Sunday, March 30, 2008

Plastic, Butter, Carotenoids and Smart Gene

Staying Healthy with
Natural Wellness Choices

March 30, 2008


Why we should avoid plastic
Butter as a health food
Boosting Carotinoids
Fish Oil & Our Smart Gene

Plastics – We really do need to avoid it

A recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that about 93% of the United States population have bisphenol-A in their body at a median concentration of 2.7 ppb. A group of BPA experts determined that the average levels seen in people are above those seen to cause harm to animals during laboratory experiments.

Why should you be concerned? BPA has been associated with:

Type 2 diabetes (and metabolic resistance)
Estrogen dominance – BPA mimics the hormone estrogen.
Abnormal sexual organ development
Enlarged prostate gland
Breast cells predisposed to cancer
Decline in testicular testosterone
Breast cells predisposed to cancer
Reversal of normal sex difference in brain structure

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is mainly found in polycarbonate plastic, which is labeled with the number 7; in plastic food wrap, and in the resins that coat the inside of metal cans for food. It is so prevalent in today's products that it is even in refrigerator shelving, water bottles, baby bottles, plastic food storage containers, water pipes, flooring and as a fire retardant.Studies have shown harmful biological effects on animals using low-doses of the chemical and harmful effects on humans have been observed outside of studies. Hormone disrupting effects have been shown to occur at levels of application as low as 2-5 parts per billion and many canned foods are within and over this range.

Bottom Line: Plastics including Bisphenol-A can be hard to completely avoid but it is wise to store and heat food in glass or metal – never plastic. This is especially important for women of child bearing age before and during pregnancy as well as small children.

Is Butter a health food?

Speaking of plastic, margarine is similar to plastic. Most of you know that butter is better than margarine – a synthetic material not far from the molecular structure of plastic. I recently reviewed an article on butter by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD. They demonstrate that butter contains ingredients which has numerous positive effects such as: antioxidant, antifungal (yes – it can fight yeast), anticancer, bone building qualities, great source of vitamins A, K2, D & E as well as the important trace mineral Selenium. Butter also contains Lecithin for fat metabolism and cholesterol which has anti-oxidant properties.

Butter contains short and medium chain triglycerides which enhance metabolism and weight loss along with strengthening the immune system.

Butter even has iodine for the thyroid gland.

Got Carotenoids?

I recently had my carotenoid level measured will attending the A4M – Anti-Aging Conference this past December. The person doing the scan said he had only seen 2 with a level higher than mine – out of hundreds. The main source of carotenoids I was taking was fruit/vegetable capsules

Fish Oil & Smart Gene

Did you hear about the discovery of a “smart gene”? It’s called homologene 7245. It codes for “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” (BDNF).
BDNF enhances the growth and health of nearly every kind of brain cell, including:
synapses (the connections between nerve cells)
synaptic transmission (how neurons talk to each other)
the formation of the “glial” cells that support brain tissue
the development of dendrites (your brain cells’ “antennae,” these cells receive signals from other parts of the brain and communicate them to the cell body)
brain cell formation and protection
A nutrient you can take to stimulate BDNF production is already readily available. It is one of the two main components of fish-derived omega-3 –“docosahexaenoic acid,” or DHA.

Evidence has been mounting over the past several years that highlight just how critical BDNF is to brain function – and DHA’s power to activate it:

In a landmark study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, researchers showed that breast-fed infants whose mothers who took 200 mg of DHA per day outperformed DHA-deficient infants at every level. They had better hand-eye coordination, as well as enhanced “gross motor skills” like standing up, walking, going up and down stairs, and keeping their balance.

Researchers at UCLA found that rats given high levels of DHA enjoyed significantly higher BDNF levels. They were far more resistant to injury from brain trauma. And those who didn’t get enough DHA in their diet suffered from learning disabilities.

A recent Japanese study added to the good news: memory and learning ability improved dramatically with boosted BDNF production.

Turning on the “smart gene” is as easy as taking high quality fish oil. I recommend Nordic Naturals – at least 2 caps or ½ tsp a day.

In the first year of life, continue breast-feeding and getting your DHA. Children also benefit from taking at least 100 mg of DHA from six months on.

From years 2-5, ramp it up to at least 200 mg per day. Physicians Preference carries Nordic Naturals for children but I found that my child loves the liquid since she was raised on it.

Cod liver oil is also a great source of DHA as well as vitamin D and A.

To your health!

Donald P Ellsworth, M.D.
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