Sunday, November 24, 2019

The hidden source of many ailments.

Are You Overlooking This Hidden Source of Joint Pain, Gut Woes and Thyroid Problems?

Dr. Joe Mercola
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Story at-a-glance

Plant lectins act as a built-in defense mechanism that ensures survival by triggering a negative reaction in predators; in humans they attach to your cell membranes, often wreaking havoc on your health
Many lectins can cause inflammation, damage your nerves and kill your cells, while some increase your blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt your endocrine function
While it is nearly impossible to avoid all lectins due to their presence in countless foods, if you are struggling with an autoimmune disease or other chronic health issue, you may benefit from a lectin-restricted diet
Among the most problematic lectin-containing foods are beans, grains, legumes and members of the nightshade family like eggplants, potatoes and peppers
High-lectin foods can be made safe to eat through proper soaking and cooking, as well as fermenting and sprouting; using a pressure cooker is particularly beneficial for beans

Lectins can be a common and hidden source of health problems and weight gain, even if you eat an otherwise healthy diet. Lectins have been linked to autoimmune reactions and inflammation, and many are toxic to your cells and nerves. Certain types of lectins may increase your blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt your endocrine function.
If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease, you will need to be especially careful with lectins, and you may benefit from a lectin-restricted diet. That said, it is nearly impossible to avoid lectins 100 percent of the time. I do not recommend a lectin-free diet simply because you'd miss out on antioxidants and other nutrients in lectin-containing foods, including many otherwise nutritious vegetables. A better approach is to consume lectins occasionally and pay attention to how they affect you.
If you consistently experience bloating, gas and joint pain after eating beans, for example, your body may be reacting to the lectins. How you prepare lectin-containing foods makes a big difference in your body's ability to handle them, and using a pressure cooker is by far the best approach. If you've been eating a whole-food diet yet find yourself struggling with unexplained weight gain and/or stubborn health problems, it might be time to limit the lectins.
What Are Lectins?
Lectins are sugar-binding plant proteins that attach to your cell membranes. They are a form of protein found in all kinds of plants and animal foods, which some consider to be a low-level toxin. Lectins provide a built-in defense mechanism that triggers a negative reaction in predators, aiding in their survival. About plant lectins, Dave Asprey, founder of, states:
“There are countless varieties of lectins in nature … Plants evolved to reproduce. They actually have no interest in being a food source for you, or even for insects or fungi. Since they are not good at running away, plants developed natural pesticides and repellents to protect themselves and their seeds from hungry animals.”
Precision Nutrition shares some additional information regarding lectins:
“Lectins are abundant in raw legumes and grains, and most commonly found in the part of the seed that becomes the leaves when the plant sprouts, also known as the cotyledon, but also on the seed coat. They're also found in dairy products and certain vegetables.
Lectins in plants are a defense against microorganisms, pests and insects. They may also have evolved as a way for seeds to remain intact as they passed through animals' digestive systems, for later dispersal. Lectins are resistant to human digestion and they enter the blood unchanged.”
According to Healthline, “The ‘stickiness' of lectins makes them prone to attaching to your intestinal wall. This is the main reason why excessive lectin intake causes digestive distress.” High levels of lectins are found in beans, grains and legumes, as well as dairy and vegetables within the nightshade family. Many other foods contain lectins, at lower and less potentially toxic amounts.
How Lectins Can Harm Your Health
Because they resist digestion, lectins act as "antinutrients," which means they have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora. One of the worst culprits is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is found in wheat and other seeds in the grass family. I consider Dr. Steven Gundry, author of the book "The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy' Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain," to be one of the best sources of information regarding how lectins can harm your health.
He suggests some plant lectins can contribute to leaky gut by binding to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall. Compared to WGA, gluten is a minor problem, says Gundry. That's because WGA has been shown to be one of the most efficient ways to induce heart disease in experimental animals. Due to their negative autoimmune and inflammatory effects, lectins are particularly toxic to anyone dealing with an autoimmune disorder.
If this is you, you may want to consider eliminating lectins or drastically reducing your intake. One manner in which lectins stir up trouble in your body is through molecular mimicry. For example, by mimicking proteins in your thyroid or joint spaces, lectins can trick your body into attacking your thyroid gland and contributing to rheumatoid arthritis. Part of this disease process results in lectins and lipopolysaccharides (also known as endotoxins) penetrating your gut wall, causing a strong immune response.
Should You Avoid Beans and Other Lectin-Rich Foods?
If you are struggling with an inflammatory or autoimmune condition, you may be among those who need to be careful with respect to lectin-containing foods — specifically beans and legumes, grains and nightshade vegetables. Gundry said, “My research and others suggest that lectins cause most heart disease, arthritis, dementia, diabetes and all autoimmune disease.” A lectin-restricted diet may be helpful if you are dealing with:
Are You Overlooking This Hidden Source of Joint Pain, Gut Woes and Thyroid Problems?
Are All Lectins Bad for You?
While Gundry declares lectins the greatest danger in the American diet, especially for those with an autoimmune disease, the truth is some lectins, in small amounts, can provide valuable health benefits. Precision Nutrition states: “Lectins are thought to play a role in immune function, cell growth, cell death and body fat regulation.” It seems most problems arise from overconsumption or continued consumption, even in small amounts, of certain lectins your body simply cannot tolerate.
From my perspective, it would be a mistake to assume all lectins are bad for you. One of my favorite foods, avocados, contain the lectin agglutinin (persea Americana agglutinin), but I continue to eat them regularly and would not consider them to be a food to avoid. Avocados are a healthy food, and research indicates the agglutinin found in them is devoid of specificity for carbohydrates — it interacts with proteins and polyamino acids instead.
Although tomatoes, as part of the nightshade family, are often listed among the most problematic lectin-containing foods, the heat of cooking them brings about some positive benefits. The antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes has enhanced bioavailability from heating, making tomatoes healthy in other ways. Bean lectins, however, are accompanied by more potentially toxic or allergenic effects. Beyond their lectin content, beans also are high in net carbs.
For this reason, they are best avoided in the initial transitional stages of a ketogenic diet. As you can see, the choice for or against lectins hinges on the particular food in question and the effects lectins have on the eater. While a good deal of controversy has been stirred, the presence of lectins is by no means a sole determinant of the overall value of a particular food to your diet.
The Most Damaging Lectins to Avoid
Grains and legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans and soybeans contain the highest amounts of lectins. Additional potentially damaging lectin-containing foods are:
Dairy products, especially those originating from grain-fed animals
Legumes — all beans, peanuts and soy
Nightshade vegetables, including eggplant, potatoes and peppers
Wheat and other seeds of the grass family, such as barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats and rye
Most lectins are proinflammatory, meaning they trigger inflammation and create advanced glycation end products. C-reactive protein is one example of the many lectins you have circulating in your body right now, and it's used as a marker of inflammation. Lectins are also immunotoxic (capable of stimulating a hyperimmune response), neurotoxic and cytotoxic, meaning they're toxic to your nerves and cells and may induce apoptosis (cell death).
Certain lectins can increase your blood viscosity by binding to your red blood cells. This makes your blood cells sticky, resulting in abnormal clotting. Some lectins, such as WGA, have been known to interfere with gene expression and disrupt your endocrine function.
Equally worrisome is the reality lectins promote leptin resistance, thereby increasing your risk of obesity. All of these factors can predispose you to disease. If you have any kind of health problem in which lectins are a suspected contributor, you'd be wise to eliminate the following foods from your diet entirely:
Cashews, peanuts and unfermented soybean products. When it comes to soy, your best choices are fermented varieties such as miso, natto, tamari and tempeh.
Corn-fed meats. This includes most meats sold in grocery stores. You can avoid factory farmed, corn-fed meat by ensuring the meat you buy is certified grass fed by the American Grassfed Association.
Milk with casein A1. Casein A2 is the normal protein in milk, present in milk from buffalo, goats, sheep and some Jersey cows. Unfortunately, most cows today are casein A1 producers, and the majority of store-bought milk is A1, even if it's organic. A1 proteins are metabolized in your gut to make beta-casomorphin, which can attach to beta cells in your pancreas and incite an autoimmune attack.
You may have mistakenly believed you're lactose intolerant when the effects could actually be a response to the casein A1 in certain types of milk. The best milk to drink is raw milk from organic, grass fed, casein A2-producing cows. Jersey cows produce either casein A1 or A2, so you'll need to check with the farmer to confirm the type of milk produced. Avoid milk from Holsteins because they produce casein A1.
Ways to Cut the Lectin Content in High-Lectin Foods
After eliminating the worst offending high-lectin foods from your diet, you can further reduce lectins in your diet with the following tips:
Peel and deseed your fruits and vegetables. The skin (or hull) and seeds tend to contain the highest amounts of lectins. For example, you'll want to remove the seeds from peppers and tomatoes prior to eating them.
Choose white grains over brown. Gundry believes white rice is preferable to brown because “those who eat rice as their staple grain have always stripped the hull off brown rice before they eat it. That's because the hull contains all the dangerous lectins.” If you want to avoid lectins, the best way to safely eat bread is by choosing organic grains and then using yeast or sourdough, which effectively breaks down the gluten and other harmful lectins.
Sprout beans, grains and seeds. Sprouting deactivates lectins, although there are exceptions. Do not sprout legumes; but the lectin content is actually enhanced when sprouting alfalfa.
Eat fermented foods. Fermentation effectively reduces harmful lectins, and all sorts of vegetables can be fermented, thereby boosting their health benefits.
Use a pressure cooker. The best way to neutralize lectins when cooking is by using a pressure cooker. Gundry says, “If you're cooking with beans, tomatoes, potatoes and quinoa, the pressure cooker is your best bet … But, … it won't even touch the lectins in wheat, oats, rye, barley or spelt.” Avoid slow cookers since the low cooking temperatures are insufficient to remove some lectins.
Tips for Reducing Lectins in Beans and Potatoes
If you choose to eat beans, it's imperative you prepare and cook them properly, mainly because eating raw or undercooked beans can have acute, toxic effects. The toxin phytohemagglutinin is common in many varieties of beans, and concentrations are especially high in raw, red kidney beans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states eating as few as four or five raw beans may cause phytohemagglutinin toxicity, which is often marked by extreme nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The FDA notes several incidents of poisoning with respect to the undercooking of beans using slow cookers and Crockpots. To make beans safer to eat, be sure to:
Soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, changing the water frequently. Adding baking soda to the soaking water will further neutralize the lectins.
Discard the soaking water and rinse the beans.
Cook for at least 15 minutes on high heat or use a pressure cooker. Many people swear by the InstaPot.
The lectin content in potatoes, which are a member of the nightshade family, will also be reduced by cooking, although only by 50 to 60 percent. On the positive side, most potatoes contain digestive-resistant starch, which consists of complex starch molecules that resist digestion in your small intestine. These starches slowly ferment in your large intestine, where they act as prebiotics that feed your healthy gut bacteria.
Why You Should Limit, Not Eliminate, Lectins
Some researchers, like Anthony Samsel, believe the lectin damage is related to their glyphosate contamination. Gundry and others make a strong case against lectins due to their potential to wreak havoc on your health. Given the number of lectin-containing foods, however, it would be nearly impossible to eliminate them from your diet entirely. The list of lectins within the vegetable kingdom alone is lengthy, and some lectins do have health benefits.
Many lectin-containing vegetables also contain polyphenols, which are micronutrients with antioxidant activity that play an important role in preventing and reducing the progression of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions. Polyphenols are also regarded as prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for disease prevention and weight management.
While you don't want to miss out on the polyphenols, it's well worth your time to experiment and identify lectins that may be problematic for your body. Particularly if you are eating a healthy, whole-food diet but continue to have health problems, it may be time to limit the lectins. Such a change might possibly be the key to improved health and healing.
1, Revenge of the Beans
2, 9, 17, 18, 22 Precision Nutrition, All About Lectins: Here's What You Need to Know
3 Healthline April 1, 2015
4 Authority Diet, Dietary Lectins: What Are They and Should You Be Concerned?
5, 8 My Domaine June 25, 2017
6 October 18, 2017
7 Gundry MD May 23, 2017
10 Carbohydrate Research February 1980; 78: 349-363
11 Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 2000; 20(4): 293-334
12 October 18, 2017
13 Superfoodly October 8, 2017
14, 15, 16, 19 Gundry MD May 23, 2017
20, 21 U.S. Food and Drug Administration August 20, 2015
23, InstaPot Review 2017
24 Today's Dietitian September 2012; 14(9): 22

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Flouride at High levels 'presumed' a Neurodevelopmental Hazard....

Fluoride at High Levels 'Presumed' a Neurodevelopmental Hazard

Roxanne Nelson, RN, BSN
November 18, 2019

Decades after fluoride was first added to drinking water in some parts of the United States, controversy continues about the possible detrimental health effects of fluoridation.
Now, a draft report from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) concludes that fluoride is "presumed" to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans.
Their conclusion is based on a consistent pattern of findings from human studies across various populations that show an association between higher fluoride exposure and decreased IQ or other cognitive impairments in children, explained Kyla W. Taylor, PhD, a health scientist in NTP's Office of Health Assessment and Translation at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
However, the consistency is only seen with exposure to higher levels of fluoride (ie, >1.5 ppm in drinking water). Findings from studies that looked at lower exposures were inconsistent as to the effects on cognitive neurodevelopment. (For community water systems that add fluoride, the US Public Health Service recommends a level of 0.7 mg/L [ppm] fluoride in water systems for oral health prevention and the US Environmental Protection Agency has an enforceable limit of 4.0 mg/L fluoride for public water supplies.)
"Based on the high quality of studies that we looked at, there was a moderate level of evidence that high fluoride exposure is associated with decreased IQ and other cognitive effects in children," Taylor said.
But few high-quality studies were available for adult exposure. "There were only two high-quality cross-sectional studies and they did not provide consistent evidence that there is an association between cognitive impairment and exposure to fluoride," she said. "Seven low-quality cross-sectional studies did provide some evidence of cognitive impairment in adults, but due to the limited number of high-quality studies, there was an inadequate level of evidence."
Taylor presented the draft report on November 6 to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) committee, which conducted a public peer review of the NTP study. This month's meeting was focused on the NTP's methodology. A final critique of the report and the findings are expected sometime in 2020. In the meantime, committee members declined to comment on the findings.

Decades of Controversy

About 67% of the US population has fluoridated tap water, and fluoride is commonly found in dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. Fluoride also occurs naturally in drinking water, and in foods and beverages.
Although studies have shown that fluoride can prevent cavities, and water fluoridation has been supported by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some groups remain concerned about the potential harmful effects of fluoride.
Taylor pointed out that previous studies have suggested there could be neurodevelopmental and cognitive health effects associated with exposure to excess fluoride. For example, a 2006 article by the National Research Council found an association between ingesting high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water and neurological effects in humans.
In 2016, the NTP conducted a systematic review of animal studies that looked at the potential effects of fluoride exposure on learning and memory. The results showed a low-to-moderate level of evidence that exposure appeared associated with learning and memory deficits.
In the past 2 years, several studies have suggested an association between fluoride ingestion and a negative neurological impact in children.
Earlier this year, an article published in JAMA Pediatrics showed that fluoride intake among pregnant women was associated with a reduction in their children's IQ at ages 3 to 5 years.
Some of the same researchers published a study in 2017 showing a similar trend among a cohort of children in Mexico. In that study, researchers followed the children from the time of their mother's pregnancy to early adolescence, uncovering an association between high fluoride levels in the mothers' urine and reduced scores on the children's cognitive tests.
In addition, last year a study published in Environmental Internationalsuggested a link between prenatal exposure to higher levels of fluoride and increased incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Effect in Children
In the current NTP systematic review, Taylor and colleagues expanded their 2016 article to include human epidemiological studies, updated animal evidence, and selected mechanistic information to examine the evidence linking fluoride exposure with neurodevelopmental and cognitive effects.
The team identified 149 published human studies, 339 experimental animal studies, and 60 in vitro/mechanistic studies in a literature search. Of the human studies, 82 looked at the association between fluoride exposure and neurodevelopmental or cognitive effects. The other studies evaluated the possible effect of fluoride on thyroid function or other outcomes.
Taylor explained that they were able to rule out confounding as a concern in most studies. She also noted that individual measures of exposure were considered more accurate than group-level measures.
"Another key determinant was exposure characterization," she said. "Some studies measured individual and group exposures, areas with naturally high fluoride compared with those artificially fluoridated or nonfluoridated, and areas with high dental fluorosis versus those with low dental fluorosis."
In addition, some studies looked at drinking tap versus bottled water, as well as other water-based beverages, including black and green tea. Maternal urine fluoride levels were also assessed in some articles, and "that is considered to be a valid measurement," she explained.
Unlike the studies in adults, which were generally limited in number and quality, researchers found 13 high-quality studies of children, which were conducted in several different countries. All reported a statistically significant association with fluoride exposure and lower IQ, including the recent studies of Mexican and Canadian cohorts.
There were also 41 lower-quality studies in children that provided supporting evidence, Taylor noted.
The review also includes 35 new animal studies that had not been part of the 2016 article, but the authors conclude that the data from them are inadequate to inform conclusions about fluoride's effect on humans.
"While there is some evidence that fluoride may affect neurodevelopment in animals, the body of evidence is inadequate to contribute to the effects on IQ in humans," Taylor said.

Public Input

Taylor's presentation at the NAS committee meeting was followed by a question and answer session from the committee, primarily about the group's methodology, and then public comments were taken.

Seun Ajiboye, PhD, from the American Association of Dental Research, noted the risks and benefits of fluoridation need to be weighed, and emphasized the benefits of fluoride on dental health. She reminded the committee that water fluoridation was recognized by the CDC as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.
Chris Neurath, from the Fluoride Action Network, pointed out that his group had nominated fluoride for the NTP review for several years and "although it has taken more than 4 years, we feel that they have certainly weighed the evidence to conclude that it is a presumed neurotoxin."
"However, we feel that the NTP monograph downgraded the evidence of neurotoxicity at each step of the assessment," he said.
Neurath added that if the authors had followed their own "prespecified methodology they would have concluded that fluoride is not just a presumed but it is a known neurotoxin at exposures below 1.5 ppm.”
Another comment came from a man identified as Dr Scott Smith, who emphasized that "when we are dealing with public health, the public has a right to know about all studies.”
As far as fluoride goes, he pointed out no one dose fits all situations. "Doctors would not prescribe antibiotics and not monitor our bodies' reactions to the medicine," he said. "You can repair a cavity, but you cannot repair a brain.”
Scott also pointed out that there are many other ways of receiving fluoride. "It works topically, such as in toothpaste or a treatment," he said, but as for fluoridating water, "people may want a choice."

Rigorous Process

Approached by Medscape Medical News for an independent comment, Howard Hu, MD, ScD, who was a co-author of the Mexican cohort study on fluoride exposure and IQ, noted that "this is not your ordinary systematic review."
"They were quite rigorous in applying the methodology that they developed and published on," said Hu, an affiliate professor in environmental and occupational health science at the University of Washington in Seattle. "I am fully supportive of this methodology in order to provide more transparent, rigorous, and unbiased support of the science, and the public health world should be grateful for this review.
Hu declined to comment on the NTP findings, as it is a draft version of the report, but noted that "depending on which way it may go, these finding will influence public policy, and it would be hard for folks on either side of the debate to see this as a biased or unprofessional review."

Why does it take a crisis?

The question I ponder is, why does it take a crisis for people to realize we are all in this together. That everyone is just a citizen of this earth with similar struggles and challenges.

In times of crisis most of our prejudices fall away and we band together to help each other...there is no color, beliefs or other obstacles in our way to share our love and support and understanding.
But, why must we wait until a crisis to practice this. Why can we not support and help each other all the time? Aren't we all human beings living on earth? Fundamentally we all have similar desires...we wish to love and be loved, we wish to protect those we love and be happy, right?

A crisis forces us to level the playing field as we are all trapped in the same moment. It is when we realize that we cannot do this alone.

At this time of giving thanks for what we have, take a moment to reflect on the fact that we are all on this earth together at this time to be happy. And if we are honest with ourselves, what makes us truly happy is to share the joy and one needs someone (usually) to share that joy with. We experience more happiness when we increase the happiness in some form or way in the world around us.
Do Not wait for a crisis to be one with all humans on this beautiful earth.

Give thanks for the earth that supports all life and enjoy all and everything that is sharing this world and this life with you NOW!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Your who, why, what and how....and what I learned this week

Your who, why, what and how. 

The universe is honest and uncompromising. 
Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want and how can I serve? 
These are the fundamental questions we are here to answer for ourselves. 
To live a fuller and healthier and more purposeful life, one must find the answers to these questions first. 

...And back to the honest and uncompromising universe. It gives and shows you exactly what your energy and you show. Don’t like what you see I or are attracting /experiencing, look inside. Step out of your ego, your body and your emotions and observe yourself, honestly! 
Who am I being right now? Where is my focus? 

What I learned this last week or two is that one must master our brain. This takes practice and almost certainly
discomfort,  pain and lots and lots of discipline.  Self pity creeps in and so does slipping into victim mode. The key is to witness yourself as you cycle through your thoughts, emotions and the sensations in your body. If you honestly and persistently do this, without any judgement about any of it, you learn and discover so much about yourself on so many levels. Discovery and awareness allows you to change, once you let go of your attachments. ( and attachment is another whole subject) The universe is your mirror and so is everyone and everything contained within it. 

I also learned that I know nothing and that I have a long, long way to go and I have an ego that I allow to run things more often than not. Did I mention I have a long way to go. 

I know who I am and have even experienced this knowing deep in my being. Do I always operate from this knowingness....hell no, and THAT my friend is the challenge.  

And when in doubt I look to the brutally honest and uncompromising Universe and all her players. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Gut-Brain Axis...short and simple

Here is a short and simple article by Dr Robert Silverman on the subject of Gut-Brain Axis and the healing thereof....

It’s All Connected: The Gut-Brain Axis

Nov 12, 2019 | By Dr. Robert G. Silverman

Your gut, your microbiome (the trillions of bacteria in your colon), and your brain are closely connected through your vagus nerve. The gut-brain axis is basically an endless three-way call, with messages constantly going back and forth.
The vagus nerve is the carrier for all this essential communication. In Latin, the word “vagus” means wandering, an appropriate way to describe the path of this nerve. It starts in the back of your brain and runs all the way down to your colon. Along the way, it has branches that link to the larynx (voice box), esophagus, trachea (windpipe) lungs, heart, pancreas, and most of the digestive tract, including your liver.
Signals from the gut microbiome and from the gut itself travel up the vagus and tell the brain what’s going on down there; signals from the brain travel down the vagus and tell the gut what changes to make in response. For example, when the vagus nerve fibers within the gut detect inflammatory signals given off by the gut bacteria, they pass the message up to the brain. The brain responds by stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters that regulate the immune system.
When the three-way communication is functioning well, the messages come through clearly. When the matrix is out of balance, however, health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome, food sensitivities, liver problems, inflammation, musculoskeletal disorders, and autoimmune diseases can arise. In the brain, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can develop, as can depression, brain fog and other mental issues.

Dropped signals
What can disrupt the communications along the gut-brain axis and cause the biological equivalent of a dropped call? Anything that disrupts the gut metabolites—the chemical substances your gut bacteria produce—or the lining of the small intestine. In today’s toxic world, both are easily damaged.
The chief culprit for static on the gut-brain line of communication is the Standard American Diet (SAD), which loads the gut with highly processed foods that are low in fiber but high in chemical additives, sugar and bad fats. Other common culprits include antibiotics and other medications, alcohol, toxic environmental chemicals, such as glyphosate and pesticides, and that all-purpose gut destroyer, stress. Even healthy foods can be to blame if they contain gluten or lactose or are high in lectins (an indigestible protein found in beans and nightshade plants such as peppers). These foods and toxins damage the lining of the small intestine and kill beneficial bacteria. Unwanted toxins and food particles escape into the bloodstream through the leaks in the small intestine wall; they cause inflammation and other problems. Poor diet and toxins also damage the gut bacteria in the colon. That can lead to imbalances between the friendly and unfriendly bacteria, causing gas and bloating, diarrhea and constipation, and other digestive issues.

Restoring the balance
To restore good connections on the three-way gut-brain axis, consider my Super 7(R) Action Plan.
►Reset: The first action step is to reset your diet, lifestyle, and mindset. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, one that is free of GPS: Gluten, processed foods, and sugar. Many people find that a modified Mediterranean diet that is free of GPS and DNA (dairy, nicotine, and artificial sweeteners), works well. In addition to the basic diet, adding 8 to 10 grams (two teaspoons) of MCT oil from coconut oil is very helpful. MCT oil has been shown to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects that can help restore a better balance of beneficial gut bacteria. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are helpful and easily learned. What works best is highly individual, however. Whatever works best for you is helpful. Regular exercise is important (and also helpful for reducing stress). I recommend aiming for 10,000 steps a day in addition to daily resistance training and flexibility exercises.
►Remove: Remove foods that damage the gut, including processed foods, sugar, dairy and gluten. Also remove any foods related to your intolerances and allergies.
►Replace: You may need to replenish and replace your digestive enzymes A comprehensive enzyme complex supplement that includes amylase, papain, trypsin, and lipase helps promote healthy digestive function.
►Regenerate: The next step is to regenerate and repair the small intestine wall. The amino acid glutamine is key to this process. It supports the integrity of mucosal cells that line the small intestine and helps close any leaks.
►Re-inoculate: When the bacterial balance is disrupted, re-inoculating the gut with high-quality prebiotics and probiotics can help restore beneficial bacteria and crowd out harmful bacteria. Fiber is crucial to resetting the microbiome—it’s the fertilizer that makes a healthy microbiome flourish. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), found in complex soluble fiber, act as prebiotics that nurture the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. Look for supplements of FOS powder containing inulin. For probiotics, look for a formulation that contains a range of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacterium lactis, B. longum, Lactobacillus salivarius, L. acidophilus, and L. rhamnosus.
►Reintroduce: When your symptoms are reduced or gone, foods removed earlier in the process can be gradually reintroduced—as long as they’re healthy. Continue to avoid GPS and DNA and fried foods.
►Retain: Retaining your gains is an ongoing process. Stick with your healthy diet, regular exercise program, and stress reduction.

Dr. Robert G. Silverman is a White Plains, N.Y.-based sports chiropractor and certified clinical nutritionist, specializing in functional medicine and the treatment of joint pain with innovative, science-based, nonsurgical approaches. He is also on the advisory board for the Functional Medicine University and a health contributor to various major TV networks. He is the author of Amazon’s Number One Best-Seller, Inside-Out Health. In 2015, he was honored with the prestigious Sports Chiropractor of the Year award by the ACA Sports Council. He can be reached by phone at (914) 287-6464, e-mail or visit

Monday, October 28, 2019

Baking Soda Plus Water Best for Washing Pesticides Off Apples

Baking Soda Plus Water Best for Washing Pesticides Off Apples

(Reuters Health) - Washing apples in water with a dash of baking soda is the most effective way to remove pesticide residue, new research shows.
The mix outperformed Clorox-spiked water for getting rid of the chemicals, and also worked better than plain water, Dr. Lili He of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her colleagues found. They reported their findings October 25 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Pesticides are widely used in agriculture to kill bugs, fungi and other produce-plaguing pests. They can hurt humans, too, but most of us are exposed to amounts so tiny that they don’t pose a risk, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Many people try to limit their exposure to pesticides by washing produce, but whether or not this does anything to remove them has not been studied, Dr. He and her team note. They coated apples with thiabendazole, a fungicide, or phosmet, which is used to kill a variety of pests, and washed them with water or water mixed with bleach or baking soda. The researchers used Gala apples because they are widely consumed and also likely to contain a wide variety of pesticides.
Using super-sensitive, high-tech tests, the researchers checked on and within the apple for pesticides and measured pesticide concentration within plant tissue. Rinsing the fruit in the baking soda solution for 12 minutes was most effective for removing thiabendazole, they found, while a 15-minute baking soda rinse was most effective for getting rid of phosmet.
Some of the pesticide passed beyond the apple’s surface, with thiabendazole going four times deeper than phosmet. None of the washing methods could fully remove the residue.
After harvest, the EPA requires apple producers to soak the fruit for two minutes in bleach mixed with water. The quick dip is intended to remove bacteria and other organic matter, not to wash off pesticides, Dr. He noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health, but it would be ideal to find a post-harvest treatment that would do both.
The baking soda solution is likely more effective because it can help break apart pesticide molecules, the researcher said, and can be used for washing other types of produce. How well it works “depends on the structure of the fruits and vegetables, but it’s a general method,” she added.
Dr. He and her colleagues used a concentration of about one teaspoon of baking soda per two cups of water. But, she said, “You don’t need to be precise, just adding a little bit is better than not adding it.”
While deeper-penetrating pesticides could be removed by peeling an apple, the researcher said, this would mean missing out on the nutrient-rich skin. “It’s always been a two-sided story.”
J Agric Food Chem 2017.

How Diet Influences Anxiety

We hear that food is medicine all the time and many do not treat it as such. Here is an interesting article by Dr Drew Ramsey....

How Diet Influences Anxiety

 I am Dr Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City.
I want to discuss how nutritional psychiatry—the use of nutrition and food—influences anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder. Of note, we do not have the same robust set of data that we have with depression. There are no randomized controlled trials that look at the effects of foods, nutrition, or specific nutritional supplements on anxiety disorders in general or specific anxiety disorders.
I will go over the growing and quite interesting data that do exist. Then I will talk about how we use food to help patients with anxiety disorders in our clinic in New York City.

First, the Data 

In 2009, data about nutrition and anxiety emerged from Felice Jacka's group, which looked at the Hordaland data set, a large epidemiologic data set in Scandinavia.[1,2] There were two notable findings. The first was that overall dietary pattern does correlate with anxiety: Specifically, increased consumption of Western foods, or a more modern dietary pattern, correlated with an elevated risk for anxiety disorder by about 25%-29%.[1]
In addition, Dr Jacka and her group found a correlation between anxiety and the nutrient choline.[2] Choline is a B-like vitamin. It is very similar to folate, which is used in the methylation cycle. Patients who were in the lowest tertile of choline consumption had about 33% higher risk of having anxiety disorder. Choline is primarily found in eggs and tofu, but also in most meats.

Fermented Foods

Moving beyond the epidemiologic data, studies of a few specific nutrients and foods grabbed my attention. The first are fermented foods. As we have begun to think more about the gut/brain connection and the influence of the microbiome on our mental states, the use of fermented foods in patients with anxiety have become a subject of interest.
A 2017 review[3] focused primarily on depression; however, several of the trials included in the article looked at anxiety rating scales and subscales. The results were mixed, but some studies found positive effects of probiotics. For example, a 2011 assessment of two strains of bacteria in healthy volunteers[4] found that on formal rating scales, anxiety ratings went down following a 30-day trial with the probiotic, similar to the clinical trial that was positive for the treatment of depression.[5]
In 2013, a trial by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, and France looked at fermented milk products,[6] such as kefir and yogurt. This trial used functional MRI to compare individuals who ingested the fermented dairy product on a daily basis with control participants. The study found a significant influence of the fermented foods on the brain circuitry. The investigators hypothesized that fermented foods can alter some of the circuitry by which we process somatic senses and emotions. Potentially, this may be quite useful to our patients with anxiety.
A 2015 cross-sectional study looked at neuroticism, fermented foods, and social anxiety.[7] This very interesting trial used an interaction model to show that individuals who have higher neuroticism but ate more fermented foods reported less social anxiety.
All of this together seems to indicate that fermented foods may be something to consider offering your patients with anxiety. We are using fermented foods in our clinic to help increase diversity of the microbiome, and also to enrich the microbiome with more of these "good bugs," as we call them—bacteria that seem to influence anxiety and mental health circuitry.

Omega-3 Fats

Another nutrient that always stands out when I think about food and mental health are the long-chain omega-3 fats. A 2009 review described some of the data that existed at that time, but really did not find a lot.[8]There was still a lack of experimental trials, which continues to be the case today.
However, a 2011 trial[9]looked at medical students and their stressors around test time. The students took about 2.5 g of long-chain omega-3 fats, primarily a very heavily weighted eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) formulation with about 2 g of EPA and 0.5 g of docosahexaenoic acid.
The study found that compared with baseline Beck Anxiety Inventory scale scores, the medical students had a roughly 20% lower level of anxiety after taking the omega-3 supplement. The researchers also looked at lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin-6 levels and found that those were also significantly reduced.
Thus, omega-3 fats may have a therapeutic role to play. In nutritional psychiatry, that translates to encouraging our patients to eat more fatty fish and more bivalves as one way to take in more of those long-chain omega-3 fats.

Gluten and Sugar

A Scandinavian trial[10] followed 35 patients with celiac disease for 1 year after the patients were placed on a gluten-free diet. At baseline, approximately 72% of these individuals had significant levels of anxiety, compared with 24% of 59 healthy controls. Over the year, the percentage of patients eating a gluten-free diet who reported significant anxiety went down to about 25%, with no significant change in the control group. It was a robust finding. The gluten-free diet did not improve the depressive symptoms in the patients with celiac disease, however. This is an interesting finding: A gluten-free diet can improve anxiety, but not necessarily depression.
Finally, a 2002 meta-analysis[11] looked at diabetic patients, blood sugar control, and anxiety. The authors found some significant correlations between hyperglycemia and anxiety. For those of you who are working in hospital settings or have a significant number of patients with diabetes in your practices, this is something to pay attention to.

Our Clinic Experience 

What do we do at the Brain Food Clinic? Anxiety is one of our favorite symptoms to treat with food, for several reasons. We often find that our patients with panic disorder, for example, are not eating in a regulated way. A lot more anxiety and panic happen when patients are hungry or have not been eating a diet that includes robust amounts of protein and fats.
Often, we will discuss the day together, to help patients think of a more structured eating plan. Busy professionals who spend long days at work may skip a meal. This is exactly when we tend to see more anxiety and panic. In this case, we will help them figure out how they can stock the workplace with foods that have a long shelf-life are but highly nutrient-dense, so that such things as apples, yogurt, cheese, and nuts are always available. Those are some of the interventions that we like, so people can be truly well fed.
Overall, anxiety certainly can be influenced by food. The same data that told us about depression and food seems to spill over to anxiety. Given that many of our interventions that treat depression, such as psychotherapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also treat anxiety. Overall, increasing the nutrient density of your patients' diets, focusing on leafy greens, rainbow vegetables, and more seafood and eliminating the highly processed, sugary foods, should be beneficial. In some patients, food can certainly contribute to anxiety, as the data tell us.
  1. Jacka FN, Mykletun A, Berk M, Bjelland I, Tell GS. The association between habitual diet quality and the common mental disorders in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health study. Psychosom Med. 2011;73:483-490. 
  2. Bjelland I, Tell GS, Vollset SE, Konstantinova S, Ueland PM. Choline in anxiety and depression: the Hordaland Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:1056-1060. 
  3. Wallace CJ, Milev R. The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Ann Gen Psych. 2017;16:14.
  4. Messaoudi M, Violle N, Bisson JF, Desor D, Javelot H, Rougeot C. Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers. Gut Microbes. 2011;2:256-261. 
  5. Jacka FN, O'Neil A, Opie R, et al. A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' Trial). BMC Medicine. 2017;15:23.
  6. Tillisch K, Labus J, Kilpatrick L, et al. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology. 2013;144:1394-1401. 
  7. Hillmire MR, DeVylder JE, Forestell CA. Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: an interaction model. Psychiatry Res. 2015;228:203-208. 
  8. Sarris J, Schoendorfer N, Kavanagh DJ. Major depressive disorder and nutritional medicine: a review of monotherapies and adjuvant treatments. Nutr Rev. 2009;67:125-131. 
  9. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011;25:1725-1734. 
  10. Addolorato G, Capristo E, Ghittoni G, et al. Anxiety but not depression decreases in coeliac patients after one-year gluten-free diet: a longitudinal study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001;36:502-506. 
  11. Anderson RJ, Grigsby AB, Freedland KE, et al. Anxiety and poor glycemic control: a meta-analytic review of the literature. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2002;32:235-247.