Omega 3 with DHA and Alzheimer’s Disease

Raising awareness

As a culture, we are finally waking up. The recently released film “Fork over Knives” see movie trailer  delivers a paramont statement of how we are eating ourselves into our own demise. Sometimes science has been confusing to the general public. The conflicting and changing information on nutrition has caused us to stray from what is truly the best in food choices and this is not entirely our fault. Rather this is now a wake up for learning to reclaim one’s health with nutrition.

Chronic disease

A big concern for today and the next generation is increasing chronic disease. People who think about aging and health decline often joke about senility or dementia, but the ravaging effects in the loss of brain function is nothing to laugh at.

At the heart of dementia prevention is nutrition, which lies at our feet in our gardens containing trees and vegetables.  DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid is one of the bigger helpers for all functioning brain cells. Although DHA’s highest concentration is in fish, nuts and seeds also contain DHA and other important Omega 3’s.  I support the idea of eating wild fish twice a week (never farmed fish) along with nuts and seeds. Remember those silly chia plant shaped animals that were popular a few decades ago? The chia seed is quite high in Omega 3’s and can be incorporated into the diet easily. Flax seed is abundant and inexpensive and  also high in omega 3 fatty acids.

What do Omega 3 fatty acids do for the body? This important nutrient helps to put out the fire of inflammation. Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia disorders have a link to inflammation in the brain. Going back to eating a 100% whole foods diet for reducing inflammation is the wise choice. Include more nuts and seeds every day. Buy chia seeds, add water and watch it become soft and gel like. They can then be included in any food like a smoothie drink, morning cereal or added to soups and stews. Nuts like almonds, cashews, sunflower and sesame seeds make wonderful nut “butters” and can be eaten like peanut butter.

Dr Jeanne can assist in customizing a nutritional program for you.

Resource: Elson Haas MD, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, 2006

What is a Phytonutrient Anyway?

The word “phyto” is a word defining plant material. There is a lot of discussion on the differences between a “phytonutrient” and “phytochemical”. Although these two words are used interchangeably there is active debate on about the differences between them.

“Nutrients” are molecules that stimulate the body’s response for repair or renewal of cells and tissues. These nutrients essentially come from plants like herbs, fruits and vegetables. It is especially important for us to ingest food that is whole and unprocessed so the active food enzymes can do their “work”. My view is that a “chemical” can stimulate cells and tissue whereas a nutrient nourishes and restores.

What is the “work”?

In order to maintain the health of a cell, the basic structure of the body, cells need to be fed good substances like vitamins, minerals and enzymes. On the other side of the process, cells need damage protection and help eliminating the waste each cell makes. Any build up of waste or toxic chemicals will actually damage not only the cell wall but also the material inside the cell. This situation becomes a recipe for cancer, inflammation or altered cell function.

Solutions: Doing what our grandmothers have always said – “Eat your fruits and vegetables” is sage. Whole unprocessed foods contain “phytonutrients” essential for health. A great example of a “phytonutrient” is beta-carotene one of many found the carotenoid family.
Phyotnutrients out number all the other parts of the plant by 10,000 to 1. That speaks volumes of its importance!

Cholesterol Truths

Controversy continues regarding the treatment of high cholesterol with prescription medication. A recent article by Stephen Sinatra MD in the Townsend Letter *clears up some of the confusion on the use of statin drugs. For a person with elevated cholesterol, the complete analysis of cholesterol breakdown is the first step he notes.

Here are some CHOLESTEROL facts important to know.

  • The body makes 85% as it’s needed:
  • Fluctuates through out the day
  • It goes up in winter and down in summer
  • Levels soar after surgery, injury or during infection
  • Essential for making vitamin D, sex hormones, stress hormones

A prescription should never be written for simple high total cholesterol levels without looking deeper. As more is learned about how the body responds to internal injury which can’t be seen, the more important it becomes to use nutrients to heal the inflammation/injury of internal blood vessels. Finding the cause of the elevated cholesterol and assisting the body to repair and heal is essential. Treat the cause not the symptom (tolle causam) .

Aronia berry is a food nutrient that can lower inflammation shown in this research article.

NB: statin drugs (atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, etc) can have significant side effects:

  • Liver enzyme elevation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of memory and decreased cognitive function (brain function)
  • One study reported 25% cancer rate increase.
  • Statin drugs can cause elevated blood sugar another avenue to diabetes.

*Stephen Sinatra MD, FACC, FACN, Townsend Letter June 2009 www.townsendletter.com

Seek the help of a professional willing to examine the underlying cause of high cholesterol not just a bandaid treatment of drug therapy. Deeper issues of high carbohydrate diets that raise insulin levels are associated with high cholesterol problems. More information on insulin resistance next time.

The Sugar Dragon

Often I get the question: what is the best type of sugar to use? The immediate answer is none! Surprising as that may seem, it is true. Most of the refined or processed sweeteners people consume are not health promoting. When processed foods that contain sugar taste so delicious, we believe it has to be good. Quite the opposite is true. I have created a table of common sweeteners and their values and then compared them to carbohydrates such as bread and potato.

Glycemic Index is a rating of food’s influence on blood sugar and subsequently how insulin levels are elevated. The higher index number means blood sugars rise very fast.  Continuous eating of foods with a high glycemic index means blood sugars stay high as do levels of insulin.  This is the avenue for chronic inflammation and disease in the body.

Sugar similar to caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are habit forming and comumption of the substance just triggers our body to beg for more.

SUGARS

Type of sugar Glycemic index Amount Insulin elevation*
Table sugar (sucrose) 65 1 teaspoon yes
Honey 58 1 Tablespoon yes
High Fructose Corn syrup 89 1 teaspoon yes
Agave (fructose) 11 1 teaspoon no

CARBOHYDRATES

White rice 90 ½ cup yes
White bread 70 1 slice yes
White potato 101 4 oz boiled & peeled yes

* http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/insulin.htm

Fructose is also a sugar but unlike its cousin glucose and sucrose, it does not raise blood sugar. So, does that mean it is good? It can actually cause a more serious problem. The liver processes fructose and when we consume a large amount (as often we do) the liver becomes overwhelmed and converts the fructose right into fat (called triglycerides).

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/fructosedangers.htm

The Caveat

The take home message about sugar is stop consuming so much. Eat no processed foods and find sweet treats in completely fresh fruits (avoid dried fruits). Sweet drinks including fruit juices affect both blood sugar and the liver. Moderation, moderation, moderation is key to optimal health!

Summertime Hydration

Summer time and warmer weather make us thirsty. As the temperature reaches into 90 to 100 degree range, keeping hydrated is essential. A mistake often made is drinking sugar loaded drinks and alcohol to cool down. Big mistake! Consumption of stimulants like caffeine loaded iced coffee or tea and soda pop or a tall glass of beer is a poor choice in the heat. Actually, these types of drinks can cause dehydration – not what you want in extreme temperatures.

To stay well hydrated – simply drink water! Lots of water. If you are sweating it is essential to drink water that contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts dissolved in water. For this discussion, I will name the five more essential ions needed in a hot climate: sodium (Na), potassium (K), chlorides (Chl), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca).

There are numerous commercial electrolyte or energy drinks. Beware. Most are loaded with undesirable sugars like high fructose corn syrup. Natural electrolytes can be found in fruit juices especially tomato juice and vegetables like potatoes, avocados and celery. When you drink fruit juices, dilute them by half with water.

Here are some quick hydration tips:

  • Drink water on a regular basis; avoid becoming thirsty.
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. (weight 150 pounds – drink 75 ounces of water)
  • If consuming alcohol then drink double of its equivalent in water. (8 oz. of beer – drink 16 ounces of water).
  • If exercising in very hot weather – do take electrolyte replacement.
  • Electrolyte capsules and tablets are available.
  • Avoid sugar laden drinks altogether.
  • Lemon or lime flavored drinks are thirst quenching or add your own wedge of citrus to your water.

Stay healthy in the summer by eating lightly and drinking extra non alcoholic fluids. Happy Summer!

Alcohol is not Brain Food

There is conflicting information about what is healthy regarding alcohol consumption. Some studies say it is good for our cardio vascular system and yet more information is out about its effects on brain size.

Dr. Daniel Amen  (a noted psychiatrist) reports in a newsletter a recent study that confirms that alcohol consumption can actually decrease brain size. In the aging process we naturally loose about 2 percent of brain volume per decade.  The study revealed that greater alcohol consumption leads to brain shrinkage. This seems to be true even for light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week) and women’s brains are affected more than men’s are.

Higher levels of alcohol intake are associated with damage to brain cells, which was recently reported by Roy Morgan Research1 in a study in Australia. One of the problems often associated with drinking alcohol is a compromise in eating wholesome foods. The reduction of natural vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants may well be a precursor to chronic disease.

Life in moderation is the mantra found in all health modalities. Our bodies are wonderful functional beings and given the right ingredients, we can live long, healthy and happy lives. Enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink. When it becomes a daily demand one must step back and make better health promoting choices.

1http://www.roymorgan.com/company/about-us/about-us_home.cfm

Aronia Berry – the Life Saver

Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are the big health robbers in our population. In the truest sense of prevention, this information will help you understand Aronia melanocarpa’s (aka choke berry) importance as a nutrient.

A review of research literature reveals studies showing significant health effects and benefits of aronia berry’s phytonutrients (plant based) on the body. One study from Bulgaria showed positive results for diabetics which concluded:  “Accumulated data illustrated the hypoglycemic potential (lowering of blood sugar) of Aronia juice.”1 As a sugar addicted society, aronia can help lower the damage on heart and blood vessels from the ravages of a poor diet.

Another study in Poland assessed the effects of Aronia Berry’s antioxidant power. “The lead, aluminum and copper concentration was decreased while zinc concentration in red blood cells was increased”. 2.  This has a significant impact by repairing damage to cells in the body. These are only two among many studies on the power of this little berry. Research is revealing the truth:  Aronia is POWERFUL-something Native Americans have known for centuries.

I recommend drinking 2-4 ounces of a juice blend of aronia daily. It is a powerful healthful drink that has properties to improve heart function and lower inflammation in the body.

To your health! Don’t wait for disease to happen to start your health program.

1.Effects of Aronia melanocarpa juice as part of the dietary regimen in patients with diabetes mellitus

2.The influence of anthocyanins from Aronia melanocarpa on selected parameters of oxidative stress and microelements contents in men with hypercholesterolemia

Aronia Berry – the Heart Saver

Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are the big health robbers in our population. In the truest sense of prevention, this information will help you understand Aronia melanocarpa’s  (aka “choke berry”) importance as a nutrient. Reviewing research literature reveals studies showing significant health effects and benefits of aronia’s phytonutrients (plant based) on the body. One study from Bulgaria showed positive results for diabetics which concluded:  “Accumulated data illustrated the hypoglycemic potential (ability to lower blood sugar) of Aronia juice.”1 As a sugar addicted society, aronia can help lower the damage on the heart and blood vessels from the ravages of a poor diet.

Another study in Poland assessed the effects of Aronia Berry’s antioxidant power. “The lead, aluminum and copper concentration was decreased while zinc concentration in red blood cells was increased”. 2.  This has a significant impact by repairing damage to cells in the body. These are only two among many studies on the power of this little berry.

Research is revealing the truth:  Aronia is POWERFUL-something Native Americans have known for centuries. It is available now in a tasteful super food called OKI.

Aronia is the dominant ingredient in OKI with fruits to add sweetness and aloe as its base. There are no added refined or artificial sugars.

Drink 1-2 ounces twice daily for your preventive health program.

1.Effects of Aronia melanocarpa juice as part of the dietary regimen in patients with diabetes mellitus

2.The influence of anthocyanins from Aronia melanocarpa on selected parameters of oxidative stress and microelements contents in men with hypercholesterolemia

What are you doing to stay proactive in your wellness program?  Don’t wait for disease to happen; prevention is far easier than treating disease.

Pamela Sky Jeanne ND – an educator and a wise wellness practitioner of 40 years.

Go Ahead – Be a Fat Head

Our beautiful brain is comprised of 60% fat; brain cells are insulated with fat allowing biochemicals in and out of each cell. Brain activity depends upon the quality of its insulation. Since 50% of this fat is DHA there is a concern for the type of fat we consume.

The star today is DHA an omega 3 fatty acid. It is plentiful in fish like salmon, sardines and trout. Where do fish get their omega 3’s? They get it by feeding on algae at the bottom of rivers and streams.

A study recently of 480 people with complaints of poor memory found improvement when participants took 900mg of DHA from algae each day.

How to keep a healthy brain:

  • Know the type of fats you ingest; avoid all hydrogenated and deep fried fats
  • Wild caught salmon and trout is best.
  • Beware of fish from fish farms. They are fed corn or soy which produces omega 6 fats that are less favorable.
  • DHA from algae will deliver good fat to your brain.

Being a fathead supports good brain cognition and intelligent function, but quality of the ingested fat is most important. For a further look on the subject of the quality of America’s food see the DVD “Fat Head” by Tom Naughton.

Pamela Sky Jeanne ND

Inviting you to live life one healthy day at a time.

Dr Jeanne is a 40 year veteran in healthcare. She is passionate in helping others attain the best health possible.

Zinc and Vitamin D

Vitamin D body levels become a higher concern when we realize the important role zinc plays especially as fall advances into winter. The Journal of Nutrition as early as 1961, stated that the utilization of zinc is dependent upon adequate levels of vitamin D.1

More importantly zinc is a nutrient that also has a direct effect on immune cells (T-cell activation) by enhancing immune cell activity.  But an interesting dilemma can occur: sufficient zinc in the body and low levels of the sunshine vitamin can still lead to immune dysfunction. Why? Because they are interdependent as so many nutrients are for healthy function.  In the winter months it is crucial to keep both levels up for optimal immune function.

So where do we get zinc?  Whole grains, meat and oysters are good sources of zinc along with nuts, seeds and egg yolks (organic free range is best). The American diet is depleted of zinc due to processed foods, alcohol consumption and depleted soils of American farmland to name a few.2

Dosing of zinc is good at 15mg per day and amounts up to 100mg daily are well tolerated. To maximum immune potential test* your vitamin D levels as the winter months deepen.

Note: women on oral birth control pills need more zinc because copper levels rise while on the pill which suppress zinc levels. (Yes the things your doctor never tells you!)

The Good News!

Orenda’s All in One Female contains 15mg of zinc (amino acid chelate for better absorption).

Orenda’s All in One Male contains 25mg of zinc (amino acid chelate for better absorption) enhancing prostate health for men over 40.

Vitamin D 2000 IU is found in both the male and female formulas.

Take charge now to stay healthy this winter.

Sources:

  1. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/75/2/222.pdf
  2. Elson Haas, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, 2006

* Contact Dr Jeanne for easy at home vitamin D testing.

Dr Pamela Sky Jeanne is a 40 year health care veteran passionate about helping others know the facts about keeping healthy. It is way easier to prevent disease that it is to cure disease!

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