All posts in Female issues

Antioxidants May Reduce the Risk of Stroke in Women

Increasing the intake of antioxidants in the diet is associated with a reduced risk of stroke in women, according to a study, published in the journal Stroke. Antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains may lower the total risk of stroke among women with no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and hemorrhagic stroke in women with a history of heart problems.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said “Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation,” said Susanne Rautiainen, who led the study. “This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity.”

They found that women in the highest group of dietary antioxidant intake, and with no CVD, had a 17% lower risk of total stroke compared to those in the lowest group. Further, they reported that women with history of CVD in the highest three-quarters of antioxidant intake had up to a 57% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Fruits and vegetables contributed about 50% of antioxidant capacity in women with no history of heart disease who had the highest total antioxidant count. Other contributors included whole grains (18%), tea (16%) and chocolate (5%).

Reference: Stroke; Published online ahead of print.

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Omega-3 supplements boost bone mineral density in older women

A joint U.S.-Iranian study says that combining exercise with omega-3 supplements may boost the bone mineral density in older women and reduce markers of inflammation.

A daily supplement of 1,000 mg omega-3s in combination with aerobic exercise was associated with increases in bone mineral density (BMD) of up to 19% in post-menopausal women, according to findings published in Nutrition & Metabolism.

In addition, markers of inflammation such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) were significantly reduced following 24 weeks of supplementation plus exercise, report researchers from Urmia University in Iran and the University of Missouri in the U.S.

These findings are significant for women at risk of osteoporosis, characterized by low bone mass, which leads to an increased risk of fractures, especially of the hips, spine and wrists. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

Clients (especially post menopausal women) need to commit to the use of long-term omega-3 supplementation and aerobic exercise. 

Seventy-nine healthy post-menopausal women were recruited and randomly assigned to one of four groups: The first group acted as the control and did not receive supplements or an exercise plan; the second group received the exercise plan only; the third group received omega-3 supplements only (1,000 mg omega-3 per day, of which 180 mg was EPA and 120 mg was DHA); and the final group received both supplements and exercise.

The exercise plan involved walking and jogging three times a week at up to 65% of the maximum heart rate.

Twenty-four weeks later, and the researchers found that the combined omega-3/exercise group displayed BMD increases of 15% in the lower back and 19% in the neck of the thigh bone (femur) at the hip.

In addition, the combination group had decreased levels of the pro-inflammatory compounds IL-6 and TNF-alpha by 40% and 80% respectively.

I recommend Metagenics EPA-DHA 720 as part of your daily supplements.

 

Nutrition & Metabolism; 8(1):71, 2011

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Candida Die-Off Symptoms

What are Candida die-off symptoms and how can I minimize the discomfort? Candida die-off is also known as the Herxheimer reaction. As large amounts of yeast die, the organism dumps it’s toxic contents into your system, thereby overloading your detoxification pathways. This causes some pretty challenging symptoms including brain fog, intense sugar cravings, fatigue, headache, joint and muscle soreness, gas/diarrhea, blurry vision, irrational anger or flu-like symptoms. Itchy, irritated, inflamed skin is quite common, and maddening. Here’s where prebiotics, probiotics, vitamin E and astaxanthin are helpful. The combination can be soothing for anyone with irritated skin.
 
Enzymes that help break down the yeast and rid the body of toxic by-products can be enormously helpful for individuals experiencing Candida infection and/or die-off reactions. The formula that I recommend for this is Enzymedica’s Candidase which is sold at health food stores nationwide. It contains cellulase which is an enzyme the body needs (and does not make) which kills yeast by destroying the cell wall, composed of cellulose. Candidase also contains protease, known worldwide to support the body’s healing process by getting rid of yeast and immune complexes which cause illness and inflammation.
 
 
What foods should I avoid and how should I eat?
-Anything with sugar, because sugar is food to fungus.
-Anything made with yeast such as bread, muffins, pastries, etc.
-All grains and starches (at least at the outset of your diet) such as pasta, rice, corn, wheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, oats and barley.
 
I recommend the diet plan outlined by one of the world’s leading authorities on fungus, Doug A. Kaufmann, who wrote eight books on it! He’s also the host of one of the most popular holistic health shows in America, “Know the Cause.” Doug has researched the subject of fungus-induced disease and mycotoxins for decades and helped millions of people get back to health so I always tell people to follow his Phase One diet plan explained in The Fungus Link and eat recipes in the book, Eating Your Way to Good Health which he authored with Jami Clark, RN. There are free recipes and television programs about Candida archived at his website, knowthecause.com. Check out candidasupport.org and for more healthy recipes try Candida Albican Yeast-Free Cookbook by Pat Connolly.
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Menopause Nutrition – EstroFactors

Since 2000, two million women yearly have entered menopause. By 2015, 50% of women in the U.S. will be menopausal. Menopausal symptoms affect 80% of women with different presentations and intensity. Women experience these symptoms for months to years, while for some, symptoms can be life- long.

On a weekly basis I counsel women for menopausal concerns. While some women choose hormonal support, many women prefer to manage menopause with botanical and nutritional medicine. By far, hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbance are the most common complaint my patients feel negatively affect their energy, emotions and lifestyle.

I have found Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) to be a very effective herb for managing hot flashes. In the past 2 decades, there has been more research done on the treatment of hot flashes with Black Cohosh than on any other herb. Consensus from research shows that Black Cohosh does help with the menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disturbance, muscle aches. The mechanism of action for Black Cohosh remains unclear, but research has shown, it doesn’t have phytoestrogenic effects on the pituitary, uterus or breast tissue.

Isoflavones and kudzu (Pueraria lobata) root extract are extremely effective.  As with any botanical formula, the quality of the herbs are critical to its effectiveness. I use Metagenics’s EstroFactors with my patients. The benefits of EstroFactors:

  • Supports women with estrogen-related health issues by addressing multiple factors of estrogen activity and metabolism.?
  • Promotes healthy estrogen detoxification and elimination from the body, thus supporting overall hormone balance.?
  • Helps to modulate pathways of estrogen metabolism, such as the conversion of estradiol to 2-hydroxyestrone, a weaker estrogen that may protect estrogen-sensitive tissues.?
  • Beneficially influences estrogen receptor function for more balanced estrogenic activity.?
  • Features L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate a body-ready, nature-identical folate that is ideal for people whose folate status may be impacted by genetic variation.

EstroFactors  includes

Vitamin A (50% as Betatene? mixed carotenoids, 50% retinyl palmitate)  2500 IU
Vitamin D (as cholecalciferol) 200 IU
Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate) 200 IU
Vitamin K 40 mcg
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCI) 50 mg
Folate (as folic acid and L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate†) 800 mcg
Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin) 30 mcg
Isoflavones [from a proprietary blend of red clover (Trifolium pratense) flowering top extract and kudzu (Pueraria lobata) root extract]
100 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract [standardized to 95% (200 mg) curcuminoids] 210 mg
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Leaf Extract [contains 5.1%-7.6% (10.2 mg-15.2 mg) carnosic acid/carnosol] 200 mg
Resveratrol (from Polygonum cuspidatum root extract) 2 mg
Trimethylglycine (as betaine HCI) 200 mg
Chrysin 90 mg

Other Ingredients: stearic acid, microcrystalline cellulose, calcium silicate, croscarmellose sodium, silica, magnesium stearate, coating (deionized water, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, and carrageenan).

 Some women feel better within a week. Women continue to take EstroFactors until their menopause symptoms resolve.

EstroFactors is an excellent choice for an alternative to hormone replacement for menopausal woman.

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Protein Amounts During Pregnancy

I would like to know what amounts of protein are necessary for pregnant women? I have been eating the Paleo Diet since you introduced me to it. This is my first child. I am finding that my protein and fat requirements are significantly higher than what I usually eat.

Is there any research you could direct me to regarding protein requirements for pregnancy based on trimester?

Great question and I am thrilled you are prgnant! The bottom line is that you probably should increase your fat and carbohydrate consumption, and limit protein to about 20-25% of energy, as higher protein intakes than this may prove to be deleterious to mother and fetus for a variety of physiological reasons.

John Speth (an anthropologist) at the University of Michigan wrote a paper on protein aversion in hunter-gatherer women during pregnancy. Listed below is the abstract: (note the 25% protein energy ceiling!!!)

“During seasonal or inter-annual periods of food shortage and restricted total calorie intake, ethnographically and ethnohistorically documented human foragers, when possible, under-utilize foods that are high in protein, such as lean meat, in favour of foods with higher lipid or carbohydrate content. Nutritional studies suggest that one reason for this behaviour stems from the fact that pregnant women, particularly at times when their total calorie intake is marginal, may be constrained in the amount of energy they can safely derive from protein sources to levels below about 25% of total calories. Protein intakes above this threshold may affect pregnancy outcome through decreased mass at birth and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality…”

Pregnant women should include more carbohydrate and fat (i.e. fattier meats) in their diets and limit dietary protein to no more than 20-25% of their total caloric intake.

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Essential Fatty Acids May Help Ease PMS Symptoms

A supplement containing a mix of essential fatty acids and vitamin E may significantly reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to new research.

The study, published in Reproductive Health, reported that women given capsules containing two grams of a combination of essential lipids—including gamma linolenic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, other polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E—showed significantly-eased PMS symptoms at both three and six months after they began supplementation.

One or two grams of essential fatty acids resulted in a significant decrease in symptom  in PMS patients.

The authors said that between 80% and 95% of women are estimated to suffer from at least one of the symptoms of PMS in the premenstrual phase of the cycle, and of these around 35% have symptoms severe enough to affect their routine activities.

Essential fatty acids such as EPA-DHA 720 from Metagenics is a valid therapeutic option for women with PMS.

“Prolonged use of the supplement for six months appears to result in a better clinical improvement compared to the results found after three months of treatment…This reinforces the hypothesis that its effects on PMS symptoms are the result of its interaction with prolactin receptors through the action of prostaglandin E1 whose metabolism is directly affected by essential fatty acid levels,” the authors concluded.

Reproductive Health 8(1):2, 2010

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Type 2 diabetics & diet

I have a lot of  Type 2 diabetic patients who are looking for ways to control it better. I have seen consistently good results with  low-carb Paleo diets.

I hear lots of  stories from patients who have total cholesterol around 200 – 250. There GP doctors want them to go on cholesterol lowering meds. I am not in favor of this because from what I read, higher cholesterol is associated with increased longevity (lowest all-cause mortality and not just on cardiovascular mortality) especially in women.

People need to understand that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease; inflammation does and this is how statins, when they work, work. When I get clients on an anti-inflammatory diet (no sugar, grains, legumes,  and  the right oils) and using UltraInflamX or UltraMeal by Metagenics  it simply allows the body to go back to its natural, non-inflammatory state.

There are some pretty powerful statements made about this topic such as the ASCOT study, the largest randomized clinical study of statin effectiveness in women, found that the women who took Lipitor, developed more heart attacks than women in the group given placebo.  In this ASCOT study, 2,000 women were included among 10,000 patients having elevated blood pressure and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors.

Statins have only been shown statistically beneficial to men who have had a previous coronary event (statins reduce the rate of subsequent events).  This is why I’m still a believer in using UltraInflamX or UltraMeal along with diet recommendations.

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Breast cancer

A study followed postmenopausal women to see if any of a variety of supplements reduced their risk of developing breast cancer.  Among women using fish oil supplements, there was a 32% lower risk of developing breast cancer — although not of all types of breast cancer.  

I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics. Order @ www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com

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Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, and other osteoporosis drugs

The more we find out about this drug, the worse it gets.  If you are on these meds I hope you’ll do your research and consider natural alternatives like Ostera from Metagenics. Using a bisphosphonate drug–especially when taken for several years increases your risk of esophageal cancer. 

Have you ever wondered about those specific instructions that tell bisphosphonate users to drink a full glass of water and not lie down for 30 minutes after taking the drug?  If the drug isn’t swallowed properly, it can irritate the esophagus. If that happens too often, it can cause esophagitis–inflammation of the esophagus. 

A few years ago, Danish researchers reviewed more than 11,000 medical records and found that patients with esophagitis were significantly more likely to develop esophageal cancer.

Recognizing the importance of this potential link, a team of UK researchers examined medical records for more than 78,000 patients. As reported this past September in the British Medical Journal, the UK team found that extended bisphosphonate use (about five years) nearly DOUBLED the risk of esophageal cancer.

This is pretty horrifying when you consider that more than 20 million people have used Fosamax since it was introduced in the 90s. And that’s just one brand of this very popular class of drugs.

I recommend Ostera and Cal-Apatite. These can be ordered @ www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com

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Omega 3’s and breast cancer

In a British Journal of Cancer study, a French research team notes that cells in breast tumors can be made more sensitive to chemotherapy when lipids in the membrane are enriched with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.

To test this claim, researchers recruited 25 breast cancer patients whose cancer had spread to other parts of the body. At this stage, prognosis is not good, so treatments are aimed at delay of death and symptom relief. In nearly two-thirds of the subjects, cancer had spread to the liver. Expected survival time in these cases was about 14 months. After receiving a 1.8-gram DHA supplement daily for two to six months, the average survival time for the entire group was 22 months.

But this result was most impressive: Among 12 subjects who achieved the highest blood levels of DHA, average survival time was nearly three full years. That’s a lot of extra time when you’re expecting just 14 months.

Of course, we can’t assume that DHA supplementation would prompt even greater survival rates in women whose cancer had not spread beyond the breast. But for most patients there are many plusses with virtually no negatives in taking omega-3 supplements.

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