Archive for the 'Nutrition' Category

An over-the-counter Amino Acid is Found to Lower Blood Pressure

A research study performed at my alma mater.


The 7 meta-analyses that were included in this umbrella review reported significant positive benefits for reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive adults by 2.2 to 5.4 mm Hg and 2.7 to 3.1 mm Hg, respectively, reducing diastolic blood pressure in pregnant women with gestational hypertension by 4.9 mm Hg, and reducing the length of stay in the hospital for surgical patients; in addition, 2 of the 3 meta-analyses indicated a 40% reduction in the incidence of hospital-acquired infections. However, these positive results should be considered with caution because statistically significant heterogeneity was observed in 5 of the 7 meta-analyses.


Some evidence appears to support the benefit of l-arginine supplementation for reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive adults and reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired infections and the length of stay in the hospital for surgical patients. Given the limitations of the included studies, interpretations should be made with caution.

On Coffee and Espresso Drinking and Brewing

Espresso is less deleterious to drink than coffee. It’s brewing process which requires a higher temperature, shorter time while under high pressure extracts fewer of the toxins other forms of making coffee produce. Additionally, freshly ground beans for any coffee making process decreases the oxidation of the good components of the bean, namely minerals and antioxidants, which increases its beneficial nutritional content and flavor. The time of day one drinks either type of brew is important, as well. When our normally-occurring (diurnal, sleep-wake cycle) hormonal late-morning to early afternoon drop (11 am – 2 pm) in cortisol first occurs, this is the best time to consume. I have been drinking espresso, not coffee, grinding beans right before brewing and adhering to this drinking schedule daily for several years. I recommend it to those who drink coffee regularly. However, the nervous system stimulation that caffeine provides should not be abused. I believe, one should drink no more than one cup of coffee a day regardless of the brewing process.
I recommend you open the link and read of the benefits coffee provide.

Eye-strain Supplements

We have come to understand that there are two standard distances for testing our vision, near and far, which are commonly associate with reading and driving.  These two distances alone are not sufficient when considering good vision function and eye health.  Between ‘near-vision and ‘far-vision’ add (computer) screen-distance and television-distance.   I recommend when one feels eye-strain frequently change one’s gaze by looking away form the screen through a window to outside the building, apply a drop of eye-lubricant at night and take a natural food supplement bilberry or lutein (my preference).  Respectively, they promote circulation to and within the eye and help to filter light.

The Best Powdered Protein

WNATI recommend a very high quality powdered-protein brand; Jarrow Unflavored Whey Protein.  Try it in cereal milk or oat meal.  A high-protein breakfast is vital for good nutrition in addition to a quality daily-food-supplement (one-a-day type) from either: Twin Labs, Schiff or Solgar.  A few more supplements are recommended, as well, like a joint compound with chondriotin sulfate and glucose amine, which are derived from shark cartilage, and time-released vitamin C and vitamin A.

NerveFix Supplement Comments

A patient recently inquired about a product for nerve pain: NerveFix. I recommend none and here’s why.

My attraction to holistic health care methods was, initially, to nutrition. After studying it extensively by having to have to take a battery of courses from biochemistry to intermediary metabolism to clinical nutrition, then realizing that there are so many variations with the retail products …sold AND none are regulated other than those with a “Standard Processing” (for herbs, mostly) designation, it is hard to assess what ingredients products have let alone their effectiveness.

The formula below is mostly homeopathic with the balance a variety of herbs, food extracts and minerals. Each have little or no documented effectiveness on the nervous system other than Chamomile and choline which are the only ones I have prescribed. Chamomile, like valerian root, is a very mild central nervous system depressant and choline helps replenish acetyl choline (a nervous system neurotransmitter). I suggest Twins Labs’ Super Choline.

I suggested to this patient, after determining there should be no harm in taking the formula, that since it is mostly homeopathic and seemingly very mild it be taken for the first two weeks in a larger dosage than that which the manufacturer suggests, and always with meals.

Reduced range-of-motion in the shoulder with numbness in the arm, does not warrant the use of a formula that advertises reducing nerve pain! In fact, one would need a formula that stimulates, not suppress, nerve supply. In this particular case, diminished range-of-motion in the shoulder is mostly an orthopedic not neurologic condition and could benefit from a ‘joint compound-like’ supplement which has glucose amine and condroitin sulfate which is derived from shark cartilage. I suggest Twin Labs’ Joint Fuel.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Aconitum napellus 6X, 12X, 30X, Belladonna 3X, 6X, 12X, 30X, Cantharis vesicatoria 6X, 12X, 30X, Ferrum phosphoricum 6x, 12x, Hypericum perforatum 3X, 6X, Kali phosphoricum 6X, 12X, Magnesium phosphoricum 8X, 12X, Phosphorus 6X, 12X, 30X, Spigelia anthelmia 3X, 6X, 12X, 30X.

Other Ingredients: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Anise, Benfotiamine, Betaine HCL, Chamomile, Choline (bitartrate), Deer Antler Velvet, Evening Primrose Oil, Gelatin, Glycerin, Inositol, Magnesium Stearate, Methyl Cobalamin, N-acetyl cysteine, Passion Flower, Pyridoxine HCL, Silica, Titanium Dioxide (natural mineral capsule color).

Recommended Food Supplement Companies

Solgar, Schiff, Thompson and Twin Labs are recommended food supplement companies.  Their quality of ingredients, mixtures (formulations) and, just as important, portions are superior to most other brands.

Here are a few ways and examples of how one can determine if a supplement is good or not.

The source from where the vitamins and minerals are derived is listed in parenthesis right next to the particular ingredient in the table of contents.  Ideally, a recognizable food name NOT a chemical name should be seen.  With cheaper brands of vitamin C, for example, “(ascorbic acid)” appears next to its quantity, not a natural food source like Acerola berries or Rose Hips. Although ascorbic acid is the isolated chemical component of vitamin C it is never found in nature this way.   If ascorbic acid is listed as its source the other naturally occurring components should also be seen elsewhere in the formula.  They are rutin, asperitin and bioflavonoids.  Additionally, ‘Time-released’ or ‘Sustain-released’ vitamin C is best because it slows its, otherwise, fast absorption.  This prevents burdening the kidneys with excess quantities at one time which results in the vitamin C being pushed into the bladder as a form of waste in the urine.

Well-formulated vitamin, mineral and herb tablets should include other naturally occurring components, as well, so assimilation is optimal and there is little stress to the digestive tract.  An example of a good ‘multi’ (daily food supplement, or one-a-day type tablet) is one with LOW quantities of the B-complex vitamins and in varied quantities.  Poor ‘multis’ include high and equal quantities of the B-complex vitamins to try to convince potential buyers that it is a ‘stress-tab’ (the B vitamins were known at one time to reduce stress – not so, now!) in addition to being a good all-around daily supplement.  The portions for B1, B2 and the like should NOT be the same, because in food they are varied.

Another example is vitamin A.  Good-quality vitamin A supplements are derived from (as seen in the contents chart in parenthesis) beta-carotene or fish oil.

Read more about nutrition at section of  I welcome your comments.

The Dangers of Grilling Meat

Cooking animal flesh over a hot open flame triggers a series of chemical reactions that yield a meal loaded with carcinogens.  Scientists have been warning us about this danger for two decades.  Cancer-causing compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) can form,  particularly when cooking animal flesh over high heat, which is common when  barbequing. These chemicals – the same chemicals that are found in cigarette  smoke – have been shown to cause cancer.

Is there a solution; a way to avoid filling your body with HCAs? Don’t grill  your meat (or don’t eat meat at all, since research suggests grilling vegetables  does not generate HCAs). The trouble with that “solution” is that we’ve been
cooking dinner over open fires for two million years. Taking pleasure in  grilling meat over a fire is so deeply ingrained in our blood that most people  aren’t about to change.

That said, researchers studying the production of heterocyclic amines during  the cooking process have discovered a number of “tricks” that may reduce the  risks posed while barbequing, either by interfering with the creation of HCAs or  inactivating them once they’re formed. For example, precooking a hamburger patty  for two minutes in a microwave before barbequing reduces heterocyclic amines by  a whopping 90 percent, according to research. Adding vitamin antioxidants to the meat or marinating it  in antioxidant-rich spices before cooking appears to work almost as well. When it comes to marinades, there are also important things to know. First,  not just any marinade seems to work – old-style tomato-based barbecue sauces  actually increase heterocyclic amine production, while marinades like teriyaki  sauce reduce heterocyclic amines produced during cooking by half. Those packets  of store-bought powder marinades that you add oil and vinegar to also seem to be  surprisingly effective.

There is also another approach to reducing the harm caused by heterocyclic  amines. A number of foods have been identified that neutralize heterocyclic  amines in the intestine and prevent them from causing DNA damage. For example,
several studies suggest that the Lactobacilli strains in yogurt do  this, so serving yogurt on or with meat meals provides additional protection  because it actually reduces the harmful effects of these chemicals. The bottom line for anyone who wants to cook meat, whether chicken, beef,  pork or anything else on the grill is simple – make sure to marinate all meats  before cooking. When cooking ground beef, knead in herbs and/or vitamin E. Stick  with skinless chicken if cooking poultry. Always accompany barbecued meat with a  yogurt dish and a little alcohol, preferably stout ale; and use a yogurt salad  dressing or even something as simple as frozen yogurt for dessert. And, remember  that you can cook vegetables on the grill without the danger of  heterocyclic amine formation – and increase the nutritional content of your meal  at the same time.

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