Health and Nutrition

September 6, 2017


Filed under: Diet,General Health,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 12:29 pm

August 24, 2017

Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 4:44 pm

May 10, 2017

White Meat vs Dark Meat (Plus the skin)

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 12:32 pm

by Cat Ebeling
co-author of the best-sellers: The Fat Burning Kitchen &The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging

White meat chicken and turkey have been the darling of health and weight loss folks, and its been promoted as the ‘low fat/low calorie’ meat that was the perfect protein. White meat has about half the saturated fat of dark meat, and for this reason alone it has been falsely pushed as the healthier alternative because of outdated health beliefs by many gurus. While white meat is largely a protein delivery system–dark meat contains many more nutrients and its time to become a ‘leg man’—or woman!

White meat has had its day, and its time to go to the darker side, which has merits above and beyond white meat. According to the Department of Agriculture, an ounce of boneless, skinless turkey breast contains about 46 calories and 1 gram of fat, compared with roughly 50 calories and 2 grams of fat for an ounce of boneless, skinless thigh. And don’t forget the skin! Also, if you are eating free-range, organic turkeys and chickens, that fat is generally healthy fat—good for your skin, joints and immune system–and full of healthy omega 3 fats, as well, depending on what the turkeys or chickens ate.

So what makes white meat white, and dark meat dark?

Well it has to do with how much that particular muscle was used. Since chickens and turkeys, especially the free-range ones, use their legs to cruise around the farmyard, but generally don’t fly or use their wings much, their legs and thighs are dark. This is because of a compound in the blood that results from the movement of the muscles. The more movement, the darker the muscle. Dark meat contains myoglobin, similar to hemoglobin, that is a substance in poultry blood that allows for transport of oxygen—necessary for muscles that are being used. Muscles that are well-used, are also full of readily available iron, which is useful in our bodies as well, to help transport oxygen to all parts of the body as well.

Besides iron, dark meat contains more selenium, zinc, vitamins A and K, riboflavin, thiamine, and B6 and B12, as well as a supernutrient called taurine.  Taurine is a nutrient known be an anti-inflammatory nutrient, helps in blood pressure regulation, healthy nerve function, production of bile acid, (which breaks down fat), and other important functions. According to a new study by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine, taurine, significantly lowers the risk of heart disease, reducing mortality by as much as 80%, as well as protecting against diabetes and high blood pressure.

Many U.S. doctors recommend eating white or light meat instead of dark meat, because it is lower in saturated fat, but we now know that saturated fats are actually mostly healthy, and not the villain they were made out to be in the 80s and 90s fat-phobia period.

In fact, the NYU study demonstrates how dark meat ultimately packs a stronger nutritional punch. The study appears online in the European Journal of Nutrition. Taurine is such a powerful nutrient that it is considered a primary nutritional factor for longevity. Taurine also promotes insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, eyesight and hearing. Certain diets, especially vegetarian and vegan diets lack taurine and it has been found that diseases such as liver, kidney, heart disease, as well as diabetes and cancer, cause an even greater deficiency in taurine. Age is another factor that creates an extra need for taurine, as our bodies slow down the production of it as we age.

And new research is looking at the benefits of taurine for the human brain. Taurine, is one of the most important cognitive supplements, and can help to slow down age-related loss of memory and cognitive powers, as well as protecting against environmental toxins. High taurine levels are especially associated with eating dark meat chicken, oysters and clams.

Show me some skin!

Many people pay extra just to have “boneless, skinless” chicken or turkey meat, but its time to start eating the whole bird for maximum benefits!

There are a lot more edible parts to chicken or turkey than just the meat. When we strip away the skin, we are stripping away the healthy fats (provided it is organic and free range) and collagen, as well as other benefits. Chicken and turkey skin contain a large amount of monounsaturated fat, the same healthy fat you find in olive oil. Olive oil as you know, contains many healthy benefits for the whole body, as does the oleic acid in chicken and turkey skin. In fact, the majority of fat in chicken skin is actually heart-healthy unsaturated fats, according to Harvard School of Public Health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database reports that 1 ounce of chicken skin contains about 3 grams of saturated fat, but provides 8 grams of unsaturated fat.  Although the amount of saturated fat is actually a useless fact, since we’ve already established that saturated fat is not bad for our health in any way.

Skin is almost pure collagen.Collagen as you may already know, is one of the most important nutrients you can add to your diet. So important, it’s probably worth writing a whole other blog on just how beneficial that stuff is. You can get plenty of collagen from the skin of chicken and turkey, bones, tendons, and ligaments. You know those crunchy parts on the ends of the legs? That’s cartilage, and it’s packs a whopping amount of collagen! So chew it up!

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors naturally ate a LOT more collagen compared to muscle meat than modern humans, since hunter-gatherers generally ate the entire animal instead of wasting the most nutrient dense organs, skins, and cartilage like modern humans do.

And don’t forget to take that chicken or turkey carcass, add water or broth and cook it slowly for 24 hours or more to create a delicious bone broth or soup base full of collagen and glucosamine. Collagen helps fight diseases like diabetes, improve your joints (drastically!), speed up healing time from athletic injuries, reduce wrinkling and sagging skin, and add strength and elasticity to hair and nails.We need collagen—it is essential!!

And lastly, don’t forget that deliciously decadent taste of freshly roasted crackly skin. That flavor and satisfaction go a long way towards making you feel full and satisfied.

What’s the takeaway? Stop buying those stripped-down boneless, skinless parts and eat the whole bird! Dark meat, skin, bones and cartilage. Just choose organic or pasture-raised if you can find it. Your body will thank you!


May 3, 2017

Making Sense of Your Cholesterol Levels and Assessing Your Heart Disease Risk

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 12:58 pm

cholesterol levels infographic

September 1, 2016

Acid-Blocking Drugs Increase Heart Disease Risk

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 2:02 pm

Put down the antacids! New study shows that acid blockers are detrimental to cardiovascular health.


Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs whose main action is blocking the secretion of gastric acid. They are dominant medical treatment of peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and indigestion. Popular examples include Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, and Aciphex. Use of these powerful antacids is associated with an increased risk for osteoporosisheart arrhythmias, intestinal infections, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple nutrient deficiencies. A new study from Stanford University adds another issue with these drugs – they double the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. (more…)

August 30, 2016

Chickpeas offer 4 surprising health benefits

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 2:33 pm


(NaturalHealth365) Nutritionists and natural healers have long held chickpeas in high regard due to their undeniable merit as a superfood. These versatile little legumes not only boast a delicate, nutty flavor and a pleasing consistency, but they are also packed with high-quality plant protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, and beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids.

However, recent studies have revealed that there is much more to chickpeas than their nutritive value.  Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, ceci beans and chana, actually combat life-threatening diseases – on four different fronts.  As researchers come forward to credit chickpeas with life-extending effects, they are beginning to better understand the nuts and bolts of how these tasty little morsels work their magic. (more…)

May 22, 2016

Inflammation, Not Acid, Cause of GERD, Study Suggests

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 7:42 pm

Veronica Hackethal, MD

May 17, 2016

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may be caused by an immune reaction, rather than direct chemical injury from stomach acids, according to results from a small, single-center study published online May 17 in JAMA.

“In this preliminary study of 12 patients with severe reflux esophagitis successfully treated with PPI therapy, stopping PPI medication was associated with T lymphocyte–predominant esophageal inflammation and basal cell and papillary hyperplasia without loss of surface cells,” write first author Kerry Dunbar, MD, PhD, from the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Texas, and colleagues.

“If replicated, these findings suggest that the pathogenesis of reflux esophagitis may be cytokine-mediated rather than the result of chemical injury,” they add.

Since 1935, convention has held that GERD, which affects about 20% of Americans, results from irritation of the esophageal lining as a result of refluxed acid from the stomach. A recent study in rats, however, has suggested that GERD may not be a result of chemical injury but, rather, a result of an immune reaction. That prompted researchers to test this new hypothesis in humans.

The study included 12 patients (11 men; mean age, 57.6 years) seen at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center for severe reflux esophagitis successfully treated with PPIs. Participants were told to stop taking their PPIs and received evaluations at baseline, as well as 1 and 2 weeks after stopping medication. Assessments included 24-hour esophageal pH and impedance monitoring (an index of mucosal integrity) and esophagoscopy (which included high-resolution confocal laser endomicroscopy). Researchers biopsied noneroded areas of the esophagus, where immune activity was assumed to be lower than in eroded areas.

At baseline, almost all participants (11/12) had no visible evidence of esophagitis. By 2 weeks after stopping PPIs, all participants developed esophagitis, and five had severe esophagitis.

Within 2 weeks of stopping PPIs, all participants developed abnormalities characteristic of GERD: basal cell and papillary hyperplasia (P < .01), papillary elongation (P < .01), dilated intercellular spaces in the esophageal squamous cell epithelium (P <. 001), reduced mucosal impedance (P = .001), and increased distal esophageal acid exposure. Between baseline and 2 weeks, acid exposure increased by 16.2% (95% confidence interval, 4.4% – 26.5%; P = .005).

Biopsies showed significant increases in infiltration of intraepithelial lymphocytes 1 and 2 weeks after stopping PPIs, with predomination of T cells (week 1, P = .005; week 2, P = .002) and few or no neutrophils and eosinophils.

“[E]sophageal basal cell and papillary hyperplasia developed in areas without surface erosions. If the traditional notion were true, that acute GERD is caused by refluxed acid directly inflicting lethal, chemical injury to surface epithelial cells, then basal cell and papillary hyperplasia would have been expected only in areas with surface erosions, and the infiltrating inflammatory cells would have been granulocytes primarily,” the authors write. They note that further studies are needed to confirm these results.

In a linked editorial, Peter Kahrilas, MD, from Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, notes that the “provocative findings from this investigation are in the details”: the earliest pathology occurred deep in the epithelium, not at the mucosal surface, and repair mechanisms started before the death of surface cells previously thought to provoke these changes.

“[A]lthough the inciting pathophysiology is unquestionably the reflux of gastric and duodenal secretions into the esophagus, this evidence suggests that the effect of that reflux is the initiation of cytokine-triggered inflammation rather than the long held belief of a direct chemical effect of acid, pepsin, and bile on the esophageal epithelium,” he wrote.

He notes that the participants in this study — men with high-grade erosive GERD and hiatal hernias — probably represent between 1% and 5% of all patients with GERD, so the findings may not apply to all patients with GERD. However, shifting the focus away from the “burning” effect of stomach acid toward an immune reaction may help explain subtypes of GERD that have been recently recognized.

The findings may also have implications for therapy, he notes. Although PPIs will probably remain the backbone of treatment, new therapies that target the inflammatory cascade may help treat patients with more severe or refractory GERD.

“Based on these findings, perhaps the mantra for treating refractory GERD should be ‘divide and conquer,’ according to the clinical findings and this new information about the disease process,” he concluded, “This is a heterogeneous patient group, and the therapeutic puzzle will only be solved piece by piece. Dunbar et al may have just placed a very important piece.”

The study was supported by a grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Gastroenterological Association. One or more authors reports consulting for one or more of the following: Interpace Diagnostics, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The editorial was supported by a grant from the Public Health Service. Dr Kahrilas has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA. 2016;315:2104-2112. Article abstractEditorial extract

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Cite this article: Inflammation, Not Acid, Cause of GERD, Study Suggests. Medscape. May 17, 2016.

March 3, 2016

Higher Vitamin D Levels Reduce Cancer Death Rates up to 52%

Filed under: Cancer,Diet,Nutrition — Doc Joe @ 2:51 pm

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a meticulous analysis of past trials showing that patients with colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma experienced a significantly reduced risk of mortality with higher serum vitamin D levels at diagnosis compared to those with low levels.*

Researchers selected 25 studies involving 17,332 cases of cancer for their meta-analysis.

Compared to lowest quartile, those with vitamin D levels in the top 25% range at the time of diagnosis had far better survival outcomes. For each of the following cancers, the risk of dying decreased by:

  • 37% for breast cancer patients
  • 45% for colorectal cancer patients
  • 52% for lymphoma patients

“By reviewing studies that collectively examined vitamin D levels in 17,332 cancer patients, our analysis demonstrated that vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer,” stated Dr. Hui Wang, MD, PhD, Professor of the Institute for Nutritional Sciences at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. “The results suggest vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and lymphoma, in particular.”

Researchers found the strongest links between vitamin D levels and survival in breast cancer, lymphoma, and colorectal cancer. There was less evidence of a connection in people with lung cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma, or Merkel cell carcinoma.

Editor’s Note: Meta-analysis shows 4% reduction in death for all causes for every 4 ng/mL increase in circulating 25-OH vitamin D levels within the range the researchers examined. Serum vitamin D levels in those who don’t supplement are often below 13 ng/mL. By increasing vitamin D intake to 10,000 to 15,000 IU a day, optimal serum levels of 50 to 80 ng/mL can be achieved.

* JCEM . 2014 Apr 29.

July 2, 2015

Vit D and weight loss

Filed under: Cancer,Diet,General Health,Supplements — Doc Joe @ 5:33 pm

Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  1. Catherine Duggan1,*
  2. Jean de Dieu Tapsoba1
  3. Caitlin Mason1
  4. Ikuyo Imayama1,
  5. Larissa Korde1,2
  6. Ching-Yun Wang1,2, and 
  7. Anne McTiernan1,2

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.
  2. 2University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
  3. ?*Corresponding Author:
    Catherine Duggan, Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave N. Seattle WA 98109. Phone: 206-667-2323; Fax: 206-667-2349; E-mail:


