As an Integrative Physician I see patients spanning practically all ideologies and beliefs. Some of them prefer a more extremist approach to their health. They tend to reject a middle ground, and are quick to condemn the other end of the spectrum. But, I validate and respect patients’ views and choices. If a patient only wants a pharmaceutical approach he/she gets the prescription we both feel is best. If they prefer only herbs and supplements, then, that is what we use. It is not my place to change a patient’s hard set preferences, unless they express a desire to hear countering arguments. Still, I believe it is harder to fall off of a middle ground.
Occasionally, a patient may express extreme inaccurate views. Recently I had a patient tell me he knows more about nutrition because I am an MD. That may be so, but, to infer that someone’s formal education precludes further independent study after graduating is not reasonable. As far as I am concerned, the main thing I learned in Medical School is where the Library was. Other patients have refused to accept new science on the health benefits of soybeans, while others swear that drinking a lot of water is good for them, despite clear side effects. To each his own.
Below you will find two articles that may give you pause.
Hugo Rodier, MD
The Brit’s indexes
At the beginning of my career I met Doctor Jenkins, a delightful Brit. Despite his published articles on the Glycemic Index of foods he was getting a lot of flak from ignorant doctors who did not bother to study nutrition on their own. His basic premise—now one hundred percent validated—was that each food contains different amounts of glucose. For instance, grains have more than vegetables. He proved that a diet low in the Glycemic Index was best for us. Of course, one may still eat grains, but not at the expense of vegetables.
Now, the Brits have come up with the Hydration Index. All fluids do not hydrate our body equally. Take a look at the graph below. You will notice that marketing of expensive drinks may have convinced many that their products are the best.
I was surprised to see Cola drinks score so well. But, remember that the chemicals and sugar in them have deleterious effects. The same goes for milk. It does have a lot of nutrients and it hydrates you well, but, I hope you take the time to study its downside as previously reported in this newsletter.
How do the two indexes relate together?
Most people need a lot of water because they are eating “fake food,” high in the Glycemic Index, dehydrated and processed. If something is packaged, stored, and forgotten about, but it is still OK to eat months later, chances are it has very little water in it. But, by eating fresh foods that perish within the week you are getting significant amounts of water. Remember that “real foods” are seventy percent water.
Soybeans are good for you
If you find this statement shocking I recommend that you go on a Google search for articles on soy. Make sure they have been published in the best of journals. Ignore disreputable sites that have not kept up with cutting edge science vindicating this much maligned legume. Yes, it is true that any food may be used to come up with “fake foods.” Soy is used to produce transhydrogenated, or artificial fats. Soy is also attacked because it may be “GMO.” True, but, don’t blame soy for misinformed scientists injecting pesticides into its genome. They do that to practically all foods, now.
Another point often ignored about soy is that its ultimate effects are dictated by how our liver and gut flora handle it. Due to genetics, bad diets, drugs, and other insults on those two organs, soy may turn on us. We may become sensitized to it, and even develop an allergy. But, this is a potential problem with all foods. This is why it is best to eat fermented soy, like tofu and miso. Look for it refrigerated and organic. The former is great in salads and the latter is a delicious soup. Below is yet another article on soy. I read many like it on a monthly basis in the journals.
A Systematic Review of the Effects of Plant Compared with Animal Protein Sources on Features of Metabolic Syndrome
J. Nutr. March 1, 2017 vol. 147 no. 3 281-292
“Plant protein (wheat gluten, soy protein) intake as part of a mixed meal resulted in a lower postprandial insulin response than did whey. This systematic review provides some evidence that the intake of soy protein associated with isoflavones may prevent the onset of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, i.e., hypercholesterolemia and hypertension, in humans.”
If you believe that soy will cause cancer and mess up your hormones send me an Email and I will share dozens or articles to the contrary. Or, search for yourself on the internet with the caution noted above. Speaking of the internet…
Heavy use of social media platforms may be associated with feelings of social isolation
“The NPR (3/6, Hobson) “Shots” blog reports that among young adults, “heavy use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram was associated with feelings of social isolation,” researchers found after surveying “1,787 US adults ages 19 to 32” and asking “them about their usage of 11 social media platforms outside of work.” The findings were published online March 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.”
Social media increasing stress levels in Americans, study says
“Bloomber News (2/23, Shanker) reports that last week the American Psychological Association “released a study finding that Americans were experiencing the first statistically significant stress increase in the survey’s 10-year history.” Bloomberg explains that “in January, 57 percent of respondents of all political stripes said the U.S. political climate was a very or somewhat significant source of stress, up from 52 percent who said the same thing in August.” Meanwhile, “on Thursday, the” group “released the second part of its findings,” which indicated “43 percent of Americans say they are checking their e-mails, texts, or social media accounts constantly. And their stress levels are paying for it: On a 10-point scale, constant checkers reported an average stress level of 5.3.”
Stress and the Gut Flora
Speaking of stress, the gut flora can mitigate it, or make it worse. So, a poor diet, drugs like acid blockers, and antibiotics—by altering your microbiome—may compound your stress reaction to a challenge like FACEBOOK (see above.) There are multiple mechanisms involved. Here is a big one: how we process calories in the gut, that is, how we metabolize. When done poorly we may gain weight and even develop diabetes. This may lead—and result—in adrenal stress. So, optimizing our gut flora through plant based diets, avoiding drugs and chemicals will improve not only how you manage stress, but how you metabolize.
Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical approach ignores these vital points. Prescription drugs for diabetes are taken off the market on a regular basis because of side effects, and questionable results. Even statin drugs for cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes by fifty percent. Speaking of cholesterol therapy, check out this article:
A New Frontier for Reverse Cholesterol Transport: The Impact of Intestinal Microbiota on Reverse Cholesterol Transport
J. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2017;37:385
These are a few of the reasons why no newsletter can be published without an update on the amazing gut flora. It is the reason “I treat all my patients the same,” for which some people criticize me. To each his own. In response I only quote the medical literature. Take a look:
“Gut-Brain Cross-Talk in Metabolic Control,”
J. Cell Volume 168, Issue 5, p758–774, 23 February 2017
Metabolic control = improvement in cholesterol and sugar issues.
Mining the Human Gut Microbiota for Immunomodulatory Organisms,”
J. Cell Volume 168, Issue 5, p928–943.e11, 23 February 2017
Immune issues = allergies AND metabolic control. Check out the next section.
This wonderful chemical ties up all the points made above. It is found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree tumeric works on gut health, allergies, depression, and many other conditions, it being an anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant molecule with activity on the mitochondria. It also helps with diabetes, with no side effects. Check out the evidence:
Berberine inhibits PTP1B activity and mimics insulin action,
J. Biochem Biophys Res Commun Jul 2 2010;397(3):543-7.
Berberine and its more biologically available derivative, dihydroberberine, inhibit mitochondrial respiratory complex I: a mechanism for the action of berberine to activate AMP-activated protein kinase and improve insulin action.
J. Diabetes May 2008;57(5):1414-8
Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin-resistant states,
J. Diabetes Aug 2006;55(8):2256-64
Berberine-induced activation of 5’-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase and glucose transport in rat skeletal muscles,
J. Metabolism 2010 Nov;59(11):1619-27
AMP-activated protein kinase: a potential target for the diseases prevention by natural occurring polyphenols,
J. N Biotechnol Oct 1 2009;26(1-2):17-22
AMP-activated protein kinase, a metabolic master switch: possible roles in type 2 diabetes,
Am J Physiol Jul 1999;277(1 Pt 1):E1-10
There is a lot more evidence on Berberine. Look it up.
- “A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):717-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114769. Epub 2015 Dec 23. ↑
- “Microbiota alteration is associated with the development of stress-induced despair behavior,” J. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43859 (2017)doi:10.1038/srep43859↑
- Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health ↑