Category Archives: Uncategorized

My New Favorite protein snack bars!

Exo
So, like many of you, I like to snack. Because I swim, bike, do Crossfit, (and even run sometimes!) I try to keep my protein intake high enough to help my body recover and improve from the exercise. If I don’t, then I also don’t improve as much, and I hurt more, which…bugs me. Like many of you, I’m gluten sensitive, so my bars have to be gluten-free. I’ve found that they also have to be made of something that doesn’t melt and become inedible if it gets warm in the car or the gym bag, because that bugs me too! That usually narrows it down to Lara Bars. However, Lara bars only have 4g of protein for 30g of carbs. While the carbs are from dried fruit, which does help recover from exercise, that’s really not a significant amount of protein. Then I discovered Exo bars, which have 10g of protein and as little as 23g of carbs-a much better ratio. Where does the protein come from? we’ll get back to that in a moment LOL. First, let’s cover the “why” of it. Jerky has great protein, but no carbs, and I need some of both to recover from exercise. While I do eat meat, many of you don’t, either for health or ethical reasons. And even if you do eat meat like me, you might still enjoy a better snack bar. So what if your new source of snack protein was produced in a way that resulted in 12 times the protein for the same amount of feed, and 2000 times the protein for the same amount of water, compared to beef? What if the protein production emitted 1% of the greenhouse gases that beef production does? For those of you that aren’t interested in that train of thought, what if it tasted great and had 2.5x the protein of a Lara Bar?
So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to my little friend…the cricket. He’s a great source of protein, you see, and actually pretty tasty. Exo bars uses cricket powder, so nope-you won’t find bugs in your food! It’s a growing trend-see this article: https://www.wired.com/2016/03/investors-bet-millions-wont-balk-eating-bugs/
So, why not give it a try? They make great snacks and generate interesting conversations too. You can order a sample pack using this link: http://mbsy.co/hSdVq
Be sure to let me know if you like them as much as I do!

Bifido and Lacto gut bacteria protect intestinal barrier function/prevent leaky gut

Many of you reading this are familiar with the concept of “leaky gut”. For the benefit of those that are new to the subject, our intestinal epithelium lining strictly controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream and what does not pass. This function is known as intestinal barrier function, and the columnar cells making up the gut lining include “gates” that are modulated by the molecules Zonulin and Occludin, which alter gate function. When the gut is inflamed and the microbiome is imbalanced, the gut becomes more permeable, allowing the absorption of food molecules (triggering food sensitivity immune reactions) and pieces of bacterial proteins known as LipoPolySaccharides (LPS, which triggers systemic inflammation ).

This most recently published research study found that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus organisms produced secretions that prevent this process quite directly!

What should you do to help grow more Bifido and Lacto?

Probiotics: http://www.customprobiotics.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Affiliate=neurodoc4u

Meditate and practice Yoga or something similar, or learn Wim Hof’s breathing and autonomic exercises (go ahead, Google it…very interesting individual!)

Fermented foods, such as http://astonesthrowtohealth.com or coconut Kefir, fermented oatmeal which are earlier in this Blog

Work at sleeping better, preferably 9 hours a night (really)

Prebiotics: Arabinogalactan (available here:

http://davincilabs.com/davincicon/?a_aid=NeuroDoc4U&a_bid=08ea3dd9

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28230606

 

When that chemical you avoid, is food to your good gut bacteria…

chinese-take-outHere’s some quick food for thought: isn’t it funny that we consider MSG a bad thing (due to it being monosodium glutamate, and glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter), and many people have problems with it-yet the two most beneficial gut symbionts we know of actually consume MSG and metabolize it into GABA, which is the brain neurotransmitter that is calming and inhibitory…almost like MSG sensitivity could be a marker for poor levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, isn’t it? And, people sensitive to MSG often have problems with excitotoxicity, where the brain is overstimulated by the MSG. Almost like? yes, not enough inhibitory GABA. hmmm.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612585

Cancer researchers identify need for this…

It appears that the microbiome’s ability to help fight cancer is being recognized. This study identifies weaknesses in current cancer care protocols, pointing out that chemotherapy and antibiotics diminish the microbiome, and that the microbiome increases immune response to cancer cells. So, really, part of cancer care should be building up the microbiome. Just an example of one of those times that the most advanced science proved the need for ancient practices 🙂 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24832470

BCAA Branched Chain Amino Acids and how they boost Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia

Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAA’s, are a common addition to the diet for bodybuilders and athletes. Here’s a new research study, published this month, that shows BCAA’s help change your gut bacteria. Specifically, the encourage more Bifidobacteria (which boosts immune function but lowers inflammation) and Akkermansia (which helps build lean muscle mass and reduce fat). As there is much research now connecting aging with inflammation, even calling it “inflammaging”, these are both great things. It’s also somewhat of a departure from the thought of usng probiotics and prebiotics to modulate the gut bacteria, adding amino acids to our microbiome toolbox!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27539648

Parkinson’s Disease, Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: Natural Help

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Most of us should be familiar with the disease known as Parkinson’s Disease, which ruins countless lives by creating a movement disorder characterized by shaking type of movements. It leads to difficulty moving at all, and in late stages the most common treatments lead to dyskinesthia which is a type of writhing uncontrolled movement. Without detailing the actual nerve pathways, part of the problem is neurodegeneration in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, in an area known as the Substantia Nigra. When this area is overtaxed and inflamed, a process known as oxidative stress occurs, damaging neurons and created neurofibrous “tangles” known as α-synuclein aggregations.

There is a great deal of research that has been done to detail some natural ingredients that can be used to either prevent, or help treat Parkinson’s. These can sometimes reduce the amount of medication needed, and postpone the onset of dyskinesthia. In some cases successful treatment has occurred and symptoms are gone. The major “theme” of treatment with natural products is to reduce inflammation, block oxidative stress, and promote healthy metabolism in those neuronal cells.

Curcumin is an extract of turmeric, and contains 95% curcuminoids-the active ingredient. This makes it 19 times stronger than turmeric, which only contains 5%. Curcumin has been found to block inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, rescue nerve cells that have been affected, and even to reverse the accumulation of α-synuclein in the brain. I’ve attached a little over two dozen peer-reviewed studies about curcumin and Parkinson’s in the Bibliography. Curcumin is best taken before a meal, and with a tablespoon of coconut oil which boosts absorption and is good for the brain as well.

Another useful herb is Skullcap, Scuttelaria baikalensis, which contains the ingredient Baicalein. This has also been extensively studied for use in treating and reversing some of the effects of Parkinson’s, and is a very promising herb. Note that there aren’t any studies that look at what would happen if you use this AND curcumin, but you can imagine that it should work even better as they do not function through the same mechanisms.

The last strategy I’d like to mention is gut bacteria optimization. As I wrote an entire book about gut bacteria (The Symbiont Factor) I’ll try to be brief. Our gut bacteria wield a big influence on brain and immune function, helping to both tone and control immune function and regulate both the production of neurotransmitters and the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptor sites in the brain. An imbalance of gut bacteria, which can be assessed with a uBiome.com gut bacteria census, can create functional changes that make the brain less efficient and more inflamed. This sets the stage for Parkinson’s, as neuroinflammation is a required building block of this disease.

Now, you might ask yourselves why this information is not more well known in the Parkinson’s world…it doesn’t actually even appear on the National Parkinson’s Foundation website although many less effective interventions are mentioned. This is because, simply, much of the research is done in search of new drugs to create by copying the action of useful herbs and natural processes. This is one way that companies explore for new drugs that can be patented. The real question is why we would wait for that, when the research shows these natural substances to be quite effective in lab and animal models. Of course, double-blind trials on humans will not be performed until drug candidates are created…so don’t look for the final proof of natural substances, because these trials are very expensive and are only carried out when a candidate drug ($$$) is being evaluated. In other words, follow the money!

Bibliography:

The Symbiont Factor: http://tinyurl.com/z5568ct

Baicalein inhibits α-synuclein oligomer formation and prevents progression of α-synuclein accumulation in a rotenone mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.

Hu Q, Uversky VN, Huang M, Kang H, Xu F, Liu X, Lian L, Liang Q, Jiang H, Liu A, Zhang C, Zhu S.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul 14. pii: S0925-4439(16)30168-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2016.07.008. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:27425033

Ameliorative effects of baicalein in MPTP-induced mouse model of Parkinson’s disease: A microarray study.

Gao L, Li C, Yang RY, Lian WW, Fang JS, Pang XC, Qin XM, Liu AL, Du GH.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015 Jun;133:155-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Apr 18.

PMID:25895692

Baicalein ameliorated the upregulation of striatal glutamatergic transmission in the mice model of Parkinson’s disease.

Xue X, Liu H, Qi L, Li X, Guo C, Gong D, Qu H.

Brain Res Bull. 2014 Apr;103:54-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

PMID:24576689

Baicalein protects against 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity through activation of Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1 and involving PKCα and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways.

Zhang Z, Cui W, Li G, Yuan S, Xu D, Hoi MP, Lin Z, Dou J, Han Y, Lee SM.

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 22;60(33):8171-82. doi: 10.1021/jf301511m. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

PMID:22838648

[Neuroprotective effect of baicalein in patients with Parkinson’s disease].

Yu X, He G, Du G.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2012 Feb;37(4):421-5. Review. Chinese.

PMID:22667137

Assessment of the treatment effect of baicalein on a model of Parkinsonian tremor and elucidation of the mechanism.

Yu X, He GR, Sun L, Lan X, Shi LL, Xuan ZH, Du GH.

Life Sci. 2012 Jul 26;91(1-2):5-13. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 23.

PMID:22634324

Baicalein inhibits formation of α-synuclein oligomers within living cells and prevents Aβ peptide fibrillation and oligomerisation.

Lu JH, Ardah MT, Durairajan SS, Liu LF, Xie LX, Fong WF, Hasan MY, Huang JD, El-Agnaf OM, Li M.

Chembiochem. 2011 Mar 7;12(4):615-24. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000604. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

PMID:21271629

Flavones from root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi: drugs of the future in neurodegeneration?

Gasiorowski K, Lamer-Zarawska E, Leszek J, Parvathaneni K, Yendluri BB, Błach-Olszewska Z, Aliev G.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2011 Mar;10(2):184-91. Review.

PMID:21222632

Structural characteristics of alpha-synuclein oligomers stabilized by the flavonoid baicalein.

Hong DP, Fink AL, Uversky VN.

J Mol Biol. 2008 Oct 31;383(1):214-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2008.08.039. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

PMID:18775438

Free PMC Article

The flavonoid baicalein inhibits fibrillation of alpha-synuclein and disaggregates existing fibrils.

Zhu M, Rajamani S, Kaylor J, Han S, Zhou F, Fink AL.

J Biol Chem. 2004 Jun 25;279(26):26846-57. Epub 2004 Apr 19.

PMID:15096521

Free Article

 

Curcumin Rescues a PINK1 Knock Down SH-SY5Y Cellular Model of Parkinson’s Disease from Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Cell Death.

van der Merwe C, van Dyk HC, Engelbrecht L, van der Westhuizen FH, Kinnear C, Loos B, Bardien S.

Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Mar 22. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:27003823

Curcumin improves neurofunctions of 6-OHDA-induced parkinsonian rats.

Song S, Nie Q, Li Z, Du G.

Pathol Res Pract. 2016 Apr;212(4):247-51. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2015.11.012. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

PMID:26922613

Curcumin ameliorates dopaminergic neuronal oxidative damage via activation of the Akt/Nrf2 pathway.

Cui Q, Li X, Zhu H.

Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1381-8. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4657. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

PMID:26648392

Curcumin inhibits apoptosis by regulating intracellular calcium release, reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial depolarization levels in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells.

Uğuz AC, Öz A, Nazıroğlu M.

J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2016 Aug;36(4):395-401. doi: 10.3109/10799893.2015.1108337. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

PMID:26608462

Recent trends in the development of nanophytobioactive compounds and delivery systems for their possible role in reducing oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease models.

Ganesan P, Ko HM, Kim IS, Choi DK.

Int J Nanomedicine. 2015 Oct 29;10:6757-72. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S93918. eCollection 2015. Review.

PMID:26604750

Free PMC Article

Plant-derived neuroprotective agents in Parkinson’s disease.

Fu W, Zhuang W, Zhou S, Wang X.

Am J Transl Res. 2015 Jul 15;7(7):1189-202. eCollection 2015. Review.

PMID:26328004

Free PMC Article

Curcumin Treatment Improves Motor Behavior in α-Synuclein Transgenic Mice.

Spinelli KJ, Osterberg VR, Meshul CK, Soumyanath A, Unni VK.

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 2;10(6):e0128510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128510. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26035833

Free PMC Article

Relevance of the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

Tizabi Y, Hurley LL, Qualls Z, Akinfiresoye L.

Molecules. 2014 Dec 12;19(12):20864-79. doi: 10.3390/molecules191220864. Review.

PMID:25514226

Free Article

Curcumin’s neuroprotective efficacy in Drosophila model of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease is phase specific: implication of its therapeutic effectiveness.

Phom L, Achumi B, Alone DP, Muralidhara, Yenisetti SC.

Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Dec;17(6):481-9. doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1591.

PMID:25238331

Free PMC Article

The use of nanopore analysis for discovering drugs which bind to α-synuclein for treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Tavassoly O, Kakish J, Nokhrin S, Dmitriev O, Lee JS.

Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Dec 17;88:42-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.07.090. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

PMID:25081642

Neuroprotective effect of curcumin on hippocampal injury in 6-OHDA-induced Parkinson’s disease rat.

Yang J, Song S, Li J, Liang T.

Pathol Res Pract. 2014 Jun;210(6):357-62. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 23.

PMID:24642369

Curcumin protects axons from degeneration in the setting of local neuroinflammation.

Tegenge MA, Rajbhandari L, Shrestha S, Mithal A, Hosmane S, Venkatesan A.

Exp Neurol. 2014 Mar;253:102-10. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.12.016. Epub 2013 Dec 29.

PMID:24382451

Protective effects of curcumin against rotenone and salsolinol-induced toxicity: implications for Parkinson’s disease.

Qualls Z, Brown D, Ramlochansingh C, Hurley LL, Tizabi Y.

Neurotox Res. 2014 Jan;25(1):81-9.

PMID:24122264

Free PMC Article

The multiple pharmaceutical potential of curcumin in Parkinson’s disease.

Ji HF, Shen L.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014 Mar;13(2):369-73. Review.

PMID:23844695

Curcumin modulates α-synuclein aggregation and toxicity.

Singh PK, Kotia V, Ghosh D, Mohite GM, Kumar A, Maji SK.

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Mar 20;4(3):393-407. doi: 10.1021/cn3001203. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

PMID:23509976

Free PMC Article

Curcumin ameliorates the neurodegenerative pathology in A53T α-synuclein cell model of Parkinson’s disease through the downregulation of mTOR/p70S6K signaling and the recovery of macroautophagy.

Jiang TF, Zhang YJ, Zhou HY, Wang HM, Tian LP, Liu J, Ding JQ, Chen SD.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;8(1):356-69. doi: 10.1007/s11481-012-9431-7. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

PMID:23325107

Curcumin inhibition of JNKs prevents dopaminergic neuronal loss in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease through suppressing mitochondria dysfunction.

Pan J, Li H, Ma JF, Tan YY, Xiao Q, Ding JQ, Chen SD.

Transl Neurodegener. 2012 Aug 20;1(1):16. doi: 10.1186/2047-9158-1-16.

PMID:23210631

Free PMC Article

Neurodegenerative Shielding by Curcumin and Its Derivatives on Brain Lesions Induced by 6-OHDA Model of Parkinson’s Disease in Albino Wistar Rats.

Agrawal SS, Gullaiya S, Dubey V, Singh V, Kumar A, Nagar A, Tiwari P.

Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2012;2012:942981. doi: 10.1155/2012/942981. Epub 2012 Aug

Curcumin protects nigral dopaminergic neurons by iron-chelation in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model of Parkinson’s disease.

Du XX, Xu HM, Jiang H, Song N, Wang J, Xie JX.

Neurosci Bull. 2012 Jun;28(3):253-8. doi: 10.1007/s12264-012-1238-2.

PMID:22622825

Neuroprotective effect of curcuminoids against inflammation-mediated dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease.

Ojha RP, Rastogi M, Devi BP, Agrawal A, Dubey GP.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Sep;7(3):609-18. doi: 10.1007/s11481-012-9363-2. Epub 2012 Apr 21.

PMID:22527634

Curcumin has neuroprotection effect on homocysteine rat model of Parkinson.

Mansouri Z, Sabetkasaei M, Moradi F, Masoudnia F, Ataie A.

J Mol Neurosci. 2012 Jun;47(2):234-42. doi: 10.1007/s12031-012-9727-3. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

PMID:
22418789
 

Curcumin protects against A53T alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity in a PC12 inducible cell model for Parkinsonism.

Liu Z, Yu Y, Li X, Ross CA, Smith WW.

Pharmacol Res. 2011 May;63(5):439-44. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

PMID:21237271
 

Curcumin reduces alpha-synuclein induced cytotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease cell model.

Wang MS, Boddapati S, Emadi S, Sierks MR.

BMC Neurosci. 2010 Apr 30;11:57. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-11-57.

PMID:20433710

Free PMC Article

About those “Turmeric Curcumin” capsules…

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I have been recommending curcumin for years, because of the huge number of research studies demonstrating its power to reduce inflammation, block oxidative stress, and inhibit or kill cancer (and other great benefits!) Lately there has been an explosion of supplements labeled as “turmeric curcumin” or “curcumin complex”. This is about like trying to buy pure cranberry juice. If you see “cranberry juice cocktail” or “cranberry drink” or “cranberry juice beverage”, what does it tell you? Right-it’s mostly apple juice or some other inexpensive juice, with enough of the cranberry juice to flavor it!

The same thing applies to curcumin. I have recommended it to several patients recently, who then tell me a couple weeks later that it didn’t help them. When I ask about the brand and details, it’s one of those labeling bait-and-switch schemes all over. Often the label reads “turmeric curcumin” which really doesn’t mean much, as they are two separate products…which is it? or “turmeric curcumin complex”…

The active, desired ingredient is Curcumin. Turmeric, the spice, is quite inexpensive but only contains typically 5% curcumin. Pure curcumin is most often 95% curcumin, and costs much much more. So, when the label explains that the product contains 450 mg of Turmeric, and 50 mg of curcumin, you can easily see that you’re getting basically ripped off because they’re cutting the good stuff 9:1 with the inexpensive less effective stuff! Then, of course, it doesn’t work as well, because you can’t take enough. I often recommend 6 capsules per day for a very inflamed patient (someone with Lyme disease, for example). That’s 6, 500mg capsules at 95%, or 2850 mg of actual curcumin. If those capsules are 450/50 as in the above example, that’s only 70mg of curcumin in each 500 mg capsule. To get the same effect as 2850 mg of pure curcumin, you’d have to consume over 40 of those capsules, instead of 6 when it’s 95% curcumin!

So, make sure that you get what you’re paying for-real 95% curcumin. There isn’t a “bioavailability problem” as some manufacturers of blends state. It’s a fat soluble substance, so chase your capsules with a spoon of coconut oil. It’s also alcohol soluble…well, I won’t go there just yet!