A Silent Killer: High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease in both men and women. Hypertension is called the “silent killer” because it generally produces no obvious symptoms even while it causes widespread damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other vital organs. Although it can strike anyone at any time of their life, it’s most commonly seen in older individuals. In fact, over 70% of American women and 50% of American men over the age of 70 have hypertension. Other risk factors for this disease include high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, and diabetes.1

Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or below and a diastolic pressure of 85 mm Hg or below. High normal is pressures of 131-139 systolic and 86-89 diastolic. Hypertension is defined as a pressure of 140 systolic over 90 diastolic and above.

Blood pressure generally rises and falls throughout the day in a cyclic rhythm and is influenced by many factors, such as exercise and emotional stress.  To get the most accurate picture of your blood pressure, take numerous measurements at different times and average them.

Although doctors still don’t know what causes this most common type of hypertension, current research indicates that a complex interaction between genetic, environmental, and other variables is a significant factor. Secondary hypertension, which is much less common, is high blood pressure caused by known medical conditions, such as kidney disease, pregnancy, and sleep apnea.

The real dangers arise when blood pressure is elevated over a period of years or decades. Over such a time span, hypertension can cause significant damage to blood vessels that supply life-giving oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. The heart, brain, and kidneys, along with all other major body parts, can suffer irreparable harm from long-term hypertension.

It’s important to remember that an unhealthy elevation in just one of the two pressures (systolic or diastolic) can have disastrous long-term health consequences. Isolated high systolic pressure, which is the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is thought by many to be a significant indicator of heart attacks and strokes in people middle-aged and older. Isolated high diastolic pressure is a strong risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, especially in younger adults.

Hypertension Can Be Controlled Naturally

For those who hesitate to use anti-hypertensive drugs for whatever reason, non-drug strategies may significantly help in supporting healthy blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is now recommended as a first-line approach in managing the disease. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. People following the DASH diet are encouraged to decrease their saturated fats and replace them with foods that are high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

Other natural ways to control hypertension include not smoking, obesity control, and salt restriction – the current recommendation is for people with hypertension to limit their salt intake to 2400 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day.

Arginine – The Source of Nitric Oxide

Another natural way to help support healthy blood pressure is through the use of L-Arginine based supplements.  L-Arginine is an amino acid that plays a vital role in promoting vascular health through the production of Nitric Oxide (NO).

Nitric oxide penetrates and crosses the membranes of almost all cells in the body, and it helps regulate many functions. It is even involved in memory function. In blood vessels, NO is vitally important because it regulates the tone of the endothelium, the layer of smooth cells that line the inside of the vessels. If these endothelial cells become dysfunctional, they can cause spasms or constrictions of the blood vessels that can then lead to hypertension.

Learn more about your options today. Visit www.hypertensa-adv.com for more information. 

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/know-your-risk-factors-for-high-blood-pressure

5 Reasons Most Diets Fail (and How to Succeed)

How to Achieve Your Diet Goals

It is very important to know the facts of how to properly diet. On average, a person gains about 11 pounds for every diet they go on. In addition, the person loses both muscle and fat while on a diet, only to gain back the fat. Ultimately, this leads to a slower metabolism and more difficulty maintaining weight.

There are 2 crucial components to sustaining weight loss through a healthy diet.

  1. Reduce appetite in a slow and measured way by regulating the neurotransmitters in your gut and brain that drive hunger and overeating.
  2. Increase your metabolism so you are burning more calories throughout the day than you are consuming.

Here are 3 simple ways to achieve these 2 components:

Eat the Right Food at the Right Time:

Eating whole, fresh food to satisfy your appetite can cut down on the carbs and sugary foods that increase hunger and slows metabolism. Never skip breakfast and avoid eating 3 hours before bed.

Less Calories is not Always Good:

Eating fewer calories to lose weight is an idea that is quickly fading. Recent studies have shown that some calories make you fat while others can make you thin. The staples of your diet should be low-glycemic foods. For example, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, grass fed meat and greens. Grains and bean consumption should not exceed more than half a cup once a day each. Use sugar sparingly in small doses and avoid artificial sweeteners.

Low-Fat is not Always Good:

Eating fat is not what makes you fat but eating sugar does. Studies have shown that low-carb, high-fat vegan diets were more effective at weight loss than a low-fat vegan diet. Also, eating more fat and less carbs is shown to increase metabolism. Good fats makes you feel full faster and should be eaten at every meal. Examples of good fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, organic eggs, chicken, grass fed meats and fish.

Are you Overweight or Obese? Here is what you should know

Know your body mass index (BMI) so you can improve it.

You BMI is a measurement of body fat that is based on your height and weight. Your BMI is a major factor that your healthcare provider considers when determining treatment protocols. A person with a BMI of between 25 and 29.99 is classified as ‘overweight,’ and a BMI of 30 and above is classified as obese. People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Click here to calculate your BMI.

What is causing the obesity epidemic?

Simply put, too many calories. If you are eating more calories than you are burning throughout the day, you will inevitably gain weight. The increased availability and accessibility of energy dense foods is contributing to an unhealthy increase in weight across the world. Combine that with a steady decline in physical activity and the results are fatal and very costly.

Can the course of obesity be changed?

For most people struggling with obesity, the answer is yes! Unfortunately the process is not simple, as reducing calories and increasing physical activity is not easy and not always the answer.

If you are looking to improve your diet try reading this post. Drastically reducing calories is not the best answer, because not all calories are bad. There is no quick fix to obesity, but rather micro lifestyle changes that are implemented daily and maintained for long periods of time.

To simplify your journey to a healthier you, try starting with these tips:

  1. Avoid eating saturated fats
  2. Increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts you eat daily.
  3. Cut out sugars and sodium from your diet gradually.
  4. Exercise 15 minutes every day for the first two weeks, then push to 30 minutes every day for the next two weeks, then try an hour every day.

Enjoy the process and don’t go at it alone! Work in teams to meet your goals.

Quick Diet Tips to Naturally Boost Metabolism

Tip # 1 – Eat More Whole Grains

Why? Because your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods, especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice, than processed foods.

Tip # 2 – Eat More Lean Meats

Why? Because protein has a high thermogenic effect, helping you burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion (so a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down).

Tip # 3 – Eat Low-fat Dairy Products

Why? Because dairy is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which help preserve and build muscle mass, an essential part of maintaining a robust metabolism.

Tip # 4 – Try Drinking Green Tea Daily

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking four cups of green tea each day can help you lose weight over time. Why? Because a compound called EGCG in the brew can temporarily speed up your metabolism. Try keeping a jug of iced green tea in the fridge for easy access.

Tip # 5 – Add Lentils to your Daily Diet

Why? Because one cup of lentils can pack up to 35% of your daily iron needs in addition to fiber which helps you feel full for longer periods of time.

Tip #6 – Eat Some Hot Peppers (or Hot Sauce) When You Can

Why? Because hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This helps give chili peppers their kick that heats up your body, helping you burn additional calories. Try adding cayenne or hot sauce to soups, eggs, and meats for the added effect.

A Safe Way to Manage Obesity

Over two thirds of Americans are overweight and over one third are defined as obese and the number of people with obesity in the world now exceeds those with malnutrition (1).  Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.  Yet despite the public’s awareness of these issues, obesity remains an epidemic.

People often describe the frustrations of trying to lose weight, whether it is through failed diets or exercise programs.  They either don’t lose weight at all or lose only to gain it back a month or two later. Effective weight loss programs that allow for long term success are desired but many patients struggle despite the available resources. The time constraints of work and family are difficult to overcome and patients often need help or a jump start to get their weight loss regimen going.

The cornerstones of an appropriate diet to lose weight include lowering caloric intake, decreasing complex carbohydrate ingestion, avoiding “empty calories” such as processed sugars and regular aerobic exercise. Fad or gimmick diets that help you to lose weight fast often lead to rebound weight gain and psychological distress.  Healthy weight loss should be targeted for 1-2 pounds per week over the course of many weeks.  The first five pounds usually come off fast and then the weight loss slows down.  People get discouraged and give up during this phase as it can be the most difficult part of the process.  Additionally, many patients suffer from uncontrollable appetite while dieting and this limits the effectiveness of the diet.

5 tips for weight loss

Recent data points to unique nutritional deficiencies as a contributing factor to Obesity. The medical foods  Apptrim and Apptrim-D  are specifically designed to treat these specific nutrient and  micro-nutrient deficiencies by supplying obese patients with a bioavailable source of amino acids and nutrients.  AppTrim and AppTrim-D contain the amino acids that specifically produce the neurotransmitters that are involved in controlling appetite, hunger and satiety.  Neurotransmitters are the brain’s messengers that tell the nerves what to do and help your stomach and brain communicate with each other. Obese patients often lack the neurotransmitters required to suppress appetite and food cravings. AppTrim helps to decrease appetite, carbohydrate cravings and improves early satiety thus helping an individual maintain a diet and weight loss goals.

Several double blind placebo controlled trials using AppTrim have been performed.  These studies have demonstrated that patients taking AppTrim along with diet and exercise lost more weight and felt less hungry than patients using diet and exercise alone.  Also, since AppTrim is a medical food, it contains only ingredients that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Obesity is a very complex disease and effective management requires a comprehensive approach that includes addressing the distinct nutrient and micro-nutrient deficiencies in addition to diet and exercise. 

1. Ogden C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B.K., & Flegal K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8), 806-814

The Second Brain

It’s 10 pm and you are stressed.  All of the sudden your stomach starts churning and you remember that half eaten carton of Ben and Jerry’s left in your freezer.  Before you know it the ice cream is gone and you are left hoping that it will settle the butterflies in your stomach.  We have all had that feeling, but then the question arises.  What makes us have that “gut feeling”?  Why are our stomachs controlling our emotions, and therefore controlling our eating patterns?

Your gut can work independently without any input from your brain, unlike any other organ in the human body.  This is how the stomach got its name of “the second brain”.  The stomach is controlled by the enteric nervous system (ENS) which is made up of 100 million neurons.  The ENS is used to control the movement and absorption of food through the intestines.  The stomach has the ability to send signals to the brain that can affect certain feelings, such as sadness or stress, as well as influence memory, learning, and decision-making.  The stomach relies on 30 neurotransmitters in order to function that are identical to those in the brain.  The ENS communicates with the central nervous system (CNS) through the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, but does not rely on it in order to function.  Studies have shown that the ENS continues to function, even after the vagus nerve, which connects the CNS to the ENS, has been severed.

Different foods can affect emotions differently.  Specific components of food can influence neurohormones in the gut that are responsible for signaling the brain.  What a person eats affects their mood.  Fatty acids reduce feelings of sadness and hunger.  This is why most people in times of stress and sadness will turn to the help of “comfort foods” to help them feel better.  Ghrelin, a hormone manufactured by the gut, stimulates hunger in the brain and is one of the neurochemicals that sends messages back and forth between the ENS and CNS in order to affect mood. Every time a meal is consumed ghrelin levels fall, and then continue to rise again until the next meal. Obese people tend to have higher levels of ghrelin even after eating, which can leave them feeling hungry more often. High-fat foods stimulate dopamine production and can enhance mood/euphoria, thus encouraging the brain and stomach to seek out more high fat food.

Measuring the beerbelly

During gastric bypass surgery, the part of the stomach which produces the most ghrelin is isolated in order to make the patient less hungry.  The doctor then attaches the stomach to a section of the small intestine called the ileum which produces PPY, a hormone that makes you feel full.  PPY typically takes 20 minutes to send the message to the brain to let it know that the stomach is full.  Making these two sections of the stomach closer together allows the brain to receive the signal quicker in order to encourage the body to eat less.

Surgery is an expensive and drastic solution to fighting a problem such as obesity.  People try to diet, which if done safely and combined with exercise can be effective. One important thing to note is that people dieting will also have increased levels of grehlin, increasing hunger levels.   This is one reason why people find dieting to be so difficult. Food affects mood due and increased cravings caused by certain hormones can be difficult to control.  Perhaps this is why your co-worker who is on a 3-day juice cleanse is in such a sour mood.

If exercise and dietary changes fail to make a dent in hunger, weight and BMI then a more targeted approach can help people interested in managing appetite and controlling food intake. Medical foods is certainly one option that should be explored. As a safe and effective class of medications medical foods deliver the specific neurotransmitter precursors required by nervous system to help reduce appetite and promote early satiety As stated earlier, your stomach uses neurotransmitters just as the brain does.  Using these neurotransmitters help your stomach become more satisfied and helps manage your mood and cravings, helping you manage appetite safely and effectively.  Clinical trials show that a medical food as an adjunct to a weight loss diet and exercise plan can help increase weight loss and decrease BMI.

Ten Foods that May Help Curb Appetite:

  1. Avocados – Composed of monounsaturated fats, which take longer to digest, avocados help suppress ghrelin production and appetite.  The soluble fiber in avocados slow digestion by forming a thick gel as it travels throughout the gut.
  2. Greek Yogurt – A high-protein appetite buster.  Since it is thick, you feel fuller faster.
  3. Legumes – High in soluble fiber, resistant starch, and oligosaccharides.  These complex carbs help slow digestion.
  4. Cottage Cheese –  A good source of protein which helps suppress appetite.
  5. Oatmeal – Contains beta-glucans, a soluble fiber, that helps it travel slowly through the digestive track.
  6. Nuts – Nuts contain healthy fats and fiber which help you digest more slowly.
  7. Fruit – high in fiber, which helps to slow digestion and keep you feeling full longer.
  8. Wasabi – suppresses appetite and also contains anti-inflammatory qualities.
  9. Salmon – Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps the body increase leptin, a hormone used for suppressing hunger.
  10. Cinnamon – Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar which helps control appetite.