Coach Alicia Fong

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Health tip for week May 29th

Grain-Free Diets Can Clear Up Your Acne FOR GOOD!

We all have acne problems sometime in our lives, but for some people, it is chronic and has become a painful part of their lives.

WHAT CAUSE ACNE?

More proof is continuing to emerge that the root cause of acne is not bacteria or genetics, but environmental factors—particularly your DIET. Solid evidence exists proving that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the primary CAUSE of acne.

Second cause and another major factor is STRESS.

We now know that a low-grain or no-grain diet will very likely clear up your skin, permanently! Antibiotics are unnecessary because correcting your diet creates an internal environment that does not ALLOW bacterial overgrowth to occur.

ARE ALL CARBOHYDRATES BAD?

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Carbohydrates can be categorized into the following types:

  • Simple carbohydrates are sugars, such as those found in candy, soda, and baked goods. Your best bet is to strictly limit those in your diet—working toward eliminating them completely. Be especially careful to avoid all high fructose corn syrup, which is a major component of sodas and processed foods.
  • Complex carbohydrates are found in natural whole foods such as beans, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. Although beans, nuts and grains contain more nutritive value than simple carbohydrates, you will need to limit them if acne is a problem for you.

Your body “prefers” the complex carbs found in vegetables to the complex carbs found in grains, because your body handles their digestion differently. Vegetable-carbs are slow to break down into simple sugars, with minimal insulin impact, whereas digestion of grain-carbs raises your insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

Higher IGF-1 levels can lead to increased male hormones, which cause your pores to secrete more sebum, a greasy substance that traps acne-promoting bacteria. IGF-1 also causes skin cells (known as keratinocytes) to multiply, a process associated with acne.

This is why most grains should be avoided if you have acne issues.

In a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, young men (ages 15 to 25) with acne problems were placed on low-glycemic diets for 12 weeks, showing significant improvements in acne and insulin sensitivity.

Simply eliminating grains, sugars (particularly fructose), cereals, potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, processed foods, etc., radically improves acne for most people. Fruit contains a fair amount of fructose, so it should be consumed in very limited quantities if you are predisposed to acne. And fruit juices should be strictly avoided since the sugar is very concentrated in them. (Vegetable juices are great, though, especially green juices.)

HOW ABOUT GLUTEN?

Remember, gluten is usually found in wheat and other grains which may be contributing to your acne symptoms if you have a gluten intolerance, which many people do. This is a separate issue from the insulin effects already discussed. Gluten is a prime suspect if you have rosacea, a growing problem, especially for Baby Boomers.

According to The Gluten Free Diet: “A person who is gluten intolerant cannot digest gluten, so the body will not recognize it when it is eaten and therefore treats it as a foreign body when trying to digest it. Because the body of a gluten intolerant person cannot process gluten properly, the small intestines become damaged slowly over time causing digestive issues. The gluten intolerance can produce other symptoms and push the toxins through the skin such as acne.”

Since gluten sensitivity is so pervasive anyway it would make loads of sense to try a gluten-free diet for one month and see if your acne or any other health symptoms improve. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you are already implementing a low-grain or no-grain diet, which minimizes sources of gluten.

WHAT ABOUT COSMETICS?

What you put on your skin is as important as what you eat. In fact, what you apply topically is readily absorbed through your skin, which is really a semi-permeable membrane through which substances pass directly into your body.

Many of today’s skin care products and cosmetics are nothing more than a toxic mélange of harsh chemicals, which cause more skin problems than they solve. And when it comes to acne, these chemicals can seriously inflame an outbreak, or prevent one from healing.

The reason for containing hazardous ingredients is due to cost (they are cheap), readily availability, and easy to dilute.

When it comes to the skin care industry, anything goes. The Environmental Working Group estimates 99 percent of personal care products contain more than one ingredient that has never been evaluated for safety. It’s a self-regulated industry—an industry that operates on “the honor system” but has a multitude of dishonorable players.

So you have to be a meticulous, well-educated label reader to know what you’re getting.

You should spend five minutes every day cleansing your face, which removes the impurities that collect on your skin during a typical day and clog up your pores. And ladies, please never sleep in your makeup. It’s also advisable to exfoliate your skin once or twice per week. But do so gently, especially if you are experiencing an outbreak, and never pull or rub your skin aggressively.

You should use pure, safe, natural skin care products—preferably organic ones. Apply your skin care products to warm skin, which maximizes absorption.

TIPS TO A NICE AND HEALTHY COMPLEXION:

  • Avoid eating Sugars and Grains, as discussed above.
  • Drink water.  Drink plenty of fresh, pure water every day. Hydrating your body facilitates cell growth and regeneration, elimination of wastes, and sloughing away dead skin cells. Hydration will also improve your skin tone.
  • Exercise: Getting plenty of high-intensity exercise helps your body flush out toxins, including those in your skin’s pores. If you happen to have access to an infrared sauna, this can be helpful, because the more you sweat, the more you flush unwanted debris and contaminants out of your pores.
  • Sleep: Did you know that a good night’s sleep can decrease your stress and lead to clearer skin? Your body’s time for healing and rebuilding is at night while you sleep, and this applies to your skin. Sleep is also required for good energy and mood.
  • Proper balance of bacteria: This is especially important if you have been on antibiotics, because those drugs indiscriminately kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, without which you cannot have a strong immune system. You can reestablish your bacterial balance by taking a high quality probiotic supplement, and by incorporating naturally fermented/cultured foods into your diet.
  • Vitamin D: This important nutrient is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune response, and most people are deficient in it. Without adequate vitamin D, your body cannot control infection, in your skin or elsewhere. Exposing large areas of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels, or use a safe tanning bed. You should expose your skin until you just barely begin turning pink, which indicates you’ve generated the optimal amount of vitamin D for the day.

 

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May 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Health tip for week May 23rd

Having sugar management issues?

I know how hard it is to stop eating sweets especially when you have cravings.  I have the same issue.  I wanted to get lean and I knew cutting sweets (desserts, chocolate, fruits and most protein bars) was a big step toward losing fat.  But it was so hard to stop when all I could think was chocolate.  One supplement that has helped me in the past is Alpha-lipoic acid.  After a week of taking this, my cravings stopped and I was able to stop eating sweets and my body got leaner.  Alpha-lipoic acid has many other benefits which I will discuss below, but first let me give you a definition and end this blog with a suggestion of which form of alpha-lipoic acid is best to take.

  • What is Alpha-lipoic acid?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that is made by the body and is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants are substances that attack “free radicals,” waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. They also damage organs and tissues.

Unlike other antioxidants, which work only in water (such as vitamin C) or fatty tissues (such as vitamin E), alpha-lipoic acid is both fat- and water-soluble. That means it can work throughout the body. In addition, antioxidants are depleted as they attack free radicals, but evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.

 In the cells of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is converted into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is not the same as alpha linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health.

  • What are the benefits?

Insulin

ALA has an insulin like effect. It does not take the place of insulin, only mimics it. ALA has been shown to increase glucose uptake by mimicking insulin.

Individuals that display limitations in moderating blood sugar concentrations often have a serious problem with glycation caused by higher than normal levels of blood sugar due to low insulin production or insulin resistance. Glycation happens when blood sugar reacts quickly and spontaneously with proteins to form damaging cross-linking. This cross-linking causes severe tissue damage and leads to kidney ailments, plaque build-up in the arteries, and retinopathy. Lipoic acid curtails glycation and enhances the transfer of blood sugar into the cells by stimulating insulin activity

Diabetes

Alpha-lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels, and its ability to kill free radicals may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage caused by diabetes (called peripheral neuropathy). Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years for this purpose in Europe, and at least one study found that intravenous (IV) doses of alpha-lipoic acid helped reduce symptoms. However, the evidence indicating that taking alpha-lipoic acid orally will help is weaker. Most studies have been small and poorly designed. One 2006 study did show benefit from taking alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy compared to placebo.

Taking alpha-lipoic acid does appear to help another diabetes-related condition called autonomic neuropathy, which affects the nerves supplying the heart. One study found that 73 people with autonomic neuropathy improved when taking 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid orally compared to placebo.

 Liver Disease

Alpha-lipoic acid has been proposed as a treatment for alcohol-related liver disease, but so far there is no evidence that it works. Alpha-lipoic acid has been administered by IV along with silymarin to treat people who have eaten the poisonous mushroom Amanita, which causes liver damage.

Brain Function and Stroke

Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it has protective effects on brain and nerve tissue. Scientists are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain disorders involving free radical damage. Animals treated with alpha-lipoic acid, for example, suffered less brain damage and had a four times greater survival rate after a stroke than animals who did not receive this supplement. More research is needed to understand whether this benefit applies to people as well.

Immune system

There’s even been quite a bit of research showing it can restore T cell function. T cells are a type of white blood cells that are of key importance to your immune system, and are at the core of adaptive immunity, the system that tailors your body’s immune response to specific pathogens.

  • Which form is better to intake?

Studies have shown that the naturally-occurring R(+) form is significantly more effective that the synthetic S(-) form. Dr. Peter Rouse suggests “Professional Complementary Health Formulas” brand.  This is a high-quality brand, only-doctors brand.  AF Performance is selling this brand and this product online.  And it is on sale for the next few weeks.   If you are interested in buying it, click on the picture.

Thanks for reading my blog and I apologize to all of my readers for not writing sooner.

R+ Alpha-lipoic Acid

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment