Author Archives: Anna

About Anna

I'm a board-certified Pediatric Nutritionist, who takes care of medically-fragile infants and children in the US Defense System; I'm mother of a teenager and a real estate investor. I love spending time with friends and family playing tennis, golf, hiking and stand-up-paddling. And we live in Honolulu, Hawaii.

S-adenosylmethionine a.k.a. SAM-e





SAMe pathway

What is S-Adenosylmethionine? What Does It Do?

S-adenosylmethionine, or better known as SAMe for short, is a natural substance that our body makes naturally from the food that we eat. Our bodies make SAMe from methionine, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods.

SAMe is one of the best methyl donors that our body can have. Like other methyl donors, such as DMAE, folic acid and B12, S-adenosylmethionine is needed in the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, melatonin, dopamine and adrenaline, which affect mood, energy, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity. Multiple researches and clinical trials have shown the benefit of taking SAMe on a regular basis in fighting depression, liver disease, and alleviating pain from osteoarthritis.

The methyl group (CH3) that is attached to the methionine in SAMe is very chemically reactive. This allows the methyl group to be released easily and be transferred to an acceptor substrate. SAMe is involved in more than 40 metabolic reactions involving various substrates, such as nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and secondary metabolites.

When a SAMe molecule loses its methyl group, it becomes homocysteine, which becomes toxic if it builds up within cells. Generally with the help of vitamins B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid (all B vitamins), our bodies is able to convert homocysteine into glutathione (our body’s detox superstar) or back to methionine via re-methylation with the help of TMG (Trimethylglycine).

SAMe and homocysteine are essentially two versions of the same molecule—one benign and one malicious. Generally, our body maintains a low level of homocysteine with good supply of B vitamins. However, homocysteine can start building up quickly when methyl-donors, such as vitamin B6, vitamin b12 and folic acid intake is low. The build-up of homocysteine slows the production of SAMe and subsequent health problems. Elevated homocysteine level is associated with heart attack and stroke; it increases risk of spina bifida and other birth defect during pregnancy.

How does S-adenosylmethionine help in ADHD?

Depression is common in children and adults with ADHD. SAMe may enhance the mood-enhancing effects of serotonin and dopamine—either by regulating their breakdown or by speeding production of the receptor molecules they latch on to. SAMe may also make existing receptors more responsive. If the membranes get thick and sticky, due to age or other stresses, the receptors lose their ability to move and change in response to chemical signals. By methylating fats called phospholipids, SAMe keeps the membranes fluid and the receptors mobile.

Since the 1970s, researchers have published over 40 clinical studies involving roughly 1,400 patients. These maybe small studies by FDA standards, findings are remarkably consistent. In 1994 Dr. Giorgio Bressa, a psychiatrist at the University Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Rome, pooled found that “the efficacy of SAMe in treating depressive syndromes…is superior [to] that of placebo and comparable to thea of standard…antidepressants.”

SAMe is not exceptionally better than current prescription antidepressant, but it’s clearly less toxic and more tolerable. Common antidepressants, such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, have known side effects ranging from headaches and diarrhea to agitation, sleeplessness, sexual dysfunction, and manic episode in people with bipolar disorder. And SAMe? Maybe a mild stomachache; and possibly manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder, just like other antidepressant.

Supplementation

You can’t really get SAMe from eating any particular food. But you can eat a high protein diet, which will supply the methionine needed for making SAMe. Otherwise, supplementation is your best option.

SAMe comes in two forms, tosylate and a more stable form called butanedisulfonate. Only Nature Made and GNC sell the new butanedisulfonate version. Choose enteric-coated SAMe as it is absorbed mainly through the intestine. The enteric coat will ensure that the S-adenosylmethionine molecule is protected from stomach acid, and reach the intestine intact for absorption.

It is best to take SAMe twice a day on an empty stomach. You may start at 400mg/day divided into two doses.

CALCULATING SUPPLEMENT DOSE FOR CHILDREN FROM ADULT DOSE

Frequently dosing of supplements are based on adults. As we all know, children have smaller body size and thus require different dosage of many vitamins and supplements, especially medications.

Here is a formula that you can use simply to estimate the dose for children:

Adult dose divided by 150, then multiply by your child’s weight in pounds. This will give you the dose for your child.

Remember, it is just an estimate. Always check with your pediatrician or registered dietitian to get the proper amount for your child.





Benefits of a Plant Based Diet





Watch Rip Esselstyn’s (author of Engine 2 Diet) TEDTalk on how the Plant Strong Diet improved the health of his fire house.

By the way, Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. He was studying about how a plant-based diet can reverse chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc.

No kidding…we have cures for these common killers already?! Pharmaceutical companies are not advertising it. Doctors are not believing it, because they’re trained to prescribe medications.

Anyway, watch “Forks Over Knives” documentary in Netflix, and you’ll know who Dr. Esselstyn is and what the China Study discover.

BENEFITS OF A PLANT BASED DIET”

Lower Oxidative Stress & Inflammation

Studies show that high intake of whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, tea, coffee, red wine and olive oil, decreases levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which are associated with the development of chronic disease. (Nutrition, 2004 and JACC, 2006)

In the Adventist Health Study II, a vegetarian diet was linked to lower CRP levels, a marker of inflammation. (Ethn Dis, 2011)

Healthy Gut/Immune System

Increasing evidence fiber-rich, plant-based diet promotes healthy gut microbiota, linked to immune support and digestive health.
EPIC study found lower rate of hospital admissions and risk of death from diverticular disease among vegetarians. (BMJ, 2011)

Brain Protection

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress lead to development of Alzheimer’s. Adherence to Mediterranean, plant-based diet linked with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (Archives Neurology, 2009)

Environmental Working Group

All meat is not created equal. Lamb, beef, pork and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases. They also tend to be high in fat and have the worst environmental impacts. Meat and dairy products requires large amount of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water and generates greenhouse gases, toxic manure and other pollutants that contaminate our air and water.

Challenges of a Plant based Diet

Misperceptions, such as getting adequate protein and calcium intake.
More food preparation required.
Lack of cooking skills regarding beans, whole grains, tofu.
Unfamiliarity with new foods, such as tofu, tempeh (Indonesian fermented soy), seitan.
Meeting nutritional needs.

Developing and Planning a Plant based Eating Style

Include more whole plant foods, such as plant proteins:
Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas)
Whole Soy Foods (tofu, tempeh, soy milk)
Nuts and Nut Butters (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, Brazil nuts, peanuts)
Seeds and Seed Butters (sunflower, sesame, hemp, chia, pumpkin seeds) walnut, hemp and chia good source omega-3 FA.
Whole grains (quinoa, wheat berries, oats, brown rice) can be good protein source (up to 11 g protein per cup, i.e. Kamut)
Vegetables, such as peas, spinach, and broccoli (can contain up to 6 g protein per cup)

Plant proteins, such as legumes, nuts and seeds, are excellent “protein packages”—packed with fiber, micronutrients, phytochemicals.

Calcium

If no dairy, choose total of two servings per day of calcium-fortified foods, such as plant-based milk alternatives, tofu, or orange juice.
Choose more dark green leafy vegetables.
Calcium supplement to meet daily calcium needs.

Related article: 15 Non-Dairy Plant based Sources of Calcium that Will Surprise You

Vitamin D

Ten minutes of sunlight exposure a day.

Consume vitamin-D-fortified foods, such as soy milk and orange juice, and consider a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin B12

Available only in animal foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Also available in nutritional yeasts and fortified products, such as cereal and soy milk.

Vegans should take a vitamin B12 supplement daily.

How to Start Plant Based Eating Style

Start the day right. Go veggie at breakfast or fruits and veggie smoothie.

Join the Meatless Monday bandwagon.

Shop for plants first. Instead of planning your menu around meat, plan it around plants.

If you eat meat, use it as a seasoning. Cut down on animal food intake while pushing plants by using meat as a flavoring in dishes instead of main event. Idea from indigenous diet. Great ways to reduce meat intake, but not completely giving up.

Create a plant-based pantry list. Many plant based foods like beans and whole grains are shelf-stable, convenient, and economical.

Get cooking! Plan at least one night a week to try a new vegetarian recipe. Do it with Meatless Monday night.

Keep it simple. Not every meal has to involve cookbooks and cutting boards; it can be as easy as black bean burritos, vegetarian chili, or hummus pita sandwich.

Try ethnic flair. Some cultures know how to do vegetarian meals right!

Convert your favorite dishes. Turn your favorite meat-based recipes veggie for an easy dinner solution. New family favorite.

Dust off your slow-cooker. Just throw in veggies, herbs, vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, whole grains, and dried beans; then turn the dial on.

Try plant-based dairy products. Try more plant-based alternatives for milk, yogurt, and cheese. Popular as there are many alternative choices available.

Think “yes”. Don’t dwell on what you can’t have, think about what you can have! There are thousands of choices.

Helpful tips

1. Puree, chop, or dice vegetables into smaller pieces to hide them in dishes and stuffed foods to increase taste and nutrition without the family noticing.

2. I introduce people to green smoothies… If possible, we make a smoothie together so they can see how simple it is. Hands-on or demo gives them more confidence than just getting a recipe.

3. Warn clients that not all meat free foods (especially the packaged products) are healthy just because they are meat free. Encourage them to read food labels and try to follow the 5 ingredient rule (try to stick to foods that only include 5 ingredients).

4. I recommend to my clients to eat a fruit or vegetable (or both!) at each meal and snack. That way they’ll get 5 or more servings in each day. Repeat this day after day and you have a positive healthy habit.

5. Add veggies to your traditional recipes. Try adding a can of pumpkin puree to your favorite chili recipe. You can’t taste the pumpkin at all, but it boosts the nutrient profile and gives it a fabulous texture!

6. Buy in bulk. Purchase more when there is a good deal or when something is especially delicious. Most fruits and vegetables keep well in the freezer and then you will always have them on hand.

7. Be open to adding different spices and herbs, it can really tantalize the taste buds! Every day you can have a mini food adventure trying new foods and flavors while becoming healthier.

8. On Sunday afternoons, turn on some good music and invest an hour to chop up veggies and prepare “food for the week”…This way you have “ready to go” options to get you through the week for lunches, meals and side dishes!

9. No time to slice fresh veggies for a salad? Add frozen peas or frozen mixed veggies instead. They will be defrosted by lunch and ready to top with your favorite dressing.

10. Start your grocery store trip in the produce isle. Only shop on the outside of the store. This helps eliminate most processed foods and helps your cart contain fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables should fill up the bottom of your cart.

Essential amino acids in plant-based diet:
Complement plant food. Plant protein always missing a few amino acid (x soy, spinach and quinoa). New idea is the amino acid intake throughout the day, not focus in a meal. Plant protein with lower digestibility, thus recommend increasing intake about.

Allergy to soy, nut, legumes, peanut:
Consider if true food intolerances. May introduce dairy product to meet protein needs.

Additional resources:

• China Study by Collin Campbell
• Beautiful Truth documentary video
• Forks Over Knives documentary video
• Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
• In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan





Candida Overgrowth






First of all, what is candida?

Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast. It lives in your mouth and intestines in small groups. Surprisingly with all the bad reputation, candida or fungus or yeast do have benefits to us. It helps with digestion and nutrient absorption.

Candida or yeast are usually present in small numbers in the digestive system. But when the good bugs are killed by antibiotics or not fed with adequate fiber, or the bad guys are fueled with too much sugar, or the gut’s delicate ecosystem is damaged by too much stress, then yeasts and other noxious agents take over.

These little guys become trouble when there are too many of them. Candida can break down the wall of the intestine and crossover into the bloodstream — releasing toxic by-products into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to a variety of health problems ranging from digestive issues, skin problems and mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals have not yet recognized the existence of candida overgrowth (candidiasis). Regretfully, this means that many patients are turned away and do not get the help that they need.

Frequent use of antibiotics disrupts the normal balance between healthy bugs in the gut (lactobacillus, bifidobacter, e. coli) and other potentially dangerous bugs, including yeasts, bacteria and occasionally parasites.

This can result in many chronic illnesses and symptoms including allergies, chronic inflammation, joint problems, mood and brain disorders, digestive symptoms and more.

What are common symptoms of candida?

Although symptoms of yeast overgrowth are similar to those of many other conditions, you may have a yeast problem if you have these problems.

General Symptoms

• Feeling tired and worn down, chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
• Loss of energy
• General malaise
• Decreased libido
• Strong cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrate

Skin Symptoms

•Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
•Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

• Thrush
• Bloating and gas
• Intestinal cramps
• Rectal itching
• Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea

Genitourinary Symptoms

• Frequent urinary tract infections
• Vaginal yeast infections,
• Rectal itching, or vaginal itching

Hormonal Complaints

• Menstrual irregularities like pain, bleeding, etc.
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Thyroid dysfunction

Nervous System Complaints

• Depression
• Irritability
• Anxiety
• Mood Swings
• Difficulty concentrating, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD
• Poor memory and brain fog

Immune System Complaints

• Seasonal allergies or itchy ears
• Chemical sensitivities
• Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis

What are the Risk Factors?

We know that yeast overgrowth can be triggered by a number of things. These include a high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet, impaired immunity, use of drugs like antibiotics, birth control pills, estrogen, and steroids like prednisone, and psychological stress.

How do you diagnose candida overgrowth?

Non-scientifically, you can self-diagnose with a “candida questionnaire” and/or a “Spittle Test”. Both can be completed in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

Candida Questionnaire

The Candida questionnaire was created by Dr. William Crook and is a useful tool for self-diagnosis. This questionnaire is appropriate for adults, both men and women. Print out your results and discuss with your doctor.

Download the questionnaire here.

Spittle Test

Here’s a simple test that claims to diagnose your systemic Candidiasis.

This test is completely non-scientific at all. Just like other things in life, that we can’t explained, but seems to work. I’d be curious if someone eventually do a scientific study on on this test to prove its legitimacy.

Basically, the Spittle test tells you how thick your saliva is and very little else. And the thickness of your mucus is determined by many factors which actually have very little to do with systemic Candidaisis or any other health problem.

If you have allergies or have recently eaten some dairy products, you will likely test ‘positive’ on the spittle test. Dehydration can also lead to a positive reading, which means that you are far more likely to test ‘positive’ after you wake in the morning.

Feel free to try the test, but take the results with a pinch of salt!
1. When you get up in the morning, and before you brush your teeth, eat or drink anything, fill a glass with bottled water at room temperature.
2. Spit some saliva gently into the glass.
3. Come back every 20 minutes for the next hour and check for some of these tell-tale signs of Candida:
– ‘Strings’ coming down through the water from the saliva at the top like “tentacles”.
– Cloudy saliva sitting at the bottom of the glass
– Opaque specks of saliva suspended in the water

For those who prefer modern science and evidence-based medicine, there are blood and stool test that could help confirm and rule out candida overgrowth.

Anti-Candida Antibodies or Candida Immune Complexes test

This test checks your levels for candida antibodies – IgG, IgA, and IgM. The levels of these antibodies indicate your immune system’s response to Candida. Elevated levels of indicate presence of overgrowth of Candida.

These tests can often be negative even when a stool or urine test is positive. Which brings me to the next two tests:

Stool Analysis

This seems to be the most accurate test out there as directly analyzes the levels of yeast, pathogenic bacteria and friendly bacteria in your intestines. It can usually determine the species of yeast — as well as which treatment will be most effective.

Urine Tartaric Acid Test or Urine Organic Dysbiosis Test

This urine test checks for waste product of yeast – arabinose and tartaric acid. Elevated results indicate an overgrowth of candida, and the test can help you determine if there is candida in your upper gut or small intestines.

How do you treat candida overgrowth?
2 words…”Lifestyle Changes”.

NEXT: Candida-Free Diet and Lifestyle Changes.






Omega 3 Fatty Acids for ADHD




 

Fish oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while flaxseed oil and algal oil are excellent sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the precursor to DHA and EPA. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means our body cannot produce this fatty acid.

Our body has limited ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA. This is even more so in children with ADHD. In fact, studies have shown that many children with ADHD have very low blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids. This deficiency is associated with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, apraxia, depression and anxiety. In recent years, researches and studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids supplementation improves ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness, aggressions, anxiety, impulsiveness, and learning difficulties. Males, in particular, have a harder time converting ALA to DHA and EPA than females.

Furthermore, the typical American diet, which is excessive in omega 6 and deficit in omega 3 fatty acids, makes the situation even worse. The optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 4:1. The typical American diet provides a ratio of 20:1. That means, children will need to increase their dietary omega 3 intake by 5 times to get to the optimal 4:1 ratio.

 

Both DHA and EPA play important roles in the brain development. DHA has a structural role and EPA has a functional role in the brain development. EPA affects hormone metabolism, dopamine (neurotransmitter that regulates mood) metabolism and immune systems. DHA is the major structural component of nerve cells. DHA is also a major component of the retina in the eye.

As the brain develops more nerve cells, more fat, in the form of fatty acids, is needed. Omega 3 fatty acids make up about 8-10 percent of brain tissues. It is the major components of myelin sheaths on nerve cells. Myelin is the fatty coating on nerve cells. The myelin sheaths insulate nerve cells (imagine electrical wiring) to ensure smooth uninterrupted transmission of impulses, preventing misfiring of nerve impulses. The rapid myelination during early childhood is what helps brain develops.

Because of this special needs in infants and young children, fat should not be restricted. Infants and children up to 2 years old should maintain a diet of up to 50% of calories coming from fat.

Healthy fats, such as avocado, safflower oil, olive oil, organic animal fats, organic eggs, coconut oil, and organic nut oils are encouraged. Organic oils/fats are preferred because pesticides, hormones and other chemicals tend to accumulate in fatty tissues in animals and/or plants. The organic choices will help to minimize intake of these substances, which can affect brain developments and health.

Both fish oil and cod liver oil contains the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. But cod liver oil has a higher EPA content, and it also contains vitamin A and vitamin D, which help boost immunity to fight infection.

Fish oil is better choice for children struggling with dyslexia and attentiveness for its higher DHA content. Cod liver oil would be a better choice for children with autism, frequent infection, mood swings and/or depression.

Fish oil and its components have been studied extensively. Its safety record is outstanding. In fact, it is even included in most infant formula nowadays, and recommended to pregnant and lactating women to help with the baby’s visual and brain development.

omega3-essential fatty acids




 

Heal Your Leaky Gut

Journey to a Happy Healthy Gut

Now that we have more understanding of what leaky gut is and what the causes are, let’s explore the journey to healing.

Notice that I use the word “journey”…meaning healing is a process and will take time.

Remember the vicious cycle of leaky gut did not happen overnight and so is the healing process.

Are you ready for a change for the better?

Here are the critical steps toward a healthy and happy gut.

We know the gut is very delicate and sensitive, and so the first order of business is to stop putting toxin in your body.

Translation: Change your diet.

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As Michael Pollan eloquently states “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants” in his book “Omnivore Dilemma”.

Researches, studies, multiple counts of experiences point toward the beneficial effects of an anti-inflammatory plant-based diet.

I recommend eating an plant-based diet that is rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid GLA, and insoluble fiber.

Many naturally occurring substances from plant-based foods help repair the intestinal mucosal surface or support the liver when stressed by enteric toxins.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the substrates for prostaglandin synthesis. Fish oil has been shown to resolve intestinal mucosal injury and stops the systemic response to endotoxin. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) promotes the synthesis of E-series prostaglandins, which decrease permeability.

Our body can make GLA from linoleic acid via an enzymatic reaction catalyzed by deta-desaturase (D6D). However, this reaction is limiting and consumption of excessive vegetable oils may increase the free radical content of bile and exacerbates the effects of endotoxin.

EFAs should be consumed in the most concentrated and physiologically active form to avoid exposure to large quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids from dietary oils.

Good dietary sources of GLA are evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, hemp seed oil and borage oil.

Insoluble fiber has been shown to decrease permeability. So eat a diet rich in insoluble fiber or supplement with pure cellulose or rice bran. An added benefit of rice bran is gamma oryzanol. It is an antioxidant in rice bran that has healing effects in gastric and duodenal ulceration.

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, increases permeability, and should be consumed in limited amount.

Avoid any foods that you’re allergic and/or sensitive to as allergic reactions increase gut permeability. When taken before eating, Quercetin may help to stop the release of histamine and inflammatory mediators in an allergic reaction.

Chewing your food well may actually help to nourish your gut with salivary Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). It is a polypeptide that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. It is found throughout your body, with high concentrations in salivary glands, prostate glands and in the duodenum.

Take a probiotics supplement containing Lactobacillus GG may help repopulate the good bacteria population that is the result of the leaky gut, and reverse bacterial dysbiosis.

In addition, supplementing your diet with glutamine can be beneficial. Glutamine is an important substrate for the maintenance of intestinal metabolism and integrity. Glutamine supplementation has been shown to reverse intestinal mucosal injury, resulting in less villous atrophy, increased mucosal healing and decreased passage of endotoxin through the gut wall.

Support your liver with glutathione (GSH), which is an important component of the anti-oxidant defense against free radical-induced tissue damage. Hepatic GSH is a key ingredient for reducing toxic oxygen metabolites and oxidized xenobiotics in the liver. When the liver is working overtime trying the get rid of the toxic waste in the leaky, the demand for glutathione is high because the liver is using it up very quickly.

The most effective way to increase glutathione level in liver is to supplement with its dietary precursors, cysteine or methionine, such as N-acetylcysteine. Flavonoids in milk thistle (silymarin) and in dandelion root (taraxacum) also help to support the liver by protecting against reactive oxygen species.

An additional step to support and nurture your liver is to let it rest, as in stop ingesting more toxins from processed foods, fast foods, food colorings, food additives, pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, medications, legal drugs, etc.

And of course avoid alcohol even if it’s red wine.

Sorry…I know it’s confusing. One says red wine is good for you and another says alcohol is bad for you. If you have a leaky gut, alcohol is definitely bad for you. So sober up, at least until your leaky gut is under control.

And did you know…you can get the same resveratrol from a supplement and minus the alcohol and save your liver.

NSAIDS are all your pain-killers. They are known to cause GI bleed. I know you need them to control your pain. Did you know most of your aches and pains are the result of systemic inflammation caused by all the toxins you put in your body?

That’s why I put this step last. Because when you start doing all the things listed above, your body is slowly healing itself and recovering, and the inflammation eventually stops and so will your aches and pain. And when that they comes, you’ll not need your pain killer anymore.

Bone broth is supposed to be good for leaky gut. A colleague buys “chicken feet” from Whole Foods and boils them with some vegetables for 24 hours in a slow cooker to get all the gelatin out of the bone. Just flavor with a little salt and you have a yummy broth for your tummy.

Relaxation helps lower stress hormone. Activities like yoga, meditation, walk in the nature, hiking, exercise, etc. These activities not only reduce your stress hormones, but they can also increase your feel good hormone – endorphins.

When you follow these steps, your gut will start feeling better, aches and pain will disappear, brain fog will clear up, and ADHD symptoms will improve.

Return to What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut





Juicing Recipes for Kids

 

Juicing recipes for kids

Kids love juice. No doubt about it. Look at all the brand-name juices that have popped up in recent years – Jamba Juice, Naked Juice, Lanikai Juice, Odwalla, Bolthouse Farms.

Fruits and now even vegetables are getting a lot of attention.

Over my career as a dietitian I have been telling everyone to eat the fruits and vegetables instead of drinking the juice. Even though I see the benefit of juicing, I still uphold my advice because not all juices are created equal.

We’ve been drinking Tropicana orange juice fortified with calcium for years thinking it’s the greatest thing on earth. Then one day, I realized that the orange juice are at least days old or even weeks old by the time I get it from the store, which means it is processed and pasteurized. Basically, I’m buying dead juice.

So you see why it’s better to eat a piece of fresh fruit or vegetables. They are still alive with all the vital nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes. Without all these good stuff, the dead juice basically is just sugar water. The same reason why raw milk and raw honey are better.

Related article: Coca-Cola’s ‘Simply Orange’ Juice Is Anything But

On the other hand, if you make your own juice from fresh organic produce, that’s a totally different story.

See, fruits and vegetables are best consumed in their whole natural form or in juice form. But I’m sure if you’re reading this because you want your child to expand his/her taste buds to more fruits and especially vegetables.

In my practice, I frequently explain to parents the reason why children dislike fruits and vegetables is more about the look than the taste.

Eating is a very sensory-involved process. It involves all five senses – look, touch, smell, taste and hearing. Fruits and vegetables by nature have very sharp colors and everyone of them have very different shapes. For some children, the shape/color can be overwhelming. Have you notice your picky eater’s preferred foods are all bland colors? –white, brown, beige, yellow.

Anyway, back to juice recipe for kids. This is where juicing comes in handy to solve your problem. You make fruits and vegetables juice, you solve the problem of vision, touch and hearing. If you mix the new fruits/vegetables with their favorite, you solve the other problem of taste and smell.

Parents would always say, “But I want Junior to eat a real fruit or vegetable.” Well, that will come later. By introducing new fruits/vegetables in a subtle way, you child is also subtly expose to the smell and taste of that new fruits/vegetables without the usual big ordeal at the dinner table. Over time, he/she will associate the taste/smell of the new fruits/vegetable in a more pleasant way. One day, he/she may ask for a piece of broccoli from your plate.

 

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First and foremost, no juice fast for the young ones. Period.

To make it more fun to drink juice, have your child help picking the ingredients, and help in the processing of juice. Kids love to help in the kitchen. Look at all those kids’ kitchen, baking set, cooking set, and toy foods.

Start with fruits and vegetables that your child already enjoy, and add new ones in small amount to the mix, so it does not alter the taste too much. Make is like a fun experiment.

My daughter the other day asked if she could bring a jar to Nutella to school. Out of curiosity I asked why because she does not eat Nutella or anything with nuts or nut-flavor. She told me she and a bunch of her friends at school are going to sample a “homemade” concoction of theirs. They are going to each contribute a food to the mixture. When I picked her up from school that day, I asked her what they made. The girls basically mixed all kinds of food that each brought, and they mixed Nutella, rice soup, fish, ginger, avocado, lemonade. Sounds nasty, right? Well, they all tried it and all agree that it tastes “disgusting”.

My point here is: if it’s fun, they’ll try anything even if they know it does not taste good.

You can easily mix a small amount of vegetables with sweet fruit juices in a 3 to 1 ratio. Vegetable juices such as those made from spinach, watercress, kale, parsley, celery, tomato and beets are strong tasting juice. These are good for children too. If they generally don’t prefer vegetables in their diet, juicing is a great way to include vegetables in the diet.

Give fresh citrus juice during an illness, such as cold or flu. Whenever my daughter is sick from whatever bugs she gets from school, and she would not want to eat. So I would give her lots of orange juice and rice soup, just to keep her hydrated. You can try different kind of citrus juice, such as orange, lemon, lime, Satsuma, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.

These are ideal choices to get some calories in her sick little body, but also some immune boosting power of vitamin C.

You may start offering fresh juices as early as when you first introduce solids to your baby. You start with only a small amount fresh fruit or vegetable juice maybe 1oz diluted with an ounce of filtered water. It does have to be much. Just enough for the taste.

Once your child turns 1 year old, you may offer undiluted juice. Generally, children can tolerate undiluted juice in very small amount. I would prefer that you keep your child’s juice consumption to no more than 4-8oz a day, along with consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as main source of micronutrients.

Simple juicing recipes for kids to get started. These recipes make about 1 cup juice each.

Apple juice: 3 to 4 medium
Apple-carrot juice: 2 red apples and 1 medium carrot
Apple-grape juice: 2 apples and a handful of grapes
Orange juice: 2 medium oranges
Orange –carrot juice: 1 orange and 1 medium carrot
Pear juice: 2 medium pears
Pineapple-carrot juice: 3 spears of pineapple and 1 medium carrots.

Combining different fruits and vegetables are great way to maximize nutritional value of the juice. I know parents can go crazy with making GREEN JUICE, but Junior may not be as adventurous as you might want him/her to be. So start easy, and go slow.

Enjoy this new adventure with your family.

All these recipes yields about 8-12 ounces of juice.

Power Green Juice

– 1 handful of Swiss chard, kale, spinach or a combination
– 1 pear
– 1 cup strawberries
– 1/2 lemon, unpeeled
– 1 apple, cut into chunks

ABC Juice

– 2 apples
– 1 beet
– 2 carrots
Yields one 8-12oz serving

Morning Juice

This super juice is just what busy moms and their little munchkins need to get their day started. Since pears are less allergenic than other fruits, they are great for infants and the littler set, while still delivering a daily dose of vitamin C and fiber.

– 1 pear
– 1 handful kale
– 1 apple
– 2 stalks celery

Orange Jubilee Juice

Your kids will hardly notice the carrots through the natural’s sugars from the orange and apple.

– 1 orange
– 3 carrots
– 1 apple

Shrek Juice

– 2 stalks celery
– 1 handful kale
– 2 apples

Sunrise Juice

– 1 apple
– 1 orange
– 2 carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 1/2 lemon

What is Your Child’s Favorite Juice Recipes?

Probiotics

The Good Guys in Our Gut

What is probiotics?

The prefix “pro” means good, as in “pros and cons”. The last part, – biotics, basically means living things, such as bacteria.

So probiotics means good bacteria.

Good vs Bad Gut Bacteria

Our intestines are filthy, not clean and full of bacteria, yeast, etc. Got the picture? In fact, there are between 500-1,000 different species of bacteria in the intestines, mostly large intestines. Small intestines contains only a small amount as it is close to the acidic content of the stomach.

Let’s get back to our bacteria in the large intestines. Actually there are more than just bacteria. There are also fungi or yeast and protozoa. Of course, there are good ones and bad ones too.

Let’s start with why there is bacteria in our intestines. Who would have thought of that?

Actually, these bacteria are scavangers in our system. As we all know, we ingest food, digest food, then absorbs the nutrients from the food. These all happens in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

We always think that this is a very highly efficient system at least it has stayed pretty much the same over last millions of years with the first human on earth.

Anyway, food particles are not 100% digested and absorbed. When the leftover food gue gets to the large intestines or colon, someone has to take care of that. Just like we have garbage man who takes care of our garbage in the city.

The intestines provide the perfect environment for these critters to survive – moisture, nutrients and protection to outside threats.

The only threats they have antibiotics.

Anyway, while our intestines provide a nurturing environment for these critters, they’re also working for us.

Obviously, these bacteria are eating our leftover undigested food scraps. Here’s the difference between good bacteria (probiotics) and bad bacteria.

They both have their own very distinct diet.

The good bacteria (probiotics) prefers healthy foods, and they break down the undigested carbohydrates and produces short-chain fatty acids that our body can use for energy. Kind of like recycling, and renewable energy.

The good bacteria can also make vitamin B’s and vitamin K. And they also help with metabolizing bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics.

The bad guys feed on junk food. And you know what I’m talking about. The byproducts that they produced are harmful to our body. And some studies is showing that having a well-fed robust population of bad bacteria in your gut is the probable cause of obesity.

So how do we get more of the good probiotics guys and get rid of the bad guys?

The way I frequently explained to my families is an analogy to keeping a house pet.

We all know kitty eats cat food. And doggie eats dog food.

Since we know the good and bad guys eat a different diet. We’re going to feed more of the healthy diet that the good guys prefers, and restrict the bad guys’ diet of junk food.

When this happens, the bad bacteria will soon die because of lack of food for them. And the good bacteria will continue to flourish on the healthy food, and less environmental competition from the bad bacteria.

Also, taking a probiotic supplement is a good ways to add more good bacteria to your intestines. This will also help crowd out the bad bacteria.

Remember, taking the probiotics supplement is not enough. You need to feed your “pet” (probiotics) with a healthy diet. Otherwise, they’ll keep dying of hunger and starvation. And you’ll be wasting your probiotic supplements.

What are some good ways to add probiotics to your diet?

The best sources of probiotics are in fermented foods and beverages. It sounds quite disgusting, but these products actually taste pretty good.

Kefir. Kefir is a fermented yogurt drink made from milk. You can also get Kefir made from coconut water, if you’re allergic to milk. You can purchase your own kefir grain, and make your own kefir from organic milk or coconut water. The kefir grain can last up to couple of years.

Kefir is different from the commercial yogurt drinks (ie Danimals), which has only sprinkles of probiotics.

Kombucha Fermented tea. I think you can make your own, but I wouldn’t trust myself with this one.

Kim chee This is a spicy fermented vegetables in Korean cuisine. The vegetable is usually marinated and fermented in Korean chili pasta and salt. The most common kim chee is made with Napa cabbage. But you can also get cucumber kim chee.

Probiotics supplement Start with at least 1 billion colony forming unit (CFUs). Don’t waste you time and money with anything less.

Just a word of caution. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. That’s why a course of probiotics during antibiotics therapy is beneficial. Be sure to take the probiotics and antibiotics at least 2 hours apart from each other.




ADHD Symptoms or Somethings Else?





ADHD Symptoms or Something Else

Getting an accurate ADD/ADHD diagnosis can be difficult as there is no scientific test to confirm the diagnosis. And the fact that many disorders share symptoms similar to ADHD symptoms can make it even harder.

People with autism can seem to lack the ability to create emotional bonds and can struggle with interactions with others. Children with autism are often over-excited when in high stimulus environments, which can mimic hyperactivity. Both children with ADHD and children with autism can have a hard time adjusting to change.

People that suffer from hearing impairments can experience problems in social situations and may have underdeveloped communication. They may have a hard time paying attention because of their inability to hear properly. Undiagnosed hearing loss can appear as missing details of conversations, not listening or not paying attention. These symptoms are also common in individuals with ADHD.

Hypothyroidism can create feelings of sadness or depression. People with ADHD can also suffer from these feelings, especially if depression is a co-existing condition. Hypothyroidism also includes symptoms of inability to concentrate and memory problems. ADHD also includes the symptom inability to concentrate, and forgetfulness can be mistaken for memory loss.

Iron Deficiency in adults causes lethargy, feeling exhausted and irritability. In infants and children, however, the symptoms include irritability, inability to concentrate, impaired cognitive skills and a short attention span. Children with ADHD also show symptoms of inability to concentrate and are distracted easily, mimicking a short attention span.

Lead poisoning, even at low levels, can create a number of problems. Some complications of lead toxicity include mental retardation, decreased school performance, short-term memory problems, inability to concentrate and decreased cognitive function. Many of these symptoms are also seen in children with ADHD.

Mental retardation can appear as emotional immaturity. Some symptoms include limited social skills, school performance issues and needing extra time to learn. Symptoms of mild mental retardation include forgetfulness and the inability to connect consequences with actions.

Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar, can cause a number of symptoms similar to ADHD including aggression, hyperactivity, and inability to sit still or low concentration levels.

In addition, some people also have an adverse reaction to chemicals in food, such as, MSG, red dye, corn syrup or additional additives. These reactions can include anger, agitation, impulsiveness, hyperactivity and lack of concentration.

For children with sensory disorder, overstimulation can create symptoms similar to ADHD. They may take risks without understanding the danger, quickly jump from activity to activity, be accident-prone or have difficulty paying attention.

Although people with ADHD notoriously have difficulty sleeping, they may or may not have a sleep disorder. The inability to get a good night’s sleep interferes with many daytime activities. People that lack sleep can have a hard time concentrating, communicating, following directions, and may suffer decreased short-term memory. People with ADHD may experience many of these symptoms, unrelated to getting a good night’s sleep.





ADHD Diet that Works

ADHD Diet That Works

Before we ponder further about various ADHD Diets out there…let’s first discuss whether diets works for ADHD.

So Do ADHD diets help?

In March 2011, FDA started looking into science review of the relationship between ADHD symptoms and food colorings. Until now there are no conclusive studies or research to show that any diets are effective in treating any symptoms of ADHD.

Science or myth?

So science is telling us “no, ADHD diets do not help”. But interestingly, many referrals I received are parents of children with newly diagnosed ADHD, and would like to try diet first before starting ADHD medications.

Do parents know something intuitively?

Mmmm…

If you change your child’s diet in a good way and you notice improvements in his behaviors, then who cares what the study said.

In my opinion, after working in the healthcare field for over 10 years, scientific studies and researches only prove, at their best, what is most likely to happen to a certain population. Just because 70% of the studied population response to a certain treatment does not mean the other 30% possibility does not exist.

We all need to remember each of us is genetically different in some minor ways, that is, each of us interpret taste and smell differently, react to food and chemical differently. Thus, it makes sense that it is possible that some children are more sensitive to certain food coloring and preservatives used in processing food, and some of us just have a harder time excreting environmental toxins in our food supply.

Some of these claims of ADHD diets have to be legitimate for people to continue to talk about it and trying it despite inconclusive scientific results. Especially with how fast news spread nowadays. If none of these ADHD diets work, we would have heard enough of it by now. Besides, I have seen enough patients in my practice to say that I believe in dietary approach.

If you are willing to accept the challenge of a new diet and lifestyle and know what you are doing or have a registered dietitian, who is knowledgeable in these ADHD diets, willing to work with you, why not give it a try. That’s the only way to know if it works for YOU or YOUR children, not some research done on other children or adults.

So let’s get started in exploring different diets that may help with alleviating some ADHD symptoms.

We need to start with basic…is your child eating a well-balanced diet with 3 meals and 1-2 snacks throughout the day?

Always remember to start with a good nutritional foundation for your child. Otherwise, you’ll be just running in circles with all these ADHD treatment options.

Ensure that your children are well-fed in the morning with a champion high protein breakfast. No one can focus and think well on an empty tank. This is the simplest thing you can do to help your child start the day out right. Give them fuel for their brains so they can focus.

To understand how and what diet works for ADHD, we need to understand the Causes of ADHD – abnormal physiology of the ADHD brain or premature prefrontal cortex, systemic oxidative stress, poor food and nutrition intake, leaky gut as a result of candida overgrowth, food allergy or sensitivity and environmental toxins.

Please refer to Causes of ADHD
Based on the possible causes of ADHD, our diet needs to be nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens,, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

Wow…is there really a diet that does all of these?

In fact, there is…

Eat a Plant-based Whole Foods Diet

Watch Food Matters

The plant-based diet is nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

In a plant-based diet, nutrition comes mostly from plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds.
Unprocessed whole food from various plant sources are naturally rich in antioxidants that promotes the nutrients our body needs to function optimally, supports detoxification process, reduces inflammation and immune-enhancing.

Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, pork, seafood) are restricted as they induce inflammation, and not to mention filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Excessive cooking or overcooking of meat produces carcinogens that are harmful to our body.

Not to mention…the plant-based diet is also animal-friendly.

Watch Vegucated

Processed foods and fast foods are avoided because these are loaded with toxins ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and preservatives that damage brain cells.

In fact, some food colorings and high fructose corn syrup are banned in some European countries due to the documented hyperactivity in children after consumption. We are so behind in the United States.

Organic options are emphasis to ensure the both natural ingredients without toxic pesticides and genetically altered species.

Read Plant-based Diet

What about the Gluten-free Casein-Free Diet that You Hear Everyone’s Bragging About?

Well…I would say it doesn’t hurt to try it for a while along with the plant-based diet. After all, many children with ADHD and even adults have problems with dairy and gluten.

In fact, dairy products are not even good for our body, and we don’t need dairy in our diet to get calcium.

In the book China Study, Dr. Campbell reveals that the whole dietary recommendation to have daily intake of dairy product is a scam. In fact, countries that consume the most dairy products also have the most incidences of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Dairy products can also cause liver cancer.

In my practice, I see so many constipated kids. And many parents can pinpoint the cause to dairy products.

So, yes to casein-free or better yet dairy-free diet.

Gluten-free diet is a little tricky.

I would say eliminate gluten only if your child is sensitive or has reaction to it.

The Feingold Diet is the first ADHD diet known. It focuses on eliminating artificial food colorings, preservatives and natural salicylates (a cousin of aspirin).

The Candida Diet focuses on treating the underlying leaky gut, which is the result of candida overgrowth. It emphasizes on low simple sugar and low carbohydrate intake to starve off the yeast population. Antifungal medications or herbs may be used together to facilitate the eradication of yeast.

While starving the yeast to death, you also bring in new residence, probiotics (good bacteria) and a non-pathogenic yeast, into the picture.

The Body Ecology diet encourages fermented vegetables and beverages, such as kim chee and kefir, to re-introduce beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet introduces beneficial bacteria through a homemade goat’s milk yogurt.

Low FODMAP Diet maybe used to reduce symptoms of gas, bloating, cramping and/or diarrhea as a result of excessive fermentation of fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. FODMAP is an acronym for “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols”. FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and are then fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of carbohydrates contributes to irritable bowel syndrome and functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Interest in juicing has exploded in the last decade due to a number of books, videos that claims the extraordinary healing power of juicing or juice fast.

Documentaries such as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Beautiful Truth have increased the awareness that many disease can be cured by simply changing one’s dietary habits. Drinking freshly made juices daily is advocated to cure many currently considered “uncurable” diseases and illnesses, such as cancer (including end stage), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Are You Ready for a Change for the Better?




Why We Need 8 Hours of Sleep a Night?

I’m a night owl…I feel most energize at night. But that has to end.

We are always told “you need to sleep 8 to be great!” At least that’s what they told us in the Army.

Recently I went to a conference, “Pharmacy in the Kitchen” by Dr. Micheal Lara, M.D.

And it is during this conference that I learned about the reason why we need to sleep for 8 hours. Not just for us adults, but more importantly our kids.

Typical 8-hour Sleep Cycle

So there are 4 stages of sleep. Most of us goes through stages sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep but later in the night, REM periods lengthen and deep sleep time decreases.

The first half of the 8-hour sleep cycle, our body is in the deepest sleep. This is where our body does all the repairs and recovery from the damages sustain throughout the day. It is also this deep sleep cycles that provides the anti-inflammatory benefits of sleep.

So I guess daytime nap would count for this anti-inflammatory sleep cycle.

Then, the second half of your sleep cycle is just as important. Instead of having deeper sleep, your body is experiencing longer and longer REM cycle sleep as the night progresses.

The REM cycle is when your brain consolidates your short-term memories during the day into long-term memory.

Kids, this is the reason why you need to go to bed early and get full 8 hours of sleep every night.

Everything you learn and experience during the day will become permanent memory in an 8-hour sleep cycle.

So don’t miss out.