Seafood Consumption May Protect Against Alzheimers Dementia

…according to an article at the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study involved Chicago-area residents who had provided information about their eating habits. After death, their brains were biopsied, looking for typical pathological findings of Alzheimers Disease.

fresh salmon and lobsters

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Participants who ate seafood at least once a week had fewer Alzheimers lesions in their brains, but only if they were carriers of a particular gene the predisposes to Alzheimers. The gene is called apolipoprotein E or APOE ε4.

You’ve heard that seafood may be contaminated with mercury, right? The seafood eaters in this study indeed had higher brain levels of mercury, but it didn’t cause any visible brain damage.

The Mediterranean diet, relatively rich in seafood, has long been linked to a lower risk of dementia.

A weakness of the study is that the researchers didn’t report results of clinical testing for dementia in these participants before they died. You can have microscopic evidence of Alzheimers disease on a biopsy, yet no clinically diagnosis of dementia.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Alcohol Consumption May Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes

…according to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A review of the scientific literature looked at various populations at baseline, noting alcohol consumption,  then determined who developed type 2 diabetes over subsequent years. Folks with light to moderate alcohol consumption were 20% less likely to develop diabetes.

Beautiful woman smiling as she is wine tasting on a summer day.

Wine is one of the potentially healthy components of the Mediterranean diet

This doesn’t prove that alcohol prevents diabetes. Alcohol intake may instead just be a marker for other factors that do prevent diabetes. For instance, maybe drinkers are genetically less susceptible to diabetes, or they exercise more.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Dr. Eades: Why We Got Fat

Dr. Michael Eades of Protein Power fame thinks he knows why we’ve gotten fat starting 35 years ago (at least in the U.S.:

Along with carbohydrates, vegetable oils have increased dramatically in the typical American diet. Over the same time period, we’ve all started eating away from home more and more, so that we’ve lost control of exactly what kinds of fats we’ve been eating.

Click the link for the details of his hypothesis, which involves the effects of various dietary fats and carbohydrates on intracellular energy metabolism and insulin resistance.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

What the Heck Is a Turkish Get-Up?

I’m going to start doing Turkish get-ups again. I fell out of the habit a couple years ago. Turkish get-ups promote flexibility, balance, joint range of motion, and strength. If you’re just doing the Big Five exercises, TGUs will strengthen some of the smaller muscles (and portions of major muscles) you may be neglecting.

Below are a couple YouTube examples. They are not complete tutorials. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Start with either no weight in your hand, or just a small one. Then work up to higher weights as you get stronger.

These videos may only show how to work one side of the body; you work both sides, of course, and call it a pair. I used to do only five pairs with a 25-lb dumbbell. In weightlifting lingo, you’d call that 1 set of five reps (repetitions). It was exhausting.

Do enough reps and it will be both strength and aerobic training.

Steve Parker, M.D.


QOTD: Exercise or Die?

What fits your busy schedule better, exercising 30 minutes a day or being dead 24 hours a day?

—Randy Glasbergen in a 2008 cartoon

Is Insulin the Reason You’re Always Hungry?

So easy to over-eat!

So easy to over-eat! Is it the insulin release?

No, insulin probably isn’t the cause of constant hunger, according to Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Dr. G gives 11 points of evidence in support of his conclusion. Read them for yourself. Here are a few:

  • multiple brain-based mechanisms (including non-insulin hormones and neurotransmitters) probably have more influence on hunger than do the pure effect of insulin
  • weight loss reduces insulin levels, yet it gets harder to lose excess weight the more you lose
  • at least one clinical study (in 1996) in young healthy people found that foods with higher insulin responses were linked to greater satiety, not greater hunger
  • billions of people around the world eat high-carb diets yet remain thin

An oft-cited explanation for the success of low-carbohydrate diets involves insulin, specifically the lower insulin levels and reduced insulin resistance seen in low-carb dieters. They often report less trouble with hunger than other dieters.

Here’s the theory. When we eat carbohydrates, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high as we digest the carbohydrates. Insulin drives the bloodstream sugar (glucose) into cells to be used as energy or stored as fat or glycogen. High doses of refined sugars and starches over-stimulate the production of insulin, so blood sugar falls too much, over-shootinging the mark, leading to hypoglycemia, an undeniably strong appetite stimulant. So you go back for more carbohydrate to relieve the hunger induced by low blood sugar. That leads to overeating and weight gain.

Read Dr. Guyenet’s post for reasons why he thinks this explanation of constant or recurring bothersome hunger is wrong or too simplistic. I tend to agree with him on this.

The insulin-hypoglycemia-hunger theory may indeed be at play in a few folks. Twenty ears ago, it was popular to call this “reactive hypoglycemia.” For unclear reasons, I don’t see it that often now. It was always hard to document that hypoglycemia unless it appeared on a glucose tolerance test.

Regardless of the underlying explanation, low-carb diets undoubtedly are very effective in many folks. That’s why I offer one as an option in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet. And low-carbing is what I always recommend to my patients with carbohydrate intolerance: diabetics and prediabetics.

Steve Parker, M.D.

front cover

front cover

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

front cover

front cover

YOU Are the First Responder

Not the police, firemen, or EMTs. They are second responders.

So as the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”

Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Keep first aid supplies in your home and vehicle. Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. If you’ll be out in extremes of weather, know how to survive, whether or not something goes wrong. Learn how to protect yourself when confronted by a violent criminal. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Etc.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one