The Link Between Testosterone And Blood Sugar/Insulin Sensitivity

By Dr. Jim Fox DC

What do central obesity, high blood sugar, high blood lipids, high blood pressure, and low testosterone have in common?

These are characteristics of metabolic syndrome, which is on a slippery slope toward cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome are high insulin and high blood sugar, increased body mass, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL).1

Importantly, hypogonadism, or low testosterone, is emerging as a central feature of metabolic syndrome.1-3 It increases cardiovascular events and is underdiagnosed in primary care.2 Continue reading

Blood sugar shrinks your brain

By Dr. Fred Pescatore, M.D. M.P.H. C.C.N.

If you want to stay healthy, it is becoming clearer and clearer that you have to keep your blood sugar under control. In fact, a new study shows that even blood glucose levels in the high end of the normal range appear to cause some significant problems.

Dr. Fred Pescatore

Dr. Fred Pescatore

In a sample of randomly selected older middle-aged people, high normal levels of fasting plasma glucose were significantly associated with hippocampal and amygdala atrophy over 4 years. In plain English, even if you’re not officially diabetic, elevated blood sugar can literally shrink your brain.

Continue reading

Monitoring Bone Metabolism with the Bone Resorption Test

DEXA scans are an important part of clinical practice but they don’t give you enough information about your patient’s bone health. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans tell you about your patients’ bone mineral density but not their bone architecture matrix or cortical thickening. DEXA scans don’t tell you about bone loss– until it’s too late.

boneOsteoporosis leads to 8.9 million bone fractures worldwide each year.1 One in three women over 50 years old, and one in five men over 50 years old, will have an osteoporotic fracture this year.1 A fall on brittle bones can lead to death. Perhaps because it is so common and doesn’t immediately interfere with daily life, osteopenia and osteoporosis are underdiagnosed and undertreated.1 Post-menopausal women, men and women over age 50, and patients with long-standing celiac disease are just a few of the patient groups at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Continue reading

Develop Your Muscles, Build Your Brain

By Dr. Adam Killpartrick

When you delve into the research underlying the connection between skeletal muscle and brain function, it becomes glaringly obvious why exercise is (or should be) a core recommendation for anyone looking to support brain health, be it mood or cognitive function.

One of the most intriguing players in this dynamic relationship is Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). So we’re on the same page, BDNF is a protein that supports the survival of neurons by playing a role in their growth, maturation (differentiation), and overall maintenance. The level of BDNF in the brain is proportional to the level of cognitive function a patient demonstrates. Low BDNF, low cognitive function. Low serum BDNF levels have been identified in patients suffering from mood disorders (as well as patients with coronary artery disease and type II diabetes).1 The theory behind this is that BDNF might impact neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of mood disorders.2 The bottom line is that adequate BDNF levels are critical for optimal brain function. Continue reading

Clinical Pearl: Metabolic Arthri Benefits

For many years, the mechanical aspects of obesity were blamed for joint health concerns – and that makes sense. It’s obvious that there are mechanical aspects of obesity’s association with osteoarthritis (for example), because our knees, hips and low back have a lot of work to do, including weight bearing. However, the existence of biochemical mechanisms behind joint health concerns are made obvious by the fact that non-weight bearing joints, like fingers, also display both pain and high leptin levels. Continue reading

No How: Supporting Vascular Health

Dr. Jeff Gladd MD

Dr. Jeff Gladd MD

One of my goals as a provider is truly preventative medicine. It’s essential to get out ahead of disease or event rather than deal with the consequences. One tool in this fight is to understand the strategies for treating the condition when it’s already established and find low side effect and natural ways to support the body. To me, that’s the essence of building a solid nitric oxide (NO) support plan for my patients.

Next to aspirin, nitroglycerin is the other essential medication given to the patient who shows up to the emergency department with a myocardial infarction. Why? It is a drug that works by increasing NO release from endothelial cells allowing for the vasodilation essential to protecting the heart. NO, a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system has been recognized for its role in smooth muscle relaxation, inhibition of leukocyte aggregation and attenuation of vascular cell proliferation; all essential components of a healthy blood vessel.

Long thought to be second in line to arginine as the NO support nutrient, citrulline has demonstrated it capacity to be as good, if not entirely surpass, arginine in this area. In reality, the mechanism of citrulline rests entirely on its conversion into L-arginosuccinate and subsequent conversion to arginine itself. The research relating to arginine directly supporting healthy nitric oxide levels has been mixed. However, the American Heart Journal conducted a meta review in 2011 that looked at L-arginine’s role as a substrate of nitric oxide synthase as well as the relationship to blood pressure. They identified 11 RDBPC trials that clearly demonstrate arginine’s role as a substrate and the subsequent ability to support healthy blood pressure levels.

Most of the literature focuses heavily on lysine’s necessary inclusion to an arginine formula to prevent a potential viral exacerbation. But lysine both on its own, and along with proline, has many attributes worthy of inclusion in a vascular support product. In 2014 it was found in an animal study that lysine intake was able to aid in supporting the health, integrity and mitigate the level of calcification of the vessel wall. It is theorized that proline aids in the binding of lipoprotein (a) thus diverting aggregation along the vessel wall and subsequent oxidative stress.

The dire consequence of cardiovascular disease is the heart attack. At that point, NO is stimulated by nitroglycerin to protect the heart and the patient’s life. Why not get out ahead of this and put a plan in place to support as much NO as possible in an effort to support your patient’s cardiovascular health?

Am Heart J. 2011 Dec;162(6):959-65

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Sep;25(9):1954-65

The Latest Research On K2

Reviewed by: Adam Killpartrick, DC CNS

Author: Knapen MH, et al.

Reference: Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women. A double-blind randomized clinical trial. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2015 May;113(5):1135-44.

Objective: Investigation of long-term effects of MK-7 (180 µg MenaQ7/day) supplementation on arterial stiffness in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Continue reading

Broader Application of CoQ10 and Curcumin

Dr Ronald Hoffman

Dr Ronald Hoffman

By: Dr. Ron Hoffman, MD

CoQ10 and Curcumin have long been applied in clinical practice, and are considered a staple for many, to support healthy cardio function. One unique aspect to consider about these nutrients, while recommended on their own or together, is not just their impact on cardiovascular health, but the breadth of application they have in practice beyond the heart. A couple of areas they support might actually surprise you. Continue reading

The Impact of Betaine HCL

Dr. BhogalBy Ramneek S. Bhogal, DC DABCI

As you’re walking past the café’s, delis, and bakeries in town and you realize that your digestion process is activated. You sense the increase in saliva production and the gurgling and churning of your stomach because this process starts in the mind. This is a valuable physiological process as it prepares the mouth and stomach to receive and process information and nutrients in the form of food by activating acid production and digestive enzyme activity.

Among many of the critical ‘moving parts’ in the digestion process one of them is the gentle and necessary increase of stomach acidity. Many deal with hypochlorhydria or achlrohydria, a condition in which there is a remarkable decrease in stomach acid production. This can be caused by an array of things ranging from chronic anti-acid drug therapy, by-pass surgery, a poor diet of processed foods, and even auto-immunity. As such, low stomach acid can make the digestion / absorption process less effective and negatively impact the growth of critical gastrointestinal bacteria. From a nutrient standpoint, most notable concerns are a decrease in pancreatic enzyme activation, the lack of breakdown of protein and the absorption of calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.

In terms of HCl’s role in GI flora population, when low acidity allows the introduction of potentially pathogenic microbes to the lower intestine, the patient is now at risk for disruption of the gut ecology. This state of dysbiosis has been theorized to contribute to enterocyte damage and be a contributing factor to a leaky gut and even autoimmune challenges.

The decrease in pancreatic enzyme activation is a basic physiologic mechanism that is disrupted with low acidity. When there is not adequate HCl introduced into the duodenum, Cholecystokinin, which stimulates the pancreas to release digestive enzymes, is not triggered and released as part of a functional digestion process. This can have a negative effect downstream on nutrient liberation, absorption and utilization.

The nutrient malabsorption is well documented and something to pay close attention to with patients complaining of fatigue. When B12 and iron are not being absorbed properly, laboratory tests may appear normal from the body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis, but the patient may present with the prodromal signs of fatigue due to the subclinical deficiency created by the lack of HCl.

Incorporating natural supplemental acids can be a very effective step in activating natural digestive acids for healthier digestion and absorption. Betaine HCl is one naturally occurring acid found in grains and beets that has been used for centuries as a digestive ‘bitter’ or tonic. When timed well and in the correct dosage, betaine HCl naturally acidifies the stomach so that digestion can be optimal both mechanically and chemically. Given the gut’s connection and ability to cross talk to so many other bodily systems, it makes sense to ensure you start off with the right amount of acidity.


Beasley DE, Koltz AM, Lambert JE, Fierer N, Dunn RR. The Evolution of Stomach
Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human Microbiome. PLoS One. 2015 Jul
29;10(7):e0134116. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134116. Review. PubMed PMID: 26222383

Yago MR, Frymoyer AR, Smelick GS, Frassetto LA, Budha NR, Dresser MJ, Ware JA, Benet LZ. Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Mol Pharm. 2013 Nov 4;10(11):4032-7. doi: 10.1021/mp4003738. PubMed PMID: 23980906

Methylation Matters


Dr. Adam Killpartrick

By Dr. Adam Killpartrick

What is Methylation?
We can think of the addition and subtraction of methyl groups as a switch. When a methyl group is added to a compound, a reaction begins. Perhaps it is the turning “on” of a gene or the activation of one enzyme. When a methyl group is taken away from a compound, a reaction such as this is being turned “off.”

Prevalence of Variation Within Methylation Pathways
It has been estimated that 40 percent of the population may have some sort of variation in the MTHFR gene, which regulates the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) enzyme and its activity.1  because these variations can directly affect methylation processes through their impact on the folate cycle, they are a necessary component of any conversation about healthy methylation reactions. Continue reading