Healthy Foods Category

The Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

June 20th, 2017

How many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

 

Click here to listen to my radio segment about cholesterol, discussed on the Dr. Tony O’Donnell Show!

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Life Extension Smoothie – Powerful & Important Health Benefits

May 29th, 2017

I created the Life Extension Smoothie to provide some of nature’s most protective, healing and perfect nutrients to protect against those factors that cause aging and disease.  There are numerous benefits to combining ground organic flax-seed, omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids and blueberries in a delicious protein smoothie.  These benefits are described below following the recipe.

LIFE EXTENSION SMOOTHIE

  • 8 oz. (227 gm) Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 Tbs (30 gm) Ground Flax Seed Powder
  • 1 Tbs (15 ml) Barlean’s Omega Twin (Organic Flax & Borage oils)
    • May substitute another brand or just flax oil)
  • 1 scoop  MRM Natural Whey Protein Powder (low carb and no sugar or artificial sweeteners)
    • May substitute with any nutritious  low/no sugar whey protein powder.  A vanilla protein powder will add to it’s delicious taste.
  • 16 oz. Water (474 ml)
  • 1 tsp (5 gm) Cinnamon Powder
  • 4 Ice cubes (adjust to preferred thickness)

Blending Instructions

Add the ice, blue berries, flax-seed powder first, then add the oil and cool water.  Blend on low for about 10 seconds, then on high for a minute or more.  Drink first glass.  Re-blend for 20-30 seconds, drink balance.

Health Benefits:

Flax Seed Powder – Flax is a blue flowering plant that has attracted the attention of medical researchers around the world.  Not only is it a source of two different kinds of dietary fiber (soluble & insoluble, each with different health benefits), it is also a source of powerful, health promoting Omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Flax seed is the single highest source of”LIGNANS” which protect our body against cellular damage and unhealthy cellular changes.  Flax seed has been studied for the following conditions: heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cancer, menopause, PMS, kidney disease, constipation, Irritable Bowel syndrome, diabetes, peptic ulcer, hemorrhoids, weight loss and mineral absorption.

Flax Seed Oil – Flax oil contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids or EFA’s.  These are the “anti-fat” fats that make foods like flaxseed and certain cold water fishes like salmon, herring and mackerel so healthy. The EFAs are the good fats that fight the bad fats we get in our diet from junk food and processed foods that are almost impossible to avoid.  The highest quantities of Omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is present in flax-seed.  ALA is the parent from which EFA and DHA (the healthy fish oils) are derived.  ALA converts to compounds called prostaglandins. These compounds can be either inflammatory and anti-inflammatory. ALA converts to anti-inflammatory types of prostaglandins and since most degenerative disease all have inflammatory components, ALA is a welcome ally.  In fact studies have shown that ALA prevented platelets (red blood cells) from clumping together which can be a factor in heart attack. It has been known to increase the elasticity of heart arteries, and lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. A study also showed that women who have breast cancer had very low levels of ALA in their breast tissue compared to women with healthy tissue.

Borage Oil – Borage is a plant whose flowers and leaves as well as the oil from its seeds are used as medicine.  Borage seed oil contains a high content of the essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is part of the inflammatory mediation process and therefore the oil might be expected to have an impact on a variety of diseases and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and atopic eczema.  Combined with fish oil, borage seed oil has shown improvement in bone density in a study of elderly osteoporotic women.  A study also concluded that GLA may hold promise for treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

Every cell in our body is enclosed by a cell membrane which plays a role in determining many cell functions, including what healthy or unhealthy things get in or out of our cells. Almost 25% of the cell membrane is conmposed of what should be healthy “phospholipids” (good fats).  Unfortunately because you get so very little of the good fats from sources like flax oil and borage oil, and so many of the bad fasts from the typical western diet, that the body uses what it has (the bad fats, disease-causing trans and saturated fats) and incorporates the bad fats into these very critical cell membranes.  The very nature, integrity and function of the cell membrane worsens, and a critical mechanism that we rely on to stay healthy and stay alive is seriously changed and compromised.

THE GOOD NEW IS... By switching to a combination of flax-seed oil and borage oil (such as Barlean’s Omega Twin or various brands of the individual oils combined), the body will begin to incorporate the “good fats” back into your cell membranes and re-establish cell membrane integrity and give you back the powerful protection that healthy cell membranes provide to our bodies. Matter of fact, the very process of AGING is associated with organic and biological changes in things like cell membranes.  These EFA’s by protecting cell membrane integrity are combatting some of the cumulative negative effects of aging and poor dietary habits.

Blueberries – All fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of some powerfully protective and health promoting compounds called phytochemicals.  One class of phytochemicals, “flavonoids” has an impressive range of heath benefits.  Blueberries seem to have the most impressive combination of phytochemicals, especially flavonoids compared to other fruits and vegetables.  A 2017 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has shown that blueberries can improve some aspects of cognition in older adults. Studies also suggest blueberries can inhibit the growth of liver cancer growth, and can help preserve cognitive function in post-menopausal women and decrease their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.   Blueberries also have amazing anti-oxidant powers that can protect you and your loved ones from most of the illnesses and diseases we all worry about.

We all know that we need oxygen to stay alive.  But one of the byproducts resulting from the burning of oxygen is the production of potentially dangerous and unstable molecules called “FREE RADICALS”  These free radicals are missing an electron and want to get that missing electron from somewhere in our bodies.  They do this by attacking a healthy cell. This attack can cause the cell to die or to mutate… Neither option is a good choice!  Fortunately both our bodies and certain foods can provide us with antioxidants that can neutralize these dangerous free radicals before they attack our cells.  Because there are many different types of free radicals the real trick is to know which of the many antioxidants can neutralize as many of the different types of free radicals as possible.  This is where the simple blueberry shines. The United States, National Institutes of Health found that blueberries containing antioxidants may act to protect the body against damage from oxidative stress, one of several biological processes implicated in aging and in the development of a number of neurodegenerative diseases.  Compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables measured for their anti-oxidant activity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ranked blueberries, by far and away the best.

Cinnamon – Proven health benefits of cinnamon are:  high source of antioxidants, contains anti-inflammtory properties, protects heart heath, fights diabetes, helps defend against cognitive decline and protects brain function, may help lower cancer risk, fights infections and viruses, while protecting dental health and freshening breath naturally.

Whey Protein – Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. People commonly use it as supplementation, alongside resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass. Whey protein enhances immune function, may lower blood pressure, treat type-2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, may be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease, and enhance the body’s antioxidant defenses as well.

The “Life Extension Smoothie” makes it easy for people to incorporate these incredibly healthy ingredients and nutritional treasures into their diet effortlessly. Enjoy.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

Paying Attention to Your Gut Pays Off!

May 26th, 2017

Gut Health & ProbioticsMany people might be surprised and intrigued to learn that we have what could be considered a second brain or additional nervous system located in our gut. Our gastrointestinal tract works hard to keep us healthy and happy but we can face major health consequences when our gut health is compromised.

Our gut is an entire ecosystem of bacteria and yeast, some are beneficial while others are toxic. The human body contains about 100 billion bacteria cells. Only 10% of the cells in our body are human, the rest are microbial. Keeping this system healthy and balanced is crucial to our short and long-term health and even our longevity.

The Role of Probiotics in Gut Health
A probiotic is any food or substance that maintains or restores the balance of healthy and unhealthy microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts in our gut.  Since the number of microorganisms in our gut outnumber the human cells in our body, you can begin to imagine why maintaining a healthy balance or correcting dysbiosis (an unhealthy balance of pathogenic organisms to healthy ones) is very important.  Other than our skin, our gut is our primary contact with the outside world and a major entry point for pathogenic organisms.  A very large percentage of our immune response is based upon phenomenon that occur in our gut (lymph tissue, white blood cells etc).

Dysbiosis has been associated with: heart issues, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue and cancer.  It can also lead to depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s just to name a few.  This link may be due to intestinal bacteria’s ability to make small molecules (called metabolites) that can reach the brain and impact how it works.

The plethora of microorganisms in our gut communicate with our brains via chemicals, hormoness, enzymes and specific nerve connections between this gut-brain axis which is referred to as the enteric nervous system or second brain.  This could explain such expressions as: having a gut feeling, or doing a gut check.

Some evidence suggests that it is not the presence or absence of one bacteria that makes up a healthy gut, but rather the diversity of bacteria.  Because there are dozens or more of good microorganisms in our guts, I feel that food sources of probiotics are far favorable to taking probiotics supplements because they have multiple strains of the different probiotics which are naturally occurring and much more likely to provide over-all balance.

The best sources of probiotics are from fermented foods.  Originally fermentation was used to naturally preserve foods so they would last longer but the process also significantly enhanced the concentration of healthy probiotic microorganisms as well.

Probiotic Food sourcesFermented foods which are EXCELLENT SOURCES of multiple types of probiotics are:

·         Kefir – Kevita is a brand I am not associated with, but really like.  It is a sparkling, low sugar, high probiotic drink that comes in many flavors.

·         Sauerkraut – Tastes great and comes prepackaged or in jars carried by supermarkets and health-food stores.

·         Red Miso Paste – If you like miso soup you will enjoy its taste as well.  You can eat the paste by itself or mix it with something.  I like mixing it with sauerkraut.

·         Organic Yogurt – I prefer yogurt that is low in sugar and organic or made from goat’s milk.  You can sweeten the yogurt with natural non-caloric sweeteners like stevia or erythritol or a combination of the two.

Beware of Antibiotics
When pathogens enter our body, they can sometimes cause infections, which are often treated with antibiotics.  Unfortunately, antibiotics kill off both good and bad gut microorganisms thus creating an imbalance/dysbiosis.  Poor diet and especially too much sugar can have the same effect.

