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LMU 247 – Stress Ages the Immune System, but Supplements and Lifestyle Factors Can Preserve Immune Function Under Stressful Conditions

Stress Ages the Immune System, but Supplements and Lifestyle Factors Can Preserve Immune Function Under Stressful Conditions

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (June 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 21, 2022)

In the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published in June 2022, researchers showed that stress — in the form of traumatic events, job strain, everyday stressors, and facing discrimination — accelerates aging of our immune system, which potentially increases our risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and illness from infections such as COVID-19.  As pointed out by Dr. Eric Klopack, a lead study author, “Age-related changes in the immune system play a critical role in declining health.” “This study helps clarify mechanisms involved in accelerated immune aging.”

We know that as people age, the immune system naturally begins a dramatic decline in functional ability, as the immune cells wear out and are not replaced as well by fresh troops or what is known as naïve – T cells. This leaves us prone to an increased risk of cancer and more serious infections. The June 2022 study has now shown us that stress plays a key role in accelerating the age-related decline of the immune system we are referring to here. This large study involving almost 6,000 adults over 50 years of age showed that people with higher stress scores had more immune cells that were worn out and not functioning, or functioning poorly, and they had fewer new, fresh naïve immune cells being generated in their body. These results remained true even after controlling for education, smoking, alcohol consumption, body fat, race, and ethnicity. Simply stated, higher amounts of chronic stress from social stress, stressful life events, chronic stress, and everyday and lifetime discrimination weaken the immune system making us prone to more severe outcomes from infections, such as COVID-19 infection, as well as potentially increasing the risk of cancer.

So, that is the bad news. The good news is that I have cited research over the years showing that positive nutrition and lifestyle strategies can help to enhance our immune system function. And this study has shown the same thing. In this study individuals who had healthier diets and who exercised regularly had better immune health, even if their stress scores were high. As Dr. Koplack stated, “what this means is people who experience more stress tend to have poorer diet and exercise habits, partly explaining why they have more accelerated immune aging.” Some of the immune aging can be prevented by improving diet and lifestyle factors. I have previously cited research explaining the effect of a healthy diet and exercise on immunity as well as how certain vitamins and minerals are required to strengthen and support our immune function (vitamins C, E, A, D, zinc, selenium, folic acid, etc.). The same is true for the unique immune strengthening effects of other herbs and supplements such as Astragalus, Milk thistle, Indole-3-carbinol, Reishi mushroom extract, and other medicinal mushrooms. But people experiencing high levels of stress should also know about the studies showing that certain adaptogen herbs can strengthen the immune system and tone down the negative impact of stress on the human body and brain. For example, a great article in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2021 showed that supplementation with the herb Ashwagandha improved immune system health in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of healthy adults. Compared to the placebo group, the group given 60 mg of Ashwagandha extract capsules per day showed a significant increase in the levels of immunoglobins (IgA, IgM, IgG, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4), which are the first line of defense against infections in the lungs, respiratory passages, intestinal tract and elsewhere. These individuals also secreted higher amounts of chemicals (cytokines) that enhance the immune-fighting action of lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and other key immune cells that fight infection and help identify and kill emerging cancer cells. There were no adverse events reported in the study. The researchers stated, “WS (Ashwagandha) extract significantly improved the immune profile of healthy subjects by modulating the innate and adaptive immune systems. Boosting the immune system of people at risk of infection and during widespread infections can be targeted with WS (Ashwagandha) extract.”

For individuals who are under stress, I personally like a combination supplement that includes Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra. These three adaptogen herbs work synergistically to help mitigate the impact of stress on the body and brain, including supporting better immune health when we are under stress, which can help prevent or offset the accelerated decline of immune function commonly seen when people are under stress. These nutrition and lifestyle factors are important considerations if extending your healthy life expectancy and quality of life are on your wish list. You have to take proactive steps to keep your immune function operating at peak levels as you age and during stressful periods when it is highly prone to becoming compromised.

I have included the references for these two important research studies in the text below.


References:

1. Tharakan A et al. Immunomodulatory effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwaganda) extract- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with an open label extension on healthy participants. J Clin Med, 2012; 10 (16): 3644. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8397213/

2. Klopack E.T., et al. Social stressors associated with age-related T lymphocyte percentages in older US adults: Evidence from the US Health and Retirement Study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (25) https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2202780119

3. Stress accelerates immune aging, study finds. Science Daily. June 13, 2022. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220613150648.htm


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 246 – High Cholesterol Diet Increases Lung Inflammation, Making Influenza and Other Infections More Severe and Dangerous

High Cholesterol Diet Increases Lung Inflammation, Making Influenza and Other Infections More Severe and Dangerous

Source: Journal of Immunology (May 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 15, 2022)

Have you ever wondered why some people who get infected with the influenza virus develop life-threatening complications and other people infected with the same virus have only mild symptoms? Well, there are many explanations for this, including differences in nutritional status, co-morbidity issues (like having diabetes), or having a weakened immune system due to the aging process or the use of certain medications. But some new research published in the Journal of Immunology in May 2022, has shown that eating high cholesterol foods appears to be a major factor in promoting more severe infections, especially in the lungs.

As the researchers point out, previous studies on humans have shown a link between high-fat diets and elevated blood cholesterol with increased susceptibility to infection and lowered immune response. For example, obesity is a well-known risk factor for severe diseases in COVID-19 and influenza. We also know that high serum cholesterol levels can lead to a higher risk of sepsis in influenza infections.

The 2022 study has now shown us “how” high cholesterol diets are likely linked to worse outcomes for people who develop these infections. This study showed that feeding mice a high cholesterol diet significantly increases the severity of influenza A viral infection compared to mice fed a low cholesterol diet.

The high cholesterol foods stimulated the immune cells, especially in the lungs, to overproduce inflammatory cytokines, leading to the notorious cytokine storm that is often the final and life-threatening step that occurs in severe influenza and COVID infections. We know that preventing cytokine storm is an important way to prevent major complications of COVID-19 and influenza infections.

So, this animal model helps to explain what we have observed in human cases of influenza and COVID-19, where higher cholesterol blood levels increase the risk of having more serious, and life-threatening outcomes. In fact, in the mouse model, even before the introduction of the influenza virus the high cholesterol diet alone was already producing inflammatory changes in the lungs. It was in, some respects, preparing the lungs for a more adverse reaction should a virus show up at some point down the road. The researchers stated, “our data collectively show that dietary cholesterol increased morbidity in influenza-infected mice. The response appeared to be a result of an aberrant immune response occurring in the lungs rather than an effect of the virus itself.

These results demonstrate the need to consider how host factors contribute to disease outcome.” The word host means your body and the internal environment of your body. This means that your body’s internal environment largely determines the severity of the symptoms you’ll experience if you contract one of these viruses. Eating high cholesterol foods is one of the factors that create an internal environment that enables certain viruses to produce more severe and serious infections. I have suggested for a long time that eating high cholesterol foods is very undesirable. Of course, having high blood cholesterol is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease – the number one killer in our society. But high cholesterol foods are dangerous for other reasons, and now we see their detrimental effects on the increasing risk of more severe and life-threatening infections. So, for many reasons, I suggest you avoid eating high cholesterol foods, which include foods such as:

  • Egg yolks
  • Organ meats (liver, kidney, brains)
  • Any milk of yogurt above 1% milk fat
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream, cream, sour cream- all high-fat dairy products essentially, including ghee (clarified butter)
  • Red Meat (Beef and pork products)
  • Many pastries, which often contain butter, cream, and/or egg yolks.
  • And be careful with too much shellfish

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Dietary cholesterol worsens inflammation, sickness in mice with influenza. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220519164853.htm

2. Allison Y. Louie, Joseph Tingling, Evan Dray, Jamal Hussain, Daniel B. McKim, Kelly S. Swanson and Andrew J. Steelman. Dietary Cholesterol Causes Inflammatory Imbalance and Exacerbates Morbidity in Mice Infected with Influenza A Virus. Journal of Immunology, 2022 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35577367/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,


Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 245 – Dosage of Omega-3 Fats Required to Reduce High Blood Pressure Identified in JAMA Review

Dosage of Omega-3 Fats Required to Reduce High Blood Pressure Identified in JAMA Review

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA June 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 7, 2022)

Over the years we have heard that omega-3 fats are good for the heart and cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fats are converted by the body into prostaglandin-series-3 hormones, which reduce the stickiness of our blood, helping to prevent the formation of abnormal blood clots. These mini hormones also help to relax blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily to our tissue and to our brain cells, and they reduce inflammation, which may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Studies over the years have also suggested that omega-3 fats may also help to reduce high blood pressure, but clinical trials have produced mixed findings. In June of 2022, after evaluating all available studies, researchers published a review paper in the journal of the American Medical Association indicating that a daily dosage of 3 gm per day of omega-3 fats is the dosage required to help reduce high blood pressure. Researchers analyzed the results of 71 clinical trials from around the world published from 1987 to 2020. The studies examined the relationship between blood pressure and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish and fish oil supplements in people aged 18 and older with or without high blood pressure or cholesterol disorders. There were nearly 5,000 participants in total, ranging in age from 22 to 86 years. Participants took dietary and/or prescription supplement sources of fatty acids for an average of 10 weeks.

The results showed the following:

  • Compared to adults who did not consume EPA and DHA omega-3 fats those who consumed between 2 and 3 grams daily of combined DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids (in supplements, food, or both) had reduced systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure by an average 2 mm Hg.
  • Consuming more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily may have added blood pressure-lowering benefits for adults with high blood pressure or high blood lipid levels (cholesterol and/or triglycerides)
  • At 3g a day of omega-3 fat intake, systolic blood pressure decreased by an average of 4.5 mm Hg for those with high blood pressure, and about 2 mm Hg on average for those who did not have high blood pressure.
  • Ingesting more than 3 gm per day of omega-3 fats did not produce a blood pressure-lowering effect that was significantly better than ingesting 3 gm per day.

So, roughly 3 gm per day of omega-3 fats appears to be a good target dosage for those with high blood pressure, whereas for people with relatively normal blood pressure a daily dosage of 2-3 gm per day still appears to be beneficial to help prevent a rise in blood pressure as one ages. Although you can obtain 3 gm of omega-3 fats from consuming 4-5 gm of Atlantic salmon, in most of the studies participants ingested omega-3 fats from supplements. Common omega-3 fat supplements include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and certain algae supplements. Fish oil supplements contain the EPA and DHA omega-3 fats highlighted in this study, but other studies have shown that omega-3 fat ingested from flaxseed oil (ALA or alpha-linolenic acid) can also reduce high blood pressure. The same may be true for algae oil containing the ALA omega-3 fat. I personally take 2-3 capsules per day of a supplement that contains Fish, Flaxseed, and Borage seed oil, which provides the omega-3 benefits we are speaking about here as well as other anti-inflammatory effects from Borage seed oil.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

Main Reference: RefeXin Zhang, Jennifer A. Ritonja, Na Zhou, Bingshu E. Chen, Xinzhi Li. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake and Blood Pressure: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2022; https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.121.025071

 

Flaxseed Oil References:

 Hypertension Journal (2005)  https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.HYP.0000154679.41568.e6

 European Journal of Hypertension (2007) https://www.nature.com/articles/1602631.pdf

Ander BP, Weber AR, Rampersad PP, Gilchrist JS, Pierce GN, Lukas A. Dietary flaxseed protects against ventricular fibrillation induced by ischemiare perfusion in normal and hypercholesterolemic rabbits. J Nutr. 2004;134:3250–4. 3256. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

2010 Study – Nutrition and Cancer:  Colon Cancer Study https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327914nc5101_8

2015 review of flaxseed in J 6. Food Sci and Technology highlighted the following (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375225/ )

Omega-3 Fat Index and Blood Pressure (J Hypertension 2018)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Whole+blood+omega-3+fatty+acid+concentrations+are+inversely+associated+with+blood+pressure+in+young%2C+healthy+adults

 

Borage Seed Oil References:

 Fan Y-Y, Chapkin RS. Importance of dietary γ-linolenic acid in human health and nutrition. Journal of Nutrition. 1998;128(9):1411–1414. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9732298/

 Zurier RB, Kremer JM, Basel BV. Switzerland. Gammalinolenic acid treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In: Kremer JM, editor. Medicinal Fatty Acids in Inflammation. 1998. pp. 29–43.

Belch JJF, Hill A. Evening primrose oil and borage oil in rheumatologic conditions. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000;71(supplement 1):352S–356S. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10617996/


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 244 – Dietary Modification Shown to Improve Depression in Young Men

Dietary Modification Shown to Improve Depression in Young Men

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 31, 2022)

I’ve been asked many times over years to provide a presentation to various companies and organizations on the ability of dietary modifications to prevent or improve symptoms of depression. Until now I had to tell them, much to their disappointment and mine, that there were no published studies to show that positive dietary changes have any impact on depression. There are studies showing that certain supplements can be helpful, as well as exercise, but no studies were available regarding dietary modification.

Well, that all changed on April 20, 2022, when a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that switching to a more Mediterranean diet was highly beneficial in improving symptoms of depression in a group of 72 young male patients (ages 18-25 years) diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. In this randomized, controlled study the group that was provided with dietary coaching aimed at switching them to a more Mediterranean style diet showed a significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life scores by the end of the 12-week study, compared to the control group who made no dietary changes.

This is important for several reasons:

  1. Roughly 30% of depressed patients fail to adequately respond to standard treatments for major depressive disorders such as cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-depressant medications.
  2. In Australia, where this study was conducted, one million Australians each year are diagnosed with depression, which not only diminishes their quality of life but also increases the risk of suicide, the leading cause of death in young adults. This, of course, is similar to stats in many other countries.
  3. Nearly all the participants introduced to the Mediterranean diet stayed on the program. This is counter to what many doctors believe, who think that people are unable or unwilling to make positive dietary changes, especially if they feel depressed. Well, with proper coaching from a nutritionist it appears that they can, and they will. And it really helps. As the researchers reported, “Nearly all our participants stayed with the program, and many were keen to continue the diet once the study ended, which shows how effective, tolerable, and worthwhile they found the intervention.”

So, how might a more Mediterranean diet be helpful in preventing depression and as an adjunctive measure in treating depression? A Mediterranean diet emphasizes the intake of colorful vegetables (red, green, yellow, and orange), legumes (beans and peas), whole grains, some fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fats), olive oil and raw unsalted nuts. In this study, the emphasis was on fresh whole foods while reducing the intake of fast foods, sugar, and processed red meat. It is thought that the high fiber content of whole grains, vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts serves as a source of fiber for the friendly gut bacteria, helping them to thrive in the large intestine. These bacteria are responsible for producing 90% of the serotonin found in the body, which appears to influence the brain via the gut-brain connection or axis (via the Vagus nerve). Serotonin, of course, is the brain chemical that helps us feel happy. Higher serotonin levels are known to help improve mood and feelings of happiness and contentment. The researchers conclude their paper by stating that these results highlight the important role of nutrition for the treatment of depression, suggesting that clinicians should provide this type of dietary advice and coaching as part of their treatment protocol for depression with specific demographic populations.

I have included the research study reference in the text below.

Reference:
Jessica Bayes, Janet Schloss, David Sibbritt. The effect of a Mediterranean diet on the symptoms of depression in young males (the “AMMEND” study): A Randomized Control Trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2022.  https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqac106/6571247?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 243 – Early Adult and Mid-Life Cholesterol and Glucose Levels Predict Alzheimer’s disease Later in Life (Framingham study 2022)

blog video image-243

Early Adult and Mid-Life Cholesterol and Glucose Levels Predict Alzheimer’s disease Later in Life (Framingham study 2022)

Source: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Journal (March 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 24, 2022)

A study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, in March of 2022, has shown that unhealthy blood cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels in early and mid-adulthood are associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life. The study was an extension of the famous Framingham heart study, following 4,932 individuals, which has been studying participants over many years and decades. This arm of the study showed that a 15 mg/dL increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the good cholesterol, measured during early and middle adulthood was associated with a decreased Alzheimer’s disease risk later in life.

As well, a 15 mg/dL increase in glucose (blood sugar) measured during middle adulthood was associated with a 14.5% increased Alzheimer’s disease risk later in life. The study also factored in age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index, smoking history, and educational status. The researchers concluded the following, “Our findings suggest that careful management of cholesterol and glucose beginning in early adulthood can lower Alzheimer’s disease risk.” In their opening comments, they state that Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death among Americans 65 years of age or older.

To date, there are no proven effective disease-modifying therapies to prevent or slow cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s disease. Early identification and treatment of individuals at risk for the common form of Alzheimer’s disease occurring after age 65 have been recognized as an important contributor to reductions in Alzheimer’s disease mortality and delaying the symptoms of the disease. So, in this study, we learned that keeping your glucose and HDL levels in the desirable range are two important ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as you age. Really good targets to shoot for throughout all LMU  adult life include:

  • Fasting Glucose level – under 90 mg/dl (5.0 mmol/L)
  • Fasting HDL – above 60 mg/dl (1.6 mmol/L)

Some other lifestyle strategies that are shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Keeping your total blood cholesterol in the ideal range
  • Participate in regular aerobic exercise
  • Achieve and maintain an ideal body weight
  • Get adequate intake of omega-3 fats (including from supplements)
  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  • Keep your brain active, learning new things or new skills on an ongoing basis
  • Avoid head injuries
  • Keep your blood pressure in the ideal range
  • Drink green tea daily
  • Maintain optimal vitamin D blood levels (above 75 nmol/L or 30 ng/ml)
  • After the age of 40 or 45 consider taking a supplement containing melatonin one hour before bedtime
  • After age 55, I suggest taking a supplement that contains CDP-choline, Huperzine A, Bacopa monnieri and Phosphatidylserine to help maintain brain levels of the memory chemical (neurotransmitter), acetylcholine.

According to published studies, preventing Alzheimer’s disease to the greatest degree possible involves paying attention to a number of dietary and lifestyle factors throughout all of adult life, as I have outlined here. The good news is that these factors are largely under your control and so you should feel empowered knowing that your personal wellness choices from day to day can have a significant impact on lowering your risk as the years tick away. I have included the reference for the 2022 study in the text below, as well as references that support the other Alzheimer’s prevention strategies, I mentioned in this video update.

Main Reference:

Zhang X et al. Midlife lipid and glucose levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Journal. March 23, 2022. https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.12641

Other Supporting References:

1. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp

2. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-genetics-fact-sheet

3. http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=161

4. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201109/alzheimersand-

high-blood-sugar

5. http://www.alz.org/national/documents/latino_brochure_diabetes.pdf

6. Cedric Annweiler, Yves Rolland, Anne M Schott, Hubert Blain, Bruno Vellas, Francois R Herrmann, Olivier Beauchet. “Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up,” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci., April 13, 2012.(http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/13/gerona.gls10 7.abstract)

7. http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2010/100909.html

8. http://journals.lww.com/alzheimerjournal/Abstract/1998/09000/Vitamin_E_and_Vitamin_C_Supplement_Use_and_Risk_of.1.aspx

9. http://journals.lww.com/alzheimerjournal/Citation/2003/10000/Donepezil_Plus_Vitamin_E_as_a_Treatment_in.9.aspx

10. Steve Connor, Gustavo Tenorio, Michael Tom Clandinin, Yves Sauv. DHA supplementation enhances high-frequency, stimulation-induced synaptic transmission

in mouse hippocampus. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 20 June 2012

11. Conquer JA, Tierney MC, Zecevic J, Bettger WJ, Fisher RH. Fatty acid analysis of blood plasma of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, and cognitive impairment. Lipids 2000;35:1305-12

12. Heude B, Ducimetiere P, Berr C. Cognitive decline and fatty acid composition of erythrocyte membranes – the EVA Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:803-8

13. Tully AM, Roche HM, Doyle R, et al. Low serum cholesteryl esterdocosahexaenoic acid levels in Alzheimer’s disease: a case-control study. Br J Nutr 2003;89:483-9

14. Kalmijn S, van Boxtel MP, Ocke M, Vershcuren WM, Kromhout D, Launer LJ. Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation to cognitive performance at middle age. Neurology 2004;62:275-80

15. Kalmign S, Feskens EJ, Launer LJ, Kromhout D. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants,and cognitive function in very old men. Am J Epidemiol 1997;145:33-41

16. He K, Song Y, Daviglus MI, et al. Fish consumption and incidence of stroke: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Stroke 2004;35:1538-42

17. Connor WE and Connor SL. The importance of fish and docosahexaenoic acid in Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Clin Nutr;85:929-30. 2007

18. Brunner E. Oily fish and omega 3 fat supplements. BMJ;332:739-740.2006

19. Beydoun MA, Kaufman JS, Satia JA, Rousamond W, Folson AR. Plasma n-3 fatty acids and the risk of cognitive decline in older adults: the Atherosclerosis Risk Communities Study.Am J Clin Nutr 85:1103-11. 2007

20. Van Gelder BM, Tijuis M, Kalmijn S, Kromhout D. Fish consumption, n-3 fatty acids, and subsequent 5-y cognitive decline in elderly men: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr; 85: 1142-7. 2007

21. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, Committee on Toxicity. Advice on fish consumption: benefits and risks. London, Stationery Office, 2004.

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/fishreport2004full.pdf (accessed 9 Feb 2006).

22. Feng Z, Zhang JT. Protective effect of melatonin on beta-amyloid-induced apoptosis in rat astroglioma c6 cells and its mechanism. Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Dec 1;37(11):1790-801.

23. Pandi-Perumal SR, Zisapel N, Srinivasan V, Cardinali DP. Melatonin and sleep in aging population. Exp Gerontol. 2005 Dec;40(12):911-25. Epub 2005 Sep 23.

24. Cardinali DP, Furio AM, Brusco LI. Clinical Aspects of Melatonin Intervention in Alzheimer’s Disease Progression. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2010 September; 8(3): 218–227.

25. Furio AM, Brusco LI, Cardinali DP. Possible Therapeutic Value of Melatonin in Mild Cognitive Impairment: a Retrospective Study. J. Pineal Res. 2007;43:404–409.

26. Petersen RC, Smith GE, Waring SC, Ivnik RJ, Tangalos EG, Kokmen E. Mild Cognitive Impairment: Clinical Characterization and Outcome. Arch. Neurol. 1999;56:303–308

27. Peck JS, LeGoff DB, Ahmed I, Goebert D. Cognitive Effects of Exogenous Melatonin Administration in Elderly Persons: a Pilot Study. Am. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry. 2004;12:432– 436.

28. http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2010/100909.html

29. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000850.full

30. Foiravanti M, Yanagi M. Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-Choline) for cognitive and behavioral disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly. Cochrane Syst Revi 2002;(2):000269 In: The Cochrane Library, 1,2002. Oxford: Update Software

31. Present Knowledge in Nutrition (5th edition). The Nutrition Foundation, Inc 1984;Choline:383-399

32. Secades JJ, et al. CDP-Choline: pharmacological and clinical review. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1995;17(Suppl B):1-54

33. Zeisel SH, et al. Choline,an essential nutrient for humans. FASEB J 1991;5:20093-2098

34. Cenacchi T, Bertoldin T, Farina C, et al. Cognitive decline in the elderly: A double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study on efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration. Aging 1993;5:123-33

35. Crook T, Petrie W, Wells C, Massari DC. Effects of phosphatidylserine in Alzheimer’s disease. Psychopharmacol Bull 1992;28:61-6

36. Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage J, Petrie W, Nunzi MG, Massari DC. Effect of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology 1991;41:644-9

37. Engel RR, Satzger W, Gunther W, Kathmann N, Bove D, Gerke S, et al. Double-blind crossover study of phosphatidylserine vs. placebo in subjects with early cognitive deterioration of the Alzheimer type. Eur. Neuropsychopharmacol, 1992;2:149-55

38. Funfgeld EW, Baggen M, Nedwidek P, Richstein B, Mistlberger G. Double-blind study with phosphatidylserine (PS) in parkinsonian patients with senile dementia of Alzheimer’s type (SKAT). Prog Clin Biol Res 1989;317:1235-46

39. Maggioni M, Picotti GB, Bondiolotti GP, Panerai A, Cenacchi T, Nobil P, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine therapy in geriatric patients with depressive disorders. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1990;81:265-70

40. Nunzi MG, Milan F, Guidolin D, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine administration on agerelated structural changes in the rat hippocampus and septal complex. Pharmacopsychiat 1989;22:125-8

41. Valzelli L, Kozak W, Zanotti A, Toffano G. Activity of phosphatidylserine on memory retrieval and on exploration in mice. Meth Find Extl Clin Pharmacol 1987;9:657-60

42. Vannucchi MG, Casamenti F, Pepeu G. Decrease of acetylcholine release from cortical slices in aged rats: Investigations into its reversal by phosphatidylserine. J Neurochem 1990;55:819-25

43. Dar A, Channa S. Calcium antagonistic activity of Bacopa monniera on vascular intestinal smooth muscles of rabbit and ginea-pig. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;66(2):167-74

44. Dietary Supplement Information Bureau. www.content.intramedicine.com: Bacopa monnieri

45. Kidd PM. A review of nutrients and botanicals in the integrative management of cognitive dysfunction. Altern Med Rev 1999 Jun;4(3):144-61

46. Mukherjee GD et al. Clinical trial on brahmi. I. J Exp Med Sci 1966;10(1):5-11

47. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, et la. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4

48. Tripathi YB, et al. Bacopa monniera linn. As an antioxidant: Mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol 1996 Jun;34(6):523-6

49. Vohora D, Pal SN, Pillai KK. Protection from phenbytoin-induced cognitive deficit by Bacopa monniera, a reputed Indian nootropic plant. J Ethnopharmacol 2000 Aug;71(3):383-90

50. Ashani Y, Peggins JO, Doctor BP. Mechanism of inhibition of cholinesterases by huperzine

A. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1992:184:719-26

51. Bai DL, et al. Huperzine A, a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Med Chem, 2000 Mar;7(3):355-74

52. Cheng DH, Ren H, Tang XC. Huperzine A, a novel promising acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Neuroreport 1996;8:97-101

53. Cheng DH, Tang XC. Comparative studies of huperzine A, E2020, and tacrine on behavior and cholinesterase activites. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1998;60:377-86

54. Dworkin N. Restoring memory. Psychology Today 2000 Jul/Aug;32(4):p28

55. McCaleb R. Huperzia looks promising for improving memory. HerbalGram, 10/31/1995;35:p14

56. Pirisi, Angela. Plant wisdom: Memory moss. Yoga Journal, 08/31/1999;147:p95

57. Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, et al. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Acta Pharmacol Sin 1999;20:601-3

58. Tang XC. Huperzine A (shuangyiping): A promising drug for Alzheimer’s disease. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao, 1996 Nov;17(6):481-4

59. Wang Z, Ren G, Zhao Y et al. A double-blind study of huperzine A and piracetam in patients with age-associated memory impairment and dementia. In: Kanba S, Richelson E (eds.) Herbal Medicines for Nonpsychiatric Diseases. Tokyo: Seiwa Choten Publishers 1999:39- 50

60. Xu SS, Gao, ZX, Weng Z et al. Efficacy of tablet huperzine-A on memory, cognition, and behavior in Alzheimer’s disease. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao 1995;16:391-5

61. D. Amen MD. Change your brain, change your life. Publisher – Three Rivers Press. 2000.

62. http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2012.pdf

63. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/blood-pressureand- alzheimers-risk-whats-the-connection

64. http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1356776 (Archiv Neurol Sept 10, 2012)

65. Benjamin L. Willis, MD, MPH; Ang Gao, MS; David Leonard, PhD; Laura F. DeFina, MD; Jarett D. Berry, MD, MS. Midlife Fitness and the Development of Chronic Conditions in

Later Life. Arch Int Med. Published online August 27, 2012.

66. Lautenschlager N et al. Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults

at Risk for Alzheimer Disease. JAMA. 2008;300(9):1027-1037.

67. Masato Maesako, Kengo Uemura, Masakazu Kubota, Akira Kuzuya, Kazuki Sasaki, Ayae Kinoshita, et al. “Exercise is more effective than diet control in preventing high fat dietinduced [beta]-amyloid deposition and memory deficit in amyloid precursor protein

transgenic mice.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287, 23024-23033, June 29, 2012

68. Yanyan Wang, Maoquan Li, Xueqing Xu, Min Song, Huansheng Tao, Yun Bai. Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation and sonic hedgehog pathway activation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2012; 56 (8): 1292(weblink: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201200035/abstract)

69. Cedric Annweiler, Yves Rolland, Anne M Schott, Hubert Blain, Bruno Vellas, Francois R Herrmann, Olivier Beauchet. “Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up,” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci., April 13, 2012. (http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/13/gerona.gls10 7.abstract)

70. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2436596

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 242 – Turkey Tail Mushroom Enhances Immune Function in Breast Cancer Patients After Radiation Treatment

Turkey Tail Mushroom Enhances Immune Function in Breast Cancer Patients After Radiation Treatment

Source: Journal Oncology (2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 11, 2022)

There has been some fascinating research published over the years showing the ability of certain medicinal mushrooms to support the body’s immune system. Medicinal mushrooms include such mushrooms as reishi, shiitake, maitake, cordyceps, and others including Tramates Versicolor, also known as Turkey Tail. An eye-opening study using Turkey Tail supplementation with breast cancer patients was published in the journal Oncology in May 2012 that caught my attention. This study showed that in breast cancer patients who had just undergone surgery, radiation treatment, and in some cases chemotherapy, supplementation with Turkey Tail mushroom significantly increased many aspects of their immune system that are typically damaged or suppressed by chemo and radiation treatments .

As the researchers stated this study was an extension of previous preclinical animal studies and preliminary human clinical data, which support the hypothesis that constituents in Turkey Tail mushroom may be beneficial in the treatment of both estrogen receptor-negative and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers by mitigating immunologic depressive effects of treatment and enhancing disease-free survival via enhancement of immunological surveillance and overcoming tumor antigen tolerance. As the researchers point out, Turkey Tail has a long history of use in traditional Asian medicine. Studies show that two proteoglycan fractions, found in Turkey Tail, polysaccharide-K (PSK) and Polysaccharide-peptide (PSP), show anticancer activity.

In Japan, PSK is prescribed to cancer patients routinely, both during and after radiation and chemotherapy. I is also a common practice among many naturopathic physicians (NDs) and integrative oncologists (MDs) in the US to prescribe Turkey Tail supplements to breast cancer patients. Its immunologic activity is hypothesized to be the main underlying mechanism responsible for its antitumor effects as well as its impact on survival rates, as Turkey Tail supplementation has been shown to enhance both innate and adaptive immune responses. The dosage used in the 2012 study, published in the journal Oncology, was 3,6 or 9 gm per day, depending on the patient. Best results were seen in patients provided 6 or 9 gm per day of Turkey Tail. (1-2 teaspoons of Turkey Tail ground powder)

I personally think that everyone over the age of 50 should consider supplementing with medicinal mushrooms of some type to help prevent the typical age-related decline in immune system function that occurs at this stage in life. There are many supplements that contain medicinal mushrooms like reishi, maitake, shiitake, cordyceps, turkey tail, etc. The studies I am citing today appear to indicate that breast cancer survivors may want to seek out a supplement that contains a meaningful amount of the Turkey Tail mushroom to help keep their immune system strong.

I have included the reference for this research paper in the text below.


Reference:

Torkelson C.J., et al. Phase I clinical trial of tramates versicolor in women with breast cancer. Oncology. 2012: 251632. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369477/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 241 – The Longevity Diet

The Longevity Diet

Source: Journal Cell (April 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 4, 2022)

An article published April 2022, in the journal Cell, reviewed all the available research on diet and longevity from studies examining the link between nutrients, fasting, genes, longevity in short-lived species, and connected these links to clinical and observational studies in primates and humans, including studies of human centenarians. The result is what they call the “Longevity Diet”. The authors concluded that the key characteristics of the optimal diet for longevity appear to include moderate to high carbohydrate intake from non-refined sources, low but sufficient protein from largely plant-based sources, and enough plant-based fats to provide about 30 percent of energy needs.

Ideally, the day’s meals would all occur within a window of 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily period of fasting, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or fasting-mimicking diet every 3-4 months, which may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and other risk factors for individuals with increased of diabetes or high blood pressure. In short, the longevity diet includes lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat (chicken and turkey breast), low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.

The longevity diet bears both similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets often seen in super-aging “Blue Zones,” including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. Common diets in these communities known for a high number of people ages 100 or older are often largely plant-based or pescatarian and are relatively low in protein. The longevity diet represents an evolution of these “centenarian diets,” but with further modification of limiting food consumption to 12 hours per day and having several short fasting periods each year. Study researcher, Dr. Longo stated, “The longevity diet is not a dietary restriction intended to only cause weight loss, but a lifestyle focused on slowing aging, which can complement standard healthcare and taken as a preventative measure, will aid in avoiding morbidity and sustaining health into advanced age.”

The next step is to apply the principles of the longevity diet in a 500-person intervention study scheduled to take place in southern Italy. So, we will wait and see what the results of this study reveal. In the meantime, I believe these researchers have provided a good overall dietary template for health promotion and disease prevention. What is not factored into this discussion, unfortunately, is the importance of physical exercise and the use of some key supplements shown to counter certain aspects of aging, such as Coenzyme Q10, CDP-choline, glucosamine, immune-modulating agents (medicinal mushrooms, astragalus), melatonin and several other supplements of importance after the age of 40 or 45.

I have included the reference for this article in the text below.


References:

1. Valter D. Longo, Rozalyn M. Anderson. Nutrition, longevity and disease: From molecular mechanisms to interventions. Cell, 2022; 185 (9): 1455 10.1016/j.cell.2022.04.002

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220428125433.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 48 – Sulfurophane (from broccoli) Shown to Decrease Cancer via Epigenetic Effect: Breakthrough study

LMU 48 - Sulfurophane (from broccoli) Shown to Decrease Cancer via Epigenetic Effect: Breakthrough study

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (April 2017)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 23, 2017)

The research I’m citing today is published in the April 2017 edition of the journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The study lends further support to the already compelling evidence that a medicinal ingredient found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, turnips) possess significant anti-cancer properties. This study, for the first time to my knowledge, showed that sulfurophane (obtained from these vegetables) exerted a key epigenetic effect that greatly inhibited human prostate cancer cells from forming colonies, in an important experimental study. But many other cancers are linked to the same epigenetic switch, suggesting that sulfurophane may also provide protection against brain, lung, colon, breast, and stomach cancer, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

To be more specific, studies in recent years have shown that a specific long, non-coding RNA called LINC01116 is very active or as scientists say, up-regulated, in a common form of human prostate cancer. The activity of this long, non-coding RNA (LINC01116) has been shown to have direct genetic effects that promote cancer development. The April 2017 study showed that sulforphane (from cruciferous vegetables) decreased the expression or normalize the expression of this specific, long, non-coding RNA and in doing so, greatly inhibiting prostate cancer cells from forming colonies by a factor of four-fold. Worth noting, the researchers expressed, is that an increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables appears to be associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer in human studies. Normalizing the impact of this epigenetic factor, or long, non-coding RNA, appears to be one more way that consuming cruciferous vegetables helps to lower prostate cancer risk. But regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of many other cancers as well. So, in my view, it makes sense for men and women to have a cruciferous vegetable serving at least three times a week, and just about every day if possible.

 It’s very interesting. Long, non-coding RNA, which is used to describe RNA strands that don’t promote the synthesis of proteins within the cell (which is what RNA is most famous for), was thought for many years to be part of what’s called junk DNA. In other words, a bunch of genetic material left over from our ancient ancestors that does not do anything, or at least, anything of importance. But we have begun to discover that much of this so-called junk DNA is important epigenetic material that tells the DNA (our genes) what to do and how to behave – turning on and turning off certain genes and modifying the make of others. The same way that your computer software enables your computer hardware to do or not do certain things, the body’s epigenetic activity influences our DNA hardware in a similar way – turning on and off certain genes and even altering our gene make-up and function over time, as it senses changes to our environment, nutritional status, exposures to toxins and other factors.

Some scientists suggest that the rise in conditions like autism incidence in recent years is a direct result of our epigenetic material being influenced by our exposure to the build-up of many undesirable environment agents and rapid changes to our food composition, which in turn has altered our DNA gene expression. More on that another time.

For today, let’s focus on the study at hand, showing that sulforphane from cruciferous vegetables was shown to help prevent the development of prostate cancer colonies from forming via decreasing expression of a specific long, non-coding RNA, in a break-through experimental study, involving a common type of human prostate cancer cells. Studies have shown for a long time that sulfurophane (from cruciferous vegetables) also inhibits cancer development in other ways, such as through improved detoxification of cancer causing agents and inducing cell death of emerging cancer cells (apoptosis). It appears that sulfurophane may also help prevent certain cancers by also acting on an epigenetic level. This is the first time we have seen this.

My recommendation remains unchanged, “Eat a cruciferous vegetable serving 3-7 times per week”. I personally aim for at least one serving a day, but usually end up around 5 servings per week, on average.

I’ve included a link to the study in the text below.

References

1. Beaver L.M., Kuintzle R, Buchanan A, Wiley MW,Glasser S.T. et al. JNB (the journal of nutritional biochemistry) April 207, vol 42:72-83  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141106/

 

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170316141117.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,


Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 46 – Natural Heavy Metal Detoxification: A Review

LMU 46 - Natural Heavy Metal Detoxification: A Review

Source: The Scientific World Journal (2013)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 15, 2017)

The research paper I am citing today was published in the Scientific World Journal in 2013, by Margaret Sears from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada. The paper is titled, “Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification – A Review”.

In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body and can conversely cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels. These heavy metals bind to our tissues, create damaging free radicals (oxidative stress), disrupt our endocrine (hormonal system) and interfere with the absorption and function of important minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Cadmium is classified as a possible carcinogen. Lead can damage the nervous system and be particularly harmful to the developing brains of young children. Mercury is also known to damage the brain and nervous system, and there is an increasing number of people being affected by its bioaccumulation in the food chain, especially in regards to fish and seafood consumption.

As such, the FDA and EPA have developed guidelines about eating fish and seafood to help reduce the risk of serious mercury accumulation and nervous system damage in our bodies. Nevertheless, all of us ingest a certain amount, to some extent, of mercury and other heavy metals like cadmium and lead on a regular basis. The good news is, in addition to working to reduce our exposure and intake of these toxic metals, there are some natural things we can do to help remove, or detoxify and eliminate, some of the heavy metals already in our body, and block the absorption of some heavy metals from our intestinal tract.

So, what natural things can we do to help detoxify these heavy metals and/or block their absorption to some degree? Certain foods that are high in sulfur have been shown to be useful, as heavy metals have an affinity to bind sulfur. Sulfur also makes this heavy metal complex more soluble, enabling the body to more easily eliminate heavy metals in the urine or via the fecal route. Really great sulfur-containing foods are garlic and onions (and the allium vegetables, as they are known) and also the brassica family of vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and turnips. These are also known as the cruciferous vegetable. These vegetables contain sulfur-containing sulforaphane, as well as indole-3 carbinol, both of which also possess impressive anti-cancer properties. Garlic has prevented cadmium-induced kidney damage and decreased free radical damage due to lead in rat experiments.

Fiber ingested from whole grains and fruits has reduced levels of mercury in the brain and in blood. The use of psyllium husk fiber (the active ingredient in Metamucil) has been shown to block the re-absorption of heavy metals back into the body, once secreted into the gut via the liver and gallbladder, following a meal (this is known as interrupting the enterohepatic circulation). The ingestion of healthy minerals such as calcium, selenium and iron, at optimal nutritional levels, has also been shown to block the absorption of heavy metals into the body. Selenium supplementation is also shown to increase mercury excretion from the body and reduce mercury-induced free radical damage, in a study of 103 mercury exposed villagers. Calcium is known to help block the absorption of cadmium and has reduced lead mobilization from the bones of women during their pregnancy and period of lactation. In children, nutritional iron has blunted lead accumulation. In addition, certain dietary supplements can be helpful as heavy metal detoxifiers.

It is well documented that the mini-protein known as glutathione helps remove heavy metals from body tissues and excrete them from the body. Our bodies naturally make glutathione from the ingestion of three amino acids found in food (glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine). The problem is, much of our glutathione gets used up by acting as an antioxidant in our cells, and as a conjugating agent for various substances (including acetaminophen) in the detoxification of a variety of agents. This often leaves an insufficient amount of glutathione available to maximize its heavy metal detoxifying function.

However, studies suggest that we can optimize our glutathione status by taking a supplement that boosts glutathione synthesis. These ingredients include alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, L-glutamine and milk thistle, which contain a glutathione-raising flavonoid known as silymarin. Taking glutathione in its preformed state has not been shown to be useful, as it is poorly absorbed from the gut. However, supplementing with these glutathione-boosting agents appears to be a good way to help optimize glutathione status and thus heavy metal detoxification. In fact, alpha-lipoic acid has its own heavy metal detoxifying properties, over and above its role in raising glutathione. N-acetyl cysteine also has its own unique heavy metal detoxifying properties. So, I really like the combination of these glutathione precursors, to be taken as a daily supplement, if you are trying to boost heavy metal detoxification.

There are other sulfur-containing amino acids that can also be helpful, which include taurine and methionine. Your body normally has ample methionine if you eat standard protein foods and ingest sufficient amounts of the B-vitamin’s folic acid and vitamin B12. Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the heart muscle and it may play a key role in helping to prevent congestive heart failure, as it serves a multi-purpose function in the heart muscle. Researchers are still looking into its role in heart health, but it certainly has some detoxification ability regarding heavy metals.

For individuals with serious heavy metal toxicities, doctors can administer intravenous pharmaceutical chelating agents, which help remove various heavy metals from body tissues. But this is not something that is typically done as a standard preventive measure on everyday patients seen in clinical practice.

So, what does a heavy metal prevention and detoxification strategy look like for most of us? Well, first and foremost, do your best to reduce your exposure to heavy metals in the environment and the food you eat. With respect to detoxification of heavy metals, try to regularly consume whole grains and fruits, and at least 5 servings per week of a cruciferous vegetable. Add garlic and onions to the foods you prepare, and possibly consider a fiber supplement containing psyllium husk fiber. As for supplements, I like the idea of a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral that is enriched with the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium, which help to preserve and/or raise glutathione levels.

With respect to calcium, using a multiple vitamin supplement, or an additional calcium supplement, plus the food you eat each day, you should aim for at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and in many cases, more optimally between 1,200 and 1,500 mg per day. As for selenium, a good multiple vitamin supplement should contain 100-200 mcg of selenium. That is plenty. Taking a multiple vitamin supplement can also help ensure more optimal intake of folic acid and vitamin B12 to help optimize methionine synthesis. And there is some preliminary evidence that a probiotic supplement may also be helpful.

You may want to consider taking a supplement with glutathione boosters and detoxifiers that contains alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, L-glutamate, and Milk thistle – standardized to 80% silymarin content. One last thing, sweating with exercise, or by using a sauna, may be a benefit as well, as toxic metals are also excreted in sweat. So, regular exercise is also a natural detoxifier, along with providing a multitude of other health benefits. Another reason to keep doing aerobic exercise.

Ok, that’s my report for this week. I hope you found it helpful.

I provided the main reference in the text below along with a more in-depth research review paper on mercury, and another on glutathione, for those who are interested.

References:

1. (Main Reference): Sears, S.E., Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification – A Review. Scientific World Journal, 2013. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/219840

2. Mercury – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/460508

3. Glutathione: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=54358

4. EPA and Mercury: https://www.epa.gov/mercury/basic-information-about-mercury

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 41 – Vitamin D May Protect Lung Function in Smokers

LMU 41 - Vitamin D May Protect Lung Function in Smokers

Source: American Thoracic Society (July 20, 2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 6, 2017)

I want to bring forward a study today, published by the American Thoracic Society on July 20, 2012. The study showed that smokers who had higher vitamin D blood levels showed better lung function over a 20-year period, compared to smokers who have lower vitamin D blood levels. Here’s how the study was done:

As part of the Normative Aging Study, researchers examined the relationship between vitamin D blood levels and the rate of lung function decline in smokers over a 20-yr period. The study involved 626 caucasian male smokers. The researchers noted that vitamin D sufficiency (defined as serum vitamin D levels of >20 ng/ml or approximately 50 nmol/L) had a protective effect on lung function and the rate of lung function decline. These findings were based on vitamin D levels that were assessed at three different time points between 1984 and 2003, and lung function, which was assessed concurrently using spirometry testing.

According to the researchers, “results suggest that vitamin D might modify the damaging effects of smoking on lung function. These effects might be due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” The researchers did not comment on the ability of vitamin D to reduce the risk of lung cancer, but the study suggested that sufficient vitamin D status appears to slow the decline in lung function associated with smoking. This has important implications regarding the prevention of smoking-related emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. As such, it appears that smokers should have their blood vitamin D levels evaluated. If the level is below 20ng/ml (50nmol/L), vitamin D supplements are likely required to raise the level to above 20ng/ml (50nmol/L).

Of course, the best thing a smoker can do is quit smoking. It’s unlikely that higher vitamin D status can prevent lung cancer. Remember that 87% of lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking, so smoking cessation is always the ultimate goal. However, until smoking cessation occurs, smokers should know that achieving a vitamin D blood level of at least 50 mmol/L may help to slow or prevent the decline in lung function linked to emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As a final comment, many studies show that it is best to have a blood vitamin D level (25-hydroxycholecalciferol) at or above 85 nmol/L (35 ng/ml) in regards to the prevention of cancer in general, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and some other degenerative diseases. I think all adults should aim for a blood level in this range. Note that vitamin D toxicity occurs at a blood level around 250nmol/l (100 ng/ml).

I’ve included a link to the research study in the text below

Reference:

American Thoracic Society (ATS) (2012, July 20). Vitamin D may protect lung function in smokers. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120720081843.htm

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.