The Wellness Blog

Turmeric Does Your Body Good

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 @ 10:59 PM

Did you know that there are 53 different names and meanings for turmeric in the Sanskrit language?

Some of these meanings include, “a killer of fat”... “giving delight to heart”... and “one that wins over disease.”

The ancients also believed that if you use turmeric, you could experience prosperity and luck. It may even guarantee that you won’t be offered as a sacrifice!

Now, we have no evidence as to the latter… but when it comes to your health, the proof is abundant that turmeric does your body good. In fact, modern science has shown that turmeric can affect more than 150 biochemical pathways and provide benefits to almost every part of the human body.

A recent review of studies related to turmeric was published in the journal, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects.1 The authors pored over 3,000 publications, representing 25 years of turmeric research.

They summarized the major activities of turmeric to include: “antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antiseptic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, radioprotective and digestive activities.”

Now, if that is not a powerful healing food, I don’t know what is…

And who knows, it just might bring you luck and prosperity! But even if it doesn't, let’s take a look at how it can help your body and why you should be using it daily.

The use of turmeric dates back almost 4000 years. It has been used as a food, a spice, medicine and a religious sacrament. It's from the ginger family of plants. It even looks identical on the outside!

When you cut it open, you reveal its beautiful golden color, brimming with potent polyphenols. It is the polyphenol known as curcumin that gives turmeric this color. And it is also what drives those mighty health benefits.

For example, turmeric scores an impressive 127,068 on the ORAC scale.2  The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) measures the strength of a food to neutralize free radicals. Turmeric is the 6th highest.

But could turmeric really ‘kill fat’ as the ancients proclaimed?

 

Turmeric Benefits: ‘Killer of Fat’

It might seem strange, but the King of Spices has shown great promise in the fight against obesity…

A recent review in Current Pharmacology Reports explains that the role of epigenetics may have something to do with how turmeric can regulate human pathologies, including obesity. Turmeric seems to exert an influence not just on the health of cell – but also on the DNA messages from within that cell.3

Another study conducted at the State University of New York suggests that it is the interaction of the strong anti-inflammatory nature of turmeric on white adipose tissue that may explain how it could not just reduce obesity, but also the health effects of it.4

Now, I don’t know about you, but adding turmeric to your diet sure seems like a tasty way to fight obesity.

And if you’re concerned with heart health, you’d also do well to include a daily dose of turmeric.

 

Curcumin: ‘Gives Delight to Heart’

In 2014, a study by The Center for Cancer Prevention Research found a strong influence by turmeric on cardiovascular complications in the diabetic population.

“A 6-month curcumin intervention in type-2 diabetic population lowered the atherogenic risks. In addition, the extract helped to improve relevant metabolic profiles in this high-risk population.” 5

During their study, the researchers measured the effectiveness of curcumin on six heart-disease parameters:

•    Arterial stiffness
•    Markers of inflammation
•    Insulin resistance
•    Triglyceride levels
•    Uric acid levels
•    Abdominal obesity

The researchers discovered that turmeric improved all six of these healthy heart markers!

 

Indian Saffron: ‘Wins Over Disease’

A nine-month study conducted by the American Diabetes Association tested turmeric on subjects with pre-diabetes. What they found was that turmeric had a 100% success rate in preventing type-2 diabetes.6

A large review of turmeric studies showed that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of turmeric, which cover the entire human body, including:
 

Antimutagenic Kidney Skin tumors
Digestive stimulant Cardiac Anti-cancer
Wound healing Neuronal disease Anti-fungal
Anti-arthritic Hepatoprotective Anti-microbial
Depression Anti-oxidant Anti-inflammatory


Do Your Body a Favor… Bathe In This Golden Spice

Some people do bathe in it - but that may get a bit messy for you. Yet, daily turmeric consumption does mean you are bathing your cells in it all the time, getting those amazing health benefits.

There are two rules to follow when using turmeric.

  • Add black pepper. Research shows that turmeric is more bioavailable combined with pepper. This shouldn’t be too hard – just add pepper to a curry or any savory dish that contains turmeric!
  • Eat it with a healthy fat. Science also shows that turmeric is more available when combined with fat. Spices are best when gently heated in a little oil, so they release their aromas and medicinal properties.

 

Adding Turmeric to Everyday Meals

Here are some other simple and delicious ways to get turmeric health benefits in your everyday meals:

1. Add a teaspoon to scrambled eggs and frittatas

2. Mix into free-range chicken or egg salad with some Paleo Mayo for creamy flavor and a boost in bioavailability

3. Make an Indian-spiced dressing (try avocado oil, turmeric, fresh ginger, garlic and black pepper) to drizzle over steamed veggies or use with stir-fries

4. Make a healing marinade using turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and fresh herbs (like cilantro or rosemary) and avocado oil. Marinate your favorite cuts of meat and fish like pastured pork tenderloin, wild salmon or grass-fed beef steaks and roasts.  (Be sure to save some for drizzling!)

5. Make a Golden Chimichurri. Use a bunch of fresh parsley and cilantro, lemon or lime juice, avocado oil, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper and other spices of your choosing. Blend in a food processor or Magic Bullet and spoon over roast lamb, grass-fed flank steak, grilled pastured chicken legs and much more.

Or try this ancient health elixir - Golden Milk:

Combine the following ingredients.

  • ½ tsp organic turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp organic ginger powder
  • a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
  • one cup of hot almond milk or coconut milk. (If you’re using “light” milk that’s lower in fat, be sure to add a little coconut oil to enhance the absorption of turmeric in your body.)

Turmeric is one of the most healthful and bioactive foods known to man. Not only will it add flavor to your cooking, but, quite possibly, years to your life!

We at US Wellness have known about the benefits of turmeric for some time.  Here are some of our delicious products that already contain turmeric:

Pre-Cooked Beef Pot Roast & Gravy

BBQ Fully Cooked Beef Short Ribs

BBQ Slow Roasted Shredded Beef

BBQ Spice Pork Rinds

All Natural BBQ Sauce

 

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

  1. Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Chapter 13. Turmeric, the Golden Spice, From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine (review). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. 2011.
  2. USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010
  3. Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Phonrat B, Tungtrongchitr R, Jirawatnotai S. Reduction of atherogenic risk in patients with type 2 diabetes by curcuminoid extract: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2014 Feb;25(2):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.09.013. Epub 2013 Nov 6.
  4. Bradford PG. Curcumin and obesity. Biofactors. 2013;39(1):78-87
  5. Boyanapalli SS, Tony Kong AN. "Curcumin, the King of Spices": Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms in the Prevention of Cancer, Neurological, and Inflammatory Diseases. Current Pharmacology Reports. 2015 Apr;1(2):129-139. Epub 2015 Jan 30.
  6. Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov ;35(11):2121-7. Epub 2012 Jul 6. PMID: 22773702
  7. Tilak J. C, Banerjee M, Mohan H, Devasagayam T. P. Antioxidant availability of turmeric in relation to its medicinal and culinary uses. Phytother Res. 2004;18:798–804

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, US Wellness Meats

Dark Chocolate: The Happiest Food on Earth?

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, Apr 08, 2016 @ 10:32 AM

Does eating chocolate make you happy?

It should.

If chocolate is one of those foods that gives you the “warm fuzzies” and makes you feel happy – you’re not alone.

Chocolate has been promoting health and happiness for thousands of years. Ancient cultures used it as currency and an aphrodisiac. It was even used in sacred ceremonies and thought to be a mind-enhancing substance.

And science has some very good reasons why the feel-good factors in chocolate are more than just mind over matter…

Raw cacao (from which chocolate is made) contains more than 300 different naturally-occurring chemical compounds. And while we still have a long way to unravel the full mystery of this superfood – there is already a plethora of research about how dark chocolate benefits a healthy body and can even promote happiness.

 

Let’s Start With A Happy Gut

It might seem strange, but the latest nutritional science tells us that a healthy microbiome in your gut is critical to maintaining a healthy brain. A happy “inner ecosystem” in your belly can even help to improve the happiness in your brain.

Happy gut, happy mind…

And dark chocolate provides benefits to gut health as a probiotic and prebiotic food.1 That means that it not only helps to introduce healthy bacteria to your gut, it also provides the specific foods that beneficial gut bacteria need in order to thrive.

Inside every cacao pod are approximately 20-50 beans. These beans are harvested and left in containers to ‘sweat’ in the heat. During this process the pulp ferments, covering the cacao beans in healthy probiotic bacteria. If you consume raw cacao (or chocolate made with raw cacao) you will enjoy the benefits of these friendly bacteria.

Chocolate is also rich in prebiotic fiber – the favorite “food” for many of the beneficial strains of bacteria in your gut. In a study published in 2011, the consumption of cocoa was shown to increase the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria and lactobacillus in subjects.2

And the he happiness you feel from dark chocolate isn’t just a “gut feeling”...

 

How Dark Chocolate Benefits Your Brain

Amongst the 300 naturally-occurring chemicals in dark chocolate, here are five powerful mood-boosting nutrients:

Anandamide: This works on the cannabinoid receptors in our body. The name comes from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda’ which means extreme delight or bliss. Many scientists still refer to anandamide as the bliss chemical. As you’ve probably experienced, chocolate won’t make you “high”, but it does provide a mild sense of peace and joy.

Phenylethlamine (PEA): This is also known as the ‘love’ chemical. It’s not exactly the PEA in chocolate that makes us feel good, but we make things like serotonin and dopamine from it and these are the chemicals that make us feel good.

Tryptophan: Along with PEA, Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which is our ‘calm’ chemical.

Magnesium: As you know, this is the ‘relax’ nutrient. Magnesium performs over 300 different chemical roles in our body, some of which include reducing irritability, anxiety and insomnia. Cacao contains 500mg of magnesium per 100g.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI): This is a chemical that helps to retain more available serotonin and dopamine for the brain to use. And chocolate can act like a mild MAOI. In fact, some people taking MAOI medication for depression may experience side effects by also consuming large amounts of chocolate.3

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology tested the mood effects of a cacao-based drink on participants over a 30-day period. The researchers found increased rates of calmness and contentment among those who had the highest dose treatment containing 500mg of flavanols.4

So, it’s not all mind over matter – dark chocolate really can make us feel good!

 

Deep Cell Happiness

But there’s also a type of happiness that dark chocolate provides, deep in our cells. It has long been known that high-antioxidant, flavonoid-rich foods such as tea and red wine have heart protective effects. And cocoa does too? In fact, cocoa is among the top-10 high-antioxidant foods, alongside heavy hitters like turmeric and acai berries. It’s higher than red wine, goji berries and blueberries.

A recent meta-analysis of 24 studies conducted at Harvard showed that the plant-based compounds in chocolate can:

  • Stop the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Boost HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Help thin the blood (reducing the potential for dangerous blood clots)
  • Enhance the function of red blood cells
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce insulin resistance
These dark chocolate health benefits are largely because of the theobromine and flavanols. The European Food Safety Authority even has an approved health claim that states:

Cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow.” 5  According to the EFSA, just a small one-gram serving of cocoa daily provides the 200mg of flavanols to support that claim.

So, what are we waiting for! Let’s go and get some of this rich elixir of happiness.

 

How To Get Your Daily Health Boosting Chocolate Fix

To get the entire happy mind and body experience, you need to be consuming the right chocolate. Milk chocolate just won’t do.

The stronger and darker the cocoa, the more flavonoids it contains and the more protection it offers. So choose dark chocolate products that are naturally or organically produced. Good quality raw cacao bean has a faint wine-like aroma.

  • Dark chocolate blocks – look for at least 70% cocoa solids, such as the 72% Tanzania Dark Chocolate Bar.
  • Use raw cacao or cocoa powder. Make a daily hot drink with cacao along with vanilla and even a little chili like the ancients taught us. You can also add two tablespoons to any smoothie. Use in paleo baking.
  • Cacao nibs are crushed, raw cacao bean. You can use these in place of chocolate chips in things like chia seed puddings, trail mix, paleo cookies, or smoothies. Many people prefer to eat them straight from the bag!

 And just to be clear on what to avoid:

  • Trans fats/ hydrogenated oils: Many commercial chocolate products – even those that seem healthy or are made with dark chocolate – can contain hydrogenated oils. Always read labels.
  • Preservatives, artificial colors or flavors: Manufacturers use a number of chemical preservatives and flavorings in chocolates. The most common ones (like vanillin, BHA and BHT) act as hormone mimics or carcinogens. The fewer ingredients, the better.
  • High sugar content: If you’re eating sugar-laden chocolate, you’re negating most of the health benefits of cocoa. Opt for chocolates with fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Dutch process: Dutching, or alkalizing, uses chemicals to mellow the flavor of cocoa. Not only does this taint the finished product with a caustic chemical, but according to the USDA, it reduces the antioxidant capacity by half.
Keep enjoying dark chocolate and be proud to call yourself a chocoholic – It really is a super food that lives up to its hype of health and happiness.

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

  1. Hayek, N. Chocolate, gut microbiota and human health. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2013;4:11
  2. Tzounis X, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Vulevic J, Gibson GR, Kwik-Uribe C, Spencer JP. Prebiotic evaluation of cocoa-derived flavanols in healthy humans by using a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93 (1):62-72
  3. Mood And Chocolate. Dr Van Rhijn. September, 2000. http://www.nutrition-matters.co.uk/html_docs/the_mind/MoodandChocolate.htm?
  4. Pase MP, Scholey AB, Pipingas A, et al. Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2013;24(5):451-458.
  5. Scientific Opinion on the modification of the authorisation of a health claim related to cocoa flavanols and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 following a request in accordance with Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal. 2014;12(5):3654.  809-818.

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, US Wellness Meats

Maureen Quinn: What Does Superwoman Eat?!

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Wed, Apr 06, 2016 @ 03:20 PM

If you saw her feats of strength, you might confuse her with Superwoman!  Featherweight Strongwoman Maureen Quinn weighs in at just 119 pounds, but can lift more than most of us can even imagine.  Below she shares her insights into the eating plan that fuels these superhuman feats. This is valuable nutritional information whether your workouts are with 10 pounds or hundreds of pounds!

"Each night I adorn my fork with selections from a feast of flavors fit for Kings and Queens. My plate may be full of slow cooked beef cheeks dressed in bone marrow, oily sablefish wrapped in bacon, or liverwurst and plantains fried in lamb tallow. Always the most flavorful, fattiest, nutrient dense animal foods to fuel my ever thriving mind and body.

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As a featherweight strongwoman competitor I am required to be on opposite ends of the athletic spectrum at the same time. I must lift monstrously heavy weights all while maintaining a petite body mass of under 120 lbs. To achieve this feat I implement a nutrition regimen which eliminates all excess body fat and develops strong compact muscles.

There are two absolute necessities for eliminating excess body fat in a safe and healthy manner. The first is to consume the majority of calories from grass fed animal fat. Equal parts saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid, animal fat is the most congruent macronutrient for efficient energy processes. It sends a trigger through your metabolic system indicating that sufficient sources of external fats are available. This allows internal fat cells to open up and burn stored triglycerides for energy.

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The second necessity is to eat one meal a day. When the body is not absorbing food, insulin levels are low and energy must be derived from internal stores. Only after 12 hours of fasting will your body enter a state where previously inaccessible fat is burned. This is not to say that the meal must be small. I truly do feast by filling up with the most delicious foods imaginable.

This form of eating which has kept me perfectly lean and allowed me to compete at such a high level would not be possible without the help of US Wellness Meats. Nowhere else am I able to find high quality grass fed tallow and organ sausages to satisfy all my nutritional needs. I am proud to wear the emblem of an organization that carries as much passion and integrity into their meats as I do in my training."

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To learn more about Maureen Quinn and her fascinating Strongwoman journey, click here to read her story from the beginning, and click here to read her last competition update.

 

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, US Wellness Meats

The Native Nutrient That Could Deactivate Disease

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 09:58 PM

If you’re looking for the best-kept secret to disease prevention, look no further than our Paleolithic ancestors.

Of course, they didn’t realize this at the time – but they held the secret to a particular nutrient that can prevent major diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease and alzheimers.

Our ancestors may have perished alongside this secret, but lucky for us, the mystery has since been unearthed along with research explaining why this nutrient is so effective.

Our story begins almost 100 years ago with an American dentist – Dr. Weston A. Price.

In 1930, Dr Price headed off an expedition to uncover the factors that created strong, healthy, straight teeth. His travels took him to cultures that were completely untouched by modern civilization; sailing to villages across the entire globe.

What he discovered among the native cultures were, of course, beautiful straight teeth with no tooth decay. He also found the people to be strong, full of energy and most importantly - free from chronic disease.

Dr. Price closely examined the diets eaten by these cultures. The common theme was that they all consumed high fat diets of organ meats, animal fats, butter, eggs and marine oils. These diets were also generally higher in minerals, and at least 10 times higher in fat-soluble vitamins than our American diet.

However, there was something even more interesting …

One particular vitamin seemed to be very important and performed a crucial role in health. He called it the ‘x-factor’. This vitamin seemed to be a master activator and without it, other nutrients weren’t able to do their job properly.

This critical vitamin is vitamin K2.

Once these cultures transitioned to modern westernized diets, low in vitamin K2, children developed crooked teeth and, over time, the cultures began experiencing our modern day diseases.

Which brings us to modern day science.

Research has finally caught up to our ancestral wisdom and we now have proof that many of our modern chronic diseases can be linked to low levels of vitamin K2.

One of the most well known pieces of science is The Rotterdam Heart Study. This research followed 4,807 subjects over a period of seven years. These individuals had no prior history of heart attack. In the final results of the study it showed that those with higher levels of vitamin K2 had a reduced incidence of death from heart disease by 57%.1 

But it’s not just heart disease that science tells us is vitamin K2 dependent, the evidence encompasses a large range of health issues including osteoporosis, cancer and even Alzheimer’s.

So, let’s take a look at how vitamin K benefits us against these diseases.

Vitamin K Benefits: K1 and K2

In the family of K vitamins, the most commonly known is vitamin K1. It assists in blood clotting, and without it – we would bleed to death. But this is not the vitamin K that interested Dr. Price so much.

Vitamin K2 is more of an ‘activator’. It has an important role in activating other nutrients. And that’s what makes it so powerful in protecting against chronic disease.

Now, our body can convert small amounts of K1 into K2. But Dr. Price’s research and the Rotterdam study both demonstrate that vitamin K is of most benefit when provided directly through the diet or with proper supplementation.

Vitamin K2: An Important ‘Bone Glue’

Back in 1978 a bone building protein was discovered called osteocalcin. This protein is an important part of our bone density. Our body uses nutrients like vitamin D to make osteocalcin. And vitamin K2 activates the osteocalcin so that it actually ‘sticks’ to your bone.

Without vitamin K2, osteocalcin can float around and cause a myriad of problems.

The first of these problems is poor bone density. This, as you may know, leads to an increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.

An important landmark study published in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research found that subjects with higher levels of inactive osteocalcin also had a higher rate of fractures.2 

Another study from 2010, conducted by researchers from Japan found that vitamin K2 treatment maintained lumbar bone mineral density in those with osteoporosis. And it prevented the occurance of new bone fractures.3

So, that’s the first problem that can be caused with inadequate vitamin K2 in the diet.

The second major problem brings us to our next topic – cardiovascular disease.

Is Cardiovascular Disease Actually A Vitamin K2 Deficiency?

We all know that hardening of the arteries is a high risk factor for cardiovascular disease – but are you aware of what hardens those arteries?

It’s that free-floating osteocalcin and other bone building proteins! You know, the stuff that’s supposed to be bound to your bone with vitamin K2.

And in case you think that sounds a bit strange …

Scientists from the Los Angeles School of Medicine confirm this fact in research published in 1993 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The researchers stated:

“Artery wall calcification associated with atherosclerosis frequently contains fully formed bone tissue including marrow.” 4

So it comes as little surprise that vitamin K2 shows up in heart disease research.

And it isn’t just the Rotterdam study that demonstrates this. In 2007 a study appeared in the journal Blood. The research conducted on rat subjects showed a 50% decrease in artery calcium and restored arterial movement through increased vitamin K2. What’s more, the researchers found a local vitamin K deficiency specifically at the calcified areas.5 

Cardiovascular disease (along with osteoporosis) is fast being considered a vitamin K2 deficiency. And Alzheimer’s may very well be too!

Activate Your Brain Insulation with Vitamin K2

A layer of ‘insulation’ covers our brain cells. This insulation is called the myelin sheath. In Alzheimer’s, a breakdown of this sheath allows plaques to build up in the brain – affecting signaling.

The myelin sheath is made from special cells in the nervous system, and vitamin K2 is responsible for protecting these cells against oxidative stress – otherwise known as free radical damage.

As well as its cell protecting effects, vitamin K2 also helps our brain make special ‘brain fats’ called sulfatides. Research shows that these fats decline with age and contribute to age related degeneration.

In fact, a 2002 paper published in the The Journal of Neurochemistry revealed that those with Alzheimers had sulfatide levels as much as 93% lower than those who did not.6

Bone health, heart disease and Alzheimer’s are certainly three major concerns that plague our modern society today. But the benefits of this “activator” nutrient don’t end there…

Vitamin K2: A Magic Bullet

In fact, vitamin K2 benefits reach deep into the body, with studies finding vitamin K2 receptors in many regions. That’s why this important vitamin shows great promise in:

  • Diabetes
  • Energy and fatigue
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Testosterone issues
  • Cancer
  • Kidney health

And speaking of kidneys, it’s time we had a look at the top vitamin K2 foods you should be eating to obtain adequate levels of this unsung ancestral hero.

The Top Vitamin K2 Foods

Organ meats, like kidneys, liver, pancreas, reproductive organs (“oysters”), brains, marrow and cartilage (and foods made from these like head cheese, liverwurst and braunschweiger) are likely a very rich source of in K2. Unfortunately, we don’t have exact values for the amounts of vitamin K2 in these superfoods at this time.

The highest known sources of vitamin K2 come from goose liver and chicken livers. You’ll also find plenty of vitamin K2 in foods like grass-fed butter and cheese, pasture-raised egg yolks, salami and other sausages from pastured animals, as well as wild fish roe. The only good vegetarian source of vitamin K2 known is natto.

Protect your bones, brain, heart (and much, much more!) by enjoying a diet rich in the “native nutrient” our ancestors prized. Accompany these power foods with organic leafy green veggies (an excellent source of vitamin K1), winter squash, yams and sweet potatoes, plus healing herbs and spices for delicious ancestral protection in our modern world.  

 

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

  1. Geleijnse J, Vermeer C, Grobbee D.E, et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study. Journal of Nutrition. 2004;134(11):3100-3105.
  2. Luukinen H, Kakonen SM, Pettersson K, et al. Strong prediction of fractures among older adults by the ratio of carboxylated to total serum osteocalcin, Journal of Bone Mineral Research. 2000;15(12):2473-2478.
  3. Shiraki M, Shiraki Y, Aoki C, Miura M. Vitamin K2 (Menatetrenone) Effectively Prevents Fractures and Sustains Lumbar Bone Mineral Density in Osteoporosis. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2010;15(3):515-521.
  4. Bostrom K, Watson KE, Horn S, Wortham C, Herman IM, Demer LL. Bone morphogenetic protein expression in human atherosclerotic lesions. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1993;91(4):1800-1809.
  5. Schurgers LJ, Spronk HM, Soute BA, Schiffers PM, DeMey JG, Vermeer C. Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood. 2007;109(7):2823-2831.
  6. Han X, M Holtzman D, McKeel DW Jr, Kelley J, Morris JC. Substantial sulfatide deficiency and ceremide elevation in very early Alzheimers disease: potential role in disease pathogenesis. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2002;82(4):809-818.

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, US Wellness Meats

Could These Fat-Laden French Foods Boost Your Health?

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 @ 11:31 PM

When it comes to health, it seems the French hold a secret that Americans don’t know.

While we have the highest rates of heart disease in the world, the French have one of the lowest. And it’s not just heart disease. Our European friends also weigh in with lower rates of obesity and diabetes.

And to add insult to injury…

The French are heavy consumers of all those calorie-laden things that are supposed to bad for us – red wine, butter, cream, meat and cheese. In fact, they’re the largest consumers of cheese in the world, at an impressive annual average of 58 pounds per person.1

So impressive are the health outcomes of the French, with high levels of fat and alcohol in their diet, that it has become known as the ‘French Paradox.’

It just doesn’t seem fair!

And while this may be a common feeling, we can learn a lot from the French diet. Until recently, the benefits were attributed to red wine. But research suggests that their staple of fatty foods may be even more important to their healthy longevity.

An interesting new study from researchers at the American Chemical Society examined the effects of three different fat-based diets on 15 healthy men. The diets were similar in fat content with one high in milk, one high in cheese and the other a control. When the researchers examined the urine and fecal matter from the subjects, they found that the diet high in cheese produced higher levels of a substance called butyrate.2

Butyrate has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years with regard to its positive effects on cholesterol, heart disease, insulin resistance, cancer and obesity.

So let’s take a closer look and answer the question…

Can We Really Go Crazy on Butter and Cheese and be as Healthy as the French?

Inside your gut are trillions of microbes. These microbes actually outnumber your human cells by 10 to one. There are many different species and strains. And they all live together as one ecosystem, called the microbiome.

And just as your human cells need food, so too do your microbial ones.

When they don’t get the right nourishment, they also perform poorly and contribute to health issues. Many scientists believe that our health issues are in fact, mostly driven by the gut. This was a view shared by Hippocrates, when he stated, “All disease begins in the gut.”

These bugs also have their own ‘waste’ that they excrete inside us. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the waste from certain types of bacteria may help to explain the French paradox and why butter and cheese play an important role in the health benefits conferred by this diet.

Anti-Inflammatory ‘Bug Waste’

The waste product we’re talking about is butyrate. It is a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) produced by the bacteria in our gut.

Butyrate is known as ‘colon food’.

In fact, research shows that butyrate could be a major player in colorectal cancer. In vivo studies show that it reduces the multiplication of cancerous cells, encourages cell death and changes the nature of these cells.3

Butyrate is an anti-inflammatory fat. And in our modern processed diets, we are simply not producing enough.

Chronic Disease is Chronic Inflammation

A recent review published in the British Journal of Nutrition explains how chronic inflammation is a major contributor to chronic disease. The review states:

“The importance of chronic low-grade inflammation in the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions is now clear. An unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be involved from the early stages of disease development.”4

To reduce the risk of chronic disease, researchers and health professionals look to the management of inflammation as an important tool. Supplements can certainly be useful to lower inflammation. But if you look at the research on butyrate and the high butter and cheese French diet, it seems more beneficial to consider our microbial food instead.

A study conducted by researchers from Utah and Louisiana State Universities found that treating diet-obese mice with sodium butyrate, prevented the development of inflammatory conditions and insulin resistance and reduced levels of obesity.5

So How Do We Make Butyrate (and Where’s the Cheese)?

Butyrate is the by-product generated from our microbes digesting the fiber found in plant-based foods. If we consider the French diet again, you find that they frequently consume local, farm fresh produce.

And if you’re a lover of cheese and butter, you’ll also be glad to know that butyrate is also found in healthy, pastured dairy products in the form of butyric acid. You’ll recognize it by its distinct buttery/cheesy aroma.

To stimulate butyrate production, enjoy healthy, grass fed meats and poultry and load your plate with fibrous organic vegetables. And be sure to include good anti-inflammatory fats like avocado, coconut oil and olive oil. Include naturally fermented products like kefir and kimchi to keep the gut populated with good bugs.

And by all means … eat grass-fed butter and cheese! You’ll please your taste buds, while helping to reduce inflammation and improve your health, to boot.  

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

1. Canadian Dairy Information Centre. Dairy Facts and Figures: Global cheese consumption (kg per capita). 2014. Accessed February 22, 2016.

2. Zheng H, Yde CC, Clausen MR, et al. Metabolomics Investigation To Shed Light on Cheese as a Possible Piece in the French Paradox Puzzle. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2015;63(10):2830-2839.

3. Canani RB, Costanzo MD, Leone L, Pedata M, Meli R, Calignano A. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;17(12):1519-1528.

4. Minihane AM, Vinoy S, Russell WR, et al. Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation. British Journal of Nutrition. 2015;114 (7):999-1012

5. Gao Z, Yin J, Zhang J, et al. Butyrate Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Increases Energy Expenditure in Mice. Diabetes. 2009;58(7):1509-1517.


Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, US Wellness Meats

The “Sports Supplement” that Can Make You Smarter

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 10:26 PM

Bodybuilders move over… neuroscience is taking a hit of your creatine!

If you’ve heard of creatine, you probably know it as a sports supplement. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid. It helps the body produce energy. And it’s used to promote muscle growth, increase strength, and boost athletic performance.

More than 500 studies show that creatine can help maintain muscular fitness. It is especially useful in times where you need explosive power. That’s why it is one of the most popular nutritional supplements used by professional athletes and those who just like pumping iron.

But this safe and effective nutrient is not just for athletes…

Creatine also benefits aging men and women by helping to prevent the age-related loss of muscle and strength. This condition is known as sarcopenia. It affects our balance, gait and ability to perform routine daily tasks. Sarcopenia is one of the primary factors leading to the institutionalization of the elderly.

If you want to preserve your independence as you grow older, maintaining muscle mass is critical. And one of the best ways is to consume enough creatine.

But it is not just physical brawn that creatine benefits…

It also supports that heavyweight thinker – your brain.

So let’s take a look at how creatine works in the body and how it is flexing some major muscle in the world of neuroscience…

Your Brain (and Body) on Creatine

The source of energy inside each cell is a molecule called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP. Every second your body produces millions of units of this “energy molecule” from three different fuel stores in the body:

  • Aerobic (from oxygen/fats)
  • Anaerobic glycolytic (from glucose)
  • ATP-PC (from creatine phosphate)

If one of these sources is absent, the others fill the gaps. The intensity of your activity is how your body works out which source to use.

And this brings us to how the brain uses energy…

Your brain makes up only two percent of your body weight. Yet, it consumes a whopping 20 percent of your daily energy expenditure. Your brain is constantly using energy to think, solve problems, retain information and send electrical impulses to your muscles and organs.

In terms of energy consumption, it is not much different from lifting weights in short bursts all day long. Your brain derives energy from all three fuel stores in the body. And just like your muscles, it is especially sensitive to the instant spurts of energy you get from the ATP-CP pathway.

When creatine levels are high, there is more phosphate in the cell to produce ATP. This directly translates to greater muscular energy… and more energy for memory and thinking.1

In other words…

When Creatine Levels are Optimized, So is Your Brain

One double-blind and placebo-controlled study, published in Neuroscience Research, examined the use of creatine in two dozen men and women. The subjects who took eight grams of creatine daily for five days showed significantly less mental fatigue while performing mathematical calculations.

Another study, using magnetic resonance technology, showed that children with the highest brain levels of creatine also had the most acute working memory. It’s even been shown that creatine supplementation is capable of increasing IQ, attention span and other measures of mental performance. 2,3

Considering these brain-boosting benefits, it’s no surprise that this essential nutrient also shows promise in the prevention and treatment of degenerative brain diseases.

Bringing Energy Back to a Damaged Brain

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are very different neurological conditions. But these illnesses do have two things in common:

  • Impairment of ATP energy metabolism
  • Oxidative damage to neurons

We have already discussed how creatine directly enhances the production of ATP, thus boosting your brain’s ability to produce energy for thought, memory and problem solving.

But creatine also acts as a potent antioxidant in the brain.4

In other words, this beneficial amino acid has a direct positive impact on two of the primary factors contributing to degenerative brain disease. So, it comes as no surprise that both animal and human studies demonstrate that creatine can improve the symptoms of neurological illness.

A 2003 study examined the effects of 10 grams a day of creatine on patients with Huntington’s disease. After one year, the patients who took creatine daily showed no changes in their mental performance.5  This indicates that creatine was able to stop the neurological degeneration.

Doing the Heavy Lifting for Mental Health

These impressive creatine benefits also expand into the area of mental health and may offer relief to those with depression, schizophrenia and PTSD.

In 2012 a review of studies spanning 30 years was published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews. The authors addressed the role of creatine in mood disorders and neurotransmitter function, stating:

“These data hint at the fact that functional neurotransmission depends on intracellular energy metabolism, supported by the creatine-phosphocreatine system.” 6

In other words, the proper functions of the chemical pathways in your brain depend largely on creatine.

And while more trials are needed, there are already promising results, demonstrated by an animal study which found that creatine supplementation improved depression-like behavior.7

Do Creatine Benefits Also Make Us Brainy?

On average, creatine levels are lower in vegetarians because it is a nutrient found primarily in meat. In fact, vegans and vegetarians are highly likely to be deficient in this critical brain-boosting compound.

Research clearly shows that supplementation significantly boosts brain performance in these people, especially in tasks that require processing speed and memory.8  Measures of intelligence also improved in vegetarian subjects who supplemented with creatine, compared to those who consumed a placebo. 9,10

It’s interesting that healthy meat eaters did not experience the same cognitive enhancements as the vegetarians. However, this does not indicate that creatine did not benefit meat eaters. Instead, it suggests that these people already had sufficient levels… and that creatine supplementation is especially important under compromised
conditions, such as deficiency or stress.

The latter was demonstrated in a study regarding sleep stress, published in the journal Psychopharmacology. The researchers concluded:

“Following 24-h sleep deprivation, creatine supplementation had a positive effect on mood state and tasks that place a heavy stress on the prefrontal cortex.”

How to Power Up Your Brain with Creatine

Creatine is provided by the diet in its natural state, but it is also produced in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. An ancestral diet high in animal protein is the best source of these amino acids along with other essential nutrients the body uses to make this ‘brain food.’

Hands down, the richest dietary sources of creatine are wild game and grass-fed meats. In fact, just two 3.5oz servings of grass-fed beef or bison will give you 1g of creatine, which is plenty to keep your daily supply topped off. Pastured poultry, pork, lamb and wild caught fish (particularly herring, salmon and tuna) are also great daily sources.

To boost creatine levels for performance or therapeutic clinical treatment, supplementation is often recommended. But for most of us, the benefits of this powerful brain-and-muscle boosting nutrient can be obtained simply by enjoying a delicious ancestral diet!

 

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

1. Watanabe A, Kato N, Kato T. Effects of creatine on mental fatigue and cerebral hemoglobin oxygenation. Neuroscience Research. 2002 Apr;42(4):279-85.

2. Ling J, Kritikos M, Tiplady B. Cognitive effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation. Behavioral Pharmacology. 2009 Dec;20(8):673-9.

3. Dechent, P., Pouwels, P. J., Wilken, B., Hanefeld, F., & Frahm, J. Increase of total creatine in human brain after oral supplementation of creatine-monohydrate. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 277(3), R698-R704

4. Lawler JM, Barnes WS, Wu G, Song W, Demaree S. Direct antioxidant properties of creatine. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Jan;290(1):47-52.

5. Tabrizi SJ, Blamire AM, Manners DN, et al. Creatine therapy for Huntington’s disease: Clinical and MRS findings in a 1-year pilot study. Neurology. 2003 Jul 8;61(1):141-2.

6.  Allen, P.J. Creatine Metabolism and psychiatric disorders: Does creatine supplementation have therapeutic value. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2012; 36(5):1442-1462.

7.  Allen, P.J, D’Anci, K.E, Kanarek, R.B, Renshaw, P.F. Chronic creatine supplementation alters depression-like behavior in rodents in a sex-dependent manner. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010;35(2):534-546

8. Benton D, Donohoe R., The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011 Apr;105(7):1100-5.

9. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561278

10.  Rae C, Digney AL, McEwan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proceedings, Biological Sciences. 2003 Oct 22;270(1529):2147-50

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Paleo, US Wellness Meats

Is This Deficiency Giving You The Blues?

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 @ 07:09 AM

Why can’t you just be happy?

Stop dwelling on things and get on with life. Be grateful for what you have. Exercise more. Watch some comedy.

All of these might be great ideas for beating the blues. But for some of us, it’s not that simple.

Imagine for a moment that your body wasn’t making enough red blood cells. Would you try to meditate those cells into existence? Probably not. It would be more practical (and effective) to include more iron in your diet to make those cells.

And the same is true for the neurochemicals in your brain that help lift your mood.

Research shows that up to a third of patients do not respond to antidepressants.1  Studies also prove that in most cases, these drugs work only as effectively as a placebo. And this says nothing of the horrendous side effects and withdrawal symptoms that many patients experience.

But there is good news for those who suffer serious depression. Researchers have demonstrated that many patients improve just by adding certain brain-boosting nutrients through diet and supplementation.

It is quite possible that for some people, depression is caused by critical nutrient deficiencies. We don’t often think of the chemicals and neurotransmitters in our brain in terms of nutrient deficiencies. But the truth is that these critical messenger molecules are  just like everything else in our body – they’re made from the building blocks in your food.

And to make the ‘happy chemicals’ in your brain, you need a “building block” that many people are deficient in…

Vitamin B12 Benefits Your Brain

Low mood and lingering depression are well-documented clinical signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is also a nutrient that shows up frequently in mental health research.

A 2005 review of studies, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, states:

“Both low folate [B9] and low vitamin B12 status have been found in studies of depressive patients. An association between depression and low levels of these two vitamins is also found in studies of the general population.” 3

Mental health studies of subjects who follow a vegetarian diet also show a correlation for depression. These diets are typically low in vitamin B12.

In 2012 a group of researchers in Germany looked at the association between vegetarian diets and mental health issues. The research, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Activity, found those on vegetarian diets had a higher prevalence of mental health issues, including depressive disorders.4

Another study conducted in Austria and published 2014 by the Public Library of Science found a similar correlation between low-meat diets and depression.5

But vegetarians are certainly not the only group at risk. Today we’re going to talk about how vitamin B12 benefits mental health and how to ensure you’re getting enough.

The Anti-Depressant Myth

Many people believe that anti-depressant medications help to increase (or make) serotonin. This is not true.

The class of medications known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) take the serotonin you already have and ‘hold it’ in the space between neurons. But we still need to produce serotonin so the SSRI has something to ‘hold.’

Like all neurotransmitters, serotonin is a type of protein molecule made from the protein that you eat. These proteins go through a critical process called methylation.

Life (And Happy Chemicals) Can’t Exist Without Methylation

Methylation is a biochemical process that happens inside every cell in your body. It occurs billions of times per second, and contributes to a wide range of functions including:

  • Mood
  • Detoxification
  • Energy production
  • Maintaining DNA
  • Immunity
  • Inflammation

For methylation to occur efficiently and successfully, we need enough vitamin B12 and B9. The absence of these vitamins can become the rate-limiting factor in producing neurotransmitters.

A 2008 review published in Alternative Medical Review explains:

“Without the participation of 5-MTHF [from methylation pathway] in this process, SAMe and neurotransmitter levels decrease in the cerebrospinal fluid, contributing to the disease process of depression.” 2

Homocysteine is also part of the methylation cycle and high levels are associated with suppressive effects on “happy” neurotransmitters. Therefore it is hypothesized that high homocysteine levels cause a depression in mood. Folate (B9) and vitamin B12 benefit patients by lowering these homocysteine levels.6

While this hypothesis still requires clinical trials, it does support what we already know: vitamins B12 and B9 are critically important to mental health.

Do You Have A Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

As we’ve discussed, one of the symptoms of a B12 deficiency is low mood or depression. Other symptoms include:

  • Constant tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Poor memory
  • Constipation, diarrhea or loss of appetite
  • Nerve problems such as numbness or tingling

There is a simple blood test which can diagnose a deficiency. Surprisingly, however, 50 percent of symptomatic patients show normal B12 levels.7  For this reason, elevated homocysteine levels are a more accurate measuring stick. If homocysteine is elevated, it’s likely that you are deficient in folate (B9) and vitamin B12.

Deficiency can occur simply by not including enough vitamin B12 in the diet, as in the case of vegetarians. But we can also become deficient due to poor digestive health and a limited ability to absorb nutrients. In these cases, healing the gut, adding enzymes and betaine HCL can help.

Some rare cases of B12 deficiency require medical supplementation. But it is within our diets that we find nature’s best source of vitamin B12.

Eat Yourself Happy!

Vitamin B12 is primarily found in pastured red meat such as beef, bison, lamb and wild game. The best sources of vitamin B9 (folate) are found in above ground vegetables, such as spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli and avocado (technically a fruit).

If this sounds a lot like the “Paleo” or ancestral diet, you are correct.

Instead of trying to force happiness into existence, we should begin with the healthy diet and nutritional starting materials your brain needs to make those “happy chemicals” on a daily basis.

By providing your body with the vital starting materials it needs to make your own “happy chemicals”, you can set yourself up for a sunny disposition that truly comes from within.

 

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

1. Webmd. Depression Health Center. Treatment resistant depression.http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/treatment-resistant-depression-what-is-treatment-resistant-depression  

2. Miller, AL. The methylation, neurotransmitter, and antioxidant connections between folate and depression. Alternative medicine review. 2008;13(3):216-226.

3. Coppen, A. Bolander-Gouaille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2005;19(1):59-65.

4. Michalak, J. Zhang, X.C. Jacobi, F. Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2012;9:67

5. Burkert, N.T. Muckenhuber, J. Großschädl, F. Rásky, E. Freidl, W. Nutrition and Health – The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched Sample Study. PLoS One. 2014;9(2)

6. Folstein, M. Liu, T. Peter, I. et al. The homocysteine hypothesis of depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;164(6):861-867.

7. R, Oh. Brown, D.L. Vitamin B12 deficiency. American Family Physician. 2003;67(5):979-986.

 

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Paleo, Grass-fed Lamb, US Wellness Meats

The Surprising Anti-Aging Nutrient in Red Meat

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 @ 02:10 PM

We all age - it’s a part of life.

But one of the greatest pains we can endure is to watch someone we love experience the debilitating and often rapid effects of aging.

And of all the age-related conditions, the one that seems to cut the greatest wound is dementia. A disease like Alzheimer’s can steal treasured memories from the sufferer, not to mention their feelings of safety, security and joy for family and loved ones.

The good news is that scientific research has revealed numerous dietary and lifestyle factors that can prevent (and sometimes reverse) the effects of this illness. Researchers have also identified specific nutrients that can slow the effects of dementia and other age-related chronic conditions.

And one of these nutrients – found primarily in red meat – shows exceptional promise in the field of anti-aging. That nutrient is L-carnitine.

Researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine in Italy conducted a controlled double-blind study on a group of patients over 65 years old who had been diagnosed with dementia.

The results of the three-month study were published in the International Journal of Pharmacology Research. They found that the patients treated with acetyl-l-carnitine showed statistically significant improvements in behavior, memory, attention and verbal fluency (the ability to quickly choose the right words).1

The researchers theorize the positive results may be related to the fact that acetyl-l-carnitine is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Studies show that acetylcholine dysfunction can contribute to the effects of Alzheimer’s.2,3 

But that’s only one way that L-carnitine can benefit the aging process.

Let’s now take a closer look at some other anti-aging L-carnitine benefits and how to get this age-defying nutrient through nature’s richest source.

Aging: How Our Cells Eventually ‘Power Down’

The powerhouse of most cells within your body is called the mitochondria.  The “mitochondrial theory of aging” asserts that free radicals damage the cell’s energy source and that over time the cell simply ‘powers down’.

A review published in Clinical Science explains this process:

“The ensuing state of oxidative stress results in damage to ETC [electron transport chain] components and mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA]. This further increases the production of reactive oxygen species. Ultimately, this 'vicious cycle' leads to a physiological decline in function, or aging.” 4

So at a fundamental level, aging is the result of mitochondrial damage.

But L-carnitine levels have been also shown to decline as we age.

Research published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications confirms that:

“Analysis of muscle samples of healthy humans of different ages showed a drastic reduction of carnitine and acetyl carnitine in the older subjects with a strong reverse correlation between age and carnitine levels.” 5

L-Carnitine Benefits Battered Cells

L-carnitine is commonly used as a sports supplement. But it is, in fact, a necessary nutrient in day-to-day energy production. Its primary role is as a nutrient ‘shuttle’ – helping to transport essential fats from cell membranes into the mitochondria of the cell to be used as energy.

These tiny factories accept fuel (in the form of carbohydrates and fats) and turn these into the energy molecule ATP. This is done via the electron transport chain (ETC).

Without L-carnitine, we have impaired energy production. Fats have no other way to enter the mitochondria.

During this process, however, a large number of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. These are commonly known as ‘free radicals.’ Over time, they promote inflammation and can damage cells.

Fortunately, L-carnitine also performs an antioxidant role. It helps to mop up the damage from these free radicals as well as help prevent the damage they can do to cells.

A 2014 review published in the journal Gene alerts us to L-carnitine’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and provide antioxidant protection for the brain.6  This is another way by which L-carnitine can benefit those with Alzheimer’s.

And it is not just dementia that has scientists looking closely at this anti-aging nutrient…

Protection at the Heart of this Number One Killer

Carnitine is concentrated in tissues that utilize fatty acids as their primary dietary fuel, including skeletal and cardiac (heart) muscles.7  Therefore it is no surprise that it also reaches to the heart of the number one cause of death: cardiovascular disease.

A 2015 study conducted in Taiwan found that treatment with L-carnitine significantly lowered markers of inflammation among subjects with coronary artery disease due to its antioxidant benefits.8

This study joins more than 20 placebo-controlled studies that also support the heart protective benefits of L-carnitine.

Another Piece of the Bone Density Matrix

Researchers from Florida State University and the University of Connecticut found that L-carnitine decreased bone turnover and slowed the rate of bone loss in rats, which holds promise for helping post-menopausal women to maintain bone density.9 

And it is not just women that can benefit. Other research, published in the International Journal of Pharmacology stated that men can expect the same bone-protecting attributes:

“Treatment with L-carnitine in this population was associated with significant increases in BMD [Bone Mineral Density] at the lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip and ASM throughout the study compared with placebo. BMD can predict osteoporotic fracture in men, independent of age, body weight, or prevalent fracture.”10

So let’s look at…

The Most Absorbable Sources of L-Carnitine for Healthy Aging

You can certainly take L-carnitine as a supplement. Many people do. But there’s a chance you’ll only absorb around 14-18% of its goodness.

But according to a summary published by the National Institutes of Health, food-based sources can increase your absorption of L-carnitine by up to 87%.11

And the very name of this nutrient gives us a clue as to its richest sources…

Carnus is Latin for flesh, which is where this nutrient was first isolated. And of course, the highest food source just happens to be pasture-raised meats, including beef, bison, lamb and pork.

In order of abundance, per 100g (3.5oz), the foods richest in carnitine include:

Following an ancestral diet that includes the food sources above will provide the highest levels - and the best absorption - of L-carnitine. Eating these alongside organic vegetables will ensure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants and not taking in pesticides, antibiotics or hormones that compromise cellular health.

Consume plenty of gut-loving fermented foods like sauerkraut or kefir from pastured dairy along with good fats that also assist in keeping inflammation down in the body.

And don’t forget to add vigorous exercise, restorative sleep, sunshine, love and laughter to these nutrition staples for a long and healthy life!

 

ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads

 

REFERENCES

1  Passeri, M. Cucinotta, D. Bonati, PA. Iannuccelli, M. Parnetti, L. Senin, U. Acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of mildly demented elderly patients. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research. 1990;10(1-2):75-79.
http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/2201659

2  Francis, PT. Palmer, AM. Snape, M. Wilcock, GK. The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimers disease: a review of progress. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 1999;66:137-147. http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/66/2/137.full

3  Alzheimer’s, Memory And Acetylcholine. 2015. http://www.psyweb.com/Documents/00000003.jsp

4  Alexeyev, MF. Ledoux, SP. Wilson, GL. Mitochondrial DNA and aging. Clinical Science. 2004;107(4):355-364. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15279618

5  Costell, M. O’Connor, JE. Grisolia, S. Age-dependent decrease of carnitine content in muscle of mice and humans. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 1989;161 (3):1135-1143. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2742580

6  Ribas, GS. Vargas, CR. Wajner, M. L-carnitine supplementation as a potential antioxidant therapy for inherited neurometabolic disorders. Gene. 2014;533(2):469-476.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24148561

7  National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Carnitine, The science behind a conditionally essential nutrient. 2004.
https://ods.od.nih.gov/News/Carnitine_Conference_Summary.aspx

8  Lee, BJ. Lin, JS. Lin, YC. Lin, PT. Antiinflammatory effects of L-carnitine supplementation (1000mg/d) in coronary artery disease patients. Nutrition. 2015;31(3):475-479. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25701337

9  Hooshmand, S. Balakrishnana, A. Clark, RM. Owen, KQ. Koo, SI. Arjmandi, BH. Dietary L-carnitine supplementation improves bone mineral density by suppressing bone turnover in aged ovariectomized rats. Phytomedicine. 2008;15(8):595-601.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711308000779

10  Wang, L. Wang,C. Efficacy of L-Carnitine in the Treatment of Osteoporosis in Men. International Journal of Pharmacology. 2015;11:148-151. http://www.scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ijp.2015.148.151&org=11
http://www.scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ijp.2015.148.151&org=11

11  National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Carnitine, The science behind a conditionally essential nutrient. 2004. https://ods.od.nih.gov/News/Carnitine_Conference_Summary.aspx

12  Carnitine, Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnitine

Topics: Grass-fed Beef, Good Fats, Grass-fed Lamb, US Wellness Meats

Choosing the Right Probiotic for Your Body

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 @ 09:35 PM

How to Choose the Right Probiotic for Your Body (The Answer May Surprise You)

“You should take a daily probiotic…”

You’ve no doubt heard this advice if you suffer from any sort of intestinal issues or after taking antibiotics.

But in the last few years, probiotic therapy has taken a huge leap out of simple ‘gut care.’ It’s now well recognized that probiotics can help with a wide range of mental and physical conditions.

In 2013 the journal Beneficial Microbes published a review various studies related to obesity and the microbiome. The authors concluded that:

“[…]Lactobacillus gasseri SBT 2055, Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103, and the combination of L. rhamnosus ATCC 53102 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 may reduce adiposity, body weight, and weight gain. This suggests that these microbial strains can be applied in the treatment of obesity.”1

Another review, published in CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, suggests that probiotic therapy may also be useful in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.2

And there is the cutting edge of microbial therapy, involving ‘poop pills’ and ‘fecal transplants’ – treatments that are showing great promise for intestinal disorders.3

It’s no wonder that probiotic sales have increased by 36% in the last five years4 with expected growth of 40 percent by 2020.5

This growth also means that there are an overwhelming number of choices for the average consumer. Case in point: A quick search for the term ‘probiotic supplement’ on Amazon yields more than 9,000 results!

So how do you just “take a probiotic” without knowing the right one to choose? And how do you know whether the one you’re taking will confer the health benefits you’re specifically looking for?

The answer is relatively simple once you understand your gut bugs more intimately.

Human…Meet Your Microbes!

Human beings have 10x more bacterial cells in our bodies than we do human cells. That’s 100 trillion bacteria, from head to toe, inside and out. You may even hear some scientists say that we’re only really 10% human!

Inside our gut live anywhere from 500 to 1000 different species of bacteria, alongside various fungi and yeasts.6  They all live in a symbiotic relationship with each other and with you, their human host.

To demonstrate the huge variety, here’s a little basic microbiology:

1. 98% of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) contains bacteria known as Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. These are categorized on the microbial family tree as phyla.

2. Each of these two phyla has a large number of genera (or genus). Lactobacillus for example, is just one genus out of over 274.7

3. Those genera each contain a number of species. Lactobacillus has around 122 different species and L. acidophilus is just one of them.8

4. And finally, within each species, you can have various strains. For example L. acidophilus DDS-1.

Now, let’s put this into perspective with probiotics. Supplements do not contain entire phyla or even genera. Many will contain an entire species, but not all species. Some won’t even contain an entire species; they will just contain a few strains.

And unfortunately, when it comes to probiotics…

It’s not Just a Case of Good vs Bad

Our large population of microbes has a range of functions including digestion, immunity, producing vitamins and essential fatty acids. It is an entire ecosystem, living together as one. And it is the overall balance of the ecosystem which determines the health of the human host.

Science tells us we can change our microbial balance in as little as 24 hours just by simply changing their environment through diet.9,10

Paul O’Toole, a professor at the Biosciences Institute in Cork, states:

"Diversity is the key. What we see with people on narrow diversity diets is that the microbiota collapses.”11

Our gut bugs are highly influenced by the food we eat (or don’t eat) – not just by the probiotics we take … or don’t take.

You see, probiotic pills are only one fraction of the equation. The key to a healthy microbiome is to employ the multi-pronged strategy that encourages microbial diversity and nourishes our healthy gut bugs… the same way our ancestors did.

Boost Your Probiotics the Way Our Ancestors Did

  • Consume only grass fed beef, pastured poultry and eggs and wild caught fish. They are free of microbiome-altering antibiotics. Be diverse in your meat choices and allow all of your meat-loving microbes to get their nourishment. Add a little salt – you also have salt-loving bugs to keep happy!
  • Give your plant-loving gut bugs their food too! Fill your plate with lots of organic vegetables, especially powerful onions, garlic, jicama and daikon radish. These foods contain prebiotic fiber for Bifidus bacteria to feed on, and they’ll produce good healthy byproducts for your body.
  • Include lacto-fermented food daily like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi. Each of these foods contains different species of beneficial bacteria. Again, be diverse and use a range of different fermented foods to get a large variety of beneficial bacteria.
  • Include lacto-fermented meats like grass-fed corned beef. This one surprises many Americans, but fermented meats are rich in powerful probiotics and a healthy addition to a microbe-supporting diet.
  • Add coconut oil, garlic and ginger regularly to food. They’re naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and help keep the microbiome in balance.
  • If you use probiotic supplements try a rotation strategy. Pick a trusted brand with good reviews, use it up and then switch to a totally different brand. This will enable you to get many strains and species instead of just a select few. Use a supplement that gives you as many CFU’s as possible – aim for tens of billions, the higher the better.
  • Beware of common chemicals that damage our microbes including bleach, hand sanitizer, chlorine and conventional personal care products. Opt for natural, “old-fashioned” methods and formulas to clean and care for your body.
  • Finally, keep stress well managed. This too can alter your microbial balance.

A balanced diet and lifestyle equals a healthy, balanced microbiome. End the probiotic supplement confusion with the simple diet tips noted above, and by making the choices our ancestors did to help preserve our ancient microbiome in a modern world.


ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads



REFERENCES

1.  Mekkes, M.C, Weenen, T.C, Brummer, R.J, Claassen, E. The development of probiotic treatment in obesity: a review. Beneficial Microbes. 2014;5(1): 19-28.

2. Slyepchenko, A, Carvalho, A.F, Cha, D.S, Kasper, S, McIntyre, R.S. Gut emotions – mechanisms of action of probiotics as novel therapeutic targets for depression and anxiety disorders. CNS Neurology Disorders Drug Targets. 2014;13(10): 1770-1786.

3. Xu, MQ, Cao, HL, Wang, WQ, et al. Fecal microbiota transplantation broadening its application beyond intestinal disorders. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2015;21(1): 102 – 111.  

4. Statistica. Sales of probiotic products worldwide from 2010 to 2015, by region.

5. Markets and Markets. Probiotic Ingredients Market by Function (Regular, Preventative, Therapy), Application (Food & Beverage, Dietary Supplements, & Animal Feed), End Use (Human & Animal Probiotics), Ingredient (Bacteria & Yeast), and by Region - Global Trends & Forecast to 2020

6. Xu J, Gordon JI. Inaugural article: honor thy symbionts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100: 10452–10459, 2003.

7. Wikipedia. Firmicutes Genera.

8. Wikipedia. Lactobacillus.

9. Lawrence, D.A, Corinne, F, Maurice, R.N. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2013; 505: 559-563.

10. Turnbaugh, P.J, Ridaura, V.K, Faith, J.J, Rey, F.E, Knight, R, Gordon, J.I. The Effect of Diet on the Human Gut Microbiome: A Metagenomic Analysis in Humanized Gnotobiotic Mice. Science Translational Medicine. 2009; 1(6): 6ra14

Andrew, A. “I had the bacteria in my gut analysed. And this may be the future of medicine.” The Guardian. February 11, 2014.

 

Topics: Misc Info, Exercise, US Wellness Meats

Forget Detoxing – Show Your Liver the Love It Needs with Ancestral Foods

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, Jan 01, 2016 @ 10:27 PM
We live in a poisoned world...
 
Exhaust from cars, factories and power plants contaminate the air.
 
Chlorine and fluoride are added to our water… not to mention gender-bending chemicals and other pollutants that make their way to the tap.
 
Flame-retardants coat our furniture. Stain treatments protect our clothing.
 
We take chemical drugs when we are sick. We rub chemical cosmetics on our skin. And nearly everything on supermarket shelves has been preserved, dipped, dyed or sprayed.
 
According to EPA sales and use statistics, nearly one billion pounds of toxic pesticides and herbicides are intentionally introduced to the environment and our food supply each year. In fact, a study published in the Annual Review of Public Health estimates that the average person consumes a GALLON of pesticides and herbicides each year.1

We’re even exposed to toxins before we take our first breath. Researchers at two major laboratories recently found an average of 200 pollutants in the umbilical cords of babies, including industrial chemicals, consumer product ingredients, pesticides and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage.2
 
Your body is immensely adaptable. It can protect you from occasional exposures to these contaminants. Unfortunately, however, for the average person, our exposures are anything but occasional. They are chronic and nearly constant.

The results of a lifetime of chronic exposure can be serious disease or just a general feeling of sluggishness, fatigue, pain and general “unwellness.”

Now, that’s the bad news.

But there is good news…

Fortunately you have a liver that is incredibly resilient. In fact, it is so perfectly designed that it can protect you from our toxic modern world. Of course, your best line of defense is to avoid toxins in every way possible.

But you must also give your liver the daily care it’s looking for. And I’m not talking about the latest detox trends.

First, it is important to understand what your liver is doing on your behalf. Then you can give it the love it needs!

Detox Pathways in a Nutshell

There are three main processes that occur in your liver to turn ingested toxins into excretions.
•Phase One Detoxification: This step includes oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, hydration and dehalogenation. This phase turns toxins into different (but still toxic) substances.
•Intermediary step: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions protect the liver against those substances from phase one. This is the liver’s way of cleaning up its own ‘mess’.
•Phase Two Detoxification (aka conjugation): This includes acetylation, methylation, sulphation, glutathionation, glucuronidation and transamination. These actions turn the toxic substances into water-soluble compounds for safe pathway through the body and excretion.
Think the “Master Cleanse” is the answer? Think again. In fact, each of these three vital detoxification steps involves a range of different nutrients. And unsurprisingly, these liver-cleansing nutrients are found abundantly in an ancestral diet.
 
Below, I share three of my favorite liver supportive foods – all backed by science. Consume these foods at least every few days to give your liver the nutritional support it needs.

Detox Food #1: The “Alligator Pear”

During the intermediary or second step of detoxification, your liver uses the antioxidant powers of vitamins A, C and E to help repair the damage caused by free radicals during phase one detoxification.

And it so happens that avocados are good sources of both C and E. But their antioxidant super-power goes far beyond that.

A 2005 study found that the addition of avocado to both salad and salsa significantly enhanced the absorption Vitamin A precursors (alpha and beta-carotene) within the foods.3

Earlier research, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, tested 22 different fruits on liver damaged rats. Out of all the fruits, the researchers discovered that, “Avocado showed extraordinarily potent liver injury suppressing activity.” 4

Give your liver that soft touch by adding chopped avocado to salads, whirling into smoothies made with grass-fed whey protein, or create a delicious guacamole to serve alongside an antioxidant-rich salsa and grass-fed beef.

Detox Food #2: The “Stinking Rose”

Garlic pops up nearly everywhere when it comes to health promoting foods. And in the case of your liver, the so-called ‘stinking rose’ is a welcome gift.

Among many other beneficial nutrients, garlic contains a number of organosulfur compounds which your liver uses during phase-two detoxification.

But garlic may also prevent disease of the liver in other ways…

A 2009 study, demonstrated the liver-protecting power of garlic against acetaminophen toxicity. The study authors suggest that garlic may actually be used as “an antidote to the development of hepatitis.”5

Of course, garlic can be used to flavor just about any savory dish. But to capture its medicinal results, it should be added just at the end of cooking. Better yet, consume garlic crushed and raw so that it retains the majority of its active constituents. Mix it simply with oil or whirl with fresh herbs (like parsley and cilantro) in a blender to create a flavorful Chimichurri, then serve atop or alongside your favorite pastured chicken, wild fish or grass-fed beef dish.  

Detox Food #3: The Golden Healer

Curcumin is the active compound in the golden spice turmeric. It has long been studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This also makes it highly valuable in that intermediate step between phase one and two detoxification.

A study conducted in 2012 and published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that curcumin successfully regenerated and repaired damaged liver tissues in diabetic rats.6

And a 2014 review published in Food and Chemical Toxicology discusses curcumin’s ability with regards to heavy metal toxins. The authors state:
“Curcumin has shown, in clinical and preclinical studies, numerous biological activities including therapeutic efficacy against various human diseases and anti-hepatotoxic effects against environmental or occupational toxins.”7
It’s no surprise that turmeric pops up in many commercial detoxification supplements. But you can get the daily benefits of turmeric just by adding it as a condiment to your daily diet… and for a lot less money, to boot!

Use fresh turmeric root blended into smoothies with other organic liver-loving vegetables, berries and grass-fed whey protein, or just add a teaspoon of this golden healer to curries, sauces, salad dressing or any savory dish for a powerful boost.

In addition to these three detox superfoods, I’ve also written previously about the liver-cleansing benefits of clean protein and gelatin to boost glutathione, your master antioxidant and detoxifier.

Detox Daily with a Low Toxin, Ancestral Lifestyle

By enjoying a whole foods ancestral diet – rich in leafy greens, healthy fats, vibrant herbs and spices, wild seafood and pastured meats- you’ll provide your body with the nutrients it needs to detox effectively… all year long!  



ED NOTE
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
 

REFERENCES

Alavanja, M.C, Hoppin, J.A, Kamel F. Health effects of chronic pesticide exposure: cancer and neurotoxicity. Annual Review of Public Health. 2004;25: 155-197.

Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns. Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2005.
 
Unlu, N.Z, Bohn, T, Clinton, S.K, Schwartz, S.J. Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans is Enhanced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil. The Journal of Nutrition. 2005;135(1): 431-436.
 
Kawagishi, H, Fukumoto, Y, Hatakeyama, M, et al. Liver Injury Suppressing Compounds from Avocado (Persea americana). The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2001;49(5): 2215-2221
 
Ezeala, C, Nweke, I, Unekwe, P, El-Safty, I, Nwaegerue, E. Fresh Garlic Extract Protects The Liver Against Acetaminophen-Induced Toxicity. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2008;7(1)
 
Khimmaktong W, Petpiboolthai H, Panyarachun B, Anupunpisit V. Study of curcumin on microvasculature characteristic in diabetic rat's liver as revealed by vascular corrosion cast/scanning electron microscope (SEM) technique. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2012 May ;95 Suppl 5:S133-41.
 
Garcia-Nono, W. R, Pedraza-Chaverri, J. Protective effect of curcumin against heavy metals-induced liver damage. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014;69: 182-201.

 

Topics: Misc Info, US Wellness Meats