Sugar and your Brain

My last post told the stories of two women and their experiences getting off of sugar. Each woman had brain issues.  One became irritable and on a short fuse.  The other found she could think better as her brain fog lifted.  She also found her balance improved; very much a brain-coordinated function.

Sugar is an addictive drug. In The Week Magazine article on “Sugar, the New Food Villain” April 14, 2017 they quoted scientist James DiNicolantonio who said “When you look at animal studies comparing sugar to cocaine, even when you get the rats hooked on intravenous cocaine, once you introduce sugar, almost all of them switch to the sugar.”

Going cold turkey means stopping your consumption of sodas, cookies, candies, and processed foods. Many whole-wheat slices of bread have a teaspoon of sugar per slice. I could not believe this quote from the same article: “Heinz tomato ketchup contains twice as much sugar as Coca-Cola.”

Sugar affects your brain in several ways:

Depression is possibly the result of a high-sugar diet. One study reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women with a diet high in added sugar had an increased risk for depression. Taking in high amounts of natural sugars like the ones in fruit was not associated with higher rates of depression. This study included about 70,000 women.

Another effect is decreased cognition.

From Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute:  “Long-term diabetes—either type 1 or type 2—has many consequences for the brain and for neurons in the brain,” says Vera Novak, MD, PhD. High blood glucose levels can affect the brain’s functional connectivity, which links brain regions that share functional properties, and brain matter. It can cause the brain to atrophy or shrink. And it can lead to small-vessel disease, which restricts blood flow in the brain, causing cognitive difficulties and, if severe enough, spurring the development of vascular dementia.”

Dementia is complicated, and there is more than one form of it. Suffice it to say in both animal and human studies high sugar diets seem to cause more inflammation which leads to dementia.

Memory might also be affected by a high sugar diet. Animal studies show the hippocampus is the part of the brain associated with memory. In imagery studies of humans, those with smaller hippocampi have memory deficits.

Click to see the full article from Harvard Medical School here: 

If you have your own story about quitting sugar and its challenges, we would love to hear from you.  If you are having a hard time quitting, consider consulting me. Call my office, 310-289-8430.

Posted in Aging, Food, Stress, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Sugar: The Betrayer

I often post about the problems with eating sugar, especially white cane sugar used in processed foods.  Sugar is an addictive substance and can be very hard to stop cold turkey. Recently, two of my patients stopped eating sugar. To their amazement, they feel much better.  Their stories are quite telling. glass of sugar cubes

The first is a woman in her 40’s. She stopped eating sugar and for the first two weeks, she was irritable and extremely short-tempered.  No more waffles with a mountain of whipped cream.  No more danish for breakfast. No more Starbucks with sweet flavorings. She was rageful with a short fuse. She wondered if kicking heroin was similar. She persevered through these changes, and by the third week she noticed she was sleeping better. An old injury stopped throbbing. She had more energy in the afternoon. Her mood became sunny. Problem-solving at work became easier.

The second patient is a 70-year-old woman. After the first week of eating no sugar at all, she felt renewed.  Her joints stopped hurting. Her brain fog lifted.  Her lower back pain went away. She had more sustained energy. Sleep became wonderful. Her balance in standing and walking improved. The improvement in balance alone is especially important for her safety.

What stands out about these two testimonials is that their sugar habit was suppressing their optimal health.

Are you contemplating stopping sugar and then saying “not now,” or “maybe after that birthday party?” Consider how important your health and your mood are as an incentive for starting today to avoid sugar. Do you have a story? I would be interested to hear your experience.

Posted in brain fog, Digestive, Stress, Toxicity, Uncategorized, Wellness | Tagged , , , , ,

Epidemic! Are gut problems related to this?

Antimicrobial chemicals are used in consumer products to prevent bacterial overgrowth.  Triclosan is used in more than 2000 products such as toothpaste, cosmetics, kitchenware, toys and others.  A study with mice, reported in Science Translational Medicine and reported in the Los Angeles Times Science File last week found that the exposure to triclosan not only increased inflammation in the colon but inceased the risk for colon cancer.  The scientists found that the level of beneficial bacteria in mice fed triclosan were “particularly depleted.” Beneficial bifidobacterium bacteria have anti-inflammatory effects in the gut.  There was suggestive evidence that the triclosan also activated genes that govern cancer growth.

This study was different from previous research, in that the levels of exposure were more similar to what humans experience.

The FDA ordered triclosan to be removed from soaps and sanitizers in 2016.  In December, 2017 it decided that antiseptic products like triclosan and 23 others were not “generally recognized as safe and effective.” This included antibacterial soaps, body washes and fluoride toothpastes.  In other words, if a cosmetic contains triclosan it needs to be included on the ingredient list on the product label.

Triclosan is still prevalent in products like cosmetics, yoga mats, other athletic clothes and gear, children’s toys, kitchenware, even some building materials like carpeting and paint and toothpastes (because it prevents gingivitis).

It affects the gastrointestinal tract and, at high doses has been associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones in some animals. This is very disconcerting.  We are seeing significant increases in hypothyroidism and in gut disorders like SIBO and Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Are these from chemicals like triclosan?

For now, I strongly recommend you avoid it as much as possible.  Read the labels on your consumer products, including your toothpaste!  What more can we do? Let the EPA  and the FDA know you are concerned about these kinds of products and that more testing of their effects needs to occur.  Support organizations that keep watch over government agencies that regulate our lives and the products in our environment.


Posted in chemicals, Digestive, Harmful Cosmetics, Hormones, Toxicity | Tagged , , , , , ,

Ah Choo! Cough – Cough!

Even in Los Angeles, the evenings are relatively cooler. ‘Tis the season for colds, coughs, sniffles and flu.  Three people in the last 10 days have mentioned to me that they have had a cough that would not go away.  They all had a fever and malaise for the first few days and recovered from those symptoms yet the cough continued. (Two had already taken the flu shot.)  What is a person to do?

Here are my recommendations:   Sneezer in his pjs

Wash your hands after touching door handles or shaking hands.

Caution: as tempting as all the sugary foods are this time of year, don’t fall into that trap. Rather, reduce your sugar intake.

Similarly, as tempting as it is to stay up until the wee hours, get a full night’s sleep regularly.  Remember, sleep is when we heal.

Vitamin C: to bowel tolerance.  In other words, just under the amount that causes diarrhea.  This varies to each individual, so you need to test where your level is.  Also, we need even more vitamin C when we are “fighting” something.

Probiotics: At least once per day, every day.  The gastrointestinal tract is lined with lymph nodes which are there to protect us from outside infections.

Vitamin D: 1000 to 5000 iu’s per day.

Vitamin A: At least 10,000 iu’s per day.  At the first sign of illness, increase this to 100,000 iu’s for 3 days.  Then back to the usual dose.

Zinc: 25 to 50 mg per day.  Double this for 3 days at the first sign of illness.  Then back to the usual dose.

Elderberry: in some form.  4 times per day as per the bottle at the beginning of a viral illness.

Nano silver: as Argentyn 23 or Sovereign Silver as needed. Follow the recommendations on the bottle.

Oscillococcinum: 1/3 of a tube 3 times per week (let it dissolve under your tongue).

For those who tolerate it: garlic.  One patient told me she never gets sick when she eats several cloves of roasted garlic every day through the winter

A high quality echinacea also supports the immune system when taken daily.

Many people find using a combination wellness formula very helpful. Most health food stores carry wellness combinations.

These are a good start.

Note: Because of the drought, Southern California is experiencing higher pollen counts. People who have a prolonged cold or cough might actually be suffering from allergies. The high vitamin C dose can begin to alleviate this problem.

Posted in Allergies, Environment, Toxicity, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Headline: Organic Food Linked to Less Cancer

My patients often tell me that organic food is too expensive so they prefer to buy the conventional kind. 

A Los Angeles Times article dated October 28, 2018 reported a study of almost 70,000 French adults over an average of 4.5 years. The statistics showed that the people who ate the most organic foods were “less likely to develop certain kinds of cancer than the people who ate the least.” While there was some criticism of the study, the researchers wrote that the results were such that more studies would be appropriate to validate the results as well as investigate more fully the “potential protective effects” of a diet of organic foods.

The factors that seemed most significant were these:  Pesticides, in particular glyphosate, malathion and diazinon, were detected in lesser amounts in organic food. Rules prohibit synthetic pesticides for organic use. Organic farming generally allows certain soaps and hydrogen peroxide to be used on organic food.

Previous studies have shown that the amount of pesticides in urine or blood diminishes when the subjects ate organic foods regularly.

Of note, the volunteer subjects who most frequently ate organic foods also were more likely to practice other habits that are associated with reduced risk of cancer. These are exercise, stopping smoking, and eating more healthful foods such as vegetables and fruit.  One example which was statistically significant had to do with menopausal breast cancer. The women who ate organically more often were 34% less likely to have menopausal breast cancer.

Organic food eaters were 86% less likely to have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Also those who ate the organic food most often were 76% less likely to get any form of lymphoma.

One of the comments from other scientists was that people should not stop eating conventional fruits and vegetables if they cannot get organic. Previous studies show that eating even conventional kinds, are a way to reduce your risk of cancer.  I recommend eating a variety of vegetables, especially green leafy ones.

Posted in chemicals, Food, Genetically Modified Food, organic, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Do We Have Symptoms?

My philosophy in this article is:  Your body is very intelligent. When something is out of balance or pathologic in your body, you experience symptoms. Symptoms are how your body signals that it needs attention.

What Are Some of the Causes?

  1. Stress*

The World Health Organization has called stress the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century.” Stress places you in “survival mode” and causes imbalances in your nervous system. Some common stress indicators are:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Food cravings
  • Hormonal issues
  • Poor concentration
  • Accelerated aging

*The above list and stress discussion are taken from the book, Changing the Conversation, available at

Chronic, unresolved stress results in physical and emotional disease. Performing stress-relieving exercises, making regular visits to a health practitioner for massage, acupuncture and/or chiropractic treatment are essential to reduce stress and maintain balance.

  1. Intolerances

Any symptom can be caused by an intolerance to something you are eating, breathing or putting on your skin. Your body may have become sensitive to foods, chemicals or inhalants (such as pollen or mold). Through exposure to the offending intolerance, your body may become imbalanced. Symptoms of imbalance are:

  • Headaches
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Foggy thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Digestive issues
  • Urinary frequency
  • Bedwetting
  • Irritability
  • Depression

To address intolerances, you need to identify the offending agent through blood test, electrodermal testing or kinesiology.

  1. Nutrient Deficiency

A common reason for developing an intolerance or sensitivity is nutrient deficiency. Poor diet and poor eating habits are common and particularly present in teenagers and the elderly. Excessive exercise without nutrient replacement also can cause nutrient deficiency which may require modification in your exercise routine. Everyone can benefit from consultation with a qualified nutritionist, health coach or knowledgeable practitioner to learn how to eat and what supplements are helpful in addressing any deficiency.

  1. Toxicity

Heavy metals, chemical exposure or hidden infections (for example, hidden in dental sources) can place a major burden on your body. Sinus infections, urinary tract infections or parasite infestations can be difficult to identify as symptoms are not always obvious. Toxicities, infections and parasite infestations need professional analysis and appropriate treatment.

As that famous writer Anonymous said: “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”

This blog is based on one of my chapters in “Your Guide to Staying Healthy in a Challenging World.” For more information about the book, contact my office at or call 310-289-8430.


Posted in Aging, Allergies, brain fog, chemicals, Digestive, Environment, Food, Genetically Modified Food, Stress, Toxicity, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Summer Caution

Ah, the days of summer and the enjoyment of a cool dip in the pool.  However, where are you swimming and what is in that pool or hot tub?  If it is a public swimming pool, you need to be concerned about organisms, viz. parasites, bacteria and viruses.  The Centers for Disease Control warns the public about them because they can cause severe gastrointestinal disease and diarrhea.public-swimming-horde.jpg

58% of the cases reported are caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium which can survive even in a pool that is well-maintained.   A small number of swimmers contract pneumonia and others contract a flu-like syndrome from problem organisms.

Disinfectants, when they work, can take days to be effective.

What is a person to do?  Not swallowing any of the water is the main recommendation!  Check to see if a public pool’s inspection scores are online or at the site.

Pool supply stores and big box stores sell inexpensive test strips, which you can use to  test for chlorine and pH.  If levels are unsafe, as indicated on the CDC website,  don’t swim there.



Posted in Cryptospridium, Digestive, Environment, Pools and hot tubs, Toxicity, Wellness