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Nutrition | NeuroPlus Institute I 630-357-2299

September 20, 2014

Dr. Oz, Green Coffee Bean and Weight Loss

By now you may have heard the buzz that Dr. Oz created on his television show regarding the use of Green Coffee Beans and weight loss.  Amazingly, participants in a small study (16 people: 8 men and 8 women) were able to lose up to 17 pounds in 22 weeks without exercise or altering their caloric intake.  What?  That sounds impossible.

Truth is, this is a small study and the results would need to be repeated on a much large scale to truly place this little green pill on the miracle weight loss supplement shelf.

So how does green coffee bean actually work?

We don’t really know but we have some ideas…

  1. Altered intestinal absorption of glucose (sugar)
  2. Decreased fat absorption
  3. Increased fat metabolism in the liver

The active ingredient is Chlorogenic Acid.  The study participants were given tablets containing 350 mg of green coffee bean extract with 45.9% chlorogenic acid levels either two or three times per day.1  This was taken approximately 20 minutes prior to eating a meal.

Study participants ate an average of 2,400 calories per day, did not change their level of activity and lost an average of 17 pounds.1  There is also some evidence the chlorogenic acid may lower blood pressure and fasting glucose levels as cited in other studies.

A word of warning not mentioned by Dr. Oz.  Green Coffee Bean extract can raise Homocysteine levels by 12% in the short term and 4% in the long term.  Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker.  Increases in homocysteine levels cause cardiovascular damage and can damage the medial temporal lobe (hippocampus); an area responsible for converting short into long term memories.2

Should you run out and get this supplement?

Not just yet.  The old adage if it sounds to good to be true…..probably applies here.  Give it some time and wait for further studies on this one.

1.  Joe A Vinson, Bryan R Burnham, Mysore V Nagendran, Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the
efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects.  Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy 2012:5 21–27

2.  T. den Heijer, S. E Vermeer, R. Clarke, M. Oudkerk, P. J. Koudstaal, A. Hofman1 and M. M. B. Breteler, Homocysteine and brain atrophy on MRI of non-demented elderly.  Brain (2003), 126, 170±175

Feeling Toxic? Poor Thyroid Function May Be Choking Off Your Liver

There is clear scientific evidence that hypothyoidism can alter liver detoxification pathways and bile drainage leading to elevated liver enzymes (SGOT/SGPT).(1)  The liver enzyme elevations are not commonly seen but poor liver clearance leading to “Feeling Toxic” is commonly seen in my practice.

The liver is our main detoxification organ.  There is a two step process by which detoxification occurs – Phase I and Phase II.  Low thyroid function can substantially decrease the livers ability to function in both Phase I and Phase II.

Symptoms of Toxicity:

  • Acne
  • Bitter, metallic taste
  • Brain fog
  • Circles under the eyes
  • Constipation
  • Digestive problems
  • Excessive mucous production
  • Fatigue
  • Gas, bloating
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Inflammation
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Poor concentration
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Skin rashes
  • Strong body odor or bad breath
  • Weight gain

Health Issues Related to Toxicity:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Leaky Gut
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Obesity

How Does The Body Detoxify?

A good 80% of detoxification is done by the liver.  Many chemicals and toxins are fat soluble so they need to go through a process of detoxification to make them water soluble so the body can excrete them through the kidneys, lungs, skin, etc.  Phase I is the first process and actually makes most chemicals more toxic while creating free radicals.  The next step, Phase II, is critical so these highly toxic intermediate chemicals can be conjugated (bound up and packaged) for elimination from the body.

If Phase I is too fast then Phase II may not be able to keep up with the demand and the excess toxins can re-enter circulation leading to symptoms.  If Phase I is too slow then we continue to have various chemicals/toxins continue to circulate leading to symptoms mentioned above. Hypothyroidism is known to slow down Phase I but can also slow down Phase II processes.

Certain foods can improve detoxification: sulfur containing foods (cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, eggs); vitamins B6 (avocado); zine (shellfish); and protein (meat and legumes).

The detoxification process is a high energy business requiring ample supplies of all the necessary nutrients and vast amounts of energy to process the never ending toxic load that comes out way each day.

Addressing liver detoxifcation health is an important part of our thyroid program.  The liver is also responsible for converting ~60% of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone).  If the liver is compromised or burdened by poor detoxification ability that can make handling the thyroid hormone conversion difficult as well.

Liver health is a pivotal player in how we feel.  It plays a key role in the 10 steps of thyroid metabolism and must not be over looked when helping support thyroid patients.

1.  Saha B & Maity C.  Alternation of serum enzymes in primary hypothyroidism.  Clin Chem Lab Med. 2002;40:609-611.

Why did my doctor give me Cytomel for my hypothyroidism?

If you have hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) chances are you are taking either Levothyroxine or Synthroid the two most commonly prescribed thyroid hormones in the United States.  These are both a synthetic form of T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone that your thyroid gland is not making enough of to support your metabolism.  T4 needs to be converted in the liver and gastrointestinal tract to create the necessary active form of T3.

It has been my experience that some patients will continue expressing low thyroid symptoms like feeling cold, tired, brain fog, weight gain, depression, constipation, etc. even after their physician has introduced thyroid hormone replacement and determined the patient has the correct dosage via blood work.

It has also been my experience that these patients will often go back to their physician frustrated and the doctor will give Cytomel.  Cytomel is a synthetic T3, active thyroid hormone that has immediate activity in the body.  At times this can help with the symptoms but cause other side-effects like heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, etc. and may not correct the frustrating symptoms.  Besides, who really wants to be on yet another medication?  Let’s get to the root of the problem and fix it, if possible.

In my opinion it would be better to get to the real source of the issue that is help the body CONVERT T4 into T3 naturally.  If you are not converting well then we can assume you have issues with either the liver, the GI tract or both.  These are major areas of thyroid hormone conversion.

There are many possibilities for addressing these areas but we always start with proper testing to give us a baseline understanding of nature of the problem(s).  For instance performing a lipid panel and liver enzyme panel may be a start but it is not usually enough.  There are excellent tests for evaluating the function of the liver and GI system from a functional point of view.  It is lack of function that we really want to unearth and understand.

Once we have a good understanding of the issues then targeted supplementation and specific dietary changes can have a profound impact of liver and GI function and thus thyroid hormone conversion from T4 to T3.

I have found that address these underlying issues has helped patient feel better.  Within a couple of weeks they often report better and more consistent energy, normalizing sleep patterns, relief from constipation, lifting depression and a general sense of well being.

This tells me that they are responding to my individual protocol for their issue.  It is possible to feel good again!

This is why you are still hungry!

Are you fighting food cravings, still hungry after eating a well rounded meal, or can’t lose weight even with low calorie eating and exercise? You are not alone. Millions of Americans attempt to lose weight every year or many more struggle to keep off the extra pounds they’ve lost.

Why are we, as a country, always fighting the battle of the bulge?

There are several key reasons that we struggle to lose and maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Insulin Resistance
  2. Elevated Cortisol Levels
  3. High Fructose Corn Syrup

Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas that pulls blood sugar into our cells.  Every living cell in our body need oxygen and blood sugar to create a fuel known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate).  ATP is used by our cells to carry out repair, cellular metabolism, etc.

Insulin resistant occurs when the insulin receptors on the surface of our cells no longer respond well to the insulin.  This occurs primarily due to over exposure of high levels of insulin over time.  Every time we eat a meal insulin is released.  As blood sugars rises it is insulin’s job to act as a key on the surface of our cells.  This key allows the cells to open special doors that pull blood sugar into the cell.  When this doesn’t happen well our blood sugars rise and we feel hungry.

Signs you have insulin resistance:

  1. Still hungry after eating a balanced meal
  2. Want to top off your meals with something sweet
  3. Sleepy after eating
  4. Never feel satisfied after eating

Some strategies for breaking this cycle include control the amount and type of carbohydrates eaten.  Simple carbs like breads, rice, candy, cereals, etc. will quickly increase blood sugar and cause a subsequent increase in insulin.  Breaking this cycle is very important.  Some folks actually need to go on a lime-aid juice fast for 3-5 days in order to overcome the chronic insulin resistance they experience.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is often elevated when blood sugar levels are chronically high.  Elevated cortisol levels give the body the command to deposit fat around the belly.  Big belly and thin arms and legs are signs of increased levels of cortisol.

Too much cortisol can also affect our ability to sleep and create long term memories.  If you wake up and feel like you could sleep all over again this may be a sign of high cortisol levels during the night.  Elevated cortisol levels also cause damage to an area of the brain called the hippocampus affecting our ability to move memories from short term to long term storage.

Because high insulin and cortisol often go hand in hand it is important to address the situation comprehensively.  Dietary control of carbohydrates is the first step.  There are other important strategies, which include managing cellular signaling, protecting the brain against high cortisol, reducing the insulin resistance at the cellular, decreasing inflammation all of which are specific to the person. This is why I recommend consulting with a health care practitioner well versed in functional medicine.

Functional medicine is the science of seeking solutions naturally.  By helping restore you normal metabolic processes instead of taking medications to address symptoms you have the hope of controlling your future and health.

Finally you may be craving food because of a shift in how food manufacturers moved from sucrose to high fructose corn syrup years ago.

Fructose isn’t evil because of its calorie content, but because of its breakdown and hormonal influences.  Fructose doesn’t trigger insulin release, nor leptin, which would make you feel full.  Rather, fructose consumption stimulates the release of Ghrelin which actually makes you MORE hungry.

(Beck Nielson H. “Effects of diet on the cellular insulin binding and the insulin sensitivity in young healthy subjects”. Diabetes 1978; 15:289-296)

For more information on eating a balanced diet look for the following resources:

  1. The South Beach Diet
  2. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

Bottom line:  control your simple carbs, eat small meals throughout the day, exercise moderately 30 minutes 5 days a week, stay away from juice, soda pop and other high fructose products.

Hope Restored – How To Help Your Brain Heal

Patients are often asking me about what I do using a functional approach to neurology.  How does Chiropractic Neurology actually work? This powerful video will help you discover how concepts like neuroplasticity can help people suffering from Parkinson’s, ADHD, Tremors and other neurologic conditions. Watch and pass this along to friends and others who need to see that there really is hope!

Now you’ll know why I’m passionate about what I do and how I help people.

Perfect Gift Ideas For The ADHD Student / Employee

Students and adults in the workforce alike with attention deficit disorder have trouble staying on task.  Focus is often disrupted by anything from someone clearing their throat to the person walking into the room late.  Along comes an interesting device by Lifescribe, the Echo Smart Pen (see the video below).

The Echo Smart pen allows audio recording while keeping track of notes that the student is taking.  It’s a great way to review materials after a lecture or that important board meeting.  While I wouldn’t suggest this for children in grammar school because of the price; it may be the perfect gift for more responsible high school and college kids.

I’ve used this during intense neurology lectures and found it invaluable when the instructor is moving at a quick clip through intense material.

Another neat little trick is to blend this technology with mind mapping software which allows you to solidify concepts and retain information better.  Mind mapping helps you wrap your mind around difficult concepts by placing thoughts/ideas together in groups.  Seeing how these ideas interrelate can not only help retention but also see the bigger picture.  iThoughts and Mindnode both get high ratings online.  I personally use Mindnote (free version) for the Mac.  In my opinion you don’t need to spend the extra money for the paid version.

 

FTC: Skechers Deceived Consumers With Shoes Ads. How to get your money back.

That’s the title of the newspaper article I saw in my local paper this morning by Erika Wurst.  No offense to those who use these rocker bottomed shoes but I feel vindicated!

Why?  Because this idea of a shoe that could give you an extra advantage of increased weight loss, tone thighs and the perfect butt seemed suspicious to me from the start.  There were also claims of helping abdominal strength and back pain.

Personally, I saw the exact opposite.  More back difficulties in my patients after using these shoes was more the norm.  In my opinion these shoes place more stress and strain on the lower back and pelvis area because of the abnormal gait pattern created by the rounded sole.  This additional stress didn’t translate to more weight loss but rather limited activity because of pain.  Most of my patient eventually gave these shoes up.

Apparently the Federal Trade Commission FTC agrees that the claims made by Skechers USA, Inc. were outrageous to the tune of costing the company $45 million.  Its “Shape-ups shoes didn’t live up to the weight loss or any other claims.

If you purchased these shoes you are eligible for a refund.  Feel free to make a claim by going to www.skecherssettlement.com.  No proof of purchase is required for claims under $200.

Bottom line:  Go exercise – walk, run, bike, play.  There is no magic advantage in the shape of the shoe.  Losing weight and getting healthy is simply a matter of getting out and moving your body on a regular basis.

Amazing Compound Can Rebuild Memory Areas in the Brain in as Little as 2 Weeks!

A special type of Magnesium shows great promise in reversing memory loss by increasing nerve connections in areas responsible for memory storage in the brain.

This is a specific type of magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier and increases the density of nerves responsible for memory processing.  Magnesium is an important component of how we lay down and recall memories.  It is our chemical filing system that locks in those important thoughts for later recall.

Low magnesium levels in the brain can negatively affect energy production in nerve cells as well.  Proper nerve function, energy production and stability of the areas like the hippocampus and dentate nucleus are vital for long-term healthy cognitive and memory function.

We now carry Magnesium-l-threonate in combination with other memory promoting antioxidant cofactors as part of our specially compounded supplement stock.

Ask us about how you can significantly improve your memory and cognitive function in as little as two weeks.

Additional things you can do to eat your way to a better memory:

One cup of blueberries a day can protect your brain and memory!  Studies show blueberries can minimize the natural aging process in the brain.  Why not try a cup of naturally sweet frozen blueberries with a cup of coconut milk for a cold summer snack?

Green tea has acts like an immune jump start and has anti-inflammatory actions to protect the brain and other tissues.  1-2 cups/day is the optimal level.  Enjoy!

Try coconut oil for instant brain energy!  1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil/day provides your body with MCT (medium chain triglycerides).  Although MCT are oils they are processed quickly into energy without altering blood sugar levels.  Instant brain food!

Oxygen With Exercise (EWOT) Helps Chronic Pain

I found this article published by a chiropractic neurologist and thought it was worth publishing here.  It explains why we use EWOT (exercise with oxygen therapy) in our practice as part of a pain relief and nerve healing protocols.

Potential Role of Oxygen Therapy in Comprehensive Pain Management

George W Kukurin DC DACAN, Chiropractic Neurologist

Introduction:  Supplemental oxygen  is an integral part of medical therapy.  Although it is associated most commonly with diseases of the respiratory and or cardiovascular systems, there is emerging evidence that oxygen may also play  an important role in the management of chronic painful syndromes.   For the purposes of pain control, oxygen therapy can be divided into hyperbaric and normobaric techniques.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy consists of providing 100% oxygen under pressure greater than atmospheric pressure [1]:  “hyper” greater than or more than and “baric” of or pertaining to weight, especially that of the atmosphere.  Thus the term hype-baric oxygen therapy.  In contrast to providing oxygen at levels above atmospheric pressure,  Normobaric oxygen therapy entails providing oxygen at pressures  approximately equivalent to atmospheric pressure. [2]  Normobaric oxygen therapy can further be administered with exercise, this is known as exercise with oxygen therapy (EWOT). [3]

Various types of oxygen therapy have been reported to reduce pain in patients suffering from acute and chronic pain syndromes, [4] migraine and cluster headaches, [2, 5] fibromyalgia, [6] femoral head necrosis [7],  complex regional pain syndrome, [8] failed back surgery syndrome [9]  and other painful conditions. Despite the widespread reports in the scientific literature of the effectiveness of oxygen therapy for pain relief, the exact mechanisms of this oxygen-induced pain suppression is not fully understood. However, basic science studies strongly suggest that oxygen therapy suppresses pain, [10-17]

This pain relieving property of oxygen therapy is likely explained by the modulation of a chemical called nitric oxide in the brain and other neural tissues.   [10, 15, 17]  Furthermore, oxygen therapy in addition to relieving various painful symptoms may also promote  tissue healing [18] and even nerve repair and  regeneration of nerves. [14, 16, 18]

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy requires that the patient be placed in a chamber and treated for 60 minutes or more. [10]  Costs and the lack of availability of oxygen chambers limit the practicality of the widespread use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in common painful syndromes.  Unlike hyperbaric oxygen therapy, normobaric or EWOT oxygen techniques require less oxygen, no oxygen chamber  and last only from 15-30 minutes .[3]  These qualities of normobaric and EWOT oxygen induced pain relief are much more practical and affordable.

Summary:  Oxygen therapy appears to be a promising approach to treating both acute and chronic painful syndromes. Research suggests that the pain suppressing properties of oxygen therapy are mediated through nitric oxide modulation in the brain and or spinal cord.  Fifteen to thirty minutes of oxygen combined with exercise appears to be an effective oxygen therapy protocol.  Oxygen therapy may also have the added benefit of promoting wound healing and nerve regenerations and repair.

References

1.             Zoranovic, U., et al., [Comparative analysis of lower extremities tissue perfusion by the use of perfusion scintigraphy method after hyperbaric oxygenation and lumbar sympathectomy]. Vojnosanit Pregl, 2009. 66(7): p. 563-9.

2.             Schnabel, A., et al., [Hyper- or normobaric oxygen therapy to treat migraine and cluster headache pain. Cochrane review]. Schmerz, 2008. 22(2): p. 129-32, 134-6.

3.             von Ardenne, M., Oxygen Multistep Therapy: Physiological and Technical Foundations. 1990: George Thieme Verlag. 402.

4.             Yildiz, S., G. Uzun, and M.Z. Kiralp, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in chronic pain management. Curr Pain Headache Rep, 2006. 10(2): p. 95-100.

5.             New therapies may ease headache symptoms. A two-drug combo and two kinds of oxygen therapy show promise for relieving migraine and cluster headache pain. Duke Med Health News, 2008. 14(10): p. 7-8.

6.             Yildiz, S., et al., A new treatment modality for fibromyalgia syndrome: hyperbaric oxygen therapy. J Int Med Res, 2004. 32(3): p. 263-7.

7.             Bennett, M., Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improved both pain scores and range of motion in patients with early idiopathic femoral head necrosis (Ficat stage II). Diving Hyperb Med. 41(2): p. 105.

8.             Kiralp, M.Z., et al., Effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome. J Int Med Res, 2004. 32(3): p. 258-62.

9.             Byval’tsev, V.A., et al., [Amplification of therapeutic effect after inclusion of hyperbaric oxygenation into complex conservative management of patients with recurrent pain syndrome following microdiskectomy]. Zh Vopr Neirokhir Im N N Burdenko, 2008(4): p. 30-5; discussion 35-6.

10.           Zelinski, L.M., et al., A prolonged nitric oxide-dependent, opioid-mediated antinociceptive effect of hyperbaric oxygen in mice. J Pain, 2009. 10(2): p. 167-72.

11.           Ohgami, Y., et al., Nitric oxide in hyperbaric oxygen-induced acute antinociception in mice. Neuroreport, 2009. 20(15): p. 1325-9.

12.           Wilson, H.D., et al., Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is comparable to acetylsalicylic acid treatment in an animal model of arthritis. J Pain, 2007. 8(12): p. 924-30.

13.           Wilson, H.D., J.R. Wilson, and P.N. Fuchs, Hyperbaric oxygen treatment decreases inflammation and mechanical hypersensitivity in an animal model of inflammatory pain. Brain Res, 2006. 1098(1): p. 126-8.

14.           Thompson, C.D., et al., Hyperbaric oxygen treatment decreases pain in two nerve injury models. Neurosci Res. 66(3): p. 279-83.

15.           Quock, L.P., et al., The acute antinociceptive effect of HBO is mediated by a NO-cyclic GMP-PKG-KATP channel pathway in mice. Brain Res. 1368: p. 102-7.

16.           Li, F., et al., Hyperbaric oxygenation therapy alleviates chronic constrictive injury-induced neuropathic pain and reduces tumor necrosis factor-alpha production. Anesth Analg. 113(3): p. 626-33.

17.           Chung, E., et al., Hyperbaric oxygen treatment induces a 2-phase antinociceptive response of unusually long duration in mice. J Pain. 11(9): p. 847-53.

18.           Kuffler, D.P., The role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in enhancing the rate of wound healing with a focus on axon regeneration. P R Health Sci J. 30(1): p. 35-42.

Quick, Easy Weight Loss – Lemon/Limeaid Fast

This is a simple way to weight quickly and safely.  It is a short 3-5 day fast using a special drink that you can make easily at home.  It help brings high blood sugar under control.  Great for diabetics or people that tend to have higher blood sugar.

How do I know if my blood sugar tends to be high?

  • You are the one who gets sleepy after eating (food coma is not normal)
  • You crave something sweet after a meal
  • You are often thirsty
  • You have a hard time being satisfied by eating – can’t seem to find the right food to eliminate that “craving”
  • You are fatigued after meals
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Larger waist to hip ratio

If you have any of these symptoms then this is probably for you.

Warning* – if you tend to have low blood sugar (jittery shaking hands if skip a meal, feeling light headed if you skip a meal).  Talk to me for direction.

THE DIET – Lime-aid Fast:

Recipe:  one gallon of water, 5 fresh limes, 5 fresh lemons, 1/4 cup of grade B maple syrup* (grade B maple syrup can be purchased at whole foods or simply use real maple syrup), 6 bags green tea brewed in 2 cups of water.  Mix everything together.  This is what you will be sipping every 10-15 minutes throughout the day.

Time:  3-5 days (can go up to 7 days if diabetic).  Talk with me if you are a diabetic before you start this diet.

What to avoid:  No supplements, no food, no coffee, nothing but the drink

Rules:  You must sip the drink every 10-15.  This is key to keeping your blood sugar stable and avoiding cravings.  You are doing well if you don’t feel hungry.

What if I simply must eat something?  Then eat a plain steamed vegetable that you normally don’t eat like brussels sprouts without any butter or seasonings.

What’s next:  this is a great time to consider a Clearvite Detox.  This is not a colon cleanse type detox.  Clearvite is a medical food that helps heal the liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system.  Other supplements can be added to help with specific conditions.  The program is 3 weeks and costs ~$120.  It’s not necessary but is a great way to take an additional 8-15 pounds off, especially the belly area and continue to gain sustainable energy.  The shakes also taste great.

What to expect:  Most people will lose a pound a day, feel more energy, sleep better and have a clearer head.

Why it works:

  • Staying away from food gives your body a chance to use its energy to heal.  It also removes all protein so your immune and hormonal systems can calm down.  Think of this as a “reset” for your metabolism.
  • Lemon/Lime is used for more than taste.  The lemon/lime will actually help change your bodies pH toward being more alkaline.  Most people tend to run toward being acidic.  Acidity can increase pain in the body.  Yes, even though lemons/limes are acidic they make the body more alkaline.
  • Maple syrup helps provide a steady low level of sugar to give the body energy
  • Green tea – compounds in green tea improve blood lipid (fatty acids – trigylycerides) levels and improve removal of fat from the liver.  Bottom line – grean tea helps burn fat better to activating specific enzymes.

How often can I do this diet/fast?  You can perform the fast once every 3 months if you’d like, not more often than that.

Is it safe?  Yes, most people can tolerate a short fast without any issues.  Please consult me or your physician before starting this fast, especially if you have any concerns regarding a medical condition you may have.  Discontinue if you experience any symptoms that you would consider outside of what has been explained here.

*Why grade B maple syrup?  It has a more robust flavor and hides the lemon/lime tartness better.  Honestly, you can use regular maple syrup but it must be real not made with high fructose corn syrup.