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Chromium Helps Manage Your Weight and Protects Your Brain

Many of you already know that among the 16 books that I have written one of my most popular is on weight loss. In that book called Great Health, I call Chromium “willpower in a bottle”. That is because I have discovered that when Chromium levels are insufficient in the body, a person will crave more carbohydrates. Yet when Chromium is supplemented, the majority of my patients find sticking to a diet is so much easier, as carb cravings go down.

Now there is an entire new face to Chromium – a memorable one at that. It may just help us with protecting our memory as well. This is vitally important since the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the lifetime risk of developing dementia by age 65 is approximately 20 percent for women and 17 percent for men.

So here is the good news: a study of 26 older adults gave them either Chromium picolinate supplementation or a placebo (dummy pill) for 12 weeks. The subjects were evaluated for depression and memory at the beginning of the study and again after the 12 weeks of supplementation.

The individuals receiving Chromium picolinate supplementation showed improvement on learning, recall and recognition memory tasks. In addition, the subjects supplemented with Chromium picolinate had increased activation in specific areas of the brain including the right thalamic, right temporal, right posterior parietal and bifrontal regions.

Don’t feel bad if that last sentence about the various parts of the brain is alphabet soup for non-medical folks. The researchers explain it below with a few more big words, yet let me translate it into simple English: the initial evidence suggests that daily Chromium can help protect the your brain performance. Or as they state: “These findings suggest that supplementation with Chromium picolinate can enhance cognitive inhibitory control and cerebral function in older adults at risk for neuro-degeneration.”

As I have said, I have found Chromium helpful in supporting healthy diet and lifestyle and now there is an extra big bonus – a potential tool for brain protection too.

Pregnancy and Vitamin D – All About Dosing

I am a huge proponent in my clinical practice of use of Vitamin D in pregnancy, of course checking with your OB/GYN is important. Sufficient Vitamin D is good for mom and baby alike. Here is some of the latest research; at the very least I hope that the following discussion will motivate you and anyone you care about to go get tested to make sure Vitamin D levels are optimal.

Research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies indicates that Vitamin D is crucial during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association reports that of the estimated 6 million pregnancies per year in the United States, 875,000 women experience one or more pregnancy-related complication.  Low vitamin D levels are epidemic throughout the world, but particularly when sedentary lifestyle, indoor working and living, and avoidance of the sun due to fears of skin cancer or damage to skin, leads to active avoidance or use of sun screen. Also skin with pigment will also increase risk of vitamin D insufficiency, compared to non-pigmented skin.

In this new study, a group of pregnant women were evaluated monthly for treatment safety and were given blood tests to measure Vitamin D supplementation effectiveness. The women were also followed to determine the rate of pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, preterm labor and preterm birth.

As serum Vitamin D levels increased, the risk of infection and preterm labor and birth decreased. The group receiving 4,000 IU of Vitamin D daily had the lowest rate of infection and preterm labor and birth. In fact, compared to the group receiving 400 IU Vitamin D per day, the group receiving 4,000 IU per day had a 50 percent reduction in risk of these complications.

When moms are low in Vitamin D, they don’t have peak potential to give their developing babies adequate optimal levels of Vitamin D. This is also true for lactating moms too.

In the conclusion of the study, the well-respected authors of the study reported “Vitamin D sufficiency was strongly associated with decreased risk for pre-term labor and birth and infection during pregnancy and comorbities of pregnancy, with the greatest effect with 4,000 IU Vitamin D/day regimen. Therefore, to attain a minimal 25(OH)D level of 40 ng/mL, we recommend 4,000 IU/day for all pregnant women.” My patients get their blood levels of Vitamin D tested and as the report says “attain a minimal level of 40 ng/ml, that is the blood level with a normal blood range being 20-100.

Eczema is an Indicator of Other Health Issues

We have all heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Well when it comes to our skin (the proverbial book’s cover,) it speaks volumes about what is going on within the 50-100 trillion cells that comprise the body. Eczema is one of the first signs of allergy during the early days of life. This common inflammatory skin disorder often begins in early childhood and may persist into adult life. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it affects between 10 to 20 percent of all infants, but almost half of these kids will grow out of eczema between the ages of 5 and 15.

In my clinical practice, we routinely perform an IgG food sensitivity test to rule out potential food intolerances that may be triggering the immune response that leads to eczema. In addition, I routinely recommend zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and a good probiotic (friendly bacteria).

When I came across yet another piece of research showing the impact of probiotics on health skin and allergic reactions, I was thrilled. This latest study was conducted by Dr. SV Gerasimov, MD, PhD from the Department of Pediatrics, Lviv National Medical University.

You need friendly bacteria in your GI tract for a healthy assimilation of nutrients. Yet, equally important is the fact that our GI tract is the interface between the outside world and our well-ordered inner world. Thus, it is essential to have adequate “friendly good neighbors” (as I call them for my patients) in your GI tract. It is literally like a neighborhood watch team that helps keep potential unwelcomed visitors from taking over the neighborhood and in the case of Eczema, triggering allergic and inflammatory reactions.

Once again, zinc and EFAs from fish oil are additional considerations that I use in my practice; but checking with your own doctor is always important.

British Report Highlights Female Nutrient Needs

It is absolutely amazing to me that in 2010 we still have people in the developed world who are not getting the nourishment they need to sustain peak levels of performance and health. Recently published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Bulletin, it was shown that women’s diets are lacking in several health optimizing and high impact wellness promoting foods. What nutrients are British women low in? Here is what the authors report:

“UK dietary surveys show that, while some improvements have occurred, intakes of key micronutrients, particularly iron, vitamin D, calcium and folate remain below recommended levels. Women’s diets are also too low in fiber, oily fish and fruits and vegetables.”

The authors go even further and project that with these ongoing deficiencies these can increase the risk of chronic disease or other conditions. “Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intakes reduce bone density, salt and saturated fat increase cardiovascular disease risk, excessive alcohol intakes increase cancer risk, low intakes of long chain n-3 fatty acids may adversely affect fetal development and mental health, while adequate folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects,” they write.

As a physician in private practice since 1992, this is what I would like to emphasize. Taking a multivitamin along with some extra B vitamins, such as a B Complex and a high quality fish oil on a daily basis can help fend off the risk of falling short when it comes to maintaining your body and wellness. It is time for all of us to invest in our bodies, please join me in starting today.

Like I tell my patients, if you don’t take of yourself, no one else can or will.

Fish Oil is an Eye Protector

The results are in… EPA has been linked to a 26 percent, and DHA with a 27 percent reduction of age related macular degeneration. This was the verdict from the prestigious according British Journal of Ophthalmology. And of course, Fish Oil contains both EPA and DHA.

There are several nutrients that have been reported in the medical literature to aid with AMD prevention, including lutein, zinc and other nutrients. Now we can add high quality fish oil to the list of eye protectors, when it comes to protecting against the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world. The great news is that EPA and DHA help support healthy heart function, brain performance and as an extra bonus helps protect the eyes. We can all see the benefits of daily fish oil, without looking too hard.

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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