Tag Archives: Ask Clark’s

Ask Clark’s

                                                                  "ask clarks" header

By Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market

Q: “What is gluten and is it bad for me?” – a letter from Melisssa of Loma Linda

A: Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, rye, triticale and barley. A smaller protein found in gluten which is called gliadin is a “simple cereal protein” that can be problematic for some individuals as well. As for gluten being bad for you? This depends on whether or not you are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. Individuals that are gluten sensitive or allergic may have moderate to severe reactions when consuming gluten. People with Celiac disease (called Celiac Sprue originally) are often the most concerned with gluten. Celiac, once considered to be rare is being better diagnosed which is leading to a larger numbers of individuals being identified as gluten intolerant. Celiac individuals are considered to be DNA-gene susceptible for gluten intolerance. Often identified early in life, Celiac is also diagnosed later in adolescence as well. Celiac individuals who consume gluten respond with an immune (T-cell) reaction to gluten. This effect causes lesions on the intestinal lining and malabsorption, preventing nutrients from getting into the body, and is often accompanied by pain and diarrhea. Prevalence of Celiac disease is about 1 in every 1000-3000 individuals. Other gluten complications exist as well. Gluten is also a commonly known allergen to the U.S. population. There are also non-Celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS) Individuals. These people have allergy response gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of digestive complications such as gas, bloating and diarrhea along with general symptoms often overlap and make it difficult to distinguish between Celiac and non-Celiac conditions.

The avoidance of wheat is becoming a little on the ‘vogue’ side lately as well. One thing to remember about wheat is that it is considered to be a great source of nutrients. Although wheat is not native to the Western Hemisphere more than 1/3 of the world’s population utilize wheat as a main dietary staple. Some individuals suggest that a lot of the wheat berries in use today in the US have gone through decades of selective changes, and that older wheat like spelt are much easier to digest. This would also include the gluten protein in them. Although considered to be an allergen alternative by some people, it is not for all. If you are sensitive to wheat, consider other grains such as amaranth and quinoa as an alternative. This would allow you to make sure you are getting the full range of nutrients that your body needs.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

 

Reference

  1. McCane Understanding Pathophysiology 4th ed., Mosby St Louis, MO, 2008 pg 992-4, 1144,
  2. Micheal Murray ND, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Atria Books New York, NY. 2005 , pg 333-64
  3. Micheal Murray N.D., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 3rd ed., Atra New York, NY. 2012 Pg 402-6

Ask Clark’s

"ask clarks" headerBy Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market

A Letter from Janice from Palm Desert

Q:I want to use essential fatty acids, but where do I start?”

A: First, I think it is important to understand what essential fatty acids are.

Essential fatty acids are fatty acids that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Essential fats are used by the body to make other substances that control or regulate growth, maintenance and proper function of many physiological processes. Some of the processes essential fatty acids (or EFA’s) help include modulating inflammation, fever, regulating immune responses, and overall cardiovascular health. These manufactured substances are called eicosanoids. These substances are better known as prostaglandins, leukotineines, cytokines and others that regulate inflammatory or anti-inflammatory actions in the body. Eicosanoids are local-acting hormones.  The body makes eicosanoids from fats which include essential fatty acids. The essential fatty acids are called linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Linolenic acids are omega 3 fatty acids while linoleic fatty acids are called omega 6 fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fats (meaning they are not fully saturated with hydrogen’s, which is one of the chemicals that make up fats). Omega 3 fatty acids and some omega 6 fats seem to have the most prolific effect on reducing the manufacturing of inflammatory substances. Omega 3 fatty acids are also involved in cardiovascular benefits such as reduction in blood triglycerides and blood pressure thus, making omega 3 fats often sought out. The American diet is typically abundant in omega 6 fatty acids, about 10 grams of fats a day, while the diet is typically low and often devoid of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid food sources have become popular ‘super’ foods today. Omega 6 oils are found in nuts, soy, corn, sunflower, walnuts, peanuts, canola and safflower. Most salad dressings are rich in these omega 6 oils. Foods that are abundant in omega 3 fats include (in ascending order), olive oil, walnut oil, pumpkin, soy oil, canola oil, hemp and flaxseed oil (the highest). Certain fish are abundant in omega 3 fats and are converted into a more active form called EPA and DHA. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish a week including salmon, cod and mackerel bringing in the higher amounts of omega 3’s. The intake for omega 3 fats is considered to be adequate at about 2 grams a day for men and 1 gram a day for women. Many authorities suggest approximately 5 grams a day of omega 3 for health benefits. The use of foods is the primary recommendation while supplementation is helpful to achieve our needs. Supplementation should include rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids, GLA a specific omega 6 fats from borage, evening primrose oil or black current oil would be beneficial as well. A combination of fish and flax are good supplements in my opinion.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question along with your first and last name, and city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

References:

  1. Whitney, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, Wadsworth 20 Davis Dr. Belmont, CA 2014. pg 150-9
  2. Sardesai, Introduction to Clinical Nutrition , Marcel Dekker Inc. New York, NY. 1998. PG 46-59.
  3. Jones, Textbook of Functional Medicine, Institute for Functional Medicine, Gig Harbor, WA. 2010. Pg. 477-52.

 

Ask Clark’s

Q: “What are Enzymes and why do I need them?” – from Victor of Eastvale

 

A: Simply put, enzymes help the body digest our foods so that we get all of the necessary nutrients for good health. A great example of this can be seen when rice carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars to be absorbed into the body. Without the digestive enzyme amylase, the rice carbohydrates would pass through the body undigested and would not able to get into the blood and cells. As this example of a digestive enzymes shows, there are also cellular enzymes that control actions inside of cells.

Most people when asking about enzymes are referring to digestive enzymes which are also made in various areas of the body. Digestive enzymes are needed to digest foods into smaller particles so the body can absorb nutrients. Simply put, without enzymes, foods would not fully digest.

Another example to remember, a raisin is 1000 times to big to be assimilated into the body. Amylase is another type of enzyme that breaks down starches into sugar and is found in small amounts in our saliva and primarily the pancreas.

Protein digestion is accomplished with Hydrochloric acid and pepsin (HCL/Pepsin) in the stomach and protease from the pancreas. Fat digestion first starts with bile emulsification from the liver-gallbladder and lipase enzyme from the pancreas. Smaller fragments of sugars like lactose are broken down in the digestive system by enzymes made in the intestinal walls. Your body’s digestive system changes with age. From the age of 18, the body produces about 1 quart of HCL/ Pepsin fluids and 1 pint of pancreatic enzymes (amylase, protease and lipase) per day. This is enough to handle the needs for an additional calorie onset at an earlier age. As we age though, the digestive system of many individuals changes including the production of digestive fluids and enzymes to about one half.

Other circumstances can challenge our digestive system as well. Stress, food choices like junk foods, over eating and other factors might cause the body to have bloating, indigestion and other digestive complications. The use of digestive enzymes does an efficient job helping improve digestion in many circumstances. Although considered to be a newer category, digestive enzymes have been on the market for over 100 years.

Other traditional digestive aids including bitter herbs, which have been used by many different cultures including Chinese, Indian and Europeans and most other indigenous cultures. Among the most popular bitters are the ‘Swedish Bitters’. Bragg’s apple cider vinegar has been used for over 80 years for digestion as well. Supplemental forms of enzymes can come from animal or vegetable sources, including concentrated food sources of enzymes as well such as bromelain (pineapple) or papain (papaya) and ginger. The choice to use a food enzyme or digestive enzyme should not be substituted for good dietary habits.

One of the biggest uses for digestive enzymes is bloating, gas, and upset stomach which often times come from bad food choices and over eating. Making wise food choices and using enzymes or bitters when needed is the best advice. Always check with a doctor if you are having serious complications with your digestive system.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

 

References:

Ann Nutr Metab 2010;56:74–79
(DOI:10.1159/000272133)

 
  1. Micheal Murray N.D., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 3rd ed., Atra New York, NY. 2012 Pg 131-45
  1. Zoltan Rona, MD, MSc, Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Natural Life Publishing Inc., Blaine, WA. 1997 pg. 801-5
  2. Acta Med Austriaca. 1979;6(1):13-8.[Intestinal resorption with 3H labeled enzyme mixture (wobenzyme)].[Article in German]Steffen CMenzel JSmolen J.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=digestive+enzymes+wobenzyme
  3. Where do the immunostimulatory effects of oral proteolytic enzymes (‘systemic enzyme therapy’) come from? Microbial proteolysis as a possible starting point. Biziulevicius GA.Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(6):1386-8. Epub 2006 Jul 25.PMID:1687035 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16870353
  4. Examination of the Antiglycemic Properties of Vinegar in Healthy AdultsJohnston C.S. · Steplewska I. · Long C.A. · Harris L.N. · Ryals R.H. Nutrition Program, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Mesa, Ariz., USA http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/272133

 

 

Ask Clark’s

“I have heard a lot about Resveratrol. What is it and what is it good for?”

A letter from Lisa of Chino Hills  "ask clarks" header

Resveratrol is a defense mechanism or organism produced by plants to prevent infections on the plant such as fungus. The main source of Resveratrol is grapes used to make wine and Japanese Knot weed. Varieties of grapes are called Labrusca and Muscatine a typically the most abundant in Resveratrol. Resveratrol is produced in the grape plant’s vines, roots, seeds, and stalks, but the skin of the grapes is the most abundant source of resveratrol.  Resveratrol is much more abundant in red wines because both the seeds and skins are used.  Conversely, white wines are prepared mainly from the juice.  It is noted that red wines vary considerably in Resveratrol content depending on length of time the skins are present during the fermentation process and climatic areas. Non-fermented grape juice has lower concentrations of resveratrol. Smaller amounts can be found in mulberries, peanuts and eucalyptus as well.

The popularity of Resveratrol developed primarily because of its benefits with cardiovascular support. Known actions of resveratrol include, but are not limited to: antioxidant, inhabitation of cholesterol synthesis, inhibition of atherosclerosis, reduced inflammation and promotion of vaseodialatioin. Human and animal studies indicate possible benefits of Resveratrol including reduced risk in certain types of cancers and heart disease. Although a lot of these studies are not double blind studies and they have no definitive conclusions, researchers are positive about the strong outcomes and positive benefits of resveratrol research that is currently taking place.

The benefits of Resveratrol have been seen using a supplemental form as well. Dietary supplements can obtain resveratrol from the Japanese knotweed plant (Polygonium cuspidatum) as well as grapes. Many individuals like the supplemental form the best because of the disadvantages of wine consumption. Although one to two glasses of wine a day (5-6 oz) are considered to be healthy for adults, many end up drinking more than what is ‘healthy’, making wine a possible deterrent when not consumed properly. While alcohol consumption for resveratrol is not always optimal, supplemental forms have shown benefits. There are many studies for supplemental forms with positive results. It is noted these are preliminary studies and some are vitro (test tube) studies and more conclusive studies are on the horizon. Consumption of resveratrol from foods and supplements has shown great health benefits. It is always a good reminder to note that resveratrol is a colorful compound. Foods that have color also have healthy benefits. Remember to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for color and health benefits.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.