It’s a staggering statistic, but we are told that by the year 2050 as many as 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s disease. Projected costs, mostly dedicated to nursing homes and homecare, are estimated to exceed $1.1 trillion.
Research dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease is laser-focused on finding a cure. Unfortunately, our most well-respected institutions are coming up empty-handed despite the incredible dedication of monetary resources in this area.
With these ideas in mind, it is unfortunate, if not heart-wrenching, to consider the simple fact that there is a profound relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Continue reading
Excessive alcohol use can cause fat accumulation in the liver. Ultimately, This accumulation of fat may lead to liver failure that may actually prove fatal.
But it turns out, that there is another form of fat accumulation in the liver that has nothing to do with consumption of alcohol, hence the name non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFDL). NAFDL is considered the most common liver disorder in developed countries, estimated to be present in an incredible 30% of American adults.
NAFDL is often not a benign condition. It is strongly related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. That means that people who have NAFDL are far more likely to develop things like type II diabetes and ultimately may even develop cirrhosis of the liver.
As you’re planning your New Year’s Resolutions, consider my list of suggestions for 2016:
- Exercise – Yes, you’ve heard it so many times before, but our understanding of what exercise does to enhance health is undergoing a revolution. While its been recognized for decades that aerobic exercise in particular is associated with risk reduction for various inflammatory and degenerative conditions, including type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic back pain and even low libido, the breakthrough has been the discovery that aerobic exercise actually changes the expression of our DNA! These changes in gene expression turn on pathways that increase our body’s production of antioxidants while reducing inflammatory mediators and amping up detoxification pathways. Yes, it’s easier to take a pill or even a nutritional supplement, but the science supporting what and how exercise does its magic is really compelling. So moving forward, I’d like you to consider 20 minutes of aerobics, every day. Continue reading
If you’ve been following the microbiome story you are likely aware of the emerging literature that squarely places gut bacteria in a pivotal position as it relates to any number of physiological processes. From regulating the balance of the immune system to determining the level of inflammation that a person may experience, it is now becoming mainstream knowledge that our gut bacteria are poised to regulate our most critical, life-supportive processes.
In Brain Maker, and certainly on this blog, I have written extensively on the important role of the microbiome in terms of regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. As such, we would expect that environmental events that disrupt the gut ecology might have a causative role, or at least show correlation with type 2 diabetes.
Recall that several months ago I called attention to the interesting study from Israeli researchers in which changes to the gut bacteria brought on by exposure to artificial sweeteners were dramatically associated with increased risk for issues related to glucose regulation, insulin sensitivity, and, therefore, type II diabetes.
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is becoming increasingly common. The syndrome is characterized by a multitude of factures, including irregular or total loss of menstrual periods, heavy periods, acne, increased facial hair, ovarian cysts and metabolic issues related to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. It is the most common endocrine disorder of women in America, and affects an incredible 5% to 10% of women between ages 18-44.
Interestingly, as we move forward in our understanding of PCOS, it appears that, despite the name, ovarian cysts are certainly not required to make the diagnosis. That is to say that the cysts are a consequence of the underlying disease process, not the fundamental player.
What PCOS represents is primarily a metabolic disorder closely akin to type 2 diabetes in which the body becomes resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin.
By now, pretty much everyone is dialed in to the message that sugar threatens health. No doubt, this is a powerful and motivating bit of information for people to adopt dietary strategies that limit sugar exposure. Unfortunately, because of this information, we are seeing a surge in the consumption of artificially sweetened foods and beverages.
In this video, I explore the fallacy and misconception of the health benefits related to non-caloric artificial sweeteners. I explored the research that actually demonstrates a dramatic increase in risk for weight gain as well as type 2 diabetes in those individuals who favor the consumption of these foods and beverages. Continue reading
Modern medicine is clearly vested in what I like to call the Las Vegas mentality. We’ve all heard that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and it seems that, as it relates to medicine today, we still tend to look at illness as being uniquely related to the body system that is affected. For example, autism is thought to represent a brain disorder having to do with the development and functionality of that organ. This is despite the ever-increasing research that demonstrates significant gut abnormalities associated with this disorder. Further, a recent study has shown that giving children with asthma increased amounts of dietary fiber leads to significant improvement. This study clearly challenges the notion that asthma is specifically a lung related disorder.
Psoriasis is a skin disorder and has been described as the most common autoimmune condition in the United States. It is thought that as many as 7.5 million Americans suffer from this condition with more than 120 million people worldwide having this disease.