Nutrition

What Keeps Us Feeling Younger

According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Siegel, faculty editor of Positive Psychology gives suggestions for helping us reach a younger state of mind:

  • Challenge yourself to try new things

  • Bring attention repeatedly to the present moment. This keeps us from becoming lost in regrets of the past or imagining future deterioration

  • Develop a sense of meaning in life by focusing on something larger than yourself

  • Commit yourself to a hobby you love, “when our focus is just on our immediate pleasure or pain we’re much more likely to have difficulty with the aging process” says Dr. Siegel

Other things that can help us to stay feeling younger as stated by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease include healthy eating and regular physical activity. They are key to good health at any age. They lower the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. They may even help ward off depression and maintain orthopedic health.

As we age the body needs fewer calories but just as many nutrients.

Diet suggestions include Eat more:

  • Fruits and vegetables (range of types with vibrant colors)

  • Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal

  • Low fat dairy

Eat Less:

  • Sugar, sweet drinks and desserts with added sugar

  • White bread, rice and pasta (refined grains)

Other tips:

  • Control portion sizes

  • Avoid eating in front of the TV

  • Read nutrition facts (labels and ingredients)

  • Plan meals ahead of time

Insomnia....possible underlying causes

Insomnia Solution

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

If you suffer from insomnia then you understand the seriousness of simply not getting a good night's sleep. Your whole world around you appears to crumble when you can't get a good 6-8 hours of quality deep REM sleep. Your work life, your family life all suffer.

Today's article will touch on a few "key" things to consider to solve insomnia.

 

To begin remember that the awakening after a few hours of sleep and not being able to get back to sleep is often rebound from what you ate or drank hours before. High sugar, alcohol, highly spiced foods and of course, caffeinated drinks are often the culprits.

If you are unknowingly deficient in chromium, vanadium, manganese and other nutrients you can experience hypoglycemic rebound in a few hours where you abruptly wake-up and are unable to drift back to sleep.

Let's now consider something called the “happy hormones” that lead to a restful sleep.

One of these hormones is serotonin, which anti-depressants like Prozac work on.

We make serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan.

Unfortunately as we age or faced with an overload of stress the level of serotonin suffers.

Dozens of studies show that low tryptophan levels lead to insomnia, awakening feeling unrested, inability to stay asleep after getting there, and just lying there all night watching the clock.

For over a quarter of a century literally dozens of studies have proven this amino produces a great sleep in many, and with no side effects or hangover. In fact, folks have better mental clarity during the day. Furthermore, it improves daytime depression, PMS, fibromyalgia, and anxiety as well as carbohydrate cravings, binge-eating and even alcohol recovery.

Now from a functional medicine position it is important to know that a simple B6 or zinc deficiency can contribute to insomnia. A common vitamin B6 deficiency can keep you awake all night, or low zinc causing impaired conversion of B6, which is needed to make tryptophan work.

If you have an elevated organic acid, kynurenate acid, for example, and a low tryptophan, the correction of B6 may be all you need.

Now don't forget plasticizers in our bodies lower zinc which is needed in the enzyme to convert B6 to its active form so it can then transform tryptophan to a serotonin.

I am disappointed with the number of people suffering with insomnia who could be helped if only their physician understood the significance of nutritional biochemistry.

It comes down to finding the cause of the cause.

Remember that as important as serotonin is for sleep and moods, most of serotonin is not made in the brain.

Ninety five percent of serotonin is made in the gut.

If the gut isn't healthy, then you are going nowhere. If you have gas, bloating, alternating diarrhea or constipation or other gut issues than your chances of solving your insomnia problem may be futile until you fix your gut.

The secret is to find a doctor who understands the probable underlying causes of insomnia and knows how to do the proper testing to discover what needs to be fixed.

It really can be as simple as that.

References

Schmidt HS, L-tryptophan in the treatment of impaired respiration in sleep, Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir, 19; 6:625-9, 1983

Demisch K, et al, Treatment of severe chronic insomnia with Ltryptophan: results of a double-blind cross-over study, Pharmocopsychiatry, 20; 6:242-4, 1987

Hartmann E, Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep, J Psychiatr Res, 17; 2:1-7-13, 1982

Ashley DV, et al, Evidence for diminished brain 5-hydroxytrptamine biosynthesis in obese diabetic and non-diabetic humans, Am J Clin Nutr, 42; 6:1240-5, 1985

Riemann D, et al, The tryptophan depletion test: impact on sleep in primary insomnia - a pilot study, Psychiatry Res, 109; 2:129-35, 2002

Schneider-Helmert D, et al, Evaluation of L-tryptophan for treatment of insomnia: a review, Psychopharmacol (Berl), 89; 1:1-7, 1986

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Link Between Leptin and Fat Burning

The Fat Hormone: How Effective are You at Burning Belly Fat?

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

 

Leptin, a recently discovered hormone, regulates body weight by suppressing food intake and/or increasing energy expenditure.

Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by fat cells.

 

 

Science has discovered that leptin is the most powerful metabolic regulator that tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat.

Basically, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

In a perfect world, as you gain weight, you secrete more leptin from your fat cells. This in turn tells your brain you have enough stored fat so it reduces your appetite sending messages to help you burn fat.

But there is a problem!

Unfortunately many people have something called "leptin resistance". This means that no matter how much leptin you create from your fat cells, the brain doesn't see it.  This leads to a cascade of your brain thinking you are starving ======> you burn less calories ====>your appetite goes into overdrive and finally every bit of food you eat gets stored on your belly!

Until you address leptin resistance, you're not going to lose weight!

Optimal Leptin Levels

Your goal is to keep your leptins below 12, however, not too low. Researchers have discovered that leptins too far to the low side has been associated with dementia or Alzheimer's.

A leptin above 12 is not considered healthy.

Leptin levels can now be measured with a simple blood test. Levels above 12 are linked to weight gain, accelerated aging, increased risk of infertility, diabetes and heart attack.  In addition, high leptin levels are associated with belly fat and numerous cancers

Leptin rises if you don't sleep well, and if you have any kind of perceived stress.

Thyroid Connection

If you are having difficulty losing weight, I recommend you get your leptin checked. Remember you want it under 12.  From a thyroid perspective, if your leptin is above 12 you will commonly see low T3 (the most metabolically active thyroid hormone) and elevated reverse T3. This is not good for those trying to lose weight. The thyroid medication Synthroid (Levothyroxine) is aT4 medication and should be used with some level of caution when high leptin levels are seen. The take away from this thyroid connection is the fact that reverse T3 means T4 is not being effectively converted into the metabolic workhorse hormone, T3.

The Solution:

You become leptin resistant by eating the typical American diet full of sugar, refined grains, and processed foods. The solution is to eat a diet that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes. Basically a diet that emphasize healthy fats, lean meats and vegetables, and restricts sugar and grains.

For a full thyroid/leptin work-up, I recommend a practitioner knowledgeable in functional medicine.


 

 

References:

Kozlowska, Rosolowska-Huszcz. Leptin, thyrotropin, and thyroid hormones in obese/overweight women before and after two levels of energy deficit.Endocrine. 2004 Jul;24(2):147-53.

Hsieh CJ1, Wang PW, Wang ST, Liu RT, Tung SC, Chien WY, Lu YC, Chen JF, Chen CH, Kuo MC.Serum leptin concentrations of patients with sequential thyroid function changes. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2002 Jul;57(1):29-34

Ríos, Cisternas, Arrese, Barja. Is Alzheimer's disease related to metabolic syndrome? A Wnt signaling conundrum.Prog Neurobiol. 2014 Jul

 

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Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Stroke and Plaque Buildup in Carotid Artery

Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Stroke and Plaque Buildup in Carotid Arteries

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., MS

A study published in the the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that people low in vitamin B12 had an increase risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke.

The study focused on the relationship between homocysteine, B-12 and carotid artery plaque.

The study showed that higher blood levels of B vitamins are related to lower concentrations of homocysteine leading to decrease plaquing in the carotid arteries. However, an elevated blood homocysteine level revealed a strong risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

How the Study was Conducted
The study examined 421 people with the average age being 66. Vitamin B12, homocysteine levels and degree of plaque in the carotid arteries (via ultrasound) were evaluated.

The Results

Seventy-three patients (17%) had vitamin B12 deficiency with significant elevation of homocysteine. In addition and most important, carotid plaque was significantly larger among the group of patients who had deficiency of vitamin B12 In conclusion, the authors found that low blood vitamin B12 levels are a major cause of elevated homocysteine levels and increased carotid plaque area.

Dr. Grisanti's Comments
Have your physician order a blood homocysteine test and a methylmalonic acid (MMA) test. This is the most specific test for B12 status NOT the serum B-12 blood test.


Reference

Robertson J, Iemolo F, Stabler SP, Allen RH, Spence JD. Vitamin B12, homocysteine and carotid plaque in the era of folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grain products. CMAJ. 2005 Jun 7;172(12):1569-73.

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Taking It To The Next Level

The body needs basic things but as individuals we all have unique experiences and backgrounds and our bodies tell a story. To get the most out of your exercise and nutrition programs you have to take these individual stories into account. At Mind and Body Fitness connections we do just that. Using throurough questionnaires and assessments an individualized program is put together which may include various types of exercise training to help correct postural imbalances as well as strengthen weak muscles. Also an individualized nutrition program and manual therapy techniques or used to create a well-rounded program that will get you the results you need whether you're looking for weight loss, pain reduction or just a better quality of life. Schedule an assessment today to find out how to take your health to the next level.