Terry Wahls, MD is an internist who had progressive multiple sclerosis. She devised a program of diet, exercise, stress management and physical therapy which successfully and significantly reversed her disease. She presented a study whereby she tried her protocol on several patients and they all also had significant improvement. Her program is outlined in her book "Minding Your Mitochondria"
Chris Masterjohn gave a lecture on vitamins, especially vitamin d. He feels we do not know what the optimal blood level is, but thinks it is lower than we once thought (probably 25-40). He also noted that a low calcium level (usually due to high phytate or grain intake) will keep vit d levels low, sometimes making it impossible to get to a reasonable vit d level. Finally there is a synergy between vitamins A,D and K. You need adequate amounts of all these for proper body function. Good sources for vit a is liver, Vit d is the sunshine, vit k is green leafy vegetables, and k2 are fermented foods.
Sarah Ballentyne gave a very interesting talk on autoimmune disease. The incidence is increasing, and risk is thought to be 1/3 genetic, 1/3 environmental triggers ( such as infections, toxins, drugs, gluten) and 1/3 diet and lifestyle (chronic stress, sleep deprivation, leaky gut, nutrition/micronutrient deficiency). She discussed the specific role of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in contributing to specific disorders. She also noted how different our diet is now than in 1900 (we eat 123,000 times more soybean oil now than we did then!) and that our vegetables and fruits have far fewer vitamins and minerals than they did in 1950, due to poor soil management.
Next I participated in a meditation workshop with Eva Selhub, MD. It was a nice break! She has a guided meditation mp3 you can download and follow so you too can de-stress.
A talk about omega 3 fish oils followed. They did studies to look at how well omega 3 was incorporated into blood cells. Fish oil is best absorbed when taken with food, but splitting it up to multiple times daily versus once a day makes no difference. The higher the BMI though (higher BMI = more obese) the less omega 3s are incorporated into the cell. Also tested was how long does it stay in your system. 7 days after stopping the supplements the level has dropped down to 1/2 what it was while on the fish oil.
Stephen Guyenet discussed whether elevated insulin causes obesity or is a consequence of it. This has important implications for treatment of both diabetes and weight loss. He seems to think that elevated insulin in a consequence and not a course of obesity.
Seth Roberts gave a talk of mostly personal experiences. He focused on ways improve sleep. He found that skipping breakfast improved his sleep that night. Watching TV in the am to improve socialization (as he lived alone) and standing at least 8 hours during the day also helped. Another tip he gave was to take any vit d supplements in the am and not at night as it represents sunlight, which belongs in the morning and not in the evening.
David Pendergrass gave a very complicated talk, which made me realize how much of my college biochemistry I have forgotten! Bottom line was omega 6s seem to be involved in obesity and he feels we need to remove this for weight loss.
Russ Crandall and Paul Jaminet noted that globally, the poorer the culture, the higher the carbs and lower the fat content in the diet. As incomes go up, so does fat, and carbs go down. Food choices are a compromise between money and preferences; the poor subsisting on a plant based diet and the rich eating more animal foods. Also, hunting yields much more nutrition/energy expended than gathering, as plant sources are such poor sources of nutrition.
Ron Rosedale notes that a long healthy lifespan is not natural, that natural selection ends once we lose the ability to reproduce. So we have to approach older people differently than young people. He feels diabetes is a great model for aging, and treating an older person like a diabetic will treat the aging.
Shauna Young held a workshop about autism and diet. She discussed various mineral deficiencies and excesses, and how correction of these can dramatically improve symptoms.
Jeffrey Rothschild has done research that implies that eating physiologically at the wrong time leads to increased weight and insulin resistance (pre diabetes). The message was don’t eat when it’s dark outside.
Kevin Boyd discussed how malocclusion (underdeveloped jaws and crowded teeth) can be responsible for many issues including ADD. Malocclusion is a modern phenomena; was really not seen until 300 years ago, and is due primarily to bottle feeding.
I also spent some time talking to Risa Stein, who gave me one of her Caveman Joe books for the waiting room. Look for it next time you come in!
Many of you (probably most of you) are unaware that I actually graduated college with a degree in Anthropology, so going to the Ancestral Health Symposium was right up my alley. I have to say that it was extremely interesting for me to be able to relate my health to my educational experience, because even though I work in the medical field, I never really put two and two together.
We had a good time. We got to try things that I had never even heard of such as the Kombucha, almost like a soda for non-soda drinkers (not my favorite), and had Paleo food every day. It was odd for me, being someone that hasn’t quite jumped on the Paleo bandwagon, to have essentially no carbs for four days. I had never had a burger made from grass fed beef before this trip, and I have got to say that since I’ve been back, that’s the only kind of ground beef I have been buying, it was that good.
Eating Evolved had my favorite booth. Two words - Primal Truffles. I was pleasantly surprised that the truffles were absolutely delicious, especially if you are a fan of dark chocolate. I bought the Turkish fig and mint truffles, and they were gone by the time we got on the plane to head home. Dr. Moghissi came home with lots of new things to try, like the veggie fermentation and cheese kits (hopefully she will be bringing samples by the office for the staff to try).
We even came home with some new products for our patients! We will now be carrying Epic Bars, which are somewhat like a jerky bar that comes in three flavors. We’ll also have something called a Yawp! Bar, which is made of fruits, nuts, and seeds, and they are very tasty!
Enough about food. Here are some summaries of the lectures that I went to and found interesting while at the symposium:
Gad Saad, Ph.D. gave a lecture on consumption, stating that most of these acts stem from one of four groups-survival, mating, kin selections and reciprocity (I’ll do this for you if you do the same thing for me). He also relates this to modern culture, showing that we share a biological based human nature. His research shows, for example, that height is equivalent of social status, (the taller the person, the higher the social status).
Katy Bowman, M.Sc. is a biomechanical scientist dedicated to teaching about the natural movement solution to pain. Her talk was about biomechanics in relation to parenting and how present day children differ from hunter-gatherer children behaviorally. Her suggestions were to try and remove items that interfere with natural load and recreate movements that would happen in nature. She also suggested partaking in exercises that make the baby respond, which will develop them to be more focused.
Georgia Ede, M.D. is a psychiatrist that specializes in nutritional management of psychiatric disorders. Her research has shown that mood disorders can be remedied by diet and that depression could be inflammatory. When insulin goes up, your body thinks that you are growing so it cranks up your hormone level, this throws it off balance causing a mood disorder. Her research also shows that a lower insulin level in men can create hostility.
Kevin Boyd, M.S., D.D.S. is a dentist and he gave my favorite lecture of the entire weekend. His talk was about the relation between jaw structure and sleep disorders and behavior disorders. His research shows that children that have snoring or sleep apnea are twice as likely to have behavioral problems such as ADD. The development of the jaw in a child that was bottle fed as an infant causes more mouth breathing, which causes a restriction in the airway function because the tongue needs more space. This sleep deprivation is what leads to behavioral problems and health issues such as obesity. His research also shows that crooked teeth did not develop until bottle feeding came around.
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