Monthly Archives: May 2019

Nutrients for Brain Health

Nutrients for Healthy Brain FunctionJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diet, exercise, sleep and our daily environmental interactions have the potential to alter brain health and mental function. Certain nutrients can influence cognition by acting on molecular systems or cellular processes that are vital for the maintenance of cognitive function, including regulation of neurotransmitter pathways, membrane fluidity and synaptic transmissions. Dietary influences may be a viable strategy to enhance cognitive abilities, protect the brain from damage, promote repair and offset the effects of aging. In addition, recent studies have shown a cooperative action of diet and exercise at the molecular level, which could influence cognitive abilities. Numerous studies have found that exercise counteracts mental decline associated with aging and facilitates functional recovery after brain injury or disease.

Several dietary components have been found to have positive and beneficial effects on cognitive and neuronal health:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Essential for normal brain function, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are normal constituents of cell membranes. DHA, a prominent component of neuronal membranes, affects brain plasticity and cognition. DHA might enhance cognitive abilities by facilitating synaptic plasticity and/or enhancing synaptic membrane fluidity; it might also act through its effects on metabolism, as DHA stimulates glucose utilization and mitochondrial function, thereby reducing oxidative stress. Dietary deficiency of omega-3’s has been associated with increased risk of dementia, depression and attention deficient disorder.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC):

Found largely in red meat, this amino acid derivative is readily absorbed throughout the body including the brain. Little evidence exists that ALC can provide a significant benefit to those already diagnosed with dementia. However, observational, clinical and randomized controlled studies suggest that ALC may benefit brain health by helping to improve memory and mitochondrial function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Evidence suggests that ALC may raise the levels of nerve growth factor and increase the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical to healthy brain function, levels of which are found to be substantially low in Alzheimer’s disease.

 Magnesium L-Threonate:

This proprietary form of magnesium may be best for improving brain function. In animal studies, magnesium l-threonate was found to effectively cross the blood brain barrier and increase brain levels of magnesium. Magnesium is critical to the activation of nerve channels involved in synaptic plasticity and is thought to enhance the connections or synapses between brain neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that processes memories. Profound loss of synapses is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment. In large observational studies, high intakes of dietary magnesium have been shown to support healthy brain function. Studies also show that those with Alzheimer’s have significantly lower blood levels of this highly important mineral. Ongoing studies are examining the effects of magnesium l-threonate on enhanced learning and memory in people with dementia. Although more research is needed, increasing brain levels of magnesium may boost memory, and may help prevent or slow cognitive decline. Failure to obtain adequate magnesium can result in memory issues, anxiety and depression.

Turmeric:

Used traditionally over thousands of years for both prevention and disease therapy, modern studies have revealed that in addition to its antioxidant effects, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, anti-tumor and antiviral effects, as well as cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, and nephroprotective properties. Medicines derived from plants have played a pivotal role in the healthcare of many ancient and modern cultures. Modern medicine, which is in its infancy as compared to centuries-old traditional medicines, does not hold the medicinal use of natural products in high esteem. However, plant-based drugs are more suitable in biological terms for human use. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties appear to protect brain cell membranes from free radical damage. India produces most of the world’s turmeric and consumes 80 percent of it as well. Given the high consumption of curcumin in India, it’s possible that curcumin may contribute to the country’s low prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. The pharmacological properties of turmeric are due to its large number of compounds including curcumin, volatile oil and curcuminoids.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of overall wellness:

NeuroMagNeuroMag™ by Designs for Health®: NeuroMag™ is formulated with Magtein™, a unique, patented chelated mineral form of magnesium found to cross the blood brain barrier and transport magnesium ions across the lipid membranes of brain cells. NeuroMag™ may enhance cognitive abilities, as well as support age-related memory functions. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Acetyl L-Carnitine...Acetyl L-Carnitine 500 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: This product provides 500 mg of acetyl l-carnitine per serving in support of proper brain and nerve function maintenance during the normal aging process. Free of gluten, wheat, yeast, soy, dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial coloring and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

ProDHA MemoryProDHA Memory by Nordic Naturals: This potent, high quality formula provides a synergistic blend of DHA and other key nutrients in support of neural communication and overall brain health, as well as the structure and function of brain cells. Free of gluten, dairy, heavy metals and artificial colors and flavors. Non-GMO formulation.

Curcumin Pro-95Curcumin Pro-95 by Professional Supplement Center®: ON SALE Curcumin Pro-95 features BCM-95® curcumin complex, which provides curcuminoids, curcumin and volatile oils. This product exerts cell protective antioxidant activity, uplifts mood, and supports brain, neuronal, joint and organ health. Free of wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

References:
Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/
Turmeric, the Golden Spice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/

Gaining Weight? Ultra-Processed Foods May Be to Blame

Gaining WeightSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Let’s assume you’ve been watching your caloric intake and have ramped up physical activity with the ultimate goal of improving health markers through weight loss. Yet, the numbers on the scale continue to disappoint, as you maintain, or even gain weight. What gives? Contemporary diet plans, whether keto, paleo, low carb, low fat, high protein, plant-based or vegan, all share a common thread: get back to basics by consuming whole foods and avoiding processed foods. Ultra-processed foods, described as “cheap industrial sources of dietary energy and additives formulated through a series of ‘processes’ and containing minimal whole foods,” are the most likely culprits of weight gain leading to obesity. In fact, 60 percent of the standard American diet consists of ultra-processed foods, while the nation’s obesity rate is quickly approaching 40 percent.

Ultra-processed food tends to be formulated from industrial ingredients, which blend starches, sugars and hydrogenated fats with additives, including preservatives, binders, artificial colors and flavorings, sweeteners and sensory enhancers. If that doesn’t scare you, perhaps the idea that food is “formulated”, or engineered to have enhanced appetite properties, should. Low cost, wide availability, long shelf life and the convenience of ready-to-eat foods come at a price to overall health and wellbeing. Consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with adverse health outcomes in addition to obesity, such as high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes type 2, as well as a shortened life span.

Results of a one-month, in-patient, randomized and highly controlled trial recently published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, found that those exposed to a diet comprising ultra-processed foods unknowingly and regularly consumed an average of 500 extra calories daily, as compared to those given a diet of unprocessed whole foods. Although the diets were matched for calories, sugar, fat, fiber, sugar and macronutrients, study participants who were permitted to eat as much as they wanted, ate more when served ultra-processed foods despite rating them less tasty than the unprocessed ones. Consequently, those on the ultra-processed diet gained an average of two pounds, while people lost an equal amount of weight on the unprocessed diet. Ultra-processed foods may facilitate overeating and consequently obesity, as they are usually high in calories, laden with sugar, fat, and salt, making them not only palatable, but highly desirable as well.

NOVA, an alternative diet classification system developed by an international panel of researchers and food scientists, considers nature, extent and purpose of processing when categorizing foods and beverages into four groups:

  • Unprocessed or minimally processed foods include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, meats, seafood, poultry, eggs and milk.
  • Processed culinary ingredients include spices, herbs, garlic, healthy oils, and vinegars, all ingredients added in small amounts to create tasty meals at home.
  • Processed foods include convenience foods such as cheese, tofu, canned beans, oatmeal, tuna, nut butters or any foods that have been cleaned, cut, heated, canned or frozen.
  • Ultra-processed foods include sweetened breakfast cereals, white bread, packaged soups, hot dogs, candy, soft drinks, chips and ready-to-heat and eat meals.

While no causal relationship between ultra-processed food and human obesity has been definitively established, the study concluded that body fat mass increased on the ultra-processed diet and decreased on the unprocessed diet. This suggests that limiting consumption of ultra-processed food in favor of whole unprocessed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment, as well as healthy weight maintenance for those within the normal BMI weight range. Ideally, for better health, weight maintenance and longevity, unprocessed whole food should make up the basis of everyone’s healthy diet plan.

Resources:
Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(19)30248-7
It’s Not Just Salt, Sugar, Fat: Study Finds Ultra-Processed Foods Drive Weight Gain. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/05/16/723693839/its-not-just-salt-sugar-fat-study-finds-ultra-processed-foods-drive-weight-gain
Eating highly processed foods linked to weight gain. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/eating-highly-processed-foods-linked-weight-gain
Processed foods lead to weight gain, but it’s about more than calories. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325194.php
Does eating ultraprocessed food affect weight gain? It’s complicated. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/eating-ultraprocessed-food-weight-gain-nutrition-studies
Heavily processed food like ready meals and ice cream linked to early death. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/may/29/studies-link-too-much-heavily-processed-food-to-early-death?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
The vast majority of American adults are overweight or obese, and weight is a growing problem among US children. http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among

Healthy Pets by Dr. Mercola® – Featured Brand

Healthy PetsSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorProfessional Supplement Center now offers Healthy Pets by Dr. Mercola, a line of GMO free, food-grade veterinarian products specifically designed for pet health, vitality and overall wellbeing. Based entirely on clean human-grade ingredients, the formulas address the three pillars of a pet’s total health—species appropriate nutrition, a sound and resilient body frame and organs, and a balanced functional immune system. Formulated and extensively researched by a holistic veterinarian and a team of scientists, engineers and product development specialists, and manufactured to appropriate human GMPs, the products are tested at multiple stages for contaminants, adulterants, potency, purity, performance and stability.

Sustainably sourced ingredients support regenerative agriculture and recyclable packaging is designed for minimum impact on the environment. Additionally, a percentage of all profits is donated to charitable causes to aid pets in need.

For more information, please visit professionalsupplementcenter.com

Healthy Pets...Curcumin: Formulated for felines, as well as canines of all sizes and breeds, this formula offers bioavailable curcumin in support of a normal immune and inflammatory response, healthy digestion and free radical damage protection, as well as joint comfort and flexibility. MicroActive® technology protects the fragile active nutrients and provides sustained release of beneficial nutrients over time to ensure the full benefits of efficient absorption.

Healthy Pets Organic...Organic Mushroom Complex: This proprietary formula contains 100% Certified Organic, biologically active, whole food medicinal mushrooms and mycelium for optimal benefit. Formulated for dogs and cats, ingredients include high levels of natural vitamin D2, B6, B12, beta glucans, chelated minerals, fiber, antioxidants and natural glucosamine, as well as reishi, cordyceps, shiitake, turkey tail, maitake, and lion’s mane organic mushrooms. Free of additives, fillers, and gluten.

Healthy Pets...Seasonal Support: Common among both cats and dogs, seasonal allergies may result in skin irritation, itchiness, inflammation, hot spots, inflamed ears and other uncomfortable symptoms. Specific ingredients support an optimally functioning immune system and a normal inflammatory response by helping to maintain normal histamine levels. This unique formula provides eight nutrients, including bee pollen, bromelain, quercetin, plant sterols, stinging nettle and butterbur, which address the root cause of pet discomfort to help quell redness, irritation, and inflammation.

Healthy Pets Vitamin...Vitamin B Complex: This bioavailable complete complex provides the ideal proportions of eight well-balanced and biologically active B vitamins, co-factors and coenzymes, along with additional active B vitamins. B vitamins support brain health, nervous system and immune function; energy production; organ, eye, tissue and muscle health; as well as skin and coat health. Suitable for both dogs and cats, the B vitamins are organically bound to organic quinoa seeds for enhanced benefit and bioavailability.