Monday, January 28, 2019

The Health Benefits of MCT Oil

How MCT Oil Can Help You Lose Weight and More

MCT oil or medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) are unique fatty acids that are found naturally in coconut and palm oils.  They have a remarkable ability to stabilize blood sugar and enhance ketone body production.  This process makes MCT’s a powerful tool to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and enhance cognitive function.

The term “medium” is in reference to the length of the chain of fatty acids.  Oils can have short, medium or long chains.  Most oils are a combination of short, medium and long chain fatty acids.  MCTs are the easiest type of fatty acid that your body can burn for calories. They get absorbed directly from the gut to the liver and then are used for energy instead of being stored as fat.
Research confirms that MCTs can make you lean and healthy. In one study, researchers compared the results of MCTs with long-chain triglycerides on body fat, energy expenditure, appetite, and other aspects of weight loss in overweight men. They put these men on different diets for 28 days. One group ate a coconut-oil-rich diet high in MCTs such as caprylic acid and lauric acid. The other group ate a diet rich in long-chain triglycerides like olive oil. They then switched the diets so that they could see differences in the same subjects.

The researchers found the coconut group lost more body fat, which they attributed to a greater increase in energy expenditure and burning fat. Coconut oil actually sped up their metabolisms, allowing them to lose more belly fat and curbing their appetite compared with the men on the olive-oil-rich diet.

In fact, studies suggest that MCTs can help men burn about 460 extra calories a day and women about 190 extra calories (I know women, it’s just not fair!).  MCTs also affect your hormones, including appetite-controlling hormones, helping you feel full.

MCTs are brain food:
Ketones are unique energy producing molecules made from fatty acids.  Our bodies can make them from stored fat or from MCTs.  Ketones feed all the cells of the body, but in particular they are a preferred fuel for the brain.

Research has demonstrated that MCTs can readily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and be oxidized by the brain. Thus, MCTs may provide both a direct and an indirect brain fuel source via the generation of ketones. 

You can also get a pure MCT oil that is concentrated caprylic and capric acid.  An MCT oil is processed in a manufacturing plant to remove all the longer chain fats and other compounds except these two fatty acids.  But be careful with the brand of MCT oil you purchase as it is important to get one that is tested for purity and heavy metals. This is the MCT oil I use.

MCTs raise up ketones and lower blood sugar naturally.  They have a strong blood sugar stabilizing effect that helps to reduce inflammation.

You might be hesitant to use coconut oil or MCT oil because it's high in saturated fat, which has unfairly been demonized for decades. There is a world of difference between quality saturated fat in coconut or MCT oils and what you might get in a fast-food meal.

You can get MCTs from whole foods: here’s a list of MCTs in foods, as a percentage of total fats (source):
Coconut oil: 15%
Palm kernel oil: 7.9%
Cheese (if you tolerate dairy): 7.3%
Butter: 6.8%
Milk: 6.9%
Yogurt: 6.6%

But you can also get MCTs from specially concentrated MCT oil, which is much more concentrated (it’s almost entirely MCTs).  A tablespoon of coconut oil will give you 2 grams of MCTs while MCT oil will give you 15 grams of MCTs.

Most people tolerate MCT oil very well, however, too large of dosages too quickly can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.  If you have this problem, don’t panic and give up on MCT oil right away. You can easily reduce or eliminate these symptoms by starting with very small doses at a time.  This would mean ½ tsp several times daily and slowly increasing the dosage as tolerated.

Adding MCT oil can substitute for some of the oil in your diet but should not be used to replace all the fat in your diet.  Begin using MCT 1 tablespoon per day and slowly increase over several days.  Too much MCT may result in diarrhea or a stomach ache.  1-3 tablespoons per day is recommended.  

How To Use MCT Oil:

MCT oil is very versatile and can be used as a salad dressing, in smoothies, for cooking or just straight up off the teaspoon.  Here are the most popular ways to use MCT oil:

Cooking Oil:  Highly stable under heat like coconut oil but no coconut flavor

Salad Dressing:  No major flavor so combine it with herbs and vinegar
In Coffee & Tea:  Great for thickening up coffee or tea and improving their health benefits. Here’s a recipe for Bullet Proof Coffee
Smoothies:  Add 2 tbsps of MCT oil in a smoothie to curb hunger and have the smoothie keep you satisfied longer.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Great Apple Cider Vinegar Drink

Fire Cider  

I give a very specific apple cider vinegar drink frequently to patients to help change the pH of their system and in this way it can help with joint pain, improve digestion, help with weight loss, kill candida and more.  To read more about apple cider vinegar and this medicinal drink, click here.

I now want to take the time to share with you another type of medicinal apple cider vinegar drink called Phoenix Rising Fire Cider.  It is made by a farm in New Paltz, NY called Tweefontein.  It is a very spicy tonic that includes Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Horseradish, Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Turmeric, Paprika, Cayenne, Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey.  The tonic is so highly concentrated that all you need is a tablespoon diluted in warm water.  You can buy in bulk online a quart or half-galloon too!  If spicy food is not your thing then stick with my recipe for this is only for the brave.  The good news is you can dilute it to any concentration you can handle.  
I like how the drink is pre-made so all you have to add is water.  It's more medicinal if you add the juice of 1/2 a lime.  Also, I like Fire Cider because with the ginger, garlic and onion it will boost your immune system for sure!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Make sure you are drinking enough water

                                 Water App to Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key to a healthy body. I check hydration frequently with my patients especially patients who are detoxing because the toxins that are purposely being pulled out also need to be flushed out.  If toxins are not being flushed out detox symptoms can occur and include headaches, skin rashes, constipation, diarrhea, irritability, fatigue, trouble sleeping, or feeling like you are getting a cold.  The reasons why detox symptoms can occur is because there is more being pulled out of the cells and tissues, running around in your bloodstream faster than it can actually be pulled into the liver, broken down and eliminated out through the kidneys or bowels.  The health benefits of drinking water including
  • carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • flushing bacteria from your bladder
  • aiding digestion
  • preventing constipation
  • normalizing blood pressure
  • stabilizing the heartbeat
  • less joint stiffness
  • better memory
  • regulating body temperature
  • maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.

It is said to drink 8 glasses of water a day but I think everyone's optimal water intake is a very personal amount based on their age, activity level and their current health status.  Over the years I have seen a trend of how much water people tend to need on a daily basis and if I was to put a number on it I would suggest for the average adult we need to drink 2 liters, which is about 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day.

For a lot of people this can be difficult to do for it does not include any caffeinated, fruit or sugary drinks.  So it would only include water or herbal tea. Caffeinated or sugary drinks not only add to your water intake but also deplete more water than they put in, causing dehydration so if you have a cup of caffeinated tea you would want to do 9 glasses of water to make up for it.  There is an art to making sure you are drinking enough water and that's why an app to keep track can be a good idea.  A free app, such as Daily Water, is good at recording how much water you drink plus you can set reminders to make sure you drink your daily 2 liters.  You can actually set it to any daily amount and also email me the data too!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Omega 9s Found in Algae Superfood

What you need to know about Omega 9s

You should know about Omega-9s (also known as monounsaturated fats) for their potential to regulate blood sugar levels, prevent cancer and promote a healthy weight and heart.  Since our bodies can manufacture it, omega-9 technically isn’t classified as an essential fatty acid. However, foods rich in omega-9 are still recommended because of the role it plays in our health. Good sources for omega-9 include:
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Nuts including almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts
  • Sesame seed oil
 Algae has been touted as a superfood in its own right, but the newest use for algae is in the production of ­omega-9 cooking oil. The process doesn't use genetically modified organisms or chemical extraction, further broadening its appeal. I use Thrive algae oil.  Compared to olive oil, Thrive algae oil contains a higher percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and is lower in saturated fats. It has a high smoke point of 485 degrees F, which means you can use it in baking, roasting and sauteing. So what does algae oil taste like? It's completely neutral and odorless, so you can use it in any recipes where you want healthy fat without changing the flavor of the food.

Unlike algae typically found in the sea, Thrive algae were originally sourced from the sap of a chestnut tree.m
The algae are then grown in fermenters, just like the kind used for making wine and beer. The algae naturally convert renewable plant sugars to oil in just a few days. Finally, using the same method as coconut and seed oils, Thrive presses the algae to release the oil. The result is an oil with the highest level of good fats and low levels of saturated fats. 

So I stick with olive oil for dressings and dips and love algae oil for stir-frying or baking for its mild flavor, healthy fat profile and a high smoke point.  It's definitely a healthy alternative to lower-cost .

Wine, brie and grapes

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Are Fermented Foods the Same as Probiotics?

Are Fermented Foods the Same as Probiotics?

Consider the fundamental change from milk to brie cheese or grapes to wine. Such is the power of fermentation. Fermented foods result from the growth and metabolism of live cultures, transforming a precursor food (such as milk) into a fermented food (cheese). The fermentation process may result in changes in taste, texture, aroma, nutritional value, microbial content and perhaps health benefits that extend beyond the basic nutritional value of the food. Because of this last property, some call fermented foods ‘probiotics’, but in fact they are not (necessarily) the same.

Wine, brie and grapes

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Unlike fermented foods, probiotics must have been tested in human studies and shown to have a beneficial health effect. Fermented foods don’t require such testing, although some have been. Further, some fermented foods are treated after they are made (for example, sourdough bread is baked), and do not contain live microbes at the point of consumption. To the extent a fermented food has been tested in human studies and shown to be beneficial and delivers a sufficient ‘dose’ of beneficial live microbes, it meets the bar of a probiotic. (See figure below). This is the case with several probiotic yogurts and fermented milks on the market today.
You likely have seen publicity and testimonials about how good for you fermented foods such as kombucha or sauerkraut are. Many of these foods may be good for your gut or immune system, but not as good as probiotics. If you enjoy them and they make you feel better, they are great additions to your diet. Scientists are now speculating that any source of live microbes may turn out to be beneficial.  To learn more about the benefits of probiotics read this review.
The body of evidence substantiating benefits of probiotics is quite extensive. Over 1800 human trials have been conducted using probiotics. See table below for a list of some benefits of probiotics shown in human trials. Keep in mind that benefits are tied to specific strains. It’s easy to grasp this concept if you look to the animal world. Different breeds of horses, for example, have quite different strengths and functions. You wouldn’t ride a pony in the Kentucky Derby.  Similarly, different strains of even the same species of a probiotic may have different benefits. In some cases, more than one independently tested probiotic product confers the same benefit. In other cases, only a single probiotic product has been shown to be effective. The best evidence for probiotic use is for prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C. difficileinfection, management of certain gut symptoms, and prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemie infants. People often wonder if probiotics have any benefit for healthy people. Benefits such as improved tolerance of dietary lactose for lactose intolerant people, management of blood lipids, improved oral health, reduced incidence of common infectious diseases such as the common cold, and management of gut symptoms all are demonstrated in reasonably healthy people.
The probiotic marketplace can be confusing for consumers. If you aren't being muscle tested for what probiotic your body needs here are some basic principles to guide your search:
  • There is no one strain or one dose that is best. Sometimes lower dose products or products with fewer strains have the best evidence.
  • One of the biggest challenges in the probiotic market is keeping the probiotic strain alive. Responsible manufactures go to great lengths to be sure their probiotics retain viability and deliver an efficacious dose through the end of the product’s shelf life. Unfortunately, not all products on the market are responsibly formulated. Consumers should buy products from companies they trust like I trust Standard Process

Treat colic in breastfed infantsInfants

Prevent atopic dermatitis/food hypersensitivityInfants
Prevent necrotizing enterocolitisPremature infants
Treat acute diarrheaInfants, children
Manage symptoms of occasional constipationAdults
Manage symptoms of lactose intoleranceChildren, adults
Reduce incidence and duration of common infectious diseases (upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal)Children, adults
Prevent antibiotic-associated diarrheaChildren, adults
Extend remission of ulcerative colitisAdults

Improve therapeutic efficacy of antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosisAdult women

Reduce low density lipid cholesterolAdults

Prevent Clostridium difficile diarrheaChildren, adults
Reduced prevalence of dental caries and gingivitisInfants, children