Category Archives: Minerals

Insane medicine – Vitamin D supplements help reduce cancer and cardiovascular risk

Vitamin D supplementation has huge beneficial health effects. First, lets discuss the physiology of Vitamin D and the effects of deficiency.

Vitamin D

The process starts with ingestion of Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) from plant sterols or yeast or with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) obtained from oily fish.. UVB irradiation of skin 7-dehydrocholesterol can also produce vitamin D. These vitamin D precursors go to the liver where they are converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D (which is what your doctor tests for to see if you are deficient in vitamin D!). 25-hydroxyvitamin D is transferred to the kidney where it is converted to the most active form, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D.
vitamin D review vitamin D

The active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D will increase calcium absorption by the intestines which increases our calcium reserves
vitamin D balance vitamin D vitamin D deficiency vitamin D metabolism and deficiency vitamin D effects

 

Vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) has multiple roles in the body as shown above. There are over 300 different binding sites for Vitamin D throughout the human genome with receptors present in all human tissues.  The parathyroid glans in the neck secrete PTH to activate and regulate vitamin D.

  • Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include age>65, breastfeeding mothers, insufficient sunlight exposure, certain medications (anticonvulsants, steroids, others), obesity, physical inactivity, liver and kidney disease, and dark pigmented skin. Vitamin D deficiency was historically associated with rickets ( a bone disease)
    Insane Medicine - rickets due to vitamin D deficiency
    Insane Medicine – rickets due to vitamin D deficiency.

    Of course rickets is rare in the U.S. due to fortified foods.

  • Studies are clear that vitamin D is important for health and prevention. There is an inverse association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels with risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and cancer. In other words, low vitamin D  levels in the body are associated with higher cardiac events and higher risk of cancer!!
  • Supplementation with vitamin D3 reduces overall mortality in older adults!
  • Vitamin D deficiency is based on a blood level of less than 20 ng/mL of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. It appears that correcting vitamin D levels may be on par with health risks such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity!
  • Based on calculations from one study, 12.8% of all deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to vitamin D deficiency. So for every 10 ng/ml decline in serum vitamin D, there appears to be a 16% increase in all cause mortality.  Supplementing with vitamin D3 decreased all cause mortality by 11%. There appears to be no benefit or protection  by supplementing with vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is less potent and active than vitamin D3. It may be that calcium is needed to be used with vitamin D2 to be effective.
  • You can obtain enough vitamin D by exposure to sunlight (UVB) for 15 minutes a day if you are light skinned. Dark skin requires up to an hour of exposure to create enough daily vitamin D. Our body produces vitamin D in the skin and does so at higher levels in the summer time. Obviously, in the winter time, we are at risk of deficiency due to less skin exposure. Sun block will prevent UVB from reaching our skin and therefore will prevent the skin from creating vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D toxicity (levels greater than 150 ng/ml) result from high intake of vitamin D (greater than 10,000 units/day)
  • The bottom line: Get your 600-800 IU of vitamin D3 every day. Vitamin D3 is the best form of vitamin D. Boosting your vitamin D levels can decrease your cardiac and cancer risks!
  • http://www.vitamincouncil.org/   <–Vitamin D information!
  • Chowdury R, et al Vitamin D and risk of cause of specific death. BMJ 2014;348:g1903.doi: 10.1136/bmj.g1903

Insane Medicine – Dietary Review!

I wanted to generalize some overall health information in this particular blog and incorporate items that are important for increasing successful strategies for aging and maintaining your health.

  • Remember that circulation is important in your body because it provides energy and sustains life in the various tissues. Regular exercise is a way to keep your body maximally conditioned. Your circulation delvers oxygen and nutrients to your body and at the same time allows toxins to be removed as it passes through the liver, kidney, and lymph systems. So be certain to keep moving and exercise to maximize your health.
  • Eat more plant foods. As a result of doing this, you take in less fat and will increase your fiber intake. This allows more protecting antioxidants to be incorporated into your body. Ingesting more fiber allows for better waste removal, and less fat intake results in a decreased tendency for your blood to thicken and clot, thus decreasing cardiovascular risk. The large amount of protecting agents in plant-based diets results in less inflammation in the body and less cellular damage.
  • Choose plant foods with strong flavors and with bright colors. Have a healthy fat focus in your diet. Chose your beverages you drink wisely, in other words, stop drinking sodas! Try your best to allow your stomach to be empty  and have ‘hunger pains’ for at least two thirty minute periods each day.
  • Remember that the body evolved in a world where salt, sugar, and fat were scarce and are like addictive drugs. Be careful to avoid choosing processed foods when possible and not adding salt and sugar to your meals. Avoid sodas ( which are high in sugar content)! Even noncaloric beverages may be increasing our desire for sweet food and spurring increasing rates of obesity.
  • Fructose in our foods has been a source of increasing weight gain in our society. Fructose and glucose (both sugars) have a differential effect on the brain. Glucose will reduce activation of brain regions that are involved in appetite, motivation, and reward and will increase our sense of satiety and decrease our food seeking behavior. Fructose does not do this. It is sweet, but it makes us want more! Corn sweeteners (fructose) have correlated with rising obesity.
  • Plant-based foods give us phytochemicals which act as protectors. Plant-based foods give smell, taste, and fragrance to our diet. They have an antioxidant effect. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, and  arugula have a sulfur based mustard taste that increase detoxification enzymes in the body. You should get 5-9 servings of colorful, flavorful vegetables in your diet each day – five servings for smaller people and at least nine servings if you are a big person. How much is a serving for vegetables? One-half cup cut up is equal to a serving, in general, for vegetables (for raw spinach, a whole cup is equal to a serving)
  • So again – look for colorful vegetables, as they have higher levels of phytochemicals in them, For example, zucchini has a green outside but mostly colorless interior, and therefore is a poorer choice of a vegetable. Instead, go for the carrots, spinach, broccoli, and yellow squash as options, since they have more color to them and therefore more protective phytonutrients! You will find higher levels of Vitamin A in deep orange vegetables such as carrots. The carotenoids and retinol in these vegetables impart the orange coloring and give the protective qualities of these vegetables.  Cruciferous vegetables have a big, strong flavor with sulfur components. They have powerful antioxidants in them and include arugula, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, kholorabi, radish, rutabaga, and turnips. Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, which helps fight infection. They also have an antihistamine/anti-allergic effect as well as anti-oxidant effect, which protects cell membranes and DNA in the body from oxidative damage. Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen component of connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.
  • Eating up to nine servings a day of vegetables was associated with 24% less obesity in one study. Why? Because you eat less of other fatty foods.
  • Fiber rich foods  are very important in the diet. Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains are all rich sources of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and have a lower glycemic load as well. Eating foods with high fiber content results in less obesity since people who consume high-fiber foods feel more full. Likewise, higher fiber meals cause increase transit through the gut and decrease carcinogen exposure. This results in less colon cancer risk! Soluble fiber decreases cholesterol levels while fibrous food will increase the amount of protective gut bacteria.
  • We will be discussing the gut biome over time in this blog. Your gut has a population of bacteria that live and thrive but also help us maintain homeostasis. Alterations in the gut biome (bacterial population) can result in inflammation and disease. Immune compromise can occur if the gut biome is altered or destroyed. It turns out that soluble fiber is a food source for these necessary gut bacteria to remain healthy, and hence us as well.
  • We need 25 grams of fiber every day. A rule of thumb is one gets 2 grams of fiber per vegetable/fruit serving, so 5 servings of vegetables equals 10 gm of fiber.
  • Whole grains are a good source of fiber. One slice of whole grain bread is equal to a serving. A cup of cooked oatmeal is considered a serving. A thought for increasing fiber content is to use wheat berries, which cook like brown rice. Adding sunflowers to them can make a nutritious bundle.
    Wheat berries cook like brown rice and taste great when mixed with sunflower seeds!
    Wheat berries cook like brown rice and taste great when mixed with sunflower seeds!

    Cooked beans, peas , and lentils have 6 gm of fiber per half-cup of cooked item. They are excellent sources of fiber.

    Consider adding mung beans, which are bean sprouts that cook like lentils, in a dish with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and placing it over pasta.
    Consider adding mung beans, which are bean sprouts that cook like lentils, in a dish with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and placing it over pasta.

     

  • Always be certain that you check to see if a bread item is whole grain. Check the ingredient list. You want whole, sprouted, or malted wheat or whole grain on the label. Beware if it says wheat flour, for that is the same as white flour.
  • Put as many vegetables on your salad as possible. Lettuce has very little fiber.
  • Be certain to take in 5-10 grams a day of soluble fiber out of the 25-35 grams of fiber that is needed. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels and feeds the healthy gut bacteria to support our immune system. An orange (medium) has 3-5 grams of soluble fiber, while a half cup of beans has 3-5 grams. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 1.5 grams of soluble fiber. Flaxseed can be ground into flaxmeal.
  • Of note, a high fiber diet provides a low glycemic load, which is great for diabetics, but particle size of the fiber source is important. For example, old fashioned or scottish oats are best for fiber sources, whereas smaller particle sized grain products lose the fiber benefits. It turns out the glycemic index is higher in small-particles of grains (they get absorbed easier).
  • Higher glycemic-load foods are associated with chronic diseases. As people absorb more carbohydrates and gain weight, their insulin level increases in response, which promotes increased fat storage, thereby leading to the need for more insulin to control blood  sugar. This results in diabetes over time. Also cancer is more common in obese individuals as insulin-like growth factor (IL-GF) drives cancer growth. IL-GF is involved in glucose metabolism. A diet with a low glycemic load would include non-starchy vegetables except potatoes. Whole grains are high in glycemic load and make diabetes more difficult to contol. Pasta, rice, potato, and virus have high glycemic loads and are not as healthy. Fruit has high fiber content and a LOW glycemic index. High fat foods also have lower glycemic load. So aim for foods with lower glycemic indices as they allow for better body sugar control.
  • Fats affect inflammation in the body. High body fat content, especially abdominal fat,  is linked to cancer risk, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune disorders. In an anti-inflammatory diet, one wants to avoid excess fat.  Decrease your fatty food intake, especially fried foods and fast foods. Decrease your dressings and mayonnaise on your foods. Decrease the amount of sweets in your diet, especially cookies and cake. Eat more fish and seafood (not fried) at least 2-3 times a week, except for farmed salmon, which should be eaten only once a month. Avoid sweetened beverages and limit foods with sweeteners. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
    Beans are good!
    Beans are good!

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    Use extra virgin olive oil to toss in your vegetable or salad to allow easier coating of the leaves with your favorite dressing. By doing that, you will use less dressing and spread it out evenly!
    Use extra virgin olive oil to toss in your vegetable or salad to allow easier coating of the leaves with your favorite dressing. By doing that, you will use less dressing and spread it out evenly! Less dressing=Less fat!

     

  • Fat balance is important in your diet. Avoid the pro inflammatory fats, such as omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) such as corn, cottonseed, soy, safflower, and sunflower oils, which are high in omega-6 oils. decrease your meat intake and decrease fish intake that are fed these products such as farm-grown salmon! Omega-3 PUFA are anti-inflammatory. and are present in flaxseed oil. Also, pasture-fed livestock (‘grass-fed’) have less omega-6 fatty acid in them. Avoid livestock that are fed grain or corn at any time, since that increases the amount of proinflammatoy PUFA in them. ‘Grass finished’ livestock means that the livestock ate grass until they are butchered. Choose grass-fed products only!
  • Some fat-health guidelines include avoiding fat soluble contaminants by eating food items lower on the food chain, such as smaller animals (fish) and avoiding farmed salmon. Eat only organic products. Avoid saturated fats, present in processed foods and dairy products or red meat. Avoid rancid fats by limiting aged cheese and meat (deli meat) in your diet. Chose healthy fats, which increase satiety and help absorb fat soluble vitamins. Healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, sardines, nuts, seeds, and olives.  Larger animals have more time to get contaminants in them. Chicken and sardines, which are lower on the food chain, live short lives. low in the food chain, and accumulate less toxins. Don’t eat fats that are solid at room temperature,. Avoid processed foods and meats (deli meats)
  • Rancid fats add oxidative stress to your body.Increase your monounsaturated fat intake such as avocado and olive oil, which are heart-healthy.  It was found that people who eat less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fats in their diet have better cognitive performance and verbal memory over time!
  • Osteoporosis prevention: Increase the following: exercise, calcium intake, vitamin D, protein and potassium . They all help build healthy bones! Protein is needed to build the bony matrix. Avoid caffeine (>300 mg a day) and avoid smoking and excessive sodium intake. Avoid being too thin. These factors all impact bone health in negative ways. Excessive sodium in the diet causes the kidneys to waste calcium in the urine. Be certain to get 1200 mg of calcium a day in the diet. For example, 1 or 2% no-fat milk has 300 mg of calcium per cup, while yogurt has 250 mg in 6 ounces. Please note that not all tofu has enough calcium in it, so check the labels. Also, corn tortillas (traditional mad with lime) has calcium in it ( fiver per day provides a lot of calcium)
  • Calcium bioavailability in the diet depends on the source of the calcium. There is calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium phosphate, calcium gluconate, and calcium lactate. Tums has calcium carbonate in it and excessive use can decrease digestive enzymes and increase bloating gas production as a result, so avoid excessive tums. Avoid calcium from dolomite, bonemeal, and oyster shells (they have lead contaminants in them). Calcium mixed with Vitamin D and magnesium is an excellent supplement for bone health, especially as a 2:1 ratio (calcium 500mg/magnesium 250 mg). People absorb calcium better in small quantities through the day rather than a single large bolus. Be aware that calcium interacts with many medications and interferes with absorption of some medications, such as tetracyclines, biphosphonates, aspirin, and others. Some medications deplete calcium, such as aluminum antacids, steroids, anticonvulsannts, which deplete calcium supplies in the body. Calcium mixed with thiazide diuretics can lead to high, toxic blood levels of calcium in some people. Of note, a study recently suggested that calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart disease in some people by depositing in the coronary vessels. This appears to be not true.
  • Vitamin D is also an important component to bone health and body health. Deficiency in this vitamin has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disorders, stroke, and musculoskeletal decline, among other things. Optimally, blood levels should be 30-80 ng/ml. The RDA for vitamin D in people aged 50-71 is 400 IU/day and for those over 70, the RDA is 600 IU/day. You can take up to 4000 IU/day safely per some sources. Vitamin D3 is the most active form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is neccessary for optimal calcium and magnesium absorption in the gut. Our western style diet results in a high acid intake that leaches our bones. Chronic low grade acidosis in the body with our acidic diet, leads to bone derangement, especially in people with poor kidney function.
  • The shift to eating a better acid-base balanced diet can be made by including more plat foods in your diet (they are rich in alkaline materials). Consider this to boost bone health.
  • The recommended intake of protein is .4-.6 gm of protein per pound of weight. The average protein intake should be 55-100 gm per day. Protein content is high in beans, peas, and lentils (7 gm in a half cup) and high in poultry, fich, and lean meat (7 gm in 10 oz meat). Consider eating nuts and seeds for protein supplementation ( 7 gm in  1/4 cup, especially pumpkin seeds, which have 18 gms!)

Insane Medicine – General health tips regarding fats, vegetables, fish, and whole grains.

Food Choices – General Information:

  • FATS: Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in avocados, nuts, seeds, canola, olives, and peanut butter – are linked to lower cardiovascular risk. Polyunsaturated fasts (PUFA) found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are also linked to lower cardiovascular risk. They also decrease the risk of type – 2 diabetes. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish, flax, soy, walnuts) decrease inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Decrease your saturated fats (meats, poultry with skin, some tropical oils (palm kernel/coconut) to help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Trans fats (margarine and fried foods) also need to be cut out due to their bad effects as well.
  • Goal for Fat intake : Less than 30 % of your total calories from MUFA/PUFA (30-60 gm a day) and keep saturated fat to less than 10 % of your calories (22 gm a day).
  • Whole Fruits: Increase them as they are associated with less heart disease and stroke and lower blood pressure. They have fiber and phytochemicals as well.
  • Goal for whole fruits: 2 cups a day. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup that are present in processed foods. For men, less than 150 calories (38 gm) of added sugar a day is the maximum and 100 calories (25 gm) a day for women of added sugar.
  • Vegetables and Whole Grains: Increase them !They are rich in fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals and decrease cancer risk, cardiovascular risk, type 2 diabetes, and  cognitive decline. Aim for whole grains such as whole wheat, bulgur, corn, rye, oats, and quinoa.  Avoid refined grains that leave only the starchy endosperm present. These items with processed grains such as desserts, crackers, and breads and cookies increase obesity and other chronic illnesses.
  • Fish and plant proteins (legumes, soy, seeds, and nuts) increase life span and decrease heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Be certain to eat fish at least twice a week.

Other information worth mentioning:

  • Eat more Kale, a member of the brussel sprout and broccoli family, it is high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids such as zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and lutein. Chopping up kale releases sulforaphanes, which are anti-cancer compounds, Steamed kale can bind bile acids in the gut, thereby reducing cholesterol levels. Kale is high in vitamin A, K, and C as well.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain – eat popcorn as a way of increasing your whole grain intake. Avoid butter and movie-type popcorn.

 

Insane Medicine – Don’t ignore Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin D, and fiber in your diet.

Per the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, there are several “shortfall nutrients” that may be deficient in your diet. Here they are:

  1. Potassium: If you have normal kidneys, potassium promotes blood pressure control by countering the role of excess sodium. The recommended amount is 4700 mg a day, which most people do not get. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are sources of potassium. Bananas, citrus, avocado, kiwi, and melon are excellent for potassium supplementation. Dark leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, and turnip greens also provide potassium as well.
  2. Vitamin D is recommended currently to be taken at 600 IU a day for the average adult, but 800 IU a day if you are older than 70. Not only does it protect your bones but also there may be some protection from cancer and chronic disease. Sources include fish such as sardines, mackerel, rainbow trout, and tuna (all have a lot of omega-3 fatty acid as well). Fortified yogurt and fortified milk are also excellent sources.
  3. Fiber: plays a lot of roles in the body, but higher intake lowers your colon cancer risk. The target is 25 grams a day for women age 19-50 and 38 gm for men in that same age range. For men over 50, 30 gm a day is enough and 21 gm a day for women over 50 is sufficient. Sources include whole grains, cereal, pasta, rice, and bread. Substitute dried beans for meat in your dish to increase fiber without destroying taste.
  4. Calcium: 1000 mg a day is the daily value needed. Calcium fortified milk and yogurt are helpful sources. Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources, with kale, Bok choy, and broccoli being choices as they have less oxalates that can bind calcium in the gut and preventing absorption of calcium.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm < CDC national health survey

Insane Medicine – Magnesium enhances physical performance

Insane Medicine - Magnesium at 300 mg a day improves physical performance in women.
Magnesium at 300 mg a day improves physical performance in women.
  • Magnesium supplements improve physical performance in the elderly. Higher intake is associated with reduced coronary artery calcification and decreased risk of transitioning from pre-diabetes to diabetes.
  • Magnesium regulates bone health as well by regulating the body’s use of calcium and hormones involved in bone structuring.
  • The RDA of magnesium is 420 mg a day for men over thirty and 320 mg a day for women over 30.
  • High magnesium foods include beans, peas, nuts, seeds, spinach, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Processed grains (wheat) have their magnesium stripped from them. Also consider bananas, avocados, low fat dairy, and soy milk for magnesium- rich sources.
  • Magnesium supplements increased the gait speed of older women by 40 feet a minute. In sarcopenia (muscle mass loss),  a key indicator of worsening function is gait speed. Slower gait speed means poor health and bad outcomes.
  • Older people get less magnesium because they may be eating lower quality foods or take medications such as diuretics or proton pump inhibitors (for stomach acid) which cause magnesium loss. Also malabsorption can decrease the body’s magnesium supplies (for example Chrone’s disease prevents magnesium absorption in the gut)