Archives for March 2018

Worried About Your Memory: Part 5

We are continuing with our discussion of memory loss and the multiple causes that are behind the gradual decline of our cognitive function. Last blog on memory (Part 4), I went over the difference between reading lab results looking for pathology or looking for areas of dysfunction, or what we called black vs. grey vs. white areas of function. Here are the primary, must have, assessments that you should know: BMI: optimal is less than 25: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm Wait to Hip ratio: where our fat is located is a powerful indicator of health, inflammation and other important risk factors. Measure your waist at or slightly above your belly button and your hips at their widest part. This is considered to be more accurate than BMI: Waist to Hip Ratio Chart Male Health Risk Based Solely on WHR 0.95 or below Low Risk ... Read more

Leaky Gut = Leaky Brain

As we continue on discussing leaky gut, it becomes clear that as the gut goes, so goes the brain. Lots of things can influence gut health, and thus brain health. Our brain is the seat of all of our joy, happiness, memories, abilities, of our spiritual understanding, our love and compassion and who we are as we go through life...it makes sense to take care of it...yet no one talks about to take care of it. It turns out that what we eat can affect our gut and brain function, so it makes sense to eat a very clean, pure, high quality food plan. Please read the following information closely: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00009/full The authors state: “Consumption of a Western Diet (WD) that is high in saturated fat and added sugars negatively impacts cognitive function, particularly mnemonic (memory) processes that rely on the integrity of the hippocampus. ... Read more

Worried About Your Memory: Part 4

We ended the last blog on memory discussing lab testing, and how we look at it using two models in order to understand your body's functional health status. The current disease based model is of course, extremely useful, and we use it to rule out serious health problems that require you to visit your primary care medical physician or another medical specialist. This model sets upper and lower "normal" amounts on lab tests. We can use a fasting blood sugar (glucose) test as a good way to illustrate this. Fasting glucose tells us how your body is managing your blood sugar in relation to what you are eating and other issues, such as stress hormones, vitamin and mineral status, family history, etc. The lab normal for fasting blood sugar (glucose) is a range between 66-99 mg/dL. When your lab level is below 66, it indicates that your blood sugar is dropping too low (hypoglycemia). When it ... Read more

Leaky Gut and Gluten: There Go The Buns!

Any discussion of leaky gut will eventually have to focus on the tight junctions (TJ) that exist between the intestinal cells. When the TJ’s come apart, we have leaky gut, and that means that we are absorbing things we should not and this causes an inflammatory immune response. Simply put, leaky gut = inflammation, and as you know, inflammation causes, aggravates and/or perpetuates virtually all human illness. So, what regulates those tight junctions and what causes them to come apart? It turns out that a protein called Zonulin regulates our TJ’s, and here is a great summary: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123927 The author’s state: “Beside digesting nutrients and absorbing solutes and electrolytes, the intestinal epithelium with its barrier function is in charge of a tightly controlled antigen trafficking from the intestinal lumen to the submucosa. This trafficking ... Read more

Worried About Your Memory: Part 3

If there is one thing for certain, it is that for most of us, memory issues have multiple causes. In the previous blog on memory, I mentioned at least a dozen causes for memory loss...and what you should know about that list is that it is usually a combination of those factors that lead to brain deterioration. That means we need to assess everyone thoroughly and here is how we do it. History: This is where you get to tell your story related to your brain health. Have you had any concussions or head trauma; what are you eating; what is your weight; are you exercising; what is your history of anesthesia; what is your medication history; what is your infectious history; what is your stress history; do you crave sweets or salts; what are your hormones doing; how is your sleep; any sleep apnea?; what is your heart and vascular health; what is your blood pressure; how long do you sit every ... Read more

Fermented Foods: A Daily Strategy to Help Heal A Leaky Gut?

As we continue our journey into "leaky gut," here is a great introduction to the subject: https://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7 In this study, "the regulation of intestinal permeability by diet and bacteria is depicted." Because... "Data are accumulating that emphasize the important role of the intestinal barrier and intestinal permeability for health and disease." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5216880/ The authors show that the probiotic content of our internal environment (mostly the gut) has beneficial health building effects that are necessary. We can get these probiotics from fermented foods. The author's state: "A wealth of literature has focused on the beneficial physiological effects of fermented foods on enternal nutrient absorption and on digestive tract health. More recently, there has been a ... Read more

Worried About Your Memory: Part 2

This blog's topic is about when you should worry about your memory loss, when it is serious and you need to pay attention and seek an evaluation. It is probably SERIOUS if: 1. Making decisions/choices quickly: Making decisions and/or choices is a cognitive task that requires a good brain. If you are used to being quick to make decisions, and now it is becoming difficult or takes a longer time to choose from several options (clothes, foods, etc.), and you notice others becoming impatient with you, others "smooth things over" for you, pay attention and get tested. Often difficulty in managing money, which requires a detail oriented judgement sequential process, is an early sign of things going south. When others assist you through normal daily situations, you may be oblivious of mistakes and they are reluctant to say anything. If you notice this, you should confront it ... Read more

Sugar and Your Brain

In this blog, I am going to cover some of the science that shows that sugar is truly bad for the brain. You don’t feel the damage while you are eating it, never the less, the damage is real and adds up over time until you are in real trouble. The science is really extremely clear on this: sugar destroys our health and especially our brain in a multitude of ways. Check out these links, read the summaries to save time, and learn how to save your ... Read more

Leaky Gut and Alcohol: A Major Cause of Inflammation

Leaky gut is what happens when the lining of our internal membranes allows larger than normal molecules/particles to enter our blood stream. This causes an immune based inflammatory response, and as you know, we do not need any extra inflammation anywhere. http://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpgi.1999.276.4.g965 This paper is from 1999, and they were curious about how alcohol at lower levels (such as one or two glasses of wine at any time) might affect us: "The effects of lower non-cytotoxic doses of ethanol on epithelial barrier function are unknown." So why ask this question in the first place? Because, as the authors state: "A major function of gastrointestinal epithelial cells is to provide a barrier against the hostile substances in the gastrointestinal lumen." What did they find? "The results of this study indicate that ethanol at low non-cytotoxic doses ... Read more

Worried About Your Memory: Part 1

This blog post begins a series focusing on memory. We will go over when not to worry and when to be worried, but most importantly, how to prevent memory issues. We prevent issues by knowing what your current brain health is (baseline assessments), what key lab numbers you need to know and optimize, what your risk factors are and how to reduce them, and other health strategies to help you keep your memory and brain health at it's peak. This first part will be about when to NOT worry. Fear of losing mental capacity strikes twice as much fear into us as compared to losing physical abilities with at least 60% of adults saying that they are very worried about memory loss. With the incredible rise of Alzheimer's disease now becoming the third leading cause of death as of 2014, we all need to be vigilant in prevention. ... Read more