New Study Has Discovered Gluten’s Evil Cousin

Gluten-free is a growing diet trend that has proven to relieve intestinal suffering as well as providing other physical benefits. Unfortunately, a new study has discovered that there’s another culprit besides gluten.

What’s in Wheat?

In recent times, those who suffer from Celiac disease, have been fortunate enough to be able to identify their challenge. A simple blood test ordered by your doctor can diagnose if you have the ailment. For years, some people experienced bloating, nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and foggy brain, and had no idea why. Gluten’s impact on digestive health was the cause.

Small Numbers, Big Problems

The percentage of people with actual Celiac is tiny. Others, however, experience similar symptoms without having the disease.  The medical community now recognizes this condition, which has been named “non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”

A new study, however, has revealed a protein in wheat that causes all kinds of trouble. Although it makes up less than 4% of proteins in wheat, amylase-tripsin Inhibitors (ATIs), they can trigger inflammation in the gut and systemically.

The Problem Protein

Research from this latest study shows that ATIs can activate the inflammation of chronic health issues. This particular protein complicates asthma, MS, lupus, arthritis, IBS, and a host of other autoimmune diseases. ATIs trigger inflammation in the gut, lymph nodes, kidneys, and even the brain.

For those non-Celiac, ATIs increase the risk of developing gluten sensitivity. It’s a frightening find; ATIs create such powerful immune responses through digestion that reactions spread to other tissues and organs in the body.

Scientists Speculate

This study has researchers explaining that gluten may not be the cause for all the awful symptoms that non-celiac gluten sensitive people experience. It’s the ATIs that contaminate the gluten.

So, certainly, a gluten-free diet is necessary for someone with celiac disease. But perhaps an ATI-free diet would benefit everyone. Eliminating this protein would reduce risk of inheriting celiac-type symptoms as well as decrease inflammation throughout the body.

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If you feel you could benefit from removing ATIs from your diet, it is definitely doable. You’ll want to target foods that contain wheat and replace them with wheat-free selections. There are all types of different flours available that you could use to substitute when cooking and baking. Choosing fresh produce over many carbohydrates is a simple and nutritious way to make the change. Beans, legumes, and other grains are delicious choices to keep your diet gluten- and ATI-free.

Inflammation is a precursor and antagonist for chronic disease. Anyway to keep inflammation levels low is a plus.


The Facts About Turmeric

Everyone these days is touting the benefits of turmeric. No doubt it’s an incredible spice that offers numerous health benefits. There are, however, a couple of other things you should know about turmeric.

A History Lesson in Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that’s harvested and is health-rich in its root. It’s long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, whose origin is at least 5,000 years old. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest whole-body healing systems and is still traditional practice today in India.

Turmeric has been used for centuries to flavor or color certain foods like mustards, curry powders, and cheeses. The root, which contains curcumin, the yellow compound, is more often used to make medicine.

The Chinese have used curcumin to treat diseases associated with abdominal pain. Ancient Hindu medicine used it to treat swelling and sprains. Hundreds of years ago, curcumin was used to ward off small pox.

How Do You Use It?

Turmeric comes in powder form, which you can sprinkle into food or make into a paste. Some people take pill supplements.

A turmeric paste can be applied topically to the body. It’s known to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Take two tablespoons of turmeric, one tablespoon of lime juice or apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of water. Stir until it makes a thick paste. Rub the mixture directly onto the affected area (no open wounds!) and then wrap with a cloth bandage. Your skin will be slightly yellow, but the swelling should decrease.

Benefits of Turmeric

There are an incredible number of ailments in which turmeric can be used as medicine. Shrinking inflammation seems to be its greatest strength and most positive health byproduct. Since so many diseases are linked to inflammation, it appears that turmeric may be one awesome preventative entity.

Here are some “conditions” in which turmeric can be used for:

  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Stomach pain and ailments, including Crohn’s, IBS, and ulcerative colitis
  • Gas, bloating, and loss of appetite
  • Jaundice and other liver problems
  • Fibromyalgia and lupus
  • Gallstones
  • Alzheimer’s

Research also indicates that taking turmeric alone or with other herbal remedies greatly reduces pain from osteoarthritis.

Turmeric has also been shown to reduce the size and number of cancerous tumors.

The Other Things to Know

There’s no doubt that turmeric has a highly effective medicinal value. Using it in your cooking or taking a daily supplement is a perfect way to prevent inflammation and also help treat any of the above ailments.

Fat or Black Pepper:  What most people don’t know is that in order for the positive effects of turmeric to be absorbed and actually be useful, it must be used in conjunction with fats or black pepper.

In order to increase its bioavailability, turmeric should be digested with a good fat.  Healthy choices would be coconut, almond, or olive oils, nut butters, or avocados. Taking a supplement without a fat to help it become absorbed significantly lessens a medicinal or expected effect.

Blood Clotting:  There has been research that has shown turmeric might slow blood clotting. It’s for this reason, it’s cautioned that people on particular medications—those that also slow blood clotting—should avoid turmeric.

If by nature or medication you are prone to bruising easily or slow blood clotting, use turmeric with caution, if at all. And as with any herbal supplement, always check in with your health practitioner, especially if you are on some type of other prescribed medication.

Turmeric has been used for millennia to treat injury, pain, and swelling. It’s fortunate that we can still use it today, safely and effectively. For other information about herbs, healing, and preventative health, check out



Tired Too Often? It’s More than a Gut Feeling

If you’re tired all the time…

your condition may be linked to your gut. A new study shows a link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and gut bacteria.

How Ya Doin’?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Are you extremely tired after doing even the most mundane tasks? You sleep, take naps, and yet you can’t shake the sensation of tiredness. You could be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And it could be caused by inflammation and a bacterial imbalance in your gut.

Getting Diagnosed

Here’s the thing. Many doctors have difficulty diagnosing CFS. It can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There is no specific blood test or easily read biomarkers. Psychological factors, viruses, and infections can cause extreme tiredness. To deem one’s condition with a “chronic” label is a serious diagnosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, CFS has nine signs and symptoms. The first, of course, is fatigue. The others include: enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, random joint pain, and an unusual headache. Other symptoms are: un-refreshing sleep, exhaustion lasting more than a full day after exercise, loss of memory, and a sore throat. You can see why other diagnoses would be considered first.

What are the Causes?

Until now, doctors or scientists who have diagnosed CFS, have been perplexed about exact causes. Some believe certain viruses might trigger the syndrome. Perhaps an impaired immune system leaves individuals susceptible to CFS. Hormonal imbalances have also been studied as a possible cause offsetting the condition.

Finally, a recent study offers more in the way of reason. Your gut bacteria and inflammatory agents in the blood may cause CFS.

Researchers at Cornell University studied stool samples of the 77 participants. Forty-eight had already been diagnosed with CFS, while the other 39 were perfectly healthy. The study, published in the journal Microbiome, showed that those with CFS had less bacterial diversity in the gut. They also had markers showing inflammation. One theory was that “leaky gut” allowed bacteria from the intestines to enter the bloodstream.

What to Do?

As far as the new research shows, the indicators of imbalance in gut bacteria may now be used as one way to test for CFS. Maureen Hanson, a professor involved in the study explained, “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal.” It was an indicator in 83 % of the participants in the study. This is a great breakthrough for those who advocate the condition isn’t just “psychological.”

Restoring the gut microbiome balance may be a path to treating CFS. A variety of probiotics may help along with a change in diet. Exploring ways to get your gut bacteria back to healthy levels is a great start. Discuss options with your doctor or naturopath. With this new evidence and proper treatment, your fatigue may no longer remain chronic.

For more information on maintaining balance in the body and mind, check out


Sure Red Wine Has Benefits, but Wait, White Wine and Champagne are Healthy Too?

Red wine has gotten a wonderful reputation health-wise, which rivals its savory flavors and soothing effects. But its sibling, white wine, and rich uncle, champagne, have been slightly overlooked since red wine has taken the spotlight. As it turns out, the white variation and the bubbly offer health advantages as well.

LDL cholesterol levels lower with consumption of red wine. This is good because lower LDL, less of it found in arteries to form plaque. Plaque hardens arteries, blood pressure rises, and the risk of heart attack increases.

Another beneficial element derived from the red grape is polyphenols. These antioxidants help reduce formation of unwanted blood clots and keep blood flowing through vessels smoothly. Resveratrol, found in red grape skins, also helps moderate blood pressure and can lower total cholesterol.

White wine may not have as many benefits as red because the skins are removed before processing. However, the white grape still contains nutrients and antioxidants. White wine hasn’t been studied as much as its rosy sibling even though it’s full of the same plant flavonoids, which protect cells. Researchers at the University of Barcelona claim that white wine may be higher in antioxidants and also offers stronger anti-aging effects.

Researchers reported that both red and white wine improved cholesterol levels if the drinker was exercising two or more times per week. Also both reds and whites may be able to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar. They each seem to improve glucose control.

Another group out of the University at Buffalo School of medicine found that white wine improves lung health. In 2010, researchers from the University of Wisconsin discovered that white wine protected cells from breast cancer as well as red wine did. With all of this good news about reds and whites, we must presume that champagne must offer healthy benefit, too!

Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are champagne. Champagne is a geographic region of France. There are six specific types of grapes from that area and the wine is made through a specific production process called “methode champenoise.” The guidelines for making the bubbly are very strict, one being that the grapes must be handpicked and another that the stems are not removed during filtering.

One advantage researchers discovered during testing champagne-consumers was that there was a significant boost to spatial memory after having a glass. They added that those with dementia had a better ability to recognize their surroundings (and their home) after indulging in a bit of champagne. In fact, the researchers suggest drinking three glasses a week for maximum benefit. As with any alcoholic beverage moderation is key.



Estrogen, your female hormones and how is it effecting your weight?

Can there be anything more frustrating than exercising, eating properly, and STILL not losing a pound? Many of us have been there (or are here) and want to know, “What’s going on? What am I doing wrong?”

You’re not doing anything wrong—consciously. What you may not know is that due to an imbalance of hormones, your body is resisting weight loss. We’re not just talking about estrogen; there are many hormones that work together, all supplying assistance to different parts of your body.

Let’s first discuss the estrogen issue. It’s impossible to state that too little or too much estrogen conclusively acts a certain way for each woman, across the board. One woman, for example, may be sensitive to soy (including soy milk), which may increase estrogen levels.

Too much estrogen puts a strain on cells that produce insulin. If less glucose is traveling to your liver, then more winds up in your bloodstream. The excess glucose in your bloodstream is then stored as fat.

Too little estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively. This too may increase fat storage. So, now we’re back to scratching our heads. Before committing to hormone replacement therapy, you may want to examine the possibility of other hormones being out of whack, which may contribute to an estrogen imbalance.

We know stress is a killer. Finding successful ways to combat stress is a constant exploration and practice. When we get stressed out, our cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is the “protect yourself from threat” hormone. When it’s released, your body automatically goes into “survival” mode, and it starts storing fat cells.

Meditation, exercise, vacation—they’re all great for stress reduction, but if you’re drinking eight cups of coffee a day, you’re undoing your healthy efforts. Moderating or greatly limiting caffeine intake can help keep cortisol levels in check.

Other hormone levels worth checking, (which greatly affect weight gain or the ability to maintain a desired weight) are insulin and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.) Blood tests can reveal the levels, which will inform you if there’s an imbalance. Diet and exercise play a tremendous part in their functionality.

Another lesser-familiar hormone, Leptin, lets your brain know when you’re full. When there’s too much leptin, your brain cannot receive its important message to stop eating. Fat produces leptin. Excessive sugar and processed foods contain an abundance of fructose.

Too much fructose and your liver can’t filter through it fast enough to create it into fuel for energy. The overload is converted into fats. More fructose, more fat, too much leptin, hence, more overeating.

As with the overabundance of any hormone, our brains become less impervious to the messages being sent. So, if we want estrogen to do its job, we don’t want high levels of it. One reason for increased estrogen levels is not ingesting enough fiber.

Vegetables and other fiber-rich foods keep bowel movements regular, which allows for any excess estrogen to be discarded. Eating a diet high in animal-based foods subjects your body to all the antibiotics, steroids, and other chemicals that were fed to the animals. Also beware pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.

All of those chemicals (including others used in skin care products, shampoo, cosmetics, plastics, and the list goes on…), they act like estrogen when they’re absorbed into the body either by eating, drinking, through our skin, and even through the air we breathe. These chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors and affect our balance of estrogen as well as most of our hormones.

This may all sounds so scary, but there is a light somewhere in this hormonal tunnel. Mindful eating can certainly help. Mindful product shopping can also be added to your list. Continue to get daily exercise and keep stress levels at a minimum.

Stick with your program and it may be possible to rebalance your hormonal system. Before too long, you should notice the shedding of unwanted pounds—and then be able to keep them off.


Can Blood Be a Treatment for an Ailing Brain?

A recent study has opened a new dialogue about how blood interacts with the brain. Blood from human umbilical cords may not be the key to preventing or reversing dementia in people, but it worked for lab mice.

Three Brainy Mice

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine experimented with giving human plasma to mice. Specifically, they gave very young blood, from umbilical cords. The mice that received the plasma were old.

The original study was conducted by infusing young mouse blood into older mice. The results showed interesting promise in the area of the brain. The older mice showed improvements in memory and learning.

So this time around, the scientists wanted to see if the same results would occur if they infused human blood. Indeed, the findings were just as successful. The elderly mice could build nests with more intricacy and navigate mazes more successfully.

The most improvement in the mental acuity of the aged mice was from infusions of umbilical cord blood. Plasma from human young adults had a very small effect. Blood from the elderly had absolutely no valuable effect on the brain of the elderly mice.

From Mice to Men?

It’s pretty remarkable that they’ve discovered a link from blood to brain. But before anyone thinks a cure to Alzheimer’s has been found, we will need to think again. There are several variables that scientists need to take into consideration.

First off, just because human umbilical blood transferred to elderly mice reaped successful results, does not necessarily mean that similar results would transpire infusing elderly humans. Secondly, the elderly mice in the study did not have dementia. They simply had an old brain. Who’s to say if the blood infusion would have worked if the mice had a disease or disorder?

Nonetheless, the study may open a new line of research for potential dementia-treatment drugs. Currently, the medications available for, let’s say, Alzheimer’s, can help a bit, but the disease still progresses. It will be amazing when a discovery is made that can halt the progression of dementia.

Signs of an Ailing Brain (Dementia)

  • loss of memory (especially short-term)
  • faulty reasoning
  • increased paranoia
  • inappropriate behavior
  • difficulty with abstract thinking

In the Meanwhile…

While those who are affected by dementia wait for a medication or a “fix-it” treatment, there are several actions to take that may help. Making a few lifestyle choices in a positive direction certainly cant hurt. Some examples are:

Eat Fresh – a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish provide natural sources of omega-3s. Colorful fruits are wealthy with antioxidants. Avoid refined sugars, processed foods, and meat, which contribute to inflammation (even in your brain.)

Sleep Well – During a deep sleep of eight hours or more, it’s believed that the brain shifts memories from temporary to longer-term storage. Besides consolidating information, your brain actually absorbs new info while you sleep. Reading or practicing a new skill before bed enhances retention. Sleep well, and you’ll have better focus and remember more.

Exercise – Aerobic exercise on a regular basis enhances retention of new (and old) information. MRI brain scans show that vigorous exercise expands the hippocampus, which is the area involved in learning and memory. Exercise also reduces stress (which can impede good recall.)

For more information on up-to-date research on health care, check out


Am I at Risk for Colorectal Cancer (even if I’m 25 or 30)?

Medical providers generally suggest a colonoscopy for those 50 years old and above. There has been, however, a noticeable increase in rectal cancer for those in their 20’s and 30’s. What’s more worrisome is that the increase is not due to genetics, but perhaps, rather, environmental factors.

Spiking Rates

“Someone born in 1990 would now have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than at the same, had they been born in 1950,” according to researchers at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

Frighteningly, colorectal is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer.

How Could It Possibly Be Me?

Doctors and researchers cannot absolutely pinpoint the cause of this growing trend of younger people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. One hypothesis is that someone in his 20’s is less likely to suspect that signs and symptoms of the disease are pointing towards cancer.

Screenings for this type of cancer, as mentioned, are not recommended for those under 50, unless they’re in a high-risk group. High-risk might include someone with Crohn’s, IBS, or an Autoimmune disease such as HIV. And because younger people aren’t paying attention to symptoms, and not getting tested, often the colorectal cancer is finally detected at more advanced stages.

Not having access to health insurance can also thwart someone from getting screenings or seeing a specialist.

Better if You’re Older

Because of suggested screenings, rectal cancer in those over 50 is often found at an early stage. Back in 1985, approximately 225 people out of 100,000 (over age 50) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. As of 2013, those rates changed to 116 out of 100,000.  That’s a significant drop in numbers.

Additionally, when a 55-year old notices blood in her stool, she apt to question its origin more than a 25 year-old would. Often, blood found on toilet tissue is mistaken as a sign of bleeding hemorrhoids. Obviously we shouldn’t panic over certain signs, but there may be some that are worth discussing with a physician.

Some symptoms are:

-unusual sustained bloating

-unintended weight loss

-chronic constipation

-blood in stools

Keeping Calm

Yes, newer studies and data are showing increased numbers in younger people diagnosed with colorectal cancer. However, the truth is that the rate of people in their 20’s getting the disease has only increased by two cases for every 200,000 people per year. In 2013, the research showed that approximately 8 out of 100,000 adults under 50 were diagnosed positive for the cancer.

And although the colorectal cancer rates are rising slightly in the younger set, the mortality rate has not increased. Younger people are not dying at higher rates. It’s still fairly uncommon to be diagnosed if you’re under 50, but the rates are rising—and quickly.

Lifestyle, Environment, and Behavior

There is an increased risk of getting any cancer, amongst any age group, when “healthy, mindful living” isn’t part of one’s habitual daily life. Sure, there are folks who smoke, are obese, never exercise, and never get cancer. But, that might be called a “fluke” or “getting lucky.”

How we treat our bodies reflect how well it treats us. And sadly, there, too, are folks who get diagnosed with cancer who’ve taken great care of themselves all along. That unlucky roll of the die is most likely attributable to the toxins in our air, water, and soil.

Regardless, you can decrease your risk, overall, if you are mindful of the foods you eat, the air your breather, the water your drink, and your body’s stress levels. High fiber, low fat, organic foods can help keep your digestive system functioning at optimum capacity. Daily exercise also lends to expelling toxins, increasing oxygen-rich blood, and experiencing less tension and stress. All of these behaviors can certainly keep you healthier than if you didn’t practice them.


Is a Liver Cleanse the Right Thing for Me?

Some of the latest health trends are various types of “cleanses.” Detoxification programs, diets, and supplements claim to benefit the liver, kidneys, and other organs.  But are you in need of a good spring cleaning, internally speaking?

Get “Organ”-ized: What exactly DOES the Liver do?

In simple terms, the liver is a giant filter for your body. But it does so much more.  It processes your blood and cleanses toxins, but also does so much more. Did you know that your liver performs over four hundred functions in the body? Talk about an overachiever!

Here are just a few things the liver does:

  • It makes bile, which cleanses waste and processes fats
  • It creates clotting factors in your blood
  • It stores and releases glucose for blood-sugar balance
  • It creates proteins and iron for blood
  • It helps control and create blood cholesterol to manufacture hormones.
  • It helps you stave off infection and disease by producing immune factors and removing bacteria
  • It processes and also stores nutrients from everything you eat, including fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals

The liver filters neutralizes and clears everything you absorb, including toxins and other waste.  These waste products include chemicals, many medications, harmful hormones, and alcohol.  So with all that work to do, it’s no wonder the liver is such a truly vital organ.

Cleanliness is Next to Healthiness…

Well, do I need to perform some form of liver cleanse? Many doctors maintain that since the liver regenerates itself rapidly, there is no need to perform a special “cleanse.”

Still, other medical professionals, naturopaths, and homeopaths disagree.  They maintain that because we live in such a toxic environment everyday and eat heavily processed diets, our liver easily gets overtaxed.  At the very least altering your diet will to help lighten the load on your liver. But still, many swear by a more formal liver cleanse and detox regimen.

Do I Need a Liver Cleanse or Not?

One thing all medical professionals agree upon is that we should take better care of our liver by watching what we eat.  Avoid heavily processed food, fried or overly fatty foods, overeating and excessive alcohol consumption.

However, you might want to consider taking more effective steps if you suffer from any of the following chronic symptoms:

  • Constipation, heartburn, bloating and/or gas
  • Weight gain, tiredness/sluggishness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in right side
  • Bruising or skin and eye discoloration/yellowing
  • Depression, anxiety, or moodiness

Of course, you should always consult a professional to accurately diagnose any symptoms and create a treatment plan.

Fifty Ways to Love your Liver

Keeping your liver in top form is not a difficult task. Some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you stay cleansed and healthy.  First, as mentioned, revamp your diet.

Exercise is also beneficial, as it aids in the regulation of your insulin levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and numerous other metabolic functions where your liver plays a part.

One Liver, Hold the Onions!

Actually, onions and garlic are among the many beneficial foods that help keep your liver cleansed, so add them to your diet, along with the following:

  • Vegetables: particularly leafy greens, spinach, cruciferous veggies, cabbage, beets, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, and the aforementioned garlic and onions.
  • Fruits: especially citrus like grapefruit and lemon; apples and avocados.
  • Alternative or ancient grains: quinoa, millet, spelt, and other low-gluten or gluten-free grains are best.
  • Healthy fats: nuts (walnuts in particular) and nut oils, seeds and seed oils, and olive oil. Avoid corn and soy oils, however.
  • Lean protein: seafood, poultry, eggs, lean pork and grass-fed beef are all good options.
  • Other supplements: green tea, turmeric, dandelion root, milk thistle, B vitamins, and artichoke leaf are all said to offer benefits to the liver.

Is a liver cleanse the right thing for you? Only you and your physician can make that decision. In the meanwhile, making healthy diet and lifestyle choices can only aid you overall.