice are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide not only opens-up or dilates blood vessels for improved blood flow, but it also serves as a signaling chemical that affects many other bodily functions in positive ways, such as the ones I mentioned above.

As a legitimate health food, ingesting 4-8oz of beet juice daily may provide many long-term benefits in your pursuit of healthy life expectancy and performance.

Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/

Just in Case You Are Planning on Mountain Climbing or Hiking Up a Mountain

It is well established that even very highly fit individuals can develop mountain or altitude sickness when climbing or hiking up mountains. It is very hard to predict who will be afflicted with this debilitating ailment. But we have learned that populations like the Tibetans, who live at high altitudes, have higher levels of nitric oxide in their system.

This is an adaptation to living at high altitudes that appears to prevent altitude sickness by enabling blood to flow more easily to the brain, lungs, and muscles, as an adaptation to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. Nitric oxide opens-up or dilates blood vessels.


In a study of the acute response to oxygen deprivation, the individuals who lived at sea level who climbed to high altitudes and showed decreased nitric oxide levels were the ones most likely to develop symptoms of acute altitude sickness.

As such, some researches suggest that climbers and altitude hikers should consume beetroot juice daily to increase their nitric oxide synthesis, as beetroot juice or beet juice is a rich source of nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide.


Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/

We all know that deep-fried food is unhealthy and full of excess calories, contributing to weight gain, high blood cholesterol, and other health problems.

A great alternative to deep-fried French fries is to get an Air Fryer for your home and make your own French fries.
Rather than submerging potatoes and other foods in hot oil, Air Fryers use circulation of hot air to cook food. The Air Fryer works by coating the desired food in a thin layer of oil while circulating air heated up to 200 °C (392 °F) to cook the desired food. The result is delicious, crunchy potato chips, using 70-80% less oil than a traditional deep fryer.

Other Vegetables
Using an Air Fryer to cook other healthy vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, baby carrots, butternut squash and peppers is also a delicious way to consume these health-promoting dietary staples. You can even start with frozen vegetables if desired.

Reference: Medical News Today (April 2, 2019)
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324849#benefits

In a study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers analyzed seven popular party dips for their health-promoting and disease-promoting features. They included the assessment of bean dip, ranch dressing, salsa, sour cream, cream cheese, hummus, and peanut butter, and ranked them according to nutritional content.

Each party dip was then given a “naturally nutrient-rich” score. With a score of 98, hummus took the top spot, followed by salsa at 89, and bean dip at 82. For comparison, ranch dressing came in very last with a nutrient score of just 23.

Hummus is made with chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), olive oil, and tahini (sesame seed paste). These ingredients are high in healthy fats, cholesterol-lowering and colon-cleanin fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, and has been shown to help improve blood sugar regulation and improve weight management when substituted for other dips, spreads, and starchy foods.

You can even use hummus as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise and butter on sandwiches and wraps.

References:
Shape Magazine November 30, 2016
https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/why-hummus-healthiest-party-dip-according-science#:~:text=With%20a%20score%20of%2098,nutrient%20score%20of%20just%2023.&text=Hummus%20is%20made%20with%20three,tahini%20(sesame%20seed%20paste).

Wallace TC, Murray R, Zelman KM. The nutritional value and health benefits chickpeas and hummus. Nutrients. 2016 Dec; 8(12): 766 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/

A 2021 study in the journal, Heart, reviewed all the available evidence pertaining to the consumption of fried foods (cooked in oil) from 17 studies, involving over 500,000 people.


Their analysis showed that compared with the lowest category of weekly fried food consumption, the group consuming the highest amount of fried food had a 28% increased risk of major cardiovascular events, a 22% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 37% increased risk of heart failure.

If you like the taste of fried foods, I suggest you get an Air Fryer. It makes food taste deep fried without excess calories from fat, trans-fats and the production of other artery clogging and inflammation-promoting chemicals that you get from traditional fried food cooking methods.

Reference:

Pei Qin, Ming Zhang, Minghui Han, Dechen Liu, Xinping Luo, Lidan Xu, Yunhong Zeng, Qing Chen, Tieqiang Wang, Xiaoliang Chen, Qionggui Zhou, Quanman Li, Ranran Qie, Xiaoyan Wu, Yang Li, Yanyan Zhang, Yuying Wu, Dongsheng Hu, Fulan Hu. Fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Heart, 2021

https://heart.bmj.com/content/early/2021/01/07/heartjnl-2020-317883

A 2021 study involving a large group of individuals over 60 yrs of age has shown that those who take an afternoon nap (5 mins to 2 hours of actual sleep) scored much higher on dementia screening tests than non-regular nappers.

The dementia screening tests included 30 items that measured several aspects of cognitive ability and higher function, including visuo-spatial skills, working memory, attention span, problem solving, locational awareness and verbal fluency.

Why do Nappers Do Better?

One theory is that inflammation is a mediator between mid-day naps and poor health outcomes; inflammatory chemicals have an important role in sleep disorders, note the researchers.

Sleep regulates the body’s immune response and napping is thought to be an evolved response to inflammation. People with higher levels of inflammation also nap more often, explain the researchers.

So, it may be a smart strategy for those over 60 to consider at least a short afternoon siesta to help preserve cognition.

Reference:

Han Cai, Ning Su, Wei Li, Xia Li, Shifu Xiao, Lin Sun. Relationship between afternoon napping and cognitive function in the ageing Chinese population. General Psychiatry, 2021; 34 (1)

https://gpsych.bmj.com/content/34/1/e100361

Studies show that if you consume white vinegar at a meal that contains starchy carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, your post-meal blood sugar (glucose) level is likely to be lower than if you had eaten starchy carbohydrates with no white vinegar at the meal.

From a practical standpoint it means that consuming a salad with vinegar and olive oil dressing at a meal that contains starchy carbohydrates is likely to prevent a spike in blood sugar, as shown in healthy individuals and diabetics alike.

How Does It Work?
Researchers report that the acetic acid in vinegar appears to block the action of key carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, which in turn, reduces the amount of carbohydrate absorbed from starchy carbohydrates. Instead, more of these starchy carbohydrate calories remain in the intestinal tract and are excreted from the body during a bowel movement a couple of days later. The result is – fewer carbohydrates getting absorbed into the bloodstream, which reduces blood sugar (glucose) spikes after a meal.

This also translates into fewer carbohydrates being converted into fat. Some studies show that regular vinegar consumption may also help to reduce excess body fat by the same action – blocking the absorption of some carbohydrate calories from starchy foods.
Unfortunately, vinegar does not have the same protective effect against refined, sugary foods and treats.

Take Home Message:
Most of us would benefit from lowering our post-meal blood sugar level, and thus, including white vinegar as a salad dressing ingredient at meals is another proactive healthy booster step that you may want to consider.

Reference:
Diabetes Research and Action: https://diabetesaction.org/article-vinegar

Beans, peas and other legumes are not a main staple of the North American or Western Diet, but they should be. Beans and peas are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Studies show that one cup of beans, 4x per week can reduce high total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) to a significant degree (more than 7 mg/dL).

Beans and peas are also a good source of protein and they are a great substitute at a meal for other starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes, as they don’t spike blood sugar (glucose) levels to the same degree. Beans and peas are known as low-glycemic foods for this reason.

A great heart-healthy combination is to consume a mixed bean salad with artichokes (another cholesterol-lowering food) wiith a dressing of white vinegar (to reduce absorption of carbohydrate calories) and a bit of olive oil (which contains the monounsaturated fat oleic acid that helps raise good cholesterol – HDL – and exerts other cardiovascular benefits).



References:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18502235/

2. https://www.utoronto.ca/news/lowering-cholesterol-eating-chickpeas-lentils-beans-and-peas

3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-842/artichoke#:~:text=Research%20shows%20that%20taking%20artichoke%20extract%20by%20mouth%20can%20slightly,to%2012%20weeks%20of%20treatment.

4. https://diabetesaction.org/article-vinegar

5. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/atvbaha.114.303374

Colo-rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in North America. Only a small percentage of cases are linked to inherited genetic mutations (5-10%).

Diet and Lifestyle are considered to be a more important risk than inherited genetic mutations in most colorectal cancer cases.
In this series of Healthy Lifestyle Booster, we will look at the main nutrition and lifestyle risk factors, identified so far, that increase or decrease the risk of colo-rectal cancer.

In the 2009 review on this subject in Clin Colon Rectal Surg Journal the researchers state the following, “Diets high in fat, especially animal fat, are a major risk factor for colorectal cancer.” They state that the fat in these meats promotes growth of the types of gut bacteria that convert bile acids (secreted from the gall bladder) into potential cancer-causing N-nitroso compounds.

The high level of heme iron in these meats is also linked to more free radical damage to colo-rectal cells, promoting higher cancer risk.
So, one important strategy to reduce colo-rectal cancer risk is to eat less meat or avoid it altogether. It appears to be less risky to eat low-fat chicken and turkey breast, as well as fish as safer alternatives to beef and pork products, as a general rule.

I will share other preventive strategies in upcoming issues.

Reference:
Clin Colon Rectal Surgery 2009: Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Risk Factors: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796096/
https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0029-1242458

Studies indicate that 70-90% of colon cancer cases can be prevented via more prudent diet and lifestyle practices. In the 2009 review paper on this subject published in the Journal, Clinical Colon and Rectal Surgery, the researchers state, “some studies suggest that people who eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.”

In the 2015 review entitled, Nutrients, Foods, and Colorectal Cancer Prevention (Journal Gastroenterology) researchers state, “fruits and vegetables may protect against colorectal cancer because of high levels of several potential anticarcinogenic compounds that we have already discussed, including: fiber, folate, other B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.” They go on to note that cruciferous vegetable intake (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, Bok choy) in particular shows a strong association with decreased risk of colon cancer, stating that “a recent meta-analysis reported 16% reduction of colorectal cancer risk comparing the highest to the lowest categories of cruciferous vegetable intake.”

Consuming at least 3 vegetable servings per day, and at least 2 fruit servings per day is recommended by most cancer authoritative bodies world-wide. Studies suggest this applies to the prevention of many cancers, including colorectal cancer.

References:
2009 Review Colorectal Cancer:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796096/

2015 Review Diet and Colorectal Cancer:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409470/#:~:text=Fruits%20and%20vegetables%20may%20protect,%2C%20minerals%2C%20and%20antioxidants443.

Diet and lifestyle are known to be significant contributing factors in the development of many colorectal cancer cases.
The 2015 review paper on this subject (Journal Gastroenterology) suggests that individuals should ingest at least 700-1,000 mg per day of calcium from food and/or supplementation, as some studies show a very strong association between this level of intake and a significant reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

Calcium has been shown to exert various anti-cancer properties in the colon, such as slowing down the rate of cell division, binding to bile acids preventing their conversion to cancer-causing secondary sterols, promoting colon cell maturation, and inducing programmed cell death of colon cells that are morphing into precancerous or cancer cells.

A 2014 meta-analysis review examining 15 studies showed that for every 300 mg increase in calcium from supplements there was an associated 9% reduction in risk of colorectal cancer, and that for every 300 mg increase in total calcium there was an associated reduction in risk of 8%. Thus, whether the individual relied on food or supplements as their source of calcium, both showed a similar reduction in risk of colorectal cancer, such that for every 300 mg of calcium consumed there was a corresponding colorectal cancer risk reduction of 8-9%.

I suggest that you make every effort to consume at least 700-1000 mg per day of calcium from food and/or supplements as a means to help reduce risk of osteoporosis and colorectal cancer.

References:

2015 Review Diet and Colorectal Cancer:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409470/#:~:text=Fruits%20and%20vegetables%20may%20protect,%2C%20minerals%2C%20and%20antioxidants443.

2014 Meta-analysis: Calcium and Colorectal Cancer:
Keum N, Aune D, Greenwood D.C., Ju W, Giovannucci E.L. Calcium intake and colorectal cancer risk: Dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. International J Cancer (2014) 135 (8): 1940-1948)

Vitamin D Shown to Help Prevent Colon Cancer

As outlined in a 2014 review article on Vitamin D and Colon Cancer, in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology, the researchers state, “Recent case-controlled studies have established that there is an inverse correlation between serum levels of vitamin D and the incidence of polyps and adenomas in the colon, consistent with the inverse correlation between dietary vitamin D3 intake or sunlight exposure and human colorectal cancer”.

This simply means that higher vitamin D status is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing colon polyps (precancerous lesions) and colon and rectal cancers.

Studies show that vitamin D exerts various anti-cancer properties shown to inhibit colon cancer development, such as slowing the rate of cell division, helping colon cells mature (differentiate) and inhibiting other key steps in colon cancer development (e.g., modulating the Wnt signaling pathway, inhibiting tumor-promoting inflammation).

Overall, it is considered to be prudent for most adults to maintain a blood vitamin D level between 80 – 140 nmol/L (32 – 56 ng/mL)
A direct quote from the research abstract states, “Vitamin D3 has been estimated to lower the incidence of colorectal cancer by 50%, which is consistent with the inverse correlation between dietary vitamin D3 intake or sunlight exposure and human colorectal cancer.”

Most people not living in a warm climate require vitamin D supplementation to achieve the ideal blood level of vitamin D noted above. The first step is to consult your doctor to get a vitamin D blood test to establish your current vitamin D status.

Reference:
Klampfer L. Vitamin D and colon cancer. World J Gastrointest Oncol 2014 Nov 15; 6(11): 430-437 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4229786/

Screening Colonoscopy Prevents Colon Cancer Death

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in North America and in many other Western countries. There are nutrition and lifestyle factors that appear to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, as I am outlining in these Healthy Lifestyle Boosters.

However, prudent nutrition and lifestyle measures do not negate the need for a screening colonoscopy, which should begin at age 50 (unless you are in a high-risk category where it should begin even earlier).
A colonoscopy procedure can not only detect polyps (which are usually the precursors to malignant colon tumors), but the procedure enables the proctologist to remove any polyps before they can progress into malignant colon cancer.

So, a colonoscopy is more than just early detection, it is also a therapeutic tool to remove any suspicious lesions that may cause colon cancer in the future.

If any of your biological parents or siblings developed colon cancer or you are 50 years or older, and have not yet had a colonoscopy, I would strongly advise you to speak to your doctor about its application in your case. It can save your life. It’s just that simple. And the procedure is painless and non-traumatic. You have nothing to fear.

Reference:
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-how-colonoscopies-save-lives/

Cigarette Smoking and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Over the years many studies have shown a strong correlation between cigarette smoking and increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancers.

