By: Dr. Al Sears, MD
Sometimes patients come to me with what they call “symptoms of old age.” But often they’re not symptoms at all. They’re side effects.
Here’s what I mean: Prescription drugs cause side effects that look a lot like “aging.”
Research shows some drugs cause major cellular damage. They attack the mitochondria, the tiny energy generators in each cell of your body.
Why is that important?
Damage to the mitochondria is related to many diseases we think of as occurring in the elderly. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary artery disease … even strokes and diabetes.
One of the reasons these synthetic, man-made molecules cause aging is that mitochondrial damage shortens telomeres.
Telomere shortening causes cells to go into repair mode to fix the shortened DNA. All that repair activity going on while your body tries to fix your DNA and damaged mitochondria generates a lot of free radicals. They cause oxidation, which can shorten telomeres more. And the cycle continues.
You can trace mitochondrial damage back to statins, pain medications like acetaminophen, and a long list of psychoactive drugs. These cross the blood–brain barrier and can age brain cells.(1)
Other drugs directly shorten telomeres. Especially chemotherapy drugs. They also slow down the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that repairs telomeres.(2)
Most doctors wouldn’t think to blame premature as a side effect of medical drugs. They are taught that becoming older and more feeble is normal. They might even prescribe another drug to treat your new “symptoms.”
How can you protect yourself?
Here are a few of the drugs that age your body the most, and what you can do as an alternative:
1) Corticosteroids: Worse than arthritis pain. Some of my least favorite drugs are corticosteroids, like the hydrocortisone cream your doctor might prescribe. This is a family of anti-inflammatory medicines many doctors use to treat arthritis, asthma or a skin rash.
These drugs turn off your body’s natural repair and rejuvenation mechanisms, causing you to age more quickly. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
For Asthma: Try daily breathing exercises, massage therapy, and omega-3 fatty acids.
For Arthritis: Guggul and meadowsweet relieve osteoarthritis. Guggul is a Southeast Asian remedy which studies showed to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.(3) Meadowsweet is a great example of why no matter how many times we think we’re smarter than nature, nature is better. Meadowsweet stores its active anti-inflammatories as inactive compounds. So when you ingest them, they go past your stomach intact. Then your liver safely converts them into the healing inflammation-dousing compounds that really work.
For Eczema or Skin Rash: My patients report great results with vitamin D oil while others prefer chamomile oil. Both are very effective.
2) Beta blockers: Shortcut to old age. Lopressor, Tenormin, Inderal, Corgard, or Normodyne and other beta-blockers age your heart more than almost any other drug. And in a recent study people who received beta blockers after having surgery that wasn’t even heart-related were at higher risk of dying or having a stroke.(4)
Here’s what you need instead:
CoQ10: This is my go-to supplement for my heart patients. It is the most important heart nutrient. Half of my patients have their blood pressure return to normal with CoQ10 alone. And it cures congestive heart failure.(5)
Garlic: This herb not only reduces triglycerides, which protects your heart, but it can also significantly reduce diastolic blood pressure.(6)
Hawthorn: This is the heart tonic of the ancients and it really works to relax the blood vessels.
3) Bisphosphonates: Perfect way to create old brittle bones. The bone drugs like Fosamax, Actonel and Reclast work by poisoning the cells that remove old bone. This disrupts natural bone remodeling so you get bones that are denser, but have weaker cells. If you take these drugs, your bones get more brittle and more prone to fracture, not stronger.
Before you take a bone drug, consider these natural alternatives that will harden your bones:
Natural D: The D3 form of vitamin D is the hormone that directs bone building in your body. Vitamin D also increases telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres.(7) Get 5,000 IU a day, preferably from direct sunlight.
Vitamin K2: This forgotten vitamin aids with your bones’ absorption of calcium to help make them stronger. The other benefit of vitamin K2 is that it rescues damaged mitochondria and cures mitochondrial dysfunction.(8) This helps prevent telomere shortening. You can find K2 in a variety of different foods including egg yolks, organ meat, and organic milk. I recommend 90 mcg a day if you supplement.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Neustadt J, Pieczenik SR. “Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease.” Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jul;52(7):780-8.
2. Li P, Hou M, Lou F, Björkholm M, Xu D, “Telomere dysfunction induced by chemotherapeutic agents and radiation in normal human cells.” Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012;44(9):1531-40.
3. Singh B. et al., The effectiveness of Commiphora mukul for the osteoarthritis of the knee: an outcomes study. Alternative Therapies 2003 May/Jun; 9(3): 74-79.
4. Devereaux PJ, Yusuf S, Yang H, Choi PT-L, Guyatt GH. “Are the recommendations to use perioperative b-blocker therapy in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery based on reliable evidence?” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2004; 171: 245–7
5. Langsjoen H., et al. Usefulness of Coenzyme Q10 in clinical cardiology: a long-term study. Mol Aspect Med 1004; 15 Suppl: s165-75
6. Andrianova I., et al. Hypotensive effect of long-acting garlic tablets allicor (a double-blind placebo-controlled trial).Ter Arkh 2002; 74(3): 76-78.
7. Zhu H, Guo D, Li K, Pedersen-White J, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Huang Y, Parikh S, Liu K, Dong Y. “Increased telomerase activity and vitamin D supplementation …” Int J Obes. 2012;36(6):805-9.
8. Vos M, et. al. “Vitamin K2 is a mitochondrial electron carrier that rescues pink1 deficiency.” Science. 2012;336(6086):1306-10.
By: Eileen Laird
When we follow the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, food is foremost in our mind. We avoid the foods that exacerbate autoimmune disease. We look forward to the day when we can eat them again. And we go out of our way to eat healing foods, like bone broth and organ meats. The right food is essential, but healing is about more than just food. Lifestyle affects autoimmunity just as strongly. Healthy choices turn off inflammatory genes, while a stressed-out lifestyle turns them on. Here are five things you can do to help your body heal:
1. Sleep: If you’re like most of us in the United States, you prioritize everything above sleep. You stay up late to “get important stuff done.” You rise early to squeeze more time into your day. Some people even pull all-nighters to meet a deadline. Here’s the thing: there is nothing more important than your sleep. That is when your body heals itself. The less you sleep, the less you will heal; this is a biological fact you cannot override. You also can’t “catch up” on sleep. Although you may feel less tired after 1 or 2 good night’s sleep, the inflammation you have ramped up in your body takes much longer to tone down. You need a minimum of 8 hours every night, and 10 is even better.
2. Get Outside: In modern life, it’s easy to forget that human beings evolved to live outdoors. We are designed to make vitamin D from sunlight, and its deficiency is associated with many diseases, including autoimmunity. Our circadian rhythms are set by the natural cycle of day and night and affect our body on a genetic and cellular level. We are meant to move our bodies outside during the day, and sleep deeply in the dark of night. Modern life often has us doing the opposite, sitting inside all day and then finding it impossible to sleep at night. Our health suffers as a result. Do your best to get outside every day, even if just for a short while. Take a walk, lie in the sun, read in the shade, breathe in the fresh air, you can even work outside by answering phone calls and encouraging “walking meetings”. Remember there’s a world outside these walls.
