The Problem with Artificial Sweeteners

Many people assume that using artificial sweeteners helps lower their sugar content and decrease caloric intake, which aids in weight control and diabetes prevention. However, studies have reported a correlation between diabetes and the use of artificial sweeteners. New research published in Current Biology has an explanation for this link. When a sweet tasting low calorie food is consumed, the body responds not only to the caloric content, but also to the perception of sweet taste, which causes a mismatch. The study shows that brain gets tricked by the sweet taste and lack of calories, which triggers an incorrect metabolic response. Our bodies are not sure how to process the energy in our new food supply, and this may cause issues with disease states, absorption, and metabolism. This is just another reason to eat organic, natural foods and to stay away from processed foods with chemicals. DG.



What is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and leaves. It
has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and cardioprotective

Where is quercitin found?
It is found in red wine, red grapes, black and green tea, onions (especially
red onion), kale, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, apples,
berries, capers, and citrus fruit.

What are the benefits of quercitin?
Quercetin has been shown to be effective for reducing pain and improving
the quality of life of patients with prostatitis. It is also used to treat
coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension and to reduce
the risk of lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. It is taken after kidney
transplants to improve kidney function. Further, quercetin is used to
increase exercise endurance and improve performance.

Are there interactions with quercitin and food, herbs or other supplements?
None known. Quercetin is found in some other herbs, such as St John’s
wort, Ginkgo biloba, and American elder.

Are there side effects from quercitin?
Quercetin may cause headaches and tingling of the extremities. If taken
intravenously, there may be sweating, nausea, and vomiting.



What is Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is an antioxidant with immunostimulating properties that is extracted
from the pine bark of a tree known as Pinus pinaster, also known as French
Maritime Pine Bark. It contains flavonoids, including catechin, and taxifolin, and
the bioflavonoid, procyanidin. Pycnogenol is a trademarked French name, but
similar compounds are found in other pine bark extracts, grape seed extract, and
peanut skins.

Where is pycnogenol found?
It is a supplement. However, it can also be brewed as a tea made from pine

What are the benefits of pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol has been shown to be effective in treating allergic rhinitis and
asthma. It has also seems to increase athletic endurance and decrease
hypertension. Further, it appears to slow or prevent retinopathy and improve
circulatory function. Pycnogenol is added to many skin creams and products
because of its anti-aging properties. It may help slow the aging process and
maintain healthy skin. Some people also use pycnogenol for diabetes, leg
cramps, menopausal symptoms, and coronary artery disease.

Are there interactions with medications and pycnogenol?
Because of its immunostimulating properties, pycnogenol may interfere with
immunosuppressant therapy and should not be taken with immunosuppressant
drugs or by people with autoimmune disorders.

Are there side effects from pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol may cause dizziness, gut problems, headaches, and mouth ulcers.



What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (usually bacteria), which support digestion
and the immune system. They are considered “good bacteria” because of their
positive influence on the gut. The World Health Organization defines probiotics
as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer
a health benefit on the host.” The two most common probiotics come from two
groups of bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are different
species and strains in each of these different groups. Some probiotics are yeast.

Where are probiotics found?
They are found in dietary supplements and in foods, such as fermented foods
and cultured milk products. There has been some recent controversy over
whether foods with supplemental probiotics, such as Activia, are effective.

What are the benefits of probiotics?
Probiotics help with the immune system, protect against microorganisms that can
cause disease, and help the digestions and absorption of food and nutrients.
They have been shown to be effective for diarrhea, infant colic, IBS (Irritable
Bowel Syndrome), respiratory tract infections in children, ulcerative colitis,
pouchitis (a condition that may occur after removal of the colon), and atopic
dermatitis. For some it may prevent the common cold, UTIs (urinary tract
infections), and lactose intolerance. Since there are cells in the digestive tract
connected to the immune system, it is believed that probiotics can affect the
immune system’s defenses by altering the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Are there interactions with medications and probiotics?
Taking antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of probiotics. Also, ingestion
of probiotics may negatively affect patients taking immunosuppressant. There is
a risk that those patients have a higher risk of infection.
Side effects of taking probiotics are mild, if any. Some people complain of gas or
bloating, which dissipates after continued use.

To purchase probiotics: http://www.metagenics.com/mp/products/ultraflora-spectrum

Practitioner code: DGroothuisRD



What is mulberry and where is it found?
Mulberry is a plant, which includes a wide variety of trees and shrubs and
contains a fruit that resembles blackberries. The powdered leaves of white
mulberry are used as an herb for medicine, while the fruit is eaten both raw and
cooked. The fruit of the mulberry is high in phytonutrients, especially
resveratrol, a flavonoid antioxidant. They are also high in protein, iron and many
other vitamins and minerals.

What are the benefits of mulberry?
Mulberry has been used to treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar. It seems
to slow the breakdown of sugar in the body, which increases the length of time
food is absorbed prevents blood sugar from rising too rapidly. It is also used to
treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, and the
common cold. Some people use it for hair loss and premature graying,
constipation and asthma.

Are there interactions with medications and mulberry?
None known.

Are there side effects from mulberry?
Avoid taking mulberry during pregnancy and breast-feeding because very few
studies have been done and there is not enough information known.

Why Functional Medicine?

Have you ever gone to the doctor with a laundry list of symptoms and he/she is unable to diagnose your ailment or offer solutions? Or have you tried multiple prescriptions and therapies for symptoms that you can’t seem to alleviate? That is because conventional medicine treats the disease state instead of the individual person. Conventional medicine does not treat the causes of the disease; instead, its purpose is to diagnose and to treat the signs and symptoms of a disease state AFTER a patient’s symptoms have progressed. This is just a band aid and ultimately does not restore health or promote wellness.

The purpose of functional medicine is to identify and to alleviate the causes of disease while seeking to determine how and why the illness progressed. With proper treatment, most chronic disease is preventable and curable since chronic disease is a result of dysfunction in our bodies. This dysfunction is caused by genetics, lifestyle choices, and the environment.  Since each person is different, the root causes of disease may vary from person to person. Both the environment and genetics influence the body’s physiological symptoms, and they must be investigated to correct clinical imbalances. Functional medicine relies on research from nutritional science, genomics and epigenics to create personalized, individual treatment plans. Patients and practitioners work together to alleviate and to reverse the causes of disease at the cellular level.  Instead of treating disease states with medications and surgery, functional medicine focuses on lifestyle and environmental changes including diet, nutrition, exercise, stress, and psychosocial issues. It combines western medical practice with alternative therapies such as supplements, herbs, detoxification programs, therapeutic diets, and stress management techniques.

Many patients who visit functional medicine practitioners find that after years of unsuccessful treatments, they now feel dramatically better. My personal story is a great example of why I advocate for functional medicine practitioners. In my mid-twenties, I developed symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and every night I was plagued by terrible stomach pains and bowel issues. For ten years I sought treatment from GI doctors, who could only offer me my diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They said there was no treatment, and while some doctors did recommend some different food choices,  I could not correct my problems. I thought I was doomed!

In my thirties, a friend recommended that I see a functional medicine practitioner, and my choice to follow that path has been life changing. The first thing my functional medicine doctor said to me was, “We know that your bowel is irritable, but why is it irritable?” After a detoxification diet, a heavy dose of probiotics, and some herbal supplements to heal the inflammation in my gut and to improve my gut flora, I ceased having irritable bowel symptoms. After some trial and error, we discovered my personal dysfunction and how to treat my individual issues. I still have to be careful with what I eat and I had to learn my triggers, but I was able to heal.

My goal is for anyone plagued by symptoms they can’t alleviate to seek treatment other than conventional medicine. This is not a boycott of regular medical checkups or therapies. Conventional medicine has its place, especially in advanced disease states. However, sometimes a combination of conventional medicine and functional medicine is the correct path to follow for optimal health and wellness. Research has shown that conventional medicine needs to catch up with the current studies.



What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral found in the human body, which is essential to
good health. It is needed in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the
body and it is involved in keeping bones strong, supporting the immune
system, and maintaining muscle and nerve functions. Additionally,
magnesium is involved in energy metabolism, protein synthesis, blood
sugar regulation, and in promoting normal blood pressure levels.

Where is magnesium found?
Most foods that are high in fiber are also high in magnesium. Magnesium
is found in vegetables, such as broccoli, squash and green leafy vegetables
like spinach. It is also found in beans, peas, nuts, seeds and unrefined
grains. Other sources include dairy products, raisins, bananas, coffee,
meats and avocado.

What are the benefits of magnesium?
Magnesium is effective as a laxative for constipation and in treating
magnesium deficiency and dyspepsia (heartburn). It has also been shown
to relieve PMS, prevent bone loss, prevent type 2 diabetes, decrease
cholesterol, improve chronic fatigue syndrome, treat arrhythmias and
prevent stroke, prevent bone loss, and lower the risk of developing
metabolic syndrome. Some people use magnesium to improve energy and
endurance during athletic activity, decrease hypertension, and treat

Are there interactions between magnesium and food, herbs or
other supplements?
Calcium and zinc decrease the absorption of magnesium, while boron and
vitamin D increase the absorption of magnesium.

Are there side effects from magnesium?
In some people, magnesium may cause an upset stomach, nausea,
vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

To purchase Magnesium: http://www.metagenics.com/mp/products/mag-glycinate

Practitioner code: DGroothuisRD

Watch the Intensity of Your Workouts

Current exercise guidelines state that heavy weight training, explosive movements, and high intensity cardio should be avoided by beginners until they demonstrate that they are ready to progress. Often, people overlook these guidelines and start programs at full speed rather than gradually increasing the level of intensity. This can prove to be dangerous, and this was demonstrated in the American Journal of Medicine and highlighted in an article published by the New York Times.   Doctors have been finding that some people, especially beginners, have developed a condition called rhabdomyolysis after taking high intensity spin classes. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition caused by extreme exercise that might be potentially life threatening. While some muscle damage is normal and beneficial for muscle growth, rhabodmyolysis occurs when the stress is so great that fibers are destroyed and break apart to release myoglobin, which is harmful to the liver. This condition does not only affect spinners; in fact, doctors found it associated with  any type of excessive weight training, running, P90X, and Cross Fit Classes. It is important to note that not all the people who developed rhabdomyolysis were unfit; but, they were pushed too hard and then developed muscle trauma. It is extremely important to give muscles adequate time adjust to new exercises. When you start any kind of new exercise program,  and do a less intense version to start. Work your way up gradually and know your limits!

Do Artificial Sweeteners Aid in Weight Loss?

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