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10 Healthly Foods

Dr. Mercola, in the last few weeks, has been concentrating on providing information on fermented foods and the benefits they have on intestinal health.  The human intestine is one of the major defenses against disease in the body.   There are more cells residing in the intestines than are contained in the human body.  These cells are the microflora that promote digestion and absorbtion of food and immune response.

There are also invasive organisms that contest our health.  These are dealt with, in part, by the beneficial flora.

As always his articles contain the warnings about avoiding processed foods that form a breading environment in the intestines for invasive microorganisms that rob a person of their health.

Try to make 2013 a year for healthier eating.

 

Here is an excerpt of a recent article by the Doc:

Does your health food repertoire consist of salads, baked chicken and broccoli? Are you looking for a way to add some excitement to your meals while maximizing their nutritional punch?

There’s absolutely no need to be bored when eating healthy, but many believe this to be the case because they are missing out on some of the tastiest and healthiest options of all.

I encourage you to peruse the list below to take advantage of some of the healthiest foods on earth. Before we can talk about the best foods, we need to perform some nutrition “mythbusting” and address two major dietary myths that have permeated Western culture for decades:

Fat is bad for you—especially saturated fat

All microorganisms are dangerous

 

And another snippet:

So, having dispelled two pervasive food myths, let me now focus on ten of the most healthful foods you could be consuming. Remember these are general recommendations. Not everyone will do well with these foods, but the vast majority will have health improvement by regularly consuming them. As always, it is important to listen to your body and let it guide you in making that determination. With some foods though, like fermented vegetables, you will need to start with very small amounts and work your way up to a healthy dose over a few months.

 

To read the full article, go here.

Probiotics

Another great article by Dr. Mercola on probiotics or the little bugs that help digest your food.

 

Gut Microbes Might Reflect Health, Diet of Older Americans

August 01 2012 | 118,117 views | + Add to Favorites
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By Dr. Mercola

Probiotics, along with a host of other microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to “a newly recognized organ.” In fact, your microflora – a term used to describe the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes that make up your microbial inner ecosystem – impact far more than your digestive tract.

Mounting research indicate the bacterial colonies residing in your gut may play key roles in the development of cancer, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and even brain-, behavioral- and emotional problems like ADHD, autism and depression.

Recent research also shows that your diet, and subsequently the microorganisms present in your gut, can affect how well you age.

The study was published in the journal Nature1, and some of the findings were surprising: the microflora in persons in long-term care not only was less diverse, but significantly correlated with measures of frailty, co-morbidity, markers of inflammation and other factors that contribute to aging and death. According to the authors, the implications of these findings are that senior citizens may need certain dietary supplements to improve their microbial health.

Probiotics Become Increasingly Important as You Age

Previous research has shown that around age 60, there is a significant drop in the number of bacteria in your gut. According to Dr Sandra McFarlane from the microbiology and gut biology group at the University of Dundee, people over 60 typically have about 1,000-fold less “friendly” bacteria in their guts compared to younger adults, and increased levels of disease-causing microbes2, making them more susceptible to gastrointestinal infections and bowel conditions like IBS.

As you age, your cellular immunity also declines.3 These are the white cells that are absolutely critical to your ability to fight infection and life-threatening diseases such as cancer. A nine-week long New Zealand study4 of seniors between the ages of 63 and 84 found that consumption of the probiotic strain known as Bifidobacterium lactis resulted in increases in both the number and disease-fighting capacity of white cells. In fact, the greatest improvement was seen in seniors with the worst immune system responses prior to the study.

Your Gut Bacteria Help Protect Against Food-Borne Illness

Other recent research has found that Lactobaccilus reuteri, one of the more than 180 species of Lactobacilli, commonly found in the human gut, can help protect against foodborne infection5. However, just because a study has not been done with a particular strain does not mean it is not effective.  These studies need to be paid for and most are not done unless there is a potential to commercialize a strain.  Nevertheless, according to an article in the Arizona State University news blog:

“Their results demonstrate that this beneficial or probiotic organism, which produces an antimicrobial substance known as reuterin, may protect intestinal epithelial cells from infection by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Salmonella. The study examines for the first time the effect of reuterin during the infection process of mammalian intestinal cells and suggests the efficacy of using probiotic bacteria or their derivatives in future therapies aimed at thwarting Salmonella infection.

