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Human Hosts Transplants Promote Health (1/2)

Image result for image fecal transplant

Photo credit: Cleveland.com

Heart, kidney and liver transplants can save lives. But…transplanting beneficial bacterial cells from one healthy human to another unhealthy human sounds preposterous; doesn’t it? Yet, so far bacterial transplants seem to produce favorable health outcomes without the adverse effects of many common conventional medical treatments.

You may just be the perfect solution to your family, friends or neighbors medical ills.

Considering  bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1 and we are hosts to an estimated 8 million non-human genes from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that are dwelling inside us. This should come as no surprise; but I must admit, I’m surprised.

As we start to understand more about bacteria or “bugs” (otherwise known as our microbiome or microbiota that are living inside us), that inhabit our bodies and their tie in with the immune system, the brain, the gut, unexplained fevers in children, acne etc…medical science is making huge strides in utilizing these bacteria for medical treatments from human hosts.

For example, fecal transplant or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), http://thefecaltransplantfoundation.org/what-is-fecal-transplant/, also known as “yellow soup” in traditional Chinese medicine is a procedure that has been in practice since the 4th century in China; and for the last few hundred years this same technique has been used in veterinary medicine. During this FMT process, stool is collected from a healthy host “donor” and transferred inside the colon of an unhealthy patient via a colonoscopy.

One purpose of transferring poop from a healthy person into a person who suffers from intestinal issues is to replace healthy bacteria that has been suppressed (typically due to overuse of antibiotics) causing colonization and overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.

Successful transplants have been experienced with those diagnosed with Clostridium difficile (otherwise known as C. diff. an intestinal pathogen normally found in the gut that causes diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon). “The annual burden of Clostridium difficile infections in the United States is 453,000 cases per year, with 29,300 associated deaths,” http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/02/cdc-puts-c-difficile-burden-453000-cases-29000-deaths.”

But because of its winning track record, uses for FMT has expanded and now used for those suffering from digestive or auto-immune diseases (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis) and more findings suggest links between other physical and mental disorders,  like metabolic diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders and autism via the gut brain axis, allergic disorders, and tumors, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4284325/.

Have not heard of  FMT? Let’s be honest not exactly a topic you might want to discuss at the dinner table. But, as disgusting as it sounds and despite the repulsive thoughts, IT WORKS!

Fecal transplants are safe. Since the 4th century, there have been no reports of any serious side effects and it has a 90% success rate, http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/fmt-demonstrates-consistently-high-success-rates-for-recurrent-cdi.

I’m not just talking sh*t, microbial transplants (MT) from various body regions, and not just the colon, are gaining in popularity. This discovery has expanded the breadth of people bacterial bug transplants are helping.

Next week you can read more about which specific body parts have been studied and learn how body bugs can influence health far beyond conditions related to the gut. In the meantime you may want to meander into some of these links:

 

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Whey-In

Image result for whey protein drink mix

On the heels of my last two blogs on supplements  https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/supplement-safety-part-1-of-2/ and https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/supplement-safety-part-2-of-2/, I thought it might be appropriate for this week’s banter to include a dose of whey.

The “whey-in”on whey as a protein supplement is that has proved itself to be safe and effective for enhancing muscle mass and strength. Whey has also been shown to  help slow gastric emptying, positively effect the hypothalmus via the gut-brain axis, reduce inflammation, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote fat burning and weight loss, http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2006/3/report_whey/page-01.

Whey contains two amino acids that likely contribute to its well rounded health and weight loss portfolio: leucine, a growth promoting amino acid, and cysteine which helps boost the cellular antioxidant, glutathione.

Just think, whey as a dietary supplement may have benefits for all of us. It is important for athletes and those who are interested in fitness, the elderly and an aging population (we are all aging daily), those with gut issues (as it is easy to digest), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4620107/, and blood sugar control. There is also reason to believe that dieters can benefit too.

In a recently published study, “Whey protein consumption after resistance exercise reduces energy intake at a post-exercise meal” published in the European Journal of Nutrition (2016), pages 1-8, authored by Monteyne, A. et al., 15 volunteers participated  in resistance exercise and then drank either 25 g of whey protein or 25 g of dextrose/carbohydrate. They were then allowed to consume an ad libitum (eating without restriction) meal. Volunteers drinking the protein drink consumed an average
of 430 calories less on an diet.

This is a small study, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24724774, but a meta analysis was done comparing similar variables (protein, carbs and resistance training) in over 600 individuals and the results support the study results from Monteyne, A. et al. There were significant improvements in body composition when whey protein and resistance exercise were used together.

It may be worth a try, try resistance exercise and a post workout whey protein isolate drink and you might just eat less and cut calories without feeling deprived.

  • Whey protein isolate (>90% protein has less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon) is the best option over concentrate (70-80% protein and lactose) or hydrolysate, which can cause 30-40% greater insulin spikes for those who have concerns with insulin resistance.

How much whey should you take? Generally consuming between 25-50 grams. You can
use the information below to calculate a more accurate dose/bodyweight.

  • .68-1g/lb for athletes or highly active person attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean muscle mass.
  • .45-.68g/lb for athletes or highly active person who is not attempting to lose body fat or for anyone trying to lose body fat but wants to preserve lean muscle mass.
  • .4g/lb for those who are inactive.

Higher doses of whey can cause some side effects such as increased bowel movements, nausea, thirst, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite and tiredness. And if there are unlisted allergens like MSG there may be additional types of side effects like migraines or headaches.

Try this E-Z whey protein recipe:

1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk

1/2 avocado

1 scoop whey powder

* you can also add a scoop of high antioxidant greens, http://www.greensplus.com/advanced-multi-vanilla-chai/.

Whey is in! It is a healthy nutrition supplement that has many health applications and just as importantly helps promote weight loss and preserve muscle.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Supplement Safety (Part 2 of 2)

supplements

After reading supplement safety part 1, you may think twice before taking a supplement and you should.

Frivolously using pills, powders, elixirs or liquids do not guarantee any benefit. So it is a imperative you or your health practitioner understand the mechanisms of how  they can actually work in the body to improve health or athletic performance, the signs of aging,  or just maximize your quality of life.

Educate yourself, work with a trusted healthcare professional to understand your goals and which supplements are specifically going to help you. Everyone is different and supplementation is geared to specific individual needs.

Supplement safety (part1) https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/supplement-safety-part-1-of-2/, describes the potential dangers and drawbacks to Omega-3 supplementation. A popular “mainstream” supplement most people think of as safe and effective.

In addition to the dangers, consumers have complained of unpleasant side effects like stomach upset including belching, indigestion, or diarrhea and more critically can increase bleeding especially for those who take certain medications such as anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or prepping for surgery, https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/omega-3-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids,fish-oil.html. This is an individual reaction possibly due to contaminants or your own gut health.

However scientific evidence shows a multitude of health benefits for those who use omega-3.

Omega-3 has shown to help improve diabetes, heart disease, ADHD, fertility issues, skin/hair, anxiety, the immune system, inflammation and much more. Potential concerns for contaminants, tolerability and rancidity (oxidation) can be minimized, http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2015/10/advances-in-fish-oil-purity-and-potency/page-01.

Keep in mind all supplements have unique positive characteristics and concerns that should be considered.

EDUCATED CONSUMERS KNOW THIS:

If you have gut issues effecting digestion and absorption, there may be no supplement that will work. However you can try using enzymes or liquid supplements. They are more easily digested it just may take more to reach therapeutic levels.

Check the expiration date. Although the FDA does not require expiration dates to be listed on supplement labels, most reputable companies use an expiration date to target the last date of the supplement’s highest level of potency if properly stored. Exposure to heat, light, and air can cause vitamins to degrade faster. Store the vitamins in their original containers in a cool, dry place.

After that date, the supplement will become less potent. So, if fish oil has a 2 year expiration date  it is not rancid on the date stamped on the bottle but you do not want to hold on to it for another year because as it turns rancid the health benefits become less and the risk is greater.

Buy brand specific pharmaceutical grade supplements or companies that follow USP or GMP standards. These brands ensure continuity between what is stated on the label and what is contained within the supplement. This is like buying health insurance, it adds value and peace of mind to your supplement regimen.  Here is a short list of reputable supplement companies but there are plenty others:

  1. Biotics Research, http://www.bioticsresearch.com/
  2. Bulletproof, http://www.bulletproof.com/
  3. Carlson Laboratories, http://www.carlsonlabs.com/
  4. Douglas Laboratories, http://www.douglaslabs.com/
  5. Dr. Venessa’s Formulas, www.drvenessa.com/
  6. Garden of Life, www.gardenoflife.com/
  7. Herb Pharm http://www.herb-pharm.com/
  8. Klaire, http://www.klaire.com/
  9. Nordic Naturals, https://www.nordicnaturals.com/
  10. Purity Products, https://www.purityproducts.com/
  11. American Biotech labs, www.ablsilver.com
  12. Standard Process, https://www.standardprocess.com/
  13. The Gut Institute, https://thegutinstitute.com/
  14. Thorne, https://www.thorne.com/
  15. Xymogen, https://www.xymogen.com/

Don’t fall prey to a booming supplement industry. Be an educated consumer,  work with an expert who understands the intricacies of how supplements work. Buy reputable supplement brands to get the best return on your supplement investment. Use supplements wisely to help boost your mind, health, athletic performance, weight,  or any personal goal.

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Supplements, Uncategorized

 

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Slavery: We Have a Choice, They Don’t

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

Human Trafficking (TV miniseries) Human Trafficking (TV miniseries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I started Part 1 of a two part blog on supplement safety. Part 2 will post next Monday. Today, as we observe Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to post on an important topic that should never go under the radar.

My blog is one that is dedicated to health. Although much of what I write about is related to lifestyle and choice. The issue of human trafficking is about health, the physical and mental health of victims whose right to make choices have been stolen and lack of care results in anything but good health for the victims, the community and the world.

This blog is dedicated to the victims of human trafficking and slavery. Abraham Lincoln fought to abolish slavery and Martin Luther King, Jr. (the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful leadership for…

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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Supplement Safety (Part 1 of 2)

Image result for image fish oil

While there may always be a debate on the “best” diet, there is no question that no matter what diet you eat you are likely supplementing it with some sort of dietary aide. There are 170 million supplement users in this country. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, http://www.crnusa.org/newsroom/supplement-use-among-younger-adult-generations-contributes-boost-overall-usage-2016-more.

  • 40-70% of athletes use supplements.
  • 49% of adults used a supplement within the last month: 54% of women, 43% of men.
  • Age influences supplement use: 34% aged 20-39, 50% age 40-59, and 67% over age 60.
  • Health insurance coverage influences supplement use: 53% of those with health insurance  purchased supplements compared with 31% without insurance.
  • Health status can influence supplement use: “excellent” or “very good” health (55%) versus “good” (47%) or fair/poor (44%)
  • Physical activity level parallels supplement use: “low” (43%); “moderate” (54%) ; “high” (56%).

So you see across the board there are a variety of groups of people who take supplements and each group has unique reasons as to why they feel they need to use supplements, https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/who-takes-dietary-supplements-and-why/.

In general, aging, fitness and self care seem to top the list that has created a 37 billion dollar supplement market, http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Markets/NBJ-The-US-supplement-industry-is-37-billion-not-12-billion.

37 billion dollars is not small potatoes. Why has the supplement industry grown to this size? Because those who use supplements believe it benefits them. Otherwise why would they spend the money? In fact, surveys suggest that 78% of Americans are confident in the safety, quality, and effectiveness of the products they use, http://www.crnusa.org/CRNconsumersurvey/2015/.

Yes 78% of Americans are confident in the safety, quality, and effectiveness of the supplements they use.  A very large percent considering supplement manufacturers themselves are responsible for ensuring that a product is safe and effective and that the supplement facts label and ingredient lists are accurate before it is marketed.

Relying on the FDA or supplement manufacturers may not be a good idea. The FDA manufacturing standards allow additives, fillers etc… (such as  FD&C dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, ethycellulose, and propylene glycol) in supplements that can be hazardous to your health over the long term.

Take fish oil for example, According to Dr. Mercola, 25-50% of fish oil supplements sold may not be safe or effective for a few reasons.

For one, “The quality of fish supplements can be affected by contaminants (such as mercury, PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls ), dioxin, cadmium, lead, chromium and arsenic Radioactive substances like strontium, PDEs (Phosphodiesterases) and PCP’s (pentachlorophenol)”.

Two, Preston Mason, MBA, PhD, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, at the Harvard Medical School explains “fish are crushed and the oil is exposed to air, it oxidizes which can trigger changes inside human cells that lead to health problems like cardiovascular disease”.  Oxidation (oil reacts with oxygen and initiates an undesirable series of chemical reactions that eventually produces rancidity in oil) during processing may prove to cause more harm than good.

Three, studies have found discrepancies with supplement labeling and actual content; “over 60% of the store brand supplements tested had incorrect labeling, and more than 50% of those tested didn’t contain the advertised ingredient”, this is a very telling image from, https://www.organicnewsroom.com/pharmaceutical-grade-supplements/.

pharmaceutical-grade-supplements-thorne-v-other-guys

So does this mean avoid Omega-3, or any, supplement?

NO! It means Americans purchasing supplements have a NEED and responsibility to themselves to be educated customers.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence supporting the role of supplements and its relationship to a multitude of health benefits especially when guided by a knowledgeable healthcare professional and when used appropriately.

Keep in mind all supplements have unique positive characteristics or conflicting concerns that should be considered.

Always speak with your doctor about using supplements.

How do you know which supplements are better than others? What are the benefits of omega-3 supplements? Next week I continue the supplement talk to give you the answers you want to know.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Supplements, Uncategorized

 

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New Year’s Resolution: Make the Goal Lose The Weight

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

If you are thinking about New Years’ and making a resolution or you have been trying to get back on the bandwagon after falling off a few times. Realize that “defeat is a path leading to success” and it is a sign “that something is wrong” with what you are doing. Evaluate what has not worked in the past and try something new this year.

Instead of a once a year pledge or a half *ssed effort to stick to a diet, make a vow and make it a priority every day. Create a goal. Make your goal more than just a mind game. Use tools to give your goal a daily (or more) presence. Checks and balances can give life to your plan.

Set an alarm if you need a reminder, hold specific times of the day in your calendar to eat and at the end of each month…

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t Get “Scrooged”, Get Happy For The Holidays!

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

File:Xmastreenewyork06.jpg

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, located in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is upon us, Christmas and New Years are here! Family gatherings and social events create more responsibilities and pressures. Holiday cheer this time of year? Absolutely!

But, the holidays also create stress and unrealistic expectations that can put a damper on things. There are many people who enjoy the season but there is a reality  of the extra task of buying gifts, hosting the traditional celebration, stressing about finances, job security, and other pressures from various sources.

Holiday occasions should be like a breath of fresh air. Do not let outside worries or circumstances interfere with one day or a few hours of joy. It is meant for you to stop and allow yourself to feel love, happiness, hope and goodness, no matter what.

If things are starting to get out of control…

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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Uncategorized