FAQs: Supplements and Special Foods

  1. What are the best bets in the supplement field for delaying the onset of dementia, a.k.a. vascular disease or Alzheimers?

    Supplements which boost vascular production of the protective hormone nitric oxide, which quell oxidative stress, and which suppress the activity of brain inflammatory cells should be useful for slowing age-related cognitive decline and preventing Alzheimers or stroke-induced dementia.  These can include: phytochemical polyphenols such as quercetin, cocoa flavanols, and (possibly) resveratrol; potassium nitrate (or natural sources thereof, such as green leafy vegetables and beet juice); antioxidants such as spirulina, lipoic acid, melatonin, astaxanthin; and agents which have anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, such as vitamin D, soy isoflavones, caffeine, and fish oil.  These measures should be complementary to lifestyle strategies which prevent/control metabolic syndrome and hypertension, and which exert protective hormetic stresses on the brain: calorie restriction or caloric hormesis, as achieved practically with carb-concentrated dieting; exercise training; and regular mental exercise.  More scientific detail →

  2. I’ve heard that apple cider vinegar may aid weight loss; is there any validity to this, or is it just one of those “old wives’ tales”?

    Believe it or not, a recent double-blind clinical study in Japan found that overweight people ingesting 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily (a drink of equal calorie content featuring lactic acid was used as a control) lost an average of 5 pounds of weight over the course of 12 weeks, which was significantly different than the small weight gain seen in the placebo group.  Vinegar should also be of interest to carb concentrated dieters because it slows the absorption of dietary carbohydrate (and blunts the associated rise in insulin) when administered prior to meals.  Don’t drink apple cider vinegar straight, though, because its acidity could traumatize your esophagus.  A good way to take it is to add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water or juice, and then add a packet of non-caloric sweetener to offset the acidic flavor; you should find that this is remarkably palatable.  Drink this before your carb-containing meals and you will reduce the effective glycemic index of the meal, and blunt the post-meal rise in insulin too.  More scientific detail →

  3. Is there anything I can take with my meals that could blunt the increases in blood sugar and insulin provoked by the meal?

    Nutrition researcher Dr. David Jenkins and his colleagues at the University of Toronto have discovered that almonds may have remarkable potential in this regard. They had their volunteers consume diets on two different days that were virtually identical, differing only in that one day’s diet contained 36 grams of almonds (a little over an ounce) and the other day’s diet contained a high-carb muffin providing exactly the same number of calories as the almonds. Remarkably, total daily insulin secretion was found to be one-third lower when the volunteers ate the diet containing almonds! This benefit was at least partially attributable to a reduction in post-meal glucose rises, as shown in other studies. The fact that the almond diet was slightly lower in total carbs could only account for a small proportion of the large reduction of insulin secretion observed.

    Why almonds have this remarkable effect remains mysterious, although the plant protein and monounsaturated fat provided by almonds might play a role. Almonds are very low in saturated fat, and are a good source of plant protein, fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals; studies show that almond-enriched diets have favorable effects on blood fat profiles, and are unlikely to provoke weight gain. So including a small handful of almonds in your meals may be a winning strategy. More scientific detail →

  4. Are there supplements that you specially recommend for enhancing the effect of the CC diet or otherwise strengthening healthy aging?

    Yes. We recommend consideration of the following supplements:

    • Acetyl-l-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid which can be best purchased through www.Juvenon.com where a discussion of their health benefits can be found.
    • COQ-10 of the newer form called ubiquinol (rather than ubiquinone); this can be purchased and is discussed at the website www.lef.org or Life Extension Foundation.

  5. Besides concentrating my carbs in a single daily meal, are there special food choices that will enhance the effects of the CC diet?

    Try not to binge on carbohydrates in this main meal and to eat the carbs with a balanced meal. The foods you choose, besides carbs, and in the other meals, can be chosen to be low in glycemic index. More scientific detail →

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