… The results of this study may provide fundamental knowledge for development of new probiotics and other functional food based strategies… Intestinal infections by non-typhoidal Salmonella strains induce diarrhea and gastroenteritis, and remain a leading source of foodborne illness worldwide. Such infections are acutely unpleasant but self-limiting in healthy individuals. For those with compromised immunity however, they can be deadly and the alarming incidence of multi-drug resistant Salmonella strains has underlined the necessity of more effective therapeutics.

The use of benign microorganisms offers a promising new approach to treating infection from pathogens like Salmonella and indeed, L. reuteri has been shown to help protect against gastrointestinal infection and reduce diarrhea in children.”

Remember, 90 Percent of the Genetic Material in Your Body is NOT Yours

For every cell in your body there are about ten bacterial cells. The microflora in your gut plays an active role in a wide variety of diseases, and, naturally, it stands to reason they affect your health status throughout your life. For the reasons mentioned above, the importance of probiotics increase with advancing age, but maintaining a healthy gut is really essential from birth onward.

If you want to dig into the research, check out the Human Microbiome Project (HMP)6, whose goal is to characterize microbial communities found at multiple human body sites and to look for correlations between changes in the microbiome and human health. There you can find 15 demonstration projects investigating the role of microflora and conditions like psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, acne and more. A recent article in The Hindu quotes Dr. Julie Segre, senior investigator at the U S National Institute of Health7:

“The Microbiome project is a process of discovery. We need to start thinking of ourselves as super-organisms. This is the second genome – the bacterial genomes as well as the human genomes, all of that is part of the true genetic content of a human.”

… The hope is that this research will pave the way for more personalized treatments which could help get our bacterial communities get back on the right track. The Microbiome project sees any one person’s microbes as one community. So rather than studying them individually, they are studying the microbes and their genetic material collectively.”

Microbes Affect Your Health in a Myriad of Ways

Researchers have also discovered that your gut bacteria play key roles in:

    1. Behavior: A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility8 found that mice lacking in gut bacteria behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as “high-risk behavior.” This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain. According to the authors:

“Bacteria colonize the gut in the days following birth, during a sensitive period of brain development, and apparently influence behavior by inducing changes in the expression of certain genes.”

    1. Gene Expression: Your gut flora is a very powerful epigenetic variable. As noted above, researchers have also discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression.

Through gene profiling, they discerned that absence of gut bacteria altered genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control. This suggests that gut bacteria are closely tied to early brain development and subsequent behavior. These behavioral changes could be reversed as long as the mice were exposed to normal microorganisms early in life. But once the germ-free mice had reached adulthood, colonizing them with bacteria did not influence their behavior.

In a similar way, probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.

    1. Diabetes: Bacterial populations in the gut of diabetics9 differ from non-diabetics, according to a study from Denmark. In particular, diabetics had fewer Firmicutes and more plentiful amounts of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, compared to non-diabetics. The study also found a positive correlation for the ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes and reduced glucose tolerance. According to the authors: “The results of this study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is associated with compositional changes in intestinal microbiota.”

Sugar nourishes pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut, which may actually harm you more than its ability to promote insulin resistance.  One of the major results of eating a healthy diet (low in sugars and grains; high in whole raw foods and fermented or cultured foods) is that it allows your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish, and they secondarily perform the real “magic” of restoring your health. There are other studies that show optimized gut flora can help prevent type 1 diabetes.

    1. Autism: Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities and autism, particularly if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora.

To get a solid understanding of just how this connection works, I highly recommend reviewing the information shared by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in this previous interview.

Download Interview Transcript

    1. Obesity: The make-up of gut bacteria tends to differ in lean vs. obese people. This is one of the strongest areas of probiotic research to date, and you can read about a handful of such studiesin my previous article, Probiotics May Help Fight Obesity. The bottom line is that restoring your gut flora is an important consideration if you’re struggling to lose weight. Studies have also documented the beneficial effects of probiotics on a wide variety of disorders, including the following10:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Constipation and diarrhea
Colon cancer Eradication of H. pylori infection, which is associated with ulcers Vaginal infections
Strengthened immune response Eczema Rheumatoid arthritis
Cirrhosis of the liver Hepatic encephalopathy Chronic fatigue syndrome

How to Optimize Your Gut Flora

A healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, and regularly consuming traditionally fermented or cultured foods is the easiest way to ensure optimal gut flora. Healthy options include:

Fermented vegetables of all kinds  (cabbage, carrots, kale, collards, celery spiced with herbs like ginger and garlic) Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner) Tempeh
Fermented raw milk such as kefir or yogurt, but NOT commercial versions, which typically do not have live cultures and are loaded with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria Natto Kim chee

 

Just make sure to steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. For example, most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in every grocery store these days are NOT recommended. Since they’re pasteurized, they will be associated with all of the problems of pasteurized milk products instead. They also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and/or artificial sweeteners; all of which are detrimental to your health.

Consuming traditionally fermented foods will also provide you with the following added boons:

  • Important nutrients: Some fermented foods are excellent sources of essential nutrients such as vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. Cheese curd, for example, is an excellent source of both probiotics and vitamin K2. You can also obtain all the K2 you’ll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams, or half an ounce, of natto daily. They are also a potent producer of many B vitamins
  • Optimizing your immune system: Probiotics have been shown to modulate immune responses via your gut’s mucosal immune system, and have anti-inflammatory potential. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health, as a robust immune system is your number one defense system against ALL disease
  • Detoxification: Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals
  • Cost effective: Fermented foods can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement, so just adding a small amount of fermented foods to each meal will give you the biggest bang for your buck
  • Natural variety of microflora: As long as you vary the fermented and cultured foods you eat, you’ll get a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria than you could ever get from a supplement

How to Identify a High Quality Probiotic Supplement

That said, if you don’t enjoy the taste of fermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement is definitely advised. However, before you give up on fermented foods, it is best to start with small amounts like half a teaspoon and use them as a condiment integrated with your food, like as a salad dressing.  If you still don’t want to use them then it is important to note that while I do not generally advocate taking a lot of supplements, a high quality probiotic is an exception. I recommend looking for a probiotic supplement that fulfills the following criteria, to ensure quality and efficacy:

  • The bacteria strains in the product must be able to survive your stomach acid and bile, so that they reach your intestines alive in adequate numbers
  • The bacteria strains must have health-promoting features
  • The probiotic activity must be guaranteed throughout the entire production process, storage period and shelf life of the product

Through my years of clinical practice, I’ve found that no single probiotic supplement works for everyone. However, more people seem to respond favorably to Lactobacillus sporogenes than any other probiotic, so when in doubt, that’s a great place to start

Metabolic Syndrome

Following is an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola highlighting metabolic syndrome or the beginning of insulin resistance or diabetes symptoms.  Lifestyle changes–diet and exercise, can often bring one back from the brink of type II diabetes.  This requires patience and determination on the part of the person who is headed in this direction.  Chaning one's eating habits and getting exercise are the means by which the body can become sensitive to insulin again.  There is a supplement I take that was givent to me by my healthcare practitioner to help resensitize my body to insulin. It is from metagenics and can be purchased on Amazon with this link.  It is also available on vitacost.com if you like their site.

Here is the article:

Metabolic syndrome — a group of symptoms including diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease — is no longer thought to be caused primarily by abdominal fat.

Instead, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine have determined, via new imaging technologies, that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle leads to changes in energy storage, leading to metabolic syndrome.

Insulin resistance, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin, occurs in skeletal muscle when the muscles are no longer able to make glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrate, from food energy. In turn, insulin resistance in skeletal muscle promotes an increase in fats in the bloodstream, which leads to metabolic syndrome.

Using magnetic resonance imaging techniques, the researchers were able to determine that insulin-sensitive individuals in their study converted carbohydrate energy (from eating a high-carb meal) into glycogen that was stored in the liver and muscle.

Among insulin-resistant individuals, however, the carbohydrate energy was rerouted to liver fat production. The process elevated the participants’ triglycerides in the blood by as much as 60 percent while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol by 20 percent. This occurred even though the participants were young and lean, with no excess of abdominal fat.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, and half of the population is predisposed to it.

The researchers pointed out that there is good news to their findings: insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be treated with a simple method, exercise.

For the full article, use this link:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/07/18/insulin-resistance-not-belly-fat-to-blame-for-metabolic-syndrome.aspx

The Truth about Cholesterol

There is a persistent myth in the medical community about cholesterol…that all of it is bad.  Actually you need cholesterol for proper body function.  Here is an article by Dr. Mercola on cholesterol.

 

By Dr. Mercola

The idea that high cholesterol causes heart disease is based on the premise that cholesterol is found in the plaque of people with coronary artery disease. But does that automatically mean that cholesterol itself is the root cause, and must be kept at a minimum to prevent plaque formation?

The answer is “no.”

Missing from this hypothesis is the holistic understanding of how cholesterol operates inside your body, and why arterial plaques form in the first place.

Cholesterol is actually a critical part of your body’s foundational building materials and is absolutely essential for optimal health.

As Dr. Robert Rowen points out in this interview, it’s so important that your body produces it both in your liver and in your brain. Cholesterol is also the raw material for all of your steroid hormones and vitamin D. There’s no doubt that you need it.

“Think about this for a second. Your neurons are making it for a reason,” Dr. Rowen says“Just logically speaking, if you take a statin drug, which poisons the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase… Hello? Your brain is not going to make the cholesterol that it needs, so you can expect – you can predict –that there’s going to be a problems, years down the line, and we’re seeing it now with statin drugs affecting the brain.”

So what’s the connection between cholesterol and heart disease?

If your body needs so much of it, what causes it to clog your arteries? The devil is in the details, as they say, and this is definitely true when it comes to cholesterol, because as Dr. Rowen explains, the cholesterol found in arterial plaque is not just any cholesterol, but oxidized, damaged cholesterol.

“There is an excellent research on animals where they fed animals plenty of cholesterol in their diet and they did just fine. But when they gave them even small amounts of tainted cholesterol, meaning oxidized cholesterol, within weeks it showed up in fatty streaks in their arteries,” Dr. Rowen says.

“We know why now. There are receptors in the endothelial cells that are the lining of your arteries. There are receptors there for oxidized cholesterol. It picks it up, and it goes into the endothelial cells. The problem is that oxidized cholesterol does not look native to your macrophages, your immune system. It actually looks like bacteria. The macrophages move in to try and clean up what it thinks is bacteria, which is nothing more than oxidized cholesterol, and it creates a whole bunch of inflammation inside your arterial wall. The real culprit is oxidized cholesterol.”

Where Does Oxidized Cholesterol Come From?

Oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system every time you eat something cooked in vegetable oil. As soon as the oil is heated and mixes with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil, and should not be consumed. This is why I constantly recommend avoiding all vegetable cooking oils, such as canola-, corn-, or soy oil, and replacing them with organic coconut oil, which remains stable and does not oxidize at higher temperatures.

“I am a proponent of eating far more uncooked food and certainly, zero foods cooked in oil,” Dr. Rowen says. “I strongly urge [my patients] to eat more raw uncooked foods, because heat is damaging the oils, which in turn is going to damage the cholesterol and lead to vascular disease problem.”

Another reason for avoiding vegetable cooking oils is that the majority of them (at least in the US) are made from genetically engineered crops; plus they’re heavily processed on top of that. So not only do you have the issue of the polyunsaturated fats being oxidized, you also have these other toxic variables, such as glyphosate and Bt toxin found in genetically engineered corn and soy. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, which is used in very large amounts on all of these crops. So there are a number of reasons for avoiding vegetable oils, but the fact that they’re oxidized is clearly a high-priority one.

Why Statins Do NOT Promote Good Health

According to conventional medicine, there are two types of cholesterol:

  1. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL: This is the “good” cholesterol that helps to keep cholesterol away from your arteries and remove any excess from arterial plaque, which may help to prevent heart disease.
  2. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL: This “bad” cholesterol circulates in your blood and is more prone to oxidation. According to conventional thinking, it can build up in your arteries and form plaque that makes your arteries narrow and less flexible (a condition called atherosclerosis). If a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries leading to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping your total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL, but what they do not tell you is that total cholesterol level is just about worthless for determining your risk for heart disease, unless it is above 330. Additionally, the AHA updated their guidelines in 2004, lowering the recommended level of LDL cholesterol from 130 to less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk. To achieve these outrageously low targets, you typically need to take multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Statin drugs are very effective for lowering your cholesterol across the board. However, as mentioned earlier, they shut down your body’s innate capability to create the cholesterol it needs for proper cellular- and brain function. Statins also prevent your body from generating sufficient levels of vitamin D from exposure to the sun, because the UVB rays in sunlight interact with the cholesterol in your skin and convert it to vitamin D. As Dr. Rowen explains, while statin drugs effectively reduce cholesterol values, they typically do not have an overall beneficial impact on health and longevity.

“Let’s look at some of the statin studies,” he says. “The relative risk is reduced. Here’s the problem with medical studies, and statin is a really good example: Let’s say, you have 100,000 people, and four people are going to get heart disease. Then you give a statin, and now only two do. They’re going to say, “Oh my God! We have a 50 percent reduction in your risk for heart disease.”

I took that a little bit out of proportion by using 100,000, but it’s still a 50 percent relative risk—but your overall risk to begin with was negligible! It’s stupid science. It’s literally foolish, idiotic science... The absolute risk is not changed much at all, but relative risk is changed.

… What they also don’t tell you is that while you might actually save somebody from a heart attack out of those thousands of people you have to treat, there’s someone on the other end who gets toxicity, or maybe Alzheimer’s disease, or maybe some other condition, from taking the drug.

The overall morbidity and mortality is unchanged.

All that drug companies and the FDA are looking for is what symptom or lab level you are suppressing. They’re not looking at it for long-term outcomes. That’s absolute failing of the American medical system, where all that you’re doing is measuring to suppress a symptom or a lab value like cholesterol, and you are not looking at what happens to these people 10 or 15 years later, which is identical to the vaccine problem.”

When Might a Statin Drug Be Advisable?

Contrary to conventional advice, very few people actually need a statin drug. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic defect that can result in cholesterol levels above 330, and these people may indeed benefit from a statin drug.

“Yes, I do think that controlling the total cholesterol would be a benefit for those people,” Dr. Rowen says. “They’re few and far between, but they exist. But I would go with red yeast rice first, before I would [prescribe a] statin… because it has naturally-occurring Lovastatin in it – Mevacor. I would rather use that because it’s a whole food. There are pretty good studies out there showing that whole red yeast rice not only helps protect you from that [high cholesterol], but animals also live longer when they’re on it. Being a whole food, there may be a big advantage to it.

Always – whether you’re using red yeast rice or a statin drug – be sure to take Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinol, because the same enzyme that makes the cholesterol also participates with CoQ10 production.

… If their total cholesterol is over 300 or 330, I would consider the use of red yeast rice or a statin. That’s the only time I would consider it. Other than that, I would look for ways to reduce the potential impact of toxic cholesterol metabolism… What I try to do first with my patients is to get them to clean up their lifestyle, so that what they’re doing in their life will not have toxic effects on their apparently elevated cholesterol. I’m saying “apparently elevated” because I don’t believe that God makes mistakes.

If you walk into me with a cholesterol of 240, I think that your body has that level for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, your body is crying for more vitamin D. It’s asking your liver to make more cholesterol so that it can convert [vitamin D], or maybe your body wants more testosterone or another steroid hormone, so it’s calling for more raw material.

I don’t know how much I want to interrupt those processes with sledgehammers like statins. I would prefer to get your body not to oxidize the cholesterol by eliminating processed, refined foods. My mantra is “No fast, fried, refined, or processed foods.” That’s first on the list. Keep your diet 70 to 80 percent raw living food, and what you do with the rest – I don’t care if you want to eat meat, chicken, fish, and eggs… just don’t fry it. Eat all the meat you want within that 30 percent. The rest of it, try to keep it organic, not genetically engineered, unprocessed, and raw, so you’re not destroying the fatty acids.

I personally believe that I have found the underlying cause of heart disease or the principal cause of heart disease in this country. That’s the fact that we are heating these essential fatty acids, these unsaturated fatty acids. We’re oxidizing them, and we’re taking them right into our body already rancid. I think that is one of the primary causes.”

Markers for Heart Disease

Dr. Rowen does not treat total cholesterol levels, and neither do I. Rather, we look at the ratios between so-called good and bad cholesterol—the HDL and LDL—as well as your triglycerides. These are far more potent markers for heart disease. I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:

  • HDL/Cholesterol ratio: Divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. This percentage should ideally be above 24 percent
  • Triglyceride/HDL ratio: Divide your triglycerides by your HDL level. This percentage should be below 2

In my experience, high triglycerides specifically, and elevated cholesterol in general, is typically related to excessive consumption of grains and sugars. A high-fructose, high grain-carb diet contributes to insulin resistance, which will cause your liver to produce more cholesterol and more inflammatory LDL particles, raise your triglycerides, and increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.

Other heart disease markers Dr. Rowen recommends paying close attention to include:

  • Ferritin levels, because iron participates in the oxidation of cholesterol
  • Homocysteine levels, which can show potential deficiencies in crucial B vitamins
  • Lipoprotein A (LPA), as it affects your blood coagulation
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, and
  • Blood viscosity

On Blood Viscosity and Heart Disease

Blood viscosity refers to the thickness of your blood. The thicker your blood is, the more pressure is needed to move it throughout your body—hence your blood pressure increases.

“That pressure and that thickness is going to cause sheer on the endothelial cells where blood vessels bifurcate, where your artery splits into two arteries,” he explains.

A blood viscosity test will tell you how thick your blood is. It’s not commonly used, but there are a few labs that perform it, such as Meridian Valley Lab in Washington. If your blood viscosity is high, it’s recommended that you donate blood, as this will reduce it. Donating your blood will also reduce your ferritin (iron) levels.  Certain nutritional supplements may also be helpful, such as vitamin E.

“You can use the already high-quality tocopherol supplements,” Dr. Rowen says. “I would get mixed tocopherols with alpha and gamma, and not the delta… I also like tocotrienols, which might be a more active form.”

As for whole foods, nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E, as well as essential fats, combined with natural antioxidants that protect their oils from rancidity. I personally eat about four ounces of raw organic almonds every day.

Another strategy that can help reduce blood viscosity is Earthing or grounding—the act of walking barefoot on the earth. The theory is that when you walk barefoot on the earth, it allows for the transfer of free electrons from the earth into your body, via the soles of your feet. It mediates inflammation in your body by improving the zeta potential—the pulse capacity of your red blood cells—which also helps reduce blood viscosity.

If You’re on a Statin Drug, You MUST Take CoQ10

One in four Americans over the age of 45 are currently taking a statin drug. Unfortunately, few are aware of the need to take coenzyme Q10, or the reduced form, ubiquinol, along with it, to buffer against some of the most devastating side effects of the drug. Dr. Rowen also recommends taking it if you’re using red yeast rice.

The reason CoQ10 supplementation is so important is because statins blocks the CoQ10 pathway, causing it to be depleted. CoQ10 is vital for cellular energy production—without it your cells simply cannot function. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 is also very important in the process of neutralizing free radicals.

As a general guideline, if you’re on a statin drug, you need to take at least 100-200 mg of ubiquinol or CoQ10 per day. If you already have symptoms of statin damage, such as muscle pain, take anywhere from 200 to 500 mg a day. There are no reported side effects of CoQ10 supplementation.

Tips for Optimizing Your Cholesterol Without Drugs

Your body NEEDS cholesterol—it’s important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.

“Please don’t live in fear of your raw cholesterol number,” Dr. Rowen says. “Unless it’s around 300 or higher, I don’t believe that it’s going to be indicative [of heart disease risk].”

The goal of the guidelines below is not to loweryour cholesterol as low as it can go, but rather to optimize your levels so they’re working in the proper balance with your body. Seventy-five percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol. This is why my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle as follows:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. It is especially important to eliminate dangerous sugars such as fructose.
  • Consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil. New research suggests that as little as 500 mg of krill per day may lower your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol.
  • Replace harmful vegetable oils and trans fats with healthful fats, such as olive oil and  coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only. Use coconut oil for cooking and baking)
  • Include fermented foods in your daily diet. This will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, it will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another indicator of increased heart disease risk.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure as this will allow your body to also create vitamin D sulfate—another factor that may play a crucial role in preventing the formation of arterial plaque.
  • Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate high intensity interval exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep.

Final Thoughts

“The simplest thing you can do, and the most powerful, is to clean up your diet first,” Dr. Rowen says. “Eat more raw, uncooked, living foods organic, grown around you, ripe when in season – ancient Chinese wisdom…

Get exercise. Exercise can overcome – I’m not going to say anything – but a lot. We know that people have eaten toxic diets for years, including a lot of cooked foods. When they get exercise, it can overcome a lot of that. These are things that cost absolutely nothing for you to do. I like your concept of eating fermented foods, keeping your mouth clean. The so-called antioxidants, particularly vitamin E or the natural vitamin E’s, are good. Especially if you can get it in your food, these don’t cost anything.

I assure you that in most cases, if you start doing these things, you’ll see that your cholesterol drops. Mine is 175. My triglycerides are 100 or less. I use triglycerides as a marker, because the higher that is, it tells me the more refined carbohydrates you’re eating. The more refined carbohydrates you’re eating, the more insulin you’re going to have. The more insulin you have, the bigger your belly… [I]nsulin drives all those carbohydrates into fat, which generates inflammation (which is the same inflammation that might come out of your mouth).

These are the things that you can do that don’t cost a penny, and can alter your health dramatically.”

Help Your DNA Through Exercise

By Dr. Mercola

New research published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that when healthy but inactive men and women exercise even briefly, it produces an immediate change in their DNAi.

Although the underlying genetic code in human muscle doesn’t change, exercise causes important structural and chemical changes to the DNA molecules within those muscles.

This contraction-induced gene activation, which modifies DNA at precise locations, appears to be early events leading to the genetic reprogramming of muscle for strength, and to the structural and metabolic benefits of exercise.

According to Science Dailyii:

“The DNA changes in question are known as epigenetic modifications and involve the gain or loss of chemical marks on DNA over and above the familiar sequence of As, Gs, Ts, and Cs.

The new study shows that the DNA within skeletal muscle taken from people after a burst of exercise bears fewer chemical marks (specifically methyl groups) than it did before exercise.

Those changes take place in stretches of DNA that are involved in turning “on” genes important for muscles’ adaptation to exercise…

Broadly speaking, the findings offer more evidence that our genomes are much more dynamic than they are often given credit for.”

Exercise Changes Your Biochemistry

Previous studies have identified and measured the biochemical changes that occur during exercise and found alterations in more than 20 different metabolitesiii. Some of these compounds help you burn calories and fat, while others help stabilize your blood sugar, among other things.

What all of this tells us is that exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight creates a positive feedback loop. One of the key health benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize your glucose and insulin levels, by optimizing insulin receptor sensitivity. This is perhaps the most important factor for optimizing your overall health and preventing disease of all kinds, from diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer, and everything in between.