Monday, January 30, 2017

Helping You Eat Healthier Restaurant/Farm Review #2

Helping You Eat Healthier

                         Review #2


We Americans eat about half of our meals at home and half outside the home. This is why we thought it is important to review both healthy sources of food to take home and prepare as well as where to get it when we eat out. This review is of a great farm market that meets all of our criteria.

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Cullipher Farm Market
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Looking for a place to buy some organic handpicked fruits and vegetables that are picked fresh the morning you get them? Then go check out Cullipher Farm Market. They grow over 150 varieties of vegetables using only sustainable and ecological growing practices. Many of the vegetables that they grow are never touched with synthetic chemicals and grown to USDA Organic Standards. They also grow over 30 varieties of fruits on the farm to meet USDA Organic Standards; their strawberry and blackberry crops are USDA Certified Organic by Quality Certification Services (QCS).

The types of fruits and vegetables that they concentrate on growing in the spring time are peas, sugar snaps, spring onions, asparagus, lettuces, greens, squash, cucumbers, strawberries and blackberries. In the summer time they concentrate on growing sweet corn, snap beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, specialty melons, figs, peaches, nectarines and plums. In the fall they concentrate on growing sweet potatoes, collards, fall squash, greens, blackberries, raspberries and apples.

Their first location was the Pungo Stand located at 1444 Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach (closed for the winter until April 2017). The newest location is at 1065 First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach; here you can also enjoy the same fresh produce but in the heart of the Hilltop area. They are open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00am-6:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 8:00pm. Days and hours may change seasonally, so check out their website or give them a call before you head there. At both locations you can enjoy other local fruits and vegetables, jams, jellies, relishes, dressings, baked goods, cheese and butters, ice cream, peanuts, bedding plants and much more. The Pungo Stand has a Bake Shoppe offering some of the only ice cream made from real milk and cream, from cows raised on Virginia soil. At the Bake Shoppe you can also find pies freshly baked each morning, donuts, cakes, muffin tops, cookies, bread and scones.







Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Helping You Eat Healthier

Restaurant Review



This is our first review of a healthy eating location. We chose this location based on the different factors that contribute to healthy eating that we have discussed in the first 2 blog posts.

Our first review is of a restaurant that is a shining example of healthy eating.  It checks all the 5 healthy eating criteria listed above, with the qualification that the better carbohydrate balance is available, but the choices are still up to you. I enjoy looking at the poster just inside the door each time I go, as it lists the local, naturally grown sources of the food.


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Commune
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Commune was founded on the philosophy that the best tasting food just also happens to be the freshest and healthiest food for both the eater and our environment. Therefore, using the freshest, locally grown and sustainable ingredients is Commune’s top priority to the extent that if it is not available locally, they don’t use it. Their backyard garden even serves as one of the several sources for what is on the menu. It is so fresh that the chefs can walk right outside, pick a vegetable out of the ground, wash it off, prepare it and plate it. The ingredients in the dishes and drinks have a fresh and pure focus, coming not only from Commune’s own garden, but from farms and fishermen in the region.

Unlike other restaurants that change their menu every couple months or years, Commune’s menu changes day-to-day because what is in season changes day-to-day. They work with ingredients that have been picked early that morning, or just been laid by a chicken. This makes their menu unique. Offered on their menu are a number of breakfast entrees, salads and soups, sandwiches, open face toasts, crepes, and small plates or “snacks”. Since their menu depends on what is local and in seasons, their menu changes constantly to evolve with the seasons. At the end of the season they preserve whatever bounty is left so that they can serve delicious tomato sauce, pickled okra and dried herbs all year long. Their bar also serves a variety of carefully selected and handcrafted beverages. This includes local brews, Virginia wines, coffee from Hatiti and roasted by La Colombe, house made lemonades, teas and craft sodas all made with ingredients from their garden. Commune also offers a large selection of homemade goods that are made from scratch using local eggs, milk, cream, organic flours and fresh seasonal fruits.

 The name commune suggests togetherness, and at Commune the name comes truthfully. While dining at Commune, you can sit at the bar or take a seat at one of the multi-person tables. This seating invites people to sit with others and share their dining experience. Check out Commune located at 501 Virginia Beach Boulevard. They are open Monday through Thursday from 8:00am-3:00pm and Friday through Sunday from 8:00am-4:00pm.

                                              


For more information about Commune give them a call at 757-963-8985 or visit their website at http://communevb.com/



Monday, January 23, 2017

Helping You Eat Healthier

Part 2  -  What Do I Look for to Know I am Eating Healthy Food?


With so much being done to our food supply, it is difficult to understand what features differentiate healthier from less healthy foods.  To help patients with this I use a series of filters to look at food through.  Perhaps first we need to look at what is being done to much of our food.  The single greatest factor has been the change from food that was “grown or raised” to that which is manufactured.  Many of the subsequent issues discussed relate to this first factor, the farm to factory transition of food.



Filter #1 – Truly grown or raised, not manufactured

For all of the approximately 6 million years of human existence humans ate naturally produced food which evolved through nature… this is until the past 60 years which only is .0015% of human existence. With time, perhaps about 100,000 years, we could evolve to tolerate the current altered, chemically laden diet we now eat.  So, if there is good news, it is likely not to be realized until about 5000 generations down the road.

It all started with the development in a factory of the K-ration between WWI and WWII to solve the problem of feeding large numbers of deployed troops.



As has happened with many things, the end of WWII left a new industry without need.  This led to the “development” of a new use, standard human consumption.  To make food that can be stable in the Midwest months and years before actual consumption in the East, it must be highly altered.  This alteration may include removing parts that do not store well and adding others that try to compensate for taste and stability alteration.

A major example of this situation is grain processing.  The essential oils in the plant germ are the most susceptible part to spoilage over time.  The grain is milled to knock the germ out.  Three major problems result the first of which is the removal of the essential oils, essential being the key word here.  The oils are one of the three primary taste drives (salt, fat & sugar) that tell us “eat”.  No one enjoys a spoonful of refined flour, hence the need to add some combination of sugar and/or salt. 

The second problem is that the germ is where the essential vitamins and minerals also live. One hundred percent of the 23 nutrients in whole grain are reduced between 50% and 100% of their original levels.  Our protection is that refined grain must be “enriched” which simply means that 4 of the 23 nutrients removed must be added back and that is done with synthetically produced forms.
 
The third problem is that the milling to remove the germ must first remove the outer coating called the ectosperm and hence the fiber.  The natural fiber controls the rate of absorption of the naturally present sugars.  Removing fiber and adding sugar has been a formula for disease being a major contributor to the diabetes epidemic.

Most plant food is further degraded by breaking it down with processing, adding taste manipulators such as sugars and further “enhanced” by the manufactured “nutrients” (chemicals).  A great exercise is to not buy anything without looking at the sugar content and reading each ingredient.  The general conclusion is “that they put sugar in everything” and “20-30% is added chemicals”.

So filter #1 is shop for food that is grown or raised, not manufactured.



Filter #2 - Naturally grown, not commercially grown

Commercial crops are pushed to grow bigger and faster with synthetic fertilizer.  The use of synthetic fertilizer also tends to increase yield allowing greater crop volume per acre. However, growing them faster and in greater density comes at the expense of nutrient content.  The nutrient production in the plant occurs slowly through interaction between the plant, the soil and soil bacteria.  Commercial produce has been compared to organic, naturally grown produce in several studies and typically has a reduction in essential vitamins and minerals of about 30%. 

Phytonutrients, which are a broad group of over 12,000 known components that impart many of the health effects we get from food, have been shown to be reduced about 70% in commercial crops. 

Humans are genetically wired to thrive on the balance in naturally evolved food.  Every part of that process serves a role in the balance that becomes nourishing for humans.  For example, a plant must interact with the natural challenges during growth such as defending itself from environmental stressors such as fungal and other potential pathogens.  It does so by producing phytochemicals called phytoalexins such as the phenol, isoflavonoids. 


As part of the naturally evolved synergy, we benefit from these naturally produced antioxidants whose consumption is a major mechanism in our disease resistance.  When the plant is synthetically assisted to grow quickly and without blemishes, the phytonutrient is diminished by about 70%.  The blemishes are the sign that the apple fought the battles by developing high phytoalexin content which it then can share with us.

When the plant/soil is treated with pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, the plant has no reason to produce its own protection, the phytonutrients.   This renders the plant incapable of passing this antioxidant protection on to us. 



Filter #3 – Eat locally grown/raised as much as is possible

Locally grown food adds another hidden benefit, seasonality.  As little as 75 years ago humans ate seasonally based on the rotating availability of crops locally.  This ensured the exposure to many dozens of different plants throughout the year.  The 12,000 phytonutrients in food all have slightly different properties involved in their health benefits.  Broader exposure to a large number of plants and thus phytonutrients resulted in greater health benefits than the current common practice of habituating a small number of plants.  If we tend to eat our fruit as only apples and bananas, the number of phytonutrients we are exposed to is limited and they are likely to be in storage for long periods and transported long distances introducing chemicals related to those processes.  The method used to do this often increases exposure to the other already discussed issues.

Although not part of this discussion, other very important issues includes the impact on the environmental, social and economic well-being of the local communities related to the loss of seasonality.  These topics are well discussed in other forums but highly related to this discussion.



Filter #4 – Certified organic versus non-organic

Perhaps the greatest added value of organic source food is that there are two layers of protection against pesticide and herbicide residues in or on that food.  The first layer is that it ensures that the crops were not sprayed with these chemicals.  The second layer is that this certification cannot be obtained without soil inspection documenting that there are no residues of these chemicals in the soil.

Food is a major mechanism by which people are exposed to pollutants. Diet is thought to account for up to 90% of a person's PCB and DDT body burden.  Most pesticides are endocrine disrupting chemicals, chemicals that alter normal human hormone activity. Given the immense influence of the human hormonal system on all cells in the body, disrupting this process has broad disease implications most notably in the control of cell growth, reproduction and cell energy and repair.  These effects have been implicated in infertility, thyroid disease, many cancers, degenerative brain disease and in diabetes.

The industry position has been that these chemicals do not persist in the food supply and do no harm.  CDC testing of human blood and urine samples has found that they are universally present in these specimens.  They have become pervasive in our environment including in the fat of animal protein sources being passed through from their consumption of commercial feed crops.

With the current lack of GMO labeling requirements, certified organic serves as protection on that front as this certification cannot be obtained for any GMO source food.  As commercial GMO crops are the dominant human exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, avoiding GMO through the certified organic filter is the protection against this food exposure.  Prior studies have shown that exposure to commercial grain feed in laboratory animals leads to significantly elevated rates of kidney and liver damage.  New study by these same researchers confirmed that longer term exposure of this chemical at levels far below what is the “accepted safe” level in our food greatly disrupts liver metabolism and was associated with high rates of fatty liver disease.

Other issues related to GMO foods were discussed in the first section of this series 



Filter #5 – Lower carbohydrate content, better carbohydrate source balance

This filter is somewhat dependent on where you eat but is more dependent on personal behavior.  The human diet for greater than 99% of human existence contained only about 20-25% carbohydrate energy.  The rest came from lean proteins and healthy fats.  Our genetic adaptation to our environment became adapted to efficient metabolic processing in this dietary environment.

The current Western diet has disproportionately increased in carbohydrate energy to 55-60%.  This is further complicated by a shift to greater high glycemic load sources of carbohydrate such as simple sugars and grains.  Glycemic load is the stress a particular carbohydrate places on metabolic processing.  Just 100 years ago the Western diet contained more vegetable servings (very low glycemic load) than grain servings.  The current diet contains 4-6 times greater grain than vegetable servings.  As a typical grain has a glycemic load of 8-10 times greater than a typical vegetable the overall glycemic load in our diet has increased about 10-fold in just 4-5 generations.  This is further complicated by the fact that grain products are a major source of added simple sugars.

Whether we shop to eat at home or are eating away from home, these filters should guide the process for healthy eating.  Often it will be unlikely that all 5 can be found together but that may not be totally necessary.  For example, many local growers practice organic farming and yet they are not certified organic.  Often the process is difficult and expensive to go through and in the end it is an imperfect process.  Natural, nonchemical farming is more important than certification from a health standpoint.

All that said, look for grown or raised (not manufactured), naturally grown, local, organic and lower carbohydrate.  The health rewards are many.  In the next post in this series we will review the first restaurant that follows these healthy eating guidelines.  This should be an informative and healthy journey. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Helping You Eat Healthier


Part 1  -  What is Healthy Eating…

     …and Where Can I Find It?

There are two challenges commonly encountered in nutritional counselling. The first was expected as I first began practicing, and the second was more of a surprise.  The first was explaining what the concepts of healthy eating are and the second is helping people find ways to do it eating away from home.  I was originally trained in the 1970’s when Americans consumed a minority, 25%, of their meals outside of the home.  What has changed is that this figure in now about 50%, or as many meals out as at home.

To help with that we are reviewing restaurants and other sources related to healthy eating and will be posting them in this series as well as on our website.  Our goal is not to favor any particular resources but to expose you to as many healthier ones as we can.  If we have missed any, we would love to hear about them, review them and add them to our list.

But first to explain how we developed our list we must explain a little about our basis of understanding healthy eating.  If one looks at the shift in our food supply that has negatively impacted our health, certain changes stand out as the “large offenders”.  These include:

·         Greatly increased carbohydrate consumption
·         A shift to less healthy dietary carbohydrates and fats 
·         A large increase in the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio
·         The heavy processing of grains
·         Genetic modification of foods

Greatly increased carbohydrate consumption

The genetic makeup of the majority of western populations favors better metabolic suitability eating a lower carbohydrate diet.  Although we have not changed genetically over the past few million years, the amount of carbohydrate has doubled in our diet.  While this was a gradual shift over most of human existence, it accelerated dramatically over the past 100 years.




The excessive carbohydrate in the diet is now understood to be a primary driver of the obesity and diabetes epidemics.  It is also currently understood that the total fat in the diet is less problematic than is the type of fat which is discussed below.

A shift to less healthy dietary carbohydrates and fats 

Our ancient ancestors derived the carbohydrate energy in their diet primarily from vegetables and healthy nuts/seeds with less from fruits and none from grains or simple sugars.  Grain and simple sugars are now the dominant source of carbohydrate energy in western diets.  Grains have the highest glycemic load which is the stress a food places on our carbohydrate processing enzymes and hormones.  Simple sugars greatly add to this and have been recently declared as a major driver of the obesity epidemic.

The fat in the Paleolithic diet was dominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  This was the result of higher consumption of nuts/seeds, vegetables and wild grazed animal product such as meat and eggs.  The monounsaturated fats are a known generator of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

The shift to higher amounts of fat from grain fed animal products, and grain and legume oils has shifted this to a higher saturated fat profile.  While some saturated fat in the diet is fine, higher amounts combined with higher carbohydrate intake generates inflammation in the body and is associated with disease risk.  Dale Bredesen, M.D., an Alzheimer’s researcher at UCLA and developer of the MEND treatment program for Alzheimer’s, calls the high carb/high sugar/high saturated fat diet the “Burfooda Triangle” referring to the place where a lot of brains disappear.






The heavy processing of grains

The carbohydrate in grains has a very high glycemic load increasing blood sugar faster and longer than other carbohydrate sources such as vegetables.  This increase in glycemic load is caused by the removal of about 80% of the fiber during refining.  As the refining removes the essential oils which give grain much of its taste, taste is typically added back with sugar further increasing the glycemic load. 

The negative effects of grain refining include:
·         Removal of most of the fiber
·         The removal of essential oils and taste
·         The taste issue is compensated typically by added sugar
·         Refining removes between 50-100% of all 23 essential vitamins and minerals
Too much grain is ill-suited to human metabolism and refined grain consumption worsens the problem.

A large increase in the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are used to make pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory generators respectively.  The Paleolithic diet was dominant in omega-3 fatty acids as most come from healthy nuts/seeds and vegetable sources.  The fat consumed from animal sources was high in omega-3s as the animals ate mostly green browse such as grass and leaves.  Most animals in the food chain are now fed grain and legumes as it is cheaper and they fatten better and faster.  This has caused the large increase in the percentage of saturated fat in these products but has also shifted the omega fatty acid content from animal product to mostly omega-6. The current western diet has an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 12:1 which is pro-inflammatory.

Genetic modification of foods

A whole book could be written about the health aspects of GMO foods.  While the concept was developed with good intention, that of helping to feed the starving world, it has largely contributed to over-feeding the developed world.  It has also been a major contributor to the grain dominance and of the shift in fat type and omega-3 fatty acid content in the western diet.

Just to mention some of the recent other major concerns about GMO crops three stand out; food based glyphosate exposure, food induced epigenetic changes and food toxicity.  Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in the common herbicide used on GMO crops.  Soybeans are genetically modified to be tolerant to glyphosate allowing growing fields to be sprayed to remove weeds.  The newest version on GMO corn is also for glyphosate tolerance.

Glyphosate has been shown to injure the human gut lining and is thought to be a contributor to many functional digestive disorders, food sensitivities and perhaps autoimmune disease.  There is also an open question regarding chronic low level exposure and cancer risk.

Food induced epigenetic changes refers to genetic material from the plant changing the pattern of gene activation in the person consuming it.  All humans harbor some genes that when activated may trigger certain diseases.  These genes are, however, protected as our DNA is rolled into balls called histones that don’t allow direct access to each gene inside.  The epigenome consists of areas on these histones that environmental signals can flip allowing access to these genes. 

Recently little pieces of genetic material called microRNAs from GMO foods were shown to flip on some of these areas causing ill effects.  Lab rats fed a GMO rice meal tended to develop high LDL or bad cholesterol levels.  A study examining this confirmed that in fact it does by 39% comparing to animals eating a non-GMO grain.  The mechanism was the altering of the gene expression in the animals causing them to reduce the production of LDL receptors in the liver.  These LDL receptors trap LDL circulating through the liver removing it for breakdown.  A piece of genetic material found in the GMO rice called micro RNA 168a changed the animal genetic expression of the LDL receptor.
The herbicide and pesticide contamination comes largely from large commercial crops particularly GMOs as discussed above.

The Solutions

There are solutions to all of the above problems.  Some are behavioral such as deciding to eat dominantly vegetables, fruits and nuts/seeds as carbohydrate rather than dominantly grain.  The US serving ratio of grains to fruits & vegetables is 3:1.  More ideally it should be reversed with 3 times more vegetables & fruits than grains.

This shift also helps two other imbalances, the fat type ratio and the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.  Vegetable based foods such as avocados, nuts/seeds and olive oil are dominant sources of the more healthy mono-unsaturated fats.  Green plant foods are a source of alpha linolenic acid which the body converts to omega-3 fatty acids.  Grains are rich in linoleic acid which is converted to omega-6 fatty acids.  Animals eating green plants make omega-3s, while those eating grain make omega-6s.  True grass fed beef contains 3-5 times greater omega-3 fatty acids than grain fed beef. We need to be careful what we eat but also what our animal source foods have been eating.

Vegetable and nuts provide greater satiety of the signaling of fullness which helps to reduce the cravings that drive high carbohydrate consumption.  This pattern shifts to less carbohydrate and greater amounts of healthy fats.

As the vast majority of GMO foods and herbicide exposure come from grain and legume crops the above shift helps there as well.  Simply refusing to eat GMO is the best answer.  While we do not have GMO labeling requirements, certified organic products cannot contain GMO products so they are the best assurance of non-GMO.


In the next post I will explain my “filters” to look for to ensure healthy eating.  Once these are understood anyone can evaluate any food source for healthy quality.  Following that we will begin posting the individual reviews to make your task easier.  All of this in the name of healthy eating!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Detoxification


The Housekeeping That Slows Aging and Fends off Illness

Detoxification is an essential process in maintaining aging resilience and health.  This system works 24/7 cleaning up the “trash” in our system each day.  That includes:

·         Hundreds of breakdown products of our metabolism

·         The residues of the mix of over 80,000 chemicals that we put into our environment including food and water

·         Many dozen hormone residues that can abnormally alter cell function if not eliminated.

That is a lot of work, and the system that does it must function optimally each day.  So here is the problem.  Part 1 of the problem is that our toxic load is higher than ever.  There are 80,000 chemicals approved for use in the U.S. from pesticides to flame retardants, and their residues are found in our food, water, air and even uniformly in human blood and urine samples.

Part 2 of the problem is that the maintenance of this detoxification system to keep it functioning well is at historic low levels.  This system relies heavily on a family of over 1000 enzymes in the liver called cytochromes.  These enzymes are the workers that trap and convert the toxins into excretable forms for elimination.  These cytochromes are highly dependent on our nutrition for recharging.  A broad array of “phytonutrients” which comes predominantly from properly grown fruits and vegetables. 

Some of the current problems with “recharging” these cytochromes result from several issues:

·         Commercial growing methods reduce plant phytonutrient content between 60-70%.

·         While vegetables and fruits have been the dominant source of our plant food for about 6 million years, we have shifted to a grain based diet in the last 100 years.  Grain is a poor source of these phytonutrients.

So we have a greater need now than ever before to detoxify combined with weaker detoxification systems. The Standard Process 21-day Purification system is a great way to right this ship a couple of times each year.  The program involves 3 weeks of organic, whole food derived supplements combined with daily nutrient dense smoothies and other phytonutrient loaded foods.  The benefits have been shown to include weight loss, improved skin appearance, energy improvements, better sleep and improvements in blood sugar levels and blood lipids levels.

Join us at 5:30 PM January 18, 2017 to learn about this great program.  Our guest for that program will be Jeannine Ruggieri of Mid-Atlantic Standard Process who will share both her professional and personal experience with the 21-Day Purification Program. Just call the office to reserve your spot!  Guests are welcome.  Call the office at 757-456-5053 and reserve a seat!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Is It Running Really Rough?
…time for a tune up!


Hesitating when you try to accelerate?

Idling rough?

Won’t start easily in the morning?

The exhaust not looking good?

No, we don’t mean your car, we mean you!  If this was your car, you would have it in the shop to get tuned up.  These are all symptoms of poor detoxification along with weight gain, poor sleep, poor skin quality, blood lipid abnormalities and many others.

These detoxification systems work 24-7 to clear anything we cannot metabolize out of the body.  Metabolized simply means “to burn up as energy or convert to storage fat”.  The human body can only do that with protein, carbohydrate and fat but not with the immense amounts of chemicals and internal breakdown products it must deal with each day.

What else do we deal with:
·         80,000 environmental chemicals in food, water, air
·         10,000 chemicals allowed as “food additives”
·         Hundreds of our own hormone residues

So how is that done?
Toxins have always been in the human environment.  However, it was a few hundred from sources such as volcano smoke and heavy metals in some foods sources.  Humans have always had a sophisticated detoxification system to manage these toxins. It begins with a 2-part liver enzyme breakdown process and then help from the kidneys and digestive tract to usher the breakdown products finally out. 

This process, however, requires constant “recharging” from dietary nutrients.  It is also a finite system that has a capacity that can be exceeded causing many ill health effects.  This finite capacity and its ability to be overwhelmed is why we hear the little disclaimer at the end of so many drug commercials about “your doctor may want to check your liver enzymes regularly”.  When the amount of drug residue to be detoxified exceeds that capacity, liver cells get injured and leak enzymes.

What’s the problem?
We are at a historic mismatch of a greatly increased toxic load with greatly decreased food content of the phytonutrients that help recharge our detoxification enzymes.  It is the “perfect storm” for toxic related symptoms and illnesses that have been related to toxic overload such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer and several others. 

An ongoing study by the CDC of the levels of 32 toxic volatile compounds found in human blood samples found the following in 1990:

·         No subject exhibited none of the 32
·         The average across the large study population was 14
·         Several subjects exhibited all 32
·         Toxic levels were equally found in those from diverse urban/rural, occupational and age groups – none of us are immune!
·         Each subsequent decade has shown persisting and increasing levels

What is the solution?
The best solution is minimizing toxic exposures and eating an organic, high fruit/vegetable, low processed food diet which maximizes the detoxification phytonutrients.  For many this seems to be to a difficult task.  Another option is to do a detoxification program twice each year to regenerate the system for the next several months.  The Standard Process 21-Day Purification program is ideally suited for this option.  The program often leads to encouraging health effects that motivate many to make more lasting changes to their eating.


To help everyone with this process we are hosting an interesting program with Jeannine Ruggieri of Mid-Atlantic Standard Process.  Jeannine will enlighten us about this great program through her own story of how she resolved many of her own health challenges with it.  Please be our guest for this educational program.  Join us at 5:30 PM January 18, 2017 to learn about this great program.  Just call the office at 757-456-5053 to reserve a seat.  Guests are welcome.  Just let us know to save a seat for them also.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017



Give us 3 weeks…                         

…and we will give you a lot more!


Join us January 18, 2017 to learn about the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program.  This unique 21-day program is designed to purify, nourish, and help maintain a healthy body weight.  Combining a generous menu of whole foods with nutritional supplements, the purification program support the body’s ability to remove naturally occurring toxins and helps patients define a new normal way of life with healthy choices. 


The purification program is a great way to jump start a healthier 2017 reaping a broad array of health benefits.  A study of the outcomes of the 21-day program was done at my alma mater, Logan University.  The results were striking given that they occurred in just 3 weeks.

For many the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program is a quick way to see results and begin a consciousness of healthier lifestyle.  To help you along this path we will have a gift for everyone beginning the purification program in January – A copy of perhaps the best healthy living cookbooks out there.


Join us at 5:30 PM January 18, 2017 to learn about this great program.  Our guest for that program will be Jeannine Ruggieri of Mid-Atlantic Standard Process who will share  both her professional and personal experience with the 21-Day Purification Program. Just call the office to reserve your spot!  Guests are welcome.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Growing Dark Side of Proton Pump Inhibiting Drugs

There are other options!


The methods used to study and approve drugs often do not have the sensitivity to predict complications that may occur with the longer-term use of many drugs.  These complications will typically not become apparent for a decade or so.  As we get well out past a decade of use with the most common class of drugs to limit stomach acid production, proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, the list of complications continues to grow.

Prior to the last 2 years the established list of adverse events associated with long-term PPI use included:


·         IBS
·         Intestinal clostridia infection
·         Gut yeast infection
·         Pneumonia
·         Neuropathy
·         Magnesium deficiency
·         Osteopenia/osteoporosis



Over the past few years several potentially more serious adverse effects have been seen.   These more recently understood adverse effects are even more alarming given their strong potential impact of quality of life and mortality.  These newer associated effects include:

Stroke  -  Results of a new study were presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association.  Higher dose PPI long-term use was associated with a 70% risk of ischemic stroke.  The researchers presenting this study data conclude that “Physicians should encourage more cautious use of PPIs”.  They extended these conclusions to a special concern about PPI use in the United States where several of the PPIs associated with the risk are available without a prescription over-the-counter (OTC).

These complications are thought to be the result of their reduction in nitric oxide synthase levels, an enzyme needed for healthy relaxation of blood vessel walls.  This opens the understanding of another recently associated adverse effect, cardiovascular events such as heart attack.

Cardiovascular events  -  A just published study in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility (2016) reviewed all of the data from the previous 17 research trials involving 1750 subjects.  The analysis found that patients using a PPI had a mean increase in cardiovascular events of 70%, strikingly similar to the increase in stroke risk.  Use of one particular PPI was associated with a 217% increased risk which is particularly of concern as it is perhaps the most commonly used OTC drug.  The longest users of any PPI were also at greater risk than the group as a whole with a 133% increased risk.

Chronic kidney disease  -  A study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine collected data from 2 large population studies involving over 250,000 adults looking at PPI use and the risk of chronic kidney disease.  Any use was associated with between 24% and 45% increased risk over the 12-year study period.  Higher use was associated with increased risk of 46% to 76%.

Dementia  -  A new study published in JAMA Neurology looked at the association between PPI use and subsequent dementia risk in a population of over 74,000 older adults.  Those using PPIs had a 44% increased risk of dementia.  Given this huge problem in aging populations the researchers concluded, “The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia.”  Part of the impetus for looking at this association was the observation in other research that the use of these drugs in laboratory animals was found to increase β-amyloid deposits in the brain.  β-amyloid is a toxic protein that is a major contributor to brain cell degeneration in Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The mechanisms by which PPIs increase this risk is not fully understood, but it is thought to be associated with:

·         PPIs are known to lower B12 and other B vitamin absorption.  These vitamins are needed for brain cell normal function.

·         PPIs enter the brain intact and have been shown to alter the function of the enzymes that are involved in β-amyloid production breakdown.


Other solutions

This growing and frightening list of concerns about PPI use should cause a paradigm shift – a new way of looking at the whole problem of dyspepsia or indigestion.  Perhaps the first area to look at is the overuse of these drugs.  Reflux, indigestion and related symptoms are often not coming from over-production of stomach acid.  There are several lines of research supporting this. They include:

·         40-50% of those taking the drugs do not have good symptom resolution.

·         Studies of prescribing find that 50% of patient’s receiving a PPI do not meet published guidelines for appropriate use.

·         There are several known triggers of reflux symptoms such as food sensitivities which can be resolved by eliminating the problem.

·         Finding a solution should begin with an accurate assessment of the problem.  Most PPIs are prescribed solely on the basis of symptoms.  Even when an endoscopic exam is done and found to be normal, the institution of PPI therapy is then just symptom based.

The Heidelberg GastricpH Test is ideally suited to truly evaluate upper digestive tract acidity.  The test uses a telemetry capsule to transmit pH signals to a receiver which is placed over the stomach. The capsule is swallowed with water, and once it reaches the stomach it sends pH readings to the receiver on the surface of the stomach.  The capsule is tethered to a piece of surgical thread to hold it in the stomach preventing it from quickly passing into the small intestine.  This allows stomach pH readings to be taken repeatedly over the 1-2 hours needed for the test.
A more in-depth description of the test can be found at the link above.  When this test is combined with a thorough history and evaluation, the source of reflux/indigestion can be found and targeted corrective therapy can be used.  The broad use of PPIs as is the norm now will continue to be looked at with greater caution as the research about the long-term effects evolves.  Quick relief today may come at a great cost down the road.


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