Health Benefits of Social Interaction

Health Benefits of Social Interaction

According to the World Health Organization, the biggest threats to our health, globally, are now chronic degenerative conditions, not infectious diseases. What a transition! As opposed to various epidemics of diseases that were so common in our history, what is now threatening health, across the planet,  is chronic degenerative inflammatory conditions – diseases that we most fear. These include things like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and autoimmune conditions as well.

So it makes sense that we must do everything we possibly can, from a lifestyle choice perspective, to keep ourselves healthy and lower our risk for these chronic degenerative conditions.

No doubt lifestyle issues like diet and exercise have received a lot of press, but what we don’t hear about so often is the importance of social interaction. Continue reading

Coffee – A Healthy Choice

Coffee – A Healthy Choice

It has been estimated that around 60% of Americans over the age of 18 report that they are “regular” coffee drinkers. No doubt what most motivates this consumption is the familiar and dependable lift that coffee provides.

What may be less familiar to us consumers of this popular beverage is the ever-widening base of information that reveals some significant health benefits associated with this drink.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). T2D is characterized by elevation of blood sugar and that can have implications for any and all parts of the body. From my perspective as a neurologist, T2D is thought to actually double a person’s risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (more on that in a moment).

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If I Don’t Gain Weight Is It OK To Eat Sugar?

If I Don’t Gain Weight Is It OK To Eat Sugar?

It’s now fairly common knowledge that for optimal health it makes sense to reduce the consumption of sugar. The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health-threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception seems to be that these health risks represent a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption causes weight gain, and that the weight gain is specifically related to all the other health issues.

But in a new publication, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure.

Their results revealed that higher sugar consumption raised triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, low and high-density lipoprotein as well as both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

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Sugar Risks Go Beyond Weight Gain

Sugar Risks Go Beyond Weight Gain

The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception has been that these health risks represented a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption caused weight gain, and it was the weight gain that then was the cause of the rise in blood pressure, etc.

But in a new study, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure. Continue reading

CoQ10: Powerful Supplement for Health

CoQ10: Powerful Supplement for Health

We’re certainly hearing a lot about the nutritional supplement, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as of late, and with good reason. The clinical application of CoQ10 has now been validated in many conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, chemotherapy, and periodontal disease. It’s now being explored for therapeutic efficacy in such diverse entities as immune function, migraine prevention, high blood pressure and even sperm motility.

CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell in the body, where it plays a pivotal role in the process whereby the cell is able to convert fuel into energy. Beyond this obviously critical function, CoQ10 also serves as one of the body’s most crucial antioxidants, protecting every cell against the damaging effects of chemicals called free radicals. So it’s no wonder CoQ10 is receiving so much attention.

CoQ10 is manufactured in the body, and levels of this life-supportive chemical are enhanced when CoQ10 is consumed. Lower levels may be associated with the use of various medications including:

  • Statin drugs used for lowering cholesterol. These include Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, and Mevacor. Continue reading
Do Probiotics Lower Blood Pressure?

Do Probiotics Lower Blood Pressure?

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

As research on the microbiome flourishes, we continue to find evidence for the role of probiotics in optimizing our health. Most recently, an analysis published in the journal Hypertension examines the effect of probiotic supplementation on our blood pressure. Considering that two thirds of Americans are pre-hypertensive or fully hypertensive, this data may prove extremely significant

Over the last several years, we’ve started investigations on how probiotics affect everything from brain health to acne. Though this is a relatively new field of academic concentration, the interplay between bacteria and human has been increasingly illuminating. One area of focus examines changes in blood pressure with probiotic administration. Several studies have observed positive interactions, but this meta-analysis is the first to cross-analyze and synthesize the available information. Continue reading

The Real Scoop On Salt

The Real Scoop On Salt

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

If you’re like the average American, you’re a bit of a salt addict. More technically, you’re consuming excessive dietary sodium. For most of us, this isn’t too concerning, and this mindset is reflected in our data. We know the average human needs around 500 mg of sodium each day for basic body functions, but Americans consume on average 7 times this number each day. Don’t get me wrong, salt is crucial for the body’s proper function. But, at the excessive levels we’re consuming, salt leads to serious complications like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

In 1975, researchers wanted to determine the effects of our high-salt diet on health. To accomplish this goal, they decided to venture into the rainforest of northern Brazil. Here, they studied the Yanomamo tribe, a group of persons with minimal exposure to the outside world, and coincidentally, a “life-long extreme restriction of dietary sodium.” The fascinating data showed that in this population, blood pressure stabilized after the second decade of life, and did “not systematically increase during subsequent years of life.” If we know that only 11% of males and 7% of females in their 20’s are hypertensive, but that 67% of men and 79% of women will be hypertensive after age 75, then the impact of preventing age-related changes in blood pressure is tremendous. Continue reading

Nancy J.

Shrinking your waist line can play a key role in shrinking the problems you experience in your brain as well. – Dr. Perlmutter

About ten years ago, at an appointment with my doctor, I got on the scales and weighed in at 265 pounds. I am 5′ 8″ but my doctor informed me that I was obese. I was devastated. I ignored my symptoms for so long: elevated blood pressure, low HDL, sleeplessness and just not feeling my best. I was 51 at the time.

At that time nobody talked about gluten insensitivity. I embarked on Weight Watchers to lose weight, and did manage to drop 30 lbs., staying at about 230 for several more years, but unable to lose any more weight.

At age 58, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 uterine cancer and underwent a full hysterectomy.  Being overweight had made my body estrogen dominant. Post-surgery I started to feel anxious, sleep deprived, brain fog and hormonally imbalanced. Soon after, I was put on a gluten-free diet. I went on it and lost ten pounds. Within a month I felt much better. I cut out almost all grains and high glycemic foods and, to my surprise, the weight started coming off on its own. I went back to grass-fed beef, organic vegetables and very little fruit.

I now weigh 192 and hope to weigh around 160. I feel so good. I am convinced that I was gluten sensitive for many years.

-Nancy J.