Epigenetics is the study of genetic variations that are caused within an individual, by external or environmental factors that can switch genes on and off, as opposed to changes in DNA sequence which happen as genes are passed down to the next generation. One of the most potent ways epigenetics can change is through nutrition.  In fact, one of the main reasons good nutrition is so important is because healthy food choices will minimize the expression of disease-causing genes we may have inherited. Unlike behavior or stress, diet is one of the more easily studied, and therefore better understood, environmental factors in epigenetic change. The nutrients we extract from food enter metabolic pathways where they are broken down, modified, and assembled into molecules the body can use. One such pathway is responsible for making methyl groups (CH3), which interact with important epigenetic tags that silence genes. Familiar nutrients like folic acid, B vitamins, and SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine, a popular over-the-counter supplement) are key components of this methyl-making pathway. Diets high in these methyl-donating nutrients can rapidly alter gene expression, especially...

Q: If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and could only take one nutritional or herbal substance with you, what would you choose? A: Without a doubt, the substance I choose is essential to immune function.  Humans don’t produce this vital substance, and our adrenal glands require massive amounts of it when under stress.  We can get enough from our diet to prevent scurvy, but we need to ingest much more to allow for optimal tissue repair, and graceful ageing.  Can you guess?  It’s Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, or for you chemistry buffs, C6-H8-O6.  I mention the chemical structure because the resemblance to glucose, which is the end product of food digestion, allows a glimpse into the significance of Vitamin C.  The process of digestion breaks down all the macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) to glucose, ultimately, because glucose is the micro-unit of fuel used by the mitochondria to produce the main energy driver for all living things: ATP (adenosine triphosphate) — which is for your body like the gas in your car — makes...

from a colleague: For my bulletproof turmeric, I have used coconut oil, butter, honey, and spices to optimize digest and the absorption of curcumin.  Curcumin is notoriously difficult to absorb, but fats and spices, particularly the black pepper in the garam masala, greatly increase our absorption of curcumin into the blood stream.  1 cup water  1 tsp turmeric (optionally add one capsule of curcumin 95% extract)  ¼ tsp garam masala  1 tsp maca (optional, but delicious)  1 Tbs grass fed butter  1 Tbs coconut oil or MCT oil  1 tsp honey  Simmer water with turmeric and garam masala for 10 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Add remaining ingredients and whirl in blender or with immersion blender until foamy.      

We all know our “health care” system isn’t working.  That’s because it’s actually a  highly profitable disease management system.  The industry makes money when you are chronically ill.  I know that sounds cynical but observe how darned easy it is, 24/7, to buy poor quality food made of fluffed up GMO corn, soy or refined wheat.  GMO corn is everywhere in the form of corn syrup (HFCS).  Kids are targeted in sophisticated advertising campaigns to pester their parents for horribly poor quality “food” choices. 

Community Gardeners Less Likely To Be Overweight 22 Apr 2013 People who are involved in community gardening tend to have a considerably lower body mass index than their non-gardening counterparts, a team from the University of Utah reported in theAmerican Journal of Public Health. Previous studies had shown that community gardeners provide both nutritional and social benefits to neighborhoods, lead author CathleenZick explained. “But until now, we did not have data to show a measurable health benefit for those who use the gardens.” The Utah team used BMI (body mass index) to measure how close or far people were to their ideal body weight.

50 Shades of Gluten (Intolerance) Celiac disease is characterized by an immune response to a specific epitope of gliadin (alpha-gliadin) and a specific type of transglutaminase (tTG-2). But we now know that people can (and do) react to several other components of wheat and gluten — including other epitopes of gliadin (beta, gamma, omega), glutenin, WGA and deamidated gliadin — as well as other types of transglutaminase, including type 3 (primarily found in the skin) and type 6 (primarily found in the brain). This is a huge problem because conventional lab testing for CD and of gluten intolerance only screens for antibodies to alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase-2. If you’re reacting to any other fractions of the wheat protein (e.g., beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin or omega-gliadin), or any other types of transglutaminase (e.g., type 3 or type 6), you’ll test negative for CD and gluten intolerance no matter how severely you’re reacting to wheat. Read More…

The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) – The Many Health Benefits of Avocado – By Dr. Joseph Mercola – (Tuesday, February 19, 2013) –   You probably know that avocados are an excellent source of healthful fats, but this whole food may also have other unique health benefits. To learn more, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is supporting clinical research to investigate various health effects of avocado consumption, particularly its benefits for cardiovascular disease, weight management, diabetes, and its ability to enhance your body’s absorption of nutrients.   The first of these HAB-supported studies was published in November 2012. The small UCLA-led pilot study found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a hamburger (made with 90 percent lean beef) significantly inhibited the production of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6) compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado.

new research suggests yes, so moms, keep your minds open here: The Philadelphia Inquirer (philly.com) – Can giving babies solids sooner prevent food allergies? – By Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D. – (Tuesday, February 12, 2013) –   Rice cereal first and then vegetables? What about fruit? I get these questions often from my patients. The timing of when to introduce solid foods to infants can be confusing for parents, and the recommendations can vary slightly from doctor to doctor.   The research is ongoing, but there is a growing body of evidence which suggest introducing solid foods early may increase tolerance and reduce incidence of allergies.