Paying attention to your gut pays off!  Our food choices greatly influence our bacteria population.   Supplementing with probiotics or adding probiotics foods daily to your diet while trying your best to eat more plant-based foods and to reduce sugar consumption can lead to large and noticeable improvements in your over-all health, extend your life and increase your sense of physical and cognitive wellbeing.

To the best of health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

 

Are You Taking 500-1,000 Mg of Vitamin C Daily?

April 12th, 2017

When we are run down, stressed or actually sick, our bodies burn through vitamin C at an alarming rate.  Once your vitamin C levels drop, your immune system becomes more compromised which could lead to other health issues.

This explains why we are able to tolerate much larger than normal doses of vitamin C than we would normally require when we have a cold or flu or other infections.

Interestingly, in healthy people who regularly consume vegetable and some fruits and/or supplement with vitamin C, recommended vitamin C levels are around 70 micromoles per liter yet these levels drop precipitously when we have a health problem.  For examples these levels drop to:

42 in diabetics

31 during pneumonia

<24 in cancer patients

27 in arthritic patients

Oxidative stress and systemic inflammation will also deplete vitamin C levels.

As these levels drop our immune function will also suffer.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C at 90 mg. is enough to prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency but woefully too low to provide optimal levels of this vitamin.

I recommend 500-1000 mg/day of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which is 5-11 times the recommended RDA.  Regular, inexpensive ascorbic acid is all that is necessary and don’t get caught up in all of the advertising hype about fancy and much more expensive forms of vitamin C being better or more bioavailable.

Vitamin C is protective on so many levels.  In addition to strongly supporting immune function, other proven benefits are:

1-      Protects against CVD (Cardiovascular Disease)

2-      Reduces the risk of stroke

3-      Protects our cells against radiation damage

4-      Protects against damage to our DNA

5-      Beneficial adjunctive cancer therapy (intravenous Vitamin C is often given to cancer patients).

6-     Beneficial anti-inflammatory

7-      Powerful antioxidant that also protects and restores other antioxidants

8-      Protects connective tissue, bones, arteries and skin

9-      Crucially beneficial to wound healing

10-   May reduce the duration and severity of the common cold and in higher doses may reduce flu symptoms

Vitamin C is one of the most important supplements to include in your diet to keep your body functioning properly. Whether you eat lots of fruits and vegetables or take it in caplet or powdered form, make sure to get at least 500-1,000 mg. double that if you are a smoker or drinker and don’t be afraid to really increase your intake when you are sick.

 

Click here to listen to my radio segment as we discuss Vitamin C on the Dr. Tony O’Donnell Show!

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

YES! Dark Chocolate is Really Healthy… just don’t over-do it!

April 1st, 2017

An ever increasing number of studies support the various health benefits of eating ½-1 ounce of dark chocolate a day. (14-28 grams a day)

Buy chocolate that contains at least 65% cocoa and the higher the better/healthier with some products getting as high as 85% cocoa.

Here is a summary of some of the health benefits the most recent studies are attributing to the powerful antioxidant polyphenol compounds called flavonoids found in dark chocolate. (It’s the cocoa component of dark chocolate that contains these healthy compounds.  Milk chocolate contains considerably less cocoa content and it has more fat and sugar, so that’s NOT the way to go.)

The health benefits of dark chocolate:

  • Reduction in heart disease by as much as 37%
  • Protection against the aging effects of free radicals on our cells
  • 20% reduction in risk of stroke
  • Mild to moderate reductions in blood pressure
  • Protect and enhance vision due to increased blood flow to the eyes
  • Enhances mood and protects against depression
  • Preliminary reports stating cancer protection
  • Harvard study reports a one year increase in life expectancy
  • May protect skin against harmful UV effects of the sun
  • May reduce inflammation in the body and markers of inflammation like C-Reactive-protein (CRP)

Recent studies, published in well-respected science journals, state that moderate consumption of dark chocolate but not other kinds of chocolates like milk chocolate or white chocolate, can yield some important health benefits.

“Dark chocolate”, also called “plain chocolate” or “black chocolate”, is chocolate produced with either zero or much less milk than milk chocolate, to which sugar and fat are added.

Dark chocolate is synonymous with semisweet and extra-dark (that contains even higher levels of cocoa) is also referred to as bittersweet.

The percentage of cocoa, in dark and extra-dark chocolate, is significantly higher than the cocoa levels in milk chocolate.

This is significant for at least 2 reasons:

1 – Milk is thought to interfere with the absorption, into our bodies, of the healthy and naturally occurring antioxidants, called polyphenols, which are found in the cocoa derived from the cocoa bean. Cocoa levels in dark chocolate can get as high as 90% or more. Levels in milk chocolate can be significantly less than 35%.

2 – The higher % of cocoa in dark chocolate results in higher levels of the antioxidants which are thought to yield some of the health benefits of dark chocolate that will be discussed below.

 

Studies – Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure.

