Eating Salty, High-Fat Food May Promote Weight Gain

On its own, fat tastes rather bland and people are unlikely to binge on it. However, mixing it with savory flavors, sugar or salt can make it very tasty.

Recently, a team of scientists examined how fat and salt affect calorie and food intake. Below is a detailed summary of their results.

BACKGROUND

Most people know that eating too much fat promotes weight gain and obesity.

This is because, gram for gram, fat is very rich in calories. Additionally, its appetite-suppressing effects are relatively weak.

What’s more, fat is often mixed with salt, which makes it tastier — making people more likely to overeat and become obese.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A team of Australian researchers examined the effects of fat and salt on food intake.

Salt Promotes Passive Overconsumption of Dietary Fat in Humans.

STUDY DESIGN

This randomized, crossover trial examined the effects of fat and salt on food intake.

It also investigated how fat taste sensitivity affects appetite after meals, and whether this was influenced by salt intake.

48 healthy men and women participated in the four test days of the study.

Each day, all participants had a standardized breakfast consisting of plain mini-croissants, after which they were assigned to four lunch meals in a random order.

These lunch meals all consisted of 56% cooked elbow macaroni with 44% Coles home-brand sauce (based on tomato passata) and a jug of water.

The total amount of macaroni and sauce was 1,350 grams and the participants were allowed eat as much as they wanted, or until they were comfortably full.

Depending on the lunch meal, the sauce provided different amounts of fat and salt, as shown below:

  • Low-fat, low-salt: 0.02% fat and 0.06% salt — 100% tomato passata.
  • Low-fat, high-salt: 0.02% fat and 0.5% salt — 100% tomato passata with added salt.
  • High-fat, low-salt: 34% fat and 0.06% salt — 60% tomato passata with added canola oil (30%) and thickened cream sauce (10%).
  • High-fat, high-salt: 34% fat and 0.5% salt — 60% tomato passata with added salt, canola oil (30%) and thickened cream sauce (10%).

All four meals contained approximately the same amount of protein and carbs.

The low-salt sauces contained no added salt. The high-salt sauce had optimally pleasant saltiness, based on the results of previous studies.

Since the trial had a crossover design, the participants consumed all of the above lunch meals on different occasions, separated by one week.

Before and after each lunch meal, the researchers measured food intake, calorie intake and subjective ratings of appetite.

On two occasions, fat taste sensitivity was also estimated by determining the minimum amount of oleic acid — a common unsaturated fat — the participants were able to taste.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, crossover trial examining the effects of salt and fat on food and calorie intake.

FINDING 1: SALT INCREASED FOOD AND CALORIE INTAKE

Salt increased both food and calorie intake by 11%, regardless of the amount of fat in the meals. These findings are shown in the chart below:

The study also found that salty meals were rated more pleasant than non-salty meals, likely explaining why saltiness caused people to eat more.

Bottom Line: Saltiness increased food and calorie intake by 11%, regardless of the amount of fat. This was probably because salting made the food taste better.

FINDING 2: FAT TASTE SENSITIVITY REDUCED FAT INTAKE

Those participants who were sensitive to the taste of fat tended to eat less of it.

However, the study showed that fat intake was only reduced when the lunch meal contained low amounts of salt.

These findings suggest that people who are sensitive to the taste of fat are less likely to overeat on a high-fat diet, but that high amounts of salt may override this reduction in appetite. This is supported by previous studies.

Bottom Line: High fat taste sensitivity was associated with a lower consumption of fat. However, salt seemed to override this reduction.

FINDING 3: FAT AFFECTED FOOD INTAKE IN WOMEN

Overall, fat had no significant effects on the amount of food eaten during the meals.

In other words, despite the high calorie content of fat, the participants did not compensate by eating less of it.

In fact, calorie intake was 60% higher during the high-fat meals.

However, women appeared to be slightly less greedy than men when it came to fat. They ate 15% less of the high-fat meals by weight, compared to the low-fat meals.

Bottom Line: Women ate 15% less of the high-fat meals, compared to the low-fat meals.

LIMITATIONS

This study had several limitations.

First, it assessed the effects of only one type of food.

Second, the amount of fat in the high-fat meal was greater than what people normally eat during one meal. However, by using very high-fat meals, the study clearly showed that fat doesn’t have much effect on appetite.

Finally, the study only measured one meal. Further studies need to examine if a high-salt diet has any effects on weight gain and obesity in the long term.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

The study showed that salt increased food and calorie intake, regardless of its fat content. This is probably because salt makes food more pleasant or tasty to eat.

Simply put, eating a lot of salty food may promote overeating and weight gain, especially if the food is also high in fat.

What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA

Having bouts of reactive hypoglycemia is never pleasant experience. A suddent drop in blood glucose levels can occur without any symptom or warning. A person suffering from low blood sugar experiences extremely frustrating episodes of mood swings, shaking, sweating, nausea, hunger and blurred vision.

The good news is that reactive hypoglycemia attacks can be prevented. Changing your diet is the primary solution to combat this incapacitating disorder. The key is to manage your blood sugar levels that they don’t crash and make you miserable again. By knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid, you will put a stop to the occurring ugly spells of reactive hypoglycemia.

REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA DIET

A reactive hypoglycemia diet is different from that of a diabetic or hypoglycemia. High-fiber, restricted-simple sugar, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables mainly comprise a reactive hypoglycemia diet. However , do not completely avoid carbs because they further help in bood sugar regulation.

Here is a list of foods to avoid when you have reactive hypoglycemia:

1. Anything that is made from white bread
2. Cereals and other foods that are high in sugar or fructose cron syrup.
3. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soda and tea
5. sweet desserts like cakes, muffins and pastries
6. Fatty foods
7. Potato and tortilla chips
8. Fast foods meals and restaurant

Those foods are high glycemic, meaning they are quickly absorbed and processed by your body, which in turn may cause your blood sugar levels to yo-yo.

Now, you’re probably thinking that avoiding the above mentioned foods will make your life a bore. Don’t fret because there are equally-delicious yet much healthier alternatives to satisfy your gustatory needs.

Forget the white bread and noodle, go for whole grains, being complex carbohydrates, whole grain foods are low glycemic. They are processed more slowly, giving your body time to create a steady flow of glucose.

For your beverages list, avoid all caffeinated drinks and exchange them with water and non-caffeinated options. Natural fruit juices are best choices.

Foods that are high in fat can be replaced with low calorie, nutritious meat substitues like vegan burger, tofu, bean burgers and the likes. Eat them all you can without the guilt and fear of anathor reactive hypoglycemia attack.

You can still continue snacking on chips just as long as the chips are made from whole grains. These are readily available in the health food section of most grocery stores and they’re not bad at all. In fact, there are tempting can be addicting as well.

Yes, it can be a little unfortunate not to be able to eat out as much if you have reactive hypoglycemia. Just think of all the sugary ingredients in restaurant/fast-foods meals and surely you don’t want anothor bout of the misery, do you? You can still dine in if you’re sure that the restaurant serves sugar-free, low-glycemic foods.

Does Basis still use Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) from Chromadex?


In 2012, Research published by Dr Sinclair  of Harvard stunned researchers by showing that short term supplementation with Nicotinamide Mono-Nucleotide (NMN) reversed many aspects of aging, making the cells of old mice resemble those of much younger mice, and greatly improving their health.

Since then Chromadex has been marketing a related product named Nicotinamide Riboside (NR or Niagen) that seems to work on the same cellular pathways as NMN.

1000s of articles have teased us with the possibility that taking a supplement called Niagen could halt or maybe even actually reverse some of the signs of aging. Of course there is a lot of skepticism with such claims.

Chromadex has been producing the only commercially available form of Niagen and supplies it to 20 or more different companies that put their own brand name on the bottle and sell to customers.

Elysium Health is one of these sellers, although they have fairly deep pockets and extensive connections among top researchers in the field.

To overcome the skepticism, Elysium Health decided they would enlist several Nobel Prize wining scientists as advisors and consultants.
screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-2-21-53-pm

This does add a lot of credibility to the company, even though the 7 nobel prize winning scientists Elysium pays had little or no input in creating this product, but are mostly used for marketing purposes.

Elysium Health makes a change to the formula for Basis

Basis contracted to buy Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride (often referred to as NR, or the brand name Niagen), and combine it with another off the shelf product from Chromadex, Pterostilbene.

But in June 2016, Elysium got into a contract dispute with Chromadex and later sued Chromadex for abusing the patent process.

Their goal seems to be to invalidate Chromadex patent(s) so they could produce their own version, which appears to be what they are doing now.

Elysium has changed the product information on their website to list “Nicotinamide Riboside”, without the Chloride.  A key patent Chromadex has licensed the rights to involves adding the Chloride to make it more stable.

This new ingredient used by Basis likely has the same effects in the human body, but we don’t really know for sure.

It seems Elysium Health plans to go forward with this revised formula for now, and continue to use previous test results obtained with their prior  formula that used Chromadex Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride.  It will be interesting to see how that strategy holds up going forward.

Elysium Health has some very slick Marketing people

So now they have changed their product to use a slightly different ingredient, but want to smooth it over and not cause customers to worry about it.

Their answer is to portray the change as something they did on purpose – to MAKE THE PRODUCT BETTER.

When a customer questioned the change, this is how they answered on their Facebook page:

Hi Anne–

Thank you for reaching out to us with your questions. I’d be happy to provide additional information for you here!

From the start, Elysium has always been committed to bringing superior, high-quality supplements to market. As part of that effort, we have established a new supply chain, located in the United States, that utilizes a proprietary process to produce Nicotinamide Riboside — the first of its kind for the production of Basis, and this does fully meet the GMP standard as outlined by the FDA. We believe our vertically integrated supply chain benefits our customers as it enables us to better manage manufacturing, packaging, shipment and eventually the expansion of our new product line.
While the specific Basis formulation and the amount of each ingredient have not changed, this new production process has allowed us to take an exceptional product and make it even purer. This reflects our ongoing commitment to being a trusted source for our customers by continually exceeding the highest standards in the industry.

In regard to your question about GMO’s, this does not apply to Basis as we don’t have food products in our ingredients eligible for genetic modification. Basis is produced by nature identical synthesis, meaning that the active molecules are constructed to be nature identical. This process is preferable to attempting to distill down the ingredients from food as the final product is purer than what the bi-product would be via distillation.
If you have other questions or if there is anything we can do to help, my team can be reached directly here or by email at care@elysiumhealth.com or phone at 888-220-6436.

Pretty slick, I thought. No, they didn’t substitute something they just threw together to get around the patent and supply problem – they made something more pure and trustworthy.

I don’t know who is going to with the legal battles between Chromadex and Elysium Health, but I see Elysium as way ahead in the marketing department even if I don’t really trust their honesty.

(I have added the above update on the Elysium Health Basis onto an earlier review of the product below)

basis_label2
Basis is the same Nicotinamide Riboside that many other brands sell, with the addition of Pterostilbene, a form of resveratrol.

It is produced by Elysium Health, a new company founded by MIT biologist Lenny Guarente, one of the preeminent researchers in the anti-aging field.

They have also enlisted 6 Nobel Laurete scientists to serve as advisors to the company, which lends a great deal of credibility.

However, these scientists have had no significant role in researching,creating or testing Basis or either of the ingredients used.

[box] BASIS IS NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE, PLUS PTEROSTILBENE [/box]

NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE IS NIAGEN

hpn-single-bottleNicotinamide Riboside is a recently discovered version of Vitamin B that recent research has shown to raise NAD+ levels in humans.

The only manufacturer of Nicotinamide Riboside is Chromadex, as they have bought up all the patents on production methods for Nicotinamide Riboside.

Niagen is the brand name used by Chromadex.

The two names are synonymous. Basis uses Niagen supplied by Chromadex.

NIAGEN PLUS PTEROSTILBENE

pterostilbene

Pterostilbene is also manufactured by Chromadex.

Pterostilbene is described by Dr Guarente as “a close relative of resveratrol, but is potentially more potent and effective”.

So, Basis MIGHT be better than taking Nicotinamide Riboside plus resveratrol.

But there has been no testing at all to show any synergy from combining Nicotinamide Riboside with resveratrol or Pterostilbene.

The original research by Dr Sinclair with mice used NMN, but it is not commercially available yet.   The recent excitement and dozens or research studies about slowing or halting the aging process is centered around Nicotinamide Riboside.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND

Since all Nicotinamide Riboside is supplied by Chromadex, we recommend the less expensive options below.

Note: If you do want to try NR with Pterostilbene, we have a listing for 1 bottle of Pterostilbene and 1 bottle of Nicotinamide Riboside.

These two bottles provide the exact SAME INGREDIENTS AND QUANTITIES AS 2 BOTTLES OF BASIS, AT HALF THE COST

[product_category category=”basis” columns=”3″ per_page=”6″ orderby=”menu_id” order=”asc”]

NOBEL LAUREATE SCIENTISTS

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-2-21-53-pmOne of the main selling points for Basis is the company cofounder, Dr Guarente, and the Nobel laureate scientists shown here that are on the advisory board.

They certainly lend a lot of credibility. It is very doubtful they would lend their name to some scammy fly by night product, which makes me believe in the potential for Nicotinamide Riboside.

WHY BASIS – IS IT BETTER THAN OTHER BRANDS?

Why Logo White red You’ll find very little mention of Niagen in the sales and marketing literature about Basis.

Elysium would like you to think that Basis is some exclusive formula created by their founders.

In fact, they purchase Niagen from Chromadex like several other brands.

The research and testing that has generated so much excitement has been done with Nicotinamide Riboside from Chromadex.

There has been no research published to show that Pterostibene makes Niagen work any better.

[box]Conclusion: ALL Niagen comes from Chromadex, there is no proof that Basis is any more effective than other brands of Niagen.[/box]

THE COST

dollar sign moneybagBasis is available only thru their website for $60 a bottle, which would last for one month if taking 2 pills per day (250mg of Niagen).

Recent research indicates that the optimum dosage for maximum increase in NAD+ levels is at least 250mg per day, or more.

In fact, the best evidence on recommended dosage will hopefully soon be available from a recently completed study sponsored by Elysium Health themselves.

This study of 120 elderly patients tested blood NAD+ levels of 250mg and 500mg of Elysium Health Basis vs placebo.

Once this study is published we’ll have a lot better idea if one bottle per month is sufficient

IS IT WORTH THE EXTRA COST?

If you know that Basis is Niagen + Pterostilbene, and start searching for “Niagen”, you quickly realize you can get the same thing for 50% less elsewhere.

Of course other brands don’t have the impressive scientific pedigree that Elysium’s founders have, which some people don’t mind paying the extra $ for.

That pedigree might also lead you to trust Basis more.

Screenshot 2016-01-25 15.21.18

[box]Conclusion: Since ALL Niagen comes from Chromadex, there is no difference in the quality among brands[/box]

What does Basis do?

The field of Anti-Aging supplements is littered with scams and hoax products that are supposed to miraculously stop the aging process.

It is for that exact reason that Elysium Health DOES NOT market Basis specifically as an anti-aging pill like some of their competitors.

Rather, they focus on some specific areas that their pill may help with such as:

— DNA repair
— Energy production
— Cellular detoxification
— Protein function

Basis – Conclusion

  • Niagen plus Pterostilbene (similar to Resveratrol)
  • Pre-eminent antiaging researcher as cofounder of company
  • 6 Nobel laureate scientists on advisory board
  • By far the most expensive Niagen on the market
  • One bottle a month may not be enough for optimum results

 

[box]Conclusion: We don’t believe Basis by Elysium Health to be a scam. They go out of their way to avoid making exaggerated claims.

If you want to spend $60-120 a month, Basis is probably a good choice.

If not, you might want to spend your money on some other brand where you will get twice as much Niagen per dollar.

[/box]

Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) from Gut Bacteria Reduce Appetite

The most important health function of prebiotic fiber is to increase the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the colon.

Not only do these fatty acids benefit colon health, but they also play a role in regulating appetite.

Recently, a team of researchers examined the effects of elevated propionate, which is one of the most common SCFAs, on calorie intake and brain signals involved with food reward-driven eating behavior.

Today’s review provides a detailed summary of their findings.

Fatty Acids

BACKGROUND

Fiber is a key component of a healthy diet.

This especially applies to prebiotic fiber, which sustains the beneficial bacteria living in your digestive system.

When reaching the colon, prebiotic fiber is fermented by intestinal bacteria, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), mainly acetate, butyrate and propionate.

Growing evidence indicates that SCFAs produced by bacteria in the colon may affect appetite regulation in the brain.

One study in rodents showed that elevated amounts of acetate in the blood suppressed appetite by affecting brain function.

Another human study found that increasing the formation of propionate in the colon by supplementing with inulin-propionate ester was associated with a reduced food intake and protected against weight gain.

However, until now, no studies have examined the potential effects of colon-derived SCFAs on the human brain.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A team of researchers examined the effects of elevated short-chain fatty acid formation in the colon on reward-driven eating behavior in humans.

Increased colonic propionate reduces anticipatory reward responses in the human striatum to high-energy foods.

STUDY DESIGN

This randomized, crossover trial examined the effects of increasing propionate formation in the colon on eating behavior.

A total of 20 healthy men, aged 18 to 65, participated in the study. Their body mass indexes ranged from 20 to 35.

They were assigned to receive two supplements in a random order:

  • Inulin: A soluble fiber that promotes the formation of SCFAs (acetate, butyrate and propionate) in the colon.
  • Inulin-propionate ester (IPE): Previous studies suggest that IPE provides similar amounts of acetate and butyrate as inulin but higher amounts of propionate.

After an overnight fast, the supplements were taken with breakfast when the participants visited the lab. The two lab visits were separated by at least 6 days.

The breakfast consisted of a standard chocolate milk shake and snack bar with 10 grams of either IPE (treatment) or inulin (control).

During each visit, the researchers measured the following:

  • Brain activity: 5 hours after breakfast the researchers measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the participants looked at pictures of low- and high-calorie foods.
  • Food appeal: While the participants were looking at the food images, they were asked to rate how appealing they found each of the foods, on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Blood values: Blood samples were collected to measure circulating levels of insulin, glucose and two appetite-suppressing hormones: glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY).
  • Self-rated appetite: The participants were asked to rate their appetite and mood using visual analog scale questionnaires.
  • Breath hydrogen: The concentration of breath hydrogen was measured to assess the level of fermentation in the colon.
  • Food intake: At the end of each lab visit, the participants’ food intake was assessed by serving them a large meal consisting of a savory tomato and mozzarella pasta bake.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of elevated colonic propionate formation on calorie intake, appetite and food reward-related brain activity.

FINDING 1: COLONIC PROPIONATE REDUCED FOOD INTAKE

Supplementing with inulin-propionate ester (IPE) reduced food intake at an experimental meal by 9.5%, compared to supplementing with inulin.

These results are shown in the chart below:

The findings are supported by one previous human study showing that supplementing with IPE reduced food intake significantly.

The researchers concluded that these differences are likely due to elevated levels of propionate in the colon after the IPE supplement.

Changes in levels of insulin, glucose and the appetite-suppressing hormones GLP-1 and peptide YY were not significantly different between supplements, suggesting that other mechanisms may be responsible.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with inulin-propionate ester (IPE), which increases propionate levels in the colon, reduced calorie intake at an experimental meal, compared to supplementing with inulin.

FINDING 2: COLONIC PROPIONATE SUPPRESSED REWARD SIGNALS IN THE BRAIN

The researchers measured brain activity – the blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) signal – in brain regions that have previously been associated with food reward processing.

Supplementing with IPE suppressed food reward-related brain signals when the participants looked at images of food more than supplementing with inulin did.

Suppression of these brain signals was detected in two brain regions — the nucleus accumbens and caudate. It was greater when the participants looked at images of high-calorie foods, compared to low-calorie foods.

In fact, brain signals in the caudate were only significantly suppressed by images of high-calorie foods, but not low-calorie foods.

The findings are presented in the chart below.

These results indicate that propionate suppressed food intake by affecting reward-driven eating behavior, although the researchers didn’t find any significant association between changes in brain signals and food intake.

Reduced BOLD signals have previously been linked to suppressed appetite and reduced appeal of high-calorie foods.

However, this is the first study to suggest that propionate may affect these signals in humans.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with IPE suppressed brain activity in brain regions involved with food reward processing.

FINDING 3: COLONIC PROPIONATE MADE HIGH-CALORIE FOODS LESS APPEALING

After the participants supplemented with IPE, they found high-calorie foods less appealing, according to ratings of food images.

It also took them longer to rate the images, which may indicate reduced appetite.

However, self-rated appetite, as evaluated by visual analog scale questionnaires, was not significantly different between supplements.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with IPE made images of high-calorie foods less appealing, compared to supplementing with inulin.

FINDING 4: PREBIOTIC FIBER INCREASED FERMENTATION IN THE COLON

Hydrogen gas is a by-product of fiber or carb fermentation in the colon. A large proportion of it is absorbed into your blood and released into your breath.

Since there are no other major sources of hydrogen in the human body, breath hydrogen levels are used to assess how much fermentation is taking place in the colon.

In the present study, breath hydrogen levels had increased significantly 3.5 hours after taking the supplements and stayed high until the end of the study visit.

Supplementing with inulin led to significantly greater breath hydrogen levels than IPE. This is because inulin contains higher amounts of fermentable fiber, or 10 grams, compared to 7.3 grams in the IPE supplement.

Circulating levels of butyrate also increased after supplementing with inulin and IPE, but the increase was not significantly different between supplements.

Bottom Line: Both supplements led to increased fiber fermentation in the colon, according to hydrogen breath tests.

LIMITATIONS

The study’s design appears excellent. However, there are a few limitations to the interpretation of its findings.

First, all of the participants were men, and none of them were severely obese. The findings might not apply to women or severely obese people and need to be confirmed in these groups.

Second, the study examined the appetite and brain responses after a single dose of inulin or IPE. The long-term effects of these supplements on brain function need to be investigated.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

The study showed that increased colonic formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), specifically propionate, may temporarily reduce calorie intake and the appeal of high-calorie foods.

This is supported by previous studies in both humans and animals, but this is the first study to show that propionate affects brain regions involved with food reward-driven behavior in humans.

Simply put, prebiotic fiber may play an important role in appetite regulation through its effects on SCFA formation in the colon.

How to Get Rid of Cellulite on Butt

Want to know how to get rid of cellulite on butt? Cellulite is an abnormality that is supposed to appear on the skin around abdomen, pelvic region and lower limbs after puberty. In cases of mild cellulite, dimpling will only be seen when you pinch the skin in that area, in other cases of cellulite, you will see dimpling of the skin even without pinching. Cellulite is caused from small fat deposits that protrude through the under layer of skin causing an uneven look on the surface of the skin. Everyone has a layer of fat in their body. Cellulite is not exactly indicative of being fat. Although, cellulite seems to be common problem for those.

WHY WOMEN SUFFER FROM CELLULITE

– Women are often found with about three layers of fat in the triceps and stomach areas. Wwhile men have only layer of fat throught the body.

– Collagen in women appears like a picket fence and in men it appears like a cross-linked fence. The picket-fence appearance will be a lot weaker, so women are more susceptible to cellulite because their collagen fibers are not as strong as the cross-linked like fibers in men.

– In the case of hormones, know that estrogen builds fat and testosterone breaks down fat. A woman’s body is, therefore, made to build more fat because they have more estrogen than men.

– After giving birth to a child women are left with etra body fat and they also loose some elasticity within their skin.

– Stress can cause cellulite which a lot of women suffer from do to the demands of their everyday lives.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE MEDICAL TERMS OF CELLULITE

Medically Cellulite is skin dimpling that is the result of a break with in the subcutaneous layer (Lowermost layer of the skin) whitin the fibrous connective tissue. It may be seen on the lower limbs, abdomen or the pelvic region and is most common in females, When fat collects in the pockets on the surface of the skin, it can come together at the buttocks, hips and thighs. Sometimes the collagen fibers attached to the fat will break down so that the cells bulge and the skin loses its tightness.

The connective tissues:  The connective tissues are structures that are connected to the muscles and they come in a cris-cross or parallel pattern. When the fat bulges through the skin it pushes against the tissues and brings about the dimpled appearance.

Collagen: Is basically the glue that holds together the connective tissue within your body.

The blood vessels: The blood vessels that run all over the body may have a responsibility with the development of cellulite. With fat accumulation, it is believed that there will be a suppression of the vessels, so that the skin exhibits a roughened and wavy appearance.

The white blood levels cells: The white blood cells are responsible for immune response and it is believed that cellulite is inflamed white blood cells that have shrunk and caused the skin to lose strength. Due to the skin changes, stored fat finds itself lodged whithin, bringing forth the appearance of waves on the surface.

CAUSES OF CELLULITE

There are a number of things that may cause cellulite. Here is some of the causes:

Genetic Factors: The likelihood and rate at which cellulite develops may be related to genetics. Every individual has a set of genetic material and one’s specific makeup can make them more susceptible to cellulite. As a genetic condition, it may be safe to assume that if any member of your familly have cellulite, you’re more likely going to develop it as well.

Hormonal Factors: Here are a number of hormones that can also affect the development of cellulite in a given individual. it there is a noted over-secretion of the following hormones, cellulite will become a problem.

a. estrogen
b. insulin.
c. adrenaline.
d. catecholamine.
e. prolactin.
f. thyroid harmone.

3. Lifestyle: An individual’s lifestyle can also affect the development of cellulite. The most significant lifestyle factor is stress because high-stress lifestyles release a hormone in your body known as catecholamines. Catecholamine is known to increase risk of having cellulite from your legs, tighs, buttocks and stomach.

HOW TO GET RID OF CELLULITE ON BUTT

If you are struggling to get those extra pounds of fat off your curvy back and it’s looking like all roads are blocked, don’t worry any longer because I have good news for you on how to get rid of cellulite on your beautiful buttocks.

Cellulite is the handiwork of excess fat stored in between your skin and tissue of the muscle. You are not the only one who hates it; many women do because it’s like an enemy of beautiful curves that makes us special. So, while tolerating it any longer when these exercises can help evict it in your life.

We women are naturally endowed with curves and because of our nature, the frequent increase in estrogen level in our system, contribute to the natural store of fat in the buttocks, hip region. So, let’s get rid of it now, and maintain the beautiful body nature has given you to be the sunshine of the world.

CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING

I call this the essential body work exercise because it reduces fats and tune your body against disease. And it’s never a friend of cellulite. Here are recommended ones:

  • Riding a bicycle.
  • Walking/running on the treadmill.
  • Step aerobics

Make sure to perform an aerobic at least 3 times weekly for best result.

LUNGES

I like my butt big and curvy by the hips; you know that nicely rounded feeling, perfect! But I hate cellulite and this exercise is the best I have seen in ages. So, if you need your butt without extra annoying weight, go for it.

  • With your feet slightly apart and hands on your hips, maintain a straight standing position.
  • Gradually put you right leg forward and the left touching the ground.
  • Now go back to starting position and switch leg in B, to complete a set.

Do this exercise in 15 sets

SQUAT JUMPS

I love this, its test of strength. Before jumping, firm up your abdominal muscles to proper balancing.

  • Starting position: stand with a straight back; keep your hands on the head and feet apart.
  • Make a Jump and return to starting position.

Note. Do this at least 3 sets of 15 exercises.

BUTT BRIDGE OR BUTT LIFT

This is a high rewarding yoga exercise for buttocks enlargement.

  • Start position: on the floor, lay flat facing up, hands on both sides with knees slightly bent; place your feet around your shoulder width.
  • Now, pushing with your heels, attempt lifting your hips from the ground, at same time maintain a straight back.
  • Breathe out as you lift up and breathe in when returning to the lying position.

To fight you cellulite, repeat this exercise often.

SINGLE LEG SQUAT

Another sure fire result butt exercise.

  • Starting: assume straight standing position, hands to the chest area.
  • Gradually raise your leg about 30 degrees, at that position, gradually bring your butt to the floor and with the same pace, go back to the beginning starting.

Repeat for other leg and try a set of 3 for each leg and do a total of 10 rounds per session; you can use a support (wall) if you feel unstable raising your leg.

HYDRANT EXERCISE

  • Starting position: On your knees, lean with both hands on the ground.
  • Maintain your right leg in bent position, the raise your feet as high as you can and return to starting position.

Note. Perform at least 3 sets of 15 exercises for each legs and repeat 3 times a week.

I am happy you got this far, not doubts your result is on the way with the best butt, sweet body form waving bye, bye to cellulite.

Antibiotics and Weight Gain

In observational studies, antibiotics have been linked to an increased risk of childhood obesity. For this reason, a recent study examined this association.

This is the first large-scale observational study to examine this link across a large range of healthy children and adolescents.

Below is a detailed summary of the results.

ANTIBIOTICS MAY PROMOTE WEIGHT GAIN IN CHILDREN

Antibiotics and Weight Gain
BACKGROUND

Antibiotics are sometimes added to animal feed to increase growth in livestock.

For this reason, scientists have speculated that antibiotics may have similar effects in humans.

Many observational studies have examined this association in humans. Here are some of their findings from over the years:

2013: Antibiotic use in the first 6 months of life was associated with increased body weight at 10–38 months. Later exposure was not consistently linked.
2014: Repeated use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in the first 2 years of life was linked with a greater risk of obesity at 24–59 months of age.
2014: Using antibiotics in the first year of life was linked with an increased risk of being overweight or obese at ages 9 and 12.
2014: Receiving antibiotics in the first year of life was associated with a slight increase in body mass index in boys aged 5–8 years.
2014: Antibiotics improved weight gain in children with malnutrition.
2015: Antibiotic use within the first 6 months of life was linked with higher body mass in childhood. This was strongest for macrolide antibiotics.
2015: When women received antibiotics in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, their children were at a higher risk of becoming obese.
2016: Receiving antibiotics within the first 6 months of life was not associated with weight gain up to age 7.
As a possible explanation, studies indicate that antibiotics may imbalance the gut microbiota, affecting metabolism and increasing calorie absorption.

Following short-term antibiotic use, the composition of the microbiota may return to normal after a while, but in some cases it takes several years.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

This study examined the association between childhood antibiotic exposure and the risk of weight gain and obesity.

Antibiotic use and childhood body mass index trajectory.

STUDY DESIGN

This longitudinal observational study examined the association between antibiotics and weight, using the electronic health record data of 163,820 children and adolescents, aged 2–18 years.

It tested three main hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Antibiotics have a reversible effect — affecting people’s risk only temporarily, or until the gut microbiota recovers.
Hypothesis 2: Antibiotics have a persistent effect — affecting people’s risk of weight gain or obesity for a long time afterward.
Hypothesis 3: Antibiotics have a progressive effect — influencing children’s weight gain in a way that strengthens over time.
The researchers used mixed-effects linear regression models to calculate the association, while taking other obesity-related factors into account.

Bottom Line: This was an observational study examining the association between antibiotic use and childhood weight gain and obesity.

FINDING: ANTIBIOTICS ARE LINKED TO WEIGHT GAIN

The study showed that antibiotic use in childhood was linked to weight gain.

Specifically, taking antibiotics was associated with an estimated 1.6–3.3 lbs (0.73–1.50 kg) greater body weight at 15 years of age.

Additionally, children who were prescribed antibiotics 12 or more times were 3.5 % heavier when they were 8 years old, compared to the average for that age.

This weight gain was equivalent to 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg).

The study also confirmed all 3 hypotheses — using antibiotics was reversibly, progressively and persistently associated with body mass index (BMI).

Reversible association: Antibiotics’ effects on body weight may weaken with time. Other studies also show that the gut microbiota may recover with time.
Persistent association: The effects of antibiotics may persist for a long time, as supported by previous studies.
Progressive association: Associations differed by age. The study suggests that as children get older, antibiotics’ effects on weight gain may become stronger.
When different classes of antibiotics were analyzed separately, macrolides turned out to be the most strongly associated with weight gain at age 15.

Penicillin and cephalosporin were also separately linked with weight gain.

However, this is the first study to indicate that antibiotic use may affect weight gain in children at any age.

Bottom Line: The study suggests that using antibiotics may increase the risk of weight gain throughout childhood.

LIMITATIONS

This study was the largest to examine the association of antibiotic use with obesity, and tried to address many limitations commonly seen in previous studies.

As an observational study, it couldn’t prove that antibiotics caused weight gain, only that taking them was associated with it.

However, given the evidence from animal studies, it seems likely that antibiotics may have a similar effect in humans.

Additionally, the researchers did not have the full antibiotic history of the participants, and only examined a few years of each person’s life (usually 3–5 years).

Data on antibiotic use in the first two years of life — when they may have the strongest effects on weight — was only available for some of the participants.

Finally, the researchers relied on prescriptions for the antibiotic dose and duration. Therefore, they couldn’t be certain all the prescribed antibiotics were actually used.

Bottom Line: This study observed associations, but couldn’t prove a causal relationship. Additionally, the patient history data was incomplete.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, the study suggests that taking antibiotics may increase the risk of weight gain in children and adolescents.

However, this was an observational study. It doesn’t prove that antibiotics are to blame, only that taking them is linked with weight gain.

Nevertheless, antibiotics are used to increase growth in farm animals, and a similar effect in humans seems plausible.

Ketonuria, What causes it?

Ketonuria is a condition of an abnormal quantity of ketones and ketone bodies in urine. It indicates a possible presence of malignant diabetes mellitus.

A diabetic with the risk of ketonuria requires regular urine monitoring to watch out for the buildup of ketone for prompt treatment to prevent sliding into unmanageable condition. Ketonuria is also known as ketoaciduria or acetonuria.

KETONURIA CAUSES

The human body requires carbohydrates for energy, but the presence of diabetes causing abnormal carbohydrates metabolism is responsible for ketones to build up and accumulation in the blood and passed out in urine. The conditions responsible for Ketones accumulation are acidosis and coma in diabetics. Other enabling factors may include Starvation, Digestive disturbances, Dietary imbalance, Eclampsia, Glycogen storage diseases, Severe, prolonged exercise, Fever, Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

Ketones are toxic and disrupt uric acid excretion. The cause mild depression of the central nervous system and acidosis.

FOOD DIGESTION AND INSULIN

In food digestion, the body breaks fat, proteins and carbohydrates into nutrients for the body use. Proteins are converted to amino acid, fat to fatty acid and glucose. All these nutrients get into the blood stream to begin the work of sustenance and nourishment of the body.

In food digestion, the body turns proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into nutrients that sustain and nurture it. It converts Fats into fatty acids, Proteins into amino acids and Carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) that enters the bloodstream.
Although the body requires glucose to power it, the glucose is only available through insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for supplying the body its glucose needs, and it is produced by the pancreas. It is when glucose is present that all body organs and the parts can function normally.

In a diabetes mellitus condition, the insulin production by the pancreas is insufficient and in a worse case, there may be none produced. With little or no insulin, the body is denied sufficient or no glucose at all. Because the body needs fuel to function, it starts to feed on itself, breaking down its tissues and fat to make fuel and in the process ketone bodies are produced as byproducts.

In ketone bodies, three chemicals substances are present including beta-hydroxybutyric acid, acetoacetic acid, and acetone. The released ketone bodies find their ways into the bloodstream and acidify the blood, which is later passed out in urine.

The condition of ketonuria needs early treatment as it poses a grave danger to the suffer. The excessive buildup of ketone bodies put the victim at risk and with the addition of stress and sickness, the accumulation is bound to worsen.

Excessive glucose and ketone bodies in the body may result in conditions such as:
Hyperglycemia – excessive blood sugar.
Ketoacidosis – excessive ketone bodies in the blood.
Ketonuria – an excessive accumulation of ketone bodies in urine and the excretion of ketone bodies also means losing sodium in the body.

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

Signs of excessive glucose and ketone body include frequent urination, thirst, nausea, dehydration, heavy breathing, vomiting, confusion, fruity mouth breadth (because Acetone passes through the lungs), dilation of the pupils resulting from the toxic effect of ketonuria condition of the brain. These symptoms happening without treatment may lead to the victim going into a coma or outright death.

TREATMENT

Ketonuria can be treated with insulin and intravenous fluids to restore normalcy to the blood sugar and stop ketoacidosis.

PREVENTION OF KETONURIA

Emergencies can be avoided in diabetics related ketonuria by close observation of bloodstream sugar and ketone bodies in urine. It has been found that type 1 diabetics are familiar with excessive ketone bodies, but chances of its presence in type 2 are possible. Thus, all diabetics need monitoring of the blood sugar level and their urine for ketone bodies. Anyone with a risk factor for diabetes or a diabetic can learn about the home test and get the kits for a close watch of these conditions.

KETOGENIC DIET

It should be noted that ketonuria may be useful is certain health condition such as epilepsy in reducing seizures. Here, the ketogenic diet is prescribed where conventional means of addressing seizure disorder fails.

The ketogenic diet is high fat, but low protein and carbohydrates helping the body to mimic starvation and up its ketone bodies level in the blood. It thus helps reduce seizure frequency or prevents it. Ketone bodies are quite effective in seizures control, but there is yet a cogent explanation as to why this is possible.

However, it should be noted that using ketogenic diet requires caution and must only be applied under physician guidance.

Yogurt for Weight Loss? The Surprising Truth

Yogurt is a popular dairy product made by adding live bacteria to milk.

Without added sugar, it is generally considered to be very healthy. Some studies even link yogurt to a reduced risk of weight gain and obesity.

Recently, a team of scientist decided to do a thorough review of all the evidence on yogurt consumption and weight loss/gain.

This article presents a detailed summary of their findings.

CAN YOGURT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?

Yogurt for Weight Loss

BACKGROUND

Conventional yogurt is a type of fermented milk that contains cultures of bacteria, mainly Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii.

Probiotic yogurt contains added probiotic bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium lactisandLactobacillus acidophilus. Yogurt must also contain lactic acid, a minimum of 2.7% milk protein and less than 15% milk fat.

Many studies have examined the effects of conventional yogurt on health, and reviews have concluded that yogurt may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, until now, no reviews have examined how yogurt affects body weight.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

This was a systematic review of studies on the association between conventional yogurt and weight management.

Is consuming yoghurt associated with weight management outcomes? Results from a systematic review.

STUDY DESIGN

This review and meta-analysis examined the association between conventional yogurt and weight-related outcomes in healthy adults.

It was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) reporting guidelines.

The researchers found 22 eligible studies, 13 observational studies, 6 randomized controlled trials and 1 controlled trial.

These studies examined the effects of yogurt in healthy, normal populations, but not in people with obesity or specific diseases.

Additionally, the researchers excluded studies investigating probiotic yogurt, kefir, kumis or yogurt with added vitamins, protein or fat.

Bottom Line: This systematic review and meta-analysis examined how eating conventional yogurt affects weight-related outcomes.

FINDING 1: EATING YOGURT IS ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER BODY WEIGHT

Observational studies show that eating yogurt is associated with lower body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat and a smaller waist circumference.

However, observational studies cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

It is highly likely that a high consumption of yogurt is associated with other healthy lifestyle factors that could influence body weight.

Bottom Line: Observational studies showed that eating yogurt was linked to lower body weight, BMI, body fat and a smaller waist circumference.

FINDING 2: EATING YOGURT MIGHT REDUCE WEIGHT

A total of 6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in this systematic review. Here are brief summaries of 5 of the selected studies.

  • Compared to the control, yogurt caused more weight loss, body fat reduction and reduction in waist circumference. It also helped retain lean body mass.
  • Yogurt did not reduce body fat, compared to the control groups.
  • Body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and body fat did not decrease more after consuming yogurt, compared to a placebo.
  • Eating yogurt did not lead to a greater reduction in body weight, BMI or body fat, compared to a placebo.
  • Yogurt caused a small, but statistically significant, increase in body weight.

However, this last study was not a weight loss trial and the participants were given one liter of several dairy products.

Also, it should be noted that only one of these studies showed that yogurt caused significant improvements to body weight and composition.

Yet when the results from several of these studies were combined in a meta-analysis, there was evidence that yogurt may have modest weight loss benefits.

Nevertheless, none of these trials could prove that the yogurt itself actually led to changes in body weight.

Bottom Line: Randomized controlled trials have provided mixed results, but together suggest that yogurt may cause modest weight loss.

HOW MIGHT YOGURT AFFECT WEIGHT?

The available evidence suggests that yogurt may promote a healthy body weight.

This could be due to a higher protein intake among people who eat a lot of yogurt.

Additionally, some yogurts contain live probiotic bacteria, which may promote weight loss. This is discussed in my previous article.

However, this review focused on conventional yogurt, not probiotic yogurt.

Bottom Line: Why conventional yogurt would promote weight loss is unclear. However, studies suggest that probiotics may have health benefits.

LIMITATIONS

This systematic review was conducted according to strict standards and guidelines. In itself, it doesn’t appear to have many limitations.

The main limitations apply to the selected studies. Most of them were observational, but a few randomized controlled trials were also included.

These randomized controlled trials had several limitations. Some didn’t provide all relevant methodology, which made comparing and interpreting the results difficult.

Additionally, only one of the trials reported the type of bacterial strains in the yogurt used. For this reason, it can’t be ruled out that some of them included probiotics.

This also applied to the observational studies. The methods used to estimate yogurt consumption, such as food frequency questionnaires, are often inaccurate.

Finally, the authors concluded that none of the studies they used managed to separate the effects of yogurt, proving that yogurt consumption caused weight loss.

Bottom Line: The studies included in this systematic review had several limitations, and none could prove that eating yogurt led to weight loss.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, this systematic review indicates that eating conventional yogurt may have modest weight loss benefits.

However, the evidence was limited, and higher-quality studies are needed before a solid conclusion can be reached. Additionally, if you decide to eat more yogurt to lose weight, selecting sugar-free yogurt is recommended.

And although not the focus of this study, studies suggest that probiotic yogurt may have even greater health benefits.

Don’t forget to share this article about Yogurt for Weight Loss with your friends using the social media icons

PCSK9 protein a major driver of inflammation in cardiovascular disease

This is the fourth in what we expect will be seven or more blog posts concerned with chronic inflammation.  It relates to a recently discovered protein PCSK9 and tells a story of how age-related loss of LDL receptors leads to increase in LDL, associated uncontrollable cardiovascular inflammation, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease – the main killer of older people.  It lays out why the old standard of care for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease – the taking of statins – is slowly in the process of being augmented and replaced with a new standard of care – inhibiting PCSK9.

Part 1 of the Inflammation series is the same as Part 5 of the NAD worldThat blog entry is concerned with The pro-inflammatory effects of eNAMPT(extracellular NAMPT, nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase).  Part 2 of the Inflammation series relates a) the “master” pathway network of inflammation (NF-kB) to two other pathway networks clearly implicated in aging and disease processes, b) Genomic Instability (p53), and c) Oxidative stress (Nrf2)Part 3 of the Inflammation series of blog entries is concerned with the all-important resolution phase of inflammation, how acute inflammation goes away under ideal conditions instead of hunkering down to lingering and dangerous chronic inflammation.  It is concerned with recently identified substances found in fish and flaxseed oils that play important roles in resolving certain kinds of inflammation – what they can do and how they work.

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide (Gupta, Expert Review, Dove Press).  Wannah die later rather than sooner?   Then pay attention to this.

Image source

Many National and International though leaders concerned with the disease have refocused their efforts from lowering cholesterol to lowering LDL levels (Grundy, et.al., 3rdReport of NECP). The reason for this is due in part to the discovery of PCSK9 protein, which is a circulating protein in blood that triggers the degradation of the LDL-receptor.

First, a little history about the discovery of the PCSK9 gene and why all the excitememnt about it.  PCSK9 is an abbreviation for Preprotein Convertase Subtilisin/kexin type 9, an extracellular protein that triggers the degradation of the LDL receptor, the LRP-1 receptor, and other receptors found on the surface of many cells (especially the liver).  In 2003, French researchers reported two mutations in the PCSK9 gene that caused familial autosomal dominant hypercholesterolemia (Abifadel, et.al., Nature Genetics).  In 2008, Spanish researchers found a new mutation in the promoter of the PCSK9 gene that increased gene expression of PCSK9 mRNA and plasma levels of PCSK9 (Blesa, et.al. J Clin Endocrin Met). About the same time, researchers at UT Southwestern in Dallas reported a series of PCSK9 gene nonsense mutations found in 2.6% of a large group of African Americans that reduced LDL plasma levels by 15% and reduced coronary artery disease risk by 47% (Cohen, et.al., NEJM).  In the ensuing 10 years, monoclonal antibodies that target the circulating PCSK9 protein have been developed, tested in over 25 R clinicaltrials, and FDA-approved.

What these clinical trials have shown in their “size effect” of reducing all-cause mortality (ACM) is nothing short of astounding – much more than statins ever did.  All cause mortality is reduced 55% in patients with hypercholesterolaemia.  So, we go on now to discussing how this all works.

II.  MECHANISMS RELATING LDL, ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND HEART DISEASE, LDL CELL RECEPTORS, PCSK9 AND MOST OF THE  MOLECULAR USUAL SUSPECTS OF INFLAMMATION, DISEASE AND AGING

It has long been known that there is a positive correlation between circulating LDL, atherosclerosis and heart disease.  Why is this?  The most harmful aspect of high LDL levels is most likely due to the fact that LDL is oxidized to “oxidized-LDL” (oxLDL) by free radicals (ROS) which triggers a pro-inflammatory receptor found on vascular endothelial cells called the “Lectin-like oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor 1” (LOX-1).  Here is a diagram of how this works:

Image source and reference: Role of Oxidized LDL in Atherosclerosis

Oxidized LDL lipoproteins bind to the LOX-1 receptor and are then internalized into endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, as well as monocyte/macrophages.  Inside the cell, this process triggers free radical production (ROS) and activation of NF-kB (the master switch for inflammation). NF-kB then turns on the transcription of hundreds of inflammatory genes, including cytokines (IL-8) and chemokines (CXCL2, CXCL3, CSF3), which are then secreted and trigger the CXCR2 receptor on white blood cells.  This is how the inflammatory cascade is “let loose” when your LDL-C is too high.  Here is a further diagram of how this works:

Diagram and legend source: LOX-1-dependent transcriptional regulation in response to oxidized LDL treatment of human aortic endothelial cells (2009)  “Model for LOX-1 functions in atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction. LOX-1 binding to OxLDL initiates reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and an inflammatory response mediated in part by nuclear factor (NF)-κB and EGR1, leading to an upregulation and secretion of chemokines. The three CXC-chemokines (CXCL2, CXCL3, and IL-8) are all ligands for the same receptor, CXCR2, found on leukocytes. CXCR2 activation leads to chemotaxis and adhesion of leukocytes to endothelium. EGR1, CXCR2, and CSF3 are all implicated in animal models of atherosclerosis and represent novel molecular connections between LOX-1 and atherosclerosis. The transcription factor CREB is involved in maintaining vascular homeostasis. LOX-1 activation by OxLDL leads to a downregulation of CREB target genes and an upregulation of the CREB repressor CREM, thus providing a potential molecular mechanism of LOX-1-dependent endothelial dysfunction.”

In addition to LOX-1 mediated vascular inflammation,  oxLDL/LOX-1 internalization triggers endothelial/vascular smooth muscle cell dysfunction, apoptosis, cellular senescence, or osteoblastic differentiation. The osteoblastic differentiation of these cells is manifested as “vascular calcification”. If the oxLDL/LOX-1 internalization occurs in a monocyte, the macrophage is phenotypically transformed into the classic “foam cell”, which is the sine qua non of atherosclerosis.  Along with the other 4 “drivers” of atherosclerosis (Angiotensin II, pro-inflammatory cytokines, sheer stress, and advanced glycation end products) this oxLDL/LOX-1 pathway is considered to be the major molecular cause of the disease.

So, the first point in the story is this:  1. Too high LDL is bad because when oxidized it lets loose an inflammatory cascade that can lead to chemotaxis, adhesion, plugged arterial lumens, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The next part of the story is simple: 2. under normal healthy conditions, LDL receptors on cells latch on to LDL particles and drag them into the cell where endosomes degrade the LDL and then the receptors pop back up to the surface of the cell and wait for another LDL particle to come along.  But if PCSK9 is present, the LDL receptor itself is destroyed.  The amazing clinical results mentioned above were due to inhibiting PCSK9.

The diagram below illustrates how PCSK9 works for elimination of LDL receptors and therefore reduction of capability to eliminate LDL.

Image source: Complementing the “Gold Standard”: Exploring PCSK9 MOA with Current Lipid Therapies  “When PCSK9 is present in that complex, what ultimately happens is that the LDL receptor is subsequently targeted via the endosome to the lysosome for degradation (situation depicted in right panel in diagram). Hence, we lose the LDL receptor; it does not recirculate back to the liver. If there is no PCSK9 that is bound to that complex, then once it is internalized, the cholesterol is released, the LDL particle is released from the receptor, and the receptor recirculates back to the surface, where it can then attach to more LDL cholesterol and clear more LDL cholesterol from the circulation degradation (situation depicted in left panel in diagram).”

The following diagram show how the final part of the story works: 3. anti-PCSK9 antibodies prevent PCSK9 from binding to LDL receptors so they are not destroyed in the lysosome.

DIAGRAM B  Image source

As already mentioned, although the PCSK9 inhibitor class of drugs have only been recently FDA approved, they have already shown the largest ACMR (all-cause mortality reduction) of any class of FDA-approved drugs ever approved in history.

III.  PCSK9 AND AGING

These drugs are especially important for those of us who are interested in the science of aging since it has been shown that the levels of PCSK9 protein circulating in the plasma increases with aging in rodents and in humans (Tao, et.al., J Bio Chem) (Ruscica, et.al. J Am Heart Asso).

Here is a diagram showing the relative levels of plasma PCSK9 in pre vs post menopausal women and young vs old men in a large population-based study (Diagram source: Ruscica, et.al. J Am Heart Asso).

The cause of the age-related increase in PCSK9 gene expression is due to a loss of suppression of the PCSK9 gene by the FoxO3a transcription factor.  Normally SIRT6 recruits FoxO3a to the promoter of the PCSK9 gene, but with aging, SIRT6 activity declines due to declining NAD+ levels in the cell.  As a result, there is an increase in PCSK9 gene expression with aging (Tao, et.al., J Biol Chem). Here is a diagram illustrating this:

Note that we are here extending the story line of our NAD World blog entries detailing negative impacts of declining NAD+ LEVELS.

Reference and image source :Role of Oxidized LDL in Atherosclerosis (2015)

FoxO3a and Nrf2 are considered two of the most important transcription factors that protect mammals from aging by increasing oxidative stress resistance (Li, et.al. Ox Med Cell Long). Multiple genetic variants in the Foxo3a gene have been linked in many studies world-wide with extreme longevity (Anselmi, et.al., Rejuvenation Research).  SIRT6 has also been shown to be a longevity gene in GWAS studies as well as in lab animals (Braidy, et.al., Front Cell Neuroscience).  Thus it is not surprising that aging due to declines in FoxO3a/SIRT6 activity triggerw the increase in expression of the PCSK9 gene and play a major role in vascular aging.  Moreoever, statin use causes a paraxodical INCREASE in PCSK9 levels in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, most likely due to a compensatory homeostatic feedback mechanism (Raal, et.al., J Am Heart Asso).  The following diagram is from this study.

Another reason why PCSK9 levels increase with aging is insulin signaling. It is not surprising either that Insulin/IGF-1 signaling exacerbates this problem with age-related insulin resistance, since FoxO3a cannot enter the cell nucleus under conditions of high glucose/insulin signaling (due to the inhibition of nuclear translocation of FoxO3a by Akt).   This is why diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance leads to an increase in the expression of PCSK9 gene.  Here is a diagram of the relationship between insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and insulin correlated with increases in PCSK9 expression over time

(Image source: Levenson, et.al. NMCD).

Age and diet-related increases in LDL blood levels are probably the most common clinical problem facing modern man.  Although statins reduce endogenous cholesterol synthesis, they do not directly stop the age-related increase in PCSK9 protein in the blood.  As a result, most studies have suggested that “age” is the greatest risk factor for atherosclerosis after age 50, whereas “cholesterol” is the greatest risk factor for atherosclerosis prior to age 50.  For this reason, the value of a drug that reduces the PCSK9 protein in the blood should increase with aging.  So far, this prediction has held true.  Unlike statins, where their value declines in old age (zero value by age 85), there appears to be value in reducing LDL levels even in old age, with FoxO3a and SIRT6 signaling decline.

So, in this overall story we are seeing a link-up of several “usual suspect” themes we have touched on multiple times before in this blog: insufficient expression of sirtuins and lack of NAD+, the FoxO3a transcription factor, high age-related LDL, the Insulin/IGF-1/PI3K/Akt pathway, the master trigger of inflammation NF-kB, Nrf2, reactive oxygen species, inflammatory cytokines, atherosclerosis.  With a new element which is age-related overexpression of the PCSK9 gene which kills off LDL receptors.

Cholesterol, step to the rear of the coach please

Whereas cardiologists used to consider cholesterol on this “big five” list, it is no longer considered to be as important as it once was. Instead, high blood levels of LDL is now reputed to be the #1 culprit that causes atherosclerotic disease. Since PCSK9 proteins trigger the degradation of the LDL receptor, monoclonal antibodies against PCSK9 have been successful at dropping LDL levels as low as 10 mg/dl (although no physician is recommending that you lower your LDL that much).  Getting rid of LDL reduces oxidized LDL, which dramatically reduces LOX-1 activation.  Reduced LOX-1 activation reduces endothelial cell dysfunction, apoptosis, senescence, and osteoblastic differentiation of endothelial cells (which is a major cause of vascular calcification).  It is this mechanisms that explains why PCSK9 inhibitor therapy has been shown to reduce vascular and valvular calcification (something that statins rarely do).

Despite these known (theoretical) molecular mechanisms, most cardiologists were skeptical that PCSK9 inhibitors would reduce all-cause mortality as well as statins.  However, the results of the PCSK9 inhibitor clinical trials have shattered all doubts by 10 miles!  The results on ACM reduction have been nothing short of amazing. A meta-analysis of the 24 RCTs that have been done so far (N = 10,159) show a 55% ACMR (OR = 0.45) and a 50% reduction in cardiovascular mortality (OR = 0.50). The rate of MI was also reduced by 51% (OR = 0.49). Even increases in serum creatinine kinase (CPK) was reduced (OR = 0.72). Because PCSK9 levels increase as a function of aging, it is likely that these drugs will still have beneficial effects after age 85, whereas data shows that statins probably become harmful after age 85.

F In addition to LOX-1 mediated vascular inflammation,  oxLDL/LOX-1 internalization triggers endothelial/vascular smooth muscle cell dysfunction, apoptosis, cellular senescence, or osteoblastic differentiation. The osteoblastic differentiation of these cells is manifested as “vascular calcification”. If the oxLDL/LOX-1 internalization occurs in a monocyte, the macrophage is phenotypically transformed into the classic “foam cell”, which is the sine qua non of atherosclerosis.  Along with the other 4 “drivers” of atherosclerosis (Angiotensin II, pro-inflammatory cytokines, sheer stress, and advanced glycation end products) this oxLDL/LOX-1 pathway is considered to be the major molecular cause of the disease.

DIAGRAM A above, shows how PCSK9 inhibitors work and how they are fundamentally different than statins:

ReferenceEffects of Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 9 Antibodies in Adults With Hypercholesterolemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2015)

IV.  TURNING TO THE PERSONAL AND PRACTICAL

Costs of PCSK9 Inhibitor Therapy and Delivery methods$14,000/year in the US but cheaper overseas

This blog is designed to be a practical resource that you can use on your personal journey to improved healthspan.  It is not a substitute for your personal physician, however. For this reason, we suggest you consult with your doctor before attempting any of the interventions in this blog, including monoclonal antibodies against PCSK9.  However, your doctor may be completely unaware of this new class of drugs and your health insurance company will not pay for the drugs unless you have had an MI or a stroke AND you also have failed to control your LDL with statins (or have severe side effects from statins that cannot be treated with CoQ10).  In the US, the annual costs for PCSK9 inhibitor therapy runs about $14,000 per year so this is mow a very expensive way to try to lengthen your healthspan.  However the cost  of the same PCSK9 inhibitor drug in some other countries can be half the price found here in the US, so for those who have figured out how to do cash-based medical tourism, you can save $7,000 per year. Here are the two monoclonal antibodies against PCSK9 that are currently FDA-approved:

  • Alirocumab (Praluent) – This monoclonal antibody against the PCSK9 protein was the first to be approved by the US FDA (July, 2015). It is a twice-a-month SQ injection of 75-150 mg per dose. It has been FDA-approved for patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or for normal patients whose cholesterol cannot be adequately controlled with diet and statins.  Patients who go on Praluent are supposed to stay on their statin, even though they may have to lower their dose to avoid statin-induced muscle pain. Side effects include nasopharyngitis (11%), injection site reactions (7%), influenza (5.7%), UTIs (4.8%), and diarrhea (4.7%).  Neurocognitive events were seen in two of the large clinical trials, but did not correlate with how low the LDL-C went.   Further studies have failed to show any neurocognitive difference between the drug and the placebo group (0.7-0.8%).  8% of patients developed anti-drug antibodies. Alirocumab costs $1200 per month or $14,350 per year in the US.  What is amazing is that PCSK9 monoclonal antibody therapy can drop your LDL-C to as low as 25 with no evidence of any major side effect.  With such dramatic reduction, vascular and valvular calcifications have been shown to be reduced.
  • Evolocumab (Repatha) – This monoclonal antibody was approved in August, 2015, shortly after Alirocumab. Like Alirocumab, it is approved for familial (genetic) hypercholesterolemia (heterozygous or homozygous) and patients who fail diet + statin therapy.  Unlike Praluent, it can be given twice-a-month dose (140 mg) or once-a-month (420 mg) SQ. Like Alirocumab, patients are supposed to remain on statins.  Most common side effects Include nasopharyngitis (11%), URI (9.3%), influenza (7.5%), back pain (6.2%), and Injection-site reactions (5.7%).  Ongoing studies are closely looking for neurocognitive side effects, but these studies are not completed.  The annual costs for Evolocumab are almost identical to those for Alirocumab.

Are PCSK9 Inhibitors Cost Effective? Answer: No

While our enthusiasm for this dramatic reduction in all-cause mortality may appear to be “exuberant”, a famous economist once said that people often suffer from “irrational exuberance”.  In the case of PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies, this is definitely true.  The “bean counters” have already figured out that these new drugs are overpriced to be cost effective (Really!….any 5th grader could tell you that!).  At $14,000 per person per year, the two PCSK9 inhibitor drugs are expected to generate $4.5 billion USD in annual sales by 2020 (Big Pharma is drowning in their saliva over this!).  If all eligible patients took these injections, it would add an approximately $150 billion annual cost to our health care system.  Only if the price of these drugs dropped to $4,536 per patient per year would the drugs start to become cost effective.  However. if you have a high LDL-C despite eating a strict cholesterol-free diet and taking your statins, taking one of these drugs could lengthen your healthspan.

ReferenceAre PCSK9 meds worth the cost? Only if Amgen, Sanofi and Regeneron slash prices by two-thirds: JAMA

Alternative to PSCK9 Inhibitor TherapyReduce Insulin signaling with diet, SIRT6 activation, fasting, and the Salvia extract, Tanshinone IIA

For those who do not have $14,000 per year to “burn”, there is a much simpler way of “shutting off” PCSK9.  As mentioned in the beginning of this section, the “longevity gene” FoxO3a functions as a suppressor of PCSK9 gene expression when the FoxO3a transcription factor can enter the cell nucleus. Unfortunately to do this, you must reduce insulin signaling, since insulin prevents FoxO3a from entering the cell nucleus (due to the Insulin/IGF-1/PI3K/Akt pathway).  Once you reduce insulin signaling, FoxO3a can enter the cell nucleus and be recruited by SIRT6.

Unfortunately, with aging, SIRT6 cannot be activated due to declining levels of NAD+ within the cell.  This can be ameliorated (at least in theory) by restoring NAD+ levels within the cell with NAD+ precursors like NR or NMN, or possibly with NAD+ given IV.  (you can look at our blog postings on the NAD World that describe the mechanisms involved.)   Specifically, however there is a fascinating phytochemical that has been isolated from the Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge plant called Tanshinone IIA. This compound is the most pharmacologically bioactive compound found in the Salvia plan and has anti-inflammation, anti-cancer, anti-LDL-cholesterol, neuroprotective, and hypolipidemic properties.  Only recently was the molecular mechanism of the Tanshinone IIA compound elucidated by a team of researchers from Taiwan.  Below is a molecular diagram of the molecule and the reference for how it works.

There are other molecular mechanisms that regulate the PCSK9 gene besides the SIRT6-mediated FoxO3a suppression, however.  This includes binding sites for several transcription factors in the promoter region of the PCSK9 gene (SREBP-1/2, HNF1A, farnesoid X receptor, PPAR-gamma, liver X receptor, and histone nuclear factor P).  Fasting has also been shown to be a very powerful way of reducing plasma levels of PCSK9, reducing PCSK9 levels by as much as 58%, compared to fed conditions.  This is an even greater effect than the monoclonal antibodies!

Image and legend source  Effects of fasting on PCSK9 levels   “Trends in plasma LDL-c, PCSK9, and lathosterol-to-cholesterol ratio during a 48 h fast. Plasma levels of LDL-c increased modestly over the initial 32 h of the two-day fast (P = 0.004) and then stabilized. Plasma PCSK9 levels declined steadily after 8 h of fasting and reached a nadir by 36 h (P = 0.024). The decline in plasma PCSK9 occurred in tandem with a decrease in the lathosterol-to-cholesterol ratio (P = 0.091). Data (mean ± SEM) were derived from 18 healthy subjects (described in Table 1) who underwent an observed 48 h fast. PCSK9, proprotein convertase, subtilisin/kexin type 9; LDL-c, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”

References:

Conclusion: The story of the strange, extracellular protein called PCSK9 has now become the focal point of a $4.5 billion/year gravy train for Big Pharma companies, due to the dramatic effect that monoclonal antibodies have of clearing this “bad” protein out of the blood.  There is no debate that the use of these monoclonal antibodies has a greater effect on reducing all-cause mortality than any other drug, diet, supplement, or lifestyle intervention at this time, with an ACM reduction of 55%.

 

However until the cost of these PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies drops below $4,536 per person per year, they are not cost effective.  Since the increased expression of the PCSK9 gene is due in part to the Insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway, which prevents FoxO3a transcription factor from migrating into the cell nucleus, the most cost effective way to reduce PCSK9 expression is to reduce your insulin levels.  This can easily be done with diet and exercise.

Moreover, a phytochemical from the Salvia plant called Tanshinone IIA, and SIRT6 activation with NAD+/NR/NMN may also be ways to prevent the increase in PCSK9 gene expression which are NOT due to insulin.  The loss of SIRT6 activity due to the decline in NAD+ levels within the nucleus is a likely contributor to the age-related increase in PCSK9.

Nevertheless, because oxidized LDL is such a powerful “driver” of atherosclerosis, a dramatic reduction in PCSK9 plasma protein levels should be a major goal for lengthening lifespan.  Despite its unpopularity, fasting has been scientifically shown to be the cheapest and most effective way to reduce PCSK9. With a 48-hour fast, PCSK9 levels can be lowered by 58%, which is even more than the monoclonal antibodies do!

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that occurs naturally in and is also added to many foods, is found in our bodies and is added to a lot of the medication we take. Magnesium is so important to our bodies because it is involved in about 300 bodily activities.

Magnesium is crucial to the body’s production of energy and is also involved in over 3 hundred enzyme systems within the body that are responsible for regulating diverse biochemical reaction.

An estimated 80 percent of adults will experience a magnesium deficiency in their lifetime. A magnesium deficiency can have some serious symptoms including;

  • Damage to the liver and kidneys
  • Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
  • Mood swings and behavioral disorders
  • Trouble sleeping and in some cases insomnia
  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Cramping and weakness in the muscles
  • Osteoporosis
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Heightened PMS symptoms
  • Impotence
  • Migraines

Our body naturally loses magnesium through hormone production, muscle movement and even by expending the energy it takes to keep your heart beating. The inability to absorb magnesium through the digestive tract due to the overuse of certain medications and soil depletion lowering magnesium levels in crops also play a part in how and why we become magnesium deficient.

Eat higher magnesium foods and take magnesium tablets to keep yourself healthy!

1. Magnesium Calms Anxiety and Nerves

Anxiety is a disorder that affects over 18 percent of all adults in America. Those suffering from anxiety may experiences social anxiety, generalized anxiety or a panic disorder. Anxiety can have debilitating symptoms that often interfere with the ability to complete everyday tasks.

Often feelings of anxiety or panic attacks can come out of nowhere and the physical symptoms can be hard to control or hide.

A few symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders include but are not limited to;

  • Feeling extremely worried sometimes seemingly without a good reason
  • Becoming easily fatigued
  • Feeling irritable
  • Experiencing panic attacks (chest pains, not breathing properly, heart palpitations)
  • Feeling constantly scared of making a mistake in public or worrying about how you are perceived by others
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Feeling sick, nauseous or experiencing stomach problems
  • Waves of what feels like disassociation from reality
  • Feeling anxious about when you will have another panic attack

While it is not always possible to pinpoint why people suffer from anxiety, it can be triggered by side effects from medication, hormonal changes in the body, financial stress, stress over health conditions, mental illness a mineral deficiency or social pressures (1).

Magnesium calms the nervous systems and muscles. When you have an intense period of anxiety your body uses more magnesium than usual, further depleting the body’s levels.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. When it is in low supply it heightens feelings of stress and your brain becomes unable to relax. Magnesium stimulates production of the acid.

Metals such as lead, aluminium and mercury can sometimes collect in the brain and trigger neurological disorders including anxiety. Magnesium works to remove these metals from our bodies.

Magnesium boosts brain plasticity which is the ability your brain has to self heal by making fresh neural connections and creating more brain cells. Brain plasticity is important for those suffering from anxiety (2).

Magnesium reduces the amount of stress hormones (such as cortisol which has shown to contribute to memory loss, anxiety and various other mental disorders) released in the body and also blocks a lot of them from gaining entrance to the brain.

Studies have found that participants suffering from various anxiety induced disorders saw a marked positive change in their symptoms (not being able to sleep, addictions, feelings of great stress, feelings of depression, memory problems etc) sometimes only hours after ingesting magnesium supplements (3).

2. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Insomnia

Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep or to remain asleep, even in favourable conditions. Whilst most common in mature females, insomnia can affect anyone. Under 50 percent of America’s adult population have experienced insomnia and about 15 percent report struggling with insomnia daily.

Insomnia can be caused by pregnancy, a hormone imbalance, psychological or medical conditions and more. Insomnia can cause anxiety, poor concentration (increasing the likelihood of being in an accident or injuring yourself), depression, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue.

It is the gamma-aminobutyric acid production boosting abilities of magnesium which eases anxiety that treats insomnia. When gamma-aminobutyric acid levels in the brain are very low, the brain is unable to “switch off” as levels of glutamate (glutamic acid neurotransmitters) rise and keep your brain focused and alert. Magnesium increases gamma-aminobutyric acid and therefor your brain is able to relax and “switch off” when it is time to sleep (4).

An 8 week study carried out on 46 elderly patients found that participants given 500 mg of magnesium daily showed improved sleep time and efficiency, as well as early morning waking and sleep onset latency compared to the participants who did not receive the magnesium (5).

3. Magnesium Is Important During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant your need for magnesium increases. Magnesium works to repair and build tissues during pregnancy, as well as balancing the sugar levels in your blood (6). Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels during pregnancy is vitally important.

Many women suffer from gestational diabetes which occurs when the body becomes unable to keep producing the increased amounts of insulin needed. Diabetes during pregnancy could result in birth defects, larger babies and the risk of the baby developing diabetes.

Magnesium is an important part of the process of forming protein, fatty acids and bone. It also relaxes muscles and prevents them from cramping which can counteract premature contractions as it has this relaxing effect on the womb muscles (7).

A magnesium deficiency could possibly be the reason that many women struggle to conceive in the first place. When you are magnesium deficient your fallopian tubes tend to spasm at times which can make becoming pregnant very difficult (8).

Low levels of magnesium during pregnancy is also responsible for possible preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), metabolic disorders, growth restriction and sudden infant death syndrome (due to the body not being able to properly regulate temperature in babies).

4. Magnesium Can Prevent Migraines

Migraines is a disorder where you experience pulsating headaches that can moderately to severely painful. These headaches can least from over and hour to 72 hours. During these migraine episodes, many people also experience acute sound, smell and light sensitivity as well as nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Research shows that people who often experience migraines have lower levels of magnesium in their systems (9). A study carried out on a group of migraine sufferers also found that after being treated with magnesium, the incidents of migraines was lowered by over 40 percent.

5. Magnesium Increases Energy Levels

Low energy levels can be caused by a multitude of reasons. From too little iron, to too much iron, dehydration or sleep deprivation, a poor diet and being stressed, and of course a magnesium deficiency. Low energy levels result in feeling fatigued and can have a negative impact on your work, studying and physical well being.

Magnesium plays an integral part in energy metabolism (the process of using nutrients to create energy). If you have poor magnesium levels in your muscles you will expend more energy doing a minor task than someone who has normal magnesium levels (10). Animal studies have stated that magnesium supplements have a positive effect on physical performance and blood energy metabolism.

A study carried out on magnesium deficient women showed that they required higher amounts of oxygen to complete physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored (11).

6. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Muscle Spasms And Aches

Muscles cramps usually strike in the legs. Cramps can cause sharp pains in the muscles and sometimes a lump becomes visible in the leg. Muscle spasms or aches are commonly experienced after standing for long periods of time, strenuous exercise or sometimes even while resting (12).

Magnesium is involved in the process of muscles relaxing and contracting. Muscles spasms, aches and weakness are all side effects of being magnesium deficient. A magnesium deficiency can also cause the body to lag in its production of certain proteins and enzymes that affects the health and function of our muscles.

A study involving pregnant women suffering from leg cramps found that magnesium alleviated the pain and symptoms in the pregnant women given the magnesium supplements (13).

7. Magnesium Is Good For Digestion

Without magnesium in our bodies we would not be able to properly digest the food we eat every day. Magnesium stimulates the enzymes that help our bodies absorb carbohydrates, proteins and fats and then to use them effectively (14). Stimulating these enzymes gives our bodies the ability to break down and to digest our food into smaller pieces to be used for energy.

Magnesium also aids in digestion as the digestive tract is made of muscle. Without enough magnesium in our systems, our body struggles to properly contract and relax the digestive tract. Higher magnesium levels also increases the amount of water in our intestines which in turn initiates peristalsis (muscle contractions which move along the intestine) (15).

Magnesium also produces and transports energy during the process of digestion.

8. Magnesium Regulates Levels Of Calcium

Magnesium is partly responsible for regulating calcium (making sure it ends up in the bones where it is needed) in the body as it stimulates the action of three specific hormones that control calcium levels within the body and determine where the calcium is sent to (16).

Magnesium can dissolves excess calcium that has built up in the brain, kidneys, blood and tissues. Kidney stones, which are sometimes caused by calcium buildup, can be treated with magnesium. Magnesium and calcium also work together in many instances such as in the nerves where calcium produces electric transmissions and is then safely ejected from the nerves by magnesium (17).

9. Magnesium Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Our hearts, especially the left ventricle of the heart, require more magnesium than any other organ. Without magnesium our hearts would not be able to properly function (18). Magnesium is so beneficial for our hearts because it thins the blood preventing clots, relaxes blood vessels allowing for better circulation and prevents calcium from building up in the heart.

Magnesium behaves as an electrolyte, an action which is pivotal for electrical activity to function properly within the body and for the heart to beat and pump blood normally.

Magnesium alleviates stress experienced by cells within the heart and cells lacking magnesium are at a higher risk of becoming damaged (19).

A study conducted by Harvard University found that magnesium supplements could decrease the risk of developing heart disease by up to 30 percent (20).

10. Magnesium Aids Bladder Control

Many people suffer from an overactive bladder (being unable to control sudden urges to urinate and urine loss) or interstitial cystitis (a chronic condition that causes bladder pain, pressure and sometimes pelvic pressure).

Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle function (contraction and relaxation) and being deficient can result in spasms of the bladder muscles, causing loss of urine (21). Magnesium also relieves the pain that accompanies bladder spasms.

A study carried out on 40 women suffering from bladder conditions found that participants given magnesium supplements had a marked drop in the amount of times they needed to urinate during the night (21).

11. Magnesium Can Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in where your bones become weak and brittle due to a massive loss of calcium. Bones weakened by osteoporosis are likely to fracture and or break very easily.

Studies carried out on various species have shown that all magnesium deficient animals have brittle bones (22).

Osteoclasts (cells that break bone down) and osteoblasts (cells that form bone) are both influenced by magnesium. Magnesium also affects active vitamin D and the parathyroid hormone which are both responsible for the regulation of bone homeostasis (the process of removing old bone and building new healthy bone) (23).

Magnesium plays a vital role in calcium regulation which results in higher bone density and osteoporosis prevention (24).

12. Magnesium Is Good For Diabetics

When you have diabetes or an elevated level of glucose in your blood, you are at risk of losing extra magnesium through your urine, becoming even more magnesium deficient (25). This is particularly dangerous for diabetic patients as evidence shows that a magnesium deficiency is a primary factor in the development of diabetes.

Magnesium works to prevent insulin dysregulation and and to improve insulin resistance (26). Magnesium can also prolong the period between prediabetes and the actual onset of diabetes.

Studies have shown that by taking magnesium or eating a high magnesium diet patients were able to lower their metabolic condition (diabetes is a metabolic condition) risk by over 70 percent (27).

13. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Asthma

Asthma is a condition in where the airways swell, produce excess mucus and constrict, triggering sometimes uncontrollable coughing and limiting your ability to breathe properly. Currently 1 in 9 American adults are suffering from asthma. A few symptoms of asthma include;

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Magnesium acts as an anti inflammatory and reduces intracellular calcium in the body which soothes muscles cells (28). Magnesium is also used during emergency treatment for people who are suffering from an acute asthma attack (29).

A study concluded that lower levels of magnesium resulted in bronchial hyperreactivity, wheezing and impaired functioning of the lungs (30).

14. Magnesium Alleviates Symptoms Caused By PMS

Symptoms of PMS can be uncomfortable and painful. PMS symptoms are primarily caused by hormonal changes women experience during their menstrual cycle. Symptoms may include;

  • Acne
  • Backache and or headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Pains in the joints or muscles
  • Food cravings

Low levels of magnesium in the body is thought to result in worsened PMS symptoms. Patients suffering from severe PMS symptoms have been shown to be consistently magnesium deficient (31).

Magnesium works as a diuretic so it eases the pressure that fluid retention can cause. Magnesium also works as a muscle relaxant which provides relief for women suffering from cramps by relaxing the uterine muscles. Magnesium also cuts out sugar cravings, reduces breast tenderness, constipation, irritability and bloating (32).

15. Magnesium Aids Collagen Production

Collagen is a structural protein found in your nails, bones, tendons and skin. Collagen is often used in its purified form as a cosmetic treatment to get rid of wrinkles on the face. Collagen is also present in the eyes and intervertebral discs. Higher levels of collagen in the body keeps these areas within our bodies stronger.

Magnesium produces the proteins that over time will transform into collagen (33).

15 Best Magnesium Foods

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an antioxidant and contains avenanthramides (found almost exclusively in oats) which increase the amount of nitric acid produced by the body. Nitric acid works to dilate blood vessels which results in better flow of blood and lowers blood pressure.

Oatmeal is high in vitamins and minerals as well as being higher in protein than most grains.

Oatmeal is very high in the soluble fibre beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is responsible for making you feel fuller for longer (good for those trying to lose weight), lowering insulin response and blood sugar levels, boosting healthy bacteria growth within our digestive tracts and lowering cholesterol levels in the body, particularly harmful LDL cholesterol.

Studies have shown that introducing solid foods, oats in particular, can decrease a child’s risk of developing asthma.

2. Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of lutein, xanthene and beta carotene which all play an important part in eye health. Dry eye syndrome, eye ulcers and poor eyesight are all directly linked to low levels of these carotenoids. Low levels also contribute to the onset of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Spinach keeps your muscles healthy. The antioxidant C0-Q10 found in spinach is particularly good for strengthening the muscles in the heart and is also effective at preventing and or treating cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

Glycoglycerolipids in spinach strengthens the lining protecting our digestives tracts. This ability spinach has to protect the health of our digestive tracts mucous membranes results in a lowered occurrence of painful stomach ulcers.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries in our bodies begin to narrow and harden. Atherosclerosis is very dangerous and can result in heart attacks, strokes and even death. The pigments and proteins contained in spinach are directly linked to a lowering of the risk of developing this condition.

Spinach is rich in folate which is imperative to healthy foetal development during pregnancy. Several birth defects including spina bifida and cleft palate are due to a folate deficiency during pregnancy. Low folate levels can also negatively impact the baby’s nervous system, brain and spinal cord. The vitamin A found in spinach also helps healthy lung development in the foetus.

3. Bananas

Bananas are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that plays an important role in brain health and protecting against the risk of strokes. Potassium ensures higher bones mineral density which keeps your bones stronger for longer period of time. Potassium also helps your body to maintain a healthy of fluids which is important for effective organ function.

Bananas are free of cholesterol and fat whilst containing fibre making it a healthy choice for those trying to lose weight.

Bananas contain manganese which acts as an antioxidant and assists a range of metabolic activities within the body.

4. Avocados

Avocados can improve bad breath. Avocados contain insoluble and soluble fibres which are good for your digestive health. Insoluble and soluble fibres helps to keep your digestive tract operating smoothly by stimulating the production of digestive and gastric juices as well as adding bulk to stool. Healthy digestion eliminates halitosis (bad breath).

Avocados can reduce liver damage. The organic compounds in avocados work to protect and tone your liver.

The vitamin B6 in avocados can provide relief to women suffering from morning sickness as a symptom of pregnancy. Over 50 percent of all pregnant women will suffer from morning sickness which is characterized by feeling of nausea, fatigue and vomiting. Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce feelings of nausea.

Arthritis is a chronic condition which affects millions globally. Inflammation in the joints causes pain and discomfort as well as trouble moving the joints. Avocados are a natural anti inflammatory which have been proven to reduce symptoms of arthritis.

Carotenoids present in avocados can reduce inflammation caused by UV rays and avocado oil can be used as a natural treatment of sunburn. Avocados also keep skin cells moisturized which reduces dry skin and conditions like psoriasis.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is known as a “super food”. Quinoa is a seed/grain that is very high in protein and yields all essential amino acids (organic compounds important for tissue and muscle growth).

Quinoa contains the plant compounds kaempferol and quercetin which have been shown to have anti-depressant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Quinoa boasts an impressive amount of fibre (almost double that of any other grain) which can relieve constipation and diarrhea.

6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain natural oils which can lower high blood pressure in the body which in turn reduces the amount of stress put on your heart.

Sesamol, another organic compound found in sesame seeds, protects your DNA from damage caused by radiation. This important for cancer patients and your DNA and cells are protected from mutation caused by radiation which could make you more susceptible to other cancers.

Sesame seeds contain high levels of protein which is important for various metabolic functions, healthy growth of cells, energy levels and building muscle strength.

Swirling sesame seed oil around in your mouth can reduce levels of streptococcus bacteria in the mouth which causes cavities.

Sesame seeds contain calcium, phosphorous and zinc, the building blocks of creating healthy bone matter and repairing old and damaged bone.

7. Almonds

Almonds are fibre, protein and nutrient dense.

Almonds contain high levels of the fat soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in the protection of cell membranes which protects cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E can also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Almonds are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates which means that they are a healthy choice for those that suffer from diabetes as it keeps blood sugar levels controlled.

Almonds can protect your brain from cognitive decline. Almonds contain L-carnitine and riboflavin, both of which positively affect neurological activity. Almonds also act as an anti inflammatory, decreases levels of inflammation in the brain which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Almonds contain monosaturated fatty acids which can prevent the onset of heart disease.

Almond skins are high in polyphenol antioxidants which have shown the ability to stop oxidation of cholesterol.

8. Tofu

Tofu, a white soybean by product, is a great source of micronutrient, amino acids, calcium and iron.

During menopause women require extra calcium and if they do not get it could suffer from bone less and arthritis. Tofu not only provides calcium but also eases hot flashes many women experience due to lack of the hormone oestrogen.

Consuming tofu can prevent anemia, a condition where haemoglobin or red blood cells become deficient in the blood making the afflicted fatigued and weak.

Tofu can be used as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians as it is incredibly high in protein. The protein tofu provides is also very good for your hair as hair is made up primarily of keratin which is also a protein. Tofu keeps your hair healthy while stimulating extra hair growth.

9. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds, or linseeds, reduce sugar cravings. Sugar has recently been shown to be largely responsible for weight gain and diseases such as diabetes. The fiber found in flaxseeds helps to stave off sugar cravings as well as leading you to feel fuller for a longer period of time which also reduces unnecessary snacking. The soluble fiber in flaxseeds also improves digestion.

Flaxseeds contain potassium which is especially important for healthy heart function. Potassium is needed for your muscles to move which is vital in maintaining a healthy, regular heartbeat and pumping blood around the body. Potassium works to control the heart’s electric balance. Potassium also enables your nerves to function and soothes muscles contractions.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (chemical compounds we get from plants) which increase immune cell functionality and keeps our immune systems strong.

Flaxseeds have been shown to lower the risk of developing ovarian tumors. Flaxseeds also reduce unhealthy changes in menstrual cycles and can provide reliefs from symptoms of menopause.

The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that leads to swollen, itchy, irritated eyes.

Linolenic acids and omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds (also made into flaxseed oil) have numerous beauty benefits including strengthening hair and nails and reducing dandruff. Flaxseed oil can also prevent baldness from occurring as it the hair follicle shrinking effects of various enzymes.

10. Sweet Corn

Sweet corn in very high in folate. Folate removes homocysteine (non-protein amino acid) from our heart and bodies. Homocysteine has been shown to cause strokes, weakening of bones and heart attacks. Folate enhances cell formation, replacing old and damaged cells with fresh ones, particularly those in the lining of the stomach and skin cells.

Folate also plays a role in muscle formation as well as maintaining healthy muscle tissues. Folate is known to limit birth defects and is recommended during pregnancy.

The folate, beta carotene and zeaxanthin (an antioxidant) found in sweet corn preserve the health of the eyes and can protect against the onset of macular degeneration.

Sweet corn contains beta cryptoxanthin, an increased intake of beta cryptoxanthin has been linked to a decrease in the likelihood of lung cancer development.

The vitamin B1 or thiamine present in sweet corn is a nutrient that boosts the brain cell function. The body needs thiamine to manufacture acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Acetylcholine is essential for our brains to be able to keep and recall memories. Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to acetylcholine deficiencies.

11. Brown Rice

A single cup of brown rice yields 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese. Manganese assists the body in synthesizing fats as well as keeping reproductive and nervous systems healthy.

Brown rice is a healthy choice for hypoglycemics and those suffering from diabetes. Brown rice works to stabilize levels of sugar in the blood and has a very low glycemic index. Brown rice is also a whole grain which can lessen arterial plaque buildup, reduces the chances of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Brown rice contains naturally occurring oils. These oils keep cholesterol levels normal.

Brown rice is good for a lactating woman’s mental health. A study has produced positive results in reducing mood disturbances, and fatigue and depression experienced by lactating mothers consuming brown rice. Evidence also suggests that consuming brown rice during the lactation period may enhance the body’s capacity to improve immune defense and resist stress.

The fiber and antioxidant content of brown rice makes it a helpful tool in cancer prevention specifically cancer of the colon and breast and leukemia. The fiber from the brown rice binds itself with the cancerous toxins making it impossible for these toxins to attach themselves to the colon wall and essentially expelling them from our bodies.

Studies have found that brown rice contain phenols that inhibit proliferation of breast and colon cancer cells.

12. Mackerel

Mackerel contains minimal saturated fat and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids regulates the clotting of blood, helps the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and keeps the speed at which your heart beats normal and healthy.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also be used to treat various skin conditions, can be taken as a fertility booster, can ease pain brought on by menstruation, can reduce the fat in your liver, lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse insulin resistance.

Men participating in a study testing mackerel’s effect on blood pressure showed a marked decrease in hypertension after eating mackerel daily for eight months. Two months after the study the men were again tested and it was noted that many were again suffering from high blood pressure after mackeel had been eliminated from their diets.

Eating mackerel can provide relief to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (constantly returning or persisting) inflammatory disorder in the joints that may cause long lasting joint deformity and damage. Symptoms include stiff and tender joints, not being able to move the joints, swelling and fatigue. The anti inflammatory compounds found in mackerel lower the joint stiffness and pain and work in conjunction with medication.

Mackerel in rich in vitamin D which makes it a good choice for those suffering from bowel cancer as studies have noted that patients with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive and recover from the disease.

13. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans aid in sulphite detoxification. Some people suffer from sulphite allergies and the mobileum in kidney beans provides relief from painful headaches that are a symptom of the disorder.

The iron found in kidney beans give the energy production in your body a boost as well as helping your body metabolise energy.

Kidney beans contain copper. Copper is a mineral usually found in ceruloplasmin, a blood plasma protein. A copper deficiency is usually accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • A drop in body temperature
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Birth defects
  • Dilated veins

Copper is essential to proper growth. It also protects the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the skeleton. Low levels of copper result in stunted growth of tissue and organs. Copper also protects the myelin sheath that covers nerves. It also aids elastin production which makes up connective tissue.

Other health benefits of copper include stimulation of the brain, aiding iron absorption in the body, aiding enzymatic reactions and speeding up the healing of wounds.

14. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is usually thought of as a decadent treat but it is actually brimming with nutrients. Dark chocolate contains zinc, iron, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and selenium.

Dark chocolate can give you a spurt of extra brain power. Dark chocolate contains flavanols which work to dilate blood vessels. When blood vessels become dilated a larger amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain’s key areas, stimulating them and making you more alert for a period of usually two or three hours.

Cocoa flavanols present in dark chocolate can also increase visual performance due to more blood reaching the brain and retina in the eyes. A study found that people who had consumed dark chocolate could more successfully identify low contrast letters and detect motion. Flavanols also increase blood flow directed to the skin as well as skin hydration and density. Bioactive compounds within dark chocolate work to protect our skin from damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure as well as increasing blood flow. Research showed a 20 percent drop in hypertension in patients who consumed dark chocolate daily for 18 weeks.

Research has shown that dark chocolate is a more powerful antioxidant than acai and blueberries. Dark chocolate is full of organic compounds like flavanols, polyphenols and catechins which all work as antioxidants.

15. Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and essential minerals present in milk, making it good for maintaining bone density and strength. The calcium content of yogurt can protect against osteoporosis, a disease wherein your bones become brittle and weak and tend to break and or fracture very easily.

Consuming yogurt keeps your vagina healthy and clear of candida (a fungal infection). Yogurt can lower the vaginal tracts pH balance which prevents candida from occurring.

A study showed that consuming yogurt lowered the instances of halitosis in participants by 80 percent as well as lowering gingivitis and levels of plaque.

Yogurt can be applied topically to rashes and acne. Yogurt works to close pores on the skin and can reduce dark circles under the eyes.

Yogurt is a dairy product and consuming dairy products have been shown to have some impact on extending the lifespans of those suffering from colon cancer.