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How Excess Weight Causes Inflammation

An obese person with high blood levels of C3 (a marker of inflammation) has three times the chance of being diabetic as an obese person who has low levels. People who are overweight but do not yet have diabetes have low levels in their blood of markers of inflammation {C-reactive protein (CRP), Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Complement 3, PAI-1, IL-6 and elevated white blood cell counts} and higher levels of markers that prevent inflammation {adiponectin} (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, published online August 27, 213). The authors collected blood samples on 2,047 Irish men and women, ages 45 to 74, who were both obese and non-obese (BMI cut-off of 30 kg/m2).

Dangers of Inflammation

Obesity turns on your immunity to cause inflammation that prevents the cells of your body from responding to insulin (insulin resistance) to cause metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart attacks. This study suggests that all obese people should do everything to lose weight. Those who fail to lose weight should get blood tests for these markers of inflammation. Those who have high levels of these markers of inflammation should be told that their obesity has already prevented their bodies from responding to insulin and therefore they are at high risk for premature death from diabetes and heart attacks.

Your immunity is good for you. It helps prevent germs from invading and destroying your body. However if your immunity stays active all the time (inflammation), it attacks you and destroys your body. It can attack your joints to cause arthritis, your kidneys to cause kidney failure, your heart to cause a heart attack, and your liver to cause diabetes.

How A Normal Liver Protects You

Your liver is supposed to control blood sugar levels. More than 98 percent if the energy for your brain comes from the sugar in your bloodstream. If your blood sugar level drops suddenly, you can fall down unconscious. To prevent blood sugar levels from dropping, your liver constantly releases sugar stored in its cells into your bloodstream. When blood sugar levels drop, your liver immediately releases more sugar from its cells into your bloodstream.

You store extra sugar only in your liver and muscles. When blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases large amounts of insulin into your bloodstream and insulin lowers blood sugar levels by driving sugar from your bloodstream into your liver. The signal for your liver to lower high blood sugar levels and draw sugar from your bloodstream comes from insulin.

How a Fatty Liver Raises Blood Sugar, Leading to Diabetes

Extra fat in liver cells causes high blood sugar levels to rise even higher. When extra fat is deposited in liver cells, the fat prevents liver cells from responding to insulin. When blood sugar levels rise, the fatty liver is unable to respond to insulin and lower blood sugar levels by taking sugar into its cells. Instead, liver cells do the opposite of what they are supposed to do. They raise blood sugar levels even higher by:

• releasing sugar from their cells into the bloodstream, and

• making new sugar from protein (gluconeogenesis) and releasing that newly-made sugar to raise blood sugar levels even higher.

My Recommendations

If you are overweight, try to start losing extra weight immediately. I recommend intermittent fasting as it appears to be more effective than counting calories or any of the diets, drugs and supplements that bilk innocent obese people of their money and offer no long-term weight loss.


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How a High-Plant Diet Helps to Prevent Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Gas, intestinal cramps, blood in stool and alternating constipation and diarrhea are symptoms of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease, Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis. These conditions are thought to be auto-immune diseases, caused by an overactive immune system. When a germ gets into your body, your immunity tries to kill that germ. You produce antibodies that attach to and immobilize the outer body of the germs, white blood cells that eat the dead germs,and chemicals that immobilize and kill germs.

Your immune defense system is supposed to attack foreign germs and not attack your own body. However, sometimes your own immunity attacks and tries to destroy your own cells. If your own immunity attacks your joints, it may be called rheumatoid arthritis, and if it attacks your thyroid, it is called auto-immune thyroiditis or Grave's disease. If your immunity attacks your intestines, it is called inflammatory bowel disease, Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis.

The Study

To see if chemicals made by good bacteria in your intestines could suppress the intestinal immune system and prevent or cure auto-immune intestinal diseases, Harvard researchers added these chemicals from "good bacteria" to mice's drinking water. This protected the mice from getting colitis, an immune disease that destroys the colon. The animals had a very high rise in their regulatory T cells that suppress intestinal immunity (Science, July 4, 2013).

How Good Intestinal Bacteria Protect Your Intestines and Colon

You have huge numbers of colonies of bacteria in your intestines (more than the total number of cells in your body). Some bacteria help to prevent diseases, while others cause them. What you eat determines, to a large degree, which bacteria live in your intestines. After all, bacteria in your intestines live on the same food that you eat. Eating lots of foods from plants provides lots of fiber that help "good" bacteria to grow in your intestines.

Fiber found in plants is classified into two types: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber cannot be broken down and therefore is not absorbed and passes from your body. However, the bacteria in your intestines can break down soluble fiber into short chain fatty acids that are absorbed into your bloodstream and do all sorts of good things for you. For example, they lower cholesterol by traveling in your bloodstream to your liver where they prevent your liver from making too much cholesterol. This new study shows that the short chain fatty acids also help to prevent your immunity from being overactive and attacking your intestines and colon.

People in North America and other developed countries have a much higher incidence of auto-immune intestinal disease than those in less-developed societies, probably because they eat fewer plants and therefore less fiber, so they have lower amounts of short-chain fatty acids.

How a Diet That Turns on Your Immunity May Cause Obesity

Many different studies show that eating a lot of 'fast food' increases obesity risk. This study shows that eating the typical western diet caused mice to have:

• a marked increase in the activity of their CD4+ T helper (Th)17-based cells that turn on immunity,

• an increase in the bacteria in their intestines that increase food absorption, and

• an increase in body fat, particularly in their bellies (PLoS ONE, Augsut 2013;8(7)).

On the other hand, eating yogurt with "good" bacteria inhibited age-associated weight gain in mice. The authors then put purified good bacteria called Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 6475 in their drinking water. This alone reduced the pro-inflammatory immune cell profile and prevented abdominal obesity, and age-associated weight gain in the mice.

My Recommendations

Eat a diet that is high in plants for their soluble fiber content that:

• helps to lower cholesterol,

• helps to prevent and treats obesity, and

• may help to prevent and treat auto-immune intestinal disease.

Low-AGE Foods Decrease Diabetes Risk

Just four weeks of a diet of foods cooked at low temperatures reduced insulin resistance in overweight women (Diabetes Care, published online August 19, 2013). Most cases of diabetes are caused by insulin resistance: inability to respond to insulin, rather than lack of insulin.

Cooking Without Water Causes AGEs to Form

Cooking at high temperature without water causes sugars in foods to stick to protein or fat to form sugar-protein and sugar-fat complexes called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). The higher the temperature, the more AGEs are formed. AGEs turn on your immunity to cause inflammation, which prevents your body from responding to insulin.

Baking, broiling, grilling, roasting and frying at high temperatures form AGEs, which are found in high concentrations in bakery products, meat, and roasted coffee. The temperature of foods cooked with water can never exceed 212 degrees, and water-based cooking methods allow water to combine with the sugars which prevents the sugars from attaching to proteins and fats. Examples of cooking with water include boiling, steaming, simmering or microwaving.

The Study

Half of a group of 74 overweight women, ages 20 to 50 years, were put on a high-AGE diet, with foods chosen from a list of fried, baked, roasted or grilled foods The other half of the women were put on a low-AGE diet of boiled or steamed foods, baked goods without crusts, and other low-AGE foods. Both groups also took either fructose or glucose pills.


After four weeks, the researchers found that the low AGE group showed:

• A greater drop in weight, waist circumference, and Body Mass Index (BMI). The lower AGE diet caused them to eat 15 percent more protein, 10 percent more carbohydrates and 22 percent less fat than did the high-AGE group

• A much lower AGE content in urinary excretion

• Lower levels of fasting insulin, signifying better control of diabetes

There was no difference in insulin resistance between those taking fructose or glucose in either group. (Other studies have shown that fructose is more likely than glucose to form AGEs).

The authors state: "Low-temperature cooking methods with limited formation of AGEs may decrease the risk of developing insulin resistance, either by decreasing dietary fat intake or by restricting dietary AGE content."

This week's medical history:
Peter Huttenlocher, World-Famous Neurologist

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries

Recipe of the Week:

Smoky Bean Pot

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

September 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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