How Sugar Harms Your Brain Health and Drives Alzheimer’s Epidemic

thinkerStory at-a-glance 

One in nine seniors over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s, and the disease is now thought to be the third leading cause of death in the US, right behind heart disease and cancer

A growing body Continue reading

Research: Foods/Spices Slow, Perhaps Reverse Alzheimer’s

aging wellDid you know that so-called “incurable” neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed, if not also partially reversed? Regeneration, after all, is the default state of the human body.

This may sound all the more surprising when you consider that Continue reading

Vitamins Offer Hope for Alzheimer’s

cinamonStory at-a-glance

  • Alzheimer’s disease is currently at epidemic proportions, with 5.4 million  Americans—including one in eight people aged 65 and over—living with it. There is no known cure, and few truly effective treatments
  • Research suggests Continue reading

A Supplement for Your Blood Vessels

Lipoic acid, also known as alpha-lipoic acid or thioctic acid, was originally identified as a vitamin more than 50 years ago. It is a naturally occurring chemical made in small amounts by plants, animals and humans. It is also a natural solution for improving the health of your blood vessels. This is the first of two articles explaining how it works.

Though the information is limited, foods rich in lipoic acid include kidney, heart, liver, spinach, tomatoes, peas, and Brussels sprouts. Lipoic acid in dietary supplements varies from 100 to 600 milligrams. In Germany, lipoic acid is available by prescription for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Low blood levels of lipoic acid are found in patients with diabetes, atherosclerosis, and liver cirrhosis.

Lipoic acid has many functions in your body: Continue reading

Treating Wrinkles the Natural Way

Though wrinkles may be an inevitable effect of aging, there are many things we can do to hold off wrinkles as well as lessen and eliminate existing ones. Here are some natural suggestions for preventing and getting rid of wrinkles:

Wrinkle Prevention

Excessive sun exposure leads to wrinkles, though it may take years. Thus one should avoid getting too much sun. However, don’t avoid sunshine entirely. Regular sunshine and the resulting vitamin D3 is actually beneficial for the skin, and it is hugely important for overall health. The best advice is to get out of the sun when you first notice your skin beginning to turn pink.  Continue reading

7 Natural Ways to Lower Radiation

Radiation worries are at an all-time high as we watch the unfolding events in Japan. At my own practice, many anxious patients and readers have called this past week wanting to know the health impact of radiation from Japan’s nuclear reactor meltdown. This article is intended to address your radiation concerns, relating both to the reactor meltdown and general exposure in everyday life, as well as what you can do to naturally protect yourself from exposure and reduce radiation load in your body.

Radioactivity from Japan has little impact on people in the U.S.

So far, the news is reporting that the four reactors in partial meltdown spewed radiation as high as 500 meters or 1,640 feet, according to John Beddington, U.K.’s Chief science officer. For some perspective, compare to the Chernobyl blast, which sent radioactive particles 30,000 feet high for months. Reports from last week found that minute radiation was detected in Sacramento, but the amount was extremely minor — one-millionth of what people get from natural background radiation. Health officials assured us that it posed no threats to residents on the west coast of the United States.

That said, you should take care to avoid foodstuff grown or raised near the fallout zone.  Continue reading

Introducing – Alpha Lipoic Acid

Other names: lipoic acid, thioctic acid, ALA

Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found naturally inside every cell in the body. It’s needed by the body to produce the energy for our body’s normal functions. Alpha lipoic acid converts glucose (blood sugar) into energy.

Alpha lipoic acid is also an antioxidant, a substance that neutralizes potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. What makes alpha lipoic acid unique is that it functions in water and fat, unlike the more common antioxidants vitamins C and E, and it appears to be able to recycle antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione after they have been used up. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps the body eliminate potentially harmful substances. Alpha lipoic acid increases the formation of glutathione.

Alpha lipoic acid is made by the body and can be found in very small amounts in foods such as spinach, broccoli, peas, Brewer’s yeast, brussel sprouts, rice bran, and organ meats. Alpha lipoic acid supplements are available in capsule form at health food stores, some drugstores, and online. For maximum absorption, the supplements should be taken on an empty stomach.

Why People Use Alpha Lipoic Acid

  Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy or by conditions such as diabetes, Lyme disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease, and kidney failure. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness, and itching.

Alpha lipoic acid is thought to work as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue, enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from damage.

Preliminary studies suggest that alpha lipoic acid may help. In one of the largest studies on the use of alpha lipoic acid, 181 people took 600 mg, 1200 mg or 1800 mg of alpha lipoic acid a day or a placebo. After 5 weeks, alpha lipoic acid improved symptoms. The dose that was best tolerated while still providing benefit was 600 mg once daily.

  Brain Function

Alpha lipoic acid can cross the blood-brain barrier, a wall of tiny vessels and structural cells, and pass easily into the brain. It is thought to protect brain and nerve tissue by preventing free radical damage.

  Age-Related Conditions

As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid can neutralize free radicals which can damage cells. Free radical damage is thought to contribute to aging and chronic illness.

  Other Conditions

Alpha lipoic acid has also been suggested for cataracts, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, burning mouth syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, but large, well-designed studies are needed to see if it’s effective for these conditions.

Side Effects

Side effects of alpha lipoic acid may include headache, tingling or a “pins and needles” sensation, skin rash, or muscle cramps.

There have been a few reports in Japan of a rare condition called insulin autoimmune syndrome in people using alpha lipoic acid. The condition causes hypoglycemia and antibodies directed against the body’s own insulin without previous insulin therapy.

The safety of alpha lipoic acid in pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with kidney or liver disease is unknown.

Possible Drug Interactions

Alpha lipoic acid may improve blood sugar control, so people with diabetes who are taking medication to lower blood sugar, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), should only take alpha lipoic acid under the supervision of a qualified health professional and have their blood sugar levels carefully monitored.

Animal studies indicate that alpha lipoic acid may alter thyroid hormone levels, so it could theoretically have the same effect in humans. People taking thyroid medications such as levothyroxine should be monitored by their healthcare provider.