Food Emulsifiers Linked to Obesity

Digestion and the immune response begin in the gut, and studies have shown that a healthy gut equals less inflammation throughout the body, which leads to better health and less obesity.  This is one of the reasons that  health experts have praised probiotics; they improve gut flora and keep the gut balanced. While it has been suspected that processed foods interfere with gut health, a new study in Nature confirms this by showing that the emulsifiers found in food may be contributing to micobiota disturbances, which cause an increased incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome. It is important to remember that what we eat may be just as important, if not more important, than how much we eat! The take home message is to stay away from processed foods as much as possible and eat a natural diet low in sugar. Eat natural!

Beta Alanine

What is Beta-alanine and where is it found?

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid which can be made by the body. It is converted into carnosine in the body, which acts as an acid buffer by controlling the pH in cells. A high pH/acid accumulation in cells contributes to fatigue. Carnosine is also an anti-oxidant and anti-aging compound. Decreasing fatigue may contribute to increasing physical performance and exercise capacity.

What are the benefits?

Beta-alanine may improve athletic performance and build lean muscle mass, particularly during weight training and high-intensity exercise because it slows muscle fatigue.  It also may help improve performance and delay muscle fatigue of older adults and therefore decrease injury. Some studies show that beta-alanine may enhance the benefits of creatine combining the two supplements together may increase lean body mass and decrease body fat.

Are there interactions with food, medications or herbal supplement?


Are there side effects?

Side effects are rare, but the most common side effect is parathesia, include flushing and tingling like pins and needles.

Heart and Sole

February is Heart Health Month, so it is a great time to think about eating foods that make your heart healthy! Fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, benefit the hearts of both healthy people and those with cardiovascular disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish (especially fatty fish) twice a week. This is because fish is high in protein, low in saturated fat, and as stated before, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish baked or broiled instead of fried is important since fried foods may cancel out the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids.


Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid with three common forms: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). DHA and EPA are found in fish and seem to have the strongest health benefits. ALA is found in vegetable oils, flaxseed, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables. Our bodies do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we must get them through our food. Omega 3 fatty acids are also sold as supplements over the counter.

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the entire body, including the blood vessels, where inflammation may lead to heart disease.  Omega-3’s also decrease the risk of arrythmias, decrease trigylcerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke, and slow the growth of plaque formation in the arteries.  They may also improve pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis, decrease depression, decrease dementia, and decrease ADHD.

It is important to note that some fish contain high levels of mercury, PCBs and other environmental contaminants. Fish that are larger and predatory, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish have higher levels of these substances. Fish with lower levels of mercury include sole, shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Eat a variety of fish, limiting the amount of predatory fish, to keep your mercury intake low.  Pregnant women and children should be especially careful and avoid eating fish high in mercury since there may be adverse affects.

If you find you are not eating the recommended amount of fish each week, omega-3’s are available at

Fish is easy to prepare and can be made in a variety of ways, so be sure to get your minimum two servings a week. Your heart will thank you!


What are BCAAs and where are they found?

BCAAs stand for branched-chain amino acids, which include the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are essential nutrients found in proteins, such as meat, dairy and legumes.  They are considered “branched-chain” because of their chemical structure. BCAAS appear to stimulate protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown. They are unique because they are the only amino acids used directly by the muscle for energy during exercise, and therefore, they can be depleted quickly.

What are the benefits?

BCAAs are used to improve exercise performance and reduce the breakdown of muscles during intense exercise. They are also used to prevent fatigue, decrease muscle soreness, improve concentration, and to treat various medical conditions, such as anorexia, cancer, liver disease, mania, ALS, McArdle’s Disease, spinocerebellar degeneration, tardive dyskinesia, and kidney failure in elderly patients.

Are there interactions with food, medications or herbal supplement?

BCAAs may interact with diabetes medications because they may decrease blood sugar.  They also may interact with Levodopa, steroids, and diazoxide. Consult a physician when taking any of these medications before starting BCAAs.

Are there side effects?

BCAAs have few side effects; sometimes they may cause fatigue or loss of coordination. Consult a doctor before taking BCAAs if you are pregnant, have ALS, or chronic alcoholism. BCAAs should be stopped 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgery.

It Matters What Men Think

A new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science showed there is a link between women’s beliefs about what men look for in females and how satisfied women are with their own bodies.The research showed that that women were happier with their own weight when they were told that men preferred large-bodied women.  These women were had a better body image, higher levels of self-esteem, ate better, were more active and had and lower levels of depression. Many women believe that men desire extremely thin model-like women like those portrayed in fashion magazines and the media. This study shows that despite the popular media, women can increase their self-esteem if they believe that the men they are attracted to aren’t comparing them to a Barbie Doll and actually prefer a woman with some substance.

Sitting Shortens Life

It is common knowledge that physical activity and a good diet increase life expectancy, and there are many studies and articles advocating exercising and starting a better lifestyle. While daily exercise is certainly important, new research shows that sitting for extended periods of time during the day has a negative impact on health, even when you exercise regularly.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods of time raised the average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death, even for those people who engage in regular physical activity. Every day, we sit to drive, to watch television, to eat, and unfortunately, most of us sit all day at work.  In fact, Americans probably spend half of their waking life sitting! The risk is  higher for those individuals with lower levels of physical activity, so it is important to continue your exercise routine.

Sitting is inevitable, so make sure to get up and take breaks at work, and try  to stretch and walk around during TV commercials. And of course, exercise regularly no matter what you do the rest of the day. It will help lower your risk of diseases and premature death.

Holiday Weight Hard to Come Off

Many Americans are finding that the weight they gain during the holidays stubbornly does not come off at the start of the new year. According to a recent article in PLOS One Journal, this is because people wind up consuming MORE calories after Christmas!!! During the holiday season, people consume more calories than usual as they go to parties, buffets and large family feasts. However, they don’t stop purchasing junk food at the start of the new year, even though they start purchasing three times as many healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the consumption of healthy foods increased but consumption of non-healthy foods remained constant. This results in Americans eating 14% more calories and spending $20 more on each shopping trip than before the Christmas holiday! Yikes! Start 2015 off right and keep away from sugary fattening foods to get yourself back on the right track!

Sugar and Stress

We became so obsessed with cholesterol being the cause of heart disease, that we ignored the real problems…sugar, inflammation & stress ( from Frank Lipman).

As the new year approaches, think about making a healthier you by changing your lifestyle and behaviors. Do not just focus on one thing, like cholesterol. Illness is caused by many factors, and the best way to stay healthy is to drink plenty of water, exercise and get your protein and nutrients. You only have one body. Relax and take care of it!!!

Millions of American with Undiagnosed Diabetes

Make sure you are screened for diabetes! A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that nearly 3 in 10 Americans (8 million) with diabetes don’t know that they have it! Furthermore, about 2/3 of the undiagnosed patients had been to the doctor 2-3 times in the past year. Some of the risk factors for diabetes are being overweight or obese, having a family history of the disease, and a lack of physical activity. Diabetes symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing cuts and scrapes, and frequent urination. Diabetes is a major cause of death and the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations. Be your own best advocate and monitor your health. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions.