The good news is that those who want or need to stay away from cow’s milk can do so with a number of non-dairy milk alternatives. These vary in their levels of nutrition, color, flavor and texture.
1. Soy Milk
A popular alternative to dairy milk, soy milk is a bean extract of soybeans and commonly sold in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties, including chocolate and vanilla.
Pros: In many ways, soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk. It’s often fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D and riboflavin and it usually includes 8 to 10 grams of protein per serving. Soy milk can also contain isoflavones, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Cons: Even a little soy milk can cause severe allergic reactions to those with a soy allergy. In addition, a review published in 2014 in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine revealed that soy might negatively impact fertility in men.
2. Almond Milk
Made from ground almonds, water and (in most cases) sweetener, almond milk is sweet with a creamy texture similar to dairy milk.
Pros: Almond milk contains lots of vitamin E—about 50 percent of the daily value in one cup. Weight watchers will like the fact that almond milk has 1/3 of the calories of 2 percent cow’s milk.
Cons: Almond milk has far less protein than dairy milk or soy milk. It also doesn’t have the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids found in dairy milk, so it’s important to look for fortified almond milk.
3. Rice Milk
Made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup and brown rice starch, rice milk is a popular alternative for cow’s milk.
Pros: Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of the milk alternatives. It’s free of soy, gluten and nuts, important for those who are allergic or can’t tolerate these ingredients.
Cons: If you’re watching your weight, rice milk is high in carbohydrates. And it’s low in protein and calcium compared to dairy milk. This milk is also thin and watery, so it’s not a good cow’s milk substitute for cooking or baking.
A close alternative to cow’s milk, coconut milk most resembles the texture of whole dairy milk. It’s somewhat high in fat (about 5 grams of saturated fat per cup).
Pros: Its nutty flavor makes coconut milk suitable for many types of baked foods. It’s soy- and gluten-free, so those with multiple food allergies can tolerate this substitute. Coconut milk has far more potassium per cup than dairy milk (630 mg per cup, vs. 150 mg).
Cons: Coconut milk lacks the nutritional value of dairy milk. One cup of coconut milk contains 80 calories, 1 g of protein and 100 mg of calcium—compared to 100 calories, 8 g of protein and 300 mg of calcium for 1 percent dairy milk.
5. Flax Milk
A little thin and sweet, most flax milk is produced by organic, ethically responsible companies that use non-GMO flax.
Pros: High in fiber, flax milk is rich in alpha linoleic acids, which has been used to prevent and treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It is used to prevent heart attacks, lower high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reverse hardening of the blood vessels. When fortified, this non-dairy alternative has as much calcium as regular milk, so it’s good for those who need healthy, adequate levels of calcium.
Cons: Flax milk is low in protein. Flavored varieties tend to be heavily sweetened, so read the label for sugar content.
6. Hemp Milk
No, you won’t get high on hemp milk. Made from hulled hemp seeds, water and (in most cases) sweeteners, hemp milk is a good alternative for those allergic to soy, nuts and gluten.
Pros: Hemp milk provides more iron than cow’s milk. It’s also very high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote heart and brain health.
Cons: Unless fortified, hemp milk is relatively low in calcium. It’s rather expensive and can have a beany-nutty flavor that may not suit some taste buds. Many store bought varieties have sugar added, so read the labe
Those with type O blood should choose high-protein foods and eat lots of meat, vegetables, fish, and fruit but limit grains, beans, and legumes. To lose weight, seafood, kelp, red meat, broccoli, spinach, and olive oil are best; wheat, corn, and dairy are to be avoided.
Those with type A blood should choose fruit, vegetables, tofu, seafood, turkey, and whole grains but avoid meat. For weight loss, seafood, vegetables, pineapple, olive oil, and soy are best; dairy, wheat, corn, and kidney beans should be avoided.
Those with type B blood should pick a diverse diet including meat, fruit, dairy, seafood, and grains. To lose weight, type B individuals should choose green vegetables, eggs, liver, and licorice tea but avoid chicken, corn, peanuts, and wheat.
Those with type AB blood should eat dairy, tofu, lamb, fish, grains, fruit, and vegetables. For weight loss, tofu, seafood, green vegetables, and kelp are best but chicken, corn, buckwheat, and kidney beans should be avoided.
Anti-Inflammatory based diet
Those who are prone to allergies such as Blood type A and B must avoid foods that causes allergies or foods treated with hormones.
Anti-inflammatory diet are rich in Omega 3 such a fish and fish oil, flax see and other food sources.
Inflammation may play a role in a number of diseases, including asthma, premature aging, mental health issues, periodontal disease, obesity, skin aging, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Brain inflammation from arachidonic acid found in animal products may explain why those eating plant-based diets have less stress, anxiety and depression, and better moods.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol may trigger the inflammatory response in artery walls which can eventually lead to a heart attack. Coronary artery disease and erectile dysfunction are two manifestations of inflamed and clogged arteries.
Animal products, including eggs, dairy, meat, and animal protein in general may increase inflammation. A single meal of meat, eggs, or dairy may cause a spike of inflammation within hours that can stiffen one’s arteries. Several factors may account for this, such as heme iron, endotoxins, saturated fat, a high bacteria load, TMAO, tapeworms, advanced glycation end products or AGEs, and NeuGc, a foreign meat molecule that may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
There are non-animal products that also cause inflammation. For example, excessive exposure to plastics with BPA may be linked with liver inflammation; acrylamide, which can be formed from deep-fried carbohydrate-rich foods; large doses of vitamin supplements; titanium dioxide; and carrageenan.
Dr. Dean Ornish has written that healthy living and eating habits, which include eating a primarily whole-foods, plant-based diet, can downregulate genes that promote inflammation. Whole plant foods tend to be anti-inflammatory. This may explain higher blood protein levels in vegans. This is possibly due to the fiber, dietary magnesium, and phytates present in many plant foods.
Though important to eat a variety of whole plant foods, fruits and vegetables with the highest antioxidant levels seem to reduce inflammation the most. Other specific plant foods identified as being anti-inflammatory include apples; black pepper; broccoli; broccoli sprouts; Ceylon cinnamon; cilantro; citrus fruits; ginger; cloves; rosemary; chamomile; dragon’s blood; dried apples and dried plums; berries; crimini, oyster, maitake, and white button mushrooms; nutritional yeast, flaxseed oil or flaxseed; green leafy vegetables; turmeric, which may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, treat knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce post-surgical pain; tomato juice, legumes, purple potatoes, nuts in general, and specifically English walnuts, which may be so effective that the equivalent of eating a single walnut half per day may cut the risk of dying from inflammatory disease in about half. Eating a plant-based diet may be as anti-inflammatory as taking aspirin (without the side effects), and sweet Bing cherries and watermelon specifically may be good NSAID alternatives. Fish oil, possibly due to the presence of industrial pollutants, has not been shown to reduce inflammation.
From 28 weeks until birth, pregnant women may want to avoid large amounts of anti-inflammatory foods as these may harm the baby in the same way can anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
The health benefits of guava include the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, cough, cold, skin care, high blood pressure, weight loss and scurvy.
Many of you may have tasted this mouth-watering treat, or have at least seen or heard about it. Guava is very common in Asian countries, but is increasingly available in the western world, particularly as more of its health benefits are revealed. It is a somewhat round or pear-shaped seasonal fruit, and is light green, yellow, or maroon in color on the outside when it is ripe. Guava also has white or maroon flesh and lots of small hard seeds enveloped in very soft, sweet pulp. It is eaten raw (ripe or semi-ripe) or in the form of jams and jellies.
This popular fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients. If the traditional adage says that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” in Europe and Americas, the phrase is probably changed to “A few guavas in the season keeps the doctor away for the whole year” in the Indian Subcontinent and places where guavas typically grow. Its scientific name is Psidium Guajava.
What makes guava special is that protecting the fruit does not require excessive use of chemical pesticides as in the case of grapes, apple, and other so-called “exotic” fruits. It is one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits.
Health Benefits Of Guava
Some of the surprising and brilliant health benefits are listed below.
Weight loss: Guava is very helpful for those who want to lose weight without compromising their intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber. Guava is very high in roughage and rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, but it has no cholesterol and a low number of digestible carbohydrates. It is a is very filling snack and satisfies the appetite very easily. Guava, especially raw guava, also has far less sugar as compared to apples, oranges, grapes, and other fruit. Adding a medium-sized guava to your lunch and you will not feel hungry again until the evening. Ironically, it can also help with weight gain in lean, thin people. This is probably due to its wealth of nutrients, which keep the metabolism regulates and helps to promote the proper absorption of nutrients.
Diabetes: In a related benefit to blood pressure mentioned above, an intake of guava can also help those patients who suffer fromdiabetes. The high level of dietary fiber in guava helps to regulate the absorption of sugar by the body, which decreases the chances of major spikes and drops in insulin and glucose in the body. Studies have shown that consuming guava can help prevent the appearance of type-2 diabetes.
Eyesight: Guavas are extremely good sources of vitamin A, which is well known as a booster for vision health. It can help slow down the appearance of cataracts, macular degeneration, and general health of the eyes. It can not only prevent degradation of eyesight, but even an improvement in eyesight once it has begun to degrade.
Cancer Prevention: One of the most celebrated and important benefits of adding guava to your diet is its ability to inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells. There have been numerous studies done in recent years on guava’s effects primarily on prostate cancer, breast cancer, and oral cancers. Guava leaf oil is extremely successful as an anti-proliferative substance, and has actually been shown to be more effective than some leading modern medicines in reducing cancerous growth. Guavas are also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be wildly successful in reducing prostate cancer risk. That same antioxidant has also shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, although further human trials need to be done.
Antioxidants: The naturally high levels of vitamin C in guavas, which are four times higher than the levels found in oranges (the traditional vitamin C powerhouse), provides the immune system a huge boost in antioxidants. Antioxidants are the major lines of defense against the proliferation of free radicals in the body, which are one of the main causes of serious conditions like cancer and heart disease. Therefore, adding guava to your diet has numerous ways in which it helps you stay healthy.
Scurvy: Guava can outdo many other fruits, including orange and other citrus fruits, in terms of its concentration of vitamin C. A deficiency of vitamin-C can cause scurvy, and proper intake of vitamin C is the only known remedy for that dangerous disease. In fact, guavas contain 5X more vitamin C than oranges, which are often heralded as the absolute best source of that beneficial vitamin.
Diarrhea & Dysentery: Guava is very rich in astringents (compounds that make your gums feel tighter and fresher). After you chew guava leaves, eat a raw guava, or use some guava-based toothpaste), your mouth feels healthier, and the astringent qualities also add substance to loose bowels and reduce symptoms of diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus helping to cure dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines. Furthermore, other nutrients in guava such as vitamin C, Carotenoids and potassium, strengthen and tone the digestive system while simultaneously disinfecting it. Guava is also beneficial in treating gastroenteritis for the same reasons stated above.
Thyroid Health: They are a good source for copper, which is an important part of regulating thyroid metabolism by helping to control hormone production and absorption. The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands in the body for regulating hormones and organ system function, so guava can help balance your health in many ways.
Constipation: Guava is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber in terms of fruit. Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties of guava help the formation of healthy bowel movements, and aid the body in retaining water and thoroughly cleaning your intestines and excretory system. It is said that constipation alone can lead to 72 different types of ailments, so any help with constipation is beneficial. Your total health is undeniably affected by proper digestion, and more importantly, proper excretion. Frequent consumption of guava can ensure both.
Brain Health: Another of the tremendous positive benefits of guavas is the presence of vitamin B3 and vitamin B6. B3 (also known as niacin) can increase blood flow and stimulates cognitive function. B6 is a great nutrient for brain and nerve function. Therefore, eating guava can help you increase brain function and sharpen you focus.
Cough & cold: Juice of raw and immature guavas or a decoction of its leaves is very helpful in relieving coughs and colds by reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs, and inhibiting microbial activity with its astringent properties. Guava has one of the highest quantities of vitamin C and iron among fruits, and both are proven to be preventive against colds and viral infections. In some areas of India, roasted ripe guava is used as a remedy against extreme cases of cough, cold, and congestion. Ripe guava should be avoided by people who are suffering from cough and cold, as it can exacerbate the problem, and one should also avoid drinking water immediately after eating guava as it can lead to a sore throat.
Skin care: Guavas can improve the texture of your skin and help you to avoid skin problems more than even the highest ranked beauty creams or skin toner gels. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in the fruit (more astringent is present in immature guavas) and in its leaves. Your skin can benefit from either eating the fruits (this helps tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by rinsing your skin with a decoction of its immature fruit and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the area of loosened skin where you apply it. Guava is very rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and potassium which are good antioxidants and detoxifiers, which keep your skin glowing and free from signs of premature aging, wrinkles and other dermal disorders.
High blood pressure: Guava helps reduce cholesterol in the blood and prevents it from thickening, thereby maintaining the fluidity of blood and reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that food lacking fiber (such as refined flour) add to blood pressure, due to its quick conversion to sugar. Guava, being very rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in nature, helps reduce blood pressure.
Reduce Oxidative Stress: Guava juice is rich in vitamin C and a number of other important phytonutrients that can help eliminate free radicals and slow down oxidative stress in the body.Guava juice is a very popular beverage in tropical and subtropical regions that is made from the guava fruit. Furthermore, guava juice can help regulate blood sugar fluctuations, thus lowering your risk of developing diabetes.
Dental Care: Apart from guava fruit the leaves have many benefits. The juice of guava leaves has been known to cure toothaches, swollen gums & oral ulcers, and the juice speeds up the healing process of wounds when applied externally. Finally, it reduces the frequency of convulsions, epilepsy, and bacterial infections.
As with many alternative foods and supplements, there is little risk in eating them in natural form, but you must do your due diligence when taking it in medical forms. Be cautious when adding any new medicinal form of guava into your diet, and it is better to stick to eating guava in its natural form as a raw fruit.
How to eat a guava?
There are plenty of ways to eat guava, ranging from juicing the fruit and drinking it as a beverage, slicing it and putting it on top of ice cream, or including it in your next veggie or fruit smoothie. Once you halve the guava, scoop out the fibrous middle section and the seeds before serving the ripe, soft flesh of this tropical fruit. The flavor is quite unique, so it can be a great addition to many different dishes.
What is a guava?
A guava is a tropical fruit that is found most often in tropical and subtropical areas, and is rarely grown in temperate climates. With the scientific name of Psidium guajava, this fruit is one of many similar species in the same genus, but the “apple guava” is the common form found in most markets around the world. They are roughly the size of apples, or slightly smaller, and some variations are more similar to plums in size and shape.
Can you eat guava seeds?
Yes, you can eat guava seeds without any negative effects. In fact, people intentionally eat the seeds because they help with gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, because there is a lot of dietary fiber in these seeds. They can help to bulk up your stool and will pass through your system without any problem.
What is guava good for?
Guava helps to protect immune system, regulate blood pressure and lower risk of diabetes. It further helps to strengthen digestive system. Due to the unique and high concentrations of minerals and vitamins, guava can also help increase energy, relax the nerves and decrease the amount of stress hormones in the body.
How to grow guava?
If you live in a tropical or subtropical region, growing your own guava tree actually isn’t that hard. Guava trees respond very well to mulch, so clear out a 2-3 inch space in the soil where you can plant the tree. Then, water the tree once a week and fertilize the tree once a month. Adding more mulch is required, but the tree should grow rather quickly. Thinning out excess branches can also promote more growth.
How many calories are present in guava?
One of the best things about guava is the low level of calories – only 38 calories in your average fruit. Given the impressive amount of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that are found in guava, this low calorie count is what so many people love about this fruit. It can provide energy and the nutrients needed to get through the day, without increasing amount of calories.
What to do with guava?
Guava should be halved and then the fibrous center and the seeds can be removed. The seeds can be saved and used later for a stomach cleanser. The fruit can then be used as a topping or eaten raw, made into candies or jellies, or blended in a fruit/vegetable smoothie. Alternatively, guava can be juiced, making a delicious and healthy beverage.
Where does guava come from?
Guava comes from the guava tree, a species native to Central America and Mexico. These fruiting trees actually come in many different species, but all of them do best in tropical or subtropical regions. Since guava has been found to not only be delicious, but also highly beneficial to human health, these fruits have been exported all over the world, but guava cultivation and consumption is still centered in the tropics.
Where to buy guava leaves?
If you live in tropical or subtropical areas, they are available at most markets and health food stores. However, in temperate regions or areas without guava trees, you can purchase them in bulk from apothecary stores, and even on etsy and other online distributors. Guava leaves are also sold in tea leaf format, and can be purchased in most places that sell tea, herbs and health supplements.
Dr Mercola’s book ‘Fat for Fuel’ book is a revolutionary diet to combat cancer, boost brain power and increase your energy.
Dr Mercola’s story…
In 1995, my understanding of chronic disease took a quantum leap. I was introduced to Dr. Ron Rosedale and his breakthrough views on clinical metabolic biochemistry.
In a nutshell, Dr. Rosedale taught me that defective metabolic processes in your mitochondria, not your genetic makeup, cause cancer and nearly all other chronic diseases, including accelerated aging.
And what causes these faulty processes?
Insulin and leptin receptor resistance from too many net carbs and activation of the mTOR metabolic signaling pathway by too much protein.
Let me put this into more easily understood terms…
When you eat too many sugars and carbs without fiber, along with too much protein, you can ignite a cascade of metabolic events that includes:
Widespread inflammation and cellular damage, especially your mitochondria, or your cells’ power factories
Faster aging and a greater risk of all cancers from the activation of your body’s most important signaling pathway from eating excess protein
An increase in insulin resistance that can progress to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes because your cells have lost their ability to respond to insulin effectively
Overeating due to the loss of control over your appetite and knowing when you’re “full”
An inability to lose weight because your body is holding on to fat instead of burning it for fuel
So how can you take what I’ve learned and put it to good use? That’s the idea behind my new book, Fat for Fuel – to help you take control over obesity and chronic disease, including advanced cancer.
Why Cancer Is One Of The Most Manageable Diseases We Know Of Today
“Once you realize what cancer is, that it’s a metabolic disease, you can take charge of those kinds of things. In other words, getting cancer is not God’s will. It’s not bad luck.”
— Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.
I believe, along with many of the experts I interviewed for Fat for Fuel, more than 90 percent of cancer cases are either preventable or treatable.
That should be very welcome news to most people – even if you’re not currently fighting cancer or have a friend or family member who is.
But here’s something that I think should be even more reassuring…
Many people don’t realize that their chances of developing cancer are slim if their mitochondria are healthy and functional.
Researcher Dr. Peter Pederson from Johns Hopkins, recently made a fascinating discovery:
One characteristic that cancer cells share with one another is that they have a radically reduced number of fully functional mitochondria.
Maybe you remember learning about mitochondria in science class…
These tiny organelles, originally thought to have evolved from bacteria, exist in nearly all your cells. Most cells have several thousands of them, and can comprise up to 50 percent of your cells’ volume!
Your mitochondria are truly your body’s lifeline. They supply over 90 percent of your body’s energy needs by converting the food you eat and the air you breathe into usable energy.
Powerful Strategies For Repairing And Nurturing Your Mitochondria
As you age, your body produces fewer mitochondria, so that makes taking care of the ones you have all the more important.
When a significant percentage of your mitochondria stops functioning properly, your health can falter and leave you more vulnerable to cancer and other chronic diseases.
However, we now know there are powerful strategies that can repair and improve the health of your mitochondria.
What I believe to be the most valuable strategy for repairing your mitochondria is the main subject of my newest book: Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy.
You see, everything you eat affects your mitochondria – positively or negatively.
When you make food choices that boost your mitochondrial health, you reduce the risk of damage to your cells’ genetic material or DNA that can lead to disease or cancer.
In Fat for Fuel, here’s just a sampling of what you will learn:
How to trigger powerful changes in your health in just a few days
How to avoid feeding cancer cells’ mitochondria while repairing your healthy mitochondria
How to starve out cancer cells (and not harm your healthy cells!)
How to permanently shed unwanted pounds and inchesfaster than you ever thought possible
How to feel sharper mentally and improve your memory just by changing how and when you eat
How to boost your physical stamina and endurance
How to eliminate excessive hunger pangs and food cravings
How to explain to your friends, family, and doctorexactly what you’re doing and get their unwavering support
How to monitor your progress and find the least expensive supplies
Beyond Ketogenic Diets: The Eating Program That Can Heal Your Mitochondria
“A truly revolutionary program. . . Fat for Fuel will change the way you think about nutrition and your health.”
— Leo Galland, M.D.
Author of The Allergy Solution
Let me be very clear… you don’t need to be sick, overweight, or have cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s to benefit from the information in Fat for Fuel.
This book is designed for anyone wishing to improve his or her health. There’s tremendous value in repairing and nurturing damaged mitochondria just to feel more energetic and to help live a long life free from disease.
However, the sicker you are or the older you are (because you now have fewer mitochondria), the more you stand to benefit from the strategies I present in Fat for Fuel.
My program, Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy, or MMT, is a system of eating that aims to heal the root cause of chronic disease and aging – and your mitochondria themselves.
It does this by shifting your metabolism from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat instead.
When you replace carbs with fat for fuel, potentially:
You optimize your mitochondrial function
You turn on your body’s ability to burn body fat
Your metabolism runs more efficiently
You enjoy long-lasting energy and stamina
Your brain functions more efficiently and you feel sharper mentally
Glucose is a “dirty” fuel, while fat burns much cleaner. So by replacing carbs with healthy fats, your cells’ mitochondria are less likely to suffer damage from free radicals that are caused by reactive oxygen species or ROS.
Since 90 percent or more of the total ROS in your body are produced within your mitochondria, these fragile components of your cells are continually under siege when there are excessive ROS. Some are needed for crucial cellular functions, but too many cause devastating damage.
Previously, it was thought excessive ROS could be addressed by taking antioxidants, but we now know that this was a flawed strategy and it is far better to prevent their production by eating an optimal fuel mixture.
MMT can help your cells’ mitochondria reach the “Goldilocks” zone for producing ROS — not too much and not too little, but just the “right” amounts for healthy cellular and mitochondrial function.
Why You Need Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy (MMT)
What many people may not realize is that switching over to fat-burning is not an instantaneous “aha” moment. Nor is it a one-size-fits-all plan.
That may be why, if you’ve ever tried a ketogenic diet, you weren’t able to reach or remain in ketosis long enough to produce significant health effects.
My MMT program is a highly customizable, multi-step process that can take a few days or as long as a few months to become fully fat-adapted. Everyone is different.
Fat for Fuel walks you through the complete step-by-step process. You learn which foods and practices work best for you.
My goal is to help you get there smoothly and as easily as possible, identifying and removing potential challenges ahead of time that can derail you off course.
Here are some of the valuable insights you’ll gain from Fat for Fuel to help you succeed:
The 7 most common symptoms to expect while shifting to fat burning and simple ways to ward them off
How to use timing and spacing of meals to propel your results
The weight loss bonus that will hook you in your first few days on MMT
How to overcome emotional roadblocks that may arise before and during MMT
One simple way to tell if you’re exercising too much (or too little) while adjusting to fat burning
The 7 most common challenges people face when adopting a fat-burning eating plan and how to face them head on
How to customize MMT for you so you’ll want to continue it for life (although you’ll most likely be convinced that long-term is for you once you experience how much better you feel when eating this way!)
Why your brain loves ketones (Hint: it has to do with how easily they are whisked across your blood-brain barrier into your brain tissue)
Why it’s easier to lose weight on a ketogenic diet (and especially my MMT plan) and keep it off
The greatest tool I’ve found to help keep on track, pinpoint nutritional deficiencies in my diet – and to stay motivated
The effective and inexpensive long-term alternative to blood tests for monitoring ketones
My guidelines for long-term optimum fat-burning, including the ideal amount of protein to eat at any meal to avoid activating mTOR
The other side of eating that most people ignore, yet it’s equally important for your body to function at its best (it happens to be the oldest dietary intervention in the world!)
Why taking too many antioxidants can be dangerous and actually aid the survival of cancer cells
The popular cooking oils that can harm your cell membranes and threaten your mitochondrial health
Why it may be a big mistake to follow your conventional doctor’s advice about fat in your diet
Why MMT Is One Of The Most Powerful Strategies For Lasting Weight Loss And Much More…
“Beautifully lays out the history—and the myths—behind the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet that has been at the root of so much illness and death in the last half-century.”
— Ron Rosedale, M.D.
As a healthy child, you had healthy metabolic flexibility. When you ate a limited amount of sugar and net carbs (carbs minus the fiber) and greater amounts of healthy fat, you were easily able to burn clean burning fats as your primary fuel.
After eating a high net-carb diet, your body loses its ability to switch effortlessly from glucose-burning to fat-burning. And, if you’re like the majority of adults, your health — especially your metabolic health — has suffered as a result.
One visual gauge of your current metabolic health is the amount of body fat you’re carrying, especially around your waistline. This is largely unhealthy visceral fat.
You need a certain amount of body fat to protect your organs, but too much puts you at higher risk for chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
By making MMT part of your everyday life, you can regain that long-lost metabolic advantage. And that puts you squarely into control of your health – and weight – like no other step you could possibly take!
Similar to a ketogenic diet, MMT is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein eating plan. But unlike a ketogenic diet, it emphasizes on high-quality, unprocessed whole foods.
Since your body was designed to run more efficiently on fats than on carbs, when you successfully shift over to what’s called nutritional ketosis, you optimize your mitochondrial function and your body’s ability to burn body fat.
While fitting into your favorite skinny jeans is certainly a valuable side effect of MMT, my plan’s primary aim goes much deeper – to heal your metabolism at the cellular level and ward off the development of most common chronic diseases and premature aging, including:
Type 2 diabetes
Atherosclerosis and heart disease
And of course, that includes the core causes of obesity!
Please Don’t Confuse Paleo With My Advanced Version Of Ketogenic…
Paleo diets are one of the hottest eating trends today. Many people claim eating that way helps them feel more energetic. Others swear by them for weight loss.
But it’s not the same thing as MMT…
While there are many advantages to the Paleo diet – it’s certainly a big step above the typical American diet – it doesn’t initially control net carbs.
Paleo restricts grains, dairy, starches, and processed foods, but the diet allows some starchy vegetables, fruits, and sugars like honey and coconut sugar.
And it encourages protein from meat, seafood, and nuts and seeds – lots of it! Many people who follow the Paleo diet consume far too much protein.
Too much sugar and too much protein can make it impossible to maintain a state of ketosis, especially if you are new to nutritional ketosis.
Eating too much protein can also activate your body’s most important signaling pathway – mTOR, or the mammalian target of rapamycin – and boost your risk of cancer. Your mTOR pathway organizes all the nutrient sensors in your body to regulate metabolism, growth, cell differentiation, and cellular survival.
Researchers have discovered that low-protein diets extend lifespan in flies because they improve mitochondrial function and inhibit mTOR.
MMT or my version of the ketogenic diet provides very precise protein recommendations to help avoid activating mTOR and, at the same time, restore health to your mitochondria.
With the guidance I provide in Fat for Fuel, you’ll know how to determine the exact amount of protein that’s right for you!
Just As Important As What You Eat Is What You Don’t Eat
“Fat for Fuel . . . reveals truths the food industry won’t tell you about the food you eat and starts you on a path to radically transforming your health.”
— Mark Hyman, M.D.
#1 New York Times best-selling author of Eat Fat, Get Thin and
director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we should eat that it’s easy to forget the other side that’s equally important for your mitochondrial health. And that’s not eating.
Consider your early ancestors… They didn’t have ready access to food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Instead, they evolved to withstand extended periods without food. You and I are here today, so they obviously thrived.
Could your body perhaps be equipped to function optimally by not eating?
Fasting can rapidly accelerate your transition to fat-burning and immediately begin to improve metabolic pathways involved with many health challenges.
Think of it as a jump start to success… Starting MMT when you’re already adapted to burning fat through fasting makes your eating plan much easier to implement and stick with.
Fasting also provides numerous benefits in itself. When you fast, your:
Blood sugar stabilizes
Insulin levels fall and insulin resistance improves
Digestive tract gets to rest and repair its mucosal lining
Immune system participates in the regeneration of your body’s organs
Stem cells produce new white blood cells to boost immunity
Body produces ketones to fuel your brain and nervous system while preserving muscle mass
Metabolic rate increases to provide energy in the absence of food
Damaged cells are cleared out through a natural cleansing routine
Excess body fat is shed without the loss of lean body mass
Levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and cancer-promoting hormones drop
Rate of aging slows as does the accumulation of cellular free radicals
Brain function is protected by higher levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and other chemicals
Your Biggest Decision Likely Won’t Be If You’ll Fast, It’ll Be Which Fast Will You Choose?
I think you’ll agree that fasting provides an exceptional way to jump-start your mitochondria and become fat-adapted in as short a time as possible, and start reaping the many benefits of fat burning.
You can do a traditional 2- to 3-day water fast where you drink nothing but water plus minerals, or you can take your pick of at least 5 other types of fasts to make the transition to fat-burning even easier.
You’ll find detailed information about each type of fast in Fat for Fuel, including:
How to find the “right” fast for you
The fast that burns through your glycogen stores the quickest and pushes your body to start using fat for energy (You’ll want this one if you’ve just received a very serious diagnosis)
How to get the benefits of water fasting without the typical loss of energy
How to quickly shed your cravings for sweets and carbs while fasting
How to optimize your body’s repair and rejuvenation processes
How to use timing to reap many of the same benefits as long-term calorie restriction without the pain, suffering, and compliance challenges
How to know if fasting is safe for you (Especially if you have low blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or are taking diuretics or blood pressure medications)
The fast where you’re still eating food (This may be a tougher approach!)
What you need to know about exercising while fasting
How to fast without upsetting your body’s circadian rhythm
A quick trick to help extend your fast while warding off your hunger without raising your blood sugar (Many will enjoy this taste treat!)
The 3-hour window when you never want to eat (To help optimize your mitochondrial function and prevent cellular damage and faster aging)
My favorite form of fasting – and the one I personally use (It’s the easiest to maintain once you’ve shifted over to fat-burning)
Is There Life After MMT?
As I show in Fat for Fuel, switching to burning fat as your primary fuel is a very powerful strategy for improving the health of your mitochondria, and in turn, your overall health.
But maybe you’re wondering, “Do I have to eat this way for the rest of my life?”
The short answer is, no you do not. In fact, I don’t want you to.
In Fat for Fuel, I help you determine how long is enough for you based on your genetic and mitochondrial differences, as well as any hormonal challenges you may have.
MMT is not intended to be a long-term deprivation diet. Once you regain the ability to burn fat as your primary fuel you’re ready to listen to your body and increase the flexibility in your diet.
By mimicking the eating pattern of many of our ancient ancestors, you can use what I call “feast-famine cycling,” a strategy that many in the body-building community have embraced to optimize their performance.
There are multiple ways to use this clever strategy and I review them all in Fat for Fuel. When done correctly, you’ll enjoy a greater variety of delicious, wholesome foods without harming your body’s newly regained ability to burn fat.
And I think you’ll agree… With greater variety and flexibility, it’s much easier to stick to a lifetime of healthy eating!
The Stealth Threat Facing Every Man And Postmenopausal Woman, Exposing You To Obesity, Cancer, Cognitive Decline, And Heart Disease
My MMT Program helps control the production of damaging ROS and secondary free radicals in three important ways. The first two are the foods you eat and when you eat them.
The third is such a serious threat to overall health that it absolutely astounds me that more doctors aren’t giving it the attention it deserves, including many holistic practitioners.
This threat targets every single man and postmenopausal woman, and it isn’t related to a reckless lifestyle or poor eating habits.
You could even be following my MMT eating plan and be at high risk for this health-wrecking threat!
I’m talking about iron.
Excess iron can lead to one of the most dangerous reactions in your body — the Fenton reaction — that decimates your mitochondrial DNA, proteins, and membranes and contributes to system-wide inflammation.
And all you may initially notice is some joint pain, fatigue, gut pain, memory fog, or an irregular heartbeat!
Even moderately elevated levels of iron can contribute to:
Obesity — Obese individuals are more likely to have high levels of iron in their bodies.
Cancer — Elevated levels of iron are found in patients with many types of cancer, including breast cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS — High levels of iron in your brain tissue (which can easily happen as you age) can lead to cognitive impairment and inflammation.
Cardiovascular disease — Women’s risk of heart disease rises significantly after they either go through menopause or have a hysterectomy (and stop losing blood each month through menses).
Diabetes — Men with high iron stores were found to be 2.4 times as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as men with lower levels.
The growth of pathogens — High iron levels facilitate the growth of disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.
Osteoporosis — Too much iron in your body can damage your bones, but unfortunately, symptoms don’t typically appear until your levels are dangerously high.
What You Learn About Iron In Fat For Fuel Could Literally Save Your Life
Many doctors, including some Naturopathic physicians, aren’t doing the right test to give you the information you need about your iron levels.
Yet, they’ll insist they know best, and may even try to talk you out of the test you really need.
It’s much easier to manage your situation if you discover your high levels early, which is just one of the reasons why I’ve become so passionate about this topic.
Fat for Fuel is your guide to repairing and nourishing your mitochondria. But, you simply can’t optimize your mitochondrial health – or that of your entire body – if you have excess iron.
I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to the topic of excess iron, where you’ll learn:
The real test that you need to find out how high your levels truly are
The ideal range you want to maintain (it’s not what labs and most doctors consider “normal”)
The 7 things that increase your absorption of iron (it’s not only cast iron pans)
What to avoid eating or drinking with a steak to minimize your absorption of iron from red meat
The fastest way to lower excess iron levels (and what I do each month to help maintain safe low levels)
The 6 alternative strategies that can lower your absorption of iron as much as 95 percent
The 3 popular beverages that help protect you from the iron in foods
When never to take vitamin C or calcium supplements as they can increase your absorption of unwanted iron
The controversial strategy that provides the same iron level reduction as donating blood (it even provides up to a 75 percent lower rate of certain cancers), but it may not be for everyone
Your iron levels are so crucial, I’ve made getting them tested the right way a prerequisite before proceeding with my MMT plan!
10 Bonus Strategies To Boost Your Mitochondrial Health
Without question, my MMT diet is the most effective way to improve the health of your mitochondria. But it’s not the only way…
In Fat for Fuel, I outline 10 other powerful strategies for boosting mitochondrial health. At least half of them you can do at home without any special tools or equipment!
In this bonus chapter, I show you:
How to use photobiology to create energy to improve your mitochondrial function (first, make sure your cells have enough of this beneficial fatty acid)
The two-part strategy to gain a powerful synergy that could help reverse any health challenge
How to use light to deeply penetrate your tissues to deliver energy to your mitochondria for increased ATP production (it must be this certain hard-to-find wavelength!)
How to renew damaged proteins inside your cells, inside of allowing them to accumulate and form plaque deposits in your brain and vascular systems
The inexpensive tool to help protect your circadian rhythms and natural melatonin production to help you sleep better at night and help lower your cancer risk
The simple change you can make in your home to nearly duplicate the sun’s healthy, natural lighting for your eye health
What to do if you wake up before sunrise, especially during the darker months of winter (and continue to do it until the sun rises)
How to stimulate the production of new mitochondria and boost the destruction of diseased ones
The 20-second trick to double your body’s production of norepinephrine for improved focus and attention and to boost mood and alleviate pain
The four supplements to avoid if you have (or suspect) cancer as they can make cancer cells stronger and more resistant to anti-cancer treatment (this is a mistake many natural medicine practitioners make!)
The ancient healing method that’s been shown to be useful in treating pain conditions, depression, age-related mental decline, and Alzheimer’s (I use it every night to help quell free radicals and protect against EMFs)
Two ways to help your body increase levels of healthier “structured” water inside your cells and two simple ways to create it yourself from regular drinking water
Why My Book May Not Be For Everyone
Chances are if you’re still reading this, Fat for Fuel is exactly what you need to make significant strides in your health.
But I’ll be very blunt… Fat for Fuel isn’t for everyone.
If all you want are some smart but quick fixes, this is not the right book for you.
If you just want to upgrade your nutrition and improve your eating habits and overall health with small, simple tweaks to what you’re doing now, you may be better served by my last book Effortless Healing.
Effortless Healing walks you through nine powerful principles or steps that you can apply right away to your daily life to create healthy new habits and radically improved health.
Or you can go to Mercola.com and review the Nutritional Plan on the right side of the home page. Here you’ll find plenty of useful information, and if you sign up for my free newsletter, you’ll receive regular cutting edge health updates.
Fat for Fuel digs deeper – much deeper – into the very source of cancer, obesity, diabetes, mental decline and other chronic diseases that are affecting Westerners especially in epidemic numbers.
And it provides a real solution that works.
However, you’ll have to do more than just read the book… Getting the amazing benefits and results that my MMT plan offers takes a focused commitment and action.
Is Fat For Fuel For You?
“This book should be read by anyone interested in maintaining their health without toxic pharmaceuticals.”
— Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.
Author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease and professor of biology at Boston College
To help you decide if Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy is right for you, take a moment and see if any of these statements resonate with you:
You have a serious health issue and need effective help now
You’re frustrated with your current health treatments and feel like there’s something missing in your care
You’d like to see a chronic condition ease up or disappear entirely (be sure to work with your health care provider as you may need to reduce or eliminate medications as your health improves!)
You want to lose weight (and keep it off) without sacrificing lean muscle mass
You’d like to get rid of your “brain fog” and enjoy greater mental clarity
You want to stay healthy and live independently for as long as possible
You’d like more sustained energy for everyday tasks and for the things you enjoy doing
You need to lower your fasting blood glucose levels, regain insulin receptor sensitivity and reduce inflammation throughout your body
You’ve dabbled with a low carb or ketogenic diet and would like to learn how to customize it for real results
You’re following a ketogenic, low carb or whole foods diet now and want to take it to the next level
You’d like to go through your day without feeling excessively hungry and craving sweets and carbs
You want to experience improved digestion, less bloating and reflux, and more regular bowel movements (a 2016 autism study confirms that you may notice significantly improved gut and microbiome health)
If you agree with just one of these statements, then I can assure you there is solid value waiting for you within the covers of Fat for Fuel.
Dr. Perlmutter Praises Fat For Fuel
Dr. David Perlmutter, board-certified neurologist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain and The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan has provided his endorsement to Fat for Fuel. He states:
“…Fat for Fuel eloquently presents the leading edge of science, exploring how best to power your body. This is a life-changing text that not only provides a deep dive into why choosing fat as our primary fuel source powerfully correlates with health and disease resistance, but also delivers in terms of how the reader can easily bring about this fundamentally important change.”
Get Rewarded When You Take Action Now
Maybe you feel like you have time to wait before making profound changes to your health. Or maybe you don’t.
Either way, I believe in rewarding action.
The strategies I present in Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy are just too important for your health and well-being to set aside and “wait until the timing feels right.”
You’re growing older each day. Your body is producing fewer mitochondria, so that puts you at a disadvantage right from the gate. Time really may not be on your side.
Acetylcholine/Choline Deficiency in Chronic Illness – The Hunt for the Missing Egg.
Those who lack choline are prone to mental illness, heart disease, fatty liver and/or hemorrhagic kidney necrosis and chronic illness as choline is oxidized to betaine which acts as an important methyl donor and osmolyte. With fatty liver, a person can be prone to diabetes and other chronic illness. Eggs are rich in choline. Choline is also found in a wide range of plant foods in small amounts. Eating a well-balanced vegan diet with plenty of whole foods should ensure you are getting enough choline. Soymilk, tofu, quinoa, and broccoli are particularly rich sources.
Eggs are an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus andriboflavin. In addition, eggs are rich in the essential amino acid leucine(one large egg provides 600 milligrams), which plays a unique role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
We hear a lot about vitamins and minerals such as B12, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and so on, but there seems very little talk these days on the importance of dietary lecithin and choline. Are you consuming an adequate amount of acetylcholine, or other phospholipids? The odds are that you are not.
A little bit about choline
The human body produces choline by methylation of phosphatidylethanolamine (from dietary sources such as lecithin and others) to form phosphatidylcholine in the liver by the PEMT enzyme. Phosphatidylcholine may also be consumed in the diet or by supplementation. Choline is oxidized to betaine which acts as an important methyl donor and osmolyte.
For those wanting to see how this relates to the methylation cycle, below is a nice graphic (courtesy of Wikipedia).
It is well known that magnesium deficiency is widespread (57% of the population does not meet the U.S. RDA according to the USDA), but the numbers for choline deficiency are even more shocking.
According the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2003-2004, only about 10% of the population have an adequate intake of choline. This means about 90% of the population consumes a diet deficient in choline. Furthermore, those without an adequate intake of choline may not have symptoms.
Along with folate and B12 deficiency, inadequate consumption of choline can lead to high homocysteine and all the risks associated with hyperhomocysteinaemia, such as cardiovascular disease, neuropsychiatric illness (Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia) and osteoporosis. Inadequate choline intake can also lead to fatty liver or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The most common symptoms of choline deficiency are fatty liver and/or hemorrhagic kidney necrosis. Consuming choline rich foods usually relieve these deficiency symptoms. Diagnosing fatty liver isn’t as simple as running ALT and AST since nearly 80% of people with fatty liver have normal levels of these enzymes according to a population study published in the journal Hepatology. In fact, in an experiment, 10 women were fed a diet low in choline. Nine developed fatty liver and only one had elevated liver enzymes.
Estrogen and Choline Deficiency
Given the connection between low lipids and choline deficiency, it would be tempting to think that as long as someone has enough cholesterol and TG that they will be protected from choline deficiency. Unfortunately this is not the case. Having adequate lipids does indeed help support healthy choline levels, but it does not guarantee a person will avoid choline deficiency. The truth is that choline deficiency can come from more than one source. Both sex hormone levels and genetic SNPs may lead to a choline deficiency by influencing the PEMT enzyme – the enzyme responsible for synthesis of choline inside the body. Recent research now confirms how hormones and genetic polymorphisms play a major role in choline deficiency.
The body can make choline only one way; that is by methylating a molecule of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) into a molecule of phosphatidylcholine (PC). The body’s only method for accomplishing this is via the enzyme PEMT (phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase) which is found in the liver, brain, muscle, fat and other tissues.1,2 As with other well-known methylation enzymes like MTHFR and COMT, the PEMT enzyme can have genetic SNPs that slow it down. When this enzyme slows down the body cannot make choline in high amounts and choline deficiency is more likely. But there is more to the story of PEMT than just polymorphisms. In addition to being slowed by SNPs, PEMT is also dependent upon the hormone estrogen for activation. 1, 3 What this means is that the PEMT enzyme, the body’s only method of synthesizing choline, has not one but two Achilles heals. The PEMT pathway and how it relates to phosphatidylcholine production is shown in Figure 1.3 below.
Figure 1.3 – PEMT is shown as the rate-limiting reaction in the production of phosphatidylcholine inside the human body. Due to genetic and hormonal variances, most people have a PEMT enzyme working too slow and are susceptible to choline deficiency when there is not enough choline in the diet. ACoA – Acetyl-CoA; TG – Triglycerides; PE – phosphatidylethanolamine; PC – phosphatidylecholine; PEMT – phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase.
As mentioned above, the sex hormone estrogen is intimately linked with the production of choline. Women have a biological advantage here as the premenopausal female body has much higher levels of estrogen than does the male body. When a woman becomes pregnant this advantage is taken to an extreme, as pregnancy increases estrogen levels over 30 times normal.4 A successful pregnancy requires high amounts of nutrients delivered to the growing baby, esp. choline. Since the mother’s body is building a human being from scratch, there is an added burden on her biology to provide enough nutrition to her growing baby. Viewed from this perspective, the high estrogen levels during pregnancy can be seen to act like a biochemical insurance policy. Since the PEMT enzyme requires estrogen to function, pregnancy allows a woman to make extra choline for her developing child. Furthermore, the nervous system is the first system to form in utero and is a tissue that requires high levels of choline for proper development.5, 6 Choline plays such an important role in cell membranes, myelin sheaths, and nervous system tissue that the high estrogen levels during pregnancy help make sure the growing brain and nervous system is nourished. It is a genius system that assures the health and survival of the child.
Even though Nature has conferred an advantage to females by providing them with higher estrogen levels, esp. during pregnancy, this alone cannot protect against a lack of choline in the diet. All the estrogen in the world will not save a woman from choline deficiency if the gene responsible for producing choline is slowed down by a polymorphism. Genetic research has shown that the gene responsible for synthesizing choline, the PEMT gene, is susceptible to common polymorphisms which alter its function by slowing it down. In a recent study looking at a population in North Carolina, men and women of various ages were placed on a choline-deficient diet. They were followed closely for up to 42 days on a low choline diet consisting of less than 50mg choline per day. Throughout the study, the participants’ liver function was continuously assessed for any sign of fatty liver and damage. After eating a choline deficient diet for just six weeks, 63% of participants developed liver dysfunction and choline blood levels dropped 30% in every single participant, including premenopausal females.7 During this six week trial of low dietary choline the odds of developing liver dysfunction were 77% for men, 80% for postmenopausal women and just 44% for premenopausal women.7 Based on what has been discussed so far about estrogen and choline, it makes sense that men and postmenopausal women would be more susceptible to developing fatty liver since they don’t have high estrogen levels. And based on the fact that estrogen levels drive choline production, premenopausal women should have been protected from fatty liver since they make higher amounts of choline – but that was not the case.
With dietary choline restricted to just 50 mg/day, approximately half of the premenopausal group also suffered liver dysfunction, suggesting that a choline deficient diet can even harm women with higher estrogen levels. In addition, blood tests revealed that premenopausal female experienced a 30% loss of choline on a low choline diet right along with everyone else. Despite the fact that higher estrogen levels allow fertile women to make more choline, many were not able to make enough to avoid problems. A PEMT gene polymorphism is the only mechanism that can explain how women with high estrogen levels are still susceptible to choline deficiency when placed on a low choline diet.
Just like many individuals in the population, some of the premenopausal women inherited one or two copies of the PEMT gene which slows down the production of choline. This study showed that fatty liver occurred in 80% of the premenopausal women with two copies of PEMT and in 43% with only one copy of PEMT.8 What this means is that a premenopausal woman with two copies of the slowed PEMT gene has exactly the same risk of fatty liver as a postmenopausal woman. It is as if inheriting two copies of the PEMT gene effectively shuts off all estrogen-related choline production in the body. If a woman only has a single copy of the slowed PEMT gene, she will still have a roughly 50% chance of liver dysfunction on a low choline diet. Thus a single copy of the gene is only slightly better than two copies, as at least some estrogen-related choline production is preserved.
If having a PEMT gene can put one at risk for choline-related diseases like fatty liver, then it is important to know how common these genes are in population. We know that 74% of all women in the study had a SNP in the PEMT that made their PEMT enzyme unresponsive to estrogen.9 This means that only 26% of women can make enough choline on a low choline diet; and that ability depends on whether the woman is still fertile or has entered menopause. In this way genetics can take away the biological advantage that high estrogen levels usually offer to premenopausal females. Women with these PEMT genes will be at risk for choline deficiency and liver damage just like all men and post-menopausal women – two groups who don’t have enough estrogen to make choline regardless of their genes. Due to all the interference from the PEMT gene, dietary choline levels must be optimized for the vast majority of our population.
Summary of PEMT and Choline Deficiency:
In humans, choline is only made by the PEMT enzyme
Estrogen is required for the PEMT enzyme to activate and function normally
Men and postmenopausal women have an elevated risk of choline deficiency due to low estrogen levels.
The PEMT enzyme is commonly slowed down by polymorphisms, making it unresponsive to estrogen levels
74% of women have at least one copy of a slowed PEMT
Homozygous carriers of PEMT have much higher risk of choline deficiency
Men, postmenopausal women, and premenopausal women with PEMT SNPs need to increase choline intake in the diet to offset elevated risk of liver dysfunction
The take away here is that studies have recently shown that because of common genetic polymorphisms, choline deficiency is a widespread problem. Normally the hormone estrogen allows the body to make choline from scratch. However, genetic variation in the PEMT enzyme, estrogen levels and gender differences prevent most people from making adequate choline. Realistically then the only group in our population who is protected from choline deficiency are premenopausal females without a single copy of the slowed PEMT gene. Every single male, every single postmenopausal woman, and 74% of premenopausal woman all require daily intake of approx. 500 mg of choline to prevent fatty liver, organ damage, and the associated health problems.7 If the body is already depleted, then levels that simply prevent deficiency won’t be enough to replete the body. In these cases, higher daily doses of at least 1 gram or more are needed to replenish the tissues. Choline it seems must be absorbed from the diet in just about everyone except for the few young women who have a normal PEMT gene and can synthesize choline regardless of dietary intake.
1 Resseguie ME, da Costa KA, Galanko JA, et al. Aberrant estrogen regulation of PEMT results in choline deficiency-associated liver dysfunction. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 14;286(2):1649-58.
2 Tehlivets O. Homocysteine as a risk factor for atherosclerosis: is its conversion to s-adenosyl-L-homocysteine the key to deregulated lipid metabolism? J Lipids. 2011;2011:702853. Epub 2011 Aug 1.
3 Wallace JM, McCormack JM, McNulty H, et al. Choline supplementation and measures of choline and betaine status: a randomised, controlled trial in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2012 Oct;108(7):1264-71. Epub 2011 Dec 15.
4 Guyton AC, Hall JE. Textbook of Medical Physiology, 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2006, p. 1033.
5 Sadler, TW. Medical Embryology, 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006, p. 86.
6 Steinfeld R, Grapp M, Kraetzner R, et al. Folate Receptor Alpha Defect Causes Cerebral Folate Transport Deficiency: A Treatable Neurodegenerative Disorder Associated with Disturbed Myelin Metabolism. Am J Hum Genet. 2009 September 11; 85(3): 354–363.
7 da Costa KA, Kozyreva OG, Song J, et al. Common genetic polymorphisms affect the human requirement for the nutrient choline. FASEB J. 2006 Jul;20(9):1336-44.
8 Fischer LM, da Costa KA, Kwock L, et al. Dietary choline requirements of women: effects of estrogen and genetic variation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1113-9. Epub 2010 Sep 22.
9 Zeisel SH. Nutritional genomics: defining the dietary requirement and effects of choline. J N
For the curry paste, lightly toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan, until fragrant.
Place the seeds into a pestle and mortar, and add the shallot, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and salt. Pound to a paste with the pestle. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to do this.
Cut the coriander stalks into chunks, and set aside the leaves for later. Add the coriander stalks and crumble the dried kaffir lime leaves to the mix, and continue to grind until fairly smooth.
Add the fish sauce and a pinch of white pepper, to season. The curry paste is now ready to use. If not using immediately, the paste can be stored in a jar topped with a little oil and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
For the curry, heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped aubergines and fry for 4-5 minutes, until browned all over and starting to soften. Cook for another 10 minutes until the aubergines are golden-brown and softened.
Add the solid fat from the top of the can of coconut milk and then add the Thai green curry paste and fry for 2-3 minutes until the paste has cooked a little and is fragrant.
Add the remaining coconut milk, bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the green beans and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Allow the coconut milk to reduce and thicken slightly before adding the chicken stock.
Add the sugar and the fish sauce to the curry.
Add the raw king prawns and cook for 3-5 minutes until they turn pink and are cooked through.
Crumble in the crushed kaffir lime leaf, fresh lime juice and zest, and chopped coriander.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and sprinkle over the reserved coriander leaves.
I was reading about Dementia, Psychosis, Anti-psychotic drugs that are not good for Dementia, and pain. And there is a relationship in all these issues. Some anti-histamine drugs can cause Dementia too. Some anti-psychotic drugs make one less motivated and more depressed. And eating acetylcholine-rich foods feed the brain and some times remove the pain.
Over time, pain can wreck havoc to the nucleus accumbens in the brain. 20 years before Dementia is diagnosed, you will notice less motivation and more depression. Could it be that the brain’s nucleus accumbens is affected by some inflammation or imbalance in neurotransmitters?
Before we reach the age of 65, we have to ensure that starting the age of 40 we have led a healthy lifestyle (whole foods, exercise, sleep, not over medicated).
The most abundant dietary sources of choline—a precursor to acetylcholine—are animal fats such as egg yolks, cream, fatty cheeses, fatty fish, fatty meats, and liver. Non-animal sources include avocadoes and almonds.
The Brain, Nucleus Accumbens
The Stanford scientists focused on the nucleus accumbens, a brain structure known to be involved in computing the behavioral strategies that prompt us to seek or avoid things that can affect our survival. They found that chronic pain permanently changed certain connections to the nucleus accumbens, causing an enduring downshift in the excitation transmitted by them. Importantly, Malenka’s group showed that a particular brain chemical called galanin plays a critical role in this enduring suppression of nucleus accumbens excitability.
Galanin is a short signaling-protein snippet secreted by certain cells in various places in the brain. While its presence in the brain has been known for a good 60 years or so, galanin’s role is not well-defined and probably differs widely in different brain structures. There have been hints, though, that galanin activity might play a role in pain. For example, it’s been previously shown in animal models that galanin levels in the brain increase with the persistence of pain.
Being in pain is quite uncomfortable for most people. Even minor pain, such as a stubbed toe or a paper cut, is unpleasant but that pain fades relatively quickly. Imagine being in pain that never fades, or that fades only to come back a few hours later. What would that do to a person? This is what people with chronic pain have to deal with every day.
Chronic pain, a diagnosis including arthritis, back pain, and recurring migraines, can have a profound effect on a person’s day to day life when it goes untreated. People dealing with ongoing or long-term pain can become irritable, short-tempered, and impatient, and with good reason. Constant pain raises the focus threshold for basic functioning, which leaves the pained person with a greatly reduced ability to find solutions or workarounds to even relatively mundane problems. Something like a traffic jam, which most people would be mildly annoyed by but ultimately take in stride, could seriously throw off the rhythm of someone who is putting forth so much effort just to get through the day.
After a while, pain wears a person down, draining their energy and sapping their motivation. They sometimes attempt to limit social contact in an effort to reduce stress and to decrease the amount of energy they have to spend reacting to their environment. Eventually, many people with chronic pain develop depression-like symptoms: lack of interpersonal interaction, difficulty concentrating on simple tasks, and the desire to simplify their life as much as possible, which often manifests as seeking isolation and quiet. Sleeping often makes the pain less intrusive, and that combined with the exhaustion that pain induces means that it isn’t uncommon for a person to start sleeping upwards of ten hours a day.
Some recent studies have also shown that chronic pain can actually affect a person’s brain chemistry and even change the wiring of the nervous system. Cells in the spinal cord and brain of a person with chronic pain, especially in the section of the brain that processes emotion, deteriorate more quickly than normal, exacerbating many of the depression-like symptoms. It becomes physically more difficult for people with chronic pain to process multiple things at once and react to ongoing changes in their environment, limiting their ability to focus even more. Sleep also becomes difficult, because the section of the brain that regulates sense-data also regulates the sleep cycle. This regulator becomes smaller from reacting to the pain, making falling asleep more difficult for people with chronic pain.
In addition to making some symptoms more profound, the change in brain chemistry can, create new ones, as well. The most pronounced of these are anxiety and depression. After enough recurring pain, the brain rewires itself to anticipate future bouts, which makes patients constantly wary and causes significant anxiety related to pain. Because chronic pain often mimics depression by altering how a person’s brain reacts to discomfort and pain, chronic pain often biologically creates a feeling of hopelessness and makes it more difficult to process future pain in a healthy way. In fact, roughly one third of patients with chronic pain develop depression at some point during their lifetime.
Untreated pain creates a downward spiral of chronic pain symptoms, so it is always best to treat pain early and avoid chronic pain. This is why multidisciplinary pain clinics should be involved for accurate diagnosis and effective intervention early in the course of a painful illness – as soon as the primary care provider runs out of options that they can do themselves such as physical therapy or medications. However, even if the effects of chronic pain have set in, effective interdisciplinary treatment may significantly reduce the consequences of pain in their lives. There are any number of common treatments, which include exercise, physical therapy, a balanced diet, and prescription pain medication. Ultimately, effective treatment depends on the individual person and the specific source of the pain. One thing is very clear, however: the earlier a person begins effective treatment, the less the pain will affect their day-to-day life.
Phenethylamine and tyramine: Phenethylamine and tyramine are trace amine compounds which are synthesized in several types of CNS neurons, including all dopamine neurons. Specifically, these neurotransmitters act within the dopaminergic inputs to the NAcc. These substances regulate the presynaptic release of dopamine through their interactions with VMAT2 and TAAR1, analogous to amphetamine.
Glucocorticoids and dopamine:Glucocorticoid receptors are the only corticosteroid receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell. L-DOPA, steroids, and specifically glucocorticoids are currently known to be the only known endogenous compounds that can induce psychotic problems, so understanding the hormonal control over dopaminergic projections with regards to glucocorticoid receptors could lead to new treatments for psychotic symptoms. A recent study demonstrated that suppression of the glucocorticoid receptors led to a decrease in the release of dopamine, which may lead to future research involving anti-glucocorticoid drugs to potentially relieve psychotic symptoms.
GABA: A recent study on rats that used GABA agonists and antagonists indicated that GABAA receptors in the NAc shell have inhibitory control on turning behavior influenced by dopamine, and GABAB receptors have inhibitory control over turning behavior mediated by acetylcholine.
Serotonin (5-HT): Overall, 5-HT synapses are more abundant and have a greater number of synaptic contacts in the NAc shell than in the core. They are also larger and thicker, and contain more large dense core vesicles than their counterparts in the core.
ΔFosB also plays an important role in regulating behavioral responses to natural rewards, such as palatable food, sex, and exercise. Natural rewards, like drugs of abuse, induce ΔFosB in the nucleus accumbens, and chronic acquisition of these rewards can result in a similar pathological addictive state through ΔFosB overexpression. Consequently, ΔFosB is the key transcription factor involved in addictions to natural rewards as well; in particular, ΔFosB in the nucleus accumbens is critical for the reinforcing effects of sexual reward. Research on the interaction between natural and drug rewards suggests that psychostimulants and sexual behavior act on similar biomolecular mechanisms to induce ΔFosB in the nucleus accumbens and possess cross-sensitization effects that are mediated through ΔFosB.
Similar to drug rewards, non-drug rewards also increase the level of extracellular dopamine in the NAcc shell. Drug-induced dopamine release in the NAcc shell and NAcc core is usually not prone to habituation (i.e., the development of drug tolerance: a decrease in dopamine release from future drug exposure as a result of repeated drug exposure); on the contrary, repeated exposure to drugs that induce dopamine release in the NAcc shell and core typically results in sensitization (i.e., the amount of dopamine that is released in the NAcc from future drug exposure increases as a result of repeated drug exposure). Sensitization of dopamine release in the NAcc shell following repeated drug exposure serves to strengthen stimulus-drug associations (i.e., classical conditioning that occurs when drug use is repeatedly paired with environmental stimuli) and these associations become less prone to extinction (i.e., “unlearning” these classically conditioned associations between drug use and environmental stimuli becomes more difficult). After repeated pairing, these classically conditioned environmental stimuli (e.g., contexts and objects that are frequently paired with drug use) often become drug cues which function as secondary reinforcers of drug use (i.e., once these associations are established, exposure to a paired environmental stimulus triggers a craving or desire to use the drug which they’ve become associated with).
In contrast to drugs, the release of dopamine in the NAcc shell by many types of rewarding non-drug stimuli typically undergoes habituation following repeated exposure (i.e., the amount of dopamine that is released from future exposure to a rewarding non-drug stimulus normally decreases as a result of repeated exposure to that stimulus).
In April 2007, two research teams reported on having inserted electrodes into the nucleus accumbens in order to use deep brain stimulation to treat severe depression. In 2010, experiments reported that deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens was successful in decreasing depression symptoms in 50% of patients who did not respond to other treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy. Nucleus accumbens has also been used as a target to treat small groups of patients with therapy-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder.