Monthly Archives: February 2019

The Surprising Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent FastingSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

It’s hard to remember a time when dieting wasn’t a fact of life for so many, but did you know that the concept of dieting for health reasons dates from ancient Greece? Diata was a word used to describe a way of living that would have included a dietary regimen, as well as other daily habits. During the middle ages, “diets” that commonly involved fasts, as well as confinement, were generally advised by physicians. Today, of course, diet is associated with a way of purposeful eating specifically for weight loss. Perhaps the old adage, “everything old is new again,” could apply to the current trend of intermittent fasting to achieve optimal weight. It appears that the ancient Greek physicians’ intuitions about the relationship between fasting and health were actually spot on.

While there are many effective ways to drop pounds, dieting for weight loss takes determination and dedication, as well as commitment to a long-term healthy eating plan combined with an active lifestyle. Many diets fail because slow and incremental weight loss often leaves one feeling “hangry,” or hungry, cranky, deprived and dissatisfied. But, what about an eating plan that can assist weight loss and at the same time improve metabolic health, without hunger? While most are aware that proper weight maintenance supports overall wellbeing and long-term health, how many know that short-term fasting can lead not only to weight loss, but also to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.

Of course, food quality is crucial while on an intermittent fasting plan. As with all reduction diets, a healthy whole food eating plan is necessary when the goal is to lose weight and improve health. Done correctly, intermittent fasting should help to manage weight, improve sleep, increase energy levels, elevate mood and improve cognitive performance.

There are several strategies for incorporating intermittent fasting:

  • Perhaps the easiest route is to limit food intake to an eight-hour window each day. This requires no calorie restriction; however diet improvements are likely necessary. The strategy takes a two meal a day approach and nothing is eaten after dinner, as nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity. Those who already skip breakfast may find this an effortless way to lose weight, as long as healthy foods are consumed during the eating hours. This plan can help with weight loss without leaving one feeling hungry or deprived.
  • The 5:2 diet limits caloric intake to 500 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week. On the other days, a healthy diet of 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,500 for men is consumed. This method may be more sustainable for long-term weight management, as long as one can handle the light eating days.
  • Some choose the alternate day fasting method, which allows only 500 calories every other day. This is likely too restrictive and unsustainable long-term for most people.
  • Basically effortless, but not the most effective for weight loss, spontaneous meal skipping is the least structured plan where meals are skipped from time to time, especially when one is not that hungry.
  • Fasting one to two days a week for a 24-hour period, which, for some, may be the most difficult to accomplish. It does appear, however, that longer fasts provide greater health benefits.
  • Studies have found that people on fasting plans tend to lose more weight than those who cut daily calories. The drop out rate appears lower for those who fast on some days but eat normally on others, as people find day to day caloric reduction difficult.

As long as one sticks with the plan and doesn’t snack, insulin levels will drop between meals. This stimulates fat cells to release stored glycogen that the body then utilizes for energy, thereby reducing adipose tissue mass. Nutritional stress, in part, results in cellular level repairs, functional optimization and metabolic rejuvenation. Researchers who study intermittent fasting have found good evidence that fasting does encourage weight loss and may also reduce inflammation, as well as lower blood pressure and resting heart rate, benefitting cardiovascular health by reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

Published research of randomized, controlled clinical trials suggests that caloric restriction, such as intermittent fasting, results in energy deprivation that dramatically improves metabolic health, as well as other physiological and molecular markers of health and longevity. Another study found that just changing the timing of meals, eating dinner earlier and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefitted metabolism even in people who didn’t lose weight. While more research is needed, especially for higher-risk individuals, generally healthy but overweight persons should check in with their healthcare practitioner before embarking on any restricted calorie eating plan.

To recap, try the simplest form of intermittent fasting by limiting the eating window to no more than 8 hours, eat a healthy whole food diet, be active throughout the day, and avoid snacking or eating at nighttime.

What is the origin of the Word Diet?
Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review.
Intermittent fasting: Surprising update.

HealthForce SuperFoods™ – Featured Brand

HealthForce SuperFoodsSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

For more than 25 years, HealthForce SuperFoods™ has remained committed to offering the purest, highest potency, cutting-edge products formulated with superfoods, botanicals and natural ingredients for optimal nutritive support. Based on the principle that micronutrients and cofactors contained in whole foods are easily and effectively utilized by the body, HealthForce SuperFoods™ provides therapeutically beneficial nutritional supplements sourced exclusively from 100% whole foods. Proprietary TruGanic™ standards ensure quality, botanical identity, purity, strength and composition, and verify the exclusion of heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, as well as irradiated and GMO ingredients.

Products are manufactured according to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) in a Certified Organic, Certified Kosher, NSF audited, registered FDA compliant, vegan and gluten-free facility. All products are free of fillers, synthetics, flow agents and excipients. Their fully reusable and recyclable amber glass packaging helps to maintain the potency and purity of the nutrients.

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Truly Natural™...Truly Natural™ Vitamin C: This 100% food-based complex is sourced exclusively from wildcrafted acerola cherry extract, providing 420 mg of naturally-occurring, absorbable vitamin C per serving. Just as found in nature, Truly Natural™ Vitamin C contains bioavailable vitamin C along with cofactors that assist with absorption and utilization. Gluten, corn, tree nut and peanut free, Non-GMO, kosher, vegan formulation.

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Vitamineral Green™Vitamineral Green™: This foundational, broad-spectrum superfood complex provides 25 nutrient-dense, synergistic nourishing plant foods grown and processed to maximize their natural and powerful benefits. Included are full-spectrum, naturally occurring, bioavailable whole food vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as soluble and insoluble fibers. Available in vegan capsules or powder mode. Gluten free, Non-GMO, kosher, vegan formulation.

Vitamineral Earth™Vitamineral Earth™: This one-of-a-kind powdered superfood complex is intended for deep nourishment and nutritional balance. A perfect companion to Vitamineral Green™, Vitamineral Earth™ is grounding, nourishing and detoxifying. Broad-spectrum ingredients include whole-food vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and phytonutrients in support of liver, blood, lymph, endocrine, immune and bowel function. Gluten free, Non-GMO, kosher, vegan formulation.

What is Inflammaging?

InflammagingJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

As one of the most intricate and complex biological phenomenons, aging is often termed “senescence”, which literally means to grow old. While theories abound as to why immune system efficiency decreases with age, some research suggests that just as other bodily cells become senescent, immune cells do as well. Seen as one of the hallmarks of age progression, senescent cells do not divide or support their respective tissues; instead they emit a range of potentially harmful pro-inflammatory chemicals, encouraging nearby cells to enter the same senescent state. These “death-resistant” cells degrade tissue function, increase levels of chronic inflammation and may eventually raise cancer risk.

Senescent cells normally destroy themselves through apoptosis, programmed cellular self-destruction that occurs as part of the controlled, predictable and normal routine of an organism’s growth and development. In apoptosis, proteins within the cells break down the cellular components necessary for survival and spur the production of enzymes that destroy  DNA. The shrunken cells send out distress signals that are answered by macrophages, scavenging white blood cells that clear away cellular debris, ideally leaving nothing that can cause further damage.

However when the immune system weakens with age, significant numbers of senescent cells can escape the cleanup process. As a consequence of inappropriate cell destruction and clearance, cell debris accumulates with age, setting the stage for persistent inflammation. Chronic inflammation that accompanies aging, known as “inflammaging”, is believed to be a significant risk factor for the development of age-related diseases. In other words, chronic inflammation correlates with the downregulation of the innate immune system and may also drive the aging process itself.

During the aging process, alterations in the innate immune system may also impact adaptive immune changes, which may explain the increased incidence of infections, cancers and chronic diseases in older persons. It has yet to be determined whether diseases are caused by inflammaging alone or immunosenescence alone. Yet, researchers propose that inflammaging is accompanied by immunosenescence and that they occur together. As chronic progressive inflammation is a main feature of the gradual aging process, managing and reducing inflammaging is a potential therapeutic approach for treating and preventing age-related diseases, which often originate in mid-life.

Poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, persistent stress, environmental toxins and second hand tobacco smoke all contribute to inflammation. Those who follow the standard American diet of refined, processed and manufactured foods may exist in a constant pro-inflammatory state. A high sugar and processed food diet feeds harmful gut microbiota that play a central role in inflammaging by releasing pro-inflammatory chemicals. An anti-inflammatory diet positively influences the microbiome by emphasizing fresh foods, whole grains, seafood, beans and legumes, thereby reducing inflammation and providing steady energy, as well as omega-3 essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and protective phytonutrients.

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Zyflamend Whole BodyZyflamend™ Whole Body by New Chapter®: This time-honored, whole body herbal formula is intended to balance and support the body’s natural healthy inflammatory response, as well as address minor pain and stiffness. Ingredients include turmeric, ginger, holy basil, rosemary and oregano. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Immune Support, Q.Immune Support, Q. by Quantum Nutrition Labs: This live-source botanical and phytonutrient formulation is designed to benefit the immune and cardiovascular systems. Ingredients include medicinal mushrooms, quantum state olive leaf extract and more. Artificial ingredient free, vegan formulation.

AntiOxidant FormulaAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations®: AntiOxidant is formulated with a broad spectrum of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, botanicals and phytonutrients to help protect against cellular free radical damage throughout the body. Gluten free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formulation.

Vital ClearVital Clear® by Vital Nutrients: This full spectrum formula provides quality macro-, micro- and botanical nutrients to support a healthy inflammatory response, as well as promote detoxification. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, egg and sugar.


What is apoptosis?
Senescent Cells and Senolytics.
An Update on Inflamm-Aging: Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment.
Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging.