We are now at the dawn of a new age as it relates to our understanding of important chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is now clear that uric acid, previously just considered to be a waste product of metabolism, is playing a central role mechanistically in these pervasive problems.
In a recent review published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine entitled Uric Acid in metabolic syndrome: From an innocent bystander to a central player, scientists explored how uric acid plays a fundamental role, signaling the body to make and store fat, increase its blood pressure, and enhance glucose production. We all carry this type of physiology as a legacy of our primate ancestors for whom making and storing fat, for example, proved to be a survival mechanism during times of food scarcity. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, M.D.
Electronic cigarettes (commonly known as e-cigarettes) are a relatively new phenomenon. They’ve been discussed by some as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, and have seen massive spikes in popularity over the last several years. Like many new technologies, it’s taken a bit of time for research to catch up with marketing. Unfortunately, this window has allowed for an incredible surge in e-cigarette use within one of our most vulnerable populations.
In November of 2018, the CDC released a report on e-cigarette use in American youth. The results show an epidemic, with 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students using these products this year. These shocking statistics show that e-cigarette users increased from 1.5% of high school students in 2011 to 20.8% in 2018. Even more shocking, the total number of high schoolers using e-cigarettes increased by 78% from 2017 to 2018. Continue reading
What is metabolic syndrome? In my past videos, I’ve discussed the topic extensively. But at its core, it’s a constellation of health issues, including elevated blood pressure, lipid malfunction, carrying around extra weight, and increased blood sugar.
According to the World Health Organization, the biggest threats to our health, globally, are now chronic degenerative conditions, not infectious diseases. What a transition! As opposed to various epidemics of diseases that were so common in our history, what is now threatening health, across the planet, is chronic degenerative inflammatory conditions – diseases that we most fear. These include things like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and autoimmune conditions as well.
So it makes sense that we must do everything we possibly can, from a lifestyle choice perspective, to keep ourselves healthy and lower our risk for these chronic degenerative conditions.
No doubt lifestyle issues like diet and exercise have received a lot of press, but what we don’t hear about so often is the importance of social interaction. Continue reading
It has been estimated that around 60% of Americans over the age of 18 report that they are “regular” coffee drinkers. No doubt what most motivates this consumption is the familiar and dependable lift that coffee provides.
What may be less familiar to us consumers of this popular beverage is the ever-widening base of information that reveals some significant health benefits associated with this drink.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). T2D is characterized by elevation of blood sugar and that can have implications for any and all parts of the body. From my perspective as a neurologist, T2D is thought to actually double a person’s risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (more on that in a moment).
It’s now fairly common knowledge that for optimal health it makes sense to reduce the consumption of sugar. The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health-threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception seems to be that these health risks represent a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption causes weight gain, and that the weight gain is specifically related to all the other health issues.
But in a new publication, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure.
Their results revealed that higher sugar consumption raised triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, low and high-density lipoprotein as well as both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception has been that these health risks represented a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption caused weight gain, and it was the weight gain that then was the cause of the rise in blood pressure, etc.
But in a new study, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure. Continue reading
We’re certainly hearing a lot about the nutritional supplement, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as of late, and with good reason. The clinical application of CoQ10 has now been validated in many conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, chemotherapy, and periodontal disease. It’s now being explored for therapeutic efficacy in such diverse entities as immune function, migraine prevention, high blood pressure and even sperm motility.
CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell in the body, where it plays a pivotal role in the process whereby the cell is able to convert fuel into energy. Beyond this obviously critical function, CoQ10 also serves as one of the body’s most crucial antioxidants, protecting every cell against the damaging effects of chemicals called free radicals. So it’s no wonder CoQ10 is receiving so much attention.
CoQ10 is manufactured in the body, and levels of this life-supportive chemical are enhanced when CoQ10 is consumed. Lower levels may be associated with the use of various medications including:
- Statin drugs used for lowering cholesterol. These include Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, and Mevacor. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine
As research on the microbiome flourishes, we continue to find evidence for the role of probiotics in optimizing our health. Most recently, an analysis published in the journal Hypertension examines the effect of probiotic supplementation on our blood pressure. Considering that two thirds of Americans are pre-hypertensive or fully hypertensive, this data may prove extremely significant
Over the last several years, we’ve started investigations on how probiotics affect everything from brain health to acne. Though this is a relatively new field of academic concentration, the interplay between bacteria and human has been increasingly illuminating. One area of focus examines changes in blood pressure with probiotic administration. Several studies have observed positive interactions, but this meta-analysis is the first to cross-analyze and synthesize the available information. Continue reading