Obesity and vitamin D deficiency are associated with risk for several cancers, possibly through inflammation and adipokine-related pathways. Two hundred and eighteen postmenopausal women with BMI > 25 kg/m2 and low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D; ?10–<32 ng/mL), were randomized to 12 months of either (i) weight-loss intervention + 2000 IU/day oral vitamin D3 or (ii) weight-loss intervention + daily placebo. Serum adiponectin, leptin, TNF?, IL6, IL1?, IL8, and IL10, were measured by immunoassay, and a composite inflammatory biomarker score calculated. Using generalized estimating equations, mean changes in outcomes were compared between arms (intent-to-treat), adjusted for possible confounders. Analyses were also stratified by weight-loss (gained/no weight-loss; <5%; 5% to 10%; ?10%). At 12 months, there were no significant differences in analyte changes between arms. In stratified analyses, participants randomized to vitamin D3 who lost 5% to 10% of baseline weight, versus participants who gained weight/had no weight-loss, had significantly greater decreases in levels of IL6 compared with those randomized to placebo: absolute change ?0.75 pg/mL (?17.2%), placebo versus ?1.77 pg/mL (?37.3%), vitamin D, P = 0.004. Similar but attenuated results were observed for participants who lost ?10% of baseline weight: ?0.41 pg/mL (?13.6%), placebo versus ?0.67 pg/mL (?17.3%), vitamin D, P = 0.02. Effects of vitamin D3supplementation on levels of IL1? were inconsistent when stratified by weight loss. There were no intervention effects on IL10, TNF?, IL8, the composite score, adiponectin, or leptin, when stratified by weight-loss. In conclusion, vitamin D3 supplementation in combination with weight-loss of at least 5% of baseline weight was associated with significant reductions in levels of IL6. Cancer Prev Res; 8(7); 1–8. ©2015 AACR.

  • Received December 11, 2014.
  • Revision received March 18, 2015.
  • Accepted April 6, 2015.
  • ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.


March 22, 2015

L-Taurine Benefits & Side Effects

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 7:19 pm

| By Meaghan Massenat

L-Taurine Benefits & Side Effects
Taurine deficiencies are uncommon, but supplementation will not produce negative side effects. Photo Credit health supplement pills image by weim from

L-taurine, also referred to simply as taurine, is a non-essential amino acid. It is considered non-essential because adults can produce taurine, and it is found in meat, fish and dairy products. According to Dr. Elson M. Haas in his 1992 book “Staying Healthy with Nutrition,” if not enough taurine is produced in your body nor consumed in your diet, supplementation may be required. Taurine has a role in dozens of your bodily functions and is beneficial in both healthy and diseased states.

Heart Function

Taurine plays an important role in many aspects of your cardiovascular system. This amino acid helps to move key nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, in and out of your heart’s cells to improve its functioning. Low levels of taurine have been found in patients who suffered a heart attack. Haas discusses the use of taurine in Japan for sufferers of ischemic heart disease. Multiple daily doses of taurine improved cardiac function in patients suffering from a variety of chronic heart conditions, such as arrhythmia, congestive heart failure and heart attacks.

Epileptic Treatment

Taurine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which can act as a sedative for excitable brain states, according to Haas. The sedative effect can be useful to prevent seizures in epileptics and to minimize manic states if you suffer from bipolar disorder, according to Haas.


The results of a study by Yutaka Nakaya of the Tokushima University School of Medicine and a team of researchers in Japan, published in 2000 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, demonstrate the role of taurine in the dilation of the vascular system. Taurine supplementation can increase secretion of nitric oxide, which dilates your blood vessels and improves blood flow and delivery of oxygen to your muscles.

Lower Cholesterol

Taurine can lower your cholesterol by improving gallbladder function which can then eliminate cholesterol through bile, according to Haas. The results of the study by Nakaya and his team provide evidence for this role–the taurine supplementation reduced liver and blood cholesterol levels in the treated group.


Taurine functions as a “potent” antioxidant, according to Nakaya’s study. Free radicals attack cells in your body and can cause chronic conditions such as cancer, eye disease, and possibly diabetes. Taurine can help to protect your body from free radical damage, as noted by both Nakaya and Haas.

Additonal Benefits

Haas mentions that other benefits of taurine include treatment for male infertility, cirrhosis and depression. Additionally, the results of the Nakaya team’s study suggest taurine supplementation may be beneficial if you suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Side Effects

According to the results of the study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” taurine supplementation causes no serious side effects, which supports the results of similar studies reviewed by Nakaya and the Japanese team. Additionally, a 2009 press release from the European Food Safety Authority confirms that levels of taurine as high as 1,000 mg per kilogram of body weight per day will not cause you harm. This press release came after the EFSA’s panel reviewed taurine levels found in energy drinks and reported them to have no harmful effects. However, Haas mentions that taurine toxicity may cause you to experience diarrhea or peptic ulcers, but what constitutes toxic levels is not addressed.


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