Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

May 2012 Archives

 May Top Reads of 2012 is up on my main webpage. The main theme-the power of food as medicine for changing our disease risk! Here's a kick starter on the importance of nurture on our nature by Dr. Hyman:
In fact food contains not just calories but more importantly food contains information that controls dozens of hormones, thousands of genes and tens of thousands of protein networks that control everything from your appetite to the rate of fat burning or storage to cholesterol synthesis and more.
The food industry has created secret combinations of sugar, fat and salt in junk food that trigger biological addiction - which is why you "can't just eat one" potato chip, but you can easily just eat one serving of broccoli. Who binges on asparagus? But almost everyone has eaten a whole bag of cookies.
The quality of the food you eat is critically important, independent of the calories.  Eating junk will put on junk around your middle - even if it is invisible.  We call the fat inside your belly "VAT" or visceral adipose tissue.
And even if you are normal weight, as was the case for many of these children in the study, you can have pre-diabetes or diabetes.  You become a skinny fat person.
A surgeon friend of mine recently told me that even in people of normal weight, he found belly's full of fat - caked around their colon, liver, kidneys, and draped over all their organs.  This is caused by our industrial diet full of high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, trans-fats, flour and processed food.
The average American eats 29 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream and consumes 53 gallons of soda, 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners, 2.736 pounds of salt and 90,700 mg of caffeine per year.  Do we really think we can create health in that toxic environment?
That is why we need to "unjunk" our food, and particularly our children's food.  Yes, it is horrible that in less than a decade we have gone from one in ten kids to almost one in four kids with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Even the skinny kids are affected because of the toxic industrial food-like substances that provide too much energy and not enough good information.
But here's the problem.  We don't have a coordinated national effort, nor do our elected officials have the political willpower to buck the food industry lobby and protect our children.
Source:Hyman, M. Skinny Fat People: Why Being Skinny Doesn't Protect Us Against Diabetes and Death.
May 22, 2012.

HEADLINE: The Safety of Drugs Needs to Be Re-evaluated
The government and Institute of Medicine is becoming aware of the public safety concern regarding the increase use of prescription drugs and resultant higher number of interactions with potentially deadly effects. The fact is, drugs aren't as safe and as tested as we may think.
The Institute of Medicine Reports:
Date:  May 1, 2012
Creation of a Central Management Plan for Every New Drug Needed to Strengthen FDA's Oversight of Approved Drugs' Safety
WASHINGTON -- Although the approval of a new drug is based on evidence that its benefits outweigh its risks, the full range of a medication's effects may not become apparent until a product has been used by a larger, more diverse population over an extended period of time.  Problems associated with the anti-diabetes drug Avandia, pain reliever Vioxx, and cholesterol-reducing drug Crestor illustrate the challenges and underscore the need for a more systematic and transparent process to collect, assess, and act on data about a medication's benefit-risk profile throughout its entire "life cycle" from approval until it is no longer marketed, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine. 
According to recent estimates, nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug daily and many older people use five or more, noted the committee that wrote the report.  The report's recommendations build on the new authorities and tools provided to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007, which increased the agency's capacity to monitor drugs after approval and act if signs of safety problems appear. 
One of the committee's key recommendations is that FDA should create a benefit and risk assessment and management plan for each drug.  This would be a single, comprehensive, publicly available document that serves as a central repository of information for each product from its approval throughout its entire time on the market.  The document should include a description of any safety questions that exist when a drug is approved or that emerge over the course of the product's use, as well as benefit and risk assessments specific to these questions.  It should also include details on regulatory actions taken on the medication, such as restrictions on its use or the decision to require further research, as well as the results of these actions.  Much of this information is already being gathered by FDA, but it is currently scattered across multiple records.  Putting the information into an accessible format in a single document would make FDA's commitment to the life-cycle approach concrete and improve its transparency by giving the public easier access to useful data.
Source: IOM. National Academy of Sciences. 5/1/12.

Children with Autism are They Being Led Down the Wrong Road?

As with the obesity epidemic and children suffering from our poor quality food, children are also suffering with our poor quality health care. One of the biggest concerns with the trend in treating symptoms and not getting to the root cause is the increase in disorders with no known "cure" of symptoms. For children, the rise in autism is an example where medications are one option, but not without risk. Dr. Mercola explains:

Up to one-third of autistic children are prescribed antidepressant drugs to treat repetitive behaviors, but their benefits have been greatly overstated.
A new analysis reviewed data from five published, and one unpublished, trials and found a strong suggestion of publication bias - so strong that it could no longer be concluded that antidepressants are effective in children with autism
Drug companies publish only a fraction of the studies they fund -- the ones      that promote their drugs. If a study does not have findings that are favorable to its product, it is unlikely it will ever make it into a journal for publication and they are under absolutely no mandate to disclose that to the public.
In order for independent researchers to be able to confirm or refute a drug's safety and/or effectiveness, they need access to the same raw data and clinical study reports made available to regulators - but this data is often kept secret by drug companies
Oftentimes drugs are released to the market or prescribed for conditions without being proven safe or effective - and this includes antidepressants for children with autism
So it's not a surprise that the new analysis, published in the journal Pediatrics, found 10 randomized, controlled clinical trials of antidepressants for autism, but only five of them had been published. Of those, three showed a small benefit, while two showed none, which collectively would suggest the antidepressants may only have a modest benefit in some patients.

However, upon analyzing the data with a series of standard statistical tests that check for consistency and reliability in research data, they found a strong suggestion of publication bias - so strong that it could no longer be concluded that antidepressants are effective in children with autism. The researchers tried to get the data from the 5 unpublished studies, but only one of the authors provided results, which showed no benefit for the antidepressants.

The researchers noted:

"There was significant evidence of publication bias in all analyses. When Duval and Tweedie's trim and fill method was used to adjust for the effect of publication bias, there was no longer a significant benefit of SRI [antidepressants] for the treatment of repetitive behaviors in ASD [autism spectrum disorders]."

Just a few examples of the types of information uncovered about Tamiflu when researchers gained access to full clinical study reports, as opposed to published trial data, include:

Vital details of trials (content and toxicity profile of placebos, mode of action of drug, description and timing of adverse events)
Rationale for alternatively classifying outcomes such as pneumonia as a complication or an adverse event
Ability to know whether key subgroup analysis (influenza-infected subjects) is valid
Realization that serious adverse events (SAEs) occurred in trials for which SAEs were not reported in published papers
Source: Dr. Mercola. New Report Shows Drug Companies Lied and Overstated Their Drug's Ability to Treat Autism.  May 24, 2012. 

And...On the lighter side of food and health....

Yogurt, Mice, and Libido!

The gut-brain is an important factor to finding one cause of ASD. Here's an article that explores the lighter side of gut-psychology syndrome.

Food is not only about preventing or curing disease, but can affect our quality of life. Recently, Dr. Mercola wrote an entertaining article linking yogurt and libido!

Mice fed probiotic-rich yogurt developed a sexy swagger when they walked, which was due to them developing heavier testicles
Male mice fed probiotics also inseminated their partners faster and had more offspring, whereas female yogurt-eating mice gave birth to larger litters and were more likely to raise their pups successfully
The probiotic-rich diet also impacted the mice fur, leaving it shinier and silkier, with 10 times the active follicle density compared to the other mice
In humans, probiotics are linked to healthy weight loss, healthier offspring and perhaps also better semen quality in men, along with numerous other health benefits
o    There's obviously much more to being sexy than the number on the scale, but weight loss is often one of the first steps that comes to mind when most people think about being "sexier." Restoring your gut flora should be an important consideration if you're struggling to lose weight, as the make-up of gut bacteria tends to differ in lean versus obese people. This is one of the most compelling areas of probiotic research to date, and you can read about a handful of such studies here. For instance, obese individuals may have about 20 percent more of a family of bacteria known as Firmicutes, and almost 90 percent less of a bacteria called Bacteroidetes than lean people. Firmicutes help your body to extract calories from complex sugars and deposit those calories in fat.  When these microbes were transplanted into normal-weight mice, those mice started to accumulate twice as much fat.ii So this is one explanation for how the microflora in your gut may play a key role in weight management.

Eating plenty of unpasteurized fermented foods and/or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, along with consuming a healthy low-sugar diet, can help you optimize your probiotic intake and nourish your gut flora


By Sarah A LoBisco, ND

Here's the continuation of my homepage blog on the power of Nurture over Nature!

Curcumin for Cancer Prevention & Cardiovascular Health
If America doesn't start spicing up soon, we are losing out on our health!

Including Curcumin in our diet will have a positive effect on how our genes affect our health. Specifically, this Indian spice works at the cellular level by regulating signals related to inflammation and cellular programming for death (AKA CANCER CELLS)!

Curcumin seems to down-regulate expression of Stat3 and phospho-Stat3 proteins, as well as genes that encode anti-apoptotic signals. In other words, it inhibits cellular signals that under ordinary circumstances prevent malignant cells from going into apoptosis. It also suppresses the binding of NF-KB, a strong inflammatory signal, in two of the three peripheral blood samples. Dr. Zhang said the current data rightfully raise hope that curcumin could play a role in treatment of CTCL, Sezary syndrome, and other hematologic malignancies.

Researchers at the Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, believe they have discovered mechanisms by which turmeric exerts its cholesterol-lowering effect. Norbert Nass, MD, and his team looked at the impact of curcumin at doses ranging from 2-50 micromoles on gene expression in human hepatic cells. They found that once the dose exceeds 10 micromoles, curcumin exposure induces an up to seven-fold increase in expression of LDL-receptor mRNA, which, from a functional viewpoint, means a marked increase in hepatic uptake of LDL. The greater the hepatic uptake, the lower the circulating levels of LDL will be, thus reducing potential for atherosclerotic buildup.

Source: Peschel D, Koerting R, Nass N. J Nutr Biochem. 2007; 18 (2): 113-119.
Excerpted from Holistic Primary Care: A Golden Wonder: Turmeric Compounds Trigger Apoptosis in Lymphoma, Lower LDL Cholesterol. By Erik L. Goldman | Editor-in-Chief - Vol. 8, No. 1. Spring, 2007

Ginger and Prostate Cancer (Br J of Nutriton)

Another spice with cancer-punch-out- power:

It is appreciated far and wide that increased and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is linked with noteworthy anticancer benefits. Extensively consumed as a spice in foods and beverages worldwide, ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is an excellent source of several bioactive phenolics, including non-volatile pungent compounds such as gingerols, paradols, shogaols and gingerones. Ginger has been known to display anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, indicating its promising role as a chemopreventive agent. Here, we show that whole ginger extract (GE) exerts significant growth-inhibitory and death-inductory effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells. Comprehensive studies have confirmed that GE perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. Remarkably, daily oral feeding of 100 mg/kg body weight of GE inhibited growth and progression of PC-3 xenografts by approximately 56 % in nude mice, as shown by measurements of tumour volume. Tumour tissue from GE-treated mice showed reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods. Most importantly, GE did not exert any detectable toxicity in normal, rapidly dividing tissues such as gut and bone marrow. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity of whole GE for the management of prostate cancer.

Source: Karna P, Chagani S, Gundala SR, Rida PC, Asif G, Sharma V, Gupta MV, Aneja R. Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer (abstract). Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb;107(4):473-84. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Death by Skin
Showing how our choices in beauty affect our risk for diseases: 

  • Recent research found higher concentrations of parabens in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied, suggesting they may contribute to the development of breast cancer. One or more paraben esters were detected in 99 percent of the tissue samples collected from mastectomies. In 60 percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present
  • Overall, topical application of personal care products containing parabens appear to be the greatest source of exposure to these estrogen-mimicking chemicals, far surpassing the risk of the aluminum in antiperspirants
  • Aluminum chloride--the active ingredient in antiperspirants--has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. Like parabens, aluminum salts also mimic estrogen, and bioaccumulate in breast tissue, which can raise your breast cancer risk
  • Despite the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, their safety is primarily based on a rat study from 1956, as modern toxicology studies are lacking, and not a single study on the chemicals' carcinogenity follow acceptable regulatory standard carcinogenity study protocols, according to a recent review
  • Estrogens, whether synthetic or natural are a primary risk factor for breast cancer. Approximately 20 different studies have established that parabens have estrogenic activity, which makes them relevant when it comes to estrogen-sensitive cancers. A common excuse used to defend the absence of toxicological studies is that parabens are weak in terms of potency. For example, propylparaben and butylparaben are approximately 30,000 and 10,000 less potent than estradiol, respectively.
"However, estradiol occurs in breast tissue in the pictogram per gram of tissue range... but the results reported by Barr [the featured study] show tissue concentrations of parabens, in the worst cases, in the microgram per gram of breast tissue range, which is one million-fold higher than that of estradiol. Clearly, the magnitude of exposure would seem to more than compensate for the reduction in potency," Harvey and Everett write.
But that's not all. A 2011 study reported that methylparaben promotes cell cycling and makes human breast cells more resistant to apoptosis, which, according to the authors can provide the molecular basis for malignant tumor proliferation. Harvey and Everett also cite another study from 2007, which found that propylparaben and butylparaben cause detectable DNA damage.

Source: Dr. Mercola. May 24, 2012. 99% of Breast Cancer Tissue Contained This Everyday Chemical (NOT Aluminum).

Read more at:

Protecting Our Brain & Balancing Our Blood Sugar

In keeping with my current trend of protecting our bodies (from excess sugar villain), here's a study that shows how spicing up our life can help. 
Why not substitute the yummy flavor of cinnamon to your hot beverage to balance blood sugar, control inflammation, and potentially help your brain? Recent studies show that cinnamon by decrease early Aβ amyloid fibrils formation in Alzheimer's disease, the more risky memory blunter than the Aβ soluble oligomers.
Recent studies have shown inhibition of Aβ plaque formation in vitro and in vivo by compounds from natural sources [19]-[21]....
Cinnamon is widely used by humans, both as a spice and as a traditional medicine. It is, perhaps, one of the oldest herbal medicines, having been mentioned in the Bible (Exodus, Proverbs and Song of Songs) and in Chinese texts as long as 4,000 years ago [22]. 
..The unique healing abilities of cinnamon are due to various components such as cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, in addition to a wide range of other volatile substances including safrole, coumarin and cinnamic acid esters [22]..
. Cinnamon has unique medicinal abilities such as blood sugar control [23], anti-oxidant [22], anti inflammatory [24] and anti-microbial activities [25]. 
..Here, we demonstrate the use of a natural substance based on aqueous cinnamon extract (CEppt) as an efficacious therapeutic agent that inhibits Aβ oligomer formation and ameliorates AD symptoms. In addition, we suggest the use of an efficacious platform for screening molecules as AD drugs using in vitro cell culture and in vivo AD fly and aggressive AD mouse model.
Source: Frydman-Marom A, Levin A, Farfara D, Benromano T, Scherzer-Attali R, et al. (2011) Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease Animal Models. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16564. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016564

Alpha Lipoic Acid Could Help Weight loss

Another promising natural compound, alpha lipoid acid, was recently shown in a RCT, placebo study of 360 obese people to help assist in weight loss. I often use this substance, when indicated for my clients. It's weight loss effect is probably to its modulation of insulin on insulin sensitivity:

CONCLUSION:  Alpha-lipoic acid 1800 mg/d led to a modest weight loss in obese subjects. Alpha-lipoic acid may be considered as adjunctive therapy for obesity.
Source: Koh EH, Lee WJ, Lee SA,  Kim EH, Cho EH, Jeong E, Kim DW, Kim MS, Park JY, Park KG, Lee HJ, Lee IK, Lim S, Jang HC, Lee KH, Lee KU.Effects of alpha-lipoic Acid on body weight in obese subjects (abstract). Am J Med. 2011 Jan;124(1):85.e1-8. PMID: 21187189

To Lose Weight....Run....FAR Away From Marathons (Dr. Mercola)

You may think that a winner of a marathon is in top-peak condition. Not so. There have been reports of people dropping dead unexpectedly in marathons. (YIKES!)  The new wave of exercise is peak fitness, or interval training. This builds muscles and burns fats-- in less time. The reason...strict cardio training only works 1 out of 3 muscle types and too long and too severe cardio can damage the heart:
For example, two recent studies showed:
Heart damage after lifelong cardio: In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers recruited a group of extremely fit older men. All of them were members of the 100 Marathon club, meaning athletes who had completed a minimum of 100 marathons. If running marathons provided cardiovascular benefit this would certainly be the group you would want to seriously examine. So what did they find?
..Heart scarring after elite cardio training: An animal study published in the journal Circulation was designed to mimic the strenuous daily exercise load of serious marathoners over the course of 10 years. All the rats had normal, healthy hearts at the outset of the study, but by the end most of them had developed "diffuse scarring and some structural changes, similar to the changes seen in the human endurance athletes."
A Better Way to Exercise?
Science now suggests that the best fitness regimen is actually one that mimics the movements of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which included short bursts of high-intensity activities, but not long-distance running such as is required to complete a marathon. The idea behind "hunter-gatherer fitness" is to closely emulate the actions that ancient man took on a daily basis. This is what your body is hard-wired for, after all, and includes such attributes as:
•    A variety of exercises performed regularly (weight training, cardio, stretching, etc.)
•    Alternate difficult days with easier days
•    Interval training sessions performed once or twice a week
•    Weight training at least twice a week
•    Ample time for rest after physical exertion

Naturopathic Fun Facts:
by Sarah A LoBisco, ND

My latest blog on discusses how to find the perfect diet for you amongst the weight loss gurus and panaceas of calorie burning pills. One of the main discussion points in every modern diet is changing to lower sugar or glycemic foods. Now, you may think you already do that, but do you? 
Here is a list of hidden sugar-ridden foods:

Are You Eating These Sugar-Laden "Health" Foods? (Dr. Mercola)

All of these also have more sugar than a Twinkie ...
•    Yogurt: Most commercial yogurt is loaded with sugar - as in, over 30 grams for 6 ounces! This, along with the fact that commercial yogurt is pasteurized (and some also contains artificial colors and flavors), is why you should walk right on by the yogurt section at your supermarket. Watch out, too, for "light" yogurt brands that boast less sugar due to toxic artificial sweeteners.
On the other hand, yogurt that is made from raw organic milk, and which you eat either plain or only minimally sweetened with some berries or liquid stevia, is a true health food. This is something you can easily do at home and use the healthiest raw ingredients, including organic grass-fed raw milk as the starter.
•    Tomato Sauce: A cup of tomato sauce can add up to over 20 grams of sugar, and considering that most people eat that tomato sauce on top of pasta, another carb source, this could send you into sugar overload. Watch out, specifically, for brands that contain added sweeteners. Tomato sauce is a far better choice than a candy bar, but, ideally, make your own sauce at home, and serve it over shredded spaghetti squash instead of noodles.
•    Granola Bars: Sugar is often one of the top ingredients in granola bars, and, in fact, most are not much different than a candy bar, nutritionally speaking. Even the granola is simply another form of "hidden sugar" that most people eat far too much of. Remember, sugar and dietary carbohydrates (including grains like granola, which break down into sugar) lead to excess body fat, obesity and related health issues. No amount of exercise can compensate for this damage because if you eat a lot of sugar, it could be "reprogramming" your body to become fat.
•    Fat-Free Salad Dressing: When manufacturers take the fat out of a food, sugar is often added back in as a replacement. Fat-free French or Thousand Island dressings can contain over 40 grams of sugar as a result, turning a would-be healthy salad into something more resembling a dessert. Don't be fooled by the "fat-free" label -- it's the carbs that are the culprit in weight gain and chronic disease.
•    Muffins: The high amount of carbs in most muffins will profoundly interfere with your leptin and insulin levels, and that is true even if it's a "healthy" muffin, like a bran muffin. Of course, in order to make a bran muffin palatable, it probably contains quite a bit of added sugar, on top of the grains it's made with. Many muffins are also jumbo-sized, easily packing over 30 grams of sugar, or more.
•    Canned Fruit: Fruit in and of itself can be problematic if eaten in excess, as it's a source of naturally occurring fructose. But many canned fruits are also packed in sugary syrup, loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Just one cup of canned peaches or pears can contain over 30 grams of sugar. You're far better off with a fresh piece of fruit instead, but use moderation. I recommend restricting your consumption of fructose to no more than 25 grams per day, with a maximum of 15 grams a day from fresh fruit. If you're already overweight, or have cancer, heart disease or diabetes (or are at high risk of them), then you're probably better off cutting that down to 10-15 grams per day -- fruit included.

