Monday, August 29, 2011
What's fascinating about sweet potatoes is their ability to actually improve blood sugar regulation—even in persons with type 2 diabetes.
Sweet Potatoes Improve Blood Sugar Regulation
by George Mateljan, author The World's Healthiest Foods
Blood Sugar BenefitsMany people think about starchy root vegetables as a food group that could not possibly be helpful for controlling their blood sugar. That's because many people realize that food starches can be converted by our digestive tract into simple sugars. If foods are especially concentrated in starch, there can often be a risk of too much simple sugar release in our digestive tract and too much pressure upon our bloodstream to uptake more sugar. (The result in this situation would be an overly quick elevation of our blood sugar level.) What's fascinating about sweet potatoes is their ability to actually improve blood sugar regulation—even in persons with type 2 diabetes.
While sweet potatoes do contain a valuable amount of dietary fiber (just over 3 grams per medium sweet potato) and if boiled or steamed can carry a very reasonable glycemic index (GI) rating of approximately 50, it may not be either of these factors that explains their unusual blood sugar regulating benefits.
Recent research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism. Persons with poorly-regulated insulin metabolism and insulin insensitivity tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, and persons with healthier insulin metabolism tend to have higher levels.
Read the rest HERE
Friday, August 26, 2011
The following article is from Yahoo Health
By Lisa Collier Cool
Aug 23, 2011
Nearly five times as many Americans have celiac disease today than in the 1950s, a recent study of 9,133 young adults at Warren Air Force Base found. Another recent report found that the rates of celiac disease have doubled every 15 years since 1974. The debilitating digestive disease is now estimated to afflict about 1 in 100 Americans. Why is exposure to gluten--a protein in found in barley, wheat, rye, and possibly oats, as well as other everyday products, including some brands of lipstick, vitamins and lip balms—making more people sick than ever before?
To find out more about celiac disease and the health effects of gluten-free diets, I talked to Christina Tennyson, MD of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York City.
What is celiac disease? A debilitating digestive disorder, celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten. When people with the disease eat foods that contain gluten, a damaging reaction occurs in the lining of the small intestines, blocking its ability to absorb certain nutrients. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition, even if the person is eating a seemingly healthy diet.
What are the symptoms? One reason why this autoimmune disease often goes undiagnosed for as long as 10 years is that symptoms can vary from person to person. Among the more common warning signs of celiac disease are abdominal pain, bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation, lactose intolerance, nausea and fatigue.
How serious is it? Because celiac disease robs the body of vital nutrients, people who have it are at increased risk for anemia and osteoporosis. People who have celiac disease and don’t eat a gluten-free diet also face a higher threat of bowel cancer and intestinal lymphoma. The Air Force Base study found that during 45 years of follow-up, those with undiagnosed celiac disease were four times more likely to die.
What causes it? Although the cause isn’t fully understood, two genes are known to play a role, says Dr. Tennyson.
Why are rates rising? One theory is that today’s grain-based foods contain more gluten than they did in the past. Another is that kids are exposed to gluten at an earlier age, contributing to increased risk. A frequently proposed explanation is the “hygiene hypothesis,” the theory that we are too clean for our own good, resulting in weaker immune systems because we’re not exposed to as many diseases.
Does a gluten-free diet help people lose weight? Many gluten-free foods are actually higher in calories than their gluten-containing counterparts and therefore lead to weight gain, reports Dr. Tennyson. “One of the pitfalls is that these foods are often highly processed and high in fat. Some ingredients that are used are low in fiber, such as white rice flour, tapioca and corn starch, causing constipation.” To avoid these problems, people with celiac disease should work with a nutritionist, she advises.Does a gluten-free diet have any health benefits if you don’t have celiac disease? Possibly. In a randomized study in which neither the researchers nor the participants knew if the foods they were eating contained gluten or not, 68 percent of people who thought that a gluten-free diet improved their GI symptoms reported worsening of their symptoms when they were fed gluten-containing foods without their knowledge. However, the study only looked at 34 patients. Use of gluten-free diets for other conditions, such as autism, is highly controversial.
How trustworthy is gluten-free labeling? While products as diverse as lipstick brands to chocolate and many types of groceries carry gluten-free labeling, right now, there are no legal standards that have to be met in the US. In 27 other countries, food labeled as gluten-free food can’t have more than 20 parts of gluten per million. Nearly three years after the FDA’s deadline for a rule to define “gluten-free,” the agency is finally getting serious about tackling the dangerous risks people with celiac disease can face due to misleading labeling.
What’s the treatment? Although there’s no cure, symptoms can be effectively controlled through dietary changes to avoid all foods with gluten. However, if you think you might have celiac disease, don’t start a gluten-free diet until you’ve been tested for the condition, since eliminating gluten can cause misleading test results, cautions Dr. Tennyson. Because the disease can also spark vitamin and mineral deficiencies, patients may also need supplements. For people with severe small intestine inflammation, doctors sometimes prescribe steroids.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline (since 1987) has lobbied actively for the immediate re-call and re-testing of Aspartame sweeteners (NutraSweet, Equal, Neotame) as actual prescription drugs masquerading as benign sweetening agents. For more information, please go to Stoddard's POV : marystod.blogspot.com. Or www.aspartamesafety.com
Info found on Aspartamesafety.com:
- Neuroscientist, Dr. John Olney is the world expert on the neurological effects of aspartic and glutamic acids. His research shows that aspartic acid [one of the breakdown products of aspartame] caused holes in the brains of lab animals.
- Dr. Olney and ACSN co-founder,James Turner, Esq. were the original ‘whistleblowers’ on the toxicity of aspartame. He was featured at a Washington press conference to announce his findings of a ten percent increase in the rate of brain tumors since the advent of aspartame.
- By searching carefully the ingredient label.
- Be sure, in the case of medications, to look at both the active and inactive ingredients. It’s the law in the U.S. – Aspartame should be listed as an ingredient if the product contains it. However, there are times when a label will only state: contains phenylalanine.
- This is one indication that the product does contain the sweetener.
- Be aware that products that contain MSG [monosodium glutamate] also bear a relationship to aspartic acid in aspartame, also known as NutraSweet or Equal. Both are excitotoxins, which means they artificially stimulate the taste buds and neurotransmitters in the brain – causing cellular damage and destruction.
The first pilot I met who had lost his medical certification to fly was USAF Major Michael Collings. I met him after hearing him testify at the third Senate Hearing on the safety of Aspartame. I spent time with him again when London’s Thames TV flew us into Washington D.C. to tape a special documentary they were doing on the issue. Over coffee one day I asked him to relate more details of his case. I already knew how he traced the problems of tremors and seizures suffered from 1983 to 1985 directly to his patterns of NutraSweet consumption.
When his duties took him to remote places where there was no diet soda or diet Kool Aid, he was free of the tremors, and whenever he resumed intake of artificially sweetened beverages, his tremors resumed, growing more severe, and culminating in a grand mal seizure that put him in the hospital and ended his career as a pilot.
Collings’ tremors and seizures ended on October 6, 1985, the day he quit ingesting NutraSweet.
Michael told me how he had not once but twice turned down the invitation to become a member of the prestigious Thunderbirds. They could not understand his decision, but he related to me that at the time, he could not fly ‘wing tip to wing tip’ with anyone.
They will never know the real reason Major Collings rejected their offer unless they read it here. Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
- Why are 67% of Americans overweight?
- Why is diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, PCOS, infertility, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, auto-immune disease, fatigue, mood disorders, headaches, pain, and digestive distress spreading like wildfire?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
the following article is from womensinternational.com
DHEA: Surviving and Thriving
The hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) was the subject of a Women's Health Connection newsletter almost ten years ago. Since then, the hormone has continued to be the focus of much study, and many new functions have been attributed to the already versatile molecule.
In this issue we provide a thorough update of what's been discovered about DHEA in the past decade, as well as introduce an important relative of DHEA: 7-keto-DHEA.
DHEA is the most abundant hormone made by the adrenal glands, and its production greatly exceeds all other steroid hormones. We know that DHEA is produced by our body in the early morning hours and then declines fairly rapidly during the day as it is quickly cleared by the kidneys. Small amounts of DHEA are also secreted by the ovaries and the testes. In fact, DHEA is a precursor to the
production of testosterone and the estrogen hormones.
Even before birth, DHEA is secreted in large amounts by the human fetus. During childhood, at about ages 6-7 years old (andrenarche), substantial production of DHEA by the adrenals first begins, and then peaks at about age 20.
On average, between the ages of 25 and 70 years, DHEA production declines, and this decline is known to be the steepest of all the hormones in the endocrine system. The decline of DHEA levels is linear with increased age, leading some to regard these levels as a biomarker for aging.
DHEA: A "Superstar" Hormone
DHEA has many important roles in our general health, which is why Dr. William Regelson refers to DHEA as a "superstar" hormone in his book The Super Hormone Promise. The many benefits of DHEA include:
| || |
During a woman's pregnancy, estriol levels rise, and this has been found to be directly related to an increased amount of DHEA from the fetus, which is a precursor to this estrogen production. Therefore, clinicians may monitor estriol levels during the course of pregnancy to verify the status and continual growth and wellbeing of the fetus.
In general, the adrenal androgens (these are hormones that include DHEA and its derivatives) are of primary importance for testosterone status in women. In normal menstruating women, about 40 percent of their testosterone arises from the ovaries, while the remaining 60 percent comes from conversion of DHEA produced in the adrenal glands. DHEA is also estimated to contribute 70 percent of estrogens before menopause and nearly 100 percent after menopause.
In men, on the other hand, where testosterone is the most important androgen, approximately 95 percent of their testosterone is produced in the testes; the other five percent is supplied by conversion of adrenal DHEA to testosterone.
When DHEA is metabolized, a sulfur group is added to the molecule and it is designated DHEA-S for "DHEA sulfate." Over 90 percent of circulating DHEA is present in the sulfate form. DHEA-S is cleared from the body more slowly than DHEA so blood levels of the hormone are fairly stable throughout the day. Because of the greater quantities of DHEA-S in the blood and the molecule's relative stability, it is frequently recommended that the DHEA-S form be tested in the blood.
However, this practice is not agreed upon by all clinicians and scientists studying DHEA. Dr. Norman Shealy cautions that there may not be a direct correlation between DHEA and DHEA-S; rather, there may be a question of adequate conversion to active DHEA from DHEA-S when it is needed. For these reasons, in his book DHEA: The Youth and Health Hormone, Dr. Shealy advises direct measurement of DHEA, which he believes is the most effective and fully active form of the hormone.
It is now well established that chronic stress leads to an outpouring of cortisol, and with that, a gradual depletion of DHEA. Over time, this hormonal imbalance can lead to hardening of the arteries, thinning bones, increasing waistline girth, and impaired functioning of the immune system.
High cortisol levels also lead to an increase in blood sugar. In response, more insulin needs to be secreted from the pancreas to clear the sugar from the blood and shepherd it into the cells. In chronic situations, alternating high and low blood sugar levels ensues, and eventually the body becomes less sensitive to insulin.
This phenomenon is now commonly known as Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X. Several detrimental effects of this syndrome include weight gain and obesity, increases in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and a rise in blood pressure. Adult onset diabetes also can result.
Chronic high levels of cortisol can also impair the immune response. The inability to fight infections leads to a higher susceptibility to colds and flu.
In the case of cancer, high cortisol levels interfere with the body's capacity to fight the cancer, and an increased likelihood of metastases may occur. Dramatic results have been obtained in animal studies when scientists have used DHEA against skin, lung, colon, breast, prostate, and lymphatic cancers.
The link between cortisol production and DHEA is an important one because, with long periods of chronically high cortisol levels, the ability to produce DHEA diminishes. For example, there is a link between a diminished circulating concentration of DHEA and the progression of immunosuppression and muscle loss in persons with AIDS. These patients also exhibit high cortisol levels.
Yet, one of the most significant effects of restoring DHEA seems to be the restoration of the normal balance between DHEA and cortisol. As DHEA levels increase, the propensity to overproduce cortisol is dampened—along with the spiral of symptoms induced by high cortisol. In many of the health issues described in the following sections, you'll note an important connection between DHEA and cortisol.
In humans, blood levels of DHEA are known to decline with age.
Not surprisingly, low DHEA is associated with the development of various problems typical of aging, including decreased immune function, increased infections and incidence of certain cancers, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and osteoporosis. Such observations have led to studies investigating whether DHEA can be used to achieve healthier aging or even to prolong life.
In their book Stopping the Clock, co-authors Dr. Ronald Klatz and Dr. Robert Goldman write, "It would seem logical that restoring DHEA levels would help to restore a biological condition of youth."
A Relative of DHEA: 7-keto-DHEA
Another form of DHEA that is produced when the hormone is metabolized is 7-keto-DHEA. This metabolite has emerged as a hormone with interesting possibilities for clinical practice. It was first identified in the 1950s by Dr. Henry Lardy at the University of Wisconsin, but only in the past two decades has it received much attention.
Dr. Lardy found that DHEA increases the activity of two thermogenic (heat producing) enzymes produced by the liver. He was then able to evaluate other DHEA derivatives and found that 7-keto-DHEA was approximately 2.5 times stronger than DHEA in this respect. Because 7-keto-DHEA, unlike DHEA itself, is not a precursor to estrogens and testosterone, there may be situations in which 7-keto-DHEA would be the preferred form of DHEA supplementation.
In the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Dr. Sarah Sageman and Dr. Richard Brown describe the successful improvement in five patients with post-traumatic stress syndrome after receiving 7-keto-DHEA. Patients reported more energy, better socializing, better sleep, relief from anxiety, and improvements in memory and concentration. These patients had not improved with any other treatments.
Another interesting application of 7-keto-DHEA is its cosmetic use for treating UV radiation skin damage, controlling wrinkles, and increasing skin tone and firmness. Patented in 2003, cosmetic treatments with the hormone are presently under investigation. This use of 7-keto-DHEA is ideal since it does not alter the levels of sex hormones.
Another function of DHEA relates to metabolism. The hormone has been shown to speed up our body's metabolism, so that the body uses and burns up more energy from food than is diverted and stored as fat. Some scientists believe that DHEA inhibits the production of fatty acids—a key step in the process of fat deposition. Other studies have demonstrated that DHEA also has the effect of suppressing appetite. Correcting the imbalance between cortisol and DHEA may resolve food cravings that often result when blood sugar drops.
Glucocorticoids are a family of hormones that include cortisol from the adrenal cortex and various synthetic derivatives of cortisol. These substances are generally used for their anti-inflammatory activity.
Patients with Addison's disease (characterized by dysfunctional adrenal glands) are usually treated with long-term prednisone (a synthetic form of cortisol). Other diseases with an autoimmune component, such as lupus and arthritis, are also often treated with prednisone.
When tested, patients suffering from any of these diseases are highly likely to have low levels of DHEA. In a study of patients with Addison's disease, treatment with DHEA along with prednisone improved the patients' self esteem and wellbeing, and lessened their fatigue. In lupus patients who received 200 mg doses of DHEA, the results showed that patients not only felt better but had significantly less autoimmune activity. These same patients were also able to lower their doses of prednisone.
The effects of DHEA on female infertility have also been examined. In one study in which women received 80 mg per day of DHEA, the hormone helped some women ovulate and become pregnant. The study investigators hypothesized that DHEA worked to restore fertility because of its ability to metabolize into the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.
Because testosterone is the major circulating androgen in men (as described previously), the impact of DHEA on the male libido may not be very important. In women, however, DHEA is a major source of both estrogens and testosterone and might be expected to have a bigger influence on libido. Studies designed to examine the link between DHEA and libido in women are ongoing; to date, several have been equivocal about this relationship.
Given the link between DHEA and sex hormones, the role that DHEA plays in menopause and its many symptoms has been examined. In one study of twenty post-menopausal women who took 25 mg DHEA daily for twelve months, the results were significant. These women showed progressive increases in their levels of testosterone, estradiol, estrone, progesterone, and growth hormone with corresponding improvements in symptoms. DHEA also may significantly improve mood and emotional symptoms. In a column published in 2004, Dr. Alan Gaby suggests that DHEA may be an effective treatment for the undesirable symptoms associated with menopause.
Deterioration and thinning of our bones is the hallmark of osteoporosis. A major cause of bone thinning may be the unrelenting levels of high cortisol induced by stress— perhaps because it depletes DHEA. By restoring balance between cortisol and DHEA, this detrimental effect on bones may be forestalled. Additionally, as a precursor to both testosterone and estrogens, DHEA can help supply the hormones needed to both stimulate new bone cell formation and break down old bone. Studies show that bone mineral density may be directly related to DHEA levels.
Because declining DHEA levels seem to correlate with an increased incidence of heart disease, scientists are interested in determining how DHEA might be cardioprotective. For instance, DHEA supplementation seems to decrease the rate of platelet aggregation (formation of blood clots), which could lead to fewer cases of stroke.
Heart disease is also linked in part to increased inflammation, which involves numerous molecules called cytokines. DHEA lowers two of the cytokines that stimulate the inflammatory process, sometimes even to the point of attacking healthy tissue. It also appears that DHEA has an antioxidant effect and protects both HDL and LDL cholesterol, thereby protecting the arteries.
As we age, our skin thins and is more inclined to wrinkle and crease. The aging process is also characterized by the production of enzymes, in our skin, that break down collagen. Collagen is critical for the normal support of the skin's structure, and it appears that DHEA helps maintain collagen levels. Supplementation of DHEA greatly increases color, tone, thickness, and hydration of the skin.
Another downside of aging is the increased incidence of dry eye syndrome, a condition that causes irritated, red, and itchy eyes. The syndrome seems to be more prevalent in women, especially once they start perimenopause.
One antidote for dry eyes is the use of over-the-counter or prescription eye drops designed to lubricate eyes. However, these artificial tears often fail to provide relief because they lack some of the natural lipids produced by specialized sebaceous glands in the eye. Because DHEA has been shown to stimulate sebaceous glands, an eye drop containing DHEA was developed and used to treat women suffering from dry eye syndrome. These women reported less eye irritation and the improved production of natural tears.
In his book, DHEA: The Youth and Health Hormone, Dr. Norman Shealy remarks, "We have never seen a depressed patient with optimal levels of DHEA. And no one we've seen with optimal levels of DHEA is depressed."
A study in England demonstrated that the lower the levels of DHEA in a group of depressed patients, the more severe the depression. The patients with low DHEA levels also exhibited high cortisol levels.
It is well accepted that cognitive function—which includes memory, reaction time, and learning ability— may progressively decline as we age. Such a decline is linked to high cortisol levels, which damage neural cells in the brain.
DHEA shows great promise as it appears to protect the brain from the damage induced by high cortisol levels.
Given the information presented in this newsletter, we may want to start paying more attention to our DHEA levels because they relate to so many aspects of our overall health.
For starters, reducing stress in our lives can improve DHEA levels naturally. Drinking a cup of coffee each morning may boost DHEA levels because of a link between caffeine and DHEA.
On the other hand, taking oral contraceptives lowers DHEA levels; so alternative forms of birth control may be a consideration.
Finally, as with other bioidentical hormone therapies, DHEA levels can be improved by supplementation. However, it is important to check with a healthcare practitioner for evaluation and guidance for adequate dosing before trying any DHEA supplementation.
This amazing hormone has proven to be highly versatile and intimately involved with our ability to thrive and survive. With ongoing research, and medical practitioners continuing to use and monitor DHEA in their patient practices, we will continue to learn more about the role of DHEA and its potential effects on many aspects of our general health.
- Health Promotion and Aging: The role of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), Ed. Ronald R. Watson, PhD, Harwood Academic Publishers; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 1999.
- DHEA: The Youth and Health Hormone, C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, Keats Publishing, Inc.; New Canaan, CT; 1999.
- Stopping the Clock, Dr. Ronald Klatz and Dr. Robert Goldman, Keats Publishing, Inc.; New Canaan, CT; 1996.
- The Superhormone Promise, William Regelson, MD and Carol Colman, Pocket Books (a division of Simon and Schuster); New York, NY; 1996.
- Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis, Alan R. Gaby, MD, Prima Publishing; Roseville, CA; 1994.
- "DHEA: Anti-Aging Hormone," Ivy Greenwell, Life Extension Magazine, August 2001.
- "3-Acetyl-7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone for Healing Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Women: Five Case Reports," Dr. Sarah Sagemen and Dr. Richard Brown, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; March 2006.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Beating arthritis and IBS with REAL food
About 10 years ago Patty started noticing that she was having aches and pains.
Her doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and gave her a prescription for Nabumetone, an anti-inflammatory drug.
The pain was somewhat controlled with medication.
Fast forward seven years.
Patty began to have digestive symptoms and blood in the stool.
She was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and given another medication, Asacol.
Instead of improving, her symptoms worsened over the next three years.
Patty was eating the standard American diet and just diagnosed with IBS, yet her doctor gave her little direction regarding diet. She continued to eat whatever she wanted including pasta, bread, and fried food.
Patty began reading about the elimination diet on the Get Better Wellness website.
She had always been a bit skeptical of "dietary cures" but she gave it some thought. It was intriguing to think that in a few weeks she might uncover food sensitivities that were contributing to her condition. The more she read about eating whole food instead of processed food the more the plan made sense.
Before Patty started the elimination diet she started adding quality foods into her diet like organic produce, olive oil, herbs and spices, meat, fish, poultry and eggs. She then began following the elimination diet plan, eliminating foods that were likely causing inflammation and reactions.
Within two weeks Patty reported that she was following the plan 100% and was feeling much better.
She had also lost 6 pounds. Three months later Patty is completely off all medication. "I hardly ever feel arthritis pain nor do I have any more IBS symptoms. Thank you so much for introducing me to this amazing new way of eating. I have lost 12 pounds and feel great!"
I believe that there are many natural approaches to these diseases and other chronic conditions. Often the answer is going to come from eliminating inflammatory foods and adding more healing foods! All drugs have side effects. Even over-the-counter meds like aspirin have side effects.
When I checked Nabumetone, the arthritis drug Patty was on for 10 years, it was not surprising to learn that the side effects of this drug included constipation, diarrhea, gas and nausea and that she eventually had digestive problems.
Would you like to see if hidden food sensitivities are contributing to your health concerns?
What can REAL food do for you?