Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Many Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is from the same tea plant as black tea and white tea but harvested at a different time in the plant’s cycle.  All forms of tea have significant health benefits when grown in the correct soil properly, but green tea has some unique benefits.

Green tea is chock full of polyphenol antioxidants that include flavonoids and catechins.   The most notable catechin is Epigalocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG for short.   EGCG has many benefits for many different health and disease conditions.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Green Tea

Recent research from the University of Leeds and Lancaster University showed that EGCG can actually help dissolve arterial plaque which is the main cause of heart disease and stroke.     Other research has shown it can also help to inhibit the buildup of amyloid beta plaque in the brain which is the main culprit in Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea can also help control blood pressure.   Drinking three to four cups of green tea daily has been proven to promote cardiovascular health and help prevent arteriosclerosis, cerebral thrombosis, heart attack and stroke while improving blood flow and protecting against blood clots.

Green Tea and Cancer

Green tea polyphenols also retard the growth of blood vessels to tumors and may help to improve tumor cell response to chemotherapy.

Green Tea and Weight Loss

EGCG increases fat oxidation for several hours after intake which can aid in weight loss.

Green Tea and Exercise Capacity

In a study, mice who were given green tea extract improved their endurance exercise time by up to 24%.

Best Type of Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea uses the entire ground tea leaf and contains much more EGCG than regular green tea.      The best Matcha comes from Japan is steamed rather than roasting or pan frying which retains much more nutrients.    The leaves are ground into a powder which is stired directly into hot water.    The tea is bright green.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Consequences of Too Little Sun Exposure

We are constantly reminded that sun exposure is a major risk factor for skin cancer.     However, there is WAY more to this story and the details matter!    First of all, many studies show that the deadliest form of skin cancer – Melanoma – is not associated with cumulative sun exposure.    In addition, skin cancer risk is mostly about avoiding sun burn, and everyone agrees this is an important goal.

Another important consideration is Vitamin D production – optimizing Vitamin D levels is incredibly important for disease prevention and the best way to do this is with safe, sensible sun exposure.    See this blogpost for information on how to optimize your sun exposure based on your genetics and where you live:

Negative implications of lack of sun exposure:

Increased dementia risk - People who completely avoid sun exposure have almost a 40% greater risk for dementia as they age.   

Increase Breast Cancer Risk – Woman who avoid sun exposure have a much greater risk of developing breast cancer.    In an analysis of women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Study, researchers found that the protective effects of sun-exposure on breast cancer was simply enormous. The risk reductions were highest for women who lived in United States regions of high solar radiation, with RRs ranging from 0.35-0.75. That means, sun-exposure reduced the risk of breast cancer by three-fold; for every 100 breast cancers in women practicing sun avoidance, the sun-loving women only had about 35 cancers, an enormous reduction.

Increased Bone Fracture Risk – Cumulative sun exposure decreases risk of breaking a hip.    Fractures are significantly lower in those with high lifetime sun exposure.   

Increased Risk of Multiple Sclerosis – Many studies show that both lifetime sun exposure and current sun exposure reduces the risk of contracting Multiple Sclerosis.

Increased of Myopia (near sightedness) – according to studies, children who get a lot of sun exposure have a much-reduced risk of developing myopia.

Increase Mortality Risk – A Study that followed 29,000 Swedish women for up to 20 years showed that sun avoiders died much younger than sun lovers, and that the effect of sun avoidance on mortality was equivalent to the risks created through smoking!

CAUTION – As stated above getting sun-burned is a very bad idea for many reasons.      Like most things in life it is all about the right dose which is individual based on your skin and where you live.    

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Can Broccoli Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

It may sound crazy, but in a recent study a key phytochemical in broccoli not only cleared the accumulation of amyloid plaque but also improved memory deficits in mice.     Beta Amyloid Plaque buildup is how Alzheimer’s causes brain damage. So even though this was just a mouse study there is other similar evidence for the benefits of Sulforaphane from broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.   

In another study mice with Alzheimer’s were treated with Sulforaphane for four months and it inhibited the production and build-up of amyloid plaque.   As in the first study mentioned the treated mice maintained normal cognitive function compared to other Alzheimer’s Mice at 10 months.

Sulforaphane is an immune stimulant and ramps up the body’s production of key anti-oxidants while reducing harmful inflammation, and increasing detoxification.     

For more information and to see all the many benefits of Sulforaphane see this blogpost:

Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Detox Method that Really Works!

Unless you live under a rock you have probably seen many “detox” cleanses and products that claim to help the body purge itself of toxins, but do any of them actually work?   Certain products can support the key organs of elimination which are the liver, kidneys and digestive tract, but the process of detoxification is actually quite complex and occurs at many different levels starting with individual cells progressing to tissues and then finally organ systems.      Saunas and in particular infrared saunas also support detoxification.

The body is constantly producing waste products that need to be eliminated for optimal cellular, tissue and organ function.    Even people who eat nothing but organic food and highly purified water create waste products, and they also encounter toxins from the environment.    Some of these toxins are worse than others, but no one can completely escape contact with toxins.

Where do Toxins in the Environment Come From?

With over 100,000 chemicals in commercial use with 25% of them known to be hazardous there are a lot of toxins in our environment!

To get a sense of how wide-spread environmental toxins are in our bodies let’s take a look at the results of the National Adipose Tissue Survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency which examined toxin levels in peoples’ bodyfat.     The results are alarming to say the least:

Chemical Tested                                              % of people having this toxin in fat
Styrene                                                                100%
1,4-dichlorobenzene                                      100%
OCDD (dioxin)                                                   100%
HxCDD (dioxin)                                                 98%
Xylene                                                                  100%
Benzene                                                              96%
TCDD (Agent Orange)                                     76%
DDT (banned 1972)                                          55%
PCB’s                                                                     95%
M, p-Cresol                                                        93%
Toluene                                                               91%

To make matters worse many chemicals we encounter do their damage quickly and cannot be found in human tissue because they quickly degrade., yet they do cause tremendous harm from just brief exposure.  

Autophagy – Your Bodies Clean Up Method!

Autophagy is a detox process your body uses to clean out damaged cells and regenerate new ones.  Autophagy plays a key role in your body’s ability to detoxify, repair, and regenerate itself.  The benefits of autophagy include:

Reduced inflammation
Improvement in cellular, tissue and organ function
Prevention or delay of neurodegenerative diseases
Increased longevity

According to Dr. Colin Champ who is a radiation oncologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh:  “Think of it as our body’s innate recycling program.   Autophagy makes us more efficient machines to get rid of faulty parts, stop cancerous growths, and stop metabolic dysfunction like obesity and diabetes.”

How Do You Increase Autophagy?

There are five key ways to ramp up autophagy in your body:

Use Intermittent Fasting
Eat a high fat low sugar and starch diet
Limit protein intake to 15 grams per day one time per week
Get a good night’s sleep!


HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training, is the most effective form of exercise to stimulate autophagy because it stresses your body enough to provoke biochemical change.  It is about getting in short-term, acute stress.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting dramatically ramps up autophagy.   Intermittent Fasting can be done several ways but the easiest method to integrate it into your life is to simply  keep all your meals within an 8 hour window each day (see  this blogpost for details on intermittent fasting: )

Limit Protein

Excessive protein intake stimulates IGF-1 and mTOR which shut-down autophagy.    So in an ideal world you should limit your total daily protein intake from 40 – 100 grams per day depending on your size and level of lean body mass.   

For body builder types or anyone looking to increase muscle mass adequate protein intake is important, BUT you can accomplish this without overeating protein as described above and/or limiting your protein intake to 15 – 25 grams once or twice a week on non-training days.

This gives your body a full day to recycle proteins, which can help reduce inflammation and cleanse your cells without muscle loss.


Sleep is a time of physical and mental restoration and during productive sleep autophagy is ramped up all over.   During sleep the brain cleans itself of toxins that have accumulated throughout the day.  During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells.