I recently had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion focused on the topic of statin medications used to lower cholesterol. As many of you are now aware, a new set of “guidelines” developed by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology was recently issued instructing healthcare practitioners as to when to prescribe this group of drugs.
Incredibly, under these guidelines almost half of the American population between the ages of 40 to 75 and virtually all men over age 60 would qualify for the use of this potentially dangerous class of medications.
Doubling in incidence over the past 30 years, and increasing an astonishing four-fold amongst adolescents, childhood obesity is now an epidemic in America. Make no mistake about it, this isn’t just a cosmetic issue. These children have a profoundly increased risk for a variety of associated medical problems including asthma, diabetes, and even high blood pressure, not to mention the fact that they will likely end up as obese adults with a higher risk for dieases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis and heart disease.
Clearly, the diets of our children have changed – radically. It makes perfect sense, from a biological perspective, to blame the dramatic rise in carbohydrate and sugar consumption for these issues. That’s why we’re all over the idea of promoting a higher “good” fat and low-carb diet for adults and children alike, but there’s another factor to consider. Continue reading
This week, the British Journal of Cancer published an incredibly important report that found a strong relationship between a simple blood test and the risk for various forms of cancer. The study found that the common blood test used by diabetics to measure their average blood sugar, A1c, was strongly predictive in terms of cancer development.
For those of you who are not diabetic, you may not be familiar with this simple test that has profound health implications well beyond diabetes. Basically, the A1c test measures the amount of glycation that the protein hemoglobin has undergone. Glycation simply means that sugar has become bonded to a protein, in this case hemoglobin, and this is a relatively slow process. Hence, it’s a way to get a sense as to how high the blood sugar has been, in this case over a 3-4 month period of time, and this is why it’s so helpful for diabetics.
For those of you who have been following my blog posts, the theme that is redundant focuses on the importance of choosing foods with a low glycemic index as a way to enhance brain health and function.
But beyond brain health, I want all of you to recognize that there is a direct and powerful relationship between blood sugar, the glycemic index of foods consumed, and risk for various other health-related issues. Eating foods lower on the glycemic index scale is associated with weight loss as well as improvement in a wide range of cardiovascular risk parameters.
In addition, the science is now clearly correlating reduced risk of various forms of cancer including breast, colon and prostate related to food consumption lower on the glycemic index scale. Continue reading
Diabetic neuropathy now affects an estimated 15-18 million Americans. That means that close to 70% of the almost 26 million Americans with type 2 diabetes suffer from this sometimes debilitating condition. And while there are approximately 100 different causes of neuropathy, diabetes ranks highest on the list, accounting for a full one third of neuropathy cases.
Symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy can be quite aggressive and include pain, loss of sensation, tingling and even weakness, typically affecting hands and feet.
Clinicians and researchers in Europe have long known about the effectiveness of a common nutritional supplement, alpha-lipoic acid, as an effective approach to diabetic neuropathy. But here in America most patients are given pharmaceuticals to treat the symptoms. And yet, wonderful clinical data now confirms the profound effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid in treating diabetic neuropathy. Continue reading
In humans, the relationship between type 1 diabetes and celiac disease is clear: having celiac disease dramatically increases risk for becoming a type 1 diabetic. But even beyond those with celiac disease, it has now been shown that early introduction of gluten-containing cereals in infancy is directly related to increased risk for type 1 diabetes.
The why and how of this relationship are still not perfectly clear. However, new research is focused on the role of dietary gluten in challenging the microbiome – the 100 trillion bacteria living within each of us – and how this paves the way for increased inflammation and autoimmunity, fundamental mechanisms in type 1 diabetes.
I love to hear from fellow medical professionals like Christine, who have shifted their way of thinking based on their personal experience with a changed diet/lifestyle. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have battled my weight all my life. In my early 20′s, an allergist warned me that I was sensitive to many grains and that I should eat them sparingly. I ignored it. At 49 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
I continued eating my usual diet and my blood sugars continued to rise, as did my insulin doses. When I was told I needed four injections a day as well as oral medications, I had just about had it. I was overweight significantly, felt terrible and awoke every morning with nausea and aching bones and joints. On the advice of a friend, I decided to give up carbohydrates.
As you may have heard, University of Southern California researchers recently published a report in the journal Cell Metabolism in which they related consumption of higher levels of protein from animal sources to increased mortality risk, as well as increased risk for the development of cancer. Interestingly, the same report also revealed that lower levels of protein consumption in elderly people might actually be worse in terms of risk for various health issues. The authors concluded:
These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.
The study followed 6,381 adults over an 18 year period and collected data revealing what foods were consumed as well as any specific health issues that developed.
Overall, I think the study does provide some very valuable information. If we are to interpret the results with the hope of gaining ideas about our food choices it’s important to recognize that the study clearly points a finger at the consumption of meat and dairy products in America, and that’s where we need to focus our attention.
Over the past several years I have been calling attention to the profound relationship that exists between elevation of blood sugar and risk for developing dementia. This evolving body of knowledge stems from the incontrovertible evidence linking risk for dementia with having diabetes.
More compelling is the evidence that demonstrates that this relationship becomes even more dramatic based on the length of time a person has suffered from diabetes. To be sure, I’m talking about type 2 diabetes which now affects about 28.6 million Americans. This is the type of diabetes that, in most people, is directly reflective of dietary and other lifestyle choices like exercise, stress reduction and getting enough sleep.
In this report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Rosebud Roberts, of the Mayo Clinic, whose work I have cited before, demonstrated a profoundly increased risk for developing dementia in elderly individuals who became diabetic before the age of 65, as well as in those who had been diabetic for 10 years or longer.
Here’s the take home message: you can absolutely and dramatically reduce your risk for becoming a diabetic today by changing your diet to one that includes much fewer carbs and sugars and reintroduces healthful fats back to the table. In addition, regular aerobic exercise will help to reduce diabetes risk, and, as such, go a long way to helping you avert dementia.
For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.
The path that brought J to a gluten-free, LCHF diet is interesting to learn about. The fact that he is a fellow medical practitioner makes it even more so. – Dr. Perlmutter.
I am a physician who has had intermittent diarrhea my entire life as did most of the members of my family. I simply lived with it. However, in my mid-forties, I started developing other symptoms, including inflammatory arthritis of my PIP joints of the hand (negative rheumatologic workup), odd fatigue, and three year’s worth of microscopic hematuria (negative urological workup). I was serum negative for the standard gluten markers and endoscopy biopsies were negative.
But within 4 weeks of stopping gluten on a dare from my sister, my blood in the urine stopped and has never returned (I presume kidney inflammation was present), my joint pains slowly subsided, the fatigue lifted, and the lifetime diarrhea has vanished. Man was I a happy guy!