Thursday, August 16, 2007

No More Excuses: Obesity Not Genetic

Scientists prove that infant obesity can be avoided if the mother eats properly.

Many people who become obese were thought to be victims of bad genes which caused them to pack on the pounds. But a new discovery suggests destiny may be reversed through good nutrition in early childhood.

Scientists from Auckland University's Liggins Institute and their colleagues in Britain are examining how a mother's diet in pregnancy can determine if a baby will become obese in adulthood and suffer heart disease and diabetes.

Today in America, more than 20 per cent of adults are obese, double the rate 30 years ago, and a further 35 per cent are overweight.

In a study by the Liggins Institute, Southampton University and AgResearch to be published this week in a United States journal, the researchers describe molecular changes that can occur after dietary intervention in early childhood. Liggins director Professor Peter Gluckman, one of the researchers, said it also showed that genetic switches set in the womb could be reversed by nutritional changes in early childhood.

"It changes the way we should think about tackling the obesity epidemic," he said from Britain last night. "It's probably the most important intellectual breakthrough we've made in understanding development."

In the experiments, the newborn offspring of well-fed and undernourished female rats were dosed with leptin, a hormone that signals to the body when it has eaten enough. When the young rats became adults, the long-term effects were measured by checking genes that regulate metabolism in the liver.

Rats from well-fed mothers reacted to leptin in the opposite way to those from undernourished mothers.

Professor Gluckman likened the process to female honey bees developing as either queens or workers, depending on whether they were fed royal jelly as larvae.

"This is the first suggestion that this fundamental biological process operates in mammals, and has major implications for addressing issues such as obesity," he said. "Not everyone is the same - gene switches have been moved in early development to make some more or less sensitive to fat in the diet."

Co-researcher Dr Alan Beedle said the study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dispelled the common idea that a person's life course was set by their genetic make-up at birth.

"It's really development, and modifiable factors during development, that can change how we grow and what diseases you are susceptible to as an adult," he said.

The study's message for developed nations was that mothers should eat a balanced diet during pregnancy, with the right amounts of protein and vitamins. And if a fetus was under-nourished in the womb, it might be possible to detect that by a blood test at birth and correct the condition with good nutrition.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • What you're reading is astounding information that is going to change the way we, as a culture, look at growth, development, and health care in the future. Now, this isn't the first time researchers have reported such activity in our genetic code. In fact, there is an entire branch of genetic study reserved for just this type of work.

  • The type of genetics these researchers are discussing is know as EPIGENETICS. Epigenetics is based upon the principle that your DNA does not control your destiny, but more importantly your environment does. To make a long story short, the idea behind epigenetics is that you can actually change HOW your DNA expresses itself by changing your environment. And as hard as it may be to believe if this is the first time you've heard of it, the process is actually quite simple.

  • You see, the human genome is same in all of us. We all have the same number of genes (with rare exception), but it's which genes are outwardly expressed that determine things like eye color, hair color, etc.

  • What these scientist have found is that your body composition (fat and muscle ratios) are to some degree regulated by genetics BUT (and this is a very BIG BUT - no pun intended) those genetics are CHANGABLE.

  • How do you change your genetic expression.... Change you environment. How do you change your environment. Here are some ways: Nutrition, Exercise, Chiropractic Care, Spiritual and Religious Belief Systems, Work, Stress..... are you getting the picture? Be the change you want to see in the world!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Healthy Harvest with Dr. Matt - Watermelon

Seasonal Food of the Week: Watermelon

The Basics

Watermelon is in the peak of its season although it is now available in many areas throughout the year. However, this week we celebrate watermelon as one of the World's Healthiest Foods. No other fruit says summer better than sweet, crunchy, refreshing watermelon. Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin. Although watermelon can be found in many areas throughout the year, now is the time to enjoy the best tasting watermelon of the year.

Nutritional Value

Watermelon is a rich source of heart-healthy nutrients including vitamin C and the carotenoid phytonutrient, lycopene, which provides watermelon with its beautiful red color as well as many health-promoting benefits. In fact, watermelon contains more lycopene than an equivalent amount of tomatoes, which are renowned for this important nutrient. A one cup-serving of watermelon contains 24% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, 11% DV for vitamin A and 11% DV for vitamin B6 . all for only 49 calories!

Health Benefits

The lycopene in watermelon also helps prevent prostate cancer in men. The concentration of antioxidants found in watermelon helps control the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

As with all foods, I recommend selecting organic varieties whenever possible. This way you assure that you are getting a fruit packed with as many vitamins and nutrients as possible.

Recipe of the Week!

Watermelon Fire & Ice Salsa
3 cups seeded and chopped watermelon
2 tbs. chopped cilantro
1 to 2 tbs. (2 to 3 medium) Jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped)
1/2 cup green peppers
2 tbs. lime juice
1 tbs. chopped green onion
1/2 tbs. garlic salt

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 3 cups. Serving tips: Serve with corn or potato chips, or a great topping for Teriyaki fish or chicken.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Autsim and Chiropractic

Alternative Cures for Autism

(UK News)Every month, Susan Crisp takes her eight-year-old son, Daniel, for a 15-minute chiropractic treatment.

Daniel has autism and Susan and her husband, Gary, firmly believe that this complementary therapy has been key to the recent improvements they've seen in his development. "His communication has improved tremendously," says Susan.

"He has started putting three or four words together and it is not in response to questions from us.

"It's spontaneous. At one time, if he wanted something out of the fridge he would drag me to it and point. Now he'll say, `Mummy, I want'.

"He doesn't seem so closed in as he once was and is interacting more with his three older sisters."

Television presenter, Quentin Willson, has reported similar success from the treatment for his son, Max.

Indeed, it was after seeing Quentin talking about his son on TV two years ago that Susan first got the idea to try chiropractic for Daniel.

"It was a coincidence that I saw it. I had the TV on and it really caught my eye because there were so many similarities between what he was talking about with his son and Daniel," she remembers.

Worth a try

"It stayed on my mind. I told Gary about it and we felt we should give it a try.

"We thought, `If nothing happens, that's the worst that can happen'.

"At the time, Daniel was walking on his tip-toes and his feet were pointing inwards when he walked - which can be symptoms of autism. I was worried about it and we thought that the chiropractic might be able to help with his posture."

Susan took Daniel to see chiropractor Doug Clark at Dynamic Chiropractic in Sale. Chiropractic is a complementary therapy used to treat problems with joints, bones and muscles and the effects these have on the nervous system.

This is done by a chiropractor, using their hands to make often gentle, specific adjustments to joints, concentrating particularly on the spine, to improve the nervous system and release the body's natural healing ability.

Doug explains: "Daniel demonstrated quite striking spinal stiffness both in the left side of his lower back and his upper neck.

"From a chiropractic point of view, spinal movement problems, typically at the top of the neck, may contribute to distorted nerve function in the central nervous system.

"Whilst I treated Daniel's spine for mechanical problems, which we could be certain would benefit his health, we didn't know at this stage how his communication skills, speech and language might respond to treatment."

"He loves it. Usually when Daniel comes in from school, that's it, he's in and it's really hard to get him to go anywhere, but when I say we are going to see Doug he wants to go.

"Every time Doug has a little chat to ask how Daniel has been getting on. Then Daniel sits in the chair - we call it the Thunderbird chair, and Doug doesn't have to tell him anything now, he knows what to do.

"Daniel loves this but when I've tried to do it at home he won't let me do it, only Doug - they've built up a really lovely relationship.

"But it's not just a matter of Daniel enjoying it. Within four to six weeks we noticed a huge improvement in his condition.

"We took him in June and by August people who don't see him regularly commented that his speech had come on tremendously. He started to initiate sentences - it was a real surprise, to us."

Daniel continues to make excellent progress and is now speaking and engaging with people on a regular basis.

As well as his chiropractic treatment he receives educational help through a specialist school, which includes seeing a speech therapist twice a week.

"I wouldn't want to diminish the input of the other treatments Daniel gets but I think the chiropractic complements this well," Susan adds. "Daniel is improving so much more and so much quicker.

"The chiropractic was like turning a key, opening the door and it all came out of him.

"It's not a cure but it can alleviate some of the difficulties."

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • I first want to emphasize that Chiropractic is not a Cure for Autism. In fact Chiropractic is not a Cure for Anything! Chiropractic is based on the simple principles that your body is designed to function beautifully and when it doesn't function beautifully, something is interfering with your body's ability to do so. Very Often that "something" is what we call in chiropractic Vertebral Subluxation. Vertebral Subluxation interferes with your nerve system (the master controller) of your body.

  • That said, Chiropractic is extremely helpful with conditions such as autism because our goal is simple... to optimize function. When we're done with treatment, the child will still have autism, but parents often report (as the news article did above) that the child is able to function better on many levels. When you remove the interference to the nerve system... amazing things can happen.

  • The funny thing is, those amazing result are simply a return of your body to normal. You see, each of us have amazing abilities and talents. Unfortunately, often times barriers prevent us from expressing these abilities. Don't let Vertebral Subluxaiton be a barrier keeping you from greatness (or even normalcy for that matter). See your Chiropractor today!