Can Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?

Many of us know that our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.  Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children, known as rickets, and fragile bones in adults.  Vitamin D is needed for many important functions in the body other than building strong bones such as strengthening the immune system, protecting us from cold and flu season.  Vitamin D also plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells.  A deficiency of this important vitamin could result in health problems such as depression, weight gain, cancers, and heart disease.  Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself through exposure to the sun however if you don’t expose your skin to the sun, you use a sun block when in the sun, or you have dark skin, you may be at risk of low levels of vitamin D.  You can however get vitamin D from some foods such as fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna), beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and some foods fortified with vitamin D such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals.  You can also take vitamin D in capsule or liquid drops which ensures you are getting enough.

Did you know that getting in an adequate amount of vitamin D can help you lose weight?  Recently, researchers from Canada found that people with higher levels of vitamin D also have lower levels of body fat.  The connection isn’t a coincidence.  Vitamin D helps you feel fuller because it releases more leptin, which I have discussed in my past blogs.  Leptin is a hormone made by the fat cells that is essential to weight loss for a number of reasons.  It controls appetite and food intake so we don’t overeat and plays an important role in controlling body weight.  Vitamin D also helps you store less fat by decreasing parathyroid hormone, which makes you hold onto fat.  Best of all, vitamin D literally burns more fat by reducing the production of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’.  Remember that when our cortisol levels are high, it makes the body think you are in a fight or flight situation and when that happens, the body automatically stores fat because it needs to store energy (fat) as it doesn’t know how long you’re going to fight or run for.  You will need at least 3,000IU to 4,000IU per day if you want to see best results.

PSK: Popular Japanese Cancer Treatment STILL Not Approved in the U.S.

I just had to share this article from “The Truth About Cancer” site written by Ty Bollinger.  I hope you take the time to read this as it is another article about Turkey Tail.  If you are interested in this, you can get the Turkey Tail mushroom from Host Defense.  I take it every day for prevention.  This is a great article!

What the Japanese Have Known for Decades: Turkey Tail Mushrooms Fight Cancer

Polysaccharide K, also known as PSK or by the trade name Krestin™, comes from the mycelium varieties Trametes versicolor (also known as Coriolus versicolor or turkey tail mushroom). PSK has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years under the name Yun Zhi. In the 1980s, the Japanese government approved PSK as a treatment for several types of cancer. By 1984, it was 19th on the global list of the “most commercially successful drugs” (with annual sales around $255 million). In Japan, turkey tail extract also goes by the name Kawaratake.

Today PSK is available for use for cancer patients in Japan. In that country, it is commonly prescribed as a cancer treatment, sometimes in conjunction with more traditional methods such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. In fact, for the Japanese, turkey tail mushroom extract is one of the most widely-used and well-known medicines for cancer. The global research community has studied Polysaccharide K for years, with hundreds of published studies to show for it.

In the United States, Polysaccharide K is still considered an “alternative” nutritional supplement, with limited availability to consumers. In 2012, however, the United States did allow the first clinical trial of turkey tail extract in combination with chemotherapy drugs to see how the combination effects women with breast cancer. The trial was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with other studies set to follow.

Canadian Researchers Conclude PSK Beneficial for Lung Cancer

Of the hundreds of studies conducted worldwide on Polysaccharide K’s effects on everything from pulmonary disease to digestive tract disturbances to cancer, one of the latest was a 2015 “systematic review” of PSK’s effectiveness and safety on lung cancer. The review, sponsored in part by the University of Toronto and the Canada Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, analyzed results from 28 other studies.

The majority of the studies the Canadian researchers analyzed found that PSK had an effect on inhibiting cancer tumor growth by boosting immune system activity as well as by changing immune system responses directly. The ramping up of the immune system also had an effect on cancer metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

The review also concluded that survival rates for lung cancer patients were much improved at the 1, 2, and 5 year mark with ongoing use of PSK. Health factors that led researchers to this conclusion were: immune system function, blood function, weight, and cancer-related fatigue levels.

In general, the majority of the studies under scrutiny concluded that PSK can extend survival rates of lung cancer patients. This even included those who are also undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

FDA-Approved Trial for Stage 4 Breast Cancer Patients Underway

Prior to the massive Canadian review, which was published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, other studies had come to the same conclusion. In 2012, the FDA approved a clinical trial to test the healing properties of Trametes versicolor on Stage IV breast cancer patients.

The study is being conducted in part by Bastyr University in Washington state. As of 2014 reports, researchers claim that turkey tail extract was restoring immune system function for all the women who had gone through radiation therapy. They also found that PSK supplementation was increasing the number and effectiveness of “natural killer” (NK) cells as well as other cytotoxic T-cells.

NK cells are especially important for cancer healing, since it is their job to hunt out tumor cells and destroy them. The researchers also found that the higher the dosage given, the higher the number of cancer-fighting T-cells seen in the women’s immune systems after four weeks of use. There were no noticeable negative side effects of the treatment.

Polysaccharide K Can Affect Cancer Stem Cells

“Shrinking a cancerous tumor may offer temporary relief…but it will not offer a long-term cure if the cancer stem cells are not eliminated,” say researchers at Stanford School of Medicine.

This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why (besides how detrimental it is to the immune system) traditional cancer therapies often do not prevent a cancer from returning months or even years later. According to 14-year-long study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the overall 5-year survival rate for cancer patients who utilize cytotoxic chemotherapy alone is only 2.1%.

Healthy stem cells are needed for the health and well-being of every part of the body’s functions. They can be viewed as “blank slates” that have the ability to turn into many different kinds of cells, such as an organ tissue cell or a brain cell.

Cancer stem cells, on the other hand, are found within tumors (or in the blood for cancers such as leukemia). They also possess the characteristic ability to change form. However, they give rise to different forms of cancer cells and are major contributors to cancer metastasis.

Turkey tail mushrooms may have the ability to destroy cancer stem cells as well. A study conducted in 2011 by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that the substances polysaccharopeptide (PSP), extracted from turkey tail mushroom, appeared to target prostate cancer stem cells in mice. Study organizers said that the compound was “100% effective in suppressing prostate tumor development.” The Bastyr University researchers mentioned above have also seen similar results with breast cancer stem cells.

Will FDA Approval for PSK Become a Reality Someday?

Despite the ongoing success of study after study when it comes to PSK, gaining U.S. FDA approval for PSK as a cancer treatment may be difficult in the long run.

“The FDA wants to know what the ‘mechanism of action’ is,” says Bastyr University’s Masa Sasagawa, ND, one of the lead researchers with the university’s ongoing breast cancer trial. “But it’s very difficult to determine, because turkey tail is a natural product and not a single compound.”

Unlike a synthetic drug, mushrooms contain thousands of elements. Each of these elements may have a potential effect on the immune system—and the combined effect of how they all work together will have an effect on healing as well.

Luckily, turkey tail extract can still be obtained in the United States through specific labs and select health food stores. The research confirms that PSK from turkey tail extract has a profound anti-cancer effect. Many experts agree that Polysaccharide K from turkey tail is a must-have for anyone who is serious about fighting cancer.

The Wonders of Olive Leaf

Most people know about the wonders of olive oil but have you ever thought about the olive leaf?  Olive leaf comes from the leaves of an olive plant and contains an active ingredient (oleuropein) that has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory.  The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decrease in chronic disease, especially heart disease because the belief is that one of the things they eat is olive oil.  However, they not only use olive oil, they also use the fruit and the leaf, and have been using them for centuries.  Olive leaf is anti-microbial.  This means it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-yeast etc.  Because of this it is used for a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to serious infections.  In fact, olive leaf is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial without any harmful effects on beneficial microbes, which means that it will not induce the types of side effects associated with antibiotics (especially secondary infections).  Additionally, certain types of bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics but these same bacteria remain vulnerable to olive leaf extract.  Olive leaf increases the activity of phagocytes (where white blood cells consume harmful bacteria) keeping our immune system strong and effective.  Olive leaf is very heart protective and helps specifically with not only reducing existing high blood pressure but also helps to prevent high blood pressure.  It has also shown to be helpful against diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and even arthritis.

What to Look for in an Olive Leaf Supplement

Not all olive leaf is created equal.  It is important to get one that is 500mg and has a standardized dose of Oleuropein of at least 15% or more.  This is the active ingredient of olive leaf and the reason you’re taking it.  You can also get it in liquid form.  If you are coming down with a cold or are fighting any type of infection, take 2 capsules twice daily until you feel better.  Then for a maintenance dose, take 1-2 per day.  This will help you increase the immune system so you are protected against the microbes coming your way, especially during cold and flu season.

Have You Heard of Caralluma Fimbriata for Weight Loss?

Do you have a voracious appetite?  Do you find yourself munching and you’re not even hungry?  I just watched this video from a bariatric doctor who talked about Caralluma Fimbriata which is a natural cactus plant extract which comes from India, and it’s supposed to decrease appetite and support weight loss.  The plant has been eaten in India for centuries.   Although it has been around for centuries, it gained popularity as a diet pill in the last few years.

So what is its mechanism?  Caralluma apparently works by blocking a specific enzyme (called citrate lyase) , which is necessary for the formation of acetyl CoA, a basic ingredient of essential fatty acids that become stored in the body as fat.  Caralluma blocks the formation of an enzyme (called Malonyl CoA).  Caralluma manufacturers claim that blocking these enzymes necessary to form fat will prevent the body from storing fat. This, combined with a purported interference with the brain’s hunger signals will cause you to eat less, and your body will burn stored fat for fuel.

Other health benefits of this cactus include:

Anti-Inflammation: Disease is often caused by inflammation within our bodies. Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of omega-9 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. It’s also been linked to healthier blood glucose levels, reduced cholesterol, and more regular blood pressure.

Reduce Fatigue: As mentioned above, Caralluma fimbriata can activate stored fat, turning it into lean muscle mass and burning the rest as energy. This makes you feel more energetic while also enhancing results at the gym.

Anti-Aging: Like many plants, Caralluma fimbriata contains high levels of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants target free radicals within the body, which reduces aging in the brain and the body. That means fewer wrinkles and better overall cognitive and physical health.

Having said all of this, the studies are still new.  This supplement has only been available for a few years and studies on it are on-going so ones that are released now are still preliminary.   You never know…this could turn out to be the most promising weight loss aid in the near future.  Keep your eyes out for more studies and weight loss results!

 

What Vitamins Should I Take While Following a Low Carb Diet?

As far as vitamins when cutting out carbs, I will always recommend a good quality multi vitamin.  This assures you will get all of the vitamins and minerals that the body needs.  There are many multi vitamins that are gender specific as you should be taking women’s multi if you are a woman and men’s multi if you are a man.  Also, if you are over 40 you should be taking a vitamin geared to your age group as well as they will have added ingredients to protect you from age related issues like hormonal imbalances, heart protection, cancer prevention etc.

Fish oil is my second recommendation and this will take care of both at the same time.  When following a low carb diet it is important to add more good fats.  I personally take MCT oil daily.  This oil comes from coconut and body builders and dieters use it to help them burn fat and stay in ketosis.  In case you are unaware, ketosis means the body is using fat for energy instead of sugar (carbs).  You can read more about both ketosis and MCT oil on my previous blogs.  You can use MCT oil in your shakes, salad dressings or just take a shot of it with your meals.

Other fats that you should include in your diet are coconut oil, olive oil, butter and avocado’s.  Smoothies as a snack is a great way to get in more MCT oil and dense nutrients.  My smoothies include a protein powder, MCT oil, a greens powder and berries powder.  I also add liquid fish oils.  You couldn’t possibly eat all day long and get the amount of nutrients in this shake.  Also, I never use fresh or frozen fruit as they are too high in carbs.  I literally put water in my shaker cup, add the protein, oils, and powders, shake and go.  It’s low carb and easy to make.

Cancer Prevention

Angiogenesis Inhibitors – Cancer Prevention

Everyone knows someone who has had cancer or lost someone with cancer.  We know some of the causes of cancer like smoking, poor diet, chemical exposure etc. but do we really know what happens to the body when we get cancer?   Know this….cancer cannot survive and grow without blood vessels!

In 1961 Dr. Folkman saw something while doing some medical research that gave him a hunch.  “What if cancerous tumors, in order to expand, needed to trigger the growth of new blood vessels to feed themselves? And if that was true, what if a way could be found, to stop that growth? Could cancers be starved to death? Dr. Folkman had ample reason to be self-confident — second in his class at Harvard Medical School, he was already considered one of the most promising doctors of his generation. But even he never guessed that his idea would eventually grow into a multibillion-dollar industry that is now racing through human trials with drugs that show unparalleled promise of being able to control cancer, as well as other deadly diseases.” – Dr Folkman.  His book is called Dr. Folkman’s War and it is fascinating information.

‘Angio’-means blood vessel and ‘Genesis’- means growth:  Blood Vessel Growth.  If we cut ourselves our body sends out signals to create blood vessels to heal the wound which is a good thing but what happens if these signals do not shut off?  That’s cancer.   Anti-angiogenesis are things that inhibit the blood vessel growth.  Foods that are natural angiogenesis inhibitors that you want to include in your daily diet (which will strengthen your immune system and should be organic) would include mushrooms such as shiitaki, reishi and maitake mushrooms, berries, citrus fruits, red grapes, red wine (yay!), artichokes, turmeric, kale, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and dark chocolate (yay again!).

I personally take Host Defense Turkey Tail mushrooms every day as they have proven to be natural angio-genesis inhibitors.  I also take Host Defense “My Community” which is a blend of 17 different mushrooms.

I strongly recommend watching this video by Dr Li.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjkzfeJz66o  It is from Ted Talks and is called “Can we eat to starve cancer”?  It is fascinating and you will want to share it with your friends.  Know that mushrooms such as Turkey Tail, Maitake, Shiitake and Reishi are natural angiogenesis inhibitors but the film lists many foods good for anti-cancer.  It’s a must see and once you watch it you will want to share it with your friends.  I hope so anyway!

Protein Smoothies

Protein Smoothies

I am on the road most days and tend to skip breakfast, even though I am completely aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…it kick starts the metabolism.  I can also be lazy so I don’t bother with a blender except if I am making one for my husband as well in which I may add frozen fruit and/or a banana.  The basic recipe for me is:

  • 1 Scoop Protein (I use protein concentrate not isolate as it is slower released and keeps me fuller longer)
  • 1 Tbls liquid fish oil (you can never taste the fish oil as they make them very tasty these days)
  • 1 Tbls Progressive Phytoberry (this is loaded with berries and fruits among many other ingredients, which is very high in anti-oxidants)
  • 1 Tbls Progressive Vege Greens (you won’t believe how many amazing ingredients in this greens product and they now have a new pineapple/coconut flavor)
  • 1-2 Tbls MCT oil (this is a great fat burner)

This is your basic recipe.  You can use whatever protein powders, greens or powder fruit blends as you choose.  I put water in my shaker cup (the one with the metal mesh ball in them), add all of the ingredients, shake and go.  It literally takes 5 minutes max.

If I use a blender, I will add one or more of the following:

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries (you can use fresh)
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries (you can use fresh)
  • Any other types of fruit
  • You can add spinach or kale for added greens
  • The recipes are completely endless depending on your taste, just do it

I could not eat ALL DAY long and get half of the nutrients that I get in this shake.  You can even freeze it for later and have a frozen smoothie.