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How often have you walked into a building and been irritated at the temperature which either left you with a cold-induced headache or heat-induced sweat? Or, have you ever found yourself in a work environment in which you and your coworkers get along great, except that you can’t agree upon the ideal temperature for the office? Maybe the battle for the thermostat takes place in your home. Nearly all of us have experienced uncomfortable indoor temperatures which have left us wondering how others can suffer through what we perceive as extreme cold or heat. According to researchers, the battle over the thermostat is not unfounded and is actually rooted in gender-specific temperature preferences. In a nutshell, women prefer higher temperatures and men prefer lower.
According to a controlled study of 543 students, which sought to explore the effect of temperature on cognitive performance by gender, turning up the thermostat may help more individuals study and work more effectively. The study analyzed math, verbal, and cognitive reflective tasks in temperatures varying between 16.19 to 32.57°C (61.14 to 90.63°F). Results showed that females exhibited better performance in math and verbal tasks in warmer temperatures while males performed better in cooler temperatures. Neither gender showed differences in cognitive reflection tasks. Further, the improvement in the female’s math and verbal performance was more significant than the improvement in the male’s performance, suggesting that females are more sensitive to temperatures compared to males. Therefore, turning up the temperature may foster a more productive work environment; especially if the office has a substantial number of women.
Effects on Physical Performance
In a study published in Military Medicine, gender differences in thermoregulation were evaluated to determine the potential impact on physical performance. Women had a lower sweat output in response to heat stress and less shivering in response to cold stress, which indicated a greater difficulty regulating body temperature and a greater degree of sensitivity to temperature changes.
Physiological Differences in Thermoregulation
Past theories have led the majority to assume the gender differences in thermoregulation were due to physical characteristics such as women having less lean mass and muscle strength, lower body weight, higher body fat, and are typically shorter compared to men. These observations are certainly true and have an impact on thermoregulation; however, we now know that females also have a lesser ability to sweat due to possessing smaller sweat glands and a lower sweat output per gland. Therefore, men have a greater capacity to regulate body temperature through sweat heat loss. Similarly, women’s lower ability to shiver also suggests less power to generate heat. Finally, women tend to consistently have a lower skin temperature compared to men.
Further, the levels of various sex hormones affect thermoregulation and cause frequent fluctuations in a female’s core body temperature and response to external temperatures. A higher level of estrogen is associated with a lower body temperature since estrogen promotes vasodilation and heat dissipation. Progesterone has the opposite effect and is associated with higher body temperature.
Before using the research as evidence for cranking up the thermostat, just how much warmer do women prefer the temperature to be? Apparently not that much. According to one investigation, the mean comfortable temperature for women was 79. 3°F while men were comfortable at 77.5°F making the difference only a few degrees. Turning up the office or home thermostat just a couple of degrees may not only make for a more productive environment but has the added benefit of energy (and hence, cost) efficiency.
The study the paper was based on—called the APPROACH trial (Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health)—involved subjects 21–65 years old with a body mass index (BMI) 20–35 kg/m2 randomly assigned to a diet either high or low in saturated fat, and within those parallel arms, allocated to protein from red meat, white meat, or non-meat protein consumed for 4 weeks each in random order. Primary outcomes were LDL-C, total/HDL-C, apolipoprotein B (apoB), and small + medium LDL particles.
Results showed that, independent of the saturated fat content of the diet, LDL-C and apoB were higher after consuming red and white meat compared with non-meat proteins. Total/HDL-C was not affected by the protein sources, nor were small and medium LDL-particle counts. Researchers determined that the increase in LDL-C was due mainly to increases in large LDL particles—the ones believed to be the least atherogenic. (“Large buoyant” LDL particles make up the pattern A lipoprotein profile. It is not pattern A, but rather, pattern B—characterized by small, dense LDL particles—that is associated with cardiometabolic disease.)
Primary outcomes did not differ significantly between red and white meat. According to Ronald Krauss, MD, a co-author on the AJCN paper: “When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case – their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent.”
On the surface, this finding seems to suggest that red and white meat are “equally bad” when it comes to worsening cardiovascular risk factors. (What a disappointment to all the people who spent decades passing up juicy steaks in favor of dry chicken breast!) The title of the press release from The University of California even says they are “equally bad”—but it says they’re equally bad for cholesterol, not for cardiovascular disease. Having the same effect on cholesterol and this being a “bad” thing assumes increased LDL-C is independently causal for CVD or atherosclerosis. If red and white meat increase LDL-C to a similar extent, then they are “equally bad,” but if increased LDL-C is not automatically a risk factor for CVD, then neither is bad to begin with. (Indeed, serum LDL-C often does not correlate with actual arterial calcification. The coronary artery calcium scan may be a better indicator of the actual presence of atherosclerosis—the disease in place—compared to the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream.)
It’s essential to note that all primary outcomes of this study are surrogate markers. They are not clinical endpoints. High LDL-C is not a disease. It’s not a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, and it’s being increasingly questioned whether it’s even a risk factor for these.
Setting aside the protein sources for a moment, independent of protein source, the higher saturated fat diets increased LDL-C, large LDL particle count, and apoB compared to the diets lower in saturated fat. This might seem like a strike against saturated fat, but it’s certainly not news that consuming saturated fat tends to raise LDL-C. The part that’s up for debate is whether this is harmful for cardiovascular health—and many researchers assert that it isn’t. Some cardiologists have gone so far as to state outright that “saturated fat does not clog the arteries,” while other researchers have written that saturated fat is part of a healthy diet:
“Numerous meta-analyses and systematic reviews of both the historical and current literature reveals that the diet-heart hypothesis was not, and still is not, supported by the evidence. There appears to be no consistent benefit to all-cause or CVD mortality from the reduction of dietary saturated fat.” (Gershuni 2018)
The public has long been cautioned to reduce consumption of red meat and favor poultry, seafood and plant proteins instead. According to the UCSF press release, the study results “indicated that restricting meat altogether, whether red or white, is more advisable for lowering blood cholesterol levels than previously thought. The study found that plant proteins are the healthiest for blood cholesterol.” Again, this is based on the assumption that higher LDL-C is a causal factor in CVD, and it’s clear by now that numerous researchers and clinicians no longer believe that it is.
This is a topic that remains controversial and presents many unanswered questions. Healthcare professionals should continue to follow the science and strengthen and solidify their understanding of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms at work, rather than taking sensationalist headlines at face value.
The treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a clinical challenge. Medical treatments for post-concussion symptoms have consisted mainly of opiates for headaches, anti-depressants, anti-nauseas, anti-vertigo, stimulants, and other medications to increase neurotransmitter levels.
Previous research has demonstrated that athletes who wait to report a concussion may experience prolonged recovery times. Those who do not receive immediate treatment are at risk for further damage to the brain and will most likely take much longer to recover. Research indicates that intense physical activity during this vulnerable time immediately after a concussion can be detrimental.
In a new study published July 3 in Neurology, researchers investigated the effect of acute elevations in serum inflammatory markers and their association with symptom recovery following a sports-related concussion.
This study included 84 high school and collegiate football players, including 41 concussed athletes and 43 control athletes. Laboratory assessment included serum levels of interleukin (IL)–6, IL-1β, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor, C-reactive protein, interferon-γ, and IL-1 receptor antagonist. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, 3rd edition (SCAT3) symptom severity scores were also collected. These assessments were taken at a pre-injury baseline, 6 and 24-48 hours post-injury as well as at approximately 8, 15, and 45 days post-concussion. The total number of days athletes were symptomatic following the concussion was the primary outcome variable.
As a result, IL-6 and IL-1RA were significantly elevated in the concussed athletes at 6 hours relative to pre-injury and other post-injury visits, as well as compared to controls. Levels of IL-6 and IL-1RA significantly discriminated concussed from control athletes at 6 hours post-concussion. In addition, IL-6 levels at 6 hours post-concussion were significantly associated with the duration of symptoms.
These results demonstrate the potential use of these markers in identifying athletes at risk for prolonged recovery after a sports-related concussion.
Research supports early treatment of high dose omega-3 fatty acids in improving outcomes from TBIs. The brain needs to be saturated with omega-3s in order for the brain to heal. If these individuals do not have an optimal supply of EPA and DHA, healing will likely be impaired. In addition, there is no negative impact supporting these patients with optimal nutrition to regain as much function as possible.
Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) has also been used to help prevent damage to brain cells after blood flow, and thus oxygen, has been cut off to those cells. GPC also supports the brain’s ability to recover after TBIs and helps reduce the symptoms associated with concussion and post-concussion syndrome. GPC is a form of choline that has been shown to protect and repair damaged brain cells.
Other supportive nutrients to consider include curcumin, magnesium l-threonate, acetyl-l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, BCAAs, creatine, zinc, exogenous ketones and MCT oil.
What is geranylgeraniol? Geranyl-what? Besides being a bit of a tongue-twister, geranylgeraniol (GG) is a compound synthesized endogenously in the human body via the mevalonate pathway—the same biochemical pathway by which cholesterol, heme A, dolichol and ubiquinone (CoQ10) are synthesized. GG also occurs naturally in certain foods (such as flax, sunflower and olive oils, as well as select medicinal herbs), but the majority is synthesized endogenously. GG is an essential building block for the production of CoQ10, vitamin K2 and testosterone, as well as for protein synthesis and modification. Synthesis of GG declines naturally during aging and is inhibited by the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs, namely, statins and bisphosphonates. Repletion of GG stores may help mitigate the damaging side-effects of these drugs.
Effect of statins on synthesis of GG and downstream products
Beyond statins’ effect on CoQ10, their role in decreased heme A synthesis may also disturb mitochondrial function. Heme A is an essential component of cytochrome C oxidase, or complex IV of the electron transport chain, one of the major regulatory sites for oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial respiration. Deficiency of cytochrome C oxidase enhances mitochondrial apoptosis in response to oxidative stress. In addition to those related to reduced CoQ10 synthesis, some statin side-effects may result from insufficient heme A synthesis disrupting mitochondrial structure and function and therefore, cellular energy generation.
Drugs that impair GG synthesis also may result in decreased production of dolichol, a major lipid component of human endocrine organs. Dolichol plays a crucial role in cell membrane structure and function, influencing membrane fluidity and permeability. Owing to its large volume, muscle tissue synthesizes 50% of total body dolichol, but dolichol is synthesized at high rates in the liver, kidneys and spleen, and has a high concentration in the pancreas, testes, and thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. It’s believed that alterations in the amount and structural composition of dolichol derivatives may contribute to the changed cell membrane properties observed in certain diseases.
Bisphosphonate drugs are another category of pharmaceuticals that interfere with endogenous synthesis of GG through the mevalonate pathway. The enzyme target of these drugs is farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (FPPS) rather than HMG-CoA reductase, so the precise mechanism is different from that of statins. PPS is involved in the steps immediately preceding GG synthesis. A common result of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NBP) use is osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Effective treatments for this are lacking, and GG has been identified as a potential preventive and therapeutic agent. Most of the research in this area has been done in rodents and cell cultures but results are promising.
In an ideal world, we’d all be at the pinnacle of health—physically, mentally, emotionally and cognitively. We’d make all our meals from scratch, from whole-food ingredients purchased locally and in season. We would never fall ill, get injured, grow older, or go through anything else that might increase our bodies’ need for vitamins, minerals and other compounds beyond that which we get from food alone or that our bodies synthesize endogenously. But this is a far cry from the world we actually live in, and nutritional supplements can help ensure patients get what their bodies need for both acute healing and long-term health.
Many thousands of words have been written to make the case against supplementation, claiming that it’s “mostly useless” and “a waste of time and money.” The problem with these claims is that they expect supplements to be instant cures for chronic illnesses that result from poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles. Supplements are intended to be exactly that—supplemental to a nutritious diet. They’re not intended to undo or reverse the damage inflicted by daily dietary insult, sleep debt, sedentarism, drug or alcohol misuse, or anything else that can have an adverse impact on physiological function. So when studies assess a supplement—vitamin C, for example, or biotin, or manganese—and it’s determined that the supplement is no more effective than placebo for whatever the intended outcome was, it should come neither as a shock nor as a disappointment. Supplements can be powerful, but they’re not magical. They can facilitate and augment the body’s natural processes, but in the absence of any other dietary and lifestyle changes, they may not have as big an impact as they would if they were used as intended—as supplementary to the positive actions someone is taking for their health. There are numerous other issues that affect the need for and the efficacy of supplementation. Let’s explore a few of these.
People following restrictive diets may benefit from targeted supplementation of nutrients known to be shortfalls on their particular eating plan. For example, vegetarians and especially strict vegans may require supplementation with vitamins D and B12, EPA/DHA, zinc and iron. Those following strict ketogenic diets may need more potassium and magnesium than they typically get from a relatively limited vegetable intake. Older people need more protein than they typically get from their diet in whole food form. For these individuals—especially those with dental problems or who may not be able to stand and cook for a significant length of time—protein powders and meal replacement shakes can be a convenient and effective way for them to get the nutrients they need.
Nutritional supplements are not a panacea, but clearly, there’s an important role for them in numerous patient populations. From the patient perspective, however, it’s easy to feel like a deer in headlights in the middle of a health food store supplement aisle, totally overwhelmed by the sea of products on display. To ensure that they get the results they seek, rather than ending up with “expensive urine,” patients should work with qualified healthcare professionals to create a supplement regimen that will be effective for their desired goals.
Smoothies seem to be a huge health craze as evidenced by the growth in smoothie franchises, chic smoothie cafes, and household devices that promise to make smoothie-making as smooth as possible. Even resolutions to eat healthier seem to be euphemisms for drinking more smoothies. With all the popularity and health claims that surround smoothies, it’s not at all surprising when individuals genuinely endeavoring to improve their health begin to question whether this new trend is as healthy as appears.
Before discussing smoothies, the terms must be defined. The term “smoothie” has been used to describe a wide array of items that are easy to drink, from protein drinks to blended fruit. For the sake of this blog, the term smoothie will refer to drinks with a blended base of fruit and/or veggies.
The question of whether smoothies are healthy is answered in another question, “What’s in it?” Smoothies can be a concentrated cup of healthy goodness or they can be a cup of disaster to one’s health. The outcome is contingent upon the ingredients.
Let’s first explore the potentially unhealthy components of a smoothie.
Sugar: The biggest potential health disaster in smoothies is the sugar content. The sugar load in a smoothie may not always be present in the form of added sugars. Instead, the source of sugar may be in the fruit – nature’s source of sugar as fructose. Smoothies (especially the commercially made variety) are notorious sources for an abundance of fruit. Fruit, alone, is certainly healthy, but hardly anyone would sit down and eat three to four pieces of fruit at one time. However, many smoothies are made primarily from fruit and it takes a larger quantity to fill a 16 to 20-ounce cup, increasing the amount of fructose the body metabolizes at one time.
Glycemic Index and Load: Perhaps the amount of sugar is not an issue, but what about its effects on blood glucose? One of the initial concerns with smoothies was whether ultra-processing fruits and vegetables which separated the components (namely, the fiber from the sugar) had an impact on the food’s glycemic index and load. A recent study measured the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of two commercial fruit smoothies to determine whether the impact of fiber was preserved. The results indicated that dietary fiber was retained and still positively influenced the glycemic response as indicated by a low GI and moderate GL. If fruit concentrates, fruit juices, or fractioned fruit are used in smoothies the fiber content will be eliminated, leaving a high GI and GL which will negatively impact blood glucose.
Nutrient Loss: Commercially prepared and stored smoothies may contain healthy ingredients, but processing procedures necessary for increasing shelf life are likely to damage some nutrients, lowering the antioxidant value. In one study of two fresh red vegetable smoothies based on tomato, carrots, pepper, and broccoli, there was a 2-fold loss in vitamin C following even a mild thermal treatment required to preserve the contents. Fresh smoothies impart the highest nutritional profile when consumed as soon as they are made.
Smoothies certainly can be a creative and convenient way to consume more fruits and vegetables. In turn, smoothies can help flood the body with additional antioxidants, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. However, some basic parameters should be followed to ensure smoothies are a concentrated cup of healthy goodness:
Use vegetables as the primary ingredient of smoothies and add no more than two small pieces of fruit, for taste.
Balance the macronutrient ratio by adding sources of healthy fats and proteins, including coconut oil, medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), nuts, seeds, and high-quality protein powders.
Increase the health benefits by adding superfoods such as chia seeds, cacao nibs, turmeric, cinnamon, flaxseed, collagen, or chlorella.
And finally, don’t let your smoothie replace healthful meals throughout the day. Smoothies can be a great way to incorporate more veggies, boost antioxidants, and can be a medium for delivering extra protein and phytonutrients. However, smoothies must be viewed as vehicles for health; otherwise, they easily become high-sugar, fruit-based, milkshakes that wreak havoc on your blood glucose and metabolism rather than supporting optimal health and well-being.
Ear infections are among the most common reasons for visiting outpatient clinics. While most infections are caused by bacteria, otomycosis (otherwise known as fungal otitis externa) is a fungal infection. Fungi thrive in moist, warm environments and the ear provides an ideal location to lay down roots – or should we say hyphae. As the fungi colonize, itching, pain, aural fullness, aural discharge, hearing impairment, and tinnitus begin to plague the sufferer. Fortunately, the infection remains in the external ear canal, but occasionally, will move to the middle ear.
Fungi are difficult to eradicate directly, making vigilant prevention a key to managing this condition. It is well known that immunocompromised individuals are at high risk for recurrent otomycosis; therefore, focusing on building and maintaining a strong immune system is vital. For individuals with diabetes mellitus, stabilizing blood sugar levels will be the single most important step that can help in maintaining a functionally effective immune system and keeping a healthy microbiome.
The microbiome of the gut is a large determinant in the robustness of an individual’s immune system. Further, the flora of the ear canal is also linked to the microbiome of the gut. Not surprisingly the most common infectious agent of otomycosis in immunocompromised individuals is Candida albicans, which is also the most common fungal species found in the gut and known to be associated with dysbiosis and other conditions represented by an unhealthy gut microbiome. Therefore, building a healthy gut microbiome is a foundational element of preventing recurrent ear infections such as otomycosis.
In less humid/tropical climates, otomycosis is probably most often caused by moisture retention from swimming and identified as swimmer’s ear, but there are many other factors that make fungal ear infections common, even among non-swimmers. With rising resistance to antifungal agents, treatment of otomycosis can be difficult. The first line of action should focus on prevention through building a healthy immune system and being aware of the ideal conditions for fungal growth. But once the fungi start to flourish, garlic may be a good option for halting its progression.
In a study published last week in Nutrients, researchers investigated the potential benefits of probiotics in metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Past research has demonstrated the association of the gut microbiome with metabolic markers and type II diabetes.
In this new study, researchers designed a cross-sectional study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2014. Probiotic consumption was considered when an individual reported eating yogurt or a probiotic supplement during the 24-hour recall or the Dietary Supplement Use 30-Day questionnaire. This study included 38,802 individuals and 13.1% reported consuming probiotics. As a result, the incidence of obesity and hypertension was lower in the probiotic group. Body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic pressure, and triglycerides were all lower and HDL was higher in the probiotic group.
Previous research has shown that it is not the body fat alone but the increased low grade inflammation and metabolic dysfunction causing the disease. This promotes insulin resistance in the liver and the release of inflammatory mediators from the adipose tissue. In addition, increased intestinal permeability allows translocation of proinflammatory lipopolysaccharides.
There is evidence that age-related changes in the gut microbiome may be related to elevated inflammatory makers. As one ages, the gut has an increase in interleukin 6 (IL-6) which causes the immune system to release IL-6 and trigger inflammation. Increased levels of IL-6 directly lead to increased intestinal permeability with no physical differences seen in its structure. Probiotics have the potential to rebalance gut microbiota and modulate the gut immune response inhibiting the NF-κB pathway.
Other research has indicated that obesity has a microbial component that alters the caloric extraction from ingested food. For example, if one has more Bacteroidetes bacteria, the individual tends to be leaner. High Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratios have been known to increase the caloric extraction from food and these individuals tend to be more obese. This also ties together the importance of dietary fiber, prebiotics, and weight loss.
Several years ago I attended a probiotic workshop at Yale where Max Nueuwdrop, MD, PHD, an internist and endocrinologist from Amsterdam, presented on this topic, discussing in detail the microbiota and metabolism. He described how butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), improved insulin resistance and brown fat activation. In general, low SCFAs are associated with low diversity and an abundance of the commensal bacteria. When patients introduce probiotics and increase their dietary fiber intake by consuming fruits and vegetables, the beneficial bacteria, butyrate, and SCFAs will increase.
Probiotics help encourage microbial diversity, especially if the probiotic supplement is comprised of mixed species. In ecological terms, it is more stable to have diverse populations in any ecosystem. The same is true for the gastrointestinal microbiome. This large scale study demonstrates the potential benefits of probiotic supplementation in patients with obesity and hypertension.
Brain fog is much more than an annoyance or inconvenience; it can be downright debilitating. You know the feeling – an inability to focus and multitask, lacking sharpness and mental speed, memory loss, or just feeling like you want to sleep. It’s something many individuals experience at some point and often dismiss with excuses of lack of sleep, too much stress, age, or poor diet. While these factors can certainly impact brain function, brain fog may also be a sign of a bigger problem; namely, inflammation in the brain.
In many of these conditions, the expression of pro-inflammatory genes is heightened in brain tissue, but this is coupled with immune activation from various compounds. For example, mast cells are an integral part of allergic reactions and immunity. They are capable of exerting significant immunomodulatory actions. Being present in the brain, they regulate the permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB) and, therefore, brain function. When mast cells are activated by an allergen, biotoxin, or other compounds, they will secrete numerous vasoactive, neurosensitizing and pro-inflammatory mediators including histamine, serotonin, kinins, proteases and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), leukotrienes, prostaglandins, chemokines, cytokines, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which increase BBB permeability. In this way, mast cells can initiate neuroinflammation and brain fog. Mast cells have been involved in the etiology of many of the aforementioned conditions including ASDs, celiac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and others. Mast cells are located close to brain neurons and the hypothalamus and play a role in the clinical manifestations of various neuropsychiatric conditions, including brain fog.
Flavonoids to the Rescue
Flavonoids have been shown to counteract brain inflammation at various junctions and may be helpful for counteracting brain fog. Not only do flavonoids inhibit mast cell degranulation (which results in the release of a flood of inflammatory compounds such as histamine, serotonin, and proteases), but flavonoids also inhibit T-cell activation, the release of interleukins, and IgE-stimulated histamine release. According to a review published in 2015 in the Frontiers of Neuroscience, flavonoids protected against inflammatory activation, but they also supported brain function by protecting against mitochondrial damage and neurotoxicity, possessed neuroprotective activities, and improved memory and attention. Flavonoids are compounds found in numerous fruits, herbs, root, stems, bark, flowers, grains, tea, and wine; their powerful anti-inflammatory properties help fight brain inflammation and brain fog.
The next time brain fog threatens to overwhelm your day, don’t just brush it aside as a lack of sleep, dehydration, or too much stress. While these things can certainly exacerbate brain fog, take a deeper look and make sure inflammation isn’t at the core.
Bone injuries can happen at any time, but they occur more frequently in the summer, when warm weather tempts people to become more active than they typically are during other times of the year. It’s easy for people to take on a bit more than their bodies can handle and hit things hard without a safe and sensible ramping up period. With regard to bone fractures, specifically, the time to think about strengthening bones isn’t in the middle of a summer softball game or a 10K. Bones should be nourished and strengthened all throughout the year so they can easily withstand the greater demands placed on them during more active times.
Vitamin K2 is another critical nutrient for supporting bone mass. For too long, vitamin K2 lived in the shadow of its better-known relative, the K1 found in leafy green vegetables. Thanks to the resurgence of higher-fat diets and a renewed focus on nose-to-tail eating, K2 has been getting some much deserved time in the limelight. K2 is found predominantly in fatty animal foods, in particular liver, egg yolks, cheese and other dairy foods. (There’s also some in fermented plant foods.) Not all dairy foods are equal when it comes to K2, though. Full-fat dairy has substantially more K2 than reduced fat and fat-free varieties. (No more skim milk and fat-free yogurt, please! These are fine to choose if someone specifically has a need to reduce calorie or fat intake, but there’s no need to avoid dairy fat based on fear of saturated fat. Dairy fat is not only not harmful, but it may be uniquely beneficial in some regards, including for its content of CLA, a naturally occurring trans-fat that may be beneficial for helping to reduce inflammation and facilitating fat loss even independently of diet and exercise.)
Moving beyond nutrients that support the physical architecture of bone tissue, a key strategy for preventing fractures during summer or any other time of year is to build strength and flexibility of bones through weightlifting. Resistance exercise isn’t solely about building muscles; what supports those muscles? What anchors those muscles in place? “Use it or lose it” applies to so many things in the body, including bones.
Patients who neglect their bone health all year can’t expect to hit the trail or the basketball court with strong bones as soon as the weather’s warm and the daylight hours are long. Fortunately, they don’t have to go out of their way to do anything specific just for their bones. Bones respond positively to the same inputs and stimuli the rest of the body responds to: a wholesome, nutrient-rich, lower sugar diet, regular exercise, and intelligent sun exposure.