Monday, February 27, 2017

Further Discussion About Indirect Insulin Resistance & Gluten-Mediated Ataxia

What is indirect insulin resistance?

Insulin is the blood sugar regulating and fat-storing hormone secreted by your pancreas.  Insulin opens the channels in cell membranes to allow glucose in, to be used as energy.  When cells are insulin resistant, they don't "listen" to insulin, and glucose cannot get into the cell.  You feel tired/low energy and usually eat or drink something sugary and/or caffeine containing.  This in turn worsens the situation, because more sugar and cortisol spiking caffeine only create more insulin resistance.  But where does the circulating glucose go? It gets turned into triglycerides, a form of fat.  In this article, I mention indirect insulin resistance.  Studies show that saturated animal fat gets into the cells and blocks the insulin receptors from the inside, creating indirect insulin resistance, but that unsaturated vegetable fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds to do not. Coconut oil and cocoa butter do contain some saturated fat, but they are short-chain saturated fats and do not have the same insulin receptor clogging tendency that animal fats do.

What is gluten-mediated ataxia?  

Ataxia is uncoordinated movement such as walking and speaking. How can it be gluten mediated? In gluten sensitivity, the immune system makes antibodies against the proteins found in gluten, which can then trigger a cascade of immune events.  Through molecular mimicry, the similarity of certain amino acid sequences in gluten match or are very similar to the amino acid sequences in an enzyme called Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase (GAD) which exists within specialized (Purkinje) cells within the cerebellum. The cerebellum is in charge of coordination, balance, and calming the brain. GAD Autoantibodies will then cause the immune system to attack Purkinje cells. Over time, the gait (walking), fine hand movements, and the voice can become uncoordinated due to the loss of these important cerebellar functions. To summarize: if you’re sensitive to gluten, eating it can cause an auto immune attack on your cerebellum, leading to loss of coordination and anxiety.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bio-Hacks to Combat Stress

Here are a few of my favorite “Bio-Hacks”* to combat stress that are simple and perhaps easy to do if you’ve got the right ‘tude…A Bio-Hack is a way of modulating your epigenome...why bother? These lifestyle choices largely influence how your DNA is expressed by turning on healthy genes and silencing unhealthy genes.

Never coffee on empty.  Not only is the histamine forming action of coffee rough on the delicate stomach lining (gastritis), but the adrenalin surge one gets from caffeine on top of a low blood sugar state (being on empty) causes a release of glycogen (stored sugar). If it’s a big release, blood sugar spikes, causing insulin to surge and when glucose can’t be absorbed quickly enough by the cells for energy (insulin resistance) the glucose is then stored as fat.  This is a simplified explanation. Secret empowering tip: this is the caffeinated American way that is pushing nearly all of us in the direction of pre-diabetes/diabesity...and by daily making this small switch, you literally dial the process back.

During the Autumn and Winter, go to bed one hour earlier.  There are myriad good things that sleeping in the hours before midnight do for your adrenal gland health, your circadian rhythm, leptin/ghrelin balance (and therefore endocrine system/waistline).  I know, I difficult to do. However, for those who are willing to exercise a little self mastery to implement this highly beneficial habit, amazing clarity, double efficiency and productivity happen due to your properly restored vitality the next morning. Insider's tip: I put a timer on my modem and I cannot access internet after 10:30PM. This has been just the push I need to not do "just one more little thing."

Gluten and Mood: it just keeps getting worse! All kidding aside, emerging evidence about gluten mediated auto immunity against the cerebellum reveal the mechanism for gluten's contribution to anxiety, depression, and loss of coordination as we mature. More on this topic coming soon. The upshot, being 100% gluten and oat free is well worth it and easier than ever...for a calmer, happier mood during the festivities of the Season.  Why not take on the challenge of creating a GF Holiday that is still totally delicious?

Bone Broth and the Gut: one of the most universally healing substances to the gut: bone broth. It contains collagen and glycosaminoglycans that specifically heal the gut lining. Now that many of us will have the carcass of our organic roasted turkey leftover, relax the day after and make this bone broth. You can freeze it and use it in soup bases or as a nourishing consommé throughout the's the Turkey Bone Broth Recipe I use, adapted from Cook's Illustrated.