Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guess What? Nuts Won't Make You Gain Weight!

Steve: Believe it or not, after all the incredible data published about nuts, we still have to allay fears from clients they contribute to weight gain.


US children are more allergic

The JAMA Pediatrics study evaluated the prevalence of allergic disease, including asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies in 91,642 children aged 0 to 17 years enrolled in the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children's Health. 

Children born outside the United States had significantly lower odds of any atopic disorders than those born in the United States, including ever-asthma, current-asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies. Children born outside the United States who lived in the United States for longer than 10 years when compared with those who resided for only 0 to 2 years had significantly higher odds of developing any allergic disorders.

Bonnie: We should not be surprised. The US diet is monocultural and processed. The past few generations have passed along unhealthier genes. Exercise has dropped precipitously. The environment is producing an ever-growing pollen load. Our obsession with being germ-free has left our immune systems hypersensitive.

Most seek out their pharmacist or allergist for quick-fix meds that come with horrible side effects. The tougher road is to work from the inside out with dietary and lifestyle changes. In addition, sublingual immunotherapy has emerged and will become a much easier therapy to adhere to because you don't have to visit the allergists office on a weekly basis.

What do have to say now Monsanto?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Exercise beneficial for Alzheimer's prevention

Few rigorous clinical trials have investigated the effectiveness of exercise on the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). A JAMA Internal Medicine study investigated the effects of intense and long-term exercise on the physical functioning and mobility of home-dwelling patients with AD and to explore its effects on the use and costs of health and social services.

One group was given group-based exercise (GE; 4-hour sessions with approximately 1-hour training) and another group tailored home-based exercise (HE; 1-hour training), both twice a week for 1 year. The control group (CG) received the usual community care.

All groups deteriorated in functioning during the year after randomization, but deterioration was significantly faster in the CG than in the HE or GE group. The HE and GE groups had significantly fewer falls than the CG during the follow-up year. The total costs of health and social services for the HE patient-caregiver were $25 112, $22 066 in the GE group, and $34 121 in the CG.

Intensive and long-term exercise programs had beneficial effects on the physical functioning of patients with AD without increasing the total costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects.

Steve: Hmm. With all the money being funneled into Alzheimer's organizations, where is the money allocated to public service announcements encouraging exercise? Oh right. Most of that is going to pharmaceuticals that have so far been utter failures.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

JAMA fully behind epigenetics' affect on the brain

The April issue of JAMA Neurology 4/2013 dedicated a whole special edition to epigenetics and the brain. Here is a smattering of what they discussed.
The burgeoning field of epigenetics is making a significant impact on our understanding of brain evolution, development, and function. In fact, it is now clear that epigenetic mechanisms promote seminal neurobiological processes, ranging from neural stem cell maintenance and differentiation to learning and memory. 

At the molecular level, epigenetic mechanisms regulate the structure and activity of the genome in response to intracellular and environmental cues, including the deployment of cell type–specific gene networks and those underlying synaptic plasticity. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of epigenetic factors can, in turn, induce remarkable changes in neural cell identity and cognitive and behavioral phenotypes. 

Not surprisingly, it is also becoming apparent that epigenetics is intimately involved in neurological disease pathogenesis. Emerging paradigms for linking epigenetic machinery and processes with neurological disease states, include:
  1. Mutations in genes encoding epigenetic factors cause disease
  2. Genetic variation in genes encoding epigenetic factors modify disease risk.
  3. Abnormalities in epigenetic factor expression, localization, or function are involved in disease pathophysiology.
  4. Epigenetic mechanisms regulate disease-associated genomic loci, gene products, and cellular pathways.
  5. Differential epigenetic profiles are present in patient-derived central and peripheral tissues.
A better understanding of normal and diseased brain aging and cognition will have a significant public health impact, given that the oldest-old persons older than 85 years of age represent the fastest-growing segment in the population in developed countries, with more than 30 million new cases of dementia predicted to occur worldwide each year by 2040. 

Dysregulation of gene expression and, more generally, genome organization and function are thought to contribute to age-related declines in cognition. Remarkably, nearly all neuronal nuclei that reside in an aged brain had permanently exited from the cell cycle during prenatal development, and DNA methylation and histone modifications and other molecular constituents of the epigenome are likely to play a critical role in the maintenance of neuronal health and function throughout the entire lifespan.

Bonnie: The one glaring omission? No mention of diet, lifestyle, and complementary therapies. These have the most beneficial effect on epigenetics.

Egg continues to break down barriers

Scientists reported new evidence today that a component of egg whites may have another beneficial effect in reducing blood pressure. The study was part of the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.

A peptide called RVPSL, one of the building blocks of proteins, reduced blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug in vitro. The results were promising enough to move ahead with the effects of the egg white peptide on human health.

Egg white peptides, either in eggs or as a powdered supplement, could become useful as an adjunct to high-blood-pressure medication.

The study leader boasted, "Our research suggests that there may be another reason to call it ‘the incredible, edible egg."

For those of you concerned about recent media coverage over a study showing that eggs may raise heart attack risk because of how our gut microbes process choline, please read our post on this same issue with red meat from a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cleanse Boston. Cleanse Yourself.

The tragic events in Boston rocked the wellness community and the nation. In an effort to heal Boston, as well as ourselves, we are asking that you download the FREE Spring Cleanse 3-Day Challenge.

All you need is one day to shop for the ingredients, and 3 days to cleanse. Spring Cleanse is gentle, smart, food-based, and easy-to-follow.

By liking and dowloading this free challenge on Facebook, we will give a $1 to Playworks Metro Boston (up to $500), an official charity of the Boston Marathon. 

Facebook users can download their copy here:

Non-Facebook users can download their free copy here:

Why stevia in its natural state is important

A Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications study performed in rats has shown antidiabetic properties of stevia rebaudiani. The rats were separated into 8 groups of 10 each. Four of the groups were injected with streptozocin, a known diabetogen which acts to selectively destroy beta cells and consequently caused a marked reduction in insulin levels. Groups also varied in the source of stevia including: stevia leaves powder, stevia leaves fiber, and stevia leaves polyphenols.

Rats receiving streptozocin with no stevia showed a significant increase in the cardinal signs of diabetes. However, rats that were pre-fed with stevia leaves powder and polyphenol extract before injection of strepotozocin showed significantly less signs of diabetes, including dramatically less glucose levels and increased insulin levels.

The results suggest stevia might have a role in enhancing the number of beta cells in the pancreas of diabetic patients. Other proposed mechanisms for the benefits of stevia on hyperglycemia include modulation of glucose transport or glucose disposal. Further benefits of stevia reported in this study include renal protection and antioxidant properties.

Bonnie: This study, while in rats, is important for the mere fact that the researchers used the whole stevia plant, not an extract, or synthsized molecule that just focused on sweetness. The reason we were so excited about stevia initially was not just its sweetness, but its medicinal properties. Now that Big Food has gotten involved and has moved the original players to the side, our excitement has waned greatly.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Voice your opposition loud and clear against hidden dairy ingredients

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the FDA is taking comments regarding Big Dairy's intention to confuse us over dairy products with artificial sweeteners. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. Go to the following link and submit your opposition comments.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Study confirms bone drugs' fatal flaw

Although the drug zoledronic acid slows bone loss in osteoporosis patients, it also boosts levels of a biomarker that stops bone formation, according to a recent study in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Osteoporosis weakens bones and increases the risk patients will suffer fractures. The findings suggest combination therapy may be a more effective approach to battling this common condition.  

According to the lead researcher, "the key to effectively treating osteoporosis lies in increasing bone mass. Zoledronic acid halts bone loss, but it also signals the body to stop forming new bone mass. The drug may need to be combined with other treatments to add bone mass. An innovative combination therapy using zoledronic acid and selective antibodies to block the sclerostin could simultaneously stop bone loss and encourage new bone formation. This is an important avenue for researchers to explore as they develop new osteoporosis treatments."

Bonnie: What really sticks in my craw is that Big Pharma has known this forever, but have made billions convincing women to take drugs that leave them with weak bone anyway.

Is organic better? Ask a middle schooler.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Great commentary on what the PSA says about healthcare


Half of conventional meat contains antibiotic-resistant superbug residue

Bonnie and Steve: Unless you haven't been reading our eNewsletter for the last decade, the following report should not come as a surprise. Conventional livestock continually fed antibiotics to accelerate growth will, over time, lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That time is now.

If you still are consuming conventional meat, stop! There are so many antibiotic and hormone-free options that you have no excuse.


Monday, April 15, 2013

First study to link food allergies to low vitamin D

Epidemiological evidence has shown that pediatric food allergy is more prevalent in regions further from the equator, suggesting that vitamin D insufficiency may play a role in this disease.

In a Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology study, researchers examined 577 infants (344 with challenge-proven food allergy, 74 sensitized but tolerant to food challenge, 159 negative on skin prick test and food challenge). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured.

Infants with vitamin D insufficiency ( less than 50 nmol/L) were more likely to be peanut and/or egg allergic than were those with adequate vitamin D levels independent of eczema status. Iinfants with vitamin D insufficiency were also more likely to have multiple food allergies rather than a single food allergy.

These results provide the first direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency may be an important protective factor for food allergy in the first year of life.

Friday, April 12, 2013

College kids can avoid or reduce severity colds

A blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12) reduced the duration of common colds among typically stressed out students, US researchers have found. In a British Journal of Nutrition study that gave 1 billion colony forming units (CFUs) of each strain or placebo to about 200 of US college students at Framingham State University, the study group experienced colds that lasted four days as opposed to six in the placebo group – coupled with a 34% reduction in severity.

The student group was significant because it was a population that typically was under extreme stress and prone to colds and flu as a result. The students took the blend that was being trialed for the first time in a powder form.

Steve: This is not the first, and certainly will not be the last study showing how probiotics benefit immune health.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Xylichew closes its doors

It is with great sadness that the one gum brand we suggest, Xylichew, is closing its doors. The owners were unable to sell the company and decided to retire. We are efforting to find who, if anyone, the Finnish manufacturer will tap to be the new US distributor. In the meantime, we will not be carrying any gum because the other brands do not meet our standards. If you have to chew gum, while not optimal, these are your best options:

Spry Xylitol Gum (corn-based xylitol)
Corn-based xylitol

Xyla Gum (birch bark xylitol)
Good for corn-intolerant individuals, but contains artificial flavors.

Why Is a Proven Cholesterol Therapy Being Thrown Under the Bus?


GMO conflict of interest on Dietitian board


Less sleep, more weight


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Americans with High Blood Pressure on the rise

The proportion of Americans reporting they have high blood pressure rose nearly 10 percent from 2005 to 2009 HBP affects nearly one-third of Americans, according to researchers at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

What is really disconcerting is that only half the people who have high blood pressure are getting treated. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to negative health consequences like heart attacks and strokes."

The report was published in the April 5 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Wide variations existed by state in terms of how many people have HBP. Disparities were also seen in age, sex, education levels and race and ethnicity. It was significantly higher among seniors, men, blacks and those with less than a high school education compared to younger people, women, Asians and people with higher levels of education, the researchers found.

More consumers embracing organics

U.S. families are embracing organic products in a wide range of categories, with 81 percent now reporting they purchase organic at least sometimes, according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2013 U.S. Families Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study.

Additionally, the majority of those buying organic foods are purchasing more items than they did a year earlier, and new entrants to buying organic now represent 41 percent of all families – demonstrating increased interest in the benefits of organic food and farming.

Produce continues to be the leading category of organic purchases, with 97 percent of organic buyers saying they had purchased organic fruits or vegetables in the past six months. Breads and grains, dairy and packaged foods were also frequently cited (all scoring above 85 percent) among those who purchase organic.

Consistent with findings from previous studies, nearly half (48 percent) of those who purchase organic foods said they do so because they are “healthier for me and my children.” Additionally, parents’ desire to avoid toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers (30 percent), antibiotics and growth hormones (29 percent), and genetically modified organisms (22 percent) ranked high among the reasons cited for buying organic products.

Awareness of the USDA Organic seal has also grown, with consumers more likely to look for the seal when shopping for organic products. Further, four in 10 parents (42 percent) said their trust in organic products has increased, versus 32 percent who indicated this point of view a year ago.

Consumer trust is on the upswing for organic as the gold standard when seeking to avoid toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetically engineered ingredients, and additives. The OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Study findings are based on responses from 1,239 U.S. households.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Will this get you to cut back on red meat?

A compound abundant in red meat and added as a supplement to popular energy drinks has been found to promote atherosclerosis, according to Cleveland Clinic research published online this week in the journal Nature Medicine.

The study shows that bacteria living in the human digestive tract metabolize the compound carnitine, turning it into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a metabolite the researchers previously linked in a 2011 study to the promotion of atherosclerosis in humans. Further, the research finds that a diet high in carnitine promotes the growth of the bacteria that metabolize carnitine, compounding the problem by producing even more of the artery-clogging TMAO.

The study tested the carnitine and TMAO levels of omnivores, vegans and vegetarians. They also examined the cardiac effects of a carnitine-enhanced diet in normal mice compared to mice with suppressed levels of gut microbes, and discovered that TMAO alters cholesterol metabolism at multiple levels, explaining how it enhances atherosclerosis.
The researchers found that increased carnitine levels in patients predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease and major cardiac events like heart attack, stroke and death, but only in subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. Additionally, they found specific gut microbe types in subjects associated with both plasma TMAO levels and dietary patterns, and that baseline TMAO levels were significantly lower among vegans and vegetarians than omnivores. 

Remarkably, vegans and vegetarians, even after consuming a large amount of carnitine, did not produce significant levels of the microbe product TMAO, whereas omnivores consuming the same amount of carnitine did.

Steve:  I am always amazed when the media, even with the reputation of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, cover a study that was performed on six men and women and mice. If the study found that carnitine in red meat lowered cardiac risk in six men and women, do you think the media would give a second look?

Let's not get away from the obvious. Our gut bacteria, or what is now known as our microbiome, plays a very prominent role in our health. In fact, when we are able to map our microbiome, epigenome, and genome, and see how they all work together, we will really be onto something.

Do vegetarians and vegans have different microbiomes than omnivores? Most likely. Is one more beneficial than the other? The answer is we do not know. 

This study did not directly examine carnitine-rich energy drinks or carnitine supplements. That said, we could do without energy drinks. In our opinion, carnitine supplements, while safe, have failed more than helped in the few clients we know that have taken it. The only reason to take it supplementally is if you suspect or know genetically that you do not produce enough carnitine.

As far as carnitine being a bad thing, let's put it this way: carnitine turns fat into energy. Your body makes it in the liver and kidneys and stores it in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm. So if your not into taking fat and turning it into energy, than take the next drug Big Pharma comes up with to block carnitine production.

Let's not just single out red meat. Let's also add dairy products, fish, poultry, tempeh, wheat, asparagus, avocados, and peanut butter to list of foods rich in carnitine.

We have discussed red meat ad nauseam. Consuming it, grass-fed twice weekly, is not only okay, but it is healthy, as long as it is cooked without charring :)

You know what the most interesting part of this study was for me? The researchers completely wiped away the gut bacteria of the five meat eaters with what??? An antibiotic. I don't think I have ever seen this method used in a study before. I wonder if they told these subjects that it would take a year, if ever, to achieve a balanced microbiome. 

Would you be surprised if Big Pharma came up with an OTC antibiotic that could be taken, like Lactaid, right before eating beef, so consumers can still eat it without the risk? 

Finally, a study published April 15th in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that including L-carnitine among the other therapies given in the acute setting for heart attack appears to significantly cut all-cause mortality and lead to fewer angina symptoms and ventricular arrhythmias. This is in direct opposition of the Nature Medicine study.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Melatonin: First Headaches, Now Diabetes?

A hormone best known for its role in helping people sleep, and more recently has been found to help with headaches, may also play a part in someone's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The research, published in Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that people who have low levels of melatonin while they're sleeping are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Melatonin typically peaks in the body about three to five hours after people go to sleep and regulates their sleep-wake cycles. The nightly increase in melatonin in the blood helps to keep bodily rhythms synchronized. Melatonin is involved in many functions in the body, and some research suggests it affects glucose (sugar) metabolism.

Women with low levels of melatonin at night had twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as those with high levels. That was true even after researchers took into account other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including being overweight or obese, a family history of the disease, diet and smoking.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Women still not taking folate at the right time.

According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition's April issue, adequate folate and iron intake during pregnancy is critical for maternal and fetal health. Researchers analyzed data on 1296 pregnant women from 1999 to 2006 to characterize overall supplement use, iron and folic acid use, and red blood cell (RBC) folate status.

The majority of pregnant women (77%) reported use of a supplement in the previous 30 days, most frequently a multivitamin/mineral containing folic acid and iron. Approximately 55–60% of women in their first trimester reported taking a folic acid- or iron-containing supplement compared with 76–78% in their second trimester and 89% in their third trimester. RBC folate was lowest in the first trimester and differed by supplement use across all trimesters. Among all pregnant women, RBC folate increased with trimester. 

Given the role of folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects, it is notable that supplement use and median RBC folate was lowest in the first trimester of pregnancy, with 55% of women taking a supplement containing folic acid. Future research is needed to determine the reasons for low compliance with supplement recommendations, particularly folic acid, in early pregnancy.

Bonnie: Of course, folic acid is most important prenatally and during the first trimester, so the results of this study are baffling. I worked with the March of Dimes on this issue back in the 1980's, and we still cannot get even get close to 100% compliance! Absolutely baffling.

Folate linked with better reading scores in kids

Folate and vitamin B-12 are important for nervous system functioning at all ages, with important roles in functions such as neurotransmitter synthesis. Although studies suggest a relation between folate and vitamin B-12 and cognitive function in the elderly population, there is relatively less evidence regarding these vitamins and children’s cognitive function. 

The purpose of the study was to examine the associations of serum folate and vitamin B-12 with cognitive performance in children 6–16 years old in the NHANES III, conducted from 1988 to 1994, prior to the implementation of folic acid fortification. Serum folate and vitamin B-12 concentrations were measured in 5365 children, along with performance, on the Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised. 

Higher serum concentrations of folate were associated with higher reading and block design scores. For example, compared with the lowest quartile of folate, children in the highest quartile scored 3.28 points or 0.19 SD units higher on the reading test. Vitamin B-12 was not associated with any of the test scores. 

In the largest study to date, higher folate concentrations were associated with better reading and block design scores. These associations appear to be biologically plausible and merit further study. The Journal of Nutrition 4/2013

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Walnuts dynamite for lower diabetes risk

Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and have been shown to improve various cardiometabolic risk factors. Researchers in a Journal of Nutrition study examined the association between walnut intake and incident type 2 diabetes in 137,956 women over without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Consumption of walnuts and other nuts was assessed every 4 years

A total of 5930 incident type 2 diabetes cases during 10 years of follow-up were discovered. Walnut consumption for participants consuming 1–3 servings per month (1 serving = 28 g), 1 serving per week, and more than 2 servings per week were at 7%, 19%, and 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes respectively, compared with women who never/rarely consumed walnuts. 

The consumption of total nuts and other tree nuts was also inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, and the associations were largely explained by body mass

Simply, higher walnut consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women.