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Fat, Sick and Dead – Part 2

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Some feel the greatest health epidemic that we face today is addiction. Addiction comes in many forms and can affect the human body in many different ways. One addiction that is particularly difficult to control is food addiction. The main thing that makes it hard to control is that we need to eat to survive, most of us eat several times a day. So, if a food addiction is to be controlled, a lot of mental energy is required to continue to make healthier food choices numerous times per day. Other types of addictions may be easier to separate yourself from because they are not required for life, unlike food. 

Food can be mind-altering. Seriously. I’m not just talking about the feeling you get when you have a bite of an amazing piece of chocolate that melts in your mouth and you never want the flavor to end. Actually, chocolate is probably a bad example because there is a chemical in chocolate called PEA (phenylethylamine) that may act as a brain neurotransmitter causing you to have a sense of enjoyment. But some foods can really cause you to be addicted to them.

Food Addiction

A protein called gluten found in wheat and other similar grains can be improperly digested by the body causing an abnormal molecule to form called gluteomorphin (also called gliadorphin). Gluteomorphin is an opiod peptide that can cross the blood-brain barrier and disrupt our opiate receptors in the brain. When this happens, the brain can get “addicted” to wheat. This is the reason why some people who go on a gluten-free diet feel worse before they feel better because they have to “withdraw” from the addictive nature of this substance. Incidentally, milk and dairy products have a protein called casein that breaks down into a similar molecule called casomorphin, potentially causing a similar opiate reaction in the brain.

Obesity and Physical Inactivity-the Perfect Storm

Okay, so food can be addictive, so what? Unfortunately, most of the foods that we get addicted to are not of the healthy variety and they can make us fat. Couple that with physical inactivity and we have a perfect storm. In the 1960s, nearly half of all jobs required physical activity, in 2012 less than twenty percent do. As I mentioned at the end of the last article, between 1980 and 2000, time spent sitting down only increased by 8%, but the obesity rate doubled. And people with sedentary jobs are twice as likely to die from heart disease than those with active jobs.

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When you sit down at your computer:

  • The electrical activity in your legs shuts off
  • Fat-reducing enzymes drop by 90%
  • Calorie burning slows to 1 calorie per minute
  • People who sit down all day have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than people who stand

Duration of Obesity is a Predictor of Mortality

Researchers in a clinical study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that the longer you stay overweight, the faster you’re going to die. The team found that for those who lived with obesity for a medium number of years (between 5 and 14.9 years), the risk of mortality more than doubled, compared to those who had never been obese. The risk of mortality almost tripled for those with the longest duration of obesity (more than 15 years). Furthermore, the research showed for every additional two years lived with obesity, the risk of mortality increased by 6-7%.

That sucks, I know. We will talk about solutions next week.

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Sources: 

A Abdullah, R Wolfe, J Stoelwinder, et al. “The number of years lived with obesity and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality.” Int. J. Epidemiol., February 27, 2011.

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Fat, Sick and Dead – Part 1

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The United States is #1! In the U.S. we like to be first at everything. The latest report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that due to the massive increase in the rates of obesity, the U.S. is the #1 fattest country out of all 34 OECD member countries. 

Here are some more of their latest findings:

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ADULTS

  1. Soaring obesity rates make the US the fattest country in the OECD. Overweight and obesity rates have increased steadily since the 1980s in both men and women. Three out of four people are projected by the OECD to be overweight or obese within 10 years.
  2. Socio-economic disparities in overweight and obesity are smaller than in most OECD countries. Women with poor education are 1.3 times more likely than more educated women to be overweight. Virtually no disparities exist between men of different educational levels.
  3. But ethnic disparities do exist in obesity rates, especially for women. Obesity rates are 17% higher in African-American women and 6% higher in Mexican-American women than in non-Hispanic white women.
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CHILDREN

  1. Child obesity rates are the highest in the OECD, but growth in obesity has slowed down. 40% of American children are currently overweight. Of these, half are obese. Rates have become relatively stable in the last ten years, suggesting that substantial further growth is unlikely and overweight rates in boys might even begin to fall.
  2. Hispanic boys and African-American girls have the highest obesity rates. These two groups stand out with 50% higher obesity rates than white non-Hispanic boys and girls, respectively.
  3. Socio-economic disparities are larger in children than adults. Less well off children are up to 1.6 times more likely to be obese than children from higher income groups.
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According to studies, greater than 40% of all premature deaths in the U.S. are caused by behavioral patterns. We are all familiar with the top causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, strokes, lung disease, etc. But are these the actual causes of death? Medical public health researchers have been studying that question.

What they are discovering is that heart disease, cancer, strokes, etc., are just what end up on the death certificate as the diagnosis, but the actual cause of death is more ominously linked to behavioral patterns. In particular, just second to smoking which kills over 400,000 people per year, obesity and inactivity kill over 350,000 Americans every year. The complacency over these statistics by the general public and the medical industry is appalling. And while the numbers of deaths due to smoking is going down (thanks to surgeon general warnings, powerful counter-marketing campaigns, laws, regulation, and taxation), statistics on deaths by obesity and inactivity keep going up. Obesity is proving to be a much more challenging issue to tackle on a broad scale because unlike smoking which is obviously not a necessary activity for human health, eating is.

Is your work killing you? We will address that question next time because from 1980 to 2000, the time Americans spent sitting increased by only 8%, while exercise rates stayed the same. The result? Obesity doubled. People with sedentary jobs are twice as likely to die from heart disease than those with active jobs. In fact only 6.5% of Americans meet the U.S. minimum physical guideline requirements at work.

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Probiotics for Life – Part 2

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Probiotics for Life – Part 1

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Preparations containing lactobacilli have been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of disorders and infections including colitis, constipation, diarrhea, recolonization of the intestine with pathogens after treatment with antibiotics, flatulence, acidity, hepatic encephalopathy, tumor growth, hypercholesterolemia, headache and vaginitis.

Cholesterol Lowering

Bile salts together with phospholipids and cholesterol form micelles which help in the absorption of cholesterol. Lactobacilli deconjugate the bile salts in the intestine to form bile acids and thereby inhibit micelle formation. This leads to decreased absorption of cholesterol. All these factors collectively contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effects of lactobacilli as illustrated below.

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

Individuals with deficiency of the enzyme b-galactosidase (lactase) suffer from abdominal distress when they consume milk or dairy products. Lactobacilli provide the enzyme b- galactosidase which hydrolyzes lactose. The hydrolyzed lactose is converted to lactic acid, thus metabolizing to a form that is easier for the body to digest.

Do You Want To Prevent Cancer?

Several preclinical and clinical trials have shown that fermented dairy products or the starter cultures used in their manufacture inhibit transplantable animal and human tumor lines.

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These anti-tumor properties are based on:

  1. Inactivation or inhibition of carcinogenic compounds produced in the gastrointestinal tract by specific microorganisms.
  2. Stimulation or enhancement of the immune response
  3. Reduction of intestinal bacterial enzyme activities: Some of these enzymes may convert procarcinogens into carcinogens.

Putrefactive colonic microflora produce the enzymes b- glucuronidase, azoreductase and nitroreductase which convert pro-carcinogens to carcinogens. Lactobacilli, by competitive inhibition and the production of non-conducive acidic environment, suppress the metabolic activity of colonic microflora and in this manner may reduce the formation of carcinogens in the large intestine.

Lactic acid bacteria suppress carcinogen-induced mutations. In vitro studies with mutagens such as 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide revealed that the bacterial cells themselves as well as their metabolites possessed anti-mutagenic action. It has been suggested that some bacterial cell wall fractions possess anti-mutagenic activity.

First Aid for Flatulence

Administration of a strain of Lactobacillus, which produces a broad spectrum bacteriocin, Lactobacillus GG, helped relieve symptoms of relapsing Clostridium difficile colitis resulting from antibiotic treatment.

Lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus and L. Sporogenes have also been used in the treatment of chronic constipation and flatulence. Lactobacilli, through the production of lactic acid and bacteriocins create an intestinal environment which is not conducive for the growth of pathogens. Lactic acid also helps relieve constipation by improving the bowel movement.

Most of the Immune System Is In the Gut

Recent studies have shown that Lactobacillus brevis sub-species coagulans, may enhance the body’s capacity to produce alpha interferon, natural killer (NK) cell activity and 2-5 A-synthase enzyme activity, each important aspects of the body’s natural defenses. When 10 healthy adults consumed this bacterial supplement, their average producing capacity of alpha interferon increased 65% after two weeks and 59% after four weeks. In the same time frame, natural killer cell activity increased 68% and 47%.

Treatment of Recurring Headaches

In many patients suffering from various forms of migraine headache, prophylaxis by pharmaceutical agents, although successful in some cases, may result in the serious complications. The use of orally administered capsules containing Lactobacillus acidophilus was tried by one group of researchers in a series of 20 patients. Of the 16 patients who followed up over a period of 1-2 months, 9 reported complete relief or considerable reduction in frequency of attacks. In three others, in whom the frequency did not decrease, there was definite reduction in the severity of the headaches. No adverse symptoms were noted.

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Treatment of Aphthous Stomatitis (canker sore)

Lactobacilli have been effectively employed in treatment of aphthous stomatitis and glossitis. These conditions can arise due to imbalance in intestinal flora resulting in B vitamins deficiency. The administration of lactobacilli to colonize the gut can alleviate this condition.

Treatment of Vaginitis

Vaginal infections can be caused by a variety of organisms of which Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan parasite, and Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus, are the chief non-bacterial organisms responsible. No single bacterial species is responsible for vaginal infection and hence this type of infection is called non-specific vaginitis (NSV).

Lactobacilli are natural inhabitants of the vaginal mucosa. The predominant species is L. acidophilus. Lactobacilli maintain the vaginal pH in the range of 4.0-4.5 through glycogen fermentation to lactic acid. This establishes an environment unfavorable for the growth of pathogens.

Prophylaxis by oral administration of L. acidophilus as well as treatment by intravaginal application of lactobacilli have proved to be effective in the treatment of vaginitis.

Adjuvant to Antibiotic Therapy

The micro-ecological balance of the gut flora is disturbed by treatment with antibiotics. Some of the beneficial flora is killed and upon stopping antibiotic treatment, pathogens begin to re-establish themselves in the intestine. Overgrowth of these organisms and the subsequent invasion of the system by Candida albicans cause inflammation, immune imbalances, neurologic imbalances, and hormone problems. This occurs due to proliferation and toxin production by these organisms in the host tissues. Administering lactobacilli along with antibiotics helps to prevent this syndrome. The lactobacilli through their metabolic activities establish themselves in the gut, vaginal or oral environment and provide conditions which are non-conducive to the growth of pathogens.

There are very few nutrients that can positively impact as many serious health conditions as this form of probiotic found in Digestive Defense.

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Probiotics for Life – Part 1

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A probiotic (meaning “in favor of life”) is a micro-organism that has profound effects on the body. Certain foods, combined with an imbalance of gut bacteria, can have the unfortunate destiny of producing putrefactive organisms in the gastrointestinal tract. First of all, just in case you do not know, there are more bacteria in a gram of stool than all the stars in the known universe. Just to be clear “stool” is the medical term for poop. It has been estimated that the gastrointestinal tract contains about 2.5 pounds of bacteria, all combined would make it one of the biggest organs in the body. But not being an organ, the delicate balance of the bacteria depends largely upon what you put into your mouth.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (usually bacteria, yeast) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria.” Experts have debated how to define probiotics.1 One widely used definition, developed by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is that probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Most often, the bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species (for example, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus), and within each species, different strains (or varieties). Some probiotic foods date back to ancient times, such as foods that have been fermented and cultured milk products.

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The Importance of L. Sporogenes

Lactobacillus sporogenes (L. sporogenes), also known as Bacillus coagulans, is a gram-positive, spore-forming, lactic-acid producing bacillus – a type of probiotic. The role of lactic acid bacteria in gastrointestinal micro-ecology has been the subject of extensive research.2 It is widely believed that these bacteria prevent the growth of putrefactive microorganisms responsible for illness and disease. By competing with the non-beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, L. sporogenes uses up the available food and resources that all the bacteria (good or bad) need to survive. Although probiotics have been unknowingly consumed in fermented foods for hundreds of years, the concept of probiotics as an individual therapy came about a little over a hundred years ago, when Doderlein and, subsequently Metchnikoff proposed that bacteria producing lactic acid from sugars should have some beneficial effects (Metchnikoff 1907; Doderlein 1892).3 Originally defined as microorganisms promoting the growth of other microorganisms, their definition has been revised and changed in scope several times. Today they are considered as those viable microorganisms that when administered to man and animal, beneficially affects the host by improving the properties of the indigenous microflora (Lilly and Stillwell 1965; Fuller 1989; Guarner and Schaafsma 1998).3

In the process of performing their metabolic activities in the human gastrointestinal tract, these microflora convert complex ingested food into easily digestible forms, aid the body with detoxification of food byproducts, and produce metabolites of nutritional and therapeutic significance to the human body, like certain B vitamins. A delicate balance exists in the symbiotic relationship between these microflora and the human body.

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The composition of the intestinal microflora is constantly changing, being influenced by factors such as diet, emotional stress, age and treatment with antibiotics or other medications.

In general, lactobacilli are acid tolerant and can survive and proliferate at low pH in the stomach. An optimal “balance” in the gastrointestinal microbial population is associated with good health in humans. This balance between beneficial bacteria and potentially harmful bacteria is referred to as eubiosis, and imbalance is called dysbiosis.

In view of the pressures of modern existence, the maintenance of a normal, healthy, balanced microbial population in the gastrointestinal tract is a difficult task. Humans are often subjected to various stress conditions such as changes in food consumption patterns (like eating too much sugar and processed foods), the stress of travel and exposure to unusual foods and pathogens, and illnesses that necessitate treatment with antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs. Under such adverse circumstances, the harmful bacteria may become predominant (dysbiosis) and create an imbalance which may in turn impair normal gut function and lead to various problems, ranging from weakened immunity, inefficient digestion, diarrhea, constipation, and flatulence to more severe gastrointestinal disorders.

A logical approach to restoring the balance of intestinal flora is the use of probiotics. However, reports on the survival and effectiveness of these microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract are controversial. Ingested as viable organisms, these microbes often do not survive the rigors of the acidic gastric environment.

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Not All Probiotics are Created Equally

In order to provide the beneficial effects of lactic acid bacteria, many manufacturers have been marketing various lactobacillus preparations. The reported health effects of these preparations include effectiveness in the treatment of a variety of disorders including colitis, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, gastric acidity, gastroenteritis, gingivitis, hypercholesterolemia, hepatic encephalopathy, gastrointestinal pathology, and repletion of the intestine with beneficial flora after treatment with antibiotics. However, the reports are controversial owing to the differences in viability of the implanted flora in the gastrointestinal tract. Successful implantation depends upon the following factors:4

  1. A high count of viable lactobacilli retaining their viability during manufacturing into dosage forms and subsequent storage.
  2. Survival of lactobacilli, once ingested, in the acidic gastric secretions and their safe passage to the intestine.
  3. The production of a sufficient quantity of metabolites antagonistic to pathogens. These include L (+) (dextrorotatory) lactic acid and bacteriocins.

Various species of lactobacilli have been examined including L. bulgaricus, L. bifidus, L. acidophilus , L. casei, L. brevis and S. thermophiles . L. acidophilus, long regarded as the best candidate for therapeutic use, has been shown to be ineffective in alleviating certain gastrointestinal disorders. Besides, it produces D(-) (levorotatory) lactic acid, which is not an effective antagonistic agent and may introduce metabolic disturbances.

A superior and potential species among Lactobacillus is L. sporogenes (Bacillus coagulans). This species forms spores, which on activation in the acidic environment of the stomach, can germinate and proliferate in the intestine, produce the favored L (+) form of lactic acid and effectively prevent the growth of pathogens. In effect, the process can be equated to the slow release of viable cells, leading to prolonged and effective beneficial microbial activity. L. sporogenes spores are slowly excreted out of the human system, long after the termination of therapy. In view of the fact that the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has recommended restricted intake of D(-) lactic acid for adults and total avoidance of the use of this form of lactic acid in infant nutritional products, L. sporogenes is the Lactobacillus favored in infant nutritional programs.

Next time we will continue this report on the importance and benefits of probiotics, in particular, Lactobacillus sporogenes from Digestive Defense™.

 

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Research Update, Part 2 – Green Tea Decreases Body Weight and Cholesterol

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Research Update, Part 1 – Got Green Tea?

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Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease all majorly affect the quality of individuals’ lives and put a huge burden on our over-spent healthcare system. Add green tea to your list of healthy daily habits that can help you lose fat and drop your cholesterol.

Researchers of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded, “Green tea beverage consumption (4 cups/d) or extract supplementation (2 capsules/d) for 8 weeks significantly decreased body weight and BMI [Body Mass Index]. Green tea beverage further lowered lipid peroxidation versus age- and gender-matched controls, suggesting the role of green tea flavonoids in improving features of metabolic syndrome [pre-diabetes] in obese patients.”

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Another study published in the journal Nutrition sought to assess the effects of green tea on features of metabolic syndrome and inflammation in obese subjects with particular observation of the cardio-protective benefits. The authors of the study concluded that, “green tea significantly reduced plasma SAA [serum amyloid alpha], an independent CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk factor, in obese subjects with metabolic syndrome.

Personally, I enjoy several cups of green tea per day but others prefer just taking the green tea extract in a capsule. Pure Prescriptions’ Green Tea Extract provides the antioxidant protection of four cups of green tea. Furthermore, brewed green tea contains caffeine making it undesirable for many people or in certain situations.

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Q: I see a lot of Green Tea Extracts on the shelves – what should I look for?

You don’t want one of the many cheap green tea products consisting simply of freeze-dried green tea. Rather, you want a standardized extract to provide consistently high-levels of green tea’s antioxidant polyphenols. Pure Prescriptions is standardized to 98%, ranking it among the most potent available.

Since green tea contains caffeine, most people prefer, and most doctors recommend, a decaffeinated green tea extract. Green Tea Extract from Pure Prescriptions is decaffeinated.

Most people prefer vegetarian capsules as opposed to gelatin, which is made from meat byproducts. Pure Prescriptions’ Green Tea Extract uses only premium Vegi-Caps™.

Green Tea Extract was formulated this way because, after all, we use it too! Bottom line: Pure Prescriptions Green Tea Extract is an excellent choice.

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Q: What else has research shown about green tea compounds besides providing antioxidant benefits?

Green tea has been extensively studied and many other beneficial effects have been noted. One green tea compound in particular, EGCG has been the subject of intensive study because it may interfere with abnormal cell growth . Abnormal cell growth is a factor in the development of many serious diseases. The EGCG content of Pure Prescriptions Green Tea Extract is among the highest in the industry (50% minimum).

Other research suggests green tea compounds may also have positive effects on:

  • Blood pressure
  • LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels
  • Arthritic inflammation
  • Obesity and weight control

Q: Can I take Green Tea Extract with other supplements and medications?

Adverse reactions to green tea are extraordinarily rare, as are adverse interactions with other supplements and medications. Green tea is second only to water as the world’s most widely consumed beverage. If you happen to be under a doctor’s care, are pregnant or breastfeeding we recommend checking with your doctor first before using any new supplement.

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Research Update, Part 1 – Got Green Tea?

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Research has shown that green tea contains an extremely powerful class of protective antioxidants – called polyphenols. Green tea contains 30 to 40 percent polyphenols while black tea has 3 to 10 percent polyphenols. There are four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.

Why We Need Antioxidants

Within our bodies, there are thousands of types of potentially damaging oxidation events occurring every moment we’re alive. The causes include natural (e.g., inflammation) and non-natural (e.g., smoking) factors. Whatever the cause, oxidation events all have the potential to damage cells, accelerate aging and create life-threatening disease.

While there are many kinds of antioxidants, offering different levels of protection, the antioxidants in green tea are especially potent; up to 100 times more powerful than more familiar types like vitamins C and E. Read More… »

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Presidents Day Sale – 20 Percent OFF Most Products

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Heart Disease is the Number 1 Killer of Women

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What Women Want

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February is Heart Month and the theme this year is all about empowering women to understand that heart disease affects them too, the warning signs in women can be different than men, and there are many things you can do to prevent it. Right from the beginning, I want you to be aware of what to look for:

Heart Attack Signs in Women

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

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Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Read More… »

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What Women Want

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As a woman you have a very complex biochemical physiology. In other words, your body has a lot going on. When there is so much that the body is trying to balance at the same time there are opportunities for things to get imbalanced. There are a few common features that are important for most women at some point in their lives:

  • Energy and stamina
  • Mood support
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • Weight Loss
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Depending on what area of interest is most important to you will help tailor the ideal targeted nutritional supplement protocol to meet your needs. Conventional medicine is quite effective for acute medical care and severe pathologies but it does not have much to offer in the way of prevention or for the items listed above. Natural medicine, on the other hand, has a lot to offer but it can be difficult knowing where to start.

One of the things that make Pure Prescriptions very unique in this industry is the personalized attention we have emphasized over the years. Not only do we offer very high-quality nutritional supplements, but we also offer complimentary product consultations and a broad suite of lab testing. There are so many different products out there to choose from, so we want to help you take the guesswork out.

  • You can use the Vitamin Doc to help you make choices based on your individual needs
  • You can order a lab test to take the guesswork out and find scientifically exactly what your body needs
  • You can call us and speak with our nutritional support team any day, free of charge

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What Men Want

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Every man has his own health needs and desires because we are all as different as our individual fingerprints, but to narrow it down here are some key features that most men share at some point in their lives.

  • Mental sharpness
  • Heart health
  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Prostate and libido support
  • Physical stamina

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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