Does Drinking Tea (green and black) Lower Blood Pressure?

greenteaDoes drinking green tea or black tea reduce or increase blood pressure (BP)?  The study (found here… ) summarizes the findings of 23 studies from 1966-2014 looking at the effects of drinking green or black tea and changes to blood pressure. They found that systolic BP was lowered an average of 1.8 mm HG and diastolic BP by 1.4 mm Hg.  Green tea had a slightly stronger blood pressure lowering effect than black tea.  These effects were not influenced by ethnicity, how much tea was consumed, the health status of the participants, or the amount of caffeine taken.

Since green tea is known for immune boosting properties, this study suggests that the benefits include providing a safe source of caffeine that actually lowers blood pressure.

In the search for safe and healthful drinks, I would add green tea (and black tea if you prefer) to purified water as ideal sources of hydration.  Anything you can do to get away from soda, juices, dairy, and alcoholic beverages is a move in the right direction.

For young children, the caffeine intake should be limited, so consider caffeine-free teas.  Teenagers and adults can safely take 200-300 mg of caffeine.  Tea typically has 80-160 mg caffeine per 12 ounces and thus would be safe for the older child, teenager, and adults (in moderation).  You should not exceed 400-500 mg caffeine daily (adults) as this can trigger arrhythmia and death.  A link to my previous blog on energy drinks and caffeine is provided here…

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

Gratitude- Happy Thanksgiving!

A thanksgiving decoration sign over a white backgroundThanksgiving is a special holiday.  It is time to reflect and be grateful for everything good in our lives; family, children, friends, you, our Integrative Pediatrics family, a free country to live in (sure we fight to keep many of our freedoms, but it’s still the greatest country to live in), and the love of many and the ability to share love.  Add your gratitude’s.

I have known that during times of stress and distress, one of the simple ways to dig out of that place and regain peace and joy is to make a gratitude list every day. Gratitude reduces stress and anxiety.  It is gratitude that protects us from negative thinking and emotions and helps us draw closer to those we love.  In short, gratitude is perhaps the most powerful medicine of all for our emotional and spiritual well being.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Reach out to those who may be alone.  In the village in Zimbabwe where I grew up, no one ever went hungry.  All you had to do was walk past a house at dinner time and you were automatically welcomed to the table.

For some wonderful and inspiring quotes, click here!

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

Vitamin D- More Important Than Ever When We Lose Our Summer Sun

vitamin D and the sunshineWinter is fast upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know we are in for many months without much sun.  There are only two ways to get enough Vitamin D:

  1. Adequate sun exposure (almost none of us get enough since we wear clothes, use sunscreen, and, for most of us, we work and play indoors much of the year).
  2. Take adequate Vitamin D as a supplement (Vitamin D fortified milk is not an adequate source).

Vitamin D is the one supplement you absolutely MUST take on an ongoing basis or suffer the severe consequences of deficiency, which involves bones and calcium absorption, as well as everything from neurological health and mood to cancer prevention and your immune system.

The British Journal of Nutrition has just published “A Systematic Review of Vitamin D status in Populations Worldwide,” (you can find it here… ) and found that the average person world wide has a Vitamin D level below 50 nmol/L. That is equivalent to less than 20 ng/ml (the units we are most familiar with).  Optimal Vitamin D status is thought to be 50-80 ng/ml. The article reviewed 195 individual studies involving 44 countries.  The levels were found to be the highest in North America.  Given that we know perhaps as little as 1% of those living in N. America have optimal levels, I think it is safe to say that the entire world is severely deficient in this key nutrient.

37.3% of the studies reviewed reported mean serum 25(OH)D values below 50 nmol/l, (<20 ng/ml) values considered inadequate by health authorities worldwide.

The NIH document on vitamin D (you can read it here… ) shows the following generally accepted conservative guidelines:

 

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] Concentrations and Health
nmol/L** ng/mL* Health status
<30 <12 Associated with Vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets in infants and children, and osteomalacia in adults
30–50 12–20 Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals
≥50 ≥20 Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals
>125 >50 Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such high levels, particularly >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)

* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL

I recommend that teenagers and adults take 5000 IU daily of Vitamin D.  Newborns up to the weight of 40 pounds (20 Kg)  can take 1000 IU daily, and then increase the dose to 2000 IU daily for young children over 40 pounds.  Those children above 80 lbs (40 Kg) can take 3000 IU of Vitamin D3.  If you are afraid to take this amount of Vitamin D, then I propose you get your levels checked.

If you are taking more than these amounts or have been taking doses near what I am recommending, I also suggest you get your level checked to see if that is adequate.  There are huge health benefits by keeping your vitamin D level above 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L).

I disagree with the NIH statement that > 20 ng/ml is “generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals”.  At that level you won’t remain a “healthy individual” for long!

 

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

BPA (Bisphenol A) May Be a Major Cause of Food Intolerances

Thermal ReceiptWe are seeing more and more children and adults suffering from food intolerances.  It seems that when I tested for food sensitivities, or if you questioned people about intolerances to foods twenty years ago, they were relatively rare.  Today, many if not most of us have multiple food intolerances (most of us are not aware of them). Food intolerances seem to be a result of intestinal (gut) inflammation that results in foods interacting with our immune systems such that we mount an immune response against these foods. Some physicians use the term “leaky gut” to refer to this disruption of the gut barrier that normally keeps food and toxins from interacting with our immune system (GALT = Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue).

The symptoms of food intolerances range from brain-related disorders (brain-fog, depression, anxiety, depersonalization, ADHD, ADD, Autism, ASD, etc.) to allergies (eczema, asthma, congested, stuffy-runny noses, itchy eyes and skin) to intestinal issues (pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation) and auto-immune triggered disorders (diabetes, thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, MS, etc.)  I’m not trying to imply that food sensitivities are single-handedly responsible for all of these disorders, but there is often a link.

So how does BPA fit in?

The study “Food intolerance at adulthood after perinatal exposure to endocrine disruptor bisphenol A,” which you can read here,  intentionally exposed pregnant rats and their pups until they were weaned, to 0.5, 5 and 50 micrograms/Kg/day of BPA, then tested the antibody responses (anti-OVA- albumin antibodies) to the antigen ovalbumin (OVA). They found that BPA-treated rats when later challenged with OVA developed colonic inflammation with neutrophil infiltration.

Here is a clear explanation of how BPA (to which we all are exposed to some degree) is triggering gut inflammation and hence food intolerances and sensitivities.

So where are we getting this PBA exposure?

Most of us are aware it is in plastics, (baby bottles, drink containers, water bottles, plastic storage containers, food containers).  The huge source many may not think of is the lining of all food cans.  The longer the food sits in those cans and the higher the temperature, the greater the leaching of BPA into the food you then eat.  Canned soup is one of the worst for high BPA exposure. Some dental sealants and composite fillings have BPA. Perhaps the largest source not on our radar is the thermal paper used in store receipts. If you touch these receipts, you are transferring high doses of BPA to your hands, made worse by skin care products and hand sanitizer.

Here are some articles that support this realization:

Food intolerance at adulthood after perinatal exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A

Widespread Occurrence of Bisphenol A in Paper and Paper Products: Implications for Human Exposure

Handling of Thermal Receipts as a Source of Exposure to Bisphenol A

The article “Handling of thermal receipts as a source of exposure to bisphenol A,” found that absorption from handling papers was between 17.5 and 1300 ng/day for the general population and thermal receipts papers contributed to over 98% of the exposures. The Science Friday podcast on BPA was very informative, interviewing one of the authors of a key study on BPA in thermal receipts. You can read the summary and listen to the podcast here…

Clearly we need to refuse to handle paper receipts and if you work in a job where you must handle these, wear gloves.

 

Dr. Paul