It is common knowledge that sugar promotes health problems and obesity. As a result, many people choose artificial sweeteners as an alternative to keep their food sweet during their weight loss programs. However, research from the Canadian Medical Association Journal has shown that artificial sweeteners do not lead to any significant weight loss, and instead, they are associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. So think twice before reaching for aspartame, saccharin or sucralose, and remember that all natural tends to win over processed and artificial for health benefits.
What is licorice and where is it found?
Licorice is a plant primarily grown in Greece, Turkey and Asia. It is mostly used
as a flavoring agent in foods and tobacco and foods, especially as a candy. The
licorice root is used to make medicine. It contains compound called glycyrrhizin,
which has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties.
What are the benefits of licorice?
Licorice is used orally to treat digestive issues such as dyspepsia (heartburn),
peptic ulcers, and gastritis. It is also used to treat sore throats, colds, and
coughs. Others use licorice to treat osteoarthritis, lupus and liver disorders. Some
research shows licorice reduces body fat and decreases weight. Topically, licorice
can be used in shampoos to decrease oiliness.
Are there interactions with food or medications and licorice?
Licorice should not be taken with grapefruit juice or salt since licorice can cause
potassium depletion and increase sodium and water retention Licorice should not
be taken with Coumadin and care should be taken with estrogens, digoxin,
diuretics, corticosteroids, and medications changed by the liver.
Are there side effects from licorice?
Licorice may cause fluid retention and low potassium levels, which may lead to
high blood pressure, headaches, lethargy, acute renal failure, edema,
arrhythmias, and muscle weakness. High levels of licorice may also affect cortisol
levels in the body.
To purchase licorice: http://www.metagenics.com/mp/products/licorice-plus
Enter practitioner code: DGroothuisRD
What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?
CLA, an essential fatty acid, is an isomer of linoleic acid, which is an
essential polyunsaturated fatty acid found in many vegetable oils. An
isomer is a compound with the same molecular formula but different
Where is CLA found?
CLAs are found naturally in eggs, milk fat, beef, and the meat of cud
chewing animals, called ruminant animals. Kangaroo meat has the highest
concentration of CLAs. CLAs are much higher in grass-fed ruminants than
grain-fed ones. It can also be produced synthetically by exposing plant
oils that are rich in linoleic acid (like safflower and soybean oil) to a base
What are the benefits of CLA?
CLAs have been found to be effective in reducing the risk of colorectal
cancer and improving body composition in people who are obese or
overweight. Studies have shown that it helps decrease body fat and
increase lean body mass. Other possible uses are for bodybuilding, breast
cancer, cachexia (weight loss due to disease), decreasing food allergies,
Are there interactions between CLA and food, herbs or other supplements?
There is some evidence that CLAs may increase the storage of Vitamin A in
the liver and breast tissues.
Are there side effects from CLAS?
Some people report GI issues while taking CLAs, such as diarrhea, nausea,
fatigue, and dyspepsia. There is also concern that CLA supplements may
create or worsen insulin resistance in extremely overweight individuals,
which may worsen diabetes and or put them at an increased risk for
To purchase CLAs: http://www.metagenics.com/mp/products/ultra-cla
Practitioner code: DGroothuisRD
What is inositol and where is it found?
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that is found in many foods, especially fruit
such as cantaloupe and oranges. It is also found in grains and beans, but in a
form that is not bio-available to the human body. Unofficially, it is referred to as
vitamin B8. It works by balancing certain chemicals in the body, like
neurotransmitters, and may participate in the action of serotonin. Inositol is sold
as a supplement.
What are the benefits of inositol?
Inositol has been shown to be effective in treating obsessive-compulsive
disorder, panic disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Some people take
inositol to treat Alzheimer’s disease, ADHA, depression, and diabetic neuropathy
and autism. Others take it to treat high blood pressure, psoriasis, and high
Are there interactions with food or medications and inositol?
Are there side effects from inositol?
It is well tolerated but can possible cause nausea, tiredness, headache, and
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. It is not
fermented like black and oolong teas. Instead, it is steamed at high
temperatures, which prevents oxidation by inactivating certain oxidizing
enzymes. As a result, green tea is high in polyphenols, such as flavanols (which
include catechins), flavandiols, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Catechins seem to
be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.
Where is it found?
Green tea can be found in any grocery store tea section. Both caffeinated and
decaffeinated varieties are available. It is also sold as an oral supplement and
topical extract ointment.
What are the benefits of green tea?
Intake of green tea is used to improve cognitive performance and mental
alertness. It is also used to treat prevent/treat certain cancers, hyperlipidemia,
Parkinson’s disease, and hypotension. It may be effective as an aid in weight
loss, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. When used
topically, green tea is used to treat genital warts. Additionally, the bags can be
used to wash and soothe sunburn and as a compress for a headache or tired
Are there interactions with medications and green tea?
Because of the caffeine in green tea, one should be cautious and consult a
doctor when taking amphetamines, cocaine, ephedrine, mexiletine, terbinafine
(lamisil), adenosine, anticoagulant drugs, beta-andrenergic agonists, boronic
acid-based proteaseome inhibititors, bortezomib (velcade), cimetidine (tagamet),
clozapine (clozaril), dipyridamole (persantine), lithium, hepatotoxic drugs,
fluvoxamine (luvox), fluconazole (diflucan), and estrogens.
Green tea appears to reduce the absorption of iron from foods. Also, milk added
to green tea has been shown to enhance some of the cardiovascular benefits of
Are there side effects from green tea?
Some possible (but rare) side effects may be nausea, vomiting, abdominal
bloating and pain, flatulence, diarrhea, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, and
What is Green Coffee Extract?
Green coffee extract come from green coffee beans, which are coffee beans that
have not been roasted. Therefore, they have a higher level of chlorogenic acid,
which is an antioxidant that boosts metabolism by changing the way glucose is
absorbed in the body.
Most of the research on green coffee has used Svetol by Naturex, which is a type
of green coffee bean extract. Svetol comes from the Robusta variety of beans
instead of the Arabica variety used by many other companies. Svetol is
decaffeinated and is only sold to nutraceutical companies to manufacture their
own weight loss supplements.
Where is green coffee extract found?
It is a supplement. It is recommended to take 400mg 30 minutes before each
What are the benefits of green coffee extract?
Green coffee extract has been shown to be effective in decreasing blood
pressure and aiding in weight loss. It is also used to improve cardiovascular
health and lower blood sugar levels.
Are there interactions with green coffee extract and medications?
Too much caffeine interferes with the absorption of calcium. Also, be careful
when taking hypotensive medications since it has as blood pressure lowering
Are there side effects from green coffee extract?
Green coffee contains caffeine and therefore may have caffeine-related side
effects, such as insomnia, upset stomach, headaches, anxiety, and nervousness.
The caffeine may also worsen diarrhea, osteoporosis and Irritable Bowel
What is ginseng and where is it found?
Ginseng is an herbal supplement that comes from a plant root. There are two
main types: Asian/Korean (Panax) ginseng and American ginseng, which have
different benefits. Ginseng does not come naturally from foods. In additional to
being an oral supplement, ginseng is also used to make soaps and cosmetics,
and it is a flavoring in many beverages.
What are the benefits of ginseng?
Panax ginseng is used to improve thinking, concentration, and memory. It is
also used to enhance well-being and to help people cope with stress; hence, it is
known as an “adaptogen.” Panax ginseng has also been shown to be effective
for diabetes, male impotence, COPD, and premature ejaculation.
American Ginseng has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and to decrease
the risk of developing symptoms from upper respiratory tract infections. It also
may boost the immune system, improve mood, and increase endurance.
People take both types of ginsengs to increase athletic performance and physical
stamina. They also take ginseng to treat depression, anxiety, cancer, anemia,
heart disease, hepatitis C, menopausal symptoms, blood pressure and insomnia.
Are there interactions between ginseng and food or medications?
Ginseng shouldn’t be taken with other diabetes medications because of its affect
on blood sugar levels. It also may also interfere with warfarin or other
medications for depression. One should also avoid stimulant drugs and caffeine
while taking ginseng.
Are there side effects from ginseng?
The side effects are generally mild. Some people experience insomnia, dizziness,
stomach upset, or nervousness.
Vitamin D is essential for bone growth and maintenance, and may be linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Over the last 10 years, blood panels commonly include Vitamin D, since approximately 40% of people in the US do not have sufficient levels of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is synthesized in the body after exposure to the sun. However, most people do not get all the vitamin D they require from sun exposure alone, and therefore they must rely on foods. There are two types of vitamin D in foods, D-2 from plant sources and D-3 from animal sources. Recent research has shown that vitamin D-3 was twice as effective as D-2 in increasing blood Vitamin D levels. Many food and supplement companies currently use Vitamin D-2 in their products, and this finding may affect the retail sector. This is just another reason to read food labels and to make sure you are purchasing the most active nutrients to benefit your health.
New Research posted in the journal Obesity found that exercise can help improve the daily activities of obese older adults. As people age, especially if they are obese, sometimes they lose the ability to perform day to day tasks or even walk short distances, which can negatively affect their independence. The study focused on balance, flexibility, walking and strength and found that obese seniors improved their mobility and decreased their risk for a mobility disorder when engaged in the exercise program compared to those that just received education. The take home message is that exercise is important at any age and at any weight. Exercise is vital to remain functional and independent, and its benefits must be taken seriously!
My patients often ask me, “What is like to be ringside for the biggest fights in the world,” or “What is Mike Tyson like?” Having worked professional fights for over 20 years from Madison Square Garden and Barclay’s to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, I have really had a lot of fun being a boxing doctor. It is fun for my patients to see me on tv and I enjoy when they tell me they saw me on HBO or Showtime over the weekend. I have presented on Ringside Medicine at conferences in Beijing, China and Berlin, Germany and of course numerous times in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Traveling is part of the fun of being a ringside doc but meeting and teaching my fellow doctors around the world has been extremely rewarding and I know I am giving back to this great sport.