Posts Tagged 'detox'

A Kwik Note About Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known to most of us as something that helps clot our blood.  Its most useful and wonderful benefits are certainly not well known to the general public.  Certain forms of Vitamin K have proven to be able to build bone and clean the plaque out of arteries.   Sounds great, right?  So,where do we get Vitamin K, and especially Vitamin K2?

Our gut bacteria, or probiotics, actually manufacture Vitamin K2 for us.  Without a healthy gut population, we go without this vital nutrient that has so many important functions.  The two really interesting benefits of Vitamin K2 are really one in the same.  The bone building is intimately partnered to the artery cleaning.  It sure is great how everything in the body works together and seemingly small lifestyle choices have far reaching effects – it’s really all one process.  One of the steps involved with depositing calcium to your bone is called “carboxylation,” and without Vitamin K present that step is unable to proceed.  The calcium that seemed destined for bone strengthening now has to go somewhere else.  The answer is that it floats around in the blood stream until it comes upon a damaged or an inflamed portion of artery and there it is deposited as part of the arterial wall.  Voila! Arterial Calcification.   This reaction is supposed to be mediated by our bodies in part by Vitamin K as it directs extra calcium to bone growth and therefore pulls it out of the bloodstream. Let’s reemphasize that Vitamin K2 actually has the ability to take calcium out of the arterial walls where it is very bad for us and put it into the bone which is very good for us.  At no point in our story of cleaning the arteries and building bone did we mention the need for Lipitor, Vytorin, Crestor, Zetia, Zocor, Fosamax, Actonel, Boneva or Evista.  Those drugs simply address the symptoms of atherosclerosis and bone loss.  The real issues go much deeper.  Taking care of our gut health is the real answer.  Maintaining a healthy probiotic level and avoiding such toxins as caffeine, carbonation, alcohol, excessive sugars and processed foods which negatively affect our gut health.  Healthy probiotic populations will create all the Vitamin K2 that we need leading to proper carboxylation reactions of shuttling calcium to the bone while removing it from the arterial walls where it causes problems.

Of course we recognize that current lifestyles tend to make it hard to maintain healthy probiotics, much less rebuild the population.  So supplemental Vitamin K2 can be especially useful in turning around a degenerative situation and helping us back to a more sustainable level of health.  It is important to notice the form of Vitamin K that we want is K2.  Vitamin K1 is the kind in leafy green vegetables and K3 is a toxic synthetic.  K2 is produced by way of probiotics in us and in some fermented foods.  In partiuclar an Asian staple called natto.  It is important when considering calcium supplementation that K2 is one of the nutrients included for proper utilization of the calcium.


Fructose and Semantics – Natural (processed) Born (man-made) Killer (killer)

A current media blitz would have you believe that fructose, specifically high fructose corn syrup (HFCS for short) is not only “healthy in moderation” just like any caloric sweetener but is also chemically the same as table sugar to your body.  Both statements are flat out wrong and misleading.  Sort of like a publicists spin story on a compromising photo of a celebrity that has been splashed across the internet.

First lets get the chemistry out of the way. Your body runs on glucose, a simple sugar.  Fructose is another simple sugar, but here is the shocker, as you can see from the spelling GLUcose and FRUCTose, these two similar simple sugars are not in fact the same thing. Scientists like to name things and whenever new and different things are discovered they get a new name.  So, in fact researchers long ago confirmed that there is a difference between these two molecules and they were given different names. We know when we put glucose into the body certain things happen, a few highlights would be that insulin is released and another hormone called leptin is secreted.  The sugar is then taken into the cells by the insulin and metabolized for energy. Insulin and leptin both signal our brain to stop eating as we have sugar in the blood and therefore any more is excess and thus we are satiated. Many millions of other things happen as well but these two points will help show the case against fructose. When fructose is put into our bodies it is absorbed primarily in the jejunem and processed by the liver never triggering a proportionate insulin release and is readily converted into triglycerides and spurs an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).  No leptin is released in response to fructose so with little insulin and no leptin your brain does not know you are full and more calories are consumed than needed. Fructose also raises our bodies levels of uric acid, and lactic acid neither is a good thing to have more of in you blood, this has damaging effects on the heart and kidneys and liver.

One very important fact about fructose in relation to insulin is that it has an effect on the target cells insulin receptors.  It causes a down regulation so when we do consume glucose we have to pump out more insulin.  This is called “insulin resistance” and this directly leads to diabetes syndrome X and other health problems. As to the idea that HFCS is natural and just like table sugar, both are a mix of fructose and glucose, however HFCS is a mix of the two simple sugars, table sugar is sucrose a disaccharide made of 1 glucose bound to 1 fructose. This bonding makes them behave very differently in our body as we have seen. This is not to say sugar is a good thing to consume in any quantity just that sugar would be preferred over HFCS due to the reasons above. If you are consuming predominatly whole, raw, live, fresh foods then you will not have to worry about this as HFCS does not exist in nature, though it is considered and labeled “natural.” It is natural in the sense that it does at some point come from corn but it is heavily processed and modified from the corn starch from which it started. Mind you, it is not a simple extraction process to make HFCS.  The heavy processing and stripping of other nutrients both micro and macro have much to do with making this sweetner such a harmful product.

We are now seeing another fructose sweetener in processed foods and drinks called “crystalline fructose”.  This is really just like HFCS only with the dial turned up to ten.  It can be much worse for you and can even be found with traces of heavy metals and other poisons in it like arsenic and lead. We should also mention that almost all the HFCS in our food supply is made from genetically modified corn. GM corn is a big problem as the Bt toxin (pesticide) in the plant promotes an allergenic response and many more people are presenting with corn allergies these days. The big issue is that once someone develops an allergy to GM corn then they are also allergic to natural organic corn, and since some form of corn is in almost every meal Americans eat, this becomes a big problem (hence so many different reactions to foods). A little bit of anything can generally be accepted by the body and handled while maintaining health but USDA stats show that HFCS consumption has skyrocketed.  Between the years 1970 and 2005 the average American increased their HFCS intake by 10,673%, that is not moderation. Many correlations have been made between this rise and the rise in modern diseases of degeneration like heart disease, cancer and of course diabetes.  Many factors coexist to nutritionally harm us and lead us down the path of disease but nobody can argue that the huge amount of sugar and in particular HFCS has had nothing to do with our nations health issues.  Not even a great publicist.

It’s not candy. It’s candida.

Yeast Reduction Diet: An all too common and frustrating health issue these days is Candida or yeast overgrowth in our bodies. It’s a fungus that steals our nutrients and therefore our energy then leaves us with toxic, even carcinogenic waste material to deal with. Our immune systems have a very hard time dealing with this type of infection because of the cell walls that yeast have; we are underequipped to penetrate those walls. There are a variety of treatments available to combat the yeast and break it down allowing our immune systems to clean out the waste and get rid of the toxic buildup. Those options are for another article, however it is always conducive and sometimes necessary to not only kill the yeast but also alter our diets so that we do not continue to feed the yeast and thus continue the problem. Yeast eat sugar and other small carbohydrates, the simpler and more refined the carbohydrate the more likely it will have an exacerbation effect on the yeast. This can be a variable target to hit as everybody will respond differently to dietary changes and treatment options. Removing all processed sugar, starch, dairy, and alcohol is a great start and one that most people would benefit greatly from. If more strictness is needed for individual cases then even whole foods like fruits and all but the most fibrous of vegetables must be eliminated. This type of restricted diet is obviously not for the long term as many of our most important nutrients are packed most densely in fruits and vegetables, it can however be very useful in eradicating a very pervasive pest and eliminating the symptoms that accompany it.  The typical diet for today is a tough one.  Can’t live with it, can’t live without it!

Glycemic Diet… yes, it really can matter.

The glycemic index is a measure of the effect a carbohydrate has on a person’s blood glucose level in a two hour period. The glycemic index score of a particular food is a number the amount of rise in blood glucose divided by the standard (glucose) and multiplied by 100.  That gives us the number associated with foods on a GI chart. Eating foods with a lower GI should equate to slower absorption, lower blood glucose rise, and a lower insulin release, therefore lower blood lipid counts. For example white bread will have a very high GI and will therefore enter the bloodstream very quickly and cause a sharp spike in insulin response, causing the fabled sugar rush and insulin crash that so many people experience often.  Eating an avocado on the other hand will have a much lower effect on insulin response and therefore a more even energy release.  Repeatedly spiking insulin and stressing our systems has been shown to lead to insulin resistance and eventually to Type II diabetes, and oxidative vascular damage leading to heart disease.  The GI can be used fairly effectively to smooth out the peaks and valleys of the typical American diet and therefore help one prevent some major disease processes.  There are problems with some GI charts and a few issues with the concept itself. First conceptually the charts are not very precise because the GI of a particular food can change due to ripeness, preparation, and processing.  Second everybody is different and we all digest very differently and nowhere in the GI is there a thought about how the food will effect a person over a long period of time.  Certain things seem like a good idea based on GI charts while we know that they are not, like artificial sweeteners and fructose.  There are so many other problems with these sweeteners that no matter how good they appear on the charts they should never be considered healthy. Some foods labeled as high GI (carrots) are actually so good for you that they should be included in almost any healthy diet. So the glycemic index is not perfect, but it can be used as a general tool to effectively to point you in the right direction towards health.  It is easy to se on a GI chart that breads and pastas will have a more negative effect on blood sugar than vegetables and fruits.  Just one more reason to eat all the fresh fruits and veggies that you can!

Food Inc. Heard of it? You Should.

check out the website and view the trailer here.

Alkaline Diet

Most of today’s diets tend to emphasize foods that have an ability to form acid in our bodies.  Balancing those acidifying foods with those that alkalize or even consuming predominantly alkalizing foods can go a long way to making us healthier.  The idea behind this diet is though homeostasis will maintain the blood pH relatively tightly between 7.35 and 7.45, the amount of stress and thus raw materials within our bodies that is used to maintain that pH by our acid base balance systems can be influence by the diet we eat.  In other words, wouldn’t you rather have your organs do something other than fight the acids you eat?  The more acidity the food the more it drives the system and causes certain minerals to be used at increased rates depleting other areas in the process.  The kidney is the prime organ involved as it has most of the responsibility of regulating long term acid base balance.  People who suffer excessive fatigue, muscle soreness and stiffness, bone loss, mineral imbalances, and kidney dysfunction may especially be helped by using this therapeutic diet.  The diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and tubers while avoiding grains, meat, dairy and salt.  Really though, nothing is off limits with this diet, rather it is the emphasis on consuming many more calories from the alkaline list than the acid list.  

One footnote is that the food in raw form may be acid, but if it’s turned to an alkaline ash when broken down, then it’s ok.  Thus, citrus is actually quite alkaline forming.

Why do we see an increase in IBS, Crone’s Disease, etc?

Digestive disorders are growing rapidly throughout our population. The lower gut and, in particular, the colon seem to be under attack these days.  We all know someone with irritable bowel syndrome, crone’s disease, diverticulitis, or any one of a dozen other disorders. We spend lots of time and money to identify and cure or treat these problems.  Few people are asking why we have such a rise in the actual problem.

Some facts that we know are that we, as a society, eat more processed low quality food containing more chemicals and allergens, comprised of fewer and less available nutrients, today than ever before. When we don’t eat predominantly whole, raw, live food we lose lots of things that are needed to keep us healthy. Processed foods are just that processed, and that means to change or alter them before consumption. We may like to believe that this practice is done to help us or make the food better (enriched!) but who is really benefitting from removing the enzymes, breaking the protein structures, and altering the fats? The manufacturers do because all these things allow the product to be put in a box and put on an unrefridgerated shelf for an extended length of time without worry of spoilage. Thus the product is more profitable than a perishable real food. When food has the enzymes denatured (processed, cooked, etc) the food does not spoil as quickly and also does not digest as well.  This leaves the product to rot in the lower gut. This process is detrimental to the probiotics (good bacteria) that live in the gut and maintain the gut thus causing a population bloom of bad bacteria that serve to irritate and damage the colon. This is a major cause of bowel disorders like IBS and can lead to other systemic problems like Candida and infections.

Another less obvious reason is the fiber we do or don’t eat. Many of our foods have a lot of the fiber removed and we all know how useful fiber is to keeping our colon clean. The problem becomes how do we replace it, we use psyllium husks or some other fiber that while natural,  it is generally unnatural to our systems.  In fact it is quite harsh and can so some harm while it is doing its good. This does not make fiber our enemy rather just eat more whole foods that contain the naturally occurring fibers, both soluble and insoluble, that you need to keep your colon sparkly clean. This will feed your probiotics (they like fiber) and help with hormonal balance and general detoxification.  It’s a pretty useful substance, this fiber.

We cannot just blame the manufactures of our food but we also ourselves for choosing to eat these processed products. On top of all the nutritional reasons for gut malfunctions, we are taking more drugs for more ailments than ever before. Many of these drugs interfere with proper digestion or kill our probiotics or stress our detoxification systems.  We are finding ways to poison ourselves while believing that we are getting healthier. There are many reasons why we have an increase in bowel dysfunction and with some back to basics nutritional simplicity we can make great strides to preventing these issues. This just fits with our mantra of eating food in a state as close to nature as you can because all of the proper nutrition and components work together to safely and in the right proportion deliver good healthy nutrition to you. 

Again, nutrition is the foundation to disease prevention and good health.

September 2019
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