Brain on Fats

Our brains are 60% fat; making it the fattest organ in our bodies. Our brains’s 100 billion neurons need the constant supply of fats to maintain the membranes and myelin sheaths surrounding these cells. We also have somewhere up to 10,000 synapses for each neuron. The myelin sheath is the a fatty layer of insulation that speeds the transmission of nerve impulses. 

From conception to advance aging, what we feed our brains influences our cognitive, emotional and mental well- being. Studies after studies have shown that maintaining a sharp mind and a balanced emotional outlook is largely dependent on Omega-3 fats. The health benefits come form the two types of Omega 3 fats; EPA (eicospentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaneoic acid). 

Omega 3’s are considered an essential fatty acid because they’re required for optimal health and can only be obtained from dietary sources since our bodies aren’t able to synthesize them. 

EFA’s, especially the ones found in fish fats, are the most crucial molecules that influences our brains’ ability to perform. So, if your diet is flooded with poor fats, your body can only produce low- quality nerve cell membranes that don’t function as efficiently. 

Unfortunately, the typical American diet is largely lacking in these Essential Fatty Acids. Eating fish or supplementing with fish oil found in liquid and oil encapsulations are the best way to obtain them. 

Fats in Pregnancy, the Developing Brain and Postpartum Depression

During fetal and postnatal development, EFA’s are critical to fetal growth and development as well optimal maturation of the brain and eyes. Fetal brain development accelerates during the second half of the pregnancy and remains high until 5 or 6 years of age. Additionally, adequate EFA’s during pregnancy also benefits the mother, minimizing the development of postpartum depression. 

Fats in Treating Depression and Mood Disorders

The powerful effects of these same essential fatty acids help nerve cells communicate more efficiently, allowing serotonin and dopamine to get in and out the cells more efficiently. Serotonin deficiency can lead to depression. Dopamine a bit more complicated has multiple functions, but it’s most commonly known for being involved in reward, motivation, and addiction.  EFA’s can be an important adjunct therapy to standardized medications that treat neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Fats for the Aging Brain, Memory and Cognition

The smooth signaling between nerve cells in our brains are dependent on fatty acids. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that over a 4 year period; 2,000 individuals in their 70’s with the higher intake of fats decreased their risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by 46%. While, individuals with a higher proportion of carbohydrates to fats in their diets increase their risk of MCI by 89%.
Several other studies showed a link between decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as overall cognitive decline. 

Fats in the Prevention of Strokes

As far back as 2001, a study published by JAMA suggested that Omega 3’s may be just as effective as daily aspirin in reducing the risk thrombotic stroke but without the side effects of aspirin therapy. Tracking over 76,000 nurses, it found the higher the dietary intake of fish, the lower their risk of hemorrhagic stroke. 

Best Sources of EFA’s

The most concentrated and direct source of EPA and DHA come from fish. You can also obtain Omega 3’s from flaxseeds but you’d have to swallow 6 large capsules of flax seed to get the amount of EPA’s and DHA’s found in just one fish oil cap. Flax seed oil contains a type of omega 3 called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in plant foods, which doesn’t convert so efficiently to EPA & DHA. Again, although not as reliable, other sources include seaweeds, chia, hemp seeds, & mustard oil. 

Considerations When Purchasing Fish Oils

Some of the heaviest concentrations of mercury, PCBs and dioxin are common contaminants found in fish. When purchasing fish oil products, make sure to read the label. The most reputable brands will molecularly distill all the heavy metals and contaminants from the fish; making even safer to eat than even a regular fish meal. 

So, next time someone calls you a fat head, take it as a compliment !

Next newsletter: Your Brain on Gluten

Sperm: The Fertility Facts

    It takes just 1 sperm to fertilize an egg; yet there are multiple factors that affect the viability of sperm.  All too often the infertility medical complex, only focuses on the quality and quantity of a women’s eggs, overlooking the fact that a successful pregnancy requires sperm to be as healthy and as viable as an egg.

    In the last 50 years, the quantity and quality of sperm has reduced by much as fifty percent and considering  40% of infertility is due to male factor, here are facts about sperm to consider:

  • On average, men produce 1,500 sperm per second
  • Each batch of new sperm takes 90 to 100 days to fully mature
  • Without an ejaculation, sperm viability last about 74 days
  • Once inside the cervix and uterus, most die within a day or two, but with adequate fertile cervical mucus, sperm can live 3 to 5 days. By contrast, an ovulated egg is viable for only 12 to 24 hours 
  • Y Chromosome (Male) sperm usually live to 1 to 1.5 days while X chromosome (Female) sperm can live twice as long
  • Of those millions, it’s estimated only 10 to 20 sperm seem to make it pass all the hurdles
  • Once sperm swim into the fallopian tubes, they’ve been found to still be there 7 days later
  • With a acidic vaginal environment, sperm can’t live past a 2 hour window
  • It can take as little as 45 minutes for fastest of the sperm to find the egg and as long as 12 hours for the slower swimmers
  • Hot tubs, saunas and excessive overheating of the testicles due to extreme strenuous exercise can affect the viability of sperm

    Sperm gets a new fresh make-over every 90 days or so, making it ideal and possible to change the quality of the sperm. But, first you’ll need to know what’s wrong. Given the statistics affecting sperm, have your partner get his sperm tested as soon as you start trying.

    With couples doing an IVF cycle, poor sperm quality is often overlooked as a critical cause of infertility because of the use of ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI is a procedure where a single sperm is injected into the egg under a microscope, using a fine glass needle. This technique adds another two to three thousand dollars per attempt and is used when sperm are of poor quality or with a prior poor rate of fertilization. While ICIS is a important adjunct modality, it doesn’t improve the quality of the sperm. It makes more sense to address the the cause. Here is where low sperm count, low sperm morphology, reduced motility, and sperm fragmentation can almost always improve with appropriate nutrition, micronutrients, acupuncture, and herbal support.

    Conventional sperm test do not test for sperm fragmentation and sperm antibodies. Over the last 32 years, I’ve treated hundreds of women for infertility. I’ve seen firsthand, the lack of interest and foresight of physicians in testing and addressing the issues related to male factor infertility. I’ve had women undergo many expensive IVF cycles to find out years later, there was sperm fragmentation. Sperm fragmentation is when DNA strands breaks or separate into pieces. DNA fragmentation levels are closely correlated with pregnancy rates, IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF, and ICSI as well as miscarriage. The test only costs several hundred dollars, much less than the cost of ICIS. Studies have shown that ICIS procedures, do not improve the outcome regardless of the assisted reproductive technology used.

    Sperm antibodies are more commonly found in men than women. When found in women, pregnancy is unlikely with natural intercourse or an IUI. Generally ICIS applied within a IVF cycle can be very effective in overriding the issue.
Being proactive and getting your partner to do comprehensive testing can make a 40% difference in your ability to achieve a successful outcome.

If this article doesn’t apply to you: Please feel free to forward this article to friends wanting to start a family. 

Cellulite: The Issue Is With Your Tissue

For women, the issue with cellulite stems from our connective tissue which is made primarily of collagen. That connective tissue tends to separate the fat beneath the skin. In women, these fats cells are encased by connective tissue known as septa. Septa is shaped like a honeycomb that essentially pushes the tissue out to cause a dimpling of the skin above the accumulation of fat.

The severity of cellulite is influenced by our diet, our lifestyles, and our physical activity as well as hormonal levels, genetics, and the distribution of fat and muscle density. Connective tissue abnormalities, poor circulation and lymph drainage also aggravate cellulite. Decreased blood flow causes small blood vessels to become weak and leak excessive fluid that pools the compartments between the fat chambers. 

Women’s propensity towards cellulite is primary fueled by estrogen. The hormone that defines our curves and our femininity, also encourages the accumulation of fat cells. Opposite to estrogen is testosterone, the primary hormonal drive for men. Testosterone inherently builds muscle and burns fat; greatly lowering the odds of the appearance of cellulite on men. Men who have either high cortisol levels, blood sugar levels and high exogenous estrogen influences can be affected by cellulite as well. Another hormone that influences fat accumulation is cortisol, known as the stress hormone. This is especially evident if there’s an accumulation of abdominal fat. 

MRI imaging studies have confined that the connective tissue in the top layer of fat and skin is more easily affected by hormonal, vascular and structural changes that influence the skin’s support structure, allowing fat to bulge out into the dermis, just down the outermost layer beneath the skin. This encourages that lumpy skin appearance. Although you don’t need to be overweight to have cellulite, excessive body fat makes it more widespread and visible. 

Improving Fat Metabolism 

One way to minimize and reduce cellulite is by losing body fat and improving connective tissue. Exercise improves blood flow, which in turn strengthens muscles, connective tissue and the lymphatic system. Adding specifically targeted weight -training exercises can target problems areas such as the hips, thighs, arms and buttocks. 

Supplementing with Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) two naturally-occurring fatty acids have shown to be useful in supporting proper fat burning and the maintenance of lean muscle tissue as well as modulating inflammation. CLA is especially effective in burning visceral fat; the type hiding between muscles and organs. GLA increases your metabolism by making adipose fat (known as brown fat) in the body burn calories for energy and keep your body warm. GLA helps active brown fat and burns off the “white” fat that accumulates under your skin all over your body. Additionally, GLA promotes healthy female hormonal production. The main metabolic roadblocks that get in the way of the conversion of healthy fats are trans fats, sugar and alcohol. 

Improving Blood Circulation

Poor circulation aggravates cellulite. Here is where all those super Omega-3’s found in fish will provide superior therapeutic outcomes. Omega-3’s not only improve vascular health but also improve varicosities, they decrease your risks of heart attacks, strokes, plaque reduction on your arteries, lifts your mood, lowers your cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Omega-3's will increase circulation to all parts of your body including your most precious organ, your brain.

Strengthening Connective Tissue and Collagen

The most widely used botanical herb addressing cellulite is Centella Asiatica, commonly known as Gotu Kola. In Asian cultures, Gotu Kola has been used for hundred of years practically in every dermatological conditions such as wound healing, burns, postoperative hypertrophic scars and premature skin aging caused by sun exposure. Gotu Kola can effectively synthesize collagen production. Additionally, it dissolves fatty cysts, improves lymphatic circulation, act as a diuretic and as a tonic for your blood vessels; preventing the appearance of varicose veins.

In treating cellulite, Gotu Kola has demonstrated positive results. Taken orally at a dose of 60 mg for 90 days, along with dietary changes over several months, Gotu Kola showed significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite. Gotu Kola, not only caused shrinkage of fat cells over the buttocks and thighs, but also reduced fibrous tissues between fat cells. 

And lastly, avoid consumption of foods that encourage cellulite and inflammation: white sugar, alcoholic beverages and trans-fats found in pastries and fried foods. 

Using the protocol listed above, I’ve had some good results with a few of my very compliant patients. So, if you want to address your cellulite, links are provided below using the professional-grade line of supplements from Designs for Health and botanical formulations manufactured by Medi-Herb and distributed by Standard Process. The products from both Designs and Medi-Herb are only available through licensed health care practitioners. Patients will beable to order directly thru the links provided below. 

From Designs for Health:


For GLA:

For Omega 3’s:

From Medi Herb:  please use link for: Patient Direct and include the code:U4F5FW

Gota Kola Complex:

Juicy, Joyous, And Jonini' For...

    Physical intimacy and sexual desire is essential to maintaining a strong foundation in our romantic relationships. While it’s natural for our sex life to ebb and flow, a continued disinterest in sex can also influence our self-esteem and our physical and emotional health. 
   Symptoms of low libido can include lack of sexual desire, difficulty becoming aroused, fatigue, and less responsiveness to sexual stimuli. Vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse and thinning of vaginal walls are  symptoms that tend to be more common with women in menopause or approaching menopause. 
    While stress, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and fatigue can also  be a contributing factors to a lower libido, it’s estrogen that creates that basic drive and desire. 
     Estrogen and it’s metabolites tend to be the predominate hormone with diminished sex drive. Balanced levels of cortisol, thyroid, progesterone, low testosterone & DHEA as well as blood flow and adrenal health are also needed to rev up our engines.  
     Medications such as birth control pills can lower estrogens. Birth control pills can also lower androgens, hence their track records for reducing acne. They can also increase pain with intercourse too. What we eat as well as what we don’t eat enough of are additional causes for low estrogens.  So, diets low in fats may result in lower estrogen levels and can menopause. Anti-depressants, & benzodiazepines, antihistamines, beta-blockers, opioids, and anti-seizure medications can also affect libido.  Statin’s, the cholesterol lowering drug taken by millions of women can lead to lower libido. 

Nutritional supplements as well as herbs and lifestyle tweaks are effective and safe ways to boost your sexy self.  

Hormone regulating solutions:
 For women in menopause, Maca, at 2000 mg daily is an effective choice. For women who haven't reached menopause, I generally tend to gravitate towards a more sophisticatedformula capable of stimulating the endocrine glands to produce a more balanced and natural production of estrogen, testosterone and blood flow. I have had good clinical results with Designs for Health’sLibidoStim- F: 

If vaginal dryness and/or urinary incontinence is the main issue, supplementing with 400- 800 mg of acombination of alpha and gamma-tocopherols found inthe Vitamin E family will bring adequate lubrication to the vaginal walls in about 4 to 6 weeks and treat the incontinence. Reducing to 400 mg thereafter is generally sufficient to maintain elasticity and lubrication. A pure, high quality Vitamin E can be found here:

Herbs and supplements can typically take 4 to 6 weeks to note a difference.

(If you're interested, add the code Selma15 when checking out to get a 15% discount and free-shipping) 

Women with PCOS, or long menstrual cyclesand/or hirsutism (excessive facial or body hair) should be working with their health care practitioner before supplementing on their own. 

Adding2 minutes of Kegel exercises daily,  will strengthen the puboccygeal muscle or PC  and will result in tighter pelvic muscles and better orgasms. Now, how hot is that!