Another paper, published by Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, showed that the antioxidants in dark chocolate consume destructive free radicals that associated with heart disease and other chronic degenerative diseases. This research also showed that milk either in the chocolate or consumed with the chocolate will interfere with the absorption of the antioxidants in the dark chocolate and reduce or eliminate their potential benefits.

Therefore, do not consume milk at the same time you eat dark chocolate. A reasonable portion of dark chocolate would be about 75- 100 grams or about 2 ½-3 ½ ounces. But remember, this amount dark chocolate would contain about 370-530 calories, so try to eliminate another desert of similar caloric content if you start consuming dark chocolate.

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N.,  C.N.S

 

 

 

HEALTHY EASTER EGGS – Hunting for the Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

March 31st, 2017

Easter Eggs ImageHow many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Fruit Infused Water – A Great Way to Stay Hydrated and Beat the Heat

July 31st, 2016

 

Recipes Fruit Infused WaterSummer is in full swing and with rising temperatures comes the need for everyone, especially migraineurs to stay well hydrated.  Helping to prevent migraines is only one of the benefits to drinking plenty of water.  Water helps with controlling calories, energizing muscles, and keeping your skin looking good.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep your body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination and perspiration.

Your body needs more water in hotter climates, on hotter days and when your more physically active.  If you think you are not getting enough water, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. Choose water over other beverages when eating out and freeze water in a freezer safe bottle for icy cold water all day long.  To jazz it up a bit, make your own fruit infused water.

Fruit Infused Water

Making your own fruit-infused waters is a great alternative to drinking sugary sports drinks and sodas with additives and dyes.Fruit infused water doesn’t really require a specific recipe. You can experiment by making small or large batches and adding as much or as little fruit as you would like to increase flavor and sweetness.  Let your concoction stand for 2 to 8 hours then enjoy!Popular fruits:  raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, and cucumbers.Popular herbs:  mint, basil and rosemaryAdd your favorite ingredients to a 1/2 gallon pitcher of water, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Or make by the glass.

Mango-Ginger Water
This is a delicious drink that boosts your metabolism, acts a natural pain reliever for migraines to menstrual cramps, aides in digestion and boosts your memory.
Ingredients:  1 inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced + 1 cup Frozen Mango (or fresh)
Drop into a pitcher of water and cover with 3 cups of ice.  The ice is important to hold down the ingredients to help infuse the water.  Chill 1-3 hours and enjoy!

OTHER GREAT FRUIT AND HERB COMBINATIONS FOR FLAVORFUL WATER

Ginger-Lemon-Mint Water
1 lemon slice, 2 sprigs mint, slice of fresh ginger (2 oz)

Strawberry-Lemon-Basil Water
4-6 strawberries, 1/2 lemon sliced, and a small handful of basil, scrunched.

Blueberry Orange Water
2 mandarin oranges, cut into wedges, handful of blueberries.
Squeeze in the juice of one mandarin orange and muddle the blueberries to intensify flavor.

Raspberry-Lemon
1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 lemon sliced.

Mango-Pineapple
1 cup cubed mango and 1 cup cubed pineapple.

Cucumber-Lemon
Cucumber slices and lemon wedges.

Rosemary-Grapefruit Water
1/2 grapefruit sliced, several springs of rosemary.

Lemon-Jalapeno-Cilantro Water
1 lime sliced, 1 halved jalapeno, and fresh cilantro to taste.
Cover and let sit over night in the refrigerator.

Watermelon-Mint-Lime Water
1 lime sliced, 2 sprigs mint, 1 cup watermelon chunks.

Watermelon-Mint Water
1 cup watermelon chunks and 2 sprigs mint.

Many stores carry various “Infusion Water Bottles” but any container may be used.

 

Fruit infused water bottles

 

 

On The Fence About Eating Fish? Worried About Mercury?

March 4th, 2016

Plate of Fried Salmon fillet and spices

If you have reduced or eliminated fish intake due to concerns about mercury it’s probably a big mistake.  The government and alleged experts just got it all wrong!

Most people have read about the multiple health benefits of eating seafood. Many of these benefits are derived from the essential fatty acids like EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docahexanoic acid) which are found in higher amounts in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies and lake trout. In addition, seafood is an excellent source of quality protein and vitamin D.

 

Just some of the reported benefits of fish include:
·         Heart health
·         Brain health,
·         Mental health,
·         Eye health
·         Reduced risk of auto-immune diseases

Fish may increase grey matter in the brain and protect it from age-related deterioration and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. The essential fatty acids in fish are very anti-inflammatory and systemic inflammation is fundamental to the development and progression of most chronic degenerative diseases.

In my opinion, the consumption of the right types of fish and vegetables are the foundational components of a life extending-longevity diet.

The question is, “How did we ever get to the point where we thought it might be a good idea to limit fish consumption because of mercury levels?”

To understand how fish consumption and mercury content incorrectly became something to be concerned about and how this “misguided information and subsequent poor advice” (which by the way, the FDA has subsequently reversed) came about we have to go back over 12 years ago to a study that was published about the effects of maternal fish consumption on children born in the Faroe Islands, a group of islands halfway between Iceland and Norway.1

The study found that maternal consumption of seafood had a modest negative effect on young children’s brain and possibly heart function.  No negative effects of mercury in seafood on adults were stated.

Based upon these results, the National Research Council set standards for limiting seafood consumption in pregnant women and in 2004 the EPA and FDA released guidelines proposing that women wanting to become pregnant or already pregnant limit their fish consumption to 12 ounces a week (28.4 grams per ounce for those using metric).

These guidelines-warnings caused millions of young women to severely cut back on fish consumption, if not eliminate it completely, thinking they were protecting their unborn children.  This reaction to these guidelines was probably not protective and very possibly harmful.

As it turns out, the maternal seafood consumption in the Faroe Islands was 85% pilot whale and this fish was known to have excessively higher levels of mercury and toxins than most any other sources of ocean seafood and was pretty much a phenomenon related to this culture and had little or no application to the types of seafood being eaten by the rest of the world.

An interesting side-bar is that the Harvard Chan School was involved in this study. The take-away is that studies can be misleading, confusing and potentially dangerous if reviewed in a vacuum and not put into proper perspective, especially when contradictory studies exist (no matter how prestigious the reputation of the researchers.)

The media and ecology groups ran wild publicizing and writing about this misleading study, and what was incorrectly aimed only at reducing seafood consumption in pregnant or soon to be pregnant women quickly spread to include everyone.

Large numbers of pregnant women either reduced seafood consumption or eliminated it completely.  We will discuss how these pregnant women may have inadvertently negatively impacted the brain development of their soon to be born children by reducing seafood consumption.

Then 10 years later (2014) based upon a review of existing data and two new studies demonstrating the substantial health/brain benefits of fish consumption by pregnant women on the brain development of their newborns, the FDA reversed it’s 2004 guidelines and released the following proposed draft of new guidelines:

June 10, 2014 – Release

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued draft updated advice on fish consumption. The two agencies have concluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant, and young children should eat more fish that is lower in mercury in order to gain important developmental and health benefits. The draft updated advice is consistent with recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Previously, the FDA and the EPA recommended maximum amounts of fish that these population groups should consume, but did not promote a minimum amount. Over the past decade, however, emerging science has underscored the importance of appropriate amounts of fish in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

“For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.”

An FDA analysis of seafood consumption data from over 1,000 pregnant women in the United States found that 21 percent of them ate no fish in the previous month, and those who ate fish ate far less than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends—with 50 percent eating fewer than 2 ounces a week, and 75 percent eating fewer than 4 ounces a week. The draft updated advice recommends pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (2-3 servings) per week of a variety of fish that are lower in mercury to support fetal growth and development.

“Eating fish with lower levels of mercury provides numerous health and dietary benefits,” said Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Water. “This updated advice will help pregnant women and mothers make informed decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish to eat during important times in their lives and their children’s lives.”

Before issuing final advice, the agencies will consider public comments, and also intend to seek the advice of the FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee and conduct a series of focus groups.

The public can provide comment on the draft advice and the supplemental questions and answers by submitting comments to the Federal Register docket or by participating in any public meetings that may be held. The comment period will be open until 30 days after the last transcript from the advisory committee meeting and any other public meetings becomes available. The dates of any public meetings, as well as when the public comment period will close, will be published in future Federal Register notices at www.federalregister.gov.

We (the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency) are issuing this advice to encourage women to eat recommended amounts and types of fish. Recent reports show many pregnant women in the United States are not consuming fish in amounts recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. This advice is being issued now to encourage women who are pregnant (or may become pregnant) or breastfeeding and young children to eat more fish and to eat a variety of fish from choices that are lower in mercury. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote healthy eating, now recommends that “women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week, from choices lower in methyl mercury.” 

There is longstanding evidence of the nutritional value of fish in the diet. Fish contain high quality protein, many vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, are mostly low in saturated fat, and some fish even contain vitamin D. The nutritional value of fish is especially important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, and in childhood.

Two important studies that caused the guidelines to be corrected were done in the Seychelle Islands and Barcelona Spain.

The Barcelona study found that pregnant women who ate 3-4 servings of fish (21 ounces weekly or approximately 600 grams) on a weekly basis may benefit the brains of their  to be born children and may even reduce the risk of autism.  The study tracked 2000 women from their first trimester up until their kids turned 5 years old. The researchers found that the children whose mothers consumed fish at the level had almost 3% higher IQ’s than those children whose mothers consumed less.  There were NO signs that mercury had any negative effect on these children.2

The Seychelle Islands study was published in The American Journal of Epidemiology.  This study was carried out by scientists from the University of Rochester Medical School. The researchers continue to monitor multiple areas of brain and cognitive function of these children every few years and to date; they are healthy and show no negative effect of their mothers eating high levels of mercury containing fish.3

Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director of the American Council on Science and Health stated – “Their exposure to fish with high mercury content has, so far, had no negative measurable effects……..”I would counsel the American public to not be afraid of eating fish, despite the allegations of advocate groups and some of our government agencies,” Ross advised. “These are merely hypothetical risks. In contrast, fish consumption has empirically proven to be very beneficial. Among other benefits, fish consumption helps combat heart disease, arrhythmias, and cognitive decline in old age.”

Dr. Philip Davidson, the lead researcher of the study stated, “The body of evidence so far indicates that there are no detectable effects in young children,” Scientists will continue to monitor the children to ensure negative effects do not manifest themselves later in life.”

At this point, a reader might ask why is mercury, a known toxin, not having a measurable negative effect on the development of these children?  Often times in medical research the mechanism of action of a compound or drug is not well known or understood, regardless of whether or not its effect is health promoting or health compromising.

In this case we have an ingredient, mercury (actually methyl mercury the form found in seafood) that is not exhibiting the negative effects on development that were anticipated to show up before these studies started.

Some unproven but plausible explanations are being suggested:

1-    It is well established in the medical literature that DHA (Docosahexanoic acid one of the omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish) is important to normal neurological/brain development in young children.

It could be that the high levels of DHA consumed by eating fish multiple times per week, out strips any negative effects of mercury.

2-    It is proposed that almost all fish that are low in mercury, have a high selenium-to-mercury ratio and that is protective.  One theory explaining this is that mercury interferes with selenium related enzymes that are necessary for healthy neurological development.  When the amount of mercury exceeds the amount of selenium present, this healthy function of selenium is interrupted.

Another legitimate question would be – “What about the other toxins in seafood that have been reported to be dangerous? Specifically PCBs. (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins.

Once again a paper was published talking about the high levels of PCBs found in farmed Salmon.  Once again the media jumped all over this and bloggers who are either not qualified to properly analyze the reporting of science based studies and statistics (or if they are qualified just didn’t do their homework) gave the fish eating public something else to be worried about.4

Well it turns out, that when the entire paper (not just the abstract) is read, the data showed that even though farmed salmon had a higher content of PCBs than wild salmon, its level was only about 2% of the level where governmental agencies thought it was of concern.  JUST 2%!!!  Meat and dairy levels are significantly higher!

So the accurate message to be derived from this study is that levels of PCBs in all the salmon tested were very low and that wild salmon was even lower than farmed salmon.  The take away is – Eat whatever source of salmon you can afford.  There are plenty of benefits from eating farmed salmon as well.

What about mercury from other sources besides fish?  Well a recent study done by the same Saychelle Island researchers tracked the impact of mercury amalgams (fillings) in pregnant woman on the develop of their children at birth and for the next five years. They found no negative effects in this study as well.4

Just to keep things in proper prospective, it is always possible that tracking kids from 5-15 years is not long enough for mercury related issues to crop up, but the benefits are very real and any future risks are currently at the very best just hypothetical.

Your call to action is – Eat around a pound and a half of low mercury seafood a week (refer to the list).  Both children and adults who do are likely to be substantially healthier and in my opinion, have a greater chance of living longer.

I wish you a long, vibrant, and happy life.

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N.  C.N.S.
Chief Science Officer, Akeso Health Sciences LLC

 

References:  

(1)  Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1997 Nov-Dec;19(6):417-28.   Faroe island study

Cognitive deficit in 7-year-old children with prenatal exposure to methylmercury.
Grandjean P1, Weihe P, White RF, Debes F, Araki S, Yokoyama K, Murata K, Sørensen N, Dahl R, Jørgensen PJ.

1Institute of Community Health, Odense University, Denmark. p.grandjean@winsloew.ou.dk

(2)  Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Feb 1;183(3):169-82. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv195. Epub 2016 Jan 5.  Barcelona study

Maternal Consumption of Seafood in Pregnancy and Child Neuropsychological Development: A Longitudinal Study Based on a Population With High Consumption Levels.
Julvez J, Méndez M, Fernandez-Barres S, Romaguera D, Vioque J, Llop S, Ibarluzea J, Guxens M, Avella-Garcia C, Tardón A, Riaño I, Andiarena A, Robinson O, Arija V, Esnaola M, Ballester F, Sunyer J.

(3)  JAMA. 1998 Aug 26;280(8):701-7. Seychelles Study

Effects of prenatal and postnatal methylmercury exposure from fish consumption on neurodevelopment: outcomes at 66 months of age in the Seychelles Child Development Study.
Davidson PW1, Myers GJ, Cox C, Axtell C, Shamlaye C, Sloane-Reeves J, Cernichiari E, Needham L, Choi A, Wang Y, Berlin M, Clarkson TW.

1University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY 14642, USA. pdavidson@cc.urmc.rochester.edu

(4)  Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2013 Sep-Oct;39:57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

Neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5 years in children exposed prenatally to maternal dental amalgam: the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study.
Watson GE1, van Wijngaarden E, Love TM, McSorley EM, Bonham MP, Mulhern MS, Yeates AJ, Davidson PW, Shamlaye CF, Strain JJ, Thurston SW,Harrington D, Zareba G, Wallace JM, Myers GJ.

HOW TO LIVE FOR 100 YEARS OR MORE!

November 20th, 2015

On behalf of myself and the MigreLief team at Akeso Health Sciences, I would like to thank you all for following and “Liking Us” on Facebook.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting MigreLief’s goal of trying to prevent life debilitating migraines in chronic sufferers worldwide. In part, because of your support we are reaching more men, women, and children whose lives are disrupted by extremely painful migraines.

As a way of saying thank you, I would like to share, what I believe to be extremely valuable science that you and your loved ones can begin implementing today, in order to significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and thereby increasing the likelihood of living to a ripe old age while remaining vibrant, strong, energetic and young looking.

Chronic degenerative diseases such as,

  • * Heart disease
  • * Cancer
  • * Arthritis
  • * Diabetes
  • * Asthma
  • * Alzheimer’s disease

Though seemingly distinct and different diseases, all have remarkable similarities when we measure certain biomarkers in the blood and spinal fluid that are acknowledged indicators or precursors of disease progression.

Three of the most important destructive aging and disease causing phenomenon that occur and can be measured in the body are:

  • 1- Oxidative Stress
  • 2- Systemic Inflammation
  • 3- Excessive Glycation – (the damage that sugar does to tissue and cellular proteins.)

Oxidative Stress – Many of you have probably heard about the damage that “free radicals” can do to our bodies. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are missing an electron and steal electrons from healthy cells and damage them or cause them to die or mutate (cancer). Removal of the electron from the healthy cell by the free radical is called oxidation and thus the term “oxidative stress”. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control oxidative stress!

Systemic Inflammation – Believe it or not, inflammation, when under control is actually a signal used by the body to call white blood cells to an injured/damaged area within our bodies to start healing.

For example, if a cut becomes infected it becomes inflamed. The inflammation is actually a signal for certain types of white blood cells to come to the injured area to “clean” up the infection.

Once the wound is healed the inflammation goes away and we return to normal. But due to poor diets, excessive oxidative stress caused by not consuming enough antioxidants (which neutralize free radicals) that are contained in vegetables and fruits, and too much sugar, we develop a consistent “low grade” level of circulating inflammatory compounds that over time, if not checked, actually erode our bodies, brains and other organs and accelerate oxidative stress and the on-going damage that occurs over time. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “systemic inflammation!”

Excessive Glycation – The chemical process by which part of a sugar molecule attaches to and changes/destroys a protein molecule is referred to as glycation.

Many of you have probably heard how Type II diabetes is becoming rampant in our American population. Due to poor diets many of us stop responding efficiently to insulin produced by the pancreas that is supposed to make sure that sugar in our blood is transferred to the cells where it can be used for energy and carrying out cellular functions.

When we become less sensitive to insulin, more sugar “hangs around” in the blood and as the blood circulates the sugar in it does damage to the organs like our hearts, kidneys, lungs, brains and eyes. This is why heart disease is associated with diabetes.

To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “excessive glycation.”

 

IF WE WANT TO LEAD LONG, PRODUCTIVE, HEALTHY LIVES WELL INTO OUR 80’S, 90’S AND BEYOND, WE NEED TO CONTROL – “OXIDATIVE “STRESS,” “SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION,” AND “EXCESSIVE GLYCATION!”

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:

 

1- The Indian spice TUMERIC and its active ingredient CURCUMIN – Tumeric is the yellow spice that is used in Indian cooking. Extracts of turmeric that contain 95% curcumin are among the most medicinally researched herbal compounds in the world. From cancer, to heart disease, to Alzheimer’s and arthritis, there are studies in animals and humans that show the incredible protective and healing powers of curcumin.

Curcumin is at the same time a powerful antioxidant, powerful anti-inflammatory and also demonstrates some ability to slow down glycation. So there is no wonder why it is on my list of things to take if you want to live to 100 and maintain exceptional health, and resist disease and aging. Take 1000-1500 mg a day of the turmeric extract. Make sure it states it is 95% curcumin on its label.

2- GREEN TEA EXTRACT – Many of you have heard about the multiple health benefits of drinking green tea. I suggest in addition to drinking it, that you take green tea extract as well, because you can never be sure the specific green tea you are drinking has any or enough of the specific phyto-compounds in it that make it so healthy and protective. Take 800-1000 mg a day of a green tea extract in capsule or tablet form that contain 50% EGCG (the most important active compound found in green tea). Several studies that have been published indicate that combining green tea with curcumin is synergistic and enhances the protective and health promoting benefits of each.

3- R-ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID – is a dietary supplement that helps to prevent the advanced glycation end products caused by sugar that do harm to our cells and tissues. It also helps us to maintain our ability to remain sensitive to insulin and reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

In addition, lipoic acid protects the energy producing organelles in our cells called mitochondria. As we age the effects of oxidative stress, inflammation and toxins damage the energy producing ability of our mitochondria and thus we experience the lack of energy often associated with advancing age. Lipoic acid helps to reduce this mitochondrial damage from occurring. Take 400-600 mg a day of R-alpha-lipoic acid. (Be sure that the supplement you get says “R” lipoic acid as it is believed to be the active isomer of this compound.)

To the above recommendations I strongly suggest that you take a daily comprehensive multiple vitamin/mineral product (that contains at least 25 mg each of Vitamin B-1, 2, 3, 5 and 400-800 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B-12).

Finally, make sure that you get at least 30 grams a day of soluble and insoluble fiber into your diet. Hi-fiber cereals that contain 8+ grams per serving are good places to start. Then you can sprinkle either psyllium or ground FLAX SEED on top of the cereals or into yogurt or salads to further increase your fiber intake.

 

Healthy Item List:

Tumeric (95% curcumin): 1000-1500 mg/day

Green Tea Extract (50% EGCG): 800-1000 mg/day

R-alpha-lipoic acid – 400-800 mcg/day

plus

Multiple Vitamin – containing at least; 25mg of Vit B-1, B-2, B-3 B-5, 100 mcg of B-12 and 400-800 folic acid

Ground Flaxseed or Psyllium -30 grams (sprinkled on food or mixed into smoothies etc.

 

I sincerely hope that you take this advice to heart and follow it daily. It will make a profound difference in how you age and how young and healthy you stay throughout the oncoming decades.

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

Age Old Advice Not to Consume Saturated Fat Has No Basis in Fact or Science

April 21st, 2015

FatI read reams of newly published scientific and medical information published in peer-reviewed journals every month.

Almost every week, I read an article or blog where a physician or registered dietician talks about the dangers and health risks of consuming saturated fats.  I could understand  authors not staying abreast of the research disproving these dangers and risks if it was brand spanking new.  When it is years old, however, there is no explanation other than they have not done their homework.

A small percentage of what we think we know about science, medicine and health is irrefutable and the vast percentage of our knowledge is subject to change, or  a complete revision.

This has happened innumerable times and will continue to happen as new research surfaces. In the past few decades we have seen  the almost unquestionable health benefits of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) challenged and somewhat reversed.

Everyone knows that higher levels of HDL cholesterol are healthy and protective, right?  Now some cardiologists and researchers are challenging this “irrefutable” fact.

Everyone from your physician to your best friend “knows” that consumption of saturated fats causes heart disease…  Well,  based upon all of the most recently published studies that does not seem to be true.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (Mar. 2010) analyzing over 20 studies  on the risks of consuming saturated fat  found:

“… there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [stroke and cardiovascular disease].”

And now a new study just recently completed confirms this and adds a really interesting twist to the “dangers of saturated fats” topic.

An article recently published in the journal PLOS-1  found that increased dietary intake of saturated fats did not cause a rise in the blood plasma level of saturated fats.  But the very interesting take-away from this study was that increasing the percentage of daily dietary intake of carbohydrates did in fact raise plasma saturated fat levels,  which when elevated are known to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Let’s sum up what we have learned and what you should do regarding dietary saturated fats:

1-Consumption of foods containing saturated fats does not increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes because for unexplained metabolic reasons dietary consumption of saturated fats does not raise blood plasma levels of saturated fat which are thought to increase the risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, when elevated.

2-Consumption of foods containing high levels of carbohydrates do raise plasma levels of saturated fats, thereby increasing your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.

According to one of the lead researchers involved in the study “Dietary guidelines that recommend restricted consumption of saturated fats are not smart or scientific.”

If you would like to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, REDUCE YOUR TOTAL DAILY CONSUMPTION OF CARBOHYDRATES AND REPLACE THEM WITH  HEALTHY FATS (FISH, AVOCADO, OLIVE OIL, NUTS, ALMOND BUTTER, SUNFLOWER SEED SPREAD) AND QUALITY GRASS-FED OR FREE RANGE PROTEIN SOURCES.

My personal diet provides about 65% of my calories from fats, about 25% from protein sources and 10% from carbohydrates.  This is a far cry from the age-old pyramid recommendations to get 50-60%  of your daily calories from carbohydrates.

While I do lift weights, I do very little aerobic exercise except for walking and my body fat percentage stays around 16-17%. (I include this information for those of you who are worried about higher fat consumption causing you to gain weight or body fat).

My total daily caloric intake ranges between 2500-3000 calories.  Women, depending upon their level of activity should generally be in the 1700-2000 calories per day range if they desire to maintain their current weight.

Metabolically and physiologically……………SUGAR FROM CARBOHYDRATES IS THE ENEMY NOT FATS!

I also believe there is enough published quality science indicating that reducing your intake of carbohydrates may also lead to decreased risks of developing cancer, dementia/Alzheimers, vision and hearing loss.

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

 

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