Endocrinology

Apr 042014
 
Butterfly on Blossoms

Article published in Lotus Guide, April/May/Jun 2014 issue:

Gluten Summit Report: The Triple A Threat of Gluten Sensitivity – Autoimmune Disease, Arthritis and Alzheimer’s

Jan 312013
 

An article in the February 2013 issue of Diabetes Forecast has a brief article ‘Tummy Trouble’ which refers to new research that suggests gastrointestinal issues that increased the risk of developing type 1 Diabetes may be linked to the consumption of gluten, to wit:
“Scientists don’t yet know what triggers the development of type 1 diabetes, but one theory is that childhood infections set off the autoimmune reaction that destroys insulin-producing cells while another places the blame on the diet. Now a study suggests that the trigger may, in fact, be a little of both. Researchers measured blood levels of autoantibodies, specific proteins that are a sign of type 1 diabetes, in almost 2,000 babies with a family history of the disease. They also recorded the children’s illnesses and eating patterns. They found that gut infections increased the risk that a child would carry diabetes autoantibodies, but there was an odd catch. The gut problems that increased the risk of developing type 1 appeared to be linked to the consumption of gluten (emphasis mine), a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, in infants younger than 9 months. The researchers concluded that infections may only increase risk for type 1 if the gut is already inflamed by reactions to certain foods.”

Diabetes Care, published online Oct. 5, 2012

Jan 312013
 

Announcing that I am now carrying the brand line of IncrediWear, which is a local Chico company that makes braces and socks. I have received many testamonials from patients about these braces really helping joint pain in the past few years, so this is why I decided to start carrying these products. The braces are great for arthritis and joint pain and inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, and also help improve circulation (as shown by their thermography analysis). They are made with special technology combining bamboo-charcoal and/or germanium. There is a sock line especially for those with diabetes plus another line to support the feet and other joints during sports or athletic events (hikers and bikers will love these products too). Come and check them out, and support two local companies at the same time too!! If I don’t have in stock what you need, I can always order it quickly – for more info on this product line, see IncrediWear Products.

Here’s an article in one of our lovely, local Chico-area magazines Upgraded Living, about IncrediWear, and its Chiropractor founder,
Jackson Corey.

Oct 062012
 
    Tagline: When My Lab Tests are Normal!



An amazingly fantastic naturopathic book about the link of Hashimoto’s to many, many health conditions including Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease. But most importantly this book is an auto-immune disease directive – refer to its data on auto-immune thyroid disorders, and you will understand how “leaky-gut syndromes”, including gluten intolerance and other digestive illness, adrenal fatigue, estrogen fluctuations, insulin resistance are all interconnected leading to auto-immune diseases such as SLE, MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and Diabetes.”
“81% are predisposed to gluten intolerance”, based on research on genetic testing of Americans – because we are of Northern European ancestry. (p. 31)
Hint: Gluten molecule similar in structure to thyroid hormone molecule!!!!

Jun 212012
 

My general recommendations for treating Peripheral Neuropathy (PNP):

1. Acupuncture
Acupuncture helps increase the vascular supply or blood circulation to the nerves. See item below for article about PNP and Acupuncture.

2. Diet
PNP is typically caused by diabetes, although it can have other causes such as lower back injuries and chemotherapy. If due to diabetes, the first and foremost recommendation is to maintain healthy, normal blood glucose levels – this is of utmost importance to prevent neuropathy. This is best done by avoiding carbohydrates in your diet, especially wheat products since wheat, whole or refined, is a high glycemic index food. (see my book review article of Wheat Belly)

3. Nutriceutical support
*Chromium – a mineral supplement known to help regulate blood glucose levels (generally also used to help with sugar cravings)
*Alpha Lipoic Acid – an anti-oxidant, 600 mg/day – see A-Lipoic Acid Monograph (Clinical Indications summary)
*Benfotiamine, a specialized B vitamin for vascular function (and correspondingly, for nerve health) – see article about Benfotiamine

4. Chinese herbal medicinals
There are many possible Chinese herbal formulas to help with PNP. The prescription will depend upon the diagnosis of the practitioner. One common one I will use is Flex (NP), by Evergreen Herbs. It is a very complex, and therefore useful, formula for nerve pain and neuropathy.

5. Exercise
Exercise increases blood circulation, so patients with PNP will also benefit from this.

6. General
Dry Brushing

7. Additional information
Reference article about PNP and Acupuncture

Dec 072011
 

Wheat Belly
By William Davis, M.D.
Rodale, Inc., 292 pp., $25.99
 

Published August, 2011

This book should convince us all to eliminate wheat from our diet. It is an UNHEALTHY WHOLE GRAIN! Although the author is guilty of a little hyperbole here and there, the cardiologist author makes an excellent case that consumption of wheat is the main cause of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. Hyberbole aside, the author presents scientific data explaining his thesis along with case histories and other anecdotal evidence explaining how many health conditions are resolved once wheat consumption is halted.

Modern wheat is a result of hybridization that occurred starting in the 1940’s. By 1980, all world production was using the new high-yield strains. It is a “Faustian bargain” of “trading abundance for health”.1 Modern strains of wheat have a higher quantity of genes, “purposeful modifications” to “confer baking and aesthetic characteristics of flour”, resulting in more gluten proteins.2 Additionally, there are many other nongluten proteins and enzymes, which can potentially cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma and skin rashes.3 Note that since 2003, international guidelines have been developed to subject this type of gene modification to food safety testing. As the author frankly writes, our modern wheat “made its way into the human food supply with nary a question surrounding its suitability for human consumption”!4

Conventional wisdom, as taught by the American Diabetes Association, dieticians and the USDA tells us to eat whole grains and complex carbohydrates instead of “simple carbohydrates in the form of candy and soft drinks”, but whole wheat is as bad or worse, than those! Wheat has a severe effect on our blood glucose levels. This modified complex carbohydrate is mainly composed of an enzyme that is rapidly converted to glucose, which results in increasing blood sugar rapidly.5 The author tells us “whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose”6, or “wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy bars”7 as posed in an inquiring statement on the book’s back jacket “Did you know that eating two slices of whole wheat bread can increase blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of pure sugar can?” (emphasis mine)

The traditional gauge on how the body responds to eating carbohydrates is called the ‘Glycemic Index’ (GI). It is a measure of how the blood sugar rises after eating carbs, and “few foods have as high a GI as foods made from wheat8. This high rise in blood sugar results in rapid weight gain, (the author’s term of) ‘Wheat Belly’ and obesity. This weight gain tends to be primarily around the abdomen, resulting in visceral fat. Visceral fat cells cause an inflammatory reaction in our bodies. This inflammatory cascade leads to wide array of health problems, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (It is worth noting that in Chinese Medicine, it has long been said that grains cause inflammation also.) Besides inflammation, a process called glycation also occurs.9 Glycation especially damages the cartilage in joints but also causes many health conditions associated with diabetes, or in effect, aging. There is a way to measure the level of glycation in the body. It is by a simple blood test used to measure how well the blood glucose has been controlled in the past two to three months (all diabetics should already be familiar with it): Hemoglobin A1C or HbA1C. The higher your HbA1C, the more glycation is occurring to damage your body (see ‘accelerated aging’ list in summary below) – this is then basically a way to measure of how fast you are aging.10

A summary of the consequences of inflammation and glycation resulting from the consumption of wheat:
• Accelerated aging – cataracts, wrinkles, kidney disease, dementia, arthritis, atherosclerosis11
• Diabetes – both Type 1 (especially associated with Celiac Disease) and Type 2 – insulin resistance12
• Cardiovascular disease – hypertension from excess visceral fat, ‘high cholesterol’ (hyperlipidemia), atherosclerosis13
• Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis – destruction of bone and cartilage tissue14
• Rheumatoid arthritis – aggravation of joint inflammation in this autoimmune disorder (i.e., probably not causative of onset of disease)15
• Skin diseases – acne, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, oral ulcers and many others16
• Gastrointestinal diseases – IBS, acid reflex17 (causative effect not proven in research, but anecdotal evidence suggests possibly curative for some)
• Asthma – exacerbation of symptoms18 (anecdotal evidence also)
• (Last but not least) Celiac Disease – an autoimmune reaction from eating gluten that causes intestinal damage and a very wide range of health conditions

Another important concept to understand is that the gluten in wheat also has an addictive effect! This occurs because gluten is broken down by the digestive process into certain amino acids that cross the blood-brain barrier. These cause the release of ‘exogenous morphine-like compounds’, called exorphins, in the brain. Because of this additive effect, consuming wheat makes us crave it more, therefore it is a appetite stimulant! Note that other grains that do not contain gluten do not have these same neurological effects of addictive behavior or appetite stimulation.

Another new concept discussed in this book that is “beginning to gain ground in the medical community” is that diabetes is a disease of ‘carbohydrate intolerance’19. Research has shown repeatedly, in both humans and animals, that sharply reducing carbohydrates “reverses insulin resistance, … and visceral fat” (emphasis mine).20 The author summarizes this by saying:

    “Virtual elimination of carbohydrates, including the ‘dominant’ carbohydrate of ‘healthy’ diets, wheat, not only improves blood sugar control, but can erase the need for insulin and diabetes medications in adult (Type 2) diabetics – otherwise known as a cure”.21

Now that it is more clear why the consumption of wheat is not healthy and that consumption of it causes a ‘wheat belly’, it can be recognized that elimination of eating it is the key to weight loss and will also help a myriad of health problems. Weight loss is immediate once wheat is removed from the diet, especially when it is not replaced with other carbohydrates! But be aware to not replace wheat with other carbohydrates including gluten-free substitutes though, since they are made from various starches that are just more high glycemic index carbs.

Where to go from here?
Wheat elimination may initially seem to be burdensome, but as the author comments, and I concur, it does makes life easier in the long run22. As someone who eliminated wheat over 3 years ago for my own health challenges (I am far from being a purist – I still eat wheat very occasionally), I can attest to the ease of which one can eliminate wheat when doing so helps one feel better, and having a ‘side effect’ of losing weight even without that being a top priority, and also being given the possibility to even reverse a health problem! When focused with this agenda, it is easier to narrow down your accepted food choices to wheat-free foods, and generally speaking, eliminate the types of processed foods that we shouldn’t be consuming much of anyhow!! But yes, it is a bit of a challenge initially, I admit. But again, eliminating wheat immediately helps one eliminate many poor food choices! When one goes out to eat – all those deep-fried, breaded entrees in both American and Chinese restaurants (from chicken-fried steak to sweet-and-sour pork), all the sandwiches made of bread and cured ‘lunchmeats’ (which also shouldn’t be consumed anyhow), and all the bread options for breakfast (bagels, pastries, ‘healthy’ muffins, etc.) aren’t even choices one desires any longer. And grocery shopping actually is easier also – heading only to the aisles on the sides of the market – purchasing meats and fish, dairy and produce.

To eat healthy consuming primarily whole, unprocessed foods, whether one follows the advice here and eliminates wheat or not, one must mainly prepare and cook foods at home anyhow. One way I recommend to incorporate more vegetables into the diet is to do stir-frys using olive oil. One can use Asian-based spices like ginger, seaweeds or tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) and rice wine, and/or typical garlic, onions, peppers (spicy or bell, or both) and mushrooms as a base. The next step is to use dark, green leafy veggies such as spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens or bok choy. From there, add the vegetables and spices you like. Add green beans, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., etc. in any combination you prefer. One can make it more Italian flavored by using oregano, rosemary and basil, for example. Adding raw seeds and nuts gives one even more options: sunflower, sesame, hemp, and flax seeds, or slivered almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. In winter, many options for vegetable-based soups are possible also. In warmer months or climates, one can make all kinds of veggie-based salads. (Raw veggies and salad greens have the general energetic property of being cold as taught in Chinese Medicine, and are therefore generally better suited for consumption in the hot seasons, like summer.) And egg scrambles or omelets are another great way to incorporate vegetables in your diet. Additionally, keep in mind that we now have access to foods from all different cultures, even if one lives where ethnic foods are not available, every food item imaginable is now available via the internet to give one even more possibilities to eat healthy if one opens their mind to it! Of course, snacking foods without wheat still abound: healthy chips or veggies and dips, cheese and wheat-free crackers, tempeh or tofu options, etc. – just eat them in moderation. Note also that one will get plenty of fiber eating a diet rich in vegetables and nuts also.23

SUMMARY – WHAT TO EAT (as outlined by Dr. Davis)

1. Consume unlimited quantities of:

√ Vegetables (except high-carb ones like potatoes and corn)
√ Raw nuts
√ Use oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
√ Small amounts of animal proteins, preferably grass-fed (and avoid cured meats entirely)24
√ Eat dairy items such as eggs and cheese (fermentation slows glycemic response compared to unfermented dairy)

2. Consume limited quantities of:

• Dairy products as milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and butter (since these tend to increase the release of insulin)
• Soy, limited quantities and preferably fermented (since all soy is possibly genetically modified)
• Fruit, limited quantities

Dr. Davis ends his book with a few yummy-sounding recipes (including desserts) such as: Hot Coconut Flaxseed Cereal, Flaxseed Wrap, Crab Cakes, Wheat-Free Pizza (with a cauliflower-based “dough”), and Carrot Cake (uses coconut flour).

In summary, to be very clear, consistent elevated blood sugar levels caused by the consumption of any processed foods such as sodas, candy and other sugar-loaded simple carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates like other whole grains, will also cause the list of health problems shown here to be caused by wheat due to the same result of inflammation, glycation and visceral fat. Clearly, a diet needs to consist of a very low amount of these ‘food’ items. But the main point here is that we have been convinced that eating a certain whole grain is healthy, when in fact, it is definitely NOT! Additionally, “remember that the need for ‘healthy whole grains’ is pure fiction” and “forget everything you learned about ‘healthy whole grains’”!25 These statements are both strong and succinct, yet still strange to some even given the information here – so read the book to get more of the details, and maybe you will realize that this MD knows what he is talking about, and eventually, the ADA and dieticians will too!

Links:
My original blog posting about this book
Wheat Belly: Book Excerpt
_______________
1p. 226.
2p. 38.
3p. 40.
4p. 30.
5p. 32.
6p. 32-33.
7p. 35.
8p. 63.
9p. 125.
10p. 145.
11p. 139, 145.
12p. 95-115.
13p. 146-158.
14p. 125, 127.
15p. 128.
16p 183-184.
17p. 92-3.
18p. 9.
19p. 111.
20Ibid.
21Ibid.
22p. 199.
23p. 195.
24Consumption of animal proteins also results in glycation, especially from fried and cured meats.
25p. 192.

Oct 142011
 

From Harper’s Index, October 2011:
‘Number of states in which less than 20 percent of adults are obese: 0’
Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta)