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Coconut Water Reduces Body Weight and Blood Sugar

© 24th June 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
https://greenmedinfo.com/blog/coconut-water-reduces-body-weight-and-blood-sugar

Posted on: Wednesday, June 24th 2020 at 3:45 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

Fresh coconut water is a staple in many diets around the world, including those of India and other tropical countries. But it goes beyond being a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink. Here’s a rundown of its research-backed benefits, such as decreased blood glucose and body weight for improved health

Coconut water is nature’s gift in one complete package. It’s the liquid found in the center of a young, green coconut, helping nourish the fruit. Its wide range of applications is justified by its unique chemical composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as phytohormones.[i]

The average green coconut offers about one-half to 1 cup of coconut water. One cup contains 46 calories along with 9 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 3 g of fiber, 2 g of protein, 11% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium and 17% of the RDI of potassium.[ii]

Coconut is known to be an excellent alternative to sports drinks, a natural refreshing beverage that could be used for whole-body rehydration post-exercise.[iii] Nature also filters coconut water through an intensive purification process, eliminating safety issues commonly tied with municipal water systems and even sports beverages comprising synthetic ingredients.

Let’s recap some of the whole-body benefits of consuming fresh coconut water, starting with a 2018 study looking into its effects on body weight and glucose levels.

Slashing Blood Glucose and Excess Pounds Naturally

A group of researchers sought to compare the effects of higher saturated fatty acid and fiber intake, as provided by fresh coconut, and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and fiber intake via a combination of groundnut oil and groundnuts.[iv] They then measured indicators such as blood insulin and glucose levels, along with blood pressure, in healthy adults.

The researchers divided the 80 healthy subjects they recruited into two randomized groups, consuming a standardized diet along with either 100 g of fresh coconut or an equal amount of groundnuts and groundnut oil for 90 days.

The results showed that fasting blood sugar in both groups was significantly reduced. Yet they also observed a significant reduction in body weight in the coconut group, along with a notable increase in diastolic pressure in the groundnut group.

The researchers noted, “Fresh coconut-added diet helps reduce blood glucose levels and body weight in normal healthy individuals.” This supports previous studies that vouch for the blood-sugar lowering action of the natural drink, offering potential anti-diabetes benefits despite its naturally sweet taste.[v]

Interestingly, while groundnut intake reflected an increase in diastolic pressure, coconut was shown in previous research to push down systolic and diastolic pressures in hypertensive subjects.[vi] Additional animal research shows coconut water prevents and reverses fructose feeding-induced high blood pressure, along with reducing oxidative stress and insulin resistance.[vii]

Coconut water vinegar, too, has been promoted as a food ingredient with potential anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects, thanks to alterations in the gut microbiota due to increased populations of Bacteroides and Akkermansia genera bacteria.[viii]

Other Wondrous Health Benefits of Coconut

  • Anti-ulcer properties: Both coconut water and coconut milk demonstrate strong anti-ulcer activity against chemicals such as indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).[ix]
  • Lipid-lowering action: Coconut water has a lipid-modulating effect similar to the drug lovastatin in rats fed a fat- and cholesterol-enriched diet.[x]
  • Alzheimer’s disease protection: In a novel study, young coconut juice showed positive future implications in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in menopausal women.[xi]
  • Sperm preservation: A coconut water-based extender, ACP-116c, along with 20% egg yolk and 3% glycerol, was effective for the cryopreservation of semen.[xii]
  • Antibacterial benefits: Three peptides were purified and identified from green coconut water, exhibiting remarkable antimicrobial action against pathogenic bacteria.[xiii]
  • Kidney stone fighter: In a study on rats with kidney stones, coconut water barred crystals from sticking to the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract. In addition, it slashed the number of crystals formed in the urine.[xiv]

While pure, clear water remains the beverage of choice to stay cool and hydrated, some ice-cold natural coconut water can be a sound option, replacing electrolytes lost from sweating without the added sugar. Its close kin, coconut oil, is equally celebrated for its own set of healing and nourishing benefits.


References

[i] Yong JW et al “The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water” Molecules. 2009 Dec 9;14(12):5144-64.

[ii] SELF Nutrition Data https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3115/2

[iii] Mohamed S et al “Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water” J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar;21(2):93-104.

[iv] Venogupal V et al “Diet Enriched With Fresh Coconut Decreases Blood Glucose Levels and Body Weight in Normal Adults” J Complement Integr Med. 2018 Feb 20;15(3).

[v] “Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes” Food Funct. 2012 Jul;3(7):753-7

[vi] T Alleyne et al “The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks” West Indian Med J. 2005 Jan;54(1):3-8.

[vii] Therapeutic effects of tender coconut water on oxidative stress in fructose fed insulin resistant hypertensive rats. act Source: Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Apr ;5(4):270-6.

[viii] Nurul Elyani et al “Dietary coconut water vinegar for improvement of obesity-associated inflammation in high-fat-diet-treated mice” Food Nutr Res. 2017 ;61(1):1368322. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

[ix] R O Nneli et al “Antiulcerogenic effects of coconut (Cocos nucifera) extract in rats” Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):970-2.

[x] V G Sandhya et al “Comparative evaluation of the hypolipidemic effects of coconut water and lovastatin in rats fed fat-cholesterol enriched diet” Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3586-92. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

[xi] Nisaudah R et al “Young coconut juice, a potential therapeutic agent that could significantly reduce some pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease: novel findings” Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar ;105(5):738-46. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

[xii] M A Silva et al “Cryopreservation of collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) semen using a powdered coconut water (ACP-116c) based extender plus various concentrations of egg yolk and glycerol” Theriogenology. 2012 Apr 24. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

[xiii] Santi M et al “Identification and structural insights of three novel antimicrobial peptides isolated from green coconut water” Peptides. 2009 Apr;30(4):633-7. Epub 2008 Dec 6.

[xiv] Gandhi M et al “Prophylactic effect of coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) on ethylene glycol induced nephrocalcinosis in male wistar rat” Int Braz J Urol. 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):108-17.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Truth be told: How a low-carb diet prevented polio

Reproduced from original article:
https://www.naturalhealth365.com/low-carb-diet-polio-3418.html
by:  | May 28, 2020
low-carb-diet(NaturalHealth365) Although COVID-19 may feel uniquely terrifying, the truth is: the novel coronavirus is only the latest in a series of pandemics and epidemics that have threatened human health.  Remember, in 1948, polio was raging across the United States, taking a particularly heavy toll in North Carolina and in the city of Asheville. Against the spread of this infectious illness stood Dr. Benjamin P. Sandler, a visionary physician who endorsed a low-carb diet to ward off infection.

While some of Dr. Sandler’s assertions remain controversial to this day, he was certainly “ahead of his time” in endorsing a high-protein, low-starch, low-sugar diet. To learn more about this forward-thinking physician – and how his nutritional regimen helped to combat a crippling pathogen –read on.

A sugar-free, low-carb diet may strengthen resistance to infections within a day

In a nutshell, Dr. Sandler believed that a high-sugar, high-starch diet set the stage for polio.  Keep in mind, “starch” is considered a carbohydrate.  This means that Dr. Sandler’s “low-carb” nutritional recommendations are consistent with the best advice given by nutritionists today.

His dietary regimen, which he confidently offered “without reservation,” was simple, safe and easily applicable: avoid foods containing sugar or starch.

Significantly, Dr. Sandler advocated for a diet rich in beneficial high-fiber vegetables and nourishing, high-quality protein – such as lean meat, dairy products and fish.  Noting the prevalence of polio in warm weather, Dr. Sandler also warned against the consumption of “cooling beverages.”

Why did Dr. Sandler object to these drinks?

Pointing out that polio epidemics occur only in countries with high per capita sugar consumption, Dr. Sandler realized that the popular beverages of the day were disastrously high in sugar.

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However, Dr. Sandler maintained the body could quickly recover from the damaging effects of sugar and starches.  In just 24 hours of following his nutritional recommendations, reported Dr. Sandler, the body could build up sufficient resistance to the polio virus to prevent infection.

Warning: Low blood sugar raises vulnerability to infectious diseases

According to Dr. Sandler, maintaining normal blood sugar was of paramount importance in avoiding polio.  In fact, consuming excessive sugar can cause a rise in production of insulin – which triggers the well-known “sugar crash.”

Medically known as hypoglycemia, this condition can cause headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nervousness, sweating, palpitations and fainting.  As Dr. Sandler intuited, another effect of hypoglycemia is poor resistance to infection -hence the increased susceptibility to polio, as well as to influenza and colds.

While blood sugar levels falling too low (from 55 to 75 mg/dL) could lead to polio, individuals with normal blood sugar would “never” contract the disease, Dr. Sandler explained.

“If blood sugar never fell below 80 mg, polio could never result,” declared Dr. Sandler.

Low-carb dietary habits helped to “flatten the curve” of polio

In 1948, Dr. Sandler – who had assisted the research staff at Willard Parker Hospital in New York City during the 1931 polio epidemic – was on staff as a nutritional expert at Oteen Veterans Hospital in Asheville.

Proponents say that his dietary recommendations had a “significant effect” on the number of polio cases in North Carolina – as well as in neighboring states.  In fact, the city of Asheville experienced a reduction in the number of polio cases between 1948 and 1949 – and many give Dr. Sandler the credit.

And, this occurred in spite of the fact that Asheville is located in North Carolina, which had the second highest case rate in the country in 1948.  At its height, the polio epidemic affected 58,000 American children.  Over 3,000 children eventually died from the disease, with an additional 20,000 left paralyzed.

In 1951, Dr. Sandler wrote his book “Diet Prevents Polio.” He also published six scientific papers on the relationship between diet and disease.

Insight from animals: Vulnerability to polio linked with low blood sugar

Dr. Sandler’s theory was supported by animal studies.  Researchers working at Columbia University and Cornell University had shown that the only laboratory animal that could contract polio by experimental inoculation was the rhesus monkey.

And they thought they knew why.  Like humans, monkeys sometimes experience subnormal blood sugar levels.

While blood sugar in monkeys could fall as low as 50 mg/dL, the levels of rabbits never seemed to fall below 100 mg/dL. As a result, rabbits are impervious to polio – until low blood sugar levels are experimentally induced.

In a groundbreaking study published in American Journal of Pathology, the team showed that rabbits could be infected with polio if their blood sugar levels were lowered with insulin.

Stabilize blood sugar levels with a low-carb diet

Dr. Sandler’s regimen called for the elimination of soft drinks, sugary fruit juices, baked goods, ice cream, cakes, pastries and candies.

These recommendations may have seemed drastic to some – yet we know now that they make good nutritional sense.  After all, baked goods and candies have been described as “nutritional disasters,” laden with refined sugar, preservatives, chemicals and trans fats.

Dr. Sandler also advised sharply reducing consumption of white bread, rolls, pancakes, potatoes, rice, corn, cereals and grits.  While some of these foods, particularly corn and potatoes, can offer certain benefits when properly prepared and eaten in moderation, Dr. Sandler correctly spoke out about over-reliance on carbohydrates.

In addition, Dr. Sandler recommended a technique of replacing “starchy” foods with nutritionally-superior choices, many of which are now recognized as “superfoods.”

He suggested antioxidant-rich fresh vegetables, including tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, dark leafy greens (a treasure trove of cancer-fighting polyphenols) and onions (high in the beneficial flavonoid quercetin).

These foods are packed with healthy fiber, carotenoids and – perhaps most importantly – cancer-fighting sulforaphanes and isothiocyanates. These powerful plant chemicals, found in humble Brussels sprouts and un-glamorous cabbage, can be your best friends in maintaining optimal health and fighting infections and cancer.

Dr. Sandler also called for eating healthy amounts of “protein protective foods.”  Cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef and wild-caught cold-water fish are all good sources of high-quality protein.

While not all physicians agree that consumption of sweets was linked to the polio epidemic, there is no doubt that Dr. Sandler’s recommendations represent a far healthier way of eating.  Simply put, the contributions of this courageous scientist should not go unrecognized.

Sources for this article include:

SeleneRiverPress.com
Healthline.com

The Real Pandemic Is Insulin Resistance


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/05/04/insulin-resistance-the-real-pandemic.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola    Fact Checked
May 04, 2020

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • After old age, obesity appears to be the most prominent risk factor for being hospitalized with COVID-19, doubling the risk of hospitalization in patients under the age of 60
  • Most COVID-19 patients have more than one underlying health issue. A study looking at 5,700 New York City patients found 88% had more than one comorbidity. Only 6.3% had just one underlying health condition and 6.1% had none
  • Obesity also makes you more vulnerable to infectious diseases by lowering your immune function
  • Elevated blood glucose levels appear to play a significant role in viral replication and the development of cytokine storms. The real pandemic here appears to be dysregulated glucose metabolism; in other words, insulin resistance
  • Amassing data suggest that even when in close, crowded quarters, the infection rate is rather low, and fit, healthy individuals are more likely to be asymptomatic than not when testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection

According to a January 2019 update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 122 million American adults have diabetes or prediabetes1 — conditions which have been shown to increase your chances of contracting and even dying from COVID-19.2,3,4,5,6,7 As noted in an April 16, 2020, report by The New York Times:8

“Obesity may be one of the most important predictors of severe coronavirus illness, new studies say. It’s an alarming finding for the United States, which has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.”

Obesity Appears To Be Independent Risk Factor for COVID-19

After old age, obesity appears to be the most prominent risk factor for being hospitalized with COVID-19 — doubling the risk of hospitalization in patients under the age of 60 in one study9 — even if the individual has no other obesity-related health problems. A French study10,11 also found obese patients treated for COVID-19 were more likely to require mechanical ventilation.

Dr. Leora Horwitz, director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science at NYU Langone who co-wrote the paper12 “Factors Associated with Hospitalization and Critical Illness Among 4,103 Patients With Covid-19 Disease In New York City” — which has not yet been peer-reviewed — told The New York Times:13

“Obesity is more important for hospitalization than whether you have high blood pressure or diabetes, though these often go together, and it’s more important than coronary disease or cancer or kidney disease, or even pulmonary disease.”

Most COVID-19 Patients Have More Than One Comorbidity

While obesity may top the list of comorbidities — underlying conditions that make COVID-19 worse — investigations reveal most COVID-19 patients have more than one underlying health issue. A study14 looking at 5,700 New York City patients found 88% had more than one comorbidity. Only 6.3% had just one underlying health condition and 6.1% had none.

In this particular study,15 published in JAMA, high blood pressure at 53.1% beat obesity (41.7%) as the No. 1 most common comorbidity among hospitalized patients, followed by diabetes at 31.7% and coronary artery disease at 10.4%.

Co-author Karina Davidson, senior vice president for the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research told Time magazine:16

“Having serious comorbidities increases your risk … We want patients with serious chronic disease to take a special precaution and to seek medical attention early, should they start showing signs and symptoms of being infected …”

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Click here to learn Dr. Mercola's ultimate guide to combating coronavirus


Obesity Lowers Immune Function

According to The New York Times,17 one hypothesis for why obesity is worsening COVID-19 has to do with the fact that obesity causes chronic inflammation. Having more pro-inflammatory cytokines in circulation increases your risk of experiencing a cytokine storm. Obesity also makes you more vulnerable to infectious diseases by lowering your immune function.18,19,20,21,22,23

As noted in one such study,24 “there is a positive feedback loop between local inflammation in adipose tissue and altered immune response in obesity.” Yet another scientific review25 pointed out “There is strong evidence indicating that excess adiposity negatively impacts immune function and host defense in obese individuals.” A 2018 review article further explained:26

“Adipose tissue is now considered an extremely active endocrine organ that secretes cytokine-like hormones, called adipokines, either pro- or anti-inflammatory factors bridging metabolism to the immune system.

Leptin is historically one of most relevant adipokines, with important physiological roles in the central control of energy metabolism and in the regulation of metabolism-immune system interplay, being a cornerstone of the emerging field of immunometabolism.

Indeed, leptin receptor is expressed throughout the immune system and leptin has been shown to regulate both innate and adaptive immune responses.”

Glucose Metabolism Influences Cytokine Storms

An April 15, 2020, article27 in The Scientist also reviews new evidence28,29 that sheds further light on why obesity and diabetes are such potent risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection.

In a nutshell, higher blood glucose levels appear to play a significant role in viral replication and the development of cytokine storms. While the research in question looked at influenza A-induced cytokine storms, these findings may well be applicable in COVID-19 as well.

Cytokines are released by your immune system in response to foreign invaders. They, in turn, act as messengers that instruct other immune cells to fight the pathogen. In some cases, this immune response goes into overdrive, resulting in what’s known as a “cytokine storm” that can cause severe tissue damage and lead to death.

cytokine storm response is typically the reason why people die from infections, be it the seasonal flu, Ebola, urinary tract infection or COVID-19. A critical player in cytokine production is the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5). In mice, genetically eliminating IRF5 protects them from influenza-induced cytokine storms.30

Interestingly, “the inflammatory response to influenza infections is also known to drive up glucose metabolism,” The Scientist reports,31 “in part so that immune cells have the necessary energy to mount a strong response, and also because the virus needs the sugar to replicate.”

According to researchers at the State Key Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University, the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway — a glucose metabolism pathway — is responsible for activating IRF5-induced cytokine production in cells and mice. The same pathway is also responsible for viral replication, they say.32,33,34 As reported by The Scientist:35

“Hexosamine biosynthesis starts with glucose and results in an end product called uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) … Liu’s team now shows that O-GlcNAcylation of IRF5 is necessary for the transcription factor’s cytokine-producing activity …

The team also showed that patients infected with influenza have higher blood glucose levels and more O-GlcNacylation of IRF5 than healthy controls. Furthermore, blood glucose levels correlated tightly with levels of inflammatory cytokines.

The results show that ‘there is a connection [between] influenza virus infection, enhanced glucose metabolism and cytokine storm, all linked through O-GlcNAcylation of IFR-5,’ Mengji Lu, a virologist at the University Hospital Essen and a coauthor of the study, writes in an email to The Scientist …”

In a Science Advances press release, co-author Shi Liu states:36

“We believe that glucose metabolism contributes to various COVID-19 outcomes since both influenza and COVID-19 can induce a cytokine storm, and since COVID-19 patients with diabetes have shown higher mortality.”

influenza virus

Insulin Resistance Is the Real Pandemic

So, to summarize, the real pandemic here appears to be dysregulated glucose metabolism; in other words, insulin resistance, which is exceedingly prevalent in the U.S.37,38 Insulin resistance, in turn, is a diet-induced condition.

Specifically, processed foods — which are loaded with added sugars, processed grains and industrially processed omega-6 vegetable oils — are the primary culprits causing insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and according to FoodNavigator.com,39 doctors are finally starting to talk about the food industry’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A cardiologist has blamed the food industry for ‘normalizing’ ultra-processed junk food as more evidence emerges suggesting poor diet is the root cause behind increased mortality from COVID-19,” FoodNavigator states, adding:40

“In light of the mounting evidence that obesity and poor diet increases the risk of a severe response to COVID-19 infection, medical professionals now want the public health message urgently updated. And this, they warn, means the food industry bracing itself for regulation, such as bans on advertising and taxes …

Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a London-based cardiologist, told the BBC that a Government and Public Health England failure to tell the public to change its diet would represent an act of ‘negligence and ignorance’ … For him, the pandemic highlighted that it was in the interest of everybody, including those in the food industry, to make sure the population was as healthy as possible.”

Malhotra stresses these views in his April 16, 2020, article41 “COVID-19 and the Elephant in the Room,” published in European Scientist. “Obesity and chronic metabolic disease is killing COVID-19 patients: Now is the time to eat real food,” he says. Indeed, if our public health agencies really want to save lives, it’s time to get onboard with nutrition.

“If this is not the time for Britain to reverse its epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, which as a single condition has been the most costly to the NHS [National Health Service], then when is?” Malhotra writes.42

“Healthcare systems were already overstretched before COVID-19 because of decades of maldistribution of resources due to ‘too much medicine’ combined [with] our collective failure to implement policy changes to address the root cause of diet related disease — the unavoidable junk food environment.

The government public health message enhanced by the media to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives has been powerful and effective. Given the speed at which health markers for metabolic disease improve from dietary interventions, an equally strong if not more significant population health message should now be to ‘eat real food, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Such implementation backed by policy changes may not just save hundreds and potentially thousands of lives around the world in the coming months but given the high likelihood of another international viral pandemic in the next decade a healthier population and a subsequently more manageable health service will be much better equipped to handle what would then be a smaller mortality peak on the next occasion.”

Junk Food Industry Faces Increasing Pressure

This is timely, considering a Corporate Accountability report,43 announced44 April 21, 2020, highlights the “outsized role” of International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), a junk food industry front group funded by Coca-Cola, plays in shaping nutritional policies around the globe. According to the Corporate Accountability press release:45

“Notable among the findings is that more than half of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — the body that informs both national nutrition policy and how Americans eat and drink — has ties to ILSI …

The food and beverage industry’s role in stymying public health policy and propagating junk science is also taking on new dimensions during today’s pandemic. The surge of diet-related disease behind one in five deaths annually, is putting hundreds of millions of people at high risk of severe illness from COVID19.

‘For decades, Coke, its competitors, and its surrogates like ILSI have trafficked in junk science, co-opted public officials, and bullied advocates like myself …’ said Dr. Esperanza Ceron … ‘But we won’t be silenced. Too much is at stake’ …

‘It’s time for Coke to put something more on ice than its soft drinks,’ said Corporate Accountability Research Director Ashka Naik, a co-author of the report.

‘Coke is telling investors it cares about public health on the one hand, but funds ILSI to block public health safeguards on the other. Its misleading of investors and consumers is a liability that will only grow.’

A resolution … calls on Coke to come clean with its shareholders about its public health harms and liabilities. It would require a public, independent audit of how the corporation is contributing to the crisis of diet-related disease, whether through its products, its marketing, its political interference, or junk science.”

Data Show COVID-19 Isn’t a Significant Threat

In the featured Fundamental Health podcast above, Dr. Paul Saladino interviews Dr. Kirk Parsley about the lifestyle factors that are contributing to the high COVID-19 caseload in the U.S.

Saladino cites findings46 showing that of the roughly 4,800 crew on the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, 660 had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. (As of April 23, when all of the crew had reportedly been tested, 840 tested positive.47) However, as noted by Saladino and reported by Business Insider,48 60% were asymptomatic, meaning they had no symptoms. Only one crewmember has died,49 and as of April 23, none were in intensive care.50

Similarly, among the 3,711 passengers and crew onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 712 (19.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and of these 46.5% were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Of those showing symptom, only 9.7% required intensive care and 1.3% died.51

Military personnel, as you would expect, tend to be healthier than the general population. Still, the data from these two incidents reveal several important points to consider. First of all, it suggests that even when living in close, crowded quarters, the infection rate is rather low.

Only 17.5% of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew got infected — slightly lower than the 19.2% of those onboard the Diamond Princess, which had a greater ratio of older people.

Second, fit and healthy individuals are more likely to be asymptomatic than not — 60% of naval personnel compared to 46.5% of civilians onboard the Diamond Princess had no symptoms despite testing positive.

Saladino and Parsley go on to discuss current pandemic response efforts, such as the recommendation (and in some areas mandate) to wear a face mask when venturing outside. Both are convinced wearing a bandana across your face is completely useless, for the simple fact that the virus is so small it can easily slip through the fabric.

