Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Drugs that cause obesity (and nutrients that fight it)

I think it’s safe to say that we are dealing with one of the greatest, most complex and wide-ranging health crises ever in our existence.


When the rate of ANY health condition doubles in three decades, alarm bells should be clanging.

Although many factors have been identified as playing a role in our obesity crisis—including fast/junk food, soda, sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise, and even more recently gut bacterial imbalances, food sensitivities, and chronic inflammation—there’s still more to it than that.

And one of the big players that is largely being ignored is medications.

A good number of commonly prescribed medications interfere with your body’s use and absorption of nutrients that are critical to proper metabolism—so the end result is weight gain!

Considering that seven out of 10 of us take at least one prescription medication each day, that’s a good number of people for whom the pharmacy is helping to widen their backsides.

Here are some of the guilty parties:

Common medications that interfere with nutrients and cause weight gain

Medication                                         Nutrient(s) it interferes with

Coumadin                                                           Vitamin K; lutein

Antibiotics                                                           Vitamins K and B

Corticosteroids                                                  Calcium; vitamin D; chromium

Orlistat                                                                 Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

Diuretics                                                              Magnesium; zinc

Digoxin                                                                Calcium; magnesium

Beta blockers                                                      Coenzyme Q10

Biguanides (like Metformin)                              Vitamin B12

H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors        Vitamin B12; calcium, protein

NSAIDs                                                                   Folate

Anticonvulsants                                                    Vitamin D; folate; L-carnitine

If you are on any of these medications and are struggling with excess weight or obesity, talk to your doctor about alternatives.  It’s pretty tough to justify the benefit of exchanging one health condition for another, especially one as devastating and far-reaching as obesity.

The other side—nutrients that fight obesity
Here are some nutrients that help in the fight against obesity and are good contenders for which to consider supplementation:

Chromium:  Chromium helps encourage glucose uptake by your muscles, helping to encourage healthier blood sugar levels, plus it also curbs food cravings.

Magnesium: Magnesium lowers blood glucose levels.

Biotin:  Biotin is key to a strong metabolism, helping with the proper breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, fats into fatty acids and protein into amino acids.

Vanadium: Vanadium also pitches in with biotin and chromium to help get proper amounts of glucose into your body’s cells.

Alpha-lipoic acid:
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that assists your body in using glucose.

  Iodine helps support healthy thyroid function, which is vital for your metabolism.

A high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral formula can help provide health supporting doses of ALL of these metabolism-crucial nutrients.

Also important in the fight against obesity are Omega-3 essential fatty acids, especially Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  These help to increase the flexibility of your cell membranes (so nutrients can get in and wastes can get out) and fight inflammation.  Fish oil supplementation can help ensure that your body has enough of these crucial fats.

Obesity is a complex issue for which there is no one easy answer.

But you can help stack the deck in your favor by engaging the power of nutrition and ensuring your body has what it needs to support a healthy metabolism!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Should you go gluten free?

When people ask me if they should go gluten free, my response is always, “It depends on why you’re going gluten-free to begin with.”

Not everyone has an issue with gluten, and it’s not a guarantee that you’re going to lose weight.

Here’s what you need to know to determine if going gluten-free is right for you.

The basics first
Even though gluten-free eating is a hot topic, many people STILL don't know what gluten is.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.  It's what gives bread its soft, chewy texture.

And it also happens to cause many people a LOT of pain.

That’s because gluten is a very dense, sticky protein that’s challenging for the human GI tract to break down.  As a result, digestion can be hampered, which can cause problems like gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

Gluten problems have exploded over the last several decades because the amount of gluten we're eating (as compared to 50 years ago) has also exploded.

And our bodies are simply not designed to handle that much gluten!

Due to bioengineering and hybridization of crops, the wheat harvested today has nearly double the gluten of the wheat that our grandparents ate.

Plus gluten is a thickener in many processed foods, and our consumption of those has skyrocketed over the last 50 years.

Why people go gluten free

Here are three main reasons why people consider a gluten free diet.

     1- It’s a celebrity craze

First and foremost, remember this: Celebrities are not health experts—they are performers.
And while they may pass along information that has merit, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for everybody.

If you go gluten free and feel better, it’s because your system was challenged by the amount of gluten you were eating—not because Gwyneth Paltrow is a diet expert.

     2- You heard it’s a great way to lose weight

It can be, but not for the reasons you might think.

Without your system having to break down a lot of gluten (especially if you’re a bread and pasta lover) you’ll help to improve your digestion which can lead to weight loss.

Plus you may end up naturally consuming fewer refined carbs overall which can certainly make you drop pounds.

However, it can also backfire on you and cause you gain weight...especially if you replace the gluten-loaded breads, crackers, cakes, and cookies you used to eat with gluten-free versions, and think you can indulge to your heart’s desire because they’re gluten free.

     3- You have a known (or suspected) problem with gluten

There are 3 possibilities here:  A gluten allergy, a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, and Celiac disease.

With a true gluten allergy, the symptoms usually occur immediately after eating gluten, so the cause-and-effect relationship is obvious.

But with a gluten sensitivity (intolerance), your immune system sees gluten as a dangerous invader and launches an attack, leading to pain, cramping and diarrhea.  However, your symptoms may not appear right away or even days later.

Plus gluten-sensitive health problems can disguise themselves as many other conditions that you might not associate with gluten.

The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 conditions that can be caused or worsened by eating gluten—including osteoporosis, anemia, fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, such as anxiety, depression, migraine, epilepsy, autism and neuropathy.

Lastly, Celiac disease is an EXTREMELY SEVERE case of gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

What to do
If you’re considering going gluten free, here are some points to consider:

     1) Get tested

It’s extremely important to see a doctor if you suspect you have a gluten problem.

Note that the tests for gluten allergy, sensitivity and Celiac are different, so if your doctor has only done one test, you have not been completely tested and may continue to suffer from undiagnosed gluten problems.

     2) Get it out of your diet

Obviously, this is vital if you have been diagnosed with a gluten issue.

But even if you don’t have a documented problem, many people feel better eliminating gluten simply because their bodies are less challenged during digestion.

Real foods are inherently gluten free—including fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish—so they should become the major part of your diet.

You’ll also have to become a careful label reader to detect gluten in processed foods.  It’s not always as simple as seeing “gluten” in the ingredients--here are some additives that also mean hidden gluten:
  • Fu:  Dried wheat gluten
  • HPP: Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • HVP: Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • MSG: Monosodium glutamate
  • TPP: Textured plant protein
  • TVP: Textured vegetable protein
When dining out, ask your server questions about how the dishes are prepared.

Watch out for non-food sources of gluten too, including medications, cosmetics, lip balm, soaps, shampoos, sunscreen, toothpaste, and detergent.

Click here if you need more information or some great gluten free recipes.

     3) Help your gut recover

Gluten challenges and the resulting effects on your intestinal tract can also be harmful to your beneficial gut bacteria, which can cause digestive problems and weaken your immune functioning.

Supplementing with a quality multi-strain probiotic formula can help rebuild your population of helpful bacteria and support a strong, healthy gut environment.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A must-read if you take PPIs

Oh, it’s a sad day over at Astra Zeneca.

The pharmaceutical giant is facing a lawsuit from a kidney transplant patient claiming that they allegedly failed to warn the public about the potential for the (cash cow) proton pump inhibitor Nexium® to cause kidney problems, including renal failure.

Recent studies, including one published in the highly regarded journal JAMA Internal Medicine, have shown that PPI users are 20-50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Although CKD can be treated with medications that can help slow the progression of the disease, eventually the kidneys can stop working - resulting in kidney failure, dialysis, transplant or death.

I predict this is just the tip of the iceberg, and a lot more people are going to start putting two and two together.

Sad but not a surprise
I’m sorry if I sound cynical, but what do you expect?

When someone takes a medication that incapacitates one of their body’s natural processes—in this case, the stomach’s production of acid—there is most assuredly going to be a price to pay.

How could there NOT be?

Nothing the body does is “by accident” and using chemicals to disable one of its functions is rolling out the red carpet for disease.

Right from square one PPIs destroy digestion because acid happens to be necessary to break down proteins.  This can lead to gas, bloating, constipation and reduced nutrient absorption.

From there you run the risk of deficiency diseases like osteoporosis and have an increased risk of fractures (a well-known consequence of PPI use).

But why the kidneys?
PPIs have been shown to cause arterial damage.  When they affect the arteries servicing the heart, you have an increased risk of heart attack (which is also one of the documented dangers of PPI use).

Well, if the arteries servicing the kidneys are affected, guess what—kidney disease may become your companion.

Plus another contributing factor lies in the poor digestion precipitated by PPIs.  When your digestion isn’t accomplished like it’s supposed to be, that can lead to excess wastes and toxins building up in your system.

Since your kidneys help filter toxins out of your bloodstream and eliminate them, they get an additional workload the poorer your digestion is and the more toxic you are.

Fix the problem!
If you suffer from heartburn (AKA acid reflux), instead of merely playing Russian roulette and hoping your number doesn’t come up in the deadly side effects lottery, doesn’t it make sense to help fix the underlying problem?

Poor digestion!

Here’s how you can naturally help your body carry out digestion the way it’s supposed to!

Use the power of food
Stick to real foods—meats, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, healthy fats and whole grains—and stay away from fast food, processed foods, and soda.  Junk foods stress your system, make you toxic and sap your nutrients.  

Avoid pairing animal proteins and starches together in the same meal.  This combination is VERY difficult for the stomach to break down and is a leading factor behind our astronomical rates of acid reflux.  Instead pair meats OR starches with vegetables in a meal—I bet you’ll see a world of difference.  Click here if you need more information or guidance with this.

Use the power of enzymes
Many people have depleted their body’s enzyme resources, and if you don’t have the enzymes for the job, you can count on digestive problems—it’s a given.

This is especially true if you’re a junk food junkie, use acid reducers like Nexium® (yet another consequence of these poisons!) have had gastric surgery or are elderly.

People who are enzyme challenged have gotten tremendous relief from digestive issues by simply giving their body a little boost with a digestive enzyme formula.

Digestive enzyme supplements work alongside your body’s own enzyme resources to help make sure all of your foods are broken down like they need to be—so you get the benefit of those precious nutrients and can say goodbye to the agony of gut issues!

Work with your body—not against it
When you work with your body to help it accomplish that which Nature intended it to—instead of suppressing one its functions—a whole new world of feeling better can open up for you fast.

Embrace the power of sound digestion and all that it can do for you.

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A sneaky cause of numerous chronic health problems

Have you recently seen a doctor for any of these symptoms?
  • Exhaustion
  • Cravings for sweets or starches
  • Bad breath or body odor
  • Persistent cough, sore throat
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Chronic sinus and allergy issues
  • Gas, bloating, heartburn or constipation
  • Weak immune system/repeated infections
If so, chances are good that bloodwork was done and nothing was found.
You may have been given some type of medication (pain relievers, antibiotics, acid reducers, antidepressants, etc.), told to go on a diet, or maybe even that it’s all in your head!

But I’d be willing to bet that your problems continued, right?
Well, there's a good reason for that.  

The reason is that a whole slew of seemingly unrelated symptoms can be caused by yeast (Candida) overgrowth in your body.

And all the prescription drugs in the world won't touch it--that's why your symptoms keep coming back.

Here is what you must know about...

Candida—the house guest with a dark side
Yeast (Candida) is always present in your body, and it does serve a valid function--killing harmful bacteria in your intestinal tract.

As long as you have a healthy gut environment, Candida is kept under control and does what it's supposed to do.

The problem arises when Candida grows out of control--then this relatively harmless yeast becomes a fungal monster that can make you very sick.

There are about 154 different species of Candida, but Candida albicans is usually the culprit that causes health problems. 

From benign yeast to harmful fungus
When Candida transforms from yeast to fungus, it eats away at your intestinal walls and makes them too porous.  This allows Candida, plus any poorly digested food molecules, toxins and wastes in your intestinal tract to seep into your bloodstream.

This can cause rashes, food intolerances, brain fog, skin/nail infections and genitourinary infections in both men and women.

In addition, two toxic substances - ethanol and acetaldehyde - are produced, which hamper your red blood cells' ability to flow into the capillaries, and can lead to migraines, muscle aches, and fatigue.

These toxins also impair your white blood cells' ability to fight infections, and can also trigger allergies, skin rashes, acne, and slow healing.

A Candida self-assessment
The important thing to realize is that once you have symptoms, that's a sign Candida is already out of control in your body.

Here's a self-assessment to see if Candida may be a problem for you:

Have you:
  • Taken a long course of antibiotics, or multiple courses over a short period of time?
  • Suffered from persistent prostatitis, vaginitis or other genital infections?
  • Taken birth control pills?
  • Taken steroids like prednisone?
  • Been treated for cancer with chemotherapy or radiation?
  • Craved bread, sugar or alcohol?
  • Been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or an autoimmune condition?
  • Frequently felt fatigued, lethargic, dizzy or disconnected?
  • Suffered from poor memory or concentration, loss of sexual desire or mood swings?
  • Suffered from constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bloating or gas?
  • Had foot, hair or body odor that persists after bathing?
  • Had persistent bad breath, nasal congestion, rash in your mouth or sore throat?
  • Suffered from persistent cough, chest pain or wheezing?
  • Experienced frequent urination or burning with urination?
  • Had persistent toenail or fingernail discoloration? 

As you would suspect, the more “Yes” answers you have, the more likely Candida is an issue for you.

How to help stop Candida overgrowth
If you suspect Candida is wreaking havoc in your body, here are ways to help:

Eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates
Candida yeast feed on sugar and refined carbohydrates. So when you eliminate these foods from your diet, you deprive Candida of the food source it needs to multiply.

Read labels carefully, as sugars are hiding in many foods and condiments.
Focus on consuming good carbohydrates like vegetables and legumes.

In addition, although they can be very healthy, fruits are high in sugar and whole grains can feed Candida too, so they are best avoided for at least a month or until you have Candida under control.

Support a healthy flora balance.
The beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract help to keep Candida under control and support your immune system, but they can only do this if there is a healthy enough population of them.

A high quality, multi-strain probiotic formula can provide a much-needed intestinal flora boost for your body, and help ensure your army of good guys stays strong.

Look for a product that includes the strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilusthey have been shown to be extremely effective in fighting Candida.

Use coconut oil
Coconut oil can effectively fight Candida due to its antimicrobial properties, plus it’s a good stable fat for cooking.

Talk to your doctor
If you are on birth control pills, steroids or antibiotics, talk to your doctor about alternatives.