In the year 2020, a review paper examined all the studies on this subject that had been reported up to the year 2018. The results showed that cigarette smoking increases the risk of colorectal cancer in a dose-dependent manner – meaning that the more you smoke, the greater the risk. What is encouraging is that the study also showed that quitting smoking reduces the risk. They went on to show how cigarette smoking increases risk of colon cancer (via microsatellite instability-high, CpG island methylator phenotype positive, and BRAF mutations).

The good news is that if you don’t smoke, it helps reduce your risk, and if you do smoke, quitting smoking can also reduce risk going forward.

Reference:
Edoardo B et al. Smoking and colorectal cancer risk, overall and by molecular subtypes: A Meta-analysis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Dec. 2020, 115 (12) : 1940-1949 https://journals.lww.com/ajg/Abstract/2020/12000/Smoking_and_Colorectal_Cancer_Risk,_Overall_and_by.9.aspx

Omega-3 Fats and Colorectal Cancer Risk

As reported in the journal, Cancer Metastasis Review in 2018, many studies show that omega-3 fat consumption is linked to the prevention of colon cancer, as well as improved outcomes for individuals diagnosed and treated for colon cancer. Omega-3 fats from fish, fish oil and flaxseed oils are shown to support the synthesis of prostaglandin series-3 in colon cells. This prostaglandin hormone is known to reduce inflammation and slow the rate of cell division – two important aspects of colon cancer prevention.

In addition, experimental studies show that flaxseed oil supplementation inhibits chemical-induced colon cancer in animal studies, when tested against corn oil supplementation. This is likely due to the fact that ALA (alpha-linolenic acid – an omega-3 fat in flaxseed oil) is indirectly converted to prostaglandin hormones that slow the rate of cell division and inhibit inflammation, whereas the LA (linoleic acid) in corn oil is indirectly converted to prostaglandin hormones that speed up the rate of cell division and promote inflammation.

Slowing the rate of cell division and reducing inflammation are mechanisms known to reduce cancer risk in most tissues in the body. In these studies, higher intake of ALA was shown to accumulate in colon cells when flaxseed oil supplementation was provided.

I personally take a supplement each day that contains fish oil, flaxseed oil and borage seed oil, to help maximize their combined anti-inflammatory effects and slow the rate of cell division in colon and other cells in the body.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133177/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133177/
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327914nc5101_8

Wheat Bran and Colon Cancer

Many observational (epidemiological) studies have shown that higher fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. Animal models have also shown this to be the case in experimental models, but wheat bran fiber has been shown to be superior to oat bran and corn bran fiber in colon cancer in animal experiments. This is a very consistent finding in animal experiments – wheat bran reduces colon cancer development.

The same is likely true in humans. As stated in Harvard Health Publishing (2014), insoluble fiber (the kind you get from wheat bran) “draws water into the intestinal tract, making the stools bulkier and easier to pass. That’s the main way it helps prevent diverticulosis, hernias, and hemorrhoids, and the more rapid and complete emptying of the colon may contribute to the benefit against colon cancer by clearing it of irritating substances.”

They state that fiber may also alter intestinal bacteria – increasing friendly bacteria, which can neutralize bowel toxins produced by unfriendly bacteria and the body itself.

It may be wise to incorporate more wheat bran fiber into your diet for bowel health. This can be done by using high wheat bran (low sugar) breakfast cereals, consuming whole wheat bread and pasta products, and sprinkling pure wheat bran onto cereal or mixing it into baked goods.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10987288/


https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Dietary_fiber_and_colon_cancer_The_pendulum_swings_again
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3507301/

Exercise Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer

Many studies over the years have shown that regular exercise is associated with a significant reduction in risk of colon cancer in both men and women. The two largest studies to show this effect include the Harvard Alumni Study and the Nurses’ Health Study.

As reported in the journal, Sports Medicine, “there are two large studies of note that investigate dose-related responses of exercise on colon cancer rate reduction. The Harvard Alumni Study followed 17,148 men for a maximum of 26 years. During the study, 225 men developed colon cancer. The men who participated in physical activity equivalent to at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, had a 50% reduction in colon cancer rates compared with men who were sedentary. Physical activity was defined in this study as both the time set aside for daily exercise, as well as other daily physical activities such as climbing stairs.
The Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 67,000 women over 6 years; 212 women developed colon cancer during the study period. Women who participated in 4 hours of exercise per week showed a 33% risk reduction for colon cancer. Those who exercised more than 5 hours per week showed a reduction of 46%. The physical activity level in the Nurses’ Health Study was defined as “exercise and recreational activity but not ordinary daily activities.”

Overall, the evidence suggests very strongly that having a regular, formal exercise program is one more way to help reduce the risk of colon cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in North America. The 2019 update on this subject in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology further supports the association between regular exercise and reduced colon cancer risk.

References:
2007: Current Sports Medicine Reports https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2007/04000/exercise_and_colon_cancer__primary_and_secondary.13.aspx#:~:text=Women%20who%20participated%20in%204,but%20not%20ordinary%20daily%20activities

2019 Update (World J Gastrointest Oncology) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522766/

How Does Exercise Reduce Colon Cancer Risk?

The 2019 review in World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology explains that regular exercise may prevent approximately 15% of colon cancers. Although the exact mechanism remains a bit unclear, studies have shown various ways that regular exercise exerts influences in colon cancer prevention, some of which include:

1. Reducing Insulin – high levels of insulin cause more rapid division of colon cells, which increases colon cancer risk.

2. Increasing Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) – higher SHBG in the bloodstream binds certain hormones, reducing their ability to overstimulate colon cells. This slows their rate of cell division, which is associated with reduced colon cancer risk.

3. Improved Immunity – immune cells work more effectively to identify and destroy emerging cancer cells when moderate physical activity is undertaken regularly.

4. Improved Bowel Transit Time – exercise speeds up the movement of contents through the intestinal tract (reducing constipation), which decreases the time that cancer-causing agents are in direct contact with cells that line the colon wall.

5. Decreased Inflammatory Cytokines – exercise decreases the secretion of inflammatory cytokines shown to encourage poly formation in the colon, and it helps to reduce overweight problems. Being overweight tends to increase the secretion of inflammatory cytokines from fat cells (adipokines).

Part of your colon cancer prevention strategy should include regular moderate-intensity exercise, according to the available studies on colon cancer prevention and the prevention of colon cancer recurrence.

Reference:
Oruc A and Kaplan MA. Effect of exercise on colorectal cancer prevention and treatment. World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2019;11(5): 348-366 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522766/

Folic Acid Shown to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

Over the years there has been much debate about folic acid, either helping to prevent colon cancer or increasing risk of colon cancer. To help answer the question, the results of the Nurses’ Health Study was published in 2020.

This study followed over 83,000 female nurses from 1980 to 2016.
The study showed that each 200 microgram per day increase in total folate consumption 12-24 years before colon cancer diagnosis was linked to an 8 percent to 16 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. Each 200 microgram per day increase in synthetic folic acid (from supplements) 16-24 years before diagnosis was associated with a 12-17 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

As the researchers concluded: Consuming higher levels of folate found in foods and supplements lowered the risk of colorectal cancer in women with no previous history of cancer, according to a study covering 36 years of data from the Nurses’ Health Study.

In the next update I’ll explain a bit more about folic acid and colon cancer.

Reference
https://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/fulltext/2020/06200/folate_intake___colorectal_cancer_risk_in_women.17.aspx

Folic acid and Colon Cancer: How Does it Help?

The vitamin Folic acid is involved in many processes within the body that appear to be critical in preventing cancer development. Folic acid plays a direct role in controlling cell growth, DNA replication, DNA repair, and DNA methylation. Lack of DNA methylation (hypomethylation) is a known risk factor for cancer development.

To help reduce spina bifida incidence and related pathologies the U.S. government instituted a folic acid food fortification program in 1996, which was followed by Canada adopting a similar policy a few years later.
Another positive side effect of this program appears to be a reduction in colon cancer risk. This contention is strengthened by the fact that individuals taking folic acid-containing supplements (about 26% of the population) are also realizing a reduction in colon cancer risk, according to the Nurses’ Health Study, published in 2020.

In 2002 another important study involving 11 people who had a history of recurrent precancerous colon growths were divided into two groups. One group was given 2 mg of folic acid (2,000 mcg) per day for three months and the other a placebo. The researchers discovered that abnormal cell activity declined significantly in the group that received the folic acid and the potentially dangerous activity levels remained unchanged in the group that did not receive the folic acid supplements.

When the supplements were stopped, the cellular activity began to return to pre-study levels in the folic acid group. Researchers say these findings suggest that folate seems to reduce the risk of colon cancer in susceptible people by repairing cellular damage after it has occurred.

A daily dosage of 2 mg (2,000 mcg) of folic acid is quite high and should not be implemented without the consent of your medical doctor. I am using this study as an example of our emerging understanding of the importance of adequate folic acid status in colon cancer prevention.

For most of us, eating a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and foods fortified with folic acid, and consuming a multiple vitamin supplement each day containing 400 mcg of folic acid, is likely to be a prudent strategy to ensure adequate folic acid status.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/news/20020719/folic-acid-fights-colon-cancer#:~:text=July%2019%2C%202002%20%2D%2D%20Taking,early%20sign%20of%20colon%20cancer
https://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/fulltext/2020/06200/folate_intake___colorectal_cancer_risk_in_women.17.aspx

If you enjoy baking your own home-baked, low-fat mini-muffins, or making pancakes, banana loaf, etc., a great idea to improve the health benefits is to replace half (50%) of the flour you would normally use with ground flaxseed.

Ground flaxseed contains health-promoting lignans – linked to reduced risk of reproductive organ cancers and fibrocystic breast disease, soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of gallstones, and insoluble fiber that improves bowel regularity and helps guard against diverticular disease and, possibly, colon cancer.

Flaxseed adds a nutty, delicious taste to these baked goods, improves satiety (so you eat less), which can help with weight loss if that is one of your goals. Flaxseed and ground flaxseed are very inexpensive.

Remember that the seeds must be ground before you ingest them to derive the health benefits I have outlined above.
The next time baking is on your agenda, think ground flaxseed.

Flaxseed oil contains a unique form of omega-3 fat known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which in recent years has shown benefit in reducing high blood pressure.

In 2005 the National Heart and Lung in Adults Study was one of the first to show that higher intake of ALA (from flaxseed oil) was associated with lower blood pressure. They also showed that higher fat tissue stores of ALA were linked to lower blood pressure readings in this study involving over 4500 subjects (aged 25 to 93 years).

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 showed that supplementation with flaxseed oil reduced high blood pressure in high blood pressure patients by 5mmHg (systolic and diastolic), which is very significant. Of further interest was the fact that these patients also had other risk factors for heart disease, including high LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and low HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol).

Flaxseed oil has other medicinal properties such as helping to reduce inflammation and possibly reducing risk of some cancers.
My personal strategy involves taking a supplement each day that contains the combination of Flaxseed, Fish and Borage Seed Oil to derive the synergistic health benefits provided by their essential fatty acids. Helping to keep blood pressure in the normal range is one of those benefits.

References:
1. Hypertension Journal (2005) https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.HYP.0000154679.41568.e6

2. European Journal of Hypertension (2007) https://www.nature.com/articles/1602631.pdf

Human studies have shown that individuals with low blood vitamin D levels are more prone to opioid addiction. One study showed that patients with modestly low vitamin D levels were 50 percent more likely than others with normal levels to use opioids, while patients who had severe vitamin D deficiency were 90 percent more likely. Another analysis found that patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) were more likely than others to be deficient in vitamin D.

Animal studies have also shown that mice made deficient in vitamin D were more prone to keep seeking the drug morphine than mice whose vitamin D levels were normal. When normal levels of vitamin D were restored in the vitamin D deficient mice, their craving for morphine was reduced significantly as were withdrawal symptoms.

As the researchers explain, one of the reasons humans like being out in the sun is because sunlight stimulates production of vitamin D in our skin, which increases synthesis and release of endorphins – which make us feel good.

As stated by Dr. Fisher in 2021, “consider a surgery patient who receives morphine for pain control after the operation. If that patient is deficient in vitamin D, the euphoric effects of morphine could be exaggerated, and that person is more likely to become addicted.”

He goes on to add, “while more research is needed, he believes that treating vitamin D deficiency may offer a new way to help reduce the risk for OUD and bolster existing treatments for the disorder. Our results suggests that we may have an opportunity in the public health arena to influence the opioid epidemic.”

In summary, addressing the common problem of vitamin D deficiency with inexpensive vitamin D supplements could play a part in combating the ongoing scourge of opioid addiction.

References:

Lajos V. Kemény, Kathleen C. Robinson, Andrea L. Hermann, Deena M. Walker, Susan Regan, Yik Weng Yew, Yi Chun Lai, Nicholas Theodosakis, Phillip D. Rivera, Weihua Ding, Liuyue Yang, Tobias Beyer, Yong-Hwee E. Loh, Jennifer A. Lo, Anita A. J. van der Sande, William Sarnie, David Kotler, Jennifer J. Hsiao, Mack Y. Su, Shinichiro Kato, Joseph Kotler, Staci D. Bilbo, Vanita Chopra, Matthew P. Salomon, Shiqian Shen, Dave S. B. Hoon, Maryam M. Asgari, Sarah E. Wakeman, Eric J. Nestler, David E. Fisher. Vitamin D deficiency exacerbates UV/endorphin and opioid addiction. Science Advances, 2021; 7 (24): eabe4577 https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/24/eabe4577

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210611174042.htm

Calendula Cream for Eczema
Lemon Balm Cream for Cold Sores
Oregano-Cream for Mild Acne

Eczema: According to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog MD, in her experience Calendula Cream is an effective topical treatment for eczema in some cases, which can often be used as a natural substitute for cortisone cream.

Cold Sores: According to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog MD, in her experience Lemon Balm Cream is an effective natural topical treatment for cold sores in many cases. In one study of 116 people with cold sores, those who applied lemon balm cream to their lip sores experienced significant improvement in redness and swelling after only 2 days.
(https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/lemon balm#:~:text=Some%20studies%20suggest%20that%20topical,swelling%20after%20only%202%20days).

Acne: The antibacterial properties of oregano oil make it a good natural treatment for mild cases of acne. However, Oil of Oregano can burn the skin, and thus, using an Oregano Cream that dilutes the concentration of oregano oil, and combines it with other skin nourishing and soothing natural ingredients is the best and safest way to apply oregano oil to your skin (i.e., Adeeva Orega-Skin Cream)
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225355/)
https://drlowdog.com/about/

About Dr. Tieraona Low Dog M.D.
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.’s is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health, Dr. Low Dog was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, served as the elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements and Botanicals Expert Information Panel, was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She previously served as the Education/Fellowship Director at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (2005-2014), where she oversaw all aspects of the training for more than 600 physicians and nurse practitioners in integrative medicine. She has been an invited speaker to more than 550 scientific/medical conferences, published 40 peer-reviewed articles, written 20 chapters for medical textbooks, and has authored four books, including two National Geographic books, Healthy at Home and Life is Your Best Medicine. She has appeared on CNN, ABC’s 20/20, is a frequent guest on the Dr. OZ show and NPR’s The People’s Pharmacy

As we age the body produces less melatonin hormone, which plays a crucial role in our sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). The recommendation from the British Association of Psychopharmacology states that evidence-based treatment for insomnia involves the use of melatonin supplementation as the “first choice” treatment for those over 55 years of age.

This recommendation takes into consideration the fact that recent studies have shown that prescription sleep medications are associated with some serious side effects, whereas melatonin has a very strong safety profile and is non-toxic.

Moreover, in addition to being a proven-effective sleep aid, melatonin exerts other effects that protect the brain from degenerative changes, supports immune function, exhibits impressive anti-cancer properties and other health benefits. We will discuss these secondary health benefits in the upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters.

Reference: 2019 Update Melatonin and Neurodegeneration (Frontiers of Endocrinology) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2019.00480/full

In the previous Healthy Lifestyle Booster, I explained that melatonin has been rated as a very safe and effective sleep aid solution for insomnia and interrupted sleep problems. (1)


However, 4% of all adults and 10% of those over 65 years of age in this country regularly take prescription sleeping medication prescribed by their doctor for insomnia and sleep problems. But some eye-opening studies in recent years have suggested that sleeping medications are associated with an increased risk for unsteadiness leading to falls and fractures. In fact, research from Dalhousie University suggested that one-third of hip fractures in people 85 and older may be attributed to the use of prescription sleeping pills. (2) Sleeping medication use is also associated with increased risk of pneumonia, memory problems, dependence, and withdrawal problems, according to the same Dalhousie University report, published in 2021. (2)

In 2012 and 2018 we had previously seen published reports in medical journals showing that compared to individuals who did not use prescription sleep medications, individuals using these drugs showed a significantly increased risk of cancer, premature death, serious infections (especially upper respiratory tract infections) mood disorders, accidental injuries, suicides. and homicides. (3, 4)

By contrast, the natural agent melatonin, which has been shown to help individuals get to sleep more quickly and provide a deep, restorative sleep, has been shown to have a very high level of safety and is very non-toxic. (1)

References:
1. 2019 Update Melatonin and Neurodegeneration(Frontiers of Endocrinology) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2019.00480/full

2. Dalhousie University – Dal News) https://www.dal.ca/news/2021/01/25/researchers-takes-aim-at-highest-rates-of-sleeping-pill-reliance.html

3. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000850.full?sid=f0956753-511d-4e70-9230-c1e8aa5df0d3)

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890308/

As we age the body produces less and less melatonin. By age 40-50 the decline is very significant and can start to cause problems with insomnia and interrupted sleep. Studies show that melatonin can be very helpful in reversing insomnia and improving sleep quality, but what is the right dose to take?

A good plan is to ingest the lowest dose of melatonin, which is 500 mcg (0.5 mg), 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. If it doesn’t work sufficiently then increase the dose the next night to 1 mg (1,000 mcg) and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, then increase it to 1.5 mg. Keep increasing the dose each night by 500 mcg (0.5 mg) until it helps you sleep but does not cause excessive drowsiness the next morning or generate vivid dreams that wake you in the middle of the night.

If you experience excessive morning drowsiness or a dull headache, or you have vivid dreams that wake you up, the dose you are using is too high. So, for each person, the idea is to start with 500 mcg dose, and slowly increase the dose by 500 mcg per night until you reach the dose that helps you sleep and produces none of the side effects mentioned here.

Reference: How to Optimize Sleep: The Sleep Foundation: Melatonin in Adults https://www.sleepfoundation.org/melatonin/melatonin-dosage-how-much-should-you-take

According to studies reviewed by The Sleep Foundation, melatonin supplementation has been shown to improve / prevent jet lag, which typically occurs when traveling to a new time zone.

To put this into practice follow this advice: Once arriving in a new time zone, wait until near bedtime in the new time zone and take melatonin (0.5 mg – 3 mg dose, depending on what dose normally helps you sleep) 60-90 minutes before going to bed that night. It will help you fall asleep and when you wake up in the morning, melatonin will have reset your body’s circadian clock (sleep- wake cycle) to immediately put you in synch with the new time zone.

Do the same thing for the next few nights and then again once arriving back home in your original time zone. This practice will enable you to be more productive and less sleepy when you travel for business or pleasure and enables you to get back into your normal routine quickly once arriving back home.

Reference:
The Sleep Foundation https://www.sleepfoundation.org/melatonin

According to the European Society of Cardiology, “As much as 90% of the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can be explained by smoking, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, raised blood lipid levels, diabetes, psychosocial factors, or alcohol.

These guidelines focus on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), which affects the arteries. As the inside of the arteries become clogged up by fatty deposits, they can no longer supply enough blood to the body. This process is the main cause of heart attacks, strokes, PAD and sudden death where arteries become completely blocked. The most important way to prevent these conditions is to adopt a healthy lifestyle throughout life, especially not smoking, and to treat risk factors.”
The take-home message is to eat and live healthily, and to know your risk factor values for the following tests:
· Total Blood Cholesterol
· LDL-Cholesterol
· HDL-Cholesterol
· Triglycerides
· Glucose
· Hemoglobin A1c
· Blood Pressure
· Waist Circumference

If you don’t know these values, book a physical exam with your family doctor and request them.

References:
https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/42/34/3227/6358713
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210830095959.htm

A large 2021 study showed that the regular consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, such as berries, apples, tea, wine, and dark chocolate help to lower blood pressure by increasing the diversity of the gut microflora.
Researchers followed 900 adults in Germany, evaluating diet, blood pressure and gut microflora composition. It appears that flavonoids in these foods and beverages are metabolized into constituents, which help maintain more ideal blood pressure and create greater diversity of gut bacteria – which is considered desirable for many health reasons.

In fact, up to 15.2% of the association between flavonoid-rich foods and systolic blood pressure was attributable to the gut microbiome diversity. Eating 1.6 servings of berries per day (1 cup) was associated with an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of 4.1 mmHg, and 12% greater gut microbiome diversity.

Remember that too much wine or alcohol raises blood pressure and increases the risk of at least 7 common cancers, according to the WHO. So, I suggest you obtain most of your flavonoids from fruits and vegetables.

Reference:

Amy Jennings, Manja Koch, Corinna Bang, Andre Franke, Wolfgang Lieb, Aedín Cassidy. Microbial Diversity and Abundance of Parabacteroides Mediate the Associations Between Higher Intake of Flavonoid-Rich Foods and Lower Blood Pressure. Hypertension, 2021; https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.17441

A study published in the journal, Nature Food, (in 2021) evaluated more than 5,800 foods, ranking them by their nutritional disease burden to humans and their impact on the environment.

It found that substituting 10% of daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and select seafood could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third and allow people to gain 48 minutes of healthy minutes per day.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest:
Decreasing foods with the most negative health and environmental impacts including high processed meat, beef, shrimp, followed by pork, lamb and greenhouse-grown vegetables.
Increasing the most nutritionally beneficial foods, including field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and low-environmental impact seafood.
“The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear,” said Olivier Jolliet, U-M professor of environmental health science and senior author of the paper. “Our findings demonstrate that small, targeted substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring dramatic dietary shifts.”

References:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210818135224.htm

Katerina S. Stylianou, Victor L. Fulgoni, Olivier Jolliet. Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human and environmental health. Nature Food, 2021; 2 (8): 616 https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00343-4

I have long suspected, as have many other practitioners, that unhealthy fats in the diet promote inflammation and exacerbate painful conditions involving nerves and joints. A 2021 study in the journal, Nature Metabolism, has confirmed these suspicions.

These researchers were able to confirm that excessive amounts of omega-6 fats found in everything from corn chips to onion rings increase nerve and joint levels of these fats, which the body converts into inflammation and pain-promoting chemicals.
On the other hand, healthy omega-3 fats from fish, flaxseed, and walnuts have the opposite effect, reducing inflammation and chronic pain over time.

To reduce the chances of developing chronic pain and inflammation over your lifetime, or to reduce existing chronic pain problems, part of the strategy should be to reduce the intake of the following foods: beef, pork, processed meats, deli meats, high-fat dairy products, fried foods, battered foods, and pastries, and to increase vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, soy products, fish, flaxseeds ,and flaxseed oils, and to use extra virgin olive oil as the main oil for salad dressings.

Reference:

Jacob T. Boyd, Peter M. LoCoco, Ashley R. Furr, Michelle R. Bendele, Meilinn Tram, Qun Li, Fang-Mei Chang, Madeline E. Colley, Grace M. Samenuk, Dominic A. Arris, Erin E. Locke, Stephan B. H. Bach, Alejandro Tobon, Shivani B. Ruparel, Kenneth M. Hargreaves. Elevated dietary ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce reversible peripheral nerve dysfunction that exacerbates comorbid pain conditions. Nature Metabolism, 2021; 3 (6): 762: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42255-021-00410-x

As so aptly stated by Dr Bruce Bistrian, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “fish are what they eat. In the wild, salmon eat smaller fish that are high in EPA and DHA — the beneficial, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.”

Farm-raised salmon eat high-protein food pellets. While location and environmental changes can affect the diet of a wild salmon, the flesh of a farmed fish reflects the farmer’s choice of pellets. Typically, farmers feed the young salmon pellets made from plant and animal sources, then add the more expensive fish- and fish-oil–enriched pellets later in the fish’s lifespan.

A study that compared wild-caught fish to farmed fish showed that farmed fish tended to have higher levels of omega-3s, but they also contained higher levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats – however, the amount of saturated fat isn’t alarming. For comparison, a serving has about 1.6 grams, which is about half as much in the same amount of flank steak.
So, farmed fish appears to be a respectable option in terms of omega-3 fat content.

Reference:
Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) December 23, 2015
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/finding-omega-3-fats-in-fish-farmed-versus-wild-201512238909

We know that Omega-3 fats are good for our hearts, brain, and joints, but in addition to fish, are there some vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats?
The answer is yes. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in a wide variety of plant foods including walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, edamame, seaweed, and algae. Other green leafy vegetables and beans also contain small amounts. The consumption of flaxseed oil can really bolster omega-3 fat intake on a daily basis.

Plant-based sources of omega-3 fats provide ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which can slowly be converted into EPA and DHA (the omega-3 fats found in fish) by our body. Some people convert ALA into EPA and DHA faster than others, however.

Interestingly, some studies have shown that many vegans have higher omega-3 fat status than people who routinely eat fish 2-3 times per week. These would include vegans who regularly consume the omega-3 fat plant foods mentioned above.

To help ensure more optimal omega-3 fat status, I regularly take two to three capsules per day of a supplement containing a combination of Fish, Flaxseed and Borage Seed Oils, in addition to consuming various food sources of omega-3 fats.

Reference:
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Plant-Based Diets https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/omega-3

The DASH Diet has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure in a number of clinical studies. In September 2021 a ground-breaking study showed that the DASH Diet, along with 30 minutes of Aerobic Exercise, three times per week, also reduced high blood pressure in patients with Resistant Hypertension (patient on 3 or more blood pressure drugs, where their blood pressure still remains elevated – above 130/80).
The incorporation of the DASH Diet and Aerobic Exercise further reduced systolic blood pressure in these individuals by 12 points – a very significant decrease.

The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, with limited salt intake, and aligns with the American Heart Association’s nutrition recommendations. This style of eating, along with aerobic exercise can help to prevent high blood pressure and treat high blood pressure.

References:
James A. Blumenthal, Alan L. Hinderliter, Patrick J. Smith, Stephanie Mabe, Lana L. Watkins, Linda Craighead, Krista Ingle, Crystal Tyson, Pao-Hwa Lin, William E. Kraus, Lawrence Liao, Andrew Sherwood. Effects of Lifestyle Modification on Patients With Resistant Hypertension: Results of the TRIUMPH Randomized Clinical Trial. Circulation, 2021; https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.055329

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210927092147.htm

For many years animal studies have shown that medicinal constituents in artichokes have a cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering effect. These findings were confirmed in humans according to the 2021 review paper, published in the journal, Phytotherapy Research.

This review examined all the human clinical studies conducted using artichoke leaf extract supplementation or artichoke juice consumption in human subjects published in recent years. Compiling the evidence from all 14 available, relevant studies, the researchers published data showing that artichoke intake significantly reduced triglycerides (on average by 17.01 mg/dl), total cholesterol (on average by 17.01 mg/dl) and LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol, on average by 17.48 mg/dl). These are significant degrees of reductions, which translate into lower risk for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

The researchers summarized, “in conclusion, we found that artichoke supplementation may favor cardiovascular disease prevention by acting in improving the lipid profile.”

For individuals with high triglycerides or high cholesterol, the inclusion of more dietary artichokes, artichoke juice and/or artichoke leaf extract supplementation, is likely to help further reduce these risk factors, as one more nutrition and lifestyle strategy to help in this regard.

Reference:
Shahinfar H et al. Effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation or artichoke juice consumption on lipid profile: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Phytotherapy Research (September 27, 2021) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.7247

In this next series of Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, I will highlight the studies that demonstrate how the ingestion of adaptogen herbs can help decrease the negative impact of stress on the body with respect to aging, physical diseases, and mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As an introduction, most people know that chronic stress causes an increased secretion of cortisol, and that sustained high levels of cortisol can weaken the immune system, promote inflammation, damage brain cells, and produce other undesirable effects.
Adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rodiola, and Schisandra, contain constituents shown to mitigate the negative impact of cortisol and stress, in general, on the body and the brain.
The idea that a pill could improve mental and physical performance under stress in healthy people was devised during World War II (WW II). The first studies were published in the Soviet Union during WW II in military journals. Brought into popularity by Russian toxicologist “Nikolay Lazarev”, he showed that adaptogen herbs could increase “the state of non-specific resistance” in stress. This means that regardless of the cause of chronic stress (mental, physical, chemical), adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rodiola, and Schisandra could reduce their negative impact on human health. In upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, I will cite some specific examples where adaptogen herbs have shown impressive results in human clinical studies.

References:
Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress – Protective activity. J Pharmaceuticals 2010 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/


J Pharmaceuticals 2010: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/

In the previous Healthy Lifestyle Booster, I introduced the idea that adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra can help reduce the negative impact of stress on the body and the brain.
In this edition I want to summarize the negative effects chronic stress has on the body and brain if left unchecked. In an excellent 2017 review article by Habib Yaribeygi and fellow researchers, they provide evidence showing the following negative impact of stress:
1. Brain atrophy – shrinking of the brain
2. Decreased memory- with atrophy of the hippocampus, where short-term memory is consolidated into long-term memory
3. Decreased number of brain cells (neurons)
4. Decreased learning ability
5. Mood and cognition changes that can trigger depression in susceptible individuals
6. Clouded judgement
7. Decreased immune function
8. Increased risk of malignancy
9. Negative effects on the cardiovascular system
10. Decreases absorption of nutrients from the gut
11. Intestinal inflammation, with reactivation of bowel inflammatory diseases, irritable bowel disease, and peptic ulcers.

This list brings to light the importance of stress management in our daily lives. There are a number lifestyle factors that can help to mitigate stress, such as moderate exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc., but an often-neglected aspect of toning down the impact of stress on the body and brain is the concomitant use of proven adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra, which we will explore in upcoming Health Lifestyle Boosters.

Reference:
The Impact of Stress on the Body (EXCLI J – 2017): Review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/

The use of adaptogen herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rodiola, and Schisandra to combat stress and its negative health consequences was first undertaken aggressively in the late 1950’s and extended throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. The term adaptogen was introduced in 1958 by the Soviet toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev.

During the 1960s and 1970s, other Soviet scientists extended the research of adaptogens to “rejuvenating and invigorating” medicinal plants traditionally used in China, Korea, Japan, Siberia, and the far east of the USSR for a variety of pathological conditions including diseases and their symptoms such as hypodynamia (decreased strength-power), asthenia (lack of energy), shortness of breath, palpitation, insomnia, hemorrhage, impotence, and diabetes.

As they reported, adaptogen herbs have been used by:

• Soviet cosmonauts during long missions on the MIR station, as well as by sailors aboard ships; on submarines during long Arctic, Antarctic, or tropical expeditions; and by pilots and sportsmen in multiple stressful conditions such as hypoxia, irradiation, cold, and physical and mental overload.

• Elite elderly leaders of the Communist Party of the USSR, which governed the country for many years.

As we will see in upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, adaptogen herbs help to reduce the negative impact of stress on the cellular level, enabling cells to maintain their function amidst high stress hormone levels, and can reduce the levels of cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands. Together, these effects can greatly reduce the impact of stress on the body and the brain, as evidenced by the human clinical trials I will reveal in upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters.

Reference:

Evolution of the Adaptogen concept from Traditional use to Medical Systems: Pharmacology of Stress – and Aging Related Diseases (Medical Research Review – October 2020) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/med.21743

Adaptogen herbs such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra have been shown to mitigate the negative effects of stress deep down at the cellular level, where many diseases first take hold.

For example, chronic stress has been shown to decrease the expression of a protein-like substance in our cells called Hsp70 (Heat-shock Protein 70) and its transcription factor HSF1. A decrease in this protein and transcription factor sends signals to the genes of the cell to prevent repair of accumulating cell damage and indirectly hastens cell death (cell suicide known as apoptosis).

Decreased levels of Hsp70 are also seen in Alzheimer’s disease induced by stress and aging and is associated with more of the hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid plaque.
Decreased Hsp70 also hinders cellular detoxification of dangerous compounds, which may increase cancer risk and allow more toxic compounds to damage cells throughout the body.
How important is Hsp70?

One of the common features that many people share who live to be 100 years old and older, is that they maintain more youthful levels of Hsp70 in their cells.

Amazingly, adaptogen herbs are shown to “turn-on” Hsp70 production (and HSF1) production in our cells, even when we are under stress. This enables cells to repair damage, stay alive and functional, reduce the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque, and maintain more youthful detoxification function – outcomes associated with decreased disease onset and aging.
The 2010 Review article in the journal, Pharmaceuticals, explains in precise detail how adaptogens, such as Rodiola and Schisandra are shown to counter the effects of stress, deep down on the cellular level, preserving function and enhancing longevity.

Reference:
Panossian A et al. Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress-protective activity. J Pharmaceuticals (2010). 3(1): 188-224 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/

As reported in previous Healthy Lifestyle Boosters, Adaptogen Herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Schisandra have been shown to help mitigate the impact of chronic stress on the body and mind. To this end a 2017 report in the Georgia State Honers College Undergraduate Research Journal showed the impressive impact that Ashwagandha can have on individuals suffering from stress and burnout.

In this double-blind placebo-controlled study, the group given Ashwagandha supplementation reported significantly decreased feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, and experienced an increased feeling of well-being after the 60-day ramp up supplementation period. All the study subjects (n=64) had a strong history of chronic stress leading up to the study.

The Ashwagandha group also exhibited lower blood cortisol levels after the 60-day supplementation ramp-up period, compared to their original cortisol levels at the beginning of the study.
The patients given the placebo did not see any benefit by comparison nor did their cortisol levels decline.
The effective dosage of Ashwagandha was 600 mg per day (standardized to 5% withanolides content).

Other studies have shown similar mental health benefits using Ashwagandha, as well as Rhodiola and Schisandra, as we will see in upcoming Healthy Lifestyle Boosters.

Reference:

2017 Review: Georgia State Honors College Undergraduate Research Journal: Human Clinical Studies on Mental Health https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1057&context=discovery

I’ve been highlighting the impressive role of Adaptogen Herbs in helping to combat the negative effects of stress in recent weeks. Here is another good example:

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2000, examined the efficacy of 500 mg of Ashwagandha supplementation in 39 patients diagnosed with ICD-10 anxiety disorder (anxiety of non-specific origin)

At six weeks, more patients in the Ashwagandha treatment group showed a reduction in anxiety scores (88.2%) compared with the placebo group (50%), with results shown to be statistically significant.

In this study, Ashwagandha supplementation was well-tolerated and did not cause more adverse effects than the placebo.


Reference:
Andrade C et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy of an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Ind J Psychiatry. 2000, 42)3): 295-301 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958355/

Published in 2021 in the Journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the CIBEFRES study, which followed 842 individuals (65 years plus) in France for 12 years showed that individuals who consumed certain foods had a significantly lower risk of developing memory decline.
We know that aging, nutrition, and lifestyle interact in various ways that promote or help prevent the development of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, in the majority of cases. These researchers showed that regular consumption of the following foods and food constituents significantly reduced risk of memory loss in these older subjects:
· Cocoa (e.g., dark chocolate, not milk chocolate)
· Coffee
· Mushrooms
· Polyphenolic-rich foods (apple, cocoa, green tea, blueberries, oranges, and pomegranate)
· Red wine – although alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in many other studies.
The use of saccharine sweeteners was associated with an increased risk of memory loss in this study.
As the researchers stated, “Therefore, changes in lifestyle and diet are decisive as a strategy to prevent cognitive deterioration and its progression in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
“A higher intake of fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods provides polyphenols and other bioactive compounds that could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline due to ageing,” says Cristina Andrés-Lacueva.


References:

Raúl González‐Domínguez, Pol Castellano‐Escuder, Francisco Carmona, Sophie Lefèvre‐Arbogast, Dorrain Y. Low, Andrea Du Preez, Silvie R. Ruigrok, Claudine Manach, Mireia Urpi‐Sarda, Aniko Korosi, Paul J. Lucassen, Ludwig Aigner, Mercè Pallàs, Sandrine Thuret, Cécilia Samieri, Alex Sánchez‐Pla, Cristina Andres‐Lacueva. Food and Microbiota Metabolites Associate with Cognitive Decline in Older Subjects: A 12‐Year Prospective Study. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2021; 65 (23): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.202100606

Science Direct (December 9, 2021) A diet rich in plant-based products reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211209124448.htm

A study published in the International Dairy Journal in 2012 showed that regular consumption of yogurt can help to reduce high blood pressure. The study assessed the dietary records of 915 community-dwelling adults from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.
The study showed that for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure. And for those who consumed yogurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yogurt.

How Does Yogurt Help Reduce Blood Pressure?

Dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure. Yogurt also contains friendly gut bacteria (probiotics) that promote the release of proteins which also help to lower blood pressure.

My advice is to consume non-fat or 1% Milk Fat Yogurt to minimize the intake of saturated fats that are found in milk and yogurt that are 2% or higher (as well as butter, cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, ice cream, cream, etc. – all of which are very high in cholesterol-raising saturated fats)

Reference:

Alexandra T. Wade, Benjamin A. Guenther, Fayeza S. Ahmed, Merrill F. Elias. Higher yogurt intake is associated with lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals: Cross-sectional findings from the Maine–Syracuse longitudinal study. International Dairy Journal, 2021: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0958694621001874?via%3Dihub

Drinking several cups of coffee every day may be linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, suggests a pooled data analysis of the available evidence, published in the online journal BMJ Open in 2021.

Coffee consumption has been linked to a lower relative risk of liver, bowel, and breast cancers, but until recently there was no strong evidence for its potential role in prostate cancer risk reduction.
The pooled data showed that compared with the lowest category of coffee (fewer than 2 cups per day, on average) consumption, the highest category (2 -9 cups per day, on average) was associated with a reduction in prostate cancer risk of 9%. And each additional daily cup was associated with a reduction in risk of 1%.
How Might Coffee Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk?
Coffee improves glucose metabolism, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and affects sex hormone levels, all of which may influence the initiation, development, and progression of prostate cancer, the researchers pointed out.
I suggest that you have it black, without any milk, cream, sugar or artificial sweeteners (not to mention whipped cream and alcohol), unless you are adding 1% of non-fat milk.
More research is required to confirm these results, but the pooled data included 16 highly regarded studies

Reference:
Xiaonan Chen, Yiqiao Zhao, Zijia Tao. Coffee consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 2021: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/2/e038902

An eye-opening study published in 218 in the journal Clinical Nutrition showed that patients suffering from fatty liver problems not due to alcohol consumption (NASH or Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis) saw a significant improvement in their condition after ingesting 250 mg per day of genistein from soy products, after just eight weeks.
Genistein is an isoflavone found in soy products, which has been shown to have many health benefits.

This study showed that genistein (attainable from eating soy products) significantly improved liver function in this group of pre-diabetic individuals.
After 8 weeks the study clearly showed that the patients ingesting the genistein supplement had improved blood sugar regulation, lower triglyceride levels, as well as lower markers of inflammation (TNF-alpha, IL-6) and less oxidative stress or free radical production (serum malondialdehyde – MDA). They also had a reduction in their waist-to-hip ratio circumference and a decrease in their overall percentage body fat. These are impressive outcomes from simply ingesting 250 mg of genistein each day for only 2 months.

About one-third of the world’s population is projected to have fatty liver problems to some degree. Consuming more soy products appears to be one more way to support liver function and help reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver problems and has particular importance it appears for diabetics and pre-diabetics, who are especially prone to fatty liver degeneration.

Reference:

Amant S, Effekharri MH et al. Genistein supplementation improves insulin resistance and inflammatory state in non-alcoholic fatty liver patients: A Randomized, controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition. 2018. 37;4:1210-1215. https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(17)30202-9/fulltext

It is estimated that 40-60 million people in the United States suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies, which occurs when the immune system overreacts to airborne allergens. It is most commonly triggered by grass, tree, and weed pollens, as well as mold spores. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, mouth, or skin, nose congestion, and fatigue.

Some promising research has shown that probiotic supplements may help to improve many cases of hay fever, as highlighted by the study that enrolled 173 seasonal allergy adult sufferers and randomly split them into two groups. Half of the participants ingested a combination probiotic supplement (containing both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria), twice daily for eight weeks, while the other group ingested a placebo.

The results showed that the probiotic supplement helped to alleviate hay fever symptoms and improved quality of life during allergy season. Subjects with mild seasonal allergies reported the greatest benefits from the combination probiotic.

Reference:
Dennis-Wall JC et al. Probiotics ( Lactobacillus Gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium Bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium Longum MM-2) Improve Rhinoconjunctivitis-Specific Quality of Life in Individuals With Seasonal Allergies: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial. Am J Clin Nutr 105 (3): 758-767 Feb 22, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/28228426/

An important study published in April 2009, showed that topical application of a vitamin B12 cream can be very effective in the treatment of childhood and adult eczema. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, R. Januchowski reported results of a study using topical vitamin B12 to treat eczema in individuals between 6 months old and 18 years old. This was the first study to test topical vitamin B12 in infants, children, and young adults.

The study by R. Januchowski showed that topical vitamin B12 treatment produced significant improvement in eczema lesions compared to the group given the placebo treatment, when patients were followed-up after 2 weeks and 4 weeks post-treatment.

Topical vitamin B(12) is thought to decrease the symptoms involved in eczema through reducing nitric oxide production. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) affects 5%-20% of children in the United States and about 3% of adults

Reference:
Januchaowski R. Evaluation of topical vitamin B12 for the treatment of eczema. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(4): 387-389 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19368512/

As a complementary treatment for eczema some small preliminary studies have shown that supplementation with Vitamin D, Vitamin E and the topical application of a Vitamin B12 cream (compounded by a pharmacist) can reduce the severity of this condition some eczema patients. A review of all available studies on this subject was published in 2019 by Z Zhu and fellow researchers.

After analyzing all available studies, the researchers concluded that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that supplementation with the following vitamins may be helpful in some cases of eczema:
Vitamin D3 – 2,000 IU per day
Vitamin E – 400 -600 IU per day
Topical Application of Vitamin B12 cream, as compounded by a pharmacist.

The researchers admit that more studies are required to determine the extent to which these vitamins can be helpful in eczema cases, but they stated, “we still consider this study useful to verify the positive effects of vitamin supplements to relieve the severity of patients’ symptoms.”

Reference:
Z Zhu et al. Assessment of effectiveness of vitamin supplement in treating eczema: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine. 2019; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2019/6956034/

Many studies over the years have shown that Black cohosh can be helpful in taming menopausal symptoms. A study published in 2018 helped to confirm these findings. 80 postmenopausal women suffering from hot flashes were divided into two groups, one ingested evening primrose oil daily and the other group ingested a supplement with Black cohosh daily for eight weeks.

The result showed that Black cohosh outperformed evening primrose oil, by significantly reducing the number of hot flashes in these women.
To be effective Black cohosh should be standardized to 2.5 triterpene glycoside content, and patients typically take 80 mg capsules, twice daily. Many experts feel that it is best to combine Black cohosh with soy extract and gamma-oryzanol in a combination supplement as a means to provide more pronounced relief of various menopausal symptoms.

Reference:
Mehrpooya M et al. A comparative study on the effect of black cohosh and evening primrose oil on menopausal hot flashes. Educ Health Promot. 2018; 7(36). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29619387/