Parsley also reviews the statistics as of April 21, 2020, using Worldometer data,52 showing only 1.7% of American COVID-19 cases require hospitalization, and of those an even smaller ratio will actually die. Is it really reasonable to shut down the entire country and place everyone under house arrest over a 1.7% hospitalization rate?

So-called “COVID-19 cases,” by the way, simply means people who have tested positive using an RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test, which is used to diagnose an active infection by detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material.53

Mortality Rates Are Still Vastly Overestimated

The hospitalization is actually bound to be even lower than 1.7% in real life, seeing how few people have actually been tested. Preliminary findings54 published April 17, 2020, reveal the actual infection rate in Santa Clara County, California, is likely to be between 50- and 85fold higher than the number of confirmed cases.

This is based on seroprevalence data, meaning antibody testing. If you have antibodies against a particular pathogen, you’ve been exposed to it in the past, whether you developed symptoms or not, and you’re now immune to it.

Between April 3 and April 4, 3,330 Santa Clara county residents were tested for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 using a lateral flow immunoassay. In an effort to ensure results were as accurate as possible, they were adjusted for test performance characteristics using three estimates:

  1. Test manufacturer data
  2. A sample of 37 positive and 30 negative controls tested at Stanford
  3. A combination of both

According to the authors:55

“The unadjusted prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Santa Clara County was 1.5% … and the population-weighted prevalence was 2.81% … Under the three scenarios for test performance characteristics, the population prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Clara ranged from 2.49% … to 4.16% …

These prevalence estimates represent a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April, 50-85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases.

Conclusions: The population prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Santa Clara County implies that the infection is much more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases. Population prevalence estimates can now be used to calibrate epidemic and mortality projections.”

Randomized antibody tests done in New York show that upward of 20% of the population in New York have been infected, suggesting that the virus had spread far more widely than known.56

This is also strong support for a lower fatality rate as previous inaccurate PCR tests were only done on sick people and there was no idea how many in the population had been infected. Since more people are infected, this increases the denominator in the calculation and lowers the mortality rate calculation.

Blood Pressure Drugs May Worsen COVID-19

Making matters worse, the drugs routinely used to treat lifestyle-induced afflictions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease may also be contributing to adverse outcomes in patients with COVID-19. According to Reuters:57

“A disproportionate number of patients hospitalized by COVID-19 … have high blood pressure. Theories about why the condition makes them more vulnerable … have sparked a fierce debate among scientists over the impact of widely prescribed blood-pressure drugs.

Researchers agree that the life-saving drugs affect the same pathways that the novel coronavirus takes to enter the lungs and heart. They differ on whether those drugs open the door to the virus or protect against it …

The drugs are known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs … In a recent interview with a medical journal, Anthony Fauci — the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert — cited a report showing similarly high rates of hypertension among COVID-19 patients who died in Italy and suggested the medicines, rather than the underlying condition, may act as an accelerant for the virus …

There is evidence that the drugs may increase the presence of an enzyme — ACE2 — that produces hormones that lower blood pressure by widening blood vessels. That’s normally a good thing.

But the coronavirus also targets ACE2 and has developed spikes that can latch on to the enzyme and penetrate cells … So more enzymes provide more targets for the virus, potentially increasing the chance of infection or making it more severe.

Other evidence, however, suggests the infection’s interference with ACE2 may lead to higher levels of a hormone that causes inflammation, which can result in acute respiratory distress syndrome, a dangerous build-up of fluid in the lungs. In that case, ARBs may be beneficial because they block some of the hormone’s damaging effects.”

This presents significant challenges for patients and doctors alike, as there’s currently no significant consensus on whether patients should discontinue the drugs. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford in England recommends switching to alternative blood pressure medicines in patients who have only mildly elevated blood pressure and are at high risk for COVID-19.

A paper in NEJM stressed the potential benefits of the drugs instead, saying patients should continue taking them. However, several of the scientists who wrote that paper have done “extensive, industry-supported research on antihypertensive drugs,” Reuters notes.

Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, founder of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USA, believes it would be unwise to allow scientists funded by the drug industry to give clinical directions at this time. “Let others without a conflict of interest try to make a call,” he said.58

Restore Insulin Sensitivity for Long-Term Risk Mitigation

If we want people to survive the next pandemic, whatever that might be, then improving public health has got to be the No. 1 priority going forward. Waiting for a drug cure or vaccine is a fool’s game.

Health care really needs to start emphasizing strategies known to improve overall health rather than throwing drugs at symptoms that don’t address the underlying causes. Robust immune function is necessary to effectively combat COVID-19, and the same is true for all other infectious disease.

When it comes to improving health, addressing insulin resistance is truly key, seeing how it’s a factor in virtually all chronic diseases. And, to do that, we need to dramatically cut down on processed foods.

As noted by Dr. Sandra Weber, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, in The New York Times,59 “We know that if you do not have good glucose control, you’re at high risk for infection, including viruses and presumably this one [COVID-19] as well … [improving glucose control] would put you in a situation where you would have better immune function.”

For details on what and when to eat to reverse insulin resistance, see “Want to Defeat Coronavirus? Address Diabetes and Hypertension.” In that article, I also summarize several key strategies for getting and staying healthy and metabolically fit. For additional COVID-19 remedies and top tips, see my COVID-19 Resource Guide.

For those who desire more in-depth understanding of how you can become metabolically flexible and eliminate insulin resistance, consider picking up a copy of my book, “Fat for Fuel.” It goes into far greater detail, providing a comprehensive program that will help optimize your metabolic flexibility and strengthen your immune system — both of which are crucial components of health and disease prevention.

– Sources and References

Diabetes Can Increase Complications of COVID-19


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/04/30/blood-sugar-rising.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked
April 30, 2020

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • For a limited time only, PBS is streaming a free documentary on America’s diabetes epidemic
  • More than 114 million American adults have diabetes or prediabetes and the economic ramifications of this condition are enormous. The U.S. spent $350 billion treating diabetes in 2019 alone
  • One of the best strategies to beat COVID-19 is to get any underlying chronic conditions under control; Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can often be reversed via healthy diet and lifestyle
  • Type 2 diabetes is a diet-derived condition. It’s rooted in insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. As such, it can be effectively treated and reversed through dietary and other lifestyle means
  • Research has shown fasting and a cyclical ketogenic diet can improve insulin sensitivity and reverse diabetes. Staying physically active is also important, as excessive sitting blocks a number of insulin-mediated systems, including muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar

For a limited time only, PBS is streaming a free documentary on America’s diabetes epidemic (it may not be available in all areas; check your local PBS to see if it’s in your area). Coincidentally, diabetes is a comorbidity that can increase your chances of contracting and even dying from COVID-19,1 making this documentary particularly timely.

One of the best strategies to beat COVID-19 is to get any underlying chronic conditions under control. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure — both of which have been implicated as underlying factors causing serious COVID-19 disease — can often be reversed via healthy diet and lifestyle.

According to a January 2019 update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 122 million American adults have diabetes or prediabetes,2 and the economic ramifications of this condition are enormous. The U.S. spent $350 billion treating diabetes in 2019 alone, according to the film.

Also according to the film, projections predict half the American population will be prediabetic or diabetic by 2025. Such predictions reflect poor research because if you use insulin resistance as your definition, 80% of the country is diabetic or prediabetic already.3,4

Glucose Metabolism Influences Cytokine Storms

An April 15, 2020, article5 in The Scientist reviews evidence6,7 that helps explain why obesity and diabetes are such potent risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection.

In a nutshell, higher blood glucose levels appear to play a significant role in viral replication and the development of cytokine storms. While the research in question looked at influenza A-induced cytokine storms, these findings may well be applicable in COVID-19 as well.

Cytokines are signaling molecules that are released by your immune system in response to foreign invaders. They, in turn, act as messengers that instruct other immune cells to fight the pathogen. In some cases, this immune response goes into overdrive, resulting in what’s known as a “cytokine storm” that can cause severe tissue damage and lead to death.

cytokine storm response is typically the primary reason why people die from infections, be it the seasonal flu, Ebola, urinary tract infection or COVID-19. A critical player in cytokine production is the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5). In mice, genetically eliminating IRF5 protects them from influenza-induced cytokine storms.8

Interestingly, “the inflammatory response to influenza infections is also known to drive up glucose metabolism,” The Scientist reports,9 “in part so that immune cells have the necessary energy to mount a strong response, and also because the virus needs the sugar to replicate.”

According to researchers at the State Key Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University, the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway — a glucose metabolism pathway — is responsible for activating IRF5-induced cytokine production in cells and mice. The same pathway is also responsible for viral replication, they say.10,11,12 As reported by The Scientist:13

“Hexosamine biosynthesis starts with glucose and results in an end product called uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) … Liu’s team now shows that O-GlcNAcylation of IRF5 is necessary for the transcription factor’s cytokine-producing activity …

The team also showed that patients infected with influenza have higher blood glucose levels and more O-GlcNacylation of IRF5 than healthy controls. Furthermore, blood glucose levels correlated tightly with levels of inflammatory cytokines.

The results show that ‘there is a connection [between] influenza virus infection, enhanced glucose metabolism and cytokine storm, all linked through O-GlcNAcylation of IFR-5,’ Mengji Lu, a virologist at the University Hospital Essen and a coauthor of the study, writes in an email to The Scientist …”

In a Science Advances press release, co-author Shi Liu states:14

“We believe that glucose metabolism contributes to various COVID-19 outcomes since both influenza and COVID-19 can induce a cytokine storm, and since COVID-19 patients with diabetes have shown higher mortality.”

influenza virus
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Insulin Resistance Is the Real Pandemic

So, the real pandemic here appears to be dysregulated glucose metabolism; in other words, insulin resistance, which is exceedingly prevalent in the U.S.15,16 Insulin resistance, in turn, is a diet-induced condition. Unless addressed, insulin resistance eventually develops into full-blown Type 2 diabetes. As mentioned earlier, if you use sensitive measure for insulin resistance, approximately 80% of the population has this metabolic dysfunction.17,18

Processed foods — which are loaded with added sugars, processed grains and industrially processed omega-6 vegetable oils — are the primary culprits causing insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and obesity and, according to FoodNavigator.com,19 doctors are finally starting to talk about the food industry’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic:

“A cardiologist has blamed the food industry for ‘normalizing’ ultra-processed junk food as more evidence emerges suggesting poor diet is the root cause behind increased mortality from COVID-19,” FoodNavigator states, adding:20

“In light of the mounting evidence that obesity and poor diet increases the risk of a severe response to COVID-19 infection, medical professionals now want the public health message urgently updated. And this, they warn, means the food industry bracing itself for regulation, such as bans on advertising and taxes …

Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a London-based cardiologist, told the BBC that a Government and Public Health England failure to tell the public to change its diet would represent an act of ‘negligence and ignorance’ … For him, the pandemic highlighted that it was in the interest of everybody, including those in the food industry, to make sure the population was as healthy as possible.”

Diabetes Is Reversible

As noted by PBS, Type 2 diabetes can be very difficult to control when relying on drugs alone and not doing anything about the underlying lifestyle factors actually causing the problem. While not addressed in the film, the use of insulin in Type 2 diabetes is particularly problematic. If the underlying lifestyle factors are properly addressed, Type 2 diabetes is entirely reversible in most people, and rather easily so.

The reason for this is because Type 2 diabetes is a diet-derived condition. It’s rooted in insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. As such, it can be effectively treated and reversed through dietary and other lifestyle means.

For example, as detailed in my 2019 article “Fasting Prevents and Halts Diabetes,” research has shown fasting can improve insulin sensitivity,21 reverse diabetes22 and support your weight management efforts when combined with exercise.23 While “Blood Sugar Rising” discusses the foundational role of diet in this disease, it does not touch on fasting at all.

This is unfortunate, considering how effective it can be. In a case series paper24,25 published in BMJ Case Reports, Dr. Jason Fung and associates details how fasting can actually be used as a therapeutic alternative for Type 2 diabetes. As noted by the authors, their paper:

“… demonstrates the effectiveness of therapeutic fasting to reverse insulin resistance, resulting in cessation of insulin therapy while maintaining control of blood sugars. In addition, these patients were able to lose significant amounts of body weight, reduce their waist circumference and also reduce their glycated hemoglobin levels.”

Now, a case series paper is not a controlled study; rather, it simply presents the case history of one or more patients and may propose a hypothesis for why a treatment did or did not work. In this case, three diabetic patients between the ages of 40 and 67 participated in a supervised fasting regimen to evaluate the effects on their insulin requirements.

The patients had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes for 10, 20 and 25 years respectively, and were taking insulin daily. Of the three patients, two did alternating-day, 24-hour fasts, while one fasted for 24 hours three times a week over a period of several months. The complete manual of the fasting regimen used is described in Fung’s book, “The Complete Guide to Fasting.”26

Two of the patients were able to discontinue all of their diabetes medications while the third was able to discontinue three of his four drugs. All three also lost between 10% and 18% of their body weight.

With another similar trial, The Guardian reported on,27 Type 2 diabetics were placed on a severely restricted calorie diet where they ate just 600 calories a day for eight weeks. By the end of their fast, all were disease-free, and three months later, having returned to their regular diet, seven of the 11 participants remained free of diabetes.

There’s Hope Even for Severe Diabetes

Several studies have even found that repeated episodes of fasting can induce cell growth of pancreatic beta cells in mice.28 The growth is associated with an increased expression of Ngn3,29 a protein involved in converting DNA into RNA critical for endocrine cells in the pancreatic islets of langerhans, the cells responsible for producing insulin.

The increase in islet beta cells induced through intermittent fasting was accompanied by a marked improvement in blood sugar control in the animals. While individuals suffering from Type 1 diabetes often experience near complete inflammatory destruction of the islet beta cells, the same occurs in the later stages of severe Type 2 diabetes as well.

In a BMJ editorial,30 research scientist James DiNicolantonio, PharmD.,31 discusses these results, noting the findings may open the path to reversing Type 2 diabetes in those with “enough discipline and commitment to adopt a lifestyle that would have prevented diabetes in the first place.”32

As a first step, he recommends you first practice a diabetes preventive lifestyle — eating a diet primarily of whole foods, complemented with regular exercise. This will help improve your insulin sensitivity and may prove sufficient for those with a recent diagnosis of diabetes to reverse their condition over time.

In those who fail to respond, he recommends a time-restricted eating protocol, which provides many of the same benefits as longer fasting while being much easier to comply with. Supplemental measures may also be implemented to shield the beta cells from toxicity so they retain functional capacity. For example, reducing islet oxidative stress may be accomplished using spirulina, NAC and/or berberine.33

Ultimately, the goal is to achieve normal blood sugar control without drugs and maintain compliance with a diabetic preventive diet and lifestyle. This also includes physical activity.

Chronic inactivity such as extended sitting is one of the primary risk factors for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. The reason for this is because sitting shuts down or blocks a number of insulin-mediated systems, including muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. Standing up activates all of these systems at the molecular level. Dr. James Levine detailed the science of this in our 2014 interview.

Diabetes Takes a Heavy Toll on Health

As detailed in the film, chronically high blood sugar from poor nutrition and lack of exercise can trigger long-term damage to your body and make you more prone to other chronic health problems and diseases, including but not limited to:34,35,36

Neuropathy (nerve damage) and amputation Glaucoma, cataracts and blindness
Infections Kidney disease and kidney failure
High blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and stroke Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Sugar-Rich Diets Are a Primary Culprit

While PBS largely focuses on the conventional treatment of diabetes, which typically involves insulin and other drugs, it thankfully highlights the fact that sugar- and carb-rich diets are a primary driver.37 Research38 shows that once you reach 18% of your daily calories from sugar, there’s a twofold increase in metabolic harm that promote prediabetes and diabetes.

As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your total sugar consumption below 25 grams per day, which is about 6 teaspoons. If you have signs of insulin resistance such as hypertension, obesity or heart disease, you’d be wise to limit sugar to 15 grams or less until your weight and other health conditions have normalized.

Sadly, as noted by PBS, “the game is rigged.” Food products are allowed to state “sugar free” on the package, even though they’re loaded with carbohydrates and sugar alternatives. As noted in the film, it’s not just sugar itself that must be avoided, but anything that turns into sugar in your body as well, most notably grains.

In short, a high-grain, low-fat diet is a perfect prescription for diabetes, yet these kinds of foods are allowed to make a number of health claims. This kind of misleading labeling is causing many to think they’re making wise food choices when in fact they’re not.

It would help to remember that just about all processed foods are best avoided. Rather than trying to decipher labels, ditch the processed foods and fast food restaurants and cook from scratch using whole, unprocessed foods. This is by far the easiest and most effective way to improve your diet.

Soybean Oil Promotes Diabetes

One dietary factor not directly addressed in the film is processed vegetable oils. These may actually be worse than fructose in terms of the metabolic harm they cause.39 Soybean oil in particular has a questionable safety profile, and processed foods are positively loaded with it.

Whether partially hydrogenated, organic or genetically modified to be low in linoleic acid, soybean oil can cause dysfunction at a cellular level. Unfortunately, many health authorities have insisted omega-6-rich vegetable oils like soybean oil are healthier than saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and coconut oil, and this myth has been a tough one to dismantle, despite the evidence against it.

Most recently, research40,41,42 published in the January 2020 issue of Endocrinology found soybean oil — the most widely consumed cooking oil in America — can cause metabolic changes associated with:

Autism Alzheimer’s disease
Anxiety Depression
Obesity Insulin resistance
Type 2 diabetes Fatty liver disease

According to the authors, both conventional and genetically engineered soybean oil caused dysfunction in about 100 different genes in the hypothalamus, including genes associated with “inflammation, neuroendocrine, neurochemical and insulin signaling.”

Similar results were reported in a 2015 study,43 in which soybean oil was found to increase weight gain, body fat, diabetes, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Here too, soybean oil diets upregulated genes involved in diabetes, obesity, inflammation, mitochondrial function and cancer.

Ketogenic Diet Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Aside from fasting or time-restricted eating, a cyclical ketogenic diet is an effective way to improve your insulin sensitivity and reverse diabetes. A cyclical ketogenic diet — as detailed in my book “KetoFast” — shifts your body’s metabolic engine from burning carbohydrates to burning fats.

Your cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose for fuel to using ketone bodies, which come from the breakdown of fats, hence, the name “ketogenic.” Another term for this is nutritional ketosis. One of the fastest ways to prevent nutritional ketosis is by consuming sugar or refined carbohydrates.

A ketogenic diet calls for 50% to 70% of your daily calories to come from beneficial fats such as coconut oil, grass-pastured butter, organic pastured eggs, avocado or ketone producing fats like MCT oils, particularly C-8, while restricting your carbohydrates to 30 or 40 grams per day. Along with an appropriate amount of protein, this is typically enough to get you into ketosis.

Watch ‘Blood Sugar Rising’

“Blood Sugar Rising” provides an eye-opening glimpse into the very real struggles of Type 2 diabetics, as well as the around-the-clock challenges faced by those with Type 1 diabetes — a genetic condition in which your body produces no insulin at all — and groundbreaking inventions such as a bionic pancreas that automatically delivers the appropriate insulin dose as needed.

The film also reviews the real-world ramifications of skyrocketing insulin prices. The two types of diabetes differ in terms of their origin, and while insulin is typically ill advised for Type 2 diabetics,44 Type 1 diabetics die without it.

It also highlights the role of food as a cultural component, and how food-centered cultures can be guided to make healthier choices. For example, saying you have to abstain from rice, pasta or potatoes can be nearly impossible in certain families and cultures. Instead, you may need to approach it in terms of better and worse ways of preparing these foods, and restricting the amounts.

Diabetes, or more accurately insulin resistance with metabolic inflexibility, is a health accident waiting to happen, but it’s important to realize that you have control and can do something about it. In virtually all cases, it will require making more or less drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle, but the payoff goes beyond preventing diabetes. Concomitant with that, you’re also protecting your vision and lowering your risk of most of the chronic diseases that lead to an early grave.

New Study Sheds Light on Stroke Recovery


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/03/05/stroke-recovery.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     
March 05, 2020

Junk Foods Promote Hunger and Overeating


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/03/04/junk-food-addiction.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      March 04, 2020

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • While the food industry has become notorious for funding anti-obesity programs that focus on physical activity, research clearly shows that processed foods, sugary beverages and high-carbohydrate diets are a primary concern
  • Processed vegetable oils, which are a staple ingredient in processed foods, also promote obesity and ill health. Soybean oil, the most widely consumed fat in the U.S., upregulates genes involved in obesity and is more obesogenic than fructose
  • Sugar-rich diets generate excessive reward signals in your brain that can override normal self-control mechanisms and lead to addiction and overeating
  • Recent research found a single week of bingeing on fast foods impaired appetite control, making the volunteers more likely to desire more junk food, even if they’d just eaten
  • The more added sugar your diet contains, the lower your intake of important micronutrients such as calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc

The struggle with weight gain and obesity is a common and costly health issue, leading to an increase in risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, just to name a few.1

Obese individuals also have substantially higher medical expenses and indirect costs associated with lost productivity, transportation and premature mortality, and obesity is the reason why 1 in 3 fail to qualify for military service in the U.S.2

According to the 2019 State of Obesity report,3 18.5% of American children (ages 2 to 19) and 39.6% of adults are now obese, not just overweight. Between the 1988-1994 and 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, the adult obesity rate rose over 70% and the childhood obesity rate rose by 85%, and there are no signs of this trend slowing or reversing.4

While the food industry has become notorious for funding anti-obesity programs that focus on physical activity, research clearly shows that processed foods, sugary beverages and high-carbohydrate diets are a primary concern. Sure, inactivity certainly contributes to the problem, but you cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet.

Processed vegetable oils, which are high in damaged omega-6 fats, are yet another reason why processed food diets are associated with higher rates of heart disease and other diseases.

Soybean oil, which is the most widely consumed fat in the U.S.,5 has been shown to play a significant role in obesity and diabetes, actually upregulating genes involved in obesity.6 Remarkably, soybean oil was found to be more obesogenic than fructose. It’s also been shown to cause neurological changes in the brain.7,8

Junk Foods Addiction Is Real

Processed junk food destroys your metabolism and promotes obesity through a variety of mechanisms. Among them is the way these kinds of foods affect your appetite control. Several studies have also demonstrated that processed foods are addictive.

As detailed in “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,” your body is designed to naturally regulate how much you eat and the energy you burn. Food manufacturers have figured out how to override these intrinsic regulators, engineering processed foods that are “hyper-rewarding.”

According to the food reward hypothesis of obesity, processed foods stimulate such a strong reward response in our brains that it becomes very easy to overeat. One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as “sensory-specific satiety.”

In a 2013 New York Times article, investigative reporter Michael Moss described this as “the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm your brain.”9 The greatest successes, whether beverages or foods, owe their “craveability” to complex formulas that pique your taste buds without overwhelming them, thereby overriding your brain’s satiety signals.

Potato chips are among the most addictive junk foods on the market, containing all three “bliss-inducing” ingredients: sugar (from the potato), salt and fat. And while food companies abhor the word “addiction” in reference to their products, scientists have discovered that sugar, in particular, is just that. In fact, sugar has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine.

Research10 published in 2007 showed 94% of rats allowed to choose between sugar water and cocaine chose sugar. Even cocaine addicted rats quickly switched their preference to sugar once it was offered as an alternative. The rats were also more willing to work for sugar than for cocaine.

The researchers speculate that the sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on your tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when the diet was very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times’ high-sugar consumption.

As a result, the abnormally high stimulation created by sugar-rich diets generates excessive reward signals in your brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms and thus lead to addiction and overeating.

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Junk Foods Interfere With Appetite Control

Most recently, Australian researchers found a single week of bingeing on fast foods impaired appetite control, making the volunteers more likely to desire more junk food, even if they’d just eaten.11 They also scored lower on memory tests, thus confirming previous findings12 showing a Western-style diet impairs learning and memory. As reported by Science Alert:13

“The findings suggest something is amiss in the hippocampus — a region of the brain that supports memory and helps to regulate appetite. When we are full, the hippocampus is thought to quieten down our memories of delicious food, thereby reducing our appetite. When it’s disrupted, this control can be seriously undermined.”

For this eight-day experiment, healthy volunteers between the ages of 17 and 35 with a body mass index14 between 17 and 26 (slightly underweight to mildly overweight) were instructed to eat:

  • Two Belgian waffles on four days
  • A main meal and a drink or dessert from a popular fast food chain on two days

On days 1 and 8, the volunteers were given a toasted sandwich and milkshake for breakfast at the lab. The control group were given the same breakfast at the start and end of the study, but were instructed to eat normally during the remainder of the week.

On days 1 and 8, participants also completed pre- and post-breakfast “wanting and liking tests,” in which they were first presented with six sugary breakfast foods and asked to rate how strong their desire to eat the food right now was. Next, they were instructed to consume the samples and rate how much they liked it, and how much more of it they thought they would be able to eat right then. As reported by the authors:15

“One week’s exposure to a WS-diet [Western-style diet] caused a measurable weakening of appetitive control, as measured by the two key ratings on the wanting and liking test.

Prior to the intervention, participants viewed palatable breakfast foods and judged how much they wanted to eat them, and then how much they liked their actual taste. This test was repeated after participants had eaten to satiety.

Across these pre- and post-meal tests, wanting ratings declined far more than ratings of taste liking. This manifestation of appetitive control — that is the expectation that food is less desirable than it actually tastes — changed in participants following the Western-style dietary intervention.”

High-Sugar Diets Lower Nutrient Absorption

If you eat a fast-food burger, you can easily take in close to half your daily caloric requirements. Add in fries and a soda and you may be nearing an entire day’s worth of required calories. However, you have not received the vitamins and minerals, the live enzymes and micronutrients, the healthy fats or high-quality protein that your body needs to function, let alone thrive.

This was recently demonstrated in a Swedish study,16,17 which found that the more added sugar your diet contains, the lower your micronutrient intake (i.e., vitamins and minerals).

To examine this relationship, the researchers examined dietary data collected in two Swedish population based studies (the National Swedish Food Survey and the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study).

Each individual’s added sugar intake was estimated by subtracting naturally-occurring fructose from the total sugar content of the diet as a whole. Energy intake for added sugar was then stratified into six groups:

Less than 5% of energy intake from added sugar 5% to 7.5%
7.5% to 10% 10% to 15%
15% to 20% Greater than 20%

They also calculated the intake of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc, finding an inverse relationship between added sugar intake and intakes of all nine micronutrients. According to the authors:18

“These findings suggest that in two Swedish populations the higher the intake of added sugar in the diet, the more likely it is that the intake of micronutrients will be compromised …

However, although the trends are significant and consistent with those obtained in other studies on the subject, future studies are needed in order to build the necessary scientific knowledge to establish a threshold of added sugar intake based on micronutrient dilution.”

When fast food meals are consumed day in and day out, for months and years on end, weight gain is virtually guaranteed, yet your body may still be starving and malfunctioning for lack of essential nutrients.

Depression Is a Junk Food State of Mind

Aside from promoting obesity, processed food and fast food diets have also been strongly linked to depression, especially in teens. In a 2019 study,19 researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked into the role diet plays in symptoms of depression.

To do that, they analyzed the excretion of sodium and potassium in the urine of 84 urban, low‐income adolescents. Higher levels of sodium in the urine can be an indication of a diet high in sodium, such as processed foods and salty snacks. A low level of potassium, meanwhile, is indicative of a diet lacking in fruits, vegetables and other healthy potassium-rich foods.

As expected, higher sodium and lower potassium excretion rates were associated with more frequent symptoms of depression at follow up 1.5 years later. “This study was the first to demonstrate relationships between objective indicators of unhealthy diet and subsequent changes in depressive symptoms in youth,” the authors wrote.20

It’s possible that eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium may lead to depression by negatively influencing neurotransmitters and neural function during a time that is particularly vulnerable.

“Given the substantial brain development that occurs during adolescence, individuals in this developmental period may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of diet on the neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation and depression,” the researchers said.

In addition, poor diet could influence depression by disturbing the gut microbiome, which could further influence brain function. Past studies have also confirmed the diet-depression link among children and teens.

For example, a systematic review21 of 12 studies involving children and adolescents also found an association between unhealthy diet and poorer mental health. Conversely, those with healthier diets had better mental health. The consumption of junk food has also been linked to a higher risk for psychiatric distress and violent behaviors in children and adolescents.22

Adults may also suffer mentally from a diet based on unhealthy foods. A 2016 study23 found women who ate a pro-inflammatory diet (which can include one high in processed foods), were more likely to have recurring depressive symptoms, and a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis,24 which looked at data from 101,950 participants, also found an association between a pro-inflammatory diet and risk of depression.

The Scourge of Ultraprocessed Food

Unfortunately, Americans not only eat a preponderance of processed food, but 60% of it is ultraprocessed25 — products at the far end of the “significantly altered” spectrum, or what you could typically purchase at a gas station.

Any food that isn’t directly from the vine, ground, bush or tree, is considered processed. Depending on the amount of change the food undergoes, processing may be minimal or significant. For instance, frozen fruit is usually minimally processed, while pizza, soda, chips and microwave meals are ultra-processed foods.

The difference in the amount of sugar between foods that are ultraprocessed and minimally processed is dramatic. Research26 has shown 21.1% of calories in ultraprocessed foods come from added sugar, compared to just 2.4% of the calories in processed food and none in unprocessed foods.

In addition to obesity, depression and other chronic health problems, ultra-processed foods will also shorten your life span. French researchers found that for each 10% increase in the amount of ultraprocessed food an individual consumed, the risk of death rose by 14%.27

This link remained even after taking confounding factors such as smoking, obesity and low educational background into account. The primary factors driving the increased death rate was chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

In my view, eating a diet consisting of 90% real food and only 10% or less processed foods is an achievable goal for most that could make a significant difference in your weight and overall health.

Ultraprocessed foods should be kept to an absolute minimum and consumed only rarely. As noted in a 2016 study,28 “Decreasing the consumption of ultraprocessed foods could be an effective way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.” To get started, consider the following basics. For more detailed guidance, see my nutrition plan:

Focus on fresh foods, ideally organic, and avoid as many processed foods as possible (if it comes in a can, bottle or package and has a list of ingredients, it’s processed).

Severely restrict carbohydrates from refined sugars, fructose and processed grains, and increase healthy fat consumption. Examples of healthy fats include grass fed butter, ghee, lard, coconut oil and coconuts, avocados, nuts and seeds, raw cacao butter, extra virgin olive oil, organic pastured eggs.

You can eat an unlimited amount of nonstarchy vegetables. Because they are so low in calories, the majority of the food on your plate should be vegetables.

Replace sodas and other sweetened beverages, including fruit juices, with pure, filtered water.

Gradually reduce your eating window to six to eight hours with your last food intake at least three hours before bedtime.

Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store where most of the whole foods reside, such as meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs and cheese. Not everything around the perimeter is healthy, but you’ll avoid many of the ultra-processed foods this way.

Stress creates a physical craving for fats and sugar that may drive your addictive, stress-eating behavior. If you can recognize when you’re getting stressed and find another means of relieving the emotion, your eating habits will likely improve.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can help reduce your perceived stress, change your eating habits around stress and help you create new, healthier eating habits that support your long-term health. To discover more about EFT, how to do it and how it may help reduce your stress and develop new habits, see my previous article, “EFT is an Effective Tool for Anxiety.”

Canned soup: “Comfort foods” that threaten your health

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365store.com/canned-soup-dangerous-health

Posted by Jonathan Landsman 25th January 2020

It looks like such a healthy idea . . . a can of tomato or chicken noodle soup. Plus, there are all those associations we have with being fed a steaming bowl of soup on a TV tray while we lie in bed recovering from a horrible cold.

But, that may not be always so true.

Now, first let me say there is good news. Some organic brands of canned soup like Amy’s Organics are absolutely delicious and are way less toxic than more commercial brands.  Imagine Food’s organic soups are also on the list of safe soups to consume, as well as other organic brands like Wolfgang Puck’s.

Of course, if you really want the “best” kind of soup … nothing beats homemade from scratch.  Having said that, I’ll give you a list of healthy canned soups that are delicious, nutritious, and safe at the end of this article.

But, first, what’s so bad about canned soup?

BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can cause hormone-based cancers

Study after study has confirmed that canned soup is loaded with bisphenol-A or BPA, for short. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that throws our hormones completely out of balance and can cause estrogen dominance, which can lead to the development of breast cancer, uterine and endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer.

BPA is also terrible for bone health

BPA blocks calcium channels, preventing calcium from making it into the bone, where you need it to give your bones strength and resilience to breakage. A recent article published in the International Journal of Medical Science found that BPA blocks calcium absorption at a cellular level.

Canned soup contains too much sodium, making it a threat to kidney health

Just one can of soup can contain as much as one third of your RDA for sodium! Light soups often have even more sodium added in the manufacturer’s efforts to give the soup more flavor.

Individuals with insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease who are trying to avoid sodium definitely want to avoid canned soup for this reason. Persons trying to stay in good health should steer clear of soups containing too much sodium as well.

Canned soup is loaded with MSG – a major cause of diabetes and insulin resistance

Scientists have now linked MSG with insulin resistance, obesity, and possibly type 2 diabetes. In fact, in China today, diabetes is becoming an epidemic, and scientists believe additives like MSG and adopting a chiefly Western diet full of fast food and processed foods could be largely to blame.

Safe brands of canned soup include:

  • Amy’s Organic Soups
  • Wolfgang Puck’s Organic Soup
  • Imagine Food’s Organic Soups
  • Pacific Food’s Organic and Organic Bone Broth Soups

Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the finest quality (immune-supportive) supplements on the market.  Click here to shop today.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov

Saveourbones.com

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Best Diet on the Planet?

© 28th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/mediterranean-diet-best-diet-planet

Posted on: Tuesday, January 28th 2020 at 1:15 pm

The Mediterranean Diet has been rated as the healthiest diet on the planet three years in a row, and as the meals are simple to prepare and truly delicious, it has also been ranked as the easiest diet to follow long term

The diet itself is based upon the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as middle eastern and northern African countries.

What these cuisines have in common is the consumption of fresh, seasonal, whole foods featuring vegetablesfruitsbeansnutsherbs and spices; the predominate use of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oils; moderate amounts of seafood and poultry; and the moderate consumption of red wine. What the Mediterranean diet specifically has avoided is processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Red meats are rarely on the menu or are used sparingly to flavor a dish.

Overall, a Mediterranean eating plan is extremely versatile. You can follow a vegetarian version very easily. You can skip breakfast and include partial intermittent fasting and benefit from ketosis several mornings per week. And as I’ll expand upon shortly, you can also limit the glycemic load (sugar-load) to enhance blood sugar control and weight loss.

For 2020, The US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet as:

  • The best diet overall
  • The best diabetes diet
  • The best diet for healthy eating
  • The best plant-based diet
  • The easiest diet to follow

It won similar awards in 2018 and 2019. These honors should not be too surprising, as Mediterranean countries have some of the longest life spans on the planet and they have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and obesity than nearly all other western countries. The people of Spain, who follow the Mediterranean diet perhaps the closest, have the longest lifespan and the best health of any country in the Western world, and are anticipated to surpass Japan for longest lived country on the planet by 2030.

