The Wellness Blog

Glutamine to the Rescue

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 @ 05:48 PM

 

Glutamine to The Rescue

(Are You Truly Getting Enough?)

 

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It is also considered ‘non-essential’ – but don’t let that term fool you. It just means that your body can produce this compound itself. It is not ‘essential’ in that it comes from your diet.

The reality is that glutamine is incredibly essential. A review conducted in 1990 and published in the Journal of Surgical Research agrees…

“Its classification as a nonessential amino acid in biochemistry and nutrition textbooks is misleading and underestimates its importance as a nutrient. Newer studies suggest that glutamine may be indispensable in times of critical illness.”1

And many of us are critically low in this vital nutrient. According to research, psychological and emotional stress depletes glutamine.2  And that’s bad news since its job is to keep us healthy and keep chronic disease at bay.

By including glutamine in your ancestral diet, you support your body’s ability to manage common daily ailments… and help to prevent them from turning into something worse.

So, let’s take a look at how glutamine benefits your health and the most nourishing (and tasty) way to get it daily.

IBS? Your Gut Wants 30% of Your Glutamine

If you suffer from bloating or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may have leaky gut. This is when the integrity of your gut lining becomes compromised, allowing food particles and even toxins to pass into the bloodstream. Not only can this cause gastrointestinal symptoms, it also sets the stage for allergies, autoimmune conditions, widespread inflammation, brain fog and chronic fatigue.

But glutamine can help…

You see, glutamine acts as fuel for your digestive system. While most of your organs and muscles use glucose to power their functions, your digestive tract uses glutamine!3  And your small intestine utilizes 20-30% of what you eat!

But it does not only serve as fuel for your gut… it can also heal it.

The cells that line your intestines are replaced approximately every three days. Glutamine is required to build strong and healthy new gut cells… and to seal up any damage to the delicate epithelial lining.

A study published in the Lancet demonstrated this with patients who were fed nutrients intravenously. Those fed with the addition of glutamine experienced no change in the permeability of their gut. This was considered a positive result, because the participants who were not given glutamine, experienced an increase in gut permeability.4

But the benefits of glutamine go far beyond gut health…

Glutamine Benefits: Support Detoxification, Prevent Disease and Slow Aging

Detoxing is big business. If you’ve been low on energy or felt ‘old’ before your time, there’s a good chance you’ve tried some sort of “cleanse”. But if you know where to look in nature, you can support your innate ability to detoxify… all by itself.

Glutamine plays an important role in boosting glutathione – which is known as your body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier. From a 2002 review, published in the journal Nutrition...

"Experimental animal studies have shown that the administration of GLN [glutamine] increases tissue concentrations of reduced glutathione [GLT]”.5

Not only does glutathione fight free radicals and help to neutralize toxins… it actually slows down the aging process. But stress and illness deplete it. So if you want to keep your detoxification systems working and slow the hands of time... be sure to get enough glutamine!

And that brings me to the healing ancestral food that’s chock-full of this important nutrient…

Get All Your Glutamine Benefits from One Healing Recipe

Taking a high quality glutamine supplement is a good idea in times of illness or acute stress. It is especially important if you know that you have leaky gut – or if you suffer from food allergies, autoimmune illness or digestive ailments (which can all be related to leaky gut).

Most health experts recommend that you ramp up the dose over a few days or weeks until you are taking between 10 and 40 grams per day (with food).

But there is also a delicious food you can enjoy every day to get the benefits of glutamine…

Bone broth!

As one of the richest sources of glutamine, bone broth helps to heal the gut, detox the body and support your immune system.

Here are two super simple ways to whip up a batch of superfood bone broth!

  • 3 pounds grass-fed beef bones, chicken feet, pastured pork bones (frozen is fine)
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned well and cut in half, or 1 medium sweet onion, quartered
  • 8 cups filtered water (no more than 2/3 full)
  • 2 Tbsp. high-quality sea salt
  • 2 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar

Pressure Cooker Method: Add all ingredients to a large pressure cooker (at least 6 quarts). Do not exceed two-thirds full. Add remaining ingredients. Lock the lid, select high pressure. If you're using an Instant Pot, cook for 2 hours. If you're using a standard pressure cooker, let the contents of the pot reach high pressure, then immediately decrease the temperature to the lowest possible setting. Cook 40-50 minutes (use more time for large shank bones). Remove from heat and let pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes).

Slow Cooker Method: Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Place on a medium heat and slow cook for 24 hours. Stir occasionally to infuse the broth with the most nutrition.

Then simply strain and enjoy!

For optimum health, base your diet around ancestral foods high in healing fats (like tallow, lard, duck fat, coconut oil), grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, wild fish and organic vegetables and fermented foods… and be sure to add a daily cup of glutamine-rich bone broth for its deep healing benefits.
   

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. Souba WW, Klimberg VS, Plumley DA, et al. The role of glutamine in maintaining a healthy gut and supporting the metabolic response to injury and infection. Journal of Surgical Research. 1990;48(4):383-391.
  2. www.aminoacid-studies. Glutamine. http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/areas-of-use/sleep-mood-and-performance.html
  3. Reitzer LJ, Wice BM, Kennell D. Evidence That Glutamine, Not Sugar, Is the Major Energy Source for Cultured HeLa Cells*. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1978;254(8):2669-2676.
  4. Van der Hulst RRWJ, von Meyenfeldt MF, Deutz NEP, et al. Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity. The Lancet. 1993;341(8857):1363-1365.
  5. Roth E, Oehler R, Manhart N, et al. Regulative potential of glutamine-relation to glutathione metabolism. Nutrition. 2002;18(3):217-221.

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

USWM at Paleo(f)x - Austin, TX

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 @ 04:49 PM

Only a handful of my friends will stomach Liverwurst.

Even fewer when it comes to Pemmican.

What the Paleo f(x) Conference with 5,000 attendees held in store for me completely flipped that standard.

Never, I thought, would I see a child throw a temper-tantrum because their parents would allow them to have ONLY ONE piece of Liverwurst. When this happened, I knew I was with MY people!

Grant with One Stop Paleo Shop Team

Being the only booth with Bacon, you can imagine how popular we were. And how wonderful we made The Palmer Events Center smell! Not only was it delicious, but the accolades we received  due to its lack of ingredients (Pork Bellies & Celtic Sea Salt) could fill a novel:

  • No sugar?
  • No honey?
  • No nitrates or nitrites?
  • Whole30 approved!
  • This is the way Bacon should taste!
  • Nothing but Pork and Hickory Smoke!
  • Reminds me of my Grandmother!

Needless to say, we were out of bacon in less than a day and a half! Note to self: bring more bacon next time!

Of course, we brought more than just Pork Bacon, Pemmican, and Liverwurst. Braunschweiger, Plain & Spicy Beef Jerky, Original, Salt & Pepper, and BBQ Pork Rinds were ready to serve. To the dismay of many, Pork Rinds were gone by the end of the second day! I found a fellow Pemmican addict in Maureen Quinn, who was equally saddened that it needed to be rationed by the third day.

Amanda Love, from The Barefoot Cook (sorry, not the Barefoot Contessa!), was gracious enough to cook up Ribeyes, NY Strips, Top Sirloin, and Leg of Lamb Steaks.

By the end of the conference, everyone knew exactly where the delicious whiff of meat was emanating.

But, I would feel guilty if I didn't tell you about some of our friends that we ran into:

After hours of grazing my way through Paleo f(x), I don't know how I had room for dinner.

What an unforgettable experience; Meeting the members of my Paleo Family to share our passion for this exploding revolution!

Happy Meating!

-Grant D. Cooper

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

Hydrate Nature's Way

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Sat, Jun 04, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Coconut Water Benefits: Nature’s Plasma

During the days of World War II, there was a shortage of medical saline. As you can imagine, this was a life or death issue for injured soldiers. In a pinch, doctors found that the water from young coconuts was a good substitute. With a nutrient profile similar to blood plasma, many soldiers received intravenous treatment with coconut water.

Of course, you won’t be hooking yourself up to the nearest coconut. But this does offer insight into the health benefits of coconut water.

In 2000, The American Journal of Emergency Medicine published a review about coconut water, describing its plasma-like benefits:

“Medical resources routinely used for intravenous hydration and resuscitation of critically ill patients may be limited in remote regions of the world. When faced with these shortages, physicians have had to improvise with available resources, or simply do without. We report the successful use of coconut water as a short-term intravenous hydration fluid for a Solomon Island patient.”1

But it’s not just human cells that come to life…

Coconut water has been used in horticulture for more than 50 years.2  It is also used to promote the growth of fungi, bacteria and for preserving cells from the ligaments of teeth!3

Once you look closer at the properties of coconut water, you will see why it has so much to give. A review published in the journal Molecules calls coconut water “one of the world’s most versatile natural products”.

So let’s see how coconut water benefits your body at the cellular level… and how you can use it to improve your health. 

Decrease Blood Pressure and Increase Vitality!

If we enlarged your cells, you would see a vast network of vitamins, minerals and amino acids – all whizzing among a globe of water. But they’re not there by accident. To be healthy, our cells need the right nutrients – in the right ratios! These ratios allow your cells to communicate with each other.

One of the key ratios is the amount of sodium to potassium. In fact, this electrolyte ratio is so important that it is often called the “vitality ratio.” When it is out of balance your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke all increase.

A 2011 study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at the effects of sodium and potassium on our health.4   The researchers analyzed over 12,000 adults. They followed up with them for almost 15 years. They found that heart disease is closely associated with a high ratio of sodium to potassium. They also found a significant increase in death from other diseases.

According to a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine, our Paleolithic ancestors consumed nearly 16 times more potassium than sodium. Now, compare that to the average American today, who consumes two times more sodium than potassium!

Of course, we don’t know exactly what our ancient ancestors consumed. And we don’t know the “ideal” ratio of sodium to potassium for optimal health. But a number of health experts recommend that it should be between 1:2 and 1:3.

In other words, for every 1000mg of sodium in your diet, you should consume 2000-3000 mg of potassium.

The good news is that it’s easy to improve your vitality ratio.

The first step is to cut out processed and package foods. This is where most of the sodium in our diet comes from – not because we’re shaking too much salt at the dinner table. Next, add more potassium to your diet.

And coconut water is a delicious way to do it!

Eight ounces of coconut water contains 250 mg sodium to 600 mg potassium (1:2.4 ratio). And while it’s not the richest source of potassium you can consume, it can go a long way toward meeting your recommend daily requirement of 4,700 mg – especially when combined with other ancestral foods, like:.

•    Whole avocado – 975 mg
•    3 cups green vegetables – 800-900 mg
•    1 cup cooked spinach – 839 mg
•    2 ounces pumpkin seeds – 588 mg
•    1 banana – 422 mg
•    3 Tbsp. dried herbs – 300 mg (approx)
•    2 Tbsp. raw cacao – 160 mg
•    1 scoop (20 g) Vital Whey– 100 mg

Try a smoothie with a cup of coconut water, raw cacao, half an avocado, half a banana, a scoop of Vital Whey, a handful of spinach and enough water to reach the proper thickness. This equates roughly to a blood pressure lowering 2,000 mg of potassium – almost half your daily requirement in one delicious drink.

Coconut Water Benefits Tired, Aging Cells

Coconut water isn’t exactly water. And that’s part of its anti-aging charm! It is actually part of the endosperm of the coconut. The purpose is to provide nutrients to the developing flesh inside the fruit. That means it comes packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other phytochemicals.

One of these is kinetin.

If you look at various anti-aging creams you might see kinetin(Kn) listed as a key ingredient. Research demonstrates that kinetin can exert anti-aging effects in both animals and human cells.

A 1994 study found that when kinetin was introduced to human cells in vitro, aging was delayed. The researchers stated:

“Results show that the cytokinin Kn delays the onset of several cellular and biochemical characteristics associated with cellular ageing in vitro.”

 And when the cells had kinetin removed…

“On removal of Kn from the culture medium, aging characteristics began to reappear”.5 

 Research also shows that kinetin:

•    Exists naturally in human DNA
•    Functions as an antioxidant against free radical damage
•    Shown to slow aging in fruit flies

So, not only does coconut water benefit cellular health… it could also make them functionally younger!

Five Tasty Ways to Use Coconut Water as Cell Food

For rapid hydration: Drink one cup of coconut water after sports or if feeling under the weather. Use in place of commercial electrolyte drinks which are loaded with added sugars, artificial flavors, colors and other unhealthy ingredients. For excessive sweating, vomiting or dirrhea, you may want to just add an extra ¼ tsp of quality sea salt.

Reduce sugar intake: Use berries with coconut water in smoothies to create the sweetness. Replace high sugar fruits like bananas with potassium-rich avocado.

Switch up your coffee and tea: Try a coconut water iced coffee or iced tea for something a little different.

Add to juices: Try a low-sugar juice like cucumber, celery, ginger, spinach and lemon. Top off with coconut water for a refreshing, hydrating drink.

Coconut water vinaigrette: Mix ¼ cup coconut water, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper.

When selecting coconut water, always look for those packed in cartons (not cans), and made with no added sugar or preservatives. For water fresh from the coconut, look for Thai young coconuts. They are cream colored, with a pointed top – and the freshest coconut water you can enjoy.

Start enjoying coconut water today to optimize hydration, boost disease-fighting potassium levels and slow cellular aging!
   

ED NOTE

Kelley Herring is the author of the new book Better Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

 

REFERENCES

  1. Campbell-Falk, D. Thomas, T. Falk, TM. Tutuo, N. Clem, K. The Intravenous use of coconut water. American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2000;18(1):108-11.
  2. Yong JWH, Ge L, Ng YF, Tan SN. The Chemical Composition and Biological Properties of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) Water. Molecules. 2009;14(12): 5144-5164.
  3. Gopikrishna V, Thomas T, Kandaswamy D. A quantitative analysis of coconut water: a new storage media for avulsed teeth. Endodontology. 2008;105(2):61-65.
  4. Yang Q, Liu T, Kuklina EV, et al. Sodium and Potassium Intake and Mortality Among US Adults. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2011;171(13):1183-1191.
  5. Suresh I, Rattan S, Clark BFC. Kinetin Delays The Onset Of Ageing Characteristics in Human Fibroblasts. Biomedical and Biophysical Research Communications. 1994;201(2):665-672

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

Grandma's Favorite Spice: Diabetes Disruptor

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Sat, May 21, 2016 @ 10:36 AM

Four Health Benefits of Cinnamon – One Common Disease

Cinnamon is so delicious and comforting that it might seem strange to consider it a medicine. But cinnamon can’t fool us with its intoxicating aroma and sweet, spicy taste that Grandma loved.

Within cinnamon are a world of volatile oils and phenols, which act on different sites in your body to improve health. And one thing that science agrees on is that cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar control. In fact, research reveals four distinct ways that cinnamon works to prevent (and even treat) diabetes:

  • Scavenges free radicals
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Acts like insulin
  • Blocks carbohydrates

In a recent study of 60 individuals diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, researchers found that patients who were given as little as one gram of cinnamon daily (about half a teaspoon) experienced an 18 – 29% decrease in their blood sugar levels.

And according to research, cinnamon acts in a “dose dependent” manner… in other words, the more you take (to a degree, of course) the greater the activity. And it’s delicious, so what better reason could there be?

Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

The spice we know as cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum Tree. This tree is actually from the same family that gives us avocados, bay leaves and camphor! These trees are all well known for their fragrant culinary and medicinal properties.

However, not all types of cinnamon are equal in terms of their health advantages. They each have unique qualities. Some of the active properties in this plant include cinnamtanins, cinnamylacetate, cinnamylalcohol and cinnamaldehyde (the oil that gives cinnamon its distinctive aroma and flavor).

Cinnamon: The Spicy Scavenger of Free Radicals

Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant. Out of all foods, it ranks among the top ten with a score of 131,000 on the ORAC scale.

It has been shown to fight against advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are strong contributors to chronic illness. AGE’s are the by-product of a chemical reaction between sugars and fats or protein. This is actually a normal part of your metabolism. But the formation of these damaging compounds rapidly accelerates when blood sugar levels increase.

These compounds are also produced when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures - especially meats marinated with sugar and then chargrilled as well as foods that are processed to add browning or caramelization.

But you can fight AGE’s with cinnamon…

In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that cinnamon inhibited the formation of AGEs. Cinnamon also shows a scavenging effect on one particularly nasty type of AGE – methylglyoxal.1

So, eat a daily dose of cinnamon to fight AGEs – especially if you have metabolic or health concerns related to blood sugar.

Cinnamon for Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin resistance is among the first warning signs on the road to diabetes. Insulin helps to shuttle glucose inside our cells. But if you are insulin resistant, your cells can’t ‘see’ it. Cinnamon increases enzyme activity in the insulin signaling pathway. In other words, it helps your cells to recognize insulin again.

From a review posted in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

“… when compared to [other] herbs, spices, and medicinal extracts, aqueous cinnamon extracts (CE) potentiated insulin activity more than 20-fold, higher than any other compound tested at comparable dilutions.”2

Yet another great reason to go heavy-handed on this spice in your cooking.

Cinnamon… Acts Just Like Insulin?

Not only does cinnamon help your body to recognize insulin, it also acts like insulin! This is the result of a phytochemical called cinnamtannin B1 (cb1). Research shows that cb1 binds to insulin receptors and activates a process called phosphorylation. This encourages glucose uptake (thus helping to reduce blood sugar).

Researchers in Malaysia isolated cb1 and added it to 3T3-L1 fat cells. Surprisingly, the cells treated with cb1 were higher in activity than those treated with insulin itself. Cb1 even outperformed both mixed together.3

Cinnamon: The Natural ‘Carb Blocker’

Cinnamon is rich in active compounds which help decrease the amount of carbs digested and absorbed by the gut. These include tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, anthraquinones and glycosides.

Research published in 2011 in Nutrition and Metabolism put cinnamon to the test. The scientists found that cinnamon inhibited the digestive enzymes responsible for breaking starches into smaller units.

The result of this would be a lower blood glucose reading after a meal.4

Another study conducted by Thai researchers found various species acted on different enzymes. One species of cinnamon targeted maltase (the enzyme that breaks down maltose). Another inhibited amylase and sucrase.5

Selecting the Right Cinnamon

When selecting cinnamon use organic Ceylon instead of Cassia.

Most cinnamon found in supermarkets is Cassia. This type of cinnamon contains significant amounts of the anti-nutrient, coumarin, which can be harmful in high doses. If you are using Cassia, use less and not too often.

Experience for yourself the many health benefits of cinnamon. Mix it into broths, soups and marinades to boost flavor, balance blood sugar, and ward off age-promoting compounds. 

Cinnamon is best consumed alongside a healthy ancestral diet. But here are a few sweeter ideas for you.

  • Poached pear with cinnamon, erythritol and a little coconut cream
  • Make a protein packed smoothie! Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix and antioxidants like cacao, turmeric and ground ginger.
  • Cinnamon Paleo pancakes! (Go easy on the browning).
  • Soak a cinnamon stick in a cup of tea before drinking
  • Make a ‘cinnamon sugar’. Combine equal parts: erythritol and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of Paleo breakfast granola orlow-glycemic organic fruit like berries and apples.
  • Add a cinnamon twist to your morning Joe. Simply add to your freshly ground java beans, then brew as usual.
  • Slow roast your favorite grass-fed beef or lamb and pair with an Indian- inspired chutney or yogurt-based sauce spiked with cinnamon, turmeric and coriander.

And don’t forget, cinnamon is a warming spice! It is a great addition to hearty winter foods, like curries, chilis and stews. Make it a goal to include cinnamon daily for all its wonderful health benefits.  Especially those for diabetes and healthy sugar metabolism!
   

ED NOTE

Kelley Herring is the author of the new book Better Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…

 

REFERENCES

  1. Peng X, Ma J, Chao J, et al. Beneficial effects of cinnamon proanthocyanidins on the formation of specific advanced glycation end products and methylglyoxal-induced impairment on glucose consumption. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2010;58(11):6692-6696
  2. Bolin Q, Panickar KS, Anderson RA. Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2010;4(3):685-693.
  3. Taher M, Majid FAA, Sarmidi MR. A proanthocyanidin from cinnamomum zeylanicum stimulates phosphorylation of insulin receptor in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes. Jurnal Teknologi. 2006;44(F):53-68.
  4. Mohamed Sham Shihabudeen H, Hansi Priscilla D, Thirumurugan K. Cinnamon extract inhibits alpha-glucosidase activity and dampens postprandial glucose excursion in diabetic rats. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011;8(1):46.
  5. Adisakwattana S, Lerdsuwankij O, Poputtachai U, Minipun A, Suparpprom C. Inhibitory activity of cinnamon bark species and their combination effect with acarbose against intestinal alpha-glucosidase and pancreatic alpha-amylase. Plant Foods For Human Nutrition. 2011;66(2):143-148.

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

Three Natural Cancer Benefits of Ginger

Posted by US Wellness Meats on Fri, May 06, 2016 @ 04:53 PM

Many of us have a love affair with ginger. For some of us, it’s the comfort of spicy ginger bread cookies. For others, ginger is part of our daily tea or nutritional supplements. Or perhaps you love a bit of ginger in Japanese food… or juiced into your morning smoothie.

If you enjoy ginger regularly, you’re doing a good thing for your body. The health benefits of this ancient medicinal root are well-known and impressive. Ginger is known for its high antioxidant value. It also packs potent anti-inflammatory action. It’s used to treat arthritis, improve cardiovascular function and blood sugar control and act as a digestive aid.

But ginger also promises other potent benefits, including helping to reduce your risk for cancer. Let’s have a look at some of the medicinal benefits of ginger, and how you can enjoy it as a daily part of a cancer-fighting diet.

 

Ginger as Medicine: Tasty Compounds Pack a Powerful Punch

On the outside, ginger has a knobby appearance, very similar to turmeric. In fact, both plants are from the same Zingiberaceae family. And just like its golden relative, ginger also has powerful medicine beneath its mundane exterior.

Gingerol is the most thoroughly researched compound in ginger. It is always found in fresh ginger. But there is another medicinal compound found in ginger – especially when the root is dried.

The compound is shogaol. And it may be even more potent than gingerol.

While science is still unravelling the myriad of beneficial compounds found in ginger, and how they work to improve health, we already know that ginger has powerful effects against two of the biggest risk factors for aging and disease…   

 

Quell Oxidation & Douse Inflammation with Ginger

You may already know that inflammation and oxidation (free radical damage) are two important signs of trouble in your body. Left unmanaged, these twin forces of aging and disease dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, brain atrophy, macular degeneration… and cancer.

The good news is that ginger is a very potent natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

In-vitro and mouse studies show that gingerol and other phytochemicals in ginger directly target numerous pathways that lead to inflammation. They also increase your body’s production of its own super-charged antioxidants!

In 2005, researchers tested the effectiveness of ginger on tumors in rats. The research, published in the International Journal of Clinical Chemistry, found that ginger decreased tumors in the subjects.  They also found a significant reduction in free radicals and an increase in the production of antioxidants.1

Another study found a chemical in ginger, called zerumbone, stopped the growth of colon cancer in mice. It's thought that this compound works by suppressing inflammation in the colon. The researchers also found that as the dose increased, so too did the anti-inflammatory effects.2

Clinical research still needs to catch up. But in the meantime, a daily dose of ginger is a great way to boost your health.

In fact, nutritional science has an eye on an even more impressive health benefit of this humble root…

Ginger: 10,000x More Powerful Than Chemotherapy?

You may already know that chemotherapy kills cancer cells – along with those that are healthy. But did you know that even powerful forms of chemotherapy leave behind cancer stem cells!

The authors of a study published in the journal Pharmacology and Therapeutics state:

“Cancer stem cells (CSCs), which comprise a small fraction of cancer cells, are believed to constitute the origin of most human tumors … Many studies also suggest that CSCs serve as the basis of metastases”.3 

As cancer stem cells continue to circulate in the body, they stand ready to re-form tumors. And these cancers return much stronger and harder to treat. There is now considerable effort in cancer research to find ways of targeting cancer stem cells.

Ginger to the Rescue

In 2015, a study demonstrated the powerful benefits of the compound 6-shogaol on cancer. The research showed that it worked on both breast cancer cells and cancer stem cell cultures to:

•    Reduce cell expression
•    Reduce the formation of new cells
•    Promote cell death

In their study, the researchers compared shogaol alongside the chemotherapy drug Taxol and curcumin (from turmeric). All three compounds reduced the breast cancer cells. However, ginger outperformed the other two.

But when it came to the all-important stem cells – literally the seed from which cancer forms – only ginger and turmeric were effective. And again – ginger outperformed.

According to the researchers, the Taxol could not match the activity of shogaol, even at a 10,000 fold higher concentration.4

And ginger’s natural medicine does its work against cancer stem cells… without harming healthy cells!

 

Turn Down the Noise On Nausea

Ginger and the gut have gone hand in hand for thousands of years. Our ancestors used to use it for a range of digestion issues. But the most common use is for nausea and vomiting.

Ginger has been shown to outperform Dramamine, the leading sea sickness medication.5  Studies also show that it can help those who experience nausea from chemotherapy.6

More research about these benefits of ginger will come with time, but so far it points to ginger being a safe (and delicious) choice for everyday tummy troubles.

 

How to Take Your Daily Dose of Ginger

For the best results, be sure to mix up how you take your ginger.

For the most powerful cancer-fighting properties, dried ginger is the highest in shogaol. Fresh ginger is highest in gingerol. Once you cook ginger, the primary compound becomes zingerone (another medicinal phytochemical).

You can pop ginger through a juicer. Create a refreshing low-sugar drink with juiced cucumber, organic greens, celery and lemon… or add it fresh to smoothies.

You can also use powdered ginger, along with cinnamon, cacao, turmeric and coconut milk for a rich and satisfying antioxidant (and anti-inflammatory!) drink. Steep fresh ginger in a cup of hot water or add it to tea. Get creative and whip up a batch of Paleo gingerbread cookies with a healthy helping of ginger!

And don’t forget the savory ways you can use ginger. Marinate pastured chicken, wild salmon or grass-fed flank steak with a combination of freshly grated ginger, lemon or lime juice and sesame oil. Peel ginger root, slice thin, and add to your favorite stir fry recipes. Add ginger liberally to salad dressings, dips and sauces.   
 
The spicy-sweet taste of ginger is a wonderful addition to sweet and savory dishes alike. You can add it to almost anything to enhance flavor and boost the healing power. One word of caution: If you are on blood thinners, check with your doctor first as ginger may increase risk of bleeding.
  

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. Manju V, Nalini N. Chemopreventative efficacy of ginger, a naturally occurring anticarcinogen during the intiation, post-initiation stages of 1, 2 dimethylhydrazine-induced colon cancer. International Journal of Clinical Chemistry. 2005;358(1-2):60-67.
  2. Kim M, Miyamoto S, Yasui Y, Oyama T, Murakami A, Tanaka T. Zerumbone, a tropical ginger sesquiterpene, inhibits colon and lung carcinogenesis in mice. International Journal of Cancer. 2009;124(2):264-271.
  3. Shiozawa Y, Nie B, Pienta KJ, Morgan TM, Taichman RS. Cancer stem cells and their role in metastasis. Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2013;138(2):285-293
  4. Ray A, Vasudevan S, Sengupta S. 6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death. PlosOne. 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137614
  5. Mowrey D. B, Clayson D. E. Motion sickness, ginger, and psychophysics. Lancet.1982;1(8273):655–7.
  6. Bode AM, Dong Z. Chapter 7: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. 2011.      804

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

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.

K-235.jpg

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
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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