Exercise and Brain Health: How Much Is Enough?

Hello everyone: Here is some great news about exercise and brain volume. Please recall that any loss of brain volume is NOT a good thing, as it is associated with brain fog, progressing to cognitive impairment progressing to dementia. So some smart folks decided to figure it out for us: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2730790?guestAccessKey=dbc8a200-1cef-4c35-baef-1f985d6db75c&utm_source=silverchair&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=article_alert-jamanetwork&utm_content=weekly_highlights&utm_term=050419 Importance: Dementia risk may be attenuated by physical activity (PA); however, the specific activity levels optimal for dementia prevention are unclear. Moreover, most older adults are unable to meet the nationally recommended PA guidelines, set at 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA per week. Conclusions and Relevance: Every additional hour of ... Read more

Preventing Brain Atrophy In Alzheimer’s: It can be done!!

Hello everyone: This is a pretty astounding paper that reveals how certain B vitamins slowed brain shrinkage and cognitive decline, plus they went even further with great results: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/110/23/9523.full.pdf “Is it possible to prevent atrophy of key brain regions related to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? One approach is to modify nongenetic risk factors, for instance by lowering elevated plasma homocysteine using B vitamins. In an initial, randomized controlled study on elderly subjects with increased dementia risk (mild cognitive impairment according to 2004 Petersen criteria), we showed that high-dose B-vitamin treatment (folic acid 0.8 mg, vitamin B6 20 mg, vitamin B12 0.5 mg) slowed shrinkage of the whole brain volume over 2 y.” If that was not enough, look what else they did!! “Here, we go further by demonstrating that ... Read more

Food IS Medicine

Hello again everyone: What I tell patients every day is that food choices have everything to do with health, and they either get it but do not know what food choices to make or they just don’t fully believe it. Well…believe it! There is just too much good science now to doubt it. Here is what the opening paragraph from a Harvard monograph has to say: “For critically and chronically ill people, food is medicine. With adequate amounts of nutritious food, people who are sick have a better response to medication, maintain and gain strength, and have improved chances of recovery. Ultimately, access to healthy food leads to improved health outcomes and lower health care costs…Food is increasingly recognized as a core component of preventive and ameliorative health care.” https://www.chlpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/6.5.2014-Food-is-Medicine-Report-FINAL.pdf There are now ... Read more

Sleepy After You Eat? Could Be Insulin Resistance

Hello again: It is estimated that 2/3 of Americans have some level of insulin resistance, and 90% of those with the condition do not know they have it. When we repetitively over-eat and/or eat the wrong kind of foods that supply too large of a carbohydrate load, we are demanding our bodies to make insulin. Insulin is needed to pull blood sugar out of the blood and into the tissue. When we over-consume foods that turn into sugar, we can over-tax the insulin system which can lead to either insulin resistance (too much insulin) or partial to complete burn-out of our insulin producing cells (not enough insulin any more). This cycle of events leads to increased abdominal fat, sugar and/or carb cravings, hormonal changes (low testosterone and increased estrogen), inflammation, water retention, memory loss, brain shrinkage and more. An important point is that insulin resistance that is left ... Read more

Food in Health and Disease: Know Your Risks

Hello again everyone: As you know, chronic disease is the major cause of suffering in our country, and worldwide as well. However, knowing what the science shows us has not changed dietary patterns. This is incredibly unfortunate as it turns out that what we eat is now known to DEFINITELY be associated with the onset, aggravation and perpetuation of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular health (heart attacks, stents, stroke), diabetes, dementia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc., etc. Check out this recent article where they research the fact that “suboptimal diet is an important preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCD’s)”. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30041-8/fulltext#seccestitle10 "This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world," said study author ... Read more

Processed Foods and Anti-Nutritional Results: Say What?

Hello again: Here is an important concept that is easy to grasp, but no one talks about it, and that is that processed foods actually have ‘anti-nutritional’ values. The concept is this: Processed foods contain anti-nutrients, which are things like chemicals and foods stripped of nutrients and nutritionally associated compounds (such as phytonutrients, bioflavonoids, polyphenols etc. that are essential to our natural and optimal biochemistry). In order for our bodily systems to metabolize these foods and artificial compounds and chemicals, we require the nutrients that should have come with the foods in the first place, as well as extra nutrients to get rid of the toxic chemicals. Without those nutrients, we actually have to rob our own store of nutrients, so we are in essence creating nutritional deficits…that is…nutrient insufficiencies and/or deficiencies. Thus, eating poorly ... Read more

Food and Brain Health: Keep Sharp With Healthy Eating

Hello again everyone: As you know, I have repeatedly focused on inflammation and how it ruins our health. Here is a link that is worth reviewing so that you can see that this idea is totally backed by science, and while it is not a standard part of medical care…it should be!! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/ “The importance of chronic low-grade inflammation in the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions is now clear. An unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be involved from the early stages of disease development.” Bottom Line: This is a great paper, and I want to focus on just a few concepts that they delineate. They basically cover cardiometabolic diseases, gut and systemic inflammatory contributions, and neurological/brain inflammation, the contribution of dietary fats and carbohydrates and plant biochemicals to inflammation, and ... Read more

Food As Medicine: An Old Idea Whose Time Has Come (Again!)

Hello everyone: Here is a link to a recent article that is really worth reading, as it does cover a good perspective and context on why food is actually the best medicine. This includes both for prevention and treatment. http://time.com/longform/food-best-medicine/ The article states: “The idea of food as medicine is not only an idea whose time has come,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “It’s an idea that’s absolutely essential to our health care system.” Bottom Line: It is so totally worthwhile to learn how to shop for clean, whole, natural, organic foods and then to invest the time in learning to prepare nourishing and health building meals and snacks. It won’t take long before you are whipping up super healthy and delicious meals. Food is literally the largest ... Read more

What Does TV Do To Our Cognition?

Hello All: Saving our brain is a major focus of my practice, so I was really intrigued by this study that focused on what happens to our cognitive abilities when we watch TV. Most earlier studies focus on the younger age groups, but this study involved older folks. Here is what they found: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-39354-4 “Watching television for more than 3.5 hours per day is associated with a dose-response decline in verbal memory over the following six years, independent of confounding variables. …… Overall our results provide preliminary data to suggest that television viewing for more than 3.5 hours per day is related to cognitive decline.” Bottom Line: There are several things we can do to combat this decline. · Reduce your total time and choose to read, or go for a walk, or learn a musical instrument or play music…find something else to do ... Read more

Restore Your Life With Food: Part Two…How to Avoid Death by Food

Hello Again Everyone: As a follow-up to last week’s blog, here are some action steps for you to figure out your optimal food plan for life: When we request a person to stop processed foods, sugar, and other less than healthy food choices, we usually request that they do so for at least 4 months. By that time, the inflammatory reactions have had a decent chance to calm down to the point that when they re-introduce their old food patterns that they may like to eat again, it will be apparent if that food either supports their health or NOT. My experience is that the vast majority of people who make the effort to eat clean, and then re-introduce their old food patterns, almost immediately notice negative changes to how they feel…and they usually say that they will never go back to the former foods. Thus, by following through on this food challenge, you end up creating or finding your ... Read more