Live Support

Can the health of the lining of your intestines affect the size of your waist?

How big your waist is can tell you something about your risk for cardiovascular disease, the bigger the waist, the more of a risk.

Most people would also prefer to have a slim look.

Why do some people have a big waist? Is it just because they eat too much of the wrong food, or could there be another reason as well?

When researchers assessed intestinal permeability in normal to overweight women, they found something interesting(Gummesson A, et al, 2011).

Intestinal permeability is an assessment of how big particles the intestinal lining will let through and allow to be absorbed into the blood.

The researchers found that the women with a bigger waist also had increased intestinal permeability. They also found that visceral fat and liver fat were also increased with increased intestinal permeability.

If you want to keep a slim waist and stay healthy it is important to keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy.

There are several things you can do to improve your gastrointestinal function. I will write more about that later, but an easy thing you can do is to take a probiotic formula which there are many. Use one which is based on scientific evidence verifying the benefits.

The probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has shown to exert an anti-inflammatory effect on intestinal epithelial cells (Sougioultzis S, et al. 2006). Saccharomyces has shown to significantly reduce the frequency and duration of acute diarrhea in children (Billoo AG, et al. 2006. Kurugol Z, et al. 2005). There is evidence that Saccharomyces reduces the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children (Kotowska M, et al. 2005).

Gummesson A1, Carlsson LM, Storlien LH, Bäckhed F, Lundin P, Löfgren L, Stenlöf K, Lam YY, Fagerberg B, Carlsson B. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Nov;19(11):2280-2. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.251. Epub 2011 Aug 18. Intestinal permeability is associated with visceral adiposity in healthy women.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

What can an avocado a day do for you?

Avocados contain a lot of fat, including a certain type of fat called monounsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial. How beneficial are they?

The reviewed research compared a low fat diet (24% fat) with two moderate fat diets (34% fat) (Wang L, et al. 2015). The difference between the two moderate fat diets was that one included one fresh Haas avocado a day, while the other one included high oleic acid canola oil to match the fatty acid content of one avocado.

All of the diets provided similar foods except there was more whole grain bread in the low fat diet to make up for the calorie difference between the two moderate fat diets.

This was a randomized, crossover, controlled trial which means that the same participants ate all the diets, but at different times with a washout period in between.

The 45 participant were overweight or obese and ate each diet for 5 weeks.

They were tested for several cardio-metabolic risk factors and the results were very interesting.

The diet which included an avocado a day provided additional lowering of LDL-cholesterol, LDL-P (LDL-particle number) and non-HDL-cholesterol compared with the other two diets. LDL-P is considered to be a more accurate assessment of cardiovascular risk. The amount of the small LDL-cholesterol particles should not be too high.

It was also interesting that the other moderate-fat diet provided more benefits than the low fat diet which included more whole grains. So much for the goodness of whole grains.

It is also worth noticing that in the two moderate fat diets, 6-7% of energy from saturated fat was replaced by mono unsaturated fatty acids and in the low fat diet 6-7 percent of the saturated fat was replaced by grains.

Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA, Hill AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial.

J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 7;4(1). pii: e001355. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

An enjoyable way to reduce stress and improve immunity

It is well accepted that stress can make us more susceptible to disease.

The participants in the reviewed study were 404 adults who were exposed to a virus that causes a common cold(Cohen S,et al. 2014). They were monitored in quarantine to assess infection and signs of illness.

It was found that perceived support protected against the risk of infection.

What was very interesting was that more frequent hugs also resulted in less severe signs of illness.

Maybe we should not worry about getting sick from being touched. We may, instead, run more of a risk of getting sick if we don’t get touched.

Hugs sounds like a nice prescription.

Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Turner RB, Doyle WJ. Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness. Psychol Sci. 2014 Dec 19. pii: 0956797614559284. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Reduce your blood glucose level eating this snack

You don’t have to have diabetes to benefit from better blood sugar control.

The reviewed research showed that sometimes it doesn’t have to be very difficult(Parham M, et al. 2014).

The participants of this study had type 2 diabetes. One group was given 25g of pistachio nuts as snacks twice a day for 12 weeks while the other group was given a control meal without nuts.

After 12 weeks the groups were switched so the group that got the test meal now received the nuts.

The pistachio nuts reduced fasting blood glucose, HbA1c (a measurement of long term glucose control), blood pressure, BMI (body mass index) and CRP an inflammatory marker.

All this from just eating some nuts.

Parham M1, Heidari S2, Khorramirad A2, Hozoori M3, Hosseinzadeh F1, Bakhtyari L4, Vafaeimanesh J1. Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial.
Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Summer;11(2):190-6. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2014.11.190. Epub 2014 Aug 10.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

More about reducing your risk of dying

Remember the research stating that the number of deaths reduced from walking 20 minutes a day could theoretically be doubled with an approach that also avoided a high body mass index (BMI) or a high waist circumference?
A Canadian study supports this where the researchers concluded that physical inactivity and a high waist circumference have a significant independent risk of premature mortality among women (Katzmarzyk PT, Craig CL, 2006).

The participants of this study were all women, but other research has shown that this also works for men.
What if you could implement an activity more effective than walking?
What about an activity were you only spent 3 minutes of actual exercise time, 3 times a week, and the research had shown that this decreased the fat percentage by 8 percent and decreased waist circumference by 3.5 percent in 6 weeks (Hazell TJ, et al. 2014).

The participants in this study were women, and they ran all-out sprints on a self-propelled treadmill for 30 seconds, then rested for 4 minutes. They repeated this 4-6 to times 3 times a week. You don’t have to run on a treadmill, you can run outdoors, that’s even easier.

Katzmarzyk PT1, Craig CL. Independent effects of waist circumference and physical activity on all-cause mortality in Canadian women. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Jun;31(3):271-6.

Hazell TJ1, Hamilton CD, Olver TD, Lemon PW. Running sprint interval training induces fat loss in women. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Aug;39(8):944-50. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0503. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Ingredient in spice you can use to improve cognition

In the referenced study the researchers investigated if curcumin, an ingredient of the spice turmeric, would have an effect on cognitive function(Cox KH, et Al. 2014).

The participants were healthy adults between the age of 60 and 85 years, and the research was double blinded.

A special formulation of curcumin was used since regular curcumin is very poorly absorbed.

It was found that one hour after taking this curcumin the participants significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks compared with the placebo. Taking it every day for four weeks resulted in a significantly better working memory and mood. It also reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

I have found that another special formulation of curcumin has reduced hs-CRP, an inflammatory marker. Curcumin is also known to be a good antioxidant.

Cox KH1, Pipingas A1, Scholey AB2. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct 2. pii: 0269881114552744. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Higher intake of this important mineral shows reduced risk for metabolic syndrome

People with metabolic syndrome have a cluster of symptoms. They are usually insulin resistant, they usually have high blood pressure and also high cholesterol and triglycerides.

The reviewed research included a total of 24,473 individuals and 6,311 cases of metabolic syndrome(Dibaba DT et al. 2014). The participants with the highest dietary intake of Magnesium were compared with the ones with the lowest intake.

The results showed that for every 100 mg per day increment in magnesium intake the overall risk of having metabolic syndrome was lowered by 17 percent.

Magnesium is a very important mineral, but all minerals should be taken together with other minerals since they affect each other. For example, magnesium regulates intra and extra cellular calcium levels, and if you only take zinc, you will lose copper.

The most common form of magnesium is magnesium oxide which is very poorly absorbed and irritates the gastrointestinal tract.

Magnesium in the form of an amino acid chelate does not have that effect and is also much better absorbed and is a better choice.

Dibaba DT, Xun P, Fly AD, Yokota K, He K. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis. Diabet Med. 2014 Nov;31(11):1301-9. doi: 10.1111/dme.12537.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Protect your memory with something you enjoy eating

The reviewed research first mapped out the precise brain location for age-related dysfunction using functional MRI.

The researchers then had 50-69 year old participants either consume a high or a low cocoa flavanol diet for 3 months(Brickman AM,et al. 2014).

The results showed that a high flavanol diet was found to enhance dentate gurus function, that is the function related to memory dysfunction, when measured with functional MRI and cognitive testing.

To increase your cocoa flavanol intake you can either eat some dark chocolate with a high flavanol content or drink some cocoa. Dark chocolate and cocoa are bitter; for that reason sugar is added of course, so be sure to watch your sugar levels with chocolate. The more bitter you can handle the better.

Brickman AM, Khan UA, Provenzano FA, Yeung LK, Suzuki W, Schroeter H, Wall M, Sloan RP, Small SA.

Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults. Nat Neurosci. 2014 Dec;17(12):1798-803. doi: 10.1038/nn.3850. Epub 2014 Oct 26.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

See what pistachio nuts can do for you

If you want a quick healthy snack, then pistachio nuts would be a good choice.

The reviewed research had diabetic patients either assigned to a group receiving 25 g of pistachio nuts twice a day as a snack or a control meal without nuts(Parham M, et al. 2014).

After 12 weeks the participants had a washout period of 8 weeks before the groups were switched.

The results showed that eating pistachios decreased HbA1c (a long-term measure of glucose control) as well as fasting blood glucose. Eating the nuts also reduced systolic blood pressure, body mass index and CRP an inflammatory marker.

Nuts are a much better choice than so called nutrition bars if you want a snack.

Parham M1, Heidari S2, Khorramirad A2, Hozoori M3, Hosseinzadeh F1, Bakhtyari L4, Vafaeimanesh J1.Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Summer;11(2):190-6. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2014.11.190. Epub 2014 Aug 10.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Easy way to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease

The reviewed research followed 1,658 adults who were free from dementia, cardiovascular disease and stroke for an average of 5.6 years (Littlejohns TJ, et al. 2014).

Vitamin D levels (25-hydroxy vitamin D) were measured from blood samples.

It was found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk for both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

For most people 2000 IU daily of vitamin D 3 is enough to maintain a good level of vitamin D. That should be easy to manage, and if you also get out in the sun a little bit without sunscreen, you should be even better off.

Littlejohns TJ, Henley WE, Lang IA, Annweiler C, Beauchet O, Chaves PH, Fried L, Kestenbaum BR, Kuller LH, Langa KM, Lopez OL, Kos K, Soni M, Llewellyn DJ. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 2014 Sep 2;83(10):920-8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755. Epub 2014 Aug 6.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Elevated levels of common lab test associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s

There is no single test available at the time to specifically diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or to only show the risk for it. New research, however, indicates that a common test like fasting glucose may tell us something about the risk (Burns CM, et al. 2014).

When regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose in brain regions usually affected by Alzheimer disease was measured, a correlation with fasting glucose levels was found. Higher fasting glucose levels in cognitively normal, non diabetic adults were correlated with lower regional cerebral metabolic rate.

This means that higher fasting glucose levels may be associated with the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease and increase the risk for this disease.

What is the solution? A diet consisting of high nutrient, low glycemic index food, exercise and meditation for better handling of stress.
This type of lifestyle will also reduce the risk for all other chronic conditions as well.

Burns CM1, Chen K, Kaszniak AW, Lee W, Alexander GE, Bandy D, Fleisher AS, Caselli RJ, Reiman EM.Higher serum glucose levels are associated with cerebral hypometabolism in Alzheimer regions. Neurology. 2013 Apr 23;80(17):1557-64. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828f17de. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

An easy habit to reduce your risk for depression

This research was convincing because it involved 11,000 people who were followed for 50 years (Pinto Pereira SM, et al, 2014).

A sample of persons born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week in March, 1958 were followed up to the age of 50 years. Depressive symptoms were measured and frequency of physical activity (times per week) were recorded at the age of 23, 33, 42 and 50 years.

It was concluded that physical activity may alleviate depressive symptoms.

Physical activity needs to be included in your lifestyle. It will make you feel better both physically and psychologically.

For those who don’t like to exercise, the good news is that numerous studies has documented that you don’t have to spend a lot of time exercising to receive a lot of benefits as long as you exercise at a high intensity.

Pinto Pereira SM1, Geoffroy MC2, Power C1. Depressive Symptoms and Physical Activity During 3 Decades in Adult Life: Bidirectional Associations in a Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 15. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.1240. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

This is how you can quickly improve your memory performance

Did you know that exercise can improve your memory?

Maybe you have heard that before, but how long do you think it takes? Not very long depending on how you exercise.

You may not think of exercise as stress, but exercise is putting stress on your body, that’s why it works. The body responds to the stress, and you will for example get stronger or improve your endurance depending on how you exercise.

Because exercise is stressful, you will also release stress hormones.

The reviewed research measured participants noradrenaline one of the hormones released when under stress, and showed the participants pictures they should try to remember (Weinberg L et al, 2014).

One group did resistance exercise with one leg after they were shown the pictures, while the control group sat and had the machine move their leg for them.

2 days later they were tested for recall of the pictures. The group that exercised remembered more of the pictures. Also interesting was that the ones that had the strongest response to the exercise, nor-epinephrine increased the most, also performed better on the memory test.

The researchers also found that emotional pictures were remembered better than neutral ones. This has also been documented in other studies.

This is even another example of the importance of the intensity you exercise with. The more intense it is, the less time you have to spend exercising. You will also stimulate more muscle growth, and more release of beneficial hormones, and it will even improve your memory.

Weinberg L, Hasni A, Shinohara M, Duarte A. A single bout of resistance exercise can enhance episodic memory performance. Acta Psychol (Amst). 2014 Sep 25;153C:13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.06.011. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

How dangerous is sitting?

It is important that the endothelium is healthy, which is the inner lining of the blood vessel wall, and it is also important to have good circulation through those blood vessels.

If these factors are compromised the risk for atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) will also increase, and you don’t want that.
The reviewed research is interesting because it investigated a common reason for decline in circulation and what you can do to prevent it(Thosar SS et al. 2014).

The researchers measured flow mediated dilation (FMD) for the superficial femoral artery. When blood flows through a blood vessel, the vessel will dilate and FMD measures this.

FMD was measured after the participants had been sitting for 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours without getting up. The participants then walked on a treadmill for 5 minutes after they had been sitting for 30 minutes, 1.5 hour and 2.5 hours and the same FMD measurements were performed.

The FMD significantly declined after sitting for 1, 2 and 3 hours, but walking for 5 minutes every hour prevented the decline in FMD.

Just a simple thing like this can make a difference, and depending on the activity, you may not even have to be active for 5 minutes.

Thosar SS, Bielko SL, Mather KJ, Johnston JD, Wallace JP. Effect of Prolonged Sitting and Breaks in Sitting Time on Endothelial Function. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Magnesium lowered triglycerides by 47.4 percent

The reviewed research is interesting because it shows results from taking magnesium that most people would find surprising(Rodriguez-Moran M, Guerrero-Romero F, 2014).

Participants in this study had metabolic syndrome and low levels of magnesium. They were given magnesium or a placebo once a day for 4 months. At the end of the study period, the blood pressure, insulin resistance index, fasting glucose and triglyceride levels all improved in the participants taking the magnesium.

How can only taking magnesium change all these things?

The reason is that magnesium is a very important mineral, and it is involved in many important metabolic functions. In this case it improved insulin resistance with 46.5 percent.

When insulin sensitivity improves not only will blood glucose levels improve, but blood pressure and triglyceride levels as well. Usually cholesterol will also improve, but that was not measured in this case.

When taking magnesium, you should take it with other minerals, since minerals affect each other, and magnesium helps regulate intra and extra cellular calcium levels. This may also help to prevent calcium from getting deposited in places you don’t want it.

Magnesium comes in different forms. The most common form is magnesium oxide because it is the cheapest form, but it is very poorly absorbed, and it can also give you diarrhea.

A better form of magnesium is a special form of amino acid chelate. This form is much better absorbed and will not giving you diarrhea.

Rodríguez-Moran M1, Guerrero-Romero F2. Oral magnesium supplementation improves the metabolic profile of metabolically obese, normal-weight individuals: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.Arch Med Res. 2014 Jul;45(5):388-93. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2014.05.003. Epub 2014 May 13.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

What’s better, whole eggs or egg substitutes?

You have probably been warned at one time against eating eggs, because eating eggs could raise your cholesterol and in turn increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

The reviewed research should shed some light on this issue(Blesso CN, et al. 2013).

In this study the participants were either consuming 3 whole eggs per day or the equivalent amount in yolk-free egg substitute, as part of a moderately carbohydrate-restricted diet for 12 weeks.

Plasma lipids as well as several cardiovascular risk markers, even particle size of both HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol), were measured.

All of these risk factors improved in the participants eating the eggs, but not for the participants eating the egg substitute.
Even plasma insulin and insulin resistance were reduced and the diameter of the HDL and LDL increased only in the group that ate eggs. These are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Apparently eating eggs will reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, not increase it as we used to believe.

Blesso CN, Andersen CJ, Barona J, Volek JS, Fernandez ML. Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism. 2013 Mar;62(3):400-10. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Surprising way artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance

Artificial sweeteners are used as an additive in both beverages, as well as food, to improve taste since most people prefer a sweet taste.

Since these sweeteners contain very few calories, they are also popular in diet beverages and diet foods. They are even used in products marketed to people with diabetes and promoted as a good alternative to sugar.

This seems to be a big mistake according to the reviewed research(Suez J, et al. 2014).

The results demonstrated that consumption of these sweeteners are causing glucose intolerance because they alter the composition of the intestinal bacterial flora in a negative way.

These results have been reproduced in both humans and mice.

The last thing you want to do is to consume a substance that will make you more glucose intolerant. This is very important for diabetics, but also for non diabetics because you don’t want to develop diabetes.

Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira G, Thaiss CA, Maza O, Israeli D, Zmora N, Gilad S, Weinberger A, Kuperman Y, Harmelin A, Kolodkin-Gal I, Shapiro H, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Sep 17. doi: 10.1038/nature13793. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Taking this vitamin regularly could reduce your risk for dementia

The reviewed research included 1658 elderly participants who were free from dementia at the start of the study(Littlejohns TJ et al. 2014).

The vitamin they were tested for was vitamin D.

During the average follow-up of 5.6 years, 171 participants developed dementia including 102 cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers concluded that the results confirmed that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In my experience, just by taking 2000 IU of vitamin D 3 per day would keep you above the level of what this research indicates as increased risk for dementia.

Littlejohns TJ, Henley WE, Lang IA, Annweiler C, Beauchet O, Chaves PH, Fried L, Kestenbaum BR, Kuller LH, Langa KM, Lopez OL, Kos K, Soni M, Llewellyn DJ. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 2014 Sep 2;83(10):920-8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755. Epub 2014 Aug 6.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Your gastrointestinal bacterias may influence your blood sugar

A lot has been written about the bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract lately and how it can affect other areas of the body.

The reviewed research evaluated the effects of seven strains of friendly bacterias and how they may affect insulin sensitivity(Eslamparast T, et al. 2014).

Participants with the metabolic syndrome were given capsules containing 200 million of seven strains of friendly bacterias twice a day for 28 weeks.

Fasting blood sugar and insulin resistance improved significantly in the treatment group.

While we don’t know all the friendly bacterias yet, we know that quite a few can be beneficial to take. When you are traveling, it can be a good idea to bring a pro-biotic which does not require refrigeration since this may also help to prevent gastrointestinal problems if you are exposed to bacterias you are not used to.

Eslamparast T, Zamani F, Hekmatdoost A, Sharafkhah M, Eghtesad S, Malekzadeh R, Poustchi H.

Effects of synbiotic supplementation on insulin resistance in subjects with the metabolic syndrome: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.

Br J Nutr. 2014 Aug;112(3):438-45. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514000919. Epub 2014 May 22.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Do you have to be in good shape to tolerate high-intensity short interval training?

High/intensity short/interval training is a type of exercise that stresses the body hard for a very short period of time. In other words, it is hard exercise, but you don’t have to spend much time doing it.

That you don’t have to spend much time exercising appeals to most people, but you may wonder if you can tolerate it. Is it safe to exercise this way if you are not in great shape?

The reviewed research should answer that question, but make up your own mind after reading this.

It may surprise you that anybody would even try this with people in the shape that they were. The researchers took patients with signs of chronic heart failure and had one group do high/intensity short/interval training, and had another group do the regular continuous aerobic exercise training(Koufaki P et al. 2014).

The program lasted for 6 months and the participants were tested for cardio respiratory fitness at the start and at the end.

Peak oxygen uptake, sit to stand and gait speed improved equality in both groups, no difference in results.

The researchers concluded that the training adaptations were achieved in the high intensity short interval training group despite a significant reduced time commitment and reduced work volume when compared to continuous aerobic exercise training.

There is really no reason to waist time exercising for a long period of time unless you enjoy the exercise itself. The high intensity training was also tolerated well.

Maybe it should not be a surprise that people with heart failure can exercise like this.

Years ago people were advised not to do any exercise after they had a heart attack, believing exercise would increase their risk for another heart attack. That has been changed because we know better now, that exercise is one of the things that will help prevent heart problems.

Koufaki P1, Mercer TH, George KP, Nolan J. Low-volume high-intensity interval training vs continuous aerobic cycling in patients with chronic heart failure: a pragmatic randomised clinical trial of feasibility and effectiveness. J Rehabil Med. 2014 Apr;46(4):348-56. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1278.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

More on salt, how much do you need?

This research is interesting because it measured sodium and potassium excretion and examined the association between major cardiovascular events and death(O’Donnell M et al. 2014).

Urine samples from 101,945 persons in 17 countries were included in the study with a follow up time of an average 3.7 years.
The average estimated sodium excretion was 4.93 g per day and the potassium was 2.12 g per day.

So how does this relate to sodium intake?

Based on the urinary excretion, an estimated sodium intake between 3 g per day and 6 g per day was associated with a lower risk of death and cardiovascular events than was either a higher or a lower intake.

Higher potassium excretion was also associated with lower risks.

These findings are higher than what’s been recommended for sodium intake in the U.S.. The recommendations in the U.S. are now being questioned by many.

O’Donnell M1, Mente A, Rangarajan S, McQueen MJ, Wang X, Liu L, Yan H, Lee SF, Mony P, Devanath A, Rosengren A, Lopez-Jaramillo P, Diaz R, Avezum A, Lanas F, Yusoff K, Iqbal R, Ilow R, Mohammadifard N, Gulec S, Yusufali AH, Kruger L, Yusuf R, Chifamba J, Kabali C, Dagenais G, Lear SA, Teo K, Yusuf S; PURE Investigators. Urinary sodium and potassium excretion, mortality, and cardiovascular events. N Engl J Med. 2014 Aug 14;371(7):612-23. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1311889.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Is systemic inflammation making your pain worse?

Knee pain is very common as we get older, and so is systemic inflammation, but what is systemic inflammation?

Systemic inflammation is the type of inflammation that you may not even know you have an issue with, because you don’t have to have a swollen joint. This type of inflammation is low grade, and it affects your whole body. It can, however, be measured by checking certain inflammatory markers.

The reviewed research investigated if there was an association between increased knee pain and systemic inflammation(Stannus OP et al. 2013). The participants were 149 men and women with an average age of 63 years. Knee pain was determined using an osteoarthritis pain questionnaire at the start of the study and then five years later. Radio graphs as well as MRI were used in the examination.

Several inflammatory markers were tested, highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

The conclusion was that systemic inflammation is an independent predictor of worsening knee pain over 5 years. Adjustments for radio graphic osteoarthritis or structural abnormalities detected on the MRI did not make much difference regarding that association.

Does this mean that you can’t do anything about this?

No, you can do something about this, and I suggest you do, because systemic inflammation is also a risk factor for chronic disease.

Research has documented that the food you eat can be quite effective in reducing this type of inflammation.

This is one of the things you learn in “The Special Effects Diet”. You can download it here.

Stannus OP1, Jones G, Blizzard L, Cicuttini FM, Ding C. Associations between serum levels of inflammatory markers and change in knee pain over 5 years in older adults: a prospective cohort study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Apr;72(4):535-40. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-201047. Epub 2012

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Can you change your estrogen metabolites by exercising?

What would be the benefits of changing your estrogen metabolites?

Certain estrogen metabolites are related to a higher risk for estrogen related diseases. Breast cancer is one of those diseases.
If you could change the ratio between the harmless metabolites and the ones related to an increased risk for estrogen related problems you would be better off.

The reviewed research investigated if exercise could do that since exercise has shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer.(Smith AJ,et.al.,2013).

The participants were healthy young women who were divided into either an exercise group doing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 5 days a week or a sedentary control group. The study went on for approximately 16 weeks.

Estrogens and estrogen metabolites were measured,and the rates of the different metabolites were calculated. The change from the baseline measurements increased significantly in the exercise group for 2-OHE1/16α-OHE1 which is the ratio of the estrogen metabolites associated with a decreased risk for estrogen related diseases. This change was not seen in the control group.

The researchers concluded that this may be the mechanism by which increased physical activity is decreasing the risk for breast cancer.

Smith AJ1, Phipps WR, Thomas W, Schmitz KH, Kurzer MS. The effects of aerobic exercise on estrogen metabolism in healthy premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 May;22(5):756-64. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-1325.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Low cholesterol associated with increased mortality risk, too low can be dangerous

Have you been told or have you read that the more you lower your cholesterol the better off you are?

You may also have heard that having high cholesterol is healthy. So what is correct?

More and more research documents that it may be dangerous to lower your cholesterol too much, but the reviewed research is shedding some light on this (Bae J M et al. 2012).

Screenings from 12,740 adults between the ages of 40 and 69 years were included in the study, and they were followed from 1993 to 2008. The results were probably surprising to a lot of people.

Cholesterol below 160 mg/dl as well as above 240 mg/dl was associated with higher cardiovascular disease mortality. As with many physiological functions the risk ratio has a U-formed curve.

Both too little and too much is not good, it needs to be between certain levels.

Cholesterol has often been presented as a bad thing we would be better off without.

That could not be further from the truth. Cholesterol is necessary for many functions; the body makes it for a reason.

Eating more nuts, seeds and olive oil and less high glycemic index carbohydrates would help to keep your cholesterol in a healthy range.

Bae JM1, Yang YJ, Li ZM, Ahn YO. Low cholesterol is associated with mortality from cardiovascular diseases: a dynamic cohort study in Korean adults. J Korean Med Sci. 2012 Jan;27(1):58-63. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.1.58. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

How do you think stress affects your metabolism?

You don’t want to have a slow metabolic rate because that would make it harder to maintain a lean body composition.

You can probably also agree that most of us are exposed to plenty of stress during a average day.

I think you will find the reviewed research interesting because it investigated how stress may affect our metabolic rate (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, et.al.,2014).

Fifty-eight healthy women, with the average age of 53.1 years, participated in the study and were given high fat test meals. The day prior to eating the test meals, stressors were also assessed using a standard test. Fat and carbohydrate oxidation, triglycerides, cortisol, insulin and glucose were measured before and after the 2 high fat meals.

It was found that greater numbers of stressors were associated with lower fat oxidation after the meals and also higher insulin levels.
The difference between stressors the day before and no stressors turned out to be 435 kj which is approximately 104 calories. The researchers estimated that it could add up to almost 11 pounds per year in weight gain.

This means that stress can contribute to weight gain.

You may not be able to control the factors contributing to stress, but you can, with some training, control how you react to stress.

In other words you can make yourself more stress resistant.

Meditation is a great tool for that.

Daily Stressors, Past Depression, and Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Meals: A Novel Path to Obesity. Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 9. pii: S0006-3223(14)00385-0. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.05.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Research documents an easy way to slow brain shrinkage

Brain size makes a difference when it comes to memory.

The problem is that the brain shrinks as we age. If we could prevent that, we could also help prevent memory loss as we get older. That is what the reviewed research investigated (Daiello LA, et.al. 2014).

The participants were assessed with neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging every 6 months. The participants that used fish oil supplements during the follow up had a significantly better outcome on the neuropsychological tests which indicated better cognition.

Not only that, but the fish oil use was also associated with less atrophy (brain loss) in one or more brain regions related to memory.

The active ingredients of omega 3 fish oil is EPA and DHA, so if you are going to take fish oil, you want to use a product that has high amounts of EPA, DHA.

Daiello LA1, Gongvatana A2, Dunsiger S3, Cohen RA2, Ott BR4; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Association of fish oil supplement use with preservation of brain volume and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2014 Jun 18. pii: S1552-5260(14)00079-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.02.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

How well is your fish oil absorbed?

To maximize the benefits from the nutrients you’re taking, you need to absorb them well.

The reviewed research is interesting because it investigated how well fish oil was absorbed(Beckermann B, et.al.1990). The study was a so-called crossover trial. This means that the same participants ingested different kinds of fish oil, which were compared to see if there was a difference in how well they were absorbed.
Three forms of omega-3 fat were compared, and the amount of EPA/DHA (the active ingredients of omega-3 fat) were measured in the blood after the participant ingested capsules containing different forms of omega-3 fat.

The most common form of fish oil is ethyl esters because it is cheaper to make, so that was included in the study. Also included was free fatty acids.
These two forms were compared with a triglyceride form.

The free fatty acid form was absorbed the best, but free fatty acids oxidize very easy which means they get rancid very easy, so it is unlikely that you will find that form as a supplement. The triglyceride form is the most stable form and the study documented that the triglyceride form was absorbed 50 percent better than the ethyl ester form.

It is more expensive to produce fish oil in a triglyceride form, but you don’t have to pay 50 percent more for a quality product, so the triglyceride form is a better choice.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

What you drink could increase your blood pressure

A lot has been written about the effect salt may have on your blood pressure, but not much has been mentioned about the topic of the reviewed research.

In this research the results of several studies which included 409,707 participants were included (Malik AH, et.al.,2014). The researchers investigated how a common habit many people have may affect their blood pressure, and that habit was drinking sugar sweetened beverages.

They found that the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages were associated with higher blood pressure leading to increased incidence of hypertension.

Comparatively few people may be aware of the health hazards of sweet soft drinks. Many also still think that a glass of fruit juice is a very healthy choice, but it is actually loaded with sugar. Keep that in mind especially now when it is summer and you want to pick up something to drink.

Water is certainly the best choice, but if you want something sparkly, use carbonated water and squeeze some lemon juice in it if you want more taste.

Malik AH1, Akram Y2, Shetty S2, Malik SS3, Yanchou Njike V4. Impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on blood pressure. Am J Cardiol. 2014 May 1;113(9):1574-80. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.01.437. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

What effects brain loss as you get older?

As we get older we gradually experience a certain degree of brain atrophy. The rate of which the brain volume is changing is, however, not the same for everyone. The good news is that there is something you can do to slow down this process.

An Austrian study of 201 participants evaluated brain volume changes over 6 years. Using MRI scans, it was documented that the participants with higher Hemoglobin A1c levels also had a higher rate of brain atrophy (Enzinger C, et.al.,2005).
Hemoglobin A1c is a measurement of long term glucose control.

The participants with high alcohol intake also lost brain volume faster, and so did the ones with a high body mass index.

As you can see, these are things you can do something about. If you get into the habit of eating low glycemic index meals it will help to make you more insulin sensitive and lower Hemoglobin A1c. If you also add some exercise to that, it will help even more.

If you find this interesting I believe you will find the information in “The Special Effects Diet” very interesting also.

Enzinger C1, Fazekas F, Matthews PM, Ropele S, Schmidt H, Smith S, Schmidt R. Risk factors for progression of brain atrophy in aging: six-year follow-up of normal subjects. Neurology. 2005 May 24;64(10):1704-11.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.

Too little or too much sleep can affect your memory

The reviewed study is interesting, not only because it investigated how very little sleep may affect your memory, but also how a lot of sleep can influence it(Devore EE,et.al.,2014).

The participants were 15,385 female nurses and 4 repeated assessments were performed over 6 years.

Women sleeping 5 hours or less had worse cognition than those who were sleeping 7 hours, and so did the women who slept more than 9 hours. Women whose sleep duration changed by 2 hours or more over time also had worse cognitive function than the women with no change in sleep duration.

It was concluded that extreme sleep duration at midlife and later life, and also extreme changes in sleep duration are associated with poor cognition in older women.

The message is that it is not only important to sleep well in your older years, but also how you sleep earlier in life may affect your memory when you get older.

Devore EE1, Grodstein F, Duffy JF, Stampfer MJ, Czeisler CA, Schernhammer ES. Sleep duration in midlife and later life in relation to cognition. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Jun;62(6):1073-81. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12790. Epub 2014 May 1.

Published with permission by Didrik Sopler, Ph.D., L.Ac : www.TissueRecovery.com Dr. Marsh has worked with and referrers patients to Dr. Sopler for co-management for years . . . He is quite simply San Diego’s top functional medicine consultant.