Dr. Rhonda Patrick is a scientist who has done extensive research on aging, cancer and nutrition. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude’s children’s Research
Hospital in Memphis TN, a bachelor’s of science degree in biochemistry/chemistry from the University of California San Diego and has trained as a postdoc at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute with Dr. Bruce Ames. Her research on the role of insulin signaling in protein misfolding commonly found in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, was conducted at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Sciences.

Rhonda’s podcast and website, both called Found My Fitness, discuss topics such as the role of micronutrient deficiencies in diseases of aging, the benefits of exposing the body to hormetic stressors such as exercise, fasting, sauna use or various forms of cold exposure, and the importance of mindfulness, stress reduction and sleep on health.

In this episode we discuss Rhonda’s new publication on the role of the APOE4 gene in Alzheimer’s Disease, and why eating fish but not taking fish oil DHA supplements help slow the progression of the disease for carriers. We also touch on how we both approach healthy pregnancies and Rhonda’s personal nutrition strategies.

 

Related Links:

iWi Algae-based omega-3 phospholipids  – fact sheet

 

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Show details (links don’t work on mobile devices): 

3:21 – How Rhonda helped Darya get pregnant the first time.

6:55 – Apparently, daily sauna use is not a good form of birth control.

9:21 – The APOE-4 gene––what it is and why it matters.

18:42 – Why getting good sleep is crucial for lowering an APOE-4 gene carrier’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

21:30 – Rhonda’s new publication explains how omega-3 DHA is transmitted to the brain differently in people who carry this gene.

24:08 – Eating fish versus taking fish oil DHA supplements.

27:26 – Why caviar isn’t just for special occasions.

31:07 – Why supplement companies have to distill fish oil, the downside of purified fish oil and what Rhonda suggests instead.

34:30 – It’s OK to eat fish roe when you are pregnant, just find a trusted source.

36:57 – How much fish should I be consuming on a weekly basis?

38:07 – An alternative source of omega-3 DHA for vegetarians.

41:35 – How to find out if you are a APOE-4 gene carrier.

45:27 – Engage in this type of exercise to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, improve deep sleep and keep your brain healthy.

46:43 – How accurate is the Oura Ring for tracking sleep? + The difference between REM sleep and deep sleep.

49:26 – Rhonda’s nutrition strategy.

53:23 – Why she chooses Vital Choice Salmon….

54:15 – and focuses on certain nutrients more than others.

57:30 – Why Darya is skeptical of functional foods.

58:59 – Things to avoid during pregnancy.

1:03:21 – Is it safe to consume detoxifying foods when you are pregnant?

1:06:13 – Find Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the Found My Fitness podcast, www.foundmyfitness.com and @foundmyfitness on social media.

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You’re about to hear my take on beer, wine and alcohol (especially during the holidays), overeating issues, what to do when you see all the sweets at parties this time of year, how to accidentally write a book, censorship on social media, and even the future of virtual reality.

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For many women, menopause can introduce new health challenges. In addition to the symptoms that perturb basic quality of life like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, and irritability, menopause is also associated with higher risk for serious health concerns like osteoporosis, cognitive decline, and metabolic syndrome. This has made the standard treatment for menopause—hormone replacement therapy, or HRT—a multi-billion dollar business.

A few weeks ago, I explored the benefits and risks of HRT. It has its merits certainly, but it’s not for everyone. Today’s post is for those people. Say you’ve waded through the morass of HRT research and would prefer a different route. Or maybe you’ve actually tried conventional or bioidentical HRT and found it just didn’t work for you. Whatever the reason, you’re probably interested in using “natural” products if you can swing it and if it’ll actually help.

Are there herbal alternatives to HRT that actually work?

As a matter of fact, there are.

Black Cohosh

A medicinal herb native to North America, black cohosh was traditionally used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatism and other arthritic conditions, colds, fevers, constipation, hives, fatigue, and backache. They used it to help babies get to sleep and soothe kidney troubles. In the mid 20th century, it gained popularity in Europe as a treatment for women’s hormonal issues. Modern clinical research bears out its relevance for menopause:

It’s effective against hot flashes, reducing both severity and frequency.

It improves objective markers of sleep quality (the reduction in hot flashes certainly can’t hurt).

It improves insulin sensitivity, which often degrades during menopause.

It improves early post-menopausal symptoms across the board, leading to a 12.9 point reduction in the Green climacteric score (a basic measure of menopause symptom severity).

In one study, black cohosh was comparable to conventional HRT for reducing most menopausal symptoms and better at reducing anxiety, vaginal bleeding, and breast tenderness.

Here’s a great black cohosh product.

Maca

In its native Peru, maca root was traditionally used as a root vegetable (like a turnip or radish), as well as for its pharmacological properties as an aphrodisiac and subtle stimulant. Incan warriors reportedly used it as a preworkout booster before battles. Today, we know it as an adaptogen—a substance that helps your endocrine system adapt to stress, rather than force it in one direction or another.

A 2011 review of the admittedly limited evidence found that maca shows efficacy against menopause. More recently, maca displayed the ability to lower depression and blood pressure in menopausal women. And earlier, maca helped perimenopausal women resist weight gain and menopausal women regain their sexual function and reduce depression and anxiety.

What’s going on here? According to a 2005 study, maca actually lowers follicle-stimulating hormone and increases luteinizing hormone in postmenopausal women, thereby increasing estrogen and progesterone production.

Make sure you buy gelatinized (cooked) maca, as that’s what the studies use.

Red Clover

The red clover blossom is a rich source of isoflavones, estrogen-like compounds that interact with receptors in our bodies and relieve many symptoms of menopause.

Twelve weeks of red clover cuts the Menopause rating score in half (a good thing!).

Twelve weeks greatly reduces the intensity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. Including some probiotics has a similar effect.

Red clover also improves vaginal cellular structure and function while (again) improving menopause symptoms and reducing triglycerides.

More exciting, there’s reason to believe that red clover may reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve bone mineral density in menopausal women.

Here’s a potent red clover supplement.

And then there are those herbs and plants with more limited scopes.

Ginseng

Ginseng has limited application in menopause. It improves sexual function, and Korean red ginseng appears to help libido and reduce the total hot flash score, but neither type of ginseng reduces oxidative stress, improves endometrial thickness, or reduces hot flash frequency.

Here’s some Korean red ginseng. Here’s some concentrated ginseng.

Evening Primrose

It’s good for hot flashes, and that tends to improve other things like socializing and sex, but that’s about it.

Here’s some cold-pressed primrose oil.

St. John’s Wort

You might remember St. John’s Wort as an herbal treatment for such conditions as depression and anxiety, but it’s also quite effective against certain symptoms of menopause.

In one study, 3 months of daily St. John’s Wort supplementation helped perimenopausal women go from three hot flashes to one hot flash a day, get better sleep, and have a better quality of life. In another, it took 8 weeks of St. John’s Wort for both perimenopausal and postmenopausal women to reduce the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. Researchers also combined it with black cohosh to successfully treat hot flash-related moodiness.

This is a pretty good product.

Wild Yam

The yam has been used for hundreds of years for menopause treatment. These days, we know it contains estrogen mimetics known as phytosterols with clinical efficacy in menopausal women.

Try this one.

Before you go fill your Amazon cart with supplements and start chowing down on powders and pills, however, make sure you’re making the right move.

Talk to your doctor about the herbal alternatives mentioned today. Discuss and research potential interactions with medications and even supplements you’re already taking. Be sure to cite the relevant references.

Minimize the variables. Don’t start taking everything from this article. Start with one and evaluate.

Don’t underestimate the power of plants. Just because something is “herbal” or “botanical” doesn’t mean it’s completely benign at all doses.

That’s it for today, folks. Take care, and be sure to write in down below.

Have you ever used any herbs or botanicals to treat menopause symptoms? If so, what worked? What didn’t?

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References:

Mehrpooya M, Rabiee S, Larki-harchegani A, et al. A comparative study on the effect of “black cohosh” and “evening primrose oil” on menopausal hot flashes. J Educ Health Promot. 2018;7:36.

Jiang K, Jin Y, Huang L, et al. Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance. Climacteric. 2015;18(4):559-67.

Mohammad-alizadeh-charandabi S, Shahnazi M, Nahaee J, Bayatipayan S. Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa L.) in treating early symptoms of menopause: a randomized clinical trial. Chin Med. 2013;8(1):20.

Zheng TP, Sun AJ, Xue W, et al. Efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga foetida extract on menopausal syndrome in Chinese women. Chin Med J. 2013;126(11):2034-8.

Lee HW, Choi J, Lee Y, Kil KJ, Lee MS. Ginseng for managing menopausal woman’s health: A systematic review of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(38):e4914.

Lee MS, Shin BC, Yang EJ, Lim HJ, Ernst E. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2011;70(3):227-33.

Stojanovska L, Law C, Lai B, et al. Maca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal women. Climacteric. 2015;18(1):69-78.

Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008;15(6):1157-62.

Shakeri F, Taavoni S, Goushegir A, Haghani H. Effectiveness of red clover in alleviating menopausal symptoms: a 12-week randomized, controlled trial. Climacteric. 2015;18(4):568-73.

Lipovac M, Chedraui P, Gruenhut C, et al. The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012;28(3):203-7.

Hidalgo LA, Chedraui PA, Morocho N, Ross S, San miguel G. The effect of red clover isoflavones on menopausal symptoms, lipids and vaginal cytology in menopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2005;21(5):257-64.

Lambert MNT, Thorup AC, Hansen ESS, Jeppesen PB. Combined Red Clover isoflavones and probiotics potently reduce menopausal vasomotor symptoms. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(6):e0176590.

Beck V, Rohr U, Jungbauer A. Phytoestrogens derived from red clover: an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy?. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005;94(5):499-518.

Abdali K, Khajehei M, Tabatabaee HR. Effect of St John’s wort on severity, frequency, and duration of hot flashes in premenopausal, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Menopause. 2010;17(2):326-31.

Briese V, Stammwitz U, Friede M, Henneicke-von zepelin HH. Black cohosh with or without St. John’s wort for symptom-specific climacteric treatment–results of a large-scale, controlled, observational study. Maturitas. 2007;57(4):405-14.

The post 7 Herbal Alternatives to HRT appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Today’s guest post is generously offered up by Craig Emmerich, husband to—and co-author with—the queen of keto herself, Maria Emmerich. Enjoy!

When we consume macro nutrients, our bodies go through a priority for dealing with them. This priority can be very useful in understanding how our bodies work and how to leverage it for losing weight.

The body doesn’t like having an oversaturation of fuel in the blood at any time. It tightly manages the fuels to avoid dangerous situations like hyperglycemia or blood glucose that is too high. But it also manages and controls other fuels like ketones (beta hydroxybutyrate or BHB levels) and fats (free fatty acids or FFA and triglycerides) to keep them under control and not oversaturate the blood with fuel.

It is like the engine of a car. You don’t want to give the engine too much fuel and blow it up. So the body controls the amount of fuels in the blood to ensure you don’t “blow up.” To do this, the body will address the most important (or potentially most dangerous) fuels first. It does this in a very logical way—in reverse order of storage capacity.

Here is a chart showing the breakdown of oxidative priority for dietary fuels.

Modified Source: Keto. By Maria and Craig Emmerich
Original source: Oxidative Priority, Meal Frequency, and the Energy Economy of Food and Activity: Implications for Longevity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Disease, Sinclair, Bremer, et al, February 2017.

The #1 oxidative priority is alcohol because there is zero storage capacity for it. It makes sense that the body would address this first, since it can’t store it anywhere and too high blood alcohol means death.

The second oxidative priority is exogenous ketones. These are ketone salts that raise blood BHB levels. There isn’t a storage site for ketones either, so the body must deal with this before addressing other fuels. That is why exogenous ketones aren’t the best option when trying to lose weight. They displace fat oxidation, keeping fat stored while it uses the exogenous ketones as fuel instead.

The third oxidative priority is protein. Protein is a bit different, as there is a limited storage space for protein, but protein is not a good fuel source. It takes 5 ATP to turn protein into a fuel (glucose through gluconeogenesis) and another 2 ATP to burn in the mitochondria. Why would your body expend 7 ATP for something it can do for 2 ATP by just burning glucose or fat from your body? Protein is only really used as a fuel when other fuels (glucose and fat) are not present and it is forced to use protein. Protein gets preferentially used to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It builds and repairs lean mass.

The next oxidative priority is carbohydrates. It has a moderate amount of storage capacity at 1,200 to 2,000 calories.

The last oxidative priority is fat. This makes sense, as there is a theoretically unlimited storage capacity for fat. There are people with upwards of 400 pounds of stored body fat, which represents 1.6 million calories.

Oxidative priority can help you understand what happens when you put certain fuels into your body. If you are drinking alcohol while eating carbs and fat, the carbs and fat will primarily go into storage while the body deals with the elevated alcohol.

To understand the power of oxidative priority take the case of an alcoholic. Alcoholics will have very low A1c levels (in the 4s) no matter what they eat! If they eat tons of carbohydrates they will still have an A1c in the 4s because the chronically elevated alcohol levels force the body to store all glucose while dealing with alcohol, creating a low A1c. I am not recommending anyone become an alcoholic to lower A1c level—but quite the opposite actually.

So, what does this mean, and how can you leverage your body’s biology to lose weight?

If you avoid alcohol and exogenous ketones, get a just enough protein to support maintenance of lean mass (about 0.8 times your lean mass in pounds for grams of protein a day), limit the carbs and then reduce dietary fat a bit to force the body to use more stored body fat for fuel you will lose body fat. When you restrict carbs for long enough (4-6 weeks for most people) the body gets used to using fat as its primary fuel (keto adapted). This means it can burn body fat or dietary fat equally well. Eliminating other fuels and keeping dietary fat moderate allows the body to focus on body fat for fuel resulting in fat loss.

That is our bodies system for processing fuels coming in through the diet. Leverage it for improved results and body recomposition.

Craig Emmerich graduated in Electrical Engineering and has always had a systems approach to his work. He followed his wife Maria into the nutrition field and has since dedicated his time researching and looking at nutrition and biology from a systems perspective. Over the last 8 years he has worked with hundreds of clients alongside Maria to help them heal their bodies and lose weight leveraging their biology to make it easy.

Thanks to Craig for today’s keto insights, and thanks to everybody here for stopping in.

You can follow Maria and Craig’s work on their website, Maria Mind Body Health, as well as their subscription site, Keto-Adapted, and their new keto courses.

Questions about dietary fuels and oxidative priority—or other points keto? Share them down below, and have a great end to the week. Take care, folks!

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The post Oxidative Priority: Dietary Fuels To the Body appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. First, is it possible to become deficient in omega-6 fats as an adult? What would that even look like, and is there anything that might make omega-6 more important?

Second is a question related to last week’s feature on prostate health. Is saw palmetto an effective supplement for prostate issues? It depends on the issue.

Let’s go:

I have a question for “Dear Mark”
Here it is:

I am completely and totally primal for 10 years now. Can I become O6 deficient ? Since 90% of my fat intake is saturated or O3.

It’s technically possible to become deficient in omega-6 fatty acids. The early rat studies that discovered the essentiality of Omega-6s found that their complete removal made the subjects consume more food (without gaining weight), drink more water (without peeing more than rats on a normal diet), develop scaly skin, lose fur, urinate blood, go infertile, grow weird tails, and die early. All this despite eating an otherwise nutrient-dense diet with all the fat-soluble vitamins (they even removed the fat from cod liver oil and gave the vitamins), B vitamins, and other nutrients a rat could ever want. The only thing missing was a source of omega-6 fats.

Once they discovered the issue—a lack of omega-6—how’d they fix it?

Coconut oil didn’t work, for obvious reasons. It’s almost pure saturated fat.

Butter worked, but you had to use a lot. The omega-6 fraction of butter is quite low.

Cod liver oil worked, but it didn’t fully cure the deficiency disease.

Lard worked well, as did corn oil, liver, flax oil, and olive oil. All of those fat sources fully resolved the issue and eliminated the symptoms. They were all good to decent sources of omega-6 fatty acids.

They also tried pure linoleic acid (the shorter-chained omega-6 PUFA found in nuts and seeds and the animals that eat them) and arachidonic acid (the long-chain omega-6 PUFA found in animal foods). Both worked, but AA worked best.

Throughout all these trials, exactly how much omega-6 fat did the rats require in their diets to cure deficiency symptoms?

When they used lard to cure it, the rats got 0.4% of calories from omega-6 PUFA. If the numbers hold true for humans, and you’re eating 2500 calories a day, that’s just 10 calories of omega-6, or about a gram and a half of pure arachidonic acid to avoid deficiency.

When they used liver to cure it, the rats got 0.1% of calories from omega-6 PUFA. If the numbers hold true for humans, and you’re eating 2500 calories a day, that’s just 2.5 calories of omega-6, or about a third of a gram of arachidonic acid to avoid deficiency.

The truth is that omega-6 deficiency is extremely hard to produce, even when you’re trying your hardest. Way back in the 1930s, the early omega-6 researchers tried to induce deficiency in an adult by giving him a 2 grams fat/day diet for months. Nearly all fat was removed, particularly the omega-6 fats, and the rest of the diet was fat-free milk, fat-free cottage cheese, orange juice, potato starch, sugar, and a vitamin/mineral supplement. Maybe not the ideal Primal diet, but better than some.

He ended up improving his health, not hurting it. There was no sign of deficiency.

Omega-6 fats are everywhere in the food environment, even if you’re actively avoiding concentrated sources of them. No one is developing a deficiency these days. However, certain conditions might increase the tolerable or beneficial upper limits of omega-6 intake.

If you’re strength training with the intent to gain lean mass, a little extra arachidonic acid can improve your results. The dose used was 1.5 grams per day. Average intake through food runs about 250-500 mg, though Primal eaters heavy on the animal foods are probably eating more.

If you’re recovering from injury or healing a wound, a little extra arachidonic acid can speed it up. AA is an important co-factor in the inflammatory response necessary for tissue healing.

Well done, Mark. My doc just prescribed saw palmetto to reduce multiple nighttime visits to the bathroom, though the research I’m looking at says there’s no clinical evidence to support saw palmetto for prostate problems. Your take?

It depends on the problem.

Large observational trials have found no connection between saw palmetto supplementation and prostate cancer risk. It neither helps nor harms.

Saw palmetto does seem to help benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous growth of the prostate. This won’t cause serious health issues directly, but it can impede the flow of urine and lead to multiple nighttime bathroom visits. Saw palmetto is quite effective at reducing nighttime urination. If that’s what your doc is trying to help, I’d say give it a shot.

You might ask about combining saw palmetto with astaxanthin. It’s been shown to reduce the conversion of testosterone into estradiol that can sometimes result from plain old saw palmetto supplementation.

That’s it for today, folks. Take care and be well. Chime in down below if you have any questions or comments.

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References:

Mitchell CJ, D’souza RF, Figueiredo VC, et al. Effect of dietary arachidonic acid supplementation on acute muscle adaptive responses to resistance exercise in trained men: a randomized controlled trial. J Appl Physiol. 2018;124(4):1080-1091.

Oh SY, Lee SJ, Jung YH, Lee HJ, Han HJ. Arachidonic acid promotes skin wound healing through induction of human MSC migration by MT3-MMP-mediated fibronectin degradation. Cell Death Dis. 2015;6:e1750.

Bonnar-pizzorno RM, Littman AJ, Kestin M, White E. Saw palmetto supplement use and prostate cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):21-7.

Saidi S, Stavridis S, Stankov O, Dohcev S, Panov S. Effects of Serenoa repens Alcohol Extract on Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki). 2017;38(2):123-129.

Vela-navarrete R, Alcaraz A, Rodríguez-antolín A, et al. Efficacy and safety of a hexanic extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon ) for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH): systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies. BJU Int. 2018;

Angwafor F, Anderson ML. An open label, dose response study to determine the effect of a dietary supplement on dihydrotestosterone, testosterone and estradiol levels in healthy males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:12.

The post Dear Mark: Omega-6 Deficiency and Saw Palmetto appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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