Category Archives: Jim’s BLOG

Musings from Doctor Jim.

Watermelon in the news!

Watermelon made the headlines recently. Actually it is some of the ingredients of themelon that made the news, L arginine and L Citrulline. Florida State University just did some research that proved the validity of or product Amino-Flo. Thank you Florida State!

Watermelon contains many ingredients, some of which are great for health, others not so great. Let me explain, and we will start with the good.

Two of the really good ingredients of the watermelon, L Arginine and L Citrulline, are amino acids that can and do increase Nitric Oxide (NO) production in our body. This is a good thing as we need the NO to maintain proper blood vessel tone, keep the platelets form sticking together, and other good functions of the cardiovascular system. Proper tone is involved in relaxing the blood vessels (vasodilation) and helping maintain proper blood pressure. Many things interfere with NO production in our bodies so we need a constant replenishing of this vital component.

 

Stress is one of the ‘bogyman’ in blocking our production of NO, and in the world we live in, no one is immune from that. Another bad guy is sugar! Yes, the watermelon does contain sugar. Nobody said it was perfect, just had some good ingredients. Sugar increases the byproduct Uric acid (the same thing that causes Gout) and it blocks NO from doing it’s job. Not good.

 

Without NO our blood vessels can’t protect themselves from all the bad things that takes place in the blood stream. NO keeps the endothelium, the lining of our blood vessels, from attracting things like cholesterol and other components from sticking in places where they can cause problems like plaque. So we can see a lot of good things going on here in the watermelon.

Back to the Florida State research, they did a study on 13 middle-aged men and women, all of which were obese and had hypertension or high blood pressure. The researchers spilt the group into two. One group got the amino acids from watermelon and the other got a placebo. After 6 weeks, they switched groups. The results showed that consuming the watermelon extract had a positive impact on aortic blood pressure and vascular parameters. “That means less overload to the heart, so the heart is going to work easily during a stressful situation” said Dr. Figueroa, the lead on the research team.

This is great news, but you would have to eat great amounts of watermelon daily to get those results, and remember the sugar,well, you would definitely get way too much of that. Enter Amino-Flo from Doctor’s Nutrition.

We at Doctor’s Nutrition had been using these two wonderful amino acids for a long time for the very same desired results, but our patients were having to consume large quantities of pills. Not good. Two years ago we formulated the product Amino-Flo containing the L-Arginine and L-Citrulline. Knowing the characteristics of these amino acids, and how they can impact other areas that could cause unwanted side effects, we formulated with other amino acids to balance the unwanted effects.

Too much L-Arginine, or L-Citrulline which turns into L-arginine, can cause the latent Herpes viruses to ‘bloom’. This is why it is not uncommon for those who suffer with the cold sores, and other Herpes viral problems, to have out breaks when consuming too many nuts, as many nuts contain large amounts of L-Arginine. These same viruses do not like L-Lysine. It makes them dormant, a good thing. When we formulated Amino-Flo we added the L-Lysine for this reason, to keep down unwanted side effects of too much L-Arginine. We want the benefits, not the side effects.

We also added L-Proline as it acts like ‘Teflon’ in the blood stream keeping some of the fatty globules from sticking to the endothelium. This is definitely something would want to do for the cardiovascular system. we also added L-Glycine as it is used in DNA repair, another good thing.

During the two years we have used this formula clinically, we have seen some very good and promising results with patients on multiple blood pressure meds be able to properly maintain their blood pressure with less medications, and some have had to stop taking meds due to the blood pressure getting too low. A very good thing indeed.

If you, or someone you know, suffers from heart disease and high blood pressure, Amino-Flo is a great adjunct to help keep the cardiovascular system perking along. With this formula you get the great benefits of the watermelon extract, and much more, without the sugar! Maintaining good cardiovascular health is priceless.

Olive Leaf extract, more good news!

Some of you may be familiar with Olivir, our olive leaf extract, and may have used it for various viruses, etc. Well, more good news regarding olive leaf extract, recent research found it to be effective in fighting Leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis is a protozoan parasitic disease, that even with modern medicine, remains a world wide heath problem. It is more problematic in developing countries like Africa and the Mediterranean basin, so it is not something you are likely to see here in the U.S.

Since we work with a lot of missionaries traveling to this part of the we have seen this in patients that visit there. Due to this potential problem, along with the many others in third world countries, we always suggest those that travel there start taking the Olivir a few days prior to leaving and continue until they return. This has accounted for many happy travelers over the years.

This new research on the Leishmaniasis interesting in that it showed the effectiveness of the oleuropein, one of the active ingredients of olive leaf extract, “persisted and was even enhanced 6 weeks after the termination of the treatment”. That fact in itself is very promising, and rare for any treatment method. This was determined by parasite depletion of >95% in the liver and spleen of the infected individuals.

We have clinically used the Olivir brand of olive leaf extract for over 17 years and some of the results we have seen have truly been remarkable. Now to find that it can even be effective against something as bad as Leishmaniasis is even more remarkable. This is the reason we suggest it to be a component in everyone’s medicine chest. It is prominent in ours for sure.

Healthcare, whose responsibility is it?

In America, we only think about healthcare when it makes the news, as in Obama Care. Even then it is usually only involved with who is going to pay for it. The other times that we think about healthcare is when our health, or someones we know, falls apart.

Healthcare means more than some number or odd sounding name put on a disease process, and taking care of our health is ultimately our responsibility. After all, it is your health we are talking about, right? Would you really want to turn that over to some government panel or committee at some insurance company? I didn’t think so. But, where do you start?

For the average person to get involved in their own healthcare they need advice. Someone they can ask questions, and get guidance from. This is exactly what Doctor’s Nutrition does, we offer guidance and access to anyone needing it. We provide a knowledge base to help answer your questions, and access to talk to a doctor that is involved in natural methods of healthcare. Also knowledgeable in standard allopathic treatments as well. We provide accessibility to lab work (blood work) without the costs usually associated. Our philosophy is simple, provide information and advice that can help the individual make good choices in the healthcare market place.

 

Triglycerides, some helpful hints

Triglycerides are a molecule that the liver makes to move fats, and things that can be turned into fats, around the body through the blood stream. These triglycerides can be used as fuel for our cells or stored as fat.

Triglycerides are measured in the lipid panel along with your cholesterol. They are a marker, or indicator, for how efficiently our body is functioning at handling sugars and fats, and increased levels are associated with heart disease, fatty liver disease and diabetes. This test should always be done fasting as the levels vary drastically due to the types of foods we eat. High fasting levels over 100 mg/dl indicate that our body is having a problem.

Elevated triglycerides indicate that our body and our cells are becoming insulin resistant. Insulin is needed to get the triglycerides inside our cells so that it can be processed into fuels. When we become insulin resistant, our cells do not readily allow insulin to do its job. This is one of the indicators that describe what is termed “metabolic syndrome”. This terminology is used to describe a group of disorders including elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood glucose (sugar), elevated Hgb A1c (marker for diabetes), weight gain in the mid section (tummy fat, beer belly), etc. All of these markers are associated with heart disease.

Sugars come in many forms form simple to complex. By the way, not all sugars are sweet. If we look at table sugar, the white stuff you may be putting in your coffee for instance, we have about 50% glucose, not sweet, and 50% fructose, very sweet. Glucose can be used in its original state and does not need processing. Fructose is another animal all together and has to be processed by the  liver before it can be used. Too much of a good thing, especially sweet tasting things, and we become insulin resistant. The next step is diabetes. Let’s not go there.

Things that will help lower the triglycerides, and and help prevent heart disease and diabetes, are limiting or eliminating foods that turn into triglycerides rapidly. This includes all things that taste sweet, including fruits. Fruits can provide good antioxidants and other nutrients, but too much of a good thing and you know the rest of the story.  Grains are another problem, even though not sweet tasting, as they elevate blood glucose and triglycerides and can lead to that extra belly fat  that is so hard to loose.

What is a person to do? Diet, or as we like to call it, lifestyle changes are the first step. Limiting or eliminating those things that cause the problems. This will include all sugar, grains, cereals, and yes, even the fruits. Fun fact: the average American consumes 2.5 pounds of sugar per week. That works out to 130 pounds per year. Just think about the exercise alone needed to keep that under control!

Once we have the lifestyle under control we can do other things to help manage the problems associated with “metabolic syndrome”. The omega 3 fish oils are one of the best supplements anyone can take. They help reduce insulin resistance, lower triglycerides, feed the brain and are anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory effect is one of the most important effects they can provide for our body, as most cooking oils are omega 6 and can increase inflammation. Oh, and a little exercise is very important too. It is never too late to start, just make sure you start slowly if it hasn’t been part of your routine before.

Something you can do to determine your specific needs is the proper lab work (blood tests). Doctor’s Nutrition can help you with choosing the correct lab testing for you and your condition, and once the results are back, we can help you with the right lifestyle choices, and supplementation specifically for you. We call this ‘evidence based nutrition’. Here is a link to our web page with lab tests: http://www.doctorsnutrition.com/store/pc/viewcontent.asp?idpage=1 (Copy and paste to your browser)

Doctor’s Nutrition has all the  natural products that you might need to help with any of the sugar handling issues like high triglycerides. All our products are the highest purity available. We offer free consultation to help determine the best methods for you and your condition. Give us a call today and let’s get started on a healthier you.

 

 

 

Is being overweight or obese a benign condition?

Usually we think that just being a little overweight is not really bad for our health, right? What is termed being fat and fit is now the new normal for Americans. But, is it really benign, or does it carry health consequences.

First we must determine if we are overweight or obese. Here is a link to a BMI chart that is published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.pdf  check it out. Normally speaking being 10 or more pounds over normal weight in the chart is being “overweight”. More that say 20 to 25 pounds above the normal is being “obese”.

Now that we have determined where we fall on the charts, let’s talk about what that might mean to our health. Can we really be ‘fat and fit’?

A study just published in “Annals of Internal Medicine”, December 3, 2013 (volume 159, pages 758-769) sheds some light on the subject. Normally being overweight or obese does increase the risk for heart disease and death. And then along comes a few studies that suggest that being overweight or obese might not be such a problem if there are no “metabolic problems” evident in the patient. What are these metabolic problems? Having high blood pressure, high lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), high blood sugar, and having a large waist circumference. These symptoms are collectively termed ‘metabolic syndrome’.

The researchers in this article set out to determine if we are at higher risk if we are overweight and have the metabolic syndrome, and more importantly, if we do not have the pattern of metabolic syndrome. Collectively they gathered information on 61,386 individuals from 8 prior studies.

What they found is very interesting to say the least. They found that the risk for heart disease or death was increased for individuals who were obese whether they had metabolic syndrome or not. Of more interest, they found that individuals with metabolic syndrome had increased risk regardless of whether they were normal weight, overweight or obese. Yes, skinny people can have metabolic syndrome too.

What we get from this study is the fact that maintaining a normal weight is very important for longevity. Another fact that came from this study is the even if your are normal weight and have the metabolic syndrome you are at higher risk for heart disease and death.

How do we know if we have the metabolic syndrome? Regular monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as blood sugar, including the Hgb A1c, and weight, especially the waist size. Blood pressure is the easiest to monitor, the other parameters are done through blood work. These are the key items that we watch, even in those ‘skinny’ individuals. If signs of metabolic syndrome are present, then we have to embark on a ‘life changing’ journey. This is all part of what we do at Doctor’s Nutrition everyday. We call it ‘evidence based nutrition’, and it truly can be life changing. Some simple blood work will provide the information you need to make course corrections on this journey.

I was recently asked; Can you really be healthy and overweight? I hate to say it, but the answer is most probably, no. Too much evidence points to health issues that we have not discovered yet. Hopefully in the near future we will have all the answers, but for now the odds are in favor of being normal weight and healthy.

 

 

 

Obesity, the new disease

It is now official, Obesity is a disease according to the AMA. That is this week, last week it was caffeine withdrawal is now a mental disorder. So, what is next?

Seriously, the AMA has now classified obesity as a disease. That opens the doors for 78 million adults and 12 million children to be covered by insurance plans. The bad thing is, the AMA, and medicine in general, has a very poor record for treating obesity. Sure, we have surgical weight loss procedures, but even they don’t have great success. I can’t count he number of people that I have dealt with that lost weight and then gained it back after their surgery.

Can you imagine what this is going to do to the already overloaded medical system? And, what is the insurance industry going to do with an additional 90 million folks that they have to cover? I would bet that all our premiums are headed North.

As some of you may know we have been involved in a 40 plus year experiment with the low fat, high carb diet. And now a full one third of the population in America is obese. Maybe it is just me, but after 40 plus years, can’t we recognize failure when we see it? At this point I always bring up the meaning of insanity; keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. And that is exactly what we have done for the past 40 years.

There is some very convincing evidence that with some serious dietary changes we can reverse this trend. At the same time we can also get rid of the many gastrointestinal disorders plaguing America.

No, it is much easier to just ‘reclassify’ this problem to a disease state rather than what it really is, making bad dietary choices.

P.S.

If you think caffeine withdrawal is bad, just wait until you try getting away from sugar! You just might be mental after that. 🙂

Antibiotics in agriculture (food)

The latest statistics about the amount of antibiotics used in the production of our food in the U.S. is staggering, to say the least.

The New England Journal of Medicine, December, 2013, just published a paper showing that 80% of all the antibiotics used in America ,and that is a lot, are used in some form of agriculture. In other words, food production. Yes, what we eat on a daily basis.

So, how much antibiotics do we use in food production? Between livestock, aquaculture (think fish), and crops we use 30,272,000 pounds per year. You read that right, over 30 million pounds per year. Now, think of the average dose a human might take for a sinus infection. That would be approximately 10 grams for an average 10 regimen, or 0.022046226 pounds. That equates to 1.39 billion doses of antibiotics in human doses. Yes, billions. Now do you see the problem brewing?

I am sure you have heard the term MRSA which stands for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. And we have also heard the horror stories of the poor folks inflicted with this malady. We have been warned to wash our hands and take other measures to stay safe. All good ideas. Now we have another problem bacteria, and most likely due to the over use of the antibiotics (see above).

Enter carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Carbapenum is a class of antibiotics that is usually thought to be the ‘drugs of last resort’. In other words, something you don’t want to have to use. The enterobacteriaceae family has such members as E. coli and Klebsiella species, all of which are normally found in our intestines and normally cause no problems.

The MRSA, and now the CRE, are what is termed antibiotic resistant bacteria. What makes them antibiotic resistant? Over use of antibiotics. It is bad enough that anytime you go to your doctor with a cold you get an antibiotic as that in itself is enough to produce some antibiotic resistant bacteria. That is nothing compared to the amount of antibiotics used in food production.

So, why do we need to use all these antibiotics? Because most of our food animals are grown in something called CAFOs, or Confined animal feeding operations (read as just totally unsanitary). If you put any animal in close confinement, and feed them foods that cause them intestinal distress, you are going to have a mess on your hands. Let you imagination go here. Due to this ‘mess’ of animal fecal matter, which contains the the enterobacteriaceae species, we have to use antibiotics to keep the poor animals from becoming sick. And when you are using over 30 million pounds of antibiotics, you can see that some of the bacteria are going to survive and be antibiotic resistant. So, when we get infected with one of these ‘Super Bugs’, we are in big trouble.

Such big trouble in fact that the CDC just issued an alert to high risk patients. Healthy people usually do not get CRE, so you want to stay as healthy as possible. We will talk about that more in a minute. High risk people are those dealing with a long term illness that are most at risk. Patients who use various medical devices, those using breathing machines, catheters for urinary problems, and those that have inter-venous catheter for long term medication delivery, and, of course, those on long term antibiotic therapy. Also those having to be housed in long term care facilities, hospitals and nursing homes. As I stated before, healthy people don’t usually become infected with these organisms.

This is a red flag to us who are healthy indicating that we must protect our health at all costs. One of the best methods of doing this is a simple blood test, the CBC, to determine if your immune system is properly functioning. If there are signs of a sluggish or low functioning immune system there are steps you can take to strengthen that immune function, but you have to know first. But I feel healthy, isn’t that enough? Unfortunately, no. We see people that, from all outward signs, look healthy, yet their immune system is a mess. These are the ones that are the most venerable because they will never see it coming until it is too late.

Remember, a simple CBC can alert us to upcoming problems. We are not talking about exotic testing, just routine lab-work and proper interpretation. This is where just being in range may not be good enough. Have your physician do this test for you at least once a year, more often if you are anywhere near the lower quartile of acceptable functioning. If you are having difficulty getting this lab-work done, call Doctor’s Nutrition and we can arrange that for you. If you do have a low functioning immune system there are many things that can help restore your immune system to proper function.

Due to the overuse of antibiotics we strongly suggest eating as much organically grown food as possible. Organically grown food does not use antibiotics in the process. We also suggest taking a strong, 20 billion CFU, probiotic on a daily basis.

At Doctor’s Nutrition our job is to empower you in your quest to Live Healthy and Be Healthy.