Be Nice To Your Brain:  Maintain Stable Blood Insulin.  The main purpose of the body is to carry the brain around!  And, most things that happen in the body have a negative or a positive affect the brain.  Insulin is the hormone that allows the cells in our bodies to utilize glucose for energy.  Produced by the pancreas, it keeps the blood sugar level stable.  Historically, it has been assumed that giving more insulin was a great solution to high blood sugar although it does cause weight gain by promoting fat storage.  But we are learning that high levels of insulin can negatively affect brain health.

High levels of insulin occur when a diet favors sugar and carbohydrates. When the pancreas “poops out” and produces less and less insulin, people typically start getting insulin injections.  Our bodies also produce a chemical called, “Insulin Degrading Enzyme,” that preferentially breaks down the insulin as well as other proteins in the brain.  Because of “competitive inhibition,” this Insulin Degrading Enzyme works first on insulin before working in other areas.  Important to note is that one of its jobs is to break down the plaques and proteins in the brain that contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.  If it is busy with excess insulin, it neglects its other duties and the problems stack up.  

So what do you do?  You have to deal with the hyperinsulinemia!  LIVE YOUNGER with these suggestions from David Perlmutter, MD and Melissa Schilling, PhD, two brilliant people who have studied this extensively:  

  1. Know your Fasting Insulin level.  It is tough to find absolute agreement in this area, (or any area!) but I tend to agree with Stephen Guyenet, a researcher at the University of Washington.  He concludes that a level of 2-6 mlU/ml is the healthiest range long term.   A high insulin level can be an early sign of Type 2 Diabetes.
  2. Know your A1C level.  This is the measure of how high the blood sugar has been over the last three to four months.  It is a powerful indicator of the risk for developing dementia.  An optimal A1C is 5.2 or lower.  
  3. Exercise regularly.  Exercise will help you regulate your insulin level and you’ll feel more clear headed to make better food choices.
  4. Consider going on Metformin if your fasting insulin is high.  Continue to exercise and eat food that your body can use!  Metformin has been shown to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, possibly because it is affecting the increased insulin level.

START SOMEWHERE today changing the trajectory of your health.  You can do it.  I will help you!

#AskDrDebbie: “If gum disease is inflammation, why doesn’t it hurt?” -Paula P.

This is such a fantastic question, Paula, because I often wish that gum disease was painful so that more people would believe that it is a serious health issue and take steps to deal with it.  Since we naturally “move to lesser pain,” pain today would be good in the long run!  Pain moves us to action!  In gum disease, bleeding is the early sign of damage to the bone that holds the teeth in.  It is the mouth’s way of telling us that there is a problem; but unfortunately, it is easily too often ignored!   

The word “inflammation” actually means to “to set on fire” in Latin.   Contrasted with acute inflammation, the inflammation in gum disease is chronic inflammation.  It’s like the difference between a campfire and a wildfire.  A campfire is an illuminated area for people to gather, cook a meal, stay warm and sing songs.  It has a specific purpose and is well-contained.  A wildfire is destructively out of control.  Acute inflammation begins seconds to minutes following an injury and is characterized by:

  • Heat
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of Function

The goal of acute inflammation is to eliminate the cause of the injury, clear the damaged cells and start the healing process.  Chronic inflammation is different because it progresses slowly due to a prolonged exposure to a toxic agent.  In the case of gum disease, that toxic agent is the bacteria.  It is silent but dangerous.  Pain starts when the disease has progressed and damaged vital tissues.  Other examples of chronic inflammatory diseases that start out silently include Diabetes Type 2, Alzheimer’s Disease, some cancers, arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.

START SOMEWHERE today with lifestyle strategies that curb chronic inflammation.  You can do it!  I will help you.     

A Great Summer Grill Recipe: Spicy-Honey Glazed Chicken & Sweet Potato Kebabs (Little Broken)

You will need:

  • 1 large (3/4 lb.) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1½-inch chunks and layers separated
  • olive oil
  • 7 (12-inch) bamboo skewers (soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to use)

For the glaze:

  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar

Here’s the drill:

  1. Place potato pieces into a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover the tops. Bring the water with potatoes to a boil over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes, partially covered, until potatoes are nearly cooked but still a bit firm. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.
  2. While the potatoes are cooling, prepare the spice mix + glaze by mixing together the garlic salt, chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Add chicken to a medium bowl; drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss with half of the spice rub. Do the same with cooled potato pieces and sweet onion chunks; drizzle with olive oil and toss with remaining spice rub.
  4. Thread the chicken, sweet potato, and onion onto the soaked skewers.
  5. Preheat the grill on medium/high; grill the chicken skewers for 8 minutes, turning frequently, or until chicken juices run clear while brushing the skewers with the prepared honey glaze.

Enjoy!

Beauty is everywhere and this quote says it so nicely!  “This grand show is eternal.  It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising.  Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”  By John Muir in John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

Be Nice To Your Brain: Maintain Stable Blood Insulin

Be Nice To Your Brain: Maintain Stable Blood Insulin