At the end of the day, poor mental health can ultimately impact your immune system and may affect your physical health as well.

Taking care of your body is very important. A balance of healthy lifestyle habits like following a wholesome diet, exercising regularly and getting enough rest are key to reducing your risk for debilitating conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. While taking care of your physical body is critical, most people forget how important it is to prioritize mental health too. Reducing the stress in your life and finding ways to stay relaxed and happy can help ensure your overall well-being. At the end of the day, poor mental health can ultimately impact your immune system and may affect your physical health as well.

Here are five tips for better mental health:

1. Write in a Journal
Bottling up your feelings and emotions does no good for your body. It can lead to stress and sadness and may even cause you to get sick later. Writing down your feelings makes an excellent outlet for stress and can make it easier to cope with your feelings.

2. Find Someone to Talk to
If you’d rather talk about your emotions than write them down, find someone to talk to. This can be a close friend or family member, or even a counselor. The most important part is finding someone you trust. You can even dedicate some time talking to God at the end of each day. He can provide the hope and faith you’re looking for on a bad day. 

Older man talking to a counselor. Finding someone to talk to can benefit mental health.

3. Go on a Vacation
When was the last time you treated yourself to a vacation? Sometimes, all you need is a few days away from the normal hustle and bustle of a work week. A vacation is the perfect opportunity to relax and let your mind unwind.

4. Exercise
Working out should already be a part of your everyday routine, but if it isn’t already, start making time for exercise. Not only does it help shed stubborn pounds and improve heart health, it also aids mental wellness! Physical activity can act as the perfect form of stress relief. Head to the gym a few times a week to blow off some steam or challenge yourself to a new fitness class to keep your mind moving.

5. Try a Plant-Based Diet
Eating for physical wellness is just as important as eating for mental health. A healthy, wholesome diet provides mental clarity, leads to more mindfulness and improves energy. Essentially, it acts as fuel for the mind just as much as it does for the body.

To improve mental health, try our primarily raw, plant-based eating regimen. The Hallelujah Diet uses a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, paired with raw nuts, seeds and organic whole grains to provide our bodies with the natural fuel God always intended for us. Try our diet and your mind will thank you later – just take a look at the testimonies we’ve received from our followers over the years!

It’s never too late to take back control of your mental and physical health. Get started today!





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Nutrient sufficiency is arguably the most important quality of any dietary approach, meaning we choose whole foods with the goal of consuming adequate quantities of all essential and nonessential nutrients required by biological processes in our bodies (see The Importance of Nutrient Density, my book Paleo Principles and my online course Therapeutic Paleo Approach). Emerging evidence shows that our gut bacteria, too, require certain nutrients—and that these are essential for their growth, health, and metabolism. Our gut bacteria must necessarily obtain these nutrients from the food that we eat, and as is the case with the rest of our bodies, the state of our gut microbiome is impacted when we consume either too little or extreme excess of these nutrients. See also What Is the Gut Microbiome? And Why Should We Care About It?

Yes, we can add yet another reason to eat organ meat and shellfish to the list: A nutrient-dense diet supports a healthy gut microbiome! But, I recognize that some of the most important superfoods that we can eat are, how shall I put this, er, not so tasty?  Lol!  So, instead of yet another article highlighting the value of liver and oysters (see for example Why Everyone Should Be Eating Organ Meat and Oysters, Clams, and Mussels, Oh My! Nutrition Powerhouses or Toxic Danger? ), let’s keep it simple and focus on three food-based supplements to support the microbiome (and us!)!

 

Organic 3 Beef Liver Capsules for Vitamin A (and more!)

In addition to containing impressive amounts of dozens of important vitamins and minerals, liver is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A of any food, and is an outstanding source of vitamin D, vitamin B12 (and other B vitamins), copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, and iron in the heme form that is readily absorbed and used by the body. And it just so happens that every single one of these nutrients is essential to support a healthy and diverse gut microbiome.

Vitamin A for the Gut Microbiome

Not to be confused with beta-carotene (which is a vitamin A precursor, not vitamin A itself), vitamin A (retinol) is essential for bone growth, tooth remineralization, skin health, vision, reproduction, and immune function. It also is essential for gut barrier health in addition to its specific impact on the composition of the gut microbiome.

In children with persistent diarrhea, those with measured vitamin A deficiency had significantly lower bacterial diversity (diversity is a hallmark feature of a healthy gut microbiome), a higher proportion of problematic Enterococcus species, and a reduction in important butyrate-producing bacteria compared to children with normal vitamin A levels.

In rats, vitamin A deficiency has also been shown to increase the total amount of bacteria in the GI tract (implying vitamin A deficiency can contribute to bacterial overgrowth, for example SIBO), suppress levels of Lactobacillus species, and lead to the appearance of pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. In a mouse model of autoimmune lupus, vitamin A supplementation restored levels of Lactobacillus that were depleted in the lupus-prone mice, correlating with improved symptoms.

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In one study of mice inoculated with a murine version of norovirus (the most frequent viral cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide), administration of retinoic acid (a vitamin A metabolite) inhibited the replication of norovirus, as well as favorably shifted the composition of the gut microbiota. More specifically, retinoic acid treatment significantly increased the abundance of Bifidobacterium, Aggregatibacter, Allobaculum, Dialister, and Enhydrobacter, and increased the abundance of Lactobacillus that was suppressed by norovirus administration. The increase in Lactobacillus appeared to be responsible for the inhibitory effects of retinoic acid against norovirus. In a later study, the same researchers further investigated the mechanisms behind vitamin A’s antiviral activity and found that Lactobacillus species significantly increased the expression the cytokines interferon-β (IFN-β) and IFN-γ, indicating that the activation of interferons by vitamin A via an increase in Lactobacillus plays a critical role in the body’s immune response against norovirus.

Another study of vitamin A deficient versus vitamin A sufficient mice found that the deficient animals had lower levels of butyrate, Clostridium_XVIII, Roseburia, Pseudomonas, Blautia, Parabacteroides, Pseudomonadaceae, Bacteroidia, and Bacteroidetes and higher levels of acetate, Johnsonella, and Staphylococcaceae; the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio was also higher (linked to obesity and diabetes). In addition, vitamin A significantly affected bacterial pathways involved in macronutrient metabolism: the bacterial pathways in the deficient mice had enhanced amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism associated with lower amino acid biosynthesis, indicating that vitamin A deficiency interferes with the microbiota’s ability to produce and metabolize these nutrients.

Freeze-dried Beef Liver Capsules by Organic 3

Liver stands out as a gut microbiome superfood because of its overall high density of essential nutrients as well as being such a valuable source of vitamin A. And, the most convenient way to add quality liver to our daily diet is with Organic 3 Beef Liver Capsules.

Organic 3 sources grass-fed beef liver from New Zealand for its Beef Liver Capsules.  The liver is non-defatted to preserve its fat-soluble nutrient content (including vitamin A) and it’s freeze-dried, which also helps preserve the full range of nutrients compared to desiccated liver capsules thanks to maintaining cold temperatures through the drying process.  There’s no additives or fillers and the capsules are simply made from gelatin.

Organic 3 Beef Liver Capsules are available online from Corganic.  I love Corganic and truly appreciate the care and precision that Corganic puts into curating their online store containing only top-quality nourishing foods and innovative supplements designed to maximize our benefit from a nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet. Their philosophy is completely aligned with my own!

Organic 3 Beef Liver Capsules

Organic 3 Oysterszinc™ for Zinc and Selenium

Oysters are the richest food source of zinc, but are also amazing sources of vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, copper, and iron, and contain good amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, (yes, vitamin C), calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium, and oysters even provide some vitamins A, B5, B6, B9 and E plus dozens of trace minerals.  In fact, oysters rival liver in terms of nutrient-density, while complementing the nutrients in liver well.

Let’s zoom in on zinc and selenium in particular, since these two minerals are essential for the gut microbiome and since oysters are particularly impressive sources of them.

Zinc for the Gut Microbiome

Important for nearly every cellular function, from protein and carbohydrate metabolism to cell division and growth. Zinc also plays a role in skin health and the maintenance of sensory organs (that’s why zinc deficiency is associated with a loss of smell and taste) and is a vital nutrient for immune system function. Zinc also plays a vital role in epithelial barrier function by improving tight junction formation. The richest source is oysters, but other good sources include red meat, poultry, nuts and seeds, and legumes.

The gut microbiota has a two-way relationship with the mineral zinc: not only does zinc availability influence the composition of the microbiota, but the microbiota composition also influences the levels of zinc within the body!

Specifically, dietary zinc deficiency has been shown to decrease overall species diversity and richness in the gut microbiota (that’s a bad thing!), leading to reduced production of short-chain fatty acids (also bad!). Furthermore, the zinc-deficiency-induced alterations in microbiota could subsequently limit the absorption and availability of ingested zinc, leading to a negative feedback cycle that could worsen existing zinc deficiency. In fact, as early as the 1970s, research on the gut microbiota showed that conventionally raised mice had dietary zinc requirements that were nearly double that of germ-free mice (microbially sterile mice used for microbiome research), confirming a role of gut microbes in zinc homeostasis. Actually, about 20% of our dietary zinc intake is used just by our intestinal bacteria. More recently, researchers discovered that some bacterial species, including the diarrheal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni, compete for zinc within the intestine, and that zinc deficiency could therefore preferentially spur the growth of bacteria that thrive in low-zinc conditions.

Researchers compared the impact on the microbiome (in mice) of a diet low in total zinc versus a diet containing adequate zinc but also zinc uptake inhibitors (including phytic acid!) to decrease the bioavailability of the zinc versus a control diet with adequate zinc. Both the zinc-deficient and zinc-inhibited diets caused major disruptions to the microbiome, but some species thrived under zinc-inhibited conditions (including Actinobacteria, Lachnospiraceae, and Bacteriodetes species) that did not grow under zinc-deficient conditions, indicating that some bacteria are able to successfully compete for zinc in the presence of zinc uptake inhibitors. And while many important probiotic species were reduced in both the zinc-deficient and zinc-inhibited diets, other bacteria (in particular, the family Lachnospiraceae) were able to thrive in low-zinc conditions. Importantly, these bacterial shifts coincided with changes in markers of gut barrier health as well as significantly higher levels of E. coli endotoxin in the liver, indicating increased intestinal permeability.  What’s more, those changes in gut physiology had consequences for the brain: both the zinc-deficient and zinc-inhibited diets resulted in elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and interleukin-1β in the brain, indicating neuroinflammation.

The takeaway from this important experiment? Not only is ingesting adequate zinc imperative for maintaining a healthy gut (and brain!), but so is ingesting enough bioavailable zinc. Although some bacteria have mechanisms that allow them to compete with zinc uptake inhibitors, many don’t. Therefore, zinc-rich plant foods that are also high in phytate (such as nuts, legumes, and grains) may not be the best place to get our zinc needs met. Oysters to the rescue!

Zinc also decreases the growth of well-known pathogens.  For example, zinc decreases the virulence and adherence to cells of enteropathogenic E. coli—a strain of E. coli that adheres to intestinal cells and is responsible for watery diarrhea. In one study of fecal microbiota transplant recipients, after adjusting for potential confounders, zinc deficiency was associated with an increased risk of recurrence of C. difficile infection, and zinc supplementation among those who were deficient reduced this risk—potentially due to zinc’s role in maintaining a diverse microbiome, improving water and electrolyte absorption, improving immunity, and maintaining mucosal integrity.

There’s also a really good argument for getting zinc from whole food sources.  In a study of mice colonized with C. difficile, excess zinc supplementation (12 times the level found in adequate zinc control diet) changed the microbiota in a way that resembled antibiotic treatment, increased toxin activity, lowered the amount of antibiotics needed to induce susceptibility to infection, and dramatically worsened how severe and lethal the C. difficile-associated disease was. The mechanism involved the zinc-binding protein calprotectin, which exerts antimicrobial effects against C. difficile by limiting the amount of zinc (which is needed by C. difficile) within the intestinal track. Excess dietary zinc, in turn, prevented calprotectin from adequately interfering with the metal uptake of C. difficile and allowed infection to progress. Given zinc’s popularity as an immune-boosting supplement, these findings highlight a potential danger of pushing intake too far beyond what’s provided in a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet. Oysters to the rescue again!

Selenium for the Gut Microbiome

Selenium is required for the activity of twenty-five to thirty different enzymes that protect the human brain and other tissues from oxidative damage. Selenium also helps support normal thyroid function. Good sources include oysters and other shellfish, red meat, poultry, fish, Brazil nuts, and mushrooms.

Because selenium is utilized by some microorganisms and is toxic to others, dietary selenium can influence the composition of the microbiota. About 25% of all bacteria express selenoproteins (and therefore require selenium to grow optimally), and these bacteria increase the selenium requirement of their host due to using it for their own growth.

In a study of mice placed on diets that were deficient, adequate, or enriched in selenium, gut microbial diversity increased as selenium intake increased (high diversity is one of the most important hallmarks of a healthy microbiome). In chickens, selenium increased the abundance of probiotics Lactobacillus and Faecalibacterium, as well as increased gut levels of short-chain fatty acids (particularly butyric acid). On the flip side, selenium deficiency alters the gut microbiota composition in ways that increases susceptibility to Salmonella typhimurium infection and chemically induced colitis.

In a variety of studies, supplementing with selenium-enriched probiotics shows synergistic effects beyond either probiotic bacteria alone or selenium alone.  For example, in mice, selenium-enriched probiotics (Candida utilis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacilus rhamosus GG, and Streptococcus thermophilus) were better able to inhibit E. coli infection and mortality than probiotics or selenium alone. In piglets, animals fed selenium-enriched probiotics (in this case, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharaomyces verevisiae) saw greater increases in blood selenium levels than the selenium-only or probiotic-only groups, and also suppressed E. coli levels and reduced incidence of diarrhea, suggesting the combination of probiotics and selenium can benefit the gut ecosystem as well as selenium homeostasis.

 

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Organic 3 Oysterzinc™

Oysters stand out as a gut microbiome superfood because of their overall high density of essential nutrients as well as being such a valuable source of zinc and selenium. And, the most convenient way to add quality oysters to our daily diet is with Organic 3 Oysterzinc™.

Organic 3 sources oysters from the pristine Atlantic waters along Ireland’s lush coastline, dehydrated by a proprietary artisan process. Oysterzinc™ is 100% pure oyster powder, made from only the extracted meat of the oyster with no shell included, as well as no additives or fillers. Each bottle contains the extracted goodness of over 60 oysters!

Organic 3 Oysterzinc™ is also available from Corganic.  (Full disclosure: the capsules smell terrible!  You’ll want to swallow them quickly and hold your breath for that second in between putting them in your mouth and raising your glass of water to your mouth to wash them down!)

Organic 3 Oysterzinc™

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil for Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fats

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is the only fresh, sustainably- and wild-caught and raw cod liver oil on the market. It contains naturally-occurring vitamins A and D, and a full spectrum of omega fatty acids, including the super important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. And these nutrients are very beneficial for the gut microbiome!

Vitamin D for the Gut Microbiome

Assists in calcium absorption, immune system function, bone development, modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular function, and the reduction of inflammation. Although vitamin D can be produced when the sun’s UV rays hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis, it also can be obtained from foods, including oily fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), mushrooms, fish roe, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin D routinely makes headlines for its importance in both physical and mental health, and it turns out, the gut microbiome is a major mediator for the benefits we credit to vitamin D!

The link between vitamin D and the gut microbiome may actually be a two-way street. While vitamin D can impact the health and composition of the gut, certain bacteria in the gut may also influence vitamin D levels in the blood by influencing vitamin D metabolism. In humans, higher levels of Coprococcus and Bifidobacterium, for instance, appear to promote higher vitamin D levels, though more studies are needed to definitely establish causality.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked with gut dysbiosis and inflammation, including severe colitis. Additional research shows vitamin D deficiency may contribute to metabolic syndrome (that nasty combination of obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease risk factors) by aggravating diet-induced imbalances in the microbiota, including by decreasing the production of defensins (anti-microbial molecules needed for maintaining healthy gut flora). In rodents, vitamin D supplementation appears to improve metabolic syndrome via effects on the gut microbiome. And, people with higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to have lower levels of harmful endotoxin in the blood, possibly due to vitamin D’s ability to improve gut barrier integrity as well as normalizing the gut microbiome.

In human studies, vitamin D supplementation alters the composition of the gut microbiome, significantly reducing levels of Gammaproteobacteria (including the most common opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas and Escherichia/Shigella), and increasing bacterial diversity (again, one of the signature features of a healthy microbiome!).  Vitamin D also promotes the growth of beneficial species of Bacteroiodes and Parabacteroides (like species of Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospira), while inhibiting the growth of problematic species like Blautia.

With vitamin D, as with all nutrients, it’s possible to get much of a good thing. In a mouse model of colitis, animals were supplemented with high-dose vitamin D (10,000 IU/kg), moderate vitamin D (2280 IU/kg), or no vitamin D. The mice receiving the highest dose developed the most severe colitis, and the high-dose control group (receiving vitamin D but not exposed to dextran sodium sulphate to induce colitis) ended up with microbiota compositions that were similar to those of the DSS-treated group, including a rise in Sutterella—suggesting that the high vitamin D dosing caused a shift to a pro-inflammatory microbiome. Additionally, the high-dose vitamin D mice saw a significant drop in serum vitamin D levels in conjunction with developing colitis, likely due to vitamin D metabolites dropping in response to intestinal inflammation that was caused by excessive vitamin D intake. In humans, similar undesirable shifts in the microbiome are seen when serum vitamin D levels are in excess of 75ng/mL. This is yet another reason to test-not-guess when it comes to high-dose vitamin D supplementation, and highlights the importance of repeated testing (ideally every 3 months) when taking vitamin D3 supplements (to dial in your individual dose to achieve the ideal serum vitamin D levels between 50 and 70ng/mL). In the absence of repeated testing, natural (not high-dose) ways to improve vitamin D levels include plenty of sun exposure and food sources of vitamin D, like Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil.

Omega 3 Fats for the Gut Microbiome

In case we need another reason to embrace seafood, here it is: omega-3 fats are among the most gut-friendly fats around! In fact, many of the benefits attributed to omega-3 fats on human health are mediated by the gut microbiome. Fish and shellfish are the richest food sources of the two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  DHA is abundant in the brain and retinas and plays a role in maintaining normal brain function, treating mood disorders, and reducing risk of heart disease (or improving outcomes for people who already have it). The richest sources are fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines.  EPA plays a role in anti-inflammatory processes and the health of cell membranes and may help reduce symptoms of depression. Sources include fatty fish and algae.

Animal studies have helped elucidate the omega-3, gut, and disease connection. In mice, analyses of gut microbes and fecal transfers have shown that higher levels of omega-3 fats in body tissue are associated with greater production and secretion of intestinal alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme that splits cholesterol and long chain fatty acids). This leads to changes in the composition of gut bacteria that ultimately reduce endotoxin production, gut permeability, metabolic endotoxemia, and inflammation, all of which influence disease risk. Additional studies in mice have shown that omega-3-rich diets increase populations of important Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria bacteria.

In humans, omega-3 supplementation leads to lower levels of Faecalibacterium and greater levels of butyrate-producing bacteria (particularly from the genera Eubacterium, Roseburia, Anaerostipes, and Coprococcus), along with higher levels of the essential probiotics Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Likewise, higher omega-3 levels (reflecting higher consumption) have been linked to more microbial diversity in the gut, as well as a greater abundance of short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria belonging to the Lachnospiraceae family. Omega-3 fats also appear capable of reversing the dysbiosis associated with irritable bowel disease, and their anti-inflammatory effects can benefit other disorders involving inflammation of the gut.

Omega-3 intake during pregnancy could even influence the offspring’s risk of obesity through gut-mediated mechanisms. One study using fat-1 transgenic mice (which produce high levels of endogenous omega-3 fats) and wild-type mice found that a lower ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in a mother’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding altered the balance of gut microflora in her offspring, induced indicators of metabolic disruption, and led to significantly more weight gain. Another study using fat-1 mice found that higher levels of tissue omega-3 helped prevent gut dysbiosis induced by early exposure to antibiotics and protected against obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and dyslipidemia later in life.

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is a very unique and quality source of vitamins A and D as well as DHA and EPA.  Authentic cod (Gadus morhua) are sustainably caught, hook and line, on family fishing boats in the clean, crystal-clear Norwegian Hegland fjords.  Rosita gently extracts their extra virgin cod liver oil using a patented technique that naturally releases the oil from the hand-picked livers without heat, chemicals, solvents or mechanics, which ensures the truly raw oil that is unadulterated, pure and safe with all of its rich nutrients intact.  This is important because one of the problems with a lot of fish oils is that processing under heat causes oxidation of the fats. While a tiny drop of rosemary herb and full-spectrum vitamin E (from sunflower seeds) is added to maintain freshness, nothing is added to mask its clean all-natural taste of fresh fish. (It’s also available in a fish collagen capsule if you prefer.) Each batch is 3rd-party tested in a microbiological laboratory and certified to meet strict European regulations for potency and purity.

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

While eating plenty of vegetables and fruit is essential for a healthy and diverse gut microbiome (see also What Is the Gut Microbiome? And Why Should We Care About It?Why Root Veggies Are Great for the Gut Microbiome5 Reasons to Eat More Fiber, and The Importance of Vegetables), our fiber consumption is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how our food choices impact the composition and health of our gut microbiome, which in turn are determinants of our health.  Our gut microbes are also sensitive to the amount and quality of the proteins we consume, the fats we consume, phytochemicals and the overall nutrient density of our diets. Yet another check in the “pro” column for a nutrient-focused diet, and obtaining the vital nutrients that both we and our gut microbiomes need from quality food sources!

Citations

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Bashir M, Prietl B, Tauschmann M, Mautner SI, Kump PK, Treiber G, Wurm P, Gorkiewicz G, Högenauer C, Pieber TR. Effects of high doses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract. Eur J Nutr. 2016 Jun;55(4):1479-89. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0966-2.

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Charoenngam N, Shirvani A, Kalajian TA, Song A, Holick MF. The Effect of Various Doses of Oral Vitamin D3 Supplementation on Gut Microbiota in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-blinded, Dose-response Study. Anticancer Res. 2020 Jan;40(1):551-556. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13984.

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Gangadoo S, Dinev I, Chapman J, Hughes RJ, Van TTH, Moore RJ, Stanley D. Selenium nanoparticles in poultry feed modify gut microbiota and increase abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Feb;102(3):1455-1466. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8688-4

Ghaly S, Kaakoush NO, Lloyd F, McGonigle T, Mok D, Baird A, Klopcic B, Gordon L, Gorman S, Forest C, Bouillon R, Lawrance IC, Hart PH. High Dose Vitamin D supplementation alters faecal microbiome and predisposes mice to more severe colitis. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 31;8(1):11511. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29759-y.

Hibberd MC, Wu M, Rodionov DA, Li X, Cheng J, Griffin NW, Barratt MJ, Giannone RJ, Hettich RL, Osterman AL, Gordon JI. The effects of micronutrient deficiencies on bacterial species from the human gut microbiota. Sci Transl Med. 2017 May 17;9(390). pii: eaal4069. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal4069.

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Are you interested in losing weight? Are you tired of diets that advocate low or no fats and crave your high fat meats? You may well be considering going on the keto diet, the new kid on the block. Endorsed by many celebrities including Halle Berry, LeBron James and Kim Kardashian among others, the keto diet has been the subject of much debate among dietitians and doctors. Do you wonder if the keto diet is safe and right for you?

What is the ketogenic diet anyway?

You must be aware that the body uses sugar in the form of glycogen to function. The keto diet that is extremely restricted in sugar forces your body to use fat as fuel instead of sugar, since it does not get enough sugar. When the body does not get enough sugar for fuel, the liver is forced to turn the available fat into ketones that are used by the body as fuel – hence the term ketogenic.

This diet is a high fat diet with moderate amounts of protein. Depending on your carb intake the body reaches a state of ketosis in less than a week and stays there. As fat is used instead of sugar for fuel in the body, the weight loss is dramatic without any supposed restriction of calories.

The keto diet is such that it you should aim to get 60-75% of your daily calories from fat, 15-30% from protein and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. This usually means that you can eat only 20-50 grams of carbs in a day.

What can you eat on this diet?

The diet is a high fat diet that is somewhat similar to Atkins. However, there is greater emphasis on fats, usually ‘good’ fats. On the keto diet you can have

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Nut oils
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Grass fed beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Other meats
  • Full fat cheese
  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Leafy greens
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

You can also get a whole range of snacks that are meant for keto followers. As you can see from this list, fruits are restricted. You can have low sugar fruits in a limited quantity (mostly berries), but will have to forego your favorite fruits as these are all sweet and/or starchy.

This diet includes no grains of any kind, starchy vegetables like potatoes (and all tubers), no sugar or sweets, no breads and cakes, no beans and lentils, no pasta, no pizza and burgers and very little alcohol. This also means no coffee with milk or tea with milk – in fact, no milk and ice-creams and milk based desserts.

Many of these have workarounds as you can get carbohydrate free pasta and pizza, you can have cauliflower rice and now there are even restaurants that cater to keto aficionados.

What are the benefits of the keto diet?

If you are wondering if this diet is safe, its proponents and those who have achieved their weight loss goals will certainly agree that it is safe. Among the benefits of the keto diet you can expect:

  1. Loss of weight
  2. Reduced or no sugar spikes
  3. Appetite control
  4. Seizure controlling effect
  5. Blood pressure normalizes in high blood pressure patients
  6. Reduced attacks of migraine
  7. Type 2 diabetes patients on this diet may be able to reduce their medications
  8. Some benefits to those suffering from cancer

Apart from the first four, there is not sufficient evidence to support its effectiveness or otherwise for other diseases as a lot more research is required over the long-term.

Are there any side-effects of this diet?

When you initially start the keto diet, you can suffer from what is known as keto flu. These symptoms may not occur in all people and usually start a few days after being on the diet, when your body is in a state of ketosis. Some of the side-effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Cramps and tummy pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness and poor concentrations
  • Insomnia
  • Carbohydrate and sugar cravings

These may take up to a week to subside as your body get used to the new diet regime. You can also suffer from other problems when you start the keto diet – you may find that you have increased urination, so it is important to keep yourself well hydrated. You may also suffer from keto breath when your body reaches optimal ketosis and you can use a mouthwash or brush your teeth more frequently.

Usually the side effects are temporary and once your body acclimatizes to the new diet, these should disappear.

How safe is the keto diet?

Just like any other diet that restricts foods in specific categories, the keto diet is not without risks. As you are not supposed to eat many fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils and other foods, you can suffer from lack of many essential nutrients. Since the diet is high in saturated fats and, if you indulge in the ‘bad’ fats, you can have high cholesterol levels upping your risk of heart disease.

In the long-term the keto diet can also cause many nutritional deficiencies since you cannot eat grains, many fruits and vegetables and miss out on fiber as also important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants among other things. You can suffer from gastrointestinal distress, lowered bone density (no dairy and other sources of calcium) and kidney and liver problems (the diet puts added stress on both the organs).

Is the keto diet safe for you?

If you are willing to forego your usual dietary staples and are really keen to lose weight, you may be tempted to try out the keto diet. The biggest issue with this diet is poor patient compliance thanks to the carbohydrate restriction, so you have to be sure that you can live with your food choices. If you simply find it too difficult to follow, you can go on a version of the modified keto diet that offers more carbs.

However, the keto diet is definitely effective in helping you lose weight. According to a recent study many of the obese patients followed were successful in losing weight. Any problems that they faced were temporary. If you do not have any significant health problems except for obesity and have been unsuccessful in losing weight following any conventional diet, the keto diet may a viable option. You must be absolutely determined to lose the weight and be prepared to go on a restricted diet as specified. Even if you have any medical problems, you can take your doctor’s advice and a nutritionist’s guidance and go on this diet.

Another study that was carried out for a longer time showed that going on the keto diet is beneficial in weight loss and also results in reduced cholesterol levels with a decrease in the bad cholesterol and an increase in the good cholesterol.

Is the keto diet safe for you? Most doctors and nutritionists are agreed that the keto diet is good for weight loss over the short-term. As for the long-term, more studies are needed. Do keep in mind that obesity is not an apt choice as it comes with its own risk of health problems.



Source by Smiti Munwani

When someone says the word “fasting” to you, do you automatically cringe? Like, how could you fast? Well, do not be so quick to assume this mindset. Fasting has caught on by storm as more and more people are adopting an intermittent fasting approach.

When we talk about fasting here, we are not referring to fasting for days on end. It is merely fasting for up to 16 hours a day of which half you will be sleeping and then eating in an 8-hour window. It has been demonstrated eating in this manner can not only help boost weight loss success but may also contribute to increasing health as well.

Here are some of the critical benefits of knowing about intermittent fasting…

1. Improved Heart Health. If heart health is a concern for you, intermittent fasting can help. This diet plan protocol helps to…

  • reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol,
  • improve triglyceride levels, and may
  • also, lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Too many people are falling prey to heart disease these days, it is vital we do all we can to protect our heart health. While fasting has some protective mechanisms, it is also wise to eat healthy foods with this approach.

2. Enhanced Growth Hormone Release. Next, you have enhanced growth hormone release. When you fast, your body will be releasing more of the hormone that…

  • helps to prevent aging,
  • helps assist with forming a leaner body composition, and may also
  • assist to promote stronger bones as well.

As we get older, our natural release of growth hormone tends to decline, so intermittent fasting can be one way to help offset this. You may not be able to bring your levels back up to what they were when you were in your 20’s or 30’s, but it can make a difference.

3. Greater Longevity. Those who fast regularly also show signs of greater longevity. Intermittent fasting can help with cellular repair and maintenance, meaning it could help your tissues survive better and keep regenerating as they should. So, in turn, intermittent fasting may boost the number of years you will live.

Current research done on rat populations shows those who fast every other day may live up to 84% longer than those who do not.

4. Improved Insulin Sensitivity. Finally, improved insulin sensitivity is the last benefit you can look forward to if you choose to do intermittent fasting. Improving insulin sensitivity can go a long way towards helping better manage Type 2 diabetes and blood sugar levels. Also, there should also be a decrease in your total body fat mass.

We are seeing rates of insulin resistance skyrocket in today’s society, so this is an excellent way to combat that issue.

There you have a few of the different benefits intermittent fasting provides. As you can see, it is one diet plan you will want to consider.



Source by Beverleigh H Piepers

If you want an effective way to manage your weight, feel more energized, promote health and detox your body from damaging toxins, intermittent fasting is the answer.

There are various studies showing that taking only liquids and restricting foods for short periods of time can help you prevent diseases and live longer.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

You follow a dietary regimen of restricting food for a short period and then continue a regular eating diet just after finishing the fast. One of the most popular ways to do fasting involves fasting for a period of 16 hours, two times a week. There are people who do 24 hour fasting, but it should only be tried if you are already comfortable with regular fasting.

You may think that fasting is difficult, but is very simple, you don’t have to count calories, besides you already fast while you sleep. The body repairs at night, intermittent fasting allows energy to be used in other parts of the body to rejuvenate, instead of digestion.

The Health Benefits of Fasting

There is scientific research that proves intermittent fasting has many health benefits. By reducing your calorie intake 30% twice a week, you reduce illness, increase lifespan and improve your health condition.

Increase Lifespan

Fasting may reduce age related diseases and increase lifespan in humans according to a study in the “Journal of Nutrition Biochemistry”. It also enhance brain and cardiovascular functions, decrease risk of a stroke and coronary artery disease.

Increase Weight loss and Reduce Diabetes

A recent study shows that intermittent fasting may prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and help with weight loss. The study also showed how fast increases longevity, improves health, reduces neurological disorders and diseases.

Delay Aging

There is also a study showing that fasting improves neurodegeneration, heart disease, cancer and diabetes in rodents. In humans it improves rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, hypertension, obesity and delays aging.

Improves Memory

In mice causes significant improvement in learning and memory.

How to do it

Fasting is not that hard, it helps to improve the digestive system function and to sleep better.

The easiest way to apply it, is to start by fasting 16 hours, sleep and fast. You can do it by skipping breakfast, eat from midday and stop eating at 8 pm.

Keep in mind that while you will fast for 16 hours and you will not eat any food in that period of time, you should drink a lot of water. This will help to remove all the toxins of your body and keep your body and brain functioning great.



Source by Ray Ayuso

DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. DASH diet has been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure within 2 weeks in individuals following the diet. It is not only known to help manage the blood pressure but is also designed for weight loss programs, helps to prevent heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

Who should follow a DASH eating plan?

In fact, a DASH eating plan can be a part of any healthy eating plan. Not only, will it help lower blood pressure but it will offer additional heart health benefits including lowering LDL cholesterol and inflammation.

How does the DASH eating plan work?

The diet consists of foods that are low in sodium and consists of a variety of foods that are rich in nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium are known to help lower blood pressure. The diet is rich in fibre that again helps to lower blood pressure and knock off the extra pounds which will in-turn assist in lowering blood pressure.

What should you eat on a DASH eating plan?

  • Grains like whole wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, quinoa are packed with nutrients like proteins, B vitamins and trace minerals, fibre and antioxidants which has been shown to reduce the risk of several diseases. However, processed grains lack most nutrients and should be avoided.

  • Include fat-free or low-fat milk, yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, paneer in your diet instead of full-fat options. For those who are lactose intolerant, lactose-free milk and milk products are an option.

  • Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc, beans, dals and seeds like the sunflower seeds, melon seeds, etc are a part of a healthy eating DASH diet. They are rich in dietary fibre protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium, etc. Although nuts contain the healthy fats, it would be wise to eat them in restricted amounts as they are high in calories. Also, avoid salted or honey roasted nuts for their high sodium and sugar content.

  • Lean meat, egg, poultry and fish in moderation rather than meats with high saturated fat content. Processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages, salami, etc contain a significant amount of sodium, hence restrict the intake. Occasional intake of red meat is permitted.

  • Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in potassium which plays an important role in lowering blood pressure. If you are one who is not fond of fruits and vegetables make the change gradually. Add an extra fruit or vegetable in the day in addition to what you are currently having a start. Prefer a whole fruit to juices. Unsweetened dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, dried figs, etc. are good travel choices. Make sure there is a vegetable at each meal.

  • The diet should be low in saturated fats and total fats. A diet high in saturated fats increases the risk of heart disease and hypertension. Fats are important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and help in building the body’s immune system. Use of oils like olive oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil should be promoted in each meal and trans fats which are commonly found in processed and fried food should be avoided.

To make this diet work even better here are some additional tips:-

  • Reducing alcohol intake may help reduce blood pressure. Hence, keep the alcohol intake under check.

  • Aerobic exercise along with DASH diet works faster in lowering blood pressure.

  • Read food labels to choose products that are lower in sodium.

  • Stress can raise blood pressure even if the diet is healthy. Hence, stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, etc will help keep the blood pressure under check.

  • Poor sleep increases blood pressure. So, 7-8 hours of sound sleep will help in keeping the blood pressure in control.

  • If you are someone who smokes, then quitting it would help lower blood pressure.

  • Take your medication as prescribed.

  • Limit the salt intake to 1 teaspoon a day.

Making a lifestyle change is an effort. It is a long-term commitment which one has to make for good health. Making smaller changes will bring in faster results than making dramatic changes all at once and losing the commitment along the way. Before getting on to the DASH diet consult a nutritionist who can help you in chalking out an individual program for yourself.



Source by Arati Shah

First of all, fasting is not starvation. Starvation is the involuntary abstinence from eating forced upon by outside forces; this happens in times of war and famine when food is scarce. Fasting, on the other hand, is voluntary, deliberate, and controlled. Food is readily available but we choose not to eat it due to spiritual, health, or other reasons.

Fasting is as old as mankind, far older than any other forms of diets. Ancient civilizations, like the Greeks, recognized that there was something intrinsically beneficial to periodic fasting. They were often called times of healing, cleansing, purification, or detoxification. Virtually every culture and religion on earth practice some rituals of fasting.

Before the advent of agriculture, humans never ate three meals a day plus snacking in between. We ate only when we found food which could be hours or days apart. Hence, from an evolution standpoint, eating three meals a day is not a requirement for survival. Otherwise, we would not have survived as a species.

Fast forward to the 21st century, we have all forgotten about this ancient practice. After all, fasting is really bad for business! Food manufacturers encourage us to eat multiple meals and snacks a day. Nutritional authorities warn that skipping a single meal will have dire health consequences. Overtime, these messages have been so well-drilled into our heads.

Fasting has no standard duration. It may be done for a few hours to many days to months on end. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where we cycle between fasting and regular eating. Shorter fasts of 16-20 hours are generally done more frequently, even daily. Longer fasts, typically 24-36 hours, are done 2-3 times per week. As it happens, we all fast daily for a period of 12 hours or so between dinner and breakfast.

Fasting has been done by millions and millions of people for thousands of years. Is it unhealthy? No. In fact, numerous studies have shown that it has enormous health benefits.

What Happens When We Eat Constantly?

Before going into the benefits of intermittent fasting, it is best to understand why eating 5-6 meals a day or every few hours (the exact opposite of fasting) may actually do more harm than good.

When we eat, we ingest food energy. The key hormone involved is insulin (produced by the pancreas), which rises during meals. Both carbohydrates and protein stimulate insulin. Fat triggers a smaller insulin effect, but fat is rarely eaten alone.

Insulin has two major functions –

  • First, it allows the body to immediately start using food energy. Carbohydrates are rapidly converted into glucose, raising blood sugar levels. Insulin directs glucose into the body cells to be used as energy. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and excess amino acids may be turned into glucose. Protein does not necessarily raise blood glucose but it can stimulate insulin. Fats have minimal effect on insulin.
  • Second, insulin stores away excess energy for future use. Insulin converts excess glucose into glycogen and store it in the liver. However, there is a limit to how much glycogen can be stored away. Once the limit is reached, the liver starts turning glucose into fat. The fat is then put away in the liver (in excess, it becomes fatty liver) or fat deposits in the body (often stored as visceral or belly fat).

Therefore, when we eat and snack throughout the day, we are constantly in a fed state and insulin levels remain high. In other words, we may be spending the majority of the day storing away food energy.

What Happens When We Fast?

The process of using and storing food energy that occurs when we eat goes in reverse when we fast. Insulin levels drop, prompting the body to start burning stored energy. Glycogen, the glucose that is stored in the liver, is first accessed and used. After that, the body starts to break down stored body fat for energy.

Thus, the body basically exists in two states – the fed state with high insulin and the fasting state with low insulin. We are either storing food energy or we are burning food energy. If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no weight gain. If we spend the majority of the day eating and storing energy, there is a good chance that overtime we may end up gaining weight.

Intermittent Fasting Versus Continuous Calorie-Restriction

The portion-control strategy of constant caloric reduction is the most common dietary recommendation for weight loss and type 2 diabetes. For example, the American Diabetes Association recommends a 500-750 kcal/day energy deficit coupled with regular physical activity. Dietitians follow this approach and recommend eating 4-6 small meals throughout the day.

Does the portion-control strategy work in the long-run? Rarely. A cohort study with a 9-year follow-up from the United Kingdom on 176,495 obese individuals indicated that only 3,528 of them succeeded in attaining normal body weight by the end of the study. That is a failure rate of 98%!

Intermittent fasting is not constant caloric restriction. Restricting calories causes a compensatory increase in hunger and worse, a decrease in the body’s metabolic rate, a double curse! Because when we are burning fewer calories per day, it becomes increasingly harder to lose weight and much easier to gain weight back after we have lost it. This type of diet puts the body into a “starvation mode” as metabolism revs down to conserve energy.

Intermittent fasting does not have any of these drawbacks.

Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Increases metabolism leading to weight and body fat loss

Unlike a daily caloric reduction diet, intermittent fasting raises metabolism. This makes sense from a survival standpoint. If we do not eat, the body uses stored energy as fuel so that we can stay alive to find another meal. Hormones allow the body to switch energy sources from food to body fat.

Studies demonstrate this phenomenon clearly. For example, four days of continuous fasting increased Basal Metabolic Rate by 12%. Levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which prepares the body for action, increased by 117%. Fatty acids in the bloodstream increased over 370% as the body switched from burning food to burning stored fats.

No loss in muscle mass

Unlike a constant calorie-restriction diet, intermittent fasting does not burn muscles as many have feared. In 2010, researchers looked at a group of subjects who underwent 70 days of alternate daily fasting (ate one day and fasted the next). Their muscle mass started off at 52.0 kg and ended at 51.9 kg. In other words, there was no loss of muscles but they did lose 11.4% of fat and saw major improvements in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

During fasting, the body naturally produces more human growth hormone to preserve lean muscles and bones. Muscle mass is generally preserved until body fat drops below 4%. Therefore, most people are not at risk of muscle-wasting when doing intermittent fasting.

Reverses insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver

Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby there is simply too much sugar in the body, to the point that the cells can no longer respond to insulin and take in any more glucose from the blood (insulin resistance), resulting in high blood sugar. Also, the liver becomes loaded with fat as it tries to clear out the excess glucose by converting it to and storing it as fat.

Therefore, to reverse this condition, two things have to happen –

  • First, stop putting more sugar into the body.
  • Second, burn the remaining sugar off.

The best diet to achieve this is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-healthy fat diet, also called ketogentic diet. (Remember that carbohydrate raises blood sugar the most, protein to some degree, and fat the least.) That is why a low-carb diet will help reduce the burden of incoming glucose. For some people, this is already enough to reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, in more severe cases, diet alone is not sufficient.

What about exercise? Exercise will help burn off glucose in the skeletal muscles but not all the tissues and organs, including the fatty liver. Clearly, exercise is important, but to eliminate the excess glucose in the organs, there is the need to temporarily “starve” the cells.

Intermittent fasting can accomplish this. That is why historically, people called fasting a cleanse or a detox. It can be a very powerful tool to get rid of all the excesses. It is the fastest way to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and eventually reversing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver.

By the way, taking insulin for type 2 diabetes does not address the root cause of the problem, which is excess sugar in the body. It is true that insulin will drive the glucose away from the blood, resulting in lower blood glucose, but where does the sugar go? The liver is just going to turn it all into fat, fat in the liver and fat in the abdomen. Patients who go on insulin often end up gaining more weight, which worsens their diabetes.

Enhances heart health

Overtime, high blood glucose from type 2 diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. The longer one has diabetes, the higher the chances that heart disease will develop. By lowering blood sugar through intermittent fasting, the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke is also reduced.

In addition, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve blood pressure, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and inflammatory markers associated with many chronic diseases.

Boosts brain power

Multiple studies demonstrated fasting has many neurologic benefits including attention and focus, reaction time, immediate memory, cognition, and generation of new brain cells. Mice studies also showed that intermittent fasting reduces brain inflammation and prevents the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting

Hunger Goes Down

We normally feel hunger pangs about four hours after a meal. So if we fast for 24 hours, does it mean that our hunger sensations will be six times more severe? Of course not.

Many people are concerned that fasting will result in extreme hunger and overeating. Studies showed that on the day after a one-day fast, there is, indeed, a 20% increase in caloric intake. However, with repeated fasting, hunger and appetite surprisingly decrease.

Hunger comes in waves. If we do nothing, the hunger dissipates after a while. Drinking tea (all kinds) or coffee (with or without caffeine) is often enough to fight it off. However, it is best to drink it black though a teaspoon or two of cream or half-and-half will not trigger much insulin response. Do not use any types of sugar or artificial sweeteners. If necessary, bone broth can also be taken during fasting.

Blood sugar does not crash

Sometimes people worry that blood sugar will fall very low during fasting and they will become shaky and sweaty. This does not actually happen as blood sugar is tightly monitored by the body and there are multiple mechanisms to keep it in the proper range. During fasting, the body begins to break down glycogen in the liver to release glucose. This happens every night during our sleep.

If we fast for longer than 24-36 hours, glycogen stores become depleted and the liver will manufacture new glucose using glycerol which is a by-product of the breakdown of fat (a process called gluconeogenesis). Apart from using glucose, our brain cells can also use ketones for energy. Ketones are produced when fat is metabolized and they can supply up to 75% of the brain’s energy requirements (the other 25% from glucose).

The only exception is for those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin. You MUST first consult your doctor as the dosages will probably need to be reduced while you are fasting. Otherwise, if you overmedicate and hypoglycemia develops, which can be dangerous, you must have some sugar to reverse it. This will break the fast and make it counterproductive.

The dawn phenomenon

After a period of fasting, especially in the morning, some people experience high blood glucose. This dawn phenomenon is a result of the circadian rhythm whereby just before awakening, the body secretes higher levels of several hormones to prepare for the upcoming day –

  • Adrenaline – to give the body some energy
  • Growth hormone – to help repair and make new protein
  • Glucagon – to move glucose from storage in the liver to the blood for use as energy
  • Cortisol, the stress hormone – to activate the body

These hormones peak in the morning hours, then fall to lower levels during the day. In non-diabetics, the magnitude of the blood sugar rise is small and most people will not even notice it. However, for the majority of the diabetics, there can be a noticeable spike in blood glucose as the liver dumps sugar into the blood.

This will happen in extended fasts too. When there is no food, insulin levels stay low while the liver releases some of its stored sugar and fat. This is natural and not a bad thing at all. The magnitude of the spike will decrease as the liver becomes less bloated with sugar and fat.

Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?

  • Women who want to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • Those who are malnourished or underweight.
  • Children under 18 years of age and elders.
  • Those who have gout.
  • Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Those who have eating disorders should first consult with their doctors.
  • Those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin must first consult with their doctors as dosages will need to be reduced.
  • Those who are taking medications should first consult with their doctors as the timing of medications may be affected.
  • Those who feel very stressed or have cortisol issues should not fast because fasting is another stressor.
  • Those who are training very hard most days of the week should not fast.

How To Prepare For Intermittent Fasting?

If anyone is thinking about starting intermittent fasting, it is best to first switch to a low-carbohydrate, high-healthy fat diet for three weeks. This will allow the body to become accustomed to using fat rather than glucose as a source of energy. That means getting rid of all sugars, grains (bread, cookies, pastries, pasta, rice), legumes, and refined vegetable oils. This will minimize most side effects associated with fasting.

Start with a shorter fast of 16 hours, for example, from dinner (8 pm) until lunch (12 pm) the next day. You can eat normally between 12 pm and 8 pm, and you can eat either two or three meals. Once you feel comfortable with it, you can extend the fast to 18, 20 hours.

For shorter fasts, you can do it everyday, continuously. For more extended fasts, such as 24-36 hours, you can do it 1-3 times a week, alternating between fasting and normal eating days.

There is no single fasting regimen that is correct. The key is to choose one that works best for you. Some people achieve results with shorter fasts, others may need longer fasts. Some people do a classic water-only fast, others do a tea and coffee fast, still others a bone broth fast. No matter what you do, it is very important to stay hydrated and monitor yourself. If you feel ill at any point, you should stop immediately. You can be hungry, but you should not feel sick.



Source by Carol Chuang

Dietary restrictions (DR) have been used for thousands of years to clean the body internally and promote good health. They play a central role in many cultures and religions (such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism).

Fasting, the most extreme form of DR, entails abstinence from all food but not water. It kills damaged cells, puts healthy cells into a protected mode and generates new young cells. Fasting has long been associated with a wide array of health benefits, including improved control over blood glucose, weight loss, heart health, brain function and the prevention of cancer.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. In humans it has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood glucose, insulin, and blood pressure levels.

Prolonged fasting (PF) is fasting that lasts for two or more days. When the bouts of fasting are separated by at least a week of a normal diet (a 2:7 strategy), PF causes a decrease in levels of blood glucose and insulin. In addition, PF is accompanied by autophagy (the cellular self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules).

A PF 2:7 diet strategy has a rising reputation among medical scientists and dieticians as a highly effective strategy to protect normal cells and organs from a variety of toxins and serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and liver problems, while increasing the death rate of many types of cancer cells.

The problem is that most people find prolonged water-only fasting for two days (48 hours straight) very difficult. In addition, its extreme nature could cause adverse health consequences, especially in the old and frail and in persons with pre-existing medical conditions. A less severe diet with similar effects to a full-bodied PF is needed.

A fasting mimicking diet (FMD) is a diet that mimics the effects of fasting. Experiments undertaken a few years ago found that cycles of an FMD lasting four days followed by a normal diet could deliver benefits similar to those of a PF 2:7 diet.

One such study was published in published in Cell Metabolism in July 2015. The research was divided into several parts.

Clinic trial on fasting

In the study on animals, mice were fed a restricted diet for four days twice a month and allowed to eat as much as they wanted in between.

After each FMD cycle, the mice had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and had reductions in certain inflammation factors such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is associated with aging and cancer, compared to mice on an unrestricted diet.

At 28 months, the mice on the FMD also had lost weight and had less belly fat (which is associated with diabetes) compared to the other mice. In addition, fasting mice had longer life spans.

In the human trial, 19 subjects went on a special FMD for five days each month for three months. Another 19 participants acted as controls who ate their usual diet.

The test subjects followed a very specific diet designed to reduce the risks of fasting yet provide essential nutrients and minimize the psychological difficulties that are encountered during fasting. The special diet included vegetable-based soups, energy bars, energy drinks, chamomile tea and a dietary supplement… designed to deliver 44% fat, 47% carbohydrates, and 9% protein.

On the first day of the five-day diet they were limited to 1,090 calories and then, on the last four days, to only 725 calories. Those who were on the FMD lowered their fasting blood glucose levels by an average of 11.3%… more than a type 2 diabetic would normally experience using a typical routine medicine for diabetes.

The study also found that IGF-1 was reduced by 24% (a plus for cancer prevention) and CRP levels, a marker for inflammation, was also lowered. In addition, those on the FMD lost 3% of their weight and reduced their belly fat, along with a range of other health benefits.

The overall results suggest that partial fasting can help control diabetes.

However, this is only one study using only 19 test subjects, and obviously further research is needed to confirm the results… but it gives cause to hope that intermittent fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes. It is something I intend to try…



Source by Paul D Kennedy

If you have diabetes and want to work on reversing it, consider the following eating tips.

Did you know that 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes? That’s 9.3 percent of the country’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While we recommend following the Hallelujah Diet to reduce your risk for developing diabetes in the first place, there may be a number of you who are currently living with the debilitating disease. To live your life to the fullest, and perhaps even fuel your self-healing body to eliminate the disease from your system, you must adjust your eating habits.

If you have diabetes and want to work on reversing it, consider the following eating tips:

Pay Closer Attention to Food Labels
While it’s certainly in your best interest to avoid foods with a label, make sure you’re taking a closer look at the nutrition facts on the organic packaged foods you eat. As suggested by the American Diabetes Association, you should pay attention to the calories, fats and sodium content. Avoid added sugars at all costs. Additionally, stick to packaged foods that have minimal ingredients. The less ingredients, the better. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or you’ve never heard of it before, do some digging and understand if it’s a toxic additive before putting it in your system.

Cut Out Animal Products
As we’ve reported in the past, animal fat is the No. 1 enemy when it comes to diabetes. When you consume animal sourced foods like meats and dairy, they’re loaded with fats that coat the body’s cells. This layer of fat prevents insulin from reaching the insulin receptors of the cell, making it impossible for the body to properly handle glucose. Then, the pancreas works in overdrive to pump out more insulin, becomes exhausted and quits, producing higher levels of glucose in the blood. This can adversely cause complications in small blood vessels and impact the eyes, kidneys and heart.

“Animal fat is the No. 1 enemy when it comes to diabetes.”

So what’s the solution? Stop filling your system with these toxic fats so that your cells can learn how to process glucose properly once again.

Trust in Plant-Based Eating
You don’t have to rely on meats and other animal products to get essential protein, calcium and other nutrients. By following our plant-based, primarily raw food diet, you can strengthen your immune system, increase your energy and help support your self-healing body in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

Beyond following our plant-based eating regimen, you may consider The Hallelujah Diet™ Diabetes Get Started Support Kit. Including a one-month supply of fundamental supplements like our best-selling BarleyMax and Fiber Cleanse, plus a weekly meal plans recipe book and a help booklet titled “The Hallelujah Diet™ Refined: Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar” by our very own health expert Olin Idol, you can give your body additional support to reduce diabetic symptoms.

Soon, you could see drastic changes in your overall health and well-being for the better, much like some of our current followers. Read our diabetes testimonies today to learn how The Hallelujah Diet is changing lives everywhere!

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