3. Learn to Say No: Let’s face it: healing takes time. Not just in terms of patience and reversing our symptoms over the long-term. It also takes an incredible amount of time every day: cooking our food, prioritizing sleep, and making time for other healthy activities like relaxation, exercise, detox baths, etc. It requires putting yourself first, which can feel very unnatural, especially if you have a family and you’re used to putting yourself last. It’s necessary, though. When you’re sick, your whole family suffers alongside you. Prioritizing your health helps everyone. So, where are you going to find the time? Answer: you need to say no to something else – several somethings, actually. Take a good look at your life and see what responsibilities you can let go and transfer to someone else. If you don’t think you can let anything go, consult an objective friend to help you prioritize.
4. Learn to Love Your Body: With autoimmune disease, we’ve been told our bodies have betrayed us, are attacking us, and have become our enemies rather than friends. This simply isn’t true. The body’s whole purpose is to keep us healthy and alive, and they’ve done everything in their power to do so, until they could do no more. Symptoms are their way of telling us something is wrong, and autoimmunity is a miscommunication within the body, not an intentional war within. If we want to heal, it’s much more effective to realize that we are one with our bodies. We can’t live without them. When we get angry, blame and hate our bodies, we’re actually hating ourselves. That’s not a healing stance and often leads to bad choices. Practice loving your body (and yourself) instead. If your child is sick, do you get mad at them, or do you nurture them, and do everything in your power to help them be well? Don’t our bodies deserve that same unconditional love? Don’t we?
5. Take a Computer-Free Day: I saved this one for last, because it gives you the chance to turn off your computer as soon as you finish this article. Have you noticed that your attention span is really short lately? That you can’t sit still, you lack focus, you bore easily, you feel anxious all the time, and are easily irritated? These are all direct effects of constant intermittent use of the computer throughout the day and night. This includes smartphones, tablets and desktops. Partly it’s how we use them – in small time fragments every few minutes throughout the day. Partly it’s the blue light they emit at night that’s over-stimulating to our brains and bodies. See if you can go 24 hours with no computer use whatsoever. It that feels overwhelming, start with 8. Here’s a tip: keep a notebook nearby and when you feel a compulsion to send an email, post to social media, or research something on the internet, write it down. You can do it tomorrow. As the hours pass, those compulsions pass too, and a deep relaxation sets in that you likely haven’t felt in a very long time. That deep sense of peace is incredibly healing, and it’s amazing to realize that just a few decades ago in our computer-free past, we felt that way most of the time.
Eileen Laird is reversing rheumatoid arthritis with the paleo lifestyle and can be found on her blog Phoenix Helix: www.phoenixhelix.com.
Michelle Fitzpatrick, author of the blog Happy Paleo Kids, has worked with special needs children and their families for over 13 years to promote development and mental health. She adopted a “Paleo Diet” to lose weight after baby number 3, and quickly saw that the benefits of eating nutrient-rich, plant-and-animal-based foods would benefit her entire family. After applying the Paleo Philosophy to her family, she felt compelled to find a way to bring the science behind the impact of food on child development to the masses. Follow her blog, Happy Paleo Kids, or keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About 95% of the times I mention “offal” (aka organ meat) I get the “wrinkled nose” response. Liver, kidney, heart and other organ meats aren’t my favorite foods, but I make a point of serving them at least once a week. Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses with numerous benefits for kids’ growing brains and bodies. They tend to be less expensive than other cuts, which means you can increase your weekly nutrient profile and decrease your budget at the same time. Bonus!
Here are just a few reasons your child should eat organ meat 1-2 times per week:
1. B vitamins. Organ meat contains an abundance of B vitamins, a family of nutrients that have been shown to play an important role in child behavior and development. A recent Australian study found that adolescents with lower intakes of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate were more likely to demonstrate aggressive and antisocial behaviors, and those with low B6 and folate intake were more likely to demonstrate symptoms of depression. Deficiencies in B vitamins have been found to contribute to impulsivity, irritability, aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety, fatigue, depression, temper tantrums, and poor concentration.
2. Protein. Protein is an important macronutrient that most kids’ diets are seriously lacking. It is a building block for the entire body and the amino acids that comprise protein play roles in hormone regulation, enzyme reactions, and nutrient transportation. Research has found that children with diets low in protein are more likely to have aggression, hyperactivity, and conduct problems. Chronic protein deficiency also contributes to poor academic performance, poor memory, and cognitive deficiencies in children.  Organ meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein to meet your growing child’s needs.
3. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the body. It regulates calcium in the blood, promotes bone health, assists in the production of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter), protects against depression, improves muscle tone, contributes to insulin regulation, and more. Children with ADHD, autism, and depression have been found to have lower blood levels of vitamin D than their typically developing peers. Studies on rats have found that developmental deprivation of vitamin D leads to impaired attention and impulsivity.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Organ meat is the best source of DHA and EPA (the types of omega-3 fatty acids from animals) aside from seafood. DHA is one of the primary cells found in the human brain, so consuming it (obviously) has beneficial impacts on brain function and development. One study demonstrated that children who take a DHA supplement have increased brain activity in areas of the brain necessary to attend to tasks. Children who consume higher levels of DHA demonstrate better short-term memory, increased ability to attend to tasks, better academic skills, and fewer problem behaviors. They have fewer respiratory illnesses (who doesn’t want that), decreased risk for type 1 diabetes, and fewer incidents of eczema and asthma.
5. Vitamin A. Organ meat is the best source retinol (vitamin A derived from animal), without a doubt. (Liver holds the title for the organ meat with the most vitamin A). Vitamin A contributes to hormone production, thyroid function, digestion, vision, bone development, and healthy blood. Carrots and other orange veggies are a great source of carotene (pre-form vitamin A), which has great antioxidant properties. However, the body does not efficiently convert carotene in to retinol, meaning that eating meat is necessary in order to provide the body with sufficient vitamin A.
Other nutrients found in organ meat include: minerals (such as iron, zinc, selenium), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin E, purines, vitamin C (and I used to think that only came from plants!), vitamin K, and amino acids. Check out some good organ meat recipes to start with here and make a commitment to serve it one time per week!
… What’s your favorite offal recipe?
 Herbison, C.E., Hickling, S., et al. (2012). Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behavior. Preventive Medicine. 55(6).
 Lui, J. & Raine, A. (2006). The effect of childhood malnutrition on externalizing behavior. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 18(5).
 Kar, B.R.., Rao, S.L., & Chandramouli, B.A. (2008). Cognitive development in children with chronic protein energy malnourishment. Behavioral Brain Function: 4(31).
 Kamal, M. , Bener, A. & Ehlayel, M.L. (2014) Is high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency a correlate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: 6(2)
 Turner, et al. (2013). Cognitive performance and response inhibition in developmentally vitamin D deficient rats. Behavioral Brain Research. 242
By: Dr. Al Sears, MD
It’s hard to believe in 2014. But it’s still going on.
Every so often I’ll read or hear a doctor or professional organization say there’s no evidence that a vitamin supplement does anything for anybody.
Eliseo Guallar and his colleagues at The American College of Physicians wrote an entire paper entitled, “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”(1)
And this kind of thing keeps getting repeated.
Just listen to Dr. Benjamin Caballero, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: “The evidence for supplementing with any vitamin … is just not there.”(2)
Or Jaakko Mursu, Ph.D. and colleagues on the Iowa Women’s Health Study: “Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements.”(3)
And Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic: “The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage.”(4)
But the evidence that we do need to supplement our nutrient-poor diet continues to mount, until we could fill entire libraries with the evidence. So people see and hear this stuff and they become confused.
They come to me from all over the world as if there’s this great controversy about whether they should take a supplement or not.
I want to tell you what I always tell them. In my mind, there is no controversy. It is virtually impossible to get optimal nutrients for optimum health and aging from our diet.
And you’ll really be chronically deficient if you follow the RDI guidelines. Those were only designed to prevent illness, not to get you to your best health. If you follow them, you’ll be deprived.
What’s more, as the chart shows, most people don’t even get the RDI for nutrients… So people are not even meeting what would keep them nutritionally deprived even if they met the guidelines!
Even young people, who have a higher metabolism and can eat more food than the average 50 or 70-year-old, with all the extra food they eat, only 1% of them are getting the nutrients they need.(5)
Part of the reason is that our produce doesn’t have enough minerals. They’re grown on mineral and nutrient-depleted soils. Many of them have been genetically altered to grow faster which lessens their nutrients…
For every generation for the past century the nutrient content has gone down. And it’s going down faster in this century with the speed at which crops are being modified.
Did you know you would have to eat 26 of today’s apples to equal just one apple from 1914?(6)
Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture admits that vitamin and mineral levels have fallen by as much as 81 percent over the last 30 years.(7)
So it’s a brave new world. I’m not saying I have every solution to every nutritional problem, but I can tell you there is a problem there. And you need to be informed by someone so you can do something about it. Doctors burying their heads in the sand and saying there is no evidence of a problem is ignorance.
So what to do? It’s simple: Give your body back what you’ve been deprived of so you can get your nutrients, minerals and antioxidants for healthy aging and optimal health. Here’s how:
1) Increase your mineral intake. Magnesium, selenium, and the other essential minerals are mostly missing from the Western diet. Take chromium for example. Our food animals don’t eat their native diet of chromium-rich grass anymore, and there’s less chromium in produce.
It’s a crisis because chromium is a co-factor for insulin. Insulin uses chromium to transport sugar out of your blood and into your cells where it’s burned as energy. Without chromium, it leads to weight gain and diabetes. Even mild insulin dysfunction will make you have low energy levels, produce more fat, make you crave sweet foods, and gain pounds.(8)
But chromium can reverse this. One study took commercial pigs and fed them chromium and measured significant fat reduction. They changed nothing else about the pigs … all they did was give them chromium and they got lean.(9) They had an increase in muscle, as well.
An Austrian study gave one group of people a calorie-restricted diet and another group chromium for 26 weeks. The people in the chromium group lost just as much weight as the people eating almost nothing. The people taking chromium had increased lean muscle mass.(10)
You can get lots of chromium from grass-fed beef, ripe organic tomatoes and a source that may surprise you: red wine. Grilled steak, tomatoes and a glass of wine sounds like a tasty summer meal to me.
But you’ll still have to supplement. Because you need 400 mcg a day for optimal health, and even that delicious meal will only give you around 50 mcg.
2) Power and protect with CoQ10. Another supplement I recommend is one that I don’t know how you could get enough of without going through a lot of trouble, unless you take a supplement.
You’d have to hunt wild animals and eat their internal organs fresh … but I wouldn’t even recommend that today. Yet that’s where CoQ10 concentrates. You need it because it powers every single cell in your body. It’s so important that revealing how CoQ10 works won Peter Mitchell the Nobel Prize in 1978.
The best source of CoQ10 is the closest thing you’re going to get to a wild animal – grass-fed meat. I was lucky to grow up eating grass-fed beef, and I still do today. Grass-fed beef contains more CoQ10 than any other meat on the planet.
You can take a CoQ10 supplement, but many of the powder and tablet forms are worthless. They won’t get absorbed into your cells.
That’s why I recommend the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. It’s already in the form your body uses. Take 50 mg of ubiquinol each day (to increase its effectiveness, combine CoQ10 with PQQ).
What I do is take a good multivitamin, multi-mineral, and a multi-antioxidant. I figure I’m getting a lot of the bases covered to get me back to optimal nutrient status. In fact we’ve gone to great length to formulate our own supplements according to what I believe is deficient in our environment.
To Your Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Guallar E, Stranges S, Mulrow C, Appel L, Miller E. “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.” Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(12):850-1.
2. Caballero B. “Should healthy people take a multivitamin?’ Clev Clin J Med. 2010;77(10):656-7.
3. Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack L, Park K, Jacobs D, “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women.” Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633.
4. Klein E, et. al. “Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).” JAMA. 2011;306(14):1549-56.
5. Shay C, et. al. “Status of Cardiovascular Health in US Adolescents: Prevalence Estimates From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2005–2010.” Circulation. 2013; 127: 1369-1376.
6. Lindlahr, 1914: USDA 1963 and 1997
7. “Vegetables without Vitamins,” Life Extension Magazine March 2001
8. Tsai, Chung-Jyi, Leitzmann, Michael F., Willett, Walter C., et al, “Macronutrients and Insulin Resistance in Cholesterol Gallstone Disease,” Am. J. of Gastroenterology, 2008;103:2932-2939
9. Lindemann, M. D., Wood, C. M., Harper, A. F., et al, “Dietary chromium picolinate additions improve gain: feed and carcass characteristics in growing-finishing pigs,” J. Anim. Sci. 1995; 73:457-465
10. Bahadori, B., Wallner, S., Schneider, H., et al, “Effect of chromium yeast and chromium picolinate…” Acta. Med. Austriaca 1997; 24(5):185-7
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
On June 23rd, the cover of Time Magazine prominently featured two words: “Eat Butter.”
In an article titled, “Ending the War on Fat,” the venerable mainstream publication finally put to rest one of the most detrimental myths about health and nutrition – the myth that saturated fat is to blame for heart disease.
But what the magazine didn’t mention in this otherwise excellent article, was that Time played a big role in popularizing this deadly misconception in the first place!
The Seven Countries Study… or the 22 Country Study?
In 1961, Time featured physiologist Ancel Keys on the cover, with an article about his Seven Countries Study, which compared heart disease mortality rates and fat consumption across seven countries. His comparison showed a “remarkable relationship.”
The countries with the highest fat intake had the highest levels of heart disease. The countries with the lowest fat intake had the lowest levels of heart disease.
At the time, Jacob Yerushalmy, a PhD statistician at the University of California at Berkeley, pointed out that we had fat consumption data in 22 countries. So why wasn’t it called “The 22-Country Study?”
It wasn’t called that, because Ancel Keys started with the conclusion. He cherry-picked the countries that matched his pre-conceived notion and threw out the ones that contradicted it. And most of them did! When all 22 countries were analyzed, the “remarkable relationship” remarkably disappeared.
In fact, the complete set of data actually suggested that those eating the MOST saturated animal fat had LOWER rates of heart disease!
Yet, despite the obvious flaws in his research, Ancel Keys’ study formed the basis of the “lipid hypothesis.” Unfortunately, the butter bashing and anti-saturated fat campaigns were not the only harmful dietary dictates perpetuated during this period.
The Rise of Sugars, Grains & Seed Oils (and the Decline of Public Health)
From the 1960s onward, the medical establishment, government health organizations and the processed food industry simultaneously urged the public to replace these wholesome, natural foods with high-carbohydrate, grain-based processed foods and industrially-produced seed and vegetable oils. They even began vigorous campaigns to steer people away from real butter and to replace it with deadly trans-fats – in the form of so-called “better-than-butter” spreads.
It wasn’t long before grocery store shelves were filled with low-fat and fat-free fake foods.
It also wasn’t long before the public health began to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Excess dietary sugar and carbohydrates along with omega-6 rich industrial seed oils are clearly implicated in insulin resistance, obesity and chronic inflammation – all of which increase your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative diseases. It’s no wonder that the rates of obesity and disease began to skyrocket.
Forward thinking doctors, scientists and nutritionists have been warning against this unsound (and unproven) dietary dogma for decades. But it wasn’t until recently that mainstream medicine has finally begun to set politics aside and consider the science.
Saturated Fats Vindicated (Finally!)
The latest study to confirm the lack of evidence that saturated fat cause heart disease – and the basis for last month’s article in Time – was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This study reviewed more than 76 trials covering more than 650,000 participants. The authors concluded that,
“Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”
In one fell swoop these respected researchers called into question nearly every standard nutritional guideline related to heart health. But this was certainly not the first major study to find no link between saturated fat and heart disease.
A previous analysis of 21 studies covering almost 350,000 people and spanning more than two decades was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010. According to the authors of this study, “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD.”
Or consider The Women's Health Initiative. This huge government study cost nearly $750 million. Among 20,000 women in the study who adhered to an extremely low saturated fat diet for eight years, the researchers found that there was no impact on obesity, nor any measurable risk reduction (incidence or mortality) for heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, or breast cancer.
The authors finally had to acknowledge that their results “…do not justify recommending low-fat diets to the public to reduce their heart disease and cancer risk.”
Thankfully, it seems that this madness is coming to an end. “It’s not saturated fat we should worry about," says cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, author of the study featured in the Time Magazine article. "It’s the high-carb or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines.”
Question Conventional Advice, Follow Ancestral Wisdom
Hopefully, the message is clear: Conventional “low-fat diet” advice is counterproductive to your weight-loss efforts and your health. If you want to reduce your risk of disease and reach your ideal weight, pay attention to the TYPE of fats you eat, rather than the amount.
Here’s what you need to remember to choose healthy fats and avoid unhealthy ones…
• AVOID OMEGA-6 FATS. These fats come primarily from vegetable and seed oils (such as corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola, cottonseed, peanut, etc). To avoid these ingredients, eliminate commercially fried foods and most processed foods from your diet (including chips, baked goods, sauces and dressings, etc.). You should also avoid conventionally-raised meats. For example, the meat from grain-fed cows can have up to 50 times more omega-6 than omega-3s.
• ELIMINATE TRANS FATS. Read the nutrition labels in your home and DISCARD anything with the word “hydrogenated.” You’ll be surprised at where these artery bombs are hiding. These industrial fake fats are positively deadly. In fact, the Institute of Medicine issued a claim that, “there is no safe level to consume.”
• CONSUME OMEGA-3 FATS. The best dietary sources of these healthy fats are wild salmon, sardines and mackerel, pastured eggs, wild game and grass-fed beef and bison. Walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds are good sources, but do not have the same benefits as the animal sources above. You should also consider a fish oil supplement.
• CONSUME SATURATED FAT. Saturated fat should come primarily from the meat and other products (butter, lard, tallow, dairy) from animals raised on their natural diet (ie. grass-fed cows, pastured pork, free-range chickens and wild game). Coconut oil is also a very healthy source of saturated fat.
• CONSUME MONOUNSATURATED FAT. This is the heart-healthy fat best known for its association with the “Mediterranean Diet.” Good sources of these fats include nuts, avocados and olives as well as the oils produced from these foods (olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, etc.) Naturally-raised meats and lard are also a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat.
Hopefully these recent studies – and the gradual awakening of the medical community – will mean that this dangerous dietary myth has seen its better days.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. Walsh, Brian. Ending the War on Fat. Time Magazine. June 12th, 2014
2. Norton, Amy. Study Fails to link saturated fat, heart disease. Reuters Health. Feb. 4, 2010
3. Berkey CS, Rockett HR, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Jun;159(6):543-50.
4. Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725. Epub 2010 Jan 13.
5. Kuipers RS, de Graaf DJ, Luxwolda MF, Muskiet MH, Dijck-Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA. Saturated fat, carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. Neth J Med. 2011 Sep;69(9):372-8.
By: Dr. Al Sears, MD
Here’s something to remember as we get into summer with Independence Day, picnics, ice cream and other summer indulgences. This is a very important tip for losing weight, but few people seem to know about it.
You can cut calories and still gain weight. You can work out until you pass out and still have that spare tire belly.
The truth is: we don’t get fat because we eat too much. And it’s not because we are lazy...
Staying slim boils down to this: Hormones make you fat.
But today I’m going to show you how to deal with fat and hormones using a few tricks on eating to lose weight. There are also some powerful nutritional supplements to balance hormones and help with fat loss. I use these natural health products at my Wellness Center in South Florida, which helps control hormonal fat storage.
Case in point: the hormone insulin is your number one fat builder. It tells your body to pack on the pounds.
You produce a storm of insulin when you eat foods high on the Glycemic Index. As a general rule of thumb, carbs are the foods highest on the GI.
It surprises my patients when I tell them what the highest GI food is that my wellness clinic has ever tested.
Care to guess?
It’s corn bread - a traditional favorite among Americans. Every time you take a bite of corn bread, insulin pours into your blood and tells your body to store the calories as fat.
High blood sugar levels require insulin to process it. Eventually, your body gets tired and stops responding, which is called insulin resistance.
Blood sugar that your body cannot (or will not) process gets stored as fat. This is why foods with excess carbohydrates cause weight gain.
I take this a step further with my patients. The idea is to eat foods that do not spike your blood sugar and to also let your blood sugar come back down after eating. You don’t want your insulin to stay elevated for too long.
This means eating foods with a low Glycemic Load (GL).
The GL is simply a number you get when you multiply a food’s Glycemic Index (GI) rating by the total amount of carbohydrate in each serving you eat.
That makes it much more practical for everyday life because the GL identifies how fattening a food is. It’s a fresh way to look at everyday foods. Some GL ratings may surprise you – especially foods like watermelon...high GI, but low GL.
I consider foods with a Glycemic Load under 10 the best choice. They are a green light. Foods that fall between 10 and 20 on the GL scale are more like a yellow light (not bad, but proceed with caution).
Foods above 20 are a red light. They will not only make you gain weight but will also prevent you from dropping weight. Foods above 20 should be eaten sparingly. Replacing these foods with protein is a better alternative. Protein has a GL of zero. For my complete Glycemic Load Chart, click here.
1) Banaba leaf tea is something they traditionally brew in Bali to help regulate blood sugar naturally.
Medical scientists believe that the banaba leaf’s beneficial effects on blood sugar are due to its high concentration of corosolic acid. It mimics insulin by moving sugar out of the bloodstream and into your cells.
Numerous scientific studies have proven the banaba leaf’s effectiveness. It lowers blood sugar with no side effects.(1) 50 mg of banaba leaf extract with 1-2 percent corosolic acid will help control your blood sugar.
2) L-carnitine can significantly improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
The body is not able to make enough L-Carnitine on its own from simply eating meat. Therefore, I recommend using one gram per day of a L-Carnitine supplement in a liquid form. A liquid is more absorbable than a L-Carnitine powder or capsule. Whichever source of L-Carnitine you select; be sure the supplement uses naturally occurring l-carnitine.
3) Chromium is another important mineral to help control insulin sensivity.
Without enough chromium in the body, insulin just doesn’t work properly.
Chromium is in many foods including brewer’s yeast, meats, potato skins, cheeses, molasses, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Despite the wide availability of chromium from food sources, research shows that 90% of American adults have a chromium-deficient diet.
But you can’t take just any form of chromium as a supplement. Some types of chromium may actually do more harm than good and research shows that it needs to include niacin to be effective.
Look for chromium polynicotinate or niacin-bound chromium, which are both safe and effective as a dietary supplement. Take 400 mcg a day.
Learn more about ways to lose weight and control blood sugar naturally by subscribing to my free newsletter “Doctor’s House Call” or by ordering a copy of my book, High Speed Fat Loss in 7 Easy Steps.
1. Ikeda, Y. “The clinical study on water extract of leaves of Langerstroemia Specious L. for mild cases of diabetes mellitus,” 1998 (unpublished)
People have known through the ages that organ meats, from healthy animals, have many nutritional benefits. In fact, up to the middle of the twentieth century, most Europeans and Americans would eat organ meats at least once a week, for health.
Yet people have also known through the ages that it can be difficult to eat organ meats, which usually come with veins, sinews, membranes, and other parts and substances that must be removed before cooking. And there is the taste. Organ meats have a taste that does not appeal to many. And the texture, which is different from that of other meat.
But, thanks to U.S. Wellness Meats and traditional cooking, I have come up with a way to eat organ meats that is easy and delicious. That is not a misprint. I said delicious, and I mean it!
U.S. Wellness Meats sells a grassfed beef liverwurst sausage that includes large amounts of liver, heart, and kidney, ready for eating, no messy surgery required.
Cooking liver with bacon is a very old tradition in Europe, and it still works. Our ancestors had to deal with the same taste issues, and they learned that bacon is a delicious solution. Bacon and bacon fat make this liverwurst delicious. U.S. Wellness Meats also sells a wonderful bacon that is ideal for this recipe. And when you combine these two wonderful ingredients with pastured eggs, you have a breakfast to remember!
This may be the easiest way to get the nutritional benefits of organ meats I have ever used. And it is delicious, and energizing.
6 slices U.S. Wellness Meats sugar free pork bacon slices, use slices with plenty of fat
U.S. Wellness Meats liverwurst, cut 6 slices about one-quarter-inch thick. Do not worry if the slices break or crumble after they are cut. There are no binders or fillers in these sausages, which is a good thing. They will still be delicious.
2 to 4 pastured eggs, depending on your appetite
- Place the bacon slices in a large, heavy frying pan. Turn the heat to medium, and cook the bacon slices. Watch carefully so the bacon does not burn, reduce the heat if necessary, and turn often so it cooks evenly. Do not pour off the fat from the pan, you will need it. When the bacon is done to your taste, remove it from the pan to a warm place.
- Carefully place the liverwurst slices in the hot bacon fat, and cook over medium heat for one minute on each side. Remove the slices to a warm place.
- Break the eggs into the pan, and cook over medium heat until the yolks have set to your liking. Be sure to baste the yolks with hot bacon fat from the pan several times as the eggs cook. This will give a wonderful bacon flavor to the eggs. The bacon fat will tame the organ taste, making the sausage slices absolutely delicious. Serve and enjoy!
Stanley Fishman is a cookbook author and blogger who is an expert on cooking grassfed meat. Stanley uses traditional flavor combinations and cooking methods to make the cooking of grassfed meat easy, delicious, and tender. Stanley has written two cookbooks that make it easy to cook grassfed meat —Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. Stanley blogs about real food and the cooking of grassfed meat at his blog Tendergrassfedmeat.com.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
In my last article, I discussed the little-known epidemic of zinc deficiency and the easy ways you can boost your levels of this important nutrient.
As you are about to discover, this is critically important. Below are six ways that a zinc-rich diet can boost your quality of life, reduce your risk for disease and maximize your healthy longevity.
1 - Promote Healthy Cells and Be Cancer-Free For Life
As your body’s cells – and the DNA within them – become damaged, the risk for mutations (and therefore cancer) increases. That’s why antioxidants are so important. And while zinc is better known as a dietary mineral, it is also a powerful antioxidant nutrient that helps protect cells from the ravages of oxidative damage.
Zinc is also vital for healthy cell proliferation. In fact, when zinc levels are too low, abnormal cell development and the risk of cancerous tumors is increased.
Of course, zinc is also a key component of the immune system – your body’s first line of defense against cancer. In fact, zinc is required by your body to produce T-cells – the cellular defenders that are constantly on the lookout for viruses and bacteria, as well as mutated and abnormal cells. That’s why low levels of zinc are correlated with reduced T-cell counts.
It’s no wonder that research shows that zinc deficiency is linked to cancers of the skin, colon, ovaries, lungs, prostate and breast, head and neck, as well as leukemia. One study, published in Nutrition and Cancer found that 65 percent of patients with head and neck cancer had cellular zinc concentrations that were considered deficient.
But cancer is not the only degenerative disease where zinc plays a critical role. If you’re concerned about diabetes and sculpting a lean body, zinc can help there too.
2 - Boost Insulin Sensitivity, Reduce Body Fat and Prevent Diabetes
Zinc plays a crucial role in healthy insulin metabolism by:
1. Binding to insulin so that it is stored in the pancreas and released in response to elevated blood sugar
2. Boosting insulin sensitivity
3. Reducing inflammation in cells – a key factor in insulin sensitivity
Without sufficient zinc in the diet, insulin resistance can develop, setting the stage for diabetes and weight gain.
In addition to its connection with insulin, zinc has also been shown to boost leptin levels. This is critical to a lean physique, because leptin is known as the “satiety hormone.” It helps send the “I’m full” signal to the brain, resulting in fewer calories consumed and less body fat.
And that’s not the only way zinc helps to sculpt a better body. With its key role in the production of anabolic hormones, zinc helps to boost strength and athletic performance too.
3 - Increase Strength & Overcome “Low T” Naturally
Zinc is a crucial factor in your body’s production and release of testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Without the adequate release of these hormones, you won’t enjoy the maximum strength gains or increases in muscle mass from your training.
Inadequate zinc levels have been shown to be related to low testosterone (or “low T”) – a condition which affects 24 percent of men over 30 – according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
And while low testosterone is best known for causing what is often known as “male menopause,” it has also been linked to an increased risk of depression and heart disease. And optimizing testosterone is just one way that zinc protects the heart…
4 - Boost Cardiovascular Health
It also plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of the endothelium – the lining of the blood vessels. When the endothelium becomes damaged and inflamed, plaques can occur, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Research published in Diabetes Care found that diabetic patients with low serum zinc were at a significantly higher risk for heart disease and heart attack than those with normal zinc levels.
And the benefits of optimizing your zinc intake don’t end with protection against cancer… a reduced risk of diabetes… increases in muscle building and anti-aging hormones… and reduced chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Recent research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that a zinc deficiency may also play a critical role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
5 - Boost Brain Health, Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk and ADHD
When proteins lose their shape, they stop working correctly and can become tangled and clumped together. These tangled proteins are a hallmark Alzheimer's. But zinc is known for helping proteins to maintain their correct molecular structure.
It is also essential in neurotransmitter function and is part of an enzyme that nourishes the brain membrane with nutrients. This important for memory, cognition and behavior.
In fact, kids with behavior issues or “ADHD” often have low zinc levels. A study of 400 children diagnosed with ADHD found that 150 mg per day of zinc sulfate improved their behavior, and reduced hyperactivity and impulsiveness compared to a placebo.
6 - Boost Mood & Alleviate Depression
With its vital role in the brain and in neurotransmitter function, it’s no surprise that low zinc levels are often found in people suffering from depression. And the more depressed someone is, the lower the zinc level, according to research published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology.
The good news is that dietary and supplemental zinc has been shown to improve or alleviate symptoms of depression and boost energy levels. Getting adequate zinc helps to increase serotonin receptors in the brain and unlock the mood boosting effects of this “feel good hormone.”
Get More Zinc For a Healthier Life
With the numerous interconnected roles zinc plays in fostering wellness and preventing disease, it’s essential to ensure that you’re getting (and absorbing) enough.
Unfortunately, the ability to absorb zinc declines with age. It is estimated that 40 percent of seniors in the U.S. are zinc deficient, according to research conducted at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State.
In addition to filling your plate with the zinc-rich foods our ancestors enjoyed – including grass-fed beef, liver, lamb, pork, chicken, oysters and other wild seafood – consider talking with your doctor about getting your zinc serum levels tested if you believe you may be deficient.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. Zinc deficiency mechanism linked to aging, multiple diseases. Oregon State University. 10/1/12
2. Prasad AS1, Beck FW, Snell DC, Kucuk O. Zinc in cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(6):879-87. doi: 10.1080/01635580903285122.
3. Prasad AS1, Beck FW, Doerr TD, Shamsa FH, Penny HS, Marks SC, Kaplan J, Kucuk O, Mathog RH. Nutritional and zinc status of head and neck cancer patients: an interpretive review. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Oct;17(5):409-18.
4. Prasad AS. Clinical, immunological, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles of zinc. Exp Gerontol. 2008 May;43(5):370-7. Epub 2007 Nov 1.
5. Mantzoros CS1, Prasad AS, Beck FW, Grabowski S, Kaplan J, Adair C, Brewer GJ. Zinc may regulate serum leptin concentrations in humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Jun;17(3):270-5.
6. Abdulkerim Kasim Baltaci and Rasim Mogulkoc. Leptin and zinc relation: In regulation of food intake and immunity. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. Dec 2012; 16(Suppl 3): S611–S616.
7. Neek, L., Gaeini, A., Choobineh, S. Effect of Zinc and Selenium Supplementation on Serum Testosterone and Plasma Lactate in Cyclist After an Exhaustive Exercise Bout. Biological Trace Element Research. 9 July 2011.
8. Chang, C., Choi, J., Kim, H., Park, S. Correlation Between Serum Testosterone Level and Concentrations of Copper and Zinc in Hair Tissue. Biological Trace Element Research. 14 June 2011.
9. Maseregian, N., Hall, S., et al. Low Dietary or Supplemental Zinc is Associated with Depression Symptoms Among Women, But not Men, in a Population-Based Epidemiological Survey. Journal of Affective Disorders. October 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
10. Banudevi, S., Elumalai, P., et al. Chemopreventive Effects of Zinc on Prostate Carcinogenesis Induced by N-Methyl-N-Nitrosourea and Testosterone in Adult Male Spargue-Dawley Rats. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 201. 137(4), 677-86.
11. Gumulec, J., Masarik, M., et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Zinc in Prostate Cancer. Klinical Onkology. 2011. 24(4), 249-255.
12. Ortega, R., Rodriguez, E., et al. Poor Zinc Status is Associated with Increased Risk of Insulin Resistance in Spanish Children. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012. 107, 398-404.
13. Abdelhalim, Mohamed. Atherosclerosis Can be Strongly Influenced by Iron and Zinc Overload or Deficiency in the Lung and Kidney Tissues of Rabbits. African Journal of Microbiology Research. 2010. 4(24), 2748-2753.
14. Chasapis, C., Loutsidou, A., et al. Zinc and Human Health: An Update. Archives of Toxicology. November 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
15. Wong, C., Ho, E. Zinc and its Role in Age-Related Inflammation and Immune Dysfunction. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 2012. 56, 77-87.
16. Shinjini, B., Taneja, S. Zinc and Cognitive Development. British Journal of Nutrition. 2001. 85(Suppl 2), 139-145.
17. Maylor, E., Simpson, E., et al. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Cognitive Function in Healthy Middle-Aged and Older Adults: the ZENITH Study. British Journal of Nutrition. 2006. 96, 752-760.
18. Prasad, Ananda. Zinc Deficiency. British Medical Journal. 2003. 326, 409-410.
19. Yary, T., Aazami, S. Dietary Intake of Zinc was Inversely Associated with Depression. Biological Trace Element Research. September 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
20. Dodig-Cukovic, K., Dovhang, J., et al. The Role of Zinc in the Treatment of Hyperactivity Disorder in Children. Acta Medica Croatica. 2009. 63(4), 307313.
21. Bilici, M., Yildrim, F., et al. Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Zinc Sulfate in the Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2004. 28(1), 181-190
22. Little PJ1, Bhattacharya R, Moreyra AE, Korichneva IL. Zinc and cardiovascular disease. Nutrition. 2010 Nov-Dec;26(11-12):1050-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.03.007.
23. Jung SK1, Kim MK, Lee YH, Shin DH, Shin MH, Chun BY, Choi BY. Lower zinc bioavailability may be related to higher risk of subclinical atherosclerosis in Korean adults. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 6;8(11):e80115. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080115. eCollection 2013.
24. Minna Soinio. Jukka Marniemi. Markku Laakso, et al. Serum Zinc Level and Coronary Heart Disease Events in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care March 2007 vol. 30 no. 3 523-528
25. Shores MM1, Smith NL, Forsberg CW, Anawalt BD, Matsumoto AM. Testosterone treatment and mortality in men with low testosterone levels J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun;97(6):2050-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-2591. Epub 2012 Apr 11.
26. Zinc! An Antidepressant? The essential mineral for resiliency Published on September 15, 2013 by Emily Deans, M.D. in Evolutionary Psychiatry
27. Szewczyk B1, Kubera M, Nowak G. The role of zinc in neurodegenerative inflammatory pathways in depression. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 29;35(3):693-701. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.02.010. Epub 2010 Feb 13
28. Swardfager W1, Herrmann N, McIntyre RS, Mazereeuw G, Goldberger K, Cha DS, Schwartz Y, Lanctôt KL. Potential roles of zinc in the pathophysiology and treatment of major depressive disorder. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jun;37(5):911-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.03.018. Epub 2013 Apr 6.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
When you think of the health benefits of zinc, you probably think of immune health first. Zinc supplements are the first thing many of us turn to when we feel a cold or flu coming on. And for good reason, because zinc is essential for a well-functioning immune system. But the benefits of this vital mineral go far beyond helping to ward off the common cold.
In fact, zinc is vital to your brain – for learning and consolidating memories and helping to regulate your mood. It has also been found to boost heart health, reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, support the gastrointestinal system and reduce leaky gut, enhance athletic performance and even support hormonal health and fertility.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of this crucial nutrient. According to the World Health Organization one-third of the world’s population – over 2 billion people – are deficient in zinc.
And while it is estimated that only 1 in 10 Americans are technically considered “zinc deficient,” a much higher percentage are still grossly insufficient.
And one of the primary causes is a grain-rich diet.
Zinc Binders in Grains Promote Deficiency
Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, the USDA still recommends grain-based foods as the foundation of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, as it relates to zinc, a grain-based diet is rich in copper, lignans and phytates – three compounds that can dramatically reduce the bioavailability and absorption of zinc.
And while many grain-based foods are fortified with zinc to improve their nutritional profile (on paper), research shows that zinc-fortified foods do not necessarily increase serum concentrations of zinc in the body.
What’s more, the forms of zinc that are most often used for fortification – including zinc oxide and zinc sulfate – are inorganic forms of the mineral, which are poorly absorbed.
But that’s not all… lifestyle factors and your own health status can also play a role in the levels of zinc in your body.
Are You Living a Zinc Deficient Lifestyle?
Excess consumption of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other competing minerals (including calcium, iron and copper) can all reduce zinc levels or increase your body’s requirement of it. Stress, infections, low stomach acid and certain medications can do the same thing.
Pregnant and nursing mothers should also be especially vigilant about zinc levels, as deficiencies are commonly associated with the bodily changes that come with pregnancy. And this is critical, because zinc deficiencies during pregnancy and lactation have been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, and developmental problems in children.
And if you are vegetarian (or worse, vegan), your risk of a zinc deficiency is increased dramatically. That’s because about 44% of the zinc in the American diet comes from meat, fish and poultry. Even well-planned vegetarian diets fall short on zinc, according to research performed at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The ARS study also showed that 21 percent less zinc was absorbed from a vegetarian diet compared to an omnivorous one.
Add this decreased absorption to the lower zinc content of a vegetarian diet and you have a prescription for deficiency.
So How Much Zinc is Enough?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is currently 8-11 mg. However, like most RDA values, nutritional experts believe this is only a minimum acceptable level, at best.
In fact, studies show that our Paleolithic ancestors consumed an average of 43 mg of zinc per day from grain-free, legume-free, whole-food sources – the most bioavailable forms.
Today, modern Americans consume roughly 10 mg daily. But remember – it’s what you absorb that matters. If only 15 to 35 percent of the zinc you consume is absorbed (which is common) then you are likely deficient.
With all of the factors that influence zinc metabolism, and the highly processed diets that most people consume, it’s easy to see how a deficiency in this critical nutrient has become epidemic.
And though it doesn’t get the press it deserves, you can be sure that this has negatively impacted the health and quality of life of millions. The authors of a review on zinc and human health, published in the Archives of Toxicology state:
“Zinc is an essential element whose significance to health is increasingly appreciated and whose deficiency may play an important role in the appearance of diseases.”
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
One reason why this epidemic goes unnoticed is because the symptoms of zinc deficiency are diverse and can be attributed to numerous other factors. These symptoms can include:
• Behavior Changes
• Chronic Diarrhea
• Delayed Wound Healing
• Frequent Infection
• Hair Loss
• Impaired Memory
• Joint Pain
• Learning Disabilities
• Loss Of Appetite And Taste Perception
• Sensitive Skin
• Severe PMS
• Skin And Respiratory Allergy
• Slowed Sexual Maturation
• Unhealthy Weight Loss Caused By Loss Of Appetite
• Vision Problems
• White Spots In The Fingernails
The Most Absorbable Food Sources of Zinc
The best sources of zinc are the same foods our ancestors enjoyed including, grass-fed meats, wild seafood, and pastured poultry.
In addition to these foods being high in zinc (and devoid of zinc-binding substances that reduce its absorption), they are also rich in a compound known to boost zinc absorption: Protein!
Another effective way to increase zinc absorption? Add a grass-fed whey protein shake to your meals. Whey protein is rich in cysteine and methionine – two amino acids that enhance zinc absorption.
You can also include zinc-rich nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds (1 oz, 3 mg), cashews (1 oz, 1.6 mg), and almonds (1 oz, 0.9 mg) to boost your intake. But be sure to soak them to reduce the phytates that make zinc inaccessible to the body. (Better Than Roasted does the work for you… and they taste great!)
Because zinc supplementation can interfere with other important nutrients in the body, and most zinc supplements are poorly absorbed, it’s best to rely on getting this important nutrient from the whole food sources listed above.
And if you think you may have a zinc deficiency, simple and inexpensive tests are widely available. Often correcting low stomach acid with betaine HCL can dramatically increase the absorption of zinc and other nutrients you get from your food – no synthetic supplements required. As always, talk with your doctor.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. Michael Hambidge. Human Zinc Deficiency J. Nutr. May 1, 2000 vol. 130 no. 5 1344S-1349S
2. Sturniolo GC1, Di Leo V, Ferronato A, D'Odorico A, D'Incà R. Zinc supplementation tightens "leaky gut" in Crohn's disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8.
3. Zinc: Dietary Supplement Facts by CDC
4. Chasapis CT, Loutsidou AC, Spiliopoulou CA, Stefanidou ME. Zinc and human health: an update. Arch Toxicol. 2012 Apr;86(4):521-34. doi: 10.1007/s00204-011-0775-1. Epub 2011 Nov 10.
5. Prasad AS. Discovery of human zinc deficiency: 50 years later. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012 Jun;26(2-3):66-9.
6. Hess SY1, Brown KH. Impact of zinc fortification on zinc nutrition. Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Mar;30(1 Suppl):S79-107.
7. Brown KH1, Wessells KR, Hess SY. Zinc bioavailability from zinc-fortified foods. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007 May;77(3):174-81.
8. "Vegetarians, Watch Your Zinc!”. March 1998 , Agricultural Research magazine.
9. Eaton SB, Eaton SB 3rd. Paleolithic vs. modern diets—selected pathophysiological implications. Eur J Nutr. 2000 Apr;39(2):67-70.
10. Cordain L. The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups. JANA. 2002;5(3):15-24.
11. Cordain L, Brand Miller J, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SHA, Speth JD. Plant to animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 71:682-92.
12. King JC. Does zinc absorption reflect zinc status? Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2010 Oct;80(4-5):300-6.
13. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Zinc. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2001:442-501.
14. Prasad AS. Zinc deficiency in humans: a neglected problem. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(6):542-543.
15. Wapnir RA, Stiel L. Zinc intestinal absorption in rats: specificity of amino acids as ligands. The Journal of Nutrition [1986, 116(11):2171-2179]
16. Kassarjian, Z., Russell, R. Hypochlorhydria: A Factor in Nutrition. Annual Reviews of Nutrition. 1989. 9, 271-285.
17. Nutrient data for this listing was provided by USDA SR-21
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
Today, I’d like to tell you about a nutrient that is absolutely vital to your health. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough, because it’s found in so few foods. Of course, you could take it as a supplement… if you don’t mind paying up to $120 a month.
But here’s the good news. I’ll also show you the unique and delicious food that contains more of this nutrient than any other, plus how you can consume as much as your body needs for just a few dollars per month.
The nutrient that I’m talking about is Coenzyme Q10. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of CoQ10. You might even be taking it as a supplement. But you might not know why this essential nutrient is so beneficial.
CoQ10 is a molecule that is found in the greatest concentration in the mitochondria of cells. This is the powerhouse of each cell, where energy is produced. And CoQ10 is vital for this process.
This is one reason why CoQ10 levels are closely related to athletic endurance and time to exhaustion. It is also why high levels promote a strong heart beat. In fact, CoQ10 is crucial for the heart because of the constant energy that is required to be produced.
Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve arterial health, and dramatically cut the risk of heart failure. In fact, many hospitals use this nutrient specifically to treat congestive heart failure.
CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that guards against disease-promoting damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA. CoQ10 is vital to the health of virtually all human tissues and organs, including the brain as well.
Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels in the brain begin declining at the age of 20 and sharply decline after the age of 35. However, age is not the only culprit when it comes to declining CoQ10. This vital compound can also be depleted by:
• Pharmaceutical drugs (Statin medications, in particular, decrease the body's internal production of Coenzyme Q10 by as much as 40%)
• Long duration exercise
• Consuming a vegan diet or avoiding red meat
And the depletion of CoQ10 – whether it is the natural result of aging or other factors – is bad news for your health. Scientific studies have linked CoQ10 deficiency with a wide variety of health conditions, including:
• Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
• Gum disease
• Mitochondrial disorders and chronic fatigue
• Obesity and diabetes
• Parkinson's disease
• Gastric ulcers
• Migraine headaches
• Muscular dystrophy
If you have a forward-thinking holistic doctor, he or she may have recommended that you take a high quality CoQ10 supplement (in the most bio-available form: ubiquinol).
This is certainly a beneficial step and it can make a world of difference in your health and energy levels. But it can also be very expensive. For example, Dr. Julian Whitaker recommends that most adults take 100 – 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. For those with existing health conditions – particularly heart trouble and diabetes – he recommends 300 – 600 mg daily.
Depending on the brand of supplement you buy, this could run upwards of $100 per month. That’s certainly worth it if your life depends on it… but the good news is that there is an even more effective and much less expensive way to get youth-promoting, disease-fighting CoQ10 into your cells…
Eat Your Heart Out: Introducing the SUPERIOR Source of CoQ10
CoQ10 was first identified in the mitochondria (the tiny powerhouse of each cell) of beef heart in 1957.
Why the heart?
Because CoQ10 is most abundant in the organs with the highest rates of cellular metabolism –first and foremost – the heart. In fact, CoQ10 levels in the heart are roughly THREE times that found in the liver and FOUR times higher than levels found in muscle meats.
Take a look at the foods that contain the greatest CoQ10 levels per gram:
There are small levels of CoQ10 in certain fruits and vegetables. For example, spinach and broccoli contain about 10 micrograms per gram. But most plant foods have only about 1 microgram per gram – not nearly enough to provide the benefits you need.
As you can see, animal foods clearly top the list. And it is the organs – namely the heart – that contain the most of all. According Dr. Al Sears, M.D. and author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure, the organs of wild, grass-fed animals have up to ten times more CoQ10 than the organs of grain-fed animals. He says:
"Unless you regularly consume wild game or eat internal organs of grass-fed animals, it is difficult to maintain good blood levels of CoQ10 from dietary sources alone."
So, how much beef heart would you need to consume to get the upper limit of CoQ10 recommended by Dr. Whitaker for those with heart trouble?
I’ll save you the calculations. You would need to eat about 1.8 ounces of beef heart to consume 600 mg of CoQ10 daily. On the other hand, you would need to eat only one third of an ounce daily to consume the amount he recommends for “most people.”
How does that compare to supplements in terms of price?
If you were to purchase a 30-count bottle of 200 mg soft gels of CoQ10 (ubiquinol) from the Puritan’s Pride website, it would cost you $39.59. If you were to take the upper limit recommended by Dr. Whitaker, your monthly expenditure would be around $120.
At today’s price on the U.S. Wellness Meats website, the same amount of CoQ10 in the form of beef heart would cost you just $19 a month. And keep in mind – this comes in the form of a healthy and delicious food, not just a supplement. If your goal was to consume the lower end of the recommended daily dose, it would cost you just over $3 a month!
That is a very small price to pay for one of the most beneficial and necessary nutrients your body requires.
If you’re new to eating organ meats, you may wonder: What’s the best way to enjoy heart?
Your Recipe for Bountiful Energy, Cellular Health and Longevity
As a muscle, beef heart is the mildest member of the offal family. In fact, it tastes a lot like steak or brisket. And while you can certainly grill or sauté it, or grind it into any recipe that calls for ground meat, a good amount of CoQ10 will be lost during cooking.
In fact, studies show that CoQ10 begins to degrade around 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and nutrient loss will vary with the cooking method.
A great way to preserve the nutritional benefits and maximize those precious grams of CoQ10 is to enjoy beef heart as the Europeans have for centuries: tartare.
Steak tartare, popular in Parisian bistros, is simply “highly seasoned ground beef eaten raw”. Using beef heart, we can create this same delicious and elegant appetizer, but with a hefty 250 mg of CoQ10 per 1-ounce serving.
Grass-Fed Beef Heart Tartare Recipe
• 3 pounds raw grass-fed beef heart*, trimmed
• 2 tsp. capers, rinsed
• 2 Tbsp. red onion, finely diced
• 2 organic Serrano peppers, sliced thin
• 10 organic Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
• 2 tsp. organic lemon zest, finely grated
• 1 organic fire-roasted red pepper, sliced into ½ inch strips
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. organic red wine vinegar
• 4 tsp. fresh basil, julienned
• 4 tsp. fresh mint, julienned
• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp. mineral-rich sea salt or Maldon salt
• Bunch of fresh parsley, for garnish
• Grain free bread, sliced and toasted
1. First, prepare the heart. Trim off any sinew and gristle and cut into pieces small enough to fit through a meat grinder on medium dice. Alternately, cut the beef heart into ¼-inch pieces.
2. In a medium, non-reactive bowl, combine the heart with the capers, red onion, Serrano and fire roasted peppers, Kalamata olives and lemon zest.
3. Gently mix with your hands, taking care to not over-mix the ingredients.
4. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, vinegar, oil and herbs and mix gently.
5. Place tartare over a bed of fresh parsley and serve with sliced and toasted grain-free bread.
*Consuming raw meat can increase the risk for foodborne illness. Always be sure to purchase grass-fed meat from a purveyor you trust.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
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