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The Fish-Eyes Link

Published in Archives of Ophthalmology, March 2011, there is now significant evidence about a Fish-Eyes link. No, not eating fish eyes, but the link between omega-3 fish oil (EPA/DHA) and healthy eyes. A full 38,022 women participated in the eye health study for 10 years. The amount of fish oil was monitored and at the end of the 10 year study they re-examined their eyes for evidence of macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness.

The Fish-Eyes link was powerful, those with the highest DHA intake had a 38 percent decrease in risk of AMD compared to the women with the lowest intake. Also important is that those with the highest EPA intake had a 34 percent decrease in risk of AMD compared with the women with the lowest intake. Remembering that EPA and DHA both occur naturally in fish oil, so it is not surprising that both numbers relative to protection were very similar.

Women who ate 1 or more servings of fish per week had a 42 percent decreased risk of AMD compared with those who consumed less than 1 serving per month. Sure the study was done with a female population, yet there is nothing clinically that would suggest that similar could not be also found in men

Thousands Die Prematurely Each Year from Vitamin D Deficiency

According to a recent report, every year thousands of people literally ‘die prematurely’ due to a single nutrient deficiency. Yes really, and in Canada alone, 37,000 people will die prematurely due to Vitamin D, the essential vitamin that we get ideally from sunshine, or from a fish rich diet, as well as from various fortified foods such as milk. Sure there are other foods that contain vitamin D2 (plant source) of vitamin D, yet vitamin D3 is by far the better form with up to an 87% increased bioavailability.

It is estimated billions of dollars are spent each year on health conditions that arise from vitamin D deficiency and insuffiency. The devastating health impact is far more than broken bones and osteoporosis, it includes lower testosterone levels in men, increased prevalence of autoimmunity, increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, higher levels of viral infections and it is even an independent risk factor for diabetes. And we all know with increased diabetes, there is increased risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and the list goes on.

But you might say, I walk to work, I go outside, etc. But do you wear sunscreen? If so an SPF 15 rated sunscreen decreases production of vitamin D from sunlight. Furthermore, if you like showering, you may be washing off the pre-vitamin D compounds prior to them fully absorbing into your skin. I have my patients try to attain a blood level of vitamin D of either 55 to 70 ng/ml or 105 to 120 nmol/L, depending on the testing method used. Be sure to look at the units (ng/ml or nmol/L) of your blood tests. Getting your calcium checked at the same time is always a good idea as vitamin D has a huge impact on calcium metabolism.

We can help with healthcare reform and save millions of dollars of “Illness care” by taking charge of our health, by getting our vitamin D levels tested and optimizing our levels. Join me in taking a proactive stance and getting your Vitamin D levels in to the “Safety Zone”, your doctor should gladly measure your levels before and after supplementing to ensure you are dialed in!

Elevated Blood Sugar can Accelerate Dementia

Don’t let cravings for sweets and sugar-laden drinks rob you of your mind!
It is now estimated that there are 5.3 million people in the United States alone with Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are the number 6 and 7 leading causes of death in America.

In a recent study of 1,248 individuals who were 75 years of age or older, the researchers tracked them for signs of dementia. Over 9 years, 33% of these individuals developed Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, those with uncontrolled diabetes or borderline diabetes were much more likely to develop dementia.

Bottomline: For individuals with diabetes or borderline blood sugar issues, it is absolutely essential to keep your blood sugars under control, and for my patients that means keeping your blood sugar control number known as HbA1c at or below a ‘5.5’. Sure you can occaisonaly flirt with the 6.0 borderline diabetic number, however at that point, damaging changes within the body are already starting to occur. In the next few blogs, I will discuss strategies to support healthy blood sugars. So lay off the sweet and save your mind.

Male Menopause, When Testosterone Goes South

It is not just a female thing, menopause happens to guys too..!
With the aging process, testosterone levels begin to drop gradually and for those individuals stressed, sleep deprived or suffering from health issues, testosterone levels can really bottom out. At the same time a substance called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin raises, this is like putting testosterone in hand-cuffs and locking it away in jail.

When testosterone levels start plummeting, the waist line starts ballooning, blood sugars start to soar, and muscle mass, sexual performance and zeal for life definitely start going down. I can tell you that my patients with low testosterone present lack luster, they are tired and old men before they need to be. So many guys settle for the concept “It is part of getting old”, this is not the case.

From age 30 to 50, the average guy is stressed trying to run hard and fast to achieve their life goals, during the same time they often don’t exercise enough and surely they lose the eye of the tiger that had been their driving force. With an accompanying battle of the bulge and drop in testosterone, they often start experiencing the impact of a relative estrogen surge. Yes, estrogen, frequently called the female hormone starts to increase relative to testosterone levels. How does this T to E conversion process begin and why? In part as testosterone levels drop, fat accumulates, in turn the fat tissue converts testosterone to estrogen (through a process called aromatization). Yes, guys welcome to the club of “fluffy weight and sag”, and with enough of this estrogen impact you will start noticing that those once firm pects (pectoralis muscles) are turning into soft mounds of tissue, male breasts (gynecomastia).

So what is a guy to do? First and foremost, get your testosterone levels measured (both total and free levels), along with estradiol, DHT and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. Your goal is to have a total testosterone level of at least 450, for the average guy and have a solid mid-range level of free testosterone. If you are going bald, the DHT level will let you know if this is the culprit. And if chest sag has become part of your vocabulary, then estradiol (estrogen) levels will be super important to figure out. Breaking the cycle of loss of muscle mass, loss of lean body mass and accompanying weight gain has to be addressed. Diabetes risk rises with low testosterone as well, so getting an HbA1c, long term blood sugar control is critical with a goal of 5.5 or less.

Bottomline: Test don’t guess, and while you are testing get your PSA levels done if you are 40 or over, to check out your prostate. Let me tell you though when it comes to testosterone I have 30 year old guys that have testosterone levels that have totally tanked, some are thin and their symptoms are fatigue, lack of mental clarity or have noticed things south of the belt aren’t working so well. If low, your doctor will likely prescribe a topical testosterone or try to find out what is causing the issue. Exercise, weight lifting and a diabetic style diet, low in carbs will help as well. In addition, my patients use saw palmetto, zinc and a good multivitamin when supporting their maleness.


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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