Monthly Archives: January 2014

Paleo Diet is the Keystone to Health and Wellness

Passionate about Paleo!

You can ask anyone who follows the Paleo Lifestyle which diet or eating pattern they would recommend, and of course they would say the Paleo Diet. And I catch myself doing this too. When my patients ask me which Diet they should follow, I have to refrain myself from jumping on my soap box and preaching all the benefits and reasons they should follow the Paleo Diet. I remind myself that not everyone is as aware or as passionate as I am about the Paleo Diet…YET! 

Food is our medicine.

Jokes aside, the reason I am so passionate about the Paleo Lifestyle is because of the benefits I see in eating real food. Paleo is power. I can see it not only in my patients, but I experience the benefit of eating it every day myself. In the Houston, we are not only part of a metropolitan area, but also surrounded by the petrochemical industry. Make no mistake about it the combination of those two facts alone stacks the odds against us when it comes to health. Therefore protecting ourselves against the threat of disease is a real concern. But health cannot excel without a foundational diet.

When I am evaluating my patients with severe, chronic conditions, every aspect of their health counts. What I came to learn very quickly is that diet is everything. This may seem a bit cliché, but it is fact. It is also the reason that I, as well as many others, stand by the Paleo Diet as the keystone to health.

Your gut is the key to your health.

Let me quickly share some points that I have learned in the last decade of practice that solidified for me the necessity to recommend the Paleo Diet. People are sick. And unfortunately the dysfunction that is contributing to illness is often unrecognized. More often than not, most dysfunction originates in the gastrointestinal tract. The state of the gastrointestinal tract however is a direct reflection of what it is exposed to. Think about it simplistically first. If you were constantly exposed to things that were noxious to you, eventually you would succumb to the exposure. This is very much similar to what happens in the gastrointestinal tract. The average person consistently punishes the gastrointestinal tract day after day by ingesting foods that are toxic, and subsequently inflammatory. As inflammation builds, the door to chronic disease is slowly nudged further open.

Ask your self this question;

However, all of this can be deterred by the Paleo diet. Why? The Paleo Diet is the antithesis of what is considered a typical diet in today’s world. We have become brainwashed by the food industry about what constitutes an ideal food selection that most of us have difficulty determining what is good for us and what is not. The first question I teach my patients to ask is, “Is this food living, or is it dead?” If it is living, it is likely an ideal choice, although there are exceptions. Living foods are stacked full of nutrients and support proper body function, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. In opposition to the effects imposed by the typical diet, the Paleo Diet nourishes the bowels leading to a reduction in inflammation throughout the whole body.

Spread the word!

I’m sure you have heard the expression “Death begins in the colon”? I agree with that. But I would also like to add “Life begins with The Paleo Diet”. I’m sure people realize by now that the Paleo Diet is not a fad diet, it isn’t a diet at all it’s a way of life. It is the reintroduction of the way our species was intended to eat to prevent disease and stay healthy. If your ultimate goal is to be healthier, lose weight, feel better, and prevent disease, then The Paleo diet is the diet for you. And there are no substitutions. With more and more people becoming aware of what the food industry is doing to out food supply, the number of people that are open to the Paleo Diet are increasing significantly. Real organic live foods are the way to go. So to all of my patients, family, colleagues and friends that care about their friends an families, thank you for spreading the word. People can’t know, if we don’t tell them. Together we can make this world a healthier place.


Paleo Doctor Recognized as Functional Medicine Doctor of the Year

Functional medicine is here to stay

So, if you have spent any time on my blog, you know that I am a functional medicine practitioner. Functional medicine is the next wave in healthcare. However, what is different about functional medicine is that unlike other aspects of healthcare that have come and gone, it is here to stay. How can I be so sure that functional medicine is not a passing fad? The answer to this question is actually simpler than one might think. Normal function is the basis of good health. We are all aware that the current healthcare system is not setup to support return of optimal health, but rather to treat disease.

Functional medicine doctors genuinely care about their patients

While at a conference recently as a speaker I was asked to talk on the merits of setting up a nutritional pharmacy and how to use that pharmacy to best support patient care. The room was full of seasoned clinicians eagerly awaiting the content of the next lecture to find out how to better serve the patients that they work with. This is such a different mindset than what we think about when comparing traditional medicine. However, it is also the mindset that makes functional medicine different. Doctors that want to listen to their patient’s needs intently and with a close ear to detect the subtleties of dysfunction are what functional medicine is comprised of. So in a room such as this with such gifted practitioners, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of talent in the room. These are the kind of clinicians that a true doctor would be honored to call a colleague.

Yet during the weekend, I received a significant surprise that I was not expecting. I was given the recognition that I could not have imagined receiving, especially when looking at the caliber of practitioners in the room. With great humility and pride in the work that I do each day, I was named Functional Medicine Doctor of the Year for 2013. This was an unexpected honor, and one that I am very proud to have received.

Seeing patient regain their health is reward enough

Afterwards, I reflected on the last year and what actions I had taken to have deserved such recognition. Ironically, the work that I did through the past year did not feel like work in any way. Moreover, it felt like sharing with colleagues and patients my clinical experiences that could benefit them and their patients. When I think of what it is that I have been afforded the opportunity to do each day, I consider myself a truly blessed person. To be able to watch individuals regain their health is priceless. It gives merit to the time away from home and the hours spent learning.

Practicing functional medicine instead of “traditional” medicine is the only way to truly help patients.

When I look back at the path that has lead me to where I am today, it is no mistake the events that have transpired to make me a Doctor of Functional Medicine. Functional medicine will stand the test of time, and do so by its own merit. This science that continues to emerge is the basis of mankind’s physical existence. It will endure long after other healthcare philosophies have faded into history by virtue of its ability to restore the basic physiology of the body.


Stop Debating About Eating Protein. Stay Paleo. Here’s why . . . .

It’s not about protein, it’s about balance

Despite what you may think, I’m not the guy that’s going to tell you to eat lots and lots of protein.  Protein is definitely necessary though, protein is an essential part of the diet. But, it does not make any other aspect of the diet less important. The bulk of your diet should be plants and healthy fats, but also include protein. What I am suggesting is that if you don’t eat a balanced diet, with plants fats and proteins, you will most certainly have metabolic dysfunction.

They are just rumors

paleo meal

Almost everyone has heard all the negatives about protein especially red meats.  And because of that many people do not want to eat it on a regular basis. One of the comments you will hear most is that red meat is high in fat, and that somehow the consumption of fat also makes you fat.. You will also hear that the regular consumption of red meat can cause chronic disease and osteoporosis. And if you dig hard enough you will find someone preaching that you can get kidney damage when you eat too much red meat. And of course there is some medical evidence of this to a certain degree, but you aren’t hearing the full story. What these people are implying is that all proteins are the same and if you eat enough of it you should expect these negative consequences.

Grass fed, organic only

The first point I need to differentiate with you here is that not all meats are the same. Even some of the scientific studies are now finally differentiating meat sources. A cow raised in a pasture allowed to graze freely on grasses is much different than a cow raised for market that gets pumped full of corn at a feed lot. The cow raised on grasses has a meat composition that is higher in healthy fats, free of harmful antibiotics and hormones, and devoid of potential triggers for the immune system. In comparison, the cows grown on feed lots turn out to be “heifers”, speaking figuratively of course. They are fatter, less healthy and have excess hormones. Thus, choosing a grass fed source of meat is superior. Moreover, if you view food through the prism of the Paleo Diet, the only source of meat is grass fed. Inherently if you are living off of the land, there is not another option. So having established where our meat should come from and that it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, let’s talk about the importance of protein. Don’t buy into the notion that you are better off eating only plants. Yes, most of the diet should come from plants. I will even pose that some a very small segment of the population does better with limited protein from meat. Yet, this is the exception rather than the rule.


Protein = Amino Acids

Protein broken down into Amino acids is a very vital part of our biochemistry. The Paleo Diet, a diet that helps restore metabolic function, can only do so with adequate protein. Adequate protein insures that the biochemical processes in our body that depend on the amino acids that come from protein are supplied. To make this more tangible, let me give you just a handful of the uses of dietary protein and why it is so important.

We need protein to function

Your gastrointestinal tract is arguably the most important system in the body. Protein fuels the regeneration of the gastrointestinal tract, a process that happens daily. You may think this is counter intuitive as some will say that excess protein causes constipation. It does, when not part of a balanced diet. Let’s not digress on that point though. Not only does the gastrointestinal tract need proteins, but so does nearly every tissue in your body. We are protein based structures. Several of our neurotransmitters and hormones are derived from proteins such as serotonin and thyroxine (thyroid hormone). Protein helps make us efficient. It is integral to energy production and metabolic rate. This happens not just through hormones like thyroxine that come from proteins, but also as a virtue of just consuming the Paleo Diet. The right selection of foods increases metabolic rate. The fact is that I am just scratching the surface of all of the uses of protein and why it is absolutely critical that you consume regular amounts.

Arguing against the merits of protein and suggesting that the diet should contain limited amounts of it neglects basic biochemistry. In fairness, the diet should be mostly plant based, but there should also be adequate consideration given to protein consumption as part of a Paleo Diet. So ease your mind. Rather than feel guilty about the consumption of protein, take pleasure in it and know that you are giving your body what it needs.

Does Anyone Really Know What the Paleo Diet is?

Why is everyone talking about the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet continues to gain more and more traction. I have noticed a recent upsurge in the number of internet articles discussing the Paleo Diet. Moreover, several news outlets are now reviewing the Paleo Diet with some touting the pros while others harp on the cons. How can one diet have so many different critiques of it, with seemingly very few of them agreeing? And more over, why is the Paleo Diet receiving so much attention of recent as compared to the past.

The Paleo Diet is not a new diet

Let’s handle this last question first. In short, the Paleo Diet works. Otherwise it would have dissipated from the files of many nutritionists long ago and been buried as nutritional folklore. Some still think of it this way, but the time has come for the resurgence of the eating patterns that have mankind to flourish for the last several thousand years. This rejuvenation has developed a following. The Paleo Diet is the science of eating before there was science to know how to best eat. In the last three decades, researchers have been studying the effects of the Paleo Diet and often the outcomes of these studies portray it in a positive manner.

The Paleo Diet doesn’t follow a protocol like other diets

In contrast however, the Paleo Diet has been the subject of some negative attention. Some note that it is high in protein and that this is detrimental to our health. Yet others worry about the inclusion of such high amount of fats and the possible increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Are these concerns justified? It is really difficult to answer these questions in the context of the Paleo Diet as no one has a consistent definition of what the Paleo Diet is. Almost every popular diet out there has a specific protocol. For example, take Atkins. Atkins cuts out carbohydrates for a short duration and then slowly brings them back in. Weight Watchers is another good example. You know that you will be allowed a certain amount of points to eat each day and different foods contain different point values. But there is no consistency among the literature focused on the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo Diet isn’t a diet

The Paleo Diet is a diet unlike any other out there. This is the reason that there is so much confusion. The confusion in fact is not derived from the complexity of the diet, but rather from its simplicity. Foremost, the Paleo Diet is not a diet. The word diet as it is traditionally used implies that there is an end to a specific way of eating once a goal has been achieved, often weight loss. Rather, the Paleo Diet is an eating pattern. It is a way of eating that you adopt as your lifestyle. Paleo Lifestyle if you will. This means that the changes that you make are ones that you would adhere to the rest of your life. At this point, you should ask, what is so different about eating Paleo that would make me want to consume it for the rest of my life? Simply, the Paleo Diet is the consumption of real food in its most natural state. It is nothing more, nothing less. Yet, as we humans often do, we tend to make things complicated and begin adding rules and do and don’t lists.

Paleo confusion cleared

It is this simplicity of eating food in its natural state that allows for different variations of the Paleo Diet. To illustrate this difference, a vegan can be Paleo so long as they are eating vegetables and fruits in their whole state. An Inuit can also be Paleo eating their native diet of most high fat and protein because it is still in its most natural state. You can see with such extreme differences still being able to fall under the category of Paleo that this would allow many variations to originate. Moreover, it allows many opinions to creep in as to what is the best version of the Paleo Diet.

One Paleo diet does not fit all

As a practicing doctor, I like to refer to the science when available to aid in the decision making process about the right version of the Paleo Diet. This is easily done with a working knowledge of the medical literature as well as proven lab tests that aid in providing a better understanding of the underlying biochemistry that a person has. Some foods that are ideal for one may be completely detrimental for another, but yet both fall under the context of Paleo.

Where to Start?

The right starting point differs for everyone, but there are certainly some commonalities that one would want to acknowledge when considering a transition to the Paleo Lifestyle. The consumption of foods as close to their natural state is always superior to the ingestion of refined foods. Refined foods are devoid of nutrients and living qualities, whereas foods in their natural state provide these living qualities as well as nutrients and other cofactors that aid in the prevention of disease and promotion of wellness. You will not go wrong with eating living foods. These foods can be cooked in different ways, eaten raw, mixed with other foods, eaten fresh or frozen. The bottom line is that you are placing a nourishing food in your body. If you can do that, you can easily adhere to the Paleo Diet.

 Dr. Arland Hill,DC, MPH, DACBN




Functional Medicine Depends on the Paleo Diet

Diet is the core concept of health.

There are a lot of topics that I discuss with my patients but one of those topics I bring up most often. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I was driving them crazy with how much I discuss it. But it’s important, I keep bringing it up because it is for their benefit, their health. I feel it’s important they know.  It would be on me if they don’t know, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I weren’t telling them and reminding them. It is the core of their makeup and it determines how they feel and function on a daily basis. I am referring to none other than diet, the core concept of health. And when I say diet I don’t mean diet as in lose some weight diet, but rather diet as in the things you eat on a daily basis, your daily diet.

The Paleo diet and the media.

Recently I’m sure you have heard some things about the Paleo diet in the media. The thing that bothers me about that is that the Paleo Diet is being portrayed as a “diet” and being lumped together with Atkins, the sprinkles, Weight Watchers etc.  Although those diets may or may not be effective, the Paleo Diet is not a diet.  You don’t start eating Paleo to lose weight (although it is a nice side effect). The Paleo Diet is a diet as in a way of eating for the rest of your life. I often refer to the Paleo Diet as the Paleo Lifestyle, because that is what it is, it’s a lifestyle, it’s permanent. So while I do appreciate all of the attention the Paleo Diet is getting lately in the media, when seeing or hearing anything about it, keep in mind, it’s not a diet, it’s a way of eating and living.

food is medicine

The Paleo Diet

You may say to yourself, “this guy is on a crusade with this diet talk.” The truth is that I am really not. I am not the “banner carrier” for any particular movement or diet. I am a promoter of truth and like it or not, the Paleo Diet is truth. When I say that it is truth, what I am in fact saying is that the Paleo Diet is the closest dietary pattern that aligns with how our body functions. Routine consumption of the Paleo Diet is able to be maintained indefinitely without concern for any ill effects to health or difficulties in maintaining it. In fact, it does just the opposite. Those that transition to the Paleo diet see great improvements in their health as well as find it easy to maintain.

The Paleo diet and the media.

Recently I’m sure you have heard some things about the Paleo diet in the media. The thing that bothers me about that is that the Paleo Diet is being portrayed as a diet it is being lumped together with Atkins, the sprinkles, Weight Watchers etc. The Paleo Diet is not a diet, you don’t start eating Paleo to lose weight (although it is a nice side effect). The Paleo Diet is a diet as in a way of eating for the rest of your life. I often refer to the Paleo Diet as the Paleo Lifestyle, because that is what it is, it’s a lifestyle, it’s permanent. So while I do appreciate all of the attention the Paleo Diet is getting, when seeing or hearing anything about it, keep in mind, it’s not a diet, it’s a way of eating and living.

This is why the Paleo Diet is such a natural fit for functional medicine. The focus of functional medicine is restoring the normal function of the body with precursors that it needs. Nothing is more central to this idea than diet. Eat the wrong foods and your diet works against you damaging your health. However, if you eat the right foods, your body maintains its function and you stay youthful and vibrant.

The best foundation is getting the right nutrients

When working with my patients initially, I am placing significant emphasis on getting the right nutrients in them and modifying their diet to meet their needs. This is a core concept in functional medicine. After all, if my patients are not starting off with a good foundation, how can they expect to get better? That foundation centers on the Paleo Diet. It provides the basis from which everything else can improve. Once the foundation is established, healing can take place.

Traditional medicine overlooks diet.

Functional medicine is a far different mindset than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine has long neglected the concept of food being core to healthcare. You can see this in the way that it is practiced daily. In routine clinical care, food is not a part of the treatment model. At best, mention is given to changing the diet with little instruction as to what that actually is. I see patients coming into my clinic having realized that their diet is central to their health and needs to change, but not having an idea of where to start.

After years of medical evolution, here those of us that are on the cutting edge of healthcare find ourselves having come full circle using the best medical technology to reinforce the basics such as diet.

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“An old-fashioned vegetable soup, without any enhancement, is a more powerful anti carcinogen than any known medicine.”
– James Duke M.D.(U.S.D.A.)


Do you know what Functional Medicine Is?

The new wave of medicine

I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of Functional Medicine. It’s quickly on the rise and becoming the preferred method for healthcare by more and more people. I have been practicing Functional Medicine for over 10 years now, and I am happy to say that all the attention it is finally getting is very well deserved.  Finally people are starting to realize that treating the underlying problem, what is causing your symptoms, is better and more logical than just slapping a “band aid” on the problem.  Functional medicine is the new wave of medicine, and it’s not just for internal issues but also for muscle and joint issues as well.

Time for change

Let me introduce you to the concept of functional medicine just in case you are not familiar with it. The concept is so simple it is hard to believe everyone does not think this way in healthcare. I bet if you ask a hundred people on the streets here in the Houston area, not one of them would know what you are talking about. How can that be? How is it that there is a changing paradigm in healthcare happening around you and you don’t know about it? It is not your fault, but rather ingrained models of healthcare that are ready for a change. You can imagine in a city with a medical center as well recognized as Houston, change might come slow.

functional medicine

What is Functional medicine?

Functional medicine is the idea of providing the body the constituents that it needs to allow it to function as God intended it to. When the necessary precursors are given to the body, the biological systems will work as they should. Such constituents might be as simple as antioxidants and minerals, but nonetheless they are what is required for normal physiologic function. The end result is that allowing the systems of the body to carry out their role provides a restoration of function. When function is restored, the symptoms that manifested are alleviated.

Medicine is usually just a band aid.

Functional medicine is a different mindset than traditional medicine. Patient symptoms and complaints drive the majority of healthcare. The burden on the healthcare system is not derived from acute injuries, but from chronic conditions. Chronic ailments are a manifestation of a change in function of the body. With this change come symptoms. Classic approaches to symptoms have revolved around masking the symptoms with medication or the use of surgery to remove the offending problem. These approaches to medicine, while necessary in some case, don’t often address the underlying issue.

Functional medicine gets to the root of the symptom. The underlying cause.

In contrast, functional medicine looks at the symptom in a much different manner. The symptom is the alarm. Something is wrong and action needs to be taken. When patients present with a symptom, as a practicing functional medicine doctor, I begin to ask why. Why does a person have joint pain? I may determine that it is due to dysfunctional muscles that need support. Why are the cholesterol levels going up? A possible explanation for my patient might be that their stress is on the rise causing an increased demand for cholesterol to support hormone production.

Functional medicine is the way healthcare should be.

Having decided to become a functional medicine doctor means that I have also decided to think out side of the box. It’s in my nature. I just have to know and determine why. Rather than being restricted and limited to the algorithms of traditional healthcare, I decided to brand myself as a doctor my patients can trust and rely on to get to the root of the problem, one that will take the time to look at the whole picture and listen carefully to what patients are telling me. I also spend a lot of time with each patient usually 45 minutes to an hour. It’s important to hear what patients are saying to me so that I can accurately test them, assess their needs them and design a comprehensive protocol that specifically fits their needs. One size does not fit all. So you see,  the movement has already begun. Functional medicine, is being backed by more and more research, and will become increasingly established as part of the medical system, even in cities with medical traditions such as Houston.

Functional Medicine Promotes Weight Loss


Maybe you remember a few years ago when Houston was named fattest city in the nation? Thank goodness we aren’t wearing that crown anymore, but controlling weight is still a huge issue for most. And I even thought to myself ” How could I have ended up in a city so unhealthy when my main focus in life is health and wellness?” Ofcourse soon it dawned on me this is not a Houston problem, or even a Texas problem, this is going on all across the US and based on the latest news it’s becoming an epidemic all over the world.  And no surprise there, it’s getting worse and worse and is trending right along with the increase in chronic disease.



Surely for a problem this big we have an answer. Unfortunately, we don’t. Weight loss in the United States has become an industry. Millions are made each year in promoting weight loss. There are weight loss locations in every town. If you walk into any grocery store you will see publications promoting weight loss. Even billboards on the highway are advertising it. And how could anyone forget the late night infomercials claiming the latest supplement to boost your metabolism and burn fat. No matter what the ad or the approach, the focus remains one thing; losing pounds.

Focus on what caused the weightloss

The idea of weight loss neglects your metabolic needs. It focuses on gimmicky approaches that make inflated claims. In the end you are left with a broken metabolism and in no better shape for long term weight management than when you started. Addressing any underlying causes of weight gain is ignored at the expense of dropping pounds. And you the consumer are the victim. You have been sold a bill of goods that in the long run does not support your needs completely. But what choice do you have. You are acting on the only option you know for losing weight. The one person that should be the guardian of your health, your doctor, has not offered you the support you need to lose weight.

Weight loss as is practiced in the United States commercially should be abandoned. There are far better options, the best of which centers around the application of functional medicine. Functional medicine is the restoration of normal physiological function, thereby allowing the body to heal on its own. Weight gain is a symptom of an underlying state that needs to be addressed. When your body begins to function abnormally or is dealing with stressors in a greater demand than it can handle, the accumulation of fat results.

There are many causes for weight gain beyond eating too much and lack of exercise. Moreover, even when gluttony and being sedentary are the cause, there are reasons. Excessive weight is your body’s cry for support. What the focus of weight gain should be is the altered biochemistry that is creating the weight gain and what can be done about it. This is where functional medicine fits in. As I practice functional medicine with my patients that need to lose weight, we are not focusing on weight, but rather the metabolic disturbance that is hindering my patient from having a roaring metabolism.

I like to think of functional medicine oriented weight loss as weight loss outside of the box. Clearly the trend of diet restriction and excessive exercise are not the answer. Commonsense tells you they are not sustainable. What good are these modifications if you cannot maintain them for long term weight management?

Weight loss through functional medicine

For weight loss to be effective and done right, the concepts of functional medicine must be integral to it. There has to be consideration given to the actions of neurotransmitters,hormones, the gastrointestinal tract, your exercise selection, any potential toxicities and sleep. What center focuses on all of these areas? None commercially and only a select few locations that incorporate in the practice of functional medicine such as my practice.

Despite all the misinformation we are bombarded with in the US about weight loss the key to losing the weight is really all about biochemical balance. When you achieve biochemical balance through the application of science driven functional medicine, losing weight is just an added benefit t being healthy. You wont have to be afraid of the scale, and losing weight will not be your focus anymore, but rather longevity.

New Pharmaceutical Omega 3’s Are Not the Best Choice

Fish oil is not Fish oil

I was at one of my fellow clinicians offices  recently and I was asked if I had heard about that new pharmaceutical fish oil, Vascepa. And I answered that I had not heard of it yet. So he went on to clue me in on a presentation he had recently heard about the product and mentioned a few of the highlights. When he showed me the product I looked at the package and it had a catchy new subtitle, icosapent ethyl. I’ll get to that later. I was a little suspicious because something looked familiar about this product. What is so different about this product compared to the other pharmaceutical fish oils out there? I was able to obtain an insert from the medication, did some research and I was not surprised about what I found.

As has been the case with all pharmaceutical fish oil products, they do not match up to the fish oils found in nature. Of course this makes sense. Natural products are not patentable. Therefore, they have to change it to patent it. This way they can sale it for a profit. This has been the story of every fish oil product that has been introduced by the pharmaceutical industry.

 It’s still an ethyl ester no matter how it’s labeled

So what is different about the pharmaceutical fish oils? It all boils down to the form of the oil. Before I superficially delve into why this difference is important, you need to know that there are two forms that the oil can be present in. The first is triglycerides. The second is ethyl esters. Remember that catchy new subtitle I gave you earlier that was on the packaging of the new product, icosapent ethyl. That looks suspiciously close to ethyl esters. Would you know it, if you open the package insert, sure enough this product is an ethyl ester. Bingo! I knew right then there was a better option and this was basically the same product as in the past, just dressed a little different of course.


At this point you may be thinking, so what? What does this difference have to do with the fish oil that I take? Think back to the last time that you saw your doctor and they ran a lipid, or cholesterol, test on you. Do you remember how it was laid out? In order, the markers read total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. A cholesterol report does not read total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and ethyl esters. The reason it reads triglycerides is because this is the form of fat found in your body. It is also the form of fat found in animals in nature, including fish. So why would you take a product that is not like what you would find in nature? If you are going to adhere to a Paleolithic diet, you want to consume bioidentical nutrients, the same nutrients that are found in the foods that you eat.

Consuming the highest triglyceride percentage available offers some advantages.

-Triglycerides are the naturally occurring form in foods and in the body
Triglycerides have up to 100% more bioavailability than ethyl esters
-Easier to assimilate for patient with poor digestion and absorption
Less prone to becoming rancid
-No post digestion production of alcohol in the gut as with the ethyl esters.

Don’t be fooled by the new marketing hype about the new and improved fish oil. It is simply a modification of the previous oil with a catchy new name and label. If you want the best that nature has to offer, stick with the form found in nature, triglycerides.

The Paleo Diet to Help Balance Testosterone (Ladies Don’t Overlook this One)

Are you lacking in testosterone?

Discussion about testosterone appears to be everywhere in the news these days.  Some of the information suggesting the benefits of testosterone while other reports vilifies the same substance.  The data can be conflicting depending on the reports you read.  How can this be?  Is testosterone good or bad?  Testosterone has come to light for a reason.  The fact is that many individuals are low in testosterone.  Typically the conversation is directed towards men.  However, I often see women low in testosterone also.  We will revisit this point later.  Low testosterone tends to affect men more significantly and thus most of the attention is placed on them.  However, with such varying opinions about the use of testosterone and what levels are adequate, we must ask, what do we really know about testosterone?

Why do we need testosterone?

Testosterone is a needed hormone in the body.  It is important for both sexes for normal physical and mental health.  Males tend to receive more attention where testosterone is concerned simply because much of the male anatomy, and not just the sex organs, are dependent on testosterone.  Testosterone is what is considered an anabolic hormone.  This simply fact makes it important for both sexes.  When we think about anabolic, we think about growth and recovery.  This means that when the body is in a state of anabolism, it is recovering at a faster rate.  Injuries heal quicker.  Likewise, it also means that the body is more prone to building lean muscle and concurrently burning fat.  This is a desirable state for nearly anyone.  Build muscle, loss fat, and heal faster!  Who is not up for that?  That is exactly the effect that testosterone has on our body physically.  Mentally is helps keep us motivated and focused.

It’s not just testosterone we have to think of

So if there is so much benefit to be gained from testosterone, why is there controversy?  The controversy lies in the replacement of testosterone.  Over the last few years a trend has been noted that men are seeing a decline in testosterone levels at younger ages.  This has even been given the name andropause, a play on female menopause where a decline in hormone levels is noticed.  This is indeed happening, but little inquiry was made as to why it is happening.  Testosterone is part of a number of hormones that have to act in balance with each other.  Simply replacing testosterone ignores this balance.  Moreover, there is the possibility of over-utilizing testosterone in the repletion process when other hormones are not considered.  This is where much of the negative publicity has stemmed from.  Testosterone repletion is a necessary process for many individuals, but only when you take into consideration the entire hormonal cascade.

What you eat matters

 Balance is the key to all hormones, not just testosterone.  Testosterone is only one hormone many.  Hormones need to be in an ideal range.  Too much is a problem as equally as too little is a problem.  The answer to supporting hormones is to put the body in a state where they are better balanced.  This comes back to the Paleo Diet.  If this seems like too simple of an answer, you are right, it is.  Once you are depleted of your hormones, they need to be replaced, but not with individual hormones most of the time.  However, trying to fix your hormonal imbalances without considering the food you eat is a recipe for hormonal imbalances.  Food makes a difference.
Here are just a few examples of the importance that food has on hormone function, especially testosterone.  Let me start with the consumption of refined foods.  Refined, starchy foods have the negative effect of creating insulin resistance.  In short, a male consuming these forms of foods has a higher propensity to convert testosterone to estrogen.  Not only is this likely to happen when replacement is given, but it might also be part of the reason for developing low levels of testosterone in the first place.  I don’t know any man that wants to see his estrogen levels increasing.  Another common example is the consumption of inflammatory foods.  These often increase cell damage in the body and long term result in the release of more cortisol / cortisone because of its anti-inflammatory actions.  Overtime, these effects drain the levels of testosterone and the anabolic effect mentioned earlier is lost making the body more susceptible to aging and inflammation.  Other effects such as hormone metabolism and clearance are also affected by diet.

The Paleo Diet

Clearly diet makes a difference in the balance of all hormones, but especially testosterone.  Taking in food that is nutrient dense that stabilizes blood sugar levels goes a long way to balancing hormones.  When you consume a Paleo Diet, this is the effect that you are having.  The Paleo Diet normalizes blood sugar levels.  It also provides adequate amounts of plants that are high in antioxidants which serve to control inflammation.  Therefore, if you or someone you know is considering testosterone replacement therapy, consideration should be given to the food being consumed.  As in most cases, you will not go wrong consuming real, unrefined, unadulterated food as found in its purest form in nature.  This is the Paleo Diet.

If I go Paleo, How am I going to make a Sandwich?

It’s just a habit

“How can I eat a sandwich if I give up bread?” There is a very simple answer for that, you just don’t eat them. I hear this question a lot. No one ever said that we are not habitual creatures, and sandwiches are something we Americans have always had as long as we can remember. And the longer you have been used to doing something a certain way the harder it is to change the routine. Wanting to change does not come natural to us. Especially with food. We as people  associate food with much more than just satisfying hunger. Therefore, when giving up certain foods we are also giving up rituals, and experiences associated with that food.


Giving up sandwiches is un-American!

In my Houston practice, I often see patients that are stifled by the thought of not being able to eat a sandwich any more. That might seem funny at first, but if you think about it, sandwiches are a part of American society. We have “hamburger joints” and hot dog stands. It is part of the American culture. When you go to the baseball game, the great American game, part of the ballpark experience is partaking of these foods. When you pick up the menu at most restaurants, there is a dedicated section to sandwiches.

But, sandwiches are so easy!

Part of the allure about sandwiches is their simplicity. Lay down 2 pieces of bread, add some condiments, toss on the meat and maybe a leaf of lettuce for your vegetable and you have a meal. How many lunch boxes or bags are packed with sandwiches every day for this very reason? Not to mention that they are quicker to make than preparing a true meal. And don’t forget how easy they are to eat at your desk while you continue to work through lunch. With these attributes, why would you every want to give up sandwiches?

Sandwiches require bread, which means that it is derived from grains, primarily wheat. Grains come with a fairly long list of concerns. The two most noteworthy are the negative effects on glucose and on the stimulation of the immune system. There are many different types of bread, but the one consistency among all of them is that they are higher in carbohydrates than fat or protein. This inherently makes them metabolically disturbing. Add to this that they are among the highest allergenic foods and seemingly becoming worse.

Alternatives to bread

But can you really give up bread and enjoy a quick meal that tastes good? Of course you can. Bread and sandwiches are only a mainstay in the Standard American Diet because we have been indoctrinated in this style of eating. You can just as easily enjoy your meat and side dishes without eating breads. If you are looking for something to hold your collection of ingredients together, many will use a lettuce wrap or even a cabbage leaf. These are both excellent options that keep you Paleo.

The real question is: is it worth it to change your habits? Take a look at this testimonial from one of my patients. When you see changes, making a change becomes much easier.

I have to be fair and let you know that there are other options for bread out there. The reason I am hesitant to mention them is because I don’t want you to focus on these breads. That’s not healthy for you, the idea behind the Paleo diet is to eat more vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats, not find a way around them. But! I trust that you are trying your best to change your health, make the right choices and not cheat the system. There are recipes out there that are made from almond and coconut flour. You can also purchase pre-made breads at health food stores and in some grocery stores in the gluten free section. Yes they are Paleo, but should only be used as part of your rotation diet and not be eaten every day.


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