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Clues to Curbing Obesity Found in Neuronal ‘Sweet Spot’

Curbing Obesity - Yale University

Preventing weight gain, obesity, and ultimately diabetes could be as simple as keeping a nuclear receptor from being activated in a small part of the brain, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

Published in the Aug. 1 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), the study showed that when the researchers blocked the effects of the nuclear receptor PPARgamma in a small number of brain cells in mice, the animals ate less and became resistant to a high-fat diet.

“These animals ate fat and sugar, and did not gain weight, while their control littermates did,” said lead author Sabrina Diano, professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine. “We showed that the PPARgamma receptor in neurons that produce POMC could control responses to a high-fat diet without resulting in obesity.”

POMC neurons are found in the hypothalamus and regulate food intake. They are the neurons that when activated make you feel full and curb appetite. PPARgamma regulates the activation of these neurons.

Diano and her team studied transgenic mice that were genetically engineered to delete the PPARgamma receptor from POMC neurons. They wanted to see if they could prevent the obesity associated with a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

“When we blocked PPARgamma in these hypothalamic cells, we found an increased level of free radical formation in POMC neurons, and they were more active,” said Diano, who is also professor of comparative medicine and neurobiology at Yale and director of the Reproductive Neurosciences Group.

The findings also have key implications in diabetes. PPARgamma is a target of thiazolidinedione (TZD), a class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. They lower blood-glucose levels, however, patients gain weight on these medications.

“Our study suggests that the increased weight gain in diabetic patients treated with TZD could be due to the effect of this drug in the brain, therefore, targeting peripheral PPARgamma to treat type 2 diabetes should be done by developing TZD compounds that can’t penetrate the brain,” said Diano. “We could keep the benefits of TZD without the side-effects of weight gain. Our next steps in this research are to test this theory in diabetes mouse models.”

Other Yale authors on the study included Lihong Long, Chitoku Toda, Jin Kwon Jeong, and Tamas Horvath.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (RO1DK097566)

Tags: high-fat diet, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, sugar

Body Detoxification Products

The constant exposure to environmental pollutants, as well as poor diet and exercise practices can lead to an over-congestion of toxins within our bodies. High levels of toxicity can cause cell degeneration and organ failure. There are numerous ways to detoxify the body such as internal cleansers, fasting, strict diet changes, purging, massage and exercise.

Following a body detoxification regimen can be beneficial for cleansing the toxins from the body. However, it is still important to make sure you supply your body with the essential nutrients and vitamins it needs. Some detoxification processes, such as fasting, may cause a depletion of vitamins and nutrients that may be otherwise readily available.

DrugNatural offers a variety of body detoxification products that are made from ingredients that not only aid in the detoxification process, but also provide you with essential vitamins and nutrients. Some important nutrients that help to improve the body’s natural antioxidant and detoxification systems include magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and alpha-lipoic acid.

Some experts consider alpha lipoic acid to be a universal antioxidant because it dissolves in both water and fat, which means it can reach tissues many other antioxidants cannot reach. There are several antioxidants found in detoxification products that help protect the body’s organs from damage caused by free radicals. For example, bilberry is a powerful antioxidant that fights cell damage in the eyes. Other significant antioxidants include grape seed extract, boron, coenzyme Q10, garlic, milk thistle, ginkgo biloba and green tea, to name a few. Contact DrugNatural at 408-626-7640 for any questions you may have.

Tags: detoxification products, antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid

Body Cleansing and Detoxification

It is pretty much impossible to completely avoid toxin exposure. We come in contact with toxins on a daily basis, just in our surrounding environment alone. In addition, to external sources such as environmental pollutants, chemicals and medicines, we also experience toxicity from internal sources and the foods we eat. Continuous toxic build-up in our body can cause serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

There are several symptoms of toxic build-up in our body. Some of them include anemia, nasal congestion, skin rashes, blotchy skin, dark circles under the eyes, fatigue, moodiness, headaches, dizziness, twitching and stiff joints and muscles. Other signs can include chronic constipation, frequent gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, bad breath, hemorrhoids, a protruding belly, frequent colds and the gaining of excess weight.

Our body naturally tries to cleanse away toxins by releasing them through the organs. However, a heavy amount of toxins in the body may cause an organ to become congested. For example, the liver is an important organ that purifies the blood and detoxifies waste that is received from the kidney and colon. If it becomes overly congested with toxins, the liver can’t properly perform these functions.

Some basic detoxification and body cleansing steps include regular exercise, deep breathing, drinking plenty of water, releasing stress, eating a well-balanced diet with an ample amount of fiber and practicing a good skin care regimen including regular exfoliation. In addition, taking antioxidant supplements and vitamins will be very helpful in maintaining a healthy balance. DrugNatural provides you with numerous sources for body cleansing and detoxification. If you have questions about any of our products, please contact us at 408-626-7640.

Tags: anemia, nasal congestion, skin rashes, blotchy skin, dark circles under the eyes, fatigue, moodiness, headaches, dizziness, stiff joints and muscles, chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating

Meditation is … Life Enhanced II


Last month, in the first part of this 2-part series, we discussed how meditation enhances life. This month, let us see how meditation enhances brain development and help us achieve higher grades in school, better career advancement and healthier living.

As we discussed last month, meditation can have positive mental and physiological effects on anxiety, stress (which in turn lowers blood pressure), depression, chronic pain, etc. In fact meditation is a sort of self-directed neuroplasticity, that is, effect of thoughts on the brain. We humans do not use the full capacity of our brain. What this means is that you can teach an old brain new tricks. For example, prisoners of war who were placed in solitary confinement (no distractions) developed unusual cognitive capacities that they did not have before because the only activity they were allowed to do was to think. The POWs were essentially exercising their brains. Similarly, when you meditate and focus on Jyotirbindu, a point of light, even for a few minutes a day, you eliminate all the distractions, thereby by placing your brain essentially in a solitary confinement for a few minutes, your brain develops increased capacity for functions such as memory and understanding complex problems and relationships.

As you continue to practice meditation and focus your attention to Jyotirbindu and inner consciousness, you will have a growth in the number of physical neurons and neuronal connections in sections of your cortex. Those sections are: the right frontal cortex, related to concentration; the right insula, related to emotions; and the right parietal and temporal lobes related to touch and sound. A recent study also showed that after eight weeks of meditation, brain imaging showed reduction in the volume of the amygdala related to anxiety and stress and an increase in the number of neurons and neuron connectivity in the hippocampus, related to emotion, learning and memory, thus increasing the brain function capacity. Amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain that performs a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. A very recent study showed that meditation increased connectivity in centers of cortex, spinal cord and cerebellum as well. What’s more, the longer people practiced meditation, the more the increased cortical surface area. Another study showed that the meditation decreased the Default Mode Network (DMN) activity. DMN is responsible for daydreaming and non-focused internal thoughts which can include memories, thinking of the future, thinking about others and reliving past experiences. This implies that the mind wanders less during meditation. More significantly, a new type of Default Network appeared that not only increased focus and decreased daydreaming, but also increased self-monitoring.

In other words, advanced meditators had a new type of “Default Mode” with more ability to control thoughts and emotions, and greater ability to stay focused on the present. What this means is that if you make Brahma Kumaris your way of life and meditate regularly, you can get better grades, advance your career, improve your relationships and enjoy healthier living.

Do You Know if You Bought Paraben Today?

Parabens are a class of chemicals used as an inexpensive preservative in cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals. The use in personal care products is widespread and can be found in shampoos, laundry detergents and deodorants. Methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben and ethylparaben are commonly used paraben compounds that are found in tens of thousands products in America. Essentially, if you see any combination of words that contains “paraben,” you can be confident that you should be concerned about the potential negative effects of the product.

Manufacturers may be able to save some expense in the manufacture of their product at the costs to consumer health. Parabens also act as hormone disruptors and possess estrogenic activity. Researchers found that 14 of 17 parabens stimulate human estrogen receptors and that heptylparaben and pentylparaben exhibited the most potent estrogen (alpha and beta) agonist activity.

Nearly a decade ago, researchers found intact parabens accumulating in human breast tissue. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology looked more closely at the levels and effects of parabens in human breast cancer cells. They found that parabens are present in human breast tissue at levels sufficient to increase the growth of breast cancer cells.

Read labels when you buy products and avoid products that contain ingredient names with the “paraben” in the name. Try to switch to organic products to keep good health.

Tag: Parabens, preservative, personal care products, methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, estrogen, human breast tissue, breast cancer.


Children’s Health

Children have very unique nutritional needs. It is very important to ensure that the proper nutrients are in place for healthy cells to develop and for their body grow. Childhood health is the blueprint for the individual’s health for the future. Unfortunately, many children eat diets consisting of mainly refined and processed foods that are high in empty calories and low in whole foods and nutrients.

One of the nutrients most necessary for growing children is omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil. DHA is an essential fat that impacts the quality of brain cells being formed. You’ve probably noticed the increasing fortification of formulas and foods for young children with DHA; this is because of its importance in this age group. Many of these foods are still too low in DHA, but they also lack the beneficial EPA that helps with the structural integrity of the cell membrane. Kids of all ages can benefit from omega-3s; there are many unique forms of kid-friendly omegas, like yummy liquids, sneaky powders, or even gummies.

Multivitamins can provide kids with consistency of nutrient intake, even if their food intake is not perfect some days. Remember that with children, you need to assess their nutrition over the course of a week, rather than daily. It’s not uncommon for children to go through spurts where they’ll eat mostly carbohydrates one day, but follow that with a day heavy in fruits or vegetables. Adding a simple but comprehensive multivitamin/mineral formulation can ensure that these children get what their growing bodies need every day.

Fiber is an essential macronutrient for everyone, but studies show that today’s children are at a deficiency. Government surveys show that most children get their daily fiber from cereals, French fries, and baked sweets. While it is best to teach children to include lots of fruits and vegetables in their diet, supplementing food with fiber is another great option. Today’s fibers can often be hidden in foods like sauces, smoothies, or baked foods for even the pickiest eater!

Tags: children’s health, DHA, EPA, omega-3 fatty acid, omega 3,

Are You Physically Healthy?

World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being of a person and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Yet most people focus on improving physical health while neglecting the importance of mental and social health. The real situation is more dismal because the physical health is generally misconstrued as another name for good outwardly physical appearance. A physically fit individual with a good muscular tone and strength suffering from serious physiological diseases such as high blood pressure, high level of blood cholesterol, diabetes, etc. is not a healthy individual.

Physical health can be compared with an iceberg. Although, a very small part of an iceberg is visible above the water surface, a much larger portion of the chunk of ice is beneath the water surface that could pose a threat to ships on the waterway. Similarly, an outward sign of good health is not an assurance of good physical health. Moreover even if physical illness has not been diagnosed in a person, the person could be physically unhealthy as the disease at that point in time may be clinically undetectable. Thus to maintain physical health you should have such a life-style that will prevent the development of the clinically undetectable disease too.

W.H.O. has defined attributes of physically healthy person. It defines that a physically healthy person has normal anatomical and physiological state of various systems such as cardiovascular system, digestive system, endocrine system, respiratory system, etc. It further defines that the person has bodily weight, respiration, blood pressure, etc. within the normal limits corresponding to the person’s age, gender and height. It has also been found that in order to be physically healthy a person must: (1) have positive thinking (2) get regular sound sleep (3) maintain balanced diet daily and (4) do regular physical exercise.

In our previously published article, Take Care of Your Self Holistically, we discussed these very same issues from different perspectives and yet what boils down to is that you must eat well and maintain good health both physically and mentally.


Tag: physical health, mental health, daily exercise, WHO, World Health Organization

Can Diet Improve Teen’s Facial Skin?

Teens with skin problems face the challenge of living with critical peers in addition to their teens’ relationships, their hormones, and often on their skin. Every teen will get the occasional zit, but for some teens, acne is a chronic skin condition characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, and often pus-filled pimples.

There is increasing evidence connecting dietary glycemic load to acne. It is known that metabolic signals of the standard Western diet increase presence of acne as well as the oily shine frequently experienced by teens. Furthermore, dairy may exacerbate this problem.

Randomized, controlled trials have confirmed that a high protein, low-glycemic diet has a significant positive impact on acne. Ensuring proper glucose balance through dietary intervention (and, if necessary, supplementation) as well as avoidance of dairy foods may play a key role in supporting healthy skin.

Sweeping change can be difficult to cope with for teenagers, so start with a blood sugar-balancing breakfast. Some great dairy-free options include eggs sautéed with vegetables, whole grain toast with almond butter, or a protein smoothie with a non-dairy protein powder

Tags: teens, acne, teen hormones, teen skin, facial skin, blackheads, whiteheads, pus-filled pimples, pimples, acne and dairy, acne and glucose balance, glucose balance, sugar-balancing breakfast



Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements

I have been hot on the weight loss trail trying to drop 20 lbs by spring. As I previously mentioned in the post Niacin for Cholesterol, I was recently prescribed a high cholesterol drug and that really started my retrospective inventory of healthy living. I am also a Discovery Health channel addict which I am not sure if that is good or bad yet. I love the channel because it’s interesting and very informative; I also like the narrative accounts of different medical issues that people have to face day in and out. There is also a lot of information on the Discovery Channel Health website which I also find helpful.

As I said, I have been taking the high cholesterol drug for several months and the other day realized that my left shoulder was starting to give me a twinge when I would do anything over my head or when I held something that isolated the use of my shoulder. I chatted about it over the phone with my doctor and he suggested that I see an orthopedics doctor. So now it’s a month later as I finally see this new doctor. He suggested that I go to a physical therapist but that I also include a daily dose of Glucosamin & Chondroitin with my daily vitamins. He was telling me that the cholesterol medications from a cardiac specialist perspective are the best things since sliced bread but from the orthopedics side of things they can sometimes inflame the joints natural fluids and this interferes with natural movement. He also said that it is important to keep taking the cholesterol meds and if issues arise to discuss them as I did with with my doctors.

I started reading about glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements as there are alot on the market. After some research on these supplements I have found that they have many benefits aside from joint pain relief to include:

  • promoting healthy skin
  • relieving TMJ pain
  • healing skin injuries and reducing surgical scars
  • helping to lower gastrointestinal tract diseases

As you can see, the health benefits of taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements are really important, which is why I am going to include them in my daily vitamin and health supplement regimen.

Glucosamine Supplements Related Resources:

Tags: Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Chondroitin, Glucosamine, health supplements, Condroitin