Health and wellness by Dr Corey Kirshner

Finding the Cause of Your Peripheral Neuropathy

September 28, 2016 / Conditions / By Corey Kirshner
Trying to explain what peripheral neuropathy is, and how finding the cause of your peripheral neuropathy is essential to your successful treatment, may seem daunting in the space of a blog post. At times it can be a very easy condition to address and fix, but more frequently it is very complex.

Peripheral neuropathy means the nerves outside of your spinal cord are damaged. Although often related to diseases like diabetes, the nerve damage ultimately comes from one of five things.

Five common causes of Peripheral Neuropathy:

1. Nerves are not getting enough nutrients (fuel) to stay healthy.

2. Nerves are not being activated, or used enough to stay healthy.

3. Nerves are being deprived of oxygen.

4. Nerves are being compressed, and from the point of compression on down, they are dying because of a lack of fuel, oxygen or activation.

5. Or, you are suffering from a combination of all of the above.

Depending upon the cause of your peripheral neuropathy, and which nerves are affected, you will eventually have symptoms like pain, tingling and numbness predominately in your feet, but it may spread to your hands as well. As nerves continue to die these symptoms will worsen and start to affect other tissue. The most commonly affected is the cerebellum, the part of your brain that controls eye movement, balance, and coordination of movement, so it is not coincidental that along with your peripheral neuropathy you may also have trouble balancing.

Try this test: stand in a relaxed manner, putting more weight on your left foot, then try to place your right foot on the floor directly in front of the left, touching the right heal to the left toe. Were you able to keep your balance? Now switch sides and try again? You should not wobble.

Pain is a normal, natural and essential sensation for your body to experience. It tells you something is wrong. Medications may truly give you relief from your pain symptoms, but relief only occurs while taking the medication; it masks symptoms for as long as you continue taking it. When you stop, you are still left with the underlying condition – your peripheral neuropathy. It has not been cured. And what’s worse, the entire time your symptoms and pain were being masked there is a good chance your nerves degenerated further. The purpose of medication is to change your brain chemistry NOT find the root cause of your symptoms. How will you ever regain healthy nerves if you don’t find which of the 5 causes of peripheral neuropathy you are suffering from?

Patient A and Patient B both suffered from peripheral neuropathy. Both had symptoms that were continuing to worsen. Patient A was 57 and Patient B was 62. Both were on Lyrica to minimize pain yet, their pain was slowly increasing, especially the burning foot pain at night.

Patient A suffered from diabetes and blood tests also revealed macrocytic anemia. Both conditions can deprive nerves of adequate fuel and oxygen. Knowing 2 of the causes of peripheral neuropathy are a lack of fuel (nutrients) and a lack of oxygen to the nerves, a fairly simple treatment plan was developed for Patient A. One which got his blood sugar under control and supported the efficient transport of oxygen rich blood. Within 4 months Patient A related that his peripheral neuropathy pain was gone, his use of Lyrica eliminated, and his blood sugar which was 160-180 with meds before treatment was reduced to 85-110 after treatment enabling him to decrease is diabetes medication by 75%.

Patient B, also diabetic, presented a more complex case. In addition to his diabetes, his initial examination showed he was suffering from loss of “wide diameter afferent neurons.” These nerves, when healthy, block pain. With this information treatment was directed to stabilize blood sugar and improve activation of these “wide diameter afferent nerves.” It was explained to Patient B that this treatment would take longer to see results. Five months into the care he related an 80% reduction of pain intensity and he was able to sleep at night with no pain.

Even though their peripheral neuropathy symptoms seemed the same, it took a careful individual assessment to find the underlying cause or causes in each case. Finding the cause of your peripheral neuropathy is the first step in a successful, drug free plan to improve nerve health and live a pain free life.

Why Are My Hands and Feet Always Cold?
September 28, 2016 / Conditions / By Corey Kirshner

Why Are My Hands and Feet Always Cold?

It’s a warm and slightly humid 82 degree end of summer kind of day. Bright sun, kids heading back to school, thoughts of reorganizing and cleaning out the house are pervasive as we move from one season to the next. If you look carefully the outer tips of leaves are starting to change, some have even begun to fall bringing with them thoughts of apple picking, football and pumpkins. A wonderful stirring of emotions until you remember this seasonal change brings with it a drop in temperature and the longing for spring when your hands and feet will be warm again. Unfortunately, some of us don’t even enjoy the reprieve of summer; we spend our days wondering “why are my hands and feet always cold?”

Contrary to popular belief cold hands and feet don’t just happen, they are a symptom of something not working optimally in your body that the warmest of mittens won’t fix. Although there can be a number of CAUSES for your cold hands and feet, it’s important not to fall too quickly into the trap of focusing on one single thing as the culprit.

Possible causes of cold hands and feet:

Anemia and other nutritional deficiencies

Autoimmune diseases like Raynaud’s and Hashimoto’s
Over active sympathetic nerves
Hormonal imbalances
Thyroid Dysfunction
Chances are you have been researching your condition and understand my caution when reading the above list. For those new to this information let me explain. All of the conditions listed have the ability to cause cold hands and feet on their own BUT they are most often intertwined with one another. We refer to this as a “web of physiologic dysfunction.” For instance, thyroid dysfunction occurs in approximately 30% of women, some will have anemia and cold hands and feet, or the autoimmune condition known as Raynaud’s and an inability to lose weight, others may be experiencing digestive disorders and depression along with their cold hands and feet. So, again it is essential to consider all the possible culprits.

Let’s look at some of the possibilities more closely starting with thyroid conditions.

As mentioned, 30% of women in the US suffer from thyroid related issues. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism. Metabolism is your body’s process for turning food into energy. If your thyroid is sluggish your metabolism slows down and so do all of the systems of your body that depend upon it. Cold hands and feet can easily be attributed to poor blood flow to peripheral nerves as a result of faulty metabolism. Other metabolic break downs may appear as hair loss, weight gain, depression, fatigue and digestive disorders.

80% of thyroid related issues actually stem from an autoimmune condition call Hashimoto’s. What does that mean for you? Your thyroid symptoms, fatigue, depression, hair loss, dry skin, digestive disorders and yes, cold hands and feet are secondary to an autoimmune condition. Meaning you generally won’t have one without the other. The web of physiologic dysfunction is in play here. If your thyroid condition is treated without considering the autoimmune component or vice versa there is a high probability you will continue to suffer and allow the underlying cause to wreak havoc on your body.

Anemia, hormonal imbalances and nerve issues, all of which may be related to metabolic breakdown, are also listed above as possible culprits of your cold hands and feet. But as you are learning, these may be the primary problem causing your symptoms OR the secondary problem; remember the role the web of physiologic dysfunction plays in your health. The relationship of anemia in thyroid sufferers is well documented, with some studies claiming as many as 43% of hypothyroid patients having some type of anemia.

In reality you are suffering from two things: the SYMPTOMS – cold hands and feet, and the underlying CAUSES of your condition.

The biggest pitfalls in your care will be treating the symptoms as the problem, and focusing only on one possible cause. Avoid these pitfalls and stop asking “Why are my hands and feet always cold?” Get proper testing, including a complete thyroid panel (not just TSH) with thyroid antibodies, check Vitamin D levels, as low Vitamin D is a precursor for many diseases including autoimmune conditions, and when indicated, test for intestinal permeability, a condition that will cause significant nutritional deficits.

Wouldn’t it be a nice change to enjoy a mug of warm apple cider because of the sweet, spicy dance it performs on your tongue instead of holding onto it for dear life as your hand warmer?

Why Can’t I Eat Anything Without Feeling Sick?
September 28, 2016 / Conditions / By Corey Kirshner
One of the most commonly asked questions among IBS, Crohn’s & Colitis patients is “Why can’t I eat anything without feeling sick?” Typically when people are intolerant to may foods they will direct their attention to the “what” question. “What can I eat? What will calm down the reaction? What do I take to settle my stomach?” Answering the “what” question will lead to many “solutions” but will not uncover the underlying cause. “What” solutions are many: restrict your diet, take pills and acid blockers, get tested for food allergies. Or, you can start asking Why you can’t eat anything without feeling sick.

By asking why you can’t eat anything without feeling sick , you are seeking the root cause of your condition, not just a resolution to the effects or symptoms from your condition. Although there are other possible reasons you may be reacting to everything you eat, one of the most common causes is a condition called Intestinal Permeability, or Leaky Gut. Your digestive tract begins with your mouth and ends with, well, your other end. Each part of the system has a specific job, from ingesting food to excreting it, the system is finely tuned to keep your body functioning properly. The job of the small intestine, where Leaky Gut can occur is to breakdown the proteins, fats and carbohydrates from the foods you eat before they enter your blood stream to nourish all the cells of your body. A healthy small intestine is lined with densely packed cells that act as a filter for the broken down particles. The space between these cells are referred to as junctions. A healthy intestine will have tight junctions or a very fine filter. Like the screens in your house, the junctions create a barrier that are meant to let the good stuff in while keeping the bad stuff out. Large undigested particles of food, parasites, and bacteria are all able to pass through the weakened junctions of a leaky gut which alerts the body to a foreign invader causing an inflammatory reaction.

Systemic inflammatory reactions related to Intestinal Permeability:

Nonspecific joint pain
Brain fog
Skin issues
Without fixing this barrier, you will develop more food intolerances and more systemic inflammatory reactions.

Going back to the most important question-Why? Why would you have Intestinal Permeability? This question has many answers. Foods sensitivities, low Vitamin D, intestinal parasites, medications, stress, and hyperthyroid or hypothyroid are all known culprits. From these culprits your barrier system will be affected in stages, starting with localized inflammation of the intestinal lining. As the lining continues to degrade your whole immune system will join the battle and, even though the damage is confined to the gut, the whole body immune/inflammatory reaction may cause symptoms anywhere in the body. Brain fog, skin conditions like acne or eczema, headaches, joint pain, and of course food sensitivities are all inflammatory reactions to Leaky Gut. As leaky gut progresses even further you will develop an accumulation of lipopolysaccharides locally in the gut, which is basically an overgrowth of bad bacteria or sludge on the intestinal wall which further affects the inflammatory process and inhibits digestion, creating a state of malnutrition.

By allowing the condition to persist you are seriously hindering any chance of regaining health. There are tests available to determine if you have Intestinal Permeability and what type you may have. Uncovering this roadblock will help to answer the question “Why can’t I eat anything without feeling sick?”

Dr. Kirshner holds Free Workshops where you can learn more about your condition and how to control it without medication.

Recognizing the most common warning signs of a stroke

Three telltale symptoms occur in 75% of all strokes, often in combination. Don’t ignore them — even if they’re short-lived.

Published: June, 2017

Image: © American Heart/Thinkstock

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Also known as “brain attacks,” strokes result from an injury to a blood vessel that limits blood flow to part of the brain. Rapid diagnosis and treatment can prevent potentially devastating disability or death — which is why everyone should know the common warning signs of a stroke.

In 2013, the American Stroke Association unveiled a stroke awareness campaign based on the mnemonic FAST. Around that the time, a national survey suggested that 28% of Americans didn’t know any stroke symptoms, and nearly half weren’t sure what to do if they experienced or witnessed the symptoms of a stroke. But four years later, things seem to be improving.

“The FAST campaign has had a positive impact by helping the public become more aware of stroke symptoms,” says stroke specialist Dr. Christopher Anderson, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. As far as memory aids go, FAST makes sense because the first three letters (which stand for Face, Arm, and Speech) cover the most stereotypical symptoms and together account for about 75% of the symptoms stroke patients experience. They’re caused by strokes that occur in the large hemispheres in the front part of the brain, explains Dr. Anderson. Often, but not always, people have more than one symptom.

FAST enough?

Sometimes, people who are having a stroke experience leg weakness (which can cause balance or walking problems) or have trouble seeing (such as blurred or double vision). These less-common symptoms usually occur from strokes that occur in a smaller area in the back part of the brain. Some neurologists argue that adding two additional letters before FAST — B for balance and E for eyes — to make the mnemonic “BE-FAST” would help people recognize even more strokes.

But Dr. Anderson isn’t sure that’s a good idea, for a couple of reasons. First, in a moment of panic, it’s not easy to quickly remember what four letters stand for, let alone two extra ones. Second, balance is a tricky sign because a lot of older people have balance problems now and then. Many other things, such as low blood pressure or inner ear problems, can cause dizziness or balance issues. When caused by a stroke, balance problems are often accompanied by other symptoms. “If you’re having a stroke, your balance may be off, but one leg also feels heavy, or you can’t see quite right,” Dr. Anderson says. When those symptoms appear together, that’s concerning and should be evaluated right away, he adds.

The eye symptoms can be elusive; they include blurred vision, seeing double, and trouble focusing. Sometimes a stroke cuts off part of the visual field. As a result, people can’t judge the space around them, and they’ll do things like bang their shoulder while walking through a doorway.

Short-lived symptoms: Still alarming

It’s very important not to brush off short-lived stroke symptoms. They may represent a transient ischemic attack, or TIA — a temporary decrease in blood flow to the brain, sometimes called a ministroke.

“For instance, a woman might notice that while her husband was reading before bed, his arm got a little clumsy and he couldn’t see right. But then it went away.” Just because a symptom goes away doesn’t mean it’s not still scary, warns Dr. Anderson. A TIA is an important sign that something is wrong and could lead to a more serious stroke if not addressed.

Another classic scenario is a person who says, “That’s funny, I can’t feel one side of my mouth,” and then their speech becomes garbled. Or a person might say, “I was cooking and I dropped the knife. I picked it right up, but then I dropped it again.” In all of these instances, you should call 911 right away.

If you’re calling for someone else, be sure to note the time you first noticed the symptoms, or when the person was “last seen well” without symptoms. The information can be vital for doctors, because the most common stroke treatment should be given within a certain time frame.

Iron deficiency anaemia and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Iron deficiency anaemia is one of the most common disorders in the world. Also, one third of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients suffer from recurrent anaemia. Anaemia has significant impact on the quality of life of affected patients. Chronic fatigue, a frequent IBD symptom itself, is commonly caused by anaemia and may debilitate patients as much as abdominal pain or diarrhoea. Common therapeutic targets are the mechanisms behind anaemia of chronic disease and iron deficiency. It is our experience that virtually all patients with IBD associated anaemia can be successfully treated with a combination of iron sucrose and erythropoietin, which then may positively affect the misled immune response in IBD.

Iron deficiency anaemia is one of the most common disorders in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 30% of the population have iron deficiency anaemia yet it remains an under managed feature of many gastroenterological conditions. Also, one third of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients suffer from recurrent anaemia. Anaemia has significant impact on the quality of life of affected patients. Chronic fatigue, a frequent IBD symptom itself, is commonly caused by anaemia and may debilitate patients as much as abdominal pain or diarrhoea.

Both iron deficiency and anaemia of chronic disease contribute most to the development of anaemia in IBD. Cobalamin or folate deficiency and various other causes of anaemia such as haemolysis occur infrequently. Common therapeutic targets are the mechanisms behind anaemia of chronic disease and iron deficiency. Oral iron treatment is limited by poor absorption, intolerance, and induction of oxidative stress at the site of bowel inflammation.

Intravenous iron sucrose has a good safety profile and a 65–75% response rate within 4–8 weeks, which is paralleled by improvement in the quality of life. Combination therapy with erythropoietin (Epo) leads to a faster and larger haemoglobin increase. It is our experience that virtually all patients with IBD associated anaemia can be successfully treated with a combination of iron sucrose and Epo, which then may positively affect the misled immune response in IBD.


Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) can be considered a gastroenterological condition. The leading causes of iron deficiency (ID) in the developed world are menstruation and blood loss associated with gastrointestinal disease. In the latter case, blood loss in the stomach or intestine cannot be matched by duodenal iron absorption, creating a negative iron balance. This imbalance is often seen in IBD, leading to anaemia. While our understanding of IBD has grown over the past decades, the prevalence of IBD associated anaemia has changed only little: one third of IBD patients still have haemoglobin levels below 12 g/dl.

Carnosine And Raw Veganism

Posted by Andrea Lewis

 Carnosine is an important nutrient that is gaining greater attention, due to dozens of research studies that have demonstrated its wide range of health benefits. There’s just one caveat: carnosine is only found as carnosine in fish, beef, poultry and pork. And yet, ironically, the animals that are considered the best sources of this nutrient do not themselves consume animals. So, where are they getting their carnosine from? The same place that vegans are getting theirs: whole foods.

Carnosine, which is concentrated in the brain and muscle tissues, is a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. And while carnosine, in its whole dipeptide form, is only found in meat, both of its constituents are found in a wide variety of plant foods. This is the most logical explanation for how animals like cows, turkeys, chickens and pigs come to have so much in their tissues, especially when one considers how carnosine in meat is broken down and used in the body.

Carnosine Digestion and Synthesis

Upon digestion, carnosine is broken down in the gastrointestinal tract into its constituents. Yes, some intact carnosine does escape the GI tract freely but that small amount is quickly broken down in the blood by the enzyme carnosinase. Carnosinase hydrolyzes carnosine and other dipeptides containing histidine into their constituent amino acids. In other words, after consuming meat, all of the carnosine that was ingested is converted to beta-alanine and histidine. Then, oddly enough, the amino acids are converted back to carnosine in the muscles and used or transported where needed. The entire process of carnosine synthesis is not entirely understood, but it’s worth noting that consuming carnosine from meat is unnecessary, as it will be converted into beta-alanine and histidine anyway, both of which are available in many raw whole foods.

Carnosine Benefits

Carnosine’s main claim to fame is its ability to inhibit AGE (Advanced Glycation End) products, which is valuable for treating and preventing a range of diseases. This benefit is largely responsible for carnosine’s other health benefits and uses:

  • Anti-oxidant
  • Heart health
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney health
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Eye health
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

Carnosine has been shown to reduce and protect against oxidative stress in the body, making it an excellent anti-oxidant. This anti-oxidant protection extends to pH buffering and electrolyte support, which is highly beneficial to heart health. The heart is a fast twitch muscle that demands a lot of energy, but it does not get the same amount of rest as the other fast twitch muscles in the body. The heart must always be active or, obviously, we die. As a result, the heart requires more carnosine to engage in faster, efficient muscle contractions. Heart tissue must also have the right electrolyte balance, pH buffers, and plenty of antioxidants to manage daily demands at an optimal level; carnosine helps to provide all of the above. Studies have shown that individuals with myocardial infarction, bundle branch blocks, angina, congestive heart failure (CHF), and other cardiomyopathies may benefit from increasing their intake of carnosine. One such study, ‘β-Alanine and orotate as supplements for cardiac protection’, published in the journal Open Heart, showed that carnosine, synthesized in the body from beta-alanine, is indeed more concentrated in fast twitch muscles, like the heart, and can help protect against cardiac issues, such as congestive heart failure.

Diabetics tend to have elevated levels of oxidative stress stemming from their condition. Diabetics also tend to have pronounced issues with atherosclerosis and kidney disease, because diabetes causes a stiffening of tissues as a result of excess AGEs in the body; that excess has been linked to a lack of carnosine. The same holds true for some optical issues. Carnosine helps protect the eye from oxidative damage of the lens and retina. One animal study, in particular, demonstrated that carnosine protected the retina from restriction in blood supply (oxygenation) when the eye tissue was under increased intraoccular pressure, which reduces the risk for glaucoma. Carnosine is also available in an eye drop solution for those at risk for glaucoma and cataracts. For more information on that topic, Google ‘carnosine eye drops’, there are a lot of blogs and research papers on the topic.

Carnosine has been studied extensively in the muscles and brain tissues, because that’s where it’s concentrated. In regards to brain and neurological health, carnosine has been shown to be of great help in preventing and reversing cognitive decline. And it’s affect on the brain and muscles appears more perceptible in the elderly. One study in particular, ‘Anserine and carnosine supplementation in the elderly: Effects on cognitive functioning and physical capacity’, published in the Archive of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Sept-Oct. 2014, showed that while cognitive function and physical capacity increased, BMI, blood pressure and heart rate improved during the 13-week study, in which fifty-one subjects were given Chicken meat extract containing CRC components (2:1 ration of anserine to carnosine). FYI, anserine is also a dipeptide that contains beta-alanine and histidine. A quote from the study, “After supplementation Body Mass Index (BMI) decreased significantly (p<0.05) in the CRC group performance comparing the placebo group. In two of six Senior Fitness Test the scores increased significantly (p<0.05) in CRC group comparing to the placebo group. The perceived exertion differed significantly (p<0.05) at the baseline and after follow up at the CRC group. The mean values of the Short Test of Mental Status (STMS) scores showed the significant (p<0.04) increase only in CRC group, in the subscores of construction/copying, abstraction and recall. Conducted anserine and carnosine supplementation in the elderly brings promising effects on cognitive functioning and physical capacity of participants. However, further studies are needed.”

Another study, entitled ‘Carnosine Treatment for Gulf War Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial’, published in the Journal of Health Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2013, showed that carnosine was also able to treat cognitive and some physical issues in gulf war veterans. “About 25% of 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War veterans experience disabling fatigue, widespread pain, and cognitive dysfunction termed Gulf War illness (GWI) or Chronic Multisymptom Illness (CMI). A leading theory proposes that wartime exposures initiated prolonged production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and central nervous system injury. The endogenous antioxidant L-carnosine (B-alanyl-L-histidine) is a potential treatment since it is a free radical scavenger in nervous tissue. To determine if nutritional supplementation with L-carnosine would significantly improve pain, cognition and fatigue in GWI, a randomized double blind placebo controlled 12 week dose escalation study involving 25 GWI subjects was employed.

“L-carnosine was given as 500, 1000, and 1500 mg increasing at 4 week intervals. Outcomes included subjective fatigue, pain and psychosocial questionnaires, and instantaneous fatigue and activity levels recorded by ActiWatch Score devices. Cognitive function was evaluated by WAIS-R digit symbol substitution test.

“Carnosine had 2 potentially beneficial effects: WAIS-R scores increased significantly, and there was a decrease in diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome. No other significant incremental changes were found. Therefore, 12 weeks of carnosine (1500 mg) may have beneficial cognitive effects in GWI. Fatigue, pain, hyperalgesia, activity and other outcomes were resistant to treatment.”

Carnosine has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, the brain’s security system, which is essentially a network of blood vessels that only permit essential nutrients to enter while blocking other substances. This has been an obstacle to treating many neurological issues, including seizures and Autism Spectrum Disorder. In animal studies, carnosine has been shown to improve management of seizures, acting as an anticonvulsant. One study, published in Brain Research, November 6, 2008, examined the effect of carnosine on epilepsy in rats. The epileptic episodes were induced by penicillin. The scientists ascertained that “These findings indicate that carnosine has an anticonvulsant effect on penicillin-induced epilepsy in rats. Thus, our data support the hypothesis that carnosine may be a potential anticonvulsant drug for clinical therapy of epilepsy in the future.” Later studies supported their findings. An article published in Nutrition Review, April 19, 2013, reported that carnosine improved language skills and behavior in children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). “Researchers treated 31 autistic children, ranging from 3 to 12 years in age, with either 400 mg of L-Carnosine, twice a day, or a placebo, for 8 weeks. At the end of the study the children treated with L-Carnosine showed significant improvements in behavior, socialization, and communication, as well as increases in language comprehension based on CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale), vocabulary tests (E/ROWPVT) and biweekly parent reports. In the conclusion to their report the researchers state, “Oral supplementation with L-Carnosine resulted in demonstrable improvements in autistic behaviors, as well as increases in language comprehension that reached statistical significance.” … the researchers report that L-Carnosine may improve receptive language, auditory processing, socialization, awareness of surroundings, and even help fine motor planning and expressive language when compared to placebo. Responses are usually seen between one to eight weeks after beginning treatment.” The study referenced in the article is titled ‘Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-carnosine supplementation in children with autistic spectrum disorders’, and was published in the Journal of Child Neurology, November 17, 2002.

What About Histidine?

All of the carnosine studies I found (including those mentioned and quoted above) used either beta-alanine supplements, l-carnosine supplements or carnosine extracted directly from poultry, but histidine is also required for synthesis of carnosine in the body. I assume, because the nutrient is so prevalent in such a wide variety of foods, that the researchers saw no need to use a histidine supplement as part of their carnosine research studies when using beta-alanine supplements. Histidine can be found in both animals and plants, as well as every tissue in the human body; even the myelin sheaths that coat nerve cells and ensure the transmission of messages from the brain to various parts of the body contain histidine. So, whether one is a vegan, vegetarian or carnivore, they are sure to get sufficient amounts of histidine in their diet.

Best Whole Food Sources of Beta-Alanine

  • Soy beans / soy nuts
  • Edamame
  • Asparagus
  • Turnip greens
  • White mushrooms
  • Watercress
  • Laver seaweed
  • Spirulina seaweed

Best Whole Food Sources of Histidine

  • Edamame
  • Green peas
  • Asparagus
  • soybean sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Mustard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Sweet corn
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplants
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Daikon (Japanese radish)
  • Pumpkin
  • Okra pods
  • Head lettuce / Butter lettuce
  • Lotus root
  • Chinese chives
  • Green sweet peppers
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

Obviously, there are far more histidine-rich whole foods than beta-alanine-rich whole foods, and I didn’t even list half of the whole foods that contain histidine. Apparently, most foods contain histidine, including those used to feed livestock and, of course, the livestock themselves. And it’s worth noting that histidine, in addition to being half of the peptide bond that forms carnosine and its pivotal role in the formation of protein, has demonstrated a variety of therapeutic properties both anecdotally and in clinical studies; those properties include reducing the effects of stress and chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, treating certain types of sexual dysfunction, fighting fatigue and preventing anemia. In any case, it’s good to know that one can indeed get all of the benefits of carnosine and its constituent elements as a raw vegan.

High-fat diet and regular moderate intensity exercise on intestinal polyps

The interaction of a high-fat diet and regular moderate intensity exercise on intestinal polyp development in Apc Min/+ mice.


  • 1Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Diet and exercise are two environmental factors that can alter colon cancer risk. The purpose of this study was to determine if regular moderate-intensity treadmill exercise training could attenuate polyp formation in Apc(Min/+) mice fed the Western-style diet. Four-week-old male Apc(Min/+) mice (n = 12 per group) were assigned to AIN-76A Control, AIN-76A Exercise, Western Control, or Western Exercise treatment groups.

Mice were weaned to these diets and either subjected to regular moderate-intensity treadmill exercise (18 m/min, 60 min/d, 6 d/wk) or remained sedentary for 6 weeks. Mice fed the Western-style diet consumed approximately 14% more calories and had 42% more epididymal fat compared with mice fed the AIN-76A diet.

Exercise had no effect on fat pad mass with either diet treatment. Exercise reduced total intestinal polyp number by 50% and the number of large polyps (>1 mm diameter) by 67% in AIN-76A-fed mice. The Western-style diet increased polyp number by 75% when compared with AIN-76A-fed mice, but exercise did not decrease polyp number or alter polyp size in mice fed the Western-style diet.

Markers of systemic inflammation and immune system function were improved with exercise in mice fed the AIN-76A diet. Mice fed the Western-style diet showed more inflammation and immunosuppression, which were not completely ameliorated by exercise. These data suggest that the induction of adiposity, inflammation, and immunosuppression by the Western-style diet may compromise the beneficial effect of moderate-intensity exercise on the intestinal polyp burden in Apc(Min/+) mice.

colon cancer mouse model