• Gut Health
  • Heart Health
    • Heart Health

      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

  • Skin Health
    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

  • Brain Health
    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

  • About Brenda
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    • Pet Health

      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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Nutrition is Essential for Good Mental Health

Filed in Diet, Mental Health | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/09/2015


Proper diet and nutrition provide the building blocks for optimal health. This is also true for mental health. In a recent paper published in The Lancet Psychiatry Today, researchers stated that, as with other medical conditions, the field of psychiatry and public health should recognize and embrace diet and nutrition as important contributors to mental health.

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology,” Jerome Sarris, PhD, lead author. “In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health.”

The researchers recommend nutrient-based prescription of those nutrients that have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins, choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids when they cannot be consumed in sufficient amounts from the diet.

Diet during pregnancy and through childhood is a crucial part of incorporating diet and nutrition into mental health care, note the authors. Early-life nutrition and deficiencies are emerging as a significant contributor to poor mental health status in children and adolescents.

“It’s time for clinicians to consider diet and additional nutrients as part of the treating package to manage the enormous burden of mental ill health,” noted Sarris.

I agree. Hopefully more doctors in the mental health field get the message.

Eat Organic to Reduce Pesticide Exposure

Filed in Environmental Toxins, Organic | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/06/2015


The best way to reduce pesticide exposure—especially when it comes to organophosphate pesticides, which are some of the most common pesticides in use—is to eat organic foods. A recent study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal supports this notion.

Researchers analyzed dietary organophosphate pesticide exposure of over 4,500 people from six cities in the United States. They found that among people who were eating similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower pesticide levels than those eating conventionally grown produce.

“For most Americans, diet is the primary source of organophosphate pesticide exposure,” said Cynthia Curl, PhD. “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.”

The researchers were able to predict pesticide exposure levels based on the amount and type of produce each participant consumed. “The next step is to use these exposure predictions to examine the relationship between dietary exposure to pesticides and health outcomes, including neurological and cognitive endpoints,” Curl noted.

She recommended, as I do, eating organic versions of the foods highest in pesticide levels, as identified by the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list.

Changes in Gut Microbiome Precede Development of Type 1 Diabetes

Filed in Diabetes, Human Microbiome | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/04/2015


Type 1 diabetes involves the inability of beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections and carefully monitor their food intake to properly regulate blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed during childhood in children who are genetically predisposed to the disease. In a recent study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers followed 33 infants who were genetically predisposed to type 1 diabetes. Out of these 33 children, a handful went on to develop the disease.

From birth to age three the researchers collected data on the composition of the gut microbiome of these children. They found a 25 percent decrease in community diversity, or the number of species, one year prior to diagnosis, suggesting that a decrease in gut microbial diversity may trigger the onset of the disease.

“This study is unique because we have taken a cohort of children at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes and then followed what changes in the microbiome tip the balance toward progression to the disease,” said Ramnik Xavier, MD, PhD. Another author called the study “a compelling piece of evidence pointing toward a direct role of the microbiome in type 1 diabetes.”

The researchers noted a decrease in bacterial species known to help regulate gut health and an increase in potentially harmful bacteria known to promote inflammation. This gut imbalance, or dysbiosis, is common among many health conditions, and research shows that it may be the trigger that leads to many chronic diseases.

More studies are needed to determine whether type 1 diabetes can be prevented or treated by making modifications to the gut microbiota. The positive results of this study will certainly spur more research in this area. I will keep you posted as I learn more.

Common Pesticide Linked to Increase in ADHD

Filed in Children, Environmental Toxins, Mental Health | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/02/2015


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 11 percent of children aged four to 17—that’s 6.4 million children diagnosed as of 2011. Boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. While there are certain hereditary factors that make some children more likely to develop ADHD more than others, environmental factors are also thought to play an important role.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), researchers discovered that exposure to the pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin while in utero and through lactation was linked to the development of several features of ADHD in an animal model. Dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, attention deficits, and impulsive-like behavior were observed.

“Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including exposures to pesticides that we should be examining in more detail,” noted Jason Richardson, PhD.

Male mice were more affected than female mice in the study, similar to what is seen in children. The ADHD behaviors continued through adulthood even long after the pesticide exposure was no longer detected, highlighting the potential long-term effects of pesticide exposure.

The researchers then analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and found that children with higher levels of pyrethroid pesticide metabolites in their urine were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, supporting the findings of the animal study. The authors caution that young children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to pesticide exposure. “We need to make sure these pesticides are being used correctly and not unduly expose those who may be at a higher risk,” said Richardson.