Ever wonder why so many people are fat and sick? One reason has to be our diet. The Standard American Diet if filled with foods that are incredibly detrimental to your health. And this fact should be obvious! Obesity rates have skyrocketed over the last several decades. Today, one in five American deaths is associated with obesity. Obesity-related illnesses include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, cancer, heart disease, etc.

All these illnesses can be traced to a metabolic dysfunction. What does that mean? It means people are eating the wrong foods. Just a few generations ago, the food available was mostly fresh and locally grown. Today, the majority of food is highly processed and filled with harmful chemical additives. Just look at the typical food served at home, in school, and in restaurants. Let’s face it. Most of the food we eat is not healthy.

So why blame the Standard American Diet? Simply put, all the current research on obesity shows that diet is a very key component. When people abandon their traditional cultural foods – foods that their cultures have been eating for thousands of years – in favor of modern processed foods (high in sugar, refined flour, and vegetable oils), these people get fatter and sicker. For example, heart disease among native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders used to be nonexistent but today is one of the leading causes of death. Of all the lifestyle changes they have seen, a poor diet (i.e., the standard American diet) is the leading influence for the prevalence of heart disease.

In the United States (and most Western countries), diet-related chronic diseases represent the single largest cause of death. These diseases are epidemic in contemporary Western populations (affecting 50% or more of the adult population), yet they are rare in less Westernized people.

Now, I’m not recommending that you abandon modern society and live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Far from it. But if you want to lose weight and be healthier, avoiding the modern diet and eating more of a “caveman diet” or a Paleo diet would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Traditional culture studies are just one way of proving the dangers of the standard American diet. You can also look at correlations between factors of the modern diet and the rate of diseases. Of course, this begs the question. What is the standard American Diet?

While the Standard American Diet is not a food menu set in stone, it has certain characteristics that differentiate it from other diets. The foods tend to be high in sugar, salt, and vegetable oils and lower in healthy fats. As you might expect, the Standard American Diet is not good for your health. But this is only part of the story.

Click the link below to see 10 graphs showing why the standard American diet is bad for your health and waistline.



Source by Bryan D Holekamp


Health is impacted by much more than what you eat.  Health is also influenced by how you live.  How active you are, how much you sleep, how much stress you’re under, how much time you spend outside and in nature…. all these things have just as much of an impact on your physical and emotional health as the foods on your plate.

I cannot stress enough (pardon the pun) the negative impact that chronic stress has on your health.  In fact, stress contributes to the development and/or worsens all disease, from increasing susceptibility to the common cold to being a major contributor to stimulating the immune system in autoimmune disease.  Stress is a bigger predictor of cardiovascular disease than any other factor.

Chronic stress is known to affect health in a variety of ways, including causing the development of metabolic syndrome (the nasty combination of obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure), dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis along with sympathetic nervous system activation, sleep disturbances, systemic inflammation, impaired immunity functions, blood coagulation and fibrinolysis, and poor health behaviors (chronic stress causes increased appetite, cravings for energy-dense foods, and uninhibited eating behaviors).  Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds, increase performance at the gym, or manage a chronic health problem, stress management is critical for your success.

 

What Is Stress?

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (the HPA axis) is responsible for the flight-or-fight response, i.e., how the body responds to stress.  And, a stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, external stimulus or an event that activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), causing the release of stress hormones.

The HPA axis is made up of the complex communication between three organs:

  • The hypothalamus: The part of the brain located just above the brain stem and responsible for a variety of activities of the autonomic nervous sys­tem, such as regulating body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian rhythms
  • The pituitary gland: A pea-shaped gland located below the hypothalamus that secretes a variety of important hormones, such as thyroid-stimulating hormone, human growth hormone, and adreno­corticotropic hormone
  • The adrenal glands: Small, conical organs on top of the kidneys that secrete a variety of hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine (also known as adren­aline), norepinephrine, and androgens

The hypothalamus (which receives signals from the hippocampus, the region of the brain that amalgamates information from all the senses and can thus perceive danger and make decisions) releases a hormone called Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH), which signals to the pituitary gland to release a hormone called Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), which signals to the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol as well as catecholamines (like adrenalin).

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Image from The Paleo Approach — Copyright 2013 Sarah Ballantyne

Cortisol has a huge range of effects in the body, including controlling metabolism, affecting insulin sensitivity, affecting the immune system, and even controlling blood flow.  If you’re running away from a lion, all these effects (including the combined effects of catecholamines and some direct effects of CRH) combine to prioritize the most essential functions for survival (perception, decision making, energy for your muscles so you can run away or fight for your life, and preparation for wound healing) and inhibit non-essential functions (like some aspects of the immune system especially not in the skin, digestion, kidney function, reproductive functions, growth, collagen formation, amino acid uptake by muscle, protein synthesis and bone formation).

Cortisol also provides a negative feedback to the pituitary and the hypothalamus.  It’s the body’s way of saying “hey, we got the signal that we’re supposed to be stressed now, thanks, we’re on it!”.  If the stressful event has ceased (the lion gave up and left), this is what deactivates the HPA Axis. Of course, if a stressor is still being perceived (that lion is still there), the HPA axis remains activated.  And this is why chronic stress (deadlines, traffic, sleep deprivation, teenagers, divorce, being sick, being inflamed, alarm clocks, bills, and internet trolls) is such a problem.  All those essential functions suppressed by high cortisol never get a chance to be prioritized.

Stressors can be categorized in terms as follows:

  • Physical (e.g., injury, a vigorous workout, sitting for prolonged periods, not getting enough sleep, extreme environmental temperatures)
  • Sensory (e.g., loud noises, too-bright lights, overcrowding)
  • Chemical (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, drugs, allergens)
  • Psychological (e.g., deadlines, traffic, bills, societal and family demands)

Man Running

It’s also important to differentiate between acute stress and chronic stress.

Historically, all stress was acute and would include situations such as being chased by a lion or slipping off the edge of a cliff. During these events, the fight-or-flight response is activated, and cor­tisol and adrenaline work together to ensure survival. At the end of the event, you are either dead (because you fell from the cliff onto craggy rocks four hundred feet below) or alive and safe (because you grabbed onto a branch as you slipped off the cliff and pulled yourself back up to safety). In either case, there is no need for the body to continue producing adrenaline and excess cortisol (more on this below). Levels return to normal (unless you’re dead, of course), and you go on your merry way.

Chronic stress is that unrelenting stress that never goes away.  It can be at a low level, perhaps the stresses we all experience from having a job, raising kids, and having to make ends meet.  It can be moderate, perhaps from an impending deadline or exam, your kids getting into trouble at school, or ripping your favorite shirt.  It can also be high, such as illness, divorce, or a death in the family.  What’s different about chronic stress is that it’s never over.  There’s no big relief at the end before you go on your merry way.  It’s always there, having its insidious effects that build up over time.  How quickly and severely the effects of chronic stress are felt depends on the severity of the stress and your resilience (more on that below too).

How Stress Contributes to Disease 

Chronic stress increases the risk of depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, chronic headaches, memory problems, digestive problems, and infections and is linked with poor wound healing. These effects are believed to be mediated by the activation of the HPA axis and the impact that cortisol and other adrenal hormones have on immune function. Plus, chronic stress influences other behaviors, influencing our food choices (due to cravings for energy-dense foods and increased appetite) and making us more vulnerable to addiction.

The best understood mechanism is the impact of stress on the immune system.  Inflammation is a component of every disease, or every health condition.  Worse, it’s part of the pathogenesis–meaning how a disease develops–of every chronic health condition.  Inflammation is controlled (or at least is supposed to be controlled) by the immune system.  This doesn’t mean that inflammation is the sole causes of chronic disease, but that it is necessary for chronic disease to develop.  If you regulate the immune system so that there is not inflammation, you prevent the disease.

The same is true of stress.  It’s not the sole cause (at least, there isn’t any research to prove that it is).  Bur rather, it contributes to the development of disease, so if you suffer from chronic stress, you increase your risk of getting sick.  In order to understand how being stuck in traffic or a deadline at work can directly impact how your immune system functions, it helps to describe what’s happening physiologically inside your body when you’re late for an important meeting at work.

Cortisol and the Immune System

Cortisol has profound effects on the im­mune system and is required for normal wound healing and for fighting infec­tion. Studies have shown that acute (short-duration and intense) stressors (like running away from a lion) induce a redistribution of immune cells in the body, resulting in enhanced immune function in organs like the skin. White blood cells are released from bone marrow and travel to the skin during acute stress, most likely in preparation for wound healing. Other aspects of the immune system are activated in anticipation of being needed.  In this situation, cortisol enhances the immune system response.

However, what is beneficial in acute stress becomes quite the troublemaker during chronic stress.  There is a spectrum of responses by the immune system to a high-cortisol environment, probably reflecting different effects at different cortisol levels and in the presence of other chemicals produced by the body and in the context of different levels of sensitivity to cortisol. The waters are murky in terms of the details, but what is universally accepted is that chronic stress causes immune system dysfunction.

Cortisol alters the chemical messengers of inflammation (called cytokines) secreted by cells in the immune system.  This changes how the immune system communicates with itself, turning on some aspects of the immune system (like the parts of the immune system that attack foreign invaders or that produce generalized inflammation), while turning off other aspects of the immune system. There are a wealth of studies to show that high cortisol causes inflammation.

The ex­act response of the immune system to chronic stress seems to depend on other physiologic factors, such as hormones, cytokines, and neurotransmitters, as well as the state of activation of the immune system (like if you’re already fighting a cold virus, for example). Even genes may play a role in how the immune system responds to chronic stress. The im­mune system is complex and only just beginning to be understood, but the bottom line is that chronic stress greatly diminishes its effectiveness.

Chronic stress has been unequivocally shown to increase susceptibility to a variety of conditions, includ­ing autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, depression, infection, and cancer.

Cortisol, CRH and Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut
Leaky Gut image from The Paleo Approach — Copyright 2013 Sarah Ballantyne

What exactly is a “leaky gut”?  The gut is a barrier between the inside of your body and the outside world. Yes, as unintuitive as it may be, the stuff inside your digestive tract is actually outside your body. But, the gut is a very unique barrier. Its job is to let important nutrients inside the body while keeping everything else out. This makes it a highly selective semi-permeable barrier. Nutrients enter the body through a variety of tightly controlled mechanisms. See What Is A Leaky Gut? (And How Can It Cause So Many Health Issues?).

What forms this highly selective semi-permeable barrier is a single layer of highly specialized cells called enterocytes. And right on the other side of that barrier is 80% of our body’s immune systems, acting as a sentinel, ready to attack anything that might try to cross the barrier.

When a person has a leaky gut, or, more technically, “increased intestinal permeability,” things can get across the gut barrier that aren’t supposed to (see also What Should You Eat To Heal a Leaky Gut?). This happens when either the enterocytes or the complex structures that glue the enterocytes together are damaged. The things that leak into the body aren’t big chunks of food, but a variety of small substances—like incompletely digested proteins, bacteria or bacterial fragments, infectious organisms, and waste products—all of which stimulate the immune system on the other side of the barrier. Some of these substances cause generalized bodywide inflammation; for example, bacterial fragments from those good bacteria that live and are supposed to stay in our digestive tracts can travel and stimulate inflammation throughout the body. Others stimulate targeted attacks by the immune system; for example, a food intolerance or allergy could result from incompletely digested proteins leaking into the body. The many symptoms and health conditions related to leaky gut are caused by this stimulation of the immune system.

Chronic stress is detrimental to our health in large part due to the direct effect of both cortisol and CRH on gut health. Chronic stress increases intestinal permeability, decreases gut motility (intestinal muscle contractions), decreases mucus production by goblet cells in the gut, decreases secretory IgA production, inhibits digestion (by inhibiting pancreatic enzyme secretion and gallbladder function), and decreases intestinal blood flow. Both a leaky gut and gut dysbiosis are consequences of these actions.

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Cortisol’s actions on the gut epithelial tight junctions are complicated. Low cortisol causes tight junctions to open, whereas normal or high cortisol causes them to close (this implies that cortisol plays a normal role in digestion, which is supported by the fact that cortisol goes up every time we eat). But at very high levels of cortisol, there’s a change in tight junction assembly that makes the gut barrier more permeable to low-molecular-weight substances (small molecules) and less permeable to high-molecular-weight (large molecules) substances.

CRH is the stress hormone that does the biggest damage to our guts. It is known to increase epithelial permeability, not just in the gut, but also in other barrier tissues like the lungs, the skin, and the blood-brain barrier. This appears to be due to a direct effect of CRH on tight junction assembly; CRH increases the expression of a tight junction protein called claudin-2, which opens up tight junctions. CRH also stimulates the release of histamine, a blood thinner called heparin, and proinflammatory cytokines from mast cells (a type of innate immune cell characteristically found in connective and barrier tissues that are major players in allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis), all of which contribute to inflammation.

CRH is perpetually produced by the hypothalamus if the perceived stress continues. This becomes an even bigger problem in the context of adrenal fatigue (discussed in the next section), where the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with demand and cortisol levels begin to fall in proportion to psychological stress. Since cortisol is an important negative feedback signal for CRH production (meaning that cortisol signals to the hypothalamus to produce less CRH), adrenal fatigue and chronic stress lead to even higher levels of CRH.

Given the growing list of health conditions linked to a leaky gut, including the further impact that a leaky gut has on the immune system, this is another checkmark in the need-to-manage-stress column.

Chronic Stress and the Microbiome

We’re also learning that stress can also cause changes to our gut microbiome (see also What Is the Gut Microbiome? And Why Should We Care About It?). Stress-induced shifts in microflora appear to be due largely to hormones and antimicrobial agents produced or mediated by our gut microbes.

In both animal and human studies, the most consistent consequence of stress on the gut is a reduction in Lactobacilli. Physical, physiological, and psychological stressors all lower the abundance of this bacteria in the gut, and some research shows that stress causes Lactobacillus species to translocate to the spleen, where it primes the innate immune system for enhanced reactivity. In a study of 6-month-old rhesus monkeys, separation from the mother (in order to induce stress) caused a significant reduction in Lactobacilli levels, and the magnitude of that reduction among individual monkeys directly corresponded to the magnitude of behavioral changes they exhibited (suggesting the more that stress impacts the gut, the stronger the effect on behavior is).

Stress can also lead to microbiome changes that increase our susceptibility to infection. For example, some pathogenic microbes respond to stress-related hormones with enhanced growth and adhesion to the intestinal lining. The hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine significantly enhance the growth of pathogens Yersinia entercolitica and Escherichia coli, and norepinephrine increases both the growth of enterohemmoraghic E. coli and its ability to adhere to the intestinal epithelium (enterohemmoraghic E. coli is a subset of E. coli that can cause diarrhea or bleeding colitis). In other studies, as early as 24 hours after norepinephrine levels are deliberately elevated, the levels of commensal bacteria that can be cultured from the intestines increase approximately 1000 to 100,000 fold!

Stress during a mother’s pregnancy can affect an infant’s microbiome. In a study of monkeys, maternal stress (in the form of startling noise) caused significant microflora changes during the child’s first six months of life—in particular, a reduction in the overall numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. In humans, mothers with high cumulative stress during pregnancy (gauged in terms of high reported stress and high cortisol concentrations) had significantly higher proportions of bacterial groups known to contain pathogens (including Serratia, Enterobacter, and Escherichia species), as well as lower abundances of Bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria (including Lactobacillus, Lactoccus, and Aerococcus). Along with indicating potentially increased levels of inflammation, these microbiota patterns corresponded with higher rates of gastrointestinal symptoms and allergic reactions in the infants after birth.

In one study, researchers likened stress-induced changes in the gut to the “Anna Karenina Principle,” taken from author Leo Tolstoy’s dictum that “all happy families look alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Whereas healthy gut microbiomes tend to have somewhat consistent features, individual gut microbiomes change in unique, non-predictable ways when the host is in a state of stress, exhibiting more individual variation than healthy gut microbiomes.

Managing Chronic Stress

Managing chronic stress is best handled from two sides: reducing stressors and increasing resilience. You can think of it this way: if you have too many apples to fit in your bucket, you can either get rid of some apples (that’s reducing stressors in this analogy) or you can get a bigger bucket (increasing resilience)—or you can do both!

Reducing Stressors

Reducing stressors is a matter of setting boundaries to protect our mental and physical well-being, which can include:

  • Reevaluating our goals and priorities to make sure we aren’t taking on more commitments than we really need to
  • Saying no to optional activities that would drain us more than benefit us
  • Asking for help from our spouse, friends, family, coworkers, or others in our social support network when we’re feeling overwhelmed
  • Limiting the presence of negative, stressful people in our lives
  • Making more time for sleep (which has the added benefit of increasing resilience)
  • Reducing physical and mental stress at work (such as by taking time to stretch and breathe deeply throughout the day, discussing the possibility of a deadline extension or a more flexible schedule, leaving work at work, and finding ways to get up and move—for instance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator)

It’s also helpful to understand that stress is additive.  So, that tough workout (physical stressor) adds to your stress load after a tough day at work (psychological stressor). Winding down in the evening with a glass of wine adds a chemical stressor to the equation.  Waking up to an alarm clock adds a sensory stressor (not to mention the physical stress of not getting enough sleep).  This is why balancing load and recovery is important, see Balancing Physical Activity with Rest: How Do We Get It Right?

Increasing Resilience

Resilience is the ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Because we can never completely eliminate stress from our lives, actively making choices that help bolster our bodies against the effects of stress is an extremely important habit and skill. This doesn’t mean stressful events won’t affect us, but rather that we can handle them without the wheels falling off our cart.

Resilience helps us deal with the unavoidable stressors we encounter throughout life—everything from bad traffic to a massive deadline at work to the death of a loved one. Without resilience, an unexpected or unavoidable stressor could take a serious toll on our health. Certainly, certain personality traits are associated with resilience. However, developing resilience is also about developing coping strategies, establishing healthful routines, and approaching life with a positive attitude.

The healthy habits that increase our resilience to stress can easily be distilled as follows:

Mindful Meditation

Meditation may not strike you as a likely subject of scientific investigation, but it’s been thoroughly documented in the scientific literature that mindful meditation dramatically reduces stress and boosts cognitive abilities.

Mindful meditation—sometimes called mindful breathing practice or mindfulness—may be one of the most powerful stress management tools we have in our arsenal. Besides the fact that we can reap huge benefits with a relatively short time commitment (studies show benefits even with only 10 minutes of mediation), it can be practiced anywhere at any time by just about anybody. Essentially, mindful meditation entails sitting and focusing on your breath for a set amount of time. You concentrate on your breath so that your mind doesn’t wander.

Mindful meditation is fairly simple. Choose a comfortable position—sitting, reclining, or lying down. Keep your attention on your breath. You might find it easier to maintain focus by doing a breathing technique that requires mental control, like equal breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or alternate-nostril breathing. Alternatively, you can simply breathe as deeply and slowly as possible or “watch” your breath while trying not to control it (which is harder than it sounds). As thoughts come to you and vie for your attention, acknowledge them (“Yes, I know I have to do the dishes when I’m done” or “Yes, yellow would be the perfect color for the kitchen walls”) and then consciously let them go and bring your attention back to your breath. In many ways, mindful mediation is the practice of stopping repetitive or obsessive thoughts. It may help you become aware of which issues truly need your attention and which ones are less important. It may also help you become more in tune with your body.

You can practice mindful meditation in silence, outdoors with the sounds of nature, or with music playing in the background (typically a soothing instrumental track). While studies generally show that 10 to 15 minutes a day are beneficial, even 5 minutes will probably help you tremendously with stress management and your overall mood. You can either block off a time of day for meditation or do it as you feel the need throughout the day (or both).

Mindful meditation has even been evaluated as an adjunct therapy for a variety of chronic illnesses, including some autoimmune conditions. For example, clinical trials evaluating mindful practices in patients with cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and cardiovascular disease all showed benefits (albeit sometimes modest benefits). Meditative exercises have also been shown to decrease oxidative stress and increase levels of two important antioxidants, glutathione and superoxide. One of the best things about this stress management technique is that nearly everyone can do it.

There are a wealth of guided meditations and meditation courses that can help you ease into mindfulness practice. Apps such as Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm are all excellent resources to get started. Another great option is Heartmath Inner Balance, which guides you to breathe in sync with your heartbeat, a meditative state called coherence.

Citations

Barbadoro, P., et al., Fish oil supplementation reduces cortisol basal levels and perceived stress: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in abstinent alcoholics, Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013;57(6):1110-4

Bassett SM et al. Sleep quality but not sleep quantity effects on cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress. Stress. 2015;18(6):638-44

Broussard JL, et al. “Sleep restriction increases free fatty acids in healthy men.” Diabetologia. 2015 Apr; 58(4): 791–798.

Cohen, S et a., Psychological Stress and Disease, JAMA. 2007;298(14):1685-1687. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1685.

Cohen, S., et al., Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(16):5995-9

Dhabhar, F. S. and McEwen, B. S., Acute stress enhances while chronic stress suppresses immune function in vivo: a potential role for leukocyte trafficking, Brain Behav Immun. 1997;11:286-306

Dimsdale, J.E. Psychological Stress and Cardiovascular Disease, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;51(13):1237-1246. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2007.12.024

Giebels V, Repping-wuts H, Bleijenberg G, Kroese JM, Stikkelbroeck N, Hermus A. Severe fatigue in patients with adrenal insufficiency: physical, psychosocial and endocrine determinants. J Endocrinol Invest. 2014;37(3):293-301.

Glaser, R., et al., Evidence for a shift in the Th1 to Th2 cytokine response associated with chronic stress and aging, J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001;56:M477-M482

Guyton AC, Hall JE. Textbook of Medical Physiology. Philadelphia, US; Saunders Medical; 2000.

Head KA, Kelly GS. Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(2):114-40.

Jefferies, W. M., Cortisol and immunity, Med Hypotheses. 1991;34(3):198-208

Kumar V, Abbas AK, Aster JC. Robbins Basic Pathology. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2012.

Lane JD et al. “Caffeine affects cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activation at work and home”. Psychosom Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;64(4):595-603.

Lane, J.D et. Al. “Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosomatic Medicine”. 1990. 52(3):320-36.

Lovallo WR et al. “Stress-like adrenocorticotropin responses to caffeine in young healthy men” Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1996;55:365–9.

Lovallo, W. et. a. “Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels”. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2005. 67:734-739

Melamed, S., et al., Burnout and risk of cardiovascular disease: Evidence, possible causal paths, and promising research directions Psychological Bulletin, Vol 132(3), May 2006, 327-353.

Owen, et al. “Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior.” Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2010 Jul; 38(3): 105–113.

Panter-Brick. “Sexual division of labor: energetic and evolutionary scenarios.” Am J Hum Biol. 2002 Sep-Oct;14(5):627-40.

Peet A. Marks’ Basic Medical Biochemistry. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012.

Tanriverdi F, Karaca Z, Unluhizarci K, Kelestimur F. The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome. Stress. 2007;10(1):13-25.

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This is part two of how we can boost immunity because we have control over our daily routine. See part one on a previous post.

Midday

For most of us midday would bring us to lunch time. Ideally, lunch time would be 4 to 5 hours after we’ve had breakfast. Waiting 4-5 hours between meals is called intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body which, in turn, helps improve our immune system. (This is not recommended for those who are diabetic, have metabolic syndrome or other health conditions that require a different nutritional schedule. One should always check with their healthcare professional about what and when to eat.)

Lunch might include: Free range chicken and organic vegetable soup. Vegetables like carrots, which contain the vitamin A, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower to detoxify the body and a clove of garlic which is antimicrobial are a good choice. Another serving of healthy fat such as a tablespoon of flaxseed oil can also be consumed.

Dinner Time

Dinner time ideally would, again be 4-5 hours after lunch, so as to practice intermittent fasting. A meal consisting of plenty of healthy vegetables, protein and fat like beef, chicken, and fish are excellent choices.

Any dietary plans that follow the guidelines of the keto diet, the paleo diet, the South Beach diet or similar approaches work well in supporting our immune systems.

Since all of us like a snack or something sweet on occasion that is certainly permissible. Dark chocolate is a great choice that can satisfy our sweet tooth and can benefit us because it is anti-inflammatory.

An alcoholic drink on occasion does not have to weaken our immune system. Red wine and stout beer are anti-inflammatory.

Exercise will definitely improve the immune system. A good goal is to shoot for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Moderate exercise such as walking and weight and resistance training have been shown to lead to a higher number of white blood cells which helps to fight infection. One does not need a gym, health club or exercise facility. Some hand weights and stretch cables at home can provide resistance training. Walking provides aerobic exercise and may be the most beneficial activity humans can engage in.

Getting adequate sleep and rest is the most important thing we can do for our immune system. Our immune systems are working hardest while we’re sleeping. We supercharge our immune system when we get our rest!

One does not have to strictly follow this daily routine to have improved immunity. Enacting any of these measures will only enhance the immune system. However, gradually adding these ideas, over time will improve our control over the present and future health condition confronting us and make us less susceptible to aging and degenerative processes.



Source by James Schofield


Welcome to episode 402 of The Whole View! This week Stacy and Sarah discuss the health benefits of pet ownership. In addition to the science behind the mental and physical benefits, Stacy and Sarah share details from their pet adoption experiences. Enjoy!

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The Whole View, Episode 402: The Benefits of Pets (and Sarah’s getting a puppy!)

Welcome back to the Whole View, episode 402 – not 42. (0:27)

Sarah is full of punny jokes.

Stacy and Sarah are excited to finally share Sarah’s big news!

This episode is being pre-recorded because on the normal recording day, Sarah is bringing home a brand new puppy.

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Sarah grew up with all kinds of pets, and as an adult, she has had cats.

However, she has wanted a dog forever, but she has been waiting for the right time.

Sarah’s husband grew up with no pets and doesn’t have much comfort with dogs.

The girls have also been skittish around dogs to date, and she knew that a puppy would be a good starting place for them.

Sarah has been waiting for a long enough break from travel to be able to commit to a puppy.

When Sarah’s health crashed last fall her daughter told her it was the perfect time to get a dog, and Sarah couldn’t have agreed more.

This has been in the works since then.

 

Sarah’s Experience with Finding a Dog

Sarah has been researching dog breed characteristics and they decided to get a Portuguese water dog.

She did her research to not just find the right breed for her, but for her family as well.

With various levels of anxiety in Sarah’s family, she knew that supporting mental health was a key piece in this all.

She wanted a dog that was social, cuddly, and interactive.

Having a dog that gets Sarah out of the house was also key, as she wanted a breed that needs a lot of activity.

The other piece that Sarah was looking for was a smart, highly trainable dog.

Portuguese water dog checked all of these boxes.

They need physical exercise as well as mental exercise every day.

Getting a hypoallergenic breed was also a must.

Once they found the breed they wanted, they did a ton of research to find the right breeder.

Sarah shared more on how she selected the breeder.

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They will have a new family member!

 

Stacy’s Experience with Finding a Dog

Stacy noted that we are all individuals in our health and lifestyle needs. (12:30)

We are also individuals in our pet needs.

From personal experience, Stacy’s family has rescued probably about twenty animals over the course of her life.

Stacy shared more on her experience with bringing a rescue dog into their family.

They were not considering bringing a dog into the house again until the boys prepared a presentation about the different types of dogs and their traits.

The kids selected three breeds and provided explanations on why they thought these were good options for their family.

It was Matt and Stacy doing more research that allowed them to determine that an emotional support therapy animal was actually a really good idea for their family.

In doing research and finding a breeder who specializes in emotional support therapy animals, they were able to find the right dog for their family.

Selective smart breeding, like Sarah, was a key detail that Matt and Stacy looked for.

 

The Impact of a Pet Joining the Family

Stacy has never had a dog that she has bonded with that has made such a difference in her life the way that Penny has.

There is a difference in a special needs home, and an animal (regardless of what kind) can have a lot of benefits to the mental health of each family member.

Stacy wants to put it out there that this is not an advertisement for purchasing a puppy mill puppy.

She is not here to tell anybody what they should or should not do, or that the choices they made are either right or wrong.

There is no guilt or shame associated with the route you take.

Just like with health and lifestyle, looking back and having negative emotions is never productive.

What we can do is say, now I’m educated and I’m going to make the best choices that I can with the knowledge that I have.

It is important that you understand what kind of pet you are getting, especially if you have a high needs home.

Be mindful of what you are getting into, which encompasses so many different perspectives.

There are different animals that have different temperaments based on both genetics and how they have been raised.

It can be a wonderful experience.

Stacy couldn’t have imagined that getting a dog would have gone so well for her family.

When Penny came into the family, Stacy saw an immediate change in one of their children who has depression and anxiety.

Penny also fulfills an important emotional need for Matt.

We all have emotional needs that need to be met, and a pet might be that for you!

 

What Do You Need to Know

There were a couple of articles that Sarah read from the American Kennel Club (the AKC) that were very helpful for Sarah to understand the myths around purebred dogs. (20:35)

These articles helped Sarah feel comfortable going in this direction.

The information helped her understand what to look for in a rescue organization, as well as what to look for in a breeder.

Every other animal Sarah has owned has also been a rescue and this was the first time that she is not.

This really was a very carefully thought out decision made with her family with all of their diverse needs in mind.

Sarah does not want to make a statement about which way is better.

If you are looking for a dog now, it is important to be aware of how inhumane the puppy mill industry is and how problematic it is.

It is important to avoid that awful in-between.

If you did get a dog from a pet store, don’t feel guilty about this – just be aware of the information for next time.

There are two very ethical ways to go about this.

And it is about finding the right fit for you as an individual.

Right now with covid-19 and shutdowns, there are a lot of animals looking for foster homes.

So even if you think you can’t continue pet ownership once life returns to normal, there are some organizations that are looking for temporary homes for their pets.

Here is some great advice on where to start whether you’re choosing a rescue group or looking for a responsible breeder (this article and this one).

It is better to give you the knowledge to help you find a local group near you, then it is to start calling out groups all over the country.

There are plenty of options when it comes to ethical rescue.

 

Science on Pets

What is really interesting about the science on the benefits of pet ownership, is that in many ways it doesn’t matter what kind of pet you have. (25:45)

What matters is the bond with the animal, not the type of animal it is.

The bond in the relationship with the animal is key.

There have been a huge amount of studies looking at pet ownership.

In the last couple of years, researchers have been teasing out the mechanisms behind what is responsible for these benefits.

It seems to be benefiting our health from a number of points.

There is the connection point, and we know that owning a companion pet reduces stress and depression.

Sarah explained what is happening internally on a hormonal level with these outcomes.

A lot of research has been done (on people of all ages) shows that a pet can actually provide connection and reduce the sense of isolation.

Feeling isolated is a health risk factor.

Companion animals can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and they have been shown to increase cardiovascular disease outcomes.

There is a huge range of different benefits.

 

Digging Deeper Into the Science

Understanding the science behind this has been a big focus of research. (30:15)

Dog owners are more likely to have healthy habits.

This is partially because a dog, in general, need to be walked every day.

You can find more information on this research here.

If you own a dog you are far more likely to be physically active, and you are far more likely to have a healthy diet.

There is a strong interaction between lifestyle and cravings and appetite regulation.

A variety of studies have shown that having any kind of companion animal has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and reduce feelings of social isolation.

We are seeing this mediated through hormones.

In particular, this study showed measurably higher oxytocin with lower cortisol and alpha-amylase levels.

Stacy and Sarah discussed oxytocin and the many ways it impacts our physical and mental health.

 

The Impact on Stress

There have been some really interesting studies looking at the benefits of pet ownership through the lens of the stress response. (35:00)

This study that was done in 2002 was one that Sarah particularly enjoyed reading.

Being in the presence of a dog causes a more powerful reduction in cardiovascular stress than being in the presence of a friend or spouse.

Relative to people without pets, people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline, significantly smaller increases (ie, reactivity) from baseline levels during the mental arithmetic and cold pressor, and faster recovery.

There have been a bunch of other studies that have looked at this in different ways.

One of which looked at dopamine, endorphins, and cortisol in people who spent just thirty-minutes with a dog.

Spending 30 minutes interacting with a dog has been shown to boost dopamine and endorphin levels, while also decreasing levels of cortisol.

The same found a similar effect in health-care workers after only 5 minutes of petting a dog.

Stacy and Sarah discussed how to ease discomfort with dogs if that is a challenge that you run into with members of your family.

Another interesting study that Sarah wanted to share is this one.

Stacy wanted to share that it is not impossible to overcome.

Through bonding, Matt was able to find comfort with being a pet owner and now really loves having a pet in the house.

Remember, the mental health benefits are associated with owning any pet, not just dog ownership.

The memories that you hold towards certain pet experiences are particular to that individual animal, and do not represent what you can expect from other pets.

It’s kind of like the phrase – not all humans are good humans.

 

Closing Thoughts

Sarah’s family knows what they will be naming their new dog.

They have been FaceTiming with her and have a good sense of her personality.

They will name her Soka after Ahsoka Tano.

Matt came on and shared more background on who this is. (49:02)

Sarah elaborated on fandom, nerdy shares.

When Soka is naughty they will call her snips.

Thank you, listeners, for joining in!

Stacy is excited for Sarah’s family to welcome the newest member of their family.

They are in for such a treat!

Sarah knows it is going to be a lot of work to have a puppy, but not nearly as much as a baby.

There are follow up questions on this topic, which Stacy and Sarah will cover in a future episode.

If you have questions about pet ownership, be sure to submit those via the contact forms on Stacy and Sarah’s individual sites.

And please don’t forget, if you enjoyed this show, please leave a review and share with your friends and family.

Thanks again for listening!

We will be back again next week! (56:02)






Source link

So here is the problem. You like millions of other people enjoyed the holidays and what with all the rich calorie laden meals, cookies, cakes and candy canes you put on a few pounds. You probably resolved that as soon as January second rolled around you would lose some weight. Well the second of January has come and gone. You gave dieting a try but after a few days you quit and you gain back the two or three pounds you did lose.

You have tried every weight lost plan there is and never really got any lasting results. You have seen the ads on TV and the internet. You read magazine articles about losing weight and watched celebrities strut their stuff. Weight reduction plans run the gamut from fast, cleansing, detox to Paleo, high carbs and low carbs. What is a person to do? Why can’t I lose weight? If only I could find a diet I could live with and actually enjoy eating the meals.

Well there is such a diet! I call it the K.I.S.S. Diet or the Keep It Simple Silly Diet. You see most every diet out there is doomed to failure. Why? Because in order to lose weight and keep it off you need an eating plan that is easy to follow, easy to prepare, uses common everyday ingredients, one that will not break your food budget and that you will enjoy eating.

Most diets out there call for expensive and unfamiliar food items and/or require long prep times. Using exotic spices with unfamiliar tastes may be okay when you are feeling adventurous but not as a regular addition to your meals. The K.I.S.S. Diet uses everyday familiar foods, comfort foods if you will and a few simple principles.

Now I am not a doctor or dietician I am just a regular guy, who with his wife has tried nearly everything under the sun to lose weight and failed! Finally a few years ago I looked at all the highest rated weight lost programs and took the common elements they shared and developed my own system that has worked for my family. This is not a problem you can buy. I do not have a book, DVD or meal plan to sell you. As I said this is a Keep It Simple Silly plan that I freely share. So without further ado here are the key points.

1. Start each day with a lean protein breakfast. It can be eggs. I like mine poached. But a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, non fat free plain yogurt with fruit or a smoothie.

2. Lunch is a salad or vegetable laden soup.

3. Dinner lean protein either meat or vegetarian.

4. Snacks: Fruit, low fat cheese, handful of nuts, non fat plain yogurt, olives, Hummus, etc

5. Drink plenty of water.

6. Avoid sugar in all its forms.

7. Do not eat any food that is white.

8. Eliminate processed foods from your diet.

9. Move! Walk, walk, walk! Insert five or ten minutes of some kind of exercise every day.

10. Get enough sleep!

Now I admit there is nothing new in this plan. In fact you probably knew all this before you read this article. But sometimes with all the hype out there regarding weight lost and new diets we forget the simple truth about eating. This truth is “Everything in moderation.” You probably remember your Momma saying this, right?

My point in trying to grab your attention with my diet was to help refocus you and remind you that you don’t need to spend buckets of money, drive all over town searching for strange foods or spending hours in the kitchen preparing unfamiliar meals. The solution was always right in front of you in your refrigerator and pantry. So relax use the simple principles above and rest assure that over time you will lose weight and keep it off for good!



Source by Alan P Turner


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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Thank you, for pushing the best, most relevant research, for making it relatable to anyone who does not speak the language of scientific research. -Meghan

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  • 4 weeks of meal plans with shopping lists
  • over 90 family-friendly recipes!

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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

Amit-Romach E, Uni Z, Cheled S, Berkovich Z, Reifen R. Bacterial population and innate immunity-related genes in rat gastrointestinal tract are altered by vitamin A-deficient diet. J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Jan;20(1):70-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2008.01.002.

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.

Bunnell BE, Escobar JF, Bair KL, Sutton MD, Crane JK. Zinc blocks SOS-induced antibiotic resistance via inhibition of RecA in Escherichia coli. PLoS One. 2017 May 22;12(5):e0178303. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178303

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.

Crane JK, Naeher TM, Shulgina I, Zhu C, Boedeker EC. Effect of zinc in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection. Infect Immun. 2007 Dec;75(12):5974-84.

Gangadoo S, Bauer BW, Bajagai YS, Van TTH, Moore RJ, Stanley D. In vitro growth of gut microbiota with selenium nanoparticles. Anim Nutr. 2019 Dec;5(4):424-431. doi: 10.1016/j.aninu.2019.06.004.

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.

Kasaikina MV, Kravtsova MA, Lee BC, Seravalli J, Peterson DA, Walter J, Legge R, Benson AK, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. Dietary selenium affects host selenoproteome expression by influencing the gut microbiota. FASEB J. 2011 Jul;25(7):2492-9. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-181990.

Lee H, Ko G. Antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus infection via modulation of the gut microbiome. Sci Rep. 2016 May 16;6:25835. doi: 10.1038/srep25835.

Lee H, Ko G. New perspectives regarding the antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus using modulation of gut microbiota. Gut Microbes. 2017 Nov 2;8(6):616-620. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1353842.

Lv CH, Wang T, Regmi N, Chen X, Huang K, Liao SF. Effects of dietary supplementation of selenium-enriched probiotics on production performance and intestinal microbiota of weanling piglets raised under high ambient temperature. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2015 Dec;99(6):1161-71. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12326.

Lv Z, Wang Y, Yang T, Zhan X, Li Z, Hu H, Li T, Chen J. Vitamin A deficiency impacts the structural segregation of gut microbiota in children with persistent diarrhea. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2016 Sep;59(2):113-121.

Naderpoor N, Mousa A, Fernanda Gomez Arango L, Barrett HL, Dekker Nitert M, de Courten B. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Faecal Microbiota: A Randomised Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Nov 27;11(12). pii: E2888. doi: 10.3390/nu11122888.

Niccum BA, Stein DJ, Behm BW, Hays RA. Zinc Deficiency and the Recurrence of Clostridium difficile Infection after Fecal Microbiota Transplant: A Retrospective Cohort Study. J Nutr Metab. 2018 Oct 10;2018:9682975. doi: 10.1155/2018/9682975

Reed S, Neuman H, Moscovich S, Glahn RP, Koren O, Tako E. Chronic Zinc Deficiency Alters Chick Gut Microbiota Composition and Function. Nutrients. 2015 Nov 27;7(12):9768-84. doi: 10.3390/nu7125497.

Reed S, Neuman H, Moscovich S, Glahn RP, Koren O, Tako E. Chronic Zinc Deficiency Alters Chick Gut Microbiota Composition and Function. Nutrients. 2015 Nov 27;7(12):9768-84. doi: 10.3390/nu7125497.

Sauer AK, Grabrucker AM. Zinc Deficiency During Pregnancy Leads to Altered Microbiome and Elevated Inflammatory Markers in Mice. Front Neurosci. 2019 Nov 29;13:1295. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01295.

Tian Y, Nichols RG, Cai J, Patterson AD, Cantorna MT4. Vitamin A deficiency in mice alters host and gut microbial metabolism leading to altered energy homeostasis. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Apr;54:28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.10.011.

Yang, J, Huang, K, Qin, S, Wu, X, Zhao, Z, Chen, F. Antibacterial Action of Selenium-Enriched Probiotics Against Pathogenic Escherichia coli. Dig Dis Sci. 2009 Feb;54(2):246-54. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0361-4.

Zackular JP, Moore JL, Jordan AT, Juttukonda LJ, Noto MJ, Nicholson MR, Crews JD, Semler MW, Zhang Y, Ware LB, Washington MK, Chazin WJ, Caprioli RM, Skaar EP. Dietary zinc alters the microbiota and decreases resistance to Clostridium difficile infection. Nat Med. 2016 Nov;22(11):1330-1334. doi: 10.1038/nm.4174.

Zackular JP, Skaar EP. The role of zinc and nutritional immunity in Clostridium difficile infection. Gut Microbes. 2018;9(5):469-476. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2018.1448354.

Zhang H, Liao X, Sparks JB, Luo XM. Dynamics of gut microbiota in autoimmune lupus. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Dec;80(24):7551-60. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02676-14





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Welcome to episode 401 of The Whole View! This week Stacy and Sarah address some of the latest questions they have been receiving (in follow up to this and this episode) on what we now know about covid-19. Hear where science currently stands with this pandemic, and what this means for us as a community as we continue to navigate our way forward.

If you enjoy the show, please review it on iTunes!

The Whole View, Episode 401: Covid-19 NEW FAQ

Welcome back listeners to The Whole View, episode 41.! (0:27)

Sarah corrected Stacy, this is episode 401.

One of the things that Sarah is finding to be challenging during the coronavirus quarantine is the lack of things that mark the passage of time.

Every day seems the same, which is disorienting.

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This time has been eye-opening to Stacy from a quality of life standpoint.

If you missed the announcement on episode 400, this show is now The Whole View.

However, it is the same podcast, just with a new name.

This week Stacy and Sarah are going to jump right in and talk covid-19.

Stacy is in week six of quarantine.

If you are enjoying this show, please leave a review.

And if you left a review when the show was The Paleo View, please leave a new review.

This will help people find the updated show.

Sarah has received some amazing compliments on the coronavirus podcast episodes that have aired so far.

 

Listener Comments

“Thanks for all of the amazing actionable content during this health crisis! I’ve been tuning in to the podcast every week.” – Mariel (4:43)

I’m a long time listener, one of those who’s gone back and “caught up,” I know Stacy, but they were so helpful! I mainly attribute the fact that I’ve maintained control of my RA for 3 years without my double dose of DMARDs to you two! Saved my life! Thank you both for all that you do. It would be an honor just to be given a shout out on the new show: The Whole View, congrats! I can’t wait to hear the first episode!” – Amy

“Thank you for all the energy and passion you put into every episode! I learn something new every time and I’ve even gotten my husband to listen along with me.” – Renee

 

Listener Questions

Sarah wanted to give a special shoutout Charissa who does all the pre-show prep and is Sarah’s, Chief Operations Officer. (6:47)

Charissa goes through all the listener questions and the podcast inbox and organizes them into topic groups.

She then helps Stacy and Sarah put together their recording calendar, and puts a ton of time in the pre-production projects.

Sarah wanted to say a huge thank you for all that Charissa does.

She was a huge help in collecting and organizing the questions for this week’s show.

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The first question is, what is our way out?

The scale of shutdowns globally is unprecedented.

This is unique in human history.

These shelter-in-place orders have had a huge effect on the global economy, with unemployment numbers extremely high.

All of this has been done to flatten the curve, which Sarah explained in greater detail.

One of the big challenges with this virus is that it has a high hospitalization rate.

This virus is highly infectious and is a strain on the healthcare system.

Because this is such a challenging virus and we don’t have a treatment yet, our only option has been to quarantine.

So the question is, how do we get back out? And life as normal?

The way to get beyond this is that we need one of three things to happen.

The first thing, which will be the most effective, is herd immunity.

Sarah broke down the way that herd immunity works.

In the absence of herd immunity, the other big thing that would get us back to life as normal would be an effective anti-viral treatment.

There is also the option of using medications that would prevent the virus from infecting a person.

However, this is much less likely since there aren’t many drugs that are effective that do this.

In the absence of those two options, the other option is to do these shutdowns and quarantines long enough to ramp up testing capabilities.

There were countries that ramped up testing at the beginning who were able to successfully slow the spread of the virus.

 

More on the Three Options

There are challenges with each one of these three cases, which Sarah will breakdown further. (18:42)

None of these scenarios are fast.

The fastest way out is probably the discovery of an effective antiviral.

There are a number of candidate drugs that are being tested.

Many have been shown to kill the coronavirus in test tubes.

However, this doesn’t mean that the drug will successfully reach the part in our body that would make it effective.

Understanding safe dosages is critical.

We actually don’t have many truly effective antivirals.

For example, Tamaflu can decrease the duration of influenza illness by 30% to 40%, and decrease flu severity by about 40%.

However, it only works if taken in the first 36 to 48 hours of illness.

As commonly taken, it shortens the duration of flu by about a day.

It has not been proven to have a positive impact on hospitalizations or mortality of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.

There are some good examples of effective antiviral treatments though.

The best example we have is the antiviral cocktail that is given to HIV positive patients.

Sarah explained the way in which the HIV cocktail works in the body.

We do have these examples of antivirals that can be very effective.

 

The Need for Data

However, what we need right now for covid-19 is randomized controlled, double-blind clinical trials of the antivirals that we already have.

We need to look for drug combinations, and we need to establish risk profiles.

Safety is a huge concern with antivirals in general.

Many have high adverse reaction rates, which is why we don’t have an antiviral for the common cold.

Data is needed to make decisions.

The hydroxychloroquine initial trial was unblinded, uncontrolled in 20 patients, and excluded severe illness from the study.

All these types of trials are supposed to do is indicate whether something is worthy of further study.

Sarah shared more on this study out of Brazil.

Preliminary findings suggest that the higher CQ dosage (10-day regimen) should not be recommended for COVID-19 treatment because of its potential safety hazards.

Such results forced us to prematurely halt patient recruitment to this arm.

Given the enormous global push for the use of CQ for COVID-19, results such as the ones found in this trial can provide robust evidence for updated COVID-19 patient management recommendations.

There is promise with antivirals as a treatment for covid-19.

However, it is very important to take preliminary studies with a very large grain of salt.

We need bigger studies to prove efficacy and safety, which takes time.

Matt made a very rare appearance on the show to add this breaking update to Sarah’s recommendations. (31:55)

 

Vaccine Development

More tricky than antivirals is vaccine development.

One of the things that is really important to understand is that vaccine development, especially for a new virus, takes years.

The fastest vaccine that has ever been developed was for mumps, which took four years.

The Ebola virus vaccine was a close second and took five years to develop.

We are trying to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus in a year, which is unrealistically optimistic, given the challenges with developing vaccines against other members of the coronavirus family.

Covid-19 is the seventh identified coronavirus that infects humans.

The early vaccine development for 2002 SARS cause vaccine-enhanced immunity in rodents.

Not all antibody responses are protective.

By the time they had a candidate, researchers were unable to test their SARS vaccine candidates for effectiveness in humans because they would have had to inoculate a population that was exposed to SARS, and the disease was effectively wiped out using public-health measures before that could happen.

What is happening now with covid-19, is that vaccine research is picking up where SARS vaccine research left off.

We need to understand the antibody response to covid-19.

There have been some studies that show that the bodies producing several different types of antibodies when it is infected with covid-19.

However, they are not all neutralizing antibodies.

The chances of a vaccine causing vaccine enhanced infection are still there with covid-19.

Sarah shared information from this study.

 

The Complexity of Vaccine Development

It will be complex to develop an effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

There are many different vaccines that are in phase-one clinical trials.

We will need to do the human trials at the same time as the animal trials in order to expedite the timeline.

It will also take a huge investment in mass-producing vaccines.

Once a vaccine is proven to be effective, it takes six months to a year to mass-produce that vaccine to the level that we will need to achieve herd immunity.

We hope that the SARS vaccine research was progressed far enough that picking up from that for this related virus will help expedite the vaccine development.

Stacy shared her appreciation for these facts.

These details help to give perspective.

 

Natural Immunity

There is this whole other side of it, which is developing natural immunity by people getting infected. (41:25)

However, there are still some questions as to how immune people are after getting the disease and how long that immunity lasts.

Sarah shared information on this study out of China on antibodies in coronavirus cases.

There is still this piece of science that needs to be figured out and researched.

We need to understand what kind of antibodies need to be produced by our bodies to be immune, and how much.

Once we know that, we need to know how long those are going to last.

One of our ways through this is by ramping up testing, which needs to be done on both active infections and immunity.

There have been a ton of antibody tests that have been rolled out.

This is interesting to Sarah because tests have been introduced without basic science to interpret the data.

Tests don’t have high enough specificity or sensitivity.

Poor sensitivity means false negatives, poor specificity means false positives.

 

Testing

We need the antibody tests to be better, and we need the diagnostic tests to be a rapid test. (47:33)

Right now, testing is taking five to twelve days to get results back.

We need a diagnostic test that acts very much like the rapid strep test.

Once we have the testing capabilities and we have a good enough handle with the shutdown, then we could potentially start returning to a more normal life without waiting for a vaccine or antiviral.

This requires a huge amount of tests.

Sarah explained that way widespread frequent testing would help.

However, contact tracing presents privacy issues with smartphone tracking.

This is a resource-intensive process.

Stacy added that she loves the idea of using tech for these purposes!

Sarah shared more on the flaws in this approach.

We need to be able to take the human resources out of contact tracing, and crazily ramp up testing.

We need to be testing as many people per day as we have tested total in America so far.

Then we need to do these targeted quarantines based on who has been exposed.

We also need to better protect our healthcare workers.

While the mortality rate from covid-19 increases dramatically with age, the hospitalization rate is still really high in young people.

The rate of severe illness requiring hospitalization is not that different between young, healthy people and either people with preexisting conditions or who are older.

 

Continuing Our Work Together

We have to figure out how to carefully return to life as normal bit by bit so that we don’t completely overwhelm hospitals.

This is the part that is painful and heartbreaking for Stacy to deal with.

Thinking about those healthcare professionals and those other people on the frontlines and the sacrifices that they are making.

We are coming together as a community to help those people who are still fighting that fight and who are risking their lives.

Stacy focuses on these realities, which makes all the other frustrations worth it.

She has so much to be grateful for, and these are the pieces she focuses on.

We can all find something to give us that compassion for those who are fighting on the frontlines.

Sarah shared on the struggle of sympathizing with those on the front lines who are facing a very different set of challenges while trying to also process and address your own personal challenges.

It is very important to give people permission to know that their struggles are valid.

Do not dismiss the challenges that each one of us are having.

Also, work to maintain awareness about the things that deserve gratitude.

From a mental health perspective, it is really important to be able to appreciate that we have these challenges.

Then be able to apply a solution-oriented mindset to them.

If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, something that has given Stacy hope and something to look to is donating time, resources, and money when they can.

 

Reinfection

The other group of questions that have come up has to do with reinfection. (1:02:44)

There have been some reports out of South Korea and China where they have people who tested as negative and then were rehospitalized a couple of days later after testing positive.

It is probably a testing failure.

We know that in the course of covid-19, people who are going to have a mild course of the disease tends to resolve in 10 to 14 days.

The moderate to a severe course of the disease is a four to six weeks recovery timeline.

So around that 10-day mark, people start to feel like they are getting better.

If they received a false negative, and then developed into a severe case, this is what would have led to hospitalization.

The reinfection cases are likely a result of false negatives with testing.

Thus far, the research shows that people cannot actually be reinfected with the virus, at least on the time scales that we have been dealing with.

Sarah shared information from this reinfection study out of Bejing.

There was another study on reinfection out of China that Sarah shared on, which you can find here.

Right now the data points to once you’ve had it and gone through the other side, you should be good.

We don’t know if you will be good for the rest of your life, or a few years, but definitely for the next little while.

 

Face Masks

Do non-medical grade face masks really make a difference? (1:08:49)

The answer is yes.

Face masks reduce our aerosol exposure by a combination of the filtering action of the fabric and the seal between the mask and the face.

In order to have an effective homemade mask, you want both a material that will do a good job of filtration and you want it to fit around your face well.

You still want to social distance and be very careful about what you are touching.

Still, work to not touch your face while you are out of the house until you have had the opportunity to thoroughly wash your hands.

Also, when you take the face mask off, you want to think of it as if it is contaminated.

You want to take it off carefully and put it directly into the washing machine, and then wash your hands again.

Think of the mask as a contaminated surface.

There was a study done on homemade masks made of different fabrics and how effective they are based on the various design factors.

This is not an N95 mask that is going to protect you against everything.

It is still really important for two reasons.

One, if you have it and don’t know, it is going to contain a large amount of the virus in which you are shedding.

This will reduce your risk of infecting others around you.

Second, this is going to help you if you are exposed to an infectious person.

The virus exposure, how much you are exposed to when you are infected, is a major contributor to the severity of the illness.

One of the challenges that healthcare workers face is that they are being exposed to so many different particles when they do get exposed, due to their proximity with so many different covid-19 patients.

This is why we need the appropriate levels of PPE for our healthcare workers, and we need them to be able to change them between patients.

 

Closing Thoughts

If you are exposed to the virus when you are out of the house, but you are wearing an air mask that reduces your risk by 75% you just decreased your inoculation dose by 75%.

Statistically, this will increase the likelihood of a more mild course of the disease.

Stacy learned so much in this episode and thanked listeners for asking these questions, and Sarah for taking the time to research and answer these questions.

If you have enjoyed the show be sure to share it with people in your life who you think would also enjoy the show.

And leave a review and rating on whatever platform you enjoy listening in.

Stacy and Sarah thank you so much for following along on the Whole View.

It is taking Stacy and Sarah a little bit of time to get use to this change.

We have received so much great feedback on this change, and Stacy feels like we are celebrating this milestone as a family.

Thank you for being a part of this community!

We will be back again next week! (1:21:40)





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Salmon burgers are a great way to get more healthy fats in your diet, and when topped with a cool and crunchy cabbage mixture, plus a spicy-tangy tartar sauce, they’re anything but ordinary! These Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce are great for weeknight meals or meal preps—and we give directions for both stovetop and air-fryer.

This post was created in partnership with Primal Kitchen

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that will not change your price but will share some commission.

Wow. Just wow.

That’s how we’d describe these Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce. They’re that good! And they’re also the very first recipe that we’ve ever made in an air-fryer (yes, we’re a little late to the party…). Of course, you can also make them on the stove-top so keep reading—we’d hate for you to miss out on this recipe.

Weeknight Winner + Meal Prep Hero

Whether it’s a casual weeknight dinner you’re looking for or a new meal prep recipe to add to your rotation, we’ve got you covered. You can have this meal on the table in about 35 minutes—even less if your salmon is precooked (leftover from another meal or canned) or you opt for a bag of coleslaw mix in place of the cabbage and carrots.

The patties can be made ahead and reheated for a quick lunch or dinner, and the dressing can be made ahead and tossed with the cabbage mixture when it’s time to eat.

And if you don’t have an air fryer, no worries, we’ve included directions for making them on the stove-top as well.

Looking for guidance with meal planning? Check out Real Plans, a highly customizable online meal planning service that includes over 300 of our very own recipes.

All about the sauce.

While the Salmon Burgers with Thai cabbage slaw are great on their own, adding a drizzle of spicy sriracha tartar sauce makes them great x 10. Admittedly, tartar sauce wasn’t something I kept on hand until recently when our friends at Primal Kitchen launched their new tartar sauce made with avocado oil. It’s nothing like that gloppy, oily tartar sauce of the past—this one is rich, creamy, and bright with the flavors of dill and lemon, with just enough pickle relish to give it the proper amount of tang.

Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce is Whole30 Approved®, Keto and Paleo-friendly, and sugar-free, making it a tasty addition to our Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw.

Add a little extra zing to your tartar sauce with a hearty dose of sriracha (we like this one for a Whole30-friendly option because it’s sweetened with dates and fruit juice).

Heart-Healthy Fats? We’re here for ’em.

Salmon is one of our favorite sources of protein because not only is it delicious, it’s packed with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure.

While there is no set RDA (recommended daily allowance) for omega-3 fatty acids, consuming fatty fish like salmon twice a week can help you meet your needs in a delicious and satisfying way.


Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • Salmon – These salmon burgers use cooked salmon that’s then combined with eggs, almond flour, and spices before forming them into patties. You can cook the salmon by baking, broiling, grilling, or poaching it. You can also use canned salmon that’s well-drained with the large bones removed. To learn more about choosing safer seafood, check out this post.
  • Fresh lemon
  • Shallots – With a flavor somewhere between garlic and onions, shallots are delicious and probably grossly underused. But if you don’t have a shallot, don’t worry, you can replace it with more onion (red, white, or green) or a little extra garlic.
  • Green Onions
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Eggs – Eggs are the primary binder that holds these salmon burgers together. We have tested the recipe without the eggs and while they were delicious, they didn’t stay together when cooked. If you need an egg-free option, we suggest topping a grilled salmon filet with the Thai cabbage slaw for all the flavors without the eggs.
  • Almond Flour – Almond flour, along with the eggs, keeps the burgers together. If you don’t have almond flour or need to replace it for allergy reasons, you can try using an equal amount of a gluten-free flour blend (this one is our go-to) or 2 tablespoons of coconut flour.
  • Shredded Cabbage – Green or purple cabbage will work here, or you can substitute bagged coleslaw mix to save time.
  • Shredded Carrots – A julienne peeler is one of my favorite tools for shredded carrots but you can also use a box grater or buy shredded carrots from the produce section.
  • Coconut AminosCoconut aminos are a popular soy and wheat-free alternative to soy sauce that gives the dressing a salty-tangy flavor. If you don’t need the recipe to be Whole30-friendly, you can replace the coconut aminos with tamari, or gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fish SauceFish sauce is exactly what it sounds like, a salty sauce made from fish. It gives everything a delicious umami flavor and can be used wherever you need a little flavor boost. You can, however, omit it and add a little more salt to taste.
  • Fresh ginger – While fresh ginger is definitely the preferred choice for this slaw because of it’s bright, spicy flavor, you can use dried ginger in its place if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Tartar Sauce – Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce made with avocado oil is our go-to when time is short because it’s delicious and convenient. But if you don’t have any on hand, you can find a delicious homemade tartar sauce recipe here.
  • Sriracha – Sriracha is a popular sauce made from red jalapenos and vinegar. It often contains sugar so if you’re looking for a Whole30-friendly option, we love this one because it’s sweetened with dates.


How to Make Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw

While the ingredient list is a little longer than most of the recipes we share, don’t let that intimidate you. These salmon burgers are easy to make. If you need a few shortcuts, you can use canned salmon in place of the cooked salmon filets and use bagged coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots.

Do I have to have an air fryer?

Not at all! Since this is literally the very first recipe we’ve ever shared that’s made in the air fryer we’ve also given you directions for making them on the stove-top. But if you’re looking to invest in an air fryer, I really like this one because it’s also a toaster oven, rotisserie oven, dehydrator (and more).

Can these be prepped ahead?

You bet they can be! You can make them as directed, then cool them and store them in the fridge to be reheated in a skillet, a toaster oven, or the microwave.

You can also prepare them just up to the point of cooking, then store them in the fridge until ready to cook.

For the slaw, if you plan to make it ahead, store the dressing separately from the cabbage mixture and add just before serving.

Other Salmon Recipes You May Like

Salmon Burgers with Avocado-Garlic Sauce

Raspberry Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

One-Pan Salmon and Veggie Bake

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Salmon Burgers with Thai Cabbage Slaw

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 20 mins.
  • Cook Time: 15 mins.
  • Total Time: 35 mins.
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Cuisine: Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free

Ingredients

For the Burgers:

  • 12 oz. wild-caught salmon, baked or broiled, skin removed then chopped (may substitute 12 ounces of canned salmon with bones removed)
  • ½ lemon, juiced  (~2 Tbsp.) + ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 small shallot, minced (may substitute 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking fat of choice

For the Slaw:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced or shredded green cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
  • ¾ cup julienned or shredded carrots
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. coconut aminos (or 2 tsp. Tamari + 2 tsp. water if not Whole30)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Juice + zest of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp. fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (may substitute ½ tsp. dried ginger)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or grated

For the Sriracha Tartar Sauce:

Instructions

To Make the Burgers in the Air Fryer:

  1. Combine all of the salmon burger ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a large bowl and mix well. If the mixture is pretty wet, add additional almond flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  2. Form into 4 patties. Patties easily fall apart until they are cooked. Handle with caution.
  3. Spray the tops of the burgers with avocado oil spray. Air-fry at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway through cooking time and spraying again with oil.

To Make the Burgers on the Stovetop:

  1. Combine all of the salmon burger ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a large bowl and mix well. If the mixture is pretty wet, add additional almond flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  2. Form into 4 patties. Patties easily fall apart until they are cooked. Handle with caution.
  3. Heat coconut oil on a griddle or pan to medium-high heat.
  4. Once hot (oil must be hot), carefully add the burgers to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Patties should sizzle when added to the pan.

To Make the Slaw:
1. Combine the cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, lime zest and lime juice, fish sauce (if using), ginger and garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well to coat.
4. Serve with salmon burgers and sriracha tartar sauce.

To Make the Siracha Tartar Sauce:

  1. Combine the tartar sauce with the sriracha. Stir to combine. Add additional sriracha, if desired.

Pin it now & Make it later!

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This post was made possible by our friends at Primal Kitchen. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.





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On this week’s episode, Stacy and Sarah discuss the use of blue-blocking glasses, also known as amber-tinted glasses. Sarah broke down the research that shows the ways we can impact our sleep quality and quantity, and Stacy shared her personal experience with the impact blue-light blocking glasses have had on her routine. Tune in below!

If you enjoy the show, please review it on iTunes!

The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 399: What’s the deal with those funny amber glasses?

Welcome to episode 399 of the Paleo View. (0:40)

Stacy and Sarah might have a giant announcement to share in episode 400.

You might have to tune-in.

Stacy feels like it has been a long time coming.

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Right before hitting record, Stacy and Sarah were talking about life.

Life is still interesting if you are listening during a different time.

Stacy is in week-four of social distancing and her emotional rollercoaster is still continuing to happen.

Sarah noted that this is the new normal as we are all adapting and adjusting.

Stacy has lots of blue-light blocking glasses, and she does feel a difference in her eye-fatigue when she wears them.

Despite how often they have discussed the importance of amber-tinted glasses, Stacy thought that the cool versions were the same as the regular amber-tinted lenses.

Sarah noted that there are multiple kinds of blue, which she will cover in greater detail in the show.

Stacy initiated melatonin production recently and then elevated her cortisol from a conversation, and she feels like something got messed up with her sleep cycle as a result.

Sarah is going to address what happened to Stacy in her notes on this week’s show.

She realizes that she has never gone deep into the science on amber-tinted glasses.

This is a great episode to take a step back and talk about circadian rhythm, the light-dark cycle, and the magnitude of the effect of light exposure timing has on sleep.

Sarah is currently focusing on dialing in the lifestyle factors that are easy to let slide when she gets busy.

Let’s take a step back and talk about why these funny looking amber-tinted glasses work, which will make it clear how they can impact your sleep.

 

BLUblox

First, this week’s sponsor BLUblox, Stacy and Sarah want to give a special shoutout. (12:55)

Stacy loves that they donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in a developing world for each pair of BLUblox that they sell.

Especially right now, Stacy loves supporting companies that give back.

Sarah noted that they make really high-quality blue-blocking glasses, and how you can tell the difference between low-quality brands.

You can actually still see really clearly with them on, even at night.

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BLUblox is creating such high-quality optic grade lenses, and it is a super-specific tint.

Their glasses are made in Australia.

Stacy noted that they really do create a calming, sedative state.

To check them out visit this site.

And if you purchase a pair, enter the code ‘PALEOVIEW’ for 15% off.

 

Circadian Rhythm

In order to understand the benefits of wearing blue-block glasses in the evening, Sarah wants to take a step back to explain circadian rhythm. (16:52)

The term circadian rhythm refers to the fact that a huge array of biological processes cycle according to a 24-hour clock.

Circadian rhythm allows your body to assign functions based on the time of day (and whether or not you are asleep).

For example, prioritizing tissue repair while you are sleeping, and prioritizing the search for food, metabolism, and movement while you are awake.

Your brain has a master clock, called the circadian clock, which is controlled by specialized cells in a region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus.

Clock genes are components of the circadian clock comparable to the cogwheels of a mechanical watch.

They interact with each other in an intricate manner generating oscillations of gene expression.

Clock genes are components of the circadian clock comparable to the cogwheels of a mechanical watch. They interact with each other in an intricate manner generating oscillations of gene expression.

The SCN receives information about illumination through the eyes.

The retina contains specialized ganglion cells that are directly photosensitive (contain the photopigment melanopsin), and project directly to the SCN (via a pathway called the retinohypothalamic tract), where they help in the entrainment of the master circadian clock.

 

The Circadian Clock

The circadian clock actively gates sleep and wakefulness to occur in synchrony with the light-dark cycles.

It shuts off melatonin production and boosts cortisol secretion and heart rate 2-3h prior to waking.

The circadian clock then controls the ebb and flow of certain hormones (cortisol and melatonin being especially important), which act as signals of the circadian clock throughout the body.

Cortisol peaks shortly after waking, and melatonin peaks during the middle of the night.

Secretion of melatonin peaks at night and ebbs during the day and its presence provides information about night-length.

Because the master circadian clock in our brain is set by light and dark, it is important to understand that indoor light is not bright enough to be the daytime signal.

And it is too bright to be the get ready for bed signal.

Indoor light is the worst of both worlds.

It is interesting to look at the luxe values of different types of light.

Brightness is a huge part of this.

If we spend all of our days indoors, it isn’t bright enough to impact our circadian clock.

And it is too bright to use it in the evening to tell our body it is nighttime.

It turns out that blue wavelengths of light are the most important for syncing that circadian clock.

Which means that bright blue length waves of light during the day tell our body what time it is.

Daylight is rich in blue light.

Sunrise and sunset have very little blue light and has a lot of red light.

LED bulbs, in particular, have a very high output in blue wavelengths.

However, these wavelengths aren’t high enough to mimic daylight.

 

Dim Light Melatonin Onset

We have this thing called Dim Light Melatonin Onset (DLMO). (29:22)

It turns out that light is an inhibitor of DLMO.

A substantial number of studies have shown that the onset of melatonin secretion under dim light conditions (DLMO) is the single most accurate marker for assessing the circadian pacemaker.

Light, especially blue wavelengths, suppresses melatonin production in the evenings, called light-induced melatonin suppression.

There have been a bunch of studies that have looked at what happens when you basically mess up this natural ebb and flow.

We know that blue wavelengths of light in the evening suppresses that normal melatonin production, and that is a direct contributor to sleep disturbances.

Stacy shared how they focus on using warm-lighting in the evenings.

 

Solutions

One of the ways to biohack this dim light signal that we need in the evenings is to use red lightbulbs and use a dim setter.

Programable LEDs are another great option.

However, this also means you have to avoid screen exposure, which is a challenging thing to do.

In an ideal world, you would avoid screen exposure for two to three hours before bed.

This is why wearing amber glasses is a much more accessible solution, which allows us to use our devices.

Sarah covered training your circadian clock with your sleep/wake cycle if you work night shifts.

There is essentially a three-part solution to work with here.

We want to first get that bright light exposure during the day of at least 10,000 luxe.

The easiest way to do that is to go outside at some point during the day.

An alternative is to use a 1o,000 to 12,000 luxe light therapy lamp or box.

The big thing to address in cementing this light/dark cycle is the two-hours of no blue light before bed.

The next thing is sleeping in a really dark room.

The third piece is to enforce a consistent schedule with this.

If you lost your light/dark cycle, your circadian clock will continue to chug away at about 24-hours for a while before it starts to get messed up.

 

Additional Bio-Hacks

It is also important to put on your blue-light blocking glasses at the same time every night.

This information came from a study that was done on Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Even in bright-light conditions, the impact on sleep is considered a relatively small effect.

There is this other big challenge that there hasn’t been enough research to optimize timing for light therapy.

Sarah shared on what research has been done to date on light therapy lamps and what the science shows in terms of gaps in information.

It doesn’t matter when you are getting outside for daylight exposure.

However, there really isn’t enough to know, if you are looking to optimize sleep, what is the best way to do it.

When it comes to optimizing sleep, blue-blocking glasses is where it is at.

Stacy reiterated that if you thought you had blue-light-blocking glasses and were doing great, know that you are not alone.

Stacy and Sarah talked about melatonin on this podcast episode.

When you sync your circadian clock, you are synching just about every hormone in the human body.

While most studies are measuring melatonin, it is impacting much more.

Stacy is not a big fan of supplementing unnecessarily.

It has been something that they have used for Wesley when needed.

However, Stacy is going to get him his own pair of amber-tinted glasses and see how that helps.

Sarah’s 13-year-old resists wearing them.

Stacy uses the angle of trying new things as a science experiment to get buy-in from her boys.

 

Literature Review

One of the things that Sarah wants to emphasize is that there isn’t enough data yet that a metanalysis has been done on blue-light blockers. (51:26)

This implies that we don’t necessarily have a definitive answer on the magnitude of the effect.

Sarah is going to go through the studies.

However, please keep in mind that the true magnitude of the effect is probably an average of all these different types of studies.

Sarah wanted to illustrate the different scenarios in which blue-blocking glasses have been shown to benefit sleep.

The scientific evidence right now is that no one would be exempt from benefiting from them.

Orange-lenses (also called amber lenses) cut the specific blue portion of light.

Sarah explained the difference between the different kinds of lenses that are available.

The first study that was published in 2006 took 14 healthy, normal people.

They exposed these people to a bright light for an hour at 1:00 a.m.

The participants wore either orange lense glasses or gray lens glasses.

Those blue-blocking glasses let in 20% more light, and these people had a 6% increase in melatonin compared to no light exposure the day before.

The people wearing gray glasses had a 46% reduction in melatonin.

It nearly cut their melatonin in half.

From there, blue-light blocking glasses started to be tested on different populations.

 

A Look at More of the Science

The next study done in 2009, looked at 20 volunteers, again normal – healthy adults.

This study looked at whether or not wearing proper blue-blocking glasses or yellow-tint glasses had the biggest impact.

The study found that the group of people who were wearing blue-blocking glasses had huge improvements in sleep quality, relative to the people who were blocking ultra-violet light.

This study also measured mood, which is significantly impacted by our sleep quality.

The study found that the people wearing amber glasses had much higher mood scores the next day.

One of the things that researchers have looked at with amber glasses (in a 2010 study) is shift workers who altered their light/dark cycle to match their workday, even though it doesn’t match what is going on outside.

Sarah broke down the details on how the study was conducted.

The study found that those shift workers at the sawmill who were doing all these controlling measures of their light had much-improved sleep.

They also had improved job performance, measuring errors.

 

Additional Elements of Testing

There was a study published in 2015 looking at the impact on adolescents.

Adolescents have a natural delay in their sleep cycles.

This study took 15 to 17-year-old young men, who were healthy, and had them wear blue-light blocking glasses in the evening.

They looked at how these glasses impacted sleep parameters.

The study showed that wearing blue-blocking glasses improved their dim light melatonin production.

It normalized their sleep patterns.

Around the same time, a study was done in delayed sleep phase disorder.

These patients wore blue-light blocking amber glasses from 9:00 p.m. until bedtime for two weeks.

The amber glasses reduced the amount of time it took to fall asleep by 132 minutes.

It reduced how long it was taking them to fall asleep by 72 minutes.

A 2019 study done in recreational athletes looked at recovery and the correlation with sleep quality.

The study looked at young, healthy, recreational athletes.

They either had no light restriction or wore amber glasses in the evening.

It showed that their sleep quality improved and the time it took them to fall asleep dropped from 19 minutes to 12 minutes.

They also had measured increased alertness the following morning.

There have been studies looking at psychological disorders, in particular manic states associated with bipolar disease.

They had these study participants wear blue-light blocking glasses from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.

The results showed much better sleep efficiency, much fewer nights of interrupted sleep, and required less pharmacological treatment for sleep.

 

The Study With Multiple Elements

The last study Sarah wants to talk about was done in professional athletes.

This study added a strict schedule and light therapy to the mix.

They wore glasses that replaced a light therapy box in the morning.

And they wore amber glasses in the evening.

They were then told to sleep on a regular schedule and to go to bed at a specific time.

The study found there were a lot of study participants that didn’t want to do the schedule part.

They did everything else, expect the consistent schedule.

The researchers ended up dividing that into two groups.

In the people who did it as a consistent schedule, they had much stronger effects.

Their time to go to sleep went down by 17 minutes, as opposed to the other group’s 8 minutes.

They had a much more obvious improvement in sleep quality.

This last study puts a bow on this entire conversation.

 

Closing Thoughts

One of the best things we can do to support sleep is to tell our circadian clock what time of day it is by regulating the light/dark cycle. (1:08:48)

And to replicate it with bio-hacks as appropriate.

Adding in a consistent schedule is really important.

Sarah broke this ‘why’ down further.

Stacy thinks this information will be very helpful for her family.

She loves that this information is backed by science and doesn’t require supplementation.

Stacy appreciates Sarah pulling all this science together.

A big thank you to this week’s sponsor, BLUblox glasses.

Don’t forget, to check them out visit this site.

And if you purchase a pair, enter the code ‘PALEOVIEW’ for 15% off.

They offer all kinds of solutions for whatever it is you are looking for.

Prescription lenses are also a custom setting option.

Don’t forget, Stacy and Sarah will be back again next week with a big announcement!

They are so excited to share the news, as they have been working on this for a long time.

Thanks for listening (1:14:22)





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Don’t even think about tossing out those overripe bananas! Here are 12 delicious and healthy recipes that call for brown, spotted bananas. Think muffins, waffles, smoothies, and more! All of the recipes listed are easy to make, gluten-free, and meal-prep friendly!

Overripe bananas = endless possibilities

Whether you’re one who purchases a bunch of bananas with the intention to enjoy them as is or you purchase a bunch with the intention to let them sit on the counter and become brown and spotted so that you can make a favorite banana recipe, you’ll surely find a couple of tasty recipes to try below. Today on the blog, we’re rounding up 12 recipes for you that call for overripe bananas. Twelve different ways you can enjoy overripe bananas in a delicious and healthy way!

Less sugar needed

Because overripe bananas provide plenty of sweetness, you can get by with adding much less sugar. In fact some of the recipes below don’t call for any additional sugar to be added.

How to freeze overripe bananas

When bananas start to become brown and spotted but you’re not yet ready to use them in a recipe, we recommend freezing them. Here is our method of freezing overripe bananas so that you can easily grab the amount you need (1/2 a banana for a smoothie, enough for a recipe, etc)  when you need them. Note: we find it best to freeze bananas before they turn totally black.

  1. Remove the peels from the bananas and cut them in half or thirds.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon liner and place bananas on the pan so that they do not touch. This step is key to prevent them from freezing together in one big chunk.
  3. Place the pan in the freezer and allow the bananas to freeze.
  4. Once frozen transfer bananas to a zip-top bag, stasher bag or freezer-safe container for storing.
  5. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

12 Delicious Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

A combination you can’t beat—peanut Butter and banana! The perfect toaster-friendly waffle.

Get the recipe here!

A staple recipe for sure in our kitchens! A few ingredients you probably have on hand is all it takes to make these muffins. Feel free to substitute the chocolate chips with anything that sounds good to you or omit them altogether.

Get the recipe here!

These muffins come with a nutrient boost of mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin). They’re grain-free and totally delicious. Add chocolate chips if you wish!

Get the recipe here!

Yep! We did it again, the combo that can’t be beat. Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats make for a tasty, meal-prep friendly breakfast.

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Get the recipe here!

A sneaky way to add veggies! Zucchini makes for a great addition in these baked oatmeal cups.

Get the recipe here!

Another staple in the kitchen of many homes. This baked oatmeal is one you’ll want to try! We like to top it with….you guessed it, peanut butter as well as a few slices of bananas. It makes for the perfect breakfast or snack that can be enjoy warm or cold.

Photo showing a spoonful of Banana Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Get the recipe here!

Essentially this is a blueberry muffin recipe baked into a 9×9 dish. These bars are great for grab-and-go and you can top them with peanuts, any chopped nuts, yogurt, or however you please.

Get the recipe here!

These mini muffins make for a fun little snack for all ages. They come together quick and make for a tasty bite-size snack or treat. Made with no added sugar (other than what’s in the chocolate chips).

Get the recipe here!

Another baked oatmeal you’ll want to try! Made simple with frozen berries so that you can enjoy it all year around, not just when berries are in season. We like it topped with whipped topping and crushed pecans.

Get the recipe here!

As that name says, this is our Go-To Green Smoothie and made with only 5 ingredients: banana, avocado, spinach, milk of choice, and protein powder of choice.

Get the recipe here!

A cool and creamy treat for all to enjoy! Vegan, dairy-free, and paleo friendly. Feel free to sub any nut or seed butter of choice.

Get the recipe here!

A smoothie that everyone will love, kids and adults!

Get the recipe here!

That’s a wrap. We hope you enjoyed this roundup of 12 Delicious Ways to Use Overripe Bananas!

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All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Photo Credit: Some of the photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

About Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she and her husband reside on 5 acres with their two pups, Walter & Lucy. She’s a creator of simple and wholesome recipes, a lover of nature, a crossfitter, a seasonal runner, and she’s on a mission to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life from the inside out.



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