Answers to Listener LIVE Event Questions

These are a handful of questions to come up during the original launch of the 5 pound challenge. After taking The Down5 Pounds Challenge, if you have questions that you would like answers to please email drpucci@getwell-now.com and I or my team will be more than happy to assist you in getting those answers!

Questions from Day 1:

Q – What vitamin/nutrient would your body be lacking if you crave salt?
A – Cravings are generally a sign of a) blood sugar instability, and b) adrenal stress. Without the ability to stabilize blood sugar, the highs and lows of it will continue to trigger a stress response. That’s why we discuss it first, on Day 1. Review the Food 101 slides for the discussion about blood sugar. As for a lengthier conversation about adrenals, stress and stress belly, watch for Wednesday’s conversation.

Q – What are Dr. Pucci’s thoughts on beans, legumes, & veganism?
A – In the lexicon of veganism, beans are a stable source of protein. That said, beans have to be cooked long and slow to preserve the protein or else they convert to carbs. Beans and legumes are “lectins” and lectins is a term used to describe a whole suite of foods whose botany produces a protective biological mechanism, an anti-nutrient, to ward off critters. That can have health effects on vulnerable humans.

Our only concern with veganism is that a) vegans rarely get sufficient healthy fats (the fuel source for hormones and blood sugar stability) and b) too many rely on pasta and other carbs for fuel. And then beans and other legumes are certainly known to cause a lot of gastric distress.

Q – Do you agree that a well-balanced meal should always include Protein – Good Carb-Vegetables-Good Fats?
A – If we’re talking about shocking the body to release weight, more proteins, fats, vegetables and, of course, water and fiber.

Q – Are frozen vegetables okay?
A – Yes. Include fresh when you can because remember: All your dark leafy greens, microgreens, and such, do not come frozen.

Q – So what about oatmeal (is it okay as a carb)?
A – Oatmeal is a cereal grain that is less processed than, say, Cheerios, but does not contain sufficient protein or fat or vegetable to constitute a great breakfast. We find that although it can be a go-to option once in a while most often it is not the best choice particularly if that choice is instant.

Oatmeal and muesli really want to be soaked overnight to release the anti-nutrient component and slowly cooked, like beans. It should be thought of as savory, not sweet, and as a base for nuts and seeds, a dollop of fat, an admixture of protein powder or colostrum, and the like.

Q – What should be your biggest meal of the day?
A – Ideally, mid-morning to midday. When you are expending the most energy. That said, we focus on breakfast, a midday snack, sometimes a salad with protein or complex carb, and then dinner. It really depends on your schedule and what your body needs.

Q – What about intermittent fasting?
A – As with dietary strategies (macro) there are all kinds of tools like fasting to essentially change up your body’s routine. They each serve a different purpose. The key for intermittent is the word “intermittent”.

Q – Does starvation work to help you lose weight?
A – Yes! And that’s where a lot of the myth about calorie restricted diets comes from. Unfortunately, in a calorie restricted diet you will also cannibalize muscle, lose water weight and so on.

Q – If I’m trying to reduce inflammation, should I limit my carbs?
A – There’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes inflammation. If you sprain your ankle and it swells, that’s good inflammation. Inflammation is an immune reaction, so the question is if you are trying to calm your immune system and carbs are a trigger, should you consider removing them?

Q – I’m curious about ways to support adrenal fatigue. More water, limit caffeine, whole foods diet (which is the core of this challenge), but is there anything else that you can do to support that? Possibly even a supplement?
A – What we would want to consider is how well your body is handling stress. If it is producing excessive amounts of cortisol, we might want to take a look at what’s triggering that. For example, we might want to look at your blood sugar.

Also, particularly for women who are in their transitioning phase (or males in andropause), the adrenals are working overtime to both produce hormones that the ovaries and testes no longer produce. So, you might want to test for that.

Questions from Day 2:

Q – What is the best way to determine if you have a food issue or if certain foods cause inflammation?
A – I think this question is about a food sensitivity instead of anaphylaxis and that we’re really trying to figure out whether the body is producing antibodies to a particular food and if that’s affecting self-tissue, like thyroid.

Q – Since you are speaking on fasting, do you recommend a fast with food where you are getting the benefits of cellular regeneration?
A – Sure, yes something like a bone broth-type fast.

Q – Do green tea and herbal teas count towards your water?
A – Sure, yes.

Q – Is avocado oil good to cook with at high temps?
A – Yes.

Q – I have heard different opinions about how many times a week you can have red meat. Some people say it doesn’t matter but others say limit red meat. In my last annual checkup my LDLs were slightly elevated and the doctor said to limit red meat and dairy. What’s your take on this?
A – Probably get a more expert opinion from a functional medicine doctor, but also, be sure you are eating grass-fed/pasture raised. It’s correct that there are a lot of growth hormones and antibiotics in industrialized cattle operations and GMOs in the feed supply itself.

Q – Is bison good for you?
A – We happen to love bison. Pasture raised, see above.

Q – What is the importance of daily exercise/movement?
A – Very. We will be discussing this more particularly as we focus on the brain!

Q – How is grapeseed oil?
A – Similar to avocado – high heat, flavorless. Really best thought of either as a frying oil or for emulsifications such as mayonnaise.

Q – For stool testing, do you recommend the GI-MAP stool test?
A – We are currently using the GI Effects from Genova but we like the GI Map as well. The design of the GI Map stems from the notion of sequencing the gut biome, and connecting the particular strains to specific disease. It still has some value as a functional test.

Q – I’m confused about what types of fats are good to use. What are the best cooking fats?
A – For cooking, we recommend: ghee, coconut, red palm oil, any tallow or lard or duck fat. That’s for pan frying. Olive oil can be used for sauteing at low heat; for instance, for your garlic preparations. Anything that needs to be browned does best with actual butter, so unless you have a known dairy allergy or sensitivity, some grass-fed or pasture raised butter is an option for many.

Canola, peanut, safflower, soy oils, etc, are really considered to be ‘modern’ seed oils; meaning, they come out of the agribusiness agricultural sector. They are not delicacies and more than that, they are ‘oily’ and oxidized. We really do not use any of these except to clean the grill.

We also have used or have on hand: walnut, sesame and avocado for various purposes. Sesame, for example, is a good oil to drizzle on an appetizer. Walnut is great for over a steak or mushrooms. And so on.

Q – Regarding developing food intolerances, would eating one egg for breakfast every day (as part of a more complete breakfast that includes greens) eventually create an intolerance to eggs?
A – If someone has a leaky gut, or has a known sensitivity, then rotating food is always the best option. But in general, no.

Q – If you mostly stay away from grains, what are the best carb/filling foods?
A – The good news is that there are a ton of options. But I think what you’re asking about is less about snacking foods and more about what you would use with meals like dinner. You would look at things like winter squashes (spaghetti, butternut, acorn, etc), seeds like wild rice, and sweet potatoes.

We think of carbs as condiments not as main parts of the meal, and have developed a rhythm of having fewer carbs over the weekend into the beginning of the week when our brains are fresh. And maybe by Thurs/Fri add a few more in as the amount of energy expended relative to the end of week time crunch, tightens. But, that’s just a personal habit.

Q – What’s your opinion on taking apple cider vinegar for weight loss?
A – We like ACV more as a stomach health aid and for taste. More to the point, ACV is not a weight loss strategy so much as it creates the conditions for good acidity in the stomach. What does seem to help is drinking a water/ACV prior to eating to simply feel full and eat less.

Questions from Day 3:

Q – Why do MDs automatically put people on birth control pills and statins?
A – Because that’s how they’re trained. Plus, they don’t really have time to get to the root of the problem. To answer the big Why.

Q – Should we be restricting or eliminating carbs?
A – If your goal is weight loss, then yes.

Q – So when a female’s testosterone is elevated, and their estrogen is borderline low, how does someone correct that?
A – I think maybe the question is what or where is the concern? Meaning, do we want all the markers to be correct, or is the elevation causing symptoms or is it a signal of a potential future greater imbalance. I think maybe this is where Dr Pucci talks about getting clear on the why.

Q – My question or problem is the late night snacking. Around 10 or 11 pm I get an irresistible urge for sugar. Now from day 1 video I’m thinking if I load up on complex carbs at dinner I won’t experience the dramatic drop in blood sugar which causes the cravings. Am I on the right track?
A – You’re on track, and complex carbs are good. But maybe look at adding more fiber and healthy fats toward the end of the day. You are craving the sugar because your blood sugar is dropping; not to mention, could have an underlying bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, etc). Try having your late night snack as celery or apple with almond butter. You get the protein, the fiber and the healthy fats.

Questions from Day 4:

Q – How much water do you recommend to start with before coffee or tea?
A – We don’t have a precise recommendation. A good strategy is to make the water first in an 8-10-12 ounce glass or water bottle and begin drinking it while you are preparing nutritional supplements, breakfast, coffee and going about your morning routine

Q – Why should we not use K-cups for coffee?
A – The process of making coffee using k-cups imparts chemicals into the coffee when the high-heat stream of water passes through and into the cup. This is also true of all plastic lids.

Q – Can you tell us about your protein shakes and how you use them?
A – Most often as a post-breakfast, mid-morning “snack: or post-workout recovery. In the active part of the day. You can certainly use them as a meal replacement, too.

Q – Do you recommend a Fitbit?
A – Sure, fitbits are great for tracking your workouts; meaning, quantifying the number of steps, heart rate and so on. The apps we’re talking about are more for how to organize, visualize, bring mental clarity and so on. Take a look at the app guide in the resources section.

Questions from Day 5:

Q – Have you ever heard of those alarm clocks that go off in the morning and create an effect that’s supposed to be like daylight? Supposedly the idea is to help you regulate your circadian rhythm? Would you recommend using one?
A – Yes, why not! And yes, establishing and following your body’s natural circadian rhythm is ideal. There are numerous studies about night-shift workers and others whose health is affected by not having access to daylight or getting out of synch with natural rhythms. One strategy, if you’re sleepless or restless, get up. Then go to bed the same time every night regardless of how little sleep the night before.

Q – Do you recommend IR sauna after cardio? Or stretching?
A – After cardio, probably do an active recovery/stretching routine since you’ve already sweated out the toxins during cardio.

Q – What’s the difference between dysbiosis and leaky gut?
A – Dysbiosis is overgrowth, or an imbalance in the good v bad bacteria. Leaky gut is a breakdown in the mucosa, the gut lining, that allows inflammatory proteins to pass into the bloodstream.

Q – What is your opinion on grounding sheets?
A – You can try it. But a better strategy is to move all electronic devices and wi-fi out of the bedroom.

Q – Should you just turn off the Wi-Fi router at night before bed?
A – If you can, yes. Or, set your phone to airplane mode if that’s what you use as an alarm clock.

Q – How long does it usually take to heal the gut?
A – It takes a while, since it’s typically a condition that took years in the making. But, kaizen – continuous small improvements day after day after day!

Q – What is recommended for those who suffer with constipation?
A – This is an example of where we need to understand why. In other words, there could be a multitude of reasons including too many medications, sedentism, lack of fiber, slow thyroid, poor hydration, obstruction. The list is endless. What we don’t want to do is take a lot of supplements hoping to ‘fix the problem’ instead of getting to the root.

Q – Why do you not recommend a reverse osmosis system for drinking water, and what would you recommend?
A – Reverse osmosis is expensive and works if you add back all the trace minerals and nutrients. https://tapitwater.com/reverse-osmosis-vs-distilled-water

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

How to Sleep Soundly, Boost Detoxification and Dream Big Toxins in our environment are worrying for how they affect us, and yet our capacity to detoxify is among our body’s greatest achievements.

We know that sleep is critical to achieving and maintaining good health, but how much do we consider it as part of our body’s detoxification process? When we’re asleep—particularly when we’re in deep sleep—three important things are happening:

  • The brain is recharging itself. What most people don’t know is that the brain is actually an immune organ—90 percent of its cells, called glia cells, are immune cells tasked with protecting neurons and keeping them healthy; sleep is a vital part of that.
  • The brain is eliminating toxins. Sleep is also the time when our brains detoxify themselves—researchers call this the glymphatic system. Glia cells are connected with lymphatics in the brain, and during sleep, toxins and chemicals are being drained from the brain through this glymphatic system.
  • The cells of our body and brain are growing, regenerating, and repairing themselves, so when we’re sleeping, our body and brain are healing. When we’re sleep deprived, our immune system becomes compromised; alternatively, good sleep helps to create a strong, robust immune system.

Poor sleep is associated with a number of health risks: suppressed immune function, amplification of cardiovascular disease, obesity, neurological changes (i.e. mood, irritability, behavioral changes, focus, etc.), chronic pain, and gastrointestinal disorders. It’s estimated that between 50 and 70 million American adults have some type of sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most common. The required amount of sleep for different age groups is as follows:

  • Adults: 7-9 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours
  • Children aged 2 to 6: 10-14 hours
  • Infants: 12-16 hours

There are a number of strategies to sleep better at night. The most important thing is to wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends, to prevent throwing off the circadian rhythm. Second, eliminate electronics from the bedroom and turn them off one to two hours before going to bed—this includes computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. Electronics interfere with sleep because they emit EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) that stimulate the brain and increase cortisol. The bedroom should also be dark and cool, both of which relax the body and promote sleep.

Another sleep strategy is to control evening blood sugar levels by not eating sugary foods at night (people with hypoglycemia should have some protein or fiber at night to keep their blood sugar levels up). Since fruits contain sugar too, they should be eaten earlier in the day. It’s also a good idea to get natural daylight outside as early in the day as possible to kickstart a natural circadian rhythm into gear. There are also some nutrients that can help, but these need to be addressed on a person-to-person basis.

Other issues that can affect sleep include how well the body detoxifies environmental toxins, generational toxins, and toxins produced by the body itself. Learn more about sleep, exercise and natural detoxification methods, or how to improve the body’s natural healing ability, tune into Module 5 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

Stress Belly and Hormonal Weight Gain A lot can be done to transition gracefully into each phase of adulthood for women—and men—by gaining a foothold against stress and managing hormones.

The subject of stress and hormones is important for everyone—both men and women. Women tend to have more questions about the role hormones play with regard to weight, particularly weight changes during perimenopause and menopause and also weight changes during their menstrual cycle. As men get into andropause, they struggle to keep their weight down. Hormones are constantly fluctuating and changing, but they play a key role in all these issues.

Our bodies have a single integrated system known as a super system that includes the neuro (brain), endocrine (hormone) and immune (gut) systems. There is crosstalk among these three systems, so for example, any dysregulation in the gut will impact and influence the brain and hormones. So when we talk about losing weight and overall health, we’re talking about the integration of all three of these systems. This is why losing weight is about getting healthy first and foremost.

The endocrine system begins with the hypothalamus in the brain, which sends messages to the pituitary gland. Think of the hypothalamus as the CEO of the hormone corporation and the pituitary gland is the president that answers to the CEO. Taking orders from the pituitary (president) are other glands that we can think of as factories that pump out their own hormones, which also have crosstalk of their own: pancreas (insulin), thyroid (metabolism), adrenal (stress), ovaries/testes (reproduction), pineal (sleep), and thymus (immune).

All together, these make up our hormone system, and the brain regulates and controls them all. So when there is an imbalance in gut health, it communicates this imbalance to the brain which then creates an imbalance in the hormones as well. (For more detail on the hormone cascade and how these chemical messengers interact with our genes, watch the Day 3 5lb Challenge video or read the Day 3 Energy Challenge blog post.) This is why the standard medical model of treating only one of these areas where symptoms occur doesn’t work. The functional medicine model instead looks at the mechanisms in the entire super system that is driving the hormone cascade.

Stress plays a huge role in weight and belly fat. As most people know, there’s good stress and bad stress. Gravity is considered good stress in that it keeps muscles and bones strong; for some people, deadlines create good stress because it makes them more productive and creative. On the other hand, we want to avoid the two main types of bad stress: emotional stress (worry and fear) and, less recognized, physiological stress (negative chemical changes in the body such as blood sugar, underlying infections, poor sleep, etc.). When there is a stress overload, our bodies reach a point where they simply can’t handle it anymore.

It’s important that all hormones are able to be metabolized and cleared by the body. There are three parts to hormones: production (messages sent from the brain to the glands telling them to manufacture hormones), activation, and elimination (metabolism). Estrogen metabolites are pro-inflammatory, can cause oxidative stress and are toxic, so it’s important that these metabolites are eliminated from the body or else they’ll back up and accumulate. Estrogen that is not cleared will be stored as fat; likewise, fat in the body will accumulate estrogen, which becomes a vicious cycle. In addition, we accumulate an abundance of toxins from everyday life, known as obesogens, which are chemicals in the environment that cause obesity—these are endocrine disruptors.

Many of these chemicals come from eating industrially farmed meats as well as non-organic fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed and grown with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Choosing organic foods helps to lower the toxic load overall. In addition, BPAs are the number one top hormone disruptor; these are commonly used in plastic bottles, cash register receipts, and cans.

The good news is that there are a number of strategies to detoxify. These include increasing fiber and water intake, bone broth and limeade fasts, consistent exercise, using an infrared sauna, and supplements—the goal is to detoxify important organs like the liver, gallbladder, lymphatics, and kidneys.

Learn more about how stress physiology affects weight, or how hormone balance can assist with weight loss by tuning into Module 3 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

A More Efficient Gut Ecology for Weight Loss By increasing water, fiber, and fats, our intestinal microbiome can begin to turn our guts (and bodies) into fat-burning machines.

We hear a lot about metabolism when talking about weight loss, but what is metabolism? Metabolism is simply the body’s ability to make energy. The foods and liquids we take in as well as the oxygen we breathe all convert to energy needed to process nutrients for growing tissues, making hormones and regulating those hormones, and eliminating waste products. One of the first steps for healthy weight loss is to reset metabolism; without a metabolic reset, metabolism constantly stays at the same set point, and weight is static.

In order to achieve a metabolic reset, three things need to be increased: water, fiber, and fats.

  • Water has zero calories and aids in detoxification (toxins are stored in fat, so detox is a critical part of weight management and overall health). Water is also a fundamental part of metabolism; metabolism is energy production at the cellular level, and water is a critical component of what makes our cells operate. Our daily goal should be to drink a minimum of one half our body weight of water in ounces and to start each day with a full glass of water or lemon water. (Tip: caffeine-free herbal teas count as water intake.)
  • Fiber maintains blood sugar by controlling how the body processes glucose. Fiber is best from food sources like vegetables as well as added in through seeds such as flax and chia. Fiber also decreases appetite because it creates bulk, and it also helps with detoxification because it stimulates and cleanses the bowels. A goal should be to take in a minimum of 24 grams of fiber every day.
  • Fats are broken down into two categories: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (beef tallow, ghee), while unsaturated fats remain liquid at room temperature (olive oil, avocado oil). Unsaturated fats are further broken down into mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and contain Omega 3s, 6s and 9s, which are found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flax seeds. One caveat: industrialized modern “seed oils” (unsaturated fat) are treated with high temperatures, which converts them into saturated fats, producing a trans fat that is pro-inflammatory, extremely toxic to the body and is considered to be a slow-acting poison. Trans fats should always be avoided.

Our microbiome is our gut’s ecosystem. Its total environment. This is where billions of microbes digest proteins, fats, and carbs while also controlling and regulating many different processes including the production of hormones and vitamins—they even control and turn on, turn off and regulate our genes. Even the possibility of getting cancer or other diseases is regulated by our gut microbiome.

On the other hand, our microbiome is being established and regulated by the foods we eat. This is why it’s so important to eat organic produce and grass-fed organic meats—if the produce we eat or the soil it’s grown in has been treated with pesticides and other chemicals, those toxins also go into our ecosystems, increasing its toxic load. When it comes to meat, industrially raised grain-fed animals are given antibiotics that promote weight gain—when we eat the meat of these animals, we’re getting high levels of glucose (pro-inflammatory) and we’re ingesting those antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our gut and allow the bad bacteria to overtake it. Eating these meats and/or taking antibiotics for extended periods increase the risk of obesity. Having a healthy gut microbiome by eating the right foods and supplementing with probiotics can help us lose weight while improving our overall health and wellbeing.

Learn more about how the health of the gut microbiome affects weight, or how probiotics can assist with weight loss, by tuning into Module 2 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

Why Dieting Won’t Work for Weight Loss Creating a frame of mind for healthy weight and a personal challenge to yield lasting results.

To be successful in weight loss, we need to change our collective mindset. Flip the internal dialogue to this: I don’t lose weight to get healthy, I get healthy to lose weight. Almost everyone has tried a “diet plan”, which usually either doesn’t work, isn’t sustainable, or yields only temporary results. Instead, shift the focus to what can be done to start getting healthier—with this new mindset, and a few simple tweaks, weight loss will happen in a healthy way as overall health is achieved!

Gaining clarity as to why it’s significant to lose weight, and making it a powerful reason, is the first step. Clarifying a personal why—such as having more energy, gaining more confidence, lowering the risk of disease where weight is a contributor, or healing our gut from toxins—gives a stronger commitment to reaching those weight loss goals.

The outdated traditional weight loss mindset involved three things: lose weight to get healthy (fact: thin does not equal healthy); calories in, calories out (fact: a low-calorie food is not necessarily a healthy food); cholesterol is bad (fact: cholesterol is necessary for brain function and cellular health). The contemporary functional weight loss mindset focuses on good health: get healthy and release excess weight; choose nutrient-dense whole foods; sugar is the worst (excess sugar creates excess energy in the body which is stored as fat).

Everything we consume falls into three main food categories:

  • Protein – not a main energy source; converted into fundamental building blocks called amino acids which build and repair tissue. Choose non-inflammatory proteins (beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, etc.) over proinflammatory proteins (processed proteins such as bacon, sausage, etc.).
  • Fats – eating fat does not make us fat. Healthy fats are those that occur naturally in food sources; bad fats are those made by the body due to excess energy, which creates fat.
  • Carbs – choose good carbs (complex) such as dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes over bad carbs (simple) like starchy foods and sweets. Replace simple carbohydrates with healthy fats to feel fuller.

Learn more about why dieting won’t work for weight loss, and how to flip the script to a mindset for healthy eating, by tuning into Module 1 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

Probiotics for a Healthy Intestinal Tract… and More? Learn the popular science being unearthed by researchers about the gut microbiome, and how to nurture it to prevent dysbiosis and disease.

Probiotics first rose to popularity in the 1990s, and have been recommended for good health as fermented foods since ancient times. And while research into the modern concept of improving gut health with certain bacteria only began in 1907, it has led to the knowledge we currently have about probiotics and their impact on the gut microbiome. For researchers today, identifying every species in the microbiome is the current equivalent of mapping the human genome: an unexplored frontier.

We hear a lot about the importance of probiotics, but how much is really known about which strains and how much? Like many other health-related topics, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. The health and balance of our intestinal microbiomes depend on diet, environmental toxin exposure, and other factors that we’ll get into shortly. Since there are so many personal variables that range all the way back to infancy, the road to a healthy gut is different and ever-changing for everyone.

But I Eat Yogurt Every Day…

While many people think that eating yogurt is enough to give them all the probiotic support they need, even a high-quality organic plain yogurt with no added sugars or flavors is only a drop in the bucket of what’s needed to balance the gut ecosystem, which is comprised of trillions of species of good and bad bacteria. Acidophilus is typically the strain found in most yogurts, and while it’s an important one, a balanced microbiome is more about the collective whole than any one particular strain.

When it comes to probiotics and microbial health, the more diverse the microbiota, the better. This is why diet is so important—the more diversification in the vegetables and fruits being eaten, the more diverse the microbiome will be. These plants feed the healthy gut bacteria, providing them the fuel source they need to transform whole food into useful nutrients. And although there are an increasing array of probiotics that can be taken orally, they should be used in addition to eating a diversified selection of veggies and fruits, rather than replace them.

The 3 Categories of Probiotics

The beneficial bacteria in probiotics can help to correct many imbalances and aid in digestion by helping to maintain a proper balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. There are three broad categories of probiotics:

  • Lactic acid species – these are mostly transient, and have been shown to boost the immune system, help to prevent infection and improve mood. They need to be continually replenished and are the simplest to attain. Popular strains include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
  • Soil-based or spore forming species – these are harvested from soils or grown in a culture medium. In spore form (not having reached the bacteria stage yet), these can get past stomach acids and enzymes that make up the gut’s hostile environment. Popular strains include Bacillus species.
  • Beneficial yeast species – these actually help to prevent yeast overgrowth that can cause yeast infections. One example, S. BoulardiI protects the intestinal lining and can often survive antibiotic use.

The balance of our intestinal microbiome can shift and change relatively regularly, which is why a switch to healthy eating and lifestyle habits, along with supplemental probiotics are a front-line strategy for many patients. There are no lab tests yet that can determine which type of probiotic a person needs; however, there are specific urine and stool tests that can indicate inflammatory conditions and imbalances. Symptoms that are indicative of a problem include experiencing frequent or continual upset stomach for no apparent reason, diarrhea, constipation, halitosis, bloating, fatigue, depression, weight gain, brain fog, and more.

What Happens When Bad Bacteria Proliferate? Can Bacterial Overgrowth Impact Health?

Imbalances that cause dysbiosis become detrimental when allowed to remain unchecked for long periods of time. For this reason, most people need to take probiotics on an ongoing basis in order to replenish the bacteria that’s needed.

An imbalance of the gut bacteria can occur for a number of reasons including extended use of antibiotics and some other medications, high levels of stress or anxiety, not eating enough different types of vegetables and fruits, having a diet that includes too many processed and fast foods, consumption of too many pesticides on produce, and a change in diet where too many sugars and additives are consumed. The purpose of antibiotics is to destroy bacteria, but they don’t differentiate between good and bad bacteria—they just wipe everything out. This not only leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it also leads in many cases to an overgrowth of yeast, causing yeast infections.

Prolonged dysbiosis in the small intestine can lead to numerous chronic and degenerative diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, celiac disease, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, colitis and others. Treating dysbiosis is very individualized, especially when treating a condition; so, the best path is to take them in combination and test for areas of insufficiency, malabsorption and inflammation using testing methodologies that are available from functional medicine doctors and independent laboratories across the country.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com

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Overweight and Annoyed? Could Be Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease Elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure are often overlooked as nuisance concerns by patients at risk of heart attack, diabetes and stroke.

For many years, institutional medicine didn’t recognize metabolic syndrome as a disease entity, nor discuss how it affected our heart. Thankfully, that’s changed. It is now recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Society of Endocrinology as a global epidemic and major health hazard; meaning, we can start receiving funding and research to help reverse the trajectory of this disease.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as a breakdown in metabolism, the process by which our bodies convert food, or fuel, into energy. Marked by insulin resistance, elevated fasting blood sugar, dyslipidemia, hypertension, low LDL (good cholesterol), use of cholesterol medication, and abdominal obesity (belly fat measuring 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women), the syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular health and heart disease.

So why cardiometabolic syndrome? Because anyone with this combination of metabolic dysfunctions has twice the risk of dying from heart disease, three times the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and five times the risk of developing diabetes. And it’s not a small number of people who are affected—the American College of Cardiology estimates that approximately 47 million Americans have cardiometabolic disorders, and the problem is growing and extends globally.

Am I At Risk?

There are a number of things that create a higher risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome, including:

  • elevated triglycerides
  • smoking
  • chronic inflammation
  • low level of physical activity
  • poor dietary choices
  • certain health conditions
  • high blood sugar
  • thyroid problems
  • diabetes

…and more.

There are telltale symptoms of cardiometabolic syndrome like high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure that can be felt when the patient is attuned to the signs, but most often these are overlooked as nuisance concerns. And while a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is formally made by a doctor who identifies two or more risk factors, most patients resist a change in lifestyle.

It’s no wonder. Although the most common trait in patients at risk is obesity, not all clinically obese people are at risk; alternatively, about 20 percent of people who are not obese do have metabolic syndrome and are at risk for heart disease or stroke. It feels random!

To be sure, there are risks, predispositions and warning signs:

  • chronic stress
  • chronic inflammation
  • schizophrenia when treated with clozapine
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • celiac disease (for patients who replace gluten with an increase in dietary sugars, calories and
  • unhealthy fats)
  • gestational diabetes
  • unhealthy gut microbiome

Does gender make a difference?

For both genders, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases with age. However, new research published by the National Institutes of Health states that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to metabolic and cardiovascular traits, such as gut microbiota, fat distribution, insulin signaling, and more. The hope is that these differences will lead to new insights.

Researchers are taking a look at how emotions like anger, tension, anxiety, depression, and stress, increase the likelihood of disease. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) of 3,003 women in midlife found that physically active study participants had a 26-62 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome than those who were not physically active.

For men with cardiometabolic syndrome, a study in The Lancet showed that mortality rates were “substantially higher” in those who experienced job stress than in men who did not. This mortality difference was comparable to the risk from smoking and was even greater than the mortality rate due to high blood pressure, high alcohol intake, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity.

Reversal, Prevention, and Improvement

Positive lifestyle changes help! Small tweaks sustained over a time are shown to prevent, reverse, and improve many risk factors, which in turn lower the risk of developing CMS. Improvements in diet and physical activity—modifiable behaviors like quitting smoking, monitoring sodium, creating mindfulness, implementing relaxation techniques, and so on—were associated with recovery from and a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.

The path to alleviate risk can be pinpointed by a good functional medicine practitioner who wants to investigate systemic imbalances in the gastrointestinal tract and gut microbiome. To work together and look at sluggish detoxification that contributes to fatty liver, and so on. And who will take a deep-dive into the testing, really get to know important factors about history, family, lifestyle and diet—and create a targeted, individualized approach for patients.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com

Toxic Stress is Causing Autoimmune Disease, Leaky Gut and More Chronic Stress Affects Every System in the Body

We’ve all experienced stress, it’s a normal reaction to emergencies or other serious events in life. Short-term, situation-related (acute) stress reactions to specific events can actually help us cope with the temporary issue at hand. But stress can become toxic when it’s chronic—ongoing daily heightened stress can take a serious toll on your health and negatively impact your overall wellbeing.

Being in a stressed state activates the central nervous system’s “fight or flight” response, which creates a cascade of neuro-endocrine-immune responses and tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. These two stress hormones immediately affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems: they are what cause your heart rate to increase and your breathing to become shallow and rapid. This emergency response sends blood rushing to your muscles, heart, and organs. Oxygen is sent to your muscles, your blood vessels constrict, extra blood sugar is produced in the liver to increase energy, more acid is produced in the stomach, muscles become tense, and the immune system is stimulated.

All this is necessary for a physical response to an emergency, but when stress becomes chronic—constant reactions to regular annoyances, feeling under pressure, ongoing worries that we can’t shut off—it begins to damage various systems in our body. Toxic stress can cause damage to:

  • The immune system, which becomes weakened. This makes you more susceptible to sickness and can make it harder to recover from viral and bacterial infections.
  • The digestive system, which produces more acid. This can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and can increase ulcer symptoms. Chronic stress is also a factor in eating disorders, including both overeating under-eating, as well as making poor food choices (stress eating). In addition, when the liver is signaled to produce more sugar due to chronic stress, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
  • The muscular system, which remains tense and tight. This can cause a myriad of symptoms from backache and headache to neck and shoulder pain as well as overall body aches.
  • The reproductive system, which affects both men and women. Men can experience low testosterone and an increased risk of infection in male organs; women’s menstrual cycles can become heavier, more painful, or irregular.
  • The cardiovascular system becomes overtaxed under chronic stress, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • The respiratory system, which is taxed by more rapid, shallow breathing, can make respiratory problems like COPD, asthma, emphysema, etc. worse by making breathing even more difficult.

In addition, toxic stress can lead to sleep disorders, depression, leaky gut and autoimmune disease. Leaky gut, which we discussed in a previous blog post, occurs when the stomach barrier system becomes permeable, allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream. While leaky gut can be healed, the unfortunate reality is that once you develop an autoimmune disease, you have it for life. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer with constant flare-ups and symptoms—autoimmune diseases can be managed once the triggers are determined.

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A report published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that at least 50% of autoimmune conditions are triggered by unknown factors, but “physical and psychological stress has been implicated in the development of autoimmune disease”. However, a number of studies have shown that as many as 80% of patients with autoimmune disease reported having “uncommon emotional stress” prior to the onset of autoimmune disease. The NIH report points out a somewhat vicious cycle: not only does stress cause autoimmune disease, but once diagnosed with autoimmune disease, patients’ stress levels increase significantly.

These findings led to the report’s conclusion that: “It is presumed that the stress-triggered neuroendocrine hormones lead to immune dysregulation, which ultimately results in autoimmune disease, by altering or amplifying cytokine production.” In such cases, chronic stress would be a likely culprit in triggering autoimmune flare-ups, so stress management and a better understanding of stress reactions would help these patients better manage their autoimmune condition while at the same time improving the health of their immune system.

Of course, diet and specific foods can also be triggers for autoimmune disease, so it’s important to pay close attention to any food-related reactions. Once a dietary trigger is determined, the food or foods should be eliminated from the diet permanently because your immune system remembers whatever it has an antibody against. For example, if your thyroid is reacting to gluten (a common food sensitivity that can also contribute to leaky gut), it can’t just be eliminated for a matter of weeks or months; any time you have gluten, your thyroid will react to it.

It’s important to note that there is no way to supplement your way around these necessary diet and lifestyle changes. Managing any autoimmune disease can be successfully accomplished by eliminating toxic stress and/or trigger foods permanently, which will also help to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome… and Inflammation We've always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why this is true, and you may find the answer surprising.

Eating foods high in fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables as well as beans, nuts and seeds, has long been recommended to help manage or lower the risk of chronic health issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and diabetes. With these and other benefits, a diet filled with fiber-rich foods can actually help you live longer. What scientists are now discovering is that it all comes down to one important thing – gut health.

Here’s a simple explanation: our gut microbiome is made up of hundreds of types of bacteria that rely on different kinds of dietary fiber to survive and stay healthy. And if the bacteria in your gut is healthy, you’re more likely to be healthy because you’ll have less inflammation and a stronger immune system.

Scientists reached this conclusion through tests in which they fed mice two different types of diets: one was a low-fiber, high-fat diet; the other was a high-fiber, high-fat diet. Since both groups of mice received high-fat diets, the only variable was the amount of dietary fiber they ingested.

The low-fiber, high-fat diet, as explained to The New York Times by biologist Dr. Fredrik Bäckhed of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, contained about twenty percent fiber and high amounts of sugar and lard – it was essentially “what you’d get at McDonald’s,” Bäckhed explained. The study focused on the resulting diversity of bacterial species in the microbiome of mice, and the results could only be described as “dramatic”.

After just a few days, bacterial diversity was significantly altered with many species becoming rare, chronic intestinal inflammation developed, and both fat and sugar levels were elevated. The intestines shrank and the all-important intestinal mucus layer thinned, causing bacteria to move closer to the intestinal wall. This, in turn, produced an immune reaction.

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Mice on high-fiber, high-fat diets fared much better – with only a modest amount of inulin fiber added to their diets, these mice gained far less weight, their intestines were more normal, and their gut bacteria remained at healthy levels.

These studies show that a low-fiber diet actually starves important gut bacteria, which causes a chain reaction and disrupts the entire gut ecosystem. This causes inflammation and makes us vulnerable to many forms of chronic illness. Biologist Justin L. Sonnenburg of Stanford University goes even further, stating that his own research, separate from that discussed above, indicates that diets low in fiber can actually cause inflammation beyond the gut and throughout the entire body.

The takeaway from these studies is that a high-fiber diet is necessary to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and to help keep inflammation down while healing, preventing or better managing disease. However, dietary fiber sources should come from a variety of plants in order to maintain a good diversity of gut bacteria, since different bacterial species feed on different types of fiber. Couple this with reducing or eliminating processed foods and sugars, and you’ll be on track for a healthier gut and a healthier you.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com

Trans Fats Increase Dementia Risk We’ve been hearing for years that dietary trans fats are bad for your health.

The American Heart Association warns that eating foods containing trans fats can raise your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Now, new research published in the journal Neurology shows that artificial trans fats – manufactured through an industrial process – may also increase the risk for developing dementia by 50-75 percent.

The FDA banned industrialized trans fats in the US as of 2018, although extensions were given to some companies through 2019. However, this “ban” didn’t eliminate all uses of trans fats – products are still permitted to contain trans fats as long as they don’t exceed 0.5 grams per serving. However, these companies are permitted to claim “zero trans fats” on their ingredient labels even though they actually contain up to 0.5 grams per serving.

It’s obvious that even with such restrictions, a person can easily consume higher levels of trans fats just by eating more than one serving at a time; in some cases, one serving may be only a few pieces or an ounce. Chances are that you’ll either eat more than one serving or consume several products with trans fats, all of which adds up in your body.

Companies use this artificial additive as a way to enhance flavor and/or texture or to extend a product’s shelf life. Some of the products that are permitted to continue containing trans fats (also called partially hydrogenated oil) are:

  • crackers
  • ready-to-use frostings
  • pastries
  • baked goods (cookies, cakes, frozen pies)
  • microwave popcorn (and some bagged popcorn)
  • snack foods
  • margarine
  • fast food
  • refrigerated dough products
  • frozen pizza
  • coffee creamers
  • vegetable shortening

Doesn’t look like much of a “ban”, does it? To illustrate the point above, imagine you put margarine on your toast in the morning or use it to cook an egg, then you also add an artificial creamer to your coffee. Later on you have a frozen pizza for lunch, followed by microwave popcorn or some other packaged snack in the afternoon. On your way home from work you grab takeout from your favorite fast food place, and later in the evening you have some cookies or crackers. Even if you stay within a single serving size of each – which isn’t likely, considering how small many serving sizes are – you’ve tallied up trans fats from six sources. This may sound extreme, but if you check ingredient labels for partially hydrogenated oils, you may be surprised at what you find.

The study in Neurology looked at over 1,600 people in one city in Japan for a period of ten years. Of the people with high and moderate serum elaidic acid levels (biomarkers indicating levels of industrial trans fats in the blood) at the end of that decade, approximately a quarter of the people in each group had developed dementia; those with the lowest levels fared best. After adjusting for other health issues that could affect dementia risk, such as blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes, researchers found that those in the groups with the two highest levels of serum elaidic acid were between 50 and 75 percent more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than those in the lowest group.

The study conclusion in Neurology states: “The findings suggest that higher serum elaidic acid is a possible risk factor for the development of all-cause dementia and AD [Alzheimer’s disease] in later life.”

The study also took into consideration which foods caused the highest increase of trans fats in the blood. The biggest contributor was sweet pastries, after which came candies and caramels, margarine, croissants, creamers, rice crackers, and ice cream.

The World Health Organization hopes to achieve a worldwide elimination of trans fats by 2023 in order to work toward dementia prevention as well as a reduction in heart disease and other trans fats-related health problems.

You don’t have to wait for a worldwide ban to minimize trans fats in your diet – staying away from processed foods as well as fried and fast food, checking labels of any packaged/prepared foods for partially hydrogenated oils, and focusing your diet on whole foods will go a long way toward lowering the trans fats in your body.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com