Monday, November 12, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Molybdenum

Legumes and whole grains are rich food sources of molybdenum. The typical American diet contains 50 to 500 micrograms of molybdenum per day. The food concentration of molybdenum is dependent on the soil content of molybdenum.

Molybdenum is available as sodium molybdate and molybdenum amino acid chelate.

Molybdenum deficiency may lead to the inability to process sulfites because the enzyme that detoxifies sulfites (sulfite oxidase) is molybdenum dependent. Symptoms of sulfite toxicity are an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, headache, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. Molybdenum deficiency may be the cause of sulfite sensitivity.

Molybdenum works as a necessary coenzyme in the enzymes xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulfite oxidase. These enzymes are involved in uric acid formation, alcohol detoxification, and sulfite detoxification.

Molybdenum is an important mineral for those that consume high quantities of alcohol.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Manganese

Good dietary sources of manganese include green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, whole grains, and nuts. Pecans and Brazil nuts rank at the top.

Some of the best absorbed forms are manganese bound to picolinate, gluconate, or other chelates.

Human manganese deficiency is not as well defined as in animals. Animal results have shown manganese deficiency may lead to impaired growth, skeletal abnormalities, and defects in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

In several human studies where subjects were fed a manganese-reduced diet, several metabolic abnormalities developed, including appearance of a skin rash, loss of hair color, reduced growth of hair and nails, and reduced HDL cholesterol.

Manganese functions in many enzyme systems, including enzymes involved in blood sugar control, energy metabolism, and thyroid function.

High doses of manganese may inhibit the absorption of iron, copper, and zinc. On the other hand, high intake of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, and zinc may inhibit the absorption of manganese.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Iron

There are two forms of dietary iron, heme and nonheme. Heme iron is bound to hemoglobin and myoglobin. This type of iron is found in animal products and is the most efficiently absorbed form. Nonheme iron is found in plant foods and is poorly absorbed compared to heme iron. Liver is the best food source of heme iron. Kelp and brewer's yeast are good plant sources of nonheme iron.

Ferrous bisglycinate chelate is the most efficient form of supplemental heme iron. The absorption rate of nonheme iron supplements such as ferrous sulfate and ferrous fumarate are around 1-3%. Despite the superior form of heme iron in bisglycinate chelate, nonheme iron is the most popular. Even taking the best quality nonheme iron the net absorption is 50 milligrams compared to only 3 milligrams of heme iron. It takes that much more nonheme iron to equal a smaller dosage of heme iron, and the heme iron absorbs better.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the United States. The target groups at risk are infants two and under, teenage girls, pregnant women, and the elderly. Iron deficiency may be caused by an increased iron requirement, decreased iron intake, diminished iron absorption, blood loss, or a combination of such factors. Vegetarians and vegans also run a higher risk of iron deficiency. Adolescents and college age students run a high risk of iron deficiency due to poor diets. Other causes of decreased iron absorption include chronic diarrhea, malabsorption, and the use of antacids.

The effects of iron deficiency are caused by the impaired delivery of oxygen to the tissues and the impaired activity of iron-containing enzymes in various tissues. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, excessive menstrual loss, learning disabilities, impaired immune function, and decreased energy levels.

Serum ferritin is the best laboratory test for determining iron deficiency. Routine blood analysis is not accurate enough. Men may suspect iron deficiency if they have a history of peptic ulcers, hemorrhoids, blood loss, or long-term use of antacids.

Iron plays an essential role in the hemoglobin molecule of our red blood cells. It functions in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and then transports carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Iron also functions in several key enzymes in energy production and metabolism, including DNA synthesis.

by John Connor, CNC

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Key to Weight Loss

Weight management is a confusing topic. Hands down! There are terms such as calories, metabolism, and fat-burning. In order to maintain healthy weight we have to look beyond these terms and arrive at the underlying cause.

Do I eat this way or that? Do I consume fewer calories? Do I ramp up my metabolism? If so, how? Or do I dare say the “E” word (exercise). Actually, once we acquire a basic understanding how fat storage increases and decreases, it will all make sense. Putting it into practice may be another story.

Calories and metabolism do play a role in how the body uses stored fat as energy. There is somewhat of a misconception that people have trouble losing weight simply because of their metabolism, or that they consume too many calories. To illustrate I'll use the "Steakhouse Analogy."

You visit your favorite steakhouse. You order a nice, juicy steak, seasoned and cooked to perfection. Along side of the steak is a plain baked potato (minus the butter, cheese, and sour cream). The moderately portioned steak, let’s say eight ounces, has far more calories than the plain baked potato. The next morning you step on the scale and you’ve gained weight! If you were to blame the steak or the potato for the weight gain, it would likely be the steak because it has more calories than the potato.

Calories in, calories out is pretty much myth. Calories were not created equal. Instead of looking at calories and metabolism directly, there is something powerful happening in the body that affects calories, metabolism, and weight gain–hormones.

Hormones are messengers in the body that play a pivotal role in every single physiological process. Hormones are like a finely-tuned orchestra happening at all times in the body. Hormones directly or indirectly control everything that happens in the body, including fat storage.

Insulin is a fat-storing hormone. It’s job is to look for glucose and store it away for a rainy day. All too often that that rainy day never occurs.

Going back to the Steakhouse Analogy. The reason the plain baked potato is the culprit for the weight gain and not the steak is because the potato requires insulin where the steak does not.

Hormones (such as insulin) control body fat the same way they control our heart rate, energy level, and body temperature. Obesity is a hormone imbalance. When hormones are in balance so is the proper percentage of body fat. Rather than look at calories and metabolism as a direct cause to weight gain, it’s actually hormones that affect your metabolism and caloric expenditure.

Insulin levels are roughly 20 percent higher in obese people. As insulin goes up, the body weight goes up. We know that if insulin levels are low, the body has an easier time using stored fat as energy. As long as the pancreas secretes insulin, due to our diet, then the body will constantly store fat instead of using it as energy.

The key to weight loss is hormone balance, more specifically, insulin balance. A low-carb lifestyle works very well, because it greatly reduces insulin output. Diet Doctor is a great resource to get started.

by John Connor, CNC

Monday, September 24, 2018

Taming the Wild Beast: Childhood ADHD and School

In my nutritional practice I see more and more parents deal with the beast, that is ADHD. I’ve touched on this in my article, "Hyperactive Enigma," but I want to go more in depth on taming the ADHD beast when it comes to school work.

The past couple of generations, including my own Gen X, didn’t have an ADHD problem, or if we did it was nothing compared to what we deal with today. It’s a simple multi-pronged approach, and it starts with diet.

How we eat directly affects the body, how we feel, and of course it affects ADHD. Here’s why.

The body produces a certain amount of adrenaline. It sends glucose to energize the brain and muscles. Problem is adrenaline can sometimes send too much glucose to said areas causing a hyperactive response known as adrenaline dominance. When children are allowed to consume sugar and carbohydrates that is in essence feeding the beast, adding insult to injury.

When making dietary changes, remember to keep it simple at first, especially if any of the family members are picky eaters. It’s a common theme I hear that a child is a picky eater. Being a picky eater isn’t an issue. We simply change what foods are available to them at home. If chips, cookies, and crackers aren’t in the house then they, and you, won’t eat them.

Dietary changes are best made as a family unit. Your kids eat what you eat. Sit down together and make a list of low carb foods everyone is willing to eat. Make a category for protein, vegetables, and fruits. Start with animal protein. Write down what proteins the family likes: chicken, ground beef, fish, etc. Then make a list of non-starchy vegetables everyone likes. Then a list of fruits the family likes. Even if the list is small, it’s a good start. If you need help choosing low carb foods, my go-to resource is Diet Doctor.

Another way to get your child to be less of a picky eater is to include them in what you’re cooking for dinner. Give them two options per macronutrient. Chicken or ground beef. Black-eyed peas or green beans. This way they have a say in what is set before them. Also, you can have fun and create a menu, so it makes them feel like they’re eating out but at home.

Speaking of eating out. It’s going to happen. With various extracurricular schedules, cooking at home sometimes isn’t an option, so what do you do? Stick to low-carb as best as possible. It doesn’t necessarily eliminate drive-thru establishments. There are some grilled chicken options out there. It may not taste as good as the deep fried version, but it’s healthier. Keep an eye on sugary dipping sauces. Ranch and bleu cheese are better choices. Substitute french fries for fruit or a salad. These little changes will bear fruit long term, and you’ll see it in your child’s behavior and school grades.

One more thing that will help the family stick to a low-carb diet is planning ahead. Preparing food in advance means simply heating it up in the microwave and serve.

With diet aside there are two other areas that can cause an outpouring of adrenaline, feeding the ADHD beast: lack of exercise and electronic devices. These two go hand-in-hand.

When I was a kid, we played outside, we ran around breaking a sweat, in turn burning off excess adrenaline and the stress hormone, cortisol. Without exercise, excess adrenaline will transpire in other ways such as temper tantrums and outbursts.

Instead of playing and running and getting all of that excess adrenaline out, we now supplement it with electronic devices that add to the adrenaline problem. Even if the video game is harmless, or even educational, it can still create more adrenaline. The same goes for watching TV, movies, and streaming.

The answer to taming the wild beast is to eat a low carb diet as a family. Limit electronic stimulus, before homework and bedtime. Have the kids run around outside to burn off adrenaline and cortisol.

Before your child begins homework let them have a high protein/low carb snack such as cheese sticks. Make sure they have a chance to run around before beginning homework, and no electronic devices until homework is done. This should improve mood, behavior, and better grades.

by John Connor, CNC

Thursday, September 20, 2018

How to Reverse Type II Diabetes with Nutrition

People seek me for counseling for a host a reasons. Some of those reasons are blood sugar related. The person is either a Type II diabetic or they are on the bubble.

One of my first responses that will swiftly improve blood sugar is dietary changes. Let’s be honest. That is not something people like to hear. Change…my…diet? Can’t I just take a pill instead?

There are natural supplements that I do find beneficial and will work along side better, and healthier eating, but nothing beats good old fashioned will power–jumping head first into eating healthier. Across the board, for better overall health, nothing beats eating healthy.

If you’ve read my blog post “Fully Loaded Inflammatory Foods” that right there is a good start. Avoid sugar, processed foods, and starches. But even that can be a little vague if you are unfamiliar with terms like processed foods and starches. Maybe a person doesn’t know what is or isn’t a carbohydrate.

Now and then we have to simplify, or over simplify, how we eat in order to know what changes need to be made to our diet. “Is this food ok to eat?” is a common question.

To put it simple, in order to attain healthy, normal blood sugar levels we have to eat foods that do not secrete insulin. Insulin is a hormone that raises blood-glucose levels. Its job is to store left over glucose for a rainy day. Unfortunately that rainy day never comes, so it continues to store in the form of fat, usually visceral fat also known as belly fat.

This means we need to go on a low-carb diet. There are many choices out there. Personally I use a ketogenic diet known as LCHF, or Low-Carb High-Fat. Yes, I said high fat. But doesn’t fat clog your arteries and cause heart disease? In short, good fats in the absence of carbohydrates and sugar does not cause heart disease. I’ve written on said topics, such as “Choosing the Right Cooking Oil” and “The Truth About Cholesterol.”

A low-carb diet is designed to produce the least amount of insulin which means better blood sugar levels. If continued long enough, I personally believe there is a chance at reversing Type II diabetes. I have clients that as long as they eat correct their blood sugar stays in the normal range.

A low carb diet, such as LCHF, consists of eating whole foods: animal protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and of course healthy fats.

Start simple. Make a list of foods in each category you like. Start with animal protein. Which animal proteins could you eat on a regular basis? Such as beef, chicken, fish, and pork. Then make a list of foods in the vegetable category. Which green vegetables could you eat regularly? Write those down. Then in the fruit category, which berries could you eat on a regular basis?

Once you’ve created a list, now you know where to start. It will take some planning and preparation but it can be done. If you need further assistance come to see me and I will help make adjustments. A great resource I point people to is Diet Doctor. They really break down low carb for beginners.

Is it possible to reverse Type II diabetes? I believe it is. If you eat foods that keep your blood sugar in the normal range then you’re on the right track to a long, healthy life.

by John Connor, CNC

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Choosing the Right Cooking Oil

When you’re cooking at home or going out to eat, the chances are good you will consume some form of cooking oil. Some choices are healthier than others. I touched a little on this in my last blog: Fully Loaded Inflammatory Foods.

To some varying degree, cooking oils contain three forms of fats–saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Let’s take a look at each one.

Saturated fats for a number of decades has been given a bad reputation, falsely accused of causing heart disease. As I mentioned before, saturated fats when in the absence of processed carbohydrates and in the presence of omega-3 has been shown to have no negative ramifications, and may possibly lead to a positive outcome. Saturated fats are the most stable fats to eat because of their molecular structure. Good examples of saturated to consume are eggs, butter, and salmon. And let’s not forget omega-3 fish oil is a saturated fat which we know to be heart healthy.

Monounsaturated fats are similar to saturated fats seeing that they are healthier options to cook with and consume. Even though they are more stable than polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats should still be cared for by coming in a dark bottle, or metal container so light cannot come in contact with the oil. Good examples of monounsaturated fats are olive oil and avocado oil.

Polyunsaturated fats are most commonly found in restaurants and the prepared foods you find at the grocery store, especially processed foods. Polyunsaturated fats are by far the most unstable out of the three oils, making them more inflammatory. When a fat is unstable there is a higher risk of it oxidizing.

When fats come in contact with oxygen it causes them to oxidize. When fats oxidize they become rancid which creates free radicals. Free radicals can do extensive damage to your cells. Polyunsaturated fats are much more vulnerable to oxidizing than monounsaturated and saturated fats. In fact polyunsaturated fats can become rancid simply from exposure to light through a clear glass bottle. When heat is added to the oil it exponentially increases the risk of free radical damage to your cells.

Vegetable oils are the most common type of polyunsaturated fat. Ironically they do not contain any vegetables. Vegetable oils are made from seeds and legumes grown for industrial use, not human consumption. The most common types of vegetable oils come from canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean. The seeds and legumes are chemically processed in order to extract the oil by using solvents. A deodorizer is then added to mask the chemical smell from the oil. Again these oils were never intended for human consumption but for some reason they are commonly used in food establishments.

Bottom line, you’re way better off cooking with butter or coconut oil because saturated fats oxidize the least. Some people differ as to whether you should or shouldn’t cook with olive oil, and at what temperature. Either way, saturated and monounsaturated fats are much healthier choices than polyunsaturated fats. Eliminating polyunsaturated vegetable oils from your diet will greatly reduce inflammation and cell damage.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Molybdenum

Legumes and whole grains are rich food sources of molybdenum. The typical American diet contains 50 to 500 micrograms of molybdenum per da...