Source: Dr. Mercola. 6 Surprising Foods with More Sugar than a Twinkie. May 6, 2012.

Want to lose Weight? Don't Watch the Scale!

An important measure in weight loss is to know what numbers are most important, and this doesn't come from the scales! Many people are unaware that weight can fluctuate up to five pounds a day- based on fluid retention and that muscle weighs more than fat. In fact, it's possible to gain weight and lose inches when you are on your path to burning up fat by adding more muscle. 

Therefore, the below measures are more helpful in determining if you are meeting your  ideal weight and health goals. Dr. Mercola explains:
BMI might not be that accurate. Instead, considering measuring leptin, your waist, or determining your % fat may be the best route to determine risk of obesity associated diseases.
Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, as studies clearly show that measuring your waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes. Determining your waist size is easy. With a tape measure, figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. If you're not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:
•    For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
•    For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese
The other tool, which many experts are now leaning toward as the most accurate measure of obesity, is body fat percentage. As it sounds, this is simply the percentage of fat your body contains, and it can be a powerful indicator of your health. Too much body fat is linked to chronic health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Too little body fat is also problematic and can cause your body to enter a catabolic state, where muscle protein is used as fuel. 

A general guideline from the American Council on Exercise is as follows:
Classification    Women (% fat)    Men (% fat)
Essential Fat    10-13%    2-5%
Athletes    14-20%    6-13%
Fitness    21-24%    14-17%
Acceptable    25-31%    18-24%
Obese    32% and higher    25% and higher

Mercola, J. New Study Shows Obesity Rate Is Actually Far Worse than Previously Recognized . April 12, 2012.

Competing Men Lose More!

And, another fun weight fake to dig at men. It just proves how men can accomplish anything relating to a good competition.... (Ladies, this is why your husband always loses more than you on a diet)! 

If you're A Male & Want to Lose Weight, Bet and Compete (Healthy Wage)
This report describes the results and our conclusions about the HealthyWage 10% Challenge Weight Intervention Program (the "Program")--a custom incentive-based weight loss "betting" program in which 66 Fortune 50 Health employees participated from August 15, 2011 through February 15, 2012. The Program allowed participants to make a $100 "bet" on whether they would lose 10% of their weight in the next six months, and paid them $400 if they succeeded.
In short, the Program led to significant weight loss for a stunning portion of participants--male participants in particular. 63% of male participants lost at least 10% of their weight, and thereby successfully completed the program, as verified by a third party fitness center. Overall, 29% of participants lost 10% of their weight, and thereby successfully completed the program. A staggering 47% of participants self-reported weight loss of at least 5%


Compiled by Sarah A LoBisco, ND

Could it be that medicine is now a "disease care system" that is missing the mark? In my most recent blog, The Vitamin Attack Scam, I discuss in detail the attack on vitamins and how American health care is deteriorating. Life expectancy increases as quality of life measures decrease. It is estimated that by 2050, over two-thirds of Americans will be obese? Why is this?

The question remains: Is obesity the result of our system or just a symptom of body starvation from nutrient-poor foods and medical mismanagement?

According to Medscape, we should address obesity as the cause:

Although the mechanism for obesity's association with RA is unknown, the researchers write that chronic inflammation from obesity could be leading to rheumatic problems. Other possibilities include the link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency or the higher levels of estrogen in obese individuals. Other research, they write, has pointed toward a possible genetic predisposition to both obesity and autoimmune disease.

"We know that fat tissues and cells produce substances that are active in inflammation and immunity," Eric Matteson, MD, chair of the Division of Rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic and a study coauthor, said in a statement. "We know too that obesity is related to many other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, and now perhaps to autoimmunity. It adds another reason to reduce and prevent obesity in the general population."

However, if the symptom of fat was truly the issue, wouldn't calorie restriction and "losing weight" have worked? The truth is a calorie is not just a calorie.

I've provided a link to Dr. Mercola's twelve minute video with Dr. Lustig below. (Dr. Lustig is the modern day genius on fructose metabolism). These two allopathic renegades feel obesity is an effect of insulin resistance resulting from our modern day food practices. Processed and chemicalized foods change our metabolic functioning and appetite regulation, not just creating fat, but contributing to most disease processes. Obesity is one symptom of this fatty acid metabolic dysfunction, but it can manifest in many different forms in people.  This includes heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.

The result of eating foods that are bad for our bodies but addictive to our minds is various diseases of inflammation and immune deregulation. This is another reason why I incorporate functional medicine in my practice. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am naturally treating the cause while looking at triggers and mediators and how each organ system is affected. This is vastly different than telling someone to "lose weight."  What really need to be "lost" is the inflammatory triggers and metabolic imbalance, and then the need for the fat diminishes. This is a whole different approach to the "war on obesity".

The first thing that must be addressed is the addictive nature of food itself. Dr. Hyman explains:

Here are some of the scientific findings confirming that food can, indeed, be addictive(ii):

1.     Sugar stimulates the brain's reward centers through the neurotransmitter dopamine exactly like other addictive drugs.

2.     Brain imagining (PET scans) shows that high-sugar and high-fat foods work just like heroin, opium, or morphine in the brain.(iii)

3.     Brain imaging (PET scans) shows that obese people and drug addicts have lower numbers of dopamine receptors, making them more likely to crave things that boost dopamine.

4.     Foods high in fat and sweets stimulate the release of the body's own opioids (chemicals like morphine) in the brain.

5.     Drugs we use to block the brain's receptors for heroin and morphine (naltrexone) also reduce the consumption and preference for sweet, high-fat foods in both normal weight and obese binge eaters.

6.     People (and rats) develop a tolerance to sugar--they need more and more of the substance to satisfy themselves--just like they do for drugs of abuse like alcohol or heroin.

7.     Obese individuals continue to eat large amounts of unhealthy foods despite severe social and personal negative consequences, just like addicts or alcoholics.

8.     Animals and humans experience "withdrawal" when suddenly cut off from sugar, just like addicts detoxifying from drugs.

9.     Just like drugs, after an initial period of "enjoyment" of the food the user no longer consumes them to get high, but to feel normal.

As with any addiction, balancing biochemistry is a must. However, another major component is social support. In a food addicted society, perhaps the reason we aren't getting anywhere with obesity is that we are "dysfunctionally independent" (a term coined by Robert Holden, PhD). So...let me leave you with a different kind of food for thought....

The Answer in Community (Dr. Hyman):

Here's what the data show to date with more studies coming in every day. Community is more effective than any medication, even though many still use less than optimal and outdated nutritional advice and lifestyle interventions.  I believe much more could be accomplished by translating the latest science into effective treatments and community-based support groups as I have done in my new book The Blood Sugar Solution.

The landmark 2002 study based on the Diabetes Prevention Program[i] and a ten year follow up study[ii] sponsored by the National Institutes of Health proved that lifestyle intervention is much more powerful than any other treatment such as medication to prevent diabetes in those with prediabetes.  With regular lifestyle support and education, participants lost 5 percent of their bodyweight and reduced their risk of diabetes by 58 percent.  This lifestyle-based approach was also proven very effective in the large Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study.[iii]

Part 2:

We got biology to change by using the principles of functional medicine - the science of systems medicine, of network medicine, the science of creating health, through lifestyle-based interventions that optimized our BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS.

But we got behavior to change by using community and the power of positive peer pressure and SOCIAL NETWORKS.

Not only did they lose a quarter of a million pounds, but they also used less medication, and many stayed of the hospital didn't need to go to the doctor as much. And the program was free.   And people reported more energy, better sleep, better blood pressure, better mood and even better skin and a better sex drive.

One man told me last year he was in the hospital 4 times and on 9 medications and this year he stayed out of the hospital and is only on one medication.   People lost 125 pounds, 90 pounds, 80 pounds, got off insulin and diabetes, and high blood pressure medication - it was like a gastric bypass without the pain of surgery, vomiting and malnutrition.

And those who did the plan together lost twice as much weight as those who did it alone.

And...the science agrees:

Group Support and Diet Modification for DM2 (Medscape):

The 4-week behavioral weight and diabetes management program yielded significant weight and health improvements. This is one of the first studies to report rapid and significant HbA1cchanges as a result of following moderate nutrition and physical activity guidelines while receiving diabetes management and weight loss psychoeducation.


Larry Hand. Increase in RA Incidence in Women Associated With Obesity. Medscape Today. April 30, 2012.

Hyman, M. Diet Drinks-Harmful or Helpful in Kicking the Sugar Habit? utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyma n+newsletter+issue+%2368&utm_content=Get+the+story

Joseph Mercola, OD. Attacks Your Liver Like Alcohol - Is This What's Making You Flabby and Sick? May 7, 2012. dangerous-than-alcohol.aspx?e_cid=20120507_DNL_art_1

Mark Hyman, MD. Can Social Networks Cure Disease? Part I.  April 20th, 2012. utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyma n+newsletter+issue+%2370&utm_content=Get+the+story

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...

About Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Dr. LoBisco has been in holistic healthcare for over 10 years. She became interested in holistic medicine when she was able to heal two herniated discs through nutrition, yoga, supplementation, and chiropractic. She has mentored with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. In addition to her Naturopathic and Functional Medical training, Dr. LoBisco has extensive training in a variety of healing modalities, including therapeutic essential oils, nutraceuticals, herbs, whole food supplements, nutritional medicine, and mind-body therapies. She is a graduate of the accredited, four year post-graduate program in Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. This program includes clinical rotations and a demanding scientific curriculum in integrating conventional and natural medicine. Dr. LoBisco holds her license from the state of Vermont.

Dr. LoBisco has completed her postdoctoral training as a certified functional medicine practitioner. She is also certified in Applied Kinesiology and holds a BA in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has contributed as an item writer for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)and has several articles that have been published in the Naturopathic Doctor News and Review Digest (NDNR) and the Townsend Letter, both physician- based journals. Dr. LoBisco is also a hired speaker on integrative medical topics for medical professionals.

Dr. LoBisco currently incorporates her training in holistic medical practices and conventional medicine through writing, researching, private practice, and through her independent contracting work for companies regarding supplements, nutraceuticals, essential oils, and medical foods. She has a small, private wellness consultation practice through telephone and Skype. Dr. LoBisco also enjoys continuing to educate and empower her readers through her blogs and social media. Her new book, BreakFree Medicine, is now available on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble. Please inquire here for more specific information.

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