Sugar and Inflammation

Sugar and Inflammation

A high sugar diet is well known to cause bodily harm. Effects include making any disease worst, and of course, weight gain, and tooth decay. I would like to blog, however, about the low-grade chronic inflammation that occurs from a persistent diet high in sugar/starch, saturated and trans fat.

Inflammation is natural and the acute response of the body when faced with injury or infection. During inflammation, the body’s immune system activates. It is helpful and normal BUT chronic inflammation is not helpful can result in damage to healthy cells throughout including the gut and cause insulin resistance. A measurable increase in inflammatory markers can be found in the blood following such a diet.

This study scared me; folks having one can regular soda daily for 6 months had an increase of uric acid that causes inflammation and insulin resistance and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Those having a diet soda, milk, or water did not have inflammatory markers in their blood. Don’t forget the weight gain! Other studies have shown an increased risk of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease from diets high in refined sugars and refined carbs.

Note: Natural sugar, those in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are actually anti-inflammatory. Listen Up!  to the podcast from earlier this year on anti Inflammatory diet.

Realize if no insult to the body that requires an inflammatory response to mend, then inflammation will do bad things to the body. Pain, just one negative effect, can result from chronic inflammation




Avocado +  Apple A Day

Avocado + Apple A Day

Yes, I do blog a bit more on heart conditions. Fact is so many Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease that much research and commentary is warranted. So let us look to the produce aisle and specifically to avocados. Avocados are quite high in healthy fats, carotenoid (critical for eye health), but now they are recognized as heart-healthy!

Previous data supported bad cholesterol-lowering by eating apples regularly. But move over apples after a 2-week diet, researchers have shown overweight individuals who ate one avocado daily had lower LDL specifically a subtype -small density LDL. Small, dense LDL cholesterol particles are especially harmful by encouraging plaque build up in blood vessels. Don’t want them around.

Interesting if you follow a moderate-fat diet without avocados yet the diet incorporates the same monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados, the results are not the same.

Hence there is something else in the avocado that influences its action on bad cholesterol. Certain medical conditions make eating avocados a no-no. If your doctor wants you to avoid foods that create histamine or has said stay away from foods that enhance inflammation, DO NOT eat avocados! Also best to check with your healthcare provider.



Heart Health Influencers

Heart Health Influencers

I want to share a few recent findings that act as influencers on heart health.

Income Changes – Changes in household income can have a negative impact. “A drop in income of more than 50% over 6 years was associated with a 17% higher risk of CVD over the next 17 years (HR: 1.17), whereas a rise in income of more than 50%was associated with a 14% lower risk of CVD (HR: 0.86)”*

Early menopause –The estrogen ‘protective effect’ historically has born out -women who experienced menopause after the age of 51 years had a significantly reduced risk of CVD.**

Less 6 hours of sleep – If you are middle age and have hypertension and Diabetics and getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you have a two-fold increase in heart problems (including stroke).***

Studies have shown that:

– ‘Mind over matter’ recall that your ‘frame of mind’ can have a powerful effect on your heart health.

–  High fiber diet improves heart health

PLEASE take heed!


* Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) study

** The Lancet Public Health

***Journal of the American Heart Association


Read Dates On Products?

Read Dates On Products?

Expiration day (Use Before) means the last day a product may be safely consumed. We are the most expensive and wasteful healthcare system in the world according to many, and rest assured throwing away drugs because of past expiration dates contributes.

In fact, “expired” medicines can remain potent decades after their manufacture. In theory, a determined shelf life might be 1-5 years but all bets are off once a container is opened, the picture changes and no one knows precisely the ‘new’ expiration date.

Lawyers for big pharma say proceed at your own risk however there have not been any reports of toxicity from using expired drugs. Yes, perhaps your blood pressure might not come down if it is 5 years old and not stored properly.

Reviewing the medical literature I found a study, showing the active contents of flucloxacillin capsules, cefoxitin injection, captopril tablets, and theophylline tablets remained 98% intact 18-170 months past their expiration dates. Wow!

I want to touch on the phrase ‘best used by‘ as it DOES NOT mean ‘expiration date’. The date informs the consumer that after that date the product potency, taste, freshness, and even nutrition may degrade.

One Size Does Not Fits All

Nobody argues the body does need adequate hydration. As for most things ‘one size does not fit all’.

Should we have 8 glasses of water a day? Probably a good idea if you are an active healthy adult or a growing child.

Health condition, diet, activity and how our kidneys work- urine output – factor in. Losing water (ex. sweat, diarrhea) means you need more. Folks with heart failure and kidney disease have to monitor and limit their intake, so yes intake of water is personalized!

Listen to your body it talks to you – you’ve heard me say this often, well here same applies. Thirst ‘signals’ from our body include not urinating in 2-4 hours and dark-colored urine (although many medical conditions can cause this). Yes, whenever you feel thirsty you had better drink fluids.

Be smart, you know you are out for a hike so over hydrate and carry fluids, conditions and weather can changes.

Note: Caffeine, ice tea is not water, sure it helps but carries complicating facts, furthermore caffeine is a diuretic!

October is Eczema Awareness Month

October is Eczema Awareness Month

While all itching skin problems are not eczema, more than 30 million Americans have it. Roughly 10-20% of us develop some form in infancy or childhood. Appearances and location depend on the age of onset. Infants can show skin changes anywhere on the body, however, onset childhood starts at skin folds – elbows, knees, and neck.

Anytime our skin shows signs of being irritated, no matter where or why the medical term is ‘dermatitis’. So why does skin becomes inflamed? Commonly it is a result of allergens and irritants. There are many factors but keeping your skin from becoming dry in the first place helps.

Besides seeking medical care, you need to get to the cause for you. For some, it is a certain food, stress, sweating, extreme temperatures, and even hormonal fluctuations. There are many other possibilities. Read more at

There are different types of eczema named by what causes it or how it appears. I will only mention the top 2 in this blog.

Atopic dermatitis – most prevalent, redness itching on face, arms, and legs. Eczema usually comes for the first time in childhood than later as adults set off by allergies.

Contact dermatitis -think poison ivy exposure; direct contact with something in your world that you u sensitive to.

Skip Liquid Biopsies For Cancer Detection – Check DNA!

A while back I blogged about a ‘liquid biopsy‘ – a blood test that looked for gene mutations to detect if the ‘on’ or off’  ‘methyl’ groups were attached to DNA to make cells go crazy and generate ‘cancer’ cells. Clever I said, but now there is another approach -a ‘next-gen’ approach -that looks for DNA from dead cancer cells circulating in our blood.

Researchers (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) looked at ‘free’ DNA in the blood of patients with over 20 types of cancer and some without a cancer diagnosis. Results were astounding – only 0.6% of the results incorrectly indicated cancer was present. Their test correctly ID’ed the organ or tissue of cancer origin in 89% of cases.

How cool and non-invasive is this? Still in development, but pray it soon hits the mainstream with the medical industry recognizing early detection saves not only money but more importantly lives.



Black Licorice Can Kill

Black Licorice Can Kill

Haloween is the time to stock up on tricks and treats. Most of us go for the latter, enjoying the memories (good and bad) as we stroll down the candy aisle. A caution though avoid black licorice.
The FDA reports “If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least 2 weeks could land you in the hospital with irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.” The culprit is glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. It results in potassium levels dropping to potentially dangerous levels causing the heart to skip around into abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias). Low potassium will also affect blood pressure. These adverse effects were noted in those over 40 and reversed by stopping the candy.

Historically in eastern medicine the root has been used as a natural remedy. It has been used as a treatment for heartburn, stomach ulcers, bronchitis, sore throat, cough and some infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis; but no evidence for its merit is found by the National Institue Medicine (NIH).

Nasal Testosterone

Nasal Testosterone

News: Phase III study completed on nasal testosterone. Indications – so far on the label is for males with hypogonadism (small male genitalia) doses (4-8 hours) allows for the maintenance of testicular testosterone production and sperm production. Nasal does not suppress a man’s natural testosterone level but simply adds. I mention this only because of the prevailing winds of ‘machismo’.

Why shouldn’t men take hormones? TV ads health and nutrition stores and online testaments benefits of boosted testosterone. As with any hormone, a blood level is the best beginning point. Many health issues such as  Diabetes HIV, liver/ kidney disease, infection and more can affect one’s level. Dependents on age, both men and women have ‘normal’ levels of testosterone circulating.

Is it needed since viagra is available? This and more queries can be answered by reading such sites as Web MD low testosterone. Do you go to a physician for evaluation of possible symptoms and troubles that result from low testosterone, or do you go to Google and Amazon?

Even Consumer reports evaluate this hormone category.  Online searches for ‘buying testosterone results in TNTC ‘hits’. Nugenix Natural Testosterone Booster is Frank Thomas’s recommendation.

Replacement is so very different than over- ‘enhancing’ what our body makes and needs. Side effects are present read on this at

Please be responsible find out if your body needs testosterone. Don’t subscribe to ‘more is better’ for the body.