The fact that I embrace science as a means of validating natural remedies occasionally puts me at odds with strict holistic advocates. In a recent encounter, I was accused of aligning myself with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – an organization which, by most accounts, has a contentious relationship with the natural health community. My response was that if I were affiliated with the FDA, prescriptions for statin medications (used to lower cholesterol) would become obsolete and avocados would be stocked in pharmacies throughout the land.
Tags: Diabetes, Heart Health, Olive Oil
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Memory, Nutrition | 10 Comments & Updates
For the next few moments, I’d like you to conjure up an image of what you think caffeine does to the brain. Did you come up with negative or positive imagery? When I think of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, hot cocoa or tea, I associate them with the promotion of brain health. I know this goes against the common stereotype of caffeine as overly stimulating. However, modern science is starting to show a consistently positive trend in trials investigating the role of caffeine consumption and neuroprotection.
Tags: Cancer, Coffee, Depression
Posted in Food and Drink, Memory, Mental Health | 18 Comments & Updates
Fruit juice isn’t something that I normally recommend. Most bottled and fresh juices simply contain too much sugar – a dietary component that is already too plentiful in many diets. Then, there’s the issue of dietary fiber. The process of making juice removes the fibrous portion of fruits and vegetables, and concentrates the sweet liquid contained therein. This yields both negative and positive effects. On the one hand, the antioxidants, nutrients and phytochemicals that naturally occur in juice are often better absorbed when fiber is absent from the equation. But, without fiber, fruits and vegetable juices become more concentrated reservoirs of high glycemic carbohydrates which generally result in large fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin.
Tags: Antioxidants, Circulation, Grapes
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Memory | 11 Comments & Updates
Part of my responsibility as a medical researcher and natural health consultant is to present breaking information that your doctors may not be aware of and/or ready to share with you. Mainstream medicine is notorious for not advocating certain important health practices until they’re widely accepted by the institutions that govern it. On the other hand, holistic practitioners often veer to the opposite end of the spectrum and assign too much importance to theories that are only backed by preliminary evidence. Today’s blog features an evidence-based snapshot of a trend I’ve been seeing over the past few years. I believe the data contained herein will eventually be accepted by the alternative and conventional medical camps. But, you don’t have to wait until the Journal of the American Medical Association or some other pillar of modern medicine gives its seal of approval to enact the forthcoming research.
Tags: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 17 Comments & Updates
A recent article appearing in the Los Angeles Times draws attention to an emerging health crisis that is currently underreported. “Looking at the Link Between Diabetes and Dementia” focuses on the growing consensus among researchers that elevated blood sugar likely plays a pivotal role in the development of dementia. One of the more shocking statistics mentioned is that an estimated 10% of all dementia cases may be attributable to diabetes. But, hope can be found in the words of Dr. Debra Cherry, one of the specialists featured in the piece – “What is good for the reduction of diabetes risk is also good for reduction of the risk of cognitive impairment”.
Tags: DHA, Massage, Milk Thistle
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Memory | 7 Comments & Updates
The term “Advanced Glycation End product” or AGE isn’t exactly well known. Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine aim to change that and with good reason. To the uninitiated, AGEs are toxic byproducts that are linked to numerous health threats ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. They’re formed during the cooking and processing of various foods using high heat. Within the body, AGEs can also be produced – especially in the context of diets rich in carbohydrates.
Tags: AGEs, Alzheimer's, Heart Health
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Memory | 3 Comments & Updates
The July-August edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine addresses one of the more contentious medical, political and societal issues of our time: medical marijuana. The review provides a balanced perspective about the pros and cons of cannabis use in modern medicine. It not only describes scientific evidence pertaining to legal and illegal cannabis, but also points out issues that require more clarification and future study including: the addictive potential of the “drug”, optimal delivery methods and quality control issues involving natural and synthetic contaminants. My own investigation into the medicinal use of marijuana uncovered some promising and troubling findings. Read more »
Tags: Fibromyalgia, Marijuana, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 18 Comments & Updates
What I personally look for in a physician, regardless of their specialty, is someone who is an expert in their field, but who also acknowledges and understands the importance of holism. Historical wisdom and recent scientific discoveries make it abundantly clear that it no longer makes much sense to treat symptoms in isolation. These days, physicians need to consider individual dietary, lifestyle and psychological factors in addition to biomarkers and other test results when evaluating a patient’s true health status. Dr. Larry McCleary is an example of a brain specialist who has fully embraced this concept by searching throughout the body for clues that may enhance wellness. Read more »
Tags: Brain, Coconut, Vitamin D
Posted in Diabetes, Interviews, Memory | 1 Comment
Figures just released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report that over 94 million prescriptions for Zocor (simvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering medication, were written in 2010. Crestor and Lipitor, two other statin drugs used to reduce lipids, registered sales of $3.8 and $7.2 billion respectively last year. Salvia officinalis or sage is unlikely to pose much competition to these powerhouse medications. However, a select group of integrative and naturopathic physicians are taking note that this common culinary herb may have much to offer as an alternative and/or complementary treatment option. (1) Read more »
Tags: Alzheimer's, Cholesterol, Sage
Posted in Heart Health, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments & Updates
Throughout history there have been many wise and witty sayings about growing older. Here are a few of my favorites: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain; “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Benjamin Franklin; “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.” William James. Some of the changes that occur with advancing age cannot be avoided entirely. But I believe there’s such a thing as “quality of aging” as well as “quality of life”. What’s more, we can all affect the manner and pace by which our bodies reflect our biological years. Read more »
Tags: Arthritis, Heart Health, Tai Chi, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Memory | 21 Comments & Updates
Being an informed consumer almost always results in greater satisfaction. This applies when you’re shopping for a car, electronics, a new home and, without a doubt, medical care. In the realm of modern health care if you simply accept all of the information presented by so-called experts, you’ll often miss out on opportunities that you won’t even know exist. Two herbs that are frequently criticized in the popular press are Ginkgo biloba and Silybum marianum or milk thistle. On many occasions they’re described as ineffective and/or unproven at best and potentially dangerous at worst. However, what’s often left out of the picture is the actual data that supports their use and offers clues about their relative safety.
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Tags: Cancer, Ginkgo Biloba, Milk Thistle
Posted in Memory, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 15 Comments & Updates
When I’m asked to speak about natural medicine there’s an expectation that I’ll discuss something that’s out of the ordinary. It’s not enough for me to detail the merits of eating a whole food diet, exercising regularly or sleep hygiene. There’s got to be a “hook”. In this way, my current profession is similar to my prior one as a motion picture screenwriter. Many films stick to a familiar formula – they begin with a dramatic opening sequence that demands your attention and draws you into the story that is to follow. A health presentation entitled, “Magic Mushrooms” makes a bigger impression than a lecture about “Promoting Wellness with Fruits and Vegetables”. The reality is that there’s nothing especially magical about mushrooms apart from the fact that they may improve a variety of disease states. That’s why my Healthy Monday tip of the week is to include more mushrooms in your daily diet.
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Tags: Breast Cancer, Diabetes, PCOS
Posted in Food and Drink, Memory, Nutrition | 19 Comments & Updates
On any given day, countless patients make the decision to visit a health care professional who practices alternative medicine. Sometimes they do so as an adjunct to the care they’re already receiving from a conventionally trained physician. In other instances, they simply want something different. Hence the term “alternative medicine”. But not every alternative is created equally nor does it need to be administered or monitored exclusively by a holistic physician.
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Tags: Alzheimer's, Aspirin, Cancer
Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Memory | 9 Comments & Updates