NCI Well Connect: May 2, 2016
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Dear Steve, 

Enjoy today's free viewing of our NCI Well Connect long-form eNewsletter, one of the perks of having a NCI Well Connect Membership. Today is the last day to sign up for one year at 40% OFF.

DID YOU KNOW that repeated subcutaneous injections of botulinum toxin A (Botox, Allergan) provides analgesic relief to patients with neuropathic pain? A study in Lancet Neurology showed that two series of injections were safe and effective for treating peripheral neuropathic pain. For some patients who do not tolerate painkillers, this could be an option.

School's out soon. Snowbirds are getting back from their winter habitats. Great time for you and your family to get your diet and lifestyle in order by contacting us.

Have a happy, healthy day. Steve and Bonnie
NCI Well Connect Highlights
Steve Minsky
From Editor Steve Minsky
Click on the links below to be taken directly to each story. This may not work for all email services.
Read stories like these twice weekly from our award-winning eNewsletter, access two titles per month from our Action Plan Library, and book free wellness coaching sessions, with an NCI Well Connect Membership at 40% OFF Here.
Well Connect Feature
Sleep Special
Steve: As you well know, the importance of sleep for optimal wellness is becoming more pronounced as the research continues to pour out. Here is a summary of the research and tips you will find to optimize your sleep habits.


Cardiac Health

A study from this month's issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine examined the duration and approximate timing of sleep to see what patterns might be linked to the three prime suspects of cardiovascular trouble -- smoking, poor diet and sedentary habits. Researchers drew from a sample of 439,933 adults, between the ages of 40-69.

They defined short sleep as less than six hours, adequate sleep as seven to eight hours, and long sleep as nine hours or more. Respondents were categorized by their self-reported sleep-timing -- whether they considered themselves a morning person, more morning than evening, more evening than morning, or an evening person. 


Those whose sleep was either short or long and the night owls who went to bed later were more likely than adequate sleepers and those who went to bed earlier to smoke, remain sedentary and eat fewer fruits and vegetables. 


Tip: going to bed earlier and getting adequate sleep, not too much or too little, is associated with better heart health behaviors.



According to the January issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a diet low in fiber and high in saturated fat and sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals.

Tip: including more fiber and less sugar, especially at night, may be useful in the management of sleep disorders.



A good night's sleep may keep colds and other infections at bay. In this month's JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that the odds that someone who sleeps five or fewer hours a night had caught a cold in the past month were 28 percent higher than for folks who regularly get more sleep. And for other infections -- including flu, ear infections and pneumonia -- short sleepers had more than 80 percent higher odds of having an infection in the past month compared to those sleeping seven hours.

Tip: sleep consistency is king. If you feel something coming on, you especially need your proper sleep!

New Weapon for Inflammation Fight
Bonnie and Steve: Over the years, you may have heard us talk about the universal antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid?

Specifically, Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of our go-to supplements for blood sugar disorders. While we're not sure about the why Alpha Lipoic was so effective for balancing blood sugar, a recent study from this month's issue of The Journal of Nutrition helps us understand.

The study involved healthy overweight women who were prescribed 300 mg. of Alpha Lipoic Acid. Numerous cardiovascular markers associated with inflammation, including C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and interleukin 6 were screened before and after 10 weeks.

Supplementation with Alpha Lipoic Acid caused a greater reduction in some circulating inflammatory risk markers, most importantly C-reactive protein than in those did not supplement. Even more encouraging was that these reductions were independent of any body weight reductions that occurred during the study.

In conclusion, Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is very well tolerated, would be a wonderful addition to fight systemic inflammation, especially cardiac inflammation.
Menu Savvy
Food Fussiness Is Mostly Genetic
Steve: Food fussiness (FF) is common in early childhood (and adulthood for some of us) and is often associated with the rejection of nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables and fruit. It is suspected that FF and liking for vegetables and fruit has a genetic influence.

Researchers in a study from the February issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the extent of shared genetic influence that underlies FF and liking for vegetables and fruit in early childhood.

The researchers measured 1330 pairs of 3-year-old twins. Genetic correlations were hugely significant between FF and liking for both vegetables and fruit. Common genes that underlie FF and liking for vegetables and fruit accounted for 68-70% of the correlation between either liking or disliking them.

Tip: Now that we know genetics are involved, how do we get past the genetic component and try to introduce healthy foods that vary in taste and smell? The simple answer is to not give up. Genes can be modified to act positively. Sometimes, they just need to be conditioned.

Introduce foods at least 10 or more times. You will be rewarded. Even if a food is rejected 10 times, the knowledge that your child gets from tasting and smelling the food will pay dividends down the line.

I used to reject Brussels sprouts as kid, but I love them now. This is the direct result of my Mom not giving up on introducing them to me. For adults, hopefully it won't take ten tries for you to accept a new, healthy food!
Did You Know? Supplements
Melatonin More Than Just for Sleep
Steve: Apart from regulating the circadian rhythm/sleep cycle, melatonin exerts a variety of actions. We mentioned a study last year that showed improvement in multiple sclerosis symptoms from melatonin supplementation. Melatonin has shown to exhibit relief for migraine and headache sufferers.

Melatonin is also believed to have a positive effect on body weight and energy metabolism, but the evidence has only been in animal studies. In the first human trial to examine this effect, researchers in the April issue of Clinical Endocrinology followed postmenopausal women for one year of treatment with melatonin (1 or 3 mg nightly) or placebo.

Fat mass decreased in the melatonin group by 6.9% compared to placebo. A significant increase in lean mass of 5.2% was found in the melatonin group compared to placebo.

This is huge because as we age, we are always looking to reduce fat mass without losing muscle mass. Melatonin seems to assist.
Sun Is Not Enough for Optimal Vitamin D Level?
Bonnie: A new study in the April issue of The Journal of Nutrition has found that during a summer of sun exposure that resulted in significant tanning, vitamin D levels did not increase in Caucasian subjects as much as those who were supplementing with vitamin D with no sun tanning.

Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian subjects were better able to maintain their vitamin D levels from sun exposure and no supplementation.
Brand Buzz
Intelligently Active
How Many Calories Do We Burn From Walking?
Steve: Their is no clear formula, unfortunately.

A new study from the March issue of Journal of Applied Physiology found that under firm, level ground conditions, the leading standards to predict or estimate walking energy expenditure are inaccurate and have significant bias. The standards predicted too few calories burned in 97 percent of the cases researchers examined.

The leading standards assume that one size fits all. They've been in place for close to half a century and were based on data from a limited number of people.

A new standardized equation developed by scientists from Southern Methodist University is about four times more accurate for adults and kids together, and about two to three times more accurate for adults only. Their approach improves upon the existing standards by better incorporating the influence of body size, and by specifically incorporating the influence of height on gait mechanics.

For example, bigger people burn fewer calories on a per pound basis of their body weight to walk at a given speed or to cover a fixed distance. Conversely, the old Pandolf method, drew upon walking metabolism data from a tiny sample size of six U.S. soldiers of average height.

Hopefully, this new formula will be incorporated into the myriad new mobile devices that track steps and calories burned. Until then, keep taking steps but don't rely too much on the calories burned!
Mental Minute
Depression? Evaluate Your Level of Inflammation
Steve: A new study from JAMA Psychiatry supports a link between inflammation and depression and adds to the literature by associating inflammation with specific symptoms of depression, including sleep troubles and lack of energy and appetite. 

Individuals with depression are known to have elevated levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). Researchers found that in a 15,000 person sample size, higher levels of inflammation were particularly likely to underlie depression symptoms that characterized sickness behavior, including fatigue, reduced appetite, withdrawal, and inhibited motivation.

From an evolutionary perspective, such symptoms have the beneficial effect of preserving energy resources for use in fighting infection and promoting healing processes, but only for the short-term. Long-term, chronic inflammation is what leads to depression.
Recipe du Jour
The Perfect Smoothie
Steve: While we always recommend eating real food and real meals instead of smoothies and meal replacements, if there was a smoothie we would endorse, this would be it!
1 cup leftover brewed green tea (cold)
1 cup plain, unsweetened coconut milk (use avocado if coconut intolerant)
2/3 cup unflavored, organic, grass-fed whey protein powder (unflavored egg white okay as replacement)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (yellow apple if you do not tolerate blueberries)
1/2 cup raw baby spinach
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (avocado oil okay)
2 teaspoons pure, organic stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (almond extract if you do not tolerate cinnamon)
8 ice cubes
In a blender, place the tea, coconut milk, protein powder, blueberries, spinach, ground seeds, oil, stevia, cinnamon, and ice. Process until smooth. Divide evenly into 2 glasses and serve immediately. SERVES: 2
New Genetic Test for Vitamin A & D Absorption

Bonnie and Steve: If one or more of these boxes are yellow or red, then you have genetic deficiencies that may impair your ability to break down and move toxins from your body, as well as absorb vitamins A & D. The great thing is that you can prevent impairment with diet, lifestyle, and nutrient modification.

For example, if you cannot adequately convert Beta Carotene from food into absorbable vitamin A (retinol), this greatly increases your risk for the eye disease Macular Degeneration. Food and supplement modification addresses this issue.

The graphic on top is the methylation cycle. The bottom graphic is genes associated with vitamins A & D. If you have not done your 23andMe genetic test, yet, what are you waiting for?

Video: What's In Your Pajamas
Wild Card
The Term "Wellderly" Is Catching On
Bonnie: Scripps researchers are following a large number of healthy persons aged 80 to 105 years. It is called the "Wellderly" study. They are examining why these people are so sharp mentally and have so few chronic conditions.

When the lead researcher was asked why this particular study stands out, he stated: "Many in the aging field think that focusing on healthy aging, defined as the disease free period of our lives, is much more rewarding than researching longevity. Simply put, what would it help us to extend the maximal life-span, when we suffer from multiple age associated disease during that extended life span"?

That sounds a little like what we've been saying! Aim to achieve healthspan, not just lifespan!
"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer's always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place."
-Nora Roberts
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NCI Well Connect Membership is open to clients and non-clients of our practice!

One Year Membership Includes:
  1. Weekly eNewsletters (84 issues). We publish our long-form issue on Monday and a Mid-Week Brief on Wednesday. Our eNewsletter has been honored with the Constant Contact All Star 9 years in a row.
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The approximate cost for all of this? Less than a dollar a week! Quite a bargain for this volume of expert wellness advice.

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ActionPlanAction Plan of the Month:
Conquering Allergy and Intolerance
One of the perks of being a NCI Well Connect Member is that you can request two titles monthly from our our Action Plan Library (41 plans: total value $300). 

This comes in handy for those living in parts of the country where the height of tree pollen, mold, and grass pollen allergy seasons are upon us.

Our Conquering Allergy and Intolerance Action Plan is an incredible resource that not only explains in layman's terms the difference between allergy and intolerance, but offers steps you can take to minimize your symptoms without medication.

We are especially proud of the replacement lists for foods that cross-react with tree pollen, mold, ragweed, and grass pollen.

Action Plans are free by email request for NCI Well Connect Members or can be ordered separately. To activate your NCI Well Connect Membership today and get your free copy, click here.
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We have a multitude of options for simple fine-tuning or the toughest cases.
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Consulting prices range from $45 to $225. Contact us at 847-498-3422 or email for details.

NFSLNatural Food Shopping List
Are you completely overwhelmed with finding trustworthy foods that fit your individualized eating style? Don't fret. Natural Foods Shopping List does the work for you.

Natural Foods Shopping List consists of food items that meet our strict criteria for safety, clean ingredients, and of course, palatability.

Natural Foods Shopping List is revised a few times per year and is available online to NCI Well Connect Members. The latest update is from March, 2016.
Serving your individual wellness needs. We appreciate your patronage and support.

Have a happy, healthy day,
Bonnie, Steve, and all of us at Nutritional Concepts
(847) 498 3422 - main 

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