Can Sugar Make You Forgetful?

Can Sugar Make You Forgetful?

     This research affirms what I’ve seen in my own clinical work with patients who have conditions related to brain function, from autism to dementia.  Refined sugar contributes to inflammation throughout the body, which throws the body’s systems out of balance and contributes to many of the chronic, diet-related conditions of modern society.

     Over the past few years I have written several posts about the dangers of refined sugar.  In a nutshell, our bodies just aren’t able to handle such a potent substance.  We’ve known that type 2 diabetes can cause memory problems due to reduced or blocked blood flow to the brain.  Now, new research reveals that high blood sugar levels themselves—without diabetes—can lead to similar harm.

     The researchers excluded people who were overweight, consumed more than 3.5 servings of alcohol per day, and those who already had memory and thinking impairments.  Participants were given several tests and also had brain scans as a part of the project.  Results showed that those with lower blood sugar levels had higher scores on the memory tests than those with higher blood sugar levels.

     To quote the author of the study, “Clinically, even if your blood sugar levels are ‘normal,’ lower blood sugar levels are better for your brain in the long run with regard to memory functions as well as memory-relevant brain structures like the hippocampus.”  The researchers believe that keeping glucose levels lower long-term could help prevent cognitive decline in aging.  See the write-up here.

New Guidelines Mean Half Of Adults Have High Blood Pressure. What About The Kids?

New Guidelines Mean Half Of Adults Have High Blood Pressure.  What About The Kids?

     This post is important because study after study has demonstrated that elevated blood pressure in children is correctly diagnosed less than 25% of the time.  This is due in part to the variations in pressure that vary with a child’s age, gender, and height and the need for doctors to consult pages of charts to make a determination.  New guidelines use a simple, doctor-friendly table.

     The recently revised blood pressure guidelines formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology mean that over half of all adult Americans will now be considered to have blood pressure that is too high, 130/80 millimeters of mercury or greater.  It previously was defined as 140/90.  (The first number describes the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts, and the second refers to the pressure as the heart relaxes between beats.)

     While children don’t usually suffer the consequences of high blood pressure during childhood and adolescence, unless it is properly treated, the result can be early heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.  Also, because high blood pressure often runs in families, elevated levels in children often predict high blood pressure in adults, a leading risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

     Contributors to the prevalence of hypertension in children include consumption of fast foods, processed foods and snacks that are high in sugar (disrupting normal weight), and also high in salt (causing excess sodium and fluid in the blood and an added strain on the delicate blood vessels that feed the kidneys).  Approximately 17% of children aged 2 to 19 are obese, and approximately two million children have hypertension.

     Children between the ages of 3 and 18 should have their blood pressure checked regularly, as it requires three consecutive readings to be conclusive.  For young people who get nervous around doctors, thus raising their blood pressure, new at-home technology makes it possible for parents to take the readings.

     Unless a child’s blood pressure is dangerously high, I primarily recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to address the underlying causes of the high blood pressure, instead of going right to a pharmaceutical medication.  There are also herbs and nutrients that can be helpful in managing blood pressure while we work on dietary and lifestyle changes. (Please click here or on the picture to go to the article.)

Dr. Taketa-Wong’s Early Tylenol Warning For Kids Now Proven True In Pregnancy

Dr. Taketa-Wong’s Early Tylenol Warning For Kids Now Proven True In Pregnancy

     Dr. Taketa-Wong has long advised parents of children with autism or ADHD to avoid giving their children Tylenol (or generic acetaminophen).  This is because they often have compromised liver detox pathways and the drug can cause worsening symptoms of autism and ADHD.  Instead, she instructs families on natural remedies including alternating hot and cold applications.

     Her pioneering medical leadership has now been shown to be highly perceptive.  A 2014 Danish study had already found an association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD, especially if the acetaminophen use was frequent.  But the problem for scientists was trying to determine if the medication caused the problem, or was it the condition that the mom was taking it for?

     To answer that question, researchers in Norway recently ran a study of 100,000 pregnancies.  They found startling results.  Regardless of the reason the pregnant moms used acetaminophen, those who reported long-term exposure — 29 consecutive days or more — had a more than twofold risk of a child with ADHD.  Importantly, the result was the same regardless of the medical conditions that the mom was taking the Tylenol for, removing the likelihood that some particular medical problem in the mother was actually affecting the developing fetus.

     The study did not show the risk for short term use, but when something can potentially cause harm to an unborn child, using a little bit is not a satisfactory answer.  That is why Dr. Taketa-Wong instructs her patients on effective natural approaches to managing fever and pain during pregnancy.

     For information about this or other questions about a safe pregnancy, please call the office at 808-783-0361 to schedule a free 15-minute telephone with Dr. Taketa-Wong.  (Click on the photo to read the article.)

What Is Your Body Doing With The Food You Eat?

What Is Your Body Doing With The Food You Eat?

     Say you’re at a party.  There is chicken, potato-mac salad, tossed greens, spam musubi, raw veggies and dip, red velvet cake, apple pie, and so on.  You help yourself to an assortment of items.  What happens after you’re finished eating?  While most of us have a basic idea of what our digestive system does, this article explains the science of it in easily understood terms. 

     I liked this article because the writer helps make sense of the sort of dietary recommendations I typically give my patients.  It’s an enjoyable read, too (though on the long side, perhaps best read in segments).  I think you will find it to be a valuable resource as well, something worth bookmarking and coming back to for reference.

Health News–Baking Soda Wash Removes Some Pesticides From Apples

Health News–Baking Soda Wash Removes Some Pesticides From Apples

     There are many health risks associated with pesticides, from handling them to applying them to consuming their residue.  One of the most controversial is the notion that they persist in such low levels that there is minimal risk when they are consumed.  Many scientists disagree because there isn’t enough information to say for sure whether long-term, low-level consumption of pesticides on produce is safe.  In fact, recent studies have linked chronic, low-level pesticide exposure to hyperactivity in children, diabetes, and low sperm counts.

     Rinsing produce with tap water removes germs and also significantly reduces pesticide residues.  But some pesticide residue persists on produce after getting washed under the faucet.  A new study has found that a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) wash can completely remove residues of two pesticides from the surface of apples.  The study’s authors said that, “Most pesticides are not stable at an alkaline pH, which breaks down the compounds and helps to wash them away.”

     We want to emphasize that the study confirmed only two pesticides out of the FIFTY which can be used on apples, so more tests are needed.  However the results are promising and the researchers advocate adding baking soda to the commercial washes and germicides now being used. 

     While organic fruits and vegetables—especially locally grown ones—are always preferable, families also have to take price and availability into account.  So it is good news that something this simple can help with at least one type of fruit and can be done at home by consumers.  Hopefully, more testing will now take place involving other types of produce.  Click on the photo or find the article here



Are The Chronic Diseases Of Aging Avoidable? Some Tribal People Seem Immune

Are The Chronic Diseases Of Aging Avoidable?   Some Tribal People Seem Immune

     A scientific project is revealing that there are genes in some tribal people who have never lived an industrialized life that protect them against Alzheimer’s.  The genes have existed in nearly all humans for eons up until modern times and now reside in only a quarter of people living in the industrialized world.  The function of those genes had to do with helping the brain fight parasites. 

     Now we live in “clean” environments, and there are fewer parasites to fight in developed countries.  It appears that these genes have started to fight against the brain itself instead.  The concept fits with recent dementia research.  It means that what we are feeding our body (the air, water, and food) is not able to provide us with the same resources as it would have in an ancient setting.  We may unwittingly be discovering just how damaging our modern way of life is.

     For me as a naturopathic doctor, while we can never return to a prior time, we can take action to protect ourselves.  I am certain that cutting out industrialized food—the processed and packaged products—and nourishing our bodies naturally would be a great start.  Read the article here.

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