Without question one of the most common recommendations made when adults visit a medical practitioner is to reduce their sodium consumption. We’ve all been led to believe that salt is about the worst food additive out there and that it will make everybody hypertensive and affect heart and kidney functioning as well.
But much like the castigation of saturated fat, there is another side of this story we’re just now learning. Dietary sodium may have some very important positive attributes. Sodium, it turns out, it is important for the function of the hormone insulin and as such, deficiencies of sodium may relate to diabetes. Other problems that may be associated with not consuming enough salt include sleep dysfunction, poor energy, loss of mental focus, declining athletic performance, and even poor sexual performance.
With all of the hype around fasting, you may believe it to be just another modern dietary fad, but the truth is that fasting is as old as our species. Until very recently, humans have always had periods of going without food. Fasting is baked into our evolution and our physiology, and it can yield benefits to our brains and bodies, un a biochemical level, that we’re only just beginning to understand.
Many of us are blessed to live in a world with abundant food, but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout our evolutionary history, sometimes days, weeks, and months would pass during which food resources were scarce. These periods without food provided small hormetic stresses on our genome — meaning stresses that turn out to be beneficial to our bodies. In the absence of calories, life-sustaining, protective genes responsible for cellular repair and protection are activated, inflammation is reduced, and anti-oxidative defenses are increased.
This means that simply going without food for a while may have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor benefits that are available to anyone, at any time.
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
Alcohol is one of the most controversial topics health and wellness practitioners must navigate. Frequently, readers of this blog ask if alcohol consumption can be a part of a healthy lifestyle — my answer is, it depends.
Many studies have shown that alcohol consumption may have benefits far beyond easing social interaction and improving dance floor performance. A meta-analysis of the literature conducted in 2015 by the Journal of Internal Medicine found that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure. However, that same study also found that heavy drinking, defined as consuming three or more standard-sized drinks per day, is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, abnormalities in heart rhythm, and brain bleeding type stroke. How can alcohol consumption be associated with both an increased and decreased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke? Continue reading
There is an extensive body of research that reveals how critical glucose uptake and utilization are for many types of cancer. What the research has been unable to determine is exactly how cancer cells might manipulate their environment so as to increase the availability of glucose.
We commonly think that if something is good for our health, that more of it is even better, right? More kale never hurt anyone. Putting on extra sunscreen may not protect us from even more UV rays, but it certainly won’t cause excess damage!
But is that actually always true? How about with insulin, which we’re commonly told to keep as low as possible? Continue reading
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of being in ketosis lately, but do you know how do you determine if you are in this state?
Science has given us a number of methods for doing so, including breath tests, urine tests, and blood tests. To be certain, each has their own advantages and disadvantages, but I tend to fall on the side of advocating for blood-based testing, which measures your level of the chemical beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Continue reading
As we have explored previously, elevated blood sugar is clearly toxic for the brain. Higher blood sugar is clearly a risk for Alzheimer’s disease, along with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
But focusing on the brain, I think it’s important to emphasize that elevated blood sugar has wide-ranging negative effects on brain cells and their functionality. Elevated blood sugar is associated with inflammation, and this is a cornerstone mechanism across a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, persistent elevation of blood sugar ultimately compromises the function of the hormone insulin. We now recognize that insulin is important for the health and integrity of the brain not only because of its role in allowing glucose to be used as fuel, but also how it functions as a nurturing hormone. Continue reading