Considering all these benefits, I felt compelled to write a book, The Mediterranean Method, to help promote this eating plan and to make it simple to follow. The research included reading nearly 1,000 scientific journal articles, plus, my wife Nicole and I bought a sailboat in Europe with the goal to evaluate the food, lifestyle, and health habits of people living on the Mediterranean Sea. We spent 10 months sailing from Spain to Turkey during the spring and summers of 2018 and 2019. We followed the coastline along Spain, France, Corsica, western Italy, across to Greece and through the Cyclade Islands, and on to Turkey. We visited small ports, food markets, mom and pop family run restaurants, and searched for regional recipes that were easy to prepare, delicious, and healthy. What was amazing was how inexpensive and delicious the food was. And how opinionated locals were about how to prepare a dish within each region. Whether one worked in a food market, at a gas station, or drove a taxi, everyone cared about what ingredients went into local dishes and how they were prepared.

Let’s look more closely at the top three health benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet:

  • Better Weight Control
  • Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease
  • Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Memory Loss

Better Weight Control

In 2016, Dr. Joseph Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight-loss trials with more than 1,000 subjects on various dietary regimens including low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean. These subjects were followed for at least 12 months, a meaningful length of time given most people lose weight in the short term and regain it later. The research found that the Mediterranean Diet was more effective than the low-fat diet, and equally as effective as a low-carb diet over the long-term. What’s more, they concluded that those following the Mediterranean Diet not only lost weight, but they had the best improvements in lipid and metabolic profile. The typical weight loss ranged from 10 to 22 pounds lost throughout the 12-months.

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease remains the #1 killer for men and women, even though studies have shown we can prevent 90 percent of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes–our biggest challenge is finding a diet and lifestyle that people are willing to follow long-term.

In 2003, the Greek EPIC trial showed that the closer subjects followed a Mediterranean eating plan, the lower their rate of cardiovascular events. Subsequent studies have shown that the closer people living outside the Mediterranean follow this same diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy.

Then in 2018, the large-scale landmark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the cardiovascular-fighting reputation of the Mediterranean Diet; those who followed a Mediterranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet.

Data published from my own clinic has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shrinks their artery plaque load over time (measured with carotid ultrasound testing), and amazingly, hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load over an average of 2-3 years.

Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss

The most expensive disease in the U.S. and most western countries is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $278 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years.

Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent dementia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for multiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progression to dementia than those in the Mediterranean diet group.

Many other studies have also shown cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S.

Data published from my own clinic confirmed that the closer a person follows these dietary recommendations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.

Myths Regarding a Mediterranean Diet

Despite the many health benefits of this eating plan, and the delicious food it provides, there are several misunderstandings that threaten to eliminate these benefits. Let’s clarify several right now, dealing with the top six myths.

MYTH #1. YOU CAN EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FOOD YOU WANT

There’s no need to put a hard limit on daily servings of vegetables (you won’t overdo it because you’ll naturally fill up on fiber), but it is possible, for instance, to overeat walnuts or almond butter, or use too much olive oil, particularly if you’re dipping pieces of bread into it.

MYTH #2. EATING MEDITERRANEAN MEANS EATING PASTA, BREAD AND PIZZA

You can easily overdo the portion size, even with whole grains. When you see grains and cereals on the Mediterranean diet, this doesn’t mean a giant platter of pasta, unlimited bread (even if it’s organic and whole grain), or bowls of rice (even if it’s brown rice). It’s important to control your portions of grains and cereals, and as you’ll read in a moment, of all the food components listed in the Mediterranean diet, whole grains provide the least health benefit.

Further, when you grind a grain into flour, such as bread, that processed grain has a much higher glycemic load (sugar load) than the same amount of whole grain. If we want healthy blood sugar control, we all need to limit or avoid even whole grain products that are processed into flour—such as bread, crackers, cake, and pancakes.

MYTH #3. EATING SEAFOOD ON OCCASION WILL BENEFIT YOUR HEART

Eating fish merely a few times a month won’t yield the disease-fighting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly for the heart and brain. Because of the benefits from consuming long chain omega-3 fats that are found only in seafood, aim to eat seafood at least twice a week–preferably three to five times per week. Seafood includes fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

If you are vegetarian, or avoid fish and shellfish for other reasons, plan to either eat seaweed several times per week, as in a cup portion of seaweed salad, or take a seaweed DHA supplement daily.

MYTH #4. ALL CHEESES (AND YOGURTS) ARE CREATED EQUAL

Treating pasteurized cheese as a go-to food–compared, for example, with raw, probiotic-rich and vitamin K2-loaded camembert–is a mistake. The same goes for yogurt and kefir. Many of my patients are shocked when I explain that fruit-flavored yogurt has more sugar than ice cream. As with so many components of the Mediterranean diet, when choosing your foods, simple and unsweetened is best.

If you avoid dairy products, you still need some source of probiotic food source, which can easily be obtained by using coconut yogurt sources, and other pickled foods, such as sauerkraut, olives, capers, and Asian foods such as miso and kombucha.

MYTH #5. YOU CAN SKIP THE BEANS

Don’t miss out on this fiber-packed superfood that is one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar, and it’s the #1 all-time top food for blocking disease-causing oxidation. They are also loaded with fiber, protein, B vitamins, and calcium. In Mediterranean cuisine, beans are the healthy foundation for countless meals and are used often as a side dish as well.

However, 10% of people appear to be lectin intolerant–they develop major gastrointestinal symptoms when they consume beans. The process of soaking (so called sprouting) appears to help, but if you have a lectin intolerance, just like any food intolerance, then avoid beans.

MYTH #6. YOU CAN USE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR ALL YOUR COOKING NEEDS

Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil for high-heat cooking, or even medium-high heat. Once it reaches 400ºF–its smoke point, the maximum temperature it can reach before it breaks down and becomes a damaged fat–extra-virgin olive oil starts losing nutritional value, not to mention its complex and delicate flavors. For medium-high heat cooking, use avocado and/or almond oil) instead.

Save flavorful extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over foods, making dressings, and for low or medium heat cooking.

Adapting the Mediterranean Diet to the 21st Century

Despite all these clear health benefits, there are some limitations related to the Mediterranean diet that should be applied to living in the 21st century.

First, the original Mediterranean diet was followed by farmers, fisherman, and herders–men and women who were physically active for 6 to 10 hours per day. Very few can achieve this much movement today. We therefore need to modify an eating plan with a lower glycemic load to match our activity level.

Second, studies that have evaluated the Mediterranean diet have also assessed what components of the traditional eating plan had the most and least health benefit. Results from the EPIC trial showed that consuming vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and olive oil provided the greatest benefit, and eating whole grains provided the least–likely related to their glycemic load.

A more recent study, The EPIC Greek Cohort study, published in 2012, analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, and glycemic load intake. It concluded that those who adhered to a Mediterranean Diet and had the lowest glycemic load intake had the best health benefits of all. And if the subjects were overweight, the benefits of following a low-glycemic load version of a Mediterranean Diet were even greater.

This low-glycemic version has the added advantage of appealing to many people who have already shifted towards a low-carb and/or Paleo eating plan, and switching from a low-carb to a Mediterranean diet will usually increase their nutrient dramatically.

Beyond Food

Though there are many proven benefits to following a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle are not solely limited to food intake. Mediterranean people are more active than we are in the U.S., they spend more time walking and cycling to work and for daily shopping, and they spend more time outdoors and with nature.

How they eat is important as well. They enjoy long, leisurely meals typically with friends and family, which fosters close social connections, which is likely related to the fact that they have lower rates of anxiety and depression than are found in the U.S.

Summary

Let me share my version of the food and lifestyle pyramid of a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet, adapted from my book, The Mediterranean Method.

The pyramid’s foundation is the lifestyle, which features activity, social interaction, cooking, and mindful-leisurely eating.

Foods and beverages that are consumed daily include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, yogurt, dark chocolate, and water, with moderate intake of red wine and coffee or tea. Seafood, poultry, eggs, and other probiotic-rich dairy products are on the menu several times a week, although a vegetarian or vegan version without animal protein is very feasible. Whole grains are also an option, although served in small portions (and gluten free as needed).

Unlike many diets that are popular today, notice that almost no real foods are completely banned–for a special occasion, you can still enjoy special treats that fit the affair–the key is that you limit them to a special event, and that you eat real, unprocessed food.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a short-term eating plan. It has been followed for centuries, generation after generation, tested in numerous long-term clinical studies, and been found to be the best diet on the planet for long term adherence and for healthy eating. The food is delicious, generally simple and easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. This is an eating plan that truly combines proven health benefits with delicious food–no other diet can embrace the saying as well–To Your Health & Bon Appétit!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Candida

Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher, LeanMachine
Copyright © Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
Updated 31st January 2020

Candida albicans, also known as Yeast infections, Fungal infections, Mycosis and Thrush

Almost everyone has Candida in their bodies. For most of us, it causes no problems.
But if our immune system is compromised by antibiotics, poor diet, sleep deprivation or other factors, candida can grow uncontrollably.
Each of us has about 70 to 100 or more trillion bacteria in our bodies, weighing between 1 and 2kg, or over 3% of our total body weight.
Most of them good, but some are bad – really bad, like yeast, parasites and other organisms, and most of the time we don’t know they are even there.
If we are healthy with a good diet, our immune system and the good bugs keeps the bad bugs under control. We can never eliminate them, but we can keep them at levels where they can’t do too much harm.
75% of our immune system is in the gut – our trillions of good bacteria is our second, but most important line of defence against unwelcome invaders.
Our first line of defence is in the mouth, and this is where our good bacteria first start to knock out the bad guys, and this is why sugar should be banned from our diet, as sugar keeps the bad bugs fed well.
Healthy gut flora keeps candida under control, because in it’s normal state, Candida is a relatively weak fungal type bug.
Unfortunately, under some conditions, Candida can transform into dangerous mutations, changing to an aggressive bug which can cause systemic (throughout the entire body) destruction.
Candida is very common, and very dangerous.
75% of women, and many men, suffer from Candida in some form at some stage, from minor symptoms including rashes, increased PMS issues and bad breath, to severe conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), depression, joint pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
A Candida problem can be a host of apparently unrelated chronic symptoms which refuse to go away, regardless of treatments, and a course of antibiotics only makes things much worse.

Mainstream Medicine Mistakes

In the 1980’s links were found between candida, chronic fatigue, chronic pain problems and fibromyalgia-type symptoms.
Mainstream health professionals have little idea how to diagnose, let alone treat Candida issues, and those who do attempt to treat Candida use dangerous medications which often exacerbate the situation by destroying our good bacteria, leaving us defenseless against the bad guys.
Creams, oils, lotions, etc are only marginally effective on the skin where applied, and cannot resolve systemic, body-wide infestations.
The “nuke it” approach, with powerful anti-fungal prescription medications, can work temporarily, but Candida is smart enough to disguise itself and eventually develop resistance to the medication.
Drugs used for other purposes such as antibiotics, cortisone therapy, immune-suppressants, even birth control pills can start a Candida infestation explosion.
Candida critters are very smart.
Classified as a fungus, but are in fact part plant, part animal, part bacteria, part parasite, and able to reproduce themselves either sexually (with a mate) or asexually (by themselves), and by re-arranging their own chromosomes, can alter their shape and forms to adapt to the environment and ensure survival.
No surprise that with these attributes, it can be very difficult to dispose of yeast infections!

How Candida Works

In the normal, relatively harmless yeast form, under the microscope, Candida looks like a small white egg, with a smooth and consistent shape and living in our gut.
Candida feeds on the food we eat and normally keeps to itself, but under some conditions, it mutates into a monster super-fungus, multiplying rapidly to colonise in every possible part of the body.
In some areas it can double the colony size every hour, so before long it runs rampant, destroying everything in it’s path.
The best way to start this happening is to feed it it’s favourite food – sugar!

Candida Symptoms

  • White coating on the tongue
  • Development of food sensitivities
  • Aches and pains without a known cause
  • Bloating, constipation or diarrhea
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Dry or other skin problems
  • Vaginitis (inflammation of the female genital area)
  • Breathing problems

Mutated Forms

The mutated form called mycelial-form of Candida grows rhixoids, which are elongated, finger-like tentacles that tunnel, bore and burrow their way through our gut walls, where they enter the blood vessels, to be transported everywhere in the body, blooming to a systemic infection.
They now appear anywhere – heart, eyes, kidneys, liver, lungs and even the brain. A yeast infection is not just a minor annoyance causing a little itching – this is a warning sign that some insidious thing is happening.
Like tree roots which can crack, lift and eventually destroy pavement, Candida does the same thing to our bodies as it mutates into the dangerous super-fungus form. Apart from entering the blood through the cracks in our gut and spreading, another opportunity is now “opened up” – many other undesirable things now enter our blood stream through these cracks; things which should normally stay in our gut: Bacteria, toxins, undigested food, milk, etc.

A short note about Milk

This is a good reason why no-one should ever drink homogenised milk, as the fat globules in homogenised milk are ten times smaller than un-homogenised milk, easily entering the blood through the tiniest holes in the gut.
When undigested milk enters the bloodstream directly through a “leaky gut”, the body’s own immune system recognises this as a unwanted invader and attempts to destroy it. From that time on, the immune system remembers this pattern, and we then have a milk allergy.
Leaky gut is the main culprit for the rapid rise in allergies we have seen in the last few decades, as we are now allergic to every food that passes directly into the blood.
We can find unhomogenised milk at all good supermarkets if we look hard enough, but none of the major brands make it.
Sure we have to shake the container to mix the cream, but that is a small price to pay for our better health, and I should also mention that we should never buy low-fat or skim milk, as all of the nutrients, including CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and Omega-7, have been lost with the cream.
The “Low Fat” advertising is a gimmick. We lose weight more effectively with full-cream milk compared to low-fat milk.
Milk also contains lactose. Like most other things ending in “ose”, lactose is a sugar, and sugar feeds candida (and cancers).
Again, milk fills a complete chapter in my upcoming book, so I’ll leave a summary: Most people do better without milk, have less allergies without milk, lose more weight without milk, have stronger bones without milk, but if you have to have milk, FULL-CREAM and UN-HOMOGENISED milk is the only reasonably healthy milk to buy, and if you can get it straight from the cow (NON-PASTEURISED), even better.

Candida Waste Products

Candida overgrowth can make us feel sick, tired, plain lousy, and can make us drunk from inside out!
As yeast dies as part of it’s natural life cycle, acetaldehyde is released. This is a toxin which the liver converts to ethanol, the same hangover-causing chemical produced by high consumption of alcohol, so Candida sufferers often feel like they have a hangover without drinking a drop of alcohol, because they have an alcohol factory in their own body.
Another problem, as if we don’t have enough problems already, is “Candida Poo”, which is the 79 distinct toxins and waste by-products released as part of the Candida lifecycle. It’s bad enough that we feed all parasites, but we have to clean up and dispose of their waste and toxic elements as well as recover from the damage and disease they cause!
Candida infestation can continue growing, producing more acetaldehyde, causing our blood alcohol level to rise enough to cause symptoms such as impaired thinking, lack of concentration, irritability, depression, brain fog, slowed reflexes, fatigue and other signs of excess alcohol.
In this state, red blood cells have trouble flowing into small capillaries, aggravating migraine headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, slowing healing.
At the same time, white blood cells have reduced ability to fight infection, often causing allergies, rashes, acne and even further inhibiting of healing processes.
Like the way bread rises from yeast because of carbon dioxide released from carbohydrate fermentation, Candida builds up carbon dioxide in the intestine, resulting in excess gas, bloating, and yet another waste product for the over-taxed body to dispose of.

The Real Candida Cause

Can we defeat this little terror? Of course we can, but we must get back to basics to eliminate problems once and for all.
Why do we get Candida in the first place? Everyone has Candida, because we can’t help consuming it from food, water and the environment, but the reason it develops is because our body gets out of balance, and our immune system gets compromised, allowing immediate, almost uncontrollable flourishing of Candida.
We cannot destroy Candida completely without killing ourselves, so our only real, long-lasting solution is to re-balance the body, restore the immune system, and let the body’s own natural defenses do their job.
If we have bad breath, rashes, fatigue, trouble concentrating, brain fog, strange allergies, weird pains or anything we can’t explain, it could be a sign that something is out of whack, allowing Candida to get out of control, and even if the problem is not Candida, correcting the balance and immune system of the body is the first step to recovery from any sickness.

Candida and Cancer

New research is now finding a link between Candida infections and Cancer. While billions of dollars are being spent on cancer research, cancer cases are increasing, now overtaking cardiovascular issues as a leading cause of death. LeanMachine suggests that staying Candida free is the first step in staying Cancer free. Like most modern diseases, prevention is the key, then requiring no cure.

The Cure

We must create an environment which is good for nourishment of the body, but bad for Candida. By following these guidelines, we will remain Candida free, and also reduce the risk of Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and most other “modern” diseases.

  • Eliminate all sugar from the diet. The natural sweetener Xylitol is OK as it is a 5-carbon sugar alcohol, and despite it’s misleading name (it is technically neither a sugar, nor an alcohol), it will not feed Candida, and has far less insulin-spiking effect. Other alternatives are Erythritol and Stevia, with virtually zero insulin spiking. Avoid all artificial sweeteners. In the long term, lose the sweet-tooth altogether
  • Change to an alkaline-forming diet, as acids cause Candida and other parasites to thrive. See my Alkaline Diet Article
  • Avoid yeast in all forms. All grain/flour based products will acidify and aggravate our bodies, and are usually made with yeast, the best food for Candida. No more bread, cakes, biscuits, muffins, etc. Tough for some people but you will thank me a few weeks! Excess weight will slowly disappear, while digestion, health and energy will all improve, and the holes in the gut caused by flour products will begin to heal
  • Keep cool and dry, wear well-ventilated clothing and live in a well-ventilated house. Candida loves sugar, warmth and moisture. Avoid artificial fibres in clothing. Keep to natural fibres like cotton, bamboo or wool. Before buying any clothing, give it a sniff. Any trace of a chemical smell? Leave it in the store
  • Never take antibiotics unless there is a severe, life-threatening situation. Antibiotics encourage Candida and other harmful organisms by destroying their natural enemies (the good bacteria)
  • Reduce carbohydrate intake, as all carbs feed Candida. This means potatoes, pasta, grains, cereals, breads, cakes, etc. A healthy body requires NONE of these “foods”. There is NO medical condition such as “Carbohydrate Deficiency” as the body can make all the carbs it needs from breaking down protein
  • Take liver detox supplements such as Milk Thistle
  • Add some parsley to each meal. Easy to grow yourself in a pot, and available at the greengrocer or supermarket
  • Take a supplement containing Pau D’Arco or Candida Support
  • The main ingredient in Pau d’Arco is beta-lapachone, also a potent catalyst for NADH (Reduced Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, or NAD+ or CoEnzyme E1), important for mitochondria, the energy components of every cell in the body and as a sensor for stress and disease
  • Also consider Pumpkin Seed Oil for more parasite protection
  • Most kitchens have cloves in the spice rack. Add them to everything to help control Candida and other parasites, and add a great flavour at the same time
  • Berberine has anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing, anti-microbial properties against bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Berberine’s action against Candida pathogens is stronger than prescription antibiotics commonly used
  • Echinacea is also of benefit in building the immune system
  • Aloe contains a mucopolysaccharide with strong immune properties and also benefits the mitochondria
  • Take a probiotic supplement such as Acidophilus or at least eat some yogurt every day to help re-build the good gut flora
  • Try to use a probiotic that includes a FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides), a pre-biotic that enhances functionality of gut flora, included in Acidophilus above
  • Fermented foods – sauerkraut, etc are a good source of probiotics, generally much more than available in supplements
  • Eat more high-fibre foods like chia seeds, preferably containing over 40 grams of fibre daily
  • Or take a daily fibre supplement containing Psyllium to improve regularity, keep things moving through the colon, improve internal cleansing and reduce risk of colon cancer. Can help relieve constipation, but because it increases bulk with both soluble and insoluble fibre, may also help with diarrhoea
  • Eat some garlic every day, or at least onions or shallots, but if the taste and odour is not to your liking, then try Odorless Garlic
  • To help cleanse the blood and the liver, eat Chlorophyll-rich foods (Green leafy vegetables) every day, or take Chlorophyll supplements. The molecular structure of Chlorophyll and Haemoglobin appear identical, apart from one small difference: Haemoglobin has a central iron atom (making blood red), while Chlorophyll has a central magnesium atom (making plants green)
  • Coconut Oil contains Caprylic Acid, along with capric acid and lauric acid, MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) that help defeat candida as it is a natural anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial product, and also helps lose weight, as MCT’s go straight to the liver to be burned as fuel and cannot be stored as fat
  • Avoid antibiotics, steroid hormones and oral contraceptives, as they alter the gut bacteria, increasing risk of candida changing into an invasive form
  • Avoid antibiotics in food such as from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations which are fed antibiotics to counteract bad sanitation and to boost growth. Ask for “grass fed” or “pasture raised” meat, and limit meat consumption (acidic) in favour of plant foods (alkaline)
  • Get more good sleep, more exercise and an alkaline, sugar-free diet, but never consume food or drink with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, which destroy good gut bacteria. Stevia is a better natural choice and has anti-cancer properties
  • Treat the partners of infected patients, even if there are no symptoms, as they can also be carrying abnormally large amounts of Candida, potentially leading to constant cross-infections
  • Continue treatment until all symptoms have disappeared, plus a further 2 weeks, which destroys eggs laid by the previous generation

Drug Therapy

There are some prescription drugs which can help if all of the above fails and the condition is serious:

  • Nystatin, an antifungal, available as tablets or a powder, and fairly benign with few side effects.
  • Diflucan, an antibiotic if all else fails

LeanMachine Online Supplements: Health Supplements

Updated: 31st January 2020.   Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight – Lean Machine

More Health Benefits of Quercetin Revealed


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/01/27/quercetin-benefits.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked image

January 27, 2020
quercetin benefits

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Quercetin has been shown to combat inflammation and acts as a natural antihistamine. Several studies have highlighted quercetin’s ability to prevent and treat both the common cold and influenza
  • Another, less known benefit and use for quercetin includes the prevention and/or treatment of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, certain cancers, gout, arthritis and mood disorders
  • A review of quercetin’s effect on metabolic syndrome found it significantly reduced fasting plasma glucose when taken for at least eight weeks at a dosage of 500 milligrams per day or more
  • Other recent research found quercetin has a beneficial impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by ameliorating inflammation, oxidative stress and lipid metabolism
  • Quercetin also has the ability to trigger tumor regression by interacting with your DNA and activating the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis (the programmed cell death of damaged cells)

Quercetin1 is an antioxidant flavonol found naturally in foods such as apples, plums, red grapes, green tea, elder flower and onions, just to name a few.2 According to a 2019 Market Watch report,3 the quercetin market is growing rapidly as its health benefits are becoming more widely known.

Quercetin has been shown to combat inflammation and acts as a natural antihistamine. In fact, its antiviral capacity appears to be the primary focus of many studies looking at quercetin’s benefits, and a number of studies have highlighted quercetin’s ability to prevent and treat both the common cold and influenza.4,5,6,7

But there are also other, less known benefits and uses for this supplement, including the prevention and/or treatment of:8

High blood pressure9 Cardiovascular disease10
Metabolic syndrome11 Certain kinds of cancer12
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)13 Gout14
Arthritis15 Mood disorders16
Longevity, thanks to its senolytic benefits (clearing out damaged and worn-out cells)17,18

Additionally, quercetin is also helpful for aluminum-induced neurodegenerative changes, such as those seen in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As noted in a 2016 study:19

“Administration of quercetin (10 mg/kg body wt/day) reduced aluminum (10 mg/kg body wt/day)-induced oxidative stress (decreased ROS production, increased mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity).

In addition, quercetin also prevents aluminum-induced translocation of cyt-c, and up-regulates Bcl-2, down-regulates Bax, p53, caspase-3 activation and reduces DNA fragmentation …

Further electron microscopic studies revealed that quercetin attenuates aluminum-induced mitochondrial swelling, loss of cristae and chromatin condensation. These results indicate that treatment with quercetin may represent a therapeutic strategy to attenuate the neuronal death against aluminum-induced neurodegeneration.”

Quercetin Improves Metabolic Syndrome Traits

Among the most recent papers on this powerful antioxidant is a review20 published in the March 2019 issue of Phytotherapy Research, which looked at nine randomized controlled trials investigating quercetin’s effect on metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions (including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels and fat accumulation around the waist) that raise your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

While pooled findings found no effect on fasting plasma glucose, insulin resistance or hemoglobin A1c levels, further subgroup analyses revealed quercetin supplementation “significantly reduced” fasting plasma glucose in studies lasting at least eight weeks and in which dosages of at least 500 milligrams (mg) per day were used.

In studies that included people over the age of 45, “significant” reductions in insulin were also found when using a dosage of 500 mg per day or more. An earlier study,21 published in 2011, looked at quercetin’s effects on certain traits of metabolic syndrome.

This study focused specifically atherosclerosis and inflammation in men with the APOE genotype 3/3, 3/4 and 4/4, and found quercetin significantly decreased waist circumference, postprandial systolic blood pressure, postprandial triacylglycerol, and increased HDL-cholesterol compared to placebo. Here, participants were given 150 mg of quercetin per day for eight weeks.

Research22 on obese rats published in 2008 also found that quercetin supplementation at doses of 2 mg per kilo or 10 mg/kg of body weight for 10 weeks improved systolic blood pressure, triglyceride, total cholesterol and free fatty acid levels. The 10 mg/kg dose also improved the animals’ inflammation status. As noted by the authors:

“In conclusion, both doses of quercetin improved dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperinsulinemia in obese Zucker rats, but only the high dose produced antiinflammatory effects in VAT together with a reduction in body weight gain.”

One of the first studies23 to demonstrate quercetin’s beneficial effects on blood pressure was published in 2007. As reported by the authors:

“Epidemiological studies report that quercetin … is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke … Men and women with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study to test the efficacy of 730 mg quercetin/d for 28 d[ays] vs. placebo.

Blood pressure at enrollment was … 148 +/- 2/96 +/- 1 in stage 1 hypertensive subjects … Reductions in systolic (-7 +/- 2 mm Hg), diastolic (-5 +/- 2 mm Hg), and mean arterial pressures (-5 +/- 2 mm Hg) were observed in stage 1 hypertensive patients after quercetin treatment … These data are the first to our knowledge to show that quercetin supplementation reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects.”

Similarly, a January 2020 systematic review24 of 17 studies concluded quercetin “significantly decreased” blood pressure in human subjects. Those who took it for eight weeks or more also had “significantly” improved high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.

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Quercetin Improves Diabetes-Induced NAFLD

Other recent research25 published in the August 2019 issue of Phytotherapy Research concluded quercetin has a beneficial impact on NAFLD “by ameliorating inflammation, oxidative stress and lipid metabolism.”

Diabetes can play a role in NAFLD as well, showing just how influential insulin resistance is in the development of chronic diseases of all kinds. As explained in the abstract:

“Multiphase pathological processes involve in Type 2 diabetes (T2DM)‐induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the therapies are quite limited. In the present study, the hepatoprotective effects and underlying mechanisms of quercetin in T2DM‐induced NAFLD were investigated …

The results revealed that quercetin alleviated serum transaminase levels and markedly reduced T2DM‐induced histological alterations of livers. Additionally, quercetin restored superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione content in livers.

Not only that, quercetin markedly attenuated T2DM‐induced production of interleukin 1 beta, interleukin 6, and TNF‐α. Accompanied by the restoration of the increased serum total bile acid and the decreased liver total bile acid, quercetin could reduce lipid accumulation in the liver … These findings suggested that quercetin might be a potentially effective drug for the treatment of T2DM‐induced NAFLD.”

Quercetin Helps Modulate Gene Expression

According to research26 published in 2016, quercetin even has the ability to trigger tumor regression by interacting with your DNA and activating the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis (the programmed cell death of damaged cells).

Quercetin was found to induce cytotoxicity in leukemic cells, and the effect was dose-dependent. Limited cytotoxic effects were also found in breast cancer cells. Overall, quercetin increased the life span in cancer-ridden mice fivefold compared to untreated controls.

The authors attributed these effects to quercetin’s direct interaction with DNA and its activation of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, and suggested quercetin’s potential use as a cancer therapy adjunct deserves further exploration.

More recent research27 in the journal Molecules also highlights quercetin’s epigenetic influence and ability to:

  • Interact with cell-signaling pathways
  • Modulate gene expression
  • Influence the activity of transcription factors
  • Modulate microRNAs

MicroRNAs used to be considered “junk” DNA. Far from being useless, research has now revealed that “junk” DNA is actually microRNA and plays a crucial role in regulating genes that make the proteins that build your body.

The microRNA function as “on/off” switches for the genes. Depending on the microRNA input, a single gene can code for any of more than 200 protein products. Quercetin’s ability to module microRNA may also help explain its cytotoxic effects, and why it appears to improve cancer survival (at least in mice).

Quercetin Is a Powerful Antiviral

As mentioned, one of the most well-studied attributes of quercetin is its antiviral capacity, which have been attributed to three main mechanisms of action:

  1. Inhibiting the virus’ ability to infect cells
  2. Inhibiting replication of already infected cells
  3. Reducing infected cells’ resistance to treatment with antiviral medication

For example, research28 funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, published in 2007, found it lowers your risk of viral illness and boosts mental performance following extreme physical stress, which might otherwise undermine your immune function and render you more susceptible to infections.

Here, cyclists who received a daily dose of 1,000 mg of quercetin in combination with vitamin C (which enhances plasma quercetin levels29,30) and niacin (to improve absorption) for five weeks were significantly less likely to contract a viral illness after bicycling three hours a day for three consecutive days, compared to untreated controls. While 45% of the placebo group got sick, only 5% of the treatment group did.

In another study31 funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), published in 2008, animals treated with quercetin were challenged with a highly pathogenic H1N1 influenza virus. Again, the treatment group had significantly lower morbidity and mortality than the placebo group. A number of other studies have also confirmed quercetin’s effectiveness against a variety of viruses, including the following:

A 1985 study found quercetin inhibits infectivity and replication of herpes simplex virus type 1, polio-virus type 1, parainfluenza virus type 3 and respiratory syncytial virus.32
A 2010 animal study found that quercetin inhibits both influenza A and B viruses. Two other important discoveries were made. Firstly, the viruses were unable to develop resistance to quercetin, and secondly, when used concomitant with antiviral drugs (amantadine or oseltamivir), the effect was significantly amplified — and it prevented drug-resistance from developing.33
A 2004 animal study investigating quercetin’s effect on influenza used a strain of the H3N2 virus. According to the authors:34

“During influenza virus infection, there is ‘oxidative stress.’ Because quercetin restored the concentrations of many antioxidants, it is proposed that it may be useful as a drug in protecting the lung from the deleterious effects of oxygen derived free radicals released during influenza virus infection.”

Another 2016 study found quercetin offered protection against influenza A virus H1N1 by modulating protein expression. More specifically, the regulation of heat shock proteins, fibronectin 1 and prohibitin was instrumental in reducing viral replication.35
A third study published in 2016 found quercetin inhibited a wide spectrum of influenza strains, including H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1. According to the authors, “This study indicates that quercetin showing inhibitory activity in the early stage of influenza infection provides a future therapeutic option to develop effective, safe and affordable natural products for the treatment and prophylaxis of [influenza A viruses] infections.”36
In 2014, researchers noted that quercetin appears to be “a promising treatment for the common cold,” caused by the rhinovirus, adding that “Quercetin has been shown to reduce viral internalization and replication in vitro, and viral load, lung inflammation and airways hyper-responsiveness in vivo.”37

By attenuating oxidative damage, it also lowers your risk of secondary bacterial infections, which is actually the primary cause of influenza-related deaths. Importantly, quercetin increases mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, which suggests part of its antiviral effects are due to enhanced mitochondrial antiviral signaling.

A 2016 animal study38 found quercetin inhibited mouse dengue virus and hepatitis virus. Other studies have confirmed quercetin’s power to inhibit both hepatitis B39 and C40 infection.
Most recently, a March 2020 study41 in the Microbial Pathogenesis journal found quercetin “provides comprehensive protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection,” both in vitro and in vivo, primarily by neutralizing pneumolysin (PLY),42 one of the toxins released from pneumococci that encourages S. pneumoniae infection to blossom in the first place. As reported by the authors in Microbial Pathogenesis:

“The results indicated that quercetin significantly reduced PLY-induced hemolytic activity and cytotoxicity via repressing the formation of oligomers.

In addition, treatment with quercetin can reduce PLY-mediated cell injury, improve the survival rate of mice infected with a lethal dose of S. pneumoniae, alleviate the pathological damage of lung tissue and inhibit the release of cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

Considering the importance of these events in antimicrobial resistant S. pneumoniae pathogenesis, our results indicated that quercetin may be a novel potential drug candidate for the treatment of clinical pneumococcal infections.”

Quercetin Combats Inflammation and Boosts Immunity

Aside from its antiviral activity, quercetin is also known for boosting immunity and combating inflammation. As noted in a 2016 study43 in the journal Nutrients, mechanisms of action include (but is not limited to) the inhibition of:44

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production in macrophages. TNF-α is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation, secreted by activated macrophages, a type of immune cell that digests foreign substances, microbes and other harmful or damaged components

LPS-induced mRNA levels of TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1α in glial cells, which results in “diminished apoptotic neuronal cell death”

The production of inflammation-producing enzymes

Calcium influx into the cell, which in turn inhibits:

Pro-inflammatory cytokine release

Histamine and serotonin release from intestinal mast cells release45

According to this paper, quercetin also stabilizes mast cells, has cytoprotective activity in the gastrointestinal tract, and “a direct regulatory effect on basic functional properties of immune cells,” which allows it to inhibit “a huge panoply of molecular targets in the micromolar concentration range, either by down-regulating or suppressing many inflammatory pathways and functions.”46

Quercetin May Be a Useful Supplement for Many

Considering its wide-ranging benefits, quercetin may be a useful supplement for many, either acutely or more long-term. It’s one of the supplements I recommend keeping in your medicine chest for times when you feel you’re “coming down” with something, be it the common cold or influenza.

If you’re prone to colds and flu, you could consider taking it for a couple of months before cold and flu season hits to boost your immune system. More long-term, it appears useful for those with metabolic syndrome, although it would be foolish to rely on any given supplement without also addressing more fundamental strategies such as diet and exercise.

As explained in my 2015 interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, sugar has been shown to be a causative factor in insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for virtually all chronic disease.

If you have one or more of the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, you’d be wise to limit your total sugar consumption to 15 grams per day. If you’re healthy, and want to stay that way, your daily sugar limit would be around 25 grams. You can learn more about this and related treatment strategies in “Vitamin D Can Significantly Lower Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome.”

– Sources and References