Thursday, July 29, 2010
May 31, 2009
By Marion Nestle
Article from SFGate.com
Editor's note: Nutrition and public policy expert Marion Nestle answers readers' questions in this column written exclusively for The Chronicle.
Q: I'm a chef at a high school, and I've noticed a sharp increase in the number of students who claim to have gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Is this something on the increase or just another example of the latest obsession in our increasingly obsessed culture?
A: You are not alone in asking this question.
A few years ago, I was a judge for the James Beard Foundation cookbook awards. At least half the books in the health category were about gluten-free diets. An Amazon title search for "gluten free" yields more than 4,000 hits. Among the top 10 are such books as "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies" and "Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic." Gluten free, says the trade magazine Food Technology, is a hot new trend.
Glutens are the proteins in wheat flour that make yeast breads so elastic and delicious. Similar proteins occur in related grains such as barley or rye. These grains contain many proteins, among them gluten, to which people might have typical allergic reactions: skin rashes, runny noses or, rarely, anaphylactic shock.
But gluten intolerance is not a food allergy. It is an autoimmune disorder. For reasons of genetics, some people cannot fully digest glutens. The undigested protein fragments induce a toxic immune response.
This response causes a bewildering variety of symptoms, among them digestive disorders, nausea, skin rashes, anemia, chronic fatigue, neurological problems, headaches and depression.
Many people have such symptoms. But gluten-intolerant people may have two others.
In most, the lining of the small intestine flattens out in places and loses the ability to digest and absorb nutrients. Some develop a blistery skin condition.
The non-specificity of most symptoms makes gluten intolerance difficult to diagnose. People who have them may or may not really be gluten intolerant. Once doctors confirm gluten intolerance with laboratory tests, they call it celiac disease.
These tests are not trivial, and their results are not always consistent. They include blood tests to identify certain antibodies, and an intestinal biopsy to identify flattening. Then, on a gluten-free diet, the antibodies and flattening should disappear.
With diagnosis so difficult, it is not easy to estimate trends. Surveys suggest that 1 out of every 133 people in the general population is glucose intolerant. If so, in a school of 1,330 students, you might expect about 10 to require gluten-free diets.
If you are seeing an increase, it could be because parents whose kids have such symptoms may be experimenting with gluten-free diets. If their kids behave, learn and feel better on such diets, parents may conclude that their kids are gluten intolerant without bothering with invasive and expensive lab tests. But a more likely explanation for the increase is the recent improvement in diagnostic ability. Doctors are more aware of the problem and are testing for it.
One thing is clear: People unable to completely digest gluten should not eat it, ever, for the rest of their lives.
Even the slightest trace of gluten can set off symptoms for weeks. But avoiding gluten is an enormous challenge and especially so for children. Gluten-free diets are not only socially inconvenient; they require fierce vigilance.
Wheat and its by-products could be in anything. Gluten-intolerant kids must avoid bread, pasta, couscous, bran, crackers, and foods made with flour. They also must avoid foods with obscure gluten-based thickeners and additives like hydrolyzed proteins, seitan, natural flavorings, soy and hoisin sauces, and beta-glucan.
Since 2004, the most important food allergens, wheat among them, must be listed on food package labels, but those minor ingredients can easily slip through the cracks in labeling rules.
What is a school chef to do? Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, schools are supposed to make reasonable accommodations for kids on gluten-free diets. Curious to get a sense of what "reasonable" might entail, I consulted my school food guru, Chef Bobo (a.k.a. Robert Surles) at the Calhoun School in Manhattan. He tells me that gluten intolerance is rare at his 500-student school, affecting just one child and one teacher.
"We simply make alternative food for those two," he says. How? He substitutes lettuce-leaf wraps for sandwiches, rice noodles for pasta, and corn tortillas for pizza, leaves the soy sauce off the Asian dishes, and makes sure never to let anything with wheat cross-contaminate those dishes.
Desserts, he admits, are a problem. He has yet to find a satisfactory recipe for a gluten-free cookie and is still looking. But he typically makes plenty of gluten-free foods anyway. The dessert that day was sweet plantains with coconut milk.
Monday, July 26, 2010
(NaturalNews) People who are in the direct vicinity of the Gulf Coast should be taking Calcium Bentonite Clay internally.
Perry A~, author of Living Clay, Nature's Own Miracle Cure, was recently interviewed on the topic and suggested the following protocol: Take 1 ounce of liquid clay and add it to a bottle of water. Sip on it constantly through the day, with at least 3 bottles of clay water daily. Also take 3 clay baths per week with 1 cup of Calcium Bentonite Clay added to the bath water.
Calcium Bentonite Clay can also be added to your pets' food to keep them detoxed and parasite free.
Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of hydrated clay with their food.
Clay baths are great for pets as well, and will help remove any pesticides or chemicals they are exposed to when outdoors.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Rule #1: What to eat:
- Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, beans, seeds, healthy fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and avocados).
- Whole foods: ingredient list of ONE item.
Rule #2: What to drink:
Sunday, July 11, 2010
By: Al Sears, MD
Dear Health-Conscious Reader,
The United Kingdom (UK) had this big idea to create a new kind of potato.
It would be resistant to all insects. It would grow so well, it would feed all of Europe. The plans were to genetically modify the DNA of the potato so it would release a lectin. A lectin is a natural insecticide found in foods like beans, seeds, and grains. Turns out, the potato caused serious organ damage when it was fed to animals. They found pre-cancerous growths in their digestive tracts. It destroyed their immune systems. They soon became sick and weak and they had smaller brains, livers, and testicles.
Then there was a huge cover-up. It took an act of Parliament to bring it out into the open. Since then, Europeans have banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from any product used for human consumption.
If this potato had been created in the U.S., you could be eating it in the French fries you get at McDonald's. Unlike the UK, our government has taken the stance that GMOs are safe.
Mega-giant seed corporations like Monsanto want to prevent any bad news about GMOs getting out to the public. They require anyone who buys genetically modified seeds to sign what they call a "technology stewardship agreement." What does that mean?
It prohibits the buyer from doing any research on the seed. In other words, no one who has access to these "Franken-foods" is allowed to find out if they're safe.
But evidence of the dangers is leaking out from Europe, Russia, and many other countries around the world.
Here are just some of their findings: (3,4,5,6,7,8,9)·
When GMO soy was introduced, allergies jumped by 50%. Allergen proteins were 7 times higher. Some were unique only to GMO soy.
It wreaked havoc on digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Digestive enzymes plummeted, and GMOs caused lesions in the digestive tract.
Proteins that control stress response and energy creation in cells changed.
This resulted in faster aging of cells.
It caused reproductive problems.
Sperm cells had trouble developing, and embryos showed altered genes. Offspring were smaller, and many more died.
Now, here's the second part of our problem in the U.S.: Food manufacturers don't have to tell you when products have GMOs.
About 75 percent of American farms grow GMOs.
Almost 90% of the soy... more than 60% of the corn... 75% of the canola, and 50% of the Hawaiian papaya crops.
So, what can you do?
First, I recommend you avoid all non-organic soy, corn, and canola products.
Next, eliminate commercial beef and poultry from your diet. They are raised on GMO corn, soy, and grains.
If you eat out, eat at restaurants that cook from scratch. Avoid suspect GMO foods like corn chips, tortillas, soy sauce, and sweet corn. If they use oil to cook, ask them to use a non-GMO oil such as olive, sunflower, or safflower. To Your Good Health,Al Sears, MD
1. Ewen SW, Pusztai A. "Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthusnivalis lectin on rat small intestine." Lancet. 1999;354(9187):1353-1354.2. Waltz, E. "Under Wraps" NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY. 2009 Oct; 27(10).3. Smith, J. "Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods." Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007 .4. Interview: Jeffery Smith. www.seedsofdeception.com/documentfiles/138/pdf. Accessed 04 2010.5. Malatesta M. et al. "Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic acinar cells from mice fed on genetically modified soybean." J Anat. 2002;201(5):409-415.6. Tudisco, R. et al. "Genetically modified soya bean in rabbit feeding: detection of DNA fragments and evaluation of metabolic effects by enzymatic analysis." Animal Science. 2006;82:193-199.7. Vecchio, L. et al. "Ultrastructural analysis of testes from mice fed on genetically modified soybean." European Journal of Histochemistry. 2004;48(4):449-454. 8. "Genetically modified soy affects posterity: results of Russian scientists' studies." REGNUM. 2005; www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html 9. Ermakova I. "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies." Ecosinform 1. 2996;4-9.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Mark Hyman MD
Despite the common observation that obesity runs in families, genetic research shows that the habits you inherit from your family are more important than the genes you inherit.
Obesity genes account for only five percent of all weight problems. Then, we have to wonder, what causes the other 95 percent of weight problems?
We are seeing an epidemic of obesity in America today. It is the single most important public health issue facing us. If genes do not account for obesity, perhaps it is our high-fat diet that is to blame.
That has been the common belief in our society since nutritional low fat guidelines were pushed upon us in the 1970's. It seems logical that eating fat makes you fat. Fat contains nine calories per gram, so it would seem that eating more fat (and more calories) would make you gain weight. But that's not what the science reveals.
Pioneering research by Harvard Medical School's David Ludwig reveals the reason that low-fat diets do not work -- and identifies the true cause of obesity for most Americans. Dr. Ludwig's research explains the real reasons 70 percent of Americans are overweight. In the 1980's not one state had an obesity rate over 20 percent. In 2010, ONLY one state has an obesity rate UNDER 20 percent. This is not a genetic problem.
What the Research Tells Us about Dietary Fat
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (i) Dr. Ludwig correctly points out that careful review of all the studies on dietary fat and body fat -- such as those done by Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health -- have shown that dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat.
Let me repeat that.
Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat.
The Women's Health Initiative, which is the largest clinical trial of diet and body weight, found that 50,000 women on low-fat diets had no significant weight loss. Yet another study looked at people who followed four different diets for 12 months -- and found no dramatic differences between those who followed low-fat, low-carb and very- low-carb diets.
The question then is, why aren't we seeing any significant effects or differences from these various diets? The main reason, Dr. Ludwig suggests, is that we are looking for answers in the wrong place.
The future of treating obesity and weight is in personalizing our approach. This is the approach I wrote about in my book UltraMetabolism. It's called nutrigenomics. It is the science of how we can use food to influence our genes and personalize our approach to health, and it is the science my practice is based on. Let me share how I diagnose and treat obesity.
A Better Way to Diagnose and Treat Obesity
Over the last 15 years, I have tested almost every one of my patients using a test that most doctors never use. In fact, it is even harder to find in the research, except in this pioneering work by Dr. Ludwig.
This test is cheap, easy to do and it is probably the most important test for determining your overall health, the causes for obesity, and your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and premature aging. Yet it is a test your healthcare provider probably does not perform, does not know how to interpret and often thinks is useless.
Thankfully, Dr. Ludwig's research brings this critical method of diagnosing the cause of obesity and disease to the forefront. You see, in two recent studies, he found that the main factor that determines changes in body weight and waist circumference (also known as belly fat) is how your body responds to any type of sugar, carbohydrate or glucose load.
The most important test to determine this doesn't measure your blood sugar or cholesterol. It tests your insulin level. You have to check it after drinking a sugary beverage that contains 75 grams of glucose. This test has shown me more about my patients than any other test. It helps me personalize and customize a nutritional approach for them.
And its usefulness is now being borne out in this research by Dr. Ludwig and his colleagues. In one study, for example, Dr. Ludwig and his colleagues followed 276 people for six years.(ii) They performed a glucose tolerance test at the beginning of the study and looked at insulin concentrations 30 minutes after the people consumed a sugary drink. This gave the researchers a rough estimate of whether they were high or low insulin secretors.
During the course of the study, they looked at the people's body weight and waist circumference or belly fat. They found that those who were the highest insulin secretors had the biggest change in weight and belly fat compared to the low insulin secretors. And people who were high insulin secretors and ate low-fat diets did even worse.
This makes perfect sense -- because insulin does two things:
1. It stimulates hunger.2. It is a fat storage hormone, which makes you store belly fat.
After you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, your insulin spikes and your blood sugar plummets -- making you very hungry. That is why you crave more carbs, more sugar and eat more the whole day.
Dr. Ludwig also found that the patients who ate a low glycemic load diet -- which lowers blood sugar and keeps insulin levels low -- had much higher levels of HDL "good" cholesterol and much lower levels of triglycerides. It appears that the best way to address your cholesterol is not necessarily to eat a low-fat diet, but to eat a low glycemic load diet, which keeps your blood sugar even.
I highly recommend reviewing Dr. Ludwig's research on PubMed, the National Library of Medicine's database, to learn more about his exciting and pioneering work. I also encourage you to read his book, Ending the Food Fight. It is the first and only roadmap for dealing with our exploding childhood obesity epidemic.
Finally, I encourage you to ask your physician to do a glucose tolerance test and measure your insulin and blood sugar at 30 minutes, one hour, and two hours to get the best picture of your insulin profile.If you are a high insulin secretor and your insulin goes over 30 at a half hour, one hour, or two hours, you produce too much insulin and need to be sure you are staying on a low glycemic load, whole-foods, unprocessed diet, which I describe in UltraMetabolism. This is essential if you want to lose weight and achieve lifelong vibrant health.
The bottom line is simple this ...
If you want to fit into your jeans, you have to fit into your genes.
Now I'd like to hear from you...
What seems to trigger weight gain for you?
How have different diets worked for you?
Have you ever had you insulin and blood sugar tested?
Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, M.D.
(i) Ebbeling C.B., Leidig M.M., Feldman H.A., Lovesky M.M., and D.S. Ludwig. (2007). Effects of a low-glycemic load vs low-fat diet in obese young adults: A randomized trial. JAMA. 297(19):2092-102
(ii) Chaput J.P., Tremblay A., Rimm E.B., Bouchard C., and D.S. Ludwig. (2008). A novel interaction between dietary composition and insulin secretion: Effects on weight gain in the Quebec Family Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87(2):303-9
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(*this news item will not be available after 09/29/2010)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
By Frederik Joelving
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -
Do you need a reason to cut down on sweetened beverages?
Their fructose content might increase your blood pressure, doctors said Thursday.
Although not all studies agree, the findings add to a growing body of evidence that too much of the ubiquitous sugar -- found in fruits as well as high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar -- can have important health consequences. (See Reuters Health story of May 24, 2010.)
High blood pressure, for example, increases the risk of strokes, heart disease and kidney failure.
Close to one in three Americans suffer from elevated blood pressure, a rate that has tripled in the past century, the researchers say in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
While the reasons aren't clear, diet and lifestyle changes are the main suspects.
To test the link between blood pressure and fructose, they used nationally representative survey data from more than 4,500 adults. The survey included questions about all sources of fructose, whereas most earlier studies had focused on soft drinks.
On average, they found, people said they consumed 74 grams of fructose per day -- roughly the amount in four soft drinks. Even though none of them had experienced blood pressure problems, about a third turned out to have borderline high blood pressure and eight percent had hypertension (readings of at least 140/90 mmHg, compared with normal values of 120/80 or less).
The more fructose their diet included, the more likely they were to have high blood pressure.
Of course, that could have been influenced by a variety of factors, such as obesity and disease, or getting too much of other sugars, salt or alcohol.
But even when adjusting for all these factors, the odds of having high blood pressure increased in those whose fructose intake was above average. For the most severe form -- stage 2 hypertension -- the odds were 77 percent higher.
Given the new findings, people might want to think twice about what they throw into their shopping carts, said Dr. Michel Chonchol of the University of Colorado Denver, who worked on the study.
"In the grocery store, you see food without high-fructose corn syrup," he said, adding that it would make sense to reduce fructose intake by choosing those products and avoiding the ones containing added sugars.
"There is no question that fructose itself appears to have effects that other sugars don't have," said Chonchol. The exact mechanisms are unclear, although several have been proposed, he added.
"What we need now are clinical trials, where you take people with hypertension and place them on a diet with low fructose and see if that lowers their blood pressure," said Rachel K. Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, who was not involved in the research.
Until then, she said the message is clear:
Getting fructose from eating fruits appears to be less of a problem, she said, perhaps because they also contain many healthful substances like antioxidants and fiber.
Fruit has just 4 to 10 grams of fructose per serving, while a can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of high-fructose corn syrup, about half of which is fructose (the rest is glucose).
Last year, Johnson helped prepare a statement about sugar and heart disease from the American Heart Association, which included dietary recommendations.
"For most American women," she advises, "no more than six teaspoons or 100 calories a day of added sugars, and no more than nine teaspoons for men."
That is less than one can of Coca-Cola.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, online July 1, 2010.
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
Monday, July 5, 2010
thoughtful post from Libra Fitness, Chris Heidel:
I have been thin, OK, skinny, all of my life.
Other than wanting to go out to eat to celebrate or the random craving now and then, I don’t have “issues” with food. If anything, I don’t think about food, and I have been known to regularly let my blood sugar get too low because I forget to eat.
As a personal trainer, I feel confident in my abilities to help people learn to make exercise a part of their daily routine.
I am proud to know that I can help people feel stronger and more confident, but when it comes to dealing with people’s eating habits, sometimes I feel stuck.
Sure, I can suggest a food journal or ways to cut hidden calories. I can recommend that people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed food, but at the end of the day I think, “Is that really getting to the root of the problem?”
So, when I heard about the book Obese From the Heart: A Fat Psychiatrist Discloses by Dr. Sara L. Stein, M.D., my interest was piqued. Hmmm . . . this seemed like I book I should read. So I did, in about two days.
What I loved about this book was its brutal honesty.
Dr. Stein is a psychiatrist who works with bariatric (obese) patients, but she’s obese, too. How does that work? Why would someone want to get help with their weight problem from someone who obviously hasn’t quite figured it out themselves?
I know why now: because she understands. She knows the struggle, the self-doubt, the fear, and everything else associated with food addiction. She gets it like no skinny person can.
The most humbling thing I realized in reading this book was that we are all really the same.
We all turn to one tool (or vice) or another to soothe our anxiety or to try to get ourselves out of a funk or even a deep depression.
- We drink, we smoke, we do drugs, we exercise, we read, we watch TV, we stay up too late on the computer refreshing Facebook hoping that another friend is up late, or we eat.
- The underlying problems are the same.
It’s just that the tools that we use to cope are different. Many of us are able to conquer our addictions, but the paradox of food, what makes food addiction so hard to manage, is that the over-eater can’t just give food up like cigarettes or alcohol or Facebook. They have to eat.
So, the obese person must learn to deal with their food cravings while continuing to require calories to survive. What a nightmare. Stein lays it out in no uncertain terms: “So begins the brutal cycle of trying to control your addiction while still using.”
Sure, there are other factors that contribute to obesity: genetics, thyroid problems, culture, and chemical food additives in fast and processed foods designed to make foods taste irresistible. However, except for the rare few, there are deeper issues bubbling below the surface:
- suppressed emotions,
Not only can a person become addicted to the substance that helps them deal with these problems, but they can get addicted to the problem itself. For example, a person can get addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with productivity. Then, in response to their body’s signals to slow down, they may turn to food, alcohol, etc. to help them relax, creating another addiction.
I clearly realized for the first time in reading this book that addictions come in layers and the repercussions, in turn, are complicated as well. In order to deal with any of it, you must treat the whole person and not just throw solutions at one part of the problem or the other.
Dr. Stein doesn’t suggest that improved diet and exercise or bariatric surgery won’t help the obese person to lose weight, but she very clearly warns that failure is almost guaranteed if these approaches are seen as magic bullets.
I don’t have all the answers. Dr. Stein doesn’t either. I do know that my approach to helping my clients continue to make changes that improve their health will shift gears a little bit. Exercise is a good start. It helps the person feel like they are doing SOMETHING to deal with their problem, but they need more. A food journal or counting calories or boxing up half your lunch might work for those who are overweight simply because they are not paying attention, and I have those clients; but for the clients who struggle daily with what they eat, I need a different approach. Without playing dietitian or therapist, I will suggest. I will prod. I will offer ideas for small, realistic changes in eating like substituting fruit for processed sugar. I will encourage my clients to take time for themselves to relax and recharge. I will suggest that they get sunlight. I will recommend prayer, affirmation, meditation, gratitude. I will help my clients recognize negative thought patterns. I will honor my clients in the bodies they are in. I will encourage my clients to seek joy in everyday things.
When necessary, I will refer my clients to others who can help them better than I to deal with the underlying issues. I do a lot of this already. It’s in my nature. It is part of my mission. Now, I feel assured that it is the only way.
Maybe this is all just wishful thinking. Maybe the skinny trainer still doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Maybe. Dr. Stein calls obesity “the last unanswered prejudice.
It is acceptable in society to ignore, demean, degrade, to be openly hostile toward, and to generally overlook obese individuals.” We allow ourselves to do this because we sometimes forget to see the obese as “individuals” at all. This is why looking at the whole person in trying to help makes so much more sense to me than a stupid food journal and calorie counting.
Thanks Dr. Stein for your insight and thanks to my clients who challenge me everyday to see a reflection of myself in them.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
A natural approach to osteoporosis and bone health
by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD
For more than 25 years I’ve worked with men and women to strengthen their bones, even when it looked for some as though osteoporosis was a life sentence.
It may seem easy to simply pop a pill and forget about it, but prescription medication is rarely easy on your body.
Besides that, the long-term negative effects of osteoporosis medications are looking more problematic every day. On the other hand, each of following suggestion can only help you, and the more you make this program a part of your everyday life, the better for your bones — and your whole body.
I understand that some people may need medication for serious bone disorders. So even if you make the decision to take medication for your bones, please try to incorporate these suggestions along with your prescription.
Look closely at your risk.
Have an honest discussion with your healthcare provider about what your risks truly are for fracturing. The World Health Organization has now developed a tool (FRAX) for calculating your risk. It takes into account your age, gender, weight, previous fracture history, family history, and other risk factors to come up with a number that is more accurate than simply looking at a bone density scan.
Check out our comprehensive Fracture Risk & Bone Health Profile tool to get a better sense of your 10-year fracture risk.
Nourish your body with basic nutrients.
We are living in a time when demineralized soils, overly processed food, low physical activity, and little sun exposure are the norm. We would all increase our life and longevity by providing our bodies with the basic nutrients for our cells to function optimally. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to avoid processed foods, white flours, and refined sugars. You might also consider a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any gaps.
Provide your body with specific bone-building nutrients.
For those who have a higher risk for bone loss, a quality multivitamin may not be enough. There are many key bone-building nutrients with which we can supplement for improved bone health, not the least of which are vitamin D and vitamin K. Appropriate-dose vitamin D, in particular, has been shown to reduce fractures as much or even more than the drug therapies. You might consider a quality bone-building supplement, like the one we offer in the Women to Women Personal Program for Better Bones. See our article on the 20 key nutrients for more information on specific vitamins and minerals that aid in bone growth.
Eat an alkaline-forming diet.
Acid-forming diets are one of the most significant problems in our culture when it comes to osteoporosis. The modern American diet is filled with acid-forming foods, such as large amounts of animal protein, processed foods, low-quality fats, refined sugars and poor-quality salts. This kind of diet can upset the biochemistry of our bodies and leads to a low-grade metabolic acidosis. When this happens, the first place the body turns to re-establish balance is the bones. Bone provides many alkalinizing or “base” minerals to offset the acid load. This is good in the short-term, but detrimental to bone in the long run. By including more fruits, vegetables (especially root crops), nuts, and seeds in your diet you can significantly alkalize your diet.
Generate stronger bone with exercise.
Our bones respond to the demands we place on them. Any form of exercise can help halt bone loss through building muscle, and extensive strength training can build bone significantly as it builds muscle. Take more walks, enroll in a yoga class, or meet with a personal trainer at your local gym. There are loads of ways to include more exercise in your life. Remember that our bodies were meant to move and as we build muscle we build bone!
Prevent falls to live long.
People may live for many decades with osteoporosis and never know it if they don’t fracture. One natural alternative to drug therapy is simply avoiding fracture by taking steps to prevent falls or diminishing their impact. You can enhance your balance markedly by practicing yoga, t’ai chi, or qi gong. Remove your throw rugs to avoid tripping, or possibly wear hip protection. There are virtually no side effects to these simple measures, and they have helped many avoid the complications associated with fracturing a bone.
Minimize your stress.
Chronic stress takes a huge toll on our health. Not just the day-to-day stress of modern life, but issues from the past can also manifest themselves in new places in our lives. Cortisol, our major stress hormone, can be extremely detrimental to bone and other organs in the body if it remains at high levels ‘round-the-clock — more common than most realize! Be good to yourself, and seek help if you need it or simply give yourself more breaks — whether it’s a monthly massage or simply reading alone on the couch for an hour, do whatever you can to lower your cortisol.
You have choices about bone health
There is a lot of fear and anxiety around an osteoporosis or osteopenia diagnosis. Our instinct is to try and “fix” the problem immediately, and for many, this means taking a prescription bone drug. Know that your body is capable of building and strengthening bone on its own when given the needed support and time to do so.
In the end, the choice is yours.
Just remember that you have options when it comes to improving the health of your bones. The prescriptions advertised on television may sound and look enticing, but the benefits are often exaggerated. There is a better way to healthy bones — and we’re here to help you find it.
by Susan Brown, PhD
Nearly every day I see women and physicians themselves getting very worried when a woman's bone density tests show even a small 1-2% decline. Women are often told their fracture risk has greatly increased and that they should immediately begin osteoporosis drug therapy. For many women, the growing "osteoporosis fear" is fueled by small reductions in bone density. But what do these small changes really mean, and just how accurate are the DEXA bone density tests anyway?
Thanks to the excellent work of the University of Washington osteoporosis specialist, Dr. Susan Ott, we now know that the common bone density test is rather imprecise and large changes in density are needed to assure that bone loss is indeed occurring, much less significant in nature. A thoughtful scientist, Dr. Ott had 300 patients get two bone density measurements: one when they came into the room, and the second after walking around the room for a while. With this simple experiment she showed that repeat measurements on the same day may show as much as 7% difference in bone mineral density. Breaking down the data she found that while a 4-6% change in bone mineral density indicates a "probably change" it takes more than a 6% change to fully guarantee a statistically significant change in bone density.
The Better Bones perspective on bone density testing: Bone density testing can be useful, especially when spaced over many years, but small changes are not significant and certainly not a basis for beginning bone drug therapy.
Dr. Susan Ott's website: http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/opBMDp.html
On holidays we're apt to give ourselves a vacation from common sense when it comes to food.
But why make a holiday an occasion for back-sliding?
Without controlling inflammation, there isn't much hope of achieving optimal health.
Before confronting temptations tomorrow, it might be helpful to get a good dose of reality by reading my article on Inflammation reprinted below!
Unfortunately, most Americans suffer from chronic inflammation, caused by a variety of factors that seriously undermine health and age us prematurely.
What causes inflammation?
How does our diet cause inflammation?
In addition, sugar and white flour cause inflammation and disease by forming AGEs.
AGEs are produced when a protein reacts with sugar, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. As the body tries to protect you by breaking these AGEs apart, immune cells secrete large amounts of inflammatory chemicals.
- heart disease,
- memory loss,
- wrinkled skin or
- diabetes complications, to name a few.
The fats and oils in the American diet are inflammatory because they contain excessive omega-6 fatty acids.
In addition to diet, infections also contribute to inflammation. It is important to keep your immunity strong and to minimize the number of infections you suffer.
Physical injuries also create inflammation.
Allergies and food sensitivities also create inflammatory responses. Chronic allergic reactions create chronic inflammation. This is why allergic reactions must be minimized by strengthening the immune system and avoiding allergens.
These dangerous drugs disrupt gut tissue, causing leakage of undigested food molecules into the blood, thereby promoting food allergies.
Yet another promoter of chronic, systemic inflammation is fat cells.
Environmental toxins are also inflammatory.
Chronic stress produces hormones that result in chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a common element in virtually all disease.
- consume a diet high in a variety of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
- Get rid of those excess pounds.
- Take high quality anti-inflammatory supplements.
- omega-3 fatty acids,
- vitamins A, B complex (including folic acid, B6 and B12), C, D, and E,
- plus beta-carotene,
- N-acetylcysteine, and
- alpha-lipoic acid.
Raymond Francis is an MIT-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant,
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