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Heavy Metals & Alzheimer’s: Do Toxic Levels Contribute to Disease Progression?

Heavy Metals & Alzheimer’s: Do Toxic Levels Contribute to Disease Progression?

For a long time, there’s been an ongoing dialogue around the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals who have had exposure to heavy metals, like mercury, lead, and aluminum.

Fortunately, researchers in China and the United States recently published a study that would give us some data with which to conduct a more informed analysis. What did they find? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

5 Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet – Weight Loss & Beyond

The ketogenic diet has taken health circles by storm. Everyone seems to know somebody who has “gone keto” or is at least thinking about it. Keto labels are popping up on restaurant menus and in grocery stores.

And yet, the 2018 U.S. News & World Report recently evaluated 40 diets and guess which diet came in dead last? The ketogenic diet.

What is going on here? How can a diet land in two polar opposite camps? In a world that seems to thrive on polarizing controversy, let’s put a few misconceptions to rest and take a look into the effects of the ketogenic diet on the body. Because there is no doubt about it – the benefits of a ketogenic diet are profound. Continue reading

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Sun Exposure and Your Health

We’ve all been told that it’s a good idea to get a little sunshine each day. Reasons include the fact that this helps generate a bit of vitamin D, and that we basically just feel better when we’re exposed to this component of nature!

But new research may strengthen the sunshine recommendation. A new study, Moderate UV Exposure Enhances Learning and Memory by Promoting a Novel Glutamate Biosynthetic Pathway in the Brain, appeared in the journal Cell demonstrates how UV light exposure actually enhances memory function in laboratory animals. These researchers showed that when laboratory rats were exposed to moderate amounts of UV light, a biosynthetic pathway was activated that caused increased production of the neurotransmitter glutamate in various brain regions. Further, these animals were then shown to have improvement in specific forms of memory that involve both motor activity as well as object recognition.

The researchers stated:

Although overexposure to UV radiation may cause several adverse health effects, moderate UV exposure greatly benefits physical and mental health at multiple levels. Moderate UV-light exposure affects behaviors related to the CNS, such as emotion, learning, and memory.

Our ancestors spent a lot of time exposed to UV light, and we are just beginning to unravel more of the story as to why this was, and is, healthful.

Skin cancers, including melanoma, and enhanced skin aging do seem to be related to UV light exposure, and that’s clearly the other side of the coin. So, like so many other considerations, this is a recommendation grounded in balance. So I would consider avoiding sun exposure from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., and then limit it to around 15 minutes in total each day.

Formula Feeding and Infant Obesity: Role of the Gut Microbiome

Formula Feeding and Infant Obesity: Role of the Gut Microbiome

The advantages of breastfeeding, in comparison to formula feeding, are quite numerous. Breast-fed infants, for example, have remarkably lower risk for various allergic conditions, and there has certainly been some indication that risk of being obese or overweight may be reduced in infants who are breastfed versus those who receive infant formula.

In a new study just published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers followed a fairly large group of children, some of whom were breastfed while others were given infant formula, and determined that those receiving infant formula had a dramatically increased risk for being overweight.

Watch now, to learn more about this interesting study.

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Are Laxatives Wreaking Havoc on Your Gut?

Are Laxatives Wreaking Havoc on Your Gut?

These days, it seems like more and more Americans are taking laxatives to combat constipation. Osmotic laxatives, like Miralax and Lactulose, are one of the most popular OTC options for this. What these types of laxatives do is fill the digestive tract with particles, which attract fluid inside the gut, flushing out the system and causing a bowel movement.

A new study looks to understand if these types of treatments are a free ride to improved digestion, or if the body is actually paying a price for these interventions. Let’s take a look at the results of this study, which was performed in mice.

Night Time Light Exposure – Not a Bright Idea

We live in a very light polluted world in comparison to that of our very recent ancestors. Estimates now indicate that close to 99% of both Americans and Europeans are exposed to “light pollution.” Not only are we excessively exposed to light in modern times, but the type of light accounting for this exposure is changing rapidly. As we move away from incandescent lights in favor of light emitting diode (LED) technology, we are seeing an ever-increasing exposure to a particular part of the light spectrum – blue light, that has been associated with some worrisome effects in terms of human health.

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Energy Medicine – Fundamental in Alzheimer’s

Energy medicine is now front-and-center as a major consideration in trying to unravel the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. It’s now clear that a disruption of cellular energetics is fundamentally involved in the disease.

Multiple research studies have demonstrated that a decline in brain metabolism, specifically the brain’s utilization of glucose, is seen long before there are any clinical manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the first observable event in Alzheimer’s is the finding of reduced brain glucose utilization on a special type of brain scan. This observation presages the clinical manifestations like declining memory, judgment, and executive function by as much as several decades.

Why the brain suffers from this decline in its ability to use glucose as a fuel remains undefined, but new research is making the case that the hormone insulin is playing an important role in this event.

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Heavy Metals – A Risk for Alzheimer’s?

For years we’ve been seeing scientific literature describe the various health risks associated with having elevated levels of (potentially) toxic heavy metals. The reason this information is so important is because it opens the door to a discussion about both prevention and treatment for the associated diseases.

Certainly, one disease that draws interest from both perspectives is Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, while the actual cause, or more appropriately causes, of this dreaded disease remains hidden, there’s been discussion over the years that having higher levels of various heavy metals may be playing a role.

To explore this relationship, a team of Chinese and American researchers reviewed a vast amount of scientific research to determine if there exists any valid relationship between higher blood levels of various heavy metals and the risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Their comprehensive meta-analysis focused on aluminum, mercury, cadmium, and lead.

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