Monday, August 29, 2016

Nine Superfoods for Diabetics

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola

As of 2012, up to 14 percent of the American population had type 2 diabetes, and as much as 38 percent were pre-diabetic. This suggests about HALF of all American adults are either pre-diabetic or diabetic.1,2
At least 20 percent of the population in every U.S. state is also obese3 — a condition that severely predisposes you to diabetes. That said, being skinny is not a blanket assurance of health.
Recent research suggests one-third of normal-weight adults may also be pre-diabetic without knowing it.4 Children are also getting fatter and unhealthier.
According to recent research, 7 million children in the U.S. have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and close to one-third of these kids also have either pre-diabetes or diabetes.5
Great Britain has also seen a rapid rise in these conditions. In 2003, 11.6 percent of people in Great Britain were diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That number had tripled by 2011, reaching over 35 percent.
As noted by BBC News,6 "The world is facing an 'unrelenting march' of diabetes that now affects nearly 1 in 11 adults" worldwide. Statistics such as these point to two very important facts:
Genetics cannot be a primary cause of diabetes
Something we're consistently doing must be horribly wrong
In this case, that "something" is a combination of seriously flawed food choices, poor exposure to natural sunlight and lack of physical activity.

Optimal Sun Exposure Required for Health and Diabetes

You may have the perfect diet but if you have failed to optimize your exposure to the sun and assiduously avoid blue light from artificial sources, not just at night but all day, then you will likely be challenged to achieve high level health.
Why? It's a very complex explanation, but the end summary is that it helps to optimize your mitochondrial function.
Please also review my recent article on using indoor sunglasses to minimize your exposure to blue light from artificial lights. They only need to be used when the lights are on and you are indoors, even in the daytime. Most people think they are only for night time use but this is incorrect.
Additionally, establishing an optimal circadian rhythm is important, so going outside, ideally barefoot, shortly after waking up and close to sunrise, exposing your eyes to natural sunlight for 3 to 5 minutes, is an important health practice.
If you have a night job, please consider changing your job as it is seriously damaging your health. Additionally, it would be ideal to get one to three hours of unfiltered sunlight (not through a window or sunglasses) every day and expose as much skin as you can.

Understanding the Cause of Type 2 Diabetes

Conventional medicine has type 2 diabetes pegged as a problem with blood sugar rather than the underlying problem of improper insulin and leptin signaling.
The reality is that diabetes is a disease rooted in insulin resistance, and perhaps more importantly, a malfunction of leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. This is why treating type 2 diabetes with insulin does not resolve the problem.
What's worse, this treatment actually exacerbates it, and can lead to the development of type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes — an autoimmune disease in which your immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of your pancreas, resulting in an inability to produce any significant insulin.
If left untreated, this condition will ultimately cause death from a hyperglycemic coma. Lifestyle choices are the best strategies to controlling your blood sugar, reducing your risk of diabetes and preventing secondary health problems from the condition.
Historically, the rise in diabetes was prompted by a flawed nutritional and exercise program initiated by the now-refuted Seven Countries Study.
The study, published in the 1950s by the sugar industry-funded researcher Ancel Keys, Ph.D., sparked an increase in the quantity of net carbohydrates recommended in your diet and a severe reduction in healthy fats. This imbalance affects your cellular resistance to the hormones insulin, leptin and ghrelin.
This cellular resistance is the real foundation to problems with diabetes — not high blood sugar, which is a symptom, not the cause.

Diabetics Need to Rigorously Avoid High-Carb Diets

Most of the food people eat these days is skewing their metabolism toward insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Most Americans are burning glucose as their primary fuel, which elevates blood sugar and promotes insulin resistance and inhibits your body's ability to access and burn body fat — hence, the connection between obesity and diabetes. Healthy fat, meanwhile, is a far preferable sort of fuel, as it burns far more efficiently than carbs.
The good news is that insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes can all be resolved through proper nutrition and exercise. One of the most important dietary recommendations is to limit net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and protein, replacing them with higher amounts of high quality healthy fats.
Most Americans consume harmful fats like industrially processed vegetable oils, which will invariably cause health problems.
So when we're talking about eating more fat, we're referring to natural, unprocessed fats found in real foods like seeds, nuts, butter, olives, avocado or coconut oil. Another good one is raw cacao — it's a phenomenal source of healthy saturated fats and many beneficial polyphenols.
One of the most efficient way to train your body to use fat for fuel is to remove sugars and starches from your diet.
The reason why low-net carb diets work so well for diabetics is because it helps you shift out of this nonfiber carb-based metabolism that depends on elevated insulin levels to drive blood sugar into cells and use carbs for fuel.

Diabetic? Track Your Net Carbs

The most important number to keep track of is your net carbs. This is calculated by subtracting the amount of fiber in grams from your daily total of carbohydrates in grams. The resulting number is your net carbs. A key way of preventing diabetes is to keep your net carbs below 50 grams per day.
The only way you'll know how many total carbs, fiber and net carbs you eat is to keep a food diary. The simplest way of doing this is to use an online nutrition tracker.
You need not do this forever, only as long as it takes for your body to remember how to burn fat as your primary fuel. This can be a few weeks to a few months. Once your body shifts, you can increase your healthy net carbs based on your activity level.
But be careful initially as you may be surprised at how quickly sandwich bread, pasta, soda, cookies and cakes add up — sometimes to over 350 grams per day. This high carb level increases your resistance to insulin and malfunction of leptin, increasing your risk of diabetes.
There are a number of trackers available, but my first choice is That's my revision of the basic Cronometer tracker, and it's already set to default to calculate macronutrient levels based on a healthy high-fat, low-carb diet to get you into nutritional ketosis.
With these basic guidelines in place, following are nine "superfoods" for diabetics7 that you'd be wise to add to your diet on a regular basis.

1. Fatty Fish Low in Mercury
One of the most important foods for diabetes is seafood, as it provides the essential animal-based omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from a food source.
DHA is vitally important as it is the only fat we know of that allows your body to take advantage of the photoelectric effect, the one that Einstein received his Noble Prize for. It converts the photons from the sun into DC electric current (electrons), which help fuel your mitochondria.
Optimal levels of DHA are one of the most important nutritional interventions that you can choose to make. If you haven't already checked your omega-3 index test to confirm your levels are adequate, I would strongly encourage you to do so.
That said, as levels of pollution have increased, you have to be very choosy about which types of seafood you eat. Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs and other agricultural chemicals. If you're not careful, the toxic effects from the pollutants in the fish will outweigh the benefits of the omega-3 fats. Here are some important factors to consider:
Choose fatty fish from cold-water locations, as not all seafood is a good source of omega-3. Good choices include wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring and fish roe.
Avoid farm-raised fish, as they can actually be more hazardous than wild in terms of their toxic content. For example, researchers warn that farmed salmon may be one of the most toxic foods in the world, thanks to toxins found in the feed. Levels of omega-3 fats may also be reduced by as much as 50 percent in farmed salmon, compared to wild salmon, due to the grains they're fed.
To evaluate your mercury exposure from various seafood sources, check out the online mercury calculator at The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also has a seafood calculator9 that can help you identify fish that are high in omega-3 and low in pollutants.

2. Avocado
Avocado (which is actually a fruit, not a vegetable) is a great source of healthy fat, fiber and about 20 different vitamins and minerals, including magnesium. As noted by Medical News Today:
"Eating foods that contain healthy fats may help increase fullness. Eating fat slows the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps to keep blood sugar levels more stable. Avocado is high in fiber too, with half a fruit containing 6 to 7 grams … Eating high-fiber foods can … improve weight loss, and make insulin more efficient. Spread avocado on toast in the morning instead of butter. Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in chicken or egg salad."
3. Seeds (Sunflower, Black Sesame, Black Cumin, Pumpkin and Chia)
Magnesium is a very important nutrient that many are deficient in. Lack of magnesium may raise your risk of insulin resistance, as it plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. Besides that, your body needs magnesium for more than 300 other biological and chemical processes, so make sure you're getting enough. As noted by Medical News Today:10
"For every 100 [milligram per day] mg/day increase in magnesium intake (up to a point), the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases by approximately 15 percent.11 Most magnesium intake in these studies was from dietary sources, not supplements. Clinical studies have shown improvement in insulin sensitivity with magnesium intake between 300 and 365 mg/day. Researchers were also able to show that low magnesium levels resulted in impaired insulin secretion and lower insulin sensitivity."
Some of the most magnesium-rich foods are seeds. Additionally, although most of us are overloaded on unhealthy industrially processed omega 6 oils, we clearly need some, and unprocessed seeds are a terrific source:

Sunflower:  One-quarter cup of sunflower seeds gives you 128 mg of magnesium.
Black sesame: 1 ounce of sesame seeds contain about 101 mg of magnesium.
Black cumin: Black cumin has a long history of medicinal use. Packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting components, black cumin has even been shown to have potent anti-cancer activity.12 Studies have also shown black cumin can help prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In one study, black cumin (nigella sativa) improved glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin.13
Pumpkin: 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds will provide you with 74 mg of magnesium (about 25 percent of your recommended daily intake). Pumpkin seed butter can be made at home; simply blend whole, raw pumpkin seeds in a food processor until smooth.
Chia: Besides magnesium, chia seeds are also a good source of healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. Just 1 ounce of chia seeds provides 10 grams of fiber. Add them to smoothies and salads
Other foods high in magnesium14 include nuts (especially almonds and cashews) and dark leafy greens (especially boiled spinach, which provides 78 mg of magnesium per cup). Avocados also contain magnesium.

4. Fiber and Digestive-Resistant Carbs
Diabetics also need to mind their fiber intake. Research15 shows that people with high intakes of dietary fiber not only have a significantly lower risk of obesity and diabetes, but also a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and gastrointestinal ailments.

Importantly, higher fiber intake has been shown to improve glycemia, leptin and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals alike. The best sources of fiber in your diet come from whole foods and include the following. Aim for about 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.

Chia seeds Berries Almonds
Cauliflower Root vegetables and tubers, such as onions and sweet potatoes Green beans
Peas Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts Organic psyllium seed husk
 Artichokes ✓ Freshly ground flaxseed meal. Never use pre-ground as it is oxidized and damagedBlack beans

Digestive-resistant starches also help maintain a steady blood sugar level. This refers to low-viscous dietary fibers that resist digestion in the small intestine and slowly ferment in your large intestine.16 Here, resistant starches act as prebiotics, feeding healthy bacteria. Since they're indigestible, resistant starches do not result in blood sugar spikes. In fact, research suggests resistant starches help improve insulin regulation, reducing your risk of insulin resistance.17,18,19,20

Foods high in digestive-resistant starch include certain underripe fruits, specifically banana, papaya and mango, as well as white beans, lentils, seeds and products like potato starch, tapioca starch and brown rice flour. Interestingly, cooking a normally digestible starch such as potato or pasta and then cooling it in the refrigerator will alter the chemistry of the food, transforming more of it into resistant-type starch.21

5. Walnuts
Research shows higher nut consumption is associated with lower body weight, which is helpful for maintaining normal blood sugar levels.22 Walnuts, in particular, are a healthy choice for diabetics as they're high in fiber and healthy fats.

In one recent study,23 participants at increased risk of developing diabetes who added 2 ounces of walnuts to their daily diet for six months showed improvements in blood vessel wall (epithelial) function, and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Walnuts are great for snacking when you might otherwise be tempted to reach for chips or crackers. You can easily make your own trail mix, combining walnuts, pumpkin seeds and raw cacao nibs, for example. They're also a great addition to salads.

6. Spinach
Besides magnesium, spinach is also a superb source of potassium, low levels of which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and diabetes complications. Cooked spinach provides 839 mg of potassium per cup. For comparison, one cup of banana — well-known as a potassium-rich food — contains 539 mg of potassium. One way to dramatically increase your spinach intake is to juice it. You can also add it to salad along with other mixed greens.

7. Strawberries
Fisetin, a substance found in strawberries, has been shown to prevent kidney and brain complications in diabetic mice.24 Human studies have also demonstrated that people who eat plenty of berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, have a lower risk of both diabetes, heart attacks and dementia — outcomes thought to be related to the anthocyanins (a class of flavonoids) found in red, blue and purple-colored berries.25

Studies have also linked the high vitamin C content of strawberries to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. One cup of fresh strawberries provides 160 percent of your daily need of vitamin C. They're a delicious addition to salad (spinach, walnut and strawberries make a tasty combination). You can also blend fresh or frozen strawberries into your smoothies. According to one such study:26
"Though diabetes is not traditionally considered a risk factor for vitamin C deficiency, patients with diabetes should all receive dietary advice about healthy eating and vitamin C dietary sources, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The recommended dietary intake of vitamin C is 45 mg per day for adults.
There are some data suggesting that people with diabetes may have increased cellular uptake and turnover of vitamin C that would necessitate increased intake, and they also have an increased risk of deficiency."
8. Ginger
Research suggests ginger may help reduce fasting blood sugar in diabetics.27 Part of this effect relates to its anti-inflammatory capacity. Indeed, anti-inflammatory diets in general are helpful for the prevention of diabetes. Ginger is often used in cooking. For example, you can add fresh, grated ginger to sauces, marinades and dressing. Alternatively, drink a cup or two of ginger tea each day. Simply steep a slice of fresh ginger in boiling water for a few minutes.

9. Cinnamon
Cinnamon is another common cooking spice that has garnered attention for its anti-diabetes benefits. Besides sprinkling it on sweet potatoes or carrots, you can add it to tea for a flavorful kick in lieu of sugar, which is best avoided anyway. As noted in Medical News Today:28
"Participants in one study29 who took a high dose of cinnamon reduced their average blood sugar levels from 8.9 percent to 8.0 percent. Participants who took a low dose of cinnamon reduced their average blood sugar levels from 8.9 to 8.2 percent. Participants who did not take cinnamon saw no change."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Probiotic Strains Matched to the Illnesses They Heal

Reposted from Healthy Home Economist

Imagine you are at the doctor’s office for help with a specific health concern. After a full examination, your doctor pulls out a prescription pad to write you a script for – gasp – a probiotic strain.

The prescription is handed to you, and you take a look at it.  Looking up in surprise, you ask the doctor if the recommendation is indeed for a probiotic rather than an antibiotic.
The doctor nods his/her head and explains that the particular strain recommended for your ailment has been found to have an 86% success rate as tested in a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

You ask about side effects, and your doctor replies that there — ARE NONE.
You are (understandably) amazed. You take your prescription, fill it, take as directed, and your condition is taken care of…with minimal discomfort. You even experience other health issues clearing up — that you thought were completely unrelated.
Sound like a far-fetched scenario?

Depending on how up-to-date and open minded your health provider is, this may already be a reality. And it may become more of a reality in mainstream medicine in the future.

The reason?  Researchers are taking quite an interest in probiotic strains and their effects on human and animal health. In recent years there has been a surge in the study of probiotics, the human microbiota, and other related applications.

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host”.

Some of the Ways Probiotics Keep Us Healthy

Probiotics have the ability to hinder or kill pathogens by strain-specific processes such as:

1. “Crowding Out” Pathogens

When probiotics are taken in sufficient and therapeutic amounts they can do the work of crowding out pathogens and using the nutrients and space that would otherwise be used by the pathogens.

2. Secreting Beneficial Chemicals

Probiotics produce and secrete molecules like bacteriocins (a protein produced by bacteria of one strain that is active against those of a closely related strain), hydrogen peroxide, antibiotics and more, that control the growth and survival of surrounding microorganisms.

3. Positive Stimulation of the Immune System

Probiotics “chat” with the immune system part of the gut (epithelial cells, Peyer’s patches M cells, and immune cells) encouraging them to have a response to pathogens and to contribute to the mucosal barrier, among other beneficial activities.

Specific Strains for Specific Issues

All this research has really exciting implications. Probiotics, rather than harmful prescription drugs with their many, dangerous, and even life-threatening side effects could become common and be used effectively by both mothers and health care practitioners alike. As consumers and patients let us be asking, no demanding, these kind of solutions for our family!

Below I have given 8 examples of specific conditions helped by specific probiotic strains (stay tuned for why the specific strain is important).

If your particular health challenge is not listed, please refer to my book a Mother’s Guide to Probiotics for a complete list of ailments matched to the best probiotic strains(s) as determined by the scientific research available today.

Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea

A meta-analysis of 34 double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies that included 4,138 people, concluded that the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,  when given at the same time as antibiotics, had a greater than 60% reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Probiotic strain tested to help:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Which can be found in these brands:
  1. Culturelle –  USA, UK, Canada
  2. Ethical Nutrients – Australia
Below are further examples of common conditions — and the probiotic strains tested to be effective in treating them.


Yes! There are even probiotics for anxiety. Our digestive tract has a profound effect on our mood and anxiety is no exception.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175
Which can be found in these brands:
  1. Eagle CytoPro Balance (AU)
  2. Pure Encapsulations ProbioMood (USA)
  3. Xymogen ProbioDefense (USA)


This all too common, “normal” condition is anything but normal and is a sign of distress and imbalance in baby. These probiotic strains have been found via research to help alleviate baby’s pain.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Which can be found in this brand:
  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)


Constipation has many causes, from the top — to the bottom. Brain function, poor chewing, poor bile flow from the gallbladder, insufficient dietary water causing the colon to re-absorb what little water there is, to name a few. Probiotics play a part in stimulating motility (movement), and secretions that help bowel movements proceed normally and regularly.

Probiotic strains tested to help constipation:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Which can be found in this brand:
  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)

Another probiotic strain tested to help constipation:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12
Which can be found in these brands:
  1. Standard Process ProSynbiotic (USA)
  2. MediHerb Probiota (Australia)

Dental Caries (Cavities)

Dental health is a hot topic in alternative health circles. Initial evidence strongly indicates that probiotics may play a role in healthy teeth.

Probiotic strain that helps prevent cavities:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Which can be found in these brands:
  1. Culturelle –  USA, UK, Canada
  2. Ethical Nutrients – Australia

Eczema (Treatment)

Eczema can be one of the trickiest skin conditions to treat. It is typically a multi-faceted approach (internal healing and external lifestyle changes combined) that often does the trick.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Which can be found in this brand:
  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)

Infant Ger (Reflux)

Probiotic strains proven to help:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis
Which can be found in these brands:
  1. Blackmores Digestive Bio Balance (AU)
  2. BioGaia Protectis baby drops or chewable tablets (Canada, USA, & worldwide)

Mastitis (Breast Infection)

Ouch! Mastitis is painful, and usually comes when you are at your most vulnerable — breastfeeding a little one. Right now there are only a couple of probiotic strains tested for effective use against mastitis, and the one probiotic product that contains it is only available in Australia. I am hopeful that will change in the future.

Probiotic strains proven to help:

  • Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716
Which can be found in this brand:
  1. PureMedica Qiara

Complete List of Ailments Matched to the Best Probiotic Strains for Healing Them

If you want to learn more about specific strains and conditions…and why the specific strain counts, OR if you need help with selecting a probiotic brand, matching up probiotics strains with your specific objectives, with tips on dosing for kids and adults, I recommend you pick up a copy of my ebook, the Mother’s Guide To Probiotics.

  3. Videlock, E. J. and Cremonini, F. (2012), Meta-analysis: probiotics in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 35: 1355–1369. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05104.x
  4. Hawrelak, JA. (ed). Probiotic Advisor. Illuminate Natural Medicine, 2015 Accessed 30 September 2015.
More Articles on Probiotics
Probiotics Protocol for Healthy Traveling
How to Repair Your Gut After a Round of Antibiotics
How to Choose the Best Probiotic for Your Family
How Prebiotics Benefit Gut Health
Taking Probiotics  for Maximum Benefit

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bone Broth:  One of Your Most Healing Diet Staples

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
According to an old South American proverb, "good broth will resurrect the dead." While that's undoubtedly an exaggeration, it speaks to the value placed on this wholesome food, going back through the annals of time.
The featured article by Dr. Amy Myers1 lists 10 health benefits of bone broth. Sally Fallon with the Weston A. Price Foundation2 has previously published information about this healing food as well.
First and foremost, homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness. You've undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there's scientific support for such a statement.
For starters, chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. Processed, canned soups will not work as well as the homemade version made from slow-cooked bone broth.
For best results, you really need to make up a fresh batch yourself (or ask a friend or family member to do so). If combating a cold, make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of pepper. The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it's easier to expel.
But the benefits of broth don't end there. As explained by Sally Fallon:3
"Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain."

The Healing Influence of Broth on Your Gut

In later years, medical scientists have discovered that your health is in large part dependent on the health of your intestinal tract. Many of our modern diseases appear to be rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in your digestive system, courtesy of an inappropriate and unbalanced diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria.
Bone broth is excellent for "healing and sealing" your gut, to use Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride term. Dr. Campbell's GAPS Nutritional Protocol, described in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), centers around the concept of "healing and sealing" your gut through your diet.
Broth or "stock" plays an important role as it's easily digestible, helps heal the lining of your gut, and contains valuable nutrients. Abnormalities in your immune system are a common outcome of GAPS, and such immune abnormalities can then allow for the development of virtually any degenerative disease...

The Healing Benefits of Bone Broth

As the featured article states, there are many reasons for incorporating good-old-fashioned bone broth into your diet. The following health benefits attest to its status as "good medicine."
Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestionInhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc.: A study4 published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection
Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilageFights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis5 (whole-body inflammation).
Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better
Promotes strong, healthy bones: As mentioned above, bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formationPromotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth

Making your own bone broth is extremely cost effective, as you can make use of left over carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away. And while the thought of making your own broth may seem intimidating at first, it's actually quite easy. It can also save you money by reducing your need for dietary supplements. As mentioned above, bone broth provides you with a variety of important nutrients—such as calcium, magnesium, chondroitin, glucosamine, and arginine—that you may otherwise be spending a good deal of money on in the form of supplements.

Easy Chicken Broth Recipe

Both featured articles include a sample recipe for homemade chicken broth. The following recipe was provided by Sally Fallon, writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation.6 Her article also contains a recipe for beef and fish broth. (You could also use turkey, duck, or lamb, following the same basic directions.) For Dr. Myers' chicken broth recipe, please see the original article "10 Benefits of Bone Broth + Gut-Healing Recipe."7
Perhaps the most important caveat when making broth, whether you're using chicken or beef, is to make sure they're from organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. As noted by Fallon, chickens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) tend to produce stock that doesn't gel, and this gelatin has long been valued for its therapeutic properties.8 As explained by Fallon:
"Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal."
Besides that, CAFO animals are fed an unnatural diet that is not beneficial for their intestinal makeup, and they're also given a variety of veterinary drugs and growth promoters. You don't want any of these potentially harmful additives in your broth, so make sure to start off with an organically-raised product.
Ingredients for homemade chicken broth9
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones, and wings
Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
Please note the addition of vinegar. Not only are fats are ideally combined with acids like vinegar, but when it comes to making broth, the vinegar helps leech all those valuable minerals from the bones into the stockpot water, which is ultimately what you'll be eating. The goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water. Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar is a good choice as it's unfiltered and unpasteurized.

Cooking Directions

There are lots of different ways to make bone broth, and there really isn't a wrong way. You can find different variations online. Here, I'll offer some basic directions. If you're starting out with a whole chicken, you'll of course have plenty of meat as well, which can be added back into the broth later with extra herbs and spices to make a chicken soup. I also use it on my salad.
  1. Fill up a large stockpot (or large crockpot) with pure, filtered water. (A crockpot is recommended for safety reasons if you have to leave home while it's cooking.)
  2. Add vinegar and all vegetables except parsley to the water.
  3. Place the whole chicken or chicken carcass into the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top.
  5. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.
  6. If cooking a whole chicken, the meat should start separating from the bone after about 2 hours. Simply remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Place the carcass back into the pot and continue simmering the bones for another 12-24 hours and follow with step 8 and 9.
  7. If cooking bones only, simply let them simmer for about 24 hours.
  8. Fallon suggests adding the fresh parsley about 10 minutes before finishing the stock, as this will add healthy mineral ions to your broth.
  9. Remove remaining bones from the broth with a slotted spoon and strain the rest through a strainer to remove any bone fragments.

Bone Broth—A Medicinal 'Soul Food'

Simmering bones over low heat for an entire day will create one of the most nutritious and healing foods there is. You can use this broth for soups, stews, or drink it straight. The broth can also be frozen for future use. Keep in mind that the "skin" that forms on the top is the best part. It contains valuable nutrients, such as sulfur, along with healthful fats, so just stir it back into the broth.
Bone broth used to be a dietary staple, as were fermented foods, and the elimination of these foods from our modern diet is largely to blame for our increasingly poor health, and the need for dietary supplements.
Both broth and fermented foods, such as fermented veggies, are simple and inexpensive to make at home, and both also allow you to make use of a wide variety of leftovers. When you add all the benefits together, it's hard to imagine a food that will give you more bang for your buck.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Biotin Improves Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Reposted from Life Extension

by Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Multiple sclerosis affects over two million people worldwide.1

It’s a disease of the nervous system which results in symptoms such as loss of coordination, weakness, and paralysis. The exact cause is unknown.

Strong anti-inflammatory or immune-suppressing drugs are the standard treatments, but in advanced cases called progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), there are no effective treatments available.

A new study shows biotin may help cases of progressive multiple sclerosis. The research was discussed at the 2015 annual American Academy of Neurology meeting.

Biotin Improves Disability and Slows MS Progression

Biotin is a vitamin popularly known for its role in nail and hair health. It’s important for neurological function as well.

For the study, 154 people with progressive multiple sclerosis were recruited and assigned to receive a placebo or 300 mg of a patented form of biotin called MD1003 for 48 weeks.2

Previous research conducted by the same group of scientists showed that almost 90% of patients with MS improved after taking large doses of biotin. Symptoms were evaluated using an Expanded Disability Status Scale.

According to the results of the study, the biotin slowed the progression of the disease and there were slight improvements in disability scores. The biotin was well-tolerated. Improvements were seen in visual function, gait, coordination, fatigue, and speech.3

Biotin Supports Healthy Nerve Function

Biotin supports the formation of the myelin sheath, a fatty substance that insulates nerves. It also increases energy production for nerve cells. Multiple sclerosis is characterized by the loss of the myelin sheath.

Biotin deficiencies may result in muscle weakness, visual problems, and numbness and tingling of the extremities. For overall health, approximately 600 mcg are suggested daily.

Higher doses are tolerated well, since the vitamin is water soluble and does not accumulate in tissues of the human body.


  1. Available at: Accessed May 28, 2015. 
  2. Available at: Accessed May 28, 2015. 3. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2015 Mar;4(2):159-69.