Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, New Reseach!

Image result for dna image
Many of you are familiar with the Human Genome Project, which was a major scientific undertaking aimed at mapping the genetic sequence.  According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, this has allowed us to create a blueprint of human life.  Thanks to this research, we are able to understand more about genetic causes of illness and disease on a daily basis.
The Wall Street Journal profiled a new research study that involves the genome sequencing of healthy newborns.  This government funded research program will be conducted at major hospitals across the country and will possibly lead to routine testing completed on every newborn.  In essence, this type of testing would eventually replace the current heel-prick test in which a small blood sample is taken to test for several dozen severe diseases.  The genome sequence test would test for many more illnesses, as well as provide a medical blueprint that could be used to tailor specific medicines and treatments in the future.
Image result for newborn image
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?  In terms of scientific discoveries, this is about as good as it gets for the 21st Century.  Early identification of diseases could possibly save a child’s life, or at the very least minimize the life-long effects.  In one example, the genome testing allowed a small baby to keep a portion of her pancreas rather than having the entire organ removed.  This prevented, at least for the short term, a life dependent on insulin injections.
With all new medical advancements, however, we always have to consider the ethical and legal implications.  What are the costs involved?  Genetic sequencing costs about $1,000, as compared to a $25 heel prick.  It is possible that this up-front cost might save thousands of dollars in the future, but in a completely healthy baby, it might be considered extravagant.  Is it appropriate rationing of our health care dollars, especially in the age of government mandated health insurance coverage?  Will the outcome of this genetic sequencing lead to parents having to make difficult decisions based on situations that might occur in the future, such as an infant who is a carrier of a cancer gene?  Right now, many people are choosing to have drastic surgeries, such as mastectomies, when they find out they are carriers of the BRCA gene.  Would we want parents to be responsible for making those heavy decisions at such an early age?  On the legal side, should this be mandated, as the heel-prick test is currently, or should it be optional? 
All in all, medical discoveries always come with excitement, as well as concerns.  With all new scientific research the most important tool is information.  Be educated, so that you can make the best, informed decisions.
For more information, see:
Valerie J Connor, MA CCC-SLP
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Biological values of dietary protein and athletic guidelines

Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutrition Instructor 

Protein is a major component of the American diet. However, there are specific amounts and specific types that are recommended for specific types of athletes and the general population. Overall, protein intakes are based on nitrogen (the overall amount) and amino acid (the specific quality). Dependent on the biological value (BV), the protein is categorized into specific groupings. 

Biological values can vary with different foods. Higher biological values contain all of the essential amino acids generally required by the body. An egg is the highest biological value of all dietary proteins ranking at 100%.  Additionally, milk ranks at 93%, while most meats/fish end up being at least 70-75%. A non-animal product with a higher biological value is soy at 74%. Additionally, foods such as beans and rice, pasta and cheese, and lentil curry and rice can be combined for great sources of essential amino acids.  Ranking including a BV of 70 and above are associated with growth/ maintenance within the body.  

In general, a generally healthy person only needs ~0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) body weight. 

Additionally, here are some more guidelines for athletes in relationship to protein:
Sedentary/slightly athletic: 0.8 grams of Protein/kg body weight
Strength Athlete: 1.4-1.6 grams protein/kg body weight
Endurance Athlete: 1.2-1.4 grams protein/kg body weight
Team Sport: 1.2 - 1.5 grams Protein/ kg body weight
***please note, these are guidelines and not specific recommendations for an individual. Everyone is accessed differently and special considerations are taken into account with each person including overall health and specific disease.

Overall, too much protein can cause problems within the body as well. Protein must be cleared or filtered by the kidneys and provides stress on the kidneys in access. Additionally, too much protein can many problems including but not limited to osteoporosis, gout, and kidney stones
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weight loss triggers appetite hormones and increases appetite

Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutrition Instructor

Many times, an individual may think that their motivation is the only reason that they have failed or are having a hard time maintaining their weight loss. Weight loss is hardly thought of as a hormonal. However, weight loss produces many physiological changes that can increase an individual’s appetite and this is 100% true! Recently, I attended a conference and some of the topics that were discussed consisted of hormonal components of adipose tissue and Microbioti ( Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes) in relationship to weight loss within the GI tract. 

When a person loses weight without surgery interventions, multiple factors occur to make them gain weight or have an appetite increase. Ghrelin, the gut hormone which is produced in the stomach, increases when weight loss occurs. Leptin, a hormone that provides satiety, decreases when weight loss occurs as well. 

Additionally, PYY and Amylin both decreases when weight loss occurs. All of these components can increase hunger and appetite changes occur. 

Additionally, when weight loss occurs, energy expenditure decreases, thyroid hormones decrease, and Cortisol (steroid hormone) increases. All of these components can cause weight gain to occur as more energy is stored. In general, people who lose weight need less energy (calories - approximately 100-150 kcals daily) than someone of the same body composition who was never of obese or overweight status. 

All of these components can be a determinate of weight status. However, with dietary modifications and behavioral changes weight loss can be accomplished and maintained.
Monday, December 8, 2014

Natural Anti-virals: A Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach

By Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM , L.Ac.

As we discussed last time , there has been an announcement that the flu vaccine this year may not be effective , In addition to  healthy habits such as hand washing , it is time for use to look to natural anti-virals. Luckily , Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has a variety of herbal combinations that have natural antiviral qualities.

 GAN MAO JIE DU WAN  is one of the most common cold and flu remedies. It has been estimated that 75% of this formula is composed of strong anti-viral agents. Two of these herbs are gang mei gen (Radix Ilicis Asprellae) and san cha ku (Radix-Ramus Evodiae Leptae). Interestingly enough, gang me gen is the root of a type of holly. Holly is a plant associated with many winter holiday traditions.
Ilex plant commonly used to treat viral conditions.

YIN QIAO SAN- began as a pediatric formula for colds and flu.  It was commonly used for measles and chicken pox outbreaks. It is recommended for  traditional signs and symptoms associated with a phenomenon known as wind- heat . These would include , sore throat , slight fever and stuffy nose. It can be used in conjunction with the aforementioned Gan Mao Ling. The two most interesting ingredients in this formula are the use of honeysuckle flower and forsythia  fruit. The formula can be used a soothing tea or is available in tablet form.

Forsythia in bloom.

As with any supplementation use , please consult your physician or certified herbalist before beginning usage.
Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ineffective Flu Vaccine? Now What ?

By : Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM, L.Ac.

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) sent an advisory to officials that this year’s flu vaccine  will have a less than 50 percent effectiveness against the strains of flu that are most common this year. With efficacy levels so low, it is time to review natural anti-virals to support our immunity this year.  

Oregano is a common household spice that has strong antiviral effects. In fact, a study at Cornell University found that oregano can safeguard against 30 different types of pathogens. Unless you use, unwieldy amounts of oregano in your cooking, culinary use of oregano is usually not sufficient for anti-viral properties. Use of oregano oil supplements or tea from oregano leaves is best advised.

AgriVerdi Organic Oregano

Garlic has a history of usage that predates the Egyptian tombs. Almost every culture recognizes the use of garlic in cold and flu treatment and prevention. The trick to effective garlic use is large quantities of fresh garlic. A blend of raw garlic with honey or agave can provide a wonderful dipping sauce for fresh bread or other appetizers. Adding some parsley can help negate “garlic breath”. If raw garlic causes heartburn or does not fit your lifestyle, using garlic for medicinal purposes is quite easy. Doubling the amount called for in your favorite recipe can easily increase garlic intake to a therapeutic level. One popular recipe contains  50 cloves of garlic in a single soup!

50 Clove Garlic Soup
Serves 4
5 large garlic bulbs ( about 50 cloves)
2 tbs. butter or vegan substitute
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions diced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 tbsp. fresh parley (reserved)
1 boquet garni which includes parsley thyme and a bay leaf tied together with kitchen twine
1 cup half and half or vegan substitute
3 cups day old bread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut off the top third of the garlic bulb and discard. Drizzle the cut side of cloves with oil and surround with aluminum foil  and roast for 90 minutes or until soft and caramelized.
2.While garlic is cooling, heat two tbs. of olive and/or butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (about 12 minutes).
3. Squeeze roasted garlic into pot. Add the minced thyme. chicken stock, and bouquet garni and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and stir in the cubed bread. .
4. Remove the bouquet garni and puree in a blender or with hand blender until smooth.Add half and half and blend again  if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Next time, we will investigate additional integrated anti-virals.

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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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