Thursday, October 20, 2016

Carbs to Glucose

The body turns healthy carbs into glucose, which provides fuel for all body tissues. Without glucose, your blood oxygen levels suffer, your energy levels fall, and your risk of brain fog can increase. Eating too many carbs can lead to obesity. Not getting enough can result in malnutrition or in an excessive intake of fats to make up the calories. In Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, 7th Ed, the USDA recommends that 45-65% of your daily calories are best derived from carbs. That’s because carbohydrates:
  • Are the body’s main source of fuel, can be used easily for energy by all tissues and cells, and can be stored in the muscles and liver for later use.
  • Are needed for the brain, central nervous system, kidneys, and muscles (including those of the heart) to function properly.
  • Important for gastrointestinal health and the timely and appropriate elimination of waste.
  • ·Supply energy (glucose), especially for the brain, central nervous system, and muscles
  • Prevent the breakdown of proteins (amino acids) as a source of energy and minimize ketosis from breakdown of fatty acids
  • Assist with cellular and protein recognition and provide soluble and insoluble dietary fiber

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Carbs – Main Nutrient

According to Donald Layman PhD, professor of human nutrition at the University of Illinois, carbohydrates are the only nutrients that exist solely to fuel the brain and the body. I like metaphors and I like musicalswhich have principal actors and supporting players. Think of macronutrients (carbohydrates being one of the three main types) as principal actors. They are vital nutrients that provide calories, which the brain and body use in relatively large amounts. On the other hand, think of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, as the supporting players. These substances are also important to both brain and body but are needed in smaller amounts. For example, the enzyme amylase helps break down carbohydrates into glucose—the main circulating sugar or glucose in human blood and the principal source of energy for cells that make up the human brain and body. For most living things, actually. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

To Carb or Not to Carb

Many questions I receive have to do with confusion about carbohydrates, what they are, whether you really need any, and their contribution to brain-body health. Often these questioners have been lobbied by well-meaning individuals whose apparent goal was to convince the world that embracing a diet free from all carbohydrates or carbs was the preferred way to go. Such recommendations seem to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater,’ to use that familiar saying, and their proponents urge avoiding carbs like the proverbial plague. What really are carbohydrates? They are one of the three general categories of macronutrients, the other two being fats and proteins. Are there good and bad carbs? Definitely, just as there are good and bad behaviors (or behaviors that results in either negative or positive outcomes, as I prefer to state it). Can avoiding undesirable carbs help you manage your weight and prevent some disease? That appears to be the case. Can avoiding even good carbs injure your health and sabotage brain function and fitness goals? This, too, appears to be the case. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 17, 2016


Recently several young people came up to me and asked about the difference between BPD and APD. With all the acronyms floating around these days I thought it prudent to ask what those two represented in their vocabularies. They laughed and said that a classmate had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and they wanted to know how that differed from Antisocial Personality Disorder. Interestingly enough, I had just spent some time with a cousin who is a psychiatrist. In the conversation he mentioned that his view was the BPD is diagnosed much more commonly in females and that likely APD is the male equivalent, it being diagnosed much more commonly in males. I did some blogs on this topic last August and you may want to access those if you missed them.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lexophilia and Lexophiles, 6

1.   A calendar’s days are numbered.
2.   A boiled egg is very hard to beat.
3.   He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
4.   A plateau is a high form of flattery.
5.   Those who get too big for their britches will find themselves exposed in the end.
6.   When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.
7.   If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
8.   Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

9.   Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Singing and Cancer

Studies have demonstrated that singing in a choir can have a range of social, emotional, and psychological benefits. Turns out singing has some biological effects, as well. No surprise, people impacted by cancer often experience stress, anxiety, and depression—all of which can negatively impact immune system function. A study was designed to evaluate the impact of singing on mood, stress, and immune response in three population groups diagnosed with cancer. Researchers discovered that just one hour of singing was associated with significant reductions in negative affect, increases in positive affect, and significant increases in cytokines. They believe this provides preliminary evidence that singing improves mood state and modulates components of the immune system. Start singing!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Singing, Immune System, and Brain

Do you like to sing? You may want to join a choir! Don't know if you like to sing? Try it! Researchers led by Daisy Fancourt PhD studied the mechanisms behind the effect of music on the immune system. Her research in this field won the 2014 Arnold Bentley New Initiatives Award, the 2015 Young Investigator Scholarship from the American Psychosomatic Society, and the 2015 Ruth Bowden Scholarship for academic excellence in a doctorate in the field of medicine from the British Federation of Women Graduates. Impressive! Studies performed in South Wales found that singing in a choir for only one hour can improve mood, reduce stress, and even boost immune proteins. The greatest improvements in mood were seen among those experiencing the highest level of depression and the lowest sense of mental well being overall. More tomorrow.