Category Archives: Health & Lifestyle

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After Surgery

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After Surgery

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After SurgeryUC Davis researchers are urging end-of- life patients to discuss their conditions prior to consenting to surgery. Those who have advanced cancer and undergo surgery are far more likely to endure long hospital stays and readmissions, referrals to extended care facilities and death.

A study that was published in PLOS One highlights the dilemma that surgeons and physicians face when they have a terminally ill cancer patient that has been diagnosed with the conditions that may benefit from surgery, and have the need for substantive discussions about the risks of surgery and implications on future quality of life. Even though the physicians consult with these patients for acute surgical conditions and advanced cancer, it leaves them to weigh the risks and benefits of surgical intervention. It’s very important to really examine the patient’s risks before surgery is proposed, and to completely understand their goals and wishes for their remaining days.

A study conducted by author Sara B. Bateni examined the cases of about 18,000 patients with stage 4 cancers and the option of surgery. The cases were then compared with other patients who had similar characteristics such as age, gender and functional status before surgery, and had undergone similar operations but did not have stage 4 cancer. The patients with stage 4 cancer spent more time in the hospital, were readmitted to the hospital more frequently, were more often referred to another facility, such a skilled nursing unit, and had higher mortality within 30 days of their procedures than their counterparts, who did not have late-stage cancer.

Choosing a more comfortable end-of- life stage, to me, would be achieving less pain and able to enjoy family and friends until the Lord chose to take me home. To me, surgery at this late stage would only cause more stress and pain to the patient as well as the family, and who wants to spend that time in the hospital rather than a comfortable place?

In conclusion of the study, Bateni and her co-authors suggested that surgeons should to talk with their terminally ill cancer patients about their end-of- life goals, palliative care and the risks and benefits of surgery. There are definite potential surgical interventions. Their plan now is to analyze the outcomes of stage 4 cancer patients with conditions that are considered operable, but who choose not to have surgery. After having been the support person for a woman with pancreatic cancer undergoing chemo treatments, my decision for treatment would be entirely different if I were to be diagnosed with any stage 4 cancers. What about the alternative of building the body and immune system before making any chemo or surgery decisions?

Everyone must choose his or her own decisions regarding treatment when faced with any type of stage 4 cancer. No two people are going to have the same goals, so if you or a loved one is faced with this decision, be sure to investigate all options and choose accordingly. These decisions are critical, and never easy on the patient, friends or family.
–Dr Fredda Branyon

Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

The Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center at Montefiore Hospital hosted a hilarity session for the cancer patients, some even with advanced stages of the illness. Fox News published an article in November of 2008, revealing the results of humor on the cancer patients.

This was the hospital’s monthly “Strength Through Laughter” therapy. This is only one of several types of laughter or humor therapies being offered by medical facilities around the country for patient diagnosed with cancer or other chronic diseases. These programs all feature joke sessions, funny movies and even clown appearances. They are still waiting on a verdict on whether laughter plays a roll in healing, according to the American Cancer Society and other medical experts, but they say it does reduce stress and promotes relaxation by lowering the patients’ blood pressure, improving breathing and increasing muscle function.

About two dozen patients at the hospital even arrived in costume to “spook cancer” one day before Halloween. A breast cancer patient now in remission reported that the session makes her feel better. Incidentally, she came disguised as a security officer and said she felt healthy when she laughed. A warmth was generated among the group by the laughs that was palpable, particularly when this same lady changed into an angel costume and went around offering a red rose and a hug or kiss to each of the other participants. This woman truly is an angel!

The senior oncology social worker and facilitator, Gloria Nelson, started the session five years previous to help cancer patients focus on living, instead of dying. She also reported on their amazing strength even though it’s a constant challenge of the fear of it coming back, and how to go on living knowing you have cancer. Each time they laughed, it was like kicking cancer right out the door, while taking control themselves.

Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday review wrote in his book “Anatomy of an illness”, claiming that a combination of laughter and vitamins cured him of a potentially fatal illness. He made a discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect. Some people are so overwhelmed with their diagnosis that they are unable to participate in laughter and other complementary therapies, even though they can help to relieve the anxiety brought on by the disease.

Some patients practice laughter sounds like “he-he, ha-ha and ho-ho”, and greet each other in this regard in lieu of jokes, and engage in games until laughter overtakes them.

A big challenge of being diagnosed with cancer is preserving your dignity. Especially when told to don a gown where the back half is missing and everyone’s examining you and asking about bodily functions.

The Rx Laughter’s participation in two of the large medical studies discovered that patients who watched funny videos during certain painful procedures were more relaxed and tolerated the pain longer. Cancer patients also had less pain and slept better after such entertainment. Any comic entertainment can get us through very stressful times and save us the cost of psychotherapy that many people cannot afford. Maybe we all need to use this humor activity to lessen the stress in our own everyday lives.
–Dr Fredda Branyon<

Inherited Salt Perception

Inherited Salt Perception

Some people who find they have an enhanced bitter taste perception are almost twice as likely to consume too much sodium as those with less acute tasting ability. Gene variations that allow people to taste bitter more intensely may also taste salt more intensely and enjoy it much more, which can lead to sodium intake, according to researchers.

This inherited difference in taste perceptions may help to explain why some people tend to eat more salt than what is recommended. This is offered through a preliminary research that was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Lead author Jennifer Smith, B.S.N., R.N., a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing said “Genetic factors in taste perceptions that influence taste aren’t necessarily obvious to people, but they can impact heart health by influencing the foods they select.”

According to the authors, previous research has shown that people who have one of the two most common variants of a gene (TAS2R38) that enhances bitter taste perception, are likely to avoid heart-healthy foods with bitter properties, such as broccoli and dark leafy greens. They sought to determine if that bitter-enhancing genetic variation would also influence other food choices. The diet habits of 407 people (average age of 51, 73% female) who have two or more heart disease risk factors and were participating in a cardiovascular risk-reduction study in rural Kentucky were analyzed.

When those with one or two of the TAS2R38 gene variants that enhances bitter taste perception was compared to those without this variant, they found people who taste bitterness more strongly were nearly twice (1.9 times) as likely to eat more than the minimum recommended daily limit of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum reduction of sodium to no more than 2,300 mg a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day. It is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure that can lead to heart attacks and strokes by consuming too much sodium. This excessive sodium is from processed, pre-packed and restaurant foods.

It was also found that the study participants who had the bitter-enhancing gene variants were no more likely to consume more of the recommended daily amounts of sugar saturated fats or alcohol, which can have a negative impact on heart health. This research does suggest that those who taste bitter more intensely may also taste salt more intensely and enjoy it more, which in turn increases their sodium intake. They may also use salt to mask the bitter taste of foods and again, consume more sodium.

Perhaps some day the information about genetic influences on taste perception might help people select heart-healthy foods they can enjoy rather than to try to fight against their inborn preferences. Identifying which gene variant a person has might help them to make better food choices through education that is personally tailored to them.

Other factors as age, weight, smoking status and the use of blood pressure medications was taken into consideration in the analysis. The study participants were mostly white, but the results are likely to be similar in other ethnic groups because more than 90% of the U.S. population has one of the two gene variants. The research will continue to work and will include an ethnically diverse group of participants.

The study was funded by the University of Kentucky Center for the Biologic Basis of Oral/Systemic Diseases, the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institutes of Health Resources and Services Administration.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Vetiver Oil The Soothing Grass Oil

Vetiver Oil: The Soothing Grass Oil

Vetiver oil is also known as khus oil and is a lesser-known plant oil offering a heavy, earthy fragrance that is reminiscent of patchouli, but with a touch of lemon. This oil is believed to give a grounding, calming and stabilizing result, and provides a range of essential oil uses and benefits.

The original name for vetiver oil is Chrysopogon zizanicides and is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family and native to India. This plant is known as khus in Western and Northern India. The name is derived from a Tamil word that means “hatched up” and grows up to 4.9 feet tall with tall stems and long, thin, rigid leaves.

The roots have particularly been used since ancient times. It is extensively utilized in perfumery for the body, room fresheners and coolers, as well as soaps, cosmetics and oils. It can also be a flavoring agent in beverages, sorbets and other foodstuffs.

Besides having an aromatic effect on the mind for grounding, calming and balancing, other uses are as antiseptic, antispasmodic, immune stimulating, warming and sedative to the nervous system. It also stimulates the circulatory system.

Benefits of vetiver oil are:
➢ Helps enhance libido and awaken sexual desire
➢ Helps speed up eradication of scars and other skin marks
➢ Helps provide relief from all types of inflammation
➢ Assists in rejuvenating the body and helps boost immunity
➢ Helps provide relief to insomnia patients
➢ Has antiseptic properties
➢ Helps improve and maintain good nerve health
➢ Helps heal wounds by promoting growth of new tissues

Some of the benefits of those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, absentmindedness, acne, arthritis, ADHD, depression, joint stiffness, menstrual cramps, mental fatigue, sore feet, tendonitis and vitiligo are also found in the use of vetiver oil.

The essential oils are extremely potent, so it is advised it should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Start with 1 drop to 1 to 3 teaspoons of carrier oil. Use caution when increasing the essential oil. The oil works in vapor therapy and can address nervous complaints, dispel anger and irritability and relieve insomnia this way. Blend it in a massage oil or diluted in the bath. It can assist with mental and physical exhaustion, nervous complaints, rheumatism and arthritic pain and skin healing, when used this way. It can also be used in a cream or lotion in moisturizing and nourishing skin. It will benefit dry, irritated and dehydrated skin and helps to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks, but NOT recommended to be taken internally.

Vetiver oil is considered non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-toxic, and therefore is generally safe. Pregnant women should not take the oil and be sure to use extreme caution and consult a doctor before using it on children. Conduct a sensitivity patch test on the skin, prior to use.

Any possible side effects of vetiver oil are not known, according WebMD. However, it is unsafe for breastfeeding women to take vetiver, and might cause a miscarriage for pregnant women.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Cancer-Promoting Protein Levels

Cancer-Promoting Protein Levels

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising frequently can lower blood protein associated with promoting cancer development. There was a study published in the journal Cancer Research that found a reduction in the levels of a blood protein involved in angiogenesis when overweight and obese women experienced weight loss through their diet and exercise.

The process by which damaged blood vessels are repaired and new blood vessels formed is angiogenesis. Both the healthy cells and cancer cells cannot survive without oxygen and nutrients. Signals are sent out called angiogenic factors, and these encourage new blood vessels to grow and cancer cell to grow into a tumor. Without a blood supply, tumors are unable to grow beyond a few millimeters in size, but once cancer cells stimulate growth of a blood vessel, they can develop quickly.

Principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., explained that researchers have suggested that preventing angiogenesis can prevent tumor cell growth. She also concluded that although this angioprevention may work as a strategy to prevent cancer in healthy individuals, the drugs involved in blocking this process have potential adverse effects that restrict their use in preventing cancer.

They took blood samples from 439 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women who were considered healthy and sedentary and aged 50-75. These are the four groups they were split into:

✓ Calorie restriction diet group with intake of no more than 2,000 kcal per day that included less than 30% of fat calories.
✓ Aerobic exercise group performing 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week.
✓ Combined diet and exercise group.
✓ The control group with no intervention.

The results were that after 12 months of intervention, the women in the diet, exercise, and combined diet and exercise groups, lost an average of 8.5, 2.4 and 10.8% of body weight, respectively. This weight loss was higher than the average of 0.8% in the control group.

After 12 months the participants in the diet and combined diet and exercise groups had significantly lower levels of the angiogenesis-related proteins than the control group. In the aerobic exercise group, these lower levels were not observed.

The ending results of the study show that weight loss is a safe and effective method of improving the angiogenic profile in healthy individuals. A trend was seen in the reduction in angiogenesis-related proteins that showed the higher the amount of weight loss the women experienced, the greater the reduction in protein levels.

Although exercise is important to prevent weight gain and maintain weight loss, exercise alone does not have a significant effect on the amount of weight lost by an individual. Making lifestyle changes to reduce weight can lower the risk factors for cancer.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

High-Fat Diet Starves Cancer

High-Fat Diet Starves Cancer

Dr. Otto Warburg won the Novel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. How does the metabolic inflexibility of cancer cells differ from healthy cells? Energy can be produced by a cell in two ways: aerobically in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm, which generates lactic acid and is a toxic byproduct. In the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid known as The Warburg Effect.

The prime cause of cancer was the reversion of energy production from aerobic energy generation to a more primitive form of energy production, anaerobic fermentation, according to Warburg. He believed you had to disrupt the energy production cycle that is feeding the tumor to reverse cancer, and that by reverting back to aerobic energy metabolism you could effectively “starve” it into remission. Before his death in 1970 he was unable to conclusively prove it and, sadly, his theories were never accepted by conventional science – until now. A long and detailed article was recently published in the New York Times about the history of modern cancer research, including Warburg’s theories on cancer.

Cancer cells are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar anaerobically. Without sugar, most cancer cells simply lack the metabolic flexibility to survive and Warburg’s effect is estimated to occur in up to 80% of cancers. When scientists turned their attention toward genetics, Warburg’s theories vanished. In 1953 cancer research began to primarily focus on genetics.

The Cancer Genome Atlas project came to an astonishing conclusion that the genetic mutations are actually far more random than previously suspected. Scientists have discovered that a number of genes known to promote cancer by influencing cell division, including a gene called AKT, regulates cells’ consumption of nutrients. Certain genes do appear to play a role in cancer cells’ overconsumption of sugar.

A Korean biochemist named Young Hee Ko Ph.D., working with Peter Pedersen, a professor of biological chemistry and oncology at Johns Hopkins, made a remarkable discovery in the early 2000’s that offers a great deal of hope for cancer patients. Ko continues her work in the field of cellular metabolism in cancer and neurodegenerative disease at the University of Maryland BioPark. They noticed that when cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, they have to produce more pores, called monocarboxylic acid transfer phosphates, to let lactic acid out, or else the cancer cell will die from the inside out. A compound called 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) might be able to slip into the pore that’s allowing the lactic acid to be expelled from the cancer cell, preventing the lactic acid from spilling out. Her finding was correct. Therefore, 3BP melts tumors away by preventing the lactic acid from leaking out of the cancer cell, thereby killing it from the inside.

The foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect, and involves radically reducing the non-fiber carbohydrates in your diet and increasing high-quality fats. Without doing this, other treatments including 3BP, will not work. When you go from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells really have to struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can’t use oxygen to burn fuel. Healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lower oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. Healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are “starved” into oblivion.

Avoid all processed and bottled oil with the exception of third-party certified olive oils, as 80% are adulterated with vegetable oils. Do not exceed 5% of your calories as omega-6 fats. Healthy fats are olives and olive oil, coconuts and coconut oil, real butter from grass-fed organic milk, raw nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, avocados, sesame, cumin, pumpkin and kemp seeds, grass-fed meats, lard, tallow and ghee and animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Choose high-fiber carbs. Optimizing mitochondrial function is the key for cancer prevention and treatment.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Connecting the Dots: What Your Acne Breakout Is Trying To Tell You

Connecting the Dots: What Your Acne Breakout Is Trying To Tell You

Pimples are impurities that you want to wish away. You probably perfected the art of covering them up, but underneath the layer of concealer, they’re still there. If you want to say goodbye to acne breakouts for good, you need to listen to your body and let it tell you what’s happening on this inside. 

Take a closer look at where you’re breaking out. A theory called “face mapping” suggests that where your acne shows up can give you insights about your internal health. Keep in mind that having a breakout doesn’t automatically suggest that you have a serious health condition. But if you have chronic or cystic acne that just won’t go away, your body might be trying to tell you that something’s wrong.

Connecting the Dots: What Your Acne Breakout Is Trying To Tell You

img c/o pixabay

What Is Face Mapping?

Baszicare Chapman Lee, Chinese scholar and co-founder of his skincare line, explains that face mapping is the reflection of the body’s organs on each part of the face. By observing the face’s complexion — from texture to dullness and color to breakouts — we can determine what’s going on inside our bodies.

A Reflection of Internal Health Problems

Here are five acne-prone areas of the face that may want to say something about your health:

  1. Forehead: Breakouts in this region may indicate that you’re experiencing poor digestion. It can also suggest liver problems, stress, or irregular sleeping habits. Using bitter herbs or digestive enzymes like bromelain and papaya before each meal can aid in faster digestion. If you suspect liver issues, drinking hot lemon water in the morning can help.
  2. Between the brows: Greasy meals from local fast food restaurants may be the culprit here. Sticking with healthy choices on top of avoiding too much alcohol is key to clear this area from breakouts. If you find pimples between the brows after a night out, your liver might be telling you that you had consumed too much grease and alcohol.
  1. Cheeks: Patchiness or discoloration on the cheeks can indicate poor metabolism and low absorption of nutrients. Additionally, the cheeks link with lung functions, so it’s important to pay close attention to your breathing. Allergies that affect the respiratory system are also root causes of acne breakouts on the cheek.
  1. Chin: The chin is most likely where hormonal imbalances and stress will make their presence known, which means women are more liable to experience breakouts in this area during their menstrual cycle. Reducing stress, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and exercising will help heal blemishes around the chin. This area is also linked to the small intestine. Diet changes consisting of fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference.
  1. Nose: The emergence of swollen acne and bulbous changes to the nose signify high blood pressure. Diet modification is essential to remedy breakouts in this region. Avoiding energy drinks and excess sodium, as well as eating more fruits and veggies promote low blood pressure and excellent heart health.

Before you begin obsessing over the location of your blemishes, ensure that poor hygiene or skin infections aren’t causing the problem. Always maintain a regular skincare routine, but remember that some breakouts can be treated from the inside.

Really, fake blueberries?

This delightful blueberry fruit of indigo hue and juicy sweetness grows on perennial bushes and are native to North America.  The fruit typically grows throughout the summer, depending on the region.  Blueberries are a most wonderful addition to pies, muffins, cobblers and many, many other fruity desserts as well as in breakfast foods.  Delicious jams and jellies can be made and placed in jars to use at a later date, or the blueberries can be frozen.  They are a great and versatile fruit to keep in the freezer for later when craving that sweet treat.

Other than that delicious taste and versatility, consider their ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value.  This is how well the food protects the body from free radicals when it is eaten.  Blueberries as well other fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that protect them from pest, fungus and diseases.

When we humans consume these foods, our bodies receive the protection that the plant has already cultivated for itself, and then converts that into antioxidants in fighting against the damaging effect of free radicals.  Eating blueberries not only satisfies cravings for sweet, juicy fruits, but will also provide the immune system with defenses to keep the body function properly and protect us against disease and aging.

If you intend to reap the benefits of consuming blueberries, you need to be sure you are eating REAL blueberries.  Many products on the market profess their products are real blueberries, but when investigated there are actually little to NO blueberries in the products.  Are those blueberry muffins you pick up on the shelf really what you expect, or could they could be an imposter?  The ingredients may be called blueberry bits or blueberry crunchlets, and that really means a combination of unhealthy and artificial ingredients like sugar, corn cereal, modified food starch, hydrogenated vegetable oil and artificial flavors and colorings.

They may very well look and taste likeblueberries, but could not be farther on the nutritional spectrum from real blueberries.  Check the ingredients on those packages of cereals, pancake mixes, pop-tarts, etc. to see if this is the case with the product you are considering.

These “fake” blueberries can have ill effects on our health, but companies have loopholes in order to promote their products containing blueberries.  This marketing deception has been going on for years as the food industry has a huge amount of power over policies regarding food, and it’s profitability is the number one priority.  The blueberry is a popular fruit and touted as a “superfood” because of the high antioxidant properties.  This has also increased their cost, but organic companies are paying the higher prices in order to maintain the integrity of their products rather than to use the chemical blueberry imposters.  Many people avoid the organic products because of the additional expense.  There is also the factor that large amounts of sugar and sugar derivatives are in these processed foods and the consumers become addicted to them.

By knowing what ingredients to look for on a label, you can pass on those fake blueberries at the store and reach for the genuine fruit.  Avoid these fake blueberries by opting for the fresh ones and add them to your cereal, oatmeal, muffins and so on by yourself.  Look for those fresh blueberries at your local farmer’s market in the summer and stock up.  Freeze these blueberries to use at a later date to insure you are getting the “genuine” product!

I LOVE blueberries in almost anything, and the blueberry muffins are a must for my family.  I think it might be wise to check those labels on the frozen blueberries too, and be sure they are of the organic variety.  Enjoy these fruits that are high antioxidants while adding that terrific sweet taste to your baking!

–Dr Fredda Branyon


Stay Sharp

The old saying “use it or lose it” is true. If you stretch your brain it will keep your mind sharp. Keeping mentally more active and doing challenging activities, you will more likely stay sharp. Some suggestions to achieve this are to read a book, go to a lecture, listen to the radio, play a game, visit a museum and learn a second language.

Researchers at Duke University created exercises they call “neurobics”, which challenge your brain in thinking new ways. Use your five senses to learn and exercise your mind. Substitute your left hand periodically if you are right handed. When going to work, use a new or different route. Can you recognize foods by the taste alone? Try it and challenge your brain.

Take advantage of walking or swimming and keep your heart rate up. They aren’t sure why but the physical activity might increase your blood supply to the brain and improve those lines between the brain cells. This can help your memory, imagination and your ability to plan tasks.

Choosing healthy foods that are good for your heart and waistline will also build brainpower. If you are obese in middle age, you will be twice as likely to have dementia later on. Keep that cholesterol and blood pressure down. Bake or grill foods and use “good” fats while eating colorful fruits and veggies.

Alcohol can have long-term effects that will, over a long period of time, shrink the frontal lobes of your brain. Once that damage is done, there is no reversing it. Substitute that soda for fruit juice or good old water.

Playing video games will train your brain, just like playing an instrument early in life gives you clearer thinking when you’re older. Increase and improve your movement, memory, planning, and fine motor skills.

Music helps tremendously to keep your brain functioning, especially playing an instrument that boosts mental functions that have nothing to do with music. The memory and ability to plan along with greater hand coordination helps, and it’s fun!

Meeting and talking with others also sharpens your brain, no matter if it’s at work, home or just out in the community. All social activities will improve your mind so volunteer, take a class or just call a friend.

That nasty stress will hurt your gray matter that contains cells that store and process information. Ways to chill out are by taking deep breaths, finding something that makes you laugh, listen to music, practice yoga or meditation and finding someone to talk to.

Sleep is very important to the brain so be sure to get enough every night, especially before and after you learn something new. When you are tired, it’s difficult to focus on things and if you sleep after learning something, your brain files away the new info to be recalled at a later time.

As we get older we may not remember things as easily as we used to and this is normal. Write things down, use the calendar on your computer or phone, focus on one task at a time and learn new things one step at a time. I always believed and heard in the past that as an older adult the mind is kind of like a computer. There is so much information stored there after all those years it just needs to sort through that data to find what you are looking for. Eventually, it does come to the front!

My worst thing is recalling names, but this has always been a problem for me, so nothing there is really new, just worsened. Repeat a person’s name when talking to them or invent a funny image or rhyme to link with their name. This might help in recalling this information a little faster. Remember, we older adults are all in the same boat!

–Dr Fredda Branyon


Spices to lower blood sugar

Did you know that some common spices that may help to lower the blood sugar.  Prescription meds are becoming more and more expensive and dangerous, so isn’t it time to find some alternative products that might help us in managing our blood sugar levels without breaking us?  There are millions of adults who are diagnosed with diabetes each year, with the number expected to grow over the next decade.  Even though adapting a lifestyle filled with physical activity, moderate food portions and low consumption of sugar, we can still watch the diet and use some alternative options as with the consumption of herbs and spices to control this condition.

I am going to list some of the suggestions in lowering your blood sugar through spices, but before making any lifestyle changes, be sure to consult with your doctor and discuss your health goals and desires.

  • Cinnamon is a common spice often used with sugar.  A 2011 study on glucose levels found that whole cinnamon and its extract were shown to significantly reduce the fasting blood glucose levels.
  • Garlic extract, in a 2012 study, reports that its regular use led to a significant reduction in blood glucose levels.
  • Avocado extract contains monounsaturated fatty acids as the main ingredient, which is the good source of fats we need.  These fats have proven to improve fasting blood glucose levels and to reduce insulin resistance.
  • Almond extracts similar to the avocado, nuts and almonds that contain a high level of healthy fats. Try a handful of almonds as a snack between meals, but remember that nuts do contain a lot of calories per serving.
  • Dried blueberries/blueberry extract is recommended by many nutrition specialists, for various health issues. With their dark color it means they provide antioxidants and other compounds you do not find with other colored fruits and vegetables. They are known for improving insulin sensitivity. Blueberries are available in powder form as well.
  • Ginger will sooth your stomach and digestion, even though it is not known for its blood glucose leveling properties. Check with your doctor though, because taking ginger and medication could cause your body’s glucose to drop too low.
  • Turmeric is a common spice used in curry powder, which contains curcumin.  They have both been found to reduce hemoglobin A1C levels.
  • Cherries are loaded with flavor and anthocyanins. Women who consumed diets that were high in anthocyanins from cherries, had less systemic inflammation and a marked improvement in insulin resistance.
  • Cayenne is spicy hot but can help melt away glucose in the blood after a meal. The blood sugar can be reduced and lowered up to two hours after a meal of eating cayenne spice.  Be careful if you are sensitive to spicy foods.
  • Oregano is one of the favorite Italian spices and glucosides within the oregano leaves can help to reduce and lower blood sugar at a significant rate.
  • Marjoram is a dried herb that is used in many dishes and is high in polyphenols. These are compounds that are important for controlling blood glucose levels.
  • Sage can have an important glucose lowering effect similar to the effects of metformin among diabetics.

If you are striving to keep your blood sugar within the appropriate limits, try using these spices and herbs as often as recommended, and possibly prevent or reduce the use of medications in controlling your A1C.  Because cancer thrives on sugar, lowering your blood sugar